Calendar of State Papers, Ireland, 1603-1606 . Originally published by Longman and Co, London, 1872.
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The sources from which the materials of this Calendar are derived are much more diversified than those which have supplied the Calendars of State Papers relating to Ireland under Henry VIII., Edward VI., Mary, and Elizabeth, the latter being drawn exclusively from Her Majesty's Public Record Office.
While the interest created by the unexpected recovery for the Public Records of Ireland of the important collection now known as the Philadelphia Papers was still fresh, it was proposed to make that collection at once available for the use of students, by a special Calendar, similar to that of the Carew Papers, the first portion of which had just been recently printed. A very brief examination of the Philadelphia volumes, however, sufficed to show that the Papers, however complete as a whole, and however interesting individually, nevertheless could not be regarded as supplying either a continuous narrative of the events or a connected picture of the condition of the times to which they extend. They are but a fragment, although an important fragment, of the materials of the history of Ireland under James I.
Accordingly it was judged unadvisable to deal with the Philadelphia Papers as a special collection, or to separate them from the great body of the State Records of the reign of James I.; and the wise liberality of the Master of the Rolls and the Deputy Keeper of the Public Records has, with the assent of the Lords Commissioners of Her Majesty's Treasury, substituted for the proposed partial and fragmentary undertaking a complete Calendar of all the State Papers relating to Ireland under James I., wheresoever they are deposited, exhibiting in chronological sequence all the accessible materials for the history of Ireland during that reign which may be regarded as belonging to the class of Public Records.
The task of bringing together the materials of a work so comprehensive has involved considerable difficulty and research. With the sole exception of the correspondence from Ireland with the Privy Council, the Secretary of State, the King, and other high functionaries, addressed directly to London, and in great part preserved in the Public Record Office, and of that comprised in the Philadelphia volumes already referred to, the Irish State Papers of the reign of James I. must be sought for in a number of independent collections; — in the Library of the British Museum, in the Lambeth Library, the Bodleian Library at Oxford, the Library of Trinity College, Dublin, and other less accessible quarters; and it is often a work of much difficulty to bring into harmony and assign to their proper chronological order documents so miscellaneous, so widely dispersed, and in some cases with so few extrinsic notes of date or authority.
We shall describe, as briefly as the subject will admit, the chief sources which have supplied the documents relating to Ireland under James I. which are calendared in the following pages.
State Papers Relating to Ireland Under James I.
I.—Irish Papers in the Public Record Office, London.
(1.)— General Collection.
The documents relating to Ireland preserved in the Public Record Office, London, having formed part of the general collection of the State Paper Department, have but little of special history. As regards the place of their deposit, the Irish Papers appear to have shared in the migrations of the general collection of State Papers, the history of which is related with great care and in very full detail in the Seventh Appendix of the Thirtieth Report of the Deputy Keeper of the Public Records; but the available notices of Irish State Papers, as such, are scanty and unsatisfactory.
It may be presumed, indeed, that so soon as the papers relating to Ireland became important enough to be preserved in the national archives, they must have been preserved as a separate collection; but we are not aware of the existence of any clear trace of such collection until the reign of Edward II., when, in 1320, Walter Stapledon, Bishop of Exeter, was made Treasurer of the Exchequer. At that time the public papers were notoriously insecure: losses by embezzlement, by pillage, by fire, and by other casualties, had very frequently occurred. It became desirable to devise a means of preserving a record of the tenor and purport of public documents as a security against the loss of the originals; and among many useful administrative reforms, Bishop Stapledon organised a Commission for the "methodizing and due "ordering of the books, rolls, and other documents of the times of the King's progenitors, then remaining in the Treasury of the King's Exchequer and in his Tower of London."
One of the first results of this Commission was an order for the classification and calendaring of the bulls, charters, and other records; which led to the compilation, in 1323, of the valuable inventory, now known under the name of Bishop Stapledon's Kalendar. This curious document is the first in order in Sir Francis Palgrave's "Ancient Kalendars and Inventories of the Treasury of His Majesty's Exchequer," printed by the Record Commissioners, (fn. 1) and is full of interest for the history of the time. Our only concern, however, is with that portion of it which regards the Irish documents which it records as existing in the Treasury of the Exchequer in London at the date of its compilation.
Students of Irish history will be disappointed to find that the number of such Irish entries in Bishop Stapledon's Kalendar is very inconsiderable.
The general contents of the Exchequer Treasury were distributed into twenty-four classes. The documents were preserved in a variety of receptacles: chests (area), coffers (cophino, forcerio), boxes (pyxide), and even bags and hampers or wicker baskets. These were distinguished by various marks or signs for the purpose of reference, and the several entries of the Kalendar contain marginal notes indicating the particular receptacle in which the different documents were to be found. Many of these marks of reference are very curious, being for the most part significant or symbolical in their character. Thus, documents relating to marriage contracts are indicated by clasped hands; papers relating to the woollen manufacture by a pair of shears; Peter-pence documents by a key; documents of different countries or cities by a figure or emblem characteristic of the country or city;—as Scotland, by a Lochaber axe; Wales, by a Briton with one foot shod and the other bare; Aragon, by a lancer mounted upon a jennet; Yarmouth, by three herrings. The most curious of all is that attached to some documents connected with the rebellions which were among the normal incidents of that age. Documents of this class are distinguished by the singular device of a gallows.
Among the twenty-four heads under which the documents are distributed, "Hibernia" forms the thirteenth. The entries under this head are only thirty-two in number; (fn. 2) nor are they of sufficient historical interest to be described in detail; their general subjects being briefly enumerated by Sir Francis Palgrave as "grants made to the King, obligations and manucaptions, and assays of the exchange of Dublin." We shall refer to a few of them as specimens of the entire; and as the symbols of reference by which they were distinguished in Bishop Stapledon's Kalendar deserve a brief notice, we shall select, in preference, those entries to which symbols of reference are attached.
The first is of a deed of gift to the King and Queen from Christiana de Marisco, or De Marreis, of the land of Curton in Kinalehan in the county of Wexford, with all military feudal rights and rights of church patronage. The document has no date, but another entry (29) fixes the grant in the 13th of King Edward I. The grantor, Christiana de Marisco, was, doubtless, of the family of Geoffrey de Marisco, the Grand Justiciary of Ireland, among whose numerous possessions were lands in the county of Wexford. It seems probable, indeed, that this Christiana was his widow, although the grant dates thirty-nine years after his death. He married as a second wife Christiana de Riddlesford, daughter of Walter, Baron of Bray, near Dublin. (fn. 3)
The second entry refers to the instrument by which Henry III., on occasion of the marriage of his son Prince Edward to Eleanor of Castile, assigned to him the land of Ireland, with reservation of the cities of Dublin and Limerick. It is dated in the thirty-eighth year of Henry III.'s reign (1253–4).
The third is the record of an assay of money of Dublin, made at the Tower of London on the Feast of St. Peter's Chains in the 30th year of Edward I. (August 1, 1302), which was deposited in the hands of the Bishop of Coventry and Lichfield, Lord Treasurer (Walter de Langton), and remained preserved in a purse sealed with his seal, at York, on 18th October of the same year.
Each of these entries has a marginal note with its own characteristic symbol of reference.
The first of these little symbols is extremely curious. The figure in the margin is evidently intended to represent an Irishman, and thus, as in the national symbols of Wales and of Aragon already described, to indicate that the paper to which it is attached will be found in the receptacle for documents relating to Ireland. The great interest of the symbol, if we can suppose the design to be correct, would, of course, be, that it would furnish a contemporary representation of the national costume. Now, in this point of view it seems to be entirely unique. Although the hood which covers the head and enwraps the cheeks, meeting beneath the chin, may fairly be supposed to be the cowl of the cochul or hooded garment which was commonly worn by the Irish, even down to recent times, the form of the cap in this figure is, so far as we know, without parallel among ancient representations of Irish costume. It is entirely different from the shape of the head-dress described by Irish writers and by Cambrensis, and from that of the barrad, as represented, whether in the numerous ancient designs engraved by Walker in his Essay on the Dress of the ancient Irish, (fn. 4) or in the more recent representations of Irish costume appended to the very curious copy of Derrick's Image of Ireland, which is reprinted in the first volume of the Somers' Tracts. (fn. 5) The latter, as they go through a variety of scenes illustrating Sir Henry Sidney's expedition against Rory Oge O'More,—Sidney's conferences with the Irish sept, his instructions to "Donoll O'Breane," the envoy, O'More's departure for the war and his receiving the parting blessing of his priests, the burning of the English settler's farmstead, the battle, Sidney's triumphal march, with Irish prisoners led captive in his train, O'More's miserable plight "in the bogg," and the final submission of the Irish to the Lord Deputy,—may be supposed to run through almost all the varieties of Irish costume, ecclesiastical, civil, and military. Now in none of these representations of Irish costume, from the thirteenth century to the sixteenth, do we find any head-covering bearing the slightest resemblance to that in the marginal figure of Bishop Stapledon's Kalendar. In none of them, especially, is there any trace of the flat cap with pendant knob or tassel, which at first sight might rather be taken as the academic cap of the mediæval schools and universities.
The symbol attached to the second of these entries presents no difficulty; it is plainly meant to represent the King's grant to his son of the royal rights in Ireland. We may observe that in the reservation which accompanies the grant as here calendared, no mention is made of the castle of Athlone, although this important fortress, as well as the cities of Dublin and Limerick, was formally reserved to the direct jurisdiction of the Sovereign himself. (fn. 6)
Still more literal is the emblem, a pair of scales, attached to the assay record. The assay took place on the 1st of August 1302, and was delivered, at York, to Walter, formerly Bishop of Coventry and Lichfield, the Lord Treasurer, on the 18th of October in the same year. The Lord Treasurer was Walter de Langton, who was elected Bishop of Coventry and Lichfield in 1296; and his being described as "formerly bishop," arises probably from his having been a short time previously summoned to answer certain grave charges at Rome, whence, after long delays, the cause was remitted to the Archbishop of Canterbury, by whom Langton was adjudged innocent and restored to his honours.
These are the only purely pictorial symbols which are attached to the Irish entries in Bishop Stapledon's Kalendar. In other cases the marginal mark consists of the letters HIB.
or the monogram
, or some other form of the name "Hibernia." The following is an example:
We select this entry not only as an early example of a message from the Council in Ireland to the King, but also for the new facts which it seems to supply regarding the bearer, John de Hotham (or Hothum). Although the circumstance does not appear to have attracted the notice of the historians, it is hardly possible to doubt that this John de Hotham is the same who is found a few years later (in 1315), during Edward Bruce's expedition into Ireland, furnished with credentials from the English Privy Council to De Burgo, Earl of Ulster, and to the Justiciary and Chancellor, (fn. 7) accrediting him as envoy from the King to the discontented English barons in Ireland and the native Irish chiefs; and who was afterwards appointed Bishop of Ely, and in the end Chancellor and Lord Treasurer of England. It is true that the John de Hotham of this entry is described as "one of the Barons of the Exchequer," while he is made Chancellor of the Exchequer" by the Liber Hiberniæ, (fn. 8) which, under 2 Edw. II. (1308), records "Johannes de Hotham, clericus, Cancellarius Scaccarii Regis, Dublinii," and, in a later entry, (fn. 9) under 5 Edw. II. (1311), makes William de Hotham succeed to the same office. But the two designations are perhaps compatible; and at all events, whatever may have been John de Hotham's office, his name occurs long before among the "Magnates Hiberniæ" to whom is addressed the King's letter from Morpeth, 23rd February 1302. Now no biographer of John de Hotham, Chancellor of England and Bishop of Ely, with whom we are acquainted;—neither the latest historian of the Chancellors of England, Lord Campbell, (fn. 10) nor the writers on the bishops of England, Godwin, (fn. 11) or Wharton, (fn. 12) nor Madox, the historian of the Exchequer; (fn. 13) — alludes to his having previously held any office in the Exchequer in Ireland. Nevertheless the identity of name; the common profession to which they both belonged, (the Irish Chancellor of the Exchequer also having been a "clericus"); and, perhaps most of all, Hotham's special fitness, from previous knowledge of Ireland, to act as the King's envoy to the revolted Irish, would appear to us to place beyond doubt the identity of the two individuals.
It will be seen from these and the other entries in Bishop Stapledon's Kalendar that the Irish documents then preserved in the Treasury of the Exchequer were for the most part purely formal instruments. There are among them no letters, no reports;—nothing beyond the simple record of a grant or covenant, or of some judicial form of procedure.
Among the thirty-two documents which are registered, the only one that can be regarded as a State Paper in the higher sense of the term, is that which has just been referred to, and the nature of which may be inferred from the analogous documents which Sir William Betham has given in the Appendix of his "Dignities, Feudal and "Parliamentary." The entry describes it as a report to the King "from the Council of the King in Ireland," detailing to him the condition of the kingdom; and it is specially interesting as an indication of the relations which at that time were subsisting between the two governments.
We shall see hereafter that the early history of the proceedings of the Council in Ireland is, so far as regards the Irish Record Department, almost a complete blank. There is no notice of any Council Book in Ireland prior to the reign of Henry VIII. So far as the earlier reigns are concerned, this may, in part at least, be accounted for, without supposing that the books have been lost or destroyed, as has certainly been the case with those of the period subsequent to the reign of Henry VIII. Until the time when the legislative independence of Ireland was destroyed in the tenth year of King Henry VII. (A.D. 1495), the Parliament met, as regularly as in England, every year, under the presidency of the Lord Lieutenant or Lord Deputy, who was very commonly some Butler or Fitzgerald, and who in the pride of personal influence and territorial authority, desired to eschew as far as practicable all interference from beyond sea with his powers, and all subjection to the King and his ministers in England. It is true that a few addresses or messages from the Council to the King are preserved, as in April 1420, (fn. 14) and again in 1435; (fn. 15) but the number is limited, such addresses more commonly emanating from the Parliaments. The calling of Parliaments in those days must not be likened to what it became after Poynings' Act, which may be said not so much to have regulated the course of Irish Parliaments as to have extinguished Parliamentary Government in Ireland; for after the 10th Henry VII. scarce one Parliament was held in a King's reign, and then only (as Sir John Davys has shown (fn. 16) ) for the purpose of vesting the forfeitures of large territories more securely in the Crown. So far had been the Lord Deputies in the times before Poynings' Act from omitting to hold Parliaments, that sometimes two or three Parliaments were summoned and held within the compass of one year, and a special law was made that there should be but one Parliament held in a year. (fn. 17) Hence the presence of the Parliament overshadowed the Council, and left it little or nothing to do. "In the Parliament of that time," as Sir John Davys remarks, "we find an extraordinary number of private bills and petitions answered and ordered in Parliament," (fn. 18) comprising, in fact, much of the business afterwards transacted by the Council.
But when the Parliament ceased to be held, the whole government of the kingdom was transferred to the Lord Deputy and Council of Ireland, acting under the orders of the King and Council in England. The Council, being now a subordinate body, would necessarily be required to keep a record of the orders received from England, of their execution of them, and of their own suggestions for the management of the country. As long, however, as the family of Kildare ruled in Ireland, which may be said to have been till the rebellion of Thomas Fitzgerald in 28th Henry VIII., the old practice probably prevailed, and the Earls of Kildare continued to exercise their former power without rendering much account of it to the King and Council of England, or keeping much record of it at home; and in accordance with this view we find that the first Council Book of Ireland bears date just about this time, viz. A.D. 1512. (fn. 19)
It is not surprising, therefore, that, beyond the few pages of Irish entries already recorded, no further trace of State Papers relating to Ireland is to be found in the Ancient Kalendars of Sir Francis Palgrave. But after the reign of Henry VII. a change at once becomes apparent. From the date, too, of the organisation of the State Paper Office as a public department under Dr. Thomas Wilson as clerk of the papers, all important Records were preserved with greater care; and that the Irish papers shared this increased care is manifest as well from the Calendars of the reigns of Henry VIII., Edward VI., Mary, and Elizabeth, which have already appeared in this series, as from the frequent notices of the Irish papers preserved in the London State Paper Office which are found in the invaluable "Calendar of Documents relating to the "History of H.M.'s State Paper Office to 1800," which has been printed as an appendix to the "Thirteenth "Report of the Deputy Keeper of the Public Records."
In a list (in the handwriting of Sir Ralph Sadler and drawn up early in the reign of Edward VI.) of "bagges of bokes, lettres, & other writenges remayneng in the study at Westminster & in several tilles within the same," is included "a greate bag of writengs of survey of lands in Ireland brought from thens by Mr. Candishe (Cavendish), auditor, & thother commissioners." (fn. 20) A list of Bokes & lettres remayneng in the chest," compiled in the same reign, enumerates "Lettres out of Ireland." In a memorial of Thomas Wilson, nephew of Dr. Thomas Wilson, the first clerk of the papers, who succeeded to office in the beginning of James I.'s reign, the Irish papers are stated to be "so many as no other country hath so much;" (fn. 21) and they are particularly described by Wilson in a paper entitled, "Generall heads of things in the Office of the Papers, July 29, 1618."
"The whole office," he writes, "is devided into 12 severall stages, under the titles of severall countries, vizt: 1. Britania Australis. 2. Britania Septentrionalis. 3. Gallia.
