Historical Collections of Private Passages of State: Volume 8, 1640-41. Originally published by D Browne, London, 1721.
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The Nineteenth Article.
19. That the said Earl having Cared and Levied the said Impositions, and raised the said Monopolies, and committed the said other Oppressions in his Majesty's name, and as by His Majesties Royal Command; He the said Earl in May, the 15th year of His Majesties Reign, did of his own authority, contrive and frame a new and unusual Oath, by the purport whereof among many other things, the party taking the said Oath, was to swear, that he should not protest against any of His Majesties Royal Commands, but submit himself in all Obedience thereunto; which Oath he so contrib'd to enforce the same on the Subjects of the Scotish Nation, inhabiting in Ireland, and out of a hatred to the said Nation, and to put them to a discontent with His Majesty, and His Government there, and compelled divers of His Majesties said Subjects there, to take the said Oath, against their Wills, and of such as refused to take the said Oath, some he grievously fined Imprisoned, and others he destroyed and exiled; and namely the 10th of October, Ann. Dom.1639. He fined Henry Steward and his Wife, who refused to take the said Oath, 5000 pounds a piece; and their two Daughters, and James Gray, 3000 pounds a piece, and imprisoned them for not paying the said fines. The said Henry Steward, his Wife and Daughters, and James Gray, being the kings Liege people of the Scotish Nation, and divers others he used in like manner; and the said Earl upon that occasion did declare, that the said Oath did not only oblige them in point of Allegiance to His Majesty, and acknowledgement of His Supremacy only, but to the Ceremonies and Government of the Church established, and to be established by His Majesties Royal Authority; and said, That the refusers to obey, he would prosecute to the Blood.
Mr. Whitlock proceeded to open the 19th Article, setting forth in Substance as followeth.
That the King's Subjects of the Scotish Nation, have the same Benefit of Protection from His Majesty and His Laws, as His other Subjects have; since they are bound to the same Allegiance, to the same Obedience; and therefore what ought not to be done to any other of the King's Subjects, ought not to be done to them.
That a new Oath cannot be imposed, without Assent of a Parliament, yet my Lord of Strafford is pleased to enjoyn this Oath, to contrive it, to threaten them that desired to consider of it; he sends forth Commissions, to the Gentry in the Country to tender it, and such as refused were brought up by Pursivants and Officers to Dublin, and committed to Prison, and divers of them, rather than they would take this Oath, were fain to forsake their Families, their Estates, and Lands, and fly away, and were exiled the Kingdom.
That the Charge, particularly mentioning the sentencing of Henry Stuart his Wife, and two Daughters, and one James Gray, above the Age of 16, who for refusing this Oath, were Fined, Stuart himself 5000l. his Wife 3000l. his Daughters 3000l. a piece, and James Gray as much; and in their Sentence my Lord was pleased to declare himself so bitter against that Nation, and so much resolved, that this Oath should be taken by all of them (though against Law) that he publickly said, That those who refused to take the Oath, he would prosecute to the Blood.
That the Scotch Nation were Rebels and Traitors, and that if His Majesty should please to send him back to the Government of Ireland (he being then to come into England) he would root out the Scotish Nation Root and Branch. And further, did declare, That this Oath thus enjoyned, did bind to the Ceremonies of the Church, not only those that were established, but such as were to be established: So that the Oath had some Affinity to the Oath in this Kingdom, not long since.
He Answered, That he was very unwilling to give any Testimony in this Particular, because he knows there is a Petition for this Oath, to which Petition his Hand is among others, and therefore some perchance, who do not know the Passage of the Business, may think there was a Discordance, and a Disagreement between the Instrument under his Hand, and the Testimony he must give, being put to it upon Oath, but he hopes there shall none appear when he hath spoken.
That in April (as he remembers) 1639. My Lord Lieutenant, then Lord-Deputy, did write down Letters to the most Part of all the Noblemen and Gentlemen of the Scotish Nation, dwelling in Ireland, (in the Province of Ulster especially) amongst whom the Deponent received one Letter himself, and he was required by that Letter (as the rest, whose Letters were to one Effect) to repair to Dublin, 27 April, as he remembers, that his Lordship might confer with them about some Affairs, that did concern His Majesty's special Service, and therefore they were required not to fail to be there that Day. That thither they came, and being come, my Lord Viscount Mountgomery being not well in his Health, having got a Cold in his Journey, the said Lord Viscount sent to excuse himself to my Lord-Deputy, That he was not able to come abroad for a Day or two; and my Lord-Deputy sent him word he would he would come to his Lodging, and gave Warning to the rest of the Gentlemen, to meet his Lordship there the next Day at two of the Clock; that there they did all come, and there were the Bishops of Down and Raffo, and some others of the Clergy: And being met, my Lord-Deputy came thither and told them, He was there as their Friend, to acquaint them with some Things that did much concern them, and to give them his Advice; He did then tell them of great Disorders in Scotland, of great Jealousies raised against them, and that they who were present, might possibly be Favourers or Furtherers of those Distempers; but he added, That he hoped better of them: However, that it behoved them to do something to vindicate themselves from this Aspersion; and that they should offer it freely of themselves, and not stay till it were imposed by Authority. That he did insist further in his Speech, and insinuated to them, what was expected they should do, and that they should be Suitors for it. That an Oath was expected according to the Example of Scotland, as they had there joined in a Covenant.
That when his Lordship had ended, the Bishops of Raffo and Down, one seconding the other, gave his Lordship Thanks for his Lordship's Favour to them, and told his Lordship, That as those in Scotland had joined together, and conspired by an unlawful Oath, so they here would joyn in a lawful Oath in Opposition to that, and would petition for it to his Lordship. It was seconded by the Bishop of Down, and some others of the Clergy there, little being spoken by others. That the Bishop of Down desired he might draw it, but the Lord-Deputy put it on the Bishop of Raffo. That some of them thought it a little too hasty, and when my Lord was risen up, he (the Deponent) took on him to speak to his Lordship, and told him, The Things spoken of there, were not charged against the Nation, but against the Covenanteers in Scotland, and did not concern themselves: And therefore thought, under Favour, that it should not be amiss to think what they should do, before they appointed a Man to draw a Petition, or to this Effect.
