Accession of King James—Joy of the Irish Catholics—Their
Disappointment—Bishops, Priests, and Laity imprisoned for the
Faith—Paul V. encourages the Catholics to Constancy—Plot to entrap
O'Neill and O'Donnell—Flight of the Earls—Ulster is left to the Mercy
of the English Nation—The Plantation commences—Chichester's
Parliament, and how he obtained Members—Death of James I., and
Accession of Charles—The Hopes of the Catholics are raised again—They
offer a large sum of Money to obtain "Graces"—It is accepted, and the
"Graces" are treacherously refused—The Plantation of Connaught—How
Obedience was enforced and Resistance punished—Conspiracy to seize
Dublin—Sir Phelim O'Neill-Massacre of Island Magee.

[A.D. 1605-1642.]

reat was the joy of the Irish nation when James the First of England
and the Sixth of Scotland ascended the throne. The people supposed him
to be a Catholic in heart, and a prince in feeling. They should have
judged less favourably of one who could see his mother sacrificed
without making one real effort to avert her doom. His weakness,
obstinacy, and duplicity, helped to prepare the way for the terrible
convulsion of English society, whose origin was the great religious
schism, which, by lessening national respect for the altar, undermined
national respect for the throne.

The Irish Catholics, only too ready to rejoice in the faintest gleam of
hope, took possession of their own churches, and hoped they might
practise their religion openly. The Cathedral of Limerick was
re-dedicated by Richard Arthur, the Cathedral of Cork and Cloyne by
Robert Urigh, the Metropolitan Church of Cashel by Thomas Rachtar, the
churches of Wexford by John Coppinger. Dr. White restored himself the
churches of Clonmel, Kilkenny, and Ross, and other clergymen acted in
like manner in other places. But the most open and remarkable
manifestation of devotion to the old faith was in Cork, always famous
for its Catholicity, for the generosity of its people, and their special
devotion to literature and religion. All the Protestant Bibles and
Prayer-books were publicly and solemnly burned, the churches were
hallowed, and Smith says: "They had a person named a Legate from the
Pope [Dr. Moran, who quotes this passage, supposes him to have been a
Vicar-Apostolic], who went about in procession with a cross, and forced
people to reverence it. They buried the dead with the Catholic
ceremonies; and numbers took the sacrament to defend that religion with
their lives and fortunes."[462]

But the Catholics were soon undeceived. King James drank "to the eternal
damnation of the Papists"[463] solemnly at a public dinner, no doubt to
convince the sceptical of his Protestantism; and he divided his time
very equally between persecuting the Puritans and the Catholics, when
not occupied with his pleasures or quarrelling with his Parliament. The
Puritans, however, had the advantage; popular opinion in England was on
their side; they were sufficiently wealthy to emigrate if they pleased:
while the Catholics were not only unpopular, but hated, and utterly
impoverished by repeated fines and exactions.

James' conduct on his accession was sufficiently plain. He was
proclaimed in Dublin on the 28th September, 1605. A part of his
proclamation ran thus: "We hereby make known to our subjects in Ireland,
that no toleration shall ever be granted by us. This we do for the
purpose of cutting off all hope that any other religion shall be
allowed, save that which is consonant to the laws and statutes of this
realm." The penal statutes were renewed, and enforced with increased
severity. Several members of the Corporation and some of the principal
citizens of Dublin were sent to prison; similar outrages on religious
liberty were perpetrated at Waterford, Ross, and Limerick. In some cases
these gentlemen were only asked to attend the Protestant church once,
but they nobly refused to act against their conscience even once, though
it should procure them freedom from imprisonment, or even from death.
The Vicar-Apostolic of Waterford and Lismore wrote a detailed account of
the sufferings of the Irish nation for the faith at this period to
Cardinal Baronius. His letter is dated "Waterford, 1st of May, 1606." He
says: "There is scarcely a spot where Catholics can find a safe retreat.
The impious soldiery, by day and night, pursue the defenceless priests,
and mercilessly persecute them. Up to the present they have only
succeeded in seizing three: one is detained in Dublin prison, another in
Cork, and the third, in my opinion, is the happiest of all triumphing in
heaven with Christ our Lord; for in the excess of the fury of the
soldiery, without any further trial or accusation, having expressed
himself to be a priest, he was hanged upon the spot."