6. Hispania, Flandria.
7. Germania, Dania, Hansia.
8. Polonia, Moscovia, Suetia.
9. Provinciæ Unitæ.
10. Turcia, Barbaria, India.
11. Tractatus Principum.
Of these "stages," however, we need refer only to the fourth, which is described as follows:—
"Hybernia.—In the stages of Ireland are conteyned 120 bookes, whereof 30 of them are Lr̃es of Deputyes, Secretaryes, and ministers employed in busynes civill & militarye, instructions and dispatches from hence from 1560 till 1612; 24 of them are particular papers of all the busines that passed either in tyme of peace or warre, the rest are leiger books and rolles of accompts for disbursemts of the charge of that kingdome and other matters concerning the publique service there, with some discourses about the government thereof. Alsoe 6 cupboardes of Pacquettes unbound up, partly of the busines before mentioned, and partly about the suite and busines of private men." (fn. 22)
In a subsequent letter, dated 10th March 1619, Wilson reminds the King that on His Majesty's first visit to the office of his papers he was so struck by the multiplicity and mass of the communications from his kingdom of Ireland, that he had declared that "we had more to do with Ireland than with all the world beside." (fn. 23)
It is plain from this recorded observation of the King, no less than from the formal statement of Wilson already referred to, that at this period the Irish papers formed a distinct and separate collection; and among the evidences of the zeal of this officer for the safe-keeping of the records and for their recovery when improperly withheld by private individuals, are several letters in which the object of his reclamation arc papers relating to Irish affairs. He had obtained, in 1618, from the King a general warrant for recovering "of all things unjustly detained from thence with which he was then in hand." (fn. 24) In a letter to the King, written probably in 1622, among the documents thus unduly "kept from him," he enumerates "letters for the business of Ireland since the time that there was a secretary particularly appointed for the business of that kingdom." He alludes specially to "those records and books written during the time that the commission for Irish causes stood on foot." (fn. 25) Lord Carew, in 1616, borrowed from Wilson's office "four books of Ireland," (p. 225). Of these he returned only three (Sept. 19); and, in returning these, he makes a further and fresh request for the "roll containing copies of divers letters patent for offices granted by King Henry VI., and the box of letters and writings touching the voyage of Richard Duke of York, when he went Lord Lieutenant unto Ireland, temp. Henry VI." (fn. 26) Among the papers contemplated in a warrant from the Earls of Suffolk and Worcester and Sir Julius Cæsar, addressed to Sir Michael Hicks and Robert Kirkham (June 23, 1612), directing them to deliver up to Levinus Muncke and Thomas Wilson, Keepers of State Papers, the "papers of the late Earl of Salisbury, Lord Treasurer," (fn. 27) the Irish documents must have formed a large proportion; and, as if the demand had been at least partially evaded, we shall see later that it was from the collection of this very Sir Michael Hicks that an important body of Irish papers made its way eventually to the British Museum. Perhaps it is not unreasonable to presume that in like manner there may have been Irish records among the "books and papers borrowed at divers times out of the office of His Majesty's papers by Lord Conway and other officers of State between March 1624 and April 1627," which in the recent restitution of the Conway Papers to the Public Record Office have again returned to their proper repository.
A list of "Entry-books received out of the Earl of Arlington's office in 1674" includes "the Irish books from 1663 to 1674;" and in a plan entitled, "Order of the Paper Office," dated 1682, and showing the arrangement of presses or shelves, the compartments being numbered and labelled with the name of the country or class of the papers, "Hibernia" forms the third of the divisions, and is described as "containing a great number of books and papers relating to civil and military affairs of Ireland and the government thereof, together with several presses of loose papers, and letters concerning the same." (fn. 28)
From the requisitions for particular papers or sets of papers which are recorded in the Calendar, it may be inferred that, even before this date, the papers of the Irish department were arranged and preserved in a condition available for the ordinary purposes of consultation and references. On the 23rd Sept. 1671, we find a warrant from the Commissioners for the Act of Settlement in Ireland, to Joseph Williamson, requiring him to deliver to "Sir James Shacn, their secretary, all books and papers in his custody relating to the settlement of Ireland, and particularly those of Grocers' Hall, and all others relating to the Adventurers." (fn. 29) A similar warrant, of the following October, contains the condition that the papers shall be carefully and punctually returned to the office of the Papers of State within the space of a year at furthest. (fn. 30) Repeated records occur of authorised requisitions from individuals for papers regarding particular events or periods. Thus Sir Stanier Porter calls for "correspondence with Ireland in 1641." (fn. 31) A "memorandum of Ireland Trade Papers between 1663 and 1678 is left with Mr. Chalmers." (fn. 32) Lord Radnor applies for copies of the King's letters to Ireland in 1627. A similar application is made to see the "proceeding upon the death of the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland, between 1630 and 1640," (fn. 33) and another from Lord Sidney's office for a volume of correspondence with the appointment of the Duke of Devonshire as Lord Lieutenant of Ireland." (fn. 34) Nevertheless, that the series of papers in the Irish department was not complete, may be inferred from the answer returned to one of these requisitions—that made 4th March 1775, by Sir Stanier Porter, for "Irish correspondence in 1750 and 1751." The answer was, that the Irish correspondence in the Paper Office did not come down lower than 1747." (fn. 35)
The general character of the papers relating to Ireland preserved in the State Paper Office may be inferred from the nature of the relations which subsisted between the Vice-regal government of Ireland and the central administration to which it was subordinate, and by which it was constantly directed, often in the very minutest details. The papers consist not merely of the correspondence addressed directly from Ireland to the representatives of the high departments of State in England, but of many far more interesting communications indirectly connected with this correspondence, and throwing much more light on the condition of the country and the circumstances of the time. The staple of the records of course consists of letters addressed by the Lord Lieutenant or Lord Deputy, by the Irish Privy Council, by the Treasurer at Wars, the Chancellor, the high church dignitaries, or the officers holding military commands, sometimes to the Sovereign in person, but commonly to the Secretary of State or Lord Treasurer, or to the Privy Council, or a committee of the Privy Council. But in many cases much more is learned regarding the state of Ireland and the passing events, from the papers which accompany these official communications; such as reports from local governors or commanders; estimates of expenditure and demands for supplies; lists of civil and military officers, with the amount of their pay or arrears; pension lists; petitions, often from the native Irish; examinations of prisoners or suspected persons; juridical informations; private intelligences, whether from accredited officials or from secret informers, a not infrequent class of contributors to the Irish State Papers, even in remote times; plans and suggestions for defence, or for the pacification of the country; projects of improvement by new settlements and plantations, or by the introduction or development of fresh branches of industry.
In general the term "State Papers," as understood in reference to this Calendar, includes all acts and correspondence between the King and his ministers and chief officers, and the letters of the latter to their subordinates concerning the affairs of State.
On the other hand it excludes for the most part what are technically called Records, which arc, generally speaking, acts of courts of judicature, arising out of controversies concerning disputed private or semi-public rights; also enrolments of official acts, such as inquisitions, commissions and their returns; King's letters under privy seal directing grants of lands or offices to he passed under the great seal, and the grants made in pursuance of them. But where, as very frequently happens, documents of the latter class appear to involve names or facts which hear upon the history of the period, the distinction becomes practically of no real importance.
The State Paper Office, of course, is the first and chief depository of all State Papers. But many State Papers have escaped from this office or have never been brought there, and are to he sought elsewhere. And the papers of some subordinate officers, which were not proper objects for the State Paper Office, though they concerned the affairs of State, such, for instance, as the papers of Sir John Davys, Attorney-General in Ireland, for many years of the reign of King James I., supply important materials for understanding the course of government, and are therefore to be included in the Calendar of State Papers.
As regards papers and records connected with the government of Ireland, whatever may be said of the State Papers generally, there is practical evidence in the great Carte Collection of Historical Papers in the Bodleian Library, Oxford, which contains papers belonging to three Chief Governors of Ireland, namely, Sir W. Fitzwilliam in Queen Elizabeth's reign, Sir Arthur Chichester in James I.'s, and the Duke of Ormonde, in those of Charles I., Charles II., and James II., that all these statesmen considered themselves entitled to retain, for their own use or security, papers which would now be held to belong to the public offices, as, for instance, the King's warrants under privy seal for grants of lands, offices, and pensions.
Thus there are found in Sir Arthur Chichester's papers several letters of King James I. under privy seal; in Sir W. Fitzwilliam's papers, nearly a hundred similar letters from Queen Elizabeth; while in the Duke of Ormonde's there are no fewer than 1,083 of Charles II.
Indeed in the Queen's letter, by which, in 1702, the Irish Paper Office was ordered to be established, it is expressly said to have been the custom of "all the Chief Governors of Ireland, upon their leaving that kingdom, to take with them all books and entries whereon were entered all Kings' letters, orders, warrants," (fn. 36) and similar instruments; and that the practice was at least tacitly acquiesced in, may be inferred from the provision which is made for remedying the evil consequent upon it, which is, not that the originals shall be retained as State property, but that duplicates of all such entries shall be kept in the office. And although this letter speaks only of "copies" and "entries" as being thus appropriated, it may fairly be presumed, from the fact that so many original letters and warrants were preserved by these three Chief Governors, that it equally applied to the original papers themselves; and it is also further proved by this;—that, when Sir Arthur Chichester, being anxious at the time of his first appointment as Deputy, to know what grants had been ordered by the King to be made in fee-farm, applied for this purpose to Sir George Carey, the previous Deputy, Carey did not send him the originals, but only copies of the King's warrants under privy seal, certifying at foot, "This is a trewe copye, George "Carey." (fn. 37)
From the general tenor of the communications from Ireland, such as we have described them, it will be seen that the stores of the State Paper Department in London, had they been carefully preserved, might be expected to supply materials for a very comprehensive outline of the condition of Ireland; and that, if supplemented by their natural counterpart, the corresponding series of communications in the Dublin State Paper Department, there would be but little wanting to a complete picture. Unhappily, however, neither of these conditions has been fulfilled in the case of the records of the reign of James I. Many of the State Papers of the London offices for this reign have been withdrawn or withheld from their proper place of deposit, and the Dublin State Paper Department is a complete blank.
Fortunately it has happened in some instances that the blank in the Dublin State Records is supplied by the original papers themselves, or by the notes and minutes regarding them, preserved in the London State Paper Department. A good deal of light as to the line of action taken in reference to these papers may be gathered from the minutes or endorsements made at the moment upon the original documents as they were received; from the rough drafts or copies of the letters or instructions regarding them, sent from the King, the Secretary, or the Council to the Lord Lieutenant, the Lord Deputy, or the Lords Justices; from the fiants or instructions for the preparation of the necessary instruments issued to the proper officials; and finally from the Entry and Docquet Books, in which, even in cases where all other record has disappeared, the purport of the communication, the parties to whom it was addressed, and the date at which it was issued, arc recorded, sometimes with sufficient fulness to supply the main facts of the case in all that is really important for its elucidation.
The series of papers relating to Ireland in the reign of James I. preserved in the London Public Record Office consists of twenty-eight 4 to volumes, together with three volumes of maps. Of the papers in these twenty-eight volumes, twenty-six are arranged in chronological order, and two, the papers in which are undated, have been put together, and can only be assigned conjecturally, either according to external evidence, or upon grounds otherwise discoverable, to the periods to which they respectively belong.
The first paper in the series is dated 24th March 1603, on the morning of which day Queen Elizabeth died; and the series extends without any very noticeable gap down to the death of James I. There is much disproportion, however, in the spaces occupied by the several years, occasioned, no doubt, by the disappearance in certain years of whole masses of the correspondence; and it is gratifying to find that in more than one instance the scantiness of the London Public Record series is compensated by the comparative fulness of one or other of the various independent collections in which fragments of the official papers of James I. are to be found.
The following table exhibits the distribution, according to years, of the volumes in the Public Record Office.
The last three volumes are occupied exclusively with maps and plans.
As we shall have occasion, when engaged on the subject of the Ulster plantation, to refer in detail to the maps contained in this as well as other ancient collections, especially those of Trinity College, Dublin, and those collected by Jobson, we shall confine ourselves for the present to a brief notice of the general contents of these volumes.
The maps contained in the first of these volumes (243) are all of a period anterior to the reign of James I., and some of them have been calendared in the State Papers of King Henry VIII., vol. II.
In the second (244) are the maps connected with the plantation of the six escheated counties in Ulster, of which unfortunately two, viz. Derry and Donegal, have not yet been found. Those of Armagh, Cavan, Fermanagh, and Tyrone have been reproduced by the process of photo-zincography under the direction of the Ordnance Department in England, and printed in colours so as perfectly to represent the originals. We have strong hopes that we may find amongst the Philadelphia Papers, when we reach the period of the plantation, information which may throw light on the preparation of these maps, and may explain some of the conventional marks used, which are at present only matter of inference.
The third volume (vol. 245) contains plans of many of the forts erected in Ireland in the reign of King James I., and will afford, no doubt, much information illustrative of the correspondence of Sir Arthur Chichester. We have made careful catalogues of all the maps and plans contained in these three volumes; but we reserve them and our remarks upon them until we come to the year 1609, to which the principal portion of them belong.
Since the date of the transfer of the State Paper Office collection, a valuable supplement to the thirty-one volumes above enumerated has accrued to the Public Records in the so-called Throckmorton and Conway Papers.
The former were the papers of Sir Nicholas Throckmorton, who was chamberlain of the Exchequer under Queen Elizabeth, and was at various times intrusted by her with several confidential missions. The papers were placed by his son Arthur at the disposal of Sir Henry Wotton, who bequeathed them to King Charles I., "to be preserved in the Papers Office;"—a bequest, however, which remained unexecuted until the year 1857.
The Conway Papers are so named from Sir Edward Conway, afterwards Baron Conway and Viscount Killultagh, Secretary of State in the last years of the reign of James I. and the commencement of that of Charles I. Among the requisitions for missing papers made by Sir Thomas Wilson which are recorded in the Calendar or often referred to, (fn. 38) is one for "books and papers borrowed at divers times by Lord Conway and other officers of State between March 1624 and April 1627." A suspicion might arise that the "Conway Papers" lately recovered, are the fruit of this or some similar appropriation of public papers; but it is plain from the very nature of the papers, that in the main they are those which came into Lord Conway's hands in the regular routine of his office as Secretary of State, and that, in accordance with the abusive practice of the time, Conway's official documents were treated by himself or by his executors as his own. After his death they remained, as part of his personal effects, in the hands of his family; and on the death of the third Viscount they passed by his will, along with his general inheritance, to Popham Seymour, and afterwards to Edward, his brother, in whose favour was restored the barony of Conway, afterwards merged in the Marquisate of Hertford. For many years the papers remained unnoticed or neglected, and fell into utter and most lamentable decay; but about the middle of the last century they appear to have come accidentally under the observation of Horace Walpole in a casual visit which he made to the seat of Lord Hertford in Warwickshire. In a letter to John Chute, dated 22nd August 1758, Walpole tells of his having discovered at Lord Hertford's, and brought away with him, "the remains of vast quantities of letters and State Papers of the two Lords Conway, Secretaries of State." (fn. 39) He says "remains," because what he recovered represented but a miserable fragment of the original collection; "forty times as many papers having been consumed in the oven and the house by the sentence of a steward during my Lord's minority." What had been spared too was in a most deplorable condition—"gnawed by rats, rotten, or not worth a straw;" but Walpole felt confident that he "would save some of what is very curious and valuable, and that, if he should but continue to live thirty years, he would be able to give to the world some treasures from the press at Strawberry Hill." (fn. 40) This hope, however, he failed to realise. It would appear that he must have returned the papers to Lord Hertford; but nothing definite seems known about them until, in 1824, Lord Hertford placed them in the hands of Mr. John Wilson Croker, with a view to his making a selection from them for publication, and ultimately transferred them to his absolute disposal. Although they remained in Mr. Croker's possession more than thirty years, he took no step towards this publication; and at length, conscious of failing health and advancing years, he became anxious at least to secure them for the purposes of history by depositing them partly in the Public Record Office, partly in the manuscript room of the British Museum.
On the 1st of August 1857, Mr. Croker, "from a bed of pain and sickness," dictated a letter to the Home Secretary, offering to transfer the Conway and Throckmorton Papers to the Public Record Office. The offer was accepted promptly. Mr. Croker wrote again on the 9th of the same month, formally conveying the property of the documents; and died upon the very day after he had completed the transfer. On the 26th of the same month, two boxes of papers containing about sixty volumes were delivered at the Record Office; just in time to furnish a most valuable supplement to the first volume of Mr. Bruce's Calendar of the Domestic Papers of Charles I., and to Mr. Thorpe's Calendar of State Papers relating to Scotland.
Since the hurried examination to which the papers were then submitted for the purposes of these Calendars, they have been carefully examined and arranged; and the Irish Papers which have appeared in the course of this examination have been separated from the series. These papers, some of which are in a condition of lamentable decay, are preserved in detached bundles, but it is proposed to incorporate them with the chronological series. With the Irish Papers in the Throckmorton collection, of course, this Calendar is not concerned. They have been turned to valuable account by Mr. Hans Claude Hamilton, in his admirable Calendar of the Irish State Papers of Elizabeth. Those of the Conway Papers which fall within the period comprised in the present volume, and a few other papers not as yet assigned to any settled place in the Records, are calendared under the designation of "Additional Papers." Some of them are of considerable historical interest, but for the most part they are not State Papers in the technical sense of the words. A considerable number are rough copies or drafts, and in many, even when they are carefully drawn, blanks are left for the date and amount. Nevertheless, although perhaps there are very few out of the entire collection which can be considered as strictly official, they are not the less valuable for the purposes of historical study; and in some instances we have found them to supply important particulars which are unrecorded in the existing chronological series of the Public Record Office.
We ought to add that there is one not unimportant class of documents to which the Conway Papers have contributed a large supplement,—the Docquets of letters and other official papers, consisting of short and summary entries of the purport of the letters, and designed as a condensed record of their contents. When the original letter has disappeared, as very frequently happens, the historical value of the Docquet is incalculable. Now the series of Docquet Books in the Conway Papers, for the reigns of James I. and Charles I. is unusually complete; and it has served to fill up many intervals in which both the docquets and the letters themselves elsewhere have been hopelessly lost. It will be seen that, in the absence of the original papers, we have, in our Calendar, drawn largely upon these humbler substitutes.
