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The History of Ulster
The Romanists Remonstrate


Non-Parliamentary Proceedings - The Deputy vainly endeavours to appease the Recusants - The Recalcitrant Roman Catholics repair to London - The Deputation is received by the King - Monarchical Methods of Debate - Talbot sent to the Tower - Luttrell hurried to the Fleet - James lectures the Roman Catholics - The King surprises Sir James Gough.

The Roman Catholic lords evidently did not intend that matters should end with the vigorous protest made before their departure from the House of Commons assembled in Dublin Castle; for the week following was devoted by them to conveying in writing to the King a repetition of their previous protests, and they even had the hardihood to threaten James, whose pusillanimity was well known to be on a par with his prudence, that they would offer an armed resistance to any severe measures against them; which threat, taken in conjunction with their violence and the popular clamour in their favour, gave cause for the gravest apprehensions, especially when it was recognized that the whole military strength of the Irish Government at the time amounted to no more than 1700 foot and 200 horse.

Not content with writing to the King, the Opposition in the House of Commons addressed the English Council, insisting on their claims, and maintaining that Everard was the Speaker, not Davies, and stating, what was not the fact, that he had been forcibly ejected. They then proceeded to deluge the Lord Deputy with petitions, sending no fewer than three in two days. In these they declared their willingness to attend, if they did not thereby jeopardize their lives, and requesting that they might have opportunities to question improper returns. Chichester readily granted their request, and said, as a member of the Upper House, he was prepared to receive their Speaker.

The Commons met again on the morning of the 21st, but the recusants refused to attend, and demanded the exclusion of the members to whose return they objected. In this emergency, and having exhausted all methods of persuasion, Chichester acted with great prudence and moderation. He issued a proclamation commanding the seceders to return to their posts, while privately he used remonstrance and entreaty with the chiefs of the party, urging them to unite with the other members of each house in furthering the business of the nation, at least so far as to pass an Act of recognition of the King's title; and the Lord Deputy even promised the recalcitrant members that no other Bill should for the present be brought forward. He proposed various measures of conciliation, and offered to let the decision of the questions in dispute be referred to an impartial committee. But all his efforts were in vain, and he found the Opposition obstinate and impervious alike to persuasion or threats. He then, as a last resource, prorogued the Parliament, in order to gain time for the furtherance of other conciliatory measures, in the hope of appeasing the clamours which had been raised by the situation, and found that when a general levy of money to defray expenses was made all over the country, "the popish subjects did willingly condescend" thereunto.

In their address to the King the recusant lords said: "We cannot but, out of the consideration of our bounden duty, make known unto your Highness the general discontentment which these strange, unlooked-for, and never-heard-of courses generally have bred, whereof, if the rebellious discontented of this nation abroad, do take advantage, and procure the evil affected at home (which are numbers, by reason of these already settled and intended plantations), in any hostile fashion to set disorders afoot, and labour some underhand relief from any prince or state abroad, who, per- adventure, might be inveigled and drawn to commiserate their pretended oppressions and distresses, however we are assured the prowess and power of your Majesty will in the end bring the authors thereof to ruin and confusion, yet will things be brought into greater combustion, to the effusion of much blood, exhausting of masses of treasure, the exposing of us and others, your Highness's well-affected subjects, to the hazard of poverty, whereof the memory is yet very lively and fresh among us, and finally to the laying open the whole commonwealth to the inundation of all miseries and calamities which garboiles, civil wars, and dissensions do breed and draw with them in a rent and torn estate."

This address the Roman Catholic lords now determined to follow up by sending delegates to represent their grievances to the King. To this Chichester made no objection, taking, however, at the same time, the precaution to have the views of the Government also laid before James, and to that end he sent Lord Thomond, Chief Justice Denham, and Sir Oliver St. John to explain the situation. The members of the deputation representing the Opposition included Lords Gormanston and Dunboyne, Sir James Gough, Sir Christopher Plunkett, William Talbot, and Edward FitzHarris, the defeated candidate for the county of Limerick. These six persons were augmented in numbers on James's saying he would willingly see more representatives; accordingly six peers and fourteen commoners arrived in July, among them being Everard, whose Speakership had been nipped in the bud; Sir Patrick Barnwell, who apparently approached London undeterred by the terrors of the Tower; and Thomas Luttrell, who sat for County Dublin, and, having behaved on several occasions like a bellicose bantam cock, was gravely described in official papers as " turbulent and seditious".

