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Brian and of McMurrogh flowed in their veins, and antiquaries loved to trace their remoter descent from Fleance, who fled from Macbeth, the usurper, into Ireland. James had himself boasted this pedigree, and declared his ambition to become the pacificator of Ireland. By the act of oblivion, in his first year, he promised protection to all; but the next year by “the commission of grace," he substituted the English for the Celtic law; vassalage for tenant right; primogeniture for tanistry; rents and taxes for “coigne and livery ; tithes for termon lands; capital punishment for the eric and mutilation; patented earls for elective chiefs ; itinerant courts for local Brehaives; and the policy of England for the traditions of Ireland.
Worn down by a long unequal war, and abandoned by Spain, the Irish in Ireland submitted, while those abroad kept up the cause, and even procured the consent of Pope Clement VIII., that his nephew should assume the title of protector of Ireland," which he did accordingly.
James, alarmed by the gunpowder plot and the publications of the Irish exiles in Spain and Rome, and swayed, moreover, by Cecil, his minister, in his third year, openly declared against toleration. His proclamation ran as follows:
“ Whereas we have been informed that our subjects " in the kingdom of Ireland, since the death of our be6 loved sister, have been deceived by a false rumor, to 6 wit, that we would allow them liberty of conscience, “ contrary to the laws and statutes of that kingdom, and “ the religion which we profess. From this some have “ deemed us less zealous than we ought to be in the 6 administration of the Irish church, as well as in that 6 of the other churches over which it is our duty to “ watch; and very many of our Irish subjects seem “ determined in persevering in their obstinate contu“ macy. Jesuits, seminarists, priests, and bishops, who “ have received ordination at the hands of foreigners, “ thus emboldened, have lain concealed in various parts
of that kingdom, and now emerging from their hiding“ places, exercise their functions and rights, despising us " and our religion.
“ Wherefore it hath seemed good to us to notify to our beloved subjects of Ireland, that we shall never “ tolerate such a state of things; and notwithstanding “ the rumors so industriously circulated, we are firmly 6 resolved never to allow any religion save that which is “ consonant to the word of God, established by our laws. “ By these presents, therefore, let all men know that we “ strictly order and command all and every of our sub“ jects to frequent the parochial churches, to assist at “ the divine offices, and attend to the exposition of the « word of God, on Sundays and festival days, according “ to the rule and spirit of the laws. They who will act “ contrariwise will incur the penalties provided by the “ statutes which we now order to be rigorously enforced.
6 And as it has been notified to us that Jesuits, seminary priests, and many other priests, wander about the “ kingdom of Ireland, seducing our subjects to the ob“ servance of their superstitious ceremonies, thus bring
ing our laws into contempt: We now order and com“ mand that all such Jesuits, priests, seminarists, &c., " &c., who have been ordained in foreign parts, or derive
any authority from the Roman see, do, after the " expiration of the last day of November, instant, with“ draw from our kingdom of Ireland; nor let any such
persons after that date venture to return into the afore" said kingdom. Should they contravene this order, we “ strictly ordain, that they are to be punished to the " utmost rigor of the laws in this case already speci66 fied.
We, moreover, strictly forbid all our subjects 6 of Ireland to shelter or countenance any Jesuit, semi
nary priest, or other priest, who will dare to re“ main in Ireland, or return thither after the 10th day " of December, instant.
“ But if any of the aforesaid Jesuits, seminary priests, or priests of any order, shall dare to remain in the
kingdom of Ireland, or return thither after the 10th “ day of December, instant, and if any of our subjects 66 shall dare to receive or shelter them, we strictly com
“ mand all our mayors, constables, sheriffs, judges, &c., " &c., to act as faithful subjects, and to seize the bodies " or body of each and every Jesuit, seminary priest, and “ other priests who have received their ordination in “ foreign parts, and commit them to close confinement “ until our viceroy or his deputy shall have inflicted on “ them just and deserved punishment.
“ But if any of the aforesaid Jesuits, seminary priests, " or others shall, before the aforesaid 10th day of De“ cember next, present himself before our viceroy, or any “ other of our officers of state, signifying his desire to “ frequent our churches, according to the spirit of our “ laws, we will give permission to such Jesuits, seminary
priests, and others, to tarry in our kingdom, and return " thereto as long as they shall continue faithful to the “ observances which we prescribe. Such persons shall “ have and enjoy all the privileges belonging to our “ faithful and loving subjects.”
