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The thirteenth Year of George II

A.D. 1739

Chap. VI.


An act to explain, amend, and make more effectual an Act, passed in the seventh

Year of the Reign of his late Majesty King William the Third of glorious Memory,

intituled, An Act for the better securing the Government by disarming Papists.



Whereas by an act, passed in the seventh year of the reign of his late Majesty King William the third of glorious memory, intituled, An act for the better securing the government by disarming papists, it is amongst other things enacted, "That all papists within this kingdom of Ireland should before the first day of March then next ensuing discover and deliver up to some justice or justices of the peace, or to the mayor, bayliff, or head-officer of the county, city, town-corporate, or place respectively, where such papist then dwelt and resided, all their arms, armour, and ammunition, then in his or their hands or possession, or in the hands of any other person or persons in trust for them, or at their disposition, notwithstanding any license or permission for keeping the same before granted; and that from and after the said first day of March one thousand seven hundred and ninety five, it should and might be lawful for any two or more justices of the peace within the limits of their jurisdictions and authority, and for all mayors, sheriffs, and chief officers of cities, and towns corporate in their liberties, by themselves, or by warrant or warrants under their hands and seals respectively, from time to time to search for, seize, or cause to be searched for and seized, and take into his or their custody all such arms, armour, and ammunition, as should be concealed in any house, lodging, or other place, where they should suspect any such arms, armour, and ammunittion, to be concealed, and such arms, armour, and ammunition, so taken or seized upon search, and otherwise, should by the person or persons so receiving, taking, and seizing the same, be preserved for the use of his said Majesty, his heirs and successors, and the said persons should return a true and particular account thereof to the lord-deputy, or other chief governor or governors of this kingdom, for the time being, to the end the same might be brought into his Majesty's stores of war, to be disposed of as he or they should think fit: provided nevertheless, that no such search or searches should be made in any such house, houses, or lodgings, save only between the rising and setting


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of the sun, other than in cities and their suburbs, towns-corporate, market-towns, and houses of such cities and towns, if it should be thought to be necessary, and the warrant or warrants for that purpose did so direct and appoint; and in case such justices of the peace, mayor, sovereign, bayliff, or other chief magistrate or officer, of any city or town-corporate after such arms armour, or ammunition, remained concealed and not seized, they were thereby respectively impowered and required to cause such person or persons, as they should suspect to have concealed the same, to be brought before him or them to be examined upon his or their corporal oath concerning the same:" and whereas there is good reason to suspect, that several persons contrary to the true intent and meaning of the said law have arms, armour and ammunition, in their custody or power, by means whereof many mischiefs may happen if not speedily prevented; for remedy whereof it be enacted by the King's most excellent Majesty by and with the advice and consent of the lord spiritual and temporal and commons in this present Parliament assembled, and by the authority of the same, That all justices of the peace, mayors, bayliffs, magistrates, and chief officers of cities and towns-corporate, within their respective counties, cities, and towns, shall and may for ever hereafter use and exercise, all and every the powers in the said in part recited act in such manner, as is therein and thereby directed; and that all papists shall discover and deliver up to some justice or justices of the peace, or to the mayor, bayliff, magistrate, or chief officer, of the county, city, or town-corporate, or place, where such papist or such other persons as aforesaid shall respectively dwell and reside, all arms, armour, and ammunition, of what kind soever the same be, which are in his, her, or their hands, possession, custody, or power, or in the possession or custody of any person or persons, to his, her, or their use, or in trust for him, her, of them, or at his, her, or their disposition, notwithstanding any licence or permission for keeping and having the same heretofore granted; and that all such persons, as are by this present, or any other, law, declared or are to be deemed and taken to be papists, to any purpose whatsoever, shall before the first day of July, which shall be in the year of our Lord one thousand seven hundred and forty, deliver up in like manner all such arms, armour, and ammunition, as shall be in their possession, power, or disposal; and that all papists and such other persons as aforesaid shall for ever thereafter, within the space of fourteen days after he, she, or they, shall knowingly get or have


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any arms, armour, or ammunition, discover and deliver up to some justice or justices of the peace, or to the mayor, bayliff, magistrate, or chief officer, of the country, city, town-corporate, or place respectively, where such papist or such other persons as aforesaid shall dwell and reside, all his, her, or their arms, armour, and ammunition, that shall be in his, her, or their hands, possession, custody, or power, or in the hands, possession, or custody, of any person or persons in trust for him, her, or them, or at his, her, or their disposition; except such arms as the chief governor or governors, and privy council of this kingdom shall by licence authorize and licence any papist to have and keep.

