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Title: Studies in Irish History 1603-1649 - Being a Course of Lectures Delivered before the Irish Literary Society of London
Author: Various
Language: English
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Being a Course of Lectures
Delivered before the Irish Literary Society of London

Edited by


Second Series

Browne and Nolan, Limited
Dublin, Belfast & Cork
London: Simpkin, Marshall, Hamilton, Kent & Co., Ltd.
Stationers’ Hall Court, E.C.



             THE PLANTATION OF ULSTER                    1
               THE REV. S. A. COX, M.A.

                 PART I.—THE GRACES                     69
                 PART II.—THE EVE OF “1641”            137
               PHILIP WILSON, M.A.

             “1641”                                    169
               ARTHUR HOUSTON, K.C., LL.D.

             THE CONFEDERATION OF KILKENNY             225
               DR. DONELAN, M.CH., M.B.


                        THE PLANTATION OF ULSTER

                BY THE REVEREND S. A. COX, M.A., T.C.D.


                        The Plantation of Ulster

    “The truth is, they that gape after poor Irishmen’s lands do what
    they can to have a colour to beg them”—(_State Papers_, _Ireland_,
    1610, p. 415).

THESE words were written in an appeal for justice, or even the formality
of a trial, by one who was betrayed by the English whom he had served.
Sir Donnell O’Cahan had left his own people to seek an English alliance,
and was rewarded by an imprisonment of nineteen years, without ever
being brought up for trial. He was goaded into a just indignation by
rumours that reached him in the early days of his imprisonment in
Dublin, of Lady O’Cahan’s destitution and insanity, but after a couple
of years he was moved to the Tower of London, where he, and other
noblemen who were confined because men hungered after their lands,
languished away till death gave them release. It will not surprise most
of our readers to know that his letters were intercepted and carefully
studied with a view to finding something treasonable in them. Truly
Ireland’s share in the privileges of Magna Carta has been a small one.

The opening of James I’s reign in Ireland was auspicious enough. The
battle of Kinsale was an effort of an United Ireland, aided by Spanish
troops, to meet and expel the English in the battle-field: it failed,
and with it came to an end the hopes of the great Irish lords to do
anything by open warfare. James found Ireland decimated by war and
famine: some parts like the Ards in the County Down had been literally
cleared of their inhabitants.[1] The chiefs were willing enough to
submit, if submission meant that they were to become great Palatine
lords, with no interference from the Crown in their relations with their
vassals, or in the exercise of their religion. The once turbulent
Anglo-Irish lords had nearly all conformed to the Protestant religion,
and become loyal. The people, with the gaunt figures of famine and
desolation that they remembered so well, would have been glad to have
peace, if not “at any price,” at any rate at any price that might allow
them to remain in their own land and worship as their fathers had done.
By his descent James had claims upon the loyalty of the Irish that could
not have been urged for the Tudor line. And it looked at first as if a
new era of prosperity was dawning upon Ireland.

James began by a policy of conciliation and toleration. He actually
appointed a man as a bishop in 1603, because of his knowledge of the
Irish language (this was Robert Draper, Rector of Trim, who was made
Bishop of Kilmore and Ardagh).[2] He accepted Tyrone’s homage, and
created Rory O’Donnell Earl of Tyrconnell. The public worship of the
national religion, if not legalized, was at least tolerated: and the
people hoped that his mother’s son would continue to pursue a friendly
policy. But a few short years showed how vain this idea was. Perhaps the
king was really in terror from the Guy Fawkes conspiracy; perhaps he did
really believe that Spain was still intriguing against England’s power;
perhaps he was in hopes that somehow the acquisition of Irish land might
help him to make money to meet his financial needs. Whatever the real
cause may have been, a wretched anonymous charge was levelled against
the two Northern Earls, and they fled for their lives. This may look
like weakness, but the memory of the sufferings endured by Tyrconnell’s
brother, Hugh Roe,[3] in his imprisonment and his assassination in
exile, would naturally make Irish leaders of that time very shy in
placing themselves in English hands when a serious charge was made
against them.

Juries of the time were pliable, or, if they showed signs of
independence, there was a court of Castle Chamber, corresponding with
the Star Chamber of English history, that could use means to bring them
into line. That the two Earls were innocent of the plot alleged against
them is a moral certainty. The fact that when they fled, it was not to
Spain they went, seems strong evidence of this. Any evidence of a plot
depends on the word of St. Lawrence, Lord Howth, whose character may be
judged from what we read about him in the State Papers.[4] There was an
armed fight in 1609 between him and Sir Roger Jones, the son of the Lord
Chancellor. Speaking of it Sir A. Chichester refers to the “wrongs done
by the Earl of Howth to the Lord Chancellor”; while the latter writes to
the king of “the murderous attack made by Howth and his cut-throat
(sicariorum) retainers upon his son.” Plowden gives the following
quotations to show the unreality of the whole alleged conspiracy, and
the base character of St. Lawrence. “Dr. Anderson in his _Royal
Genealogies_ (p. 786), dedicated to the Prince of Wales in 1736, says:
‘Artful Cecil employed one St. Lawrence to entrap the Earls of Tyrone
and Tyrconnell, the Lord Delvin, and other Irish chiefs into a sham
plot, which had no evidence but his. But those chiefs being basely
informed that witnesses were to be hired against them, foolishly fled
from Dublin, and so taking guilt upon them, they were declared rebels,
and six entire counties in Ulster were at once forfeited to the Crown,
which was what their enemies wanted.’ That this St. Lawrence was a fit
instrument for such a design is clear, from what Camden relates of him
(Eliz. 741), viz., that he offered to murder Lord Grey de Wilton and Sir
Thomas Gerald, to prevent their conveying reports of Essex to the Queen;
which bloody service Essex rejected with indignation. No history
whatever mentions any symptoms of rising in the North at this time.”[5]

In the subsequent references to the flight of the Earls, even the king
himself tacitly dropped the charge of conspiracy, and dwelt upon the
disaffection they showed in quitting the kingdom without leave, which
was treated in those days as a crime. Sir John Davies says that the Bill
laid before the Grand Jury in Donegal was read in public in English and
in Irish, “so as to discover a great deal of the evidence to all the
hearers to the end that all the country might be satisfied that the
State proceeded against them upon a most just ground, and that the
people, knowing their treacherous practices, might rest assured that
their guilty consciences and fear of losing their heads was the only
cause of their running away, and not the allurements of any foreign
prince.”[6] Possibly the Earls may have had communications with Spain or
Rome that they thought would compromise them. On their arrival in Rome
they sent King James a statement of their grievances. These embraced
arbitrary interference with their own rights and possessions; exactions
of cattle and other goods levied on their tenants, who were miserably
poor after the late war; pretended claims to church lands of enormous
extent; and what, perhaps, are the worst things, in each case they
showed that attempts were perpetually being made to have charges of
treason supported against them, and also their free exercise of religion
was interfered with. Tyrconnell gave an instance of one Owen M’Swyne who
was to be executed. Sir Henry Folliott, with the authority of the Lord
Deputy, sent privately promising him his life and large rewards if he
would charge the Earl with some detestable crime. “Furthermore,” he
says, writing in the third person, “the said Earl can justify by good
proofs, that of twenty and seven persons that were hanged in Connaught
and Tyrconnell, there was not one but had the former promises, upon like
conditions, made to them.” Of Chichester’s threat to Tyrconnell that he
must attend church, the latter says, “For this only respect of not going
to church, he resolved rather to abandon lands and living, yea, all the
kingdoms of the earth, with the loss of his, than to be forced utterly
against his conscience and the utter ruin of his soul to any such
practice.” Tyrone wrote in a somewhat similar way.[7] It speaks well for
the loyalty of the peasantry to the Earls that the attempts to get up
charges against them failed so completely. I shall have to refer later
on to the unreality of the religion which the English party tried to
introduce by bribes and threats into the land. It is plain that the
leaders of Irish government knew of the unreliable character of Lord
Howth, who admitted having gone to England looking for employment or
pension from the king: but indeed there has never been a time in Ireland
when the use of base means has not been practised.

However, the dreary record of the illegalities and confiscations
inflicted upon a half-famished nation is somewhat relieved by the
grotesque absurdities which the State Papers sometimes reveal. For
example, Government stooped to accept the evidence of a professional
beggar. This worthy’s name was Teig O’Falstaf, and he had gone to Spain
simply to beg his way, and we find the Government solemnly accepting his
evidence that he had heard the Irish priests in Spain cursing the Lord
Deputy in public service.[8] Salisbury’s espionage on Tyrone after his
flight was a most elaborate affair: his pilot was a spy, and when he got
to Rome another spy named Richardson was ever watching his movements to
fix something treasonable upon him, and we have his instructions,
endorsed by Salisbury himself, in which he is told of the roundabout way
he is to send his information to England, writing as if to a Mr. James
Brokesby: he is minutely instructed how he is to write, as if from one
Catholic to another, and we have a specimen in a letter (endorsed by
Salisbury) which gives an account of a canonization at Rome, conveying
news of several religious Orders, enclosing a packet of Agnus Deis with
apologies for not sending more, and sending Father Parson’s
commendations.[9] In a previous reign Mountjoy’s plots against Tyrone
are recorded in Docwra’s _Narrative_.[10] What did all this tissue of
espionage before submission, after rendering homage, and in exile,
succeed in proving? Nothing against Tyrone, but much against the persons
who employed such unworthy methods. From those days down to the forgery
that _The Times_ paraded against Parnell, and possibly even to a later
date, England has been industriously cherishing everything that tends to
lead her astray about Ireland, and forgetting the solid fact that, in
the length and breadth of the Empire on which the sun never sets, there
is not another of her colonies or dependencies that she could hold for a
week if she applied the methods of Irish government to it.

The idea of colonization was not a new one. It had been tried officially
and unofficially in various parts of Ireland. When done officially the
attempts had been failures, but the private colonizations had
occasionally been successful—from the colonists’ point of view. Early in
King James’s reign Chichester had brought over a number of Englishmen
from Devonshire and planted them in Carrickfergus and Malone, near
Belfast, and it was undoubtedly this which led to the bold project of
colonizing six whole counties in Ulster. If the matter had been left to
Chichester it would have taken a milder form. But Sir John Davies began
to take a lead in the project, and in the end he became the working
agent of the whole affair. He was Irish Attorney-General. This was just
the time for unscrupulous and cunning men to rise to power, for
practically everything in the country was in a state of transition. It
had been even suggested that the standing seat of the Deputy and the law
should be translated from Dublin to Athlone, as being the centre of
Ireland. The proposal was that the Deputy should have two presidents,
one in Munster at Kylmalocke, the other in Ulster at Lyeller (probably
for Lyffer or Lifford).[11] Such proposals as these show the feeling of
powerlessness that marked the English councils, and when the idea of a
plantation was put forward, it became more and more popular with the
Government, increasing in the harshness of the method of plantation
until in the end it became only a grotesque parody of what was put
forward, a parody in fact so grotesque that it never worked and never
would have worked. Salisbury and Chichester seem to have had some idea
of humanity in their proposals, but Davies’ suggestions were cunning,
specious, and harsh. Salisbury proposed to Chichester to take natives as
tenants of part of the lands, not giving too much to one planter. Sir
Oliver St. John advised that no part of the land to be planted should be
given away, but that it should be let to the natives at high and dear
rates. Chichester though doubtless acquisitive in the extreme seems to
have had some feeling for the sufferings of others; in a letter to
Salisbury he says, “the word of removing and transplanting is as welcome
to the natives as the sentence of death.”[12] His proposal was to divide
the land among the inhabitants, letting each have as much as he can
manage by himself or his tenants; the rest of the land to be bestowed
upon servitors and men of worth. This was the plan he preferred, but he
felt the need of immediate action, because when he wrote in September,
1607, after the flight of the Earls, he said the people were gone to put
on their arms, so he gave as an alternative, the plan to drive out the
natives of Tyrone, Tyrconnell and Fermanagh, over the rivers of the
Bande (Bann), Blackwater, and Lough Erne, there to inhabit the waste
lands.[13] Sir John Davies favoured the policy of rooting out the
natives from their holdings, for their own good, of course! He says
transplanting the natives is like moving a fruit tree, to make it bring
forth better fruit, and not to destroy it. His plan was accepted.

Notwithstanding his learned lore about fruit trees, we shall see that
there was no enthusiasm about the farming operations of the Davies
clique in the subsequent enquiries and surveys of the plantation. To him
was due the idea of excluding the Irish from the colonies.

But before the lands could be handed over to the English and Scotch
adventurers, there was a little preliminary violation of a solemn
pledge. Perhaps a Stuart’s word never counted for very much, yet in
passing we may as well record that after the flight of Tyrone and
Tyrconnell, James solemnly declared that their vassals (for such they
were rather than tenants) should be protected in their rights. There are
no less than three proclamations to this effect, of the dates 7th
September, 1st November, and 9th November, 1607. Let me quote the title
of one. “Proclamation declaring that the King had taken into his hands
all the lands and goods of the Earls of Tyrone and Tyrconnell,
Cowconnaght Oge Magwir and their other fellow-fugitives, and that he
would preserve in their estates and protect all the inhabitants of those
counties who held under the persons who had thus forfeited.”[14] It
would appear that the rising of Sir Cahir O’Dogherty, which was limited
to Inishowen, a small portion of Tyrconnell, was made the excuse for
violating the solemn pledges we have quoted, pledges which referred to
the Celts of six counties. The fact was that after these proclamations
were made, Davies the Irish Attorney-General and Bacon, then the English
Solicitor-General, decided that the natives must be rooted out, and if
O’Dogherty’s rebellion had not occurred, some other convenient excuse
would have been made. O’Dogherty’s rising originated in the violent and
overbearing disposition of Sir George Paulett, the governor of the
colony at Derry. Sir Richard Cox says,[15] “Undoubtedly the Government
well enough understood, that this rebellion was designed to be the most
general that had ever been in Ireland; and that the Confederates had
better assurance, or at least a stronger expectation of foreign aid,
than in any rebellion heretofore.” These words can surely have no truth
in them. There seems to have been a dispute concerning rent between
O’Dogherty and Tyrone. Sir Cahir had been foreman of the Grand Jury of
Donegal when the Commission met that was sent to inquire into the
attainted estates of Tyrone and Tyrconnell.[16] In fact until he
resented the personal indignity put upon him by Paulett (who struck him)
he had been a loyal and willing subject of the Crown, and there was
naturally nothing in his previous career to make him a leader who could
rally a large force of insurgents around him. Instead of showing a great
organized revolt, the comparative success of his brief rising points to
the deep detestation of the Ulster men against their English rulers, and
their willingness to follow any leader who could assume the headship
over them. The following is quoted from the Celtic Society’s
_Miscellany_, a note on Docwra’s _Narration_[17]: “It is not generally
known that Sir Cahir O’Dogherty was knighted for his bravery in fighting
against the O’Neills. Such, however, was the case, as is clear from our
author’s text. He was as great an enemy to O’Domhnaill as was Niall
Garbh, and his rebellion when too late had its origin in a personal
insult.” In fact until he went out into open revolt, Sir Cahir and Lady
O’Dogherty (and especially the latter) had always shown a preference for
English society.[18]

The rules for the Plantation of Ulster are to be found in MacNevin’s
_Confiscation of Ulster_. The lands were to be divided into portions of
1,000, 1,500 and 2,000 acres. They were originally to have been given by
lot, but this was afterwards abandoned. The rent for the English and
Scotch adventurers was £5 6s. 8d. for 1,000 acres, or 1⅓d. per acre.
Taking the value of money then at 12 or 13 times the present value, this
was not a heavy charge. Any “meer Irish” who got grants of land had to
pay double;[19] besides, the rent for the English and Scotch was
remitted for the first two years, but the natives were not excused, on
the ground that they had no charges for transportation. The Plantation
acre was invented to make up for any deficiency in the acreage caused by
mountain and bog. The expressions ‘Fengal measure,’ and ‘great country
measure,’ are also to be met with in the documents of the period: I do
not know what their exact significations are.[20] Every undertaker was
to build in proportion to his grant: the 2,000 acre man was within two
years to build a castle, with a strong court or bawn around it. The
1,500 acre man a stone or brick house with a bawn about it; and the
1,000 acre undertaker to build at least a strong court or bawn. They
were to have free timber for the two years. They were to have a store of
arms. Thus in a grant to Lady Lambert it is specified that in the house
she is to build at Cavan, they are “to keep therein 21 muskets and
callivers, and 21 hand weapons as arms for 42 men, for defence against
rebels and enemies; also 9 muskets and callivers, and 9 hand weapons,
and also 12 muskets and callivers and 12 hand weapons, according to the
instructions for the Plantation of Ulster.” A formidable little
provision for arming 84 men in one house.[21] Every undertaker to take
the oath of Supremacy; not to demise any land to the meer Irish; not to
leave the country for five years. Restrictions were put upon their
demising the land within five years. They were not to create tenancies
at will, but for a number of years, for life, in tail or in fee-simple.
Irish systems of tenure were abolished. The undertakers were given
special privileges in the remission of customs, both for the importation
of manufactured goods, and the exportation of the produce of their
lands. It would be a mistake to suppose from these insolent rules about
the “meer Irish” that none of them got any land. The outside undertakers
got the good grants, but the natives got their leavings. The mountainous
slopes and remote lands and other parts that were not likely to be
productive, were given to the native element. The plan was to
concentrate the intruders into villages and towns, and to scatter the
Irish as much as possible, putting the servitors (or English who had
been in Ireland for some years in military service) near to the natives
to keep them in awe. There was always some land that it was quite
necessary to let the Irish get, if it was ever to be saved from becoming
absolutely waste land. Sir R. Jacob (the Solicitor-General for Ireland)
showed both humour and acuteness in a letter he wrote to Salisbury in
1609, in which he urged the safety of allowing the natives to keep some
land, and also suggests that the very inferior parts might go to them,
he says: “The arrantest knave of the Byrne’s answered Sir Henry Sydney,
when accused of dwelling on the Archbishop’s lands without paying rent,
‘My Lord, if I dwelt not there, none but thieves and outlaws would.’ So
he says civil men will not plant themselves in mountain, rocks or desert
places, even if they have it for nothing.... The Irish had no leader and
no arms; they had 20,000 fighting men in Ulster if they had arms.
O’Dogherty could not have made the progress he did, if he had not first
lighted upon the king’s storehouse so as to arm his men.”[22] Those
natives who got grants of a substantial amount obtained them as a
special reward for subserviency in some form or other: for instance, Art
McBarron was given 2,000 acres in Orior to induce him to clear out of
O’Neilan, Chichester considering that his removal would be a great help
in getting other natives to go out. In that case the grant was only for
the lives of Art McBarron and his wife.[23] Similarly when Sir Tirlagh
McHenry O’Neale was willing to be moved out of the Fewes, a request was
made that orders be sent to the Lord Deputy to provide some convenient
place in Cavan or elsewhere to settle him, in order to plant servitors
in his country. Are we really so like sheep? There is yet to be told
even a more absurd illustration than the case of McBarron to show how
much our rulers in King James’ day believed we played the game of
“follow my leader.” As a matter of fact, so far was this from being the
case, that the native gentry who got grants of land became degraded in
position, so that those who were gentry children in 1610 were in 1670
old men in frieze coats, farming small scraps of land. Few of the Irish
who got somewhat liberal grants were able to retain them until the time
of Pynnar’s inspection in 1618-1620.

It is not clear that conforming to the Act of Supremacy was essential in
the native grantees, though we may be sure from what we see about the
encouragements given to Irishmen of position who conformed, that as much
use as possible was made of the plan of bribing people into
Protestantism. So we must seek for other reasons for the failure to keep
their possessions: there was the requirement of an English or stone
house to be built; the abolition of the old tribal land systems and
introduction of another system that they did not understand; the
depression resulting from the discovery that they were now become a part
of the English garrison. To which we must remember to add, that the
natives’ grants of lands were in the most barren and rocky parts of
Ulster. As a people we are mainly pastoral, and this was more
conspicuously the case in the days of the Plantation, as everyone who
has read Spenser’s _View of Ireland_ will remember. The only hope of
doing much with nearly all of the land given to the natives lay in
tillage, a thing which the Irish of that day had a very imperfect
knowledge of. Hill mentions one case where the ownership of the land
continued on all right: it was in the grant to Tirlagh Oge O’Neale’s
widow; and in that case the Irish custom was specially permitted by the
Government grant.[24] In his Survey Pynnar says the English did not
plough or use husbandry, being afraid to incur the risk, and that the
Irish did not because they did not know when they might be moved. So the
Scotch were the only ones who supplied food. The British lived on the
heavy rents paid them by the Irish grazing tenants. If the Irish were to
take away their cattle, he says, the British must either forsake their
dwellings or endure great distress on the sudden. “Yet,” he says, “the
co-habitation of the Irish is dangerous.” This report tells us there
were most Irish on the London Company’s lands; five proportions were not
estated; it was more profitable to take Irish on them; seven proportions
were leased for 61 years, and the lessees affirmed they were not bound
to plant English on them. There were sixty natives in Tyrone who got
small grants, generally of 60 acres each. They were all transplanted
into portions of the barony of Dungannon which neither undertakers nor
servitors would occupy.[25] Here are some of the figures of natives
grants. It is necessary to mention that it very often happens that one
grant is made out for a number of persons.

   Oriel, 4,080 acres in forty grants.

   Dungannon, 4,080 acres in forty-nine grants.

   Kilmacrenan, 13,752 acres in nineteen grants.

   Clonemahowne, 3,587 acres in eight grants.

   Tullagarvy, 6,012 acres in eight grants.

   Clinawly, 6,208 acres in fifty-two grants.

   Coole and Tircannada, 4,160 acres in five grants.

   Tullaghah, Cavan, 4,900 acres in twenty-one grants.

   Castle Rashen, 5,700 acres in eighteen grants.

Concerning the district among these in which the largest amount of land
was assigned to the natives, Kilmacrenan, let us hear what its character
was. After a mention of the commencement of some work having been made
by Captain Will Stewart, in Kilmacrenan, we are told “the rest of the
servitors have done nothing by reason of the wildness of the land, being
the worst in all the country, insomuch that the natives are unwilling to
come to dwell upon it until they be forced to remove.”[26]

Grants of refuse land having been assigned to a few hundred of the
natives, what became of the others, the unfortunate people who found
aliens suddenly planted upon the land of their fathers, and had no other
provision made for them? Government provided that they should go. It
does not seem to have been at all a worry to Government where they
should go, as long as they went. The only thing needful was that they
should be got away from the lands to be planted. Some were impressed
into the service of the King of Sweden, some were transported to the
newly-formed colony of Virginia, some went to the natives’ parts, and
some to work on the Bishops’ or servitors’ lands. The great thing was
that they should go. The leading Irishmen were all killed; banished or
imprisoned on frivolous charges, or occasionally on no charges at all.
The most brilliant of them, Brian MacArt O’Neill, the son of Art
McBarron, was accused on a false charge of slaying a man at a family
party in the house of Turlough McHenry O’Neill of the Fews, and was
arrested and hanged. He had been the rising hope of the natives; it was
thought he would proclaim himself “The O’Neill.” His name is perpetuated
near Belfast in MacArt’s Fort, on the Cave Hill, Ballymacarrett, and
O’Neill’s Fort.[27] Three men of high position, all bearing English
titles, were imprisoned in the Tower by Chichester. Sir Donnell Ballagh
O’Cahan was one of Tyrone’s sons-in-law; he had left Tyrone in 1600 when
Docwra landed at Derry with a large force. A promise was made him that
he would be given a territory independent of Tyrone. Sir Henry Docwra
honourably maintained this promise, but after the Queen’s death it was
repudiated by Chichester. O’Cahan spoke bitterly. He does not seem to
have contemplated any violent step, but when he heard of the two Earls
making for Derry, he hastened to join them, as if he wanted to quietly
leave the land that was now cursed by the wiles and the falsehood of the
strangers. But haste as he would, the poor man failed to join the two
Earls, and then like a squeezed lemon, he was cast aside. He was
imprisoned first in Dublin and then in the Tower. Never tried; he had
committed no crime save that of Esau; for he wanted to escape from his
responsibilities, and to leave his lands and his vassals to the
possession of the race he could now trust no longer. For nineteen years
in lonely imprisonment he lived to curse the day when he allowed himself
to be overcome by English blandishments. Another person whose existence
was inconvenient was Sir Cormac O’Neill, the brother of Tyrone. He
brought to Dublin Castle the news of the flight of the Earls; he asked
to be custodian of his brother’s lands and premises till his return; but
lawyer Davies had already an eye to the plunder of the Ulster lands, so
with grim humour he wrote, “We took a custodian of the knight himself.”
The third prisoner, Sir Neal Garve O’Donnell, had a claim to the chiefry
of Tyrconnell, he was married to the Earl’s sister, Nuala. It was
impossible to get a jury to convict him.[28] It was some consolation to
Sir Neal in his imprisonment to know that his wife was not starving or
insane like Sir Donnell O’Cahan’s; for Lady O’Donnell went into exile
with her brother, and soothed his dying hours. Many of the people
preferred voluntary exile to remaining in Ireland under the altered
conditions. The Earls and leaders were banished or in prison or dead. In
1611 Chichester revived a proclamation of 1605 for the banishment of
priests; so many went of their own accord to Spain or the Netherlands.

Then with a thoughtful feeling for Irish prejudices, Government even
provided some of the people with free passages out of the country; but
in this case they were not sent to Spain, but into the service of the
King of Sweden. When we remember that it was in the days of Gustavus
Adolphus, “the Lion of the North, and the Champion of the Protestant
Faith,” it will be seen that this measure of emigration was eminently
calculated to show the considerateness of our English rulers. The men
who took the people to Sweden were Captains Sandford and Bingley. I
shall quote the reference from the Calendar of Patent Rolls. “King’s
letter for a grant to Captain John Sandford, for ever, of all the
mountain lands, bogs and woods in Ulster, escheated to the Crown, by the
attainders of the Earls of Tyrone and Tierconnell, or any of their
adherents, or any other traitors, or which otherwise belong to the
Crown, and are not now in charge, to be holden under the conditions of
the Plantation of Ulster, at a yearly rent of £10. This grant is to be
made in consideration of Captain Sandford’s absence, during the
distribution of the escheated lands in Ulster, in consequence of which
no portion was assigned to him, he being then engaged in conducting the
loose kerne and swordsmen of that province to the service of the King of
Sweden, disburthening the country by that means of many turbulent and
disaffected persons who would otherwise have troubled the peace.” (It
will, perhaps, be satisfactory to learn that, in addition to this grant,
Sandford secured lands in Donegal from Sir Richard and Sir Ralph
Bingley, and Sir John Davies.) This Sweden business seems to have been
eminently successful from the Government point of view. Sir R. Jacob
wished that 1,000 more could be sent from each province; and hopes were
expressed that the swordsmen, not only of Ulster, but of Connaught,
could be transmitted to Sweden or Virginia.[29] We have the
follow-my-leader theory again; for the Lords of the Council proposed to
Chichester that native gentlemen should be sent to be leaders and heads
for the troops who were transported into Gustavus Adolphus’s service.
The charges were £1 each for clothing, 5d. per day per man for
thirty-one days, carriage 10s. per man, and a sum amounting to 10s. per
man for fee for pressing them into a foreign service.

If the rules about the non-employment of natives, and not letting them
get on the land, had been strictly observed, it would certainly have led
to a complete turning out of the people, and perhaps have precipitated
the rising of 1641. And it was from no want of will on the part of the
intruders that the law was not rigidly followed. The truth was, English
and Scotch settlers were difficult to get; so, however unwillingly, the
undertakers admitted Irish tenants and labourers, who in their despair
were willing to come to any terms. Chichester saw clearly all along that
an impossible thing was being attempted. He wrote in 1610 strongly
opposing any change of policy about the natives, and speaks of the folly
of crowding large numbers of servitors and natives in half a barony (as
in Tyrone),[30] and says the natives will rather die than be removed to
the small proportions assigned to them, or will seek a new dwelling in
other counties. The Viceroy, as we see, was never in earnest in
enforcing the laws for the expelling of natives; and so those laws were
never fully carried out. The squatters required the Irish as hewers of
wood and drawers of water. These restrictions were abolished before the
end of James’ reign, and in 1626 the original undertakers, having failed
to comply with the Plantation rules preventing them having native
tenants, and having thus rendered themselves liable to forfeiture under
Charles I, were allowed to surrender their titles, and get a re-grant
under new conditions, one of which was that one quarter of each
proportion was to be let to native tenants.

Thus a period of less than two decades saw the final disappearance of
the obnoxious parts of the Plantation system. But they had never had
vitality, and indeed the agents of the Irish Society from the very
beginning insisted on letting their lands to Irish tenants. When the
representatives of the Londoners came over on a tour of inspection, the
officials who met them were given strict injunctions to put everything
in the best light, and one of their cares was to prevent the Londoners
from having any unnecessary fears of the Irish. In this they succeeded
so well that they overshot the mark. The London Companies could get very
few British tenants in O’Cahan’s country or Laughinsholin, where the
people kept so many pikes, so they insisted on having Irish tenants.
Hill says, “The Companies stoutly maintained the right of holding the
Irish as their tenants, of preventing their expulsion; and to these
Londoners we are indebted, more perhaps than to the servitors or
Bishops, for the thriving and vigorous native population in Ulster at
the present day. Indeed the whole business furnishes a curious
illustration of the following words of the poet:—

                The best laid schemes of mice and men,
                      Gang aft aglee,
                And leave them naught but grief and pain
                      For promised joy.”[31]

In 1622 the king sent a charge to enforce the law requiring the natives
to leave the planted land. In it he admits that the law has not been at
all carefully complied with. He speaks of “the continual unconformity,
as well of those natives as of the undertakers, upon whose portions they
remain,” and concludes, “In this particular we were always resolved, and
yet are, not to spare those undertakers and their tenants, until we have
reformed them, but rather if they persist still in their ingratitude and
disobedience, to use the advantages which our laws and their own
manifold contempt have given us against them, in a more severe manner
than hitherto we have done.”[32]

The treatment of the aged Eochaidh or Oghie O’Hanlon, the chieftain of
Orior in County Armagh, seems to have been unnecessarily harsh, though I
can hardly agree with the denunciations of the Rev. Geo. Hill on the
meanness of it. This venerable man, who represented a race which had
been supreme in Ulster ages before the O’Neills had any prominence, was
uniformly loyal to the English connexion. He had a son who was a leading
man in Sir Cahir O’Dogherty’s rising, and the aged father was guilty of
the crime, if such it could be called, of giving his son shelter for a
night in his castle at Tandragee during the revolt. This, of course, was
treason, and the father might have been hanged. But he had often borne
the standard of the Irish on the English side, so his penalty was
commuted to the forfeiture of his estates, and he was offered £80 a year
pension as compensation. He did not live to draw one quarter’s payment,
for he was a broken-hearted old man, and died, literally of grief, on
hearing that his son’s wife, who was a sister of Sir Cahir O’Dogherty,
had perished in the woods after having given birth to a child.[33]
Nowadays £80 is a small sum, but it would seem that three hundred years
ago, it was worth about £1,000 of our money. So we can hardly agree with
Mr. Hill’s statement that there was meanness in giving O’Hanlon such a
pension. O’Hanlon Junior kept up his guerilla warfare as the leader of a
number of outlaws of the Robin Hood type, called woodkerne, and the
trouble they gave was only brought to an end when they allowed
themselves to be transported to Sweden, to fight for Gustavus Adolphus,
a service which they hated, and took every opportunity of deserting to
his opponent, the King of Spain.

It is only fair, too, to mention that the Lady Mary, Sir Cahir
O’Dogherty’s widow, was given an annual pension of £80,[34] and that the
widow of Sir Cowconnaght Macgwire received compensation for the lands
she had to surrender in Fermanagh. I am not sure whether she got £100 or
£200 a year. The legal documents first mention a surrender of her lands
for an annuity of £100 a year, and then a pension of £100, and I do not
know whether the two statements refer to one salary of £100 or two. Also
that Tyrconnell’s widow, Bridget, Countess of Tyrconnell, was given a
yearly pension of £300. Compared with the posthumous savagery of
Government to Pamela, Lord Edward Fitzgerald’s widow, this was
generosity indeed.

Now who were the planters in Ulster, and what rules were made about the
distribution of the land? The new owners were formally divided into
three classes, (i) English and Scottish, who were to plant their
proportions with English and Scottish tenants; (2) Servitors in Ireland,
who might take English or Irish tenants at their choice; (3) Natives of
Ulster, who were to be freeholders. But in reality they included samples
of a great many social grades. “Cook’s son, duke’s son,” were to be
found among them. English gentlemen of little or no property, Scotch
lairds and noblemen with their innumerable clans of relations, soldiers
and adventurers, royal grooms and servants. Shurley and Case were
footmen when they received grants of land in Longford.[35] Wray was a
groom when he was appointed to the responsible task of seeing that the
natives were cleared off the escheated lands; he was to levy fines on
them and to keep the money. Then there were the London Companies. Then
there were the true patriots; the men who at home had distinguished
themselves by crime, or by debt, and found it desirable to leave their
native land; these fulfilled the saying of the famous Irish pickpocket,
Barrington, in the prologue that he wrote for a play performed by
convicts in Botany Bay:

             True patriots we, for be it understood
             We’ve left our country for our country’s good.

Among these we should class the Graemes, who had been outlaws,
cattle-lifters, and border-robbers on the banks of the Tweed. They had
been transplanted in a body to Roscommon in Elizabeth’s reign; but even
the residence in the Land of Saints did not reform their ideas of
property, so they were dispersed and scattered through Ulster in 1610.
All were unanimous in one thing only, that they would make as much as
they could out of the property, and then go. But, owing to the force of
circumstances, the Scotchmen stuck with more pertinacity to their
possessions than did most of the other settlers. The English undertakers
were mainly from the Eastern counties, Norfolk and Suffolk. They brought
no following with them. So they met with difficulty in getting workers
and tenants, being forbidden to accept the natives. There were constant
bickerings among the undertakers themselves, and with the Bishops about
church rights, real or pretended. None of these things worried the canny
North Britons, who looked upon Ulster as a veritable Eldorado. A ferry
was established between Donaghadee and the Rynnes of Galloway or
Portpatrick.[36] Over it there poured such a ragged regiment as the
Irish Sea has never witnessed before or since. Not singly they came, but
in battalions; the Scotch Bishop of Raphoe (Montgomery, Bishop of
Clogher, Derry and Raphoe, grand-uncle of William Montgomery of the
Manuscripts) received permission at one grant for the denization of
three hundred of his countrymen whom he should bring over. They had
candidates for denization among all classes: younger brothers and
sons-in-law and cousins to get grants of land, and workmen and farmers
ready to settle down on industrial pursuits. As they did not absolutely
rely on the offices of the State church for their religion, we find many
ministers of the Presbyterian community coming over and being given
licence of denization, and in course of time this third religion became
a settled thing in the land. Oily and smooth-tongued these were;
willing, with some canting expressions, to change over and become
clergymen of the English Church if an opportunity of making anything by
the change came in their way. The descriptions of the careers of some of
these men (in Reid’s _Presbyterianism in Ulster_) are very amusing.
Hamilton was ordained by the Protestant Bishop of Down (Echlin). Robert
Blair left Glasgow where he had a professorship, because Dr. Cameron,
who had been appointed Principal, with the view of bringing the college
to approve of prelacy, had opposed Blair. The latter came to Ireland,
and Lord Claneboy proposed he should be rector of Bangor, County Down.
But about his opposition to prelacy? The Bishop said, “Will you not
receive ordination from Mr. Cunningham and the adjacent brethren, and
let me come in among them in no other relation than a presbyter?” So
thus, hungering after the flesh-pots of prelacy, he entered into a
church whose fundamental tenets he disagreed with.[37]

The Scotch undertakers had previously been made acquainted with Ulster
by the colonizations in Elizabeth’s reign in Down and Antrim. They felt
more at home in a land where their friends had gone previously. The
geographical position was favourable to them. So they and their
followers settled permanently in sufficient numbers to give the movement
a thoroughly Scotch aspect. Yet for all that, Mr. Prendergast says,[38]
“Ulster continued to be the dangerous part of Ireland till after the war
of the Revolution, when it was nearly colonized anew by the Scotch
settlers and camp-followers of King William’s foreign forces. Eighty
thousand small Scotch adventurers came in between 1690 and 1698 into
different parts of Ireland, but chiefly into Ulster.”

Let me give a contemporary picture that is pleasant enough of a set of
these Scotch settlers of James I’s reign. They were the holders of land
in the barony of Mountjoy, Co. Tyrone; they had fallen into a goodly
possession, and the industry we see them all conspicuous for is not to
be looked upon as typical of all the adventurers, but only of those who
were favoured by circumstances and surroundings. The men were, Andrew
Stewart, Lord O’Chiltree; he was of old Scottish descent, and the fourth
Lord O’Chiltree. He had fallen into difficulties, and was obliged to
sell his barony to Sir James Stewart; the title went with the barony, so
it was only a courtesy title by which he was called; but the king, to
encourage him and his son, conferred on the young man the title of Earl
of Castlestuart; Robert Stewart of Hilton, an Edinburgh man; Sir Robert
Hepburn, a Scotch soldier; George Crayford or Crawford, Laird of
Loughnorris, an Ayrshire man, belonging to an old family; Bernard and
Robert Lindsay, who belonged to Leith; Robert Stewart of Rotton, an
uncle of Lord O’Chiltree, and finally a brother of Robert Stewart of
Hilton. These two Stewarts of Edinburgh, and the two Lindsays were all
servants or caterers in some fashion to the king. In 1611, a year after
they had taken out their patents, Carew makes the following report[39]:
“Lord Ucheltrie, 3,000 acres; being stayed by contrary winds in
Scotland, arrived in Ireland (at the time of our being in Armagh, upon
our return home) accompanied with 33 followers, gents of sort [_i.e._,
gentlemen of position], a minister, some tenants, freeholders and
artificers, unto whom he hath passed estates; he hath built for his
present use three houses of oak timber, one of 50 feet long and 22 feet
wide, and two of 40 feet long, within an old fort, about which he is
building a bawne. There are two ploughs going on his demesne, with some
fifty cows and three score young heifers landed at Island Magy in
Clandeboy which are coming to his proportion, with some twelve working
mares. Sir Robert Hepburn, Knight, 1,500 acres; sowed oats and barley
the last year upon his land, and reaped this harvest 40 hogsheads of
corn; is resident; hath 140 cows young and old, and 8 mares; is building
a stone house 40 feet long and 20 feet wide, already a storey high;
intends to have it three stories high, and to cover it, and the next
spring to add another storey to it; good store of timber felled and
squared, and providing materials to finish the work. The Laird
Loughnorris, 1,000 acres; being deceased himself, as we are informed,
had his agent here, Robert O’Rorke; hath timber felled and is preparing
materials for building against the spring. Bernard and Robert Lindsay,
1,000 acres apiece; have taken possession personally in the summer,
1610, returned into Scotland’s agent, Robert Cowties resident; a timber
house is built on Robert Lindsey’s proportion; hath eight mares, and
eight cows with their calves, and five oxen, with swine and other small
cattle, and a competent portion of arms. Robert Stewart of Haulton,
1,000 acres: hath appeared in person, and brought some people; timber
felled, and preparing materials for building. Robert Stewart of
Robstone, 1,000 acres, hath appeared in person, with tenants and cattle;
timber felled and squared, and providing materials for building. The
Castle of Mountjoy, upon Lough Chichester [Lough Neagh] beside the old
fort, wherein are many inhabitants both English and Irish, together with
Sir Francis Roe’s foot company. Here is a fair castle of stone and
brick, covered with slate and tile, begun in the late Queen’s time, and
finished by his Majesty. It is compassed about by a good strong rampier
of earth, well ditched and flanked with bulwarks. In this Castle Sir
Francis Roe, the constable, and his family dwell.” This seems a happy
sort of family; it represents the most industrious type of undertaker,
who brings his family influence to bear in getting workers into the
place. One would look upon them as intending to settle with their
families for ever; but, alas for the good intentions of King James, when
Pynnar’s survey was made in 1619 five of these proportions had passed to
other hands, mostly by sale. Just as the young fellows who improve land
now in Canada try to make something on it in a few years by sale, so a
large number of the Ulster Plantation lands went the same way. Nearly
all the king’s servants who obtained grants, sold them as soon as
possible. Sir James Craig was clerk of the wardrobe and had probably
begun life as a tailor. The brothers Achmootie were also servants of the
king, and sold their lands.[40] Their common greed for money was the
distinguishing point of all these worthies. Some of them are specially
worthy of note for their acquisitiveness. Touchet, Lord Audelay, and his
clan, were amongst these. This nobleman came from Staffordshire, and had
entirely failed as a planter in Munster. When the northern confiscations
began, he made a modest request for 100,000 acres. I don’t know whether
the word “land-grabber” was then in vogue, but at any rate his demand
was rejected; but he and his interesting family got the barony of Omagh
among them, which was set down as having 11,000 arable acres. Lord
Audelay got 3,000 acres; Sir Marvin Audley, his son, 2,000; Sir
Ferdinand Audley 2,000; Sir John Davies, his son-in-law, 2,000; Edward
Blount, another son-in-law, 2,000. The old man was made Earl of
Castlehaven, and Davies the lawyer became ancestor of the Earls of
Huntingdon, by his daughter marrying a Mr. Hastings. Davies’ grants in
all parts of Ulster were enormous; many of the properties were beyond
his powers to manage, and he sold them. Here is a report of work done,
the date is 1611. “Cavan Precinct of Loughtie. Sir John Davys, Kt.,
2,000 acres, has made over his proportion to Mr. Richard Waldron, who
passed the same to Mr. Regnold Home, who sold his estate to Sir Nicholas
Lusher, Kt., nothing done.”[41]

Davies got grants of land, confiscated properties and so forth,
literally in every county in Ireland. He also received a grant of 100
marks for his services about the parliament. The grant just quoted in
Omagh alone must have worked out for the family at nearly the 100,000
acres asked for. On Lord Audley’s death it was found that his property
contained not only the 3,000 acres granted, but also 3,000 of meadow,
3,000 of pasture, 2,000 of wood, 2,000 of briars and whins, and 200 of
bog; thus extending his original 3,000 to 13,200, these additions having
been thrown in as unprofitable or waste land. So greedy were these men
that there was a special commission appointed to correct any blunders
that had been made in the grants to the little family group. Davies,
Touchet’s son-in-law, the Irish Attorney-General, and the evil genius of
the whole Plantation, was described by Tyrone as being more fitted to be
a stage-player than a lawyer. In the case of this Audley crew, the
enquiries showed that they neglected the land shamefully, and did not
even reside.

