James I: March 1604

Pages 151-156

Calendar of State Papers, Ireland, 1603-1606 . Originally published by Longman and Co, London, 1872.

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James I: March 1604

223. Archbishop of Dublin and Bishop of Meath, to the Lords [of Council]. With a Certificate of their Diocese. [March 5.] S.P., Ireland, vol. 216, 8.

The Lord Deputy hath lately sent unto them and the rest of the Council remaining at Dublin, their Lordships' letters of the 25th of January, signifying His Majesty's gracious pleasure and religious purpose to instruct this people, which have a long time erred and gone away from the way of truth, and also hath directed them to consider in what manner the contents of these letters may be performed. Inasmuch as they cannot conveniently, in this dangerous time of infection, have access to the Deputy, and as the matter and substance of the letter chiefly concern them, in regard their dioceses are in the English Pale, they have thought it agreeable with their duties to return a speedy answer; wherein they hope to give their Lordships satisfaction, both with their several certificates of all livings in their several dioceses, amounting unto or exceeding the yearly value of 30l., and with their dutiful advice for the furtherance of the cause.

First, in accordance with their bounden duties, they yield most humble thanks to God for having moved the heart of their most gracious Sovereign, to take this cause in hand. The neglect and delay thereof hath been the ground of all the calamities which hitherto this kingdom in many ages hath endured; and acknowledging their bounden duties, they vow even upon their knees, that with all their powers, both of body and mind, they will endeavour (if need require, with the hazard of their lives), to put in execution anything that may further this royal and godly purpose. To this end they send enclosed to their Lordships a catalogue of all benefices within their dioceses, which are of any value to maintain a preacher, which they deliver upon their duties and credits. And for the erection of a learned ministry in this kingdom, with best convenience and with least charge to His Majesty, they are of opinion this is the only course;—that whereas now, by the laws of this realm, there is no difference made between a learned preacher and a reading minister, but both are equally capable of the living, it may be established by Act of Parliament, and in the mean season prescribed to the bishop by straight commandment from His Majesty, (which, with all duty and willingness they will obey,) that no clerk presented to a benefice amounting unto or exceeding the annual value of 30l. shall be admitted by the bishops, unless he be a master of arts in the University, a professed student in divinity, and a minister. This, they think, will be a means soon to bring amongst us a learned clergy. But some other things must first be done before this godly purpose can take effect; for if His Highness should send over 100 learned preachers into the several parts of this realm, to be placed in the cities and port-towns (which are the fittest places for them), and shall not first lay down some course, that this untoward and backward people, wilfully carried from true religion, may be drawn to hear their sermons, they shall but lose their labours; all in a manner (unless it be a few of the English), refusing to hear the voice of the charmer, charm he ever so sweetly. Again, if this people be allowed to keep in their houses seditious Jesuits and seminary priests, which lull them asleep in idolatry, superstition, and deeply feed and possess their hearts with foreign hopes, being enemies to the state, and known dangerous instruments to stir up all kind of mischief, they (the bishops) cannot conceive how the wished effect can follow. Reminding their Lordships of the rooted backwardness and wilful obstinacy of this people, and of their keeping in their houses of these dangerous instruments, they, in the name of God, entreat and beseech them plainly to represent this to His Majesty;—that in his princely wisdom and royal authority he may prescribe some course to compel this people at least to yield their presence to the hearing of the word; for albeit they neither wish any violence or extremity to be used, and do detest and abhor all corrupt courses to gain a private commodity themselves, yet, knowing the wilfulness of this people, and the induration of their hearts against the true religion, they see not how, without some moderate force of coaction, they can be reclaimed from their idolatry to come and hear the glad tidings of the truth and of their salvation. But if a course in this behalf were once laid down, that this people should come to hear, they will undertake that, with such ministers and preachers as already they have, and hereafter shall get, there shall be diligent preaching and instruction, both by themselves and others, as already during these 36 years past, since the Archbishop was preferred from the primacy of Ireland and the deanery of St. Patrick to the see of Dublin, there hath been in all this time as learned and godly preachers within the city and suburbs of Dublin, as in any city or town in England, although in a manner they have had no hearers but of the English.

