James I: June 1603

Pages 58-69

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

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James I: June 1603

70. Bishops of Dublin and Meath to the King. [June 4.] S.P., Ireland. vol. 215, 68.

Apologise for troubling the King, occupied as he is with affairs of consequence, by reason that their cause so holy, so just, and so necessary. The King is aware with what bloody wars this kingdom has been a long time afflicted. Can assure him that the first authors and actors thereof were but a few of the savage chieftains of the barbarous and untamed Irishry, which (partly to repel the English government, then enlarging itself amongst them, and partly provoked by their long peace and prosperity, two things this nation, of all other, cannot endure) did rise up into this unnatural and execrable rebellion. This cursed and detestable action was begun, and a long time continued, without any thought or disposition in the first rebels (whereof they account the E. of Tirone one) for any restoration of idolatry and Romish religion. But after they had kindled that fire that since hath almost burnt and consumed the whole kingdom into ashes, then did those priests and Jesuits, which before had lurked and been secretly fostered in the cities and in the English Pale, break forth and discover themselves; and with fresh supplies of priests sent from Spain and Rome, repaired to those barbarous and irreligious rebels, and persuaded them that, if they would seek and fight for the restitution of Romish religion, then they should not only be sure that God would fight for them, but would be also certain to receive aid both from the Pope and King of Spain. With these persuasions they thrust out all Ulster into open rebellion; shortly after followed the whole province of Connaught, then a great part of Leinster, and at length all Munster. Even those of the English Pale, although they kept themselves free from open action, yet they became (very few excepted) but a kind of bearing and tolerating subjects, submitting themselves with great repining to pay such impositions as the State by the necessity of the service was forced to lay upon them. Nor could they ever be induced to attempt any thing for their defence against the many inroads of the traiterous enemy, but, mediating underhand through their priests for their particular safety, became idle beholders of the common calamity, and allowed the rebels, either in great numbers or in straggling troops, to invade the Pale, (the L. Deputy with the army being employed in remote parts), and without resistance to overrun the whole country even in the very heart of the Pale, as often as they listed. Thus this rebellion, begun upon private discontents, having marked itself with the pretence of holy and catholic religion, raged so far and wide, that but for the supplies still sent over by the late Queen, and the valiant service of the Lieutenant, not only had all your dutiful subjects of this realm been put to the sword, but the whole kingdom had been lost and conveyed to a foreign usurper.

But this rebellion having happily been defeated, to the shame and confusion of those who either kindled or maintained the same, they (the Bishops) advertised the King that the priests and discontented gentry of the Pale, finding that their plots had miscarried in the hands of the traitors, do now fall to new consultations to bring about their designs. Misled by their priests, some of the cities and towns of Munster, as His Majesty is already informed, have attempted, in violation of the laws of both kingdoms, to set up their idol and supremacy of Rome; some others in the Pale, in violent manner have committed a like offence; and the rest, more wily, and therefore more dangerous, have of late met in public consultations, and are selecting solicitors to be sent to the King to lay before His Majesty some supposed wrongs. Their chiefest cause of repair, however, to the King is to obtain free liberty and exercise of their conscience and of the Romish religion.

