Front Page Titles (by Subject) Sect. I.—: First Reform of the Penal Laws, 1778. - Ireland: Social, Political, and Religious, vol. 1
Sect. I.—: First Reform of the Penal Laws, 1778. - Gustave de Beaumont, Ireland: Social, Political, and Religious, vol. 1 
Ireland: Social, Political, and Religious, ed. W.C. Taylor (London: Richard Bentley, 1839). Vol. 1.
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- Ireland: Social, Political, and Religious. Vol. I: Historical Introduction.
- First Epoch.: From 1169 to 1535.
- Chapter I.
- Sect. I.—: Political Condition of Ireland In the Twelfth Century.
- Sect. II.—: The Still Recent Invasion of the Danes.
- Sect. III.—: Influence of the Court of Rome.
- Chapter II.
- Sect. I.—: Political Condition of the Irish an Obstacle to the Conquest.
- Sect. II.—: Second Obstacle to the Completion of the Conquest: the Relation of the Anglo-norman Conquerors to England, and of England to Them.
- Sect. III. —: Third Obstacle to the Conquest; the Condition Imposed On the Natives By the Conquerors.
- Second Epoch.: From 1535 to 1690.
- Chapter I.: Religious Wars.
- Sect. I.—: How, When England Became Protestant, It Must Have Desired That Ireland Should Become So Likewise.
- Sect. II.—: Of the Causes That Prevented Ireland From Becoming Protestant.
- Sect. III.—: How England Rendered Ireland Protestant—protestant Colonisation—elizabeth and James I.
- Sect. IV.—: Protestant Colonisation—charles I.
- Sect. V.—: Civil War—the Republic—cromwell.
- Sect. VI.—: The Restoration of Charles II.
- Third Epoch,: From 1688 to 1755.
- Chapter I.: Legal Persecution.
- Chapter II.: The Penal Laws.
- Special Character of the Penal Laws.
- Another Special Character of the Penal Laws.
- Legal Persecution Was Not Restrained By the Limits of Law.
- Why Persecutions Continued When Religious Passion Ceased.
- Which of the Penal Laws Were Executed, and Which Not.
- The Whiteboys.
- Fourth Epoch,: From 1776 to 1829. Revival and Enfranchisement of Ireland.
- Chapter I.: Effects of American Independence On Ireland.
- Sect. I.—: First Reform of the Penal Laws, 1778.
- Sect. II.—: Second Effect of American Independence On Ireland, (1778 to 1779.) the Irish Volunteers.
- Sect. III.—: Independence of the Irish Parliament.
- Sect. IV.—: Legal Consequences of the Declaration of Irish Independence.
- Sect. V. 1782.—: Abolition of Certain Penal Laws. Consequences of the Declaration of Parliamentary Independence.
- Sect. VI.—: Continuation of the Volunteer Movement. Convention of 1783.
- Sect. VII.—: Corruption of the Irish Parliament.
- Sect. VIII.—: Is a Servile Parliament of Any Use?
- Chapter II.: The French Revolution—its Effects In Ireland.
- Sect. I.: 1789.
- Sect. II.—: Other Effects of the French Revolution. Abolition of Penal Laws.
- Sect. III.—: Other Consequences of the French Revolution.—re-action.
- Sect. IV.—: French Invasion of Ireland. Insurrection of 1798.
- Consequences of the Insurrection of 1798.— The Union.
- Constitutional and Political Effect of the Union.
- Chapter III.: Catholic Emancipation In 1829.
- First Part: Ireland, Social, Political, and Religious.
- Chapter I.: External Appearance of Ireland. Misery of Its Inhabitants.
- Chapter II.: A Bad Aristocracy Is the Primary Cause of All the Evils of Ireland.—the Faults of This Aristocracy Are, That It Is English and Protestant.
- Section I.: Civil Consequences.
- Section II.: Political Consequences.
- Subsection I.—: The State.
- Subsection II.: Influence of the Same Principle On the Institutions of the County.
- Subsection III.: Influence of the Same Principle In the Municipal Corporations.
- Subsection IV.—: Influence of the Same Principle On the Parish.
- Section III.: Religious Consequences.
First Reform of the Penal Laws, 1778.
1. Catholics were granted the right of holding land on leases of a hundred and ninety-nine years. They thus obtained the right of unlimited possession without the right of property. One reason for this limitation was, that conceding this limitation might give the Catholics too much influence at elections.
2. The son of a Catholic turning Protestant had no longer a right to seize on his father’s property, or make him only tenant for life in his estate.
3. The law requiring Catholic property to be gavelled was repealed, and the rules for Catholic and Protestant inheritance became the same.
Such a reform was doubtless incomplete, and persecution remained armed with sufficient rigours to strike severely those whom it attacked. But the first wound was given to the tyrannical code, and we shall soon see it fall asunder piece by piece. An impulse was given to reform; henceforth no great event could be without its fruit. As the events arise, we shall point out their consequences, and immediately connect the effects with the causes. Just as there was no rationality in the establishment of the penal code, we shall find a want of order and logic in the acts by which it was repealed. The reform seemed to be made by chance or accident, according to the circumstances and necessities of the moment. The legislature abolished as it created the penal code, without plan or method.
17 and 18 George III., chap. xlix.