That his Lordship was pleased to turn towards him something in Choller, and to tell him, Sir James Mountgomery, you may go Home and Petition, or not Petition if you will; but if you do not, or who doth not, or to this Effect, shall do worse. That they seeing his Lordship had resolved it should be so, there was no more said, The Bishop of Raffo went with the Petition in his Hand to some of them, being desirous to see it, to contribute their Advice to them, and somewhat suspecting this Train of the Gentry; that Night again the said Bishop met with my Lord Mountgomery, Sir William Stuart, Sir James Craig and himself, (the Deputy) and brought two Draughts of Petitions: The one, indeed, was down-right Railing, the other not very mild he thinks: Howsoever they did desire to have qualified it something in Words; but the Bishop told them, It was already so Cold, he was ashamed of it, and could not engross it, till he had shewed it my Lord-Deputy, to know whether he would accept of it; The next Morning some of them saw it with him, and took Exception at some bitter Words that were in it; and the Bishop said, It was not to be disputed; for my Lord-Deputy had seen it, and it was done with his good liking. After that it was engrossed, they met to have Signed it, and some took Exceptions, that there was too great a Latitude in it, and desired it might be entred, That they should be in the Case with other His Majesty's Subjects; but the Bishop said, He could after nothing, without my Lord-Lieutenant's Knowledge, and he would go to my Lord with it, and to my Lord Montgomery; They intreated to go along with him, and my Lord was willing these Words should be added, That it should be in equal Manner and Measure with other His Majesty's Subjects; so the Petition was ingrossed and signed, and was afterwards delivered to his Lordship: That then my Lord-Deputy desired them to appoint Five or Six of their Number to wait on his Lordship, and some of the Council the next Morning, to confer concerning the Oath and they made Choice of Six, the Lord Mountgomery, — Stuart, and these Two Bishops, Sir William Stuart, and himself, (the Deponent); when they came, his Lordship caused the Clerk of the Council to read the Oath that was to be Administred; and some other Debates they had; some offered some Motions to his Lordship for some Words by way of Explanation; as, That they should not protest against any of His Majesty's Royal Commands; and it was desired it might be explained, By just Commands, or Commands according to Law. My Lord did then tell them, They were not to expect any other Commands from His Majesty; the Oath was for no other Intent, and needed no Alteration. The Bishop of Raffo would have had more added, saying, The Oath was so mean, he would not come from his House to take it; and so my Lord-Deputy told him, The Oath had been well considered of, and needs no Alteration; That he, the Bishop, then desired a Copy of it carry to the Gentlemen that were not present, and were waiting for them at my Lord Mountgomery's Lodging. His Lordship was pleased to deny that; but would send the Clerk of the Council, who should bring the Oath and Read it, and bring it back again; and he did so.
After this, the next Day, or that Afternoon, they were appointed to come to the Council Board, and have the Oath Administred; That here they came, and my Lord himself was pleased to Administer the Oath to every one of us, two by two, or three by three. And this was the Manner of Administring it.
He Answered, That (soon after they were dismissed in May) Commissions came into the Country to certain Commissioners, for Administring the Oath, to all of that Nation, above the Age of Sixteen; and, he believes (whether by the main Commission, or private Instructions, he cannot tell) That it was ordered, it should be Administred both to Men and Women above that Age: And, they were all called at certain Days by the Commissioners: some were scrupulous, and thought in their Consciences, they could not take it; others, that were satisfied in their Consciences, did take it; and those that did not take it, the Commissioners were required to certify their Names, and Places of Residence, to my Lord-Deputy and Council, that they might be proceeded against, as Contemners of His Majesty's Royal Authority, according to the Proclamation, and Commission.
After the Proclamation had called them, some did appear, and they that did not, their Names were certified, and afterward Pursivants issued to apprehend them that did not appear, or them, who on Appearing, did refuse. He knows of many that fled away into Scotland, and very many that fled up and down in the Country, and many were Apprehended by the Pursivants, and carry'd up, and some he thinks were Censured.
In. do faithfully Swear, Profess, and Promise, That I will Honour and Obey my Sovereign Lord King CHARLES, and will bear Faith and true Allegiance to Him, and will defend and maintain His Regal Power and Authority; and that I will not bear Arms, nor do any Rebellious or Hostile Act against Him, or Protest against any His Royal Commands; but submit my self in all due Obedience thereunto: And, that I will not enter into any Covenant, Oath, or Bond of mutual Defence, or Assistance, against all Sorts of Persons whatsoever; or into any Oath, Covenant, or mutual Defence, or Assistance against any Person whatsoever, by Force, without His Majesty's Soveraign and Regal Authority. And, I do renounce all Covenants, contrary to what I have Sworn and Promised. So help me God in Christ Jesus.
Whence Mr. Maynard observed, from these Words, That they shall not Protest against any of His Majesty's Royal Commands. That he believed all Men were satisfied, that His Majesty never did, nor will Command any Thing unlawful; but what a subordinate Minister may Command in His Majesty's Name, and publish, as His Command, in Ireland, their Lordships have heard enough of, and that may make them tender to take the Oath; besides, the Oath being new, it is conceived to be against Law.
He Answersed, That he was one that received a Letter from my Lord Lieutenant upon that account; and that he, as well as the rest, were required to be all at Dublin at a certain Day; and, being there, and my Lord Mountgomery being a little sick, and not able to go abroad, desired their Excuse for a Day or two. My Lord Deputy was pleased to give Command, That all that were written for, might be at my Lord Mountgomer y's Lodging: And, at the Time appointed, my Lord-Lieutenant came, and at his coming he called them together, and showed the Dissenters in Scotland, and desired that they would show themselves Faithful and Loyal Subjects to their Master; and that it behoved them, at their own Desire, to Petition for it; whereupon my Lord Bishop of Down, Raffo, and some others of the Clergy being there, did second my Lord's Speech, and told them, That as they Rebelliously proceeded in Scotland, in that the Scots had taken in Hand against the King; so they would do well by Petition, and by Oath to his Lordship and the Council, to shew their Willingness towards their Master's Service: So my Lord-Lieutenant was pleased to take hold of my Lord Down's Speech; and my Lord Down desired, he might be the Drawer of the Petition. But my Lord perceiving him a little too vehement, told him Smilingly, That he would recommend that to the Bishop of Raffo: So the Bishop of Raffo was appointed for the Drawing up of that Petition. The next Day they desired to peruse the Petition, before it went to my Lord; and, after they had perused it, they went in to my Lord-Lieutenant with it; after he had seen the Petition, he mended something in it; and, among the rest, he remembers, the Bishop of Raffo told him, That my Lord had put in, That these that were here, should be of no worse Condition, than the Rest of His Majesty's Subjects. The next Day the Petition was Ingrossed, and Signed by them, and Presented to my Lord-Lieutenant: Afterwards there were two Noblemen, two Bishops, and two Gentlemen, appointed to go to my Lord concerning the Oath, and they desired a Copy of the Oath. My Lord-Lieutenant sent Sir Paul Davies out to my Lord Mountgomery, and it was Read to them all; and they were commanded to attend at the Council-Table, and my Lord gave them the Oath.