II.—Irish Papers in Other Collections.
One of the reasons assigned for the organisation in 1578 of a special department of State Records, with a regular "clerk of the papers," was "because, through the often changing of the Secretaries of State, the papers began to be embezzled." (fn. 41) It will be seen by a glance at the chronological table given above of the State Papers of James I. still remaining in the London Public Record Office, that the contents of that series for some years are much more ample than for other years of the same reign. In some cases the papers of a single year occupy two or even three volumes; in others a single volume suffices for the documents of two or three years. And that this disproportion was not accidental, but rather the result of the undue detention of official papers from their fitting depository, is plain from the repeated declarations of Sir Thomas Wilson, and from his persistent efforts, disclosed in the State Paper Office documents, to recover the missing papers for the public service. (fn. 42) The Secretary, Lord High Treasurer, or other chief minister for the time, considered himself entitled to retain in his own custody the documents which came into his hands in the course of public affairs; and perhaps, in certain troubled periods, this course may have recommended itself on the ground of secrecy and of security, in preference to that of depositing them in the custody of the minor officials of the several departments.
Considerations such as these may be supposed to have affected the custody of documents transmitted from the central government to Ireland still more than of those of the London State Paper Office themselves, owing to the greater precariousness and insecurity of public affairs in Ireland. We shall see later that, with the exception of legal and judicial instruments and the official registries of them, the Public Records of Ireland have almost entirely disappeared from their natural place of deposit at Dublin; not only those of the reign of James I., but the whole series down to the Revolution.
It is this wholesale denudation of the official repositories which has enriched the collections preserved in the great libraries. The papers withdrawn from official custody have not been entirely lost; and it may even be doubted whether in some cases they may not have been all the more effectually preserved. The Carew Papers may be quoted as a most favourable example of the security of unofficial custody; and it cannot be doubted that the Duke of Ormonde's official correspondence during his frequent tenures of office in Ireland from 1642 almost down to the Revolution, had it been left to the chances of the public offices in Ireland, would never have been protected from mutilation or decay half so successfully as it was preserved in the muniment-room of Kilkenny Castle, and in more recent times, under the vigilant eyes of the guardians of the Bodleian Library. And, although the fortunes of the Ormonde Papers are in this respect perhaps exceptional, partly from the circumstances of the times, partly from the rare faculty for business and the marvellous exactness and regularity in the care and arrangement of papers which characterised the Duke of Ormonde, yet hardly even the most reckless and indifferent of the officials of that day have left us altogether without some remains of their correspondence or of the records of their administration.
We shall endeavour to trace in the various depositories of manuscripts in London, Oxford, and Dublin the origin and history of those fragments which arc still preserved of the records of the reign of James I., one of the great turning points in the history of Ireland.
(1.)—Irish Papers in The British Museum.
Important papers relating to public affairs in Ireland under James I. are found in considerable number in each of the four great collections in the British Museum; the Cottonian, the Lansdowne, the Harleian, and the Sloane, or rather the Additional Manuscripts.
A.— Cottonian Manuscripts.
The richness of this great collection in the original materials of the history of England is well known, and is amply attested for the period of Henry VIII. by the Letters and Papers, Foreign and Domestic, of that reign already published. This is hardly less true for the later reigns. Volume Titus B. XI., besides the reign of Henry VIII. and earlier times, ranges over those of Mary and Elizabeth; and Titus B. xiii. and Vespasian F. xii. are almost entirely occupied with the reign of Elizabeth. The Irish papers relating to the reign of James I. are chiefly contained in volume Titus B. x.
The Irish papers in that volume begin with the year 1604. The Irish documents are few and unimportant, however, until 1607 and 1608, in which years the interest increases. A few important papers also occur of the years 1614, 1615, and 1619; but the weight of historical interest is found in the papers of the interval between 1610 and 1613.
The contents of this valuable volume are in great part State Papers in the highest sense of the word, comprising correspondence with the Secretary, the Lord Treasurer, and the heads of the other chief departments, despatches of the Lord Deputy, reports on public affairs, important informations and examinations; in a word, all the several classes of documents which constitute the staple of the records in Her Majesty's Public Record Office.
It would be interesting to trace the immediate sources from which these important documents regarding Ireland found their way into the hands of Sir Robert Cotton. For these manuscripts there does not exist, as in the case of other similar collections, any family channel through which they can be supposed to have passed to Cotton; nor had Cotton himself any official connexion with the public service by which his possession of them can be explained. He was, as to this department of his library, a collector and nothing more. Now many of the Irish papers in volume Titus B. x. are of a strictly official character, and must of their own nature have passed through the regular official channels. With regard to such papers there must necessarily arise the same doubt which exists in reference to. the general mass of State Papers contained in the Cottonian collection, amounting, in the opinion of a most competent authority, to nearly a third of the entire. (fn. 43) These papers were rightfully, and in their origin, the property of the State. "How came they to pass into the hands of Sir Robert Cotton?"
This question, in its more general form, has recently given rise to some controversy. Mr. Brewer, in the Preface to his Letters and Papers of Henry VIII., makes it plain that a large proportion of the papers of that reign in the Cotton collection not only were originally public instruments of their own nature, but actually formed part of the Public Records of the State. They often fill up exactly the gaps which are found in the manuscripts still preserved in the Record Office. They supply the enclosures originally contained, but now missing, in the official series of correspondence; the addresses of unaddressed letters preserved in the Public Record Office; and the deciphers of letters which there exist only in cipher. And, to shut out all doubt of the identity of origin, in some cases the very leaves or portions of leaves of imperfect or mutilated letters or other documents which are wanting in the Public Record Office have been identified in the volumes of the Cotton collection.
With a knowledge of these facts, it is difficult to dissent from the opinion expressed by Mr. Brewer in the Preface to the Letters and Papers of the Reign of Henry VIII., that, "the papers having unquestionably belonged at one time to the State, it can only have been through fraud or negligence that they found their way into the possession of Sir Robert Cotton." (fn. 44)
To whom this fraud or negligence is to be imputed, Mr. Brewer declines to inquire; but he plainly indicates an unfavourable judgment as to Sir Robert Cotton.
On the contrary, Mr. Edwards, in the valuable Memoir of Cotton in his Lives of the Founders of the British Museum, while he fully admits the official character of the appropriated papers, and the strict original right of the State to the ownership of them, endeavours, with natural zeal for the honour of his hero, to vindicate Cotton from the suspicion of having acquired possession of them by fraudulent or unjustifiable means. He shows that for the appropriation of at least a certain number of State Papers, Sir Robert Cotton had obtained the necessary permission of the Crown. In the year 1618, evidently with a view to the enrichment of his already celebrated collection of manuscripts, Cotton obtained from the State Paper Office, through a formal order of the King to Sir Thomas Wilson, "certain bundles of State Papers and letters." Mr. Brewer infers from a passage in Cotton's correspondence with Sir Edward Coke, that, as early as 1612, a similar warrant had been given, authorising him to select other papers from the records in the Tower of London; and the same royal license is expressly admitted in a letter of Sir Thomas Wilson in 1624, as to the papers "necessary for verifying the story which Mr. Camden has set forth," from 1557 to 1589. (fn. 45) It is true that the order of 1618 is confined to letters "containing the subscription and signatures of princes and great men," but "otherwise unimportant." The papers referred to by Wilson, moreover, were plainly given to Cotton with the obligation of returning them, and the same may be presumed with certainty of the papers referred to in the correspondence with Coke. And thus, however wide the range of conjecture, which, as Mr. Edwards suggests, lies open as to the estimate of importance in papers of State formed two centuries and a half ago by James, who gave the order, or by Sir Thomas Wilson, who received it;" (fn. 46) — and however much the historical student may he tempted to grant a large privilege of interpretation to an enthusiastic collector, moved, as Cotton undoubtedly was, by impulses far higher than that acquisitiveness which distinguishes many of his class, and to regard as venial in his case an overstraining of the letter which sterner rectitude must condemn;—there still remains a large balance of suspicion, which even the most credulous partiality will find it difficult to wipe away.
Nevertheless, there was an openness and an air of independence in Cotton's possession of these papers which it is difficult to connect with any consciousness on his part of injustice or dishonour in the mode of acquiring them. On whomsoever the imputation of fraud or negligence in the first withdrawal of the State Records from the proper official custody may fall, there are many of the Cotton MSS., once most indubitably the property of the Crown, in regard of the abstraction of which Sir Robert Cotton must certainly be held to be personally free from imputation. Many of the manuscripts, Mr. Edwards affirms, (fn. 47) although plainly at one time the property of the State, can still be minutely "traced from possessor to possessor prior to their reception into the Cottonian Library." (fn. 48) As to the whole Collection, Sir Robert exercised his proprietorship openly and unreservedly. His right therein was freely acknowledged by the highest officials of the State. It was not called in question by those of his contemporaries who may be presumed to have been best informed, and to have had the most direct interest in the discovery of any irregularity as to the mode of acquisition. In his published writings, without a shadow of misgiving or hesitation, he "iterates and reiterates references to national documents then in his own Collection. His references are specific and minute. Secretaries of State write to him, asking leave to inspect original treaties (sometimes in order to lay them before the King in person), and promising to return them promptly. Law officers of the Crown desire him kindly to afford them opportunities for collating public instruments preserved at Cotton House with public instruments in the repositories of the Crown." (fn. 49) Such recognition of Cotton's title to these public instruments, or at least such acquiescence in his established possession of them, by the highest officials of the very departments of State to which they belonged, can only be explained on the supposition either of a sufficient transfer of the papers by competent authority, or of such negligence and indifference on the part of the official custodians of the Records to the interest of the public in their preservation, as would almost render it an act of service to the nation to remove them to the comparatively secure guardianship of a well-organised private collection.
At the same time it is impossible not to suspect that the zeal of Sir Robert Cotton as a collector, occasionally carried him beyond the strict line of right in the transactions by which he sought to add to his literary stores. It was evidently very difficult to recover out of his hands the manuscripts of which he had once obtained possession; and he did not scruple to treat as his own, volumes which he had obtained confessedly only as a loan. He so dealt with books of the Corporation of London, of which he eventually gave up possession; (fn. 50) and Mr. Edwards mentions an instance in which, having obtained through Archbishop Laud, from the Principal and Fellows of St. John's College, a certain Beda MS. of great value, he withheld its return for many years; and Laud, having been urged by them to enforce its restitution, found it necessary not only to appeal to Cotton "in terms almost pathetic," but even to hold out as inducement a promise that, "if anything of worth in like kind should come into his hands, he would freely give it to Cotton as a recompense."
The sources from which Sir Robert Cotton derived the great body of his celebrated collection are commonly known. He obtained most of his purely antiquarian stores from the collections of his predecessors in the same department of learning, Camden, Lambarde, and the well-known Dr. John Dee. For the vast collection of State Papers which it includes, he appears to have been, in some way at least, indebted to his friend, Sir Arthur Agarde, (fn. 51) Keeper of the Treasury of the Exchequer. As to the State Papers of the reign of Henry VIII. in particular, Mr. Brewer states in express terms, that "large portions of them were carried off in 1614, if not before, by Sir Robert Cotton, to augment his celebrated library, and are now to be found in the British Museum." (fn. 52) How far Cotton may have owed to the same friend a portion of the papers relating to the reign of James I., it would be difficult to determine. But we are disposed to trace to a different origin the part of the collection which relates to Ireland under that reign. These papers are for the most part to be found in volume Titus B. x., and we can hardly hesitate to regard them as in the main belonging to a single set and emanating from a common source. The Irish papers in this volume range chiefly from the year 1608 to 1616; and they comprise original letters of Chichester, Sir John Davys, Sir William Moryson, and other public men; correspondence on affairs of State; on the preparation of bills for Parliament; schemes and proposals regarding the plantation; reports and inquisitions relating to the state of the country; examinations of political prisoners, depositions, and other similar public documents. The bulk of these letters are addressed to the Earl of Northampton, who held the office of Lord Keeper from 1608, and of Lord High Treasurer from 1612, and others bear manifest indication of having passed through his hands. Now Sir Robert lived for many years in terms of intimate friendship as well as close political alliance with Lord Northampton; and when his well-known habits as a collector are considered, it is not unnatural to presume that he may have improved the opportunities which this connexion afforded for the purpose of adding to his historical stores. Indeed there is direct evidence that in the well-known affair of the Earl of Somerset, in which suspicion Lord Northampton was involved, Cotton obtained from Lord Suffolk, Northampton's son and successor, the freest access to all Lord Northampton's papers. Nor, considering the ideas then prevalent as to the unimportance of such papers, is it unlikely, that, inasmuch as he maintained with Lord Suffolk the same friendly relations on which he had lived with his father, he was permitted to appropriate these papers, which indeed might, perhaps, be regarded as most fittingly disposed by being placed in such a collection as that which Cotton was known to have formed.
This at least is certain;—that the dates through which these Irish papers range, almost exactly correspond with that period of Northampton's official connexion with public affairs, during which, as will appear in the present Calendar, he was one of the lords constantly in correspondence with the Deputy and Council.
The papers from the Lansdowne Collection will fill a much lesser space in this Calendar.
It is unnecessary to enter into the general history of this invaluable collection, which, as is well known, was the fruit of the tact and enterprise of William, third Earl of Shelburne and first Marquis of Lansdowne, chiefly during the interval of his release from official duty after his withdrawal from the Grafton ministry in 1768. We shall confine our remarks to the Irish State Papers which it contains.
The Lansdowne Historical Manuscripts relating to Ireland consist mainly of two parts, the Burghley Papers acquired in 1772, and the Cæsar Papers in 1770.
The "Burghley Papers," a hundred and twenty-one volumes, contain a body of letters and papers of the celebrated statesman, Lord Burghley, including his own diary. Having remained in the hands of one of his secretaries, Sir Michael Hicks or Hickes, they passed into the possession of the Hickes family. One of Sir Michael's descendants, Sir William Hickes, sold them to a bookseller named Chiswell, from whom they passed to the historian Strype; and it is not a little remarkable that they narrowly escaped being included in the Harleian, rather than, as at present, in the Lansdowne collection. During Strype's lifetime a hope was entertained by Wanley, the zealous but thrifty librarian of Lord Harley, of acquiring them for his patron's library. (fn. 53) That hope failed, however; and, on Strype's death, the Burghley MSS. were sold to James West, and were purchased from his executors for the scarcely less famous Shelburne Library.
The Cæsar Papers were so called from the well-known statesman Sir Julius Cæsar, who held several high offices under Elizabeth, James I., and Charles I. Sir Julius's father, Cæsar Adelmar, was a member of a distinguished family of Genoa, who settled in England; and he became State physician to Queen Mary and afterwards to Queen Elizabeth. From his mother, who was one of the Cesarini family, he had taken the name Cæsar as his family name. His son Julius was born at Tottenham in 1557; and, having studied with distinction at Oxford and Paris, he rose early to eminence in the law in England, and obtained in succession under Queen Elizabeth, the offices of Master of Requests, Judge of the Admiralty, and Master of St. Catherine's Hospital. Immediately after the accession of James I. in May 1603, Cæsar received the honour of knighthood, and was appointed Chancellor and Sub-treasurer of the Exchequer. Four years later he was made a Privy Councillor, and in 1614 he succeeded Sir Edward Phillips as Master of the Rolls. During his long tenure of these offices he accumulated, in addition to the papers connected with his own departments which came into his hands, a large mass of documents of a character more or less public. It is not a little instructive to find Sir Julius, at the very time during which he was thus keeping possession of the papers of his own office, joining with the Earls of Suffolk and Worcester in a warrant to Sir Michael Hickes and Kirkham, requiring from them to deliver up the papers of the late Earl of Salisbury, whose secretaries they had been. (fn. 54)
The papers of his office, according to the frequent usage of the time, Cæsar retained in his own custody; and they passed on his death into the hands of his family, with whom they remained for several generations. At length in the year 1757 the Cæsar collection, amounting to 187 volumes, was sold by a public auction, of which the priced catalogue (volume 103), is still in the Lansdowne MSS. (fn. 55) Out of the entire number, about sixty volumes were purchased in separate lots by Philip Cartaret Webb, a lawyer and a writer upon jurisprudence, as well as an antiquary; the purchase comprising thirty volumes relating to the Admiralty, ten to the Treasury, Exchequer, Star Chamber, and Requests, three to ecclesiastical affairs, and two to Ireland.
The volumes of the Cæsar Papers regarding Ireland are those which are now numbered 156 and 159 in the Lansdowne MSS. Along with the remnant of the Cæsar collection which had been purchased by Mr. Webb, they were acquired in 1770 by Lord Shelburne, by purchase from Mr. Webb's executors. The papers of James I. in volume 156 are comparatively few and unimportant, having relation for the most part to matters of revenue and finance.
Most of the Irish papers in volume 159 are of the same class; and, although there are some which relate more to general policy, Sir Julius's acquisition even of these, notwithstanding the absence of any direct official connexion on his part with Ireland, may be explained by remembering that at this period all matters involving expenditure naturally found their ultimate destination in the Treasury and Exchequer, in which Sir Julius for a long time presided.
The papers of volume 159 are chiefly of the years 1606, 1609, 1613, and 1614.
The Harleian Manuscripts are much less rich in materials for the history of Ireland under James I. Several of the volumes, 35, 292, 2,138, 3,292, and 7,004, contain papers relating to Ireland, extending over different reigns from early times to a period posterior to James I.'s reign: but of that particular reign the memorials are scanty, and for the most part not of the class of original State records.
