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advise his Holiness that it was not good or profitable to the Catholic cause, that any liberty or toleration should be granted by the State of England to Catholics, and why not good for the Catholic cause? because not good for their own interest, for having given sad proofs of their temper, they did not without reason suspect that, if only loyal Catholics were tolerated, these so dangerous and to themselves only advantageous, principles must be abandoned.” Thus, we perceive that there was a foreign-influenced party working in England, and keeping up a state of irritation and rebellion against the Government, and therefore, King James's* Lord Treasurer was justified in saying, that by the testimonies of the Priests themselves, Elizabeth was cleared from the imputation of putting Papists to death for their consciences, seeing that in their own books they themselves confess, that they were executed for treason.
This digression into the History of England must be allowed, inasmuch, as it is necessary, in order to shew why the early years of the reign of Elizabeth were peaceful, and also to shew that the Penal Laws at first laid on the necks of the Romanists, were first called for by the dire necessity arising from their treasons. If these invasions, conspiracies, assassinations, were plotted and put in operation, in comparatively civilized England by foreign-influenced Priests-why may we not expect to hear of the same in Ireland, the Pope's peculiar patri. .mony, amongst a people, t concerning whom Camden says, “that at that period civility and discretion were strangers-robbery held as a piece of devotion, so that men never undertook mischief without sending up prayers to God to give them a good booty—who were so ignorant that they considered it no small holiness to reverence the hoofs of horses, and that the Lord's Prayer mumbled in the ear of a sick beast was cure enough
* I am indebted for this information to Sbaron Turner's History of Henry the Eighth.—A valuable antidote to the mistatements of Lingard, &c. &c.
In the celebrated conference before James the First, at Hampton Court, 1603, Dr. Reynolds applied for a suppression of unlawful and seditious books: the King perceiving that he meant those of the secular Priests and Jesuits of the Romish Church, told bim he was a better Collegeman than a Statesman, for such an application, and two of the Cabinet Ministers gave their separate reasons in vindication of permitting obnoxious books to be circulated. Lord Cecil remarked, that they were tolerated, because in them the title of Spain was confuled, and the Lord Treasurer observed, that Dr. Reynolds might bave observed another use in these books, namely, that how by the testimony of those Priests themselves, her late BIajesty and the State were cleared from the imputation of putting Papists to death for conscience only.'
+ As a specimen of the state of civilization of the Irish, when the Reforma. tion was introduced into the country, and of how much they owed to the Roman Catholics for softening their manners, take the following statement of Holingshed:
“The Lord Justice sent seven hundred men to the King at Callice, under the command of Captains Poer, Finglass, and Skurlock ; they were very serviceable to the King at Bulloign, and did much mischief to the French for being light of foot, they would often range twenty or thirty miles into the country, and as they returned would burn and destroy wberever they came they had a pretty trick to get a prey, wbich was to tie a bull to a stake, and then set fire about him, and as the fire scorched bim, the bull would bellow, and thereupon all the cattle within hearing would flock to him and so were taken-- these Irishmen would never give quarter.”
for its distemper. Therefore, from the day Pius the Fifth issued his famous bull against Queen Elizabeth, (and thereby, as O'Sullivan says, deservedly deprived her of her kingdom,) we must not expect (to use the words of Cox) any more quiet during her reign, but that the bigotted rebels, like virginal jacks, will start up one after another to disturb the government of a heretic Queen, and rescue themselves from the English laws and the Protestant religion, which are the two things they principally hated and abused. Consequently, the Pope in his capacity of sovereign of Ireland, created one Stukely. an English adventurer, Marquis of Leinster and Wexford, and furnished him with money and men to invade Ireland, which this extraordinary man misapplied, and joined another madman, Sebastian, King of Portugal, in his invasion of Morocco, where they both fell.
Again, Fitzgerald Earl of Desmond, starts up into rebellion, and writes to the Leinster Chieftains, and more especially to the famous Pheagh M Hugh, as follows:
“My well beloved friend, I commend me to you, it is so that I and my brother are entered into the defence of the Catholic faith,” and “ faith” he says, “ if you be afraid we should shrink from you after you shall enter into this cause, you shall understand that we undertook the matter in hand with great authority, both from the Pope's Holiness and from King Philip;" Desmond was not misinformed, a considerable body of troops attended by a posse of Priests, landed and fortified themselves in Kerry, who on being summoned by the Lord Deputy, made answer, that they were sent from the Pope and the King of Spain, to whom the Pope had given Ireland, for that Elizabeth had justly forfeited her title to the kingdom by her heresy, and that they would keep what they had got, and more if they could. The famous Nicholas Saunders was the principal Priest who accompanied this expedition, which came to an untimely end. The Spanish forces besieged at Smerwick by the Deputy, surrendered and were put to the sword, Saunders and other Priests fled into the mountains and died of starvation. Philip O'Sullivan recites a bull of Gregory the Thirteenth, to James Fitzgerald, offering to him and all his abettors a plenary pardon and indulgence from all their sins, in as full a manner as if he were fighting in the holy land against the Turks.
