British Penal Laws, Enacted 1691-1760

Professor William Edward Hartpole Lecky (1838–1903), a Protestant of British blood and ardent British Sympathizer, writes
(in his A History of Ireland in the Eighteenth Century, 4 vols. London, 1887) that the objective of the British Penal Laws were threefold.

1. To deprive the Catholics of all civil life.

2. To reduce them to a condition of most extreme and brutal ignorance.

3. To disassociate them from the soil.

He might, with absolute justice, have substituted Irish for Catholic and added;

4. To expire the race.

The Irish Catholic was forbidden to practice their religion.

Forbidden from receiving and education.

Forbidden from entering a profession.

Forbidden from holding public office.

Forbidden from engaging in trade or commerce.

Forbidden from living in, or within five (5) miles of a corporate town.

Forbidden from owning a horse of greater value than five pounds.

Forbidden from purchasing land.

Forbidden from leasing land.

Forbidden from accepting a mortgage on land in security of a loan.

Forbidden from voting.

Forbidden from keeping any arms for their protection.

Forbidden from holding a life annuity.

Forbidden from buying land from a Protestant.

Forbidden from accepting a gift of land from a Protestant.

Forbidden from renting land worth more than thirty (30) shillings a year.

Forbidden from reaping from their land a profit exceeding a third of the rent.

Could not be a guardian to any children.

Could not, when dying, leave their infant children under Catholic guardianship.

Could not attend Catholic worship.

Was compelled, by law, to attend Protestant worship.

Could not educate their children themselves.

Could not send their children to a Catholic teacher.

Could not employ a Catholic teacher to come to their children.

Could not send their children abroad to receive an education.

MacManus, Seamus, Story of the Irish Race, Devlin-Adair Co.,Greenwich,Connecticut, 1979, pp. 458-459.

The last Catholic Relief Act became law on April 13, 1829, and Catholic emancipation was achieved.