He then narrates the sufferings of the Catholic laity, many of whom he
says are reduced to "extreme poverty and misery;" "if they have any
property, they are doubly persecuted by the avaricious courtiers." But
so many have given a glorious testimony of their faith, he thinks their
enemies and persecutors have gained but little. Thus, while one party
was rejoicing in their temporal gain, the other was rejoicing in
temporal loss; and while the former were preaching liberty of conscience
as their creed, the latter were martyrs to it.

Another letter to Rome says: "2,000 florins are offered for the
discovery of a Jesuit, and 1,000 for the discovery of any other priest,
or even of the house where he lives. Whenever the servants of any of the
clergy are arrested, they are cruelly scourged with whips, until they
disclose all that they know about them. Bodies of soldiers are dispersed
throughout the country in pursuit of bandits and priests; and all that
they seize on, they have the power, by martial law, of hanging without
further trial. They enter private house, and execute whom they please,
vieing with each other in cruelty. It is difficult to define the precise
number of those who are thus put to death. All who are greedy and
spend-thrifts, seek to make a prey of the property of Catholics. No
doors, walls, no enclosures can stop them in their course. Whatever is
for profane use they profess to regard as sacred, and bear it off; and
whatever is sacred they seize on to desecrate. Silver cups are called chalices, and gems are designated as Agnus Deis: and all are,
therefore, carried away. There are already in prison one bishop, one
vicar-general, some religious, very many priests, and an immense number
of the laity of every class and condition. In one city alone five of the
aldermen were thrown into prison successively, for refusing to take the
nefarious oath of allegiance, on their being nominated to the mayoralty;
in another city, no less than thirty were likewise thrust into prison at
Easter last, for having approached the holy communion in the Catholic

The Catholics protested against this treatment in vain. A petition was
considered an offence, and the petitioners were sent to gaol for their

In 1611 the Bishop of Down and Connor was executed in Dublin. He had
been seized, in 1587, by Perrot, and thrown into prison. He was released
in 1593, and, according to Dr. Loftus, he took the oath of supremacy.
This statement, however, is utterly incredible, for he devoted himself
to his flock immediately after his release, and continued to administer
the sacraments to them at the risk of his life, until June, 1611, when
he was again arrested in the act of administering the sacrament of
confirmation to a Catholic family. Father O'Luorchain was imprisoned
with him, and they were both sentenced and executed together. At the
trial the Bishop declared that the oath of spiritual supremacy was
impious, and said that his enemies could not thirst more eagerly for his
blood than he himself was desirous to shed it for Christ his Redeemer.
This venerable prelate had attained his eightieth year, but he was full
of the vigour of saintly heroism. When on the scaffold he asked the
executioner to allow him to be the last victim, as he wished to spare
Father O'Luorchain the terrible spectacle of his sufferings. But the
good priest was not behind the Franciscan bishop in his zeal, and he
exclaimed, with a touching grace of courtesy, which the occasion made
sublime, that "it was not fitting for a bishop to be without a priest to
attend him, and he would follow him without fear." And he did follow
him, for the Bishop went first to his crown.

There was great difficulty in procuring any one who would carry out the
sentence. The executioner fled, and could not be found when he learned
on whom he was to do his office. At last an English culprit, under
sentence of death, undertook the bloody work, on a promise that his own
life should be granted as his reward.

Communications with Rome were still as frequent and as intimate as they
had ever been since Ireland received the faith at the hands of the great
Apostle. To be children of Patrick and children of Rome were convertible
terms; and the Holy See watched still more tenderly over this portion of
the Church while it was suffering and persecuted. Paul V. wrote a
special letter to the Irish Catholics, dated from "St. Mark's, 22nd of
September, 1606," in which he mourns over their afflictions, commends
their marvellous constancy, which he says can only be compared to that
of the early Christians, and exhorts them specially to avoid the sin of
attending Protestant places of worship—a compliance to which they were
strongly tempted, when even one such act might procure exemption, for a
time at least, from severe persecution or death.

