Page images

1615, they again appeared, voted to legalize the confiscation of Ulster, and, in part, countenanced the withdrawal of military and civil commissions from all officers professing the Roman Catholic religion. To some of these “recusants,” part of the spoils of the Celtic chiefs was given, and thus a contention was bred between the Norman and Milesian Catholics, which has not since been entirely eradicated. It would, however, be against the record to assert that the “recusant" party did not do good service to the Catholic cause. They were a protection to all the clergy who remained at home; they held in check bigoted executive and judicial officers, and often at great risk to themselves. In 1622, the policy of enforcing the oath of supremacy was again introduced into Parliament. The “recusants” again refused to take it, and were summoned by the Lord Deputy Falkland to appear before him and the council in the Star Chamber, on the 22d of November.

66 After the judges had explained to them the nature, reason, and equity of the oath, our bishop (Usher) delivered himself in a grand speech on the occasion; wherein he demonstrated that the king was the supreme and only governor within his dominions, distinguishing between the power of the keys and of the sword, and showing that they by no means clashed together; that the jurisdiction of a Roman pontiff over the universal church was a usurped and unjust jurisdiction, and quite overturned the foundation upon which it was built. Some of those who were called to hear the sentence præmunire (transportation) pronounced against them, were convinced by his reasons, and submitted willingly to take the oath.” * A printed copy of this discourse was presented to the king, and Usher was soon after presented to the primacy. Whether his logic, or the præmunire, convinced those who took the oath the reader may conjecture,

lic prelates are not appointed to their titles unless in some few instances, for this reason, that without the ecclesiastical dues it seems that such a number of bishops could not support their rank and consequence. For which reason four archbishops, who have been consecrated by the Roman pontiff, appoint priests, or clerks, or persons of the religious orders, for vicars-general in the suffragan bishoprics, with the sanction of the apostolic see. These latter again appoint others for the charge of the parish churches. And Eugene Macmagauran, the Archbishop of Dublin, and David O'Carney, of Cashel, encountering great perils and immense labors, are personally feeding the sheep belonging to their archbishoprics. While Peter Lombard, Archbishop of Armagh, and Florence O'Melconry, of Tuam, (who for many reasons is unable to live safe from the English in Ireland,) have intrusted the care of their provinces to vicars.

In 1625, Charles I. succeeded his father. The same year he married Harrietta Maria of France, a sincere and practical Catholic. The Catholics, ever hopeful of deliverance, saw in this event new promises of relief and protection; in entertaining which they were again disappointed.

The first Parliament called by Charles, in 1626, reenacted James's abjuration oath of 1605, and even added a supplement draughted by one Berkely, which required them to deny the pope's supremacy " over the Catholic church in general, and myself (the swearer) in particular.” Nor was this test theoretical." In 1629, while the Catholics were celebrating mass in Cork Street, Dublin, the Protestant archbishop, with the mayor and a file of musketeers, were sent to disperse them; “which they did, taking away the crucifixes and ornaments of the altar, the soldiers hewing down the image of St. Francis." The priests and friars being captured, the people assailed the pursuivants with stones and clubs, and a reënforcement had to be sent to secure the prison

Under the same deputy, (Falkland,)“eight Popish aldermen of Dublin were clapped by the heels for not assisting the mayor;" the revenues of the corporation of Waterford were escheated for "obstinately choosing a succession of “recusants' for their chief magistrates ;”+ and a proclamation issued, forbidding, on pain of imprisonment, all friars, and priests “to teach, preach, or celebrate their service in any church, chapel, or other public oratory, or place, or to teach any school in any




* Ware's Irish Bishops, vol. i. p.

102. † Leland's History of Ireland, vol. i., reign of Charles.

place or places whatsoever within the kingdom.”

” * Fifteen religious houses in Dublin were seized to the king's use, and the college, or seminary, founded in the fourteenth century by Archbishop De Bicknor, was confiscated, and added to the endowments of Trinity College.

