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one Dillon, a papist lord, soon after a chief rebel, with letters into Ireland ; and dispatches a commission under the great seal of Scotland, at that time in his own custody, commanding that they should forthwith, as had been formerly agreed, cause all the Irish to rise in arms. Who no sooner had received such command but obeyed, and began in massacre ; for they knew no other way to make sure the protestants, which was commanded them expressly; and the way, it seems, left to their discretion. He who hath a mind to read the commission itself, and sound reason added why it was not likely to be forged, besides the attestation of so many Irish themselves, may have recourse to a book, entitled, “ The Mystery of Iniquity.” Besides what the parliament itself in the declaration of “No more addreses” hath affirmed, that they have one copy of that commission in their own hands, attested by the oaths of some that were eye-witnesses,
nd had seen it under the seal: others of the principal rebels have confessed, that this commission was the summer before promised at London to the Irish commissioners; to whom the king then discovered in plain words his great desire to be revenged on the parliament of England.
After the rebellion broke out, which in words only he detested, but underhand favoured and promoted by all the offices of friendship, correspondence, and what possible aid be could afford them, the particulars whereof are too many to be inserted here; I suppose no understanding man could longer doubt who was “author or instigator” of that rebellion. In there be who yet doubt, I refer them especially to that declaration of July 1643, with that of “ No addresses," 1647, and another full volume of examinations to be set out speedily concerning this matter. Against all which testimonies, likelihoods, evidences, and apparent actions of his own, being so abundant, his bare denial, though with imprecation, can no way countervail ; and least of all in his own cause.
As for the commission granted them, he thinks to evade that by retorting, that "some in England fight against him, and yet pretend his authority.” But though a parliament, by the known laws, may affirm justly to have the king's authority inseparable from that court, though divided from his person,
it is not credible that the Irish rebels, who so much tendered his person above his authority, and were by
him so well received at Oxford, would be so far from all humanity, as to slander him with a particular commission, signed and sent them by his own hand.
And of the good affection to the rebels this chapter itself is not without witness. He holds them less in fault than the Scots, as from whom they might allege to have fetched “ their imitation ;” making no difference between men that rose necessarily to defend themselves, which no protestant doctrine ever disallowed, against them who threatened war, and those who began a voluntary and causeless rebellion, with the massacre of so many thousands, who never meant them harm.
He falls next to flashes, and a multitude of words, in all which is contained no more than what might be the plea of any guiltiest offender:-he was not the author, because “he hath the greatest share of loss and dishonour by what is committed.” Who is there that offends God, or his neighbour, on whom the greatest share of loss and dishonour lights not in the end? But in act of doing evil, men use not to consider the event of these evil doings; or if they do, have then no power to curb the sway of their own wickedness; so that the greatest share of loss and dishonour to happen upon themselves, is no argument that they were not guilty. This other is as weak, that “a king's interest, above that of any
other chiefly in the common welfare of his subjects ;” therefore no king will do aught against the common welfare. For by this evasion any tyrant might as well purge himself from the guilt of raising troubles or commotions among the people, because undoubtedly his chief interest lies in their sitting still.
I said but now, thateven this chapter, if nothing else, might suffice to discover his good affection to the rebels, which in this that follows too notoriously appears; imputing this insurrection to “ the preposterous rigour, and unreasonable severity, the covetous zeal and uncharitable fury, of some men ;” (by these “some men,” his continual paraphrase, are meant the parliament;) and, lastly, "to the fear of utter extirpation.” If the whole Irishry of rebels had feed some advocate to speak partially and sophistically in their defence, he could have hardly dazzled better; yet nevertheless would have proved himself no other than a plausible deceiver. And, perhaps (nay, more than perhaps, for it is affirmed and extant under good evidence, that) those feigned terrors and jealousies
were either by the king himself, or the popish priests which were sent by him, put into the head of that inquisitive people, on set purpose to engage them. For who had power “to oppress” them, or to relieve them being oppressed, but the king, or his immediate deputy? This rather should have made them rise against the king, than against the parliament.