On another occasion the same Pontiff writes thus: "You glory in that
faith by which your fathers procured for their country the distinguished
appellation of the Island of Saints. Nor have the sufferings which you
have endured been allowed to remain unpublished; your fidelity and
Christian fortitude have become the subject of universal admiration; and
the praise of your name has long since been loudly celebrated in every
portion of the Christian world."[464]

O'Neill and O'Donnell may be justly considered the last of the
independent native chieftains. When the latter died in exile, and the
former accepted the coronet of an English earl, the glories of the olden
days of princes, who held almost regal power, had passed away for ever.
The proud title of "the O'Neill" became extinct; his country was made
shire ground; he accepted patents, and held his broad acres "in fee;"
sheriffs were admitted; judges made circuits; king's commissioners took
careful note of place, person, and property; and such a system of
espionage was established, that Davies boasts, "it was not only known
how people lived and what they do, but it is foreseen what they purpose
and intend to do;" which latter species of clairvoyance seems to have
been largely practised by those who were waiting until all suspicions
were lulled to rest, that they might seize on the property, and imprison
the persons of those whose estates they coveted.

In May, 1603, O'Neill had visited London, in company with Mountjoy and
Rory O'Donnell. The northern chieftains were graciously received; and it
was on this occasion that O'Neill renounced his ancient name for his new
titles. O'Donnell was made Earl of Tyrconnel at the same time. The first
sheriffs appointed for Ulster were Sir Edward Pelham and Sir John
Davies. The latter has left it on record, as his deliberate opinion,
after many years' experience, "that there is no nation of people under
the sun that doth love equal and indifferent justice better than the
Irish, or will rest better satisfied with the execution thereof, although it be against themselves, so that they may have the protection
and benefits of the law, when, upon just cause, they do desire it."

A plot was now got up to entrap O'Neill and O'Donnell. Their complicity
in it has long been questioned, though Dr. O'Donovan appears to think
that Moore has almost decided the question against them. Moore's
evidence, however, is hardly complete, while there is unquestionable
authority which favours the opinion that "artful Cecil" was intriguing
to accomplish their destruction. Curry says, in his Historical Review:
"The great possessions of these two devoted Irish princes, proved the
cause of their ruin. After the successful issue of the plot-contriving
Cecil's gunpowder adventure in England, he turned his inventive thoughts
towards this country. A plot to implicate the great northern chieftains
was soon set on foot, and finally proved successful. The conspiracy is
thus related by a learned English divine, Dr. Anderson, in his Royal
, printed in London, 1736: 'Artful Cecil employed one St.
Lawrence to entrap the Earls of Tyrone and Tyrconnel, the Lord Delvin,
and other Irish chiefs, into a sham plot, which had no evidence but

The next movement was to drop an anonymous letter at the door of the
council-chamber, mentioning a design, as then in contemplation, for
seizing the Castle of Dublin, and murdering the Lord Deputy. No names
were mentioned, but it was publicly stated that Government had
information in their possession which fixed the guilt of the conspiracy
on the Earl of Tyrone. His flight, which took place immediately after,
was naturally considered as an acknowledgment of his guilt. It is more
probable that the expatriation was prompted by his despair.

The Four Masters give a touching account of their departure, and
exclaim: "Woe to the heart that meditated, woe to the mind that
conceived, woe to the council that decided on the project of their
setting out on the voyage!" The exiles left Rathmullen on the 14th of
September, 1607. O'Neill had been with the Lord Deputy shortly before;
and one cannot but suppose that he had then obtained some surmise of
premeditated treachery, for he arranged his flight secretly and swiftly,
pretending that he was about to visit London. O'Neill was accompanied by
his Countess, his three sons, O'Donnell, and other relatives. They first
sailed to Normandy, where an attempt was made by the English Government
to arrest them, but Henry IV. would not give them up. In Rome they were
received as confessors exiled for the faith, and were liberally
supported by the Pope and the King of Spain. They all died in a few
years after their arrival, and their ashes rest in the Franciscan Church
of St. Peter-in-Montorio. Rome was indeed dear to them, but Ireland was
still dearer; and the exiled Celt, whether expatriated through force or
stern necessity, lives only to long for the old home, or dies weeping
for it.

