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the Irish ; and it was currently believed by a large portion of the nation, that the king himself was of that persuasion.* Mr. Osburne, indeed, says, “it is certain, that the promise King
James made to the Roman Catholics, was registered, and “ amourted so high at least as a toleration of their religion.” In the warmth of these hopes and expectations, they no longer considered it necessary to confine their religious worship to privacy : in many parts of Leinster, and more particularly of Munster, they openly performed the divine service and other religious ceremonies, in the full external form of the Roman ritual. † “ Disdaining to confine their devotions any longer “to privacy and retirement, they ejected the reformed ministers “ from their churches; they seized those religious houses which “had been converted to civil uses; they erected their crosses:
they celebrated their masses, pompously and publicly, and their “ecclesiastics were seen marching in procession, clothed in the “ habits of their respective orders.” When the lord deputy remonstrated with them upon this daring violation and defiance of the law, we are informed by the same author, that they coolly and determinedly answered, “ that they only now exercised
publicly, that which before they had been suffered to exercise
privately; and as their public prayers gave testimony of their “ faithful hearts to the king, so they were tied to be no less care“ ful to manifest their duties to God, in which they never would “ be dissembling temporizers.”.
Mountjoy marched an armed force into Munster, in order to check this open defiance of the law. At Waterford he found the town gates shut against him: the citizens pleaded, that by a charter of King John they were exempted from quartering soldiers : but Mountjoy instantly replied, that with the sword of King James he would cut to pieces the charter of King John; level their city with the ground, and strew salt upon its ruins. The menace was effectual : Mountjoy entered: the citizens were terrified into submission. From this conduct of the deputy, the other cities of Munster, which had declared for the
* It is reported of James, that he sent a letter, under his own hand and seal, to Pope Clement the VIIIth, assuring his holiness that it was bis majesty's intention to become a Roman Catholic whenever he should ascend the En. glish throne. In fact, James objected not to any tenets of the Roman Catholic faith ; but only to the abusive encroachments of the spiritual over the civil power : for he said, in his premonition (James's Works, ed. 1616, p. 306.) “ For myself (if that were yet the question) I would with all my heart give “my consent, that the Bishop of Rome should have the first seate. I being
a western King would goe with the patriarch of the West. And for his “ temporall principalitie over the signory of Rome, I doe not quarrell it neither : “ let him in God his name be primus episcoporum inter omnes episcopos et prin“ ceps episcoporum : so it be no otherwise, but as Peter was, princeps aposto
free and public exercise of the Roman Catholic religion were intimidated to a like compliance with the laws.* The English historians charge several of these cities with refusing to proclaim King James, as an heretical prince; alleging that their consciences would not permit them to submit to a prince, who impugned the Catholic faith. The Irish historians attribute the delay of some days in proclaiming the new monarch to the extraordinary preparations for doing it with unusual splendour, under the flattering delusion of his professing their own religion.
Although by the suppression of the late rebellion the minds of the people were broken and prepared for obedience, yet it was conceived that the peace of the nation could not be firmly settled, till their minds were quieted, and their persons and property secured from the effects of the law, which most of them had incurred in some way or other during the general confusion. For this purpose, an act of state, called An Act of Oblivion and Indemnity, was published by proclamation under the great seal, by which all offences against the crown, and all particular trespasses between subject and subject, were, to all such as would come in to the justices of assize by a certain day and claim the benefit of that act, pardoned, remitted, and utterly extinguished,
* It would not be candil to charge these men with so many open and deli. berate acts of treason, for thus publicly exercising their religion. We have before observed, that the acts of Elizabeth, as well as the other acts of the pale parliament, were not obeyed twenty miles from Dublin: and even within the pale, the penal laws of Elizabeth had not been executed for the last forty years. All the Irish annalists affirm, that the Statute of Uniformity (2 Eliz.) was surreptitiously obtained by the art of Stanyhurst, the then speaker ; who, at an unusual hour and on an unexpec:ed day, procured the bill to be passed by the friends to reform, in the absence of those who were expected to have opposed it. They soon after protested against the act of this smuggled convention : and the Lord Lieutenant assured them, with oaths and protestations, that the penalties of that act should never be inflicted, which they believing, suffered it to remain without any further opposition. In support of the probability of this circumstance, was the subsequent fact, that this law was seldom, if ever executed, during the remainler of Queen Elizabeth's reign, viz. for more than forty years ; that is, until all or most of those members were, probably, dead, to whom the promise had been given. (Vide Analect. Sacr. p. 431.) Other causes may, with great plausibility, be assigned for the non-execution of the penal laws, during the reign of Elizabeth, in Ireland; whilst hundreds were put to death, and thousands suffered in their persons and fortunes under similar laws in England. Those within the pale were equally tenacious of their ancient faith, as those without it. The queen's army was full of native Irish, all or most of whom then were Catholic. And Moryson (p. 120) asserts, that one half of that gallant army under Lord Mountjoy, which so successfully attacked, and at last entirely defeated Tyrone, was Irish: nor did their having less
pay than the English, or their being exposed to endure the lörunt of every action, lessen their zeal or activity in the service. The long period of warfare dnring Elizabeth's reign, and the fear of weakening her army by estranging the affections of the Catholics, who were actually engaged in her service, must have disposed Elizabeth to discountenance and check, as far as she could, the esecution of that severe code of penal laws against the Catholics. VOL. I.