And Mr. Whitlock observed, That they did produce these Witnesses the rather, because my Lord of Strafford says, in his Answer, They willingly came to Dublin, and were Suitors for the Oath. Whereas my Lord sent for them; when they were there, my Lord persuaded them; threatned them, contrived the Oath himself; altered the Petition; appointed who should draw it; which disproves what is in his Answer alledged.
To prove, That because divers of the Scotish Nation were tender, and loth to take the Oath, or submit to all the Commands of my Lord of Strafford (though they would to the King's) they fled the kingdom, and left their Estates.
He Answered, That he could speak to this Particular clearly of his own Knowledge; for then my Lord was pleased to insert him as a Commissioner in the said Commission, and he was there sometimes, and beheld the Execution of it. He did likewise see the Multitude (when the Oath was generally press'd on several Commands from my Lord-Deputy to enforce it) did leave their Dwellings and Habitations, their Corn on the Ground, and their Cattel, and fled away; but, whether into Scotland, or no, he could not precisely say; but so it was reported: but, that Multitudes went away, he knew to be certainly true.
He answered, That he cannot precisely charge himself with it, for the Instructions are out of the way; but that was (as he verily remembers) part of the Instructions, That they should have the Oath Read over to them, but no Copies delivered to them at all.
Mr. Whitlock then proceeded to the Matter of the Sentence, against Stuart and Gray, who were Imprisoned, Fined five times more than the value of their Estates: detained in Prison a very long time, very hardly and cruelly used; and, on this Sentence, were the words spoken by my Lord of Strafford, which shows his Rancour to the Scotch Nation.
He Answered, That on the 10th of October, 1639, after the King's Attorney, Sir George Ratcliffe, and many other Lords and Noblemen, had given their Sentence concerning this Oath, many of them pleading to make it High-Treason; and, that it was a merciful Proceeding against Mr. Stuart, his Wife, and two Daughters, and Gray, in that Court: My Lord Primate came to shew, that if it had been against the first part of the Oath (to deny Allegiance and Supremacy to His Majesty) it had been so: but being against the second part, they were to be Judged in that Court. My Lord of Strafford told my Lord Primate, he was mistaken, and that the Bishop of Derry had said well, in that they would not Abjure all other Oaths, Bonds, Covenants whatsoever, it was a palpable High-Treason, as if it were against the first part of the Oath. Thereupon my Lord Said, These People are Mad: and I know not how to express my self, without going beyond my self, they have almost made me lose my self. But, says he, Mr. Stuart, now you have heard my Lord Primate thus much, What can you speak for your self? Mr. Stuart Answered, He was willing to take the first part of the Oath; but, in that Oath seemed to bind them, not only in Point of Allegiance and Supremacy, but likewise in Point of Ecclesiastical Duties, and therefore he durst not take it: My Lord told him again, He (the said Mr. Stuart) was not mistaken, but had judged right; the Oath was not only intended to bind them to Allegiance and Supremacy, for that they had other Oaths, but likewise to be obedient to Ecclesiastical Ceremonies of the Church, either established, or that should be established by His Majesty's Royal Command: And, that whosoever would be obedient to the Ecclesiastical Orders of the Church, he would lay his Hand under their Feet to do them Good; but whosoever would resist, he would prosecute them to the Blood.
He Answered, He remembers my Lord said, They had caused him to forget himself; He said also, That they were Traitors and Rebels: And, that if His Majesty would honour him so much, as to send him back again, he would eradicate Root and Branch even all of that Nation out of the Kingdom of Ireland, saving such Lords and others that had taken the Oath.
He Answered, That it is not known to him; but, he conceives Gray was not worth a Hundred Pound; for he lived on the Maintenance of Mr. Stuart in the Prison: And he knows not whether they paid any thing of the Fine or no.
He Answered, He was in Dublin, when Mr. Stuart, his Wife, and two Daughters, and James Gray, were brought by the Serjeant at Arms from their House to Dublin, where they remained Prisoners in his Custody, and were thence carry'd one by one to Mr. Attorney, and Examined by him; after their Examinations taken, they were called to the Court of Star-Chamber, and proceeded against Oretenus. At which Hearing, he (the Deponent) was; And after the rest of the Lords had, delivered their Opinions, he heard my Lord-Deputy deliver his likewise; and his in Substance was; He consented, in fine, to that the Lords had laid before, viz. 5000 /. on Stuart, 5000l. on his Wife, 3000l. a-piece on his Daughters, and 3000l. on Gray: And my Lord express'd himself, That he wanted Terms to express the Heinousness of this Cause; and, that he was to leave his Sword; but if it pleased His Majesty to return him thither again, he hoped to have such, as would not Conform themselves to the Discipline of the Church, rooted up Stock and Branch.
He said, He declared he was then to leave his Sword, and if His Majesty would return him thither again, such as would not Conform themselves to the Government of the Church, who were of the Scotish Nation, He hoped to root them up Stock and Branch; or Words to that Effect.
Mr. Whitlock did then sum up the Evidence; That he conceives it proved, that my Lord of Strafford contrived the Oath; sent for them of the Scotch Nation by Letter, and then wrought with them to make it their own Work, and Suit (though it was his Command) and, by Threats to some of them, that did but desire to consider of it: That divers of the Scotch Nation being tender in their Consciences to take the Oath, it being a new Oath, and tendered without Authority of Parliament; and so, rather than they would take it, were forced to leave their Habitations, their Corn standing, with all their Goods and Fortunes, and to fly out of the Kingdom: That Mr.Stuart, his Wife, and Daughters, and one James Gray, were Sentenced very deeply for refusing this Oath; and, that my Lord of Strafford declared, That this Oath extended to the Ceremonies of the Church established, and to be established; That the Scotch Nation were Rebels and Traytors; not going to any particular Man, but the Nation in general. And, that if His Majesty would send him back again he would root them out Root and Branch.