Talbot's turbulence, however, like that of Luttrell, was quelled after twelve months in the Tower, to which the former was sent at an early stage in the proceedings because he could not see his way to condemn with sufficient emphasis the opinions of the Jesuit Suarez as to the deposition and murder of kings. Possibly Talbot anticipated De Quincey on "Murder considered as one of the Fine Arts", and held that "the habit of murder leads to Sabbath-breaking and procrastination". Whether he held these views or not, he took some pains to explain to James personally that he did not believe in regicide, but he thought that kings might be deposed for the benefit of the country they misgoverned. James, to convince Talbot of his errors, sent him to the Tower with extracts from the works of Suarez and Parsons upon which to meditate, while the King himself went on progress to the west, and Luttrell loathed life for three months in the Fleet prison, which in those days must have been a horrible hole in which to be incarcerated, especially during the summer; and thus he was incapacitated from being present with the other members of the deputation who "did use daily to frequent their secret conventicles and private meetings, to consult and devise how to frame plaintive articles against the Lord Deputy".

Sir Patrick Barnwell, having had personal experience of both Fleet and Tower, would by no means have agreed with the poet who declared that "Stone walls do not a prison make, nor iron bars a cage". Sir Patrick knew full well the folly of such poetic expression, and he therefore had no hesitation whatever when called upon to declare that he considered the doctrines of Suarez and Parsons "most pro- fane, impious, wicked, and detestable . . . that His Majesty or any other sovereign prince, if he were excommunicated by the Pope, might be massacred or done away with by his subjects or any other". With regard to James himself, he declared in no dubious language that "notwithstanding any excommunication or any other act which is or may be pronounced or done by the Pope against him", all His Highness's subjects should be prepared to pour forth their life's blood to defend him and his kingdoms.

The King ultimately dismissed the deputation after he had given them a severe rating in his own peculiar style, taunting them with being " a body without a head, a headless body; you would be afraid to meet such a body in the streets; a body without a head to speak!" and he asked: "What is it to you whether I make many or few boroughs? My council may consider the fitness if I require it; but if I make forty noblemen and four hundred boroughs the more the merrier, the fewer the better cheer." "In the matter of Parliament", he said in conclusion, "you have carried yourselves tumultuarily and undutifully; and your proceedings have been rude, disorderly, and inexcusable, and worthy of severe punishment; which by reason of your submission, I do forbear, but not remit, till I see your dutiful carnage in this Parliament, where, by your obedience to the Deputy and State, and your future good behaviour, you may redeem your by-past miscarriage, and then you may deserve, not only pardon, but favour and cherishing. . . . Nothing faulty is to be found in the government; unless you would have the kingdom of Ireland like the kingdom of Heaven. ... The Pope is your father in spiritualibus and I in temporalibus only, and so you have your bodies turned one way and your souls drawn another way; you that send your children to the seminaries of treason. Strive henceforth", he admonished the astonished deputation, "to become good subjects, that you may have cor unum et viam unam, and then I shall respect you all alike. But your Irish priests teach you such grounds of doctrine as you cannot follow them with a safe conscience, but you must cast off your loyalty to the King."

After having been admitted to several audiences, the members of the deputation drew up and presented to the King nineteen general articles of grievance in the government of Ireland, and demanded that impartial commissioners should be appointed to make an enquiry into their truth. The King yielded to their request, and towards the end of August he issued a commission to Chichester, Sir Humphrey Winch, late Chief Baron in Ireland and now a Judge of Common Pleas; Sir Charles Cornwallis, lately an Ambassador in Spain; Sir Roger Wilbraham, who had been Solicitor- General in Ireland; and George Calvert, Clerk of the Council. The Commissioners were to enquire into all matters concerning the Irish elections and the proceedings in Parliament, and to report upon all general and notorious grievances, some of which were mentioned. One of the concessions made as a result of this commission was that the members for boroughs incorporated after the writs were issued had no right to sit.