The Red Hand of the O'Neills had hitherto been a powerful protection to
Ulster. The attempts "to plant" there had turned out failures; but now
that the chiefs were removed, the people became an easy prey.
O'Dogherty, Chief of Innishowen, was insulted by Sir George Paulett, in
a manner which no gentleman could be expected to bear without calling
his insulter to account; and the young chieftain took fearful vengeance
for the rude blow which he had received from the English sheriff. He got
into Culmore Fort at night by stratagem, and then marched to Derry,
killed Paulett, massacred the garrison, and burned the town. Some other
chieftains joined him, and kept up the war until July; when O'Dogherty
was killed, and his companions-in-arms imprisoned. Sir Arthur Chichester
received his property in return for his suggestions for the plantation
of Ulster, of which we must now make brief mention.

There can be little doubt, from Sir Henry Docwra's own account, that
O'Dogherty was purposely insulted, and goaded into rebellion. He was the
last obstacle to the grand scheme, and he was disposed of. Ulster was
now at the mercy of those who chose to accept grants of land; and the
grants were made to the highest bidders, or to those who had paid for
the favour by previous services. Sir Arthur Chichester evidently
considered that he belonged to the latter class, for we find him
writing[465] at considerable length to the Earl of Northampton, then a
ruling member of King James' cabinet, to request that he may be
appointed President of Ulster. He commences his epistle by stating how
deeply he is indebted to his Lordship for his comfortable and kind
letters, and the praise he has given him in public and private. He then
bestows an abundant meed of commendation on his justice in return. He
next explains his hopes and desires. He declares that he wishes for the
Presidency of Ulster, "more for the service he might there do his
Majesty, than for the profit he expects,"—a statement which the Earl no
doubt read exactly as it was intended; and he says that he only mentions
his case because "charitie beginnes with myeselfe," which, indeed,
appears to have been the view of that virtue generally taken by all
planters and adventurers. He concludes with delicately informing his
correspondent, that if he can advance any friend of his in any way he
will be most happy to do so. This letter is dated from the "Castle of
Dublin, 7th of February, 1607." The date should read, according to the
change of style, 1608. The Lord Deputy knew well what he was asking for.
During the summer of the preceding year, he had made a careful journey
through Ulster, with John Davies; and Carte has well observed, that
"nobody knew the territories better to be planted;" and he might have
added, that few persons had a clearer eye to their own advantage in the
arrangements he made.



The plan of the plantation was agreed upon in 1609. It was the old plan
which had been attempted before, though with less show of legal
arrangement, but with quite the same proportion of legal iniquity. The
simple object was to expel the natives, and to extirpate the Catholic
religion. The six counties to be planted were Tyrone, Derry, Donegal,
Armagh, Fermanagh, and Cavan. These were parcelled out into portions
varying from 2,000 to 4,000 acres, and the planters were obliged to
build bawns and castles, such as that of Castle Monea, county Fermanagh,
of which we subjoin an illustration. Tully Castle[466] was built by Sir
John Hume, on his plantation. Both these castles afford good examples of
the structures erected at this period. The great desiderata were
proximity to water and rising ground—the beauty of the surrounding
scenery, which was superadded at least at Tully Castle, was probably but
little valued.

Chichester now proposed to call a Parliament. The plantation of Ulster
had removed some difficulties in the way of its accomplishment. The
Protestant University of Dublin had obtained 3,000 acres there, and
400,000 acres of tillage land had been partitioned out between English
and Scotch proprietors. It was expressly stipulated that their tenants
should be English or Scotch, and Protestants; the Catholic owners of the
land were, in some cases, as a special favour, permitted to remain, if
they took the oath of supremacy, if they worked well for their masters,
and if they paid double the rent fixed for the others. Sixty thousand
acres in Dublin and Waterford, and 385,000 acres in Westmeath, Longford,
King's county, Queen's county, and Leitrim, had been portioned out in a
similar manner. A Presbyterian minister, whose father was one of the
planters, thus describes the men who came to establish English rule, and
root out Popery: "From Scotland came many, and from England not a few;
yet all of them generally the scum of both nations, who, from debt, or
making and fleeing from justice, or seeking shelter, came hither, hoping
to be without fear of man s justice, in a land where there was nothing
or but little as yet of the fear of God.... Most of the people were all
void of godliness.... On all hands atheism increased, and disregard of
God; iniquity abounds, with contention, fighting, murder and