This is to take a Power far above the Law; this is to bind their Consciences by an Oath, and to force them to that which they are tender of; the Execution of this with so much Rigor and Cruelty, shows the Strength of my Lord of Strafford's Design to alter the Laws, and to do it with a strong Hand, with all his Force, and with all this Cruelty. And so my Lord of Strafford's Answer was expected.
That almost every new Article sets forth a new Treason, that (for his Part) he never heard of before: But, for this, that is now the Treason, and concerns the Administring of an Oath to such of the Scotch Nation as were in Ireland. He, the Defendant, besought their Lordships in the first Place, to take into Consideration, the Time when this Oath was Administred, because of something else, that in the Conclusion, for his further Justification, he shall be bold to offer to their Lordships; but, he will begin with that which is Matter in hand, hand, which though he cannot say was the true Reason, that made him first think of it; yet was a sufficient Reason of it self, if. there had been nothing else.
The Proclamation for this Matter he remembred was Dated 20th of May, 1639, and, in what Condition the King's Affairs then stood, their Lordships, and my Lord Steward in particular, who was General, are very well able to call to mind, and what Fears there were of the ill Events of the Things then in hand. The Apprehensions were, That the Scots being a great Body in Ireland (and not so few, he is persuaded, as 100000, by reason of their nearness to their own Country, confining upon it) might, perhaps, have Intelligence and Ocurrence with their Countrymen, called, Those of the Covenant. And, this was the Sense of all that were Ministers of that State under the King, as well English as I ish, and even those of their own Nation. Thereupon they entred into Consideration, how to secure that Kingdom, and settle Things in Quiet.
Besides, there was a Man afterwards condemned of Treason, for having a Plot and Design to have seized on Knock Fergus Castle, and delivered it to a great Man in Scotland (whom by Lord said he would not name) for which he lost his Life afterwards.
Robert Lord Dillon being asked, Whether he and the State of Ireland were not very apprehensive of the Danger, that might happen to the Kingdom of Ireland, if the Scots should declare themselves any way to the disquieting of that Kingdom?
He Answered, That about that Time there were some Advertisements out of the North, of particular Meetings, and Contrivances of some Plot or other by the Scots, which made the State very apprehensive, that there might be Danger ensuing, and that the Consequence would be ill.
He Answered, It was debated at the Board, and concluded, That it would be a great Security and Obligation on those of the Scotch Nation in Ireland, to keep them from Treating, or Concluding any Thing together, if there should be any Invasion.
Being asked, Whether it was not thereupon resolved, To Consult the Principal Gentry of that Nation, and to speak with, them? and, Whether my Lord of Strafford's Letters were sent in pursuance thereof?
Sir Philip Mainwaring being asked to the same Point, Answered, That at the Time the Proclamation Issued, he was in England, which was the 16th or 20th of May; But, before he came from Ireland, there were very many Apprehensions, that Inconveniences might arise, and many Considerations in Council, which Way to prepare and prevent them.
Answered, That there were at that Time some Apprehensions and Fears of Danger, that might arise from the People of the Scotch Nation, in respect of their Numbers there, left they should adhere to them of the Covenant in Scotland, and thereby endanger the Kingdom of Ireland at that Time: And therefore it was debated at the Council Table, That some Oath or Bond might be made, that might divert them from joyning in the Scotch- Covenant; and thereupon it was resolv'd, That the principal Noblemen) and Gentlemen of Scotland, that were then in Ireland, should be sent for, and there dealt withal, both to express their Loyalty and Service to the Nation of Ireland, by their due Obedience, and also to offer some Means that might be Security to the King and themselves.
My Lord of Strafford here added, That he speaks it truly (to the Honour of that Nation be it spoken) the Oath was taken with much Chearfulness, and not any Man made Scruple in the whole Business, to his Understanding, save only Sir James Mountgomery, but took it with all the Readiness in the World. This is as true as he lives, and he thinks he speaks it for their Honour; and, were he one of the Temporal Men in that Kind, he should be very unwilling to be asked, Whether the Bishops had been more ready to give Allegiance to His Majesty, than himself? And he thinks, he that asked the Question, doth them a great deal of Prejudice in it.
The Petition was chearfully brought to him to be looked over, and to have his Opinion how he liked it. It was brought him by my Lord Mountgomery, Sir James Mountgomery's Brother, and some others, whom he remembers not. But these Words he remembers particularly in it, An offering of their Lives and Fortunes, for vindicating the Authority of Regal Power; which he said was too general; and though they intended it well, might be turned too strictly on them, and therefore he desired, it might be qualified with these Words: In equal Manner and Measure with other His Majesty's Subjects; and the Words were put in by him, as he is sure my Lord Mountgomery would justify.
The Horror apprehended by the Petitioners, His Majesty's Subjects of the Scotish Nation inhabiting in Ireland, for the Covenant sworn by some of- their Countrymen in Scotland, without His Majesty's Authority and Consent.
They crave leave to vindicate themselves From so great a Contagion, and desire his Lordship to prescribe a Way by Oath or otherwise, to free themselves from these Proceedings, to declare their Acknowledgment of the King's Regal Power, and their Dislike of that Covenant, and of all other Covenants entred into, &c. without His Majesty's Regal Authority, which they are desirous to manifest by offering their Lives and Fortunes, to vindicate the Honour, &c. of their Sovereign, which they are ready to do in equal Manner and Measure, with other His Majesty's Subjects, &c. and divers Names were to the said Petition subscribed.