Given at Westminster, July 4, 1605." This proclamation was followed by an oath of abjuration, cast by the king's own hand, in which the pope's power to depose the prince, or grant away any of his territories, or absolve his subjects from allegiance, or authorize them to bear arms, with other current charges upon Catholics, was expressly repudiated. Pope Paul V., then new in the chair of Peter, being consulted as to the oath, issued his-brief in 1606, declaring that Catholics “could not, with safety to their consciences or the Catholic faith, take this oath.” The authenticity of this paper being questioned by certain pliant, conforming Catholics, the same pontiff the following year confirmed its edict by another. To these papers James put forth an elaborate reply, quoting the fathers and canonists with great confidence as being all on his side.
Not content with arguing the matter with Cardinal Bellarmine and Father Suarez, he prepared to establish his opinions by all the forces of the state.
In his deputy, Arthur Chichester, he had a zealous agent of tyranny, the pleasures of whose life were twofold, — hunting down priests and seizing confiscated estates to his own use.
In 1607, through the infamous Baron of Howth, this deputy and Cecil charged the northern Irish chiefs as intriguing with Spain and the pope. Cited to Dublin, O Neil, O'Donnell, (Roderick,) and their nearest of kin fled from Lough Swilly to Normandy, whence they passed on to Rome, never to return. In 1608, Cahir O'Doherty of Innishowen, fearing the same fate, rose in arms, and after a six months' war, died by assassination. On these most insufficient grounds the six counties of Derry, Donegal, Armagh, Tyrone, Fermanagh, and Cavan were declared confiscated to the crown, and James prepared to plant them with a population, which, in the polity of Providence, became the mortal enemies of his children. James I. brought in the race who drove James II. out. As Kerry, Limerick, Waterford, and Cork had been parcelled out twenty years before to the Kings, Butlers, Boyles, and Raleighs, so the lands of the O'Reillys now went to the Hamiltons, of the McGuires to the Folliots and Gores, of the O'Donnells to the Cunninghams, of the O'Dohertys to Chichester, of the O'Neils to Lindseys, Stewarts, and Brownlows, and the city of Columbcille to the fishmongers of London. Above eight hundred and eighty-five thousand acres of arable land thus changed hands and lords, almost as quickly as in the course of nature the summer stubble is covered with the winter's frost.*
Not content with reducing Ulster to the fate of Munster, Chichester, in James's name, issued, in July, 1610, the following proclamation:
" Whereas the peace of this kingdom has been im“ perilled by seminarists and priests, who go beyond “ seas for the purposes of education, and on their return 6 inculcate doctrines calculated to imbue the minds of " the people with superstition and idolatry, we strictly
prohibit all, save merchants and sailors, from passing
* For the security of his Ulster plantation, James, in 1611, founded the order of baronets, giving to each the ancient blazon of the O'Neils
a hand sinister, couped at the wrist” - as a distinctive crest. But Derry and Enniskillen proved stronger against his posterity than all the baronets were for them.
over to other countries, on pain of incurring the royal “ indignation and the other penalties decreed against " those who transgress the laws of this realm. Where“ fore we command all noblemen, merchants, and others, " whose children are abroad for educational purposes, to 6 recall them within one year from date hereof; and, in
case they refuse to return, all parents, friends, &c., “ sending them money, directly or indirectly, will be " punished as severely as the law permits."
Ulster and Munster being put out of the contest, and Connaught being rather remote from England for immediate subjection, the Catholics of Leinster were left alone to fight the battle of the church. In 1607, the Baron of Devlin, one of their ablest men, was imprisoned on charge of collusion with O'Neil; in 1608, he was liberated, and frorn thenceforward his friends wisely preferred parliamentary to armed opposition. The Parliament convened in 1613 gave them an opportunity to test this policy, which they very resolutely did. They set up a candidate of their own for the speakership, and cast ninety-seven votes for him; the castle candidate, Sir John Davies, had one hundred and twenty-seven. The contest became so hot that James — fond arbitrator that he was!--summoned the heads of both parties to England. The “recusants," as the Catholics were called, caught a terrible philippic in Whitehall, and for a session seceded from the packed Parliament.* In the session of
* James, in his speech, accused them of having Peter Lombard ("whom you call a doctor") as their agent at Rome, and Dr. Hollywood in Ireland; of giving their souls to the pope and their bodies to the King of Spain! He wanted to know whether they ever expected to have " the kingdom of Ireland like to the kingdom of heaven !” The great Chief Justice Coke added, at the end of the royal speech, “May God destroy this Irish people, who cause your crown to tremble on your head !” Preston, Plunkett, Talbot, and Gough were the Irish deputies. At this time many of the Irish hierarchy were obliged for personal safety to reside abroad. “But," writes O'Sullivan, “in order that there may be priests in all parts of the kingdom to attend to the cure of souls, a salutary plan has been set on foot; for the better understanding of which we are to recollect that in Ireland there are four archbishoprics and a large number of bishoprics; and that at the present day (A.D. 1621) they are all held by ringleaders of heresy; and that Catho