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P R O P O S A
Humbly offered to the PARLIAMENT, for the
more effectual preventing the further growth of POPERY.
With the Description and Use of the ECCLESIASTI•
Very proper for all Families.
Infani sanus nomen ferat, æquus iniqui,
Aving, with great forrow of heart, observed
the increase of Popery among us, of late years, and how ineffectual the penal laws and statutes of this realm have been, for near forty years last past, towards reclaiming that blind and deluded people from their errors, notwithstanding the good intentions of the legislators, and the pious and unwearied labours of the many learned divines of the established church, who have preached to them without ceasing, although hitherto without success :
Having also remarked, in his Grace's speech to both houses of parliament, most kind offers of his Grace's good offices, towards obtaining such further laws as fhall be thought necessary towards bringing home the said wandering sheep into the fold of the church ; as also, a good disposition in the parliament to join in the laudable work; towards which, every good Protestant ought to contribute at least bis advice : I think it a proper time to lay before the public, a scheme, which was writ some years since, and laid by, to be ready on a fit occasion.
That whereas the several penal laws and statutes now in being against Papists, have been found ineffectual, and rather tend to confirm, than reclaim men from their errors; as, calling a man coward, is a ready way to make him fight; it is humbly proposed,
1. That the said penal laws and statutes against Papists, except the law of Gavelkind, and that which disqualifies them for places, be repealed, abrogated, annulled, destroyed, and obliterated, to all intents and purposes.
II. That, in the room of the said penal laws and statutes, all ecclesiastical jurisdiction be taken from out of the hands of the clergy of the established church, and the same be vested in the several Popish archbishops, bishops, deans, and archdeacons ; neverthelefs, so as such jurisdiction be exercised over persons of the Popish religion only.
III. That a Popish priest shall be fettled, by law, in each and every parish in Ireland.
IV. That the said Popish priest shall, on taking the oath of allegiance to his Majesty, be intitled to a tenth part, or tithe, of all things titheable in Ireland, belonging to the Papists within VOL. II.
their respective parishes; yet so as such grant of tithes, to such Popish priests, shall not be construed, in law or equity, to hinder the Protestant clergyman of such parish from receiving and collecting his tithes, in like manner as he does at present.
V. That, in case of detention or subtraction of tithes by any Papist, the parish-priest do have his remedy at law, in any of his Majesty's courts, in the fame manner as now praetised by the clergy of the established church; together with all other ecclefiaftical dues. And, for their further discovery, to vex their people at law, it might not be amiss, to oblige the Solicitor-General, or fome other able King's counsel, to give his advice or aslistance to such priests gratis, for which he might receive a salary out of the barrack fund, military contingencies, or concordatum; having observed the exceedings there better paid than of the army, or any other branch of the establishment; and I would have no delay in payment, in a matter of this importance.
VI. That the archbishops and bishops have power to visit the inferior clergy, and to extort proxies, exhibits, and all other perquiftes usual in Popish and Protestant countries.
VII. That the convocation having been found, by long experience, to be hurtful to true religion, be for ever hereafter abolished among Protestants.
VIII. That, in the room thereof, the Popish archbishops, bishops, priests, deans, archdeacons,
and proctors, have liberty to assemble themselves in convocation, and be impowered to make such canons as they shall think proper, for the government of the Papists in Ireland.
IX. And, that the secular arm being necessary to enforce obedience to ecclefiaftical cenfure, the sheriffs, conftables, and other officers, be commanded to execute the decrees and sentences of the said Popish convocation, with secrecy and difpatch; or, in lieu thereof, they may be at liberty to erect an inquisition, with proper officers of
X. That, as Papists declare themselves converts to the established church, all spiritual power. over them shall cease.
XI. That as soon as any whole parish shall renounce the Popish religion, the priest of such paiih shall, for his good services, have a pension of 200 l. per annum settled on him for life ; and that he be, from such time, exempt from preaching and praying, and other duties of his function, in like manner as Protestant divines, with equal incomes, are at present.
XII. That each bishop, so soon as his diocese fall become Protestants, be called My Lord, and have a pension of two thousand pounds per annum, during life.
XIII. That when a whole province shall be reclaimed, the archbishop shall be called His Grace, and have a pension of three thousand pounds per annum, during life, and be admitted a member of his Majesty's most honourable privy council.
The good consequences of this scheme (which will execute itself, without murmurings against the government) are very visible. I shall mention a few of the moft obvious.
1. The giving the priest a right to the tithe, would produce law-suits and wrangles ; his Reverence, being intitled to a certain income at all events, would consider himself as a legal incumbent, and behave accordingly, and apply himself more to fleecing than feeding his flock. His necessary attendance on the courts of justice, would leave his people without a spiritual guide; by which means, Protestant curates, who have no fuits about tithes, would be furnished with proper opportunities for making converts; which is very much wanted.
II. The erecting a spiritual jurisdiction amongst them, would, in all probability, drive as many out of that communion, as a due execution of such jurifdiction hath hitherto drove from amongst ourselves.
III. An inquisition would still be a further improvement, and, most certainly, would expedite the conversion of Papifts.
I know, it may be objected to this scheme, and with some shew of reason, That, should the Popish princes abroad pursue the same methods, with regard to their Protestant subjects, the Protestant interest in Europe would thereby be considerably weakened. But, as we have no reason to suspect Popith councils will ever produce so much moderation, I think the objection ought to have but little weight.