never to be revived or called in question. And by the same proclamation, all the Irishry who had hitherto received no defence or protection from the crown, having been entirely subjected to their respective chieftains, were admitted into his majesty's immediate protection. “ This,” says Sir John Davies,* " bred such comfort and security in the hearts of all men, as. “thereupon ensued the calmest and most universal peace that
ever was seen in Ireland.” So true has it at all times been, that mildness and liberality towards the Irish have ever been requited with their submissiveness, fidelity, and attachment.† King James, in order more effectually to secure the full dominion both of the Irish and their property, published a proclamation, which is usually called the Commission of Grace, for securing the Subjects of Ireland against all claims of the Crown. The chief governor was thereby empowered to accept the surrenders of those Irish lords, who still held their estates or possessions by the old tenures of Tanestry and Gavelkind, and to regrant them in fee simple according to the English law: thus converting the estates for life of the chieftains into estates in fee simple. For this there were two obvious reasons of state policy: the first was, that in case of a forfeiture the whole would become vested in the crown by the attainder of the forfeiting person; whereas if by the old tenure of Tanestry they remained tenants for life, the estates could only in such cases be forfeited to the crown for the life of the forfeiting person, and would be saved to all remainder men, which by the old Brehon tenure were in fact the whole sept. The second reason was, that by
* Disc. p. 262.
† In answer to many severe and unjust reflections formerly and recently made upon the lawless ferocity and intractability of the Irish, I shall cite the authority of Sir John Davis, who certainly had the fairest opportunity of knowing them, and cannot be suspected of partiality, as holding a high official situation under a monarch little disposed to favour them from inclination. (Disc. p. 267.) “ Againe these circuits of justice did (upon the ende of the
warre) moré terrifie the loose and idle personnes then the execution of the “martial law, though it were more quick and suddaine : and in a short time « after did so cleere the kingdome of theeves and other capitall offenders, “ as I dare affirme, that for the space of five years last past, there have not “ bin founde so manie malefactors worthy of death in all the six circuits of “ this realme (which is now divided into thirty-two shires at large), as in one “circuit of six shires, namely the western circuit in England. For the troth “ is, that in time of peace the Irish are more fearful to offend the law, then " the English or any other nation whatsoever.” (And 'p. 283.) " In which is condition of subjectes, they will gladly continue without defection or ad.
hering to any other lord or king, as long as they may be protected and justly “ governed without oppression on the one side, or impunity on the other. For " there is no nation of people under the sunne, that doth love equal and indif• ferent justice better than the Irish: or will rest better satisfied with the " execution thereof, though it be against themselves; so as they may have “ the benefit and protection of the law, when upon just causes they do de.
vesting the fee simple in the chief, which by the course of the English law made it descendible to his eldest son or heir at law, it excluded the sept from their reversionary distributive rights of Gavelkind upon the death of the tenant for life, and thus detached the septs from that common bond of interest and union with their chief, which gave them firmness, consistency, and consequence, and necessarily threw them thus disjointed more immediately under the power of the sovereign, by leaving one only freeholder or tenant to the crown in each sept. The new grants to the lords were limitted to the lands in their actual possession. And those lands, which any of his followers held on any precarious Irish tenures of the chief, were confirmed to the mesne tenant also in fee, upon paying to the lord a certain annual rent equivalent to the lord's beneficial interest in the services or tenure of his tenant. Thus was the whole landed interest of Ireland new modelled ; and the example of these new patentees of the crown was followed by many trading towns and corporations throughout the kingdom: they surrendered their old, and accepted new charters from the crown, with such regulations and privileges as were more congenial with the policy and views of the court.
