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should be a council, composed of clerical and lay menibers; and for the whole kingdom a general council of similar formation. It denounced all guilty of robbery and murder ; but, whilst it made no confession of the horrid butcheries of "the Catholic army,” it required that “a faithful inventory should be made in every province of the murders, burnings, and other cruelties committed by the Puritan enemies." It enacted that persons who manufactured warlike implements or powder for the use of the confederates should be free from taxation. It pronounced the war to be “lawful and just;" commanded all to make no distinction as of natives, or new or old English-among Catholics; and decreed that all who refused to take the oath of association should be held as adversaries of the common cause and of the kingdom, and should be punished accordingly; and that such as gave food, advice, or any manner of assistance to their opponents in the war should be excommunicated.'
We cannot well imagine anything more unlike an apostolic council than this meeting of Irish prelates held at Kilkenny in May, 1642. An evangelical Synod assembles in the name of the Prince of Peace. It should know nothing save what relates to Christ, and Him crucified. Its business is to administer His laws, and promote a knowledge of His gospel. His kingdom is “not of this world ;” and His servants are not to “fight” with the arm of flesh for its advancement. The weapons of the Christians' warfare are "not carnal ;” 2 and our Divine Master has distinctly told his followers that “they that take the sword shall perish with the sword.” 3 No Church court, therefore, can be legitimately occupied when employed in organizing a political revolution. But this Synod of Kilkenny ignored all such doctrine. It met avowedly to sanction and foster a civil war. It planned a new form of government for the country; stimulated the manufacture of powder, swords, shot, and shell; and assisted in framing for the insurgents an oath of association. This oath is a notable specimen of Jesuitism. It pledged the confederates to bear "true
1 The acts of this Synod may be found in Borlase, appendix vii. 39-45.
3 Mat. xxvi. 52. 2 Cor. x, 4.
faith and allegiance” to the king—though he had already openly denounced them as “rebels and traitors against his royal person, and enemies to his royal crown of England and Ireland.” 1 In the commencement of the insurrection these rebels had professed to act by his authority: they had exhibited a forged warrant, purporting to be a commission from his Majesty; and, as Charles and his Parliament were at variance, the insurgents still sought to keep up the delusion that they were fighting under the royal sanction. They were, no doubt, prepared to enter the battlefield against troops commanded by a Lord Lieutenant appointed by the king himself: but, withal, they resented the appellation of traitors; and, if they must yield, they deemed it better to submit to an arbitrary sovereign swayed by a Popish queen, than to succumb to a Puritan legislature bent on the maintenance of Protestantism. The native Irish were, at heart, desirous to throw off the yoke of England ; and, as far as they were concerned, the avowal of loyalty contained in the oath of association was insincere; but the Anglo-Irish were really unwilling to sever the last link of connection with Great Britain. Some of the guides of the Confederation did not want political foresight; and they reckoned that, should the royal arms eventually prevail, the expression of zeal for his prerogative, embodied in this formula, would give them at least some claim to the monarch's consideration.
Throughout the whole of this civil war there is nothing which appears more revolting to the mind of an enlightened Christian than the use made by the Roman Catholic clergy of the ordinance of excommunication. In their hands it was, not the staff of the shepherd, but the scourge of the slavedriver. It was employed by them, not to conserve the purity of the Church, but to carry out their own ambitious or selfish machinations. By means of it they attempted to compel the soldiers of the Confederacy even to march and countermarch according to their dictation. A man might believe every one of the doctrines of Romanism; he might lead a blameless life; he might be a pattern of integrity and piety to all around him ; but, if he did not see his way to support these Churchmen in the war, he was threatened with eternal ruin! The apostle has said, “If thine enemy hunger, feed him; ”i but the bishops convened at Kilkenny adopted a very different canon. If, said they, any Catholic gives food to a starving Englishman, let him be excommunicated. The institutions of Christ are not to be thus basely prostituted. What right had these prelates to shut out from the communion of the Church, and, by implication, from the kingdom of glory, such a man as Thomas Dease, Bishop of Meath —not because he denied the faith, not because he was of discreditable reputation, for he was one of the worthiest of his order-but because he differed from his brethren on a question of politics ? Excommunication is an awful ordinance ; and well may the true ministers of Christ weep and tremble when they find it necessary to resort to it: but, when abused, it is merely a bastard ceremony, bringing down the wrath of God only on the heads of its impious administrators.
1 They are thus described in his Proclamation, dated “at our Palace at Westminster," ist January, 1642. See Borlase, p. 53.
