Page images



flames of civil war; and, when the insurrection had by these means become general, to prevent a cessation of hostilities, for the purpose of producing extensive confiscations. This point being of primary importance, we shall devote a short chapter to it, immediately succeeding the present


With all these strong facts taken into view, we then invite a decision; and entertain no doubt of a favourable verdict.

On this subject we stand committed, in the face of all the enlightened men in Christendom; and have no hesitation in pledging ourselves, that if any independent and upright judge or lawyer of any court in France, Germany, England, Scotland, Ireland, or the United States, will pronounce affirmative answers to the above queries, so as to imply a belief in the reality of the conspiracy, as deposed to by the “ Protestant gentleman,” alias “servant,we will cheerfully consent to have this book burned by the hands of the common hangman, and will suppress it ourselves.



The lords justices alarmed at the prospect of

peace. Corroboration of their guilt. Successful in their endeavours to prolong and extend the horrors of war. Execrable policy of the English Parliament.

THE tenor of the narrative of the origin of the insurrection in 1641, as detailed in the preceding chapter, bears such strong internal evidence of fraud and imposture, as can hardly fail to convince every man of candour, that it was a concerted and nefarious plan, for the purpose of goading the Irish into insurrection, and continuing the system of spoliation, of which the history of Ireland presents to the harrowed feelings of the reader one unbroken series.

This evidence derives important corroboration from the subsequent conduct of the rulers of the country, which of itself would be sufficient to convict them, even had the story been so well concocted as to wear a plausible aspect. This conduct we now expose to the consideration and abhorrence of the reader.



As a preliminary, we presume it will hardly be denied, that those who are opposed to a restoration of peace; who use every effort to extend the horrors of war; who expect to profit by that extension; and who devour the anticipated profits, may, without any unreasonable jealousy, be suspected, unless there be strong reasons to the contrary, of having been instrumental in the commencement of war. But where, in addition to these circumstances, there appear, as in this instance, in their own narrative, manifest fraud and deception, then we have that strong degree of presumptive evidence of which alone the nature of the case admits.

We undertake, therefore, to prove, by testimony the most irrefragable :

I. That the lords justices left nothing undone to extend the flames of civil war, and to involve in the confiscation attendant on it all the estated men in the kingdom ;*

* “ It is certain that the lords justices, not only by their words and actions, expressed their unwillingness to stop the growth of the rebellion (as appeareth undeniably in their refusing the offers which both the earl of Ormond and the Parliament of Ireland made to suppress it) but showed also a desire to increase the distempers of the nation, and were often heard to wish, that the number were greater of such as became criminal."377

“ The marquis of Ormond detested the violent and destructive counsels and measures of the lords justices, which had spread the rebellion; were ruinous to his majesty's affairs; and likely to effect the utter desolation of his country.' Carte, I. 259.

378 Idem, 338.

[ocr errors]


II. That they, and their friends in England, took infinite pains to defeat every attempt for the restoration of peace, or even a cessation of hostilities, on any terms whatever ; and were, therefore, with the rage of demons, determined on a war of extermination ; and


“ An Irish parliament sat for three days in Dublin. By expelling the members actually in rebellion, and by excluding those who refused to take the oath of supremacy, they were reduced to an inconsiderable number. Yet they breathed the utmost fury against the Romish party; declared for a rigorous execution of the penal statutes; and urged, both to the king and English Parliament, the necessity of new and severe laws against recusants. The English parliament echoed these sentiments. The bills were prepared for transmission, and the utmost vengeance denounced against Popery; as if their sole purpose were to exasperate the insurgents to the utmost, or as if they had been already completely reduced.”

To involve as many as possible in the guilt of rebellion was part of the plan adopted by the party of the lords justices, whose great object was an extensive forfeiture of lands. Their agents were indefatigable in the procuring of indictments, not only against open rebels, but also those whose conduct was at all capable of being brought into question. Against the gentry of the Pale was principally directed the rage of their prosecution,"380

“ It is too evident, that as the supine carelessness of some did encourage the Irish to rebel, so there were others in power, who were so taken up with the contemplation of forfeitures, that they rather increased the fuel, than took care to suppress the flame.'

[ocr errors]

380 Gordon, I. 403.

379 Leland, III. 197.
381 Nalson, II. 629.



III. That they devoured in idea the estates of those whom they goaded into insurrection.*

The evidence produced in the second chapter, page 58 to 62, might be deemed sufficient for the purpose. It is copious, conclusive, and irresistible. But more than ordinary pains, and a greater host of testimony than usual, are necessary for a writer who enters the lists against inveterate opinions, long regarded as incontrovertible, and cherished under the invigorating and congenial

*“ The lords justices, in a private letter of their own to the speaker, exclusive of the rest of the council, besought the Commons to assist them with a grant of some competent proportion of the rebels' lands! Here the reader will find the key that unlocks the whole secret of their iniquitous practices; and here he will find the motives to the orders they gave for receiving no submissions ; for issuing no proclamations of pardon at first, as the Parliament had suggested ; and in short for all their backwardness in putting an end to the rebellion, of which several opportunities offered ; and consequently for their sacrificing the peace and happiness of their country, and the lives of thousands of their fellow subjects.382

Extensive forfeitures were the favourite object of the chief governors and their friends. The Commons of England had very early petitioned that the king would not alienate any of the escheated lands, that might accrue to the crown from the rebellion in Ireland : and they had lately proceeded in a scheme for raising money from the lands thus expected to escheate. A bill was framed for repaying those who should advance certain sums, for suppressing of the rebels, (as was pretended,) by vesting them with proportional estates in Ireland, on terms highly advantageous to a new English plantation. - It evidently tended to exasperate the malcontents, and to make all accommodation desperate : but it was not on this account less acceptable to the popular leaders. "383

382 Warner, 199.

383 Leland, III. 186, 187.

« PreviousContinue »