Hamilton, the first Earl of Abercorn, and his crowd, were an example of
the hungry Scotch lairds. James Hamilton was the head of this family
party; he was grandson of the second Earl of Arran. He, his brother Sir
Claud, his brother Sir George, his kinsman another George, his
brother-in-law Sir Thomas Boyd, got out of O’Neill’s property the
greater part of the barony of Strabane. Sir George afterwards incurred
Royal displeasure and lost his property by becoming a Roman Catholic,
and his grandson was a general in the Jacobite army in Ireland.[42] Sir
Arthur Chichester got Inishowen as his plunder for having been viceroy,
and especially for his subserviency in the Parliamentary dispute. He
also got large tracts of country where Belfast now is. These three, the
Chichesters, the Hamiltons, and the Touchets must have taken an enormous
amount of land amongst them.

Then there were the London Companies. The city was very slow in taking
up the idea of a settlement in Ireland, and when they did consent to the
plan insisted on getting their own way, without any regard to the
Plantation rules. As one looks back on the history of the Irish Society,
and a chequered history it has been, the best we can say of it is that
this gigantic system of absenteeism has not been as bad as one might
have prophesied.

The grants and leases to the natives were of very small value, mostly 60
acres, and were only given to a small number. In a great number of cases
they were limited either by being only given for one or two lives, with
remainders to Englishmen, or by the possibility of forfeiture under the
regime of a new landlord. The Derry see lands were at first let out
thus; to English or Scotch on lease for sixty years; to Irish for
twenty-one years or three lives, with power of revocation by the
succeeding Bishop.[43] Before eight years had elapsed we find that the
tenants had been compelled to surrender their leases and take out new
ones “on increased rents, by means whereof the revenues were well
increased, to the honour of Almighty God.” Occasionally a native appears
with 1,000 acres opposite his name, but it is pretty rare. For example,
“Only forty natives in the whole extensive County of Donegal obtained
small grants in the dreary regions of Doe and Fanet, now Kilmacrenan.
Several of them were representatives of noble Irish families, and the
remainder belonged to the class of native gentry. The prevailing
surnames amongst them were those of O’Donnell, MacSwyne, O’Gallagher,
and O’Boyle. A few very old people got pretty liberal grants, but with
remainders to Sir Ralph Bingley and Sir Richard Hansard.”[44] Some of
the conditions attached to grants in this reign are very striking:

   Dowry to be forfeited on marrying an Irishman.

   Not to take tenants nor employ anyone who could only speak Irish.

   Not to destroy passes or bridges unless they led into the Irishmen’s

   Not to take the names of O’Rourke, O’Mulloy, The Fox, McCoghlan,
      O’Doyne, The Great O’Ferrall, The Great O’Carroll.[45]

It looks a little absurd when some Smith or Brown of an English county,
or a Menzies or a Montgomery from Scotland, is enjoined so seriously
that he must never take the name of The Fox, or The Great O’Carroll.

We must turn now to the religious ideals of the Plantation, and we all
know King James was nothing if not religious. I shall try to approach
the subject with a dispassioned candour, and speak as an Irishman who
loves his country, and as a churchman who longs to see the day when the
Protestant Church in Ireland shall become converted to Irish ideas in
politics. That Church has been given ecclesiastical Home Rule, and has
made full use of its privileges, for it treats theological matters in a
way quite independent of English churchmanship. May we not hope for the
day when politically it shall cease to allow itself to be dragged at the
tail of one English political party? In the Plantation it was intended
that the church by the State established should have an endowment in
every place; the idea being that in every 1,000 acres sixty should be
reserved for the support of the clergyman. And an additional endowment
was given by the lands and the patronage of parishes handed over to
Trinity College, Dublin. It was, doubtless, hoped that a settled and
established Protestant ministry would lead the people all to turn over
in time to that faith. And in the meantime, Government was prepared to
do all it could by fears and bribery to lead the people in the way it
was wished they should go. For a native squire or peasant to conform was
the passport to get a miserable patch of land. Lord Coursye was given a
pension of £100 a year for good service, and it was continued and
increased to £150 to his eldest son because he had become a Protestant.
In another case, Sir James Dillon was made Lord Dillon and Baron of
Kilkenny because his eldest son had conformed.[46] Yet with all these
brilliant prospects before them, the people did not flock in their
thousands around the preachers of the Established Church. The reason of
this was that there was practically no Protestant church in Ulster. It
existed only on paper; it was a regular Army Corps. The ecclesiastical
buildings were ruinous and desolate; the clergy, where such existed,
were the offscourings of the English church, men of depraved life, or so
ignorant that they could hardly perform their duties properly. From the
bishops down, pluralities were the common and recognized thing;
occasionally even we see a man actually holding an English living and a
lot of Irish ones at the same time; thus the same man was Archdeacon of
Dublin, Treasurer of Cashel Cathedral, Vicar of Galballydrome and
Leighlin Macvoge, and Rector of Battersea in Surrey.[47] John Todd, who
seems to have been even below the average of the Irish clergy of that
time, as we shall see presently, is found on his appointment as Bishop
of Down in 1610 writing to Norton to ask him to intercede with Salisbury
that he may not lose his right to the mastership of the Savoy. Even men
of high character like Archbishop Usher themselves benefited by these
abuses. The fines of the recusants—_i.e._, the Catholics—were to go to
pious purposes like the building of Protestant churches, or were
impounded by the Archbishop of Armagh for charity, and no account given.
The Ulster bishops were mostly ignorant and greedy Scotchmen, for ever
quarrelling with all the other planters about their church possessions,
and not always getting the best of the quarrels either. This is what we
read in one place in the Patent Rolls: “King’s Letter to the Lord Deputy
to confirm Andrew Moneypenny in the Archdeaconry of Connor by putting in
force all the orders made by Lord Viscount Grandison against Nicholas
Todd, a tailor by profession, an unlearned man, placed in that situation
by his unworthy brother John Todd, late Bishop of Down and Connor, and
deprived of said dignity for notorious causes, both of insufficiency of
learning and corruption in manners.” Chichester as usual impresses us as
seeing into these abuses in a clearer and more sensible way than the
rest of the Castle set of that time. We find him writing to the Lord
Justice and Davies about religion, when he says all is confused and out
of order, as if it were in a wilderness where neither Christianity nor
religion was ever heard of. He says, “the Bishops claim too much land
and have too little.” He wishes the king would make a new allotment, as
if in a new Plantation in America. The state of Munster was even worse,
owing to the rapacity of the notorious Miler Magrath, who bled immense
numbers of parishes for his children. In Mullognony or Newchapel, County
Tipperary, (where I was rector from 1895 to 1898) Miler’s son Terence
had got the profits of the prebend from the nominal incumbent, who was
in such a wretched state that in 1607 Terence Magrath had to give him a
cloak to present himself before the Commission that enquired into the
abuses. The undertakers, not, I suppose, seeing that the Established
Church was making much way, with its grasping Bishops and ruined
churches, and absentee ministers, opposed the episcopal claims with all
the ardour of Wee Free Kirkmen appealing to the House of Lords, and in a
great many cases imported Presbyterian ministers from Scotland. So we
can see that even if the native element had been willing to conform,
there was practically no established religion for them to join. James
began to recognise this when too late in the day, and there is an
amusing State Paper in which we see a patent plan of his, that young
natives should be caught up, and educated in Trinity College Dublin, to
work as Protestant clergymen among the natives, and then if any livings
of small value should become vacant, they should be appointed to them.

It was twenty-seven years since a Parliament had been held in Dublin,
and when the Ulster Plantation was finished it was decided to convene
one in 1613. The histories mostly say that it was called to give legal
sanction to the Plantation; if so, it was a case of a late locking of
the stable door. It seems more likely that the object, if any, of the
Parliament was for the dominant English party to triumph over the fallen
natives, and to pass Bills of a further intolerant character. We can see
in its constitution, but in a more pronounced form than they would have
dared to show in England, symptoms of the abuses and the arbitrary acts
which culminated in the total overthrow of the Stuart dynasty. We shall
follow the usual order of that period, to execute first, and judge
afterwards; so first we shall look into the Parliament and its doings,
and then take a brief survey of the subsequent enquiries into its

It was a most disorderly scene, especially in its earliest stage. Each
party had hoped for a majority, but the numbers were slightly in favour
of the English party. These latter proposed Davies as Speaker in the
Lower House; whereupon Sir James Gough, Sir Christopher Nugent, and
William Talbot, late Recorder of Dublin, proposed Sir John Everard, late
a judge of the Queen’s Bench, but displaced by King James on account of
his religion. The affirmative (the supporters of Davies) went out to be
numbered; the negative, as was the custom then, remaining behind. But
instead of letting themselves be numbered, the Irish party proceeded as
if they were the whole house, chose Everard, and put him in the chair.
The Englishmen, coming in and finding they numbered 125 in a house of
226, knew they had a majority, and put Davies on Everard’s lap. The
English then began to remove Everard, by pulling at his legs, while the
Irish held him in his place by the collar, Davies still sitting on his
knees. Sir John Everard was old and infirm; he was got out of his place
with only slight injuries to his leg, whereupon the Irish members
withdrew altogether from the house. Then the Catholic lords wrote to the
king, and the Irish commoners wrote to the Privy Council of England,
both complaining of the business about the Speakership, and the legality
of the new boroughs, the members of the Lower House also asking to be
excused from attending. To the Lords’ complaints answer was made that
the Commons’ business did not concern them, to which they replied that
though not in the Lower House, they made yet but one body and one
Parliament. Then the Lord Deputy commanded the Irish commoners to attend
to pass the Act of recognition of the King’s Title; upon which they sent
him a petition recognizing the King’s Title, but utterly refusing to sit
in the house, unless their Speaker Everard was approved, and the new
burgesses rejected. The Lords now acted similarly, and as the Irish
element was strong in Dublin, Parliament was adjourned to the 27th of
July, 1614.[48]

Looking at the matter from the standpoint of mere legality, we are
obliged to acknowledge that the Irish party were in the wrong more than
once in these transactions. When they had been left together for the
purpose simply of being numbered, they chose to ignore the other party,
and would not let themselves be counted, but proceeded forcibly to put
Everard in the chair. Then, of course, the Lords were interfering in a
way that would not be allowed nowadays, when they declined to go on till
the matters in the Commons had been settled. And finally, if there were
any illegalities in the new boroughs (and there were many, as we shall
see), the correct thing, of course was for Parliament first to meet, and
then for any errors in the returns to be dealt with. But we need not
blame the Irish party for these little blunders. There had not been a
meeting of Parliament for a generation, and they went there in a high
state of tension and exasperation, first at the confiscations, and then
at the conduct of the returning officers.

On the return of the Parliament, there was a controversy about the
precedence of the Lord of Slane over the Lord of Kerry; this being
ended, Parliament passed ten Acts: An Act of recognition of the King and
his action in Ulster, stating with delicate irony, that James had
established his government in the hearts of his people. One removing
benefit of clergy in certain cases. Repeals of old Acts against
admitting and associating with Scots, and against having commerce with
the Irish enemies. An Act of General Pardon. An Attainder of Tyrone,
Tyrconnell, Sir Cahir O’Dogherty and others. And a subsidy. Sir R. Cox,
who was a violent Protestant, tells us, that on Chichester’s being
summoned to England, “Irish affairs were so well managed by the Lord
Deputy, that the King was fully convinced of the seditious designs of
the Irish.”

When the recusant lords appealed to the king, his reply was insolent and
silly; it was intended to drive them into further opposition. It is not
worth quoting. He admits that two returns were proved false, and he
foreshadowed the future failures of the Stuart race by such violent
words as these, written to the noblemen: “You that are of contrary
religion must not look to be the only law-makers. You that are but
half-subjects should have but half privilege; you that have an eye to me
one way and to the Pope another way.”

Now let us turn to the Commission and its findings.[49] They were
directed not only to inquire into the disputes about the elections, but
to find out if any of the elected members could not speak English, and
to find out whether there were any combinations or conspiracies not to
elect Protestants, and to see if any Jesuits or priests had any meddling
in such matters. They also were directed to see if any general
assessments and levies of money were made without authority, and to
report if the priests and Jesuits were responsible; also to report
generally on abuses in Ireland; and on the prospects of a Plantation in
Wexford. The names of the Commissioners were, Lord Chichester, Sir
Humphrey Winche, Sir Charles Cornwallis, Sir Roger Wilbraham, and George
Calvert. They found that: In Armagh an Irish freeholder and candidate
was kept out by an armed man at the door, upon which he, Henry McShane
O’Neale, withdrew with most of the Irish freeholders. That in Cavan,
Captain Fleming, an Irish freeholder, had appealed to the sheriff for an
adjournment of nominations, and had been given hopes of one, but, the
sheriff not adjourning, the Irish were not represented at the election.
In the King’s County, the Irish candidates, one of whom could not speak
English, had the greater number of names on their nomination paper, yet
the under-sheriff returned the two English candidates. In this case two
whose names were written down for the Irish candidates, disavowed their
signatures, and another confessed to having put his name on the list
after the election was done, and Sir Terence O’Dempsey gave his vote by
proxy. In Limerick it was questioned whether the English or Irish
candidates had the greater number of freeholder votes; the sheriff did
not take the obvious course of numbering the freeholders, but returned
the Englishmen. He denied that it was his duty to number the polls. In
Fermanagh, neither of the Irish candidates responded to the
Commissioners’ invitation to be present, for good reasons: one could not
speak English, and the other “indicted for treason, broke prison, and
hath betaken himself to the woods.” They found that at this election
Captain Gower did not pull Brian McGuire’s beard from his face, but only
shook him by the beard. In Roscommon the Irish candidates’ witnesses
seem to have been rejected, because of their “speaking only the Irish
language, and being men of mean condition, as they seemed to us.” In
passing we may mention that two of Sir John Everard’s supporters in
Parliament could only speak Irish. In Dublin, the Mayor being absent,
the recusants duly elected two aldermen at the County Court; later the
Mayor proclaimed an election at Hoggin, when two English candidates were
nominated by the Mayor. To see which had a majority, he made the parties
divide, and then, without counting the polls, he declared the
Englishmen, his nominees, elected. In Trim there were two elections, as
there did not seem to be any proper authority for fixing a date. In
Kildare borough, the sovereign returned two, whom the Commission
declared to be not elected, deciding that the Irish candidates were
returned. In Wicklow there was a confusion between the reputed portriff
and the deputy-constable about the proper date, and finally two English
candidates were returned. In Cavan, the sovereign and inhabitants held
an election, without waiting for the sheriff’s permission, and declared
two natives elected. The Ulster men all resented the intrusion of the
sheriffs upon them.[50] Then the sheriff directed his warrant to the
sovereign, and another election was held. The greater number voted for
the natives, yet the sovereign declared the English candidates returned,
though they had fewer voices. The Commission here says: “At this
election Sir Oliver Lambert with a little walking-stick, did strike one
George Brady, one of the inhabitants, for using towards him some rude
behaviour, and giving him some unfitting speeches; and upon view by us,
it did not appear to us, that his head had been broken.”

They found there was a general combination against electing Protestants;
the reason being, the natives believed laws would be propounded
concerning religion and for banishment of priests. They found that the
Roman Catholic knights of the shire and burgesses levied contributions
to pay for sending their agents for their appeal to England. And the
moneys obtained by the priests seem to have been dues of the most
ordinary kind. In fact, the dragging in of the priests and Jesuits,
first suggested in James’s commands to the Commission, proved to be a
perfect mare’s nest. They found that two burgesses were returned from
Clogher, which had never sent members before, and had no charter to do
so. The Commission then went on to describe the disorderly scene at the
meeting of Parliament. It appeared that several of the new corporations
had no right to return members, their charters bearing date after the
Commission for the holding of the Parliament, and some after the summons
to the Parliament.

After that, they go into the general grievances of the country. Juries
will not present recusants. “The small number, less sufficiency, and
little residence of the ministers. The want and defect of churches,
either wholly ruined, or so out of repair as to be unfit for the service
of God.” Remedy, to enforce the laws of conformity, and to do away with
idle and scandalous ministers. The soldiers extort; officers take money
not to cess; the provost-marshal’s men extort. The people are afraid to
make complaint for fear of worse impositions. The extortion of clerks
and multiplying of new offices. The clearing out of Wexford for a new
plantation; some old freeholders restored to their land or portion, but
with some of the English party holding it in trust for them; while 390
freeholders, and 14,500 other people “may be removed at the will of the
patentees, notwithstanding few are yet removed.” For this plantation a
jury was appointed and found “ignoramus” to the King’s title. They were
bound over to appear again, and then eleven agreed to find for the
title; but five, who refused, were committed to prison, and censured in
the Castle Chamber. After that come figures about the Wexford Plantation
and the rent reserved, which was £5 per 1,000 acres for the English, and
£6 6s. 8d. for the natives.

Here ends the Commissioners’ finding. It was worded with caution, but we
can see they felt that the condition of Ireland was one of gross
misgovernment. In fact, it would be impossible to feel anything else, if
the subject were dealt with from the point of view of legality. Notice
that no fault or crime was urged against the native population except
those violations of the law which come from their adhesion to their own
views in politics and religion. On the other hand, every constitutional
law was being broken by the misgovernors of the land. How James could
assert there were only illegalities in the cases of two members of
Parliament, it is difficult to say. Even if the King’s County case was
doubtful, the Kildare case, the Cavan case, and the Clogher case, would
clearly make six. Some of these findings, as about the military
impositions, and the Wexford peasantry being tenants at will, must have
been bitter reading for Sir John Davies, who had written so strongly
against that sort of thing, and who, though rapacious and heartless, may
be fairly described, in the writer’s humble opinion, as the father of
the Ulster custom.

The Commission, as far as it touched Parliamentary matters, dealt only
with the House of Commons. The constitution of the House of Lords was as
bad. On the eve of the meeting of the Parliament, on 31st March, 1613, a
King’s letter was issued to call to the Upper House by writ, Lord
Abercorn, Lord Henry Brian, son of the Earl of Thomond, Lord Audley,
Lord Ochiltree, and Lord Burleigh. The letter also said if the right of
Lord Barry, Viscount Buttevant was questioned because he had an elder
brother who is deaf and dumb, the question was to be silenced by the
king’s commandment, because of his dutiful behaviour, and because he had
enjoyed the title for many years without contradiction. A letter in the
Carew Papers shows that Lord Henry Brian or O’Brien was summoned because
he was a Protestant, where we also read that Lord Athenrie, who was too
poor to attend, was to be induced to give his proxy to some Protestant

A good many of the intended mushroom boroughs came to nothing. Virginia
was meant to be a borough, but was never incorporated. Charlestown and
Jamestown were intended to be the county towns respectively of the
counties of Roscommon and Leitrim, but the ill-omened names have
disappeared from our maps, though the village of Jamestown became a
pocket borough, returning two members till the Union.[52]

It may be necessary to mention that the colonization of Down and Antrim
are quite separate matters. About the beginning of the fifteenth
century, the MacDonnells, Lords of the Isles, came to Antrim, and in
1584 a thousand Scottish highlanders, called “Redshanks,” of the septs
of the Cambiles, MacDonnells and Magalanes, led by Surleboy, a Scottish
chieftain, invaded Ulster. And early in James’s reign some English from
Devon were brought over by Chichester and settled in Carrickfergus and
Malone, near Belfast. These formed the Planters of Antrim; and Down was
colonized through the interference of a laird named Montgomery. Con
O’Neill had got into trouble with the Government, and his wife (a lady
of great abilities, and a sister of Brian MacArt and half-sister of Owen
Roe MacArt) appealed to Montgomery to help him to secure his pardon.
Montgomery did secure it; but with the result that the patent for his
share of Con’s land specified that the lands should be planted by
British undertakers, and that no grants of fee-farms should be given to
any of Irish extraction.[53] Then James Hamilton came in and got a
share, Con, Hamilton and Montgomery having one-third each. In 1606
O’Neill had to part with his property, giving it up to Montgomery. The
latter founded Newtown (or Newtownards), Donaghadee, Comber and
Grey-Abbey; and Hamilton founded Bangor, Holywood, Killileagh, and
Ballywalter. So these wily Scotchmen got practically the whole of the
County Down; and the Scotch settlers who came over in hundreds filled up
the land. The barony of Iveagh, which contained so much highlands, was
held by the Magenises. They seem to have been astute enough. Though
often law-breakers, they did not transgress politically, and when the
barony was specially settled in 1617 they got most of the land in
Iveagh, and they had only to pay twice as much as the English.[54] Here
is a brief contemporary description of the head of the family. “Sir Hugh
McEnys was the civilest of all the Irishry of those parts. He was
brought by Sir Nicholas Bagnall from the Bonaghe of the O’Neyles to
contribute to the Queen. In this place only amongst the Irish of Ulster
is the rude custom of tanistship put away. Maginis is able to make 60
horsemen and 80 footmen. Every festival day he wears English garments.”

Besides the Ulster counties, in this reign there were also plantations
of King’s County and Longford at a rent to the Crown of 2½d. per acre
for pasture land, and ½d per acre for bog and wood, Wexford at rent 1¼d.
per acre, Upper Ossory (Queen’s County) at 3d. per acre. Westmeath and
Cork. There were also grants in Meath and Louth; but, though large, they
hardly professed to be the basis of a plantation.

Many continental immigrants became naturalized in Ireland in this reign;
they hailed mostly from Antwerp and Brabant.[55]

Now what has the introduction of the North Britons done for Ireland? It
has added complications to the religious problems of the country, by
adding a third element. To all who study the history of Ireland, it
tends to increase the sense of injustice and wrong, to see how the North
and its industries have always been pampered for the three centuries
intervening. It has not tended to the consolidation of the Empire, for
every Ulster so-called “Loyalist” is a Home Ruler of a type of his own,
for he approaches all Imperial problems from a local point of view. In
the troublous times when political convulsions come in Belfast, as in
1886 and 1892, the most hated class of men is found to be the body that
is representative of law and order, the Royal Irish Constabulary. Ulster
is loyal as long as she gets her own way. Her good temper is very like
what Sir Antony Absolute says of himself, “You know I am compliance
itself—when I am not thwarted; no one more easily led—when I have my own
way.” Her vices are worse than the traditional vices of the rest of the
land. In morality the South and West of Ireland people are superior;
while in temperance, it may at least be said they are not inferior. The
virtues of Ulster are economy and industry and determination. They have
an unreasoning decision, a blind enthusiasm, in political and religious
matters that carries them along in a way that will never be copied by
the more thoughtful and more depressed Southern. Ulster has shown the
rest of Ireland that, however attractive the land may be, it is well to
have trades and industries that do not depend, or only depend partly on
the land. The crowning merit of James’s work in Ulster is that there is
one part of the country where landlord and tenant, squire and labourer,
think very much alike in religion and politics, so that a good
understanding should be looked for between the various parties. Had he
left Tyrone and Tyrconnell and O’Dogherty with their vassals, the same
result would have been arrived at, without all the unconstitutional
things I have referred to. Unconstitutional! We have seen the beginning
of the Stuart rule; we know how it ended.

And in the struggles that intervened, Ulster was invariably against the
Crown. To the English and Scotch squatters, and the Irish Society, were
given arable and pasture lands, fishings, courts leet and baron,
ferries, bishoprics and livings, mountain-lands and bogs, courts of
pie-powder, exemptions, titles, licences to beg, recusants’ fines,
wardships and marriages of minors, charters of the staple, customs on
tobacco-pipes, and monopolies of all kinds, and in a few score years the
grandchildren of these favoured persons made themselves famous by their
bitter opposition to James’s grandson. Thus the whirligig of time brings
its revenges.



Footnote 1:

  Tract by Sir Thomas Smith on the Colonisation of Ards, in Co. Down,

Footnote 2:

  _Patent Rolls_, 1 James I., lxx., 22, Dorso, p. 5.

Footnote 3:

  See _The Broken Sword of Ulster_, by R. Cuninghame.

Footnote 4:

  _State Papers, Ireland_ (1609), p. 330, (1608), pp. 108, 109.

Footnote 5:

  Plowden’s _History_, I., p. 341.

Footnote 6:

  _Calendar State Papers, Ireland_ (1608-10), Preface.

Footnote 7:

  _Broken Sword of Ulster_, p. 153, &c. For the earlier plots of
  Mountjoy against Tyrone, see Docwra’s _Narrative_, Celtic Society’s
  _Miscellany_, Notes, p. 315.

Footnote 8:

  _State Papers, Ireland_ (1608), p. 31.

Footnote 9:

  _State Papers, Ireland_ (1608), Preface, p. xli.

Footnote 10:

  Celtic Society’s _Miscellany_, Docwra’s _Narrative_, Notes, p. 315.

Footnote 11:

  _Carew Papers_, “Discourse for the Reformation of Ireland” (1583). See
  also Sir J. Perrott’s Proposals, same vol., II., p. 368; II., p. 415.

Footnote 12:

  Hill, _Plantation of Ulster_, p. 222.

Footnote 13:

  _State Papers, Ireland_ (1607) Preface, p. lvii.

Footnote 14:

  Enrolled _Patent Rolls_, 16 James I., pp. 419, 420.

Footnote 15:

  _History_, Vol. II., p. 14.

Footnote 16:

  _Broken Sword of Ulster_, pp. 153, 168.

Footnote 17:

  P. 313. Note.

Footnote 18:

  _Broken Sword of Ulster_, p. 179.

Footnote 19:

  MacNevin (_Confiscation of Ulster_, p. 137, note) says the Irish had
  to pay £10 13s. 4d. for 60 acres. He does not state how he gets at
  this fact. The grants to the natives seem to have been at the rate of
  £1 1s. 4d. for 100 acres, which would work out at £10 13s. 4d. for
  1,000. (See _Patent Rolls_, James I., passim.)

Footnote 20:

  Rev. George Hill, _Montgomery MS._, p. 55, note. _Patent Rolls_, 14
  James I., lxiii., 4, Dorso, and 15 James I., xll., 3, Dorso.

Footnote 21:

  _Patent Rolls, Ireland_, 19 James I., Part II., xvii., 41.

Footnote 22:

  _State Papers, Ireland_ (1609), p. 196.

Footnote 23:

  Hill, _Plantation of Ulster_, pp. 220, 223.

Footnote 24:

  Hill, _Plantation Papers_, p. 77.

Footnote 25:

  _Plantation Papers_, p. 77.

Footnote 26:

  _Carew Papers_, p. 228.

Footnote 27:

  _Plantation Papers_, pp. 13, 14.

Footnote 28:

  Hill, _Plantation of Ulster_. See Sir J. Davies’ letter to Salisbury,
  27th June, 1609, about Sir Neale. When the jury were found to be
  favourable to him they were dismissed by a trick. Davies recommends to
  have him tried by a jury in Middlesex, or kept till the colonies of
  English or Scotch may be planted in Tyrconnell.

Footnote 29:

  _Patent Rolls_, II James I.; 5 lv., 31, p. 250. 14, March 10th. See
  pp. 257, 293. _Carew MS._, pp. 49, 88; _State Papers, Ireland_ (1609),
  pp. 264, 299; (1610), p. 416.

Footnote 30:

  _State Papers_ (1610), pp. 502, 503.

Footnote 31:

  _Plantation Papers_, p. 96.

Footnote 32:

  _Patent Rolls_, 20 James I., Part III., lxii., 27 Dorso.

Footnote 33:

  _Plantation Papers_, p. 29. An early and unsuccessful attempt to plant
  had been made on Sir Oghie O’Hanlon’s land in 1569; it had been taken
  from him and given to Captain Chatterton. Chatterton was killed, and
  as nobody would venture to plant the land, it was restored to
  O’Hanlon. An interesting proclamation of Carew’s in 1603, on the
  subject of the rate of wages in the North of Ireland, is given in
  _Plantation Papers_, p. 79.

Footnote 34:

  _Patent Rolls_, 12 James I., I., viii., 2. Lady O’Dogherty was about
  to proceed to London in pursuit of relief, and as Chichester found
  that her marriage money had never been paid by her brother, Lord
  Gormanstown, he got the king to give her £40 a year during pleasure
  out of the rents of Inishowen. _State Papers_ (1609), p. 216. _Patent
  Rolls_, 14 James I., lxxxii., 14 Dorso, Part I., and 14 James I., vi.,
  8, Part 2, Facie.

Footnote 35:

  _Patent Rolls_, James I., pp. 48, 443. _Plantation Papers_, pp. 19,
  190, 119.

Footnote 36:

  _Patent Rolls_, James I., pp. 312, 314. _Plantation Papers_, pp. 19,
  119, 190.

Footnote 37:

  Reid, _Presbyterianism in Ulster_, I., pp. 103, 104.

Footnote 38:

  Prendergast, _Ireland from the Restoration to the Revolution_
  (1660-1690), p. 98.

Footnote 39:

  Hill, _Plantation Papers_, p. 67, ff.

Footnote 40:

  _Plantation Papers_, pp. 26, 189.

Footnote 41:

  See _Patent Rolls_, passim; _Carew Papers_, p. 227; _Plantation
  Papers_, p. 52.

Footnote 42:

  Sir R. Cox, _History_, II., p. 29. _Plantation Papers_, p. 64.

Footnote 43:

  _Patent Rolls_, 14 James I., Part I., cvi., 27 Dorso.

Footnote 44:

  _Plantation Papers_, p. 146.

Footnote 45:

  See _Patent Rolls_, James I., pp. 492, 512, 532, &c.

Footnote 46:

  _Patent Rolls_, James I., pp. 455, 473.

Footnote 47:

  _Patent Rolls_, 11 James I., 5, cv., 17 Dorso; 18 James I., lxxxvii.,
  37 Dorso; pp. 314, 555. 22 James I., cxiv., 47 Dorso. _State Papers_
  (1610), pp. 31, 64, 391. See also the Inquiry into the state of
  Dioceses of Cashel and Emly and Waterford and Lismore in the _State
  Papers_. _Patent Rolls_, 18 James I., xxxiv., 6 Dorso.

Footnote 48:

  Sir R. Cox’s _History_; _Plowden_; and the report of Commission
  mentioned below and printed in the _Patent Rolls_. The fullest account
  is by Cox, where the Acts of the Parliament and the King’s letter to
  the remonstrant Lords are described.

Footnote 49:

  _Patent Rolls_, 16 James I., pp. 369-401.

Footnote 50:

  Camden’s _Ireland_, pp. 123, 125.

Footnote 51:

  _Patent Rolls_, 11 James I., lxv., 36 Facie. _Carew Papers_, p. 147.

Footnote 52:

  _Patent Rolls_, 10 James I., 1, v. 7 Facie. 20 James I., xlii., 11
  Dorso. See Lewis’s _Topographical Dictionary of Ireland_.

Footnote 53:

  _Patent Rolls_, James I., p. 236.

Footnote 54:

  _Patent Rolls_, 16 James I., xv., Dorso. _State Papers, Ireland_
  (1608), 10, Preface, p. xi.

Footnote 55:

  While these people were coming over from Belgium, it is of interest to
  note that as well as at Louvain, there was an Irish College at Tournai
  in 1607. _State Papers_ (1607), p. 230.



                                 PART I

                               THE GRACES

                            BY PHILIP WILSON



                                 PART I

                               THE GRACES

THE reign of James the First had been, if we except one petty and
insignificant outbreak in Ulster, a period of tranquillity for Ireland;
and, at the accession of his son, the prospects of the country might
have seemed to a superficial observer more promising than they had yet
been. But, in fact, the ostensibly pacific and constitutional measures
of James had produced results more disastrous, and aroused animosities
more enduring than even the exterminating policy of his predecessor.
Henry Carey, Lord Falkland, who three years earlier had succeeded
Grandison as Lord Deputy, was at this time confronted with two problems
which have since taxed to the uttermost the abilities of many wiser and
more resolute men than he. During the preceding reign the laws which
prohibited the exercise of the Roman Catholic religion had been fitfully
and spasmodically enforced. Minorities have often been dragooned into
conformity; but it is not easy by such means to change the religion of
an entire nation; and the dread of a rebellion in Ireland, no less than
the necessity of maintaining friendly relations with foreign Catholic
powers, repeatedly led the English Government to place a curb upon the
frantic zeal of the ascendancy party at Dublin. The latter consideration
had recently derived additional force from the marriage of Charles, then
Prince of Wales, to a Catholic princess; and, on the accession of the
young king, the co-religionists of his consort began, not unnaturally,
to hope for something more than the precarious and extra-legal
toleration which was all that they had hitherto enjoyed. On the other
hand, the fact that the king was disposed to treat the Catholics with
leniency was in itself enough to inflame the hostility of the Puritan
party, which comprised the majority of the English middle class and had
already obtained the ascendancy in at least the Lower House of
Parliament. To satisfy the wishes of the Irish without raising a storm
in England was a task beyond the abilities of either Falkland or his

A still more serious source of discontent was to be found in the general
sense of insecurity which pervaded the Irish gentry. During the last
years of James’s reign, the precedent which had been set in Ulster had
been followed on a smaller scale in Leitrim, Longford, Wexford, and
King’s County. All those counties, or parts of them, had, at some time
since the Norman invasion, been occupied by English colonists, who had
afterwards been driven out by the original inhabitants. During many
generations the latter had remained in undisturbed possession; but few
of them had taken the trouble to obtain title-deeds which would be valid
by English law—a science of whose mysteries they were profoundly
ignorant. If in a few instances such documents had once existed, they
had generally been lost or destroyed during the long period of anarchy
and civil war. It was now decided that these gentlemen, being unable to
produce satisfactory title-deeds, were intruders upon the estates of the
Anglo-Norman adventurers who had despoiled their ancestors some
centuries before; and, when the heirs of the latter were not
forthcoming, the lands, in default of any other claimant, were adjudged
to have lapsed to the Crown.[56]

The alarm and indignation to which these proceedings naturally gave rise
were especially great in the western province. During the last three
reigns a series of confiscations had been carried out in Leinster,
Munster and Ulster, but the Connaught landowners had hitherto escaped
spoliation, and they had very lately obtained for their estates a
security which, it might have been thought, would have proved a barrier
against the rapacity of the most unscrupulous government. In 1585 Sir
John Perrott, then Lord Deputy, had effected an arrangement, known as
the “Composition of Connaught,” by which the gentlemen of that province
were secured in the possession of their estates; but, owing probably to
the troubles which not long afterwards broke out in Ulster, the
formalities necessary in order to give validity to this transaction were
never carried out. In the thirteenth year of his reign, however, James
consented, in consideration of a bribe of £3,000, to issue a commission
remedying this defect. The Irish gentry loyally performed their part of
the agreement; but, owing to some negligence, or, more probably, some
trickery on the part of the officials of the Court of Chancery, the
patents were incorrectly enrolled, and were afterwards pronounced by
interested and unscrupulous lawyers to be null and void. Shortly before
the death of James it began to be rumoured that the Government intended
to avail themselves of this technical irregularity in order to establish
a Plantation in Connaught on the model of the Plantation of Ulster. The
rumour, as might have been expected, excited the most painful
apprehensions in Ireland; but no actual steps had been taken towards the
Plantation when the king died.[57]

Charles was not altogether indisposed to treat his Irish subjects with
fairness; but his strongest desire, then as always, was to secure a
revenue which would render him independent of the English Parliament.
The Irish Catholics, on their side, were willing enough to contribute to
the relief of the king’s necessities, if by so doing they might obtain
toleration for their religion and security for their estates. The first
act of the young sovereign was admirably calculated to attract the
popular goodwill. By a statute of the second year of Elizabeth, all
mayors, sheriffs, and other municipal officers were required to take the
Oath of Supremacy; but, owing to the scarcity of Protestants, the law,
except in Ulster, had generally been a dead letter. In 1618, however,
Sir Oliver St. John had procured the forfeiture of the charter of
Waterford—a city which had persistently elected recusant
magistrates.[58] As an earnest of the royal favour this charter was now
restored, and, to the scandal of zealous Protestants, a Roman Catholic
mayor was once more installed in office.[59]

A few days later, Falkland, acting under instructions received from
England, convened an assembly of the Irish nobility and gentry to
consider the measures to be taken to relieve the financial
embarrassments of the Government, and to hear the concessions which the
king was willing to make in return for their assistance.[60] But an
unexpected obstacle intervened. Justly conceiving that the proposed
concessions would put an end to the monopoly hitherto enjoyed by their
sect, the Protestant prelates, with Archbishop Usher at their head, drew
up and published a “Judgment concerning toleration in religion,” which
may be commended to the attention of those pious persons who are
accustomed to declaim against the bigotry of the Vatican.

“The religion of the Papists is superstitious and idolatrous; their
faith and doctrine erroneous and heretical; their Church, in respect of
both, apostatical. To give them, therefore, a toleration, or to consent
that they may freely exercise their religion and profess their faith and
doctrine is a grievous sin, and that in two respects. For,

“First. It is to make ourselves accessory, not only to their
superstitious idolatries and heresies, and, in a word, to all the
abominations of Popery, but also, which is a consequent of the former,
to the perdition of the seduced people which perish in the deluge of the
Catholic apostacy. Secondly. To grant them a toleration in respect of
any money to be given, or contribution to be made by them, is to set
religion to sale, and with it the souls of the people whom Christ our
Saviour hath redeemed with His Most Precious Blood. And as it is a great
sin, so it is also a matter of most dangerous consequence, the
consideration whereof we commit to the wise and judicious, beseeching
the God of truth to make them who are in authority zealous of God’s
glory, and of the advancement of true religion: zealous, resolute and
courageous against all Popery, superstition, and idolatry. Amen.”[61]

A little later Downham, Bishop of Derry, preaching before the Lord
Deputy, denounced toleration in still more unmeasured terms. These
outbursts of episcopal intolerance aroused the sympathy of the English
House of Commons, who passed a resolution: “That the Popish religion is
publicly professed in every part of Ireland, and that monasteries and
nunneries are there newly erected and replenished with votaries of both
sexes, which will be of evil consequence unless seasonably

The opposition of the Protestant bishops in Ireland and of their English
sympathisers retarded for a considerable time the progress of the
negotiations between the Government and the recusants; but in the spring
of 1628 the agents of the latter had a personal interview with Charles
at Whitehall, when an agreement was arrived at which, it was hoped,
would prove satisfactory to all parties. In one important particular the
concessions which were now promised were less liberal than those which
in the preceding year the Catholics had been led to expect. Charles had
then been willing to consent to the repeal of the Act which imposed a
fine of one shilling on persons absent from the Protestant parish
churches on Sundays. Out of deference, probably, to the protest of the
episcopate, this concession was now withdrawn. But, in spite of this
omission, “the Graces,” as they were called, were well calculated to
redress the most serious grievances of the Irish. A new oath of a purely
civil character was substituted for the Oath of Supremacy, and recusants
were thus enabled to sue their liveries and to practise at the bar
without fear of molestation. An undisturbed occupancy of sixty years was
to afford a prescriptive title against all older claims of the Crown.
The deficiencies in the titles of the Connaught landowners were to be
supplied by an Act of the Parliament which, it was expected, would be
shortly summoned. Other grievances of a more general kind, which
affected Protestants no less than Catholics, were also remedied. In
return for these concessions the Irish agents undertook to raise a
“voluntary contribution” of £120,000, to be paid in quarterly
instalments ranging over three years.[63]

It was arranged that the Irish Parliament should meet in November. The
writs were issued, and some, at least, of the elections had actually
taken place, when the English Council discovered that by summoning a
Parliament without having first transmitted to England a statement of
the Bills which it would have to consider, the Lord Deputy had been
guilty of a technical violation of Poynings’ Act. The writs were
accordingly cancelled, and the holding of the Parliament indefinitely
postponed.[64] In spite of this disappointment the Irish, who had not
yet fathomed the duplicity of their sovereign, paid the first
instalments of the contribution with punctuality and were rewarded with
a less rigorous execution of the penal statutes.