In Consideration of which Petition, we cannot but commend the Wisdom of the Petitioners, which we will not fail humbly to represent to His Majesty and for that we know many of this Kingdom, have expressed good Affection to His Majesty and His Service, and dislike those Disorders: We hold it fit, &c. to free them the better from the Crimes and Scandals which their Countrymen have gone into, as also to free them from all Prejudice, and to approve to the King, and to the whole World, their Allegiance to him and his Regal Power, and the Dislike of that unlawful Oath and Covenant: We do therefore ordain, That all and every Person of the Scotch Nation, that inhabit, or have Estates, or any Houses, Lands, Tenements, or Hereditaments within Ireland, shall take the Oath herein expressed on the Holy Evangelists, on Pain of His Majesty's high Displeasure. The Tenor of which Oath follows, &c. To several select Persons, &c. Authorizing them to call before them, and administer the Oath to every Person of the Scotch Nation, &c. At such Time and Place &c. And such Instructions as shall be in that Behalf given by the Deputy Council, &c. And to certify the Names of all that take the Oath, and if any refuse to certify their Names, Quality, and Residence to the Lord-Deputy, &c. And there is a Command, that That all the Scotch Nation do appear before the said Commissioners, at Times by them to be appointed, and to take the said Oath before them and that all Persons may have due Notice, we think fit this be published, Dated May 1639.
He Answered, That about the Time, when it was supposed the King was in the Field of Berwick, there was an Advertisement from Knock-Fergus, That one Trueman had writ a Letter, for betraying the Castle there the Party that sent the Discovery was to be employed in the Letter, and he informed, That there were the Hands of Twenty that should have subscribed it: The Letter was conceived to be voluntarily from Trueman, and not sollicited out of Scotland.
In. Do faithfully Swear, Profess, and Promise, That I will faithfully y my Sovereign Lord King CHARLES, &c. and, defend and maintain His Royal Authority; and that I will not bear Arms, nor do any rebellious Act against him, nor profess against any His Royal Commands, &c. And that I will not enter into any Covenant or Band, &c. Of mutual Defence or Assistance against any Person, &c. or into any Covenant, Bond of mutual Defence or Assistance whatsoever, without His Majesty's Sovereign and Regal Authority. And I do renounce and abjure all Covenants, contrary to what is here sworn, professed and promised.
And he submits it to their Lordships Wisdom and Justice, what Offence this had been for a Deputy of Ireland in a Time thus conditioned for securing the publick Peace of that Kingdom, where he serves the Crown upon such Apprehensions as these, fairly without any Constraint or Violence offered, to endeavour by such a manner of Means as this, to secure the King of the Royalty and Allegiance of His Subjects. To procure it to these Ends, by these Ways, at such a Time, how this can be strained to be High Treason, he confesses he does not well understand; especially since he is confirmed in that Opinion, by the Allowance given of it here in England, as, by the Oath read appears; And, if all this had been done by him solely as Deputy, by the Power of the Commission he had from His Majesty, where should be the Crime that should rife so high, as to convince him of Treason ? But this is not all, he has something else to say for himself, and that is, the King's Letter of His Majesty's own Hand-writing, as followeth.
Considering the great Number of Scots that are in Ireland, and the dangerous Consequences may follow, if they should joyn with the Covenanteers in Scotland; I hold it necessary that you use your best Endeavour, to try them by an Oath, not only to disclaim their Countrymens Proceedings, but likewise, never to joyn with any in Covenant, or otherwise against Me, To which Purpose I Command you, to frame and administer such an Oath, to the abovesaid Intent, to my Scotish Subjects of that Kingdom, that I may know the well from the ill-affected of that Nation, of which fail not, as you love my Service. And so I rest, Your assured Friend Ch. R.
And this, he conceives, doth clearly justify him in all his Proceedings. That none can administer an Oath, but by Authority of an Act of Parliament, is, as he conceived, an Ignorance: And that upon a Command, and being not against Law, but intended for the better Preservation of the Peace of the Kingdom; a Deputy of Ireland might do it: And if he hath failed, he shall willingly undergo any Punishment, since it was an Act of Obedience, and if it were to do again (being informed as he then was) he must obey, and he had rather suffer in obeying His Majesty, than dispute with His Commands in that kind.
To that he can say no more, but that he delivered his Opinion concerning them, as the rest, in the Castle-Chamber, where the Deputy hath no more Voices, than such as my Lord Keeper hath in the Star-Chamber, a Casting-Voice, if the Voices be equal, and otherwise but a single Voice; and the Truth is, that the whole Court did agree in it.
And for their Fine, one of their own Witnesses says, That he delivered his Opinion,'as concurring ´with the rest of the Court; so that the Fines were set before it came to him to vote. And the greatness of the Fine, was only to shew the greatness of the Offence, and not with respect to their Persons, or with any Purpose to take the Fines of the Parties; for when it shall be examined, it will appear, that little of that hath been paid or looked after, for they might have had their Pardon the next Day, if they would have taken the Oath; And if he shall refuse the Oath of Allegiance, shall instantly incurr the Penalty of a Pramunire, the Fine was very moderate in this Case.
My Lord Primate would have been a Witness in this Cause, but he is sick, and therefore it may well stand with their Lordships Favour and Justice to deferr this point, till he may be examined, and heard about it.
These Words he absolutely deny'd; and so, under Favour, he said, he must do still, being well assured, he never spake them; and he is privy to his own Heart so far, that he can as truly say, he never thought them. He knows very well what he owes to that Nation, as being the Native Country of His Majesty; and that Respect, if there were nothing else, is sufficient for him to wish to it all Happiness and Prosperity, which he doth from his Heart.
Besides, he knows there be many of that Nation, most Faithful and Loyal Subjects, he trusts there are Few amongst them otherwise; and therefore for him to say, The whole Nation are Rebels and Traitors; certainly were the Speech of a Man frantick, and out of his Wits, rather than of a Man in his Senses: For though he hath some Infirmities, of Hastiness in him, yet he is not so divested of Reason and Understanding, as to speak like a mad Man, especially in Things of this Nature.
His Lordship repeated it, That he never spake them, never thought them, nor ever wished any Thing to that Nation, but Honour and Happiness in all his Life; nor hath he any manner of particular Exception against them, either in general or particular. Besides, he never received Personal Wrong from any of that Nation; he hath received many Courtesies from some of them; and therefore owes them no Animosity, but all the Respects in the World.
