Louvain: n.p., 1668. 4to. [ii], 38 pp. FIRST EDITION. Woodcut headpiece and capital. Later calf-backed marbled boards, edges red; interior trimmed, although no losses. Dated bookplate of the North Library (1860). Item #17459
First edition. The author, Nicholas French, provides a detailed account of the poor treatment of the Irish during the Restoration. He explains how in 1660 Protestant lords placed Irish Catholic landowners in prison in order to seize their property after the monarchy was restored. Written in the format of a letter, the Bishop ultimately calls for a total reversal of the Act of Settlement (1662) and the Act of Explanation (1665), which allowed Protestants loyal to the newly restored monarchy of Charles II to reclaim their estates in Ireland.
French (1604-1678) was the Roman Catholic Bishop of Ferns. After war broke out in Ireland in 1641 he, along with several other Catholic clerics and gentry, helped to organise the rebels into a more cohesive political movement with the intention of attaining freedom of religion and legal equality for Catholics and self-government for Ireland. During the Civil War, French tried to promote a peace treaty with the Royalists at the same time as a more vigorous prosecution of the war in Ireland. Though a Treaty was signed with the Royalists in 1648, the English Parliamentarian conquest of Ireland began in 1649 during which Catholic clergy were executed. French, along with many other Catholics, moved to the Continent. The Monarchy was restored in1660, but under the Parliamentary Acts only a “favored minority” of Irish Catholic Royalists were returned their confiscated land, and the public practice of Catholicism remained illegal.
According to the DNB, this pamphlet is extremely rare. There was an alternate edition also printed in 1668 numbering only 28 pages. It was reprinted under an alternate title, Inquity displaye’d, or the settlement of the Kingdom of Ireland in 1704.