Falkland did not long retain office after this humiliating rebuff. The
embarrassments which Charles anticipated from the promise of concessions
which he was already anxious to evade made him eager to entrust the
government of Ireland to stronger and more resolute hands, and a popular
pretext was soon found for the recall of the obnoxious Deputy. During
the reign of James, Falkland, urged on by Sir William Parsons,
afterwards the notorious Lord Justice, had attempted to despoil a sept
named O’Byrne by the kind of legal jugglery which was then fashionable,
but had met with unexpected opposition from the English Government,
which was beginning to entertain doubts of the merits of the Plantation
system. A few years later he discovered, or professed to have
discovered, a formidable conspiracy in which the O’Byrnes were involved.
Phelim O’Byrne, the head of the sept, and his six sons were arrested,
tried by a jury composed partly of their hereditary enemies, and partly
of persons who coveted their estates, convicted and imprisoned, and
their lands divided among English adventurers. In this transaction
Falkland had received the support of a majority of the council with Lord
Cork at their head, but had been opposed by a minority, among whom the
Chancellor, Lord Loftus of Ely, and Sir Francis Annesley, afterwards
Lord Mountnorris, were the most conspicuous. Neither Loftus nor
Mountnorris were men of unblemished character, and their opposition to
the Lord Deputy was probably due at least as much to personal jealousy
as to any disinterested sympathy with his victims; but to whatever
motives it is to be ascribed, there can be no doubt that their conduct
was in this instance fully justified. In the autumn of 1628 these
gentlemen induced Charles to institute an inquiry into the means by
which the evidence against the O’Byrnes had been obtained. Falkland
protested, but his protests were disregarded. It soon transpired that
his Excellency had had good reason to desire concealment. The original
accusers of the O’Byrnes turned out to have been criminals under
sentence of death who had been released on undertaking to swear as the
Lord Deputy desired. More respectable witnesses deposed that they had
been compelled by torture to corroborate the evidence thus obtained. In
consequence of this inquiry the O’Byrnes were released, but their lands
were not restored to them.[65]

This exposure effectually destroyed what little reputation Falkland had
left. In January, 1629, it was decided to recall him; but it was not
until the following August that he surrendered the sword, having a few
months previously issued a proclamation declaring that “the late
intermission of legal proceedings against Popish pretended or titulary
archbishops, bishops, abbots, deans, vicars-general, Jesuits, friars and
others of that sort, that derive their pretended authority and orders
from the see of Rome, hath bred such an extraordinary intolerance and
presumption in them as that they have dared here of late not only to
assemble themselves in public places to celebrate their superstitious
services in all parts of this kingdom, but also have erected houses and
buildings called public oratories, colleges, mass-houses, and convents
of friars, monks and nuns in the eye and open view of the State, and, by
colour of teaching and keeping schools in their pretended monasteries
and colleges, do train up the youth of this kingdom in their
superstitious religion, to the great degradation and contempt of his
Majesty’s regal power and authority”; and commanding them in his
Majesty’s name thenceforth to “forbear to preach, teach, or celebrate
their service in any church, chapel, or other public oratory or place,
or to teach any school in any place or places whatsoever within this

After the dismissal of Falkland the administration of Irish affairs was
entrusted to Lord Chancellor Loftus and to the Earl of Cork as Lords
Justices. Adam Loftus, grandson and namesake of the first Protestant
Archbishop of Dublin, brought to his high office an inherited instinct
for peculation, which he transmitted in undiminished splendour to his
descendants.[67] His colleague was in every respect a more remarkable
man. Born at Canterbury in 1566 Richard Boyle came to Ireland at an
early age with twenty-seven pounds in his pocket; obtained, by means of
letters of introduction which were afterwards discovered to have been
forged, one of those subordinate posts in the government of which the
direct emoluments were small, but which afforded boundless opportunities
for illegitimate gain; and, in the confiscations which followed the
Desmond war, acquired one of the largest estates in Munster. Like most
of the Munster planters he was for a while ruined by Tyrone’s rebellion,
but more fortunate than many better men, eventually regained more than
he had lost. In 1598 he was examined before the English Privy Council on
a charge of holding treasonable correspondence with Spain; but, though
his defence can scarcely be regarded as convincing, he succeeded, with
his customary good fortune, not merely in outwitting his accusers but in
recommending himself to the favour of his sovereign. During the reign of
James, Boyle throve rapidly, and not only rose to some of the highest
places in the State but built up a colossal fortune, which his family
motto ascribed to the providence of God, but which, in the general
estimation of his contemporaries, might be traced to a very different
source. His uniform severity towards the Catholics has won for him from
a certain school of historians the praise of exemplary piety; but an
impartial student of his political career will probably pronounce him an
unscrupulous adventurer, whose zeal against Popery sprang in large
measure from a desire to enrich himself at the expense of the

The Lord Chancellor was not less fanatical than his colleague; but, in
spite of the identity of their political opinions, the personal feud
between the two Lords Justices was so bitter that the king was obliged
to send a special agent from England to compose it.[69] The
reconciliation thus effected was superficial, but the two noblemen
cordially co-operated in repressive measures against the recusants. An
incident which took place not long afterwards throws a curious light on
the temper of the governing faction and the precarious position of the
Catholics. In the autumn of 1629, according to a contemporary Protestant
writer, “the Romish Catholics began to rant it in Ireland, and to
exercise their fancies called religion so publicly as if they had gained
a toleration. For, whilst the Lords Justices were at church in Dublin on
St. Stephen’s day, they were celebrating Mass, which the Lords Justices
taking notice of, they sent the Archbishop of Dublin, the mayor,
sheriffs and recorder of the town to apprehend them, which they did,
taking away the crucifixes, chalices and paraments of the altar, the
soldiers hewing down the image of St. Francis. The priests and friars
were delivered into the hands of the pursuivants, at whom the people
threw stones and rescued them. The Lords Justices, informed of this,
sent a guard and delivered them, and clapt eight Popish aldermen by the
heels for not attending their mayor. Upon the account of this
presumption fifteen houses, by direction from the Lords of the Council
here, were seized to the King’s use, and the friars and priests so
persecuted as two hanged themselves in their own defence.”[70] The
persecution, which had begun in the capital, was rapidly extended
throughout the country. During the next three years numerous monasteries
and convents were dissolved. In the summer of 1630, a university which
the Catholics, who were excluded from Trinity College by the Oath of
Supremacy, had recently erected for their own use, was suppressed, and
its revenues transferred to its Protestant rival. Two years later a
shrine of St. Patrick in Lough Derg, which was much frequented by
pilgrims, and was regarded by the people with a veneration no less
national than religious, was, by order of the Lords Justices, dug up and

These oppressive proceedings were, no doubt, acceptable to the English
Council; but in other respects the administration of the Lords Justices
could not be considered satisfactory. A Parliament was again promised,
and again postponed. By the beginning of 1632 the revenue showed a
deficit, the pay of the troops was in arrear, the coast was exposed to
the attacks of Moorish pirates, and the public buildings—arsenals,
churches, even Dublin Castle itself—were everywhere in decay. The
voluntary contribution would soon be at an end, and it was unlikely that
the Catholics, who had begun to suspect the king’s sincerity in the
matter of the Graces, would consent to renew it. Their lordships could
think of no means of meeting expenses except the enforcement of the
shilling fines.[72]

Such was the condition of affairs when Thomas Wentworth assumed the
government of Ireland. His appointment bears date January, 1632, but it
was not until the middle of the succeeding year that he proceeded to
Dublin.[73] Before leaving England he had contrived with characteristic
dexterity to relieve the financial embarrassments of the Government.
Cork and Loftus had, as we have seen, been anxious to exact the
recusancy fines. Wentworth took care that their wishes should be
generally known. He then despatched an agent, himself a Catholic, to
negociate secretly with his co-religionists. This gentleman informed the
leading recusants that the Lord Deputy was averse to persecution, but
that, if no other means could be devised for the relief of the king’s
necessities, he would be compelled to act upon the Lords Justices’
advice. Alarmed at this intimation and eager to conciliate one who might
prove either a dangerous enemy or a most valuable friend, the Catholics
agreed to levy an additional “voluntary contribution” of £20,000. The
Protestants, who were wholly dependent on the Government, did not
venture to resist.[74]

The sum thus obtained was sufficient for his immediate requirements;
but, in order that the finances might be placed on a satisfactory basis,
it was necessary that the Irish Parliament, which had not met for nearly
twenty years, should be again summoned. The step was certain to be
popular, and Wentworth was eager to take it; but it was difficult to
convince Charles, whose experience of Parliamentary government in
England had not been happy, of its wisdom. The Lord Deputy, who prided
himself, not without reason, upon his powers of parliamentary
management, explained with great frankness the course which he intended
to adopt. As soon as the Houses met they were to be informed that
business would be extended over two sessions; the first of which was to
be devoted to the relief of the king’s necessities, and the second to
“the enacting of all such profitable and wholesome laws as a moderate
and good people may expect from a wise and gracious king.” With the hope
of a ratification of the Graces thus dangled before them, the Commons
might be relied upon to grant supplies for the next three years; and
when the money had been voted the Government could fulfil as much or as
little of their engagements as they found convenient. His Majesty had no
reason to be afraid of any dangerous exhibition of Parliamentary
independence. Apart from the restrictions imposed by Poynings’ Act,
which made the Irish Parliament a mere instrument for registering the
decrees of the English Privy Council, that body was so constituted as to
be wholly at the mercy of the Castle. In the Upper House the bishops and
the English adventurers who had been ennobled during the preceding reign
gave the Government a permanent majority over the old national
aristocracy. The management of the Lower House would be more difficult;
but Wentworth undertook to secure a majority by tampering with the
elections as Chichester had done. In one respect his task differed from
Chichester’s. In 1613 the entire body of the Protestants had been on the
side of the Government, and the Lord Deputy had been able to make sure
of a majority by multiplying boroughs wherever the colonists
predominated. Since that date the breach between the court party and the
Puritans had grown wider, and a large proportion of the new settlers
were now scarcely less hostile to the administration than the Catholics.
Wentworth had accordingly determined so to manage the elections “as that
neither the recusants nor yet the Protestants shall appear considerably
more one than the other, holding them as much as may be upon an equal
balance”; and at the same time to procure the return from some of the
smaller and more corrupt constituencies of “captains and officers, who,
having immediate dependence upon the Crown, may sway the business
betwixt the two parties which way they please.”[75] With many misgivings
Charles consented to the experiment. “As to that hydra,” he wrote, “take
good heed, for you know I have here found it cunning as well as
malicious.” “I fear,” he added, with an obvious recollection of his
unlucky promises, “they have some ground to demand more than is fit for
me to give.”[76]

In July, 1634, the Parliament met and the Lord Deputy’s forecast was
justified. The Catholic and Protestant parties were almost equal; the
officers turned the scale in favour of the latter. The result had not
been arrived at without some difficulty. The priests, who apprehended
fresh penalties against their religion, had exerted themselves on behalf
of the Catholic candidates. Wentworth put his foot down upon a policy
which threatened to divide the country into a Catholic and a Protestant
party, a thing, he wrote, “to be avoided as much as may be, unless our
numbers were the greater.” The sheriff of Dublin “carried himself
mutinously,” or, in plain English, refused to foist the Lord Deputy’s
nominees upon an unwilling constituency. The over-scrupulous official
was dragged before the Castle Chamber, fined, and deprived of his
office; a successor of more accommodating principles was found, and his
Excellency’s protégés declared duly elected.[77]

On the 15th the Lord Deputy addressed the Houses, warning them with
characteristic arrogance against imitating the factious conduct of the
late English Parliament. On the 16th his secretary, Wandesford, moved
for a grant of six subsidies, which were immediately voted. On the 2nd
of August the Houses petitioned for the introduction of the promised
Bills, and were informed that they would be considered in the following
session. On the 21st Parliament was prorogued.[78]

It met again in November. During the recess Wentworth had submitted to
his master his opinion of the course which it was expedient to adopt
with reference to the Graces. Some were to be granted immediately, some
others postponed; the two most important—that which established a
prescriptive right against the claims of the Crown, and that which
supplied the defects in the Connaught titles—were to be firmly and
finally refused. If his Majesty was unwilling to incur the odium of so
flagrant a breach of faith, the Lord Deputy was ready to take upon
himself the responsibility of having intervened between the people and
the royal favour.[79] To this magnanimous proposal Charles assented with
characteristic alacrity.[80] On November 27th Wentworth announced the
withdrawal of the expected concessions. The announcement provoked an
outburst of indignation, which was the more formidable because, “by the
negligence of the Protestant party,” the Government were for the moment
in a minority. The Catholics, assisted by some discontented Protestants,
notably by Sir Piers Crosby, a distinguished soldier and a member of the
Privy Council, “rejected hand over head all that was offered them by his
Majesty and the State. The Bill against bigamy they would not should be
engrossed; the law for correction houses they absolutely cast out; the
law against fraudulent conveyances and to secure purchasers against the
practised cozenage of the natives here they would have none of; a law
for the bailments tasted not with them; the burgesses that served for
the new boroughs, being most of them Protestants, they questioned, as
not having rights to sit there. The statutes of uses and wills we durst
not adventure a reading unto, for fear some blemish might be put upon
them by these men, that in all these things never gave or answered
reason, but plainly let us see their wills were set together to refuse
all, but to refute nothing.”

Wentworth acted with characteristic promptitude. Crosby was deprived of
his place at the Privy Council, the absent members were ordered to
resume their attendance, and a ministerial majority was again secured.
Within little more than a fortnight the Bills which the Lord Deputy
desired had been carried, and the Parliament was once more prorogued.

In the following year two other short sessions were held, and many wise
and useful laws enacted with the general concurrence of all parties. The
Lord Deputy was anxious that the Parliament should be continued. The
House of Commons, he wrote, was “very well composed”; there was a
Protestant majority “clearly and fully for the King,” and the recusants
could be coerced into voting as the Government dictated by an intimation
that the majority would otherwise be used “to pass upon them all the
laws of England concerning religion.” If there was a dissolution it
might not be possible again to manage the elections so successfully.[81]
Charles, however, in whose heart his English experience still rankled,
was of opinion that, supplies once voted, the sooner a Parliament was
sent about its business the better. “Parliaments,” he wrote, “are of the
nature of cats, they ever grow curst with age, so that, if you will have
good of them, put them off handsomely when they come to any age, for
young ones are ever most tractable.”[82] The Lord Deputy was obliged to
submit, and the Parliament was dissolved.

As soon as the revenue had been placed on a satisfactory basis Wentworth
began to turn his attention to the two great measures for which his
Irish administration is chiefly famous—the Plantation of Connaught and
the reform of the English Church in Ireland. It was to the latter
subject that his attention was first directed. It was certainly high
time that something should be done. It is difficult to say which stood
in more urgent need of improvement—the material condition of the
churches or the morals of the clergy. In a letter to Laud, Wentworth
graphically sums up the situation: “An unlearned clergy, which have not
so much as the outward form of churchmen to cover themselves with, nor
their persons anyway reverenced or protected; the churches unbuilt; the
parsonage and vicarage houses utterly ruined; the people untaught
through the non-residency of the clergy, occasioned by the unlimited
shameful numbers of spiritual promotions with cure of souls, which they
hold by commendams; the rites and ceremonies of the Church run over
without all decency of habit, order, or gravity, in the course of their
service; the possessions of the Church to a great proportion in lay
hands; the bishops aliening their very principal houses and demesnes to
their children, to strangers, farming out their jurisdiction to mean and
unworthy persons; the Popish titulars exercising the whilst a foreign
jurisdiction much greater than theirs; the schools, which might be a
means to season the youth in virtue and religion, either ill-provided,
ill-governed for the most part, or, which is worse, applied sometimes
underhand to the maintenance of Popish school-masters: lands given to
these charitable uses, and that in a bountiful proportion, especially by
King James of ever-blessed memory, dissipated, leased forth for little
or nothing, concealed, contrary to all conscience and the excellent
purposes of the founder: the college here, which should be the seminary
of arts and civility in the elder sort, extremely out of order, partly
by means of their statutes, which must be amended, and partly under the
government of a weak provost: all the monies raised for charitable uses
converted to private benefices: many patronages unjustly and by practice
gotten from the Crown.”[83]

There is abundant evidence that this disgraceful picture was not in the
least over-coloured. Bedell, writing to Laud four years previously,
informed his correspondent that the parish churches were “all in a
manner ruined and unroofed and unrepaired,” and that his diocese
contained only “seven or eight ministers of good sufficiency, and which
is no small cause of the continuance of the people in Popery still,
English: which have not the tongue of the people, nor can perform any
divine offices, or converse with them: and which hold, many of them,
two, three, four or more vicarages apiece: even the clerkships
themselves are in like manner conferred upon the English: and sometimes
two or three or more upon one man, and ordinarily bought and sold, or
let to farm.”[84] Even in 1638, in spite of the vigorous efforts of the
Lord Deputy, Leslie, Bishop of Down, found the clergy generally
negligent and disorderly, and the churches “kept no better than

But even these were not in Wentworth’s eyes the most serious of the
abuses with which he had to deal. A Protestant Church established and
maintained by the civil power in the midst of an intensely Catholic
people inclined by an inevitable law towards an extreme and fanatical
form of Protestantism. It is not, therefore, surprising that the Irish
articles, which had been drawn up by Usher, then professor of divinity
in Trinity College, Dublin, and adopted by Convocation in 1615, should
have been decidedly more puritanical in tone than the Thirty-nine
Articles of the English Church.[86] “I doubt much,” wrote Bramhall,
“whether the clergy be very orthodox.”[87] At the same time, a great
number of benefices continued to be held by those whom the Lord Deputy
and the English Primate regarded as schismatics. On the one hand the
Catholic priesthood not only continued to exercise their functions in
contempt of penalties which it was practically impossible to enforce,
but remained in many places in possession of the churches.[88] On the
other hand, the Scotch settlers “brought with them,” in the words of an
Anglican historian, “such a stock of Puritanism, such a contempt of
bishops, such a neglect of the public liturgy and other divine offices
of the Church, that there was nothing less to be found amongst them than
the government and forms of worship established in the Church of
England.”[89] Ministers hostile to the doctrines and discipline of the
Establishment had been frequently introduced into livings after an
irregular ordination by the influence of lay patrons and the connivance
of puritanical bishops, and threatened to give at least as much trouble
to the ecclesiastical authorities as the Catholics.[90] Attacked by
Roman Catholics on the one hand and by Presbyterians on the other, the
English Church in Ireland was still more cruelly despoiled by the
rapacious oligarchy who yielded her a nominal allegiance. In the words
of Bramhall’s biographer, there was not one diocese in the province of
Cashel that had not “the marks of the sacrilegious paw upon it.”[91] The
ecclesiastical courts, whose duty it was to remedy these evils were in
the hands of unprincipled officials, who did little save plunder
Catholics and Protestants with complete impartiality. “Among all the
impediments to the work of God amongst us,” Bedell wrote to Laud, “there
is not any greater than the abuse of ecclesiastical jurisdiction.”[92]
Bedell himself waged an unsparing war upon abuses of all sorts; but he
got little support from his brethren. Archbishop Usher sympathised, but
was too timid to swim against the stream.[93] The majority of the
bishops thought of nothing but their pockets.[94]

To this scandalous state of things Wentworth was fully determined to put
an end. His efforts to abolish pluralities and absenteeism, to repair
the churches, and to restore to the clergy the tithes which had been
dishonestly appropriated by laymen deserve high praise. But he had
another and less creditable object in view. He wished to drive both the
Puritan settlers and the native Catholics into the pale of the
Established Church, and at the same time to force that Church itself
into closer conformity to the English model. But if, in common with
most, if not all, of his contemporaries, he had scant reverence for the
rights of conscience, he was at least wise enough to see that the
internal reform of the Establishment must precede the attempt to enforce
conformity. It was idle, he told Laud, to inflict penalties for
recusancy “where as yet there is scarcely a church to receive or an able
minister to teach the people.”[95]

At a very early period of his administration Wentworth’s zeal for
ecclesiastical reform involved him in the first of those personal
disputes with powerful and corrupt officials which contributed far more
than his oppressive treatment of the native Irish to discredit his
administration in England. Lord Cork, who never allowed his Protestant
enthusiasm to interfere with strict attention to his pecuniary
interests, had contrived to appropriate property belonging to the
diocese of Lismore of the annual value of £1,600. He was summoned before
the Castle Chamber, and not merely compelled to disgorge his ill-gotten
gains, but sentenced to a heavy fine. Laud, with whom Wentworth kept up
a constant correspondence on the affairs of the Church, expressed his
satisfaction in very unepiscopal language.[96]

A second quarrel between Cork and Wentworth arose, like the former, out
of the ecclesiastical policy of the Lord Deputy. The earl had erected a
stately tomb of black marble, containing the remains of his wife, in St.
Patrick’s Cathedral, on the spot where the high altar had once stood,
where, as Laud thought, it ought still to stand. To an English High
Churchman such a proceeding seemed a wanton sacrilege. Urged on by the
archbishop, and probably only too pleased at the opportunity of
inflicting a fresh annoyance on his enemy, Wentworth caused the
unsightly monument to be removed to a less sacred place.[97] In both
these cases the Lord Deputy’s action was in full accordance with the
general principles of his policy; but the pertinacity with which Cork
had opposed his measures in the Council had probably some share in
exciting him to severity against that too acquisitive peer.

St. Patrick’s was not the only church with whose internal arrangements
the Lord Deputy felt called upon to interfere. He laboured, not always
successfully, to introduce into the public offices of the Church a
decency and a solemnity which had been too seldom seen, and at the same
time to force upon the clergy practices which would now be called
ritualistic. He was no fanatic; but he knew that uneducated men are more
readily influenced by ceremonies which appeal to their imagination than
by dogmas which they do not understand; and he probably thought that the
difficulty of inducing the Catholics to conform to the established
religion would be lessened if its form of worship did not perceptibly
differ from that to which they had been previously accustomed.

But it is by his dealings with the Convocation of 1634 that Wentworth’s
ecclesiastical policy must be chiefly judged. In England it had been the
custom from very early times for a Convocation of the clergy to be
summoned simultaneously with Parliament. In Ireland for many centuries
there had been no such custom. The division between the English and
Irish clergy before the Reformation, the prevalence of recusancy among
the priesthood since that epoch may perhaps account for this omission.
In 1560, it is true, Sussex had received instructions from Elizabeth
“signifying her pleasure for a general meeting of the clergy of Ireland
and the establishment of the Protestant religion through the several
dioceses of that kingdom.”[98] But it was not until the reign of James
the First, when the reformed Church had been, nominally at least,
extended through all parts of the island, that the first formal
Convocation of the Irish clergy was held.[99] The ecclesiastical
assembly which was then convened was modelled upon the Convocation of
Canterbury, with this difference, that, whereas the latter body
represented only the clergy of a single province, the Irish Convocation
contained delegates from all parts of the kingdom. It was by this body
that the Irish Articles, to which allusion has already been made, had
been adopted; and Wentworth now resolved to make use of the same
machinery to procure their reform. In accordance with the precedent
which had been set twenty years earlier, Convocation was again summoned
simultaneously with Parliament. Before it assembled Wentworth informed
Archbishop Usher, the compiler of the older formula, of the course which
he intended to adopt. Out of respect for the character and station of
the Archbishop, the Lord Deputy would not insist on the formal
abrogation of the Irish Articles. He proposed instead that they should
be tacitly but effectively superseded by the adoption of the Articles of
the Church of England—a course for which the expediency of bringing the
two Churches into closer harmony afforded a decent pretext. To this
suggestion, Usher, who was not remarkable for moral courage, gave a
reluctant assent.[100] In November their reverences assembled, and were
informed that it was the Lord Deputy’s pleasure that they should adopt
not only the Articles, but the Canons of the English Church. The upper
house, under the presidency of Usher, instantly complied. The
representatives of the inferior clergy were less submissive. Instead of
adopting the entire body of English Canons, as the Lord Deputy had
desired, they referred them to a committee, who divided the Canons into
two parts, expressing their approval of some, and setting others aside
for further consideration. Into the first Canon, which required
subscription to the Thirty-nine Articles, they inserted a clause
declaring that these were not intended to supersede the Articles already
in use. It was some time before Wentworth, whose attention was wholly
engrossed by the management of the House of Commons, found leisure to
enquire into their proceedings.[101] When he was informed of the
attitude which they had adopted his anger knew no bounds. How he dealt
with the refractory clergy shall be related in his own words:—

    “I instantly sent for Dean Andrews, that reverend clerk, who sat
    forsooth in the chair at this committee, requiring him to bring
    along the book of canons so noted in the margin, together with the
    draught he was to present that afternoon to the House. This he
    obeyed; but when I came to open the book and run over the
    deliberandums in the margin, I confess I was not so much moved since
    I came into Ireland. I told him certainly not a Dean of Limerick,
    but an Ananias, had sat in the chair of that committee; however,
    sure I was an Ananias had been there in spirit, if not in body, with
    all the fraternities and conventicles of Amsterdam; that I was
    ashamed and scandalised with it above measure. I therefore said he
    should leave the book and draught with me; and I did command him,
    upon his allegiance, that he should report nothing to the House from
    that committee till he heard again from me.

    “Being thus nettled, I gave present directions for a meeting, and
    warned the Primate, the Bishops of Meath, Kilmore, Raphoe and Derry,
    together with Dean Leslie, the prolocutor, and all those who had
    been of the committee, to be with me the next morning.

    “Then I publicly told them how unlike Churchmen, who owed canonical
    obedience to their superiors, they had proceeded in their committee;
    how unheard a part it was for a few petty clerks to presume to make
    Articles of Faith without the privity or consent of State or bishop;
    what a spirit of Brownism and contradiction I observed in their
    deliberandums, as if, indeed, they purposed at once to take away all
    government and order forth of the Church, and to leave every man to
    choose his own high place where liked him best. But these heady and
    arrogant courses they must know I was not to endure; nor, if they
    were disposed to be frantic in this dead and cold season of the
    year, would I suffer them either to be mad in the Convocation or in
    their pulpits.”

Terrified out of their wits by the language of the overbearing Deputy,
the clergy made a hasty and ignominious submission, and accepted the
English Articles without further discussion. To punish Dean Andrews,
whom he regarded as mainly responsible for the opposition, Wentworth
promoted him to the See of Ferns, the emoluments of which were
considerably less than those which he had enjoyed as Dean of

At the same time the University of Dublin, which from the date of its
foundation had been a hotbed of Puritanism, was made to feel the
reforming vigour of the Lord Deputy. The “weak provost” already referred
to—Robert Usher, a relative of the Primate—was, like Andrews, politely
kicked upstairs; and his successor, Chappell, a man after Laud’s own
heart, proceeded to remodel the college in accordance with the highest
standard of Anglican orthodoxy.[103]

One other innovation of a more serious character was made. Immediately
after the dissolution—for the step was too unpopular to be taken while
Parliament was sitting—Wentworth proceeded on his own authority to erect
a court of high commission in Dublin similar to that already existing in
England, “conceiving the use of it might be very great to countenance
the despised state of the clergy, to support ecclesiastical courts and
officers, to provide for the maintenance of the clergy and for their
residence, either by themselves or able curates, to bring the people
here to a conformity in religion, and, in the way of all these, to raise
perhaps a good revenue to the Crown.”[104]

Parliament and Convocation being both dissolved, Wentworth was at
leisure to devote his energies to the great business of his
administration—the establishment of an English colony in Connaught. It
would be difficult to say which was the more scandalous, the pretext
which the Lord Deputy put forward for this measure or the steps by which
he attempted to carry it into effect. More than four hundred years
earlier Henry the Third, with that princely generosity with which
sovereigns have so often disposed of the property of their subjects, had
granted the entire province to Richard de Burgh, with the exception of
five cantreds about Athlone, which were reserved to the Crown. De Burgh
had succeeded in making good his claim to a great part of the province,
corresponding to the modern counties of Galway and Mayo; the rest
continued in the possession of the aboriginal inhabitants. By the death
of the last Earl of Ulster about a century afterwards the title to these
lands passed to his daughter Elizabeth, then an infant; but the actual
possession remained with his collateral heirs, the MacWilliams,
ancestors of the Earls of Clanricarde and Mayo. By the marriage of
Elizabeth de Burgh to Lionel, Duke of Clarence, the title to the
Connaught estates of her ancestors had descended lineally to Edward the
Fourth; and the actual occupants, whether of native or Anglo-Norman
descent, were pronounced by the Lord Deputy to be intruders on the
possessions of the Crown. Neither the prescriptive right derived from an
undisturbed occupation of centuries, nor the recent promises of James
and Charles, were suffered to constitute a barrier against this
monstrous claim. The Articles concluded with Perrott were pronounced
invalid on the plea that that statesman had exceeded his instructions;
the patents granted by James on the ground of the technical flaw already

Shortly after the dissolution a Royal Commission was issued “for inquiry
into defective titles;” and in July the Lord Deputy set out for
Connaught to superintend the work of robbery in person. The concurrence
of the judges had already been ensured by promising their lordships a
commission of four shillings in the pound upon the profits of the
plantation; “which, upon observation,” Wentworth afterwards declared, “I
find to be the best given that ever was. For now they do intend it with
a care and diligence such as if it were their own private. And most
certain, the gaining to themselves every four shillings once paid shall
better your revenue ever after at least five pounds.”[106] Great pains
were taken to seek out jurors who “might give furtherance in finding a
title for the King.” The sheriffs were instructed to select “gentlemen
of the best estates and understanding,” whose verdict in favour of the
royal title would carry the more weight, since they would be “as much
concerned in their own particulars as any other;” while on the other
hand they would be able to “answer the King a good round sum in the
Castle Chamber if they should prevaricate.”

The Commission was first opened in Roscommon, where Wentworth addressed
a jury, composed as he had directed, in a highly characteristic speech.
His Majesty, he said, desired only to make them “a civil and rich
people;” and a plantation was necessary in order to accomplish this
benevolent purpose. He did not intend “to take from them anything that
was justly theirs, but in truth to bestow amongst them a good part of
that which was his own.” He “came not to sue them to find for him as
needing any power of theirs to vindicate his own right, for without
them, where his right is so plain, he could not in justice have been
denied possession upon an information of intrusion. The Court in an
ordinary way of Exchequer must have granted it on the first motion of
the Attorney-General.” To the King, therefore, their decision was a
matter of indifference: with a verdict, or without it, he intended to
take their property; “the path to his right lay elsewhere, open and fair
before him.” But, as regarded their own interests, “as one that must
ever wish prosperity to their nation, I desired them, first, to descend
into their own consciences and take them to counsel, and there they
should find the evidence for the Crown clear and conclusive. Next, to
beware how they appeared resolved or obstinate against so manifest a
truth, or how they let slip forth of their hands the means to weave
themselves into the royal thoughts and care of his Majesty, through a
cheerful and ready acknowledgment of his right and a due and full
submission thereunto. So, then, if they would be inclined to truth and
do best for themselves, they would undoubtedly find the title for the
King. If they were passionately resolved to go over all bounds to their
own will, and, without respects at all to their own good, to do that
which were simply best for his Majesty, then I should advise them
roughly and pertinaciously to deny to find any title at all. And there I
left them to chant together, as they call it, over the evidence.”[107]

Owing partly to this adroit mixture of chicanery and menace, partly, as
it would seem, to private negotiations between the Lord Deputy and
individual jurymen,[108] a verdict acknowledging the royal title was
returned. The juries of Sligo and Mayo were equally complacent; but in
Galway, as Wentworth had anticipated, and indeed desired, considerable
opposition was made. The county was the headquarters of the De Burghs;
and the Earl of Clanricarde and his dependents were understood to be
very hostile to the proposed plantation. “But whether it be so or not,”
Wentworth wrote to Charles: “I could wish their county would stand out,
for I am well assured it shall turn to your Majesty’s advantage if they
do. For certain it is a county which lies out at a corner by itself, and
all the inhabitants wholly natives and Papists, hardly an Englishman
among them, whom they keep out with all the industry in the world; and
therefore it would be a great security if they were thoroughly lined
with English indeed.” His wishes were gratified. Although the royal
title was made out in such manner as appeared “most just, honourable,
and unquestionable to all equal-minded men,” the jury “obstinately and
perversely refused” to find for the Crown. For this obstinacy, Wentworth
offered three explanations. First, “there is scarce a Protestant
freeholder to be found to serve his Majesty on this or any other
occasion in this country, being in a manner altogether compounded of
Papists.” Secondly, “the counsellors at law, being all of them
recusants, showed themselves over-busy even to faction, in this service
against the King.” Lastly, the Earl of Clanricarde had exerted the
influence derived from his “great estate” and “far-spread kindred” to
frustrate the plantation. In support of this last assertion, Wentworth
appealed to the following facts. First, John Donnellan, the Earl’s
steward, had received messengers with letters from the Earl out of
England; “and, whereas we were certainly informed that divers gentlemen
were resolved to have acknowledged the King’s title, upon these men’s
arrival they altered their resolutions, and since stand in opposition
thereunto.” Secondly, Lord Clanmorris, a nephew of the Earl, “appeared
openly before us to countenance the opposition of the country.” Thirdly,
Richard Burke, of Derrymacoghlan, another nephew of the Earl and a
member of the jury, had pulled a fellow juror by the sleeve, “labouring
to divert the said juror from declaring that his conscience led him to
find for his Majesty.” Fourthly, “the Earl’s principal servant and
steward, John Donnellan, being one of the jury, we saw plainly that he
guided the rest which way he pleased.” Fifthly and lastly, “most of the
jurors are of the Earl’s kindred or near alliance, or his dependents.”

Wentworth was not the man to be deterred by an adverse verdict. He had
warned the jury that, if they refused to find the verdict which he
desired, it would be the worse for them, and he now showed that this had
been no idle menace. D’Arcy, the Sheriff, whom the Lord Deputy held
responsible for what he regarded as a gross miscarriage of justice, was
imprisoned and fined £1,000 “for returning an insufficient and, as we
conceived, a packed jury.” The jurors themselves were summoned before
the Castle Chamber and fined £4,000 each. A proclamation was next
issued, by which the other landowners of the county were recommended to
disassociate themselves from the recalcitrant jurors, and save a portion
of their estates by acknowledging the royal title. The Court of
Exchequer, by Wentworth’s direction, issued an order “to seize for his
Majesty the lands of the jurors, and of all that should not lay hold on
his Majesty’s grace offered them by the proclamation.” With Clanricarde
himself the Lord Deputy insisted that no terms would be made. The Earl
and his son were at this time in London; and there Wentworth advised
that they should be detained until the work of spoliation had been
carried out. Wentworth further advised that the fortifications of Galway
should be repaired, and that that city and Athenry should be strongly
garrisoned while the plantations were proceeding.[109] Charles signified
his concurrence.[110]

And now comes the mysterious part of the business. The Commission sat in
1635; the Lord Deputy continued to hold office until the spring of 1641;
yet the plantation was never carried out. No satisfactory explanation
has yet been offered for this omission. It is certain that, so long as
Wentworth lived, the scheme was never definitely abandoned.[111] In all
probability the task was found to be more difficult than had been
anticipated. The settlement of Ulster had been a simple matter in
comparison. In the northern province Mountjoy had prepared the way for
the planters by exterminating the best part of the original inhabitants;
and the flight of the earls had left the scanty remnant destitute of
their natural leaders. In Connaught, which had been comparatively
peaceful during the Elizabethan wars, there was a numerous and warlike
population, not yet cowed by famine and massacre, to be reckoned with;
and their leader, Lord Clanricarde, a great English noble as well as a
great Irish chieftain, could exert more influence at the Court of
England than any “mere Irishman” could have done. These considerations
may have induced Wentworth to proceed slowly and with caution. During
1636 and the two following years the province continued to be strongly
garrisoned, and a few English settlers seem to have been introduced; but
they were very few, and Connaught was still almost wholly in Catholic
hands when the troubles that broke out in Scotland compelled the Lord
Deputy to turn his attention elsewhere.[112]

During the next three years Wentworth devoted himself to securing for
his master a revenue independent of Parliamentary control. With this
object, inquisitions into defective titles were held not only in
Connaught, but in every part of the island. No fresh plantations were
made; but any landlord in whose title the smallest technical flaw could
be discovered was compelled to pay heavily for a fresh patent. These
exactions pressed hard upon natives and colonists alike. The former had
generally inherited their lands according to some Irish custom not
recognised by English lawyers; while many of the latter had neglected to
fulfil the onerous and intricate conditions imposed upon them by the
Articles of the plantations. The O’Byrnes of Wicklow, who had already
been so harshly treated, were compelled to pay £15,000 before they
recovered their estates.[113] The London companies were prosecuted in
the Star Chamber on a charge of mismanaging their Ulster property, and
condemned to forfeiture and a fine of £70,000.[114]

At the same time the Lord Deputy exerted himself with characteristic
energy to develop the material resources of the country. The
extraordinary advances which Irish commerce made under his government
have been acknowledged by historians the most hostile to his
memory.[115] In one respect, it is true, his commercial policy deserves
severe blame. He found in Ireland, on his arrival, the beginnings of a
flourishing woollen manufacture; and this manufacture, out of deference
to the jealous fears of English traders, he promptly proceeded to
destroy. The injury thus inflicted was more than compensated by the
enormous development of the linen trade; a development which must be
ascribed in large measure to the judicious and munificent patronage of
Wentworth. He imported great quantities of flax from Holland at his own
expense; introduced skilled workmen from France and the Low Countries;
and did so much for the improvement of this industry that, although it
had existed in Ireland at least as early as the fifteenth century, he is
still spoken of in popular tradition as its founder.[116]

In spite, however, of the increasing prosperity of the country, the Lord
Deputy continued to be an object of aversion to every section of the
community. His unpopularity was due in almost equal measure to the
merits and to the faults of his administration. The more violent
Protestants were indignant at the introduction of the English Articles,
as well as at Wentworth’s persistent refusal to exact the recusancy
fines. The Catholics were kept in constant alarm by the inquiries into
defective titles, and by the penal laws, which, though their execution
was temporarily suspended, the Lord Deputy, as they were probably aware,
was fully resolved to enforce, as soon as he should feel able to do so
with impunity.[117] At the same time a crowd of rapacious officials, who
had enriched themselves under the government of his incompetent
predecessor, were exasperated by his vigorous attempts to repress
jobbery and extortion. For this at least must be acknowledged to
Wentworth’s honour, that, if he was a tyrant, he suffered no tyranny but
his own.

The hostility of these men proved far more injurious to the Lord Deputy
than the indignation of the native gentry. Of his quarrel with Lord Cork
I have already spoken. His treatment of two other officials was made the
subject of still harsher criticism. At the beginning of his
administration Wentworth had been opposed by a majority of the Irish
Council, but supported by a minority led by Lord Chancellor Loftus and
Lord Mountnorris, both conspicuous for their hostility to his
predecessor.[118] Within a very few years he had made both these men his
bitter enemies. Mountnorris, when Wentworth took office, was
Vice-Treasurer, and was believed by Lord Cork, then Treasurer, to have
been guilty of gross mismanagement, if not of actual malversation.[119]
Wentworth was not as a rule disposed to pay much attention to Cork’s
statements; but misappropriation of public moneys was the last thing
which he felt inclined to tolerate; and he instituted an inquiry which
resulted in the conviction of Mountnorris, not, indeed, of personal
corruption, but of scandalous negligence in tolerating the corruption of
his subordinates.[120] Although Mountnorris was not at once deprived of
his office he evidently considered himself aggrieved, and thenceforth
intrigued persistently against the Lord Deputy. In the spring of 1635
the quarrel came to a head. A younger brother of Mountnorris, an officer
in Wentworth’s own regiment, was guilty of some trivial breach of
military discipline. He was rebuked by Wentworth, and answered with an
impertinent gesture. The Lord Deputy, whose naturally choleric temper
was at this time aggravated by an attack of gout, struck him lightly
with his cane, telling him that, if the offence was repeated, “he would
lay him over the pate.” A few days later, at a levée at Dublin Castle, a
gentleman-in-waiting, who was also related to Mountnorris, contrived to
overturn a stool on the Lord Deputy’s gouty foot. At a dinner party
given not long afterwards by the Lord Chancellor, the occurrence was
discussed, and Mountnorris hazarded an opinion that it had not been
entirely accidental. “Perhaps,” said he, “it was done in revenge of that
public affront that the Lord Deputy had done me formerly. But,” he
added, “he has a brother who would not take such a revenge.”[121]

What Mountnorris may have meant it is impossible to say. In all
probability he meant nothing, for the words were uttered after dinner,
and he was not a man of abstemious habits. Be that as it may, he had
soon reason to rue his imprudence. His words were repeated to the Lord
Deputy, probably by Adam Loftus the younger, who was anxious to succeed
him as Vice-Treasurer. Wentworth, who had previously been in
communication with the king on the subject of Mountnorris’s financial
irregularities, now wrote to request his Majesty’s permission to bring
the Vice-Treasurer before a court-martial on the monstrous charge of
inciting to a mutiny in the army. The permission was granted in
July,[122] but it was not until six months later that the trial was
held. The delay may have been due to the affairs of Connaught, which
left the Lord Deputy little leisure to prosecute a personal quarrel; but
it is also possible that Wentworth did not intend to proceed further in
the matter unless fresh provocation was given. In the autumn,
unfortunately for himself, Mountnorris engaged in an intrigue which
kindled afresh the smouldering anger of the Lord Deputy. He proposed to
the king an iniquitous scheme of taxation, which would, if it had been
adopted, have increased his Majesty’s revenue from £8,000 to
£20,000.[123] Wentworth, eager as he undoubtedly was “to raise a good
revenue for the Crown,” was wise enough to understand that there is a
point beyond which taxation cannot advantageously be pushed. He also
knew his master quite well enough to feel sure that the permanent
interest of the country would have little weight with him against the
prospect of an immediate pecuniary gain. He resolved to crush
Mountnorris without delay.