It was with such persons as these the lower house was filled. The upper
house was composed of the Protestant bishops and English aristocracy,
who were of course unanimous in their views. Chichester obtained ample
powers to arrange the lower house. Forty new boroughs were formed, many
of them consisting merely of a few scattered houses; some of them were
not incorporated until after the writs were issued. The Catholics were
taken by surprise as no notice had been given, either of the Parliament
or the laws intended to be enacted. Six Catholic lords of the Pale
remonstrated with the King, but he treated them with the utmost
contempt. The house assembled; there was a struggle for the Speaker's
chair. The Catholic party proposed Sir John Everard, who had just
resigned his position as Justice of the King's Bench sooner than take
the oath of supremacy; the court party insisted on having Sir John
Davies. The Catholics protested, and sent a deputation to James, who
first lectured[468] them to show his learning, and them imprisoned them
to show his power. Some kind of compromise was eventually effected. A
severe penal law was withdrawn; a large subsidy was voted. In truth, the
Irish party acted boldly, considering their peculiar circumstances, for
one and all refused to enter the old cathedral, which their forefathers
had erected, when Protestant service was read therein on the day of the
opening of Parliament; and even Lord Barry retired when he laid the
sword of state before the Lord Deputy. We may excuse them for submitting
to the attainder of O'Neill and O'Donnell, for there were few national
members who had not withdrawn before the vote was passed.

Chichester retired from the government of Ireland in 1616. In 1617 a
proclamation was issued for the expulsion of the Catholic clergy, and
the city of Waterford was deprived of its charter in consequence of the
spirited opposition which its corporation offered to the oath of
spiritual supremacy. In 1622 Viscount Falkland came over as Lord Deputy,
and Usher, who was at heart a Puritan,[469] preached a violent sermon on
the occasion, in which he suggested a very literal application of his
text, "He beareth not the sword in vain." If a similar application of
the text had been made by a Catholic divine, it would have been called
intolerance, persecution, and a hint that the Inquisition was at hand;
as used by him, it was supposed to mean putting down Popery by the

James I. died on the 27th March, 1625, and left his successor no very
pleasant prospects in any part of his kingdom. He was pronounced by
Sully to be "the wisest fool in Europe;" Henry IV. styled him "Captain
of Arts and Clerk of Arms;" and a favourite epigram of the age is thus

"When Elizabeth was England's King,
That dreadful name thro' Spain did ring

How altered is the case, ah sa' me!
The juggling days of good Queen Jamie."

On the accession of Charles I., in 1625, it was so generally supposed he
would favour the Catholic cause, that the earliest act of the new
Parliament in London was to vote a petition, begging the King to enforce
the laws against recusants and Popish priests. The Viceroy, Lord
Falkland, advised the Irish Catholics to propitiate him with a voluntary
subsidy. They offered the enormous sum of £120,000, to be paid in three
annual instalments, and in return he promised them certain "graces." The
contract was ratified by royal proclamation, in which the concessions
were accompanied by a promise that a Parliament should be held to
confirm them. The first instalment of the money was paid, and the Irish
agents returned home to find themselves cruelly deceived and basely
cheated. Falkland was recalled by the Puritan party, on suspicion of
favouring the Catholics; Viscount Ely and the Earl of Cork were
appointed Lords Justices; and a reign of terror was at once commenced.

