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CHAPTER III.

FROM THE DEATH OF STRAFFORD TO THE DEATH OF

CHARLES I. A.D. 1641 TO A.D. 1649.

THE CATHOLIC CONFEDERATION.

The Irish massacre inaugurated a civil war which raged, with more or less violence, throughout the kingdom upwards of ten years. Meanwhile Protestantism continued to maintain its ground in several counties of Ulster, in Dublin, Cork, and some other towns; but Romanism established its supremacy over all the rest of the country. The earliest public movements of the adherents of the Pope were certainly not calculated to recommend the cause of which they were the avowed champions. The war-commenced amidst scenes of rapine, perfidy, blasphemy, and assassination—was represented as a struggle in the service of God; and the mixed multitude of soldiers, cattle drivers, thieves, and cut-throats, who followed the standard of the insurgent chiefs, received the designation of “the Catholic army.1 The foundations of the Catholic Confederation were laid in December, 1641, when the Anglo-Hibernians of the Pale united with the native Irish. The members of this Association, as its name indicated, were all connected with the Church of Rome. They were bound together by an oath pledging them to maintain against all persons, with life, power, and estate, “the public and free exercise of the true and Roman Catholic religion."

The clergy, from the first, had, no doubt, a principal share

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i Cox, ii. 85; Leland, iii. 145. ? See the oath in full in Cox, ii. 86.

in managing the secret machinery which guided the insurgents ;? and they soon ventured to take up a prominent and decided position. In March, 1642, a provincial Synod was held at Kells, in Meath; the Roman Catholic primate, Hugh O'Reilly, presided : and the sanction of the Church was formally given to the rebellion. The war was pronounced to be "lawful and pious ;” and all were exhorted to join in supporting the good cause. Thomas Dease, the Roman Catholic Bishop of Meath, did not attend this meeting. It was known that he had laboured earnestly to prevent the nobility and gentry of his diocese from involving themselves in the revolt, and that he had denounced the whole movement,4 Such conduct could not be overlooked. commanded forthwith to retract, and to subscribe the acts of the Synod. Should he fail within three weeks to yield submission, he was to be suspended from his office, and reported to the Pope as a suspected heretic ! 5

This assembly prepared the way for a general Synod which met at Kilkenny about two months afterwards. attended by three archbishops and six bishops, besides vicarsgeneral and other dignitaries. It sat for several days; its members were meanwhile busily engaged in anxious deliberation; and the resolutions adopted present a strange medley of

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1 The Embassy in Ireland of Monsignor G. B. Rinuccini, translated into English by Miss Annie Hutton, has lately (Dublin, 1873) been presented to the public. This work throws much light on the history of the Confederation. The Pope himself there states, apparently with special satisfaction, that “the rising, at first doubtful and tumultuous, was gradually organized into a well-arranged movement by the prelates and other clergy, who willingly gave both advice and assistance." P. XXXV.

? He was Roman Catholic Primate from 1628 to his death in July, 1651. Renehan's Collections, pp. 33-47.

3 He was Roman Catholic Bishop of Meath from 1622 to 1652. Cogan's Diocese of Meath, ii. 23, 59. The Bishop's mother was Lady Eleanor Nugent. The Deases are said to be “the sole present occupiers who held property in 1641 in the district where they still reside.”--Ibid. p. 22, note. The Bishop himself at this time possessed a handsome landed property.

4 He resided at this time in the house of the Earl of Westmeath, who was a Romanist ; and he discouraged his Lordship and others from joining in the insurrection.

6 Mant, i. 571-2; O'Conor's Hist. Address, i. 127, 152.

religion and politics. It was here arranged that the affairs of the belligerents were to be managed by the clergy, the nobility, and the representatives of the cities and towns throughout the kingdom. One of the first objects to which the Synod directed its attention was the preparation of "an oath of association " of a more definite and elaborate character than the formula already in use. When framing this document the prelates found it necessary to consult with the Roman Catholic nobility and gentry who had repaired to Kilkenny, and who claimed some share in its construction.1 This oath of association was to the Irish Romanists what the Solemn League and Covenant was to the adherents of the English Parliament-it bound them together, and succinctly embodied their political and religious principles. Whilst the swearer attested his loyalty to the king, he also vowed to defend and maintain the free exercise of the Roman Catholic religion, to obey all the orders of the Supreme Council, and not to accept of, or submit to, any peace, without the consent and approbation of the General Assembly of the Confederate Catholics. The Synod ordained that in every province there

1 Carte's Ormonde, i. 317. The oath is not therefore inserted in the acts of the Synod which was composed exclusively of ecclesiastics. The framing of the oath is provided for in the acts of the Synod, act 3.