On December 12th, the unfortunate officer was summoned to a council of
war at Dublin Castle. On his arrival he found several other persons
present, but no one could inform him of the purpose for which their
attendance was required. Wentworth presently arrived and told the
company that it would be their duty to hold a court-martial on Lord
Mountnorris, whose language at the Lord Chancellor’s dinner-party
constituted a breach of two of the articles of war by which the army was
governed. By the 41st article it was ordered that no man should “give
any disgraceful words or commit any act to the disgrace of any person in
the army or garrison, or any part thereof, upon pain of imprisonment,
public disarming, and banishment from the army”; by the 13th that “no
man should offer any violence, or contemptuously disobey his commander,
or do any act or speak any words which are like to breed any mutiny in
the army or garrison, or impeach the obeying of the general or principal
officer’s directions, upon pain of death.” The words, “a brother who
would not take such a revenge” were intended, according to the Lord
Deputy’s interpretation, as an instigation to young Annesley to revenge
himself in some more violent fashion than by the mere dropping of a

Mountnorris was stunned by this unexpected blow. He could neither deny
the words imputed to him, nor offer any plausible explanation of them.
The court, after a short deliberation, returned a verdict of guilty; and
Mountnorris was sentenced “to be shot to death or to lose his head at
the pleasure of the General.” Wentworth, who had been present at the
proceedings but had taken no part in them, then addressed the prisoner
and told him that he need be under no apprehensions so far as the
capital sentence was concerned. “I had rather,” he said, “lose my hand
than you should lose your head.” Mountnorris was kept for a short time
in prison, deprived of his office of Vice-Treasurer, and dismissed from
the army.[124]

These oppressive proceedings added yet another to the numerous enemies
of Wentworth. Lord Cork, who had been compelled to disgorge the
plundered revenues of the Church, and Lord Wilmot, who had been
disgraced for embezzling the property of the Crown,[125] were already
intriguing to procure his recall. With greater justice the De Burghs
complained of his severity to the Galway jury. The Earl of Clanricarde
was lately dead; and, though he was certainly an old man, his end was
generally believed to have been hastened by vexation at the tyranny of
the Lord Deputy.[126] D’Arcy, the sheriff of Galway, had also died not
long after his committal to prison; and his death too was laid at
Wentworth’s door.[127] By the beginning of the following year the outcry
against him had become so loud that he found it advisable to proceed in
person to London to justify himself before the king. He pointed with a
not unjust pride to the undoubted reforms which he had effected in the
government of Ireland. He had found the country on the verge of
bankruptcy; he had established a large and rapidly-increasing revenue,
and that without resorting to the dangerous and unpopular expedient of
exacting the recusancy fines. He had transformed the Irish army from a
disorderly rabble into a disciplined and efficient force; had suppressed
piracy; and had developed the material resources of the island. He had
set his foot upon the jobbery of the Dublin officials, and had done
something, if not much, to improve the scandalous condition of the
Established Church. His most arbitrary acts had been committed in his
master’s interests, and were therefore such as that master was only too
ready to condone. Charles signified his approval in the most gracious
terms. After a few months’ absence Wentworth returned to Ireland with
his enemies silenced and his position apparently impregnable.[128]

Rather more than a year after the Mountnorris court-martial Wentworth
became involved in a dispute with another official which brought upon
him an even fiercer storm of obloquy. In his conflict with Cork he had
had the support of Mountnorris and Loftus; he had afterwards had the
support of Loftus in his conflict with Mountnorris. The Chancellor
himself was destined to be the next victim. In 1621, on the occasion of
his son’s marriage to the daughter of Sir Francis Raishe, his lordship
had entered into an agreement to settle £300 a year on the bride, and
£1,200 in land on her children. Fifteen years afterwards he attempted to
evade his obligations, alleging some technical irregularity in the
marriage contract. On the petition of Sir John Giffard, the legal
representative of the lady’s family, the affair was referred to the
Privy Council. Loftus protested that the claim of the Privy Council to
interfere was unconstitutional, and that the plaintiff ought to have
filed a bill against him in his own court. He would then have been judge
as well as defendant—an arrangement which promised obvious advantages to
a litigant with a lax conscience and a bad case.[129] But it is
dangerous, the old proverb tells us, to prosecute Beelzebub in the court
of Hell; and Giffard was no doubt of opinion that it would be equally
imprudent to proceed against the Lord Chancellor in the Court of
Chancery. The Privy Council decided against Loftus, who renewed his
protests—protests which came with a singularly bad grace from one who
had repeatedly sat upon the same tribunal upon occasions when there had
been much less cogent reasons for a departure from the orthodox method
of procedure. He was thereupon deprived of the seals and imprisoned for
contempt; but subsequently released on acknowledging the jurisdiction of
the court. It does not appear that he had any defence on the merits; but
the exalted position of the delinquent and an abominable, but apparently
groundless rumour that his daughter-in-law had been Wentworth’s
mistress, induced the enemies of the Lord Deputy to give the affair as
much prominence as possible.[130]



Footnote 56:

  In Harris’s _Fiction Unmasked_, pp. 53-60, there is an excellent
  summary of the pretexts put forward for these plantations. The most
  important papers relating to the plantation of Leitrim will be found
  in _Desiderata Curiosa Hibernica_, II., 52-77. Miss Hickson (_Ireland
  in the Seventeenth Century_, II., 276-299) has printed some
  interesting papers relating to the plantations of Longford and Ely
  O’Carroll. For an Irish view of the plantations, see David Rothe’s
  _Analecta Sacra_.

Footnote 57:

  For the Composition of Connaught compare Roderick O’Flaherty’s
  _Chorographical Description of Iar-Connaught_, pp. 309-362, where the
  articles are given in full; _Government of Ireland under Sir John
  Perrott_, pp. 79-86; Rawlinson’s _History of Sir John Perrott_, p.
  149; Wentworth to Coke, August 25, 1635. (_Strafford Letters_, I.,
  450-454.) In the _Calendar of Irish State Papers_, 1615-1625, there
  are several letters containing suggestions for a plantation of

Footnote 58:

  Docwra to ——, March 3, 1618. (_Calendar_, 1615-1625, 399.)

Footnote 59:

  Falkland to Conway, September 11, 1626. (_Calendar_, 1625-1632, 438.)
  Falkland, however, had recommended this step even before the death of
  James. Falkland to the Privy Council, December 11, 1624. (_Calendar_,
  1615-1625, 1324.)

Footnote 60:

  Diary of the Assembly. (_Calendar_, 1625-32, 713.)

Footnote 61:

  Elrington’s _Life of Usher_, pp. 73-74.

Footnote 62:

  _A Remonstrance presented to his Majesty by the Parliament in June,

Footnote 63:

  The Graces in their amended form are given in Wentworth’s letter to
  Coke, October 6, 1634. (_Strafford Letters_, I., 312-328.) The earlier
  draft is printed in the _Calendar of State Papers_, 1625-1632, 446.
  The eighth article runs: “The fine of 12d. a Sunday and holiday for
  not going to church shall be remitted for recusants except in
  particular cases.”

Footnote 64:

  Rushworth’s _Historical Collections_, II., 19.

Footnote 65:

  These depositions, as well as the report of the Commissioners and
  Falkland’s defence, are printed in Gilbert’s _History of the
  Confederation and War in Ireland_, I., 167-217.

Footnote 66:

  Proclamation, April 1, 1629. (_Rushworth_, II., 21.) Similar
  proclamations had been issued in 1617, 1623, and 1624, but they had
  had very little effect.

Footnote 67:

  For the conduct of Archbishop Loftus, see Ware’s _Bishops of Ireland_
  and Elrington’s _Life of Usher_, pp. 6, 115, and for that of some
  later members of his family Lecky’s _History of Ireland_, V. 295. With
  regard to the Chancellor himself, I have collected some evidence in a
  later part of this paper.

Footnote 68:

  Lord Cork was the author of an extremely mendacious autobiographical
  fragment, entitled _True Remembrances_, which is prefixed to the
  collected edition of his son’s works. In Wright’s _History of
  Ireland_, Bk. V., ch. 21, this remarkable able paper is carefully
  analysed and its statements compared with the evidence of more
  trustworthy documents.

Footnote 69:

  Charles to Wilmot, August 5, 1629. (_Calendar_, 1625-1632, 1449.) See
  also with regard to this quarrel the repeated and bitter attacks on
  Loftus in Lord Cork’s Diary (_Lismore Papers_, 1st series). The
  quarrel seems to have originated in the refusal of the Chancellor to
  decide a lawsuit in Lord Cork’s favour some years earlier.

Footnote 70:

  Hammond L’Estrange, _Annals of the Reign of Charles the First_, p.
  116. Compare _Foxes and Firebrands_, pt. 2, p. 71; Wilmot to
  Dorchester, January 6, 1629-30. (_Calendar_, 1625-1632, 1570.)
  “Tharchbishop of Dublin, and the Maior of Dublin, by the direction of
  vs, the Lords Justices, Ransackt the howse of f. fryer in Cook
  Street,” Lord Cork’s Diary, December 26, 1629.

Footnote 71:

  The Catholic University seems to have given particular offence to the
  Protestant clergy. Thus Bedell, writing to Wentworth, complains that
  “his Holiness hath erected a new university at Dublin to confront his
  Majesty’s college there.” (_Strafford Letters_, I., 147.) The
  documents relating to the seizure of its property will be found in
  Mahaffy’s _Epoch of Irish History_, ch. V.

  For an account of St. Patrick’s Purgatory see Richardson’s _Folly of
  Pilgrimages_, p. 44, and for its destruction Lord Cork’s Diary,
  September 8, 1632. In October, 1638, the Queen wrote to Wentworth
  begging him to allow it to be restored. He declined on the ground that
  it was “in the midst of the great Scottish plantation.” (_Strafford
  Letters_, II., 221, 222.)

Footnote 72:

  Lords Justices to Wentworth, February 26, 1631-2. (_Ibid._, I.,

Footnote 73:

  Charles to the Lords Justices, January 12, 1631-2. (_Ibid._, I.,
  62-63.) Miss Hickson has quoted a most significant entry from the MS.
  journal of an Anglo-Irish official: “July 23, 1633. The Lord Viscounte
  Wentworth came to Ireland to govern ye kingdom: manie men feare.”
  (_Ireland in the Seventeenth Century_, I., 52.) Lord Cork expressed
  his dissatisfaction still more forcibly: “A moste cursed man to all
  Ireland and to me in particular.” Diary, July 23, 1633.

Footnote 74:

  Wentworth to Cottington, October 1, 1632. (_Strafford Letters_, I.,

Footnote 75:

  Wentworth to Charles, April 12, 1634. (_Ibid._, I., 182-187.)

Footnote 76:

  Charles to Wentworth, April 17, 1634. (_Ibid._, I., 233.)

Footnote 77:

  Wentworth to Coke, June 24, 1634. (_Ibid._, I., 269, 270.)

Footnote 78:

  Wentworth to Coke, August 18, 1634. (_Ibid._, I., 276-282.)

Footnote 79:

  Wentworth to Coke, October 6, 1634. (_Ibid._, I., 304-328.)

Footnote 80:

  “Your last public despatch has given me a great deal of contentment,
  and especially for keeping off the envy of a necessary negative from
  me of those unreasonable Graces that that people expected from
  me.”—Charles to Wentworth, October 23, 1634. (_Ibid._, I., 331.)

Footnote 81:

  Wentworth to Coke, December 16, 1634. (_Ibid._, I., 345-353.) For the
  proceedings of this Parliament I have also consulted the _Irish
  Commons’ Journals_, I., pp. 59-119, but they add very little to our
  information. For its legislation see _Irish Statutes_, 10 and 11,
  Charles I.

Footnote 82:

  Charles to Wentworth, January 22, 1634-5. (_Strafford Letters_, I.,

Footnote 83:

  Wentworth to Laud, January 31, 1633-4. (_Ibid._, I., 187-189.)

Footnote 84:

  Bedell to Laud, April I, 1630. (Burnet’s _Life of Bedell_, pp. 35,

Footnote 85:

  _A full Confutation of the Covenant, lately sworn and subscribed by
  many in Scotland: delivered in a speech at the visitation of Down and
  Connor, September 26, 1638._ By Henry Leslie.

Footnote 86:

  The Irish articles are printed in Elrington’s _Life of Usher_,
  Appendix, xxxiii.—L.

Footnote 87:

  Bramhall to Laud, August 10, 1633. (Collier’s _Ecclesiastical
  History_, VIII., 72-75.)

Footnote 88:

  “Every parish hath its priest, and some two or three apiece; and so
  their mass-houses also; in some places mass is said in the churches.”
  Bedell to Laud, April 1, 1630. Compare a report some years earlier on
  the ecclesiastical state of the province of Armagh, from which long
  extracts are printed in Mant’s _History of the Church of Ireland_, I.,

Footnote 89:

  Heylin’s _History of Presbyterianism_, p. 393.

Footnote 90:

  See the autobiographies of Robert Blair and John Livingston, two of
  the ministers who obtained benefices by these means; also Adair’s
  _True Narrative of the Rise and Progress of the Presbyterian Church in
  Ireland_, 1623-1670; and Dr. Killen’s preface.

Footnote 91:

  Vesey’s _Life of Bramhall_.

Footnote 92:

  Bedell to Laud, August 7, 1630. (_Two Lives of William Bedell_, pp.

Footnote 93:

  Clogy’s _Life of Bedell_, p. 118.

Footnote 94:

  See much evidence of this in Ware’s _Bishops of Ireland_.

Footnote 95:

  Wentworth to Laud, December, 1633. (_Strafford Letters_, I., 171-173.)

Footnote 96:

  “My Lord, I did not take you to be so good a physician before as now I
  see you are; for the truth is, a great many Church cormorants have fed
  so full upon it that they are fallen into a fever; and for that no
  physic better than a vomit, if it be given in time; and therefore you
  have taken a very judicious course to administer one so early to my
  Lord of Cork. I hope it will do him good, though perchance he thinks
  not so, for if the fever hang long about him or the rest it will
  certainly shake either them or their estates in pieces.”—Laud to
  Wentworth, November 15, 1633. (_Ibid._, I., 155, 156.)

Footnote 97:

  Laud to Wentworth, March 11, 1634. (_Ibid._, I., 211.) See also
  several letters in the _Lismore Papers_, 2nd series, and Mason’s
  _History and Antiquities of the Collegiate and Cathedral Church of St.
  Patrick_, pp. liii., liv.

Footnote 98:

  Ware’s _Annals of Ireland_, A.D. 1560.

Footnote 99:

  The best accounts of the Convocations of 1613-15 and 1634-35 are in
  Elrington’s _Life of Usher_, pp. 39-49, and 165-187.

Footnote 100:

  Wentworth to Laud, August 23, 1634. (_Strafford Letters_, I.,

Footnote 101:

  “The Popish party, growing extreme perverse in the Commons House, and
  the Parliament thereby in great danger to have been lost in a storm,
  had so taken up all my thoughts and endeavours that, for five or six
  days, it was not almost possible for me to take an account how
  business went among them of the clergy.”—Wentworth to Laud, December
  16, 1634. (_Ibid._, I., 342-345.)

Footnote 102:


Footnote 103:

  Mahaffy’s _Epoch of Irish History_, ch. VI.

Footnote 104:

  Wentworth to Laud, January 31, 1633-34. (_Strafford Letters_, I.,

Footnote 105:

  Brief of his Majesty’s title to Connaught. (_Ibid._, I., 454-458.) For
  the history of the settlement of the De Burghs in Connaught compare
  Matthew Paris, _Historia_, p. 230, etc.; _Annals of Lough Cé_; preface
  to Lord Clanricarde’s _Memoirs_; The O’Conor Don’s _O’Conors of
  Connaught_, pp. 88-95.

Footnote 106:

  Wentworth to Charles, December 9, 1636. (_Strafford Letters_, II.,

Footnote 107:

  Wentworth to Coke, July 14, 1635. (_Ibid._, I., 442-444.)

Footnote 108:

  “Sir Lucas Dillon, the foreman of the jury, hath behaved himself with
  so much discretion and expressed all along so good affections, as I
  cannot choose but here to mention him, and hereafter to beseech his
  Majesty he may be remembered when upon the dividing of the lands his
  own particular come in question. In truth, he deserves to be
  extraordinarily well dealt withal.”—(_Ibid._)

Footnote 109:

  Wentworth and the Commissioners to Coke, August 25, 1635, and
  enclosures. (_Ibid._, I., 450-458.) For the fining of the jury we have
  Wentworth’s own admission; if his enemies may be believed, they were
  also “pilloried with loss of ears, bored through the tongue, and
  marked in the forehead with a hot iron, with other like infamous
  punishments.”—_Irish Commons’ Journals._

Footnote 110:

  Coke to Wentworth, September 20, 1635. (_Strafford Letters_, I.,

Footnote 111:

  It was finally abandoned in April, 1641. See Gardiner’s _History of
  England_, X., 45, where a letter of the Lords Justices is quoted.

Footnote 112:

  “The Plantations prove a most laborious work; I could not imagine
  their march had been so heavy.”—Wentworth to Charles, June 5, 1638.
  (_Strafford Letters_, II., 175.) In another letter he recommends that
  a body of cavalry should be sent into Connaught “as fit lookers-on
  whilst the plantations are settling.” Wentworth to Coke, August 10,
  1638. (_Ibid._, II., 197-201.) For the influence of Lord Clanricarde
  in preventing the plantation, see Wentworth to Coke, May 18 and July
  9, to Charles, July 9 and August 13, 1639, (_Ibid._, II., 340,
  366-369, 381.)

Footnote 113:

  Wentworth to Charles, June 5, 1638. (_Ibid._, II., 175-176.)

Footnote 114:

  Wentworth has been generally blamed for this sentence, which was one
  of the principal matters urged against him at his trial; but, though
  it is evident from several passages in his _Letters_ that he regarded
  it with approval and was ready to turn it to the King’s advantage, the
  case had actually been pending for some years before he came to
  Ireland. See the correspondence between Charles I and the Lords
  Justices in 1631. (_Concise View of the Irish Society._ Appendix, pp.

Footnote 115:

  Reid’s _History of the Presbyterian Church in Ireland_, I., 213.
  Leland’s _History of Ireland_, III., 40, 41.

Footnote 116:

  “There was little or no manufacture amongst them, but some small
  beginnings towards a clothing trade, which I had and so should still
  discourage all I could, unless otherwise directed by his Majesty and
  their lordships, in regard, it would trench not only upon the
  clothings of England, being our staple commodity, so as if they should
  manufacture their own wools, which grew to very great quantities, we
  should not only lose the profit we made now by indraping their wools,
  but his Majesty lose extremely by his Customs, and, in conclusion, it
  might be feared they would beat us out of the trade itself, by
  under-selling us, which they were well able to do.”—Wentworth to
  Wandesford, July 25, 1636. (_Strafford Letters_, II., 13-23.) For his
  encouragement of the linen trade see the same letter.

Footnote 117:

  Wentworth to Coke, November 28, 1636. (_Ibid._, II., 38-39.)

Footnote 118:

  Wentworth to Coke, August 3, 1633. (_Ibid._, I., 97.)

Footnote 119:

  Townshend’s _Life and Letters of the Great Earl of Cork_, pp. 180-181.

Footnote 120:

  Wentworth to Coke, March 25 and April 7, 1635 (_Strafford Letters_,
  I., 391, 392, 400-407.)

Footnote 121:

  Wentworth to Coke, December 15, 1635. (_Ibid._, I., 497-501.)
  Rushworth’s _Trial of the Earl of Strafford_. The account in Clarendon
  (_History of the Great Rebellion_, III., 111-114) is inaccurate.

Footnote 122:

  Charles to Wentworth, July 31, 1635. (_Strafford Letters_, I., 448.)

Footnote 123:

  Laud to Wentworth, January 2, 1635-6. (Laud’s _Works_, VII., 216) and
  Wentworth’s reply, March 9. (_Strafford Letters_, I., 517.)

Footnote 124:

  Wentworth to Coke, December 14 and 15, 1635. (_Ibid._, I., 497-501.)
  Sentence on Lord Mountnorris, enclosed in the preceding. _Somers
  Tracts_, IV., 202-208. Rushworth’s _Trial of the Earl of Strafford_,
  pp. 186-204.

Footnote 125:

  Coke to Wentworth, October 26, 1635, enclosing Lord Wilmot’s
  submission. (_Strafford Letters_, I., 477.)

Footnote 126:

  “This last packet advertised the death of the Earl of St. Albans, and
  that it is reported my harsh usage broke his heart. God and your
  Majesty know my innocency; they might as well have imputed unto me for
  a crime his being three-score and ten years old.”—Wentworth to
  Charles, December 5, 1635. (_Ibid._, 491-493.)

Footnote 127:

  “I am full of belief they will lay the charge of D’Arcy the sheriff’s
  death unto me; my arrows are cruel that wound so mortally; but I
  should be more sorry by much the King should lose his fine.”—Wentworth
  to Wandesford, July 25, 1636. (_Ibid._, II., 13-23.)

Footnote 128:

  Wentworth’s own defence of his administration is contained in the
  letter to Wandesford quoted in the preceding note.

Footnote 129:

  “And, forasmuch as relief could only be sought for upon the said
  agreement in a course of equity, which was most proper to be had in
  the High Court of Chancery of this kingdom, where his lordship should
  become both judge and party; therefore, and to the intent justice
  might be done, he (Giffard) prayed that the said matter might be
  referred to the Lord Deputy and Council of Ireland to be by them heard
  and determined.”—Report by Arthur, Earl of Essex, August 18, 1674.

Footnote 130:

  Report by J. T. Gilbert on the MSS. of the Marquis of Drogheda.
  (_Historical MSS. Commission, 9th report_, pp. 293-330.) Clarendon’s
  _History of the Great Rebellion_, III., 115-117.



                                PART II

                           THE EVE OF “1641”

                            BY PHILIP WILSON



                                PART II

                           THE EVE OF “1641”

THE real or fancied grievances of Loftus and Mountnorris excited far
more indignation in England than the wrongs of the native population;
but it is not by his dealings with a few powerful and corrupt
functionaries, but by his treatment of the mass of the Irish people that
Wentworth’s administration must be judged. Of his action in the matter
of the Connaught plantation it is impossible to speak too severely. In
other respects his government was just and equitable; too equitable,
indeed, to secure the approbation of the colonists, who conceived that
they had an inalienable right to trample upon the older inhabitants. On
the subject of religious liberty his views, while by no means consonant
to modern notions of justice, were, on the whole, in advance of those of
his contemporaries.

Bacon, in the preceding reign, had recommended toleration, not as a
thing desirable in itself, but as a temporary expedient which the
peculiar circumstances of Ireland required.[131] Wentworth’s view was
substantially the same as Bacon’s. He undoubtedly looked forward to the
ultimate suppression of every religion other than that legally
established. But he was far too wise a man to have recourse to violent
and indiscriminate coercion. “I am not ignorant,” he wrote to
Cottington, “how much every good Englishman ought, as well in reason of
state as conscience, to desire that kingdom were well reduced to
conformity of religion with us here, as indeed shutting up the postern
gate to many a dangerous inconvenience and mischief. But,” he added, “it
is a great business, hath many a root lying deep and far within the
ground, which would be first thoroughly opened before we judge what
height it may shoot up into, when it shall feel itself once struck at,
to be loosened and pulled up.”[132] “It were too much,” he says in
another letter, “at once to distemper them by bringing plantations upon
them and disturbing them in the exercise of their religion, so long as
it be without scandal; and so indeed very inconsiderate, as I conceive,
to move in this latter till that former be fully settled, and by that
means the Protestant party become by much the stronger, which in truth
as yet I do not conceive it to be.”[133] Under his government,
therefore, the priests performed their functions without interference;
and this modified tolerance was afterwards made a prominent grievance by
the Puritan party.[134]

There was another section of the community which Wentworth was not
disposed to treat with equal leniency. As has been already mentioned, a
great number of the northern benefices were at this time filled by
ministers who refused to conform to the established ritual. During the
reign of James these persons had occupied an extremely anomalous
position, being unmolested by the Government, but not enjoying a legal
toleration. To Wentworth the sectaries, as they were called, were at
least as odious as the Catholics; and the bishops whom he promoted
exerted themselves for the suppression of irregularities at which their
more tolerant predecessors had connived. Bramhall, who had accompanied
the Lord Deputy to Ireland as his chaplain, and had subsequently been
advanced to the see of Derry, and Henry Lesley, Bishop of Down and
Connor, were especially active in the persecution of the
Nonconformists.[135] Clergymen who refused to subscribe the new canons
were deprived of their cures, and, in many cases, driven from the
country. Some fled to Scotland, others to New England. The majority made
a pretence of submission, while secretly animating their flocks to
resistance. After the riots which broke out in Edinburgh in 1637 the
situation became still more critical. Of the inhabitants of Ulster a
large majority were Scotchmen, and of the Scotchmen in Ulster at least
nine in ten were Presbyterians. Between these men and their kindred in
the western shires of Scotland a constant correspondence was
maintained—partly by itinerant preachers, partly by persons engaged in
trade, and partly by landowners who possessed estates in both countries.
It is not, therefore, surprising that the success of the Scotch
insurgents should have produced important results in Ireland. The
Puritan party, who had lately cowered beneath the tyranny of the
bishops, now adopted a firmer and more menacing attitude; openly
proclaimed their sympathy with the Covenanters; and began to express a
hope of obtaining concessions similar to those which the Government had
been compelled to make in Scotland.[136] In July, 1638, Charles,
realising that a peaceful accommodation with the Scots was no longer
possible, despatched a secret agent to Wentworth to inquire what
assistance he might expect from Ireland in the approaching struggle. The
Lord Deputy’s reply was not encouraging. During the past four years the
Irish army had been greatly improved in quality; but it was still very
inadequate in point of numbers. It amounted in all only to two thousand
foot and six hundred horse, “which, in a time better secured, is rather
too little than otherwise to ascertain the peace and tranquillity of
this government and subject.” The plantations in Connaught and other
parts of the kingdom, were still unsettled, “and the people more apt,
consequently, to stir upon so great an alteration as these will bring
amongst them than at another time.” There were also “great numbers of
Scotch in Ulster, undoubtedly of the same affections your Majesty finds
in Scotland, and by so much the more diligently to be attended, by how
much the nearer they are to the mutual encouragement and succours they
may communicate, the one to the other.” Under these circumstances to
withdraw any part of his small forces would be “a means to raise and
spread the flame, to have the fire here also kindled, whilst they find
us not in so full power to contain them, as now by God’s blessing I
conceive we are.” He thought, however, that it would be possible to
raise some additional levies, “whereof as many as may be to be English.
For, howbeit the Irish might do very good service, being a people
removed from the Scottish, as well in affections as religion; yet it is
not safe to train them up more than needs must in the military way,
which, the present occasion past, might arm their old affections to do
us more mischief, and put new and dangerous thoughts into them after
they are returned home again, as of necessity they must, without further
employment or provision, than what they had of their own before.”
Meanwhile he intended to move the greater part of his present army into
Ulster “as near Scotland as may be,” both to reduce that province to
obedience “and perchance cause some little diversion on the other side,
by reason of our being so close upon them.”[137] In November, in
response to a renewed appeal from his master, Wentworth agreed to send a
body of five hundred picked men to the defence of Carlisle; the places
of these troops being immediately supplied by new levies.[138]

At the beginning of the following year the Lord Deputy, finding that the
disturbances in Ulster still continued, and that a design had been
formed to surprise the town of Carrickfergus, had recourse to an act of
tyranny more outrageous than any upon which he had yet ventured. An
oath, called by the Presbyterians “the Black Oath,” was framed by the
Irish Council and imposed upon all the inhabitants of Ulster above the
age of sixteen years, “upon the holy evangelists, and that upon pain of
his Majesty’s high displeasure, and the uttermost and most severe
punishments which may be inflicted according to the laws of this realm
on contemners of sovereign authority.” The oath ran as follows: “I do
faithfully swear, profess and promise that I will honour and obey my
sovereign lord King Charles, and will bear faith and true allegiance
unto him, and defend and maintain his royal power and authority, and
that I will not bear arms or do any rebellious or hostile act against
him, or protest against any of his royal commands, but submit myself in
all due obedience thereunto; and that I will not enter into any
covenant, oath, or band of mutual defence and assistance against any
persons whatsoever by force, without his Majesty’s sovereign and regal
authority. And I do renounce and abjure all covenants, oaths and bands
whatsoever, contrary to what I have herein sworn, professed, and
promised. So help me God in Christ Jesus.”[139]

“The generality,” says a Presbyterian historian, “did take it, who were
not bound with a conscience; others hid themselves or fled, leaving
their homes and goods; and divers were imprisoned and kept in divers
gaols for a considerable time. This proved the hottest piece of
persecution this poor infant church had met with, and the strongest wind
to separate between the wheat and the chaff. However, God strengthened
many to hazard all before they would swallow it. In the county of Down
not only divers left their habitations and most of their goods, and
followed to Scotland, but others were apprehended and imprisoned, and
they were kept long in the prison, till thereafter Wentworth was
executed in England. In the county of Antrim, likewise, many were
necessitated to flee, wherein they sustained great loss in the goods
they left behind them; and yet were provided for, and lived sparingly in
Scotland under the Gospel; and those men who were fit for war were made
use of in the levies of Scotland about that time. The like suffering
befell those of the Scottish nation who were godly in the counties of
Tyrone and Londonderry; fewer of them going at first to Scotland they
were subject to the more suffering. Upon refusing the oath they had
their names returned to Dublin, from whence pursuivants were sent to
apprehend those who were refractory. Divers were apprehended and taken
prisoners to Dublin; others, though sent for, yet by special and very
remarkable providences escaped the pursuivants who were most earnest to
apprehend them. Thus that spirit raged amongst them before the
rebellion, persecuting and imprisoning all who would not conform and
take the Black Oath; amongst whom were divers women eminent in suffering
with patience and constancy, which become the godly.”[140]

It was by the common people that these oppressive proceedings, for which
a petition signed by a handful of Episcopalian residents in Ulster was
considered a sufficient pretext, were chiefly felt; but Wentworth was
equally ready to strike at more exalted offenders. Among the refugees
whom the tyranny of the Puritan party had driven from Scotland was a
clergyman of considerable literary talents named John Corbet. In the
summer of 1639 this gentleman fled to Dublin, where he published a
pamphlet in which he inveighed against the proceedings of his countrymen
with an acrimony which even the persecution which he had suffered cannot
wholly excuse.[141] This production recommended him to the favour of the
Lord Deputy, who presented him to a valuable living in the diocese of
Killala. The see of Killala was at this time filled by Archibald Adair,
a Scotchman, who, in spite of his episcopal office, appears to have
entertained a secret bias in favour of the Presbyterian discipline.
Adair was imprudent enough to rebuke Corbet with some asperity for his
hostility to the Covenant; the latter immediately complained to
Wentworth; and the bishop was dragged before the High Commission Court
and deprived of his bishopric. He was succeeded by John Maxwell,
formerly Bishop of Ross, one of the prelates who had been driven from
their sees during the recent ecclesiastical revolution in Scotland.[142]

On March 18, 1640, Wentworth, now Earl of Strafford and Lord Lieutenant
of Ireland, returned from England to Dublin, where a parliament met two
days later. The financial embarrassments produced by the Scotch war had
at length compelled Charles to summon a parliament in England; and
Strafford, who had himself urged his master to have recourse to this
most unpalatable expedient, thought it advisable that the Irish
legislature should meet some weeks earlier. He believed that he would be
able to extort from that body a sum which would not only prove extremely
serviceable to his Majesty, but might have the effect of stimulating the
liberality of his English subjects. Nor was his confidence altogether
misplaced. Although the whole country was seething with discontent the
Parliament professed the most extravagant loyalty. The Catholics,
intensely as they resented the plantations, dreaded the fanaticism of
the Puritans even more than the tyranny of the Viceroy. The settlers had
their own grievances, but, surrounded as they were by a hostile
population, did not dare to come to an open rupture with the Government.
Many of the smaller constituencies were represented by civil and
military officials who voted at the dictation of the Lord Lieutenant. A
grant of four subsidies was proposed, and carried with enthusiastic
unanimity. A few days later a letter from the King was received,
intimating that, if the rebellion in Scotland continued, even this
enormous supply might not be sufficient. Two additional subsidies were
proposed, and voted with equal alacrity. Not satisfied with these
practical proofs of their loyalty, the Commons prefixed to their grant
an elaborate panegyric on the Lord Lieutenant, and a declaration of
their unswerving devotion to the royal person.[143] Indeed the only
incident which occurred to disturb their harmony had its origin in the
intemperate zeal of the Upper House. The Lords were eager to concur in
the loyal declarations of the Commons; and, at the suggestion of the
Earl of Ormond, the zealous friend of the Lord Lieutenant, a resolution
was carried congratulating the Commons on their liberality, and
expressing a wish that the intended declaration might be made the joint
act of both Houses. This well-meant proposal aroused unexpected
indignation. The Commons claimed the exclusive right of taxation; they
resented the action of the peers as an unconstitutional encroachment on
their privileges, and peremptorily refused to unite with them in the
proposed declaration. The Lords were compelled to rescind the obnoxious
resolution and to content themselves with a separate declaration, which
was duly entered in their own journals.[144] On the 1st of April the
Houses, having served the purpose for which they had been convened, were
adjourned until the following June. Two days later the Lord Lieutenant
sailed for England, having entrusted the civil government to Wandesford,
and the command of the forces to the Earl of Ormond.

Strafford had resolved to devote the sums which were now at the disposal
of the Government to the increase of the Irish army. During his absence
the task devolved upon Ormond, who performed it with amazing rapidity.
By the middle of the summer a body of eight thousand foot and one
thousand horse was collected at Carrickfergus—the point whence they
might be most easily employed for the invasion of Scotland. It is
significant of the change which had taken place in Strafford’s views
during the past year that, whereas the old army had been exclusively
composed of Protestants, the new levies were mainly or entirely Roman
Catholic.[145] A few months earlier the Lord Lieutenant had been
vehemently opposed to the enlistment of the native Irish. In July, 1638,
Charles, who was then meditating the invasion of Scotland, had received
an offer of assistance from an unexpected quarter. In the preceding
century a number of clans from the Hebrides and the Western Highlands
had established themselves upon the coast of Ulster, and had
subsequently played an important part in the civil wars of the province,
occasionally assisting the Government, but generally co-operating with
the natives, whose language and customs did not materially differ from
their own. Of these clans the Macdonnells were by far the most
powerful.[146] During the reign of Elizabeth, Sorley Boy Macdonnell,
chief of the clan, had been engaged in frequent hostilities with
successive governors. On the accession of James his son Randal had been
confirmed in the possession of his estates, to which he had succeeded
two years previously. This gentleman married a daughter of the Earl of
Tyrone, and, after the flight of his father-in-law, appears to have
become an object of suspicion to Chichester, then Lord Deputy. He
speedily, however, made his peace with the Government, was raised to the
peerage in 1618 as Viscount Dunluce, and, a few years later, created
Earl of Antrim. His son, Randal, the second earl, married in 1635 the
widow of the unfortunate Duke of Buckingham, by whose means he obtained
a considerable influence at the court of England, where his fervid
Catholicism secured for him the favour of Queen Henrietta Maria. When
disturbances broke out in Scotland and it became known that the
Covenanters had entrusted the principal command to the Earl of Argyle,
the hereditary enemy of the Macdonnells, Antrim undertook to raise an
army of Irish and Highland Catholics to assist the King in the reduction
of the Scotch rebels. The offer was tempting, for the earl commanded an
extensive following in both countries, and Charles was eager to avail
himself of it; but Wentworth, who hated all Celts, and particularly
detested Antrim, expressed his disapproval in the strongest terms. To
Antrim himself, whom, in deference to the King’s wishes, it was
necessary to make a show of consulting, the Lord Deputy hinted that he
had perhaps underrated the difficulty of the enterprise; that, while it
would be easy to raise troops, it would be less easy to pay and feed
them; that the cost of arms and transports would be enormous; that the
hazards of the attempt would be great and the consequences, in the event
of failure, serious. To his colleagues in the English council he
explained his real objections with greater frankness. The earl was the
grandson of Tyrone, and therefore an object of distrust and aversion to
the Englishry. Of the officers whom he proposed to employ, some had
passed their lives in the Spanish service and were believed to retain
Spanish sympathies. His troops would necessarily be recruited from
amongst the native Irish, “children of habituated rebels,” from whom, if
they were once armed, some sudden outrage might be apprehended. It would
be a grave scandal if the King were to make use of a Roman Catholic army
and a Roman Catholic general. It would afford the Scotch, who were very
numerous in Ulster, a plausible pretext for arming to defend themselves,
and thus the whole province might be thrown into a blaze. These
arguments were pronounced by Windebank to be “very solid and
unanswerable”; and, after some months spent in fruitless negotiations,
the scheme was abandoned.[147] In the spring of 1640, however, the hour
for such scruples had gone by. It was necessary, if the Crown was to
retain any vestige of authority, to raise an army in Ireland. It was
impossible in their present temper to have any confidence in the loyalty
of the Protestant settlers; and Strafford, who never hesitated to adapt
his policy to circumstances, appealed to the native population. Perhaps
no act of his administration contributed in so large a measure to bring
upon him the vengeance of the English Parliament.

