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and they were dismissed with an impertinent, frothy, bombastic speech from the king.*
On no occasion did James ever display more impertinence and folly than in this speech, although these qualities entered largely into all his royal compositions. He arrogantly asked the deputies
000 ferred the final determination of it to the English privy council. Their decision was, that several of the returns were illegal.”458
“ The members returned from those boroughs which were created AFTER THE WRITS HAD BEEN ALREADY ISSUED, were, for the present, declared incapable of sitting. "459 * Extract from the speech of James I. to the lords of council in pre
sence of the Irish deputies. “ Then came petitions to the deputy, of a body without a head, a headless body: you would be afraid to meet such a body in the streets : a body without a head to speak, nay, half a body; what a monster were this, a very bug-bear! Methinks you, that would have a visible body head of the church over all the earth, and acknowledge a temporal head under Christ, ye may likewise acknowledge my viceroy or deputy of Ireland.
« The lower house here in England doth stand upon its privileges as much as any council in Christendom, yet if such a difference had risen there, they would bave gone on with my service notwithstanding, and not have broken up their assembly upon it. You complain of fourteen false returns. Are there not many more complained of in this parliament, yet they do not forsake the house for it. Now, for your complaints touching parliament matters, I find no more amiss in that parliament, than in the best parliament in the world; escapes and faults of sheriff's there may be, yet not proved; or if it had been proved, no cause to stay the parliament; all might have been set right by an ordinary course or trial, to which I must refer them. But you complain of the new boroughs, therein I would fain feel your pulse, for yet I find not where the shoe wrings. For, first, you question the power of the king, whether he may lawfully make them? And then you question the wisdom of the king and his council; in that you say, that there are too many made. It was never before heard that any good subjects did dispute the king's power in this point. What it is to you, whether I make many or few boroughs ? my council may consider the fitness of it, if I require it; but what if I had made forty noblemen, and four hundred boroughs ? the more the merrier, the fewer the better cheer. But this complaint, as you made it, was preposterous; for in contending for a committee, before you agreed of a speaker, did put the plough before the horse, so as it went untowardly like your Irish ploughs ; but because the eye of the master maketh the horse fat, I have used my own eyes in taking a view of those boroughs, and have seen a list of them all. God is my judge, I find the new boroughs except one or two, to be as good as the old, comparing Irish boroughs new with Irish boroughs old (for I will not speak of the boroughs of
158 Crawford, 1, 346.
459 Leland, II. 531,
56 what is it to you whether I make many or few boroughs?» « What if I had made forty noblemen and four hundred boroughs? the more the merrier, the fewer the better cheer.” Admirable logic! Royal equity! Such was the manner in which the rights and liberties, and ultimately the property of the Irish, were sported with.
Notwithstanding the enormity of the grievances of which they complained, a portion of which were admitted by James himself, and the justice and propriety of an appeal to the crown for that redress which was unattainable at home, the chief of the petitioners, all of whom were members of parliament, were thrown into prison in Dublin.* It is difficult to realize in the mind such horrible violations of honour, honesty and justice and all, be it once more observed, within lord Clarendon's millenium.
Although aided by these shameless and abandoned frauds, the administration had but a small majority. Their usurping minions and parasites were only an hundred and twenty-five, and the recusant party were an hundred and onet : there were six absent members, whose politics are not known. It is easy to conceive what a decided majority the recusants would have had, but for the profligate disregard of every semblance of honour and justice, which, during the election, had governed the proceedings of the enemies of Irish happiness and prosperity.
In consequence of those abuses, the motley majority forced sir John Davies into the chair, as speaker, although sir John Everard had a great majority of the legal votes.
The journals of the house of commons bear witness to the destitution of honour and justice of the majority of that body and of the Irish administration. The acknowledgment of the culprits, is there recorded in the most unequivocal language:
“ Nov. 19, 1613, 'It was resolved by the house of commons, That
other countries;) and yet, besides the necessity of making them, like to increase and grow better daily.