The notice prefixed to the Harleian catalogue does not supply any direct information as to the source whence the historical papers bearing on James I.'s reign were derived; but it may be very probably inferred from the general history of the collection. The foundation of this collection was laid in the end of the 17th century by Robert Harley, afterwards Earl of Oxford, and it was continued by his son, Edward Lord Harley. At the death of the latter the store of MSS. connected with the public and private history of Great Britain had grown to the number of 40,000, including charters, letters patent, pardons, grants, warrants, and other similar instruments. The mass of these papers had been derived from several pre-existing collections,—those of Sir Thomas Smith, of Fox the martyrologist, of Stowe, of Archbishop Sancroft, and above all of Sir Symonds D'Ewes.
Among these collections there seems every reason to point out the last-named collection as the chief repository of the Irish State Papers which the Harley MSS. contain, and perhaps in an especial manner of those of the reign of James I. Among the papers relating to public affairs brought together by that indefatigable antiquarian and collector, mention is made of a body of charters and other documents relating to Ireland, which he obtained on the death of Sir Thomas Stafford, the editor of the Pacata Hibernia. (fn. 56) It is true that these are described as having relation to monasteries and religious houses. But, when it is remembered that Sir Thomas Stafford is believed to have been the illegitimate son of Sir Peter Carew, that to him were bequeathed Carew's letters, muniments, and materials belonging to Ireland, and that he was the person charged with the publication of the well-known history of Carew's administration in Ireland mentioned above, it may not unreasonably, in the absence of other reliable evidence, be conjectured that, although the main body of Carew's Irish papers (fn. 57) found their way to the Lambeth and Bodleian Libraries, the scanty papers in the D'Ewes collection which relate to the same period of Irish affairs, emanated from the same source; although they certainly have no natural connexion with the great collection of Carew Papers in the Lambeth Library.
It may hence be inferred that for the Calendars of Irish State Papers in James I.'s reign, but little is to be expected from the Harleian collection. A few papers of this reign are found in volumes 35, 2,138, and 3,292; but although possibly available in the defect of official records, they are not original papers; and they are all of a date subsequent to the period comprised in this volume. The earliest is of 1609.
Another very important supplement to the Public Records, as regards Irish history, is the collection known under the general designation of the Sloane Manuscripts, although in reality it comprises a large body of manuscripts not collected by Sir Hans Sloane.
Of the manuscripts catalogued by Ayscough under this general designation, only the first 4,100 numbers are properly Sloane Manuscripts. The remainder, nearly a thousand in number, are from the collection of Birch, author of the Inquiry; that of Madox, historiographer of Anne and George I.; the remaining MSS. of Rymer, not comprehended in his Fœdera; those of the celebrated traveller, Dr. Pococke, Bishop of Ossory, Elphin, and finally of Meath; those of Jeremiah Milles, Dean of Exeter, and other smaller collections presented at various times to the Museum, or purchased by the Trustees. As a whole, these collections of MSS. are of the highest value, both for the general history of Ireland and for the special period comprised in this Calendar.
The Sloane MSS. proper, however, contain comparatively little of interest for Irish history, and, it may almost be said, nothing that specially belongs to the reign of James I. There is one volume (3,827) of Lord Falkland's Irish correspondence, but it relates to the year 1626. With the exception of a few volumes, relating to special periods, (fn. 58) the same may be said substantially of all the collections, except one, that presented by the Rev. Jeremiah Milles, Dean of Exeter, in 1757, which consists of 48 volumes (Nos 4,755–4,802), almost all specially devoted to Irish history. Most of these volumes are known as Clarendon MSS., and are catalogued as such in the Catalogus Librorum MSS. Angliæ et Hiberniæ in unum collectorum. (fn. 59)
These Clarendon MSS. (fn. 60) were collected by Henry, second Earl, and the Irish portion consists chiefly, if not exclusively, of the papers of the celebrated historian and antiquary, Sir James Ware. Ware's collection was the fruit of the zeal and research of a whole lifetime. He was, even as a youth, the protégé and disciple of Ussher and the sharer of his tastes; and while still very young, (fn. 61) he commenced under Ussher's direction to bring together all the documents, public and private, connected with the history of Ireland which came within his reach. In 1626, and again in 1628, he visited England with this purpose; and, having formed the familiar acquaintance of Cotton and Seiden, and obtained access to the Records of the Tower, he was enabled to supplement largely the materials which he had previously collected in Ireland. His collections extracted from the English Records display infinite industry and labour; and, indeed, this is the general character of the Ware manuscripts, which, consisting in a great degree of copies, are of a class which might naturally be expected to be brought together by an industrious collector. As to the sources from which he obtained the original papers of a public nature which are found in his volumes, it is idle to hazard a conjecture. The official position to which he succeeded on the death of his father, that of Auditor-General, did not afford any special facilities for the purpose; and although his place as a member of the Privy Council, at the meetings of which his signature attests his almost constant attendance, brought directly under his cognizance every notable measure of administration, and every document of importance connected with the affairs of his own time, it is to be observed that the collection is far less rich in documents of importance during his own time than at other periods before and afterwards.
Ware's collection was offered for sale at his death in 1686, and was purchased by the second Earl of Clarendon, at that time Lord Lieutenant of Ireland. On Lord Clarendon's return to England he deposited the collection in Archbishop Tenison's Library. It came subsequently into the possession of the Duke of Chandos, and shared the common fate of his whole magnificent collection. (fn. 62) It was brought to the hammer in March 1746, and sold in lots at prices varying from one to twenty shillings, very many of the lots being knocked down after a single bidding at one shilling and sixpence. It is stated in the preface of Ayscough's Catalogue of the Sloane and Additional MSS. that these Clarendon volumes (4,755–4,802) were presented to the Museum by the Rev. Jeremiah Milles, Dean of Exeter; and it is conjectured by Mr. Bond, the learned and courteous Head of the Manuscript Department, that they were acquired by Dean Milles at this memorable sale.
A large proportion of the volumes relate, as might indeed be expected, from the nature of Sir James Ware's studies, to the ancient history of Ireland. Of the more recent papers, the greater number relate either to the reign of Elizabeth or to the post-Restoration period, and especially to the Lord Lieutenancy of the Earl of Essex. (fn. 63)
For the reign of James I. the most important volumes are 4,784, 4,794, 4,819, and 3,827. A few scattered papers are found also in volumes 4,756, 4,792, and 4,793; but among these will not be found any original State Papers relating to the period comprised in the present volume.
Of the four volumes specially enumerated, the most valuable is 4,794, originally one of the Clarendon MSS., and derived by Lord Clarendon from the collection of Sir James Ware. It contains the series of letters (copies) of the King and Council to the Lord Lieutenant, the Lord Deputy, and the Lords Justices and Council of Ireland, from 1603 to 1623. The volume originally contained 686 pages, but the first thirteen are missing.
In volume 4,784 is a similar series of letters, from 1603 to 1608, occupying 123 pages; and 4,819 contains the King's instructions to Chichester, from 1604 to 1611, together with other papers of interest in relation to the history of Chichester's government.
Although these letters and papers are but copies, their value, nevertheless, as being nearly contemporary copies, is only second to that of the originals themselves, many of which are now irrecoverable.
Volume 3,827, besides the correspondence of Lord Falkland already mentioned, contains papers of the reign of Elizabeth, but they are not original. Like the volumes enumerated above, volume 3,827 consists exclusively of copies.
(2.)—Irish Papers in Lambeth Library.
As the Carew MSS. form the subject of a special Calendar, and have been described with full details in the learned prefaces of Mr. Brewer, it is only necessary for us to refer to that portion of this important collection which relates to the reign of James I.
The official connexion of Sir George Carew with Ireland terminated in the last days of the reign of Elizabeth. He had long desired permission to return to England, and having, after many disappointments and delays, obtained at last the consent of the Queen, he finally left his government in Munster on his homeward journey, early in February 1603. We find him at Cork on the 6th of February, and at Youghal on the 9th of that month; and he reached Dublin on the 4th of March. The date of his leaving Dublin is uncertain. He was still in that city on the 20th of that month, three days before the Queen's death, which took place on the 24th; and it had been considered questionable whether he had actually reached England before that event, although it seemed hardly possible to doubt that, as Mr. Brewer suggests, (fn. 64) he was the George Carew, who, along with Sir Thomas Lake, was despatched from London by the Council held on 28th March, to inform the new King of the death of Elizabeth and the actual state of the kingdom.
But whatever doubt might formerly have existed on this point, it is plain from the following letter of Lord Mountjoy that Carew was Sir Thomas Lake's companion. The letter is interesting for its own sake, and as it was accidentally omitted at its proper date in the Calendar, we shall transcribe it here. It is endorsed in Carew's handwriting, "Received the 24th April 1603."
"Lord Deputy of Ireland [Mountjoy] to the Lord President of Munster [Sir George Carew].
"I have written to you by Sir Henry Davers, who, I fear, has gone to the King. We made account here that His Majesty would have been at London, or very near London, before his return, and that my letters should have found Mr. Secretary and you with him. I am sorry my fortune was not so good, for I desired Sir Henry to be directed in all things by Mr. Secretary, whether he were secretary or no. My dispatch containeth nothing but a letter from the Council and myself to the King, and another to the Lords and Council, and one from myself to the King, recommending my loyalty unto him, and readiness to attend his commandments, with no suit but to have leave to kiss his hands, referring the present state of all things to Sir Henry Davers, whom I had instructed with my whole proceedings with the Earl of Tirone, and what had passed since the advertisement of the Queen's death. If I stay here until all things be so settled that they will never break out again, God knoweth when I shall come over; but all are in or would be in, and may be if it is the King's pleasure, and if I may come over, I presume I will bring any with me that should be most suspected to be left behind, so that if I cannot come over now, I shall for ever despair to be rid of this miserable country, for a better time can hardly be chosen. I have now an extreme cold, with which I was never troubled in all my miserable journeys, but have got it with writing in a warm chamber so that I cannot write you as much as I would. I have entreated Sir William Godolphin to write to you my whole proceedings with the Earl of Tirone, who you know I resolved to employ in that business. God knoweth what advantage or disadvantage we shall find by this change; for my part I prepare for the worst, and resolve in all fortunes to be an honest man to my friends, and the same profession that I made you, when we parted of the noble secretary and yourself, I will ever make good with the utmost power of my life. I know not where to employ the love of my friends at this time, but I know by circumstances they shall better than myself decern what may be done for me, and what is fit to be done for me. 'At the least, I desire to be in England this Parliament for many just respects. If the King command me back again I will obey, but never desire it. My mistress shall know the favour you have done her in sending her letter. I pray, let the King see my last letter to the Queen, for it is full of justice. Since the writing hereof, I hear that some of your towns in Munster are out of order, but I hope to make them better advised.—Dublin, 10th April 1603."
From the date of this journey, Carew's official connexion with Ireland definitively ceased. On only one occasion subsequently was it resumed. In the summer of 1611, when the project for the plantation of Ulster was approaching maturity, Carew, in consideration of his long experience in Ireland and intimate knowledge of Irish affairs, was selected as the chief of the Commission appointed to inquire and report upon the condition of the province of Ulster. The documents relating to this inquiry are collected in one of the volumes of the Carew Collection. (fn. 65)
But while the student of the history of Ireland, who has followed with interest the animated and instructive narrative of the last years of Elizabeth contained in the Calendars of the Carew MSS., will be sorry to lose, in James I.'s reign the continued guidance of this interesting and valuable series, he will learn with satisfaction that the Carew Collection contains many papers relating to James's reign, although, for the most part, fragmentary and unconnected, and except in the single instance already referred to, scattered through the volumes without any regard to chronological order. Of these papers, with the exception of that given in pages lv, lvi, and "a brief Relation of the Rebellion of the city of "Cork," in 16 pages, which contains an endorsement in Sir George Carew's handwriting, there are none which fall within the years comprised in the present volume of our Calendar.
This Relation, for the most part, differs but little from the account given in the letters and relations inserted in their proper place in the Calendar (See pp. 2, 48, 49). The concluding pages contain a few new particulars, which appear to be worth preserving with a view to the completeness of the account of this curious episode of Irish history.
"The tenth of May the Lord Deputy comes first to Shandon Castle, and sends for the Mayor to come to him, and commands him to receive 1,000 soldiers of the King to garrison in that town, which now they durst not deny; and after the sergeant-major with those forces was entered the town, and had seized upon the posts and other strengths of the town, the Lo. Deputy makes his entry, whom they entertain with a dumb show of plough iron on both sides of the street from the port to his lodgings; intimating hereby that the soldiers, by their exactions and rapines, had wasted the country, making all those ploughs to be idle, which should have sustained their country. The 12 of May the Lo. Deputy calls before him and the Council, the Mayor and Recorder of Cork, as well to hear what they could allege against Sir Charles Willmott (against whom they pretended the greatest quarrell), as also how they could excuse themselves of so many insolent parts played by them against the King's laws, and his minister's authority; which when they had informed and answered so well as their bad cause could give them leave, the Lo. Deputy did not only excuse Sir Charles Willmott of these charges, but did in some sort blame him that he had been too calm therein; and for the fault of the Mayor and Recorder he would leave that for the King to consider of. William Meade, the Recorder, having all this while stood upon his justification, and doubting that he had not sufficiently acquitted himself, now falls down upon his knees to the Lo. Deputy, and beseeches his Lo. that if he had erred anything herein, his Lo. would please to be a means to extend his favour towards him. The Lo. Deputy gives the Mayor a list of certain mens' names, requisite to have forthcoming before his Lo., whose names were these: Christopher Morroghe, a lieutenant; William Tirrie, captain of the boats; and William Bowler, a brogue maker; Thomas Faggan, now church warden; John ——, a brewer; ——, a tanner. The brewer and the tanner flew away; the rest the Mayor apprehends, only he makes a wilful mistake of William Tirrie, and in his place brings forth one ——, against whom there was nothing to be said. The — of May, the Lo. Deputy caused a Guild Hall Court to be held in the Town House of Cork, where all the colonels and those others of the army assist. His Lo. also causes Sir Nicholas Walshe, Chief Justice of the Common Pleas, and Sir Antonye Sellinger, Master of the Rolls, to be present at their proceedings, and to have their opinion what those offences were in the common law. And first they call forth Christopher Morroughe, then the cross master, to whose charge was laid (besides his open actions) the maintaining of the Infanta's title to the Crown of England; then William Bowler, the brogue maker: and after the proceeding with all these three severally by themselves, and producing of witnesses to prove the accusations and their weak defence, they were, according to the order of martial court, condemned to be hanged. And Sir Antonye Sellinger and Sir Nicholas Welshe gave them answers severally that in their law the offences could be no less than treason, and that they deserved death. Then was Thomas Faggan called to answer his accusation, but the Earl of Ormond, upon some fostering affinity, prevailed with the Lo. Deputy to spare him. And the day being now much spent, the Lo. Deputy, thinking that he should make this punishment exemplary enough by the execution of those three already condemned, breaks up the court, and leaves the rest to have a long time to ask God forgiveness for their offences."
"Endorsed in Carew's handwriting: 'a brief relation of the rebellion of the city of Cork.'"
All the later years from 1607 to 1619 are represented in a greater or less degree in the Carew Manuscripts, and the papers of the years 1610–14, although limited in their range, must be regarded as of very great interest and importance.
As it is intended, however, to introduce these papers in their proper place in the Carew Calendar, we must in our Calendar be content to interweave them in chronological order into our general series, with a very brief summary of their substance, indicating their purport in such a way as to direct the attention of the student to the source whence full information may be derived.
(3.)—Irish Papers in the Bodleian Library, Oxford.
The historical papers relating to Ireland which are found in the Carte MSS. in the Bodleian Library, having been collected by Carte with a view to his Life of James, first Duke of Ormonde, a period posterior by several years to the death of James I., might not, at first sight, be expected to contain much matter directly bearing upon the reign of that monarch. It is hardly necessary, however, to say that to an industrious and energetic collector like Carte, no historical document, however remotely connected with his immediate subject, is indifferent. Even were it otherwise, Carte's introduction to the biography of Ormonde contains a very careful and elaborate prefatory account of the general course of Irish history from a period long anterior to the reign of James I.; and it is plain from Carte's preface that his search for materials was by no means bounded by the limits of the life of the subject of his biography. He "made it his business to "procure all other memoirs whereof he could get intelligence, relating to the times whereof he was to write." He sought after every available narrative, "as well previous to the rebellion as happening in the course of it;" and in an especial manner everything which "related to the plantation of Ulster, and the state of affairs in Ireland before the time of Lord Strafford's government." (fn. 66)
Of the Irish State Papers relating to the reign of James I. to be found in Carte's collection a comparatively small proportion belongs to what is known as the "Ormonde Papers," properly so called, which were, for the most part, communicated to Carte by the Ormonde family, or obtained by him through their influence, or in their name. Of these volumes (which in the whole amount to 109 in number) the first forty, arranged in chronological order, relate to the biography of the Duke of Ormonde; the others are, generally speaking, special collections, bearing upon particular branches of the subject, but for the most part presenting some evidence connecting them with the Ormonde family.
Out of the entire chronologically arranged series of Ormonde volumes, only one, the 30th, can be said to contain any notable body of matter relating to the reign of James I. The period to which this volume belongs in chronological order (from 1651 to the Restoration), being the time of Ormonde's exile, is comparatively destitute of papers of contemporary interest; and it might seem as though the gap had been filled up with documents of a miscellaneous character, a considerable portion of which belong to the reign of James I., and to the government of Lord Falkland in the first years of his successor. A few of the former are calendared in the present volume.