The Protestant Archbishop of Dublin, Dr. Bulkely, was foremost in
commencing the persecution. He marched, with the Mayor and a file of
soldiers, to the Franciscan[470] church in Cook-street, on St. Stephen's
Day, 1629, dispersed the congregation, seized the friars profaned the
church, and broke the statue of St. Francis. The friars were rescued by
the people, and the Archbishop had "to take to his heels and cry out for
help," to save himself. Eventually the Franciscans established their
novitiates on the Continent, but still continued their devoted
ministrations to the people, at the risk of life and liberty. Their
house in Cook-street was pulled down by royal order, and three other
chapels and a Catholic seminary were seized and converted to the King's
use. Wentworth assembled a Parliament in July, 1634, the year after his
arrival in Ireland. Its subserviency was provided for by having a number
of persons elected who were in the pay of the crown as military
officers. The "graces" were asked for, and the Lord Deputy declared they
should be granted, if the supply was readily voted. "Surely," he said,
"so great a meanness cannot enter your hearts as once to suspect his
Majesty's gracious regards of you, and performance with you, when you
affix yourself upon his grace." This speech so took the hearts of the
people, that all were ready to grant all that might be demanded; and six
subsidies of £50,000 each were voted, though Wentworth only expected
£30,000. In the meanwhile neither Wentworth nor the King had the
slightest idea of granting the "graces" and the atrocious duplicity and
incomparable "meanness" of the King is placed eternally on record, in
his own letter to his favourite, in which he thanks him "for keeping off
the envy [odium] of a necessary negative from me, of those unreasonable
graces that people expected from me."[471] Wentworth describes himself
how two judges and Sir John Radcliffe assisted him in the plan, and how
a positive refusal was made to recommend the passing of the "graces"

into law at the next session.

"Charles' faith" might now safely rank with Grey's; and the poor
impoverished Irishman, who would willingly have given his last penny, as
well as the last drop of his blood, to save his faith, was again cruelly
betrayed where he most certainly might have expected that he could have
confided and trusted. One of the "graces" was to make sixty years of
undisputed possession of property a bar to the claims of the crown; and
certainly if there ever a country where such a demand was necessary and
reasonable, it was surely Ireland. There had been so many plantations,
it was hard for anything to grow; and so many settlements, it was hard
for anything to be settled. Each new monarch, since the first invasion
of the country by Henry II., had his favourites to provide for and his
friends to oblige. The island across the sea was considered "no man's
land," as the original inhabitants were never taken into account, and
were simply ignored, unless, indeed, when they made their presence very
evident by open resistance to this wholesale robbery. It was no wonder,
then, that this "grace" should be specially solicited. It was one in
which the last English settler in Ulster had quite as great an interest
as the oldest Celt in Connemara. The Burkes and the Geraldines had
suffered almost as much from the rapacity of their own countrymen as the
natives, on whom their ancestors had inflicted such cruel wrongs. No
man's property was safe in Ireland, for the tenure was depending on the
royal will; and the caprices of the Tudors were supplemented by the
necessities of the Stuarts.

But the "grace" was refused, although, probably, there was many a recent
colonist who would have willingly given one-half of his plantation to
have secured the other to his descendants. The reason of the refusal was
soon apparent. As soon as Parliament was dissolved, a Commission of
"Defective Titles" was issued for Connaught. Ulster had been settled,
Leinster had been settled, Munster had been settled; there remained only
Connaught, hitherto so inaccessible, now, with advancing knowledge of
the art of war, and new means of carrying out that art, doomed to the
scourge of desolation.

The process was extremely simple. The lawyers were set to work to hunt
out old claims for the crown; and as Wentworth had determined to
invalidate the title to every estate in Connaught, they had abundant
occupation. Roscommon was selected for a commencement. The sheriffs were
directed to select jurors who would find for the crown. The jurors were
made clearly to understand what was expected from them, and what the
consequences would be if they were "contumacious." The object of the
crown was, of course, the general good of the country. The people of
Connaught were to be civilized and enriched; but, in order to carry out
this very desirable arrangement, the present proprietors were to be
replaced by new landlords, and the country was to be placed entirely at
the disposal of the Sovereign.[472]

It was now discovered that the lands and lordships of De Burgo, adjacent
to the Castle of Athlone, and, in fact, the whole remaining province,
belonged to the crown. It would be useless here to give details of the
special pleading on which this statement was founded; it is an
illustration of what I have observed before, that the tenure of the
English settler was quite as uncertain as the tenure of the Celt. The
jury found for the King; and as a reward, the foreman, Sir Lucas Dillon,
was graciously permitted to retain a portion of his own lands. Lowther,
Chief Justice of the Common Pleas, got four shillings in the pound of
the first year's rent raised under the Commission of "Defective Titles."
The juries of Mayo and Sligo were equally complacent; but there was
stern resistance made in Galway, and stern reprisals were made for the
resistance. The jurors were fined £4,000 each and were imprisoned, and
their estates seized until that sum was paid. The sheriff was fined
£1,000, and, being unable to pay that sum, he died in prison. And all
this was done with the full knowledge and the entire sanction of the
"royal martyr."