II. And be it further enacted by the authority aforesaid, That every papist and other person as aforesaid, who shall at any time hereafter have or keep, carry or use, any arms, armour, or ammunition, not being licenced, or who shall not respectively deliver up the same in manner as aforesaid, and all and every person or persons, who wittingly, willingly, or knowingly, shall have any arms, armour, or ammunition, to the use of or in trust for any papist, or for any such other person as aforesaid, and all and every person or persons, who upon demand or search made for arms, armour, and ammunition, according to the direction in this or the said former act shall conceal, refuse, or neglect to discover, and give up to the person or persons authorized and impowered by the said former act to search for, seize, and demand the same, all such arms, armour, and ammunition, as he, she, or they, or any person or persons in trust for him, her, or them, shall have, or shall oppose, resist, let, hinder, or in any wise disturb any person or person so impowered to search for and seize the same, and all and every person and persons, who shall refuse to be examined upon his, her, or their corporal oath, when thereto required, by any two justices of the peace, or by the mayor, bayliff, magistrate, or chief officer of any county, city, or town-corporate, which oath all and every such justices of the peace, and every such mayor, magistrate, or chief officer, are hereby respectively authorized and required to administer, concerning the discovery and delivery of such arms, armour, and ammunition, and all and every person and person, who, being summoned in writing signed by any two justices of the peace, or by the mayor, bayliff, magistrate, or chief officer of any county, city, or towns-corporate, where the person so summoned shall then dwell and reside, whereof notice in writing shall be given to him, her, or them, or left at his, her, or their usual place of abode, shall without reasonable cause, refuse and neglect


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to appear before such justices of the peace, or such mayor, bayliff, magistrate, or chief officer, to be examined as aforesaid, every such person so offending, in all or any of the matters aforesaid, shall forfeit in manner following: (that is to say) if such person be a peer or peeress of this realm, he or she being thereof lawfully convicted at the assizes, or at the quarter-sessions of the county of Dublin, or county of the city of Dublin, where the said offences shall be committed, for the first offence shall forfeit the sum of three hundred pounds sterling; and that all and every person and persons under the degree of a peer or peeress, so offending , shall for the first offence, being thereof convicted in manner aforesaid, forfeit the sum of fifty pounds, and shall suffer imprisonment by order of the said justices respectively without bail or mainprize for one year, and from thence forward until he or she shall have paid the said respective fines, penalties, and forfeitures; and every person so convicted, who shall offend a second time in the premisses, being thereof convicted in manner aforesaid, shall incur and suffer all the penalties and forfeitures of a person attained in a premunire; and the said respective sums of three hundred pounds and fifty pound so forfeited shall go one moiety thereof to his Majesty, his heirs and successors, and the other moiety to and amongst such person or persons prosecuting to conviction such offender according to the direction of the justices, before whom any such offender shall be convicted.

III. Provided always, and be it enacted by the authority aforesaid, That nothing herein contained shall extend to subject any papist, or such other person as aforesaid, to any penalty or forfeiture for concealing arms, armour, or ammunition, who shall voluntarily, before any information given, discover and deliver up all his or her arms, armour, or ammunition, to some justice of the peace of chief magistrate; any thing herein, or in the said former act, contained to the contrary in any wise notwithstanding.