The Houses met again on the 1st of June. Although only two months had
elapsed since the last session, the political situation had completely
changed. The Covenanters were victorious in their own country, and were
preparing to invade England. A Parliament had been held at Westminster
in April, and, having refused to grant supplies, had been suddenly and
ungraciously dismissed. This arbitrary act inflamed the popular
discontent. The disaffected in Ireland—and there were few of any class
or creed in Ireland who had not good grounds for disaffection—were
encouraged by the disturbances in the sister kingdoms, and no longer
cowed by the presence of the terrible viceroy. The officers, on whom
Strafford had been wont to rely for the management of the House of
Commons, were absent, detained by their military duties; and the
Catholic and Puritan parties, whose mutual jealousies it had been a main
object of his policy to foster, had agreed to suspend their former
quarrels, and formed a close alliance for the purpose of embarrassing
the Government. On many points the wishes of the two parties were
irreconcilable; but there were two feelings which were shared in equal
measure by both sections of the opposition—indignation at the tyranny of
the Lord Lieutenant, and hatred of the Established Church. A
remonstrance denouncing the corruption of the ecclesiastical courts and
the exorbitant fees demanded by the Anglican clergy was proposed and
carried by a large majority. The Commons next complained that the
supplies voted in the preceding session were excessive; and, without
actually rescinding their recent grant, suggested an alteration in the
manner of collecting the subsidies which would greatly reduce their
value. Alarmed at their violence, Wandesford prorogued the Parliament
until October, when he perhaps hoped that the Lord Lieutenant might be
able to resume his duties.[148]

In October, however, Strafford was still in England; and the ill-humour
of the Houses had increased rather than diminished during the recess.
The third session of the Irish Parliament was even more turbulent than
the second. A number of unpopular laws had been enacted in the last
Parliament: these laws were now declared to be grievances, and an
address to the Lord Deputy was carried requiring him to suspend their
execution. In June the Commons had resolved that the remaining subsidies
should be collected “in a moderate parliamentary way;” they now
explained their wishes more precisely, and insisted that no man should
be taxed to more than the tenth part of his income. On both these points
Wandesford was obliged to comply with their demands.[149]

While the Irish Parliament were thus manifesting their implacable
hostility to his government, the Lord Lieutenant, who appears to have
been wholly ignorant of the change which had taken place in their
temper, submitted to Sir George Radcliffe one of the most remarkable
proposals which have ever proceeded from a British minister. The Ulster
Scots were now the great objects of his animosity, and the severities
hitherto employed had served rather to irritate than to intimidate them.
As a last hope of preserving the tranquillity of the country Strafford
now proposed that, with the assent of the Irish Parliament and the
assistance of the native Catholics, the entire colony should be
transported back to Scotland—a most significant comment on the
advantages which the English monarchy is popularly supposed to have
derived from the Plantation of Ulster. “It will be objected,” he wrote,
“that the Scots are many in number, every ordinary fellow still carrying
his sword and pistol; and therefore unsafe to be too far provoked. I
answer—’tis more unsafe to deal with an enemy by halves; and that, I
fear, will fall out to be our case, if resolutely this design be not put
in execution; for who sees not, if the now standing army be not able,
without any manner of danger or difficulty, to give them the law, and
send them forthwith packing—I say, who sees not that, upon Argyle’s
landing and arming of them, we shall be exposed to a most assured scorn
and certain ruin?” It is evident that Strafford, when he wrote these
words, relied for the success of his project upon the servility of
Protestant royalists and the traditional feud between the Catholic and
Puritan parties; but Radcliffe, who had formed a juster estimate of the
actual condition of the country, did not dare to communicate the
proposal to the Irish Parliament.[150]

That body was by no means satisfied with its recent triumphs. In the
first week of November the Commons, acting, it is said, at the
instigation of some members of the English Parliament, which had met a
few days earlier, notably of Sir John Clotworthy, a Presbyterian
landowner, who had been driven from Ulster by the tyranny of Strafford,
and now represented the borough of Malden, drew up a remonstrance
enumerating the principal grievances from which the kingdom had suffered
under the administration of the Lord Lieutenant. The remonstrance was
composed of sixteen articles, of which the first related to the general
decay of trade, said to be due to new and illegal methods of taxation;
the second and third to the arbitrary interference of the Lord
Lieutenant and Council with private lawsuits; the fourth and fifth to
the refusal of the Graces and the inquiries into defective titles,
particularly in the province of Connaught; the sixth and seventh to
monopolies, especially the monopoly of tobacco; the eighth to “the
extreme and cruel usage of the inhabitants of the city and county of
Londonderry”; the ninth to the tyranny of the High Commission Court; the
tenth to the exactions of the Anglican clergy; the eleventh to the
misappropriation of the revenue; the twelfth to a proclamation issued in
1635 prohibiting gentlemen to leave the kingdom without license; the
thirteenth to the disfranchisement of certain ancient boroughs, by which
the Parliament was said to have been deprived of the services of many
good and useful members; the fourteenth to the intimidation practised by
ministers in the House of Commons; the fifteenth to the exorbitant and
illegal fees demanded by subordinate officials in the courts of justice;
and the last to the impoverishment of merchants and other subjects owing
to the intolerable rapacity of the tax-farmers. On the 11th the House
appointed a committee of thirteen members, four from Leinster, and three
from each of the other provinces, who were instructed to proceed to
London and present the remonstrance to the King. On the 12th the
Parliament was once more prorogued.[151]

The committee, meanwhile, had sailed for England, without waiting for
the license of the Deputy. On their arrival in London they found the
Earl of Strafford a prisoner, accused of high treason, and the leaders
of the popular party busily employed in collecting evidence against him.
Ireland had been the principal scene of the fallen minister’s activity,
and it was to his Irish administration that his accusers chiefly looked
to furnish matter which might justify his impeachment. On the 6th of
November, Pym had moved for a committee to enquire into the affairs of
that kingdom; and the motion, which was seconded by Sir John Clotworthy,
had been carried by a large majority. To this committee the Irish agents
now addressed themselves. The remonstrance was laid before the House of
Commons on the 20th, was made the subject of an exhaustive discussion,
and was much used in the subsequent prosecution of the Lord

In Ireland, meanwhile, all was chaos. Wandesford died suddenly at the
beginning of December, broken-hearted at the calamities of his patron
and the alarming condition of the country. After an interregnum of some
weeks Charles was reluctantly compelled to entrust the government to two
Lords Justices, who were understood to enjoy the confidence of the
English Parliament; Sir William Parsons, Master of the Court of Wards,
and Sir John Borlase, Master of the Ordnance.[153] The first was an
astute and rapacious official, who had amassed a vast fortune at the
expense of the native proprietors; the second a rough soldier,
inexperienced except in the business of his profession. The Houses met
again in February and speedily gave fresh proofs of their unabated
hostility to the Government. During the last session a remonstrance,
identical with that voted in the House of Commons, had been proposed in
the Lords, but had been defeated owing to the opposition of the Earl of
Ormond. A few days after the prorogation, however, the principal Roman
Catholic peers had at an informal meeting deputed three of their number
to proceed to London and lay their grievances before the Parliament.
These noblemen, with one other, were now authorized to act in the name
of the entire body; to repeat the complaints of the Commons; and to
adduce others relating to matters which particularly affected their own

While the Lords were thus manifesting their implacable animosity against
the Earl of Strafford, the Commons were adopting even more violent
measures. The remonstrance had placed a formidable weapon in the hands
of the managers of the impeachment; but its effect was much diminished
by the fulsome panegyric upon the Lord Lieutenant which had been
prefixed to the act of supply voted in the preceding year. The Commons
now declared that this panegyric had been fraudulently inserted in the
Act by the earl or his creatures; protested that the matter of it was
entirely false; and petitioned the King that it might be expunged from
the records.[155] A few days later a similar resolution was proposed in
the Upper House, and carried in spite of the opposition of Ormond and
other royalist peers.[156] The two Houses next prepared a list of
constitutional questions, which were submitted to the judges for
consideration. To these questions, which related to the judicial powers
claimed and exercised by the Lord Lieutenant, the validity of acts of
State, the jurisdiction of the Castle Chamber and the High Commission
Court, the exercise of martial law in time of peace, the punishment of
jurors who refused to find for the Crown, the right of the judges to
accept bribes, and some other matters of less importance, the judges
declared themselves unable to return immediate answers. The questions
were thereupon forwarded to the Irish committee in London, who were
instructed to communicate them to the English Parliament.[157] Finally,
on the 27th of February, Audley Mervyn, the principal spokesman of the
Puritan party, carried to the bar of the House of Lords articles of
impeachment against Sir Richard Bolton, Lord Chancellor of Ireland,
John, Bishop of Derry, Sir Gerald Lowther, Lord Chief Justice of the
Common Pleas, and Sir George Radcliffe, Kt., all of whom were jointly
and severally charged with having traitorously conspired with Thomas,
Earl of Strafford, to introduce an arbitrary and tyrannical government
and to subvert the liberties of Parliament and the fundamental laws of
the realm.[158]

These impeachments were among the last acts of the coalition. An
alliance between parties who agreed in nothing save a common hatred was
inevitably dissolved by the destruction of the common enemy. Even before
the Act of Attainder had received the royal assent, the Catholic section
of the opposition had had some reason to be alarmed at the conduct of
their Puritan allies. In the last week of April a petition, described as
proceeding from “some Protestant inhabitants of the counties of Antrim,
Down, Derry, Tyrone, and Armagh,” was presented to the House of Commons
by Sir John Clotworthy. The petitioners complained that “partly by the
cruel severity and arbitrary proceedings of the civil magistrate, but
principally through the unblest way of the prelacy with their faction
their souls were starved, their estates undone, their families
impoverished, and many among them cut off and destroyed.”

Their chief grievance, however, appeared to consist in the laxity with
which the laws against recusants were administered. Titular bishops were
winked at. Mass priests were frequent and pretended a title to every
parish in the kingdom. Masses were “publicly celebrated without
controulment, to the great grief of God’s people, and increase of
idolatry and superstition.” Friaries and nunneries were tolerated; and
in many places Papists were permitted to keep schools, “unto some
whereof such multitudes of children and young men do resort that they
may be esteemed rather universities, teaching therein not only the
tongues, but likewise the liberal arts and sciences.”[159]

The fanatical tone of this petition, the favour with which it was
received by the Parliament, and the persecution of the English Catholics
completely alienated the Irish from the Puritan party. At the same time
the fall of Strafford had removed the main obstacle to a reconciliation
between the King and the recusants. Urged on by the Queen, and alarmed
at the critical condition of his other kingdoms, Charles at length
resolved to conciliate his Irish subjects. In May the Lords Justices
received instructions to prepare a Bill for the limitation of the royal
title, and another for securing the possessions of the Connaught
gentry.[160] These and some other less serious concessions effected a
rapid change in the sentiments of the Catholic leaders, and the men who
in the spring of 1641 had united with the Puritans to resist the tyranny
of the Crown took arms in the autumn of the same year to defend the
Crown against the encroachments of the Puritans.



Footnote 131:

  Considerations touching the Queen’s service in Ireland. (_Cabala_,
  II., 52).

Footnote 132:

  Wentworth to Cottington, October 1, 1632. (_Strafford Letters_, I.,

Footnote 133:

  Wentworth to Coke, November 28, 1636. (_Ibid._, II., 38, 39.)

Footnote 134:

  “Certainly it is my duty to witness this truth for his Majesty, that,
  since I had the honour to be employed in this place, he hath not been
  pleased that the hair of any man’s head should be touched for the free
  exercise of his conscience.” Wentworth to Con, May 15, 1637. (_Ibid._,
  II., 112.) Compare the charge made against him at his trial of showing
  favour to Catholics. Rushworth’s _Trial of the Earl of Strafford_.

Footnote 135:

  Bramhall to Laud, February 23, 1638 (_Calendar of State Papers_,
  181-183); Wentworth to Bramhall (_Rawdon Papers_, p. 43); Lesley to
  Wentworth, September 22 and October 18, 1638 (_Strafford Letters_,
  II., 219, 226, 227); Lesley’s _Confutation of the Covenant_. Adair’s
  _Narrative_, chap. III.

Footnote 136:

  Lesley to Wentworth, October 18, 1638. Laud to Wentworth, November 2,
  1638. (_Strafford Letters_, II., 226, 227, 230, 231.)

Footnote 137:

  Wentworth to Charles, July 28, 1638. (_Ibid._, II., 187-189.) For a
  detailed account of the condition of the Irish army at this time see
  Wentworth to Coke, August 10, 1638. (_Ibid._, II., 197-201.)

Footnote 138:

  Wentworth to Charles, November 11, 1638. (_Ibid._, II., 233-236.)

Footnote 139:

  Act of State by the Lord Deputy and Council, May 16, 1639. (_Ibid._,

Footnote 140:

  Adair’s _Narrative_, chap. IV.

Footnote 141:

  _The Epistle Congratulatory of Lysimachus Nicanor of the Society of
  Jesus to the Covenanters of Scotland._

Footnote 142:

  Clogy’s _Life of Bedell_, pp. 129-131. Compare _Lords’ Journals_, I.,

Footnote 143:

  _Commons’ Journals_, I., 141.

Footnote 144:

  _Lords’ Journals_, I., 106.

Footnote 145:

  Rushworth’s _Trial of the Earl of Strafford_, 517. This statement is
  confirmed by a Catholic pamphleteer who called himself Antonius
  Prodinus. “Thomas, comes Straffordiæ, Hiberniæ prorex, decem milia
  Catholicorum Hibernorum militum a multis ante mensibus in armis habuit
  in Ultonia.” _Descriptio regni Hiberniæ_, p. 41. Carte, however,
  asserts that the officers and 1,000 of the private soldiers were
  Protestants. _Life of Ormond_, I., 132.

Footnote 146:

  For a full account of the Macdonnels of Antrim see _Clan Donald_ by A.
  and A. Macdonald, vol. II., chap. 15.

Footnote 147:

  Antrim to Wentworth, July 17, December 31, 1638, April 11 and 12, May
  16, 1639: Wentworth to Windebank, March 20, 1639, enclosing Antrim’s
  propositions: to Vane, May 16, July 7, 1639: Windebank to Wentworth,
  April 13, 1639: to Antrim, April 13, 1639. (_Strafford Letters_, II.,
  184, 266, 300-305, 321-323, 339-340, 419-424, _et alibi_.)

Footnote 148:

  _Commons’ Journals_, I., 141.

Footnote 149:

  _Ibid._, 156-161.

Footnote 150:

  Wentworth to Radcliffe, October 8, 1640. This letter, which is not
  included in the _Strafford Letters_, is printed in Whittaker’s _Life
  and Original Correspondence of Sir George Radcliffe_, pp. 209, 210. It
  is endorsed by Radcliffe, “Proposition, Scots, rejected by me and

Footnote 151:

  _Commons’ Journals_, I., 165. Compare _Calendar of State Papers_,
  252-256, where Radcliffe’s answers are given.

Footnote 152:

  _Parliamentary History_, IX., 40.

Footnote 153:

  Charles to the Privy Council, December 15 and 30. _Calendar of State
  Papers_, 247-248.

Footnote 154:

  _Ibid._, 261-262. _Lords’ Journals_, I., 152.

Footnote 155:

  _Commons’ Journals_, I., 176-177.

Footnote 156:

  _Lords’ Journals_, I., 157.

Footnote 157:

  _Commons’ Journals_, I., 174-175. _Lords’ Journals_, I., 160.
  _Calendar of State Papers_, 333-337.

Footnote 158:

  Rushworth’s _Historical Collections_, IV., 214.

Footnote 159:

  _A Sample of Jet Black Prelatic Calumny_, pp. 131, etc.

Footnote 160:

  Lords Justices to Vane, May 8, 1641. (_Calendar of State Papers_,



                     BY ARTHUR HOUSTON, K.C., LL.D.



“ON Friday, the 22nd of this month, after nine of the clock at night,
this bearer, Owen Connolly, servant to Sir John Clotworthy, Knight, came
to me, the Lord Justice Parsons, to my house, and in great secrecy (as
indeed the case did require) discovered unto me a most wicked and
damnable conspiracy, plotted and contrived, and intended to be acted, by
some evil affected Irish Papists here.”

With these words begins the historic letter written on the 25th of
October, 1641, by the Lords Justices, Sir William Parsons and Sir John
Borlase, and thirteen members of the Irish Privy Council, to the Earl of
Leicester, the absentee Lord Lieutenant of Ireland.

The objects which those who planned this conspiracy had in view, the
means by which they were to be accomplished, and the conduct of those
who took part in the insurrection which resulted from it, are among the
most controverted questions of Irish history. Those who have taken sides
against the rebels represent the rising as an ebullition of blind hatred
against the English and Protestant inhabitants of Ireland, entertained
by the native and Catholic population, who were resolved on
expropriating and exterminating them, and setting up a government
independent of the Crown of England, and establishing the Catholic
Church in Ireland. Those who have sided with the rebels argue that the
conspiracy and the insurrection were the result of legitimate
grievances, for the redress of which insurrection afforded the only
means; that the insurgents were loyal to the Crown, sought, not
religious ascendancy, but religious freedom; that, while it is true that
one of the objects of the conspirators was the recovery of property of
which they or their ancestors had been violently and unjustly deprived,
they were averse to the unnecessary effusion of blood, and had no design
of harming, much less murdering, their English and Protestant
fellow-countrymen. As to the conduct of those who took part in the
rebellion, English and Anglo-Irish writers have made charges of
wholesale massacre and shocking cruelty against them. These charges have
been not only repelled, but retorted on the Irish Government, and the
officers and soldiers who acted under their orders.

In addition to sketching briefly the main incidents of the rebellion, I
propose in this paper, so far as its necessary limitations will permit,
to discuss these different questions, and to see if it be not possible,
with the materials in our possession, to come to a conclusion upon them.

As a preliminary step it will be necessary to endeavour to place
ourselves in the position of a native Irish Catholic in the year 1641,
so as to see what was his lot, and of what, if any, grievances he had
just cause to complain. A short historical retrospect will help to an
understanding of this matter.

In the beginning of the reign of Elizabeth the Acts of Supremacy and
Uniformity had been passed. By these statutes Catholics were liable to a
fine for not attending church; while those who failed to take the Oath
of Supremacy could not obtain a university degree, practise at the Bar,
hold the office of a magistrate, or sue out the livery of their lands.

The legal fine for not attending church was, indeed, only twelve pence,
and was intended to go to the relief of the poor. But much more was
exacted by clerks and officers for fees, and the proceeds of the tax
were diverted from its statutory destination, the relief of the poor, on
the pretext, as explained by Sir Arthur Chichester, the Lord Deputy,
that the poor of the parishes were not fit to receive the money, being
Catholics themselves; and therefore ought to pay the like penalty.
Towards the close of the reign of James the First, the Catholics put
forth a remonstrance in which their position is summarized in these
words:—“That their children were not allowed to study in foreign
universities; that all the Catholics of noble birth were excluded from
offices and honours, and even from the magistracy of their respective
counties; that Catholic citizens and burgesses were removed from all
situations of power and profit in different corporations; that Catholic
barristers were not permitted to plead in the courts of law; and that
the inferior classes were burdened with fines, distresses,
excommunications and other punishments, which reduced them to the lowest
degree of poverty.”

From this it will be seen that the grievances under which the Catholics
of Ireland, as such, laboured at the accession of Charles the First,
were not confined to any rank or class, but were suffered by the highest
as well as the lowest.

The same observation is equally true of another grievance to which I am
about to refer, a grievance that had not ostensibly any connection with
the race or the religious belief of those who complained of it, but at
the same time in fact pressed almost exclusively upon the native Irish,
and those who professed the Catholic faith. This grievance may be
briefly described as insecurity of land tenure.

In the reign of James the First the great case, reported by Sir John
Davies, under the name of the Case of Tanistry, decided that lands
should descend, not according to the native custom by which the Tanist
succeeded to a limited interest in the property, the estate itself being
vested in the tribe, but should descend according to the law of England.
In consequence of this decision, the owners or those who claimed to be
owners, in order to obtain what they believed would be an indefeasible
title, surrendered their estates to the Crown and took a new grant, on
payment of certain fines and the expenses of the letters patent, and on
the terms of paying a fixed quit rent. Unfortunately astute lawyers were
able to pick holes in the patents. Sometimes the officer whose duty it
was to enrol them had neglected to do so. Sometimes the lands were
wrongly or insufficiently described. Sometimes they had been valued too
low, or even too high. In any of these cases, and in many others, the
letters patent, if impeached, would turn out worthless. I need not
remind you, as you have recently had the advantage of hearing a learned
discourse on Strafford’s government in Ireland, what use he had made of
these flaws, for the purpose of confiscating the properties of the
owners of land in Connaught and Clare, in order to procure money for his
master, and land for the English plantation. You will remember that
among the graces which Charles promised the Irish in return for
£120,000, which they gave him, were one for freedom of worship, one for
confirmation of titles, and one for limiting the right of the Crown to
recover lands to a period of sixty years, after an uninterrupted and
undisputed possession, and how basely Charles and Strafford behaved when
the money had been paid over.

Such was the posture of affairs in Ireland when Strafford, broken in
health, was summoned to England to take command of the army fighting
against the Scots. This army having been defeated at Newcastle, he
returned to London, there to meet his accusers, to be condemned to
death, and to be sacrificed by the King who had promised that “the
Parliament should not touch one hair of his head.”

Strafford’s successor was Sir Christopher Wandesford. The Irish
Parliament met in June, 1640, in a very different temper from that
displayed in their last preceding session. They had caught something of
the spirit of their brethren in England, with whom they had been brought
into touch by the proceedings against Strafford. The Commons drew up a
Remonstrance of Grievances, and appointed a committee of sixteen,
including four members of the Lords, to lay it before the King. In it
they remind him of their liberality in contributing to his necessities,
and of the fact that in them, the Catholic people, lay the strength of
his revenue, and proceed to complain of their wrongs: the arbitrary
decision of causes and controversies before the chief governor, the
perversion of law by the judges in order to gratify the Court, the cruel
punishments employed to repress freedom of speech and writing, the
extended powers of the High Court of Commission, the increase of
monopolies, the exorbitant fees exacted by the clergy, the denial of the
Graces, and other grievances.

This committee did not receive the final answer from the King until he
was on the point of setting out for Scotland. They returned to Ireland
three weeks after the Parliament had been prorogued, bringing back the
answer, with all the Bills which had been transmitted to England for the
approbation of the Council there before being passed. Among these were
the Bill for Limitation, which protected from the claims of the Crown
all estates that had been enjoyed without claim for sixty years; the
Bill for relinquishing the title of the Crown to the four Connaught
counties, the county of Clare, and large tracts of land in Tipperary and
Limerick, the title of which had been found for the King by several
inquisitions, and which were ready to be disposed of on survey to
British undertakers. These Bills were all to be passed when the two
Houses met, and meanwhile care was to be taken to notify them to the
whole nation.

These concessions, though, if intended to be honestly carried out, which
might well be doubted, they might satisfy the Lords and Commons by whom
they were obtained, failed to satisfy the native chiefs, and the
Catholic population. The Ulster plantators of James, and the Munster
plantators of Elizabeth, and the Leix and Offaly plantators of Mary, and
the Wicklow plantators, who were enjoying the lands of the Byrnes, were
all to remain in undisturbed possession of their estates. The Catholic
religion was still to be under a ban, and those who professed it were to
pay their twelve pence for every Sunday and holiday that they did not
attend the parish church, and were to be exposed to the disabilities
imposed by the Act of Supremacy on those that failed to take the Oath.
Besides this there were sinister rumours in circulation. Sir William
Parsons was reported to have said at a public entertainment in Dublin,
“that within a twelvemonth no Catholic should be seen in Ireland.” A
letter was intercepted coming from Scotland to a person named Freeman,
in Antrim, stating that a covenanting army under the command of General
Lesley was coming to extirpate the Roman Catholics of Ulster, and leave
the Scots the sole possessors of the province. The English House of
Commons had passed a vote that no toleration of the Romish religion
should be allowed in Ireland, and they had shown their intolerance by
having eight Catholic priests arrested for saying Mass in London, and
having seven of them executed. Sir John Clotworthy, the employer of
Connolly, the informer already mentioned, and a man well acquainted with
the designs of the faction that governed the English House of Commons,
was reported to have declared there in a speech “that the conversion of
the Papists in Ireland was only to be effected by the Bible in one hand
and the sword in the other.”

The consequence was that a genuine and general alarm spread among the
Catholics of all ranks throughout Ireland. At the same time the
circumstances were favourable for striking a blow for religious liberty.
The Scots, who had far less to complain of than the native Irish, had
obtained religious liberty by taking up arms. Why should not the Irish,
more especially seeing that the troubles in the sister isle made their
attempt all the easier?

Roger O’More, commonly called Rory O’More, was descended from the chief
branch of the O’Mores of Leix, whose lands had been confiscated for the
benefit of the English colony planted there. He was connected by
intermarriage with considerable families of English blood. He was
handsome, courteous, and able, a man of high character, and the idol of
the Irish, who celebrated him in their songs, and relied so much upon
him that they used to say: “God and our Lady be our help, and Roger
O’More.” He it was that, in connection with the son of the great Tyrone,
contrived the rebellion.

As early as February, 1641, O’More had secured the adhesion of the best
gentlemen of quality of Leinster, and of a great part of Connaught,
subject to his getting the adhesion of the gentry of Ulster. In order to
obtain their adhesion he, in February, 1641, approached Lord Maguire,
Baron Enniskillen. Lord Maguire consented to join, and a meeting was
held next day to which all the Ulster gentlemen then in town were
invited. They readily engaged in the plot. It was desired to obtain the
adhesion of the Lords of the Pale, who, though English in blood, and
possessed of estates that had been the property of the native Irish,
were Catholics, and smarting under the affronts put upon their religion,
and apprehensive of further severities. Colonel Plunket, who was one of
the first to join the conspiracy, and had, as he affirmed, broached the
subject to Lord Gormanstown, and got his approval, undertook to win them
over. But he effected nothing. By and by we shall see how they were
forced to join.

It was ultimately arranged that the rising should take place on the 23rd
of October. Every man had his place assigned to him. The Ulster gentry
under Sir Phelim O’Neill, were to seize Derry; O’More, Colonel Byrne,
Lord Maguire, and Bryan O’Neale were to lead the attack on Dublin
Castle, which was to be made by two hundred men, to be provided equally
out of each province by the principal conspirators. The secret of the
plot had been kept with extraordinary success. It had been communicated
to as few persons as possible, and those only who were leaders. The
conspirators felt assured that the common people would unhesitatingly
follow their native chieftains in any enterprise against the Saxon
intruder, and in this, as the event proved, they were not mistaken.
There was this disadvantage, however, in not taking the people into
their confidence, that the latter were left in ignorance of the objects
which their leaders had in view, and the means by which those objects
were to be obtained. Apparently the people were allowed to form their
own opinions on these subjects, and it may be that they thought, and
that they proclaimed that amongst those objects was the erection of
Ireland into an independent kingdom, and the establishment of the
supremacy of the Catholic Church, and that among the means to be adopted
for effecting those objects was the extirpation and expropriation of the
English and Protestants.

Owen Connolly was a Protestant, and Sir John Clotworthy, his master, was
bitterly anti-Irish and anti-Catholic. How the secret came to be
disclosed to him as it was by Oge O’Neill on the night of the 22nd, is a
mystery; but it was, with the result that the attempt on Dublin Castle
was forestalled.

Some fresh light has been thrown upon the events of this period of Irish
history by the recently published volume, issued by the Historical
Manuscripts Commission, containing the manuscripts of the Marquess of
Ormond, preserved at Kilkenny Castle, the second of which gives at full
length the whole of the letters from the Irish Lords Justices to the
King, the Earl of Leicester, Lenthall, Speaker of the House of Commons,
Sir Henry Vane, Sir Edward Nicholas, Lord Falkland, Secretary of State,
and His Majesty’s Commissioners for the affairs of Ireland. This
correspondence commences with the famous letter of October 25th, 1641,
already quoted, and continues without interruption down to the 15th of
January, 1644, when a letter is written to Sir Edward Nicholas. This is
the first complete series of these despatches ever published. The
originals were destroyed in a fire in Dublin Castle.

Whatever justification there may be for the charges of neglect of duty
made by Carte against the Lords Justices, in not taking precautions
against a rising as to which they had warnings, there can, I think, be
no doubt but that from the time when at nine on the night of the 22nd of
October, 1641, Owen Connolly made his disclosures to Lord Justice
Parsons, down to the date when these letters cease, the Council,
according to their lights, left no stone unturned to crush the
rebellion. Parsons and Borlase have been accused of postponing the
suppression of the rebellion in order to promote the confiscation of
Irish estates. But both of these continued to attend the meetings of the
Council, and to sign the letters, down to the end of June, 1643, and
Borlase continued to attend and sign the letters to the very end. The
letters afford a continuous record of the measures taken by the Lords
Justices and Council for stamping out the rebellion.

Parsons immediately on receiving Owen Connolly’s communication repaired
to Borlase, and they at once summoned a meeting of the Council, which
sat all that night and all the next day. They caused the Castle to be
strengthened with armed men, and the city to be guarded, and proceeded
to have such of the insurgents as they could lay hands on apprehended.
The first was Hugh MacMahon, whom they examined, and who, to use their
own words, when he saw they “laid it home to him, confessed enough to
destroy himself and impeach some others.” Calling to mind a letter they
had received from Sir William Cole on the 11th of October, they
determined to secure Lord Maguire immediately, and succeeded in
arresting him in a cockloft in an obscure house far away from his
lodging. He was also examined, and admitted knowledge of the conspiracy,
and ultimately made and delivered to the Lord of the Tower the written
statement to which I shall refer hereafter.

When the hour approached for surprising the Castle a large number of
strangers were observed to come to town in great parties several ways,
who, not finding admittance at the gates, stayed in the suburbs. The
Council issued a proclamation commanding all men, not dwellers in the
city or suburbs, to depart within an hour on pain of death, and making
it alike penal in those who should harbour them. This had the desired
effect. The concourse departed. On the following day the Council sent
into all parts of the country another proclamation giving information of
the failure of the plot to seize the Castle, so as to dishearten the
insurgents, and to encourage the friends of the Government.

Meantime the rebellion had broken out in various places throughout the
country. The Council did not know whether to believe MacMahon’s
statement that all the counties in the kingdom were in the plot; but if
it were so they say, “Then indeed we shall be in high extremity and the
kingdom in the greatest danger it ever underwent, considering our want
of men, money, and arms to enable us to encounter such great multitudes
as they can make if all should come against us.”

It was no wonder that the Lords Justices and Council contemplated a
general rising with dismay. “The army we have,” they say in their letter
of October 25th, “consisting of but two thousand foot and one thousand
horse, are so dispersed in garrisons in several parts of the four
provinces, for the security of these parts ... as, if they be sent for
to be all drawn together, not only the places whence they are to be
drawn ... must be by their absence distressed, but also the companies
themselves coming in so small numbers, may be in danger to be cut off in
their marches, nor indeed have we money to pay the soldiers to enable
them to march.”

The Council soon had reason to know that the insurrection was general.
Lord Blaney came to Dublin at twelve o’clock on the night of October
23rd, with news of the seizure of his house at Castleblayney, and of a
house of the Earl of Essex at Carrickmacross. At three o’clock on the
morning of the 24th they learned that the store of arms and ammunition
at Newry had been seized. In a postscript to the letter of October 25th
they write: “As we were making up these our letters the Sheriff of the
county of Monaghan and Dr. Teate having fled, came to us and informed us
of much more spoil committed by the rebels in the counties of Monaghan
and Cavan, and that the sheriff of the county of Cavan joins with the
rebels, being a Papist and a prime man of the Irish.” On the 5th of
November they write that the rebels had seized the houses and estates of
almost all the English in Monaghan, Cavan, Fermanagh, Armagh, Tyrone,
Donegal, Leitrim, Longford, and a great part of Down, and were beginning
to threaten the English plantations in the King’s County and Queen’s
County, that Dundalk had surrendered to them without a blow, and that
they were marching on Drogheda. On the 13th of November they announce
that the Byrnes and others had risen in Wicklow; on the 22nd that some
other parts of Leinster had joined; on the 25th that the whole county of
Louth, both gentry and others, had joined; that some of the Wicklow
rebels had come to within four miles of the city of Dublin, and that the
cattle and houses of all the English in both Wicklow and Wexford were in
the hands of the insurgents; on the 30th that several other counties had
risen, and on the 14th of December that the defection then appeared to
be universal throughout the whole four provinces.

The burden of these letters, which are steeped in the gall of bitterness
towards the Irish Papist and his religious teachers is principally, in
the first place, a wholesale charge of acts of barbarity against the
rebels, and in the second place, frantic appeals for help in men and
money and material of war.

Now with regard to those charges it is to be observed first, that much
weight is not to be attached to accusations made in general terms; and,
second, that charges of this kind were very useful as excuses for
barbarities committed by the Government troops, and as stimulants to the
English Parliament and people to send over the required supplies, and
therefore very likely to be greatly exaggerated; and third, that the
writers of these letters may have more readily given credence to reports
of such excesses having been perpetrated, because, if their first letter
is to be believed, Owen Connolly had told them that it was part of the
design “that all the Protestants and English throughout the whole
kingdom that would not join with them should be cut off, and so those
Papists should then become possessed of the Government and kingdom at
the same moment.”

It is of importance, therefore, to see what were the actual objects
which the organizers of the rebellion had in view. Presumably they would
include two, namely, religious liberty, and the restoration of the
confiscated lands. Now, we have documents which will throw great light
on this question. One is the oath which, as mentioned in the letter of
the Council to Leicester, of November 25th, 1641, was administered to
all who joined the rebels; another is the written statement made by Lord
Maguire and delivered by him, about 1642, to Sir John Conyers, the
Lieutenant of the Tower. The oath was to maintain and defend the public
and free exercise of the Catholic religion, to bear faith and allegiance
to King Charles, his heirs and successors, and to support them against
anyone who should attempt anything against their persons or estates, or
endeavour to suppress their prerogatives, or do any act contrary to
regal government, as also the power and privileges of Parliament, the
lawful rights and privileges of the subjects. This oath, it will be
observed, asserts:—

   1. Religious liberty.

   2. Loyalty to the Crown.

   3. The power and privileges of Parliament.

   4. Rights and privileges of the subject.

Speaking of Lord Maguire’s statement, Carte, Book iii., § II., says, “It
carries with it an intrinsic evidence sufficient to merit belief, and
hath accordingly been universally allowed to be a just and faithful
account of that affair.” We may therefore, I think, rest satisfied that
this statement contains an authentic account of the objects that the
conspirators had in view, and the method by which they proposed to
accomplish them. So far as it relates to the matter in hand it is to
this effect:—Roger O’More approached Lord Maguire, and after
representing in general the many grievances of the natives, especially
the old Irish, who upon several plantations were turned out of their
ancestors’ estates, and the favourable opportunity which the
insurrection of the Scots and the disturbances in England afforded the
gentry of Ireland to free the nation from like grievances in future, to
get good conditions for themselves, and to regain the whole, or at least
good part of their ancestors’ possessions, obtained from Maguire an oath
of secrecy, and then disclosed to him the project for an insurrection,
urging it as the only method of recovering his lordship’s vast estates
and the power of his ancestors, and as being absolutely necessary for
maintaining the Catholic religion which undoubtedly, he said, the
Parliament of England resolved to suppress. Here, then, we have plainly
stated the objects the conspirators had in view, namely, the restoration
of the lands which had been ‘planted,’ and the preservation of the
Catholic religion, which was threatened with extinction. It will be
observed that in the design thus disclosed there is no mention of
erecting Ireland into an independent kingdom, the establishment of
Catholic ascendancy, or the extermination of persons of the English race
or of the Protestant faith. So far from the last-mentioned being one of
the objects in view, “there was,” says Maguire, “a fear of the Scots
conceived, that they would presumably oppose themselves, and that would
make the matter more difficult; to avoid which danger it was resolved
not to meddle with them or anything belonging to them, and to demean
ourselves toward them as if they were of us, which we thought would
pacify them; and if the Scots would not accept that offer, we were in
good hope to cause a stir in Scotland that might divert them from us.”

Lord Maguire and the northern gentry generally consented to join in the
plot on the strength of these representations, and at a meeting of the
leaders, including Sir Phelim O’Neill, and Lord Maguire, held on the 5th
of October, 1641, at Loughrosse, county Armagh, final arrangements were
made for a general rising to take place on the 23rd, “all forts and arms
should be seized, all the gentry made prisoners for their own better
security against any adverse fortune or disappointment, and that none
should be killed, especially of the gentry; but when of necessity they
should be forced thereto by opposition, a rule to be observed likewise
by those appointed for seizing the Castle of Dublin.”

Furthermore, there is the “Remonstrance of the Gentry and Commonalty of
Cavan of their Grievances, common with other parts of this Kingdom of
Ireland,” addressed to the Lords Justices and Council in the early part
of November, 1641, which was drawn up by Bishop Bedell. In this they
complain of the oppression of governors who “respected more the
advancement of their own private fortunes than the honour of his Majesty
or the welfare of his subjects,” of finding themselves “of late
threatened with far greater and more grievous vexations, either with
captivity or utter expulsion from their native seats.” They further
declare “that ... we harbour not the least thought of hostility towards
His Majesty, or purpose any hurt to His Majesty’s subjects in their
possessions, goods, or liberty; only we desire that your lordships will
be pleased to make remonstrances to His Majesty for us of all our
grievances and just fears, that they may be removed, and such a course
settled, by the advice of the Parliament of Ireland whereby the liberty
of our consciences may be secured unto us, and we may be eased of other
burdens in civil government.” The Remonstrance then proceeds thus:—“As
for the mischief and inconveniences that have already happened through
the disorder of the common sort of people against the English
inhabitants, or any other, we, with the nobility and gentlemen and such
others of the several counties of this kingdom as are most ready and
willing to use our and their best endeavours in causing restitution and
satisfaction to be made, as in part we have already done.” The
Remonstrance winds up by a request for a speedy answer so as to avoid
“the inconvenience of the barbarousness and incivility of the
commonalty, who have committed many outrages without order, consenting,
or privity of ours.”

We have thus in black and white an account of the aims and objects of
the leaders of the rebels, and of the means by which they hoped to
succeed, and neither Catholic ascendancy, nor disloyalty, nor racial or
religious antipathy, to be gratified by massacre, finds a place in their
programme or plan of campaign. To do violence to any person on account
of his religion is, indeed, a thing wholly averse to the Irish nature.
No Protestant ever suffered persecution at the hands of the native Irish
in Ireland, for his faith; and when Protestants fled from persecution,
in the reign of Queen Mary, to Ireland, they were harboured and
protected by the Irish Catholics. Nevertheless, the massacres of
Protestants alleged to have taken place in this rebellion have ever
since been cast in the teeth of the Irish Catholics, and made the excuse
for organized oppression and persecution. The butcheries of Cromwell
were justified on the ground that they were a just punishment for such
barbarities, though the people that he butchered were never shown to
have had, and in many cases could not have had, hand, act, or part in

I have gone carefully through all the letters and documents penned by
the Lords Justices and Council, and while general charges of murder and
cruelty are made and repeated again and again, and though the writers
can be specific in their statements as to all other matters, in two
cases only do they give any details by which the accuracy of their
statements can be tested; one is the case of the killing of Lord
Caulfield, who was undoubtedly shot dead while a prisoner on the 1st of
March, 1642; the other is the case of Huibarts, who held the island of
Lambay, and may have been killed while resisting an attack.

If the Lords Justices and Council confined themselves to general charges
of massacre and barbarity, the English pamphleteers were, in all
conscience, sufficiently precise. It is needless to say that the news of
the rebellion caused a great commotion in England. Leicester received
the letter of the 25th of October on the night of Sunday the 1st of
November. He at once caused the Council to be summoned, and they
resolved to go to the House of Commons the next day as soon as it sat,
which they did, notice being first given to the House “that the Lords of
the Council had some matters of importance to impart to them”; whereupon
chairs were set in the House for them to repose themselves, and the
Sergeant sent to conduct them. Clarendon describes the scene. “As soon
as they entered the House the Speaker desired them to sit down, and,
then being covered, Littleton told the Speaker that the Lord Lieutenant
of Ireland, having received letters from the Lords Justices and Council
there, had communicated them to the Council, and since the House of
Peers was not sitting, they had thought fit, for the importance of the
letters, to impart them to that House,” and so referred the business to
the Lord Lieutenant, who, without any enlargement, only read the letters
he had received, and so the Lords departed from the House. “There was,”
says Clarendon, “a deep silence in the House, and a kind of
consternation; most men’s heads having been intoxicated from their first
meeting in Parliament with the instigators of plots and treasonable
designs through the three kingdoms.”

The King, who was then in Scotland, received letters from Ulster telling
him of the outbreak there. These he sent on to the Parliament, with a
letter saying that he was satisfied that it was no rash insurrection,
but a formed rebellion, which must be prosecuted with a sharp war, the
conducting and prosecuting of which he wholly committed to their care
and wisdom, and depended upon them for carrying it on. This exactly
fitted in with their wishes, as up to the time they got this letter they
had no authority to levy troops or make war. They appointed a committee
of both Houses for the consideration of the affairs of Ireland, and
providing for the supply of men, arms and money for the suppressing of
that rebellion. The Lord Lieutenant was a member of the Committee, which
sat every morning, and he communicated to them all the letters he
received, to be consulted upon and to be then reported to the two
Houses, which thus acquired a great accession of power and patronage.

Soon after the news of the rebellion was spread in England, the Press
began to pour forth a stream of pamphlets. Some of these were devoted to
advocating the plan adopted by the English Parliament for raising the
necessary funds for prosecuting the campaign against the rebels, by
giving grants of land that should be forfeited to those who advanced
money for the purpose. In 1642 they decreed the confiscation of 2½
millions of acres in Ireland, and undertook to allot them to those who
made advances, on the following scale: 2,000 acres in Leinster to anyone
who advanced £600; and the same quantity in Munster, Connaught, and
Ulster respectively, to those who advanced £450, £300, and £200
respectively. Others of those pamphlets were devoted to thrilling
descriptions of massacres and atrocities said to have been committed by
the Irish rebels. These were, Ormond says, “received as oracles,” and
the extirpation of the Irish “preached as gospel.” As I said before,
they were not open to the imputation of being wanting in details. They
were most circumstantial. They describe the doings of such well-known
rebel leaders as the Earl of Clare, whose portrait is given in one of
the pamphlets, the great Lord MacDavo, Lord Matquess, Don Luce, Limbrey,
Cargena and others, in such well-known counties, Monno otherwise Conno,
and Warthedeflowr, and in such well-known towns as Rockcall, six miles
from Dublin, Lognall, Toyhull, Kilwood, Kilmouth, Tormoy, and Cormack.
The collection of these pamphlets made by Thorpe, and now in the Library
of the Royal Irish Academy, as well as those in the British Museum,
enable one to judge of the way in which the ear of England was poisoned
for the purpose of exasperation against the Irish Catholics.

Two months after the outbreak the Government issued a commission to
seven Protestant ministers to take evidence upon oath as to the amount
of the loss sustained by the British and Protestants that had been
“separated from their habitations,” or “deprived of their goods,” the
names of the robbers, and what traitorous speeches were uttered by the
robbers or others. It is to be observed that in this Commission there is
no mention of murder or violence. By a supplemental commission of the
18th of January, 1642, it was extended so as to include an inquiry as to
“what violence was done by the robbers, and how often and what number
have been murthered or perished afterwards on the way to Dublin or
elsewhere.” This addition was an afterthought, and the fact is very
significant, as pointed out by Prendergast, _Cromwellian Settlement_, p.
60. A mass of such depositions was taken, and are now in the Library of
Trinity College, Dublin. I have not perused them, but every historian
who has done so, and has formed an impartial judgment upon them, has
pronounced them to be practically worthless as evidence against the
rebels. In the first place they were _exparte_ statements, made in the
absence of those whose conduct they impugned. Secondly, they were very
largely hearsay, and not the evidence of eye witnesses. Thirdly, many of
them are not made on oath. Fourthly, they were to a great extent made by
persons intending to make claims for restitution and compensation, and
may therefore be expected to be exaggerated, if not unfounded. Fifthly,
they bear internal evidence of untruth, many of them deposing to
apparitions and other supernatural phenomena. Sixthly, they in many
instances gave evidence of the deaths of people who long survived the
rebellion. Seventhly, many of the deponents were illiterate. Lastly,
they afford no safe basis for a calculation of the numbers stated to
have been killed, for the same alleged outrage is obviously referred to
in different depositions.