But when it comes to the Proof, that is sufficiently justified; for nothing is proved of that they charge him with, and when he hath shown the Weakness of the Proof offered to convince him of them, he shall offer a Witness or two, that will absolutely clear him. Nor did he speak any thing whilst he was in Ireland, concerning the Nation in general, but whatsoever he spake, was concerning the Faction in it, and it is an easy Matter for a Man at a Distance, to mistake one Word for another; and when he spoke of the Faction there, it was with a great deal of more Moderation, and better Phrase than the Words charged.
For Sir James Mountgomer, he hath said little as to this Matter, for he was not there, nor speaks at all, as if he (the Lord of Strafford) should have carry'd himself in that Business, otherwise than became him; only himself confesses, when Sir James would have some Words put into the Oath (Of lawful and just Commands) he (the Earl of Strafford) said, That that was needless, for they could expect no Commands form His Majesty, but what were lawful and just, and such is the Wisdom and Justice of the King as he dares say they will always be so; and the Words of the Oath are, They shall be so far complying with these Commands, as in due Obedience they are bound and obliged to be. So it was not Caca obedientia. Sir James says, That he (the Earl of Strafford) did administer the Oath. This one single Testimony; but to tell their Lordships plainly the Truth, he confesses he did give that Oath, being not only obliged by the Council, but they directing him, and that the Petition was not got forcibly from them, it appears evidently, for there is nothing against it.
Sir John Clotworthy says, That on the Oath administred, great Multitudes went away, but he names not one of that Multitude, and if they did go, who could help it ? If they would go away, rather than give such a Pledge of their Allegiance, he should have been loth to have restrained them, to make them stay against their Wills.
For the Instructions that went with the Commissions, Sir John Clotworthy very truly says, They were under the Hands of himself and all the Council; but what these Instructions were, he cannot expressly say; and that, under Favour, he conceives is no Witness, and so is no Charge on him.
But to express his Rancour against the Scotish Nation, next come the Words proved by Richard Salmon the Schoolmaster, and he swears positively and directly, That he (my Lord of Strafford) spake these Words the 10th of October 1639. The plain Truth is, That he (the Earl of Stafford) was come into England in September before; and if that Man shall notwithstanding, undertake positively to swear that individual Day, he is less to be credited. The said Time of his coming into England was confirmed by two Witnesses.
For the Words themselves, That the Scotch Nation are Rebels and Traitors, and that he will root them out Root and Branch, the Witness is a single Testimony; their Lordships see how true he is in the first Part of it, and he is equally true in the second.
The other Testimony, is one John Lostus¸ and he says, My Lord of Strafford wanted Terms to express the Heinousness of that Offence, and he hoped to have such of the Scotch Nation, as would not submit to the Ecclesiastical Government, rooted out Stock and Branch from that Kingdom. And this (said my Lord) is quite another Thing, and no way agreeing with the former, but nearer the Truth, and far from rooting out the Scotch Nation; for there are but Few that submit not to the English Church-Government.
So there is left only one single Testimony of the Schoolmaster, that hath not learned his Lesson perfectly, but is taken tardy, as if he were a Scholar; and the other makes it quite another Business: And as they have offered these Things, and have not proved them, by more than one single Testimony, and he a very infirm one; He, my Lord of Strafford, besought their Lordships that he might call for a Witness or two, that were there, and heard all that passed.
Sir Philip being asked, What the Words were, and of what Nature they were, whether they were not restrained to the Faction of the Covenanteers, and them that would not take the Oath in Ireland, and not the Nation it self?
He Answered, That he was present that Day, and fate within the Court, and within hearing, so that he heard every Word that fell from my Lord-Deputy: It is true, his Speech there was very long, but he shall repeat no more of it, than that he conceives pertinent to the present Occasion, that is, Whether he should say these Words, Against the whole Nation, or speak only to the Faction, and properly, and pertinently, shun the Word Nation. It was on the Occasion of Mr. Stuart, who stood at the Bar with his Wife and Daughters, and Gray; My Lord telling him, He was sorry, that bearing the Name he did, he should be the only Man that carry'd himself with that Disobedience; and my Lord expatiated very much, and in Conclusion said,
That Scotish Nation (with Respect I speak of it) for I know there be among them gallant and worthy Persons, and I have great Experience of them, and of the Loyalty and Faith they bear to their Sovereign; but there is a Faction amongst them, which I shall endeavour, as near as I can, to bring to that Obedience, at least, to keep them that are within this Kingdom, to that Obedience, Loyalty, and Duty, that Subjects ought to bear.
Being asked, Whether my Lord did not express himself at that Time, that he would not take on him to judge any. thing of the Action in Scotland, not knowing the Law of that Kingdom; but such of that Nation, as are here in Ireland; if they will not submit to the Government of Ireland, he will do the best he can, they shall not stay here?
He Answered, That it is very true, my Lord-Deputy did at that Time speak to that Purpose, as near as he can remember in Truth (viz.) That he did not know the Laws nor Customs of that Kingdom; therefore would say nothing to them; but for so much as concern'd the Kingdom of Ireland, and the keeping the King's Subjects in Loyalty and Obedience there, he would do his best to preserve that.
He Answered, That he confesses, it hath been his Custom (and it may be it is an ill one) never to mind Words spoken in the Place, unless he supposes he shall be called to Account for them: He remembers my Lord spake of the refusing the Oath, and of some Rigor to them that should refuse it; but for particular Words, he remembers them not.
He Answered, That he was at the Censure, but he cannot burden his Memory with any the Words that tend to this Question; It was a great while ago, and he little thought they should come to any Recapitulation of them, and in Truth he doth not remember them.
Answered, That coming from the Castle Chamber, waiting on my Lord Deputy to the Castle, where many Dined, and all that had been Judges; and Mr. Wainsford, the Master of the Rolls, took Occasion to speak to my Lord-Deputy, in his (the said Sir Philip's) Hearing, and commended him for carrying himself with that Caution, that he had no way reflected on the Nation, but the Faction in that Kingdom, and had shunned the Words that might reflect on the Nation.
And so his Lordship concluded his Defence, and said, He hoped that there was nothing proved that should touch him so deeply as Treason; for if the obeying the Commands of this Case be so great a Crime, he must confess, if it were to do again (being not better informed by wiser Men, tho' hereafter he may be better informed, and prevent it) he should be that Traitor over again, and do the self-fame Thing again: And therefore if he had done it out of Ignorance, he hopes their Lordships will not look on him as having any evil Intention or wicked Purpose, but to serve His Majesty with Faithfulness, which he hopes will procure an easier Judgment from their Lordships, than to think of a High Treason in this Article.