. The following is a copy of the oath :-“I do profess, swear, and protest before God, and His saints and His angels, that I will during my life bear true faith and allegiance to my sovereign Lord, Charles, by the grace of God king of Great Britain, France, and Ireland, and to his heirs and lawsul successors; and that I will to my power during my life defend, uphold, maintain all his and their just prerogatives and estates and rights; the power and privileges of the Parliament of this realm ; the fundamental laws of Ireland ; the free exercise of the Roman Catholic faith and religion throughout this land ; and the lives, just liberties, possessions, estates, and rights of all those that have taken or shall take this oath, and perform the contents thereof; and that I will obey and ratify all the orders and decrees made, and to be made by the Supreme Council of the Confederate Catholics of this kingdom, concerning the said public cause ; and that I will not seek directly or indirectly any pardon or protection for any act done or to be done touching this general cause without the consent of the major part of the said Council ; and that I will not directly nor indirectly do any act or acts that shall prejudice the said cause ; but will, to the hazard of my life and estate, assist, prose• cute, and maintain the same. So help me God and His holy gospel.”—See Walsh's History of the Remonstrance, appendix, p. 31; O'Conor's Hist. Address, part i. 205, note.

2

in managing the secret machinery which guided the insurgents ;l and they soon ventured to take up a prominent and decided position. In March, 1642, a provincial Synod was held at Kells, in Meath ; the Roman Catholic primate, Hugh O'Reilly, presided : and the sanction of the Church was formally given to the rebellion. The war was pronounced to be “lawful and pious;” and all were exhorted to join in supporting the good cause. Thomas Dease, the Roman Catholic Bishop of Meath, did not attend this meeting. It was known that he had laboured earnestly to prevent the nobility and gentry of his diocese from involving themselves in the revolt, and that he had denounced the whole movement.4 Such conduct could not be overlooked.

He was commanded forthwith to retract, and to subscribe the acts of the Synod. Should he fail within three weeks to yield submission, he was to be suspended from his office, and reported to the Pope as a suspected heretic !5

This assembly prepared the way for a general Synod which met at Kilkenny about two months afterwards. attended by three archbishops and six bishops, besides vicarsgeneral and other dignitaries. It sat for several days; its members were meanwhile busily engaged in anxious deliberation; and the resolutions adopted present a strange medley of religion and politics. It was here arranged that the affairs of the belligerents were to be managed by the clergy, the nobility, and the representatives of the cities and towns throughout the kingdom. One of the first objects to which the Synod directed its attention was the preparation of “an oath of association” of a more definite and elaborate character than the formula already in use. When framing this document

It was

1 The Embassy in Ireland of Monsignor G. B. Rinuccini, translated into English by Miss Annie Hutton, has lately (Dublin, 1873) been presented to the public. This work throws much light on the history of the Confederation. The Pope himself there states, apparently with special satisfaction, that “the rising, at first doubtful and tumultuous, was gradually organized into a well-arranged movement by the prelates and other clergy, who willingly gave both advice and assistance.” P. XXXV.

He was Roman Catholic Primate from 1628 to his death in July, 1651. Renehan's Collections, pp. 33-47.

3 He was Roman Catholic Bishop of Meath from 1622 to 1652. Cogan's Diocese of Meath, ii. 23, 59. The Bishop's mother was Lady Eleanor Nugent. The Deases are said to be “the sole present occupiers who held property in 1641 in the district where they still reside.”Ibid. p. 22, note. The Bishop himself at this time possessed a handsome landed property.

4 He resided at this time in the house of the Earl of Westmeath, who was a Romanist ; and he discouraged his Lordship and others from joining in the insurrection.

6 Mant, i. 571-2 ; O'Coror's Hist. Address, i. 127, 152,

. the prelates found it necessary to consult with the Roman Catholic nobility and gentry who had repaired to Kilkenny, and who claimed some share in its construction. This oath of association was to the Irish Romanists what the Solemn League and Covenant was to the adherents of the English Parliament—it bound them together, and succinctly embodied their political and religious principles. Whilst the swearer attested his loyalty to the king, he also vowed to defend and maintain the free exercise of the Roman Catholic religion, to obey all the orders of the Supreme Council, and not to accept of, or submit to, any peace, without the consent and approbation of the General Assembly of the Confederate Catholics. The Synod ordained that in every province there

1 Carte's Ormonde, i. 317. The oath is not therefore inserted in the acts of the Synod which was composed exclusively of ecclesiastics. The framing of the oath is provided for in the acts of the Synod, act 3.

• The following is a copy of the oath :-“I do profess, swear, and protest before God, and His saints and His angels, that I will during my life bear true faith and allegiance to my sovereign Lord, Charles, by the grace of God king of Great Britain, France, and Ireland, and to his heirs and lawful successors; and that I will to my power during my life defend, uphold, maintain all his and their just prerogatives and estates and rights; the power and privileges of the Parliament of this realm ; the fundamental laws of Ireland ; the free exercise of the Roman Catholic faith and religion throughout this land ; and the lives, just liberties, possessions, estates, and rights of all those that have taken or shall take this oath, and perform the contents thereof; and that I will obey and ratify all the orders and decrees made, and to be made by the Supreme Council of the Confederate Catholics of this kingdom, concerning the said public cause ; and that I will not seek directly or indirectly any pardon or protection for any act done or to be done touching this general cause without the consent of the major part of the said Council ; and that I will not directly nor indirectly do any act or acts that shall prejudice the said cause ; but will, to the hazard of my life and estate, assist, prose. cute, and maintain the same. So help me God and His holy gospel.”—See WALSH's History of the Remonstrance, appendix, p. 31; O'Conor's Hist. Address, part i. 205, note.

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