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strongly marked in the excess of their joy at his accession. They looked up with confidence to the young monarch, at least for a toleration of their religion : and at the beginning of his reign they were permitted to practise it with more publicity than they had been in the former. This mildness of government, new to the Irish, was but of short duration. Leland observes, that at this time *“ their religious worship was once more celebrated with “ public solemnity, and with the full parade of their ostenta“ tious ritual:" and he adds, " that even in the city of Dublin, 66 under the immediate notice of the state, an academical body “ was formed, and governed by an ecclesiastic of some note, for " the education of Popish youth.” Scarcely, however, had Charles commenced his inauspicious reign, than, fatally for himself and family, he launched into a career of insincerity which precipitated his own ruin, and accumulated evils upon those who were his real friends, and whom he was personally anxious to serve. His Irish Catholic subjects were the first unfortunate victims of this ungenerous, this ill-fated policy of the Stuarts. The Lord Deputy Faulkland is represented, by those who speak the most harshly of the Irish, as a man of more rectitude than ability, indolent and gentle, courting rather than terrifying the obnoxious and prevailing party. The instructions sent him from court were favourable to the Catholics, and he faithfully pursued them. But the Puritans highly resented this 'conduct, “ Duke of Ormonde, and is by much the most copious and best writer upons “ it; but there are so many Aagrant instances of his partiality for the king, " and of his prejudice against the Irish ministers at the breaking out of the Irish “ insurrection, that he is never to be read, where the ill conduct of the first is " palliated or the other censured, without the utmost caution. In the business of " Lord Glamorgan particularly he is extremely culpable ; and contrary to the " evidence that was before him, throws all the blame of that transaction from " the king upon his lordship. It may be said perhaps with some propriety, " that Nalson and Rusbworth are original English writers of this event : but " the historical part of either, which reaches but a little way, is only to throw " some light on the papers concerning Ireland, of which they give an useful, " and for the most part a just collection. The first is as partial in his narrative “ on the side of the king, as the other on the side of the parliament : and they " are both to be consulted with great allowance to their party zeal. As to all “ the writers of English history, who attempt to give any relation of this re" bellion, having compiled from some or other of the materials aforemention“ed, they have copied likewise their mistakes and imperfections : bence " they are so inaccurate, partial, and uninformed, that whoever contents “ himself with the accounts that he meets with of it in any of our Histories of “ England (not one excepted) may be said to know little of it.” This same author, speaking, in the body of his history, of Mr. Hume's gross infidelity in representing the conduct of Charles I. towards his Irish subjects, says (p. 359), “ To such miserable shifts are able men reduced, when they write to please a “ party, or to support a character without regard to truth ! It is but very little " that Mr. Hume hath said on this critical part of King Charles's reign ; but “ unless he could have said something much more to the purpose than he hath " said, he had better have taken the way Lord Clarendon took, and have said nothing at all."
3 Lel.p. 3.
and loudly complained that the Popish worship was still maintained, and that the new seminary of the recusants in Dublin was not suppressed.* The Catholics were more than prudently elated with this species of negative indulgence and precarious favour, and, in the overflowing of their gratitude, offered to keep in pay, at their own charge, a constant body of 5000 infantry and 500 horse, for the service of his majesty. Faulkland, according to instructions, gave every encouragement to this seasonable relief to the fiscal difficulties of his sovereign. The Protestants, however, jealous of the power that this would place either in the hands of the Catholics or the crown, availed themselves of the fanatic spirit of the day, and in the genuine cant of Puritanism, rejected the offer as the ungodly price of idolatry and superstition.t
Faulkland, still faithfully attentive to the instructions of his master, encreased the indignation of the Puritan party: they were loud in their complaints to the English cabinet, and Charles sacrificed a faithful servant to the intrigues of his enemies. Faulkland was recalled, and the administration for the present entrusted to two lords justices, Viscount Ely the chancellor, and the Earl of Cork the lord high treasurer of that kingdom. They, says Leland, * without consulting the ministry of England, or waiting for any instructions from the king, fell at once with great severity on the recusants, and threatened all absentees from the established worship, with the penalties of the statute enacted in the second year of Elizabeth's reign. They were however soon informed, that this severity was not acceptable to the king, nor deemed consistent with his present interests in Ireland. The difficulties however, which Charles experienced at home, soon made him lend an