The calculations made by English writers of the numbers slaughtered by
the Irish are curiously conflicting. Milton, in his observations on the
“Articles of Peace between the Earl of Ormond and the Irish,” set down
the number “assassinated and cut to pieces by those Irish barbarians” at
200,000, which was about the total Protestant population of Ireland,
inclusive of soldiers in garrison and officials in Dublin. The Lords
Justices and Council in their despatch to the King, dated March, 1642-3,
in opposition to any accommodation with the rebels, upon an alleged
acknowledgment “by their priests appointed to collect the numbers,” set
the number down at 154,000 “before the end of March last, ... besides
many thousand others since that time.” Temple, whose object also was to
obstruct the peace, says that in the first two months of the rebellion
150,000 had been massacred, and that “there were 300,000 Protestants
murdered in cold blood or destroyed in some other way, _or_ expelled
from their habitations from the 23rd of October, 1641, to the cessation
made on the 16th of September, 1643.” Petty fixes the number at 37,000,
Walsh at 20,000. The Rev. Dr. Warner, a Fellow of Trinity College,
Dublin, who describes many of the depositions as “incredible,”
“ridiculous,” and “contradictory,” carefully examined the thirty-two
closely written volumes which are in the library of Trinity College,
with the result that he concluded that “the number of people killed upon
_positive_ evidence collected in two years after the rebellion broke
out, adding them all together, amounts to only 2,109, on _the reports of
other Protestants_, 1,619 more, and on _the reports of some of the
rebels_ a further number of 300, the whole making 4,028. Besides these
numbers there is in the same collection evidence _on the report of
others_ of 8,000 killed by ill-usage.” These numbers he considered were
the utmost to which “the cruelties of the Irish out of war” could be
extended, though, having regard to the nature of several of the
depositions, he could not in his conscience charge them with such a
number of murders. In corroboration of his figures he quotes a letter
which he copied from the Council books in Dublin written on the 5th of
May, 1652, from the Parliament Commissioners in Ireland to the English
Parliament, in which the Commissioners tell them that it appears
“besides 848 families there were killed, hanged, burned, and drowned

That the rebellion at its first outbreak was not accompanied by any
massacre, or even by considerable effusion of blood, appears from
documents now extant. Lord Chichester wrote to the King from Belfast on
October 24th, 1641, “The Irish in the northern parts of your kingdom of
Ireland two nights last past did rise with force and have taken
Charlemont, Dungannon, Tonragee, and Newry, with your Majesty’s stores
there ... and _have slain only one man_.” The letter of the Lords
Justices to Leicester of October 25th, does not make mention of a single
case of violence to the person. The Remonstrance of the Gentry and
Commonalty of Cavan already referred to, issued in the early part of
November, 1641, speaks not of massacres or murders, which the
Remonstrants would undoubtedly have deemed worthy of condign punishment,
but of acts which would be proper subjects of restitution and
satisfaction. The first instance of homicide committed by the rebels
given by the Lords Justices in their correspondence is in a letter to
Leicester of December 3rd, 1641, in which they announce the death of Mr.
Huibarts. It is not until the 14th of December that any massacre is
mentioned, when they state, in a letter of that date to Leicester, that
the garrison of Longford had been massacred.

Your attention has already been called to the pregnant fact that in the
first commission of inquiry issued by the Lords Justices and Council,
which is dated December 23rd, 1641, no reference is made to murder or
personal violence.

It thus becomes abundantly clear that during the first two months of the
rebellion, not only was there no general massacre by the rebels, but
there was little bloodshed. Indeed the Lords Justices, in their
proclamation of February 8th, 1642, assert that the design of a general
massacre had failed.

A period of several months elapsed between the end of December, 1641,
and the organisation of the rebels under the Confederates. During this
period, no doubt, it was that the serious cruelties were committed by
the insurgents, for the proceedings of the Confederates were
characterised by humanity, and the Supreme Council would not have
tolerated murder under any circumstances, or under any provocation.
Among the propositions they made to the King in March, 1644, was the
following:—“Forasmuch as your Majesty’s Catholic subjects have been
taxed with many inhuman cruelties which they never committed, your
Majesty’s said supplicants, therefore, for their vindication, and to
manifest to all the world to have such heinous offences punished, and
the offenders brought to justice, do desire that in the next Parliament
all inhuman murthers, breaches of quarter, and inhuman cruelties
committed on either side may be questioned in the said Parliament (if
your Majesty so think fit), and such as shall appear to be guilty
exempted out of the Act of Oblivion and punished according to their
deserts.” This principle was embodied in the fifteenth article of the
first treaty between the King and the Confederates, signed on the 28th
of March, 1646, and in the last treaty signed on the 17th of January,

If we wanted further proof of the scrupulous humanity of the
Confederates, the following facts would supply it. The delegates of the
Confederates in 1644, in an official communication made to the Marquis
of Ormond as representative of the King, declared that one of the
results that they most earnestly desired in connection with the removal
of their grievances was that when the condition of Catholics and
Protestants had been equalised they might all “be united more than ever
before,” and neither party “have occasion to envy or oppress the other.”
These aspirations were met in the following month by an ordinance made
by the Parliament at Westminster, by which the Lords and Commons
declared “that no quarter shall be given hereafter to any Irishman or
any Papist whatsoever born in Ireland, who shall be taken in hostility
against the English Parliament, either upon the sea or within this
kingdom or dominion of Wales,” and they followed this barbarous
declaration by a decree for carrying it out. In pursuance of this
enactment many Irish sailors were brutally murdered, being tied back to
back and thrown overboard, and in one instance seventeen Irish soldiers,
fighting in the King’s army, when made prisoners, were hanged. Prince
Rupert promptly hanged an equal number of his prisoners, at which the
English Parliament was greatly shocked, and remonstrated with the
Prince, threatening to retaliate, and justifying the butchery of the
Irish. Rupert does not appear to have taken any notice of this amazing
document, and probably would have hanged or shot a prisoner of English
or Scottish blood for every one of Irish blood or the Catholic religion
that the Parliamentarians had murdered. But the Confederates were too
humane to countenance such atrocities; and they refrained from defiling
the records of their assembly by any declaration or ordinance such as
that which the pious champions of civil and religious liberty in
England, to their eternal infamy, had placed upon their rolls.

What murders were committed at sea under this ordinance never will be
known. But Bulstrode Whitelocke, a member of the Long Parliament, under
date of May, 1644, records the following significant incident: “At the
taking of Carmarthen by Captain Swanley, many Irish rebels were thrown
into the sea.” Under date June, 1644, he records that “Captain Swanley
was called into the House of Commons and had thanks from them for his
good services, and a chain of gold two hundred pounds value.”

It is not to be denied, however, that in the earlier stages of the
rebellion murders, and possibly outrages, were committed by the
insurgents. It was, of course, necessary that if resistance was offered
to the seizure of strongholds or arms, it should be overpowered by
force, even to the extent of taking life; and what are described as
massacres were probably, in many instances, homicides committed
unavoidably in cases of such resistance. But apart from such
occurrences, no doubt, lives were taken by the rebels. According to a
declaration made under hand and seal by the Rev. John Ker, Dean of
Ardagh, given by Nalson, vol. ii., p. 528, Phelim O’Neill, in the course
of his trial, at which the Dean was present, said that there were
several outrages committed by officers and soldiers, his aiders and
abettors in the management of the war, contrary to his intention, which
now pressed his conscience very much, and the Dean adds, that he heard
several murders and robberies proved at the trial to have been committed
by him, and that he had nothing to plead in his defence. This is
probably true. It was hardly in human nature, even Irish human nature,
to refrain from taking a signal and sanguinary vengeance on those by
whom, or for whom, they were oppressed and plundered. Besides, there
can, I think, be little doubt but that the massacres began with the
butchery, possibly in the beginning of November, 1641, but not later
than the beginning of January, 1642, of innocent persons, men, women and
children, inhabitants of Island Magee, by the garrison of Carrickfergus;
and the murders committed by the rebels in Ulster may not unfairly be
attributed in a great measure to reprisals for this horrible carnage.
Whatever massacres there were must have been practically confined to
Ulster, for there were but few English or Protestants elsewhere, and as
the Irish carefully avoided molesting the Scots in Ulster, who were by
far the majority of the Ulster population, the numbers slain cannot have
been large. There is no doubt, too, but that O’More was strongly opposed
to all unnecessary violence, and when we remember that the generals of
the Federation, which commenced its session at Kilkenny in October,
1642, were directed by their commission to protect the husbandmen,
victuallers, and all other subjects of his Majesty from the extortions,
violences, and abuses of the soldiers, we may be pretty sure that little
or no blood was unnecessarily shed after the eminent men who led the
troops of the Confederation took up their commands.

It is needless to refer to the measures taken by the rebel leaders to
check the outburst of pillage which marked the struggle before the
Confederation was formed, and to protect the Protestants and the English
from molestation. The well-known instance of Bishop Bedell, whose house
was the asylum of numerous refugees, and who was himself treated with
marked respect while he lived, and buried with all possible honour when
he died, is only one example out of many of the conspicuous humanity of
the men who were responsible for the insurrection.

But let us look at the reverse of the picture. That the Irish “Papist”
was regarded by the English as a creature outside the pale of humanity
is evidenced by the ordinance excluding him from quarter already quoted.
That the Scotch concurred in this estimate appears from the fact that
they adopted this ordinance. That he was to be exterminated was, as
Ormond wrote to Clanricarde, “preached as gospel.” That such a gospel
was not to be a dead letter appears from documents under the hands of
the Lords Justices and Council. “We have hitherto,” they write on the
7th of June, 1642, to the Lords Commissioners for Irish Affairs, “where
we came against the rebels, their adherents, aiders, and abettors,
proceeded with fire and sword, the soldiers sometimes not sparing the
women, and sometimes not children, many women being manifestly very deep
in the guilt of this rebellion, and as we are informed, very forward to
stir up their husbands, friends and kindred to side therein, and
exciting them to cruelty against the English, acting therein and in
their spoils even with rage and fury with their own hands.” We have also
the directions given by the Lords Justices and Council to Colonel
Crawford for his expedition to County Wicklow, and to Colonel Gibson for
his expedition to County Kildare. These were to go to these counties and
remain there as long as they could find provision for their men, and in
their journey to kill, slay, and destroy all rebels; to destroy by fire
and sword all their goods, houses, and corn. It is easy to understand
how these orders would be interpreted. They meant the extermination of
the people by fire and sword, or by famine; for, so long as there was
food for the soldiery, the soldiery were to remain; when they left there
would be food for no one.

In their despatch to the King in opposition to an accommodation with the
rebels, already quoted, the Lords Justices and Council admit the policy
of extermination, but only _partial_ extermination, be it observed. “And
howsoever it be true,” they write on the 16th of March, 1642-3, “that
all the peril and damage we undergo, and all the arms we desired to have
used and borne here, is but (by God’s blessing) to bring on a safe and
lasting peace, yet we can no way apprehend that it can be done _till the
sword have abated these rebels in numbers_ and power, yet not to the
utter extirpation of the native which is far from our thoughts (though
some to render us the more odious report so of us).”

A characteristic example of the methods of the Lords Justices and their
troops is given in their letter of June 7th, 1642, to the Lord
Lieutenant, describing the capture of Baldungan Castle, situated twelve
miles from Dublin. Colonel Crawford took it by storm, and found therein
to the number of 120 rebels, whom immediately his men put to the sword,
saving a popish priest, whom Colonel Crawford brought to Dublin, and
whom the Provost Marshal hanged. “This sharpness,” they write, “held
with them when they maintain castles against us, will doubtless
discourage them from presuming to keep castles against us hereafter,
when they still find just vengeance thus taken on them for their
boldness therein. There was then found in that castle an English
gentleman whom the rebels had taken prisoner a few days before, and whom
our men now released.”

This despatch would do credit to Cromwell. There is a touch of
unconscious irony in the contrast between the treatment of the one
English gentleman captured by the rebels, and the 120 rebels captured by
the English.

The letters reek with such incidents. Ormond takes a priest at
Ballymacur, Westmeath, “who was then immediately hanged.” Monck, on his
way to join Ormond, captures a castle at Knock, near Trim, “killed four
score men which had maintained it against him, and took some prisoners,
who were instantly hanged.” Monck, again, took at the castles of
Rathcoffey and Clongowes Wood, in Kildare, “three score and ten
prisoners, and amongst the rest some priests, whom with the rest he
brought hither to be proceeded with as we should think fit, which was
all the quarter he gave them, and we have appointed them to be executed
by martial law.” “We lately sent abroad two parties of the army, one
towards Catherlagh, thirty-two miles from this city, and the other
towards Arklow, thirty-six miles from hence, with direction to burn and
spoil all the way, as they went and came, which they did accordingly.”
Lord Inchiquin in Cork took fifty prisoners, “divers of them men of
quality, and most of them officers in the army of the rebels, which
fifty prisoners Lord Inchiquin caused to be hanged the next morning,
saving only Colonel Butler, son of the traitor Lord Viscount Ikerrin,
and one Purgett, Commissary General of the rebel army, which two still
remain prisoners.” Lord Lisle’s performances are thus described: “Lord
Lisle hath now caused that house”—Lord Fingall’s house near
Virginia—“and all the villages and towns adjoining to be burnt, as also
all the corn, hay, and turf in all that country round about them. He
still proceeds in burning, wasting, spoiling, and destroying all the
country about him, and all the rebels’ corn, hay and turf, and in
depriving the rebels of all the cattle he can ... so as by that time he
returns thence he will, by God’s assistance, have all that country in
such a condition as that the rebels shall have neither house to lodge,
nor food, nor fire, which course also we have begun, and God willing,
shall hold in other places, as we shall be enabled by supply of
provisions, and we have hoped (by the blessing of God upon our
endeavours) if we be strengthened from thence, as we expect, suddenly to
drive the rebels into such extremities as many thousands of them and
their foreign aids (if they should arrive) must perish and starve
through hunger and cold.”

This, of course, was a sentence of death on every man, woman, and child
in the districts thus condemned to desolation.

In their letter to the Lord Lieutenant, of December 28th, 1641, the
Lords Justices make two damning admissions. First they say that Sir
Charles Coote, on his return from raising the siege of the Castle of
Wicklow, had a skirmish with a numerous body of the rebels, slew some of
them, and in that journey slew and caused to be hanged others of them,
and amongst others one woman that had been active in robbing and
spoiling the English, and had about her at her apprehension some of the
clothes of the English she had robbed.

Now, this is merely an ingenious device to endeavour to mix up
punishment inflicted on rebels in arms, with what is evidently a
massacre of unarmed peasantry perpetrated during “that journey,” in
which women, and probably children, were butchered at the instance of
the notorious Sir Charles Coote.

The second admission is that four people were murdered at Santry, which
they make light of, observing that therein “only four persons were
slain, whereas they might have slain many more if they had intended a
massacre.” The heads of the victims of this butchery were brought in
triumph to Dublin, on poles, and there exhibited. One of them turned out
to be a Protestant. This incident had momentous consequences, as we
shall see.

O’Connell was quite justified in saying, as he did to O’Neill Daunt,
when speaking of the rebellion of 1641: “History has been so completely
falsified, that not only is the truth unknown, but the foulest
falsehoods have passed current as gospel truths; the characters of the
two contending parties have been quite reversed.”

But I must hasten to sketch the leading events of the insurrection.

I have already referred to the murders at Santry. The neighbouring
gentry were alarmed at this occurrence. It seemed a precursor of what
they might expect themselves, and they held a meeting and assembled
their followers. The gentry of the Pale had been placed in a very
difficult position. Being Catholics, they were distrusted by the Lords
Justices. Being English, they distrusted the rebels. The Lords Justices
ordered all persons not ordinarily resident in Dublin to return to their
homes. The gentry of the Pale requested to be furnished with arms
sufficient to enable them to defend themselves when they were thus
surrounded by the rebels. This was at first granted to a limited extent,
but when troops were promised from England, the arms supplied were
largely withdrawn. The gentry were thus left defenceless. An attack was
made by the Government troops on the house at Clontarf of one of them,
named King, who owned the village of Clontarf, on the pretext that the
fishermen of the village had plundered a bark that lay off the coast
there, and that some of the booty was found in his house. The
consequence of all this was that the gentry came to the conclusion that
their only course was to join the rebels, who thus obtained a
considerable accession of strength, both in numbers and weight, though
the Lords Justices made light of the matter in their letters. This
occurred in December, 1641.

In March, 1642, a Synod of the Ulster clergy met, and it was there
suggested that an assembly of clergy and laity should be held to
organize the national movement. This proposal was adopted, and the
General Assembly of the Confederate Catholics was held at Kilkenny in
the following October. They at once proceeded to organize the country,
appointing a Supreme Council, and provincial Councils, and commanders of
the armies in the four provinces. They made provisions for the
administration of justice in the districts under their control, the levy
of contributions, and the machinery of government generally. Their seal
bore on it the legend: “Pro deo, pro rege et patria, unanimes,” their
coins, “floreat rex.” The oath to be taken by the Confederates was
similar in terms to that already mentioned.

The Confederates addressed a petition to the King, through Ormond,
praying his Majesty, “with heads lower than our knees,” “to assign a
place where with safety we may express our grievances.” In this they
complain of the condition whereunto the misrepresentation of his
ministers in Ireland, united with the malignant party in England, had
reduced them, and of the resolution taken by some malevolent persons in
England, “to supplant their nation and religion,” and they disclaim any
intention of disturbing his Majesty’s Government, or invading any of his
prerogatives, or oppressing any of his British subjects, of what
religion soever, that did not labour to suppress them. They refer to the
petition which they had addressed to the Lords Justices, “but therein,”
they say, “we found, instead of a salve to our wounds, oil poured into
the fire of our discontent, which occasioned that intemperance in the
commonalty that they acted some unwarrantable cruelties upon the
puritans, or others suspected of puritanism, which we really detest,
have punished in part, and desire to punish with fulness of severity, in
all the actors of them, when time shall enable us to it, though the
measure offered to the Catholic natives here, in the inhuman murdering
of old, decrepit, people in their beds, women in the straw, and children
eight days old, burning of houses, and robbing of all kinds of persons
without distinction of friend from foe, and digging up of graves, and
then burning the dead bodies of our ancestors, in time of cessation, and
in breach of public faith, have not deserved that justice from us.”

The King refused to receive delegates from the Confederates, but granted
a commission to Ormond, Clanrickard, and others to hear what the
delegates had to say. “Albeit His Majesty has not thought fit to admit
any of them to his presence who have been ... actors or abettors in so
odious a rebellion,” as the Commission expressed it. This passage went
near to wrecking the project, for in the safe-conduct sent to the
delegates these words were used, and the Confederates were highly
incensed at being accused of rebellion. However, they ultimately
consented to attend at Drogheda, and the meeting took place on the 17th
of March, 1643.

The first result of these negotiations was a truce or “cessation” as it
was called, which was originally for a short period, but afterwards
renewed from time to time.

Ostensibly Ormond was the King’s mouth-piece in this affair, and he was
authorized to make certain concessions, in return for which the
Confederates were to furnish the King with 10,000 men for service
against the English rebels. But Charles, who never could act straight,
granted a secret commission to Lord Glamorgan, not under the Great Seal,
empowering him to make further concessions. He accordingly concluded
secret articles with the Confederates on August 25th, 1645. But the
secret leaked out. Glamorgan was brought before the Castle Chamber on a
charge of treason, on the 26th of December, 1645, and committed. He was
examined on the following day, and released on the 30th from _close_
custody, but still kept under a certain restraint. The fatal battle of
Naseby had been fought on the 18th of June previous. Charles was in dire
straits, and, as might be expected, he repudiated Glamorgan’s authority,
in a statement given on the 24th of January, 1646, at Oxford, which was
to be communicated by the Speaker of the House of Lords to both Houses.
In it he says that Glamorgan had only a commission to raise forces, and
concluding by asking for a safe-conduct, in blank, to be sent “for a
messenger to be immediately dispatched into Ireland to prevent any
accident that may happen to hinder his Majesty’s resolution of leaving
the managing of the business of Ireland wholly to the two Houses, and to
make no peace there but with their consent, which, in case it shall
please God to bless his endeavour in the Treaty with success, his
Majesty hereby engages himself to do.”

The “treaty” here referred to is a treaty with his rebellious English
subjects. If such were made, the King was prepared to hand over his
loyal Irish subjects to the tender mercies of the English puritans.

But the negotiations for the treaty with the Confederates went on
meantime, and the treaty itself was signed on the 28th of March, 1646.
It consisted of thirty articles, and dealt substantially with all the
grievances complained of. Collateral with it there was an agreement that
the Confederates should furnish the King with 10,000 men, of which 6,000
were to sail on or before April 1st, and 4,000 on or before May 1st. The
treaty was to be conditional on the fulfilment of this agreement, and it
was deposited in duplicate in the hands of Lord Clanricarde to be held
by him as what lawyers call an “escrow,” until the agreement had been
fulfilled. It was found, however, that the position of the King’s
affairs was such that it was not practicable to carry it out, and that
it would be more for his Majesty’s interest that the men should remain
in Ireland. The condition was therefore waived.

Everything now appeared to be arranged, when one of these incidents
occurred to mar the prospects of Irish nationality, of which the history
of Ireland is so full.

The Confederates had been obliged to rely very largely on support from
abroad, and among those who contributed most liberally was the Pope.
Unfortunately, he not only contributed material support and moral
support, but he sent a Nuncio with instructions placing the full
establishment of the Catholic religion in Ireland above and before
reforms in the political government.

The presence of the Pope’s representative imparted great strength to the
Confederates; it was also productive of unexpected consequences. The
Nuncio, Rinuccini, was not satisfied with the treaty. He did not think
it conceded enough. In February, 1646, in anticipation of the conclusion
of peace, he had a protest against the treaty drawn up and signed by
several of the prelates, based on the principle that those who entered
into it, or supported or favoured it, violated their oath. The peace was
proclaimed by Ormond in Dublin on the 30th of July, 1646, and the
Confederates ordered its proclamation on the 3rd August. A meeting of
the congregation of the clergy was to be held at Waterford on the 12th
of August. An attempt made to proclaim the peace there on the 9th
failed, as the Mayor and Corporation refused to allow the function to
take place. It was then proclaimed at Kilkenny, and the herald and
pursuivant proceeded to Limerick, but the attempt at a proclamation
provoked a riot, in which they were severely mauled. Finally, the
bishops and clergy denounced the peace at Waterford on the 12th, and
further efforts to proclaim it were abandoned. On the 1st of September,
Rinuccini directed the clergy to publish to their flocks at High Mass,
and otherwise, that they were not to adhere to the treaty on pain of

Efforts were made to compose the dispute. The Confederation answered the
Nuncio and the ecclesiastics; the latter replied, and stated that they
would agree to nothing until a new General Assembly was called; and they
formed a new government, called “The Council and Congregation,” which
was to hold office until the meeting of a General Assembly, to be held
on the 11th of January, 1646-7.

The Assembly was held accordingly, and debated the matter at great
length, and with great heat. Bellings, who had been the Secretary from
the foundation of the Confederation, contrasts the proceedings with the
quiet and dignity with which those of the previous assemblies had been
conducted. A bishop whom he mentions, could always, he says, get a shout
of applause by merely waiving his hat. After a powerful speech by
Colonel Walter Bagnall in favour of the treaty, which produced a great
impression, the treaty was rejected on the 2nd of February, by a
majority of votes. A new oath was then framed containing further clauses
for the advantage of the Catholic religion.

The clergy thus won a disastrous triumph. Up to this the arms of the
Confederates had been successful. In the previous June, Owen Roe O’Neill
had won his famous victory over Monroe at Benburb. But now all went
wrong. The Leinster army was defeated at Dungan Hill. The Munster army,
under Lord Taaffe, was defeated at Kanturk on the 13th of November,
1647, and these reverses were followed in rapid succession by other
defeats. Everywhere there was confusion and disunion. Owen Roe O’Neill
sided with the Nuncio. The General and officers of the Leinster army at
first took the other side, and only abandoned it when the General found
that his men were not “excommunication proof.” The bishops were divided,
and so were the convents and monasteries. No doubt, the laity,
especially the common people, were bewildered. The Council revoked
O’Neill’s patent for the command in Ulster. He threw the letters
directed to him and to his officers into the fire, and he and his
officers published a sharp declaration against the Council’s
proceedings, to which they replied with equal asperity. The Assembly met
in September, 1648, and accused the Nuncio. He embarked from Galway on
the 23rd of February, 1649, and, needless to say, never returned.

Meantime, efforts had been made to conclude another peace. Ormond, after
he had been obliged to surrender Dublin to the English Parliament, had
left Ireland; but Clanricarde, who had, in conjunction with Colonel
Jones, won the battle of Kanturk, began to distrust the
Parliamentarians, and made overtures to the Confederates. Ormond
returned to Ireland in October, 1648, and concluded a peace with the
Confederates on the 17th of January, 1649.

But it was too late. Events had marched with fatal rapidity in England.
On the 5th of May, 1646, the King had surrendered himself to the Scots,
to be by them handed over to the English Parliament. His head fell on
the scaffold on the 30th of January, 1649. Cromwell landed in Ireland on
the 15th of August, to find that Ormond had been defeated by Colonel
Jones in the battle of Rathmines. We know what followed. Those who have
listened to, or have read, the brilliant lecture on Cromwell, delivered
before this Society, by Sir William Butler, need not be reminded of the
tragic occurrences of that dark time. But in any case they are beyond
the scope of this paper. The “Rebellion” of 1641 ended with the treaty
of 1649.



                     BY JAMES DONELAN, M.CH., M.B.,

                   _Chevalier of the Crown of Italy_


                     The Confederation of Kilkenny

THE period we are about to deal with is one of the most important,
perhaps the most important of modern Irish history, as the events of
that time influenced the destinies of Ireland more profoundly than
anything that went before, and by their effects, continue to profoundly
influence them even in our own times. It is also the most confused, not
to say confusing, period of the history of Ireland or any other country
that a student can attempt to deal with. Carlyle, rarely just to
Ireland, in this instance describes it with both force and faithfulness,
when due allowance is made for his prejudices. “The history of it,” he
says, “does not form itself into a picture, but remains only as a huge
blot, an indiscriminate blackness, which the human memory cannot
willingly charge itself with! There are Parties on the back of Parties,
at war with the world and with each other. There are Catholics of the
Pale, demanding freedom of religion under my Lord this and my Lord that.
There are Old-Irish Catholics under Pope’s Nuncios under Abbas O’Teague
of the excommunications and Owen Roe O’Neill demanding, not religious
freedom only, but what we now call ‘Repeal of the Union,’ and unable to
agree with the Catholics of the English Pale. Then there are Ormond
Royalists of the Episcopalian and mixed creeds, strong for King without
Covenant; Ulster and other Presbyterians, strong for King and Covenant;
lastly, Michael Jones, and the Commonwealth of England, who want neither
King nor Covenant. All these plunging and tumbling for the last eight
years, have made of Ireland and its affairs, the black unutterable blot
we speak of.” The object of this paper is to remove some of the
blackness, and attempt to set forth clearly, if possible within the
limits allowed, the relations and interactions of these various parties.

A brief reference to the rebellion of 1641 in Ulster gives us the most
convenient starting-point. The dispossessed Clansmen, availing of the
troubles between Charles I and the English Parliament, suddenly seized
on their ancestral lands and drove out the settlers. Much has been
written of the cruelties of both sides in a keen struggle for existence
in a semi-barbarous age. The insurgents have been charged with a
massacre of Protestants, the number of slain, according to some
accounts, being greater than that of the whole English population of the
island, as if the outbreak were one undertaken from religious motives.
Religion had nothing to do with it. It was the eternal Land Question in
its original and most crude form—nothing more. It was unfortunate as
furnishing a valuable pretext that was readily availed of for a general
confiscation by the Puritan Parliament that the settlers were Scotch and
English Protestants, but it cannot be doubted that, had they been
Spaniards or Italians with an Archbishop at their head, they would have
fared in precisely the same manner. From the point of view of the great
mass of the Irish proprietors both Old-Irish and Anglo-Irish, it was an
enormous tactical blunder.

A detail of the rebellion which had serious consequences, was the use of
a forged Commission from Charles I, whereby some chiefs and others of
the old proprietors who were hanging back, were induced to come out.
Charles was in Edinburgh collecting evidence against the Inviters at the
time of the outbreak, but was unwilling to leave until he had finished.
Seeing, however, the use that would be made of any hesitation on his
part in putting down a rebellion alleged to have been organized under
his Commission, he ordered the Parliament to arrange for sending an Army
into Ireland. That Assembly strung to the highest pitch of fanatical
fury by the grossly exaggerated accounts of the Lords Justices and
others interested in future forfeitures in February, 1642, passed an Act
whereby 2,500,000 acres of Irish land in parts not concerned in the
rebellion, were offered as security to whomsoever should subscribe
towards the raising of the army.

On the 8th April, 1642, the King offered to go to Ireland and take
command of the English garrison against the rebels, but the Parliament,
believing he intended only to bring those troops into England, told him
if he went, it would be looked on as an act of abdication. It can easily
be seen that the rebellion was a great advantage to the Parliament,
since the King could not withdraw his troops from Ireland without giving
support to the story circulated by the Parliament, “that he and his
Popish Queen had authorized the rising.” But, apart from the loss of
popularity suffered by the King, the most important gain to the
Parliament was the power to raise money and troops under the Act of
Confiscation. The subscriptions obtained from the adventurers, or, as we
should now call them, shareholders, were not to be paid into the Royal
Exchequer, but to a Committee composed of Members of the House of
Commons and Adventurers, and these were to appoint the Commander and
Officers, the King being allowed only to sign the Commissions. The lands
of the Irish were not to be set out to the adventurers until Parliament
should declare the war at an end. The King was also deprived of the
power to pardon the insurgents, for the effect of pardons would be to
deprive the adventurers of their security. In this way, the mass of the
Irish proprietors would be forced into rebellion, while for that reason
the King would be prevented from entering into any terms with them,
whereby he might call the English garrison in Ireland to his assistance
in the coming struggle with the Parliament, or receive help from the

In considering the attitude of the Parliament and the English people in
all these matters, it must not be forgotten that they were then about to
be forced into a life and death struggle against an autocracy. They knew
that Strafford had, but a short time before, declared the King’s
Government to be as autocratic in Ireland as that of any absolute
monarch in Europe, and that both he and the King had lively hopes of
bringing about the end of parliamentary government in England. They had
an acute dread that the King’s power in Ireland might be greater than it
really was, and that it would be used to crush their liberties. For this
reason, if for no other, they were more determined than ever to
extinguish the Irish as a nation. We know now that Charles was an
admirer and correspondent of that Alexis Romanoff, who, after swearing
to uphold them, had destroyed such germs of representative Government as
then existed in Russia, and which the Russian people are still vainly
striving to recover. After bearing with the King’s tyranny, vacillation,
and faithlessness through many years, the time was now rapidly
approaching when the conflict between the principles of autocracy and
those of popular government would have to be decided by the sword.

Of the religious intolerance shown by all parties in these dissensions,
it can only be said that men’s minds were yet quite unprepared to
accept, or even understand, anything like toleration, and when opposing
creeds met in open hostilities, both sides were often disgraced by
cruelties that showed they were little influenced by such Christian
principles as they were supposed to hold in common.

The Executive Government in Dublin Castle was, during most of the period
with which we are concerned, in the hands of the Lords Justices in the
absence of Lord Leicester, who had been appointed Lord Lieutenant, but
who, already inclining to the popular side in England, never took up his
office. The Lords Justices were, nominally, Sir William Parsons and Sir
John Borlase. Parsons, from a needy and vulgar adventurer, by the
grasping chicanery then, and long after necessary to the establishment
of a great position in Ireland, had wormed his way into his present
eminence. Sir John Borlase, the Commander of the Ordnance, was an old
soldier, well stricken in years, and practically a nonentity by the side
of his powerful colleague. The English garrison in Ireland, already
largely imbued with Puritan principles, was under the command of the
Earl—afterwards Marquis—of Ormond.

The character of Ormond has been viewed from so many standpoints, that
it is difficult to decide impartially between the extremely different
views given of it. He was originally a Catholic, but taken to England by
the Court of Wards in his youth, had been brought up a Protestant. By
birth, the head of one of the greatest Catholic Anglo-Irish families of
the Pale, amongst whom he had many relatives and connections, he
naturally sympathised with them in their troubles, but he also shared
with them the firm belief that they were not Irish, but merely English
colonists in Ireland. A fervent Royalist, devoted to the King and his
interests, as long as there was any chance of helping him, he was
distrusted by the Lords Justices, especially Parsons, “the guiding
spirit of confiscation and destruction,” to such an extent, that even on
such military expeditions as he undertook against the insurgents by
their orders, he was constantly thwarted, interfered with, and even
recalled when he had gained some success, lest, by his means, the King’s
party should grow too strong for that of the Parliament. He was in a
most difficult position, and it always seemed to me an error to denounce
Ormond as a traitor to the Irish cause. He entered into no engagements
to serve it, though he was disposed, as far as possible, to favour his
kinsmen and dependents of the Pale, but he was, first of all, an English
colonist, a soldier in the King’s service, with no pretensions to any
feeling of Irish nationality, which, as a matter of fact, far from
having displaced the narrower ties of clanship, was even then, only
approaching the throes of birth.

For some years, the Catholic Anglo-Irish proprietors, especially of the
Pale, had been endeavouring, but in vain, to come to some accommodation
with the King, heedless of what might befall their hereditary enemies,
the Old-Irish. They had addressed petitions and remonstrances to
Charles, but these, for the most part, had been suppressed by the Lords
Justices. It would be impossible, in this rapid sketch to trace the
course of these earlier negotiations. The passing of the Acts of
Confiscation were a rude awakening for the Anglo-Irish. They were at
once made to feel that for all their claims to English descent, they
were looked on by those in power in England not as Englishmen, not even
as “merely Englishmen with bad accents,” but purely and simply as Irish
Papists, fomenters and favourers of rebellion and murder, whom it would
be meritorious to exterminate.

They were accordingly forced, though, as they truthfully declared, most
reluctantly, to ally themselves with the Old-Irish. This they did in a
half-hearted way, being, most of them, rather inclined to temporise with
the King through Ormond than to boldly adopt the policy of their allies,
and by securing with their help the command of the country, be in a
position to dictate terms. At a Synod of the Clergy of the Province of
Armagh, in March, 1642, it was decided that an Assembly, representative
of the whole of Ireland, should be convened. In May, a meeting of the
clergy and principal laity took place at Kilkenny, and a Supreme Council
of nine members was chosen as a Provisional Government to arrange the
convention of the General Assembly. When the Lords Justices heard of the
establishment of the Catholic Confederacy, they and the Irish House of
Commons took steps to prohibit all intercourse with Catholics, and the
House resolved that no one refusing the Oaths of Supremacy should be
allowed to sit. The General Assembly of the Confederation held its first
meeting on October 24, and the Rev. Father Meehan, in his _History of
the Confederation of Kilkenny_, draws a glowing picture of the scene in
St. Canice’s, where, for the first time probably since the battle of
Clontarf, the representatives of the Irish nation assembled together for
a common national object. Every county and every borough had chosen its
representatives, and the body thus deputed was practically an Irish
Parliament, though out of respect for the King, not having been summoned
by his writs, it disclaimed that title. Its first business was to elect
a new Supreme Council of twenty-five members. There were also Provincial
and County Councils. The cumbrous procedure adopted, whereby every
member of the Supreme Council had to be consulted in all important
matters, did much to hamper its action, and was productive of delays in
a time when rapid decision was most needful, and this contributed in
some measure to its ultimate failure to effect the objects for which it
was called into being.

Amongst the most important of the first declarations of the Assembly,
was their resolution to maintain the rights and immunities of the
Catholic Church agreeably to the Great Charter. They commanded all
persons to bear faith and allegiance to the King, and to maintain his
just prerogatives, while they denied and renounced the Irish Government
administered in Dublin Castle by “a malignant party to his Highness’s
great disservice and in compliance with their confederates, the
malignant party of England.” The Church was to re-enter on its ancient
rights, all ecclesiastical property was to be vested in the Bishops, but
Abbey lands were not to be restored by the lay possessors, many of whom
were sitting in the Assembly itself. This question of the Abbey lands at
once became a bone of contention between the Religious Orders and some
of the most powerful of the laity, and was a potent factor of the
disunion which followed. The Assembly did not enter into the question of
the ownership of land, beyond refusing to recognise the results of the
insurrection. Land was to be considered the property of those who were
in possession on October 1, 1641. On this point Gardiner says: “The land
policy proclaimed was a policy of land owners, and was unlikely to
conciliate those who had formed the strength of that agrarian revolution
which had well nigh swept the English out of Ulster. It is, however,
impossible to doubt that if the efforts of the Assembly had been crowned
with success, it would have found itself powerless to reinstate the
English and Scottish colonists in the lands which they had recently
lost, and it is not very probable that Catholic Ireland would have
granted to Protestants, a toleration which was denied to Episcopalians
in Presbyterian Scotland, and had lately, when Charles’s authority was
supreme, been denied to Presbyterians in Episcopalian England.” On this
point of Gardiner’s, it may be remarked that where questions of religion
alone were concerned, and apart from temporal considerations, Catholic
Ireland has always shown an example of tolerance even in ages when
tolerance was unknown in countries supposed to be more advanced in
modern civilization.

While the land question threatened to divide the Old-Irish of
Ulster from their co-religionists of the South, the Assembly
deliberately—perhaps because it could not help itself—adopted a
scheme of military commands which from the outset made for
disunion. Owen Roe O’Neill was chosen General for Ulster; Preston
for Leinster; Garret Barry for Munster, and Colonel John Burke for
Connaught, the last with the title of Lieutenant-General, as it
was hoped the Earl of Clanricarde would take the chief command in
that province. No Commander-in-Chief was appointed, and nothing
like concerted action between the various armies was ever
seriously attempted. O’Neill had, moreover, little friendship for
the Supreme Council, and was on bad terms with the Leinster
General, Preston, who was father-in-law of Phelim O’Neill, Owen’s
rival, who had but lately claimed the chieftainship of the
O’Neills on the ground of lawful heirship, while Owen Roe, though
possessing incomparably greater personal merit, was sprung from an
illegitimate branch. Of the continued state of war which existed,
it is impossible to give any detailed account here. It was a
series of skirmishes and petty sieges, in which one side harassed
the other without either gaining a decisive victory. The
Royalists, under Ormond in Leinster, and the other English
General, Murrough O’Brien, Lord Inchiquin in Munster, were in the
greatest distress for want of provisions, pay, and munitions, and
concerted action by the Irish forces under a skilled commander
like Owen Roe, for instance, would soon have forced them to terms,
but no such united effort was made. The Scottish army, which had
landed in Ulster under Leven and Monroe, remained under the
command of the latter, and possessed itself of the greater part of
the province and extended its raids and forages as far as Sligo,
but for the most part afterwards remained inactive, and was only
distinguished by some massacres of the unarmed peasants. Of the
general conduct of the war, Gardiner says: “There was no strategy
on either side, it was an affair of skirmishes and sieges, of
raids over the wide expanse of pasture-land, for the purpose of
sweeping off the herds of cattle which were the main wealth of the
people. Wherever an English force could penetrate, its track was
marked by fire and the gallows. Exasperated at the Ulster murders,
and seeing in every Irishman a murderer or a supporter of
murderers, the English soldiery rarely gave quarter, and, unless
the accounts of their enemies are entirely devoid of truth, when
they did give it, it was often violated. The peasants retaliated
by knocking stray soldiers on the head, and by slaughtering
parties too weak to resist. Yet, whenever ... the Irish forces
were commanded by officers of rank and authority, they were
distinguished for humanity under circumstances of no slight
provocation. The garrisons of fortified posts captured by the
Irish, were uniformly allowed to find their way in safety to a
place of refuge. On the whole, the balance of advantage was on the
Irish side.”

The history from now until the arrival of Rinuccini is almost entirely
that of a long series of tedious negotiations between Ormond, acting for
the King, and the Supreme Council, for a cessation of arms. Ormond had
recently been made a Marquis, and his commission as Commander-in-Chief
of the English troops had been enlarged, so as to leave him independent
of the nominal Lord Lieutenant, the Earl of Leicester. Parsons still
remained Lord Justice, and the King, did not venture to interfere with
him. Leicester had got as far as Chester on his way to Ireland, but
Charles, foreseeing that he would side with Parsons and make him still
more powerful, summoned him to Oxford, this being practically the recall
of his commission as Lord Lieutenant. The English interest in Ireland
therefore remained in the hands of the Lords Justices, nominally
acknowledging the King, but in reality, devoted to the Parliament and
the policy of confiscation, and in those of the Marquis of Ormond,
entirely devoted to the King, but with some sympathy for the Catholic
nobility and gentry, especially those of the Pale, as he saw they had
been driven through despair at the threatened confiscation, to join the
Old-Irish in their uprising.

