IRISH PARLIAMENT: Acts and Statutes made in a Parliament, begun at Dublin the fifth day of October, Anno Dom. 1692. [THE PENAL LAWS VISCOUNT DONERAILE’S COPY]

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In the fourth year of the reign of our most gracious soveraign Lord and Lady, King William and Queen Mary. Before his excellency, Henry Lord Viscount

Sidney, Lord Lieutenant General and General Governour of Ireland. And likewise in a Parliament begun at Dublin the twenty seventh day of August, anno Dom. 1695. In the seventh year of the reign of our most gracious soveraign lord King William: before his excellency Henry Lord Capell, Lord Deputy General, and General Governour of Ireland. And continued by several adjournments before their excellencies Charles Lord Marquess of Winchester, and Henry Earl of Gallway, Lords Justices General and General Governours of Ireland. Dublin: Printed by Andrew Crook, Printer to the King’s most Excellent Majesty, on the Blind-Key near Copper-Alley, 1699- 1707. Folio. pp. pp. [4], 162, 167-230, [2], 12, 12, [2], 73-82, [2], 85-102, [2], 3-18, [2], 125-132, [2], 135-140, [2], 183-146, [2], 149-184. Contemporary full calf to a panel design with blind tooling. Early signature of Lord Donnrayle on titlepage. A very good copy. €1,650
Sweeney 2521 Wing I 330.
The acts in this publication are commonly referred to as the “Penal Laws”. They include: ‘An Act of Recognition of Their Majesties undoubted Right to the Crown of Ireland’. “King William and Queen Mary, since their happy accession to the crown of England, with great expense of blood and treasure and the extreme hazard of his majesty’s royal person, have delivered this their kingdom, from the miseries and calamities of an intestine war, and most horrid rebellion, raised up amongst us by the Irish Papists, and instigated, abetted, and supported by the power of the French King.” ‘An Act for Encouragement of Protestant Strangers to Settle in the Kingdom of Ireland’. Charles II had introduced a similar Act in the 14th year of his reign but it was for a period of seven years only. In its new format no one was to benefit until he had sworn two oaths, the first of allegiance, and then subscribed to a declaration rejecting primary tenets of Roman Catholic belief including transubstantiation.
‘An Act for taking away the Writ de Heretico Comburendo’. “The writt commonly called ‘Breve de Heretico Comburendo’, with all process and proceedings thereupon, in order to the executing such writt ... And all punishment by death in pursuance of ecclesiastical censures be from henceforth utterly taken away and abolished.” This marked the end of the custom of burning heretics at the stake. ‘An Act to Restrain Foreign Education’. Those educated abroad have been in all times past, the movers and promoters of many dangerous seditions, and often times of open rebellion. “Therefore any one who sent his child abroad as well as the child itself “shall be for ever disabled ... to sue, bring or prosecute any action, bill, plaint, or information in course of law, or to prosecute any suit in any court of equity, or to be guardian, or executor or administrator to any person, or capable of any legacy or deed of gift or to bear any office within this realm.”
‘An Act for the better securing the Government by Disarming Papists’. The issue of decommissioning= arms is handled in 1696 fashion with this Statute which enacted “That all Papists within this kingdom of Ireland, shall before the first day of March next ensuing, discover and deliver up to some justice or justices of the peace, or to the mayor, bayliff, or head officer of the county, city, town corporate, or place, respectively, where such Papist shall dwell and reside all their arms, armour and ammunition of what kind soever the same be.” This Act also went on to deny a Catholic the right to own “any Horse, Gelding or Mare, which shall be of the value of Five Pounds or more.” On this topic it goes on to enact that any Protestant making discovery of such horse shall be entitled to claim him on payment of £5-5-0 to the original owner and in pursuance of such action, the services of the constable shall be sought and
“in case of opposition or resistance to break open any door.” ‘An Act for the more Effectual Suppressing of Prophane Cursing and Swearing’. An updated version of a Charles I Statute which “hath proved ineffectual to the suppressing of those detestable sins.” New fines were put in place “for every such offence, the party so offending, shall forfeit and pay to the use of the poor of the parish … the respective summs ... every servant, day-labourer, common-soldier and common-seaman one shilling, and every other person two shillings.” The fine was to be doubled for a second and trebled for a third offence. Those over the age of 16 who could not pay were to be “set in the stocks” and those under 16 to be “whipt” by the constable, or by the parent, guardian or master ... in the presence of the constable.”
‘An Act for the better Suppressing Tories, Robbers and Rapparees; and for preventing Robberies, Burglaries, and other heinous Crimes’. In this sequel to the Williamite wars is noted the growth in crime which “hath greatly discouraged the re-planting of this kingdom, the Papist inhabitants thereof, choosing rather to suffer strangers to be robbed and despoiled of their goods, than to apprehend or convict the offenders of whom the greatest part are people of the same country.” ‘An Act for Banishing all Papists exercising any Ecclesiastical Jurisdiction, and all Regulars of the

Popish Clergy out of this Kingdom’. This Statute came into force on May 1st, 1698 “and if any of the said ecclesiastical persons” shall after that date be “within this kingdom, they and every of them shall suffer imprisonment, and remain in prison, without bail or mainprize, till he or they shall be transported beyond seas, out of his majesty’s dominions”. Any priest so transported who then returned to this country would be “guilty of high treason.” Amongst the other penal laws enacted here were fines of £20 and £40 for the first and second concealing of a Roman Catholic priest, and the forfeit of all his lands for a third such offence. Likewise anyone arranging a burial in the grounds of a “suppressed monastery,” not in use for divine service by the Church of Ireland, was to be fined £10. ‘An Act to Prevent Protestants Inter-Marrying with Papists’. “Any Protestant maid, or woman unmarryed being heir apparent to her ancestor, or having a sole or joynt estate, or interest in fee-simple, or in fee-tail ... or intituled to any personal estate, either in money, stock, plate, jewels, or other goods ... to the value of five hundred pounds sterling, or more,” is to obtain a signed certificate that her husband-to-be “is a known Protestant.” Where a Protestant man is engaged to wed, he has to obtain a similar certificate that his wife-to-be “is a known Protestant.” ‘An Act to prevent Papists being Solicitors’. To eliminate Catholic solicitors, it was enacted that those who wanted to practice their profession would have to subscribe to the oath of allegiance, to the oath denying the pope’s powers, and to a declaration which attacked major Roman Catholic beliefs. St. Leger, Sir William, son of Sir Warham St. Leger, received extensive grants of land from James I., and was, in April 1627, appointed President of Munster and a member of the Privy Council. Charles I presented him with a considerable sum of money for his loyalty to the crown. In 1640 he was given the command of the Irish troops raised for service in Scotland. In the early part of the War of 1641-’52, he distinguished himself on the government side -amongst other exploits, recovering large cattle preys which the Confederates had driven into the Comeragh mountains. He died after a lingering illness in July 1642. Viscount Doneraile is his descendant. Viscount Doneraile is a title that has been created twice in the Peerage of Ireland, both times for members of the St. Leger family. It was first created in 1703 for Arthur St Leger, along with the subsidiary title of Baron Kilmayden, also in the Peerage of Ireland. This creation became extinct in 1767 on the death of the fourth Viscount. However, his sister’s son. St Leger Aldworth, succeeded to the St Leger estates and assumed the surname of St Leger in lieu of his patronymic. He notably represented Doneraile in the Irish Parliament from 1761 to 1776. The latter year he was raised to the Peerage of Ireland as Baron Doneraile and in 1785 the viscountcy was revived and he was created Viscount Doneraile, also in the Peerage of Ireland

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