eager ear to those, who advised him that austerity to the Papists, was the only sure method of securing supplies. He dropped his lenient tenderness for the consciences of his Catholic subjects, and immediately the system of terrorism recommenced. The archbishop of the diocese, and the chief magistrate of the city, at the head of a file of musqueteers, entered the Catholic chapel in Cook Street on St. Stephen's day, whilst they were celebrating divine ser. vice: they seized the priest in his vestments at the altar, hewed down the crucifix, and carried off all the sacred utensils and ornaments. After the first shock occasioned by this sudden and unexpected act of violence was abated, several of the congregation pursued the assailants with stones and rescued their clergyman. The representation of this incident to the English council produced an immediate order, which was carried into effect, for seizing fifteen religious houses to the king's use, and assigning the newly established seminary to the university of Dublin. The most rigorous execution of the penal laws was extended to every part of the kingdom :t and the king gave into the advice of the lords justices, that the army should be provided for out of the weekly fines to be imposed upon the Catholics, for absenting themselves from the established worship.I “We approve well,” said the king in his answer, “ that this business
• Dr. Warner, in his preface has favoured us with some observations upon the conduct of Charles towards his Irish subjects, well worthy of the most serious reflection of every person who feels an interest in the welfare of the British empire (p. xvii).' " It will be difficult perhaps to find in any age, or “ in any nation, a history which abounds with scenes of more variety and in“ trigue, or with events that are more interesting, than are to be met with “ here. But of the work itself, I will say no more than that it is full of such “ enterprises as will afford an instructive and a much unheeded lesson to “ mankind. It will instruct princes to consult the interest and inclination of “ their subjects, and not to govern by illegal and despotic power. It will in. “ struct the ministers of princes, that their own passions, faction, and ill “ humour will produce as much mischief to the public peace and security of “ their master, as the most open villany. It will instruct the people not to “ suffer and assist the folly, the frowardness, the pride and ambition of parti“cular persons to govern the public understanding, and the venom of private " interest to be mingled with the public good. These will appear to have “ been the means which Providence permitted to infatuate a people ripe and “ prepared for their destruction : and by suffering the weak to contribute to “ the ill designs of the wicked, and the wicked to be more wicked than they “ first intended, such a scene of horror and desolation followed as is scarcely “ to be equalled in any country.”
† Usher, at the head of the prevailing party of the clergy, subscribed a declaration, which is to be seen App. No. XVIII. It was read before the state in Christ Church, Dublin, by Downham, bishop of Derry, upon whom it had so powerful an effect, that the offer was rejected with indignation : and was soon followed up with a proclamation, importing, that “ the late intermission of le“ gal proceedings against Popish pretended titular archbishops, bishops, ab“ bots, deans, vicars general, jesuits, friars, and others deriving their pretend“ ed authority from the See of Rome, in contempt of his majesty's royal “power and authority, had bred such an extravagant insolence and presump“ tion in them, that he was necessitated to charge and command them in his “ majesty's name, to forvear the exercise of their Popish rites and cere“ monies.” Thus did the public act of the government contravene the private wishes and instructions of the king, to the sore grievance of one party, the irritation of the other, and the debasement and weakening of the executive power. The proclamation, says Leland (p. 5.) “ was published and received
without the common respect due to an act of state, nor did the deputy think “ himself warranted to proceed to any farther severity.”
as you desire may be presently put into such a state, as that " the money, which shall by that means grow due unto us may
be ready to be levied by Michaelmas next. And as the best
• 3 Lel. p. 7.
+ The English council on this occasion acquainted the lords justices, “ that * his majesty in person was pleased openly and in a most gracious manner, " to approve and commend their ability and good service: whereby they "might be sufficiently encouraged to go on with the like resolution and " moderation, till the work was fully done as well in the city as in other places " of the kingdom, leaving to their discretion when and where to carry a soft - or harder hand.” Scrin. Sacr. | Lord Strafford's State Letters, Vol. II. fol. 91.
" and surest way to bring it to effect, we do hereby authorize " and require you forthwith to assemble our council there, and " with their privity to cause presentments to be duly made “ through the whole kingdom according to the law you mention “ doth appoint.” *As long as the lords justices continued in the administration of Ireland, such presentments were made with extreme rigour, to the great grievance of the recusants, and comparatively small emolument of the crown : heavy fines also were imposed upon such juries as refused to find them.
