Religious Persecution in Ireland

From An Illustrated History of Ireland by Margaret Anne Cusack

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Ireland was in a chronic state of discontent and rebellion, in the eras of military violence and legal iniquity, which existed some centuries before the era of religious persecution; but, unquestionably, all the evils of the former period were enhanced and intensified, when the power which had so long oppressed and plundered, sought to add to bodily suffering the still keener anguish of mental torture.

In the era of military violence, a man was driven from his ancestral home by force of arms; in the era of legal iniquity, he was treated as a rebel if he complained; but in the era of religious persecution, his free will, the noblest gift of God to man—the gift which God Himself will not shackle—was demanded from him; and if he dared act according to the dictates of his conscience, a cruel death or a cruel confiscation was his portion. And this was done in the name of liberty of conscience! While England was Catholic, it showed no mercy to Catholic Ireland; I doubt much, if Ireland had become Protestant to a man, when England had become Protestant as a nation, that she would have shown more consideration for the Celtic race. But the additional cruelties with which the Irish were visited, for refusing to discard their faith at the bidding of a profligate king, are simply matters of history.

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