Reynolds and Goodwin had been sent over by the Parliament with £20,000,
to attempt to win over the English garrison. The King, when he heard of
their presence at the sittings of the Privy Council, denounced them as
rebels, and severely reprimanded the Lords Justices. Soon after, he sent
warrants for the arrest of Reynolds and Goodwin, but they had fled to

Charles, by this time at his wits’ end for forces to check the growing
strength of the insurrection in England, had turned his thoughts to
Ireland, and determined to enter into negotiations with the Confederates
for a cessation so as to enable him to withdraw the English garrison
from Ireland. He had proposed to make Ormond Lord Lieutenant, but left
it to him to accept or decline the office. Ormond, however, advised him
“to delay the sending him an authority to take that charge upon him,”
and proceeded to the treaty with the Confederates as Commander-in-Chief
of the Forces. Amongst the reasons other than the King’s wish, which
influenced Ormond in seeking a cessation, were the almost complete
exhaustion of supplies of money and food for his troops. The £20,000
brought by Reynolds and Goodwin were spent, having for only a short time
barely sufficed, as Carte pithily puts it, “to give soldiers twelve
pence a week to keep them from drinking water.” Though Ormond had
defeated Preston at Ross, he had no provisions to enable him to keep the
field, and was at once obliged to return to Dublin with a starving army
clamouring for food and pay. The Lords Justices besought the English
Parliament to send money, but the Parliament wanted all the money they
could lay hands on, including that subscribed by the Adventurers for the
Irish War for their own war against the King, so that it may be truly
said that the liberties of the English people were literally paid for by
the spoliation of the Old-Irish and Anglo-Irish proprietors.

In January, 1643, Charles issued a commission to Ormond, Clanricarde,
and others, to treat with the Catholic leaders, and this step was, of
course, at once resented by the Lords Justices. The officers of the
English garrison made some protest, but weary of waiting for supplies,
which the English Parliament was unable to send, Ormond succeeded in
getting them to place their hopes in the King’s power to satisfy their
complaints. The King’s Commissioners and those of the Confederation met
at Trim on St. Patrick’s Day, 1643, and the latter presented their
Remonstrance of Grievances. In that document they described the
disabilities they were under on account of their faith, the exclusion of
their sons from University education and public employment, the tricks
and chicaneries of the Puritan officials striving to make fortunes out
of their unhappy position, Parsons being the worst of these; the boast
of Parsons and others, that Catholics would be forced to change their
faith, and the intention of the English Parliament to pass Acts for the
extirpation of the Catholic religion in the Three Kingdoms. It denounced
the misconduct of the Lords Justices, their dependence on the English
Parliament, the Confiscation Acts passed at their instigation, which had
forced the Anglo-Irish to take up arms in self-defence. It declared the
Irish Parliament completely independent of that of England, and that the
latter had no right to legislate for Ireland. That the Irish Parliament
had sunk under the Lords Justices to be a mere section of their own
partisans, where the majority of the members of the House dare not
appear. The document concluded by praying for a Free Parliament, in
which all matters affecting Ireland might be discussed irrespective of
Poynings’ Act, and that no Catholic should be, on any account, excluded
from sitting and voting. If these favours were granted to them, the
Confederates were ready to send an army of 10,000 men to England to
defend the King’s prerogative.

Against this remonstrance, the Lords Justices sent a strongly-worded
protest to the King against his entering into any treaty with the Irish.
They recalled the events of the first rebellion; the Irish did not
really care for their religion, but were so ungrateful for the care the
English had taken of them as to massacre 150,000 men, women and children
of that nation.

“Astounding as this statement was,” says Gardiner, “there was one point
in the argument of the Lords Justices which had been passed over
entirely by the Irish Commissioners. If the Irish, after all that had
passed, were suffered to consolidate their power, would they allow the
English to live on an equality with themselves?... Cynicism, however,
has seldom gone further than the cool anticipation of slaughter which
followed. They remember, say the writers, ‘that in the best of former
times the Irish did so exceed in number, as that the Governors never
cared or durst fully execute the laws for true reformation for fear of
disturbance, having some hope always by civil and fair entreaty to win
them to a civil and peaceable life; so if peace should now be granted
them before the sword or famine have so abated them in number as that in
a reasonable time, English colonies might overtop them.’ ‘No peace,’ the
Lords Justices repeated, ‘could be safe or lasting till the sword have
abated these rebels in number and power.’”

Ormond, while considering the proposals of the Confederates as totally
inadmissible, condemned the representations of the Lords Justices as
tending to countenance a scheme of extirpation iniquitous in the
attempt, and impossible to be executed.

Charles was desirous of coming to terms with the Catholics without
giving them any real power, so that he might strengthen his army in
England. Though the manner in which even the rumour of an Irish Catholic
army was received in England showed how dangerous it was for Charles
even to think of it, still, by entering into negotiations he might gain
time in Ireland, and be enabled to withdraw the English garrison—at any
rate, temporarily. He first dismissed Parsons, and appointed Sir Henry
Tichborne Lord Justice in his place, while Borlase, too old and
inefficient to be of consequence, was allowed to remain. The King next
authorized Ormond to treat for a cessation of arms for a year, and
privately wrote to him to bring over the Irish garrison to Chester as
soon as the cessation was agreed on.

The cessation was not, however, so speedily arranged as the King
desired, and the Confederates were not so anxious to see Charles enter
London in triumph as to forego the interests of religion and country.
The earlier negotiations were broken off on Ormond’s refusal of the free
Parliament asked for in the Remonstrance of Grievances. Nevertheless,
delay was favourable to the Confederates, and their power was still
extending over the country. In June, 1643, Ormond, conscious of his
desperate military position, “and,” as Gardiner thinks, “perhaps willing
to establish beyond dispute, the necessity of coming to terms with the
insurgents, told the Lords Justices that he was ready to break off the
negotiations if they could find any possible way of maintaining the
troops.” They were unable to help him in any way, and Ormond set out
once more, this time with the reluctant consent of the Castle
Government, to attempt to come to terms with the Confederates, but after
nearly three weeks of fruitless effort, he resolved to attack Preston
once more. Preston wisely avoided a battle, and Ormond’s army in a
starving condition, was obliged to retreat to Dublin.

Ormond and the Lords Justices had now no alternative but a cessation,
and knowing that the King was willing to treat for a free Parliament, he
prepared to resume negotiations. Some of the irreconcilables of the
Privy Council bitterly opposed any cessation, but on the King’s order,
Parsons, Sir John Temple, and others, were arrested as traitors to the
King for having sided with “my rebels of England.”

Amongst the Confederates, the nobility and gentry of Norman or English
extraction were willing to accept such terms as would restore to the
Catholic Church its former jurisdiction, and would give them, through
Parliament, the control of the Government and the assistance of the
King’s troops against the Puritan army under Monroe. They foolishly
believed that if the King “gained the victory over his enemies in
England (he) would have either the will or the power to support in
England the system which found favour at Kilkenny.”

The Old-Irish, especially of Ulster, and the clergy took a more accurate
view of the situation, and were against any cessation, as it would only
give time for the enemy to regain strength, and for disunion to spread
in their own ranks. In these opinions they were strongly supported by
Father Scarampi, who had recently arrived as Papal Legate. His views are
embodied in a document drawn up by those of the Old-Irish most in his
confidence, which is worth quoting at some length, as it is the whole
case of the national party as distinguished from those who thought more
of the King’s and the English interest, than that of their country. “We
should undoubtedly,” they say, “carry on our work to establish the
Catholic Faith, the authority of Parliament, and the security of our
country by arms and intrepidity, not by cessations and indolence. For
this there are the following reasons: That peace will ever be made
between the King and the Parliament is improbable, nor would it be to
our advantage, for if they combined, we should be necessitated to
surrender. It is likely, however, that before long one side will become
powerful enough to dictate to the other. If the Parliament prevail—which
God forbid—all Ireland will fall under their arbitrary power; the swords
of the Puritans will be at our throats, and we shall lose everything
except our faith. Should the King triumph, we may expect much from his
goodness and kindness, and much from the Queen’s intercession. It is
uncertain, however, what laws or terms may be imposed on us in such
circumstances. The King, should he succeed by the aid of the
Protestants, would be in a manner engaged to them. They, as usual, would
oppose freedom of religion in Ireland, and insist on the punishment of
our ‘rebellion,’ as they style it, to enable them to seize our
properties and occupy our estates. It would probably be thought a
sufficient concession to the Queen to allow us to return to the
miserable position in which we were before the war. On the other hand,
if we now adopt proper measures, the party eventually triumphing in
England will find us in arms, well provided, with increased territories,
and stronger in foreign succours. Thus they would not so readily invade
us, or swallow us up, so as to leave us without the free exercise of our
faith, or some share in the administration of the kingdom.”

“It was the banner of Irish nationality,” says Gardiner, “which was here
unfolded, and those who upheld it were at least not afraid to look in
the face the stern fact that no English party would willingly tolerate
the organisation of the Roman Catholic Church in Ireland, or the
organisation of a purely Irish Government. If the opportunity of
England’s divisions was to be seized to any profit, Ireland must become
a nation strong enough to hold its own. To gain for itself the sentiment
of patriotism, to cherish, in defiance of all assailants, its own
traditions and its own beliefs, would be worthy many a struggle and many
a defeat, if only, through suffering, it might be attained.”

The national party were not strong enough in the Assembly or the Council
to successfully oppose the cessation; Ormond was permitted to resume
negotiations, and the Articles for a Cessation for a year were signed on
September 15, 1643. A narrow district on the East Coast, another round
Cork, and such fortresses as were held by the Royal troops, were to
remain in the hands of the English Commanders. All the rest of Ireland,
outside Ulster, was in the power of the Confederates. If Monroe’s troops
accepted the Cessation, they were to share its advantages; if not,
Ormond’s army was to remain neutral, whilst the whole force of the
Confederates was to march against them, and the King was even to be
asked to allow Ormond to co-operate.

On these conditions, the Supreme Council agreed to pay £800 to relieve
the garrison of Naas and £30,000 in money or beeves for the use of the
regiments withdrawn to England in support of the King. The Confederates
were also to send Commissioners to Oxford to discuss with Charles the
terms of a permanent peace.

Such in brief was the Cessation, and from its very articles which prove
the Confederation not only masters of almost the whole of Ireland, but
so well provided with money and supplies as to be able to come
substantially to the assistance of the King, we can estimate their folly
in voluntarily throwing away a position they were never able to regain.
Ormond’s diplomacy had triumphed. He had prepared the ground for the
future sowing of dissensions in their ranks. He could now look forward
to helping the King with the Irish garrison whose cause with this
addition might triumph, and before the time expired, they could be back
in Ireland flushed with victory, replenished in every way, and easily
able to overcome the disunited insurgents. The Confederates had gained
nothing, but had placed themselves in danger of losing all. An Irish
writer declares “that the Puritans in Dublin did swear that if the Irish
did hold out for one month more all the Parliamentarians would have
deserted Leinster.... The enemy had no commander of any repute but
Ormond, Tichborne, Hume and Monk, while the Irish had O’Neill’s
victorious army ... ranging at pleasure in the counties of Meath and
Dublin and Castlehaven taking the garrisons whereunto he marched, the
enemy not daring to relieve any for fear of the Ulster (O’Neill’s) army.
All the Irish got by this bargain was the release of a few prisoners.”

It is necessary only to allude to the attempt made by Randal McDonnell,
Earl of Antrim, to raise by his own efforts 10,000 Irish soldiers for
the service of the King, as it had no effect on the course of events.

In March, 1644, the Confederates’ Commissioners arrived at Oxford to
treat with Charles for a permanent peace. Amongst the first conditions
submitted, they required that no standing army should be maintained in
Ireland, that all offices should be vacated whereby any titles to lands
were found for the Crown since the first year of Elizabeth, that all
attainders since that period and all grants and leases from the Crown
should be revised in a free Parliament in which they would form the
large majority. These conditions were found to be inadmissible by the
King, as practically meaning the extinction of his authority in Ireland,
and it is difficult to see how they could have been put before any
English King, and especially one in the difficult position of Charles,
with any hope of success. They accordingly modified their demands, and
now asked for the freedom of their religion, the repeal of the penal
laws which prevented them from holding public appointments, a free
Parliament, and the repeal of Poynings’ Law during its session, the
annulling of all Acts of the Irish Parliament since the prorogation of
7th August, 1641, to which they imputed the subsequent troubles, the
vacating of all outlawries and attainders against Catholics since that
date and of all offices found for the King’s title to lands since the
year 1634. They also demanded the establishment of an Inn of Court and
Catholic Colleges, a free and indifferent appointment of all Irish
natives without exception to places in the public service, that an Act
should be passed formally declaring the independency of their Parliament
on that of England. If these conditions were accepted by the King, they
were ready to send 10,000 men to his assistance, as well as money and
supplies. Though unwilling to agree to most, if not all, of these
conditions, Charles accepted the memorial for consideration as the basis
of a future treaty.

Agents were also nominated at the desire of the King to represent the
Irish Privy Council and the Protestant Royalists. These, headed by
Archbishop Usher, set out for Oxford, but before they could arrive, Sir
Charles Coote headed a Commission sent by the extreme Puritan party in
Ireland, and hastened to the King with a memorial praying that he “would
abate his quit rents and encourage and enable Protestants to re-plant
the Kingdom, and cause a good walled town to be built in every county
for their security, no Papist being allowed to dwell therein.” That he
should “continue the penal laws and dissolve forthwith the assumed power
of the Confederates, and banish all Popish priests out of Ireland, and
that no Popish recusant should be allowed to sit or vote in Parliament.”

Archbishop Usher protested against the intolerant demands of these
fanatics, but he desired that all the penal laws should be enforced and
all Papists disarmed. The King vainly represented to them how useless it
was to expect the Confederates, superior in power, and possessed of more
than three-fourths of the Kingdom, to resign themselves disarmed to the
mercy of those whom they have provoked by their resistance. Even in time
of peace, he said, the penal laws were too odious to be strictly
executed. It was, therefore, plain that no treaty with the Confederates
could be made “on the terms proposed by the Protestants, and it was
scarcely less evident that the most violent of this party,” in the
interests of the English Parliament, “laboured to obstruct a treaty upon
any terms whatever.”

However, Charles was keenly aware of his own necessities, and seeing
that of the three Irish parties, that of the Confederates alone had the
means to help him if they could be won over, treated their agents with
particular attention, and as Leland says somewhat disparagingly,
“answered their propositions with that courtesy and condescension which
he had been taught by his misfortunes.” He was willing to refer the
great difficulty of the independence of the Irish Parliament to be
temporarily decided by both Parliaments. He agreed to pass an Act for
removing the incapacity of Catholics to purchase lands and hold public
offices, and to allow them places of education. Instead of reversing
Acts of Parliament and attainders, he proposed to grant a general
pardon, and to assent to such an Act of Oblivion as should be
recommended by the Lord Lieutenant and Council. He was willing to summon
a new Parliament in Ireland, but without the suspension of Poynings’
Act. With regard to the penal laws, he contended that as they had never
been rigorously enforced, so his recusant subjects, in returning to
their duty, should have no cause of complaint that they were treated
with less moderation than in the two last reigns.

Though the negotiations were interrupted, the agents of the
Confederation were conciliated by these declarations of the King, and
said they confessed that, placed as he was, he could not well make
further concessions at present, and hoped that when their General
Assembly was aware of his situation they would modify their demands,
though they themselves had no authority to recede from them. The King
dismissed them with an admonition that would have had some weight from a
man of firmer and more trustworthy character, but even as he was, his
words were in a sense prophetic. He advised them to bear in mind his
circumstances and their own, “that the existence of their nation and
religion depended on the preservation of his just rights and authority
in England, that if his Catholic subjects of Ireland would consent to
such conditions as he could safely grant and they accept, with security
to their lives, fortunes, and religion, and hasten to enable him to
suppress his enemies it would then be in his power to vouchsafe such
grace to them as should complete their happiness, and which he gave them
his royal word he would “then dispense in such a manner as should not
leave them disappointed of their just and full expectations. But if, by
insisting on particulars which he could not in conscience grant, nor
they in conscience necessarily demand, and such as though he might
concede, yet, at present, would bring that damage on him which all their
supplies could not countervail ... if they should thus delay their
succours until the power of the rebels had prevailed in England and
Scotland then they would quickly find their power in Ireland but an
imaginary support for his interest or their own; and that they (the
English rebels) who with difficulty had destroyed him, would without
opposition root out their nation and religion.” The Confederate
Commissioners returned to Kilkenny, and Ormond was empowered by the King
to treat with the Supreme Council on the basis of the amended memorial.
Meanwhile the war dragged on between the Confederates and the Scots and
other adherents of the Parliament who refused the truce, while Ormond’s
garrisons remained neutral. In the South, Lords Inchiquin and Broghill
continued ravaging the country and capturing posts from the
Confederates. They expelled the Catholic inhabitants of Cork, Youghal,
and Kinsale, and wrote to the King asking him to proclaim the
Confederates as rebels “and that they were resolved to die a thousand
deaths rather than consent to any peace with them.” Supported now by the
Parliament which sent a fleet into the Shannon, and disappointed at the
King’s refusal to make him Lord President of Munster, Inchiquin soon
after openly joined the Parliamentarians, and adopting a canting style,
declared that “he was acting for the Gospel, and that if he died for it
he should be held as a perfect martyr.”

The negotiations for the peace with the Confederates were resumed by
Ormond in September, 1644, but it was soon evident that even if the
political articles could be rendered acceptable to both parties, the
religious ones promised to upset everything. The Irish demanded not only
the repeal of all laws that hindered their freedom of worship, but those
against appeals to Rome, and the portion of the Act of Praemunire
against Papal jurisdiction. Though Charles would agree that the penal
laws should not be enforced, he still would not consent to their repeal,
and was absolutely resolved not to alter the Acts of Appeals and
Praemunire. In this resolution he was strengthened by the action of the
Ormondist faction in the General Assembly headed by Lord Muskerry and
Geoffrey Browne. These declared privately to Ormond that they would
accept the King’s terms on sufficient guarantee being given that the
lives and properties of the Irish would be safe. They would not press
for the repeal of the penal laws which they thought would fall into
abeyance when Charles was restored to power. The King now yielded
somewhat and ordered Ormond to promise that the penal laws should be
suspended as soon as peace was made, and that if restored to his rights
by Irish aid, they should be absolutely repealed, “but all those against
appeals to Rome and Praemunire must stand.”

Ormond, feeling the difficulty of his position as a Protestant native of
Ireland with many connections amongst the gentry of the Pale, and,
perhaps, also, through a belief that the King would conduct the
negotiations without him, wrote offering to send his resignation, but
Charles would not hear of it, and urged him to complete the treaty.
While so many estimates have been formed of Ormond’s conduct and
capacity at this juncture by Irish partisans, it may be useful to quote
an English opinion. Gardiner, reviewing his conduct in these
transactions says: “Of all living men Ormond was perhaps the least
fitted to conduct that negotiation even to the temporary sense of which
it was alone capable. His virtues and his defects alike stood in his
way. He was too loyal to throw off his shoulders the load which Charles
had placed upon them, but he was at the same time so completely wanting
in initiative power that he never thought—as Strafford under similar
circumstances would assuredly have thought—of suggesting a policy of his
own, or even of criticising adversely the one imposed on him by his
master. Yet it ought to have been evident to Ormond that an Irish army
was not to be gained by haggling over the privileges to be accorded to
the true Irish Parliament, and the true Irish Church.” Even if the
10,000 men had been really forthcoming, they would have been of little
avail unless those Irishmen were heartily engaged in the King’s cause.

Before the Oxford negotiations were broken off Charles had had an
opportunity of winning their confidence. The English Parliament urged
Monroe to break the Cessation and sent him a commission as
Commander-in-Chief of all the English as well as the Scottish forces in
Ulster. He complied with their orders, seized Belfast, and defeated
Castlehaven’s army sent against him by the Supreme Council, who offered
to place all their forces under Ormond’s command if he would unite with
them against the Scots. Ormond refused to do so without the King’s
positive order, and at that time, Charles withheld. No doubt he was
afraid to take a step which would have cost him most of his army in
England; “But what,” says Gardiner, “is to be thought of a policy which
based itself on the co-operation of an Irish army in England when it was
impossible to grant to the Irish the co-operation of an English army in

The King was apparently also sensible that some other intermediary than
Ormond would be needed to bring about the only end he had in view—the
strengthening of his army by any means against the Parliament. He soon
found, or, rather, had ready to his hand, one far more likely than
Ormond to come to speedy terms with the Confederate Catholics, and we
accordingly approach the consideration of a series of transactions in
which the King’s conduct has provided a fertile theme for discussion
Whatever may be thought of his mode of conducting these negotiations,
there is no doubt that nothing in his whole career injured him so much
in English opinion or contributed more certainly to his tragic end.

When the Irish agents were at Oxford Charles had already been discussing
his chances of Irish aid with Lord Herbert of Raglan, the Catholic son
of the Marquis of Worcester. He and his father had generously placed
their great wealth at the disposal of the King who had but lately
acknowledged having received no less than £250,000 from them. He now
conferred on Lord Herbert the title of Earl of Glamorgan by warrant, but
in order to keep the whole transaction private, though the warrant was
presented at the Signet Office, no steps were taken to render it valid
by patent. Glamorgan offered—and his offer was eagerly accepted by the
King—to induce the Confederates to enter into a private treaty for
bringing over the 10,000 men on terms more liberal than Ormond was
authorized to grant, he was also to bring 6,000 from Wales, and as many
as he could get from Lorraine and the Low Countries to Lynn in Norfolk,
where the Parliament’s Commander was ready to betray his post.
Glamorgan, sanguine of success, was to be the Commander-in-Chief of the
whole of this Catholic army. He chiefly relied on the Pope and other
Catholic princes whom he expected to eagerly support a scheme from which
the Church was to reap many advantages. The Commission to Glamorgan was
issued without the Great Seal, but he soon overcame that difficulty. Any
seal was good enough to show to Irish Confederates and foreign courts,
and it is believed that he and Endymion Porter cut off a genuine seal
from some other document. Charles, completely won over by the assurances
of Glamorgan that he would soon be furnished with the means of
overcoming all his difficulties, was ready to confer the highest
honours. He offered the hand of the Princess Elizabeth to Glamorgan’s
eldest son, and conferred on Glamorgan the higher title of Duke of
Somerset, though in the case of this title also, the legal formalities
were for the present avoided. Though Charles so highly appreciated
Glamorgan’s enthusiasm, he apparently did not credit him with much
discretion. In writing to Ormond that Glamorgan was about to visit
Ireland on his own private affairs, he added, “His honesty or affection
to my service will not deceive you, but I will not answer for his

Ormond was fully aware of the King’s resolve to conclude peace with the
Confederates on Muskerry’s conditions, and it was for this reason he had
tried to shift the responsibility for complying with them to some one
directly from England. Charles, as we have seen, refused to accept his
resignation, but he now sent Glamorgan to persuade those of the
Confederates who were opposed to peace on Muskerry’s terms, and to
assure them that the penal laws, though unrepealed, would never be
enforced. Charles desired that Glamorgan should be guided in everything
by the advice of Ormond, but so desperately resolved was he on getting
help from the Confederates, that he actually gave “the feather-brained
Glamorgan a commission to succeed Ormond as Lord Lieutenant in the event
of the death or misconduct of the latter; in other words, in the event
of his persisting in his refusal to carry out the negotiation on the
lines indicated by his last instructions.” At the same time it is
evident that Charles did not think there was any likelihood of Ormond
being replaced by Glamorgan, and that he counted rather on their working
heartily together. “You may engage your estate, interest and credit,” he
instructed Glamorgan, “that we will most readily and punctually perform
any our promises to the Irish, and as it is necessary to conclude a
peace suddenly, whatsoever shall be consented unto by our Lieutenant the
Marquis or Ormond, we will die a thousand deaths rather than disannul or
break it; and if upon necessity anything to be condescended unto, and
yet the Lord Marquis not willing to be seen therein or not fit for us
publicly to own, do you endeavour to supply the same.” Taken in
conjunction with the instructions to Ormond, it is plain that Glamorgan
was to act with him, but with powers to give the Confederates those
assurances which Ormond as a Protestant Royalist might not feel himself
free to give, that the penal laws would be suspended until peace was
declared and repealed as soon as Charles’s restoration to power would
make it safe for him to do so.

On January 6, 1645, Charles issued a Commission under the Great Seal to
Glamorgan to levy troops not only in Ireland but on the Continent, and
this was followed on the 12th by a letter to him in which the King said,
“So great is the confidence we repose in you, as that whatsoever you
shall perform, as warranted under our signature, pocket signet, or
private mark, or even by word of mouth, without further ceremony, we do
on the word of a King and a Christian, promise to make good to all
intents and purposes as effectually as if your authority from us had
been under the Great Seal of England, with this advantage that we shall
esteem ourselves the more obliged to you for your gallantry in not
standing upon such nice terms to do us service, which we shall, God
willing, reward.... Proceed, therefore, cheerfully, speedily, and
boldly, and for your doing so this shall be your sufficient warrant.”

These commissions and instructions of Charles can only be viewed as the
words of a desperate gambler willing to promise anything that would
provide him with another stake to hazard in the game. He was not,
however, dependent only on Glamorgan for Irish and Continental
assistance. His Queen, Henrietta Maria, had escaped to France, and was
actively engaged in procuring troops. She had been kindly welcomed by
the Queen-Regent, Anne of Austria, but the Prime Minister, Mazarin,
looked on her coldly. France, exhausted by her long but victorious
struggle with the Emperor for those Rhine Provinces she was again
destined to lose, was not in a position to make any effort from
sentimental motives to help Charles. Mazarin had also no interest in
seeing those troubles ended which prevented England from interfering
with his designs on the Continent. He therefore received favourably
Father O’Hartigan, the Confederate agent at Paris. His plans were such
as to lead to the practically complete independence of Ireland. Mazarin,
however, would not help unless everything was done in the name of
Charles, and with the approval of the Queen of England. O’Hartigan was
soon able to report that he had her support. A joint committee of
English and Irish Catholics had been formed in Paris and had resolved
that the Catholic Church should be first established in Ireland as a
step to its establishment in England. By this resolution it was hoped to
obtain considerable help in money from the Pope and other Catholic
princes, but it was not so much of the interests of the Church in
England O’Hartigan was thinking, as of Irish independence. Sir Kenelm
Digby was to go to Rome to solicit the help of the Pope. O’Hartigan,
writing privately to the Supreme Council at Kilkenny, recommended that
after the enemy had been expelled from Ireland, the long talked of Irish
army might be despatched to England to replace Charles on the throne.
There was another scheme in which the Duke of Lorraine was to play the
leading part. He had been deprived of his Duchy by Richelieu, and as a
Catholic prince of the Empire, had fought against France. Mazarin was
anxious to give his energies some other outlet, and told the Queen that
if the Duke could be induced to lead his troops into England, money
would not be wanting. The Duke engaged to enter England with 10,000 men,
and the Prince of Orange was asked to supply the ships to carry them, as
well as 5,000 the Queen was assured would be raised in France.

These projects—for they were never more than projects—show why Glamorgan
had a commission to raise troops abroad as Charles placed no faith in
O’Hartigan. O’Hartigan’s letter, in which he expressed his real hopes,
had been captured by a Parliamentary cruiser and sent to Ormond. Charles
therefore warned the Queen that O’Hartigan was a knave, and in a letter
to Ormond mentioned that the Prince of Orange had consented to supply
the ships for the continental troops. He urged Ormond to conclude peace,
and said that he would consider the Irish army a good bargain even if he
had to consent to Poynings’ Law being suspended, and to Ormond’s joining
the Confederates against the Scots; he would make no further concession
regarding the penal laws than he had already promised. A month later,
when his position in England had become still more critical, he wrote
“If the suspension of Poynings’ Act for such Bills as shall be agreed on
between you there, and the present taking away of the penal laws against
Papists by a law will do it I shall not think it a bad bargain, so that
freely and vigorously they engage themselves in my assistance against my
rebels in England and Scotland.” But even now Ormond was to make a
better bargain if possible, and not to mention these greater powers
except in the last extremity.

Even if Ormond were as willing as the King to make these concessions, he
had to carry on his negotiations with the help of a Privy Council that
would not be likely to view them favourably. For this reason the King
decided that Glamorgan should now start for Ireland with powers not only
as commander, but to enable him to treat with the Confederates “not
indeed without Ormond’s knowledge, but in substitution for him if it
proved to be necessary.” Charles gave Ormond a further commission with
full powers to treat with the Confederates in such matters as had to be
agreed to “wherein our Lieutenant cannot so well be seen in, as not fit
for us at present public to own.” He urged him to proceed with all
secrecy, and promised on the word of a King and a Christian, to ratify
whatever Glamorgan should grant to the Confederates, “they having by
their supplies testified their zeal to our service.”

In the meantime the King’s cause had grown much weaker, and it was
doubtful even if the Irish army could be landed in England, or, if
landed, whether it could be of any help. Not only was Charles severely
defeated at Naseby, but his private papers were captured at Sherburne,
and his instructions to Ormond made known to the Parliament. Glamorgan
on his arrival in Ireland found that a new factor had been introduced
into the negotiations by the General Assembly’s adoption of the demand
of the Catholic clergy that they should be confirmed in the possession
of the churches actually in the hands of the Confederates with the
property appertaining thereto as well as all derelict churches. The
Confederate Commissioners had been instructed to yield nothing on this
point, and as Charles refused to concede anything more than he had done
already, and as Ormond concealed his powers with regard to the penal
laws, the treaty again broke down. Glamorgan seeing that he could do
nothing with Ormond, accompanied the disappointed Confederate
Commissioners to Kilkenny, where he privately resumed the negotiations,
and acting on the very loosely-worded and wide instructions given him by
Charles on March 12, he concluded a secret treaty with the Confederates.

By this instrument, which comprised what were called the Religious
Articles, and which was signed on August 25, 1645, he agreed on behalf
of the King to the free and public exercise of the Catholic religion.
This, though set forth more definitely than Ormond would probably have
agreed to, may be looked on as not exceeding the terms Ormond was
authorized to grant. But in two other clauses Glamorgan’s treaty was far
in advance of anything Ormond would grant or to which indeed Charles had
consented, unless we regard the secret commission as empowering
Glamorgan to promise anything as long as he could get the troops Charles
so sorely needed. Glamorgan agreed that all churches fallen into the
hands of the Catholics since the rising in Ulster, and the derelict
churches “other than such as are now actually enjoyed by his ‘Majesty’s
Protestant subjects,’ were to remain in their possession.” Next, he
agreed that the Catholics were to be exempt from the jurisdiction of the
Protestant clergy, and their own clergy were not to be “molested for the
exercise of their jurisdiction over their respective Catholic flocks in
matters spiritual and ecclesiastical.” This naturally left open the
question of appeals to Rome, since there must be some authority over the
clergy to decide what were civil and what were spiritual cases, and it
was scarcely likely that the Confederates could consent to its being
vested in the King.

Charles had not heard of the question of the churches before Glamorgan
started, but when he did he wrote to him on July 31, and said he would
consent only to the Catholics building chapels for themselves, and
absolutely refused to allow them to retain any of the churches.

It seems probable that the King was sincere when he declared that he
would look on the giving up of the churches as the abandonment of his
religion, and that Glamorgan, eager to obtain the 10,000 men from the
Confederates, had exceeded his instructions, but hoped to have his fault
overlooked by Charles in view of the great assistance the Irish soldiers
would be to his cause. At the same time, Gardiner, who has discussed
this question very freely in his _History of the Great Civil War_, and
in a special article in the _English Historical Review_, does not make
sufficient allowance for the shifty vacillating character of Charles,
and it is quite permissible to assume that when he gave his general
instructions in such vague terms to Glamorgan, he contemplated the
possibility of having to disavow any action he might take under them,
while, if such action were not questioned by his enemies, he was quite
ready to profit by it. It would, however, seem that Glamorgan knew he
was acting in a way the King would very likely not agree to; for when he
signed the treaty he handed the Confederates another document called a
_defeasance_, in which he declared that he did not intend to bind the
King to consent to anything “other than he himself shall please, after
he hath received these ten thousand men being a pledge and testimony” of
the loyalty of his Irish Catholic subjects. This document was not to be
disclosed to Charles until Glamorgan had done all in his power to induce
him to agree to the religious articles.

On this point Gardiner says, “It was hardly within the bounds of
possibility that Glamorgan’s action should prove beneficial either to
his master or to the Irish people; but he was surely right in thinking
that if a military alliance was to be formed with the Confederates it
could only be by the acceptance of their own terms. It was childish to
expect the hearty co-operation of the Irish if their Church was to be
maintained in the position of a merely tolerated sect, the organisation
of which was in constant danger of a sudden application of the Statutes
of Appeal and Præmunire; and if the ecclesiastical lands and buildings
set apart for religious use by their ancestors, and now recovered after
a deprivation of less than a century, were to be forcibly torn from
them, and restored to the professors of an alien creed, from whom they
had nothing but persecution to expect.”

The Supreme Council of the Confederates at once proceeded to test the
new alliance they thought they had formed, and on August 29, asked
Ormond to join his forces with theirs against the Scots under Monroe in
Ulster, but Ormond gave no reply though pressed by Glamorgan, who
assured him that the Confederates would now send the 10,000 men to
England, and would resume the treaty for the political articles with
Ormond. Glamorgan begged Ormond to grant as much as possible and let the
Confederates appeal to the King for the rest. Ormond was, of course,
kept in the dark as to the secret treaty for the religious articles by
which the Confederates had been persuaded that they would get all they
wanted from Charles, so that they were willing to accept such instalment
as Ormond would offer.

The Confederates accordingly once more sent Commissioners to Dublin, and
the discussion with Ormond continued for another two months, but Ormond
refused absolutely to exceed his instructions or to yield anything in
matters of religion. On November 20, a few days after Rinuccini arrived
there, Glamorgan went to Kilkenny. He found the Supreme Council agreed
that if Ormond persisted in refusing the terms they demanded as to
religion, the political treaty should be published by itself whilst the
religious articles should be kept secret until ratified by Charles. They
also promised that the 10,000 men should be sent without waiting for the
King’s ratification, but Glamorgan was to swear not to employ them in
the King’s service until the religious articles were agreed to, and if
refused, he was to either compel his consent by force of arms or bring
the whole force back to Ireland.

We are now able to take up in its proper order the consideration of
Rinuccini’s mission. In the winter of 1644 the Confederates had sent
their Secretary Bellings to solicit help in money from the Pope and
other Catholic princes. He was favourably received by the new Pontiff
Innocent X, and was greatly surprised at hearing that the Pope would
send a nuncio who would act directly in his name and report to him
concerning the position of Irish parties. In the first instance the Pope
selected Luigi Omodei, but as he being a Milanese was a Spanish subject,
and his employment might give offence to France, and as the Pope wished
to be perfectly impartial between France and Spain, he selected Giovanni
Battista Rinuccini, Archbishop of Fermo, who, as a subject of the Duke
of Tuscany, could be regarded as neutral. Bellings, in after years, when
his thoughts were perhaps embittered by disappointment, said it was a
job to please the Duke of Tuscany. Rinuccini was born in 1592, a member
of a noble Florentine family, and at the time we speak of was in his
forty-third year. His father was Camillo Rinuccini, and his mother
Virginia, daughter of Pier Antonio Bandini, sister of Cardinal Ottavio
Bandini. He was educated first by the Jesuits in Rome and afterwards
went to the University of Bologna in his eighteenth year. Then he
studied law at Perugia, and took his doctor’s degree at Pisa, and
distinguished himself so remarkably that he was elected a member of the
Cruscan Academy though only in his twenty-first year. His first
appointments by the Roman Court were those of Chamberlain to Gregory XV,
and Secretary to the Congregation of Rites. When Urban VIII became Pope
he continued his advancement, and made him Civil Lieutenant to the
Cardinal Vicar, and soon after Archbishop of Fermo in 1625. At Fermo
Rinuccini seems to have found his most suitable sphere of work, for he
proved in all respects an excellent Archbishop, and was so loved by the
people and felt so true an interest in them that he declined the
metropolitan See of Florence in his native Duchy in 1631. In a religious
sense he appears to have been an eminently holy and good man, though
perhaps more than ordinarily imbued with the intolerant opinions of the
age he lived in. He had, moreover, but small knowledge of the ways of
men who live wholly in the world, and was absolutely ignorant of the
feelings of people in political matters who had always possessed
representative government of which he, as an Italian brought up amongst
the despotic courts of the Peninsula, had no experience. The Pope, it
must be remembered, was then a great temporal prince, and his government
was as despotic in practice as any in Europe. He, too, appears to have
shared the belief of Rinuccini, that it was only necessary to gain over
the Sovereign of a country, and that no regard need be paid to its other
inhabitants, heedless of the fact that where free institutions exist, a
king who is disliked or distrusted by his subjects soon ceases to have
any authority whatever. England was then leading the way in that
struggle for popular liberty which was to continue in revolutions and
bloodshed until our own time; but on the Continent at that epoch the
great mass of any population simply did not count in political matters.
To this ignorance and inexperience of Rinuccini’s of the feelings of men
like the Irish who had lived under representative institutions however
limited, and were striving to regain and extend them, must be attributed
much of his failure in dealing with Irishmen of various parties. He was
too autocratic in his methods, and being a man of resolute and
inflexible character, determined to bend others to his will utterly
regardless that such a course might cause him to lose many whom it was
his interest to conciliate. He had, moreover, an exaggerated sense of
his own dignity, and a fondness for details of etiquette, dress, and
ceremonial, which, though to some extent natural to one brought up in
the most ceremonious court of a ceremonious period, was carried by him
to a point bordering on the ridiculous. It must be said of him, however,
that though he had the ecclesiastical patronage of Ireland in his hands
for some years, his appointments were made in the interest of the
Church, and no charge of favouritism can be made against him. His object
was the restoration of the Church in Ireland “in its full splendour,”
and with this before him he did not pause to consider local feelings or
local experience of the difficulties in his way in an age and in
circumstances when such an enterprise could only be considered Quixotic.
From these characteristics it may be inferred how well fitted he was to
strike the final blows that broke up the newly-formed union of the Irish

For a hundred years the Catholic Church had been conducting the
counter-Reformation, and had already recovered the allegiance of a great
part of Europe. To Innocent X it appeared that the time was ripe for
restoring his spiritual authority in England. The Catholics there were
still a numerous and wealthy body and comprised amongst their leaders
many of the most ancient and most highly placed of the nobility, and
would afford a solid foundation for such a reconstruction. The difficult
position in which the King was placed seemed to render him a peculiarly
suitable object for overtures, and if he could be restored chiefly by
the aid of the Catholics and the Pope it was hoped that the Church might
gain great advantages if not complete re-establishment. We find in the
secret instructions given by Innocent to Rinuccini that these
expectations are clearly expressed, and show, moreover, how badly
informed the Pope was as to the true state of feeling regarding the
Catholic Church in England. In the concluding paragraph the Pope says:
“In fine, this rebellion in England has already caused so many divisions
in religion and so many disputes amongst the Protestants themselves,
that all who have some belief in a future life are beginning to waver,
and would become Catholics if they were not restrained by the fear of
losing their property and temporal comforts. If, then, by means of this
Catholic army, you can obtain from His Majesty the revocation of the
penal laws against the Catholics, the abolition of the proposed Oath of
Fidelity and freedom in religion, that is that the Catholics be able to
hold all appointments in the Kingdom and in Parliament like his other
subjects, we may hope in a few years for the conversion of the whole
Kingdom—a most important step towards the eradication of heresy from the
whole North, and without which the Irish can never hope to enjoy in
peace the conditions granted in favour of the true faith in Ireland.”

The Catholic army here referred to was to consist chiefly of the troops
who had for the past three years formed the subject of negotiation
between Charles and the Confederates. It is well to bear in mind the
Pope’s instructions with regard to this army as showing that both in his
eyes and in Rinuccini’s, the Irish were to be merely the convenient
instruments of the greater design. He says: “To ensure success in these
negotiations two points remain to be well considered; first, that the
requisite conditions be well weighed so that the services we hope from
this Catholic army be efficacious; the second, to facilitate by every
means the agreement between the King and the Irish.” The first of these
conditions may be reduced to the following articles:—

    “1. That the Irish army shall never agree to land in England with
    less than ten or twelve thousand effective men, that they may be
    able to defend themselves without danger of being cut to pieces by
    the English who serve under the King.

    “2. That two sea ports be placed in their hands to disembark their
    troops in England, and that those places be under the command of
    persons in their confidence.

    “3. That the generals of the army and all the officers ... besides
    the governors of the said places be appointed by the Irish.

    “4, 5. The fourth and fifth articles are unimportant and need not be

    “6. That permission and authority from the King be accorded to the
    English Catholics to form themselves into a body of cavalry
    proportionate in strength to join them when and where appointed by
    the Irish general to serve in his army and under his command....

    “7. That the Catholic general of this cavalry be a person whom the
    Irish can entirely trust, and must, therefore, be first accepted by
    their own general.”

That the political freedom of the Irish people, the independence of
their Parliament, the right of Catholics to sit therein, in fact the
political articles which the Confederates had demanded and which Charles
was willing to concede were altogether a secondary consideration in the
eyes of the Pope is evident from the following:—

    “To facilitate the agreement between the King and the Irish, that
    articles must be so framed that nothing essential to the full
    establishment of the Catholic religion in Ireland be omitted;
    matters of less moment may be remitted, in particular those tending
    to changes in the Political Government, as they would, without any
    doubt, retard the agreement.” This passage illustrates the
    inexperience of the Pope of the power of a people with free
    institutions, and that he had yet to learn that a people politically
    free may follow any religion they please. It was scarcely likely
    that the Catholics, possessing, as they inevitably would, a large
    majority in the Irish Parliament, would long submit to the
    disabilities under which they laboured in religious matters.