But the great repertory of materials for the political history of Ireland under James I., in the Carte Manuscripts, is the special collection commonly known under the name of the "Chichester Collection," and contained in volumes 61 and 62 of the general series. This name, however, may easily convey an incorrect idea, as well of the origin of the volumes as of the nature of their contents. To us there appears no good reason for supposing that the volumes emanated in any way from the collections of the Chichester family. The connexion of Sir Arthur Chichester with the documents which they comprise is almost purely official and ministerial;—the great mass of the papers being simply warrants and other formal instruments issued by him as Lord Deputy; often, it is true, of considerable historical value, but throwing little or no light on his personal character or administrative capacity. We have ventured in another place (fn. 67) to suggest that these volumes, critically considered, might be described as belonging to the Huntingdon rather than to the Chichester collection, and that they are in fact no other than the papers which Carte, in the preface to the Life of Ormonde, states that he obtained from the Earl of Huntingdon. Ferdinande, sixth Earl of Huntingdon, married Sir John Davys's only daughter, and through her succeeded to all the possessions of that distinguished man, including a large collection of papers, which, properly speaking, were, no doubt, of an official and public character, but which, like most of his contemporaries, Sir John had retained in his own custody. Those papers, inherited without opposition or inquiry, were transmitted in the Huntingdon family as part of the family inheritance.
It was chiefly, as Carte informs us, from the papers which he obtained from the great grandson of this Earl, and from a book of Lord Chichester's, that he "took his account of the plantation of Ulster and the state of affairs in Ireland before the time of Lord Strafford's government." (fn. 68) Now not one of the volumes of the Carte series which are generally described as forming the Huntingdon collection, (fn. 69) has the slightest reference to the Ulster Plantation, or indeed to any of the affairs of Ireland; nor does any of these volumes bear a trace of connexion with Sir John Davys. On the contrary, the volumes which have hitherto been commonly regarded as the Chichester collection relate almost exclusively to the period of Sir John Davys's official life in Ireland. There is one remarkable exception—the original Journal of the Irish Parliament of 1585, which is contained in volume 61. But even this may be well supposed to be a Davys paper. It is probable, no doubt, that this Journal was appealed to by Sir Arthur Chichester for the purpose of regulating the proceedings of the Parliament called in 1613; a book of precedents of Parliamentary proceedings having become necessary, as no Parliament had been held in Ireland in the long interval from 1585 to 1613. But when it is remembered how prominent and active was the part taken by Davys in the Parliament of 1613, of which he was chosen Speaker, it may easily be understood that to him above all others would most probably be intrusted the Journal of the Parliament of 1585, as a standard whereby to adjust his decisions, and a precedent according to which to regulate the proceedings of the House. Indeed, if the Journal be once supposed to be removed from the archives of Parliament, and deposited in the hands of any individual, there is no one who might so naturally be chosen for its custodian as the Speaker of the House of Commons.
In like manner the great bulk of the remaining contents of the volume,—warrants for fiants of grants of lands and pardons, for licences, petitions, informations, orders, and similar documents,—although for the most part emanating from the Lord Deputy, are generally speaking either addressed to the Attorney-General, or are of such a nature as necessarily to be referred to him for consideration, and even to pass into his hands.
It may fairly be concluded, therefore, that these are the very volumes to which Carte alludes as obtained by him from Lord Huntingdon; and if further evidence of this origin were needed, it might be drawn from the intermixture in the latter of the two volumes of a number of purely private and personal papers of Sir John Davys, the presence of which is perfectly intelligible and indeed natural in a collection emanating from him, but for the presence of which in the midst of a mass of the official papers of the Lord Deputy Chichester, it would be difficult to account by any intelligible hypothesis.
We are strengthened in this view by a comparison of this collection of public papers with another collection, which is preserved in a very complete condition among the Carte MSS., and which contains, beyond all dispute, the public papers of a Lord Deputy of Ireland in the previous reign, Sir William Fitzwilliam. It is natural to suppose that, as regards evidence of direct intercourse with the King and the great officers of State, the official papers of two Lords Deputy separated by so short an interval would be found to resemble each, other very closely. The Fitzwilliam collection mainly consists of direct correspondence with the central Government. It is found in volumes 55, 56, 57, and 58 of the Carte MSS.; all which volumes are filled with letters of the Queen, the Secretary, and the Lord Treasurer, addressed to Fitzwilliam. Without going into detail, it will be enough to say that the number of Queen's letters alone falls little short of a hundred. Now, in the so-called Chichester Papers there is little or no trace of direct correspondence with the King. We find in the entire series but five King's letters, viz., four to Chichester (July 16, 1606, July 31, 1609, November 30, 1612, March 14, 1612/13), and one to his successor, Sir Oliver St. John (August 7, 1618); and all these letters, although addressed to the Deputy, are so closely connected with subjects on which the Deputy was communicating with the Attorney-General, as to explain their presence among the Attorney-General's official papers. On the other hand, while the King's letters are so few, the Lord Deputy's letters and warrants addressed to the Attorney and Solicitor-General are most numerous. They form, in truth, the staple of the volumes; and their number, the regularity with which they succeed each other, and the symmetry in which they stand with the several parts of the collection, can only be accounted for on the supposition that this collection represents the results of the official labours of a great law officer of the Crown in Ireland, such as was Sir John Davys during the years 1607–1618.
This is very remarkably confirmed, too, by the dates over which the 61st and 62nd volumes of the Carte MSS. extend. With a few exceptions, they are arranged in chronological order, and are nearly coincident in their range with Sir John Davys's term of office—much more nearly than with that of Sir Arthur Chichester's. The former was appointed Solicitor-General on the 25th November 1603. (fn. 70) He held that office until the 29th May 1606, when, on the elevation of Sir Charles Calthorpe to the bench, he succeeded to the place of Attorney-General. It has been commonly said, on the authority of the life prefixed to his "Historical Tracts," (fn. 71) which is confirmed by the memoir in the Biographia Britannica, that he retired from office and left Ireland in 1616, at the same time with his friend and patron Chichester; but this is certainly an error. Davys continued to hold the office till 30th October 1619, (fn. 72) when he was succeeded by Sir William Ryves; and in point of fact official warrants continue to be addressed to Davys as Attorney-General for two years after the former date. Chichester, on the contrary, ceased to hold the office of Lord Deputy in 1616, and was succeeded in that year by Sir Oliver St. John. It might naturally be expected that if the papers had been Sir Arthur Chichester's, the series would have stopped short about the date of his relinquishing his office and ceasing to be connected with the Government. Now it is to be observed that the official series preserved by Carte, goes on without interruption to the 31st of July 1618; a letter of Lord Deputy St. John, with that date, being actually addressed to Davys as Attorney-General.
But although the great body of the papers in volumes 61 and 62 are in our opinion certainly the papers of Sir John Davys, we think it highly probable that a certain portion of the contents of volume 61 originally belonged to Sir Arthur Chichester. Most of the papers from No. 1 to No. 121 are of a character which would warrant this supposition, several of them, indeed, being manifestly Ulster Plantation papers. But from this point to the end of volume 62, the documents all present even more strikingly the appearance of having come from the custody of the Davys family; and several of the papers in the latter part of volume 62 are, as has been already observed, strictly private and personal papers of Sir John Davys himself.
The official series of warrants for fiants, although to casual readers dry and uninteresting, will he found to be of considerable historical importance. Although not in themselves presenting a connected narrative, they contain the materials of what may he truly described as the history of the administration of Ireland during these fifteen critical years of James I.'s reign; and the careful student may obtain from them much light, not only as to persons and as to events, but also as to the general social and political condition of the kingdom throughout the entire period. Many of the petitions especially, and the orders upon them, are extremely curious, and some of the grants are eminently characteristic. We shall only instance one, that made to Sir William Uvedale, Nov. 30, 1612, of the fines levied upon persons convicted of ploughing by the tail."
It is true that in many cases the general substance of the facts is to be found elsewhere, namely, in the actual instruments (as grants, appointments, pardons, &c.), for the execution of which these warrants were the authority, and a considerable proportion of which arc entered upon the rolls. But besides that the warrants will be found to supply many gaps in the series of the rolls, there are many cases also in which the letters of warrant preserve particulars regarding persons and events of which the record upon the rolls contains no trace, and some of which possess more interest for the historical student than the substantive official act out of which they arose.
(4.)—The State Paper Office, Dublin Castle.
Although a large proportion of the Records and State Papers have already been removed from this Depository, pursuant to the provisions of the Public Records (Ireland) Act of 1869, to the General Record Office adjacent to the Pour Courts, there still remains in the State Paper Office, Dublin Castle, a considerable body of documents belonging to the Council Office. These documents, it might naturally be thought, would furnish materials for the present Calendar. Considering the extensive jurisdiction of the Council Board during the long cessation of Parliaments in Ireland, and more especially under the high prerogative rule in the reign of James I., the records of the Council might be expected to afford an instructive view of Government and society in that period.
The papers contained in our present volume show how various were the powers which the Council assumed. In matters of plantation, a term, the present equivalent of which is "colonies," it exercised, as representing the King, a jurisdiction, always admitted to belong solely to the Crown.
And how large a territory was subject to this jurisdiction in Ireland in the reign of James I. may be conceived, when to the plantations effected by Philip and Mary in the King's and Queen's counties, and by Queen Elizabeth in Munster, are added the plantations of this King not only in Ulster, but in Wexford, Leitrim, Longford, and elsewhere.
Unfortunately, however, between losses by fire and losses by spoliation, there is almost an utter blank of books, letters, and other records of the Council prior to the year 1711. Nor arc these losses of recent date.
It will appear by the list of Entry Books and Letter Books of the Council subsisting in the year 1680, to be cited hereafter, that all the books previous to the reign of King James I., except one Council Book of Queen Elizabeth's reign, beginning in 1584 and ending in 1596, had even then been lost; and since 1680 all the books contained in the list of that date have perished.
It has already been observed that the Council Board must necessarily have received an extraordinary increase of jurisdiction through the suppression of Parliaments that followed upon Poynings' Act (10 Henry VII.), but that it was probably not until the fall of the House of Kildare under Henry VIII., that there was a very accurate record kept of its proceedings.
It is hard to reconcile Sir Henry Sidney's assertion already cited, "that the earliest Council Book was made in the 33rd of Henry VIII.," (fn. 73) with the fact that Sir John Davys cites the Council Books of the 16th Henry VIII., and the 28th, and 32nd, 33rd and 34th of the same reign. (fn. 74) But whichever statement we accept, there can be little doubt that it was not until late in the reign of Henry VIII. that the Council Books were kept in regular series.
Of these books, however, all have perished except two, which, having got into private hands, were lately recovered by purchase; one, the Council Book from 27th May 1556 till 15th March 1571, which was purchased by the late Charles Haliday of Monkstown Park, in the county of Dublin, and is now preserved amongst his books in the Royal Irish Academy; the other a Council Book of Queen Elizabeth's reign, bought for the Government by Sir Thomas Larcom, late Under Secretary in Ireland, and not yet removed from the State Paper Office, Dublin Castle.
The title of the first of these books is as follows:
"The Lieger or Counsell Booke made & sett fourthe by the Right Honourable Sr Thomas Radcliffe, knight, Lorde Fitzwalter, L. Deputie of the realme of Irelande, who took his othe in Christe's Churche, and entered into the governmente of this, the King's and Queen's Maties sayde realme the xxvith day of May in the seconde and thirde years of their Maties most prosperous raignes, Anno 1556."
The other book is a very large quarto volume entitled as follows:
"A Giornal for entrie of the daylie and ordinary actes of the Council and matters of State. Ex dono Henrici Wallop, Militis, Thesaurarii ad Guerras in hoc regno Hiberniæ, primo die Martii 1580."
The first entry is of the 1st March 1581, the last of the 29th January 1586.
There is an entry on the title page of the first of these volumes by William Usher (appointed Clerk of the Council on 22nd March 1594), (fn. 75) which would lead to the belief that in the year 1609 this book was still in the possession of the Council. It is as follows:
"I ended the table of all the particular matters contained in this Book the 19th of September 1609. W. Usher."
The table referred to, however, is no longer attached to the Book, if it ever formed part of it.
This entry or memorandum is of particular interest and value, as it shows by similarity of style and date, though without name, that the table of the Red Council Book, a copy of which is preserved among the MSS. in Trinity College, Dublin (F. 3. 17. fo. 1.), was also made by the same William Usher. He has entitled it "A Table to the Red Council Book, beginning in King Henry VIII.'s raigne, the 21th year." At the end is the following: Finis of this Council Booke, which I ended the 19th of October 1609;" being, it may be observed, exactly one month after the making of the table to the Council Book beginning in Philip and Mary's reign. The period comprised in the table of the Red Council Book is from the 24th of King Henry VIII. to the 6th of Edward VI.
Nor is it alone that there exists this utter blank in the early records of the Dublin State Paper Office, (fn. 76) but there is not even the smallest evidence in the records of the Council Office to show what books and papers that office contained at any period since its first formation. It was with great interest therefore, and no slight degree of satisfaction, that we discovered amongst the Carte Papers a document, evidently authentic, of the year 1680, containing a list of the Entry Books and Letter Books which remained in the office at that date. As this valuable memorial appears quite unknown, we think it desirable to print it without abridgment.
"A Note of the Signett Docquet Books yet remaining in Ireland.
Recd at yt Office, Jany 21st 1679.
No. 1 begins in January 1584, and ends in March 1596.
" 2 begins in May 1603, and ends in April 1605.
" 3 begins in May 1605, and ends in February 1607.
" 4 begins in March 1007, and ends in October 1010.
No. 5 begins in November 1610, and ends in February 1613.
" 6 begins in March 1613, and ends in November 1619.
" 7 begins in December 1619, and ends in March 1623.
" 8 begins in April 1624, and ends in September 1627.
" 9 begins in October 1627, and ends in July 1630.
" 10 begins in August 1630, and ends in October 1634.
" 11 begins in November 1634, and ends in October 1638.
" 12 begins in November 1638, and ends in December 1644.
" 13 begins in January 1644, and ends in June 1646.
And begins again in June and ends in December 1660.
No Book of Entries from 1644 to 1660.
" 14 begins in January 1660, and ends in February 1660.
" 15 begins in March 1661, and ends in December 1665.
" 16 begins in January 1665, and ends in November 1673.
" 17 begins in November 1673, and ends in August 1677.
No. 1 begins in January 1626, and ends in December 1629.
" 2 begins in January 1629, and ends in April 1636.
" 3 begins in May 1636, and ends in May 1642.
" 4 begins in January 1642, and ends in December 1645.
And begins again in June 1660. No books from 1645 to June 1660.
" 5 begins in August 1661, and ends in September 1663.
" 6 begins in October 1663, and ends in September 1667.
" 7 begins in March 1667, and ends in February 1670.
" 8 begins in March 1670, and ends in September 1673.
" 9 begins in October 1673, and ends in March 1675.
" 10 begins in April 1676. (fn. 77)
It will be seen, therefore, that, at the date of the compilation of this list (1680), there were at least seventeen volumes of Signet Docquet Books of the reign of James I. still preserved in the Dublin Council Office.
Among the chief causes of the loss of so many public papers in Ireland may be set down the want of some proper repository to preserve the records from fire and spoliation.
The earliest notice of any destruction of records by fire occurs in the year 1300. In the reign of Edward I. the records of Chancery were in the custody of Master John Cantock, Bishop of Emly and Chancellor of Ireland, and were kept by him in St. Mary's Abbey, Dublin; and a fire breaking out in the Abbey, in the 28th year of that King, they were nearly all burnt, as appears by the following entry on the Close Roll of Chancery of the 2nd year of King Edward II. (A.D. 1309), being the year of the Chancellor Cantock's death: (fn. 78) —
"Memorandum that all the rolls of Chancery, with the writs, inquisitions, bills, and memoranda belonging to the Chancery of the time of Master Thomas Cantok, formerly Chancellor of Ireland, up to the 28th year of the reign of King Edward I., were all burnt by a fire that broke out by accident in St. Mary's Abbey near Dublin, except two rolls of the said 28th year, and some Close writs which remain.
"And Mr John Cantok and Andrew de Aveton, executors of the said Bishop, have delivered to the Lord Walter Thornbury, Chancellor of Ireland, pursuant to the King's writ, the rolls of the said 28th year, together with two rolls of the 29th year, one roll of writs Patent and another of writs Close; and 101 bills of the Justiciary of Ireland, and 11 bills of 'Allocate' of the Exchequer in one file, &c.''
running through a long inventory of documents thus handed over. (fn. 79) The principal records of the kingdom, however, were probably kept in the Castle of Dublin from the earliest times.
In the year 1537, the records being carelessly kept, they were, by the direction of the Master of the Rolls, removed to Bermingham Tower, (fn. 80) where they thenceforth continued until the time of the Record Commission, in 1810, with the exception of one single migration for a short time on a very remarkable occasion.
