Inconsistent Intolerance

Justin McCarthy
Chapter VII | Start of Chapter

There is good reason to believe that the Queen herself, and some of her advisers, were embarrassed by these demands, as England was then in alliance with Austria—a Catholic State—and the Queen's Government was actually bringing pressure to bear upon the Emperor of Austria to induce him to relieve his Protestant subjects from the disqualifications inflicted upon them because of their religion. Queen Anne was laying herself open to an easy retort from the Emperor, in the form of a recommendation that she should abolish religious disqualifications at home before making such an appeal to him. We find this curious inconsistency exhibiting itself in many parts of Europe during the War of the Spanish Succession. We have the most authentic historical evidence to show that such men as Marlborough and Boling-broke were often much perplexed by this difficulty, and were not without a keen perception of its humour. The Queen and those around her did not, however, allow themselves to be much obstructed by this obvious inconsistency, and full authority was promptly given for the introduction of the new measures into the Irish Parliament. The executive authorities in Ireland had no difficulty in passing the new measure of repression, and when the completed measure came over to the Parliament of England, the only alteration made in it was the introduction of a new clause, applying yet further disqualifications and penalties to any form of religious worship not recognised by the Sovereign and State.