Whereas1 the Roman Catholic subjects of this kingdom have for several years, to the apparent hazard of their lives and estates, under the royal authority, defended this kingdom, until at last they were overpowered by the usurper, Oliver Cromwell; in which quarrel many of them lost their lives, and several of them (rather than take any conditions from the said usurper) did transport themselves into foreign parts, where they faithfully served under his late majesty and his present majesty until his late majesty was restored to the crown. And whereas the said usurper had seized and sequestered all the lands, tenements, and hereditaments of the said Roman Catholics within this kingdom, upon the account of their religion and loyalty, and disposed of the same among his officers and soldiers, and others his adherents; and though his majesty's said Roman Catholic subjects, not only upon the account of the peace made by his late majesty in the year 1648, but also for
p.248their eminent loyalty and firm adherence to the royal cause, might have justly expected to partake of his late majesty's favour and bounty upon his happy restoration, which was then extended even to many notorious rebels in other his countries and dominions, which would make amends for the oppressions and injustice they lay under for many years in the time of the said usurper; yet such were the contrivances set on foot to destroy his majesty's said Catholic subjects of this realm, that two acts of parliament passed here, the one entituled, an act for the better execution of his majestie's gracious declaration for the settlement of his kingdom of Ireland, and satisfaction of the several interests of adventurers, soldiers, and other his subjects there; the other act entituled, an act for explaining of some doubts arising upon an act entituled, an act for the better execution of his majestie's gracious declaration for the settlement of his kingdom of Ireland, and satisfaction of the several interests of adventurers, soldiers and other his subjects there, and for making some alterations of and additions unto the said act for the more speedy and effectual settlement of the kingdom, by which many of the said Catholic subjects were outed of their ancient inheritances, without being so much as heard, and the same were distributed among Cromwell's soldiers and others, who in justice could not have the least pretension to the same, contrary to the said peace made in the year 1648, and contrary to justice and natural equity. And whereas it is now high time to put an end to the unspeakable sufferings of the said Roman Catholics, natives of this realm (who have eminently manifested their loyalty to his majesty against the usurper, the prince of Orange), and to remove the unparalleled grievances brought upon them under colour of the said two statutes, which cannot be otherwise redressed than by repealing the said acts and restoring the former proprietors to their ancient right, the compassing whereof is much facilitated by his majesty's royal condescension to apply towards the satisfaction and reprisals of honest purchasers under the said acts a great part of the lands and tenements forfeited to him by the late rebellion and treason committed by estated persons within this kingdom who, contrary to their duty and allegiance, joined with the prince of
p.249Orange: Be it therefore enacted by your most excellent majesty, with the consent of the lords spiritual and temporal, and the commons, in this present parliament assembled, and by the authority aforesaid, and it is accordingly enacted by authority of the same, that the said two several acts hereinbefore mentioned, commonly called the acts of settlement and explanation, and the acts of state, or act of council, commonly called the resolution of doubts by the lord lieutenant and council upon the acts of settlement and explanation thereof, and all and every clause, proviso, article and sentence in them and every of them contained, and all and every grant, patent and certificate passed by virtue of or under colour or pretence of the said acts and resolutions, or any or either of them (except what is hereinafter preserved, or mentioned to be preserved) be and are hereby absolutely repealed, annulled and made void to all intents, constructions and purposes whatsoever, as if the same had never been made or passed, notwithstanding. any mis-recital of the title to them or either of them, or of the exact time when the said acts, or either of them, were made or passed.
And be it further enacted, that all manner of persons who were any way entituled to any lands, tenements or hereditaments, or whose ancestors were any way seized, possessed of or entituled to any lands, tenements or hereditaments, in use, possession, reversion or remainder in this kingdom of Ireland, on the 22nd day of October, 1641, their heirs or assigns, and every person lawfully claiming by, from or under them and his and their feoffees and trustees, to and for their use or uses, or in trust for them or any of them, and who were barred, excluded, hindered or prejudiced by the said acts, resolutions, grants, patents and certificates, shall and may have and take such and the like remedy by action, or otherwise, for revesting or recovering the same, as they, or any, or either of them now might, could, or ought to have had or taken, in case the said acts, resolutions, or any grant, patent, or certificate had never been made or passed, any clause, proviso, article, sentence, or restriction in the said acts, resolutions, grants, patents or certificates, and any limitation of time, descent cast, common recovery, judgment or non-claim upon any fine or fines,
p.250or upon any other matter or thing where an entry or claim could or would have aided him or them, or any of his or their ancestors, feoffees and trustees, in anywise notwithstanding. And be it further enacted by the authority aforesaid, that all attainders and outlawries for treason, or any other offence, and also all treasons and other offences whatsoever upon account or pretence of the rebellion mentioned or expressed to have begun or arisen in this kingdom on the 23rd day of October 1641, and also all penalties, pains, forfeitures, bars and disabilities accrued, or supposed to be accrued thereby, or by any means or ways touching or relating thereto, or any way upon account or pretence thereof, be and are hereby made void, released and discharged to all intents and purposes whatsoever. And be it further enacted, by the authority aforesaid, that every officer and officers who have the custody or keeping of the said attainders or outlawries, or of any of them, or of any the process, entries and proceedings thereof, and of all or any the books of crimination and examinations relating thereunto, shall, as soon as conveniently may be, take the same off the files, and, from the respective offices where the same do now remain, and cancel the same before or in the presence of all or any the commissioners of restitution herein mentioned; and any officer failing to do the same shall forfeit his office, and also the sum of £500 sterling, the moiety of the said £500 to be to your majesty, and the other moiety to any person who shall sue for the same by action of debt, bill, plaint or information in any of your majesty's courts of common law, in which action no essoyn2, protection, or wager of law shall be allowed: and to the end that every person and persons, and their heirs, executors, administrators and assigns, who hitherto were barred, hindered or delayed from recovering or enjoying his or their just rights, titles, or possessions by any of the matters aforesaid, may with all convenient speed be put into and be established in his and their rights, titles and possessions.