“I seek not emendicata suffragia; such boroughs as have been made since the summons, are wiped away at one word, for this time; I have tried that, and done you fair play, but you that are of a contrary religion, must not look to be the only lawmakers; you that are but half subjects, should have but half privilege ; you that have an eye to me me way, and to the pope another way, the pope is your father in spiritualibus, and I in temporalibus only; and so have your bodies torn one way, and your souls drawn another; you that send your children to the seminaries of treason, strive henceforth to become full subjects, that you may have cor unum and viam unam, and then I shall respect you all alike; but your Irish priests teach you such grounds of doctrine, as you cannot follow them with a safe conscience, but you must cast off your loyalty to your king."460
*“ The chief petitioners were confined in the castle of Dublin, and sir Patrick Barnevall, their great agent, was by the king's command, sent in custody into England."461 ,
Aecording to Leland.
460 Plowden, App. 58.
461 Leland, II. 496.
whereas some persons have been unduly elected, some being judges, some for not being estated in their boroughs, some for being outLAWED, excommunicated ; and lastly, for being returned for places whose charters were not valid ; it was resolved not to question them for the present, in order to prevent stopping public business; but this resolution was not to be drawn into precedent."-463
“On the 24th November, 1614, the order of the last session was renewed, verbatim, relative to postponing inquiries into the returns of members, &c. who were disqualified, as judges, as being outlawed, &c. or returned for places which had no charters. ""463
What an extraordinary contrast between these confessions and the speech of James I. in which he appears to regard the complaints of the parliament as unimportant! And how superlatively wicked in this state of things was the treatment of the Irish petitioners and their agents !
The view given of these proceedings by Carte, requires to be noticed, as an additional proof of the obliquity and injustice which pervade the histories of Irish affairs, written by protestant authors. Notwithstanding the barefaced frauds which took place in the elections, recorded, as we have seen, in the journals of the house of commons, yet this writer-in narrating the struggle made by the representatives, fairly and honestly chosen, to defeat the vile attempt to rob the nation of all the substantial advantages of the elective franchise, and to lay it prostrate at the mercy of a cabal of foreigners, forced into parliament in violation of the first principles of justice-loads the recusants with the severest censure, as if they had been the criminals, and the “ outlaws" and other intruders had been really eligible and been elected with all the forms of law and custom.* It is 'a melancholy truth, that whenever the interests or the character of the two parties come in collusion, this writer, and most of his co-labourers, almost uniformly display an odious partiality and injustice.
000 *" The house consisted of two hundred thirty-two members, six whereof did not appear. Those that were present disagreed in their yotes; and after an hot debate, there appeared on a division to be one hundred twenty-seven voices for sir John Davies the attorney general, besides his own, and for sir John Eve rd, (formerly one of the justices of the king's bench, an obstinate recusant,) who on resigning his judge's place, had, on May 14, 1607, a pension granted him of one hundred marks a year, there were ninety-eight with himself. The Roman Catholics had before their meeting made a wrong calculation of their numbers, and fancied they should have had a majority in the house; and now finding themselves outnumbered, were enraged at the disappointment, and being headed by sir James Gough, an hot turbalent man, sir William Bourke, sir Christopher Nugent, sir Christopher Plunket, W. Talbot and other lawyers, proceeded in a way of tumult and violence; contrary to all right and rules of Parliament, to place sir John Everard in the chair; from whence he was at last removed, and sir John Davies, (than whom none was ever better qualified for the post,) placed therein.”:464
482 Mountmorres, I. 169. 463 Idem, 173. 464 Carte, I. 19.
In the parliament held under Wentworth in 1634, the same vile practices were employed which had secured a majority for the administration in 1613. Most of the boroughs, in defiance of the law of the land, were represented by non-residents, chiefly officers of the government.* The Roman Catholics made an ardent struggle against this outrageous grievance. But the overwhelming power and the despotism of the deputy rendered their efforts fruitless. They were forced to submit.