Religion being in the air, the first thing the Commissioners found was, that "a multitude of Popish schoolmasters, priests, friars, Jesuits, seminaries of the adverse Church, authorised by the Pope and his subordinates for every diocese, ecclesiastical dignity, and living of note", were being supported and countenanced. The Commissioners also found that billeted soldiers did exact money from the people, "whereby breach of the peace and affrays are occasioned ". They also found that "there are . . . very few Protestants that are free-holders of quality fit to be sheriffs, and that will take the oath of supremacy as by the laws they ought to do, and by the Lord Deputy's order no sheriff is admitted till he enter into sufficient bond for answering his accounts".

References have already been made to the Ulster custom of "ploughing by the tail". There were many reasons for its abandonment. In the first place, the method of attaching a small light plough to the tails of ponies driven abreast was needlessly cruel ; in the second, such a mode of agriculture was ineffective and obsolete. This method of ploughing had been prohibited by Order in Council in 1606, the penalty being the forfeiture of one animal for the first offence, two for the second, and three for the third. There was, of course, no penalty if traces were used. The excellence of its breed of horses has for centuries been a source of pride in Ireland, and it is therefore astonishing to find the tenacity with which the inhabitants of agricultural districts in Ulster clung to a custom that "besides the cruelty used to the beasts", is also one whereby "the breed of horses is much impaired in this kingdom to the great prejudice thereof". The Commissioners found that the forbidding of this practice was considered a great grievance.

The Report of the Commissioners having been perused and approved of by the King, he sent Sir Richard Boyle to Ireland with a proclamation, in which the King announced that he had in person debated with the members of the Deputation sent by the recusants (his methods of debating with Talbot we have noted), and that he had found the Lord Deputy "full of respect to our honour, zeal to justice, and sufficiency in the execution of the great charge committed unto him ".

In the meantime some members of the Deputation, in taking leave of the King, were treated to a speech the heads of which one of the party present on the occasion, Sir James Gough, noted. In his peroration James, addressing his audience, which included Lords Gormanston and Roche, Patrick Hussy, member for Meath and titular Baron of Gal- trim, and Gough, said: "As for your religion, howbeit that the religion I profess be the religion I will make the established religion among you, and that the exercise of the religion which you use (which is no religion, indeed, but a superstition) might be left off; yet will I not ensue or extort any man's conscience, and do grant that all my subjects there (which likewise upon your return thither I require you to make known) do acknowledge and believe that it is not lawful to offer violence unto my person, or to deprive me of my crown, or to take from me my kingdoms, or that you harbour or receive any priest or seminary that would allow such a doctrine. I do likewise require that none of your youth be bred at Douai. Kings have long ears, and be assured that I will be inquisitive of your behaviour therein." Having thus given ample evidence that one King at least had "long ears" James dismissed Gough and his companions.

Gough delightedly repeated the King's speech to a fellow- passenger to Ireland Sir Francis Kingsmill, and on landing not alone published the message of the King to his people, but actually delivered it at Dublin Castle in the presence of the Lord Deputy, delivering "the most true and great King's words", "in the action and tone of an orator". Chichester, scarcely able to believe his ears, commanded the orator's presence in private audience, where the beamingly confident Gough repeated his message and maintained that such were the tpsissima verba of the modern Solomon. Chichester, per- plexed and unconvinced, detained the bewildered understudy of the British Solomon under restraint in the Castle, there to await the King's pleasure.

The King, far from being pleased when the matter reached his ears, admitted that he had used the language imputed to him, but denied that he had given Sir James Gough liberty to circulate it. He directed that Gough should be detained until he made submission, which Gough forthwith did, and, being released, left the Castle, no doubt a sadder and a wiser man, possibly muttering sotto voce as he took his departure, "put not your trust in" the perorations of "princes"!


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