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Chapter Six

Revolution Settlement

As a direct result of the loss of the Battle of Boyne, James II was deposed as King of England. A strong Protestant atmosphere took over under the leadership of William III. The people of Ireland were further punished by enactment of the infamous Penal Laws. These laws were very severe, and so brutally anti-Catholic in purpose, that the people for the next fifty to seventy five years became almost helpless. The Penal Laws also stipulated:

  • Catholics were barred from the army and navy.
  • No Catholic could participate in practice of law, commerce, or any civic activity.
  • No Catholic could vote, hold any office under the crown, or purchase land.
  • Catholic estates were dismembered, upon death of owner, and divided up among the sons, rather than going to the oldest son, unless the oldest son became a Protestant, then he would inherit the whole.
  • EDUCATION WAS ALMOST IMPOSSIBLE as Catholics could not attend or keep schools, nor send children abroad to attend school.
  • Practice of the Catholic faith was condemned as Priests were barred from Ireland. Catholic churches were closed.

These laws were so severe that Edmund Burke, famous English essayist said, "These laws were like a machine as well fitted for the oppression, impoverishment, and degradation of a people and the debasement in them (Penal Laws) of human nature itself, as ever proceeded from the perverted ingenuity of man."

The remarkable Irish race did not die, as expected by the English, but reacted in such a way that their soul was ingrained with faith and resolve. Hundreds of books have since been written expressing the will of the Irish, and the fostering of the deep hate of the English, that exists even today.

Priests were hidden in homes and hill hideouts, willing to die to serve the people. Education continued with the famous "Hedge Row" schools. Their food was cabbage and potatoes. They worked their hands and feet in the soil. Instead of dying by the wayside, they grew in pride and stamina. It was said of them by Arthur Young, an English writer, at the end of the eighteenth century, "They had a fine physique in the average man and their women were struck with great beauty." One of the most remarkable results, during the period from 1575 to 1841, was the population explosion. In 1575 the population was 500,000, but the first official census in 1821 showed the population was 6,801,827. Later in 1831 it was 7,785,500, and in 1841 it was 8,196,597.

After the battle of the Boyne in 1690, thousands of soldiers fled to France and Spain, depleting manpower to resist the English. This flight was called, "The Flight of the Wild Geese". The hatred of the English gave these soldiers a chance to join the French and Spanish armies. Those armies where in constant warfare with the English in the 17th and 18th centuries. Several other key leaders were in constant action stirring up the causes of revolution and continual agitation. Dean Jonathan Swift, an outstanding English writer, dipped his pen in "Gall" and lashed out at the English. This great Protestant Dean became an Irish hero with his stinging writings. He raised the Irish countrymen from their stupor and planted the seeds of revolt. Another leader who fought in the Irish Parliament for the freedom of Ireland was the Protestant, Theobold Wolfe Tone. He had a ready pen and an extraordinary gift of convincing exposition in the many pamphlets he wrote. He was the main force in the great uprising in 1798, but offered his life for the cause. He is honored with great reverence in Ireland today.

Chapter 7

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