In 1547 (1st year of King Edward VI.) (fn. 81) St. Patrick's Cathedral was assigned as the place for holding the King's courts of law. On the 11th November 1552, Sir James Crofts being Lord Deputy, an Order was made in Council for the removal of such of the Public Records as were required for the use of the Courts to the late library of the Cathedral, on the ground that Bermingham Tower was ruinous and far distant from St. Patrick's, where Her Majesty's Courts were then kept. But St. Patrick's Cathedral being restored to religious uses in the 1st and 2nd years of Philip and Mary, the Records were of course restored to Bermingham Tower. (fn. 82)
Had the Council Books been deposited there, they would, without doubt, have been preserved as safely as the "Bermingham Tower Records," which escaped all the perils and fire and embezzlement. But the documents kept in this repository were records in the strict sense of the word, such as the Patent and Close Rolls, Plea Rolls, Pleas of the Crown, &c. Far from its being a State Paper Office, the various pleadings and other important proceedings of the courts of justice had no proper place of security. In 1635 Lord Strafford remarks to Secretary Cooke that there were no treasuries for His Majesty's records, or of his courts of justice in Ireland; that the consequence had been that records had frequently been lost and embezzled, and sometimes burnt; and that the Office of the Rolls being kept (as were most of the Records in Ireland), in the officer's house, and the house having taken fire, many records were, within a few years past, therein burnt, and many more by that occasion embezzled. (fn. 83)
In this way was intrusted to private care the so-called "Discrimination Office," in which office was contained the entire evidence for distinguishing the nocency or innocency of the Irish. It was by the evidence contained in the papers of this office that the Commonwealth, by a court sitting at Athlone, decreed the banishment of the Irish to Connaught, and discriminated their degrees of guilt by assigning them larger or smaller equivalents there for their confiscated lands. And by the same evidence the Commissioners of the Court of Claims, after the Restoration, restored them to their lands, or left them without estate or reprize. Here, likewise, was preserved a large part of the records of the late government of the Confederate Catholics. It would be difficult indeed to imagine a more important body of records. Yet all this was left to private care, as is proved by the following petition:—
"To His Excellency the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland.
"The humble petition of William Cooper, gentleman.
"That your petitioner had the charge and custody of the Books of Discrimination (commonly called the Black Books), with all the Kilkenny Books, rolls of association, and other proceedings of the Supreme Council, and all the claims and decrees at Athlone, & several other books relating to the Transplanted Interest in Connaught and Clare, for seven years last past, without making any charge for the same, and hath constantly paid a yearly rent of fifteen pounds to Robert Reynell, Esq. to keep the said books and papers from loss and embezzlement, supposing the same might at some time or other be of use to H.M.'s service, and be of advantage to your petitioner. That in obedience to your Excellency's order of the 7 of November instant, your petitioner hath prepared perfect inventories of all the said books, rolls, papers, and writings, and hath delivered them to the Clerk of the Council, as by the said order he is required, &c."
"The fiat of the Lord Lieutenant and Council for granting William Cooper thirty pounds, is dated 15th June 1670." (fn. 84)
In 1739, a Committee of the House of Lords, after noticing the losses by the late fire (A.D. 1711) at the Council Office, comment on the fact that records, being kept at private houses, are liable to be distrained for rent, and that, at the death of the officers, their papers fall into the power of their representatives, who, should they prove corrupt, might in a few hours destroy a multitude of them. (fn. 85)
Without attributing any corrupt motives to the officers or their representatives, we can hardly doubt that large bodies of public papers have been thus lost; having, after the lapse of some years, or on passing into different hands, been treated as private property, and sold or destroyed as waste paper.
It was thus, no doubt, that part of Matthew Barry's papers were, as we shall presently see, sold to Doctor Madden. Other portions of his papers, however, are still unaccounted for, especially one book, the value of which as tending to illustrate the period embraced in our Calendar, it is impossible to over-estimate. We mean the Council Book concerning the plantation of Ulster. So late as 1732 this book was still in the possession of Matthew Barry's representatives. Carte, as we shall see, obtained the book in that year from Mr. Barry of Finglas, grandson to Matthew Barry; (fn. 86) and amongst the volumes of extracts and abstracts in the Carte collection, may be seen the result of his labours over this very book. In volume 103 of the series in the Bodleian Library, there are sixteen closely packed pages of notes and extracts concerning the plantation of Ulster. It is probable that the volume was communicated to Carte only as a loan, for it is not contained in his collection at Oxford; nor have we met with any evidence to show whether this work is still in existence, and, if so, what may be the likeliest place of its deposit.
To losses incurred through the want of proper repositories and the consequent deposit of papers in the private custody of the officers, may with much probability be ascribed the disappearance of all the Council Books previous to those enumerated in the list of 1680. For, great as were the risks of fire incurred by papers being kept in the Castle of Dublin, the great magazine of gunpowder, it does not appear that any actual loss arose from this cause, although more than one dangerous fire took place. Sir Arthur Chichester and the Council, in their despatch of the 29th April 1606 to the Lords of the Council in England, make incidental notice of a fire and a destructive explosion of gunpowder there, but no losses of papers are mentioned. The Courts of Law, according to the Lord Deputy and Council, had been moved out of the Castle, by reason that the place where they had hitherto been held was ruined by a great blast of powder," and they now sat in a house built by Sir George Carey for a hospital; but Sir George having let it to Sir Thomas Ridgeway, who was to succeed him in his office of Treasurer, they found themselves much troubled for a place to hold the terms in. To bring the Courts of Law again into the Castle, they say, "were to draw them just over the store of munition, which, not only by practice (as formerly had been attempted) but by using fire for burning prisoners in the hand, was exposed to be fired, and the Castle ruined." (See post, p. 460.)
Another very destructive fire broke out in the Castle of Dublin in the year 1684, and though no records were destroyed thereby, the risks they ran is fully told in the following letter.
The writer of the letter is the Lord Deputy of the day, the Earl of Arran, who himself played a courageous and skilful part in saving from complete destruction the Castle, including the Bermingham Tower, and its records. The letter is addressed to his father, the Duke of Ormonde.
"To my Ld Lieutt.
"Dublin, 7 Aprill 1684.
"The great fire that unluckily happened in the Castle, our chiefe magazine being there, has occasioned so great a consternation in this citty, that all leters will be full of it, & I am sure few of them will agree in one story; therefore I will give your Grace a very particular account of it, & of my proceedings upon it, & nobody can doe it so well as myself, for certainly never man had a narrower escape.
"Betwixt one & two of the clock this morning as near as I can guesse, I thought I heard in the next roome to me (which was formerly my mother's closett) a crackling of fire, upon which I suddenly leapt out of bed & in my shirt only, opened the dore hastily, upon which there came on the sudden so great a flame, & so much smoke that I was almost styfled with it, so that with much adoe I gott to my chambre dore that leads to the rooms of state, & when I had opened all the dores as far as the galery, I turned back againe to see how farr the fire had gott, & in that short time I found the bed I lay in, & that whole roome on fire; by which time the centinels perceived it & gave the allarum, & in the posture I was, after some time having gotten into the court, I ordered the soldiers to be drawne together, & gave directions that nobody should be lett into the Castle, but such persons as I sent for, having as I thought with the soldiers & those of the family, hands enow to manage that matter for the best. Mr. Robinson being out of town, I immediately sent for Mr. Cuff with order to bring with some barills of powder out of a private store, which he presently did; & because I was afraid that if the galery tooke fire, it would searce have bin possible to have saved the magazine of powder, after I had taken out of the closett, I hope, all the papers of consequence belonging to your Grace or myself, I ordered it to be blown up. But there being no very close place to putt the powder in, the first tryall did not blow up so much of the building as I expected; but with the next, which was placed nearer the end of the gallery, we putt the magazine out of danger of being fired, & then finding that the wind was full west, yet the fire gained much towards Bermingham's Tower, where the records are kept, I ordered the blowing up of that part of the building that joyned to the chappel; which had so good effect that we then mastered the fire, which without all peradventure was first occasioned by a piece of timber that lay under part of the hearth of your closett (as we conjectured upon looking on the ruins), & I believe had bin on fire some considerable time, though nobody perceived or smelt any thing of burning. I thank God nobody has bin killed or ill hurt upon this occasion. What dammage your Grace & I have suffered by this accident I cannot yet learn; but I find the King has lost nothing except six barills of powder, & the worst castle, in the worst situation in Christendom; for His Maties goods are saved from the fire; and [for] the value of the ground it stood upon & the land belonging to it, His Majesty may have a noble palace built, & I believe there are a hundred projectors at work already about framing proposalls. I must doe Mr. Cuff this right as to own that he behaved himself with great skill & boldness in this matter." (fn. 87)
If the Council Office and its records had been destroyed on this occasion, Lord Arran would without doubt have mentioned it. It may be added, however, that we are not left to conjecture as to the occasion of the loss of these records. At this period the Council Office had been removed from the Castle, and thus its remaining records were out of danger from that fire, though they perished not long afterwards in a more destructive one. The Commissioners of the Parliament of the Commonwealth for the government of Ireland removed their Council Chamber to Cork House, adjacent to the Castle; but, being obliged to change thence while Cork House was undergoing repairs, they made an order on 22nd June 1655, that the old Council Chamber and other rooms in the Castle of Dublin should be fitted up for the Lord Deputy and Council. (fn. 88) It is probable, however, that they did not resume their sittings there, or that if they did, they did not long continue to sit there; for on the 18th January 1656, they made an order that the new Custom House, as affording more room for the Council than the Council Room within the Castle, should be prepared for the Council. (fn. 89)
The new Custom House was a large building on the southern bank of the river Liffey, built in the reign of King Charles I., and situated in what is now called Essex Street, a little eastward of the site of the present Essex Bridge, which at that time had not as yet been erected. There the Council Office continued to hold its sittings till the year 1711. But the Custom House building, besides the Council Office, contained also the Barrack Office, the Surveyor-General's Office, and some other public offices; and here, unfortunately, a fire occurred in the year 1711 of a most calamitous character as regards the destruction of records. For not only were destroyed the Council Books enumerated in the list of 1680, containing a regular series of Signet Docquet Books, and Letter Books from the commencement of the reign of James I. to the year 1676, but also that most important body of historical evidence contained in the Discrimination Office. In this office were deposited, as has been already shown, the records of the government of the Confederate Catholics sitting at Kilkenny from 1612 till 1650. Here also were preserved the Claims of the Irish, before the Court for the claims and qualifications of the Irish at Athlone, together with the Decrees of the Commissioners, called Athlone Decrees and Final Settlements. (fn. 90)
The Discrimination Office had once before been held in this building; but it was removed thence in the year 1662, probably on the occasion of the erecting of the Court of Claims, as appears by the following order:—
"These are to authorise our trusty & well-beloved Sir Allan Brodrick, Knt, His Majesty's Surveyor Generall of Ireland, to take possession of the small roomes over the Councell Chamber where the Office for Discriminations was kept, and the same to use and employ untill our further pleasure shall be known.
"Given at His Majesty's Castle of Dublin, 11th of September 1662." (fn. 91)
All the books and papers of the office, however, were delivered back into the hands of the Clerk of the Council in 1670, as appears by the petition of William Cooper, already given.
As in the Discrimination Office were contained all or most of the papers concerning the Irish or Transplanted Interest (to use the expression of Mr. Cooper), so in the Surveyor-General's Office were deposited all the books, maps, and papers used by the Court of Claims concerning the New English Interest, that is to say, the adventurers and soldiers who were secured by the Act of Settlement in the lots set out to them by the Parliament of the Commonwealth. There was a vast body of other documents besides.
The following is the return of the records lost in the fire, which was made to the House of Commons in Ireland by the Surveyor-General in the year 1711. (fn. 92) Besides being very vague and general in its description, the lower portions of several pages have unfortunately disappeared or become illegible through decay.
"The humble representation of Dr. Richard Stone, Her Majesty's Surveyor-General of Lands in Ireland.
"That the said Doctor having sorted all the papers and books that could be saved out of the late fire, and drawn up a list thereof, did lay the same before the Lords Justices and Council. And to the end that proper ways and means may be found for the repairing of such a publick loss, he doth think himself in duty bound to lay before this Honourable House the following representation and list of books saved and lost out of Her Majesty's Surveyor-General's Office.
"The said office did chiefly consist in the following surveys, viz., the Strafford, Down, Civil and Gross Surveys . (fn. 93) The said office consisted also in books of distribution, claims, reports, decrees, final settlements, inquisitions, and surveys, taken upon the dissolution of abbeys and monasteries in Ireland, all which are also consumed (excepting some reports and rough books of distribution). The Strafford survey, which contained the admeasurement of the province of Connaught and some part of Munster, is intirely lost, together with all other books and papers thereunto belonging. The Civill and Gross Surveys are also intirely lost, excepting some scraps, which when put in order may be of some use " (fn. 93)
Then follows a list of such portions of the maps of the Down Survey as were saved, which may be found in the Record Commissioners' Reports. (fn. 94)
In this fire must also have perished the entire proceedings relating to the so-called "Forty-nine (Protestant) Officers," being such gentlemen as had been in the standing army of King Charles I. in Ireland, and had served therein at any time during the civil war before the 5th of June 1649, on which day Cromwell's army began its march for Ireland. As these Royalist officers got no lands from Cromwell, there was granted to them at the Restoration all that portion of the forfeited property of the Irish which had not been set out by the Commonwealth Government to the adventurers and soldiers; that is to say, the houses in corporate towns (which had been kept for disposal by the late Government) and mortgaged lands, which had been temporarily laid aside and were not yet distributed among the soldiery at the Restoration.
The distribution of this fund among "the Forty-nine Officers" was entrusted to a body of trustees sitting in the Green Chamber in the Custom House; (fn. 95) and it was conducted after a method entirely different from that pursued by Sir William Petty for the adventurers and soldiers. All these papers, doubtless, have perished, although they are not mentioned in Dr. Stone's report, perhaps as not being under his immediate care.
In the Journals of Parliament for the year 1711, there are some notices of the meetings of a committee appointed to suggest proper methods for preventing the mischief which might arise from the loss of the records in the late fire. (fn. 96) But neither there, nor in any of the papers still extant in the State Paper Office, nor in any of the Government correspondence, whether in Dublin or London, is there any account of the fire. So scanty indeed are the details, that even the precise day of the month of April upon which it occurred, does not seem to have been ascertained. We are induced, therefore, to print the following petition, as establishing the exact date, and also as furnishing a few incidents of the calamity:
"To his Grace the Lord Lieutenant and Council.
"The humble petition of Hugh Clements, one of the clerks in the Barrack Office.
"That your petitioner by the late fire which unfortunately broke out in the Council House, on Sunday the 15th of April last, 1711, lost books and other things of his which your petitioner had in the said office, to the value of £6. 17. 8.; (a list of which particulars is hereunto annexed;) beside the minute or lease of his house, with other very useful papers belonging to your petitioner.
"That your petitioner exposed his life in helping to save the books and public accounts belonging to the said office; insomuch that all that was of any value to the public was saved, although the fire which was so violent run the first along the uppermost story, where the said office was kept." (fn. 97)
The Duke of Ormonde's order upon this petition, referring it to a committee of the whole Council, is dated the 28th September 1711. (fn. 98)
And as if to shut out all hope of the recovery of any remnant of these important materials of the history of Ireland, it was expressly declared by Mr. Joshua Dawson, Deputy Clerk of the Council, in his evidence before the Committee of the House of Commons, that the Council Office Records were totally consumed. (fn. 99)
We have seen that in the Dublin Council Office, a few years before this fire, the series of Letter Books, Entry Books, and Docquet Books for the reign of James I. was still complete, or at least exhibited no noticeable evidence of interruption. But it is needless to add any commentary upon the occurrences of 1711 thus summarily related, in order to account for the absence from our Calendar of all reference to the Council Office, Dublin Castle, as one of the sources from which we have derived our materials.
(5.)—The Public Record Office, Dublin.
The Dublin Public Record Office was established by "The Public Records (Ireland) Act, 1867."
It is the national repository of two classes of public documents; first, the ancient legal records of the several courts of justice in Ireland, the Chancery, Queen's Bench, Common Pleas, and Exchequer, to which are now added the records of the Prerogative Court, and of the Diocesan and other Courts; and, secondly, what may be called State Papers, such as the papers of the Council Office, of the Secretary's Office, and of other departments, civil and military. It is with the latter class of documents alone that this Preface is concerned.
To the Public Record Office have been lately removed from the Castle of Dublin the papers of the Chief Secretary's Office, an office traceable to a much earlier period than the reign of King James I. But there is here the same dearth of early papers as in the Council Office; and the Public Record Office would have proved entirely destitute of State Papers of the reign of James I., but for the accidental recovery of the so-called Philadelphia Papers, which form a most valuable addition to the historical records of the country during that reign.
Premising, therefore, a few remarks upon the history of the Secretary's Office, we may confine our observations regarding the Dublin Public Record Office to an account of the Philadelphia Papers.
A.—Papers of the Chief Secretary's Office, Dublin Castle.
The Chief Secretary's is an office of some antiquity in Ireland. Lodge, in his list of patentee officers, gives the year 1576 as the date of the earliest appointment he had found of a Chief Secretary, John Chaloner having been possessed of that office by patent at and before that date. The office, however, must have been of a much earlier creation, as upon the appointment of Richard Cooke, in 1603, to be joint Secretary with Sir Jeffrey Fenton, on account of Sir Jeffrey's great age, it is expressly stated in the letter under privy seal, that "for like cause it had been usual theretofore to appoint two secretaries to that estate." On Chaloner's death, in 1581, Sir Jeffrey Fenton was made Secretary, and continued in that office until he died, on the 19th October 1608. Sir Jeffrey, however, having become very old, and having asked leave of absence to repair to Court, Richard Cooke, Chancellor of the Exchequer in Ireland, obtained the King's letter, dated 22nd August 1603, appointing him to be one of the King's Secretaries of State in Ireland, with the keeping of the signet and privy seal, on account of his long experience in the affairs of Ireland, together with Sir Jeffrey Fenton. (fn. 100) From that time it was regularly maintained, and a vast body of important papers must have been accumulated in connexion with the business of the office; but there are no papers now extant previous to the year 1696. A body of King's and Queen's letters under privy seal, and books of entries and correspondence, are preserved from that period; but there is nothing of the reign of James I.
There is no evidence, however, to show what became of the records of this office. As the existing series commences in the year 1696, it is plain that the contents of the Chief Secretary's office were not consumed by the fire of the 15th April 1711, which destroyed all the books and papers in the Council Office. But beyond this negative inference, we are unable to offer any explanation of the disappearance of all the records of the Secretary's Office, anterior to the Revolution.
