“quo warrantos”; but James was still Englishman enough to refuse an Irish parliament, which might repeal Poyning’s Act and the Act of Settlement.
At the close of 1688 James was a fugitive in France. By this time Londonderry and Enniskillen had closed their gates, and the final struggle had begun. In March 1689 James reached Ireland with some French troops, and summoned a parliament which repealed the Act of Settlement. The estates of absentees were vested in the crown, and, as only two months law was given, this was nearly equivalent to confiscating the property of all Protestants. Between 2000 and 3000 Protestants were attainted by name, and moreover the act was not published. The appalling list may be read in the State of the Protestants by William King, archbishop of Dublin, one of many divines converted by the logic of events to believe in the lawfulness of resistance. Interesting details may be gleaned from Edmundson’s Diary. The dispossessed Protestants escaped by sea or flocked into Ulster, where a gallant stand was made. The glories of Londonderry and Enniskillen will live as long as the English language. The Irish cause produced one great achievement—the defence of Limerick, and one great leader—Patrick Sarsfield. The Roman Catholic Celts aided by France were entirely beaten, the Protestant colonists aided by England were entirely victorious William III. at the battle of the Boyne, on the 1st of July 1690; and at the battle of Aughrim on the 12th of July 1691. Even the siege of Limerick showed the irreconcilable divisions which had nullified the efforts of 1641. Hugh Baldearg O’Donnell, last of Irish chiefs, sold his services to William for £500 a year. But it was their king that condemned the Irish to hopeless failure. He called them cowards, whereas the cowardice was really his own, and he deserted them in their utmost need. They repaid him with the opprobrious nickname of “Sheemas-a-Cacagh,” or dirty James.
Irish rhetoric commonly styles Limerick “the city of the violated treaty.” The articles of capitulation (Oct. 3, 1691) may be read in Thomas Leland’s History of Ireland (1773) or in F. P. Plowden’s History of Ireland (1809); from the first their interpretation was disputed. Hopes of religious liberty were held out, but were not fulfilled. Lords Justices Porter and Coningsby promised to do their utmost to obtain a parliamentary ratification, but the Irish parliament would not be persuaded. There was a paragraph in the original draft which would have protected the property of the great majority of Roman Catholics, but this was left out in the articles actually signed. William thought the omission accidental, but this is hardly possible. At all events he ratified the treaty in the sense most favourable to the Catholics, while the Irish parliament adhered to the letter of the document. Perhaps no breach of faith was intended, but the sorrowful fact remains that the modern settlement of Ireland has the appearance of resting on a broken promise. More than 1,000,000 Irish acres were forfeited, and, though some part returned to Catholic owners, the Catholic interest in the land was further diminished. William III. was the most liberally minded man in his dominions; but the necessities of his position, such is the awful penalty of greatness, forced him into intolerance against his will, and he promised to discourage the Irish woollen trade. His manner of disposing of the Irish forfeitures was inexcusable. The lands were resumed by the English parliament, less perhaps from a sense of justice than from a desire to humiliate the deliverer of England, and were resold to the highest bidder. Nevertheless it became the fashion to reward nameless English services at the expense of Ireland. Pensions and sinecures which would not bear the light in England were charged on the Irish establishment, and even bishoprics were given away on the same principle. The tremendous uproar raised by Swift about Wood’s halfpence was heightened by the fact that Wood shared his profits with the duchess of Kendal, the mistress of George I.
From the first the victorious colonists determined to make another 1641 impossible, and the English government failed to moderate their severity. In 1708 Swift declared that the Papists were politically as inconsiderable as the women and children. In despair of effecting anything at home, the young and strong enlisted in foreign armies, and the almost incredible number of 450,000 are said to have emigrated for this purpose between 1691 and 1745. This and the hatred felt towards James II. prevented any rising in 1715 or 1745. The panic-stricken severity of minorities is proverbial, but it is not to be forgotten that the Irish Protestants had been turned out of house and home twice within fifty years. The restrictions on Irish commerce provoked Locke’s friend William Molyneux (1656-1698) to write his famous plea for legislative independence (1698). Much of the learning contained in it now seems obsolete, but the question is less an antiquarian one than he supposed. Later events have shown that a mother country must have supreme authority, or must relax the tie with self-governing colonies merely into a close alliance. In the case of Ireland the latter plan has always been impossible. In 1703 the Irish parliament begged for a legislative union, but as that would have involved at least partial free trade the English monopolists prevented it. By Poynings’s law (see above) England had control of all Irish legislation, and was therefore an accomplice in the penal Penal laws. laws. These provided that no Papist might teach a school or any child but his own, or send children abroad, the burden of proof lying on the accused, and the decision being left to magistrates without a jury. Mixed marriages were forbidden between persons of property, and the children might be forcibly brought up Protestants. A Catholic could not be a guardian, and all wards in chancery were brought up Protestants. The Protestant eldest son of a Catholic landed proprietor might make his father tenant for life and secure his own inheritance. Among Catholic children land went in compulsory gavelkind. Catholics could not take longer leases than thiry-one years at two-thirds of a rack rent; they were even required to conform within six months of an inheritance accruing, on pain of being ousted by the next Protestant heir. Priests from abroad were banished, and their return declared treason. All priests were required to register and to remain in their own parishes, and informers were to be rewarded at the expense of the Catholic inhabitants. No Catholic was allowed arms, two justices being empowered to search; and if he had a good horse any Protestant might claim it on tendering £5.
These laws were of course systematically evaded. The property of Roman Catholics was often preserved through Protestant trustees, and it is understood that faith was generally kept. Yet the attrition if slow was sure, and by the end of the century the proportion of land belonging to Roman Catholics was probably not more than one-tenth of the whole. We can see now that if the remaining Roman Catholic landlords had been encouraged they would have done much to reconcile the masses to the settlement. Individuals are seldom as bad as corporations, and the very men who made the laws against priests practically shielded them. The penal laws put a premium on hypocrisy, and many conformed only to preserve their property or to enable them to take office. Proselytizing schools, though supported by public grants, entirely failed.
The restraints placed by English commercial jealousy on Irish trade destroyed manufacturing industry in the south and west (see the section Economics above). Driven by the Caroline legislation against cattle into breeding Commercial restraints. sheep, Irish graziers produced the best wool in Europe. Forbidden to export it, or to work it up profitably at home, they took to smuggling, for which the indented coast gave great facilities. The enormous profits of the contraband trade with France enabled Ireland to purchase English goods to an extent greater than her whole lawful traffic. The moral effect was disastrous. The religious penal code it was thought meritorious to evade; the commercial penal code was ostentatiously defied; and both tended to make Ireland the least law-abiding country in Europe. The account of the smugglers is the most interesting and perhaps the most valuable part of J. A. Froude’s work in Ireland, and should be compared with the Irish and Scottish chapters of Lecky’s History.