« ForrigeFortsæt »
scarcely have indited a more ferocious warrant. These same Lords Justices attempted, by the rack, to extort confessions from persons merely suspected of a share in the original conspiracy; and refused, with a view to the promotion of their own base purposes of confiscation, to encourage the submissions those who were disposed to return to their allegiance.1 Such proceedings, as unwise as they were cruel and unjust, deeply aggravated the miseries of this wretched warfare.
Charles I. had now completely lost the confidence of his English Parliament; and the Puritan leaders were not by any means prepared to entrust him with an army for the suppression of the Irish Rebellion. In this emergency they sought the aid of the Scottish covenanters; who agreed to send over troops to Ulster. Detachments from seven Scottish regiments, under the command of Major General Robert Munro, arrived in Carrickfergus in April, 1642; and were immediately put in possession of the town and castle. The other British regiments in Ulster, pursuant to the terms of a treaty with the English Parliament, recognized Munro as their military chief; and, for some years after this date, Scottish influence dominated over a considerable part of the northern section of the kingdom.
The arrival of these troops at Carrickfergus marks the commencement of an era in the history of Presbyterianism in Ireland. At this time by far the greater portion of the Protestants of Ulster were of Scottish extraction, and many of them still remained warmly attached to the worship and polity of the Church of their fathers. Various efforts had been made to
1 Warner, i. 176, 175, 194.
2 He was suspected of having fomented the rebellion. He had certainly nothing to do with the barbarities of Sir Phelim O'Neill and the northern insurgents; but he seems to have been privy to a plot for surprising Dublin Castle and other places. See Reid's History of Presbyterian Church in Ireland, i. 304.
3 Reid, p. 354.
↑ Carte reckons that, at the time of the breaking out of the rebellion, there were only 220,000 English and Scotch in all Ireland. He computes that in Ulster there were 100,000 Scotch, and only 20,000 English. Carte's Ormonde, i. 177-8. At the same time there were not above 140 Protestants in the County of Sligo, nor so many in the County of Mayo, nor 1,000 in the whole County of Galway. O'Conor's Historical Address, ii. 324.
induce them to adopt the English ritual; and, under the government of Strafford, conformity had been enforced in a spirit of high-handed intolerance; but, now that the political pressure was withdrawn, the settlers soon revealed their religious predilections. An important movement was made in the way of ecclesiastical organization by the erection of a Presbytery at Carrickfergus on the 10th of June, 1642.1 Church-sessions had already been established in several of the regiments; and pious officers had undertaken to act as ruling elders. The Presbytery-the first court of the kind set up in Ireland after the Reformation-was composed of the chaplains in attendance on the Scotch troops, and of the representatives from the newly-constituted sessions. Its influence was soon felt all over the country. The adherents of the Scottish discipline in various adjacent districts applied to it to be recognized as worshipping societies, and to be supplied with Presbyterian ordinances. These petitioners received prompt attention; and, in a short time, seven congregations were organized in the County of Antrim, and eight in the County of Down.2
About two months after the establishment of the Presbytery at Carrickfergus, Charles I. and his Parliament engaged in open warfare. In the following year the Solemn League and Covenant was framed and adopted, as a bond of union, by the Lords and Commons of England, as well as by the Scottish legislature. In the spring of 1644, four ministers of the
1 Reid, i. 372. It is noteworthy that all the ministers of this Presbytery had subscribed the old Scottish confession of faith-a strictly Calvinistic formulary. According to an act of the General Assembly of 1638 "the confession of faith ... is ordained to be subscribed. . . by all scholars at passing their degrees... and finally by all ministers of this kirk and kingdom." Compendium of the Laws of the Church of Scotland, part second, p. 100. Edinburgh, 1831.
In the County of Antrim congregations were formed at Ballymena, Antrim, In the County Cairncastle, Templepatrick, Carrickfergus, Larne, and Belfast. of Down, at Ballywalter, Portaferry, Newtonards, Donaghadee, Killileagh, Comber, Holywood, and Bangor. Reid, i. 374-5.
