Wednesday, 25 June 2014

Penal Laws enacted against the Irish Catholics— General State of the Kingdom in 1652. part 10.

§ 10.—Decay Of The Puritan Colonists.

That Protestant colonists have never been able to secure a permanent hereditary succession in Ireland, is a matter of notoriety. As regards the Puritan hordes that rushed over to seize on the devastated country, we shall merely cite an extract from the manuscript narrative now referred to:—

[Cambrensis Eversns writes in 1662 almost in the same strain. "They have drawn their precedent from the policy of the Philistines who, after banishing all smiths from the land, fell upon the Israelites unarmed," &c. Edit. Dublin, page 23.]

"The English Parliamentarians in the beginning of the war, inflated with their own power and strength, did not hesitate to parcel out Ireland for sale to the London merchants, and other heretics throughout England. The whole kingdom was thus divided, as if by agrarian law, into geometrical portions, a certain price being fixed for each farm. Each one purchased for himself some vast territory, subdividing it at a higher price to others. New colonists thus flocked to Ireland in countless numbers ; artisans, merchants, soldiers, and others, numbering more than 200,000. To consummate the insolence of their pride, they already prepared ships with chains and cords, and more than 30,000 iron manacles are said to have been made, to transfer the Irish slaves (it was thus they designated our free and innocent people) to the Indian islands to cultivate the tobacco-plant, and they were all persuaded that the old inhabitants being expelled they had nothing to do but settle down at their ease and enjoy their estates. But, behold the hand of the Lord struck these persecutors, I might say, with Egyptian plagues. They were not, as yet, three months in Ireland, when most fetid vermin crawled forth from their bodies in such swarms, that their hair, and beard, and garments, were covered with them, so that they could not appear in public through shame, nor could they anywhere fmd rest, and what increased the wonder, though their beds and rooms were filled with this pest, yet the contagion did not spread to the neighbouring Irish, nor did it even touch the Irish servants of those who were infected with it, not one of whom is known to have suffered from this disease; it was confined to the strangers alone, and by that disease, and in other ways, God so humbled their pride, that from 1641 to 1650 more than 180,000 English in various parts of Ireland were carried away, not so much slain in war, as destroyed by this herodian disease and other plagues. And though the Puritans have now nearly all Ireland in their own hands, still we are confident that they will not last, nor strike deep roots ; but when our offended God will have through them scourged us for our iniquities, the earth shall, in the words of scripture, vomit them forth, and like their predecessors they, too, will fall away. For it is observed and confirmed by experience, since the beginning of the anglican schism, all the heretics that went from England to inhabit Ireland, though they were by rapine and exactions raised on a sudden to immense wealth and the highest titles, yet, like snow at sunrise, they melted gradually away, and as smoke and vapour they quickly disappeared. Not that this is to be imputed to the English nation, whose natural disposition and innate uprightness, were they not infected with heresy, would be admired and loved by all; but in these facts we recognize the special punishment of God for heresy, and the special protection of St. Patrick for our island, who, as he expelled all serpents from our shores, so that nothing venomous can, to the present day, subsist there, so did he obtain for us this blessing from God, that the Catholic religion being once planted in Ireland, it should never be infected by the poisonous breath of heresy. The Catholic religion has certainly continued untainted for twelve hundred years and more, in our island; so that from the blessing already received through the intercession of our holy Patron, we have reason to hope for the future blessing, and the present firmness of the nation in the faith of Christ, is a pledge of its future constancy."