They have to inform the King that the men selected to follow this negociation, though they are instructed to apply for the renewing of charters and such other suits as might well become the solicitations of honest subjects, yet they are such as, besides their wilful obstinacy in matters of religion, are well known to them and the rest of the Council to be men of a turbulent and malcontented disposition. For, ever since the beginning of these hateful tumults, there was never any matter propounded for the good of the State, never any commissions of or warrants sent from the State, to procure help or furtherance of the general service, but these selected solicitors, having some superficial skill in the laws of the realm, would still use it to cross and overthrow whatsoever proceeded from the State, or was devised for the service of the Queen and for the good of the country. But the chief matter and subject of their mediation is the exercise of their Romish religion. But, the Lord be praised, there is no man living this day in Christendom, that can better discern what agreement there is like to be between light and darkness, and between the glorious Gospel of Jesus and the superstitious idolatry of Antichrist, than His Majesty. And, therefore, they (the Bishops) need say little on this point, only this;— they beseech him never to admit within his kingdoms any partition or division of his subjects' obedience, either in matters of the Church or State. For if he should suffer the Pope to domineer over the conscience, what assurance can he have, when a hostile power shall command the best and ruling part of the kingdom? The toleration sought for is nothing but a treacherous practice, to enable the Popish priests to prepare the people by terrors of purgatory and secret confession to obey the Pope's commands. They call to remembrance how, in the time of King Edward the Sixth of blessed memory, when the popes of Rome had in a manner given over to intermeddle in prince's affairs, and were rather corrected by Kings than obeyed by Kings, Charles the Fifth, by his letters and ambassadors, made intercession to the King that he would be pleased to grant license to his sister, the Princess Mary, that was afterwards Queen, to have mass celebrated by her own chaplains, privately in her house, without offence to the laws. This request being propounded in the Council chamber, Doctor Cranmer, Archbishop of Canterbury, and Doctor Ridley, Bishop of London, were appointed by the whole table, to solicit this motion to the King, and to get his consent. "This godly and zealous Josias, when he had heard this request, did so soundly prove out of his Scriptures that their suit was not to be granted, that the learned Bishops were forced to leave that manner of mediation, and to lay down to him what inconveniences and dangers of State might ensue, if he should procure the just offence of so great a prince in so small a matter. Whereunto the godly and virtuous young King made answer, with good deliberation, and yet with great fervencie, that he vowed to God he would rather hazard kingdom, life, and lose all he had, than he would suffer God to be dishonoured within his realm by the least exercise of idolatry. Thus did he reject that dangerous motion."

They (the Bishops), therefore, beseech the King that he will now, even in the morning of his reign, give some signification in this miserable kingdom how unwelcome such suits and suitors shall be, and how ready His Majesty is to maintain the true worship and religion of Jesus Christ. And remembering how ready these people are to take advantage of the least connivancy, they (the Bishops) hold it to be a far better course, that even at the first these people may understand that His Majesty will never permit and suffer that which in his godly zeal he so much abhors; calling to remembrance the dangerous effects which former connivency in this case had lately wrought in the whole province of Munster. They leave it to His Majesty to devise some means to prevent the plots and aim of these priests, seminaries, and Jesuits, which daily come from beyond the seas, teaching openly that a King wanting the Pope's confirmation is not a lawful King, and that in the cause of their religion and for defence thereof, they may lawfully take arms against their prince. After order taken with these seditious priests and Jesuits, that some learned and discreet preachers should be sent over and placed in the principal cities and towns of the realm, and by some moderate co-actions, this people should be compelled to come to the church to hear their sermons and exhortations. Without this moderate severity the preachers shall but lose their labours, (few or none will come to hear them); but, if once they were grounded in the principles of true religion, then, no doubt, there would ensue sincere obedience, loyalty, peace, quietness, and all other blessings of God, wherewith the kingdom of England is blessed.—Dublin, 4 June 1603.

Pp. 13. Signed. Add.

71. Sir George Carey to the Lords of Privy Council. [June 4.] S.P., Ireland, vol. 215, 69.

A general expectation here that these new base moneys will shortly be [called down], (fn. 1) Her Majesty's tenants and farmers therefore begin to bring their rents and debts very fast into receipt. Those which have any fees and pensions due, do for the most part forbear to call for the same; so as there will be some loss to His Majesty in that behalf if there be not some prevention. Would think it good equity that it might be ordered that all pensioners and captains also should, for the last half year, be paid their entertainments in the same coin accordingly, whereby every man serving here may share in the loss, and not charge the King with the whole loss. In this he says no more against the rest than against himself, for he includes all who serve here and have His Majesty's entertainments. Reminds their Lordships of his former letters about the matter of the exchange, by reason of the merchants' exceeding murmuring for his refusal of their moneys to be exchanged in such large proportions as they desire, and as they pretend they ought to have according to the tenor of His Majesty's proclamations. The merchants are such exceeding gainers by the rates they now sell their wares, as they will either sell so as to gain five or six for one in the new moneys, or else they utterly refuse to sell for the new standard at all. It would be a great burthen to His Majesty to give exchange to all men as they require, besides what loss there would be if any such quantity should be taken into the bank. In the meanwhile the servitors should have little or no benefit neither, for the merchants have generally so raised the prices of all things, as it cannot be helped by any reasonable exchange. Requests, therefore, that their Lordships would pray His Majesty's resolution therein, but especially how to satisfy the merchants; and he will obey the same accordingly. Is persuaded, if every man had liberty to exchange what they would, more than half the new moneys within the kingdom would be brought into the bank very speedily, and yet little or no means to issue it out again, because the army for the most part is maintained by victuals out of the King's store. —Dublin, 4 June 1603.

