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The Reign of Charles I.

The reign of Charles the First is the part of Irish 1625. history, which has been the most misrepresented by Charles be cotemporary and modern historians *. The quick sensi- gins his

reign with bility of the national character was strongly inarked insincerity 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 practised it with more publicity, than they had in that of his father. This mildness of go

* to the Irish.

* Of all the English writers upon the civil wars of Ireland, Dr. Warner is the most to be relied on. He says, “ that they are all so inaccurate, partial, and uninformed, that whoever contents himself with the accounts, that he meets with in any of our Histories of England (not one excepted), may be said to know little of it.” And referring particularly to Mr. Hume's gross infidelity in representing the conduct of Charles I. towards his Irish subjects, he 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 bath 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.” The whole of Mr.Hume's representation of the state of Ireland under this Monarch is an impassioned essay of fanciful composition, without even an attempt at historical narrative of the leading features of Charles's reign over Ireland.


vernment, new to the Irish, was but of short dura-
tion. Scarcely had Charles commenced his inauspi-
cious reign, when he plunged into that system of in-
sincerity, which precipitated his ruin. His Irish Ca-
tholic subjects were the first unfortunate victims of
this ill-fated policy of the Stuarts. His first deputy,
Lord Faulkland, was a man of more rectitude than
ability, courting rather than terrifying the obnoxious
party. His instructions were favorable to the Catho.
lic, and he faithfully pursued them. The Puritans
resented his conduct, and loudly complained * The
Catholics were more than prudently elated, and in
the overflowing of their gratitude, offered to keep in
pay, at their own charge, a constant body of 5000 in-
fantry and 500 horse, for the service of his Majesty.
The protestants, jealous of the power, that this might
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.

* Dr. Warner, in his introduction observes, that the conduct of · Charles towards his Irish subjects, will instruct princes to consult · the interest and inclination of their subjects, and not to govern by

illegal and despotic power. It will instruct 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 villainy It will instruct the people not to suffer and assist the folly, the frowardness, the pride and ambition of particular persons to govern the public understanding.

+ Usher, at the head of the prevailing party of the clergy, subscribed a declaration, which is to be seen in the App. No. XVIII. to my Hist. Rev. It was read before the state in Christ Church,

Faulkland advised the confederates to send over 1629. agents to the King; and they accordingly waited upon

Faulkland his Majesty, with an offer of a voluntary contribution advises the

confedeof 120,0001. to be paid in three years by quarterly in- sates to

make a furstalments, for which the King published by proclama- ther tender

to the king tion what is usually called his Graces, and pledged bis royal word for their afterwards being confirmed by parliament. They were fifty-one in number. Some of the more important were, that subjects should be confirmed in their titles by limiting the claims of the crown to sixty years : that recusants might sue out their liveries, ouster les mains, and other grants from the courts of wards : that Catholic barristers might plead for five years without the oath of supremacy. The bounty was received, and the Proclamation of Graces issued: but was ill observed, and never confirmed by parliament: Through the influence of the Puritan párty Faulk- Faulkland

recalled, and land was recalled, and the administration entrusted to terrorism

begins. two lords justices, Viscount Ely, the chancellor, and the Earl of Cork, the lord high treasurer, who without any instructions from the King; enforced with great se. verity the penalties of the second of Elizabeth. They were informed, that this severity was neither acceptable to the King, nor consistent with his interests in Ireland. Charles, however, quickly sacrificed his Caa

Dublin, by Downham, bishop of Derry, upon whom it had so
powerful an effect, that the offer was rejected with indignation;
and was soon after followed up by a proclamation nost strictly
commanding the forbearance of the exercise of Popisb rites and
ci remonies.

2 A


tholic subjects to his enemies, and the system of ter-
rorism commenced. The archbishop, and the chief
magistrate of Dublin, at the head of a file of musque-
teers, entered the Catholic chapel in Cook Street, in
time of divine service ; seized the priest in his vest-
ments at the altar, hewed down the crucifix, and car-
ried off all the sacred utensils and ornaments. Several
of the congregation pursued the assailants with stones, .
and rescued their clergyman. The representation of
this incident to the English council produced an im-
mediate order, which was carried into effect, for seiz.
ing fifteen religious houses to the King's use, and as-
signing a newly-established seminary in Dublin to the
university. The most rigorous execution of the penal
laws was extended to every part of the kingdom: and
the King gave into the advice of the lords justices, that
me army should be provided for out of the weekly
fines to be imposed upon the Catholics, for absenting
themselves from the established worship*. “We ap-
prove well,” said the King in his answer, “ that this
business, 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 Mi-
chaelmas next.” As long as the lords justices conti-
nued in the administration of Ireland, such present,
ments were made with extreme rigor, to the great
grievance of the recusants, and comparatively small
emolument of the crown: heavy fines also were im-
posed upon such juries as refused to find them.

The severity of the lords justices was far exceeded

* Lord Strafford's State Letters, Vol. II, fol. 91. ,

Strafford's overnment,

noxious to

by that of their successor Lord Wentworth, better 1638. known under his superior title of Earl of Strafford,

Commencewho continued lord deputy from the year 1639, to ment of the year 1641. The effect which Strafford's admi- con nistration had in producing the grand rebellion, and the difference of the English and Irish writers thereupon, becomes a most important part of Irish history *.

This nobleman's desertion of the popular cause in Strafford ob. England had rendered him odious to a party power. the popular

party. ful, implacable, subtle, and indefatigable. Their rancour pursued him into Ireland : they watched his conduct strictly, and interpreted his actions severely. He assumed his government with a contemptuous dislike of the country, and with a mind bent on rendering it profitable to his master. Hence he inferred the necessity of that severe administration, which suited his native austerity. Ireland he considered as a conquered kingdom in the strictest sense. He avowed and defended that opinion, under all the terrors of impeachment, when it was charged against him as a traitorous principle; maintaining, therefore, that Irish subjects had without distinction forfeited the rights of men and citizens. Wentworth began to display his duplicity upon Strafford's

duplicity to the Catholics of Ireland, (they were then in the pro. the portion of above one hundred to one Protestant) even rives in lis

land. before he had taken possession of his government. For political reasons t, he preferred any mode of


before he ar.

* Vid. my Historical Review, 1 vol, p. 118, and seq.

+ “If, says be, it took that good effect, for wbich it was in tended, which was to bring the Irish to a conformity in religion,

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