Who threatened or even thought of their extirpation, till they themselves had begun it to the English? As for “
preposterous rigour, covetous zeal, and uncharitable fury,” they had more reason to suspect those evils first from his own commands, whom they saw using daily no greater argument to prove the truth of his religion, than by enduring no other but his own prelatical; and, to force it upon others, made episcopal, ceremonial, and common-prayer book wars. But the papists understood him better than by the outside; and knew that those wars were their wars. Although if the commonwealth should be afraid to suppress open idolatry; lest the papists thereupon should grow desperate, this were to let them grow and become our persecutors, while we neglected what we might have done evangelically to be their reformers : or to do as his father James did, who instead of taking heart and putting confidence in God by such a deliverance as from the powder-plot, though it went not off
, yet with the mere conceit of it, as some observe, was hit into such a hectic trembling between protestant and papist all his life after, that he never durst from that time do otherwise than equivocate or collogue with the pope and his adherents. *
He would be thought to commiserate the sad effects of that rebellion, and to lament that “the tears and blood spilt there did not quench the sparks of our civil” discord here. But who began these dissensions ? And what can be more openly known than those retardings and delays, which by himself were continually devised, to hinder and put back the relief of those distressed protestants ? which undoubtedly, had it not
* Burnett represents James I. as terrified into toleration by a story reported to him by Sir Dudly Carlton, who had been his ambassador in Spain, where, it seems, the priests were accustomed in their conversation to menace the king's life unless he became more tolerant to papists. This effectually cured the northern Solomon of his persecuting habits ; for, though he still continued to write against the catholics, his actions were in their favour. (History of his Own Times, i. 12.)
been then put back, might have saved many streams of those tears and that blood, whereof he seems here so sadly to bewail the spilling. His manifold excuses, diversions, and delays, are too well known to be recited here in particular, and too many:
But " he offered to go himself in person upon that expedition," and reckons up many surmises why he thinks they would not suffer him. But mentions not that by his underdealing to debauch armies here at home, and by his secret intercourse with the chief rebels, long ere that time everywhere known, he had brought the parliament into so just a diffidence of him, as that they durst not leave the public arms to his disposal, much less an army to his conduct. He concludes, “That next the sin of those who began that rebellion, theirs must needs be who hindered the suppressing, or diverted the aids.” But judgment rashly given ofttimes in volves the judge himself. He finds fault with those “ who threatened all extremity to the rebels," and pleads much that mercy should be shewn them. It seems he found himself not so much concerned as those who had lost fathers, brothers, wives, and children by their cruelty; whom in justice to retaliate is not, as he supposes, gelical,” so long as magistracy and war are not laid down under the gospel. If this his sermon of affected mercy were not too pharisaical, how could he permit himself to cause the slaughter of so many thousands here in England for mere prerogatives, the
crown, for surplices, the trinkets of his priests ; and not perceive his own
; zeal, while he taxes others, to be most preposterous and unevangelical ?
Neither is there the same cause to destroy a whole city for the ravishing of a sister, not done out of villany, and recompence offered by marriage: nor the same cause for those disciples to summon fire from heaven upon the whole city where they were denied lodging; and for a nation by just war and execution to slay whole families of them, who so barbarously had slain whole families before. Did not all Israel do as much against the Benjamites for one rape committed by a few, and defended by the whole tribe ? And did they not the same to Jabesh-Gilead for not assisting them in that revenge? I speak not this that such measure should be meted rigorously to all the Irish, or as remembering that the parliament ever
gewgaws of his
so decreed ; but to show that this his homily hath more craft and affectation in it, than of sound doctrine.
But it was happy that his going into Ireland was not consented to; for either he had certainly turned his raised forces against the parliament itself, or not gone at all; or had he gone, what work' he would have made there, his own following words declare. “He would have punished some;" no question; for some, perhaps, who were of least use, must of necessity have been sacrificed to his reputation, and the convenience of his affairs. Others he“ would have disarmed;” that is to say, in his own time: but “all of them he would have protected from the fury of those that would have drowned them, if they had refused to swim down the popular stream." These expressions are too often met, and too well understood, for any man to doubt his meaning. By the “fury of those, ” he means no other than the justice of parliament, to whom yet he had committed the whole business. Those who would have refused to swim down the popular stream, our constant key tells us to be papists, prelates, and their faction; these, by his own confession here, he would have protected against his puritan parliament: and by this who sees not that he and the Irish rebels had but one aim, one and the same drift, and would have forthwith joined in one body against us? He goes on still in his tenderness of the Irish rebels, fear
our zeal should be more greedy to kill the bear for his skin, than for any harm he hath done.” This either justifies the rebels to have done no harm at all, or infers his, opinion that the parliament is more bloody and rapacious in the prosecution of their justice, than those rebels were in the execution of their barbarous cruelty. Let men doubt now, and dispute to whom the king was a friend most-to his English parliament, or to his Irish rebels.
With whom, that we may yet see further how much he was their friend, after that the parliament had brought them everywhere either to famine or a low condition, he, to give them all the respite and advantages they could desire, without advice of parliament, to whom he himself had committed the managing of that war, makes a cessation; in pretence to re
; lieve the protestants, “overborne there with numbers ;” but, as the event proved, to support the papists, by diverting and drawing over the English army there, to his own service here