The second deputy who ruled Ireland for King Charles confirmed all the fears of the Catholics, especially of such as kept possession of property. Wentworth, Earl of Strafford, not excepting Mountjoy, was the ablest of all Irish viceroys- a man of great foresight, perfect hypocrisy, a sonorous, military eloquence, both in writing and speaking, and an iron resolution. Money being the immediate want of his master, he offered to the Catholics, on his arrival, in 1633, for and in consideration of £150,000, certain “royal graces," or restrictions of the penalties on “recusants." The principal concession was, that the crown should advance no claim to estates not forfeited within the previous sixty years --- a proviso which covered all the remaining titles of the “recusants” in Leinster and Connaught. They consented; but he continued to keep the details in debate, while he drew the money in advance; and then, having raised a regular standing army,

an institution at the time unknown in either island, - he proceeded “ to inquire into defective titles " in Connaught. Having created sixty new boroughs and got a Parliament to do his bidding, he began in 1634 with Roscommon. The grand jury of that county, refusing to find defective titles, were imprisoned and heavily fined; another was impanelled, and found for the crown. The Galway jury resisted, and was served in like manner; Mayo and Sligo were yielded without a struggle ; £40,000, in fines, were wrung from jurors in this campaign, and a great part of the estates of Connaught were seized and sold as crown land. In the seven years of his viceroyalty, this able despot not only contrived to acquire large possessions for himself, to build his “folly” at Naas and “park" in Wicklow, to expend over £100,000 of public money in Ireland, but also to make the island the chief source of the king's revenue.

* Rushworth's Collections, vol. ii. p. 21.

To Wentworth belongs the first systematic attempt at proselytizing Irish children. The schools of “ King's Wards,” in London, Canterbury, and Dublin, originally designed for the heirs and hostages of suspected chiefs, had become thoroughly Protestant institutions. The Court of Wards, in 1617, decided that all minors claiming property should attend these schools. Lord Orrery complains that frequently these unfortunates were “sold like cattle in the market;" Sir Edward Coke's infamous argument for their perpetual imprisonment in the Tower remains in irrevocable type; the Catholics of Ireland, in their remonstrance, dated 'Trim, 17th March, 1642, assert that “the heirs of Catholic noblemen and other Catholics were most inhumanly dealt with” by the Court of Wards. Male and female, the king " disposed of them in mar

“ riage as he thought fit.” Indeed, whenever we find an Irish apostate or renegade during the rest of the century, we may be almost certain that he graduated in “the School of Wards." *

Among his various oppressions, Strafford had trodden hard on several of the Scotch planters at the north. They, as Presbyterians and Scots, appealed to their brethren in England and Scotland; their murmurs were soon lost in the sterner accents of their co-religionists, who, when they drove the viceroy to the scaffold, felt the terrible reality of the power they had so long sought. The Puritans, as this party were called, deserve our special attention.

Beginning under King Edward, this sect was fostered by the example of Hooper, Jewell, and Grindall, among the reformed bishops. They had active principals in Tyndal, Coverdale, Fox, White, and Robert Browne, who all taught that the Bible was not only the revelation of God, but the strict law of civil and religious government; that the king's headship, bishops, holy

* On the School and Court of Wards, see Burnet's History of his Own Times, vol. i., or Carte's Ormond, vol. i.


orders, saints' days and ceremonies, were an abomination and a hissing, odious to the Lord. Their formal existence dates from the year 1566, and their action, as a political party, from the violence with which, twenty years later, Elizabeth's archbishop, Whitgift, assailed their conventicles. Thenceforth every Parliament was full of their petitions, and every prison had some of their preachers. On arriving in England, in 1603, James invited their chief men to dispute with his bishops, and decided, if they did not conform, to “harrie them out o' the land;" their opinions soon after began to get into the press, and their brother Protestants found it impossible to defeat arguments based upon the radical principles of the reformation. The churchmen became more prelatic, and the Puritans more fanatic; the one contending that the Episcopal order was innately independent of the priesthood, and the others warring on love locks and archery sports, as vehemently as church music and vestments. The weak King James published his Book of Sports and Orders in Council to encourage Whitsun ales and Morris dances of Sundays; Laud, Charles's Archbishop of Canterbury, strove to make thorough” riddance of the crop-eared knaves;

66 still the party spread through the rural districts, embracing in its circles not only artisans and country folk, but many distinguished scholars, able commoners, and even some of the peerage.

The two first Stuarts, by pushing obedience into strict conformity, had forced a junction between republicanism and Puritanism. At James's accession, the Puritans were among the most loyal in England; yet that same geners ation lived to take off his son's head, and to change the whole fabric of the government. Scotch Presbyterianism excited and aided this change, Henderson and Gillespie being the natural allies of Calamy, Selden, and the Vanes. A common policy and a common heresy bound England and Scotland in as close unity as the nature of the two nations allowed.

To both parties Ireland was a hateful name. Nothing good, in their eyes, could come out of that Nazareth.

« PreviousContinue »