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of power to make the previous arrangements, he would, in defiance of numbers, property, and influence in the country, secure a Protestant majority in both houses.
From the circumstances of the times, Protestants and Catholics were arrayed against each other, according to what in modern parliamentary language would be termed the court and country party. It was impossible, that the measures of government tending to secure such parliamentary influence against the decided preponderancy and natural interest of the country party, could be kept secret from the nation at large. No sooner, therefore, was the royal intention of convening a parliament publicly made known, than the Catholics took the alarm, that it was the design of government to force upon them some additional grievances, especially as they had not vouchsafed, according to Poyning's law, to make any previous communication of the design of summoning the parliament, or of the laws intended to be enacted therein. Accordingly six of the principal lords of the pale addressed a letter to the king, strongly expressive of their apprehensions, and plainly pointing out to him the consequences which this rigorous system of government towards the nation at large, on account of their adhesion to their ancient faith would inevitably produce.* The style of this letter was too free and independent for James's inflated notions of the royal prerogative.f He pronounced it to be a rash and insolent interference with his authority. The lord deputy continued to encrease the number of the new boroughs, for which court candidates were of course returned, until he had secured a majority of that party. Forty new boroughs were thus created, of which several were not incorporated, until the writs for summoning a parliament had already issued. Violent altercations attended the meeting of this parliament, not only upon the election of Sir John Davis for the speaker of the House of Commons, in opposition to Sir John Everard (“ a recusant,” says Leland,“ of respectable character, who had been a justice of " the King's Bench, and on resigning this station, rather than “ take the oaths, was indulged with a pension,”) but also on account of the illegality of many of the returns of the court members, which the country party vehemently protested against. produced in Ireland, even the very animals, were Papists. And Chichester himself ( An. Sacr.) in a moment of irritation at failing in withdrawing some persons of consequence from their religion, exclaimed, that he believed the very air and soil of Ireland were infected with Popery.
Sec the letter from a copy of the Lambeth manuscript. Appendis, No. XV.
| In his speech to parliament, 1609, he told them, “ I would wish you to be “ careful to avoide three things in the matter of greevance. Ist, That you “ doe not meddle with the maine points of governement, that is my craft, trac
tent fabrilia fabri; to meddle with that were to lesson me.” James's Worka, fo. ed. p. 537.
Two hundred and thirty-two members had been returned: six were absent: of the remainder, one hundred and twenty-five were Protestants ; and one hundred and one formed the recusant party. The upper house consisted of sixteen temporal barons, twenty-five Protestant prelates, five viscounts, and four earls, of which a considerable number, says Leland, were friends to the administration.*
The Catholic party were so disgusted and provoked at the majority thus secured against them, that for a considerable time they seceded from parliament; and were only induced to resume their seats by the assurances of the lord deputy, that no other bill should for the present be propounded, than that for recognising the king's title. This having been done, the parliament was prorogued, to give time for the violence of passion on both sides to abate. In the mean while, the Catholic party with full confidence dispatched their agents to lay their grievances at the feet of their sovereign. The deputy also sent his agents to
The majority of Protestant members returned to this parliament is very surprising, considering how very few of the Irish had then given in to the Reformation. Gheoghegan asserts, that there were not sixty down to the reign of James I. Lord Clare, in his speech in the Irish House of Lords, on his own motion for the Union (p. 13), has remarked, "that from the first introduction " of this Protestant colony by James I. the old distinctions of native Irish and “ degenerate English, and English of blood, and English by birth, were lost “ and forgotten: all rallied around the banner of the Popish faith, and looked
upon the new Protestant settlers as the common aggressor and enemy: and “it is a melancholy truth, that from that day all have clung to the Popish reli“ gion as a common bond of union, and an hereditary pledge of animosity to “ British settlers and the British nation. What alternative then remained to " the king for retaining this country under the dominion of his crown? In the “ modern revolutionary phrase, the physical consequence of the country was " arrayed against the English colony and the English government. He was, " therefore, driven to the necessity of treating the old inhabitants as a con“quered people, and governing their country as an English province : or of “ fortifying his Protestant colony by investing them, exclusively, with the arti"ficial power of a separate government; which, on every principle of self“ interest and self-preservation, they were bound to administer in concert with “ England. The executive departments were under the immediate control of “the ordinary royal prerogative ; but it was in vain to hope that he could re"stain possession of Ireland under a separate government, unless a majority of " the Irish parliament stood well-affected to the English crown and English'na“tion: and to obtain that majority he resorted to the exercise of a prerogative “ which has always belonged to the English crown....by erecting new counties, " and incorporating some of the principal towns occupied by the new settlers, " giving them the franchise of sending representatives to the Irish parliament. " And I repeat, without incurring the hazard of contradiction, that Ireland “ never had any assembly which could be called a parliament, until the reign " of James I.” If an earnest of prospective happiness be to be expected from the union of the two kingdoms, nothing can so adequately depict it, as the contrast of the conduct of king James I. against that of our present most gracious sovereign. On one hand we behold a vain imperious monarch contemning, deridling, persecuting, oppressing, and exterminating his Irish subjects : on the other, we see the father of bis people cherishing, endearing, relaxing the severity of the penal code, encouraging, embracing, and uniting with them in every blessing and advantage that the British constitution can impart.