“ It was not without some reason,” says Leland,* “ that the “ numerous body of Catholics in Ireland presumed on the favour “ of the new king, and his partiality to their communion. They " had frequent opportunities by those emissaries of Rome, who “ were continually pouring into their country, to be informed " of his transactions with the pontiff, while king of Scots, and < of the expectations conceived of his conversion. The senti“ments which he expressed with respect to popery to his first “ parliament, were but a repetition of those opinions which he “ had avowed on other occasions; and every expression of ten“ derness to what he called the mother church, and every “ rumour of his secret intentions were industriously propagated
and magnified to a credulous people, removed at a great “ distance from authentic information.” James now felt him. self firmly seated on the throne of Ireland. In his religious principles he was neither a Protestant nor a Catholic : he disliked and dreaded the Puritans. He always cherished a filial reverence and affection for his mother; and retained an indelible sense of, though he wanted firmness to avenge the injuries and indignities she had suffered. Inflated with conceit and
• 2 Leland, p. 420.
Geoghegan in his history (p. 422) says, that it is notorious, that notwithstanding the severity of the laws made in Ireland against the Roman Catholic religion during the reigns of Henry VIII. Edward VI. Elizabeth, and James I. not sixty of the Irish embraced the Protestant religion, though Ireland then contained more than two millions of souls.
vanity, this weak prince had blindly mounted himself upon the baseless pinnacle of overstretched prerogative, and whilst he indulged in this visionary security, he permitted himself to be carried down with every stream of flattery, fear, or menace, as they successively flowed in upon him. As a Stuart he was ever ready to sacrifice his friend to the fear of his enemy. At this time the Puritan party had acquired, both in the church and state* of Ireland, an eminent ascendency; and from this moment they were preparing to get up that eventful tragedy, which closed in the catastrophe of the throne, altars, and constitution of the British empire. Their first act was to express their indignation at the relaxations, favour, and countenance shewn to the Catholics. The immediate effect of which was a formal publication or promulgation of the Statute of Conformity (2 Eliz.) exemplified under the great seal, under pretence that the printed copies of the act varied from the record, but in fact to give sanction and publicity to an act, which was now intended to be rigorously executed, though it had for forty years been almost a dead letter. The King's Proclamation for the strict observ. ance of it was annexed to the Exemplification, and solemnly published throughout the nation.f This measure was peculiarly calculated to wound the Irish nation; and they were still more sorely aggrieved by the insulting humiliation of certain commissions issued in consequence of the proclamation, by which the Catholics of condition were appointed inquisitors to watch
* Lord Deputy Chichester, who was afterwards created Baron Belfast, had been the pupil of the famous Cartwright, who was so violent an opposer of the church establishment, that in writing to Archbishop Whitgift he used these strong expressions : “ Certain of the things we (the Dissenters) stand
upon are such, that if every hair of our heads were a life, we ought to afford “ them for the defence of them.” And Sir George Paul, in the life of this archbishop (p. 47), gives us, by way of sample, a part of the constant public prayer of this Cartwright before his sermons : “ Because they (meaning the * Bishops), which ought to be pillars of the church, do band themselves
against Christ and his truth, therefore, O Lord, give us grace and power as " one man to set ourselves against them.” At this time the whole body of the reformed clergy in Ireland was Puritan; the most eminent of whom for learning was Usher, then provost of Trinity College, Dublin, and afterwards archbishop of Armagh, who by his management and contrivance procured the whole doctrine of Calvin to be received as the public belief of the Church of Ireland, and ratified by Chichester in the king's name. Not only the famous Lambeth articles concerning predestination, grace, and justifying faith, sent down as a standard of doctrine to Cambridge, but immediately suppressed by Queen Elizabeth, and afterwards disapproved and rejected by King James, when proposed to him by Dr. Reynolds in the conference of Hampton Court, but also several particular fancies and notions of his own were incorporated, says Carte (Orm. 1 vol. p. 73), into the articles of the Church of Ireland, and by his credit approved of in convocation, and afterwards confirmed by the Lord Deputy Chichester.
† The language of this proclamation strongly proves the grounds which the Catholics had for rejoicing at the accession of james I. from whom they expected protection, countenance and favour. It bears date the 4th of July, 1605.