That in his Answer to my Lord of Strafford's Defence, he shall begin with that, which his Lordship was pleased to mention last, and also at the beginning, That this should not be accounted a Treason, he knows not the Illegality of it, and if it were to be done again, he would do it on that Command. Whence Mr. Whitlock observed, That his slighting, or rather justifying of this Offence, when he is told in this great Presence, That it is against Law, and will be made good, and appear to be against Law, is a great Aggravation of the Offence.
It is well known, That a new Oath cannot be imposed without Assent in Parliament. It is Legislativa potestas; The Oath of Allegiance is as ancient as our Allegiance, and nothing needed to have been added to that: And, had it been tendered to them, as it might have been by Law, this would have performed the King's Command, which, under Favour, went no farther, and would have been sufficient Security of what was doubted and feared: But, my Lord of Strafford will go farther; the Oath that the Law enjoyns doth not please him, he must have a new one framed by himself, and published by his Authority, thereby to make his Authority equal to an Act of Parliament.
'Tis indeed believed, there were some Apprehensions of Dangers in Ireland, by the great Numbers of Scots there, and a Covenant in Scotland then Sworn; but that Covenant is not to be meddled withal now. The Charge enforced against my Lord of Strafford, is not his Care of preventing Danger to the Kingdom, but that he caused a new and unusual Oath to be imposed; and particularly, That they should submit to all the King's Royal Commands.
The Committee confess, and think, No Man had ever yet a Heart to doubt, That the King would command any Thing that should be against Law: But, it hath been sufficiently proved, That my Lord of Strafford (a Subordinate Minister under the King) hath published his own Commands in the King's Name, which are not Justificable, nor according to Law: And that, under Favour, might be a good Cause for the Scots, to be tender of taking his Oath; knowing, that these Commands here, were not His Majesty's immediate Commands, but the Commands of my Lord of Strafford, which they saw so many times unlawful and exorbitant.
My Lord of Strafford hath produced divers Witnesses, to prove, It was debated on at Council-Board; And, that the Scots did chearfully take the Oath: But, in this, he hath laboured to disprove his own Answer, which is, That the Scots came up, and desired to have an Oath; whereas it appears, the Council. Table thought fit to send for them by Letters, under his Lordship's Hand; and it was propounded to them to take such an Oath.
He says, Himself put these Words into the Petition; In equal Manner and Measure with other His Majesty's Subjects: Which shows, That my Lord of Strafford himself had the Perusal and Correction of this Petition, which is a good Proof that he contrived the Oath.
The Petition doth only beseech my Lord-Deputy, That an Oath might be framed to vindicate themselves from the Faction of their Countrymen; and the Covenant; which they might have done by the Legal Oath, the Oath of Allegiance. But he put something in above what they desired, and that was, for Submission to all the King's Royal Commands: Which may extend to Liberty, to Property of Goods, and so is a great deal further, than His Majesty was pleased to Command by His Letter, wherein there was nothing but what was very fit to be commanded by my Lord of Strafford, and very fit for him to obey.
And, what if my Lord of Strafford should procure a Letter from His Majesty to do that, which is not warrantable by Law? the King's Considerations are far above the particular Points of the Municipal Law of this Kingdom; He cannot know them, but is to be informed of them Ministers: Now if my Lord of Strafford shall misinform Him, and desire to have that by his Authority, which is not warrantable by Law, the Fault is my Lord of Strafford's; and it much aggravates the Crime; but, the King's Letter doth not warrant my Lord of Strafford, for he hath proceeded further.
He says, Concerning the Censure of Mr. Stuart, That he delivered his Opinion among the rest: But, their Lordships may remember, he went as high as to charge him with Treason. It is true, the Bishop of Derry conceived it might be Treason; And, the Primate said, The Denial of the former Part might be Treason, but not the latter: But my Lord of Strafford conceived the latter Part to be Treason too: And therefore, surely, his Opinion had more Harshness and Severity than the rest: and, being his Opinion, it was of sufficient Weight to carry along with him all the rest: And, that which was his own Act at the Beginning, which he contrived and treated with the Scotch Lords and Gentlemen, That he pursues in his Sentence; and, if others joyn with him in a hard Sentence against Law, his Fault is not the less, but rather the greater, to draw others into the same Fault.
And, whereas he says, Any, taking the Oath, might have been Released the next Day. It is the more Cruelly done, to keep them in Prison till they take an Oath, who cannot satisfy their Consciences, that they may take it.
My Lord says, If one refuse the Oath of Allegiance in this Kingdom, he shall incur a Premunire, and this Sentence was more moderate. Indeed, if that had been tendered, they had incurred the like Sentence, and that might serve the Turn; but, my Lord must stretch his Power higher, and above the Law; he would frame a new Law; and, for not observing that, a new Punishment too.
He says, There is nothing of the Ecclesiastical Discipline in the Oath: But, the Witnesses express it, That my Lord interpreted it to extend to the Observation of the Ceremonies, and Government of the Church established, and to be established.
He says, Sir James Mountgomery desired the Words, Fast and Lawful Commands, might be added: And, that my Lord expounded it, No other were intended. But then there was the less Reason to deny the inserting some of them, for their Sakes that were tender, and desired to have them put in, for their Satisfaction.
He Answered, That he might easily, amongst so great a Multitude, remember so few Names; and when he heard my Lord of Strafford's Exception, Multitudes did throng in upon him, whereof he did now particularly name about Six, and said, He could name a great many more.
He Answered, That he was at Knock-Fergus at the, Assizes, when this Trial was concerning this Trueman; and was then on the Bench, and heard all the Passages of the Business; whereof he made this brief Relation, as followeth.
This Trueman was an Englishman, that dwelt not far from Knock-Fergus, and one that was sent about the Country; but, by whom, Sir John could not tell: But, there were vehement Suspicions, that he was imployed to find out those that would engage in Discourse concerning the Scotch Business; he spake with one Captain Giles, who feigned himself a great Friend of the Scotch Nation; and said, That he conceived they were greatly distressed; and wished, That he could use Means whereby they might be eased. Hence he Discoursed with Trueman, who was but a silly Man, and got from him Words, whereby he discovered a Good-will to the Scotch Nation; and some Discourse about the Castle of Knock-Fergus; insomuch, that he got Trueman's Letter to recommend him into Scotland, whither he pretended a Desire to go, to serve under that Command: Upon this, he produced the Letter, and that was given in Evidence against him, and so he was Condemned and Executed.