counteract the efforts of the Catholics.* Two of the Catholic agents were, immediately on their arrival, committed prisoners; one to the Tower, the other to the Fleet: and James received the petition or remonstrance of the remaining Catholic agents in a most ungracious manner; and in flagrant violation of the rights of the Irish parliament (if that were to be considered independent), referred the final determination of it to the English privy council. The result of this appeal to the sovereign, was a mostt disgraceful dismissal of the Catholic agents ; a rejection of their demands; the imprisonment of Sir James Gough on his return to Ireland, for boasting of the king's promise to grant redress, and the remuneration of Sir Arthur Chichester by the grant of those princely domains, which his family possesses to this day. Chichester, thus confirmed in the royal favour, found little difficulty in passing every act, as it was proposed, by means of the majority he had by these new means acquired in parliament; though he found it prudent, in the heat of the contending parties, to drop a bill for the total expulsion of the Catholic clergy, and other penal bills against the Catholics, which had been prepared, and were intended to have been brought forward. The passion which James indulged for plantations was an endless source of apprehension and suffering to the Irish. With a view to extend them to other parts of the kingdom, he appointed a Commission of Enquiry, to scrutinize the titles and determine the rights of all the lands in Leinster and the adjoining districts. Such rapid progress did these commissioners of defective titles make in their mission, that in a short time, I“ James deemed himself entitled to make a distribution of is 385000 acres in those countries." These were apportioned to English settlers and to some few of the natives, under regulations nearly similar to those by which he had settled the colo. ny in Ulster. In executing this scheme, little regard was had to the plainest dictates of justice. Old obsolete claims were re. ceived even as far back as the reign of Henry II. ; and advantage was taken of the most trivial flaws and minute informalities. In Connaught, immense estates were declared forfeited to the crown, because the recent grants made to the proprietors upon their surrenders of them to James, had been neglected to be inrolled by the clerks in chancery, although the new grantees had paid above 3000l. into their hands for the inrolments, and these clerks alone could make them. Perjury, fraud, and the most infamous acts of deceit were successfully practised by rapacious adventurers and informers: and Leland,* who gives an accurate detail of these enormities, refers to authentic “ proofs of the most
* The Catholic agents were the Lords Gormanstown and Fermoy, Sir James Gough, Hussay, Lutterel, and Talbot. The lord deputies were the Earl of Thomond, Sir John Denham, the chief justice of the King's Bench, and Sir Oliver St. John.
Such contradictory accounts and representations of James's conduct towards Ireland have been transmitted to us, that I must refer the reader, who wishes to form a candid opinion for himself, to the authentic documents, which are to be found in the Appendix, No. XVI. and XVII, being the remonstrance of divers lords of the pale to the king, concerning the parliament; and the king's speech to the lords of the council before the Irish agents. One cannot pass over this reception and dismission of the Irish agents by James, without re. flecting upon the benignity with which the Catholic delegates were received at the court of St. James's, in 1790, and the large indulgences and favours they returned loaded with to their brethren in Ireland.
| 2 Lel. p. 461.
iniquitous practices of hardened cruelty, of vile perjury and “ scandalous subornation, employed to despoil the fair and uns offending proprietor of his inheritance.” Thus was every man's possession precarious and doubtful; and to complete the measure of abuse, the juries who refused to find a title in the crown were censured and fined in the castle chamber.
