Sidebilder
PDF
ePub

O F

I R ELAND.

FROM THE

EARLIEST PERIOD,

TO THE

PRESENT TIME.:

I N A

SERIES OF LETTERS,

ADDRESSED TO

WILLIAM HAMILTON, Esq..

By WILLIAM CRAWFORD, A.M.

One of the Chaplains of the First Tyrone Regiment.

[merged small][ocr errors]
[graphic]

I5W

II I STORY

O F

I R ELAND.

LETTER I.

TH E inauspicious reign of Charles' the First commenced in the year sixteen hundred and twenty five.

Upon his accession, he found himself involved in a war with Spain and engaged in hostilities with the house of Austria for the recovery of the palatinate. The temper os his first parliament, suspicious of his unconstitutional designs, with respect to the liberties «>f the nation, was likely to encrease his difficulties. Encouraged by these circumstances and by a bull addressed to them by Pope Urban, in which he strongly dissuaded them from taking the oath of supremacy, the Roman Catholics of Ireland flattered themselves with the hope that more agreeable prospects were about to open to their view. Lord Falkland, who was continued in the government, and the council, having penetrated their sentiments, became uneasy that the military strength of the king

A? d°f* dom was so inconsiderable. In consequence of their representations, his Majesty encreased the army to five thousand foot and five hundred horse. To defray this additional expence, no constitutional provision had been made. Cha' les had recourse to an easy and a simple method of obviating this difficulty. Supplying the place of law by a stretch of prerogative, he quartered his troops on the people whom he obliged to supply them, not only with lodging, but with money and other necessaries. The Catholics resolving to avail themselves of the King's present situation made him an offer of a hundred and twenty thousand pounds to be paid in three years, provided he extended to them the benefit of certain graces which they specified. Charles, though all denominations of Protestants warmly opposed the measure, complied with the proposal and transmitted the graces to Lord Falkland and the council, engaging, under- the royal signet, that they should be confirmed in the ensuing parliament.

The principal of the graces were, that his Majesty's claim to any lands in Ireland should not extend farther back than to sixty years; that recusants who held of the crown should be permitted to sue their liveries, ouster le main and other grants in the court of wards; that their lawyers should be permitted to plead at the bar upon taking an oath, instead of the oath of supremacy, that they acknowleged and would defend Charles as their lawful King; that the people of Connaught who had surrendered their lands and whose patents had passed the great seal, but through the neglect of an officer of the court, not enrolled, and therefore subject to forfeiture, should be ,allowed to enrol them and exempted from all future claims; that the exactions and outrages of the soldiers were to be restrained and that persons obK..:• :' noxious noxious to law were not to be protected; that the fees of the King's officers and the power of the court of wards were to be limited within proper bounds. That no pretended privilege should exempt ecclesiastical lands from contributing to the support of government. That the demands of the reformed clergy were to be duly restrained and regulated. These and the other graces, too numerous to specify, though purchased at so expensive a rate, were quite equitable in themselves and calculated for the relief of the subject. But the sanction of the parliament was wanting to give them due force and efficacy, which, seemingly with this view, was summoned to meet upon the third of November following. But the causes and considerations, as enjoined by law, had not been previoufly transmitted. This omission was urged and the parliament did not assemble.. , In the character of Charles, disingenuity was a leading feature. He gave orders that the parliament, should be convened; this in appearance, discovered a disposition to please the recusants. A necessary form was omitted which defeated that design; this gratified the opposite party. Thus the graces were to rest upon the King's unconstitutional prerogative.

Mean while the recusants, determined to fulfil their part of the agreement with the King, were active in their endeavours to raise the promised subsidy. Pleased with this proof of their loyalty and so.* licitous to engage their assistance in carrying into execution the designs which he had formed against the liberties of his English subjects, he gave instructions* not to enforce with severity the penal statutes. Falkland chearfully obeyed an injunction so agreeable to his own gentle, benevolent dispositions. But though the Deputy was benevolent, policy, which often warps the mind from the ingenuous and honourable

A 3 path

« ForrigeFortsett »