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.“ It : was a terrible sur upon the credit of the plot in England, that after it had made fuch an horrible noise in a nation, where there was scarce one papist to an hundred protestants, there should not, for a year, be found one witness from Ireland, to give information of any conspiracy of the like nature in that kingdom, where there were fifteen papists to one protestant. But the proclamation above-mentioned, which was published according to the order sent from England, supplied that defect.
For upon the encouragement given in it, tories and other criminals, confined in
3 Cart. Orm. vol. ii. fol. 535.
though clearly refuted by Peter Walsh, in a letter to his lordfhip, containing five hundred and ninety pages in octavo, yet is still made use of by all the libellers on that topic, as an inexhaustible fund of arguments against allowing the rights of subjects, in these kingdoms, to the professors of that religion; although their dutiful and loyal conduct affords the cleareft refutation of these arguments. This Bishop of Lincoln was not unconscious of the injurious falfhoods he published at that juncture, against those inoffensive people, as appeared by his own subsequent trimming behaviour on different occasions. “ His conduct,” says the Rev. Mr. Grainger, “ for some time, like that of other Calvinists, appeared to be in direct opposition to the church of Rome; but after James ascended the throne, he seemed to approach nearer to popery than he ever did before. He sent the king an address of thanks for his declaration for liberty of confcience; and is faid to have written reasons for the reading of that declaration (by the clergy in their churches); his compliances were much the same after the revolution.” Biograph. Hift. of Engl. vol. iv. p. 287.
Anthony Wood informs us, « that when Oates's plot broke out, September 1678, though he (Barlow) had been a seeming friend to papists, he became then a bitter enemy to them, and the Duke of York; but that when the duke was proclaimed king, he took all opportunities to express his affection to him ; and, among others, writ, as was said, reasons for reading his majesty's declaration for liberty of conscience. But when the king withdrew himself into France, to avoid imminent danger, in 1688, he was one of those bishops that very readily voted, that he had abdicated his kingdom. He was esteemed by those that knew him well, to have been a thorough-paced Calvinist. Athen. Oxon. vol. ii. p. 877:
jails, pretended to have great discoveries to make on that head, and obtained their liberty, and had money given them by the government of Ireland, to transport them to England for that purpose; though these wretches knew nothing of the matter, till they were instructed by Mr. Hethrington, Lord Shaftsbury's agent in managing and providing for them.”
It may not be unentertaining to the reader, to find here an exact description of these witnesses, left us by the lord lieutenant himself, after his return to Ireland. “ At council,” says he, 4.66 there is little more to do than to hear witnesses; some come out of England, and some producing themselves here, and all, I doubt, forswearing themselves. Thofe that went out of Ireland with bad English, and worse clothes, are returned well-bred gentlemen, well-caronated, periwigged, and cloathed. Brogues and leather straps are converted into fashionable shoes and glittering buckles; which, next to the zeal tories, thieves, and friars have for the protestant religion, is a main inducement to bring in shoals of informers.They find it more
• Ib. vol. iii.
¢ " I dare not,” says his grace in another letter, “ say, though it be manifeft, that most of our discoveries give more discredit, than confirmation, to the plot. It is well that I am not like to be charged for a plotter or a papist.” Carte's Orm. vol. ii. Append.
“ There were too many protestants then in Ireland,” says Mr. Carte, “ who wanted another rebellion, that they might increase their estates by new forfeitures. And letters were perpetually sending into England, misrepresenting the lord lieutenant's conduct, and the state of things in Ireland. The Earl of Anglesey gave the Duke of Ormond, a friendly advertisement of those misrepresentations and suggestions against his proceedings, made by one of the greatest persons in the king-, dom, transmitted to several persons in London, and particularly to some members of parliament and of the privy council. Orm. vol. ii. fol. 482.