B.—The Philadelphia Papers.
This very important body of State Papers was obtained from the Directors of the Philadelphia Library in the year 1867. With the exception of a few copies of letters addressed by King James I. to the Earl of Devonshire, Lord Lieutenant of Ireland, during the first years of this reign, and to Sir George Carey, the Lord Deputy, during the Lord Lieutenant's absence in England, they are almost all original documents, either under the King's sign manual, or, despatches from the Privy Council in England, under the signatures of the Lords of the Council. Moreover, the copies alluded to above, sixteen in number, are endorsed by Sir Arthur Chichester, as obtained from the Rolls Office, or from Sir George Carey, in order to show him what grants of lands had been made since the commencement of the King's reign in fee simple or feefarm. The letters and despatches addressed to Sir Arthur Chichester himself commence on the 4th of November 1604 and end on the 24th of December 1615, being thus coincident with the limits of his tenure of office.
Indeed, though addressed by the King as Deputy so early as November 1604, Sir Arthur did not assume office till the month of January following. At the time of his appointment he was Governor of Carrickfergus, and resident there, and he seems to have been reluctant to come to Dublin and act as Lord Deputy until Sir George Carey should give up the sword and withdraw to England. On the 4th of January 1605 he came up; but he is described by Sir John Davys as living privately in Sir George Carey's house waiting for his giving up the sword, (fn. 101) which seems to have taken place before 24th February 1605. (fn. 102)
These papers, therefore, cover the whole period of Sir Arthur Chichester's administration, one of the most important, unquestionably, in the history of Ireland.
They consist of letters or warrants under the King's sign manual, and letters and despatches from the Lords of the Privy Council of England, addressed to Sir Arthur Chichester singly, or to him jointly with the Council of Ireland, and they are, with scarcely an exception, endorsed in Sir Arthur's singularly clear, bold, and regular handwriting, not merely with the date and writer's name, but also with a short summary of the contents of the letter. They are at present bound up in four volumes, the first two volumes containing for the most part letters and warrants under privy seal to Sir Arthur Chichester for grants of lands and offices, the other two volumes comprising despatches, with directions and instructions from the King or Lords of the Council about the administration of the Government of Ireland. These directions seem to have proceeded from a Committee of the Council, entitled "Commissioners of Causes touching Ireland," (fn. 103) whose names will be found appended to the papers addressed to Sir Arthur Chichester or to him conjointly with the Council. Amongst these names, that of the Earl of Devonshire appears constantly up to the time of his death. Such indeed was his reputation acquired by his conduct of the war against the Earl of Tyrone, which ended in the victory of the English army at Kinsale, under his command, that his voice was supreme; and in the first despatch of the Council after his death, the Commissioners expressly state that so long as he was living the King and Council had interfered but little in the affairs of Ireland, and that it was from him the greatest part of the directions from the Lords of the Council to the Council of Ireland had come. (fn. 104)
The history of the migration of these papers to America, and their restoration, is not without interest. The circumstances attending their transfer across the Atlantic, however, are involved in some obscurity. They came into the possession of the Philadelphia Library Company in the year 1799.
In an article on the history of that institution, in the "Atlantic Monthly Magazine," for the month of March 1868, it is stated, that in the year 1799 the grandson of a former Lord High Chancellor of Ireland sent as a gift to the Public Library Company of Philadelphia, on the eve of his departure from America, a large number of manuscripts relating to Irish State affairs, which it is there supposed had been committed, on the flight of James II. to France, to the custody of his Chancellor, in whose family they had remained from that time till his descendant presented them to the Library, not deeming that the dynasty which replaced the Stuarts on the throne of England had any right to the possession of them. They continued in the Library, shut up in the original box in which they had been sent, and were entirely unappreciated, and in fact nearly forgotten, when, the librarianship falling to the father of Mr. Lloyd P. Smith, the present Librarian, he had the valuable documents properly arranged, bound, and catalogued. It appears by Lord Romilly's letter of the 4th November 1867, to the Secretary of the Treasury, that Mr. Hepworth Dixon, during his tour in America, having visited the library, suggested that they should be restored, as part of the English national archives; that the Directors, through the librarian, made a formal offer to that effect to Lord Romilly, the Master of the Rolls; and that by the direction of the Lords of the Treasury, their generous offer was gratefully accepted. The Papers were received in England on the 26th of April 1867, and after transcripts had been made of them for the Public Record Office at London, they were finally transmitted by order of the Lords of the Treasury, at the suggestion of Lord Romilly, to the Record Office at Dublin.
Mr. Hepworth Dixon's impression that these documents had formed part of the national archives was a perfectly natural one, and perhaps as regards the despatches to the Lord Deputy and Council was strictly correct. But, as we have already stated, the Lord Lieutenants and Lord Deputies of former days considered the signet letters and warrants they received to be their own private property, and appropriated them as such when they left the Government. It would therefore seem more probable that these papers, which, according to former practice, would belong to Sir Arthur Chichester, had at some time or other got out of the possession of his representatives, and were presented to the Philadelphia Library in the year 1799 by the gentleman into whose hands they had fallen. That Sir Arthur himself had carefully retained possession of these documents after his retirement from office, is evident from a remarkable circumstance attending one of the King's letters to him, of which a copy only remains among the Philadelphia Papers, whilst the original is to be found in the Carte Papers in the Bodleian Library, Oxford, having probably come into the hands of Sir John Davys, who remained in office after Sir Arthur's departure, and passed amongst his papers into the Carte Collection. The letter in question is under the King's sign manual and privy seal, and is dated 25th of March 1615. It concerns the plantation of Ulster. Sir Arthur is to thank Sir Josias Bodley for his clear account of the plantation. The King has with his own eyes viewed and reviewed that report, and finds, to his great discontent, the slow progress of the plantation, some few only of the British planters having come. Some have begun to build, but have not planted. Others have planted but not built; and all of them are retaining the Irish. He has collected their names, and they shall feel his displeasure. He might proceed at once to evict them, but he gives them till the 31st of August come twelve months, when Sir Josias Bodley shall make a fresh survey, and the King will thereupon proceed with all rigour. This letter to be a warrant to the now Deputy or other Deputies to proceed.
This letter is in the ordinary form, with the sign manual at the head of the letter, the body of it being in a secretary's hand. But at the foot, in the King's own hand, in large coarse characters, making a most remarkable effect, is the following postscript:—
"Milorde, in this service I expecte that zeale and uprightnes from you, that ye will spaire no fleshe, englishe nor skottishe; for no private man's worthe is able to counterbalance the perpetuall safetie of a kingdome, quhicke this plantation being well accomplished will procure." (fn. 105)
The original, as we have said, is to be seen at Oxford. Among the Philadelphia Papers there is only a copy. But upon it is the following in Sir Arthur's own hand:—
"This poastscrippe was written in the originall wth His Maties owne hand, which I have left with the Lords Justices to be executed according to his princely directions." (fn. 106)
Plainly showing that it was the singularity of this letter that caused him to make an exception, and leave the original with the King's sacred handwriting in the hands of the Lords Justices to be seen by all, instead of keeping it himself, as he kept the rest.
The letters and warrants in the first two volumes, being orders for grants of lands or offices, have been for the most part enrolled. And some of the most important letters or despatches in the second volume, such for instance, as contain directions about the plantations, likewise appear on the Patent Rolls of Chancery. The Record Commissioners of 1810 prepared a portion of the Calendar of the Patent Rolls of King James I., which was printed, but remained unpublished. In late years the work was completed, and the whole has been since published. In this Calendar of the Record Commission the instruments comprised in the Philadelphia Papers which have been enrolled, of course appear; but they appear for the most part in such a way as to give but little notion of their contents.
The Signet Letters are simply mentioned by their date, and the name of the grantee of the office, with a reference in old English character, signifying that the letter will be found set out at large in the Book of "Patentee Officers," which it was the intention of the Commission to publish. In like manner Royal Letters, containing instructions to the Lord Deputy, or Lord Deputy and Council, for the public service, are simply noted under that title; with reference in like manner to "Acta Regia," or a collection of papers of public interest, gathered not only from the Rolls of Chancery and other courts, but from all other sources. It was to be a kind of Irish Rymer's Fœdera, which the Commission had designed to print, and for which they had made large collections. But the work did not appear. These enrolled instruments, therefore, so far as the printed Calendar of the Patent Rolls is concerned, may be said to have never yet appeared in print. But this want, as far as the few first years of the reign of James I., has been supplied by Mr. John Caillard Erck's Repertory of the Inrolments on the Patent Rolls of Chancery. (fn. 107)
Observing that the Calendar published by the Record Commission, through full and complete as regards grants of land, failed to give the contents of Royal Letters and other instruments of importance, in consequence of the scheme of the Commissioners of publishing them in classes apart, Mr. Erck proceeded with great skill and diligence to calendar every entry on the Patent Rolls, and completed the work as far as the 7th of James I.; but there the work ended. In this Repertory the various instruments from among the Philadelphia Papers which appear on the rolls are given in all their material parts. So far, therefore, as the year 1609, the substance of these instruments will be found repeated in the present Calendar; but thenceforward to the end of the reign they will appear in print for the first time.
(6.)—Irish Papers in the Library of Trinity College, Dublin.
The historical MSS. in the Library of Trinity College, Dublin, which relate to the reign of James I., can hardly be said to belong to the class of State Papers; nevertheless, they comprise not a few documents which are not only of great value in themselves, but serve most appropriately for the illustration of many of the State Papers relating to the reign of James I., embodied in this Calendar.
These documents are found chiefly in three of the MS. collections of the Library—in the Ussher, the Stearne, and the Alexander MSS.
The history of the Ussher MSS., before they reached their final resting place in Trinity College, is a chequered one. The collection had been the growth of the gatherings of many long and laborious years; and, from a comparatively early period, it had been destined by Ussher, in the days of his prosperity, for the library of his beloved University. Ussher's library ran great risks of capture by the Irish in the rebellion of 1641. Drogheda was then the Primate's place of residence, and underwent a siege of some months from the insurgent Irish, under the command of Sir Phelim O'Neil. Ussher was absent, but his library remained in the town under the care of the Rev. Nicholas Bernard. "His library" (says Dr. Bernard), known to be a copious one, was with us in Drogheda, the first year of the rebellion of Ireland, 1641, when we were besieged four months by the Irish rebels, who made no question of devouring us. The priests and friars without talked much of the prize they should have of the library which I had the custody of, but the barbarous multitude of burning it, and of burning me by the flame of the books instead of faggots under me. But" (he adds), "it pleased God, in answer to our prayers, wonderfully to deliver us and it out of their hands; and so the whole, with all his MSS., were sent him that summer to Chester, and are still preserved here." (fn. 108) But though the library thus "wonderfully" escaped capture by the Irish rebels, it had many other dangers to run.
Very early in the troubles of Church and State in Ireland Ussher shared the altered fortunes of his friends and patrons, Strafford and Laud, and fell with them under the suspicion of the party then rapidly rising into predominance. On his refusal to attend the assembly of divines at Westminster, his property was sequestrated as that of a suspected person, and ultimately his library, including his already celebrated collection of MSS., was confiscated and ordered to be sold. Through the kindness and friendly generosity of Selden, it was purchased in Selden's name; but in reality it was bought back for Ussher himself, and remained at Chelsea College till his death.
The utter ruin of the Primate's fortunes entailed by these troubles compelled him to relinquish his intention of bequeathing to Trinity College, Dublin, his library, now almost his sole possession. His poverty compelled him to devise it to his daughter, Lady Tyrrell; and in her interest it was offered for sale after his death, and speedily attracted the attention of the learned throughout Europe. It was eagerly competed for by the King of Denmark and by Cardinal Mazarin, then in the full flow of his career as a collector; but the pretensions of both were disregarded in comparison with those of Cromwell's Irish army, who, in rivalry of the religious zeal of their predecessors under Elizabeth, united in a subscription to purchase and present to their Protestant University the library of this distinguished collector. It was accordingly sold to their representatives for 2,200l. (fn. 109)
But its adventures did not end here. The collection was brought back to Dublin; but Cromwell meanwhile had interfered to prevent the execution of the intention of the purchasers. By his order the books were detained in the Castle of Dublin, and reserved for the purpose of being deposited in the new hall or college, which formed one of the projects of the time.
By an Act of Parliament, dated the 8th of March 1649–50, all the possessions of the see of Dublin, and those of the Dean and Chapter of St. Patrick, together with the farm of Ardbrackan and parsonage of Trim, belonging to the bishopric of Meath, were vested in Henry Ireton, President of Munster, William Basil, Attorney-General in Ireland for the State, Colonel Venables, Sir Robert King, Colonel Henry Cromwell, John Cook Esq., Dr. Henry Jones, Dr. Jonathan Goddard, Colonel Hierome Sankey, the Rev. Ralph Cudworth, Clerk, and five others, as trustees for the purpose of erecting another college in the city of Dublin, to be part of the University, and also a free school.
By the same Act the Lord Lieutenant had power to appoint the governors, professors, fellows, scholars, and officers of the University, and of Trinity College and the new college, with such salaries as he should name; while the trustees were to frame rules and statutes, subject to the approval of Parliament. (fn. 110)
If it ever was Cromwell's intention, however, to give Ussher's library to the new projected University, it would seem to have been otherwise destined after the Lord Protector's death, and intended for a public library; for on the 29th June 1659 Sir Hardress Waller, Major-General of Foot, the Lord Chief Justice Basil, Baron Santhy, Dr. Gorges, Captain Stopford, and others, were commissioned to view the Gallery at Cork House, and the Armoury room near the Castle, and to report which place might be most convenient for placing the late Dr. Ussher's library, and to present an estimate for making presses and chains for the books in order to use and security. (fn. 111)
During this period of its detention, which continued until the Restoration, being under insufficient or careless custody, the collection is known to have suffered many losses, and many of Ussher's well-known treasures disappeared. In reference to which there is the following stringent order of the Commissioners for the affairs of Ireland, of the 1st November 1659:
"Ordered, that such of the trustees for Trinity College as are in or near Dublin, as also Dr Winter, Dr Gorge, and Mr Williamson, be desired to attend the Board upon Thursday the 3d inst., at 3 o'c. in the afternoon, and to consider how the library, formerly belonging to Dr Usher, purchased by the State and Army, may be best disposed and fitted for public use; and also to take into consideration a letter from Dr Jones concerning the publishing some part of the said library or manuscripts, and of recovering some part of the said library, at present abroad in some men's hands, albeit they ought to have been returned hither with the books already received; and to inquire whether the present catalogues comprehend all the books which were purchased, or such only as were sent hither and are in the custody of Mr Williamson or others; and to inform themselves in what condition the said library at present is, whether since the coming of the books hither any of them have been lent out or otherwise, to whom, and when and by whose order, with what else may concern that business. Dated at Dublin, the first of November 1659.
"Thomas Herbert, Secretary." (fn. 112)
Soon after the Restoration Charles II. ordered the entire library, including the MSS., to be handed over to Trinity College. The only reservation was of those among the MSS. which were in the handwriting of Ussher himself.
It is scarcely necessary to say that besides its valuable MSS. relating to Irish history and antiquities, Archbishop Ussher's collection is rich in biblical, patristical, classical, and paleographical treasures of the very highest interest. With these of course we are not at present concerned, and even among the Irish historical manuscripts the range of our inquiry is limited to the reign of James I.
Ussher's Irish historical MSS. may be generally divided into two classes, ecclesiastical and civil. It might appear at first sight that the latter alone can invite our consideration; but besides that the close connexion of Church and State in Ireland during the troubles of that day renders it impossible to draw the line very distinctly, the main interest of the history of Ireland under James I. is directly religious. A remarkable example of this is found in one of the Ussher volumes, E. 3. 15., which purports to be a return of the ecclesiastical livings in the several dioceses of Ireland, and as such is of considerable value. But a more valuable portion of the volume is a collection of papers, for the most part copies, illustrating the history of the conflict with the Roman Catholic Church under James I., and embodying several important documents, of which we have found no trace elsewhere. The date of these papers, however, generally speaking, is after the period comprised in the present volume of this Calendar.
It is chiefly, however, in the civil division of the Ussher MSS. that we have had occasion to seek our materials. Among these we may mention volume E. 3.7., which consists of a series of inquisitions of James I. With the exception of one, dated the 19th August 1606 (calendared at p. 538), they are all of 1616, and the following year. The volume also contains a return of the Crown lands in the county of Dublin. Volume E. 3. 34. contains the commission of inquiry, dated the 21st July 1609, together with the return thereto, of the forfeited lands of Armagh, Coleraine, Derry, Fermanagh, and Cavan; and scattered through several other volumes are to be found many similar papers of interest.
Although almost all these papers are copies, it is hardly necessary to point out that, in the defective state of the Public Records of Ireland, contemporary copies such as these are only second in value to the originals themselves, and well deserve careful examination.
The Stearne manuscripts take their name from Dr. John Stearne, Bishop of Clogher, by whom they were collected or purchased, and presented to the library.
