Page images
PDF
EPUB
[ocr errors]

demned in the star chamber. In short, Pope James was so active a planter, that every thing was done to clear the ground for his plantations.

Charles I.

In order if possible to understand the complicated miseries of this wretched monarch's reign, we must. take a short view of the political and religious parties in England, Scotland, and Ireland.

In England was the King-Pope and his high-priest Laud, the stickler for postures, ceremonies, meats, copes, and vestments. Three sects of Puritans

-political, disciplinal, and doctrinal--Arminians, a nickname for all their opposers. The parliament and the army Puritans—the royal party, Hierarchists—and many other sects besides, agreeing only in the sour spirit of bigotry.

In Scotland, the covenanters exceeding all others in hatred to royalty and the hierarchy ; and by that bond of hatred united with the Puritans--clamorous for civil and religious liberty for themselves, and intolerant to all others.

In Ireland was no spirit of innovation, but merely attachment to ancient constitution in church and state.

Whatever were the political griefs of any party, those of the Irish were indisputable: and this appears from the mere names of the chiefs of the celebrated rebellion of 1641. For, at the head of them was the

noble and gallant Roger Moore ; a name, but that he was an Irishman, fit to occupy a nich in the temple of fame ; whose ancestors possessed the dynasty of Leix, and were by Queen Mary dispossessed his friend, the son of the great Hugh O'Neil, whose father was dispossessed of Ulster—M'Guire, whose father was expelled from his territory of Fermanagh-M'Mahon, O'Reilly, and Byrne, whose family had been so treacherously persecuted by Sir William Parsons, afterwards impeached for his own crimes. And to these were attached all the innocent victims, who; sharing the fate of their chiefs, had been confiscated in mass.

To shew the difference between the moderation of the Irish Papists, and that of our Scotch and English ancestors, let the following extract from Hume's England suffice.

« On reading of the new liturgy in Edenburgh, no sooner had the Dean, arrayed in his surplice, opened the book, than a multitude of the meanest sort, most of them women, clapping their hands, cursing and crying out-a Pope, a Pope-Anti-Christ-stone him-raised such a tumult that it was impossible to proceed with the service. The bishop mounting the pulpit, in order to appease the populace, had a stool thrown at him ; and it was with difficulty that the magistrates were able, partly by force, and partly by authority, to expel the rabble, and shut the doors against them. The tumult however still continued

Qq

without. Stones were thrown at the doors and windows; and when the service was ended, the bishop going home, was attacked and narrowly escaped from the enraged multitude. In the afternoon, the privy seal, because he carried the bishop in his coach, was so pelted with stones, and hooted at with execrations, and pressed upon by the eager populace, that if his servants, with drawn swords, had not kept them off, the bishop's life had been exposed to the utmost danger."

The Covenanters besides solicited foreign aid from Cardinal Richlieu, the French minister, whilst the Irish remained loyal to their king.

Now, of two things, one either the Scotch were wrong not to take the liturgy, as it was sent to them by their king ; and still more wrong to seek foreign aid from a French cardinal, and a despotic power, however contrary to their conscience and belief :'or the Irish were right, not tamely to surrender both their conscience and their estates, still continuing loyal to their king. Yet, strange instante of human bigotry and depravity, these same Scotch would allow neither quarter nor mercy to the Irish : and stranger still, Mr. Hume, that wise and philosophic historian, so little of a sectarian, that he is accused of Deism, has surpassed his own eloquence in stigmatising the Irish for their resistance ; and has thereby deluded and misled many an innocent and unprejudised mind. He would have rendered a greater service to humanity, if at least, after exclaiming against the cruelties of the Irish, he had censured their ini

quitous plunderers, the authors of their misery and their despair.

With respect to this poor king, he paid dearly for his folly and ingratitude. There was but one party in the world true to him—the Irish Catholics; and in the true principle of his family, he sacrificed them to every one that hated him to those in fact that repaid him by cutting off his head.

His enemies impeached his favorite Strafford with his crimes against the Irish, not from justice towards the Irish whom they persecuted still more, but from hatred to him. He defended Strafford, and was obliged to sign his death warrant. He then sent over Ormond, a traitor to himself, and whose rancor against the Catholics was so bitter, that rather than make peace with them, he disobeyed his master's orders, and brought his head to the block : for had not his avarice and bigotry inclined him to keep up the war, the Regicides would not have had the power of executing their purpose. Ormond was a zealous bigot, a cold blooded murderer, and a mercenary traitor. He first obtained, in consideration of the cessation so pressingly ordered by the king, thirty thousand pounds, and an army of several thousand men to serve in Scotland, where they distinguished themselves pre-eminently : he then refused to lead the Catholics against the king's enemies in Ireland ;, and for a stipulated price of five thousand pounds in hand, and two thousand pounds for five years successively, and payment of his enormous debts, surrendered his sword, the Castle, and the king's authority, to the rebels; and forged a letter from the king to give colour to his perfidy. No man was more instrumental to the execution of Charles, or more perfidious, or more atrocious to the Irish. He promised quarter to the garrison of Timolin for their gallant defence, and butchered them after their surrender, in cold blood. He laid waste whole territories without compunction, and plundered without remorse. It is impossible to give any idea of the unceasing cruelties of this, more than of the other reigns. But I cannot help citing the reasons of Lord Castlehaven for joining the Catholic confederates, they are so like those which I have given for my own opinions. “I began to consider the condition of the kingdom, as that the state did chiefly consist of men of mean birth and quality, that most of them, steered by the influence and power of those that were against the king, that they had, by cruel massacreing, hanging and torturing, been the slaughter of thousands of innocent men, women and children, better subjects than themselves! That they, by all their actions, shewed that they looked at nothing but the extirpation of the nation. TO THESE I COULD BE NO TRAITOR.

So said Lord Castlehaven, and so we say

all! With respect to the loyalty of the Catholics to King Charles, as an Irishman, I should rather seek for an excuse for its absurdity, than proofs of its truth, unless they believed that he pitied them; and with their characteristic generosity, imputed his crimes against them to his necessities, to the terror of his enemies, or the perfidy of his ministers! There

« PreviousContinue »