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notwithstanding the strenuous efforts of the Puritan party to prevent the re-establishment of the Church, her claims were promptly recognised. The Episcopate having, by lapse of time and by the policy of the late Government, become reduced to eight members; in order to complete the hierarchy, twelve new bishops were consecrated together in St. Patrick's Cathedral, Dublin-an event probably without parallel in the history of the Christian Church. It was not, however, to a tranquil or undisputed heritage that the Church of Ireland was now restored. The Romanists, retaining their former national and religious antipathies, aggravated by their late defeat and its consequences, and still looking forward to a future day of triumph, were hopelessly estranged from her communion, and fully committed to their own newly-constituted system. On the other hand, the Scottish Presbyterians in the north, and the Cromwellian settlers in the south, were equally hostile to her ecclesiastical polity and ritual, and pledged by the “Solemn League and Covenant' to extirpate them whenever practicable. Between these two classes of opponents—the one indigenous, the other imported—the Church, weakened and despoiled as she was, found it hard enough to keep together the remnant that was left her, and to restore among them the ministrations of religion—a work the more difficult from the almost universal decay and ruin of the churches, the scarcity of qualified ministers, and the impoverishment of the benefices; owing not only to spoliation, but to the waste and desolate condition of the country, which reduced both tithes and glebes to an almost nominal value 9. Some progress, however, was made. The vigour and address 9 For details, vide Mant, vol. i. pp. 663, &c.
of Primate Bramhall was successfully directed to the remedying of many of the practical evils which marred the Church's usefulness ", while the eloquent and persuasive pen of Bishop Jeremy Taylor was employed in explaining and defending her principles against the Romanist on one side and the Protestant Dissenter on the other. During this period, likewise, the Holy Scriptures were for the first time published, in their complete form, in the Irish language. The New Testament had indeed been translated in the latter end of the preceding century by Walsh, Bishop of Ossory, and others, and printed in 1603 under the superintendence of Archbishop Daniel of Tuam; but a new and improved edition (combined with Bishop Bedell's translation of the Old Testament) was now published, chiefly at the expense of the Hon. Robert Boyle, assisted by Dr. Wake, afterwards Primate of England.
48. Scarcely, however, had these signs of reviving spiritual life and energy begun to shew themselves, when they were once more apparently extinguished by the renewed horrors of persecution and civil war. The career of the tyrannical and bigoted James II. is sufficiently known through the pages of Macaulay and others; but while his attempts to establish popery and arbitrary power in England were kept in check and finally defeated by the strong and united Protestant feeling of the country; in Ireland, where he had so many sympathizers in his designs, he was
* Among other benefits already conferred on the Church by Bramhall, he had been instrumental (with the co-operation of King Charles I., the Lord Deputy Strafford, and Archbishop Laud) in regaining for her—partly by persuasion, partly by law, but chiefly by purchase-impropriations and other property to the amount of £40,000 per annum.
enabled to carry them farther and to maintain them longer. All the principal posts of authority were speedily put into the hands of Romanists, who proceeded without delay to use their power for the subversion and destruction of the Reformed religion. Tithes were unpaid, churches and schools violently seized, all legal redress being refused or evaded; vacant sees were again left unfilled, and their revenues paid in salaries to the titular prelates; vacant benefices in the royal patronage were sequestered; and the constitutional rights of deans and chapters, as well as of the University of Dublin, arbitrarily set aside. But it was when James, having abandoned his dominions in England, arrived in person to superintend his interests and plans in Ireland, that the full tide of injustice and iniquity set in. A Parliament (carefully packed by the most illegal and scandalous means) was assembled, which proceeded at once to repeal the Act of Settlement of the preceding reign; thereby depriving all possessors—whether by grant, inheritance, or purchase-of the forfeited estates, and restoring them to the Romish claimants. This was speedily followed by the Act of Attainder, by which vast numbers of the nobility, gentry, and clergy (nearly 2,500 in all) were proscribed by name as traitors, liable to death and forfeiture of goods, unless within a limited (in some instances an impossible) time they surrendered to take their trial for treason. Many other acts of a similar tendency were passed, and many deeds of injustice and violence committed, which had not even the pretence of parliamentary sanction. The churches—most of which had been rebuilt by their congregations after the destruction of 1641—were, under one pretext or another, seized, some of them desecrated, and many of them burnt. Protestants were forbidden to assemble in greater numbers than five; so that eventually all the churches were shut up and all religious assemblies forbidden under pain of death. It was scarcely possible that the forces of bigotry and intolerance could go farther, although the insensate monarch and his advisers seem ready to have pushed them to the utmost. They had now, however, reached the limit of their bad power. The issue of the Battle of the Boyne—fought on the 1st of July, 1690—was the final overthrow of James, after a reign (in Ireland) of five years and a half, into which were crowded the follies and crimes of a century.
49. Although the sympathies of William III. as a Calvinist and a Presbyterian could scarcely have been very warm towards the Irish Church, and hopes were therefore entertained by some that a different ecclesiastical system might now be inaugurated, there does not appear to have been any hesitation on the part of the Government in taking the necessary steps to restore her once more to her former position. The vacancies so unconstitutionally left by King James in the episcopal bench were immediately filled up: one of the new prelates being William King, (previously Dean of St. Patrick's, Dublin,) a prelate whose name is prominently connected with the Church history of the ensuing forty years—first as Bishop of Derry, and subsequently as Archbishop of Dublin, both of which stations he adorned by his learning, energy, and piety. One result of the reckless and tyrannical proceedings of James in Ireland was the unanimity with which the Revolution was accepted by the hierarchy and clergy; insomuch that of the entire bench of bishops, but one—Sheridan of Kilmore—refused to
take the oath of allegiance; and when the respectable name of Charles Leslie among the inferior clergy is added, the list of Irish clerical Non-jurors is complete.
50. The close of the seventeenth and the commencement of the eighteenth centuries were signalized by the enactment of many stringent laws against Roman Catholics, which entailed on them great hardships and disabilities. All Romish bishops and other ecclesiastical authorities, and all monks and other regulars were ordered to leave the kingdom; all monasteries were suppressed, and all intermarriages with Protestants rendered penal. No Papist was permitted to hold landed property, to carry arms, or to practise as a solicitor. Harsh as these and some other subsequent measures undoubtedly were, and opposed to the dictates of the more enlightened and tolerant policy of our days, it should be borne in mind that they were directed against Romanism not as a religious system, but as a hostile political organization. It was undeniable that the confusion and bloodshed of the last half century were directly traceable to the in. fluence of the Romish hierarchy and those acting under their authority, in their attempts to overthrow the existing institutions in Church and State. Besides which, it was notorious that a constant intercourse was kept up, by their means, with the deposed
• Bishop King's opinion in reference to these enactments will prove that an enlightened and tolerant policy was not without its advocates even in these stern times. “We have too many such laws already; and with God's help, shall never have any more, as long as I and my friends can help it. Soft laws and strict execution are what wisdom and interest would recommend us; and till we see some better use made of those we have, I think we ought to have no more in terrorem.”—Letter to Bishop Burnet, Mant, ii. 80.