But concerning a grammar school in their several dioceses, they must return a several answer. For the archbishops have ever hitherto, and yet still have, a sufficient number of schollards in St. Patrick's to teach and bring up children in the fear of God and in good nurture, which hath taught a free school at the charges of the archbishop and his clergy, though none in a manner but the children of the English have resorted unto it. And the Bishop of Meath avers that, three several times since his preferment to this bishoprick, he has brought from the University and placed in Trim three graduates in the University, who there have kept a free school at the charges of the bishop and clergy; and one of the three continued in Trim two years together, taking pains only with six scholars; but when these schools showed themselves desirous to bring their scholars to the church and to use prayers in the school, both those six and the rest, as they came, so did they depart and forsake the school. And they now promise, if any order be taken that these people shall send their children to be taught by a religious schoolment, and not to send their children out of the land to Dowa [Douai], and to Rhemes [Rheims], where their hearts are poisoned with idolatry, which is a thing easily done by the gentry of the Pale, both to provide and place a sufficient schoolment, and to maintain it according to the statute.

Lastly, where their Lordships desire to be advertised which learned preachers of this country want livings, they know none of any worthiness or desert, but is sufficiently provided for; and they have always carried an indifferent report to prefer them, according to their worthiness and deserts.—Rafernam [Rathfarnham], near Dublin, 5 March 1603.

Pp. 5. Signed. Endd. Add.: "To the Right Honorable the Lords and others of His Mats most honorable Privy Council of England."

224. Lord Barry Buttevant to Cecil. [March 7.] S.P., Ireland, vol. 216, 7.

Has formerly written to Cecil that he despairs to benefit himself by His Majesty's favour, obtained through Cecil's means, for a lease of the lands of Dermod Neale M'Carty and Fynyn M'Owen, for divers persons oppose him, notwithstanding His Majesty's title to the same; especially M'Cartie Reoghe (Reagh), who now intendeth to repair hither, hoping by some means to frustrate the good courses there taken in that behalf. By his (Lord Barry's) means, and at his charges of 300l. for buying of evidences and otherwise, an office hath been found for His Majesty of a good deal of lands, as yet in the possession of M'Cartie and others. Hopes, however, that Cecil, to whom he owes the favour, will prevent M'Cartie from obtaining everything there in prejudice of His Majesty's right, and will leave him to follow his suit here, as shall be agreeable to ordinary courses of law. His (Lord Barry's) bordering neighbour, Sir John Edmunds, intends to make surrender of all those lands which he possesses (amounting to 300 ploughlands) to His Majesty, solely in order to defraud those who have best right to the lands; and, among the rest, he meaneth to have part of Lord Barry's ancient inheritance passed; wherefore, he (Barry) entreats Cecil to take measures that every man's right may be always saved, otherwise great inconveniences might arise, and a number of ancient English gentlemen be prevented of their right.

The people are daily expecting from Cecil some measure for the repression of the extortions from government troops, soldiers, sheriffs, and cesses, who impoverish this poor kingdom and commonwealth; and that His Majesty will be graciously pleased to take some other course for the better establishing thereof.

Concludes by professing his entire devotion.—Barry Courte, 7 Martii 1603.

P. 1. Sealed. Signed. Endd. Add.: "To the Right Honorable my very good Lord, the Lord Cycell, principal secretary to the King's most excellent Maty, and one of His Highness's most honorable Privy Council."

225. Sir J. Davies to Cecil. [March 7.] S.P., Ireland, vol. 216, 9.

Apologizing for the trifling value of his letters, he begs Cecil to excuse him if he troubles him now with a short note on the resumption of the mixed monies. He has been advertised that the merchants of the town made an offer, by way of petition, that the King should resume or buy in all the copper monies in their hands, for 2d. to be given for every 12d., and alleged that, according to their example, all the kingdom besides would willingly have descended to that course. But Cecil was then, he thinks, informed that no less than 100,000l. of fine silver English money must be transmitted in order to redeem or bring in all the mixed monies now remaining within this realm; because, since the standard of base monies was first established here, 400,000l. or 500,000l. of that mixture and composition have been transported hither. Now, it is true the amount of mixed money issued is not much less than 400,000l., but since the last decry, he is assured that this coin hath been exported in such great quantities that 16,000l. or 20,000l. at uttermost would fetch in all that revenue. Neither, to effect this, would it be required that the King should transmit one penny of silver hither, for the merchants would with all their hearts accept their monies at London, and at such days as the copper money should be melted down, and the silver extracted should be coined again; so that they would thus be paid with their own monies. This course is plain and clear, and will be grateful and plausible to all the subjects here, and in some good measure be profitable to the King; for the transporting of this money is the best return that merchants make out of this kingdom, and, if it were utterly decried, the very bullion would be more profitable and more current than the money itself now is. Nay, if it were decried to 2d., he thinks the people would take it without proclamation.