The country was discontented, and the Lord Deputy demanded more troops,
"until the intended plantation should be settled." He could not see why
the people should object to what was so very much for their own good,
and never allowed himself to think that the disturbance had anything to
do with the land question. The new proprietors were of the same opinion.
Those who were or who feared to be dispossessed, and those who felt that
their homes, whether humble or noble, could not be called their own,
felt differently; but their opinion was as little regarded as their

The Earl of Ormonde's property was next attacked, but he made a prudent
compromise, and his party was too powerful to permit of its refusal. A
Court of Wards was also established about this time, for the purpose of
having all heirs to estates brought up in the Protestant religion; and a
High Commission Court was instituted, which rivalled the exactions of
the Star Chamber in England.

In 1640 another appeal was made by the King for assistance, and
Wentworth headed the contribution with £20,000. He had devoted himself
with considerable ability to increasing the Irish revenue and the trade
of the country had improved, although the Irish woollen manufacture had
been completely crushed, as it threatened to interfere with English
commerce. The Lord Deputy now saw the advantage of procuring a standing
army in Ireland, and he proceeded to embody a force of 10,000 foot and
1,000 horse. These men were principally Irish and Catholics, as he knew
they would be most likely to stand by the King in an hour of trial,
notwithstanding the cruel persecutions to which they had been subjected.
But the Deputy's own career was nearer its termination than he had
anticipated. When he forsook the popular side in England, Pym had
remarked significantly: "Though you have left us, I will not leave you
while your head is on your shoulders." The Puritan faction never lost
sight of a quarry when once they had it in sight, and it scarcely needed
Stafford's haughtiness and devotion to the King to seal his doom. The
unhappy King was compelled to sign his death-warrant; and the victim was
executed on the 12th of May, 1641, redeeming in some manner, by the
nobleness of his death, the cruelties, injustices, and duplicity of
which he had been guilty during his life.

The kingdom of England was never in a more critical state than at this
period. The King was such only in name, and the ruling powers were the
Puritan party, who already looked to Cromwell as their head. The
resistance, which had begun in opposition to tyrannical enactments, and
to the arbitrary exercise of authority by the King and his High Church
prelates, was fast merging into, what it soon became, an open revolt
against the crown, and all religion which did not square with the very
peculiar and ill-defined tenets of the rebellious party. In 1641 the
Queen's confessor was sent to the Tower, and a resolution was passed by
both houses never to consent to the toleration of the Catholic worship
in Ireland, or in any other part of his Majesty's dominions. The country
party had determined to possess themselves of the command of the army;
and whatever struggles the King might make, to secure the only support
of his throne, it was clear that the question was to be decided in their
favour. The conduct of Holles, Pym, Hampden, and Stroud was well known
even in Ireland; and in Ireland fearful apprehensions were entertained
that still more cruel sufferings were preparing for that unfortunate

An insurrection was organized, and its main supports were some of the
best and bravest of the old race, who had been driven by political and
religious persecution to other lands, where their bravery had made them
respected, and their honorable dealings had made them esteemed. Spain
had received a considerable number of these exiles. In June, 1635, an
Irish regiment in the Spanish service, commanded by Colonel Preston, had
immortalized themselves by their heroic defence of Louvain. Wherever
they went they were faithful to the sovereign under whom they served;
and French and Spanish generals marvelled how the English nation could
be so infatuated as to drive their noblest and bravest officers and men
into foreign service. An important official document still exists in the
State Paper Office, which was prepared by a Government spy, and which
details the names, rank, and qualifications of many of these gentlemen.
They were serving in Spain, Italy, France, Germany, Poland, and the Low
Countries. Don Richard Burke—strange that the first on the list of
Irish exiles should be of Anglo-Norman descent—was Governor of Leghorn,
and had seen great service in Italy and in the West Indies; "Phellemy
O'Neill, nephew to old Tyrone," lived with great respect in Milan. There
were one hundred able to command companies, and twenty fit to be made
colonels under the Archduchess alone. The list of the names would fill
several pages, and those, it should be remembered, were leading men.
There were, besides, to be considered, an immense number of Irish of the
lower classes, who had accompanied their chiefs abroad, and served in
their regiments. The report says: "They have long been providing of arms
for any attempt against Ireland, and had in readiness five or six
thousand arms laid up in Antwerp for that purpose, bought out of the
deduction of their monthly pay, as will be proved; and it is thought now
they have doubled that proportion by those means