Pp. 2. Signed. Sealed. Add.

72. Francis Stafford to Cecil. [June 9.] S.P., Ireland, vol. 215, 70.

Forbears to trouble him at this time in regard of his [Cecil's] weighty affairs, and for that the Lord Lieutenant has also now repaired to the Court. Presents him with his faithful service, and desires that he might be made known to the King by the favour of his report.—Dublin, 9 June 1603.

P. 1. Signed. Sealed. Add.: "To the Rt Honorable the L. Cecyll."

73. Declaration of Edward Sotherne of certain traiterous words spoken by a Friar at Navan. [June 16.] S.P., Ireland, vol. 215, 71.

On Tuesday (the last of May) was at the Market Cross of the Navan in company with Mr. James Warren, Henry Everard, John Moore, with others. Amongst sundry seditious persons and pretended priests resorting thither, espied two friars in their habits openly going from house to house, the one a young tall strip, the other a lusty old fellow. Inquired of the young man, in Latin, if he were a scholar. The old man answered, "Si ille non est, Ego sum;" and forthwith, in great choler, began to demand of him [Sotherne] what he had to do with the matter, and how he durst be so bold to ask, and what the like of him [Sotherne] had to do in this country. Told him that there he was by God's grace, the favour of his King, with the license of his ordinary. He answered in a storm poke, "Rex, rex, Habes Regem." I said, "Deo gratias, Regem habeo." He demanded, "Quo nomine appellat?" I replied, "Jacobo." "O," quoth he, "Rex Scotiæ." I answered, "Etiam, et Franciæ et Hibernie." He replied, "Est hereticus; pereat tecum, cum omnibusque illis qui receperunt auchtoritatem ab illo." With which words Sotherne, being moved, charged him with high treason, witting the officer to lay hold on him, which he did. He [Sotherne] required further assistance, but none would help, but a great concourse of people of all sorts, uttering their words with a confused noise in Irish, shuffled him [Sotherne] up in the throng; which put the friar in such a jollity that he reviled the officer, and ran to Henry Everard, and offered to wring a cudgel out of his hands to strike him. Being stayed from that, he came himself to him [Sotherne], and with very malicious reproachful terms reviled him. And first in Latin he protested, saying, "Hi non sunt christiani, quia patiuntur te inter illos;" which words after often he repeated in Irish. At last came Mr. John Wafer, very sharply took him (Sotherne) up in speeches, and called him "busy fellow" and "busy companion," and asked what he had to do with friars or priests or any the like; which he uttered in such vehemence, that he protests he was in fear lest he should draw his sword upon him. Thereupon he (Sotherne) told him the friar had spoken high treason. He said that he (Sotherne) had no witness, the friar was as honest as Sotherne himself, and that he had known him this 20 years. "And now," quoth he, "he denies his words, and what can you have more?" And yet, upon the salvation of his (Sotherne's) soul, he thinks there were very few but knew in their conscience the friar spake those words, and much more in the Irish tongue. At length he espied a tall fellow with trousers, laying his hand upon his . . . . (fn. 2) ready to draw it upon the Serjeant, for that he asked the friar to go with him to the portreeve; another made towards him, girding him with his shoulders, having a skin (fn. 3) [skeane] and a sword; but what they were he could not learn, but he perceived by their gesture and behaviour they meant him no good, and received such encouragement from the multitude that he knew not what to do or say. Help himself he could not, being but a lean and naked man. In these griefs the serjeant asked me what he should do. "Alas," quoth I, "I know not. Let him alone if you will, until some other time, for I cannot help it." He (Sotherne) then, with tears, left them and went home to his chamber. Afterwards told Mr. Wafer what great danger it was for them all, so to let him slip. But, for his own part, said that he would inform of it. Mr. Wafer answered, that he "thought no less, but I would grow a promoter, and that was cosen germaine to a knave; wishing his curse upon all those that would assist in apprehending either friar or priest." Whereby he hath gotten the name of a wise, good, and stout man, and himself (Sotherne) utterly condemned to be an heretic and a damned devil. Thinks it his duty, in regard of the place which his correspondent holds under His Majesty, also to intimate this to him.—Trym, 16 June 1603.