3 Reid, i. 438. One of these ministers was the Rev. Wm. Adair, brother of Sir Robert Adair of Ballymena. The others were Rev. James Hamilton, nephew of Lord Claneboy; Rev. Hugh Henderson, minister of Dalry; and Rev. John Weir, minister of Dalserf. On their return to Scotland Messrs. Hamilton and Weir, accompanied by Mr. Watson, another minister, were seized in the Irish
Church of Scotland arrived in Ulster, commissioned to preach to their countrymen in that province, and to urge them to enter into the covenant. These brethren were armed with no power of compulsion; their business was simply to explain the nature of the bond; and to invite and exhort all the true friends of Protestantism in the country to support it by their adhesion. As the most malicious tales were in circulation relative to the designs of the English Puritans and their allies, the expositions of the Scottish preachers served at once to calm and to enlighten the public mind. Because the covenanters were pledged to endeavour the extirpation of Popery, prelacy, and profaneness, it was boldly affirmed that they meditated a general massacre.1 A saying was put into the mouth of Sir John Clotworthy, of Antrim, calculated to create immense prejudice; for that grave and exemplary senator was reported as having declared, in his place in Parliament, that Irish Romanists must be reclaimed with the Bible in one hand and the sword in the other. The proceedings of the Scottish deputies appointed to administer the covenant in Ulster were well fitted to demonstrate the absurdity of such rumours. "The covenant," says a minister who about this time came over to Ireland,2" was taken in all places with great affection, partly with sorrow for former judgments, and sins, and miseries; partly with joy under present consolation, in the hopes of laying a foundation for the work of God in the land. . . . Sighs and tears were joined together; and it is much to be
Channel by a Confederate vessel. Messrs. Watson and Weir died in confinement in consequence of the ill-treatment they now received. See Reid, i. 462.4. Roman Catholic writers have, in every way, misrepresented this affair. They give credit to the Confederates because they did not at once murder the prisoners; and they assert that they captured, not three, but fifty ministers! See Meehan's Confed. of Kilkenny, p. 81. Dublin, 1846.
1 This story, which was industriously circulated by the priests, had taken such possession of the minds of the Irish that, when the preachers who administered the covenant were travelling through Ulster, many of the Romanists, as they approached, fled in dismay! Adair's Narrative, p. 115.
2 The Rev. Patrick Adair, the author of The True Narrative of the Rise and Frogress of the Presbyterian Church in Ireland, was ordained minister of Cairncastle, near Larne, in the County of Antrim, in May, 1646. He was in the country for some time before. He was married to the daughter of Sir Robert Adair of Ballymena.
observed both the way ministers used towards the people for clearing their consciences, in order to the covenant, in explaining it, . . . and from scripture and solid consequences from it, clearing every article of it—and thereafter offered it only to those whose consciences stirred them up to it." So far from insisting on everyone entering into the Solemn League and Covenant, the Scottish preachers would not administer it to those by whom it was not rightly understood, or who were not disposed to fulfil its obligations. Neither did they think that prelacy, Popery, and profaneness could be extirpated by the commission of murder; but by prayer and patience, by argument and instruction, by the faithful preaching of the word and the diffusion of scripture knowledge, by the maintenance of a godly discipline, and by the light of a holy example.
The refusal of the covenant involved no temporal pains and penalties; and those who adhered to the King, in opposition to the Parliament, rejected it; but it was entered into with enthusiasm by a great number of the Protestants of Ulster. The preachers who administered it traversed the country, and were welcomed by multitudes-not only in Down and Antrim, but also in Derry, Donegal, and Fermanagh. Many of the episcopal clergy of the north had either perished in the massacre or died in consequence of the hardships it entailed; and a considerable number of the survivors had already joined the Presbytery. Not a few of the residue now became Covenanters. From this time Protestant prelacy was virtually overthrown in Ireland. When the Directory for Worship was adopted by the Westminster Assembly, the use of the English Liturgy was interdicted by public authority; but, in the chapel of Trinity College, Dublin, and in a few other places, it was still quietly tolerated.*
Only two members connected with Ireland sat in the Westminster Assembly. These were Dr. Joshua Hoyle,5 Professor
1 Adair's Narrative, pp. 103-4.
3 Reid, i. 443, 444, 450, 451.
2 Reid, i. 386.
Mant, i. 586. The episcopal clergy of Dublin appear to have been the only Protestant ministers in Ireland who drew up a Declaration against the discontinuance of the Liturgy. See the Declaration in Mant, i. 588.
Dr. Hoyle was appointed Professor of Divinity in 1623. He was a member of the Convocation in 1634.
of Divinity in the Irish University, and Sir John Clotworthy, of Antrim, who was present as a lay assessor.1 The Confession of Faith drawn up by the divines was, with some explanations, immediately adopted as the accredited symbol of the Church of Scotland, and of the Presbytery in Ulster. A remarkable outpouring of the Spirit of God accompanied the preaching of the ministers who were sent to promote the adoption of the covenant in the north of Ireland. "They were assisted," says a contemporary, "with more than the ordinary presence of God in that work in every place they went to, so that all the hearers did bear them witness that God was with them. And the sensible presence and appearance of God with them in these exercises did overcome many of those who otherwise were not inclined that way. . . . The solemnity and spirituality of carrying on this work was like the cloud filling the temple, there being a new tabernacle erecting in this land." 2 "The covenant," says the historian of the Irish Presbyterian Church, "revived the cause of true religion and piety. . . . . From this period may be dated the commencement of the second reformation with which this province [of Ulster] has been favoured-a reformation discernible, not only in the rapid increase of churches, and of faithful and zealous ministers, but still more unequivocally manifested in the improving manners and habits of society, and in the growing attention of the people to religious duties and ordinances." 3
1 Though connected with Ireland, Sir John sat in the Long Parliament as member for Malden. Reid, i. 279, note.
2 Adair's Narrative, p. 104.
3 Reid's Hist. of Presbyterian Church in Ireland, i. 456.