Anti-catholicism was a constant issue for England from the time of the break with Rome in 1534. In Ireland, there was always a geopolitical aspect - fear that the recalcitrantly catholic Irish would make common cause with their co-religionists in Spain, and later France, and threaten England's western flank. It took 150 years for England - later, Britain - to subdue catholic Ireland through war and confiscation, followed by nearly the same amount of time during which catholics were subject to civil penalties of varying degrees of severity. The human dimensions of these policies are easily lost behind the sheer numbers of people affected, as well as by the many, many private histories that were never written. So, sometimes an exemplary life tells a lot. Patrick Browne was a Dublin merchant, a prominent man who supported the English government and was invited to become mayor of the city. He was also a catholic who refused to conform to the established (protestant) church. He began to be prosecuted for recusancy and was fined and imprisoned. His defiance continued and so did the fines and imprisonment. At one time he was offered a kind of buyout - purchase, presumably for a substantial sum, of immunity from prosecution. He refused. The jailings continued regularly. In 1614, after about 11 years of persecution, he caught an infection in prison and died. It's a small, sad story - the determination of a ruthless sovereign to impose conformity and the refusal to give in. Not being a person of faith, I know I would have paid the money. But I'm moved by Patrick Browne's death, perhaps because he seems to have been more awkward than histrionic: no big speeches or grand gestures, just the constant back and forth between freedom and incarceration until the end came.
here.) He also described several hundred plants in Mayo and Galway and urged the establishment of an Irish botanical garden (one was eventually created, in Dublin). As a demonstration of the international reach of these corresponding scientific pioneers, the Brownaeai genus was named for him by the director of the Imperial Gardens in Vienna.