On the other hand, “ fome persons to whom the Duke of Ormond's moderation was not agreeable, imagining that he might be driven out of it by the danger of an assassination,
honourable and safe, to be the king's evidence, than a cow-stealer, though that be their actual profession ; but as they have not the honesty to swear truly, they want the wit to swear probably.
Jones, Bishop of Meath, who was both the procurer and examiner of these witnesses in Ireland, had been scout-master general to Oliver Cromwell's army.
Yet, upon the bare testimony of the above mentioned notorious miscreants, several of the Irish nobility, clergy and gentry, were at that juncture, either thrown into jails or forced to quit the kingdom. Primate Plunkett (as Bishop Burnet informs us, on the report of the Earl of Effex, who had been lord lieutenant of Ireland, and knew him perfonally), " was a wise and sober man, fond of living quietly and in due subjection to the government, without engaging in intrigues of state;" yet he was brought over to England, and condemned, and executed at Tyburn, on the accusation of these suborned witnesses.
5 Cart. Orm. vol. ii. fol. 498.
dropped letters in the streets of Dublin, insinuating a confpiraсу
formed for murdering his grace; and several pretended to give an account of what they had heard, or suspected of such a design. Divers examinations were taken, and the duke could not well tell at first what to think of the matter; as it seemed to agree with what was mentioned in general by Oates and Dugdale, whose depositions it was calculated to countenance. But he had too much fir efs of mind to be moved by such dark and inexplicable informations as were given, to alter a conduct founded on so much reason, as what he had hitherto obferved." Id. ib. vol. ii. f. 481.
Alluding to two friars that informed against the titular Primate Plunkett.
E'“ Plunkett,” says Burnet, " was at this time brought to his trial. Some lewd Irish priests, and others of that nation, hearing that England was then disposed to hearken to good swearers, thought themselves well qualified for the employment; so they came over to swear, that there was a great plot in Ireland. The witnesses were brutal and profligate men, yet the Earl of Shaftsbury cherished thein much; they were examined by par
But the Duke of Ormond, by his great resolution and activity, put a stop to this spreading mischief, not without exposing himself to the danger of being represented by the faction in England, as a plotter or a papist, on that account.
liament at Westminster, yet what they said was believed. Some of these priests had been censured by him for their lewdness. Plunkett had nothing to fay in his defence, but to deny all ; so he was condemned, and suffered very decently, expressing himself in many particulars as became a bishop; he died denying every thing that had been sworn against him.” Hist. of his own Times, vol. i. f. 230.
" His grace in one of his letters to England on this occasion, fays, “ Here is one Owen Murphy authorised to fearch for, and carry over witnesses, I suppose to give evidence against Oliver Plunkett (the primate.) He has been as far as the county of Tipperary, and brought thence about a dozen people, not like to say any thing material as to Plunkett.” Cart. Orm. vol. ii. App.
His grace was urged to imprison all the principal Roman catholics of Ireland at this juncture ; but he refused to do it, “ because,” as he said, “ it could not be known, how many might be thus driven to desperate courses." " It was well known," adds my author, “how much the imprisonments, and other severities of Sir William Parsons, had contributed to hurry numbers into the last rebellion; and neither the duke, nor the privy council, deemed it prudent to make another experiment whether the same measures might not be attended with the same effets.” Lel. Hift. of Irel. vol. iii. p. 547.
Archbishop King's state of the protestants of Ireland
under king James II. considered. MANY and foul are the misrepresentations of Irish catholics, exhibited in Archbishop King's state of the protestants of Ireland under King James II. ; and although Mr. Lesley, a learned contemporary protestant divine, has demonstratively proved most of his charges to be either absolutely false, or greatly exaggerated (without any defence or reply from his grace, or. his friends), yet the archbishop's book has passed, with applause, through several editions since Mr. Lefley's decease, and is generally quoted as of unquestionable authority, by all writers, foreign and domestic, who have since treated of that part of Irish history; while Mr. Lesley's refutation of it is hardly any where to be met with, having been suppressed by