IV. Provided also, That this act, or any thing herein contained, shall not extend, or be construed to extend, to hinder or restrain any nobleman or gentleman from keeping or using a sword, and a case of pistols, and a gun, for the defence of his house, or for fowling; so as such nobleman or gentleman did before the first day of March, which was in the year of our Lord one thousand six hundred and ninety five, make proof to the satisfaction of the then lord deputy, or other chief governor or governors and the privy council of this kingdom of Ireland, that he upon the third day of October, which was in the year


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of our Lord one thousand six hundred and ninety one, was an inhabitant or resident of Limerick, or some other garrison then in the possession of the Irish, or was then some officer or soldier then in arms under a commission of the late King James the second, or those authorized under him to grant the same in the counties of Limerick, Clare, Kerry, Cook, or Mayo, or under their protection in the said counties, or was then a commissioned officer in his said late Majesty King William the third's quarters, belonging to the Irish regiments then in being, which were treated with, not being then a prisoner of war, nor having before that time taken protection; and that before the making the said act of the seventh year of the reign of his late Majesty King William the third he did return and submit to his said late Majesty's obedience, and hath also proved as aforesaid, that he was upon the said third day of October within this Kingdom; and so as such nobleman or gentleman hath not at any time since the said third day of October upon tender to him refused to take the oath of allegiance required to be taken by an act of Parliament in England, made in the first year of the reign of their late Majesties King William and Queen Mary of blessed memory, and shall take the oath of allegiance to his present Majesty, when he shall be thereunto required; or hath proved as aforesaid, that he was upon the one and twentieth day of July which was in the year of our Lord one thousand six hundred and ninety one, a gentleman of estate then belonging to the town and garrison of Galway: but that such nobleman or gentleman respectively having so made proof, and being qualified as aforesaid, may keep and make use of a sword, a case of pistols and a gun, for the defence of his house or for fowling, in such manner as he might have done, in case this act had never been made; any thing herein contained to the contrary thereof in any wise notwithstanding.

V. Provided also, That no person shall be convicted, on incur any penalty upon this act for any offence committed contrary thereto, upon any confession or discovery he or she shall make being examined upon oath; nor shall any such examination be given in evidence against the person so examined, unless such person shall be indicted for having committed wilfil perjury in such examination; any thing herein contained to the contrary notwithstanding.

VI. And be it further enacted by the authority aforesaid, That when and as often as any person shall be prosecuted for any the offences aforesaid, the justices, before whom such prosecution shall be then depending, shall and are hereby required and


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impowered to tender to every such person so prosecuted the oath of abjuration, and the oaths and declaration in the said in part recited act contained and set forth; and if any such person, to whom such tender shall be made, so refuse to take the said oaths, and repeat the said declaration, such refusal shall amount to full proof, that such person is a papist, and was so at the time of the offence committed.

VII. Provided always nevertheless, That though the person, to whom such tender shall be made, shall take the said oaths, and repeat the said declaration, and subscribe the same, yet it shall and may be lawful to and for the person or persons, who shall prosecute, to give evidence that the person prosecuted at the time of the offence committed was a papist or other such person as aforesaid.

VIII. Provided nevertheless, That is any of the people call Quakers shall be charged with any of the offences aforesaid, upon proof that such person is and hath been one of the people called Quakers by producing and proving a certificate under the hands and seals of six or more credible men of his or her congregation owning him or her to be one of them, and two of the subscribers appearing before any justices, before whom such Quaker shall be tried, such justices, before whom such Quaker shall be tried, shall not tender to such Quaker the said oaths and declarations, any thing herein contained to the contrary notwithstanding; but in the room thereof shall tender to such Quaker the declarations provided for Quakers by an act made in the eighth year of the reign of her late Majesty Queen Anne, intituled, An act for explaining and amending an act to prevent the further growth of popery.

IX. And be it enacted by the authority aforesaid, That the sheriff and sheriffs of every county at every assizes, commission of oyer and terminer, and at every quarter-sessions in the county of Dublin and county of the city of Dublin, shall return in calendar to the justices of assize, commission of oyer and terminer, or justices of the peace in the county of Dublin and county of the city of Dublin, all persons who have been convicted in pursuance of this act, who have not paid the fine imposed, on pain of forfeiting for every such omission the sum of ten pounds; to be recovered in a summary way by civil bill to the use of the informer.

