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important fact-a decisive proof that the growth of religious animosity in the Irish Catholics was gradual---that it did not arise from the establishment of a Protestant government, but from the intolerance of that government. This singular circumstance has escaped the attention and candour of every Irish historian, and is only casually mentioned by Sir Richard Cox; his words are,
o it must be observed that till this time (Ann. 1604) the papists generally did come to church, and were called church papists."
Another fact, scarcely less decisive in proving that rebellions arose, not from Catholic zeal, but from Protestant intolerance, is, that during the reign of Elizabeth (when in Ireland intolerance was yet young), the Roman Catholics of the Pale, who considered themselves as of English descent, invariably fought against the Roman Catholics without the Pale, whom they considered as mere Irish. Roman Catholic and Protestant had not yet become the badges of a party. It was the English and the Irish-English, without distinction of Protestant and Catholic, waging war
against what were termed, the mere Irish, and the degenerate English. It was on one side, a powerful governinent, possessed with the spirit of rapine, invading property and privileges not its own; it was on the other side,' a band of feeble, but lawful princes, fighting without hope, yet with pertinacity, because they fought for power and independence.
Religion was nothing to the purpose. The English never mentioned it; the Irish only appealed to it as a known means of acquiring money and supplies from the Pope and the King of Spain. To lay stress upon religion, where passions and interests so much nearer to the human heart were at work, reminds me of a bon vivant who swallowed all manner of good things till he was fifty, and then attributed an attack of the gout, to eating too plentifully of water cresses.
There is no reason to believe that a single respectable Roman Catholic of the Pale, engaged in any rebellion, from attachment to his religión, during Queen Elizabeth's reign ; on the contrary, they fought against the Irish, notwithstanding their
common faith, with as much zeal as they had done for the four preceding centuries. O'Sullivan, a bigotted papist, reproaches them for doing so. Speaking of the reign of James I. he says, “ And now the eyes even of the English Irish (i.e. the Catholics of the Pale) were opened, and they cursed their former folly for helping the heretic.”
The English government were so sensible of the loyalty of the Irish-English Catholics, that they entrusted them, as usual, with the most confidential sei vices. The Earl of Kildare was the principal instrument in waging war against the chieftains of Leix and Offaly. William O'Bourge, another Catholic, was created Lord CastleConnel for his eminent services; M'GillyPatrick, a priest, was the state spy.
The English government never betrayed any apprehensions on account of
popery, but attributed the rebellions entirely to national feelings. In almost every letter of instructions to a Lord Deputy or a General, strong fears and jealousy are shewn of the Irishry, but never of the papists. The Queen herself perpetually reinonstrated on the impolicy of employing Irishmen in the
arıny, and after the defeat of Marshal Bagnell, gave directions that it should be cleared of them; but never inentions Catholics as objects of suspicion.
When Sir Henry Hannington was de feated by the O'Briens, Pierce Walsh was suspected of treachery and executed, because he was an Irishman, as it is said, not because he was a Catholic.
The Lord Deputy speaking of Sir Cor: mac M-Teige, of Muscry, says, that “ for his loyalty and civil disposition, he was the rarest man that ever was born of the Irishry.” Every where we find that the being Irish, not the being Catholic, was supposed incompatible with loyalty.
To these facts we have to add the testimony of another cotemporary, and certainly a man of penetration, Sir George Carew. In his letter to Sir Robert Cecil, he takes pains to prove that ambition, not religion, was the cause of the rebellions--that the chieftains of English race fought to maintain the independent sovereignty they had been permitted to acquire; that the Irish fought to maintain or recover their monarchy and provincial kingdoms, which they inherited from their ancestors.
Thus far the Roman Catholic religion must stand acquitted of being necessarily a disturber of the public peace, under a Protestant government; and thus far we have refuted those superficial and uncandid writers who have attributed the great rebellions during Elizabeth's reign, to the factious spirit of popery. But to leave no doubt upon
the subject, it may be desirable to produce the real causes of these rebellions, and to prove that they are sufficient to account for these calamities, without any reference to religion.
These causes, it will appear, were nearly the same as those which produced similar effects in the preceding reigns.
Ist. The general aversion which every nation has to be governed by a foreign country.
2dly. The particular hatred conceived by the Irish against the English, on account of injurious usage.
3dly. The confiscations of property which had taken place, to the ruin of entire septs.