    As to any aspirations for the complete independence of Ireland, the
    Pope promptly threw cold water on them. In his letter of June 3,
    1645, before Rinuccini left Paris, the Cardinal Secretary writes:
    “Nor is he (the Pope) too well pleased with the rumours which are
    spread by some Irish Catholics, that they desire to throw off their
    allegiance to the King because he has not chosen to grant the
    concessions they demand; and his Holiness would also desire that
    they should speak with greater moderation of the articles of peace.
    And, further, he wishes them to understand that he desires to see
    them continue obedient to the royal power, hoping, however, that
    from the King himself and from the protection of the Queen, they may
    gain all they desire. To this end your Excellency’s persuasions and
    warnings must be directed; His Holiness rests securely on your
    prudence, whenever you can convey news to him of the Irish, whether
    it be of rebellion or refusal of submission to the King, and that
    you will warn your followers in this matter.”

It cannot, however, be doubted that the Pope was entirely within his
rights as head of the Catholic Church in endeavouring to promote its
extension and well-being, and, however ill-chosen the time and
circumstances, that this was his only object is plain from the following
passage in the same letter, as well as from his more formal
instructions: “Your Excellency is aware that the intentions of His
Holiness respecting the affairs of Ireland do not go beyond the limits
of pure benefit to the Catholic religion, and that your mission never
had, and has no other aims than to procure its free exercise, to restore
ecclesiastical discipline, and to reform the habits of the Catholics
relaxed by a long course of free living. In all that touches on the
civil government your instructions have been so framed as by no
possibility to excite the jealousy of either the King or Queen of
England; nor does the Holy Father work to any other purpose in spirit,
since he concerns himself solely in the propagation of the Catholic
religion without a single thought of prejudicing the temporal power of
anyone whatsoever.”

Unfortunately for the good intentions of the Pope, he was, by attempting
to seize this imaginary opportunity for an extension of his spiritual
authority, taking the most certain course to further prejudice the
already shaky temporal dominion of Charles I.

Rinuccini left Rome towards the end of March, 1645, and reached Genoa on
April 15. He was received with much honour by the Doge and Senate, and
writes to the Pope evidently with great pleasure of the ceremonies that
took place and the honours paid to him. “I was escorted from my house by
a cortège of almost all the nobility.... At the foot of the stairs four
Procurators met me, placed me in the midst of them, and conducted me to
the presence chamber, where the Doge waited. He descended four steps
from the raised part of the room ... and conducted me to the canopy on
his left hand, but to a seat a little lower than his own.”

Having left Genoa he proceeded by Marseilles and Avignon to Paris, where
he arrived towards the end of May, and was cordially received by the
Queen Regent, Anne of Austria, for whom he had a Golden Rose sent by the
Pope. This Rose was the subject of much correspondence, as there seems
to have been some doubt as to whether the Queen would receive it with
sufficient gratitude. He seems to have at once constituted himself an
extra Nuncio at Paris and entered on a lengthy correspondence on French
and Spanish affairs without the knowledge of the resident Nuncio. He has
been accused by Bellings and others of not wanting to go to Ireland, and
of intriguing to replace the Nuncio then at Paris. Mazarin evidently
suspected or accused him of some such design, for we find that though
Rinuccini’s letter is missing, the Private Secretary’s reply points out
that “no one can answer Cardinal Mazarin with greater force than Your
Excellency when he complains that His Holiness sent you to France, not
merely on your way to Ireland, but that you should adroitly contrive to
establish yourself as Nuncio in Paris,” and supplies him with the
reasons to be advanced in refutation of this charge. Some grounds were
doubtless given for Mazarin’s suspicions through the Pope as he
afterwards explained having inadvertently omitted to give Rinuccini
letters for the Nuncio at Paris.

Rinuccini had also been favourably received and encouraged by Gaston
Duke of Orleans, and by Condé, but nothing practical resulted from the
politeness of these princes. Mazarin, from whom he hoped considerable
help in money and ships, was very cautious, and his influence over the
Queen Regent was very great. The news of Naseby had completely damped
any ardour there may have been for the Irish cause as a means of keeping
England weak. Rinuccini found that the Queen Henrietta Maria of England
would not receive him publicly as Nuncio, because it was contrary to law
in England, and through fear of the harm it might do her husband in the
eyes of his Protestant subjects. He is much concerned about this, and
whether he should go to a private audience and if there uncover his
head. The Pope taking a larger and more sensible view of the matter
tells him:—“However, if the Queen either for fear of injuring the King
her husband, or for any private reason, does not think it well to
receive you at a public or private audience, His Holiness does not wish
her Majesty to have any trouble about the matter, since he will be
satisfied with any resolutions of a Queen so pious and so zealous for
the Catholic faith. I am, however, to add that should your Excellency
not be disposed to accept private audience, that you may not put in
doubt the prerogative of the Nuncio to appear covered before all queens
(even if in France at similar audiences a Nuncio does not appear
covered) still we do not see how any doubt can rest on the prerogative
whilst at all public audiences the right to be covered is established.”

With Secretary Bellings the Nuncio was on very friendly terms, but
perhaps because he was desirous to keep him with him so that he should
not reach Ireland first as he considered that Bellings would put the
interests of Charles I before those of the Pope. Scarampi, the Papal
Legate in Ireland, writing at this time says that if peace were
concluded between the English royalists and the Catholic Confederation
without Rinuccini’s consent, it would be fatal to the Church’s

Rinuccini prolonged his stay at Paris over three months. He had some
excuse for this delay, since in his letter of 3rd July, 1645, the Pope
says:—“A fortnight ago your Excellency was told if by chance the Queen
of France should give you any motive for remaining in that country, Your
Excellency might, under some pretext, prolong your stay in that country;
but since His Holiness sees that this has not happened ... he has
resolved that Your Excellency shall proceed on your journey in the
manner first arranged.” However, this hint was lost on Rinuccini, who
was evidently in no hurry to exchange Paris even for Kilkenny. It is
true he had, or at any rate made, many excuses on the score of
difficulty in finding shipping. However, the Pope became impatient, and
there is a marked change of tone in the succeeding letters. 14th
August—“Let Your Excellency go on your way rejoicing with the blessing
of the Holy Father upon you.” 21st—“Your Excellency will hasten your
going to Ireland; every day’s delay may produce the worst effects.”
28th—“If you have not already done so, you must set out.” 11th
September—“We await with much anxiety news of your Excellency’s arrival
in Ireland.” 18th September—“The displeasure of His Holiness increases
at your Excellency’s delay in your departure for Ireland, and he laments
to see that all the negotiations, missions and provisions which Your
Excellency has continued to introduce, tend still more to retard it. He
commands, therefore, that Your Excellency with all promptitude, shall
set out at once for that island, that you do not delay in any part of
France in expectation of letters or information from Spinola, whom you
have sent on before, much less wait until the frigates which were to be
provided by Invernizzi in Flanders to accompany you shall be put in
order.... The General Assembly, if they had known of Your Excellency’s
presence, would not perhaps have dissolved without coming to some
conclusion, and God knows from what they have lately done, if Your
Excellency be not there, whether they many not precipitately form some
revolution as little beneficial to the Catholic religion as to its free
exercise.” This seemed to have its due effect, for the Pope’s next
letter found Rinuccini in Ireland. It is an important document as
setting forth the view that must necessarily be taken by any person of
sound judgment of Charles’s negotiation through Glamorgan. The Pope
refers to a letter received from the Legate in Ireland describing the
powers possessed by Glamorgan and the conclusion of the secret treaty,
and goes on to say, “Father Scarampi having become aware of this
agreement, he remonstrated by letter not only with the Bishops, but also
with the Council ... on the small foundation they had in any
negotiations with the Earl, whilst the mandates which he had produced
were subscribed by the King and his secretary only, signed with the
small seal, and in consequence deprived of the necessary authority, the
King having no power in himself to dispose of the political affairs of
these kingdoms. The whole foundation of the negotiation, therefore,
rested on the Earl, which being made by another, could not bind the King
if he did not choose to be bound; moreover, being a convention made with
the Bishops, it would scandalise the world to see that in the published
articles of peace no mention was made of the Church, of ecclesiastical
property, or of the authority and jurisdiction of the Bishops, which all
remained at the mercy of the King, should he not wish to make peace or
observe it; and inasmuch as the Catholic laity when satisfied with the
articles which had reference to themselves, would not care to make a
stand for others however important, in which their own interest was not
involved, would have abandoned them. Although these reasons appeared
very strong to the Council and the Bishops ... yet they had remitted the
whole affair to the Earl, had declared themselves satisfied on their
part with his proposals on ecclesiastical matters, and consented to the
publication of the treaty of peace.... His Holiness commands me to say
that if by letter from Father Scarampi or from others to be relied on,
you are convinced that the peace between the Catholics of Ireland and
the King of England is established with the articles and in the manner
described, he will be content that you do not prosecute your journey to
Ireland, and that you shall wait for further orders from His Holiness;
but if the intelligence your Excellency receives does not convey the
assurance that the peace is certainly concluded, then you will at once
pursue your journey. But should the peace be established with these same
articles and in the manner described, then His Holiness desires that
neither Your Excellency nor Father Scarampi shall do anything to express
approval or disapproval, but remain, so to say, entirely passive.”

It is a curious thing that notwithstanding the Pope’s clear view of the
powerlessness of Charles’s position, he should have been willing to
treat with him at all.

Rinuccini writing from Limerick on October 25, gives an exciting account
of his voyage. He sailed from the island of St. Martin or Isle de Ré, on
Monday the 18th, and the wind being favourable, expected to reach
Waterford on Thursday. On Thursday, however, there was a fog, and owing
to its being full moon, the sea was so rough that it was thought better
to keep out to sea. In the grey of the morning on Friday they saw a
large vessel in full sail and a small frigate giving them chase. These
were commanded by Plunket, an Irishman, who, having joined the
Parliament, had been ordered to watch the approaches to Ireland. The
Irishmen with the Nuncio and Secretary Bellings in particular, knowing
the fate awaiting them if captured, immediately armed, resolved to
resist to the last. The Nuncio was ill in bed, the sea being no
respecter of persons, “my illness greatly aggravated, and already for
two whole days without any attendance whatever from my servants, as they
were prostrated by sea-sickness, and as little able to hear as to obey
any order.” Nevertheless, he felt his courage rise to a higher pitch
than ever before, and prepared in his own heart to give up life and
liberty in whatever way God should dispose of him, even if it seemed to
him necessary that he and those in his care should be carried captives
to London. However, his fortitude was not put to this test, for the
chase ended at nightfall. He attributes their escape to a miracle
obtained for him by St. Peter, whose image formed the figurehead of the
ship; but Father Meehan sententiously remarks, “that he must have
subsequently learned that the escape of his pursuers was still more
wonderful, for Plunket’s cooking galley having caught fire, and being
alarmed for his magazine, he was obliged to shorten sail and thus suffer
the San Pietro to escape.” The chase had driven them a long way to the
west and they had some difficulty in making the land, but they succeeded
next day in reaching Kenmare Bay, where they landed on the 21st of
October, 1645. His first lodging was in a shepherd’s hut, and he
remained there two days “not so much to repose after our trial as to
return thanks for our safety.”

Before leaving Paris he drew upon the Pope for 15,000 dollars; Cardinal
Antonio Barberius gave him 10,000, and Mazarin 25,000, altogether
50,000. 20,000 were spent for arms and munitions, and these were now
landed. The rest of the money was brought in specie. From Kenmare he
started for Limerick with an escort furnished by the Supreme Council and
the surrounding gentry. “On his journey he was much pleased at the fine
appearance, hardihood, and activity of the men and the beauty and
modesty of the women. He was amazed at the fecundity of the latter.
There were married couples, he reported with astonishment, which were
blessed with no fewer than thirty children still living, whilst he had
been told families of fifteen and twenty were quite common.” He was
hospitably received at Ardtully Castle by Donough M’Carthy and his wife,
a sister of Lord Muskerry and niece of the Marquis of Ormond. At Macroom
Castle he was received by the Lady Helena Butler, sister to Ormond and
wife of Muskerry, who was then in Dublin. These names are mentioned to
show incidentally the close connection between Ormond and the Anglo and
Old Irish proprietors. At Dromsecane he was met by Richard Butler,
Ormond’s brother, a member of the Supreme Council, at the head of two
troops of horse, thence by Clonmeen and Kilmallock to Limerick.
Limerick, hitherto neutral, had been persuaded by Scarampi to join the
Confederation, and the Nuncio was received with full honours by the
clergy, corporation, and the garrison. On November 12th he halted within
three miles of Kilkenny, and received a deputation of welcome from the
Council. Next day he entered his litter surrounded by a vast concourse
of people and set out for the city. He left the litter on approaching
the gate, and donning the Pontifical hat and cape mounted a richly
caparisoned horse. A canopy was held over him by leading citizens, bare
headed in spite of the rain which fell in torrents. At the Market Cross,
a beautiful structure erected in 1400 and destroyed in 1771 during the
oppression of the penal laws, he halted, and listened to a Latin
oration, and then on to the cathedral of St. Canice, where he was
received by the Bishop of Ossory. Here from the high altar he bestowed
the Pontifical Benediction and the _Te Deum_ was intoned by all present.

Having rested for two days he visited Lord Mountgarret and the Supreme
Council who then occupied the ancient castle of the Ormonds. “At the
head of the hall was seated Lord Mountgarret, President of the Council,
who rose as I approached, but received me without moving at all from his
place.” Rinuccini concludes his complaint to the Pope by saying that the
reception was arranged by Bellings as one acquainted with Italian
etiquette. The Pope replied that a hint should be conveyed to
Mountgarret in the shape of an account of the Nuncio’s reception by the
Doge of Genoa, who advanced four steps to meet him. Possibly Mountgarret
knew it already, but thought the representative of the Irish nation
should not condescend so much as the head of a small Italian Republic.
The Nuncio addressed the President and Council in Latin, and assured
them that the object of his visit was to assist the King as well as
procure for the people of Ireland the free and public exercise of their
religion and the restoration of the churches and church property. The
Council made a grateful acknowledgment in an address to the Pope.

Muskerry and the other Confederate agents were still in Dublin and did
not return to Kilkenny until the day after the Nuncio arrived. They
found that the old Irish had resolved to rely entirely on the Nuncio,
and the Pope, and such other Catholic princes on the Continent as might
be induced to help them. The two parties in the Confederation grew daily
more estranged, and henceforth were called “Ormondists” and
“Nuncioists.” Rinuccini had no trouble in persuading the Old Irish to
stand by him. They believed that notwithstanding his protests, he came
to form a grand Pontifical army, and that they could rely on the Pope
and through him on all Catholic princes for support and aid in throwing
off the yoke of England completely. The Nuncio’s comparison of the
intelligence of the two parties is not very flattering to the Old Irish.
“Nature even,” he says, “seems to widen the breach of difference of
character and qualities, the new party being for the most part of low
stature, quick-witted and of subtle understanding, while the old are
tall, simple-minded, unrefined in their manner of living, generally slow
of comprehension, and quite unskilled in negotiation.” And yet it was
these simple-minded men whom Rinuccini encouraged in breaking up the
Confederacy and in setting aside those whom from his own account by
their greater knowledge of affairs, and especially of England, were more
likely to justly estimate the chances for and against the success of the
Nuncio’s projects. Well has it been remarked of Rinuccini that “With
hazy notions as to the meaning or strength of party divisions in
Ireland, he made little allowance for local conditions in pursuing his
aim of securing the full predominance of the Roman Catholic religion.”

Glamorgan was courteously received by the Nuncio, who, taking him and
his credentials at once at their proper value, distrusted him and his
power to induce the King to ratify the religious articles. Glamorgan, on
the contrary, thought the Nuncio would throw no obstacles in the way of
either treaty, and wrote to the Lord Lieutenant that the political
treaty would be signed in a day or two. “I am morally certain,” he adds,
“a total assent from the Nuncio shall be declared to the propositions
for peace, and in the very way your Lordship prescribes.”

Rinuccini finding the Council on the point of coming to terms with
Ormond for the political articles, while the religious ones were to be
reserved under the secret treaty for the King’s acceptance, protested
against the action of the Council. He then set to work to gain control
of Glamorgan, who became as wax in his hands, and promised on behalf of
the King that even if Ormond accepted the political treaty, it should
not be published until Charles had confirmed his own secret treaty of
August 25th, and that he would demand their ratification as soon as he
landed with the Irish army in England. Rinuccini further induced him to
make what was practically a second treaty, by which the King was to bind
himself to never again appoint a Protestant Lord Lieutenant, that he
would admit the Catholic Bishops to sit in the Irish House of Peers,
pass an Act for a Catholic University, and grant the Catholics the
churches and ecclesiastical revenues, not only those re-captured by the
Confederates before the date on which Ormond’s treaty was signed, but
all those taken after that signature and up to the confirmation of the
religious articles by the King. Glamorgan, eager to lead 10,000 Irishmen
to the help of the King, was ready to promise anything, and as Chester,
the only port at which they could now be landed, was threatened by the
Parliamentarians, the Supreme Council agreed to allow him take an
advanced guard of 3,000 men there at once. But Glamorgan could not do so
until he had Ormond’s consent to his appointment as commander of this
force, and to the arrangement with Rinuccini by which the political
treaty was not to be published until the religious articles, of which
Ormond knew nothing as yet, had been ratified. To obtain Ormond’s
consent Glamorgan set out for Dublin on the 24th December. On the 26th
he was summoned before Ormond and the Privy Council on the demand of
Lord Digby. On October 17th the Catholic Archbishop of Tuam had been
killed at the siege of Sligo. On his body was found a copy of
Glamorgan’s treaty, which was at once sent by the Scots to London and
was thence forwarded to Ormond. Ormond at once saw that this revelation
of the King’s duplicity would be fatal to his cause with the English
people, and making a desperate effort to save the credit of Charles, had
Glamorgan arrested on a charge of treason in exceeding his instructions.
Charles took Digby’s advice and brazenly denied his instructions to
Glamorgan, and declared his “amazement that any man’s folly and
presumption should carry him to such a degree of abusing our trust.” The
comedy was sustained by Glamorgan’s declaration that he had made the
concessions on his own initiative through excess of zeal, and that what
he had done was in no way binding on the King. Charles, moreover,
disavowed Glamorgan in a letter to the Parliament, “That the Earl of
Glamorgan having made offer unto him to raise forces in the Kingdom of
Ireland, and to conduct them to England for his Majesty’s service, had a
commission to that purpose and to that purpose only. That he had no
commission at all to treat of anything else without the privity and
directions of the Lord Lieutenant, much less to capitulate anything
concerning religion or any propriety (_i.e._ property) belonging either
to church or laity.”

Of this disavowal Gardiner says, “It can be no matter of surprise that
Charles should have acknowledged what he could not help acknowledging,
and should have sought to cast a discreet veil over that which could not
be concealed. His really unpardonable fault was that after engaging on
such a negotiation with the Irish Catholics he should now have announced
his ‘resolution of leaving the managing of the business of Ireland
wholly to the Houses, and to make no peace there but with their
consent.’ What sort of peace the Houses would establish in Ireland he
knew full well. Rinuccini had looked into his heart and estimated his
motives to more purpose than Glamorgan.”

Nevertheless, in spite of the perspicuity with which Rinuccini had
examined the stuffing of this Stuart puppet he had urged the Supreme
Council to hold out for conditions which he should have known very well
Charles had no more chance of being able to grant than if he were an
inhabitant of another planet.

The Confederates had demanded the release of Glamorgan who had himself
made strong representations to Ormond that his imprisonment was a great
disservice to the King. He was released on bail and returned to Kilkenny
where he pressed the Council to complete the political treaty with
Ormond on which all parties were agreed, and to give him at once the
3,000 men for the relief of Chester. On the 29th September he wrote to
Ormond that the Council was only awaiting the meeting of the General
Assembly to be empowered to conclude the peace, and that the men were
ready to sail when the treaty was signed.

It is difficult to believe that Rinuccini could have had any real belief
in the King’s powers or those of anyone acting in his name; but whatever
the amount of his faith in the dwindling royal authority, it had at last
received a rude shock, and he accordingly passed into an opposite phase
of distrust. He now thought that Glamorgan by acting as agent between
Ormond and the Council had played him false, and that his whole object
had been merely to get the Irish regiments into England, leaving the
Irish to content themselves with the political articles. He endeavoured,
therefore, to prevent any agreement between Ormond and the Confederates,
the more so that he had received a copy of the Pope’s treaty with the
Queen, in which she had agreed to much more than anything Ormond or even
Glamorgan would have conceded. Sir Kenelm Digby had signed with the Pope
on behalf of the Queen a treaty by which the entire liberty of Catholic
worship and a completely independent Parliament were to be granted to
Ireland. Dublin and other towns garrisoned by the King’s troops were to
be handed over to Irish or English Catholics, while the forces under
Ormond were to join the Confederates against the Scots and English
Parliamentarians. As regards England the King was to concede everything
required by the Pope’s instructions to Rinuccini already quoted, and to
revoke all laws placing the Catholics in an inferior position to the
Protestants. This was to be confirmed by the next Parliament, and
meanwhile the Supreme Council was to send into England 12,000 infantry
under an Irish commander, and these were to be supported by 2,500 or
3,000 English Catholic cavalry. The Pope was to send 100,000 crowns,
about £36,000, on ratification of the treaty by the King, a similar
amount on the landing of the Irish in England, and the same payment
annually for two years if required.

Rinuccini therefore protested against any treaty with Ormond until it
should be known whether the Queen’s treaty was accepted by the King.
“Preposterous as these terms were,” says Gardiner, “Rinuccini was, from
his point of view, perfectly right in adopting them.” It is, however for
adopting such a point of view at all that Rinuccini is to be blamed. How
could he possibly place reliance on the desperate promises of a poor
fugitive wife eager to save her husband by any means when he had been
unable to trust her husband when his power was not so reduced as it had
since become! Glamorgan, now completely in the hands of Rinuccini, wrote
to Ormond urging him to accept the Queen’s treaty, and referring to the
expenses he had in equipping the troops which would come to £100,000. He
says “How cold shall I find Catholics bent to this service if the Pope
be irritated I humbly submit to your Excellency’s better judgment? And
here I am constrained ... absolutely to profess not to be capable to do
the King that service which he expects at my hands unless the Nuncio be
civilly complied with and carried along with us in our proceedings.”

This was an extraordinary letter to a man who if anything was
anti-Papal. Ormond replied that he did not know what was meant by the
advantageous peace to be obtained of the King by the Queen’s entreaties.
“My lord,” he continued, “my affections and interest are so tied to his
Majesty’s cause that it were madness in me to disgust any man that hath
power and inclination to relieve him in the sad condition he is in; and,
therefore your lordship may securely go on in the ways you have proposed
to yourself to serve the King without fear of interruption from me, or
so much as inquiring the means you work by. My commission is to treat
with his Majesty’s Confederate Catholic subjects here for a peace upon
conditions of honour and assistance to him and of advantage to them;
which accordingly, I shall pursue to the best of my skill, but shall not
venture upon any new negotiation foreign to the powers I have received.”

Glamorgan thereupon delivered himself up entirely to the Nuncio and
wrote a long Latin oath by which he swore him unlimited obedience. An
agreement was drawn up between the Nuncio and Glamorgan on the one hand
and the Council on the other, by which the cessation with Ormond was to
be extended to May 1, 1646, the extension being for the purpose of
allowing the Nuncio to obtain the originals of the Queen’s treaty, as
the Council had refused to support the new demands on the King merely
from the copy. Rinuccini agreed that if he could not produce the
original within the time he would be contented with whatever terms
Glamorgan might get from Charles.

In view of this temporary agreement between the Nuncio and the Supreme
Council, it seemed as if the troops could now start for Chester. On
February 24, 1646, Glamorgan wrote to Ormond that not 3,000 but 6,000
men would be sent, and that he was going to Waterford to hasten the
shipping. On March 8 bad news arrived. Chester had surrendered to
Brereton and the port was closed against Charles’s Irish army. Still
more ominous things happened at home, for a Parliamentary fleet had
sailed up the Shannon and seized Bunratty Castle, thus showing that the
Parliament felt itself so sure of overcoming the King it was at last in
a position to commence active measures in Ireland. The Supreme Council
wrote to Ormond that unless he would join forces with them they would
neither make peace at Dublin nor send an army to England. Still they
could not abandon the negotiation with the Lieutenant of a King who had
not the power, and probably not the will, to fulfil the engagements made
in his name. They now proposed to Ormond that the conclusion of peace
should be postponed to the middle of June, so that Glamorgan should get
ships together to carry the army to some port in Wales. In the meantime
Glamorgan would send his brother to get a confirmation of his own treaty
as to the religious articles from the King. If these were accepted, and
if Ormond would agree to join forces with them against the Scots and
Puritans, the Council would give him £3,000 for the pay of his troops.

On these terms Ormond signed on 28th March the peace on the
understanding that it was to be kept secret until the 1st May. The
articles which related to the civil government included some much-needed
reforms, especially the admission of Catholics and Protestants to office
on equal terms. Religious matters were postponed pending Charles’s
answer. The Confederates agreed to send the 10,000 men, of whom 6,000
were to start on 1st April, and the remainder on 1st May. Ormond gave
them a written promise that if the Confederates were attacked before the
latter date he would join them against their assailants. It was too
late. Like Chester, South Wales had now been occupied by the Parliament,
Cornwall as well, and there was not a foot of English ground on which
the army could land with any chance of maintaining itself. Officers and
men refused to leave Ireland. Charles himself wrote that “the foot was
to be kept back, as it would be lost if it should now attempt to land,
we having no horse nor ports in our power to secure them.”

In May Rinuccini went to Limerick to support the Confederate army
besieging Bunratty, and took credit for having, as he says, “adroitly
prevented” the despatch of 10,000 Irish infantry to Charles. It was not
much to boast of, helping the destruction of the man on whose
continuance of power both he and the Pope were relying for the
attainment of their religious aims. The original cessation of arms, when
the still united Confederates could have made themselves masters of the
whole country and treated with King or Parliament was a fatal error; but
having decided to back the King and prevent the rise of the power that
was destined to destroy them both, they should have helped him quickly.
By insisting on conditions which would only tend to make him more
unpopular in England, they had wasted valuable time and allowed their
intended ally to be weakened and their common enemy to gain strength.
The only merit Rinuccini had was that his delays prevented a useless
waste of Irish lives; but it is evident that was not in his thoughts
when pressing for the acceptance of the Queen’s treaty, as had that been
accepted he would have consented, would have been bound by the Pope’s
instructions to consent to the despatch of the troops. Charles, to do
him justice, was the only one to warn the Irish against starting on
account of the danger and uselessness of such a proceeding.

It has been necessary to enter into such a detailed account of these
important negotiations that space does not admit of more than a brief
reference to the chief events during the remainder of Rinuccini’s

He now set himself to work to annul the lately concluded peace, and
found a strong supporter in Owen Roe O’Neill, who with his followers
persisted in the belief that the Pope would help the Irish to shake off
the yoke of England. While we must sympathise with O’Neill’s
true-hearted and enthusiastic patriotism, we must remember the Pope’s
positive instructions to Rinuccini on that point. Rinuccini, moreover,
warned O’Neill against nourishing such hopes, and expressed his
annoyance at his calling his force the “Pontifical Army.” At the same
time the Nuncio was only too glad to make use of O’Neill to overthrow
the Confederation. After Owen Roe’s brilliant victory over the Scots at
Benburb, on the 5th June, Rinuccini supplied him with funds and
accompanied him to the siege of Bunratty, which surrendered in July.
Ormond’s peace was proclaimed in Dublin on 30th July and at Kilkenny,
but Rinuccini and the majority of the clergy procured its rejection at
Limerick, Clonmel, Waterford, and other places. The Nuncio held a
convocation of some of the clergy at Waterford, and on 12th August
declared that the Confederate Catholics supporting the peace were
perjured for having failed to obtain for the Church first of all such
terms as they had sworn to obtain by their Oath of Confederation. He
also issued an interdict against the places that had accepted it,
ordered their churches to be closed, and the sacraments refused to the
inhabitants. This exercise of his powers cost him a severe snub from
Rome. The Cardinal Secretary wrote: “Moreover, having seen a printed
paper, in which the authors and supporters of the peace between Ireland
and the Marquis of Ormond are pronounced to be perjurers and a protest
which the Ecclesiastical Congregation has made in these precise [Latin]
words, ‘For these and other reasons moved only by our conscience and
having only God before our eyes, that it may be known to all and
singular both in Ireland and abroad, we have not given and should not
give our consent to any such peace unless according to our oath it
contains conditions for Religion, for King, and for Country, etc., etc.’
And this paper is subscribed first by your Excellency and then by the
Archbishops, Bishops, and ecclesiastics of Ireland. It appears to His
Holiness and to us that in this your Excellency has departed from your
instructions, because it never was intended to maintain the Irish as
rebels against the King, but simply to assist them in obtaining the
assurance of the free exercise of the Catholic religion in Ireland....
From the specimen which I have taken from this printed document, in
which occurs the Latin words I have quoted, your Excellency will be able
to regulate your conduct on such other occasions as may present
themselves, and thus observe the tenor of your instructions.”

All the same Rinuccini returned to Kilkenny in triumph, imprisoned most
of the Supreme Council, and formed another entirely subservient to him,
of which he constituted himself the President. He next excommunicated
all adherents of the peace, though eight of the Bishops, including his
own nominee De Burgo, Archbishop of Tuam, and the Jesuits and
Carmelites, in fact all the regular clergy except the Dominicans and
Capuchins, held the censures to be invalid, and appealed against them to

A plot was now formed for the escape of Charles from the Scots to
Rinuccini and the clerical party and the joint armies of O’Neill and
Preston, who were now reconciled by the Nuncio, marched to besiege

Rinuccini must now have not only a Supreme Council but a Lord Lieutenant
of his own. Glamorgan when first he arrived had brought a document
sealed with the King’s private signet appointing him Lord Lieutenant in
the event of Ormond’s death or misconduct, and Glamorgan now qualified
himself for the office of Viceroy by swearing complete submission to the
Nuncio. He would do no act without his approval, and would be ready to
resign his office at any time into Rinuccini’s hands. Rinuccini thought
the opportunity of installing him would soon occur.

Ormond’s position was indeed now desperate. The defences of Dublin were
dilapidated, and he had neither provisions nor ammunition. The King had
been surrendered to the Parliament by the Scots, his cause was hopeless,
and Parliamentary cruisers swarmed on the Irish coasts. Ormond
accordingly, having been always in the English interest, appealed to the
Parliament for help, and offered to surrender to them. Meanwhile O’Neill
and Preston quarrelled outright, and on a false alarm that Parliamentary
troops had arrived, the siege was raised. O’Neill and the Nuncio retired
to Kilkenny, while Preston remained and commenced still another
negotiation with Ormond. The Parliament had refused Ormond’s conditions
of surrender, and he was now willing to make a treaty which should unite
the English Royalists with the moderate Catholic party on the basis of
toleration under the King’s authority against Rinuccini on the one hand,
and the Puritans on the other. Rinuccini threatened Preston with
excommunication, and Preston who had boasted of being “excommunication
proof,” hastened to Kilkenny. Ormond then put an end to his anomalous
position by surrendering Dublin to the agents of the Parliament on July
28, 1647, and joined the other Royalist refugees in France.

Rinuccini’s supremacy in the Council did not remain long undisputed. The
moderate party were crushed only temporarily. On the meeting of the
General Assembly the old Council were released from prison, and the feud
between the two parties was more furious than ever, swords being drawn
in the council chamber. The Parliamentary commander of Dublin, Michael
Jones, marched to the relief of Trim and defeated Preston with a loss of
five thousand men and all his guns and baggage. In the South, Inchiquin,
at present for the Parliament, had taken Cahir, and attacked Cashel,
which he burnt, shooting hundreds of the inhabitants and twenty priests
who had crowded into the cathedral, and when attacked in his turn by the
Munster army under Lord Taaffe at Knockanos, the Confederate forces were
completely routed and their camp and artillery captured.

And now the whole scene became still more confusing, all parties
seeming to change into new and kaleidoscopic combinations. Inchiquin
who thought he had not been rewarded sufficiently by the Parliament,
and having after all more sympathy with Irish than English
proprietors, made overtures to Preston. Ormond was approached in Paris
and a coalition was formed against the Parliament between the moderate
Confederates and the Royalists. Rinuccini issuing excommunication
against all who countenanced this arrangement, fled to O’Neill’s camp
at Maryborough. Preston and O’Neill joined forces and there was civil
war between the Confederates. Jones, who suspected many of his own
troops of loyalty to Charles, was delighted at this, and so bitter was
the hatred between the clerical party and the moderate Catholics that
O’Neill and the Nuncio actually went so far as to treat with the
Puritan commander for help against their co-religionists at Kilkenny.
In October, Monnerie the French agent thought Rinuccini about to fly
from Ireland. “Your Eminence,” he wrote to Mazarin, “knows the
Nuncio’s inclinations”—doubtless his desire to be in Paris—“and I will
merely say that now he receives as many curses from the people as he
formerly did plaudits.” In September Glamorgan, now Marquis of
Worcester, sailed from Galway to France, and the Nuncio’s troubles
were increased by the appearance in October of O’Mahony’s _Apologetic
Discussion_ of his conduct. The Nuncio had the book condemned by the
magistrates. He returned to Kilkenny only to hear of the defeat at
Knockanos. Rinuccini found he had now but little authority, “being
now,” says Bellings, “better known, and his excommunications by his
often thundering of them grown more cheap.” He retired in disgust to
Waterford in January, 1648. Inchiquin took Carrick-on-Suir for the
Parliament in February, but declared for the King in April, and
endeavoured to come to terms with the Confederates on the basis of the
_Status quo ante_, until Ormond should return. Rinuccini, and in this
case he was perfectly right, refused to treat with such a
blood-stained traitor to every party, but the Supreme Council fearing
the growing strength of the English Parliament, in spite of the
Nuncio’s protests and threats, made a truce with Inchiquin. Rinuccini
at Kilkenny and supported by a majority of the Bishops, then
excommunicated all who adhered to the truce, and put the terms
concerned under an interdict. The Council appealed to Rome. Rinuccini
escaped by night from Kilkenny to O’Neill’s army at Maryborough and
thence to Athlone and Galway, where he convened a National Synod,
while the clergy opposed to him at Kilkenny declared his censures null
and void. The Jesuits, Barefooted or Discalced Carmelites and
cathedral clergy were opposed to him, while he was supported by the
Franciscans and Dominicans. He bitterly complained of the conduct of
the Jesuits, and charged them and their Provincial, Malone, with the
greater share of the blame for the loss of Ireland. He even went so
far as to declare the Irish people were Catholics only in name. In his
instruction to Father Arcamoni, who was to represent him in the appeal
to Rome, he says, “It may be, therefore, by the will of God that a
people Catholic only in name and so irreverent towards the Church
should feel the thunderbolt of the Holy See and draw down upon
themselves the anger which is the meed of the scorner.”

Ormond landed at Cork on Michaelmas Day, 1648, and on the 16th of
January, 1648-9 concluded a peace with the Supreme Council,
consolidating the Royalist interests in Ireland. The Council finally
renounced Rinuccini at the beginning of the negotiations, and ordered
him to “intermeddle not in any of the affairs of this kingdom.” The
Carmelites of Galway having resisted the interdict by which their church
was closed, Rinuccini ordered their bell to be pulled down. John De
Burgo, a nominee of Rinuccini to the Archbishopric of Tuam, supported
the Carmelites, and demanded the Nuncio’s warrant. “_Ego non ostendam_,”
said Rinuccini; “_Et ego non obediam_,” retorted De Burgo. The Nuncio
was blockaded in Galway by the Catholics Clanricarde acting with the new
Royalist Confederation, he being determined that no Synod should be held
in Galway in support of the censures. Rinuccini, who had kept a frigate
ready, seeing how useless it was to remain longer where he had worn out
his welcome, sailed for Havre on 23rd February, 1648-9. He did not
proceed to Rome until November. His agents had been supporting his cause
against Father Rowe, Provincial of the Carmelites, on the part of the
Supreme Council. Rinuccini was received with all the usual honours by
the Pope; but Innocent is said to have reproached him in private with
rash conduct. In March, 1650, the Pope granted power to certain Bishops
to absolve those who had fallen under the Nuncio’s censures, but a
general absolution was refused, as it would seem to make the Pope decide
that the censures were unjust. Rinuccini was warmly welcomed on his
return to Fermo, where he died of apoplexy in 1653.

We have now followed as far as possible within the limits allowed us the
history of this most distracting period, and before concluding it may be
well to glance back and survey its most distinctive features.

We have seen how the rising of the dispossessed clansmen in the North
furnished a pretext for the confiscation of practically the whole of
Ireland, irrespective of its share in the rebellion, and how the
Parliament was thus enabled to raise money for an invasion to extinguish
the Irish nation and put the Subscribers in possession of their
security. The Parliament diverted these funds to carrying on its own war
against the King. The Confiscation Acts united the hitherto discordant
Anglo-Irish and Old-Irish elements in a great national movement for
common defence against further religious persecution and further
spoliation by a wealthy and powerful neighbouring, but not neighbourly,
people. While they acted loyally together they had extended their
authority throughout the greater part of the country, and were so near a
complete conquest that the English power was brought so low that its
representatives were reluctantly compelled to sue for a cessation. A
section of the Anglo-Irish Confederates imagining themselves still
English, looking only towards England, and never dreaming that a day
might come when they with the poet Spenser’s grandsons would be forced
to transplant to Connaught as Irish Papists, urged the granting of a
truce, and though the Old Irish protested against this throwing away of
their advantages, they respected the Oath of Confederation too much to
make any violent opposition. By granting the truce, by negotiating at
all, the Confederates committed the fatal error from which their future
ruin followed. It is all very well to blame Ormond, but he was only
doing his duty to his sovereign and his party; the Irish had beaten him
to his knees, and their trusted representatives should have kept him
there until their position in Ireland at any rate was secured. Had they,
disdaining Ormond’s overtures, relentlessly pursued the war to an
entirely successful issue—and that they could have done so is evident
from O’Neill’s brilliant victory over Monroe at Benburb when their
strength was almost exhausted—they would have been in a position to
treat with King or Parliament; and, moreover, that Continental
assistance they vainly sought when through the Cessation their stability
had become doubtful, would not have been withheld. The Parliamentarians
in their struggle with the King showed better judgment. When their early
efforts for an accommodation with him failed, they destroyed him and
came to terms with his son. The Confederates should have avoided all
treaties until they were in a position to treat on their own terms with
either King or Parliament. On the whole, it might have been better had
they been in a position to treat with the latter; but whichever
prevailed, Ireland, even without foreign help, but with the prestige of
an armed and united nation like the Scots, would have been able to enter
into a confederation of the three Kingdoms on honourable conditions,
instead of being dragged in, gagged and bound, the victim of violence,
fraud, and corruption unsurpassed in the history of nations. The
Confederates, however, failed to take the tide of victory when it
served, and wasted their time in a series of futile negotiations with a
man who certainly had not the power, even if he had the will, to grant
them what they haggled for. There is nothing more sad in all Irish
History than to read that when Cromwell with a comparatively small army
had subjugated Ireland in a few months, 40,000 Irish “swordsmen” took
service in foreign countries. They had missed their chance.

Three things, says an Arab proverb, cannot be recalled: “The sped arrow,
The spoken word, The lost opportunity.”



The following works have been freely availed of in preparation of the
foregoing paper:—

Gardiner: Hist. Great Civil War, 1642-1649. London, 1893.

Prendergast: The Cromwellian Settlement of Ireland. 2nd edition. Dublin,

Carte: The Life of James, Duke of Ormond. Oxford, 1851.

An Inquiry into the Share which King Charles I. had in the transactions
of the Earl of Glamorgan, in which Mr. Carte’s imperfect account of that
affair and his use of the MS. Memoirs of the Pope’s Nuncio Rinuccini are
impartially considered, 1747. Brit. Museum, under Rinuccini.

Haverty: Hist. Ireland. Dublin, 1859.

Leland: Hist. Ireland. Dublin, 1814.

Walpole: A Short Hist. Kingdom of Ireland. London, 1885.

Gilbert, Sir J. T.: Contemporary Hist. Affairs in Ireland, 1641-1652.
Dublin, Irish Archæological Society, 1879.

Gilbert, Sir J. T.: Hist. Irish Confederation. Dublin, 1882.

The Aphorismal Discovery of Treasonable Faction. Ed. Gilbert.

Meehan: The Confederation of Kilkenny. Dublin, 1882.

Aizzi: Nunziatura in Irlanda di Monsignor G. B. Rinuccini, negli anni
1645-1649. Firenze, 1844.

Hutton: The Embassy in Ireland, etc. (Translation of foregoing). Dublin,

Dublin: BROWNE & NOLAN, LTD., Printers.


 ● Transcriber’s note:

    ○ Missing or obscured punctuation was corrected.

    ○ Unpaired quotation marks were left as in the original text.

    ○ Typographical errors were silently corrected.

    ○ Inconsistent spelling and hyphenation were made consistent only
      when a predominant form was found in this book.

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