Has already advertised the Lord Lieutenant regarding the plan proposed for planting a learned ministry. But that concerning the course of public justice hath but a slow proceeding, for, as the rebels were wont to say, "the plague hath put another thorn in the foot of the law." And yet, if all things proceeded in due course, they want more English judges, both in the King's Bench and Common Pleas; for there are but two in either Court, and the second judges are but weak, and yet their fees are increased to a good pro portion, and their service is as important as the service of the Justices of England, and requires men of as much sufficiency, or rather more, because in that kingdom, "the government is so well established that things do themselves in a manner, but here a disorderly people is to be drawn to obedience by the wisdom and direction of the magistrate." Understands that a judge has been added to every bench in England, and there is a superfluous number of serjeants. Would the benches here might be supplied with some of them, for there are not enough judges here to supply all the circuits conveniently, now that Ulster is reduced. If justice be well and soundly executed here, but for two or three years, the kingdom will grow rich and happy, and, in good faith he thinks, loyal; and will be no more like the lean cow in Pharaoh's dream, and devour the fat of the happy realm of England. Wishes that Serjeant Heale might be banished hither. Does not wish this maliciously, like an evil angel that is fallen, and would have all others in as desperate case as himself; but fears a heavier punishment will light upon him, for he hopes shortly to see this a rich and flourishing kingdom.—Dublin, 7 March 1603.

Hol. Pp. 3. Endd. Add.: "To the most Honorable my very good Lord, the Lord Cecyll."

226. The King to the Earl of Devonshire, Lieutenant of Ireland, and in his absence, to Sir George Carey, the King's Deputy there. [March 11.] Philad. P., vol. 1, p. 19.

The King's letters, dated at Winchester, 25th September last, for Sir George Thornton, Knight, Provost Marshal of Munster, to have for his services the lands of Piers Lacy, attainted, not having taken effect by reason the same were passed to Master Fullerton upon the King's former direction, the said Sir George Thornton is to have in fee-farm to him and his heirs for ever, without fine, so much lands, &c. as shall amount to 40l. English by the year, reserving the ancient rents, and for lands not yet in charge, such rents as these shall be valued at.—Westminster, 11 March, in the first year.

Orig. Pp. 2. Add. Endd. Inrol.

[Printed in full by Erck, Calendar, p. 165.]

227. Sir George Carey to Cecil. [March 26.] S.P., Ireland, vol. 216, 10.

Is still enforced to be an humble suitor that by Cecil's means His Majesty will be pleased to give him his warrant to send over his ledger book of accounts for one year and half, ending at Michaelmas last, as formerly hath been accustomed, that Cecil and the rest of my Lords may fully understand the full state of the exchange, and the rest of the charge in that time; and that His Highness will be further pleased to give him leave at Whitsuntide next to come into England himself, both to set forward those accounts, as also for the settling of his poor estate, which stands on the verge of utter undoing, and that Thomas Watson may have Cecil's favour to importune his hearing. Has served here in the most troublesome and painful times; and now that things are in every way in greater quietness, he hopes for a time to have His Highness' gracious favour, and to kiss his royal hand; and after this business being dispatched, either to return or otherwise, at His Majesty's command.— Castle Kibe (sic), 26 March 1604.

Hol. Pp. 2. Endd. by Cecil's clerk. Sealed. Add.

228. Lord Barry to Cecil. [March 26.] S.P., Ireland, vol. 216, 11.

His brother Patrick Condon being deceased, leaving the bearer, his (Lord Barry's) nephew, to succeed him, the latter is now compelled through the continual vexation of the undertakers, to whom his lands have been passed by letters patents, to become an humble suitor to His Majesty for restoring him to his lands. Cecil knows how his father has been a long suitor there to her late Majesty, and has obtained several directions for re-establishing him in the possession of his lands by virtue whereof he died accordingly possessed. Yet till the letters patents passed of his lands shall be admitted, and till he shall be restored by Act of Parliament, he has no secure ground for the enjoying thereof. For this reason, and because his father's attainder proceeded only of malice and sinister courses, he (Lord Barry) beseeches Cecil to procure that his nephew may be maintained in the possession of his lands according to all former directions, and that some further course may be taken for the absolute restoring of him thereto by admitting the letters patents; which will secure his gratitude and that of all other ancient English gentlemen within this kingdom, who cannot but be grieved that such an ancient English house, maintained by his ancestors since the Conquest, should be overthrown by such hard courses.—Shandon, 26 March 1604.

P. 1. Signed. Sealed. Add. and endd.