The remainder of James's reign was an uninterrupted scene of vexatious oppression of the recusants, grievous extortions of the soldiery and their officerst upon the people, the execution of martial law in time of peace, the abusive exactions of the clergy and the ecclesiastical courts, the unconstitutional interference of the privy council and castle chamber in causes which ought to have been determined by common law, the invasion of property in the different plantations, and extreme rigour in ex. ecuting the penal laws, were the means by which James estranged the affections of his Irish subjects from the English government, reduced them to want and misery, and consequently predisposed them to rise against their oppressors, whenever the opportunity should present itself of doing it with effect. A woe. ful legacy to his unfortunate successor !
* 2 Lel. p. 470.
+ Who, as Leland observes, were privy counsellors, and men of great property and influence, too powerful to be complained of for any grievance suffer. ed by their soldiers, and too deeply engaged in one common interest to call each other to account. P. 471.
THE REIGN OF CHARLES THE FIRST.
THE reign of Charles the First fills up that period of the Irish history which supereminently abounds with falsity and exaggeration, tending to misrepresent and defame the Irish nation.* The quick sensibility of the national character was
* The elementary view which I have undertaken to give of the Irish affairs, as necessary to develope the remote as well as the proximate causes of our union, will admit of no historical detail of the different scenes of that eventful tragedy which disgraced the British empire in the face of the universe. I attempt no more than to point out the different roads, which lead to the truth through a variety of crossings and windings, that often have, and often (I fear) will mislead the traveller through the historical maze of that unfortunate kingdom. Cotemporary, intermediate, and modern authors all scem to vie with each other in protesting against the inaccuracy and infidelity of others, and vouching for their own impartiality, diligence, and veracity. Whatever I shall of fer to my reader upon this part of the Irish history shall be drawn from one of three sources, namely, public records, the words of the actors themselves, or the avowal of professed adversaries. Of all English writers upon the civil wars of Ireland, Dr. Warner is entitled to the most credit for impartial accuracy. He had better means and sources than any of his predecessors, and has made a fairer use of them. His judgment upon the most reputable of his predecessors is curious and just ; and an excellent warning to the strayed traveller, who wishes in arrive at the temple of truth and concord. (Pref. to bis History of the Rebellion. “ The original Protestant Irish writers of this period are Sir
John Temple, and Dr. Borlase ; the first who was master of the rolls and " a privy counsellor, has confined himself entirely to the massacre and rebel“ lion in the early part of it, and the sense of what he suffered by the insur“ rection, together with his attachment to the ministry, led him to aggravate “ the crimes and cruelties of the Irish : the other was the son of Sir John Bor“ lase, one of the lords justices of that time, and seems to have been an of “ ficer in the civil wars, who hath made great use of Temple's History; and,
as far as he liked it, of Lord Clarendon's Vindication of the Marquis of Or“ monde. If both these authors are to be read with great suspicion of partiality
as they certainly are, except in the copies of original papers, and the facts, " which tally with them, Sir Richard Cox, who has done little more than tran. “ scribe the accounts which they have given, is entitled to no less merit, and " yet open to the same suspicion. When he had no longer these to be his s guide, the remainder of his work is little more than an extract from the “ newspapers and pamphlets of the time, and in no part deserves the name of “ a history.” -" There are no orginal English historians that I know oi, “ who write any thing fully of this event in Ireland, besides the Earl of Cla. “ rendon and Mr. Carte : the former in his History of the Rebellion and Civil “ War in England, and in a little piece in the vindication of the Marquis of " Ormonde, which in the late editions goes under the title, very improperly, " of the History of the Rebellion and Civil War in Ireland. The noble histo“ rian's attachment to the cause of Charles I. hath evidently given a bias to " the whole of his great work : and on the most critical part of the king's con. “ duct with regard to Ireland, his commission to the Earl of Glamorgan, his “ lordship to our astonishment is entirely silent. Neither doth he enter much “ into any transaction in that country, wherein the king was not personally con“ cerned. Mr. Carte treats professedly of this whole rebellion, in his Life of the