But the great religious war commenced in Ireland, when the Pope sent a plume of PhenIX feathers to Hugh O'Neal, by Matthew de Oviedo, a Spanish Franciscan Friar, who was a most active agent and turbulent incendiary of those days, and was afterwards appointed by the Papal See Archbishop of Dublin. In consequence of this commission from Rome, Hugh made a pilgrimage to visit a piece of the Holy Cross in Tipperary, where he was met by the Munster lords, and where was concerted that confederacy, cemented by Spanish gold, and aided by Spanish troops, which required the whole force and means of England to break asunder and defeat.
O'Neal's letter to Florence M.Carthy may be inserted here, as it is shout, and at the same time characteristic of his barbarism and spirit :
“ Our commendations to you M'Cartie ; moreover I send shortly to you according to our trust of you, that you will do a stout and hopeful thing against the PAGAN BEÁST, and therefore, our army is to go to Munster, and with the will of God we consent unto you, and will that you believe not any word from us for ever, before we write again unto you --for you shall see trouble enough in England by Englishmen itself-(here Tyrone alludes to the Earl of Essex) so as there shall be easiness by suffering these wars until May next, in respect of that it is now; and since this cause of Munster is left to you, (next under God) let no weakness or imbecility be found in you, and the time of help is near you and all the rest.-O'NEALE.” · O'Neal was not wrong. Instigated by the Popish Bishops of Clonfert and Killaloe, and by Archer the Jesuit—the Spaniards in large force again invaded the kingdom, took possession of Kinsale, and Don Juan D’Aquila, from this issued his proclamation, in which is contained the following reasons for bis attempt :
“ Ye know well that for many years since, Elizabeth was deprived of her king. dom, and all her subjects absolved from their fidelity by the Pope, unto wbom be that reigneth in the Heavens, the King of Kings hath committed all power, that he should root up, destroy, plant, and build in such sort, that he may punish temporal kings, is it sbould be good for the spiritual kingdom, even to their deposing." “ Therefore, my beloved, seeing that wbich you so many years desired and begged for with prayers and tears, and that now, even now Christ's Vicar upon earth, doth command you to take up arms for the defence of your faith, I admonish and exhort you all to come with your arms and weapons. Whosoever shall do this sball find us prepared, but whosoever shall remain in obedience to the English, we will per-, secute him as a heretic and as a hateful enemy to the Church, even with death.”
But all this confederacy was broken to pieces under the power of England, its energies wielded as they were, by such men as Mountjoy and Sir G. Carew. The foreign troops surrendered, the rebels were cut to pieces, or starved or banished; and of the incendiary Priests, Dominick Collins was hanged, Eugene M'Egan* died on the field of battle, where he was found with breviary in one hand, and sword in the other; others shared a similar fate ; the whole of Ireland by these l'apal intrigues, was reduced to such a state of barbarity, desolation, and destitution, that the recital of its state by Spenser and others, is enough to make the heart shudder, and the flesh to creep. And yet, this rebellion was quite conformable to Popish doctrine-for it received the commendation, and was carried on under the excitement of the famous Universities of Salamanca and Valladolid. The full approval of rebellion by these Doctors is too long to recite : amongst other strong things it says, that all those Catholics who take part with the English against Prince O'Neal, neither can obtain eternal salvation, nor shall be absolved from their sins by
Of this Eugene M'Egan or O’Hegan, who was appointed by the Pope Bishop of Ross, and Vicar Apostolical, it is worth while to observe, that he was a most important personage in this war; he was in bigh credit with the King of Spain ; be was empowered by the Pope to dispose of all ecclesiastical livings in Munster, and he ruled the poor Irish as be pleased. Such was his ardour in the Pope's cause, that wbenever be met with any who had sided with the Queen of England, he in bis great piety first had them consessed and absolved, and then presently in bis own sight put to death; this be esteemed a notable instance of bis Catholic de. votedness and sanctity.
any Priest, unless they first repent and forsake the English army. O'Sullivan, the Catholic historian of this fatal war-vaunts greatly of this authority of these Foreign Universities, he is about as proud of their approval, as some Romanists in our day have declared themselves to be of rather contrary doctrines, got up from certain Universities. Sullivan indeed, plumes his cause so much upon these decrees, that he accuses all who differ with them, and who desire to side with the Queen, as holding “ insanem et venenosam doctrinam.”.
Besides, Dominick Collins and Eugene O'Hegan, Fathers Archer, White, Raghter, Mulrony, O'Mahony, O’Dullany, were the priestly promoters of the ruin of their country.
The moment James ascended the throne of England, the foreign-influenced party set to work against him. À sermon was preached at Cork, asserting that he was not a lawful King who was not approved by the Pope. White, * a Friar, in his pie-bald dress as a Dominican, and attended by a long string of his brethren, proceeded to Lord Mountjoy's camp, to inform him that the citizens of Waterford would not obey any Prince who persecuted the Catholic religion. Consequently, many cities in Munster mounted their guns on the walls, and fired on the King's troops. O'Doherty was roused into rebellion, and James, was forced against his pacific and tolerant disposition to issue a proclamation against the Papists, which still was held more in terrorem over their heads, than carried into active execution.