X. And for the better encouraging persons to discover and convict offenders against this act; be it further enacted by the authority aforesaid, That as often as any person so convicted shall not pay the fine imposed pursuant to this act within one calendar


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month after his or her years imprisonment shall be expired, whereby the persons discovering and convicting such offender or offenders may lose the reward hereby intended for him or them, then and in such case the person or persons so discovering and convicting such offender or offenders shall have and receive the sum of ten pounds for every offender so convicted as aforesaid, to be given or distributed to and amongst such person or persons prosecuting to conviction such offender according to the direction of the justices before whom such offender shall be convicted; which said sum of ten pounds the grand-jury, who shall present such offender to be insolvent as aforesaid, shall present to be levyed on the popish inhabitants of the county, county of the city, or county of the town, wherein such offender shall be convicted; and the same shall be raised and paid to the person or persons hereby intitled to the said sum of ten pounds by such ways and means, and in such manner, as money is usually levyed and raised upon the county to and for the reimbursing persons robbed of money or goods by tories, robbers, or rapparees.

XI. And be it further enacted by the authority aforesaid, That the justices of the peace for the said counties, and counties of cities, and counties of towns respectively shall once in every year at the midsummer quarter-sessions yearly, issue their warrant signed by the justices, who hold the said sessions, and under the seal of the chairman of every such session, therein requiring, commanding, and authorizing, all high and petty constables within their respective baronies, parishes, and divisions, and any two other persons in each barony, whom they shall think fit to appoint, to search according to the direction in the said former act for arms, armour, and ammunition, in the possession, keeping, power, or custody of all papists, or other such persons as aforesaid, within their respective counties, cities, and towns; and the chief magistrate of every city and town-corporate, not being a county of a city or county of a town, or his deputy, shall once in a year issue his warrant to the constables of such city or town to search in manner aforesaid; and the chief magistrate or his deputy, neglecting to issue such warrant in manner as aforesaid, shall for every such neglect forfeit the sum of ten pounds; and every high-constable as aforesaid, neglecting or refusing to execute such warrant, shall forfeit the sum of five pounds; and every petty-constable, neglecting or refusing to execute such warrant, shall forfeit the sum of twenty shillings; all which said respective penalties and forfeitures shall and may be sued for by civil bill at the assizes for their respective counties, or at the quarter-sessions, where there are not any assizes held for


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the said counties of cities, where such chief magistrates, high and petty-constables, as aforesaid respectively dwell and reside, by any person who shall sue for the same; and the justices of such quarter-sessions are hereby impowered to hear and determine upon all civil bills brought for recovery of any of the penalties by this act inflicted; and such process, decree, and execution, shall issue as is usual in civil bills; which said respective penalties so recovered, together with costs of suit, shall be to the use of the person so suing in manner aforesaid.

XII. And be it further enacted by the authority aforesaid, That if any justice shall, after due information upon oath shall have been made before him of any arms, armour, and ammunition, being concealed by, or in the custody or possession of, any papist or other such person as aforesaid, refuse or neglect to search or to cause search to be made for such arms, armour, and ammunition, within a reasonable time after such information shall have been so made; every such justice so refusing or neglecting shall for every such refusal or neglect forfeit the sum of twenty pounds; to be recovered by civil bill in manner aforesaid.

XII. Provided always, That nothing herein contained shall extend, or be construed to extend, to abridge, restrain, or lessen the power of any two justices of the peace within the limits of their jurisdiction and authority, or of the mayors, sheriffs, and chief officers of cities and towns-corporate in their respective liberties, by themselves or by warrant or warrants under their hands and seals respectively from time to time, whenever they shall judge it necessary, to search for, take, and seize, or cause to be searched for, taken, and seized, according to the directions in this and the said recited act, all arms, armour, and ammunition of what nature and kind soever they be, which are or shall be in the hands or possession of any papist, or other such person as aforesaid, or in the hands of any other person or persons in trust for them, or any of them, or at their disposal, or that shall be concealed in any house, lodging, or other place, where they shall suspect any such arms, armour, and ammunition to be concealed; any thing in this act to the contrary notwithstanding.