If the Catholics felt themselves aggrieved by the severity of the late lords justices, much more reason had they to complain of the conduct of the Lord Wentworth, who succeeded them. This nobleman, better known under his superior title of the Earl of Strafford, continued lord deputy from the year 1633, to the year 1641. As the close of his administration was the opening of what is usually termed the great Irish rebellion, it becomes the duty of the historian to scrutinize it with rigorous impartiality, in order to determine whether
an event so closely preceded by a seven years administration of extraordinary austerity, were not fomented, accelerated, aggravated, or occasioned by that system of severity and terrorism. Upon this more than upon any other point of modern Irish history, are the English and Irish historians at open variance. The former from Temple, Borlase, Cox, Clarendon, and Carte, down to Leland, and Warner, all represent the reigns of the two first Stuarts, as the
• When Lord Wentworth (afterwards Earl of Strafford) was appointed deputy, he caused these presentments to be discontinued “ Not, says he “ (State Letters, Vol. I. p. 75.) but that every good Englishman ought as well “ in reason of state as conscience, to desire the kingdom were well reduced “ to a conformity in religion : but because it is a great business, that has many “ roots lying deep and far within the ground, which should be first thoroughly “opened before we judge what height it may shoot up to, when it shall feel “ itself once struck at, to be loosened and pulled up." There had been much intrigue to commute the voluntary contribution for the support of the army, which was paid in common by the Protestants and Catholics, though the latter paid above nine parts in ten, for this penal fund, which was rainly represented by the lords justices and several bishops as a more certain and productive source of revenue. Wentworth, however, was of a different opinion : he reasoned upon the subject as a politician not as a philanthropist. (Ib. p. 76.) “ He was therefore for continuing the contribution as it then stood, because " he thought it more safe, considering the inequality of numbers, and the ill “provision of the army, to take the contribution against the will of the Pro“testants, than to raise the twelve-pençe a Sunday against the liking of the “ recusants." But his principal reason for not depending on the execution of this statute for raising this supply, was the uncertainty of its sufficiency, for (ib. 76).“ if it took that good effect for which it was intended, which was " to bring the Irish to a conformity in religion, it would come to nothing, and “ 90 would prove a covering narrower than a man could wrap himself in." Wentworth, who had by quitting the popular party which he had originally espoused, gained a strong ascendency over the king's judgment, with the help of Laud, brought over his majesty and the bishops to his way of thinking
halcyon days of peace, felicity, and prosperity to Ireland.* The latter on the contrary, from Lord Castlehaven, the bishop of Ferns, Peter Walsh, down to Gheoghegan, O'Connor, and Currie, consider that rebellion, mainly occasioned and brought-forward by the intemperate, cruel, and unconstitutional administration of the Earl of Strafford. In this wide difference of opi. nion, I shall barely refer to the leading circumstances of his administration, leaving the inference to the unbiassed reflection of the impartial reader. Leland informs us, that few characters have been more the subject both of censure and panegyric, than that of the Lord Lentworth: that his enemies, and his admirers, have carefully inspected it: that his desertion of the popular cause in England, had rendered him odious to a party powerful, implacable, subtle, and indefatigable: that their rancour pursued him into Ireland, watched his conduct strictly, and interpreted his actions severely. He assumed his government, he says, with a mind and affection fixed on one single object, the immediate interest of his royal master: and happily the interest of the crown obliged him to study the improvement of the realm. He had heard of the turbulence and disorder of the country; and hence inferred the necessity of that severe and rigoroust administration, which suited his own austerity and arrogance. Ireland he considered as a conquered kingdom, in the strictest sense.
He avowed and defended the opinion, under all the terrors of impeachment, when it was charged against him as a traiterous principle: and from the crude conception, he deduced a consequence at once ridiculous and detestable; that the subjects of that country had without distinction forfeited the rights of men and citizens: and for whatever they
Lord Clarendon in his vindication of Ormonde, says, “it is not the bishop's (i. e. titular bishop of Ferns) calling the ten years war in Ireland, sanctum justissimum bellum, or his saying they have undergone the most constant and severe persecution, for the profession of the Catholic Religion for the space " of thirteen years, that can make the happy and blessed condition forgotten, " which that nation was possessed of before their own unskilful rage and fury “ brought this war upon them.” He says moreover, that the whole nation enjoyed an undisturbed exercise of their religion ; and even in Dublin, (where the seat of the king's chief governor was) they went as publicly to their devotions, as he went to his: and though there were some laws still in force against them, “ yet the edge of those laws was so totally rebated by the
clemency and compassion of the king, that no man could say that he had " suffered prejudice or disturbance in or for his religion.” And “ in this " blessed condition of peace and security, the English and Irish, the Protes“ tant and Roman Catholics, lived mingled together in all provinces of the "kingdom, quietly trafficking with one another, during the whole happy reign " of King James: and from his death every degree of their happiness was "encreased and improved under the government of his late majesty.”
† Dr. Warner thinks that the absence of the Earl of Strafford was one of the great occasions of the rebellion, (p. 17.) “ For the Earl of Strafford was " too brave, too vigilant, and too high spirited a ruler not to have crushed such " an insurrection in its birth."