James came to the throne in 1602 : nothing could be more tolerant than the character of this curious King, he had every wish to conciliate the Roman Catholics, and to reconcile them to his sway; "he would have been well pleased, says Hume, if by making some advances he could have effected an union with the Ancient Church; he strove to abate the acrimony of his subjects against the religion of their fathers, and he gave trust and preferment almost indifferently to his Catholic and Protestant subjects”-and yet, the Papal intriguers made the attempt to blow up this easy King and his Parliament. Some Popish writers have denied this plot, as well as they do every treason committed by themselves or their party. But as O'Connor, a Roman Catholic, says, there is no one fact in all English history more certain than that plot; it is the only incontrovertible treason* in James's reign.
* The Lord Mountjoy on this occasion entered into a discourse with White, which ripened into a curious controversy. White in support of Papal supremacy, cited a passage of Augustine, and it so happened that the Lord Deputy bad the works of this voluminous Father in bis tent, (we suspect that succeeding Viceroys did not incumber their equipage with such “ Vade Mecums,”) and he caused the volume to be sent for, and publicly shewed to all the company that the words cited by the Doctor were not Augustine's opinion, but were quoted by him as an objection, wbich in the same place he opposes and confutes; and the good Deputy drew the fair inference that he was a disingenuous Friar to quote that sentence as Augustine's judgment, when he knew that his opinion was directly contrary to it, whereupon the Fríar was confounded, the citizens ashamed, and the conference ended.--Cox, vol. ii. p. 6.
† Nothing perhaps, (says O'Connor) more lamentably discovers the dangerous influence of mistaken notions of religion artfully inculcated, than the melancholy fact that Digby, who was in other respects a man of gentle manners, writing to his
James, in order if possible to secure himself in future against similar machinations, proposed to his Romish subjects, his famous oath of allegiance, and concerning this oath, O'Connor remarks, that it is impossible for any honest man to read James's apology for this fair oath, which he thus proposed to Catholics after the powder plot, without acknowledging that he was very far from meaning to persecute their religion; this oath as it is not long, it may be well to lay before our readers :
"I— A. B. do truly and sincerely acknowledge, profess, testifie, and declare, in my conscience once before God and the world, that our Sovereign Lord the Kingis lawful and rightful King of this realm, and of all other of his Majesty's dominion and countries. And that the Pope neither of himself, nor by any authority of the See of Rome, or by any other means, or any other hath any power or authority to depose the King—or to dispose of any of bis Majesty's kingdoms or dominions ; or to authorize any Foreign Prince to invade or annoy him or his countries, or to discharge any of his subjects of their allegiance or obedience to his Majesty ; or to give licence or leave to any of them to bear arms, raise tumults, &c. &c. ; or to offer any violence or hurt to his Majesty's royal person, State, or Government-or to any of his subjects within his Majesty's dominions. I also swear from my heart, that notwithstanding any declaration or sentence of excommunication, or deprivation made or granted, or to be made or granted by the Pope or his successors, or by any authority derived or pretended, or to be derived or pretended from him or his See against the said King of his successors, or any absolution of the said subjects from their obedience, I will bear faith and true allegiance to his Majesty his heirs and successors, and them I will defend to the utmost of my power against all conspiracies and attempts whatsoever, which shall be made against his or their persons, their crown and dignity, by reason or colour of any such sentence, or declaration, or otherwise—and will do my best endeavours to disclose and make known unto his Majesty, bis heirs and successors, all treasons and traitorous conspiracies which I shall know or hear of to be against him or any of them; and I do further swear, that I do from my heart abbor, detest, and abjure, as impious and heretical, this damnable doctrine and position, that Princes which be excommunicated or deprived by the Pope, may be deposed or murdered by their subjects or any other whatsoever ; and I do believe, and in conscience am resolved, that neither the Pope nor any other person whatsoever hath power to absolve me of the oath or any part thereof, which I acknowledge by good and full authority to be lawfully administered to me, and do renounce all pardons and dispensations to the contrary, and all these things I do plainly and sincerely acknowledge and swear according to these express words by me spoken, and according to the plain and common sense and understanding of the same words without any equivocation, or mental evasion, or secret reservation whatsoever—and I do make this recognition and acknowledgment heartily, willingly, and truly, upon the true faith of a Christian,
SO HELP ME GOD. James fondly supposed that in his lenity, and at the same time ingenuity, he had thus framed an oath that no loyal man could re
wife after he was condemned to die for the gun-powder plot, says, “if I had thought that there had been the least sin in the plot, I would not have been of it for all the world, and no other cause drew me to bazard my fortune and my life, but zeal for God's religion;" and yet, good reader, this design was no less than to blow up King, Lords and Commons, to destroy both Houses of Parliament at one blow.-See Digby's original papers published by Secretary Coventry.