No man ever understood the Machiavelian system-divide et impera-better than Wentworth. He never lost sight of it for a moment. The planters in Ulster having incurred some forfeitures by non-compliance with the conditions of plantation, he was urged to enforce the penalty—but postponed it, lest he might alienate them-for, says he, " the truth is, we must there bow and govern the native by the planter, and the planter by the native.”485 He regulated the returns for the boroughs, where the power of the crown was predominant, just as he judged proper-and managed to keep the protestants and recusants nearly equally balanced,t in order to play them off one against ano
** Thursday the first of their sitting, the recusant party began something warinly to move for the purging of the house, as they termed it, with an aim doubtless, to put out a great company of the protestants upon the point of non-residency; at last this settled in a committee of privileges to determine those questions; yet when it came to be named the house was divided, the protestants in a manner intire on one side, the papists on the other, and carried by the former, eight voices.'466
+" I shall endeavour, the lower house may be so composed, 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, for they will prove thus easier to govern, than if either party were absolute. Then wou'd I, in private discourse, shew the recusant, that the contribution ending in December next, if your majesty's army were not supply'd some other way before, the twelve pence a Sunday must of necessity be exacted upon them; and shew the protestant, that your majesty must not let go the twenty thousand pounds contribution, nor yet discontent the other in matters of religion, till the army were some way else certainly provided for. "467
“To secure this balance the more effectually, he laboured to get as many captains and officers chosen burgesses, as possibly he could, who having an immediate dependence upon the crown, might sway the business betwixt the two parties, which way they pleased, and by this means he got a majority returned of persons that were well affected to the church and crown, and ready to further his designs for the service of both. "468
“ The parties are in a manner equal, some few odds on the protestant party, and one watching the other, lest their fellows shou'd rob them, and apply the whole grace of his majesty's thanks to themselves from the other. An emulation so well fomented underhand that when the motion for the king's supply was made yesterday in the
465 Strafford, I. 199.
466 Idem, 277.
467 Idem, 186,
468 Carte, I. 62.
ther, and thus carry every measure calculated to advance the interests of the administration at the expense of the nation.
The management of the election in Dublin affords a tolerable spe cimen of the system generally pursued in cities and towns throughout the kingdom. The protestant candidates were a Mr. Catelin, recorder of the city, and an alderman Barry. The names of the competitors are not mentioned. Wentworth, under pretence that the sheriff, the returning officer, had conducted himself" mutinously,” fined him two hundred pounds, and five hundred pounds for not subscribing his examinations garbled in such a mode as to be a confession of guilt-declared him disqualified from ever afterwards serving in that office-hądone of his creatures chosen in his place-and then of course the votes were so managed, that Catelin and Barry were returned without any difficulty. Against such tyrannical proceedings the subject had no remedy.* The only alternatives were submission or ruin by the oppression of the council chamber.
Wentworth was resolved that Catelin should be chosen speaker of the house of commons. Understanding that the members of that house contemplated choosing some other person, the insolent satrap was quite exasperated; and despatched the chancellor to them, with a mandate menacing his displeasure, if they should choose any other than the person á recommended by his majesty's privy council,” which, at all events, would be utterly in vain, as “the conclusion must be according to his majesty's good will and pleasure.”+ His arbitrary
0.000000 House of commons, being the fifth day of their session, they did with one voice assent to the giving of six subsidies to be paid in four years.
** A sheriff, that being set on by these fellows, carried himself mutinously in the election of burgesses for this town, we brought into the castle chamber, upon an ore tenus, where, upon what he had set under his hand, we fined him two hundred pounds, and five hundred pounds more for his contempt in refusing to set his hand to another part of his examination, both at the council-board, and in open court, disabling him for ever bearing that office hereafter in this city. Which wrought so good an effect, asgiving order presently for choosing of a new sheriff, and going on the next day with the election again, the voices were all orderly taken, and the conformable proving the greater number, Catelin the king's serjeant and recorder of this town, and alderman Barry, a protestant, were chosen, the former whereof í intend to make the speaker, being a very able man for that purpose, and one I assure myself, will in all things apply himself to his man jesty's service!!"9470
** And understanding that there was a muttering amongst them of rejecting the recorder of this town for their speaker and chusing some other of themselves, I directed the chancellor to require them forthwith to assemble themselves in their house to chuse their speaker, who was to be presented before me the next morning by nine of the clock, wishing them to beware of falling into the same inconvenience the last parliament here did, in this the first act of a house of com469 Idem, 274.
470 Idem, 270.