The insurgents had hitherto felt much the want of competent military leaders; for, though they could bring into the field troops greatly superior in numbers to those opposed to them, they achieved no corresponding triumphs. In the North they were beginning to despair : but their hopes revived when, in July, 1642, Colonel Owen Roe O'Neill, whose coming had for some time been expected, landed safely on the coast of Donegal. This officer—who was con- . nected by birth with the old dynasts of Ulster-had served in the Imperial and Spanish armies, and had acquired celebrity as a brave and skilful soldier. He was at once invested with the supreme command of the Confederate forces in the Province; and his very first movements indicated that he intended to introduce a new mode of warfare. He sharply rebuked his kinsman, Sir Phelim, for the sanguinary spirit
1 Rom. xii. 20.
2 Dease and Rothe, R.C. Bishop of Ossory, have been described by a R.C. contemporary as “the most learned and pious of all the Irish bishops." See O'Conor's Hist. Address, part i., p. 164, note. Rothe was subsequently excomo, municated and died without absolution. Ibid. pp. 167-8.
he had displayed ; expressed his abhorrence of the barbarities committed by the Catholic army; and actually burned the houses of some of the miscreants most deeply implicated in acts of rapine and murder. Owen Roe O'Neill was a bigoted Romanist, and the Pope regarded him with special favour ; but he was an accomplished military leader; and for the remainder of his life he was a tower of strength to his party. About two months after his arrival, Colonel Thomas Preston—who had also been trained in foreign service, and who was brother of Lord Gormanstown—landed on the coast of Wexford. Both these chiefs brought with them a numerous staff of officers, as well as a considerable supply of military stores; and their presence in the country imparted new vigour to the Confederation.
On the 24th of October, 1642, the first General Assembly of the Confederate Catholics met in the city of Kilkenny. This Convention had been planned by the Synod held in the same place in the May preceding. It was composed of two sections-one consisting of prelates and nobles, and another of the representatives of counties and towns-but both sat in the same chamber. Though the General Assembly did not assume the name, it performed the various functions of a Parliament; as it made laws, regulated taxation, and discussed all questions of war and peace. It at once transferred to its own bishops and clergy all the churches and church-livings lately in possession of the Protestants. The whole country submitting to its jurisdiction was placed under the care of officials of its own appointment; and it nominated a “Supreme Council” of twentyfour persons constituting the executive government. This
1 Carte, i. 349; Leland, iii. 178; Warner, i. 227. Even Curry (Ilistorical and Critical Review of the Civil Wars in Ireland, p. 184. Dublin, 1810) admits the truth of this statement; and thus reveals the fallacy of the reasoning by which he endeavours to extenuate the crimes of the native Irish.
. See an account of it in Columbanus ad Hibernos, No. 2, p. lv.
3 Borlase, appendix, 51, 52. Borlase has given, in appendix viii., the orders made at this first meeting “of the Lords Spiritual and Temporal and the rest of the General Assembly.”
• Five of these were Prelates, viz. : the Archbishops of Armagh, Dublin and Tuam, and the Bishops of Clonsert and Down. See Cox, ii. 125.
Supreme Council selected sheriffs, coined money, gave instructions to military officers and civil magistrates, conducted correspondence with foreign Powers, and determined all matters left undecided by the General Assembly.
Though the confederates at this first meeting of their national convention were apparently harmonious, and though they all professed loyalty to the throne, as well as a firm determination to maintain the free exercise of the Roman Catholic religion, they were, in reality, very much divided in their aims and principles. Those of them who were of AngloIrish origin were generally more warmly attached to the royal cause, and more moderate in their views, as to the claims of their Church, than the old Irish. Many of these Anglo-Irish had extensive possessions, so that they had large interests at stake; and, as they had originally taken up arms with reluctance, they were all along disposed to listen to terms of accommodation. As they had not been guilty of atrocities such as the old Irish had committed at the commencement of the war, they had little to fear from an investigation of their conduct; and they cherished the hope that the increasing necessities of the king---now at open hostilities with his parliament-would soon compel him to come to some settlement with his Irish subjects. Nor were they disappointed in their expectations. After various military movements, which it is here unnecessary to describe, the Marquis of Ormond a Protestant nobleman of great ability and influencel appointed to conduct a negotiation on the part of the crownsucceeded in effecting a temporary accommodation. This truce with the confederates-known as the Cessation-was concluded at Sigginstown, near Naas, on the 15th of September, 1643.2 The king was to receive a subsidy of thirty thousand pounds, to be paid by instalments; and, for one
1 Ormond was by birth a Romanist ; but he was brought up under the tutelage of Abbot, Archbishop of Canterbury, an earnest Calvinist ; and he remained throughout life a steady adherent to the Protestant cause.
2 The Cessation was agreed to on the 26th of May, 1643, but the terms were not fully arranged till September. Those in favour of the Cessation were denounced by the other party as heretics and schismatics ! O'Conor's Hist. Audress, i. 49,