Pp. 2. Signed. No add. "Declaration of Ed. Sotherne."

74. Sir Henry Docwra to Cecil. [June 21.] S.P., Ireland, vol. 215, 72.

Writes merely to entreat Cecil to be favourable to such particular business as in his (Docwra's) name and behalf shall be negotiated in his presence. The particulars he does not mention, because his duty to the Lord Lieutenant requires that he should first address them to his knowledge, and not proceed in them but with his allowance and full approbation, which once obtained he desires him to favour.—From the Derry, this 21 June 1603.

Hol. P. 1. Signed. Add.: "To the Rt Honorable Robert Cecyll, Knight."

75. Warrant for Lady Ellen M'Cartie's Annuity, 150l. [June 21.] Docquet Book, June 21.

An annuity of 150l. to the Lady Ellen M'Cartie, daughter to the Earl of Clancarty, during life.

76. Warrant for payment of 50l. to Lady M'Cartie. [June 21.] Docquet Book, June 21.

Warrant to the Exchequer for 50l. to be paid to the said Lady M'Cartie for her present relief.

77. Sir Jeffery Fenton to Cecil. [June 21.] S. P., Ireland, vol. 215, 73.

Not having received Cecil's resolution in answer to his letter of 27th of May, inquiring whether he should send his intelligencer back to Spain or discharge him from his employment, he keeps him upon his hand till he may receive his direction.

The kingdom is in reasonable quiet, except for some murmurings against the new coin, which nevertheless the people bear the more patiently in hope of relief. Sees no sudden help for this mischief; for to decry it wholly at once would prejudice His Majesty, because the great mass of it which is brought by bills of exchange into His Majesty's coffers here and there is like to remain until by degrees the most part may be re-issued to the army and dispersed into the body of the country. Advises a temporizing about the coin, until by some permission of His Majesty it may be either wholly cried down or diminished in part by some moderate qualification of its rate and value. Besides His Majesty's loss, by having so much of it in his hands, a great loss falls upon the servitors, as well captains and other inferior ministers in the State, as upon the Privy Council; for since the contempt against the coin has grown to so great a head, the privy councillors find every one in the course of their hospitality, that to him who before was able to defray a weekly charge of housekeeping for 10l., they cannot now defray the same hospitality under 40l. a week at the least, so excessively are risen the prices and rates of all provisions, by reason of the stomach the people beareth against the coin.—Dublin, 21 June 1603.

Hol. P. 1. Signed. Sealed. Add.: "To the Rt Honorable the L. Cecill."

78. Sir George Carey to Cecil. [June 25.] S. P., Ireland, vol. 215, 74.

Mr. Edward Herbert is repairing into England, and he (Carey) could not refuse his request to be recommended to Cecil, considering his long and faithful service, the closing of his house, and loss of all his goods at several times by the rebels. Entreats him to favour his suits to the King, so that he may receive some comfort after such great losses sustained by the rebels.—Dublin, 25 June 1603.

P. 1. Signed. Sealed. Add.: "To the Rt Honorable L. Cecyll."


  • 1. See the Proclamation for "calling down" the base money, dated September 16, 1603, post.
  • 2. Manuscript defaced.
  • 3. An Irish dagger.