Mr. Whitlock proceeded, and said; My Lord alledgeth for his Justification, another Oath, enjoyned here to the Scots, by the Authority of the Council-Board; but, this gives no Countenance to that in Ireland; for The Oath enjoyned, there was another after that, enjoyned by my Lord of Strafford: Therefore that which came first, can receive no Colour from that which came last. And the Oath here being the same (as near as we can remember) with that in Ireland, was rather a Precedent for this. Howsoever, the Committee never heard that the Oath here, was executed, or enjoyned to any.
Though Richard Salmon was mistaken, in Point of Time, of speaking those Words of the Scotch Nation at the Sentence; yet, he speaks to the substance and matter of the Sentence and Words, and it was when my Lord of Strafford was in Ireland: And though the Name of the Month be mistaken, it cannot weaken his Testimony; and my Lord of Strafford confesses he was at the Sentence, and the Day before he came to England.
My Lord produced Witnesses concerning these Words. Sir Philip Manwaring affirms, my Lord said, He was very sorry Stuart should be the only Man: yet, it is proved, that divers were brought to Dublin, and Imprisoned there; and many Hundreds forsook the Kingdom, and left their Estates; therefore he could not be the only Man. But though he and the rest remember not the Words, yet if the Witnesses produced do precisely remember them, the Forgetfulness of my Lord of Strafford's Witness shall not at all impeach the other.
So the Committee concluded thus; That it stands clear, that my Lord of Strafford hath assumed a Power to himself above Law, to Administer an Oath contrary to Law; a new Oath, to bind Mens Consciences with great Severity. He said formerly, He would make an Act of State equal to an Act of Parliament, and nothing can make an Oath but an Act of Parliament; in this therefore he is as good as his Word. This is an assuming of a Power above a Royal Power; for an Act of Parliament cannot be made, without the Three Estates, their Lordships and the Commons are interested in it; for this is not — Penes Potestatem ministri.
My Lord of Strafford takes a Power to Administer an Oath. It is hard to lay such Bonds on any; but to put it in general and ambiguous Words, is much harder: And how far that may intrench on any Man, if for refusing such an Oath he shall be Sentenced in the Star-Chamber, more than he is ever able to pay, and more than my Lord of Strafford confesses he would expect Payment of; this is so transcendent an Incroachment, that there cannot be a greater: For it takes away Liberty of Conscience, and endangers the whole Estate. And, the King's-Letter doth not justify the Proceeding at all: For, had my Lord pursued that, and gone no farther, there had been no Complaint; for His Majesty enjoyned him to take an Oath, that might distinguish one from another; but doth not enjoyn to punish them that refused it: The Grievance is the Coertion of it; and so, under Favour, it is no Justification.
Mr. Stroude added, That my Lord of Strafford, at the End of his Speech, said If this were Treason, and the Occasion offered, he would be ready to do it again. And Mr.Stroude said, He must confess he doth believe him: And, this makes him consider a heavy Thing that once befel this Kingdom; When Gaveston came to over-act his bold Offences, how heavy that befel the Kingdom, he leaves to their Lordships Consideration.
My Lord of Strafford desired to clear this Point; and said, the Gentlemen is a great Way off him, and may easily mistake; For he said, Were it again to do, being no better informed than he was at that Time, he should do it: But now he understands more than he understood before. But, Mr.Stroude Answered, That, under Favour, he did not mistake my Lord; for he remembred, how fierce my Lord was upon an Oath in the Case of the Loan when he was a Commoner.
The First importing, That he should be very unwilling any Thing should befall him, that might be a Prejudice to the Peerage of the Realm; and, out of the Duty he owes to that, he might crave Leave humbly to inform their Lordships, That he hath a great Family in Ireland; his Wife and Children are there; that all he hath is seized on: So he hath not, as he protested (but as he borrows it) Money to buy Meat to feed himself here: And, how his Wife and Children, and Servants do in Ireland, he knows not; but, that they are under the Providence of Almighty God. That it is a heavy Case, Cafe, that being Impeached of Treason (and Constructive Treason, he hopes, it will prove at the most) that he should be thus used, being a Peer of the Realm, to have all he hath taken in this fort, and his Wife and Children, and Family thus unprovided for, and left without so much means as to feed themselves: He therefore besought their Lordships to take him into Consideration, that he may not be worse than the meanest Sort of People, having the Honour to be a Peer, under the Pretence of Treason.
The Second was, That since my Lord Keeper, and my Lord of Northumberland may be very good Witnesses for him in the subsequent Charge, that will next come before their Lordships: And, whether my Lord Cottington be in Disposition to be here on Monday, he knows not; that therefore some Course might be afforded, that he might have the Benefit of their Testimony, when he shall come to Answer the next Charge.
Being demanded by the Lord Steward, By whom his Goods were seized? And, Whether by the Orders of the House of Commons Read the other Day, that their Lordships might clearly understand him? him? His Lordship answered, Yes: From whence Sir John Clotworthy observed, That by these Orders, nothing could be inferred, but a Sequestration of the Advantage, that might possibly be had by the Tobacco; And, that his Lordship had a fair Estate in Ireland of—per Annum acquired since he came into Ireland, which is not at all touched.
To which my Lord of Strafford reply'd, That he had a Thousand a Year in Ireland, and that was all: And, he had Two hundred and sixty in Family; and, how those can be maintained (All the Customs being seized, and a little Money he had, having but narrowly escaped) he desired their Lordships to take it into their Consideration.
The Council for the House of Commons having proceeded against the Earl of Strafford Article by Article, till they came to Article 20, but then finding the following Articles so nearly related to one another, they would try themselves no more to these Rules; but, pleaded for Liberty, to handle them, not as they lay, but as they were Related to one another: And, after my Lord Strafford had long and vigorously opposed this, my Lord High Steward Determined the Case, and Ordered, They should be handled promiscuously, and in cumulo, as the Council for the Commons House should think fit. Therefore I have set down these Articles that were thus Debated here.