XIII. And whereas doubts have arisen, whether papists or reputed papists may notwithstanding the said in part recited act herein before mentioned keep or have in his or her power or custody for sale or otherwise warlike stores, sword-blades, barrels, locks, or stocks of guns or fire-arms, and great inconveniences may follow if not prevented: for remedy whereof be it enacted by the authority aforesaid, That no papist, or other such person as aforesaid, shall for sale or otherwise keep or


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have for or upon any pretence whatsoever any warlike stores, sword-blades, barrels, locks, stocks of guns or fire-arms; and every papist or other such person as aforesaid so offending, being thereof convicted by indictment before the justices of assize for the county where such offence shall be committed, or before the commissioners of oyer and terminer, or by indictment before the justices of the peace at the quarter-sessions for the county of Dublin, or the county of the city of Dublin respectively, if the offence shall be there committed, shall forfeit the sum of twenty pounds sterling; and the offender so convicted shall suffer imprisonment for the space of one year, and until he or she shall have paid the said forfeiture; and the said sum so forfeited may be sued and recovered by civil bill at the assizes for the county, where such offender shall be convicted, or at the session of the peace for the county of Dublin, or county of the city of Dublin, if the offender shall be there convicted, by any person who shall sue for the same; for recovery whereof such process, decree, and execution shall issue, as is usual upon civil bills; and the money, when so recovered, shall go together with costs to the use of the person, who shall sue for thesame.

XIV. And whereas many papists in order to have the use and benefit of arms often keep protestant servants, who cannot be punished for carrying arms, which is equally dangerous to his Majesty and his protestant subjects, as if such papists actually carried or bore the said arms: be it enacted by the authority aforesaid, That where any protestant servant by and with the direction, consent, or privity of his master (being a papist, or other such person as aforesaid) shall carry or keep any arms in his custody, such master shall be deemed and taken, as if he actually bore, carried, or kept such arms, and shall suffer the penalties by this act inflicted on papists or other such person as aforesaid, who shall carry arms as aforesaid; and such servant shall be subject to the penalties inflicted by this act in the same manner, as if he was a papist.

XV. And be it enacted by the authority aforesaid, That all suits and prosecutions for any offence against this act shall be commenced within one year after the offence committed; and if such suit or prosecution shall be commenced after the end of the said year, then the same shall be void and of none effect; any thing herein contained to the contrary notwithstanding.

XVI. And be it further enacted by the authority aforesaid, That every person or persons professing the protestant religion, who shall from and after the first day of July, which shall be in the year of our Lord one thousand seven hun-


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dred and forty educate, or suffer to be educated, any of his or their children, either son or sons, daughter or daughters, under the age of fourteen years in the popish religion, shall be deemed a papist to all intents, constructions, and purposes of this act.

XVII. Provided always, That nothing in this act shall extend, or be construed to extend, to Hugh earl of Mount-Alexander, notwithstanding his having married a popish wife out of the kingdom in the year one thousand seven hundred and three; he having always been a protestant, and having always shewn a becoming zeal for the succession in his Majesty's royal house; but the said earl may have and keep arms, armour, and ammunition; this act or any other act to the contrary in any wise notwithstanding.

XVIII. Provided also, That nothing herein contained shall extend to the disarming of Sir Walter Blake baronet; but that he and two of his servants may carry arms, viz. for himself a sword, a gun, and a case of pistols; and for his two servants, being protestants, a case of pistols and suzee each; he having been entrusted with a command in the army by his Majesty King William the third of glorious memory, which trust he faithfully discharged, and having taken the oaths of allegiance and abjuration, and having ever since behaved as a dutiful subject.

XIX. And be it further enacted and declared by the authority aforesaid, That the said act, passed in the seventh year of the reign of his late Majesty King William the third of glorious memory, intituled, An act for the better securing the government by disarming papists, and every clause therein, so far as the same is not altered by this or some other act, shall for ever hereafter be deemed and taken to be a perpetual law, and that the same was so meant and intended at the making thereof; and that all and every justice and justices of assize, and oyer and terminer, shall give this and the said former act in charge, as often as any of them shall give a charge to any grand jury.


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