The reason of the increased sacrifice they made for their country, was
probably the report that the moment was at hand when it might be
available. The movement in Ireland was commenced by Roger O'More, a
member of the ancient family of that name, who had been so unjustly
expelled from their ancestral home in Leix; by Lord Maguire, who had
been deprived of nearly all his ancient patrimony at Fermanagh, and his
brother Roger; by Sir Phelim O'Neill of Kinnare, the elder branch of
whose family had been expatriated; by Turlough O'Neill, his brother, and
by several other gentlemen similarly situated. O'More was the chief
promoter of the projected insurrection. He was eminently suited to
become a popular leader for he was a man of great courage, fascinating
address, and imbued with all the high honour of the old Celtic race. In
May, 1641, Nial O'Neill arrived in Ireland with a promise of assistance
from Cardinal Richelieu; and the confederates arranged that the rising
should take place a few days before or after All Hallows, according to
circumstances. In the meanwhile the exiled Earl of Tyrone was killed;
but his successor, Colonel Owen Roe O'Neill, then serving in Flanders,
entered warmly into all their plans.

The King was now obliged to disband his Irish forces, and their
commanders were sent orders for that purpose. They had instructions,
however, to keep the men at home and together, so that they might easily
be collected again if they could be made available, as, strange to say,
the so-called "Irish rebels" were the only real hope which Charles had
to rely on in his conflict with his disloyal English subjects. An
understanding was soon entered into between these officers and the Irish
party. They agreed to act in concert; and one of the former, Colonel
Plunket, suggested the seizure of Dublin Castle. The 23rd of October was
fixed on for the enterprise; but, though attempted, the attempt was
frustrated by a betrayal of the plot, in consequence of an indiscretion
of one of the leaders.

The rage of the Protestant party knew no limits. The Castle was put in a
state of defence, troops were ordered in all directions, and
proclamations were issued. In the meantime the conspirators at a
distance had succeeded better, but unfortunately they were not aware of
the failure in Dublin until it was too late. Sir Phelim O'Neill was at
the head of 30,000 men. He issued a proclamation, stating that he
intended "no hurt to the King, or hurt of any of his subjects, English
or Scotch;" but that his only object was the defence of Irish liberty.
He added that whatever hurt was done any one, should be personally
repaired. This proclamation was from "Dungannon, the 23rd of October,
1641," and signed "PHELIM O'NEILL."

A few days after he produced a commission, which he pretended he had
received from the King, authorizing his proceedings; but he amply atoned
for this ruse de guerre afterwards, by declaring openly and honorably
that the document was forged. The Irish were treated with barbarous
severity, especially by Sir Charles Coote; while they were most careful
to avoid any bloodshed, except what was justifiable and unavoidable in
war. Dr. Bedell, the good and gentle Protestant Bishop of Kilmore, and
all his people, were protected; and he drew up a remonstrance, from the
tenor of which he appears to have given some sanction to the proceedings
of the northern chieftains. The massacre of Island Magee took place
about this period; and though the exact date is disputed, and the exact
number of victims has been questioned, it cannot be disproved that the
English and Scotch settlers at Carrickfergus sallied forth at night, and
murdered a number of defenceless men, women, and children. That there
was no regular or indiscriminate massacre of Protestants by the
Catholics at this period, appears to be proved beyond question by the
fact, that no mention of such an outrage was made in any of the letters
of the Lords Justices to the Privy Council. It is probable, however,
that the Catholics did rise up in different places, to attack those by
whom they had been so severely and cruelly oppressed; and although there
was no concerted plan of massacre, many victims, who may have been
personally innocent, paid the penalty of the guilty. In such evidence as
is still on record, ghost stories predominate; and even the Puritans
seem to have believed the wildest tales of the apparition of
Protestants, who demanded the immolation of the Catholics who had
murdered them.