It is not a little remarkable that the two men to whose zeal in enriching the library of the national University with the materials of the history of Ireland, the student is most indebted, were members of the same family. Bishop Stearne was grand-nephew of Ussher. (fn. 113) The bishop's father, also named John, was the son of Mabel Bermingham, the daughter of Ussher's sister, and was born in Ussher's house, at Ardbrackan. John Stearne, the elder, was educated at Trinity College, Dublin, and obtained a scholarship at a very early age. Soon after the outbreak of the insurrection of 1641 he removed to Cambridge. Before his leaving Dublin he had been elected fellow of Trinity College, Dublin; but during the ascendancy of the extreme parliamentary party in Dublin he was ejected from this dignity. (fn. 114) He was soon restored to his fellowship, however, by Henry Cromwell, and appointed professor of Hebrew, although he afterwards resigned both offices, devoting himself to the practice of the medical profession, and taking an active part in the organization of the study of medicine in Dublin. (fn. 115)
At the Restoration, however, he was reinstated in his fellowship, and, having married in the meantime, obtained a dispensation from the obligation of celibacy. John Stearne, the younger, founder of the Stearne library, was born in 1660. He was educated at Trinity College, where he graduated and received orders; and, having passed through several earlier stages of preferment, was appointed to the deanery of St. Patrick's, from which, making way for a memorable successor, Jonathan Swift, he was advanced to the see of Dromore in 1713, and eventually to that of Clogher on the 30th March 1717. He was appointed Vice-Chancellor of the University of Dublin; and the gift of his library to Trinity College was but one of many benefactions to that and other public institutions by which his term of office, which continued till his death in 1745, was distinguished.
The personal merit, however, of bringing together the portion of the collection which relates to Irish history does not belong to Stearne. The Irish historical MSS. were collected by Dr. John Madden, a scholar of much merit in his day, although few particulars of his history have been preserved. Although Madden was a student of Trinity College, Dublin, he was not a native of Ireland, as appears from the subjoined register of his matriculation, (fn. 116) which records him as having been born at Endfield, in Middlesex, about 1651.
Having settled in Dublin, he embraced the medical profession, in the practice of which he attained to great eminence, his name being the fifth of those enumerated in the charter of William and Mary to the King and Queen's College of Physicians, as "the only Protestant surviving fellows of the former college." (fn. 117)
Our sole concern, however, is with the circumstances which threw into his hands the large mass of public documents which are now deposited in the college library. Of these the most remarkable are those contained in a well-known series of thirty-three volumes (fn. 118) of depositions, informations, returns, and other similar documents;— being the papers of a Commission issued under the Great Seal in October 1641, to inquire into "the losses sustained by Loyal Protestants at the hands of the Popish "rebels" in the rising of that year. These volumes were originally (fn. 119) in the custody of Matthew Barry, who held the office of clerk of the Council, for nearly fifty years, from the time of Strafford down to the last Lord Lieutenancy of the Duke of Ormonde. Barry's custody of public documents appears to have been very loose. Even the official Council Books of his day were treated by him, or at least by his representatives, as private property. Many years after his death, Carte was able to obtain from his grandson, Mr. Barry, of Finglas, "Lord Chichester's book "of the Plantation of Ulster;" (fn. 120) and at the sale of Barry's effects, the papers of the Commission upon the Rebellion of 1641 were, "with other curious MSS.," purchased by Madden, (fn. 121) without, so far as can now be ascertained, any challenge or question on the part of the custodians of the Public Records.
Carte, who made a special journey to Ireland in order to examine Bishop Stearne's MSS., which he failed to see during his first visit, mentions (fn. 122) among them "six volumes of Mr. Matthew Barry's;" and although he does not specify their contents, there can be little doubt that these also were among the Madden MSS., and that they were obtained by Madden at the sale of Matthew Barry's papers. It is probable, however, from the direct object which Carte had in view, that his inquiries were chiefly directed [towards the papers relating to the Ormonde period, such as the volumes of depositions already referred to upon the Rebellion of 1641, and volumes F. 3. 18. and F. 4. 13., which regard the same, and also the Restoration and post-Restoration period. The interest of the Stearne Collection as regards the reign of James I. lies almost entirely in a small series of four volumes, described as "Collections chiefly relating to Ireland," and numbered from F. 3. 15. to F. 3. 18. In these are found many papers, some of them originals, relating to O'Dogherty's rebellion, to the Plantation of Ulster, and to the several local plantations effected or organised about the same time in Leitrim, King's County, Meath, and Longford.
The Alexander MSS. in the library of Trinity College, Dublin, are a portion of a bequest made to that library in 1674, by Sir Jerome Alexander, one of the Justices of Common Pleas in Ireland, under conditions curiously illustrative of the spirit of the times. Sir Jerome Alexander's will is printed in extenso in the Transactions of the Historical Society of Great Britain, vol. 1., 220; and is well deserving of perusal. With a large admixture of munificence and public spirit, it exhibits in a most remarkable degree the fanatical bigotry, national as well as religious, which characterised the struggle through which the country had recently passed, and which twenty years had not taught the testator to forget. He utterly disinherits his daughter if she should marry any Irishman, lord, bishop, archbishop, baronet, knight, esquire, or gentleman, or any Irishman, or that comes of Irish extraction" or "any Papist or Popish Recusant." In appointing a weekly dole of a sixpenny loaf of bread at the college gate, he expressly limits the distribution to "the Protestant poore people;" and in a bequest of ten pounds to be distributed in charity by his executrix, he gives "charge that no Papist poore shall have a farthing "thereof." (fn. 123) If he abstained from attaching to the bequest of his library to Trinity College any similar exclusive stipulation, it was probably because he believed that condition to be sufficiently secured by the exclusive character of the college.
Jerome Alexander was born of a family in Norfolk, in the last years of the sixteenth century. He became a member of the bar in England, and in the year 1620 obtained by letters patent from James I. the office of "bayliffe of the hundred of Eynisford, in the county of "Norfolk." Having been convicted of falsifying in the course of his practice in the Court of the Star Chamber a document connected with a suit in which he was engaged, he was disbarred in 1626, and sentenced to imprisonment in the Fleet. The latter part of the penalty he only escaped by flying to Ireland, where he succeeded in securing the patronage of Lord Conway, and, after some time, resumed practice as a lawyer at the Irish bar. In the course of a few years he ventured to seek a remission of the Star Chamber sentence; and although for a time discountenanced and even imprisoned, he eventually succeeded in obtaining the royal pardon in 1633. On his return to Ireland he successfully resumed his career as a lawyer; and during the troubles which ensued invested his professional profits as an Adventurer for forfeited lands in various parts of the kingdom, especially Westmeath and Tipperary. Although for a time dispossessed during the Confederate successes, he regained his lands under Cromwell; and at the Restoration was not only confirmed in possession, but obtained the honour of knighthood with the place of a justice in the Court of Common Pleas. He was actively employed in the management of the Adventurers' affairs from 1641 to 1660, being himself one of the Adventurers. His career on the bench, too, appears to have been marked by great severity and by unscrupulous partisanship. To "Alexander" a prisoner, was the popular name for a sentence of death. "I thank God," writes Orrery, "the robbers in this province are suppressed. I hear not of one these three weeks. Many I have taken & keep in jail against the assizes, where I hope they will be 'Alexandred.'" (fn. 124) When in February 1664 the chief justiceship became vacant, and Alexander's claims to the office were put forward, Ormonde wrote to the Earl of Clarendon in deprecation of Alexander's appointment, alleging that he was "taken for a severe judge in the circuits;" (fn. 125) and two years later, when a batch of Leinster Tories captured by one of Sir Theophilus Jones's officers were to be tried at a commission issued for the purpose, Ormonde wrote to the Earl of Orrery, himself by no means a model of moderation, that "the Tories in Leinster and upon the border of Ulster was now pretty well broken, or would bo by the time Sir Jerome Alexander, who had a special commission to try, and a very special inclination to hang them, should have done with them." (fn. 126)
In addition to his manuscripts and all his books, with the exception of those which "concerned physicke and "surgery," (which, by a curious reservation, he left to his daughter), he bequeathed 600l. to be expended in the necessary buildings and fittings for its accommodation and for the lodging of a library keeper, directing that the library and lodgings should be called by his own name. They contain a mass of curious precedents of cases in the Irish Court of Star [or Castle] Chamber, from which we have obtained the Censure of the recusant Aldermen of Dublin, on 22nd and 27th November 1605. (fn. 127) It is believed that all other traces of the official proceedings of this Court have perished.
The volumes bearing on the reign of James I. are, G. 3. 1., (fn. 128) G. 3. 2., G. 4. 2., G. 4. 4., G. 4. 5., and G. 4. 6. They are reports of cases in the Star Chamber, but for the most part they directly relate to the subsequent reigns.
(7.)—Irish State Papers of James I. in Private Collections.
The detention in private hands of the State Papers which we have hitherto been considering, has not involved any serious injury to the interest of historical inquiry, most of these papers being accessible to the public upon conditions not more onerous than those imposed at the Public Record Office. It is impossible, however, to doubt that under the loose notions regarding the right of property in official papers, and the irregular system as to their custody, which prevailed in the 16th and 17th centuries, a very large body of public documents must have remained in private hands, over and above those which have found their way back to the service of the public in the collections of the British Museum and other great public repositories of manuscripts. And among the numberless schemes for the promotion of historical science introduced under the present able and energetic administration of the Public Record Department, there is none for which intelligent students of British and Irish history are more grateful than the systematic exploration of private repositories throughout the empire, which has been organised and is now in progress under the direction of the Royal Commission on Historical Manuscripts.
As regards the period of Irish history with which we are immediately concerned, the Reports already issued by the Historical Manuscripts' Commission give considerable promise.
In the Report on the Chetham Library, Manchester, is an account of a volume of 631 pages, which contains a large body of documents relating to Irish affairs, from Elizabeth to James II. The greater number, it is true, belong to the period of Charles I., but that of James I. also is represented in some interesting papers.
A still more promising collection for the history of Irish affairs under James I. is that of the Hon. G. M. Fortescue, of Dropmore, Maidenhead. From the interesting account of the Dropmore collection given in the Appendix to the Second Report of the Historical Manuscripts' Commission, (fn. 129) we learn that the papers are believed to have been in the possession of the owners of the estate of Ilackness in Yorkshire. This estate passed, through intermarriage with an heiress, into the hands of John Packer, who was secretary to the Duke of Buckingham, and who, like many others in his position, managed to appropriate a large portion of the official papers which came into his principal's hands. The catalogue of these papers appended to the Report, attests their importance for the general history of the last years of the reign of James I. and that of Charles I. As regards the affairs of Ireland in the former reign, it is only, as might have been expected, with the period of Buckingham's ascendancy, that the interest of the collection begins. We do not find a single paper of Lord Deputy Chichester. But the government of his successor, Sir Oliver St. John, is well represented. The catalogue enumerates many of St. John's own letters to Buckingham and to the King; as also communications of several other officials, as Sir Henry Docwra, Sir Francis Annesley, and others, addressed to Buckingham. These unexpected accessions to our stock of materials are not more interesting for their own sake, than for the promise which they hold out of further and still more valuable contributions through the labours of this important Commission.
It can hardly be doubted that the Hatfield MSS., which the noble owner, the Marquis of Salisbury, has placed at the disposal of the Commission, will yield even more abundant and interesting materials for the period with which we are engaged.
We are not without hope of being enabled to incorporate in the proper place in our Calendar those of the Dropmore Papers which relate to Ireland under James I. The earliest Irish paper, however, of that reign, noticed in the Dropmore catalogue, does not date farther back than 9th November 1616.
The length to which this account of the sources from which the materials of this volume have been derived has run, compels us to reserve for another occasion our intended review of the nature of its contents, and of its bearing upon the history of the important reign of James I., which may almost be said to have shaped all the later destinies of Ireland. The volume embraces the papers of the first three and a half years of the reign; beginning 24th March 1603, with the proclamation declaring "the undoubted right of our Sovereign Lord King James to the crown of the realms of England and Ireland," and ending with the last day of October 1606. The papers thus extend over the Lord Lieutenancy of Lord Mountjoy (with Sir George Carey and Sir Arthur Chichester successively, as Lord Deputy), and the commencement of the independent Lord Deputyship of Chichester.
It only remains shortly to mention the principal contributors to the correspondence included in the present volume.
Lord Mountjoy was Lord Deputy at the Queen's demise, on the 24th of March 1603, when, of course, his office determined; but the Queen's death does not seem to have been known in Ireland until the 5th of April. On that day the King's accession was proclaimed at the High Cross in Dublin, the same proclamation having been already made in London on the 24th of March. The next day (6th April), the Council assembled, and took steps, pursuant to ancient usage and statute, to elect a Lord Justice. The proceeding, which was regulated by the statute 33 Hen. VIII., confirming the ancient usage, consisted in the issuing of writs by the Lord Chancellor, or rather the Keeper of the Great Seal, (for the Chancellor's office determined by the demise of the Sovereign,) to all those of the Council inhabiting the eleven ancient counties of Leinster and Munster, (fn. 130) which counties alone were subject to the regular jurisdiction of the Crown at the early period when this custom took its rise, summoning them to meet together and choose an Englishman, born in England, to be Justice and Governor of Ireland till the King should appoint a Lieutenant or Deputy.
On the 9th of April the Council elected Lord Mountjoy Lord Justice. On the 17th of April the Lord Keeper, the Archbishop of Dublin, announced from the pulpit that the King had appointed Lord Mountjoy Lord Deputy, and himself Lord Chancellor, and that all other officers should hold their places; (fn. 131) and on the Sunday following, Lord Mountjoy was sworn Lord Deputy. Not long afterwards he was made Lord Lieutenant and created Earl of Devonshire; and on the 26th of May he was called over to England, and continued to reside there, assisting the Council with his great experience of the affairs of Ireland (as appears by his signature attached to the papers from the Council) until his death on the 3rd of April 1606. (fn. 132)
During the Earl of Devonshire's lifetime, Sir George Carey and Sir Arthur Chichester were successively Deputies, but under the obligation to address themselves to the Lord Lieutenant, though not to him exclusively. They were not, however, Deputies of the Lord Lieutenant, but of the King. For though the Council (6th April 1603), suggested that the King should make Lord Mountjoy Lord Lieutenant instead of Lord Deputy, with liberty to come over to England, and with authority to leave a Deputy in his absence, yet this suggestion was not followed; (fn. 133) both Sir George Carey and Sir Arthur Chichester being expressly nominated as the King's Deputies. How the power was shared between the Deputy and Lord Lieutenant does not clearly appear; but the emoluments of the office were divided in the proportion of two thirds to the Lord Lieutenant and one third to the Deputy.
The despatches which Lord Mountjoy addressed to Cecil during the two months of his government in Ireland after the King's accession are full of interest, and are written in so admirable a style, that it is to be regretted that so little remains of his separate communications and orders to the Deputies in Ireland, during the two years of his residence at the Court as Lord Lieutenant, between his departure from Ireland and his death.
On Lord Mountjoy's return to England, Sir George Carey, Treasurer at War, was appointed the King's Deputy in his absence, and continued in office until 24th of February 1605, when he resigned the sword to Sir Arthur Chichester. His despatches during the two and twenty months of his Deputyship are not to be compared with those of Lord Mountjoy and Sir Arthur Chichester, whether as regards their literary interest, or the information which they contain. Great greed and enormous wealth, the fruit of unfair dealing, were freely imputed to him, as having "enriched himself in Ireland as the like was never done by any other that supplied his place." (fn. 134)
Upon being informed of Sir George Carey's design of retiring, the King's first intention (July 1604) was to authorise the Lord Deputy and Council to make a patent to Sir Arthur Chichester to be Justice in the absence of the Lord Lieutenant, with one third of the entertainments that the Earl of Devonshire had for being Deputy, the other two thirds being payable to the Lord Lieutenant. (fn. 135) But he was finally appointed the King's Deputy with 1,000l. a year in addition to the one third, and 500l. as an outfit. (fn. 136) With only this entertainment he kept up the honour of the office so royally and thoroughly, (fn. 137) that he injured his private fortune, which he said was not large, and prayed the King and the Earl of Salisbury, on the Earl of Devonshire's death, to allow him to return to a private station. (fn. 138) So valuable, however, were his services found to be, that he remained Deputy until the year 1616, as already mentioned.
Amongst Sir Arthur Chichester's assistants in the government, Sir John Davys was certainly the most efficient. He came over (on the recommendation of the Earl of Devonshire, as appears in the memorial of his life) (fn. 139) as Solicitor-General, arriving in Ireland on 20th November 1603. In his first letter to Cecil, ten days after his arrival, he gives him an account of his experience of the Courts of Justice, which somewhat corrected his notions of the miserable face of things as they appeared on first view through the pestilence and famine which raged in the town. For on inspecting the Courts then sitting, he expresses himself as much comforted at the good form of proceeding and the many causes he found depending, through the litigiousness of the people, who (like all northern nations), though accustomed to right themselves by the sword, are no sooner subdued than they recur to law, and become the most litigious of all others. (fn. 140) And of this temper he himself subsequently profited largely, having, besides the emoluments of his office, an extensive private practice. (fn. 141) He succeeded as Attorney-General on 29th of May 1606, to Sir Charles Calthorpe, who had been made a Judge of the Common Pleas. Sir John Davys continued to fill this office till the year 1619. During this time he very frequently acted as Judge of Assize, which gave him occasion to say in the opening passage of his celebrated work on Ireland, that on his sundry journeys and circuits he had visited every province of the kingdom. It was thus he acquired that knowledge of the country and its inhabitants, which, combined with the graces of his style, renders his accounts so attractive. In the present volume will be found two of the letters which he was accustomed to write after every circuit to the Earl of Salisbury, giving an account of the Assizes he had held in the year 1606 in Lent in Munster, (fn. 142) and in summer in Ulster. (fn. 143) It gives a pleasing impression of his character to find him recommending Cecil to perform the office of mediator, on Sir George Carey's retirement and return to England, between Sir George Carey and the Earl of Devonshire, who had taken displeasure at some passionate expressions of Sir George Carey, importing that only for his (Sir George's) providence as Treasurer at War, he had not been to well seconded in the war. It would be a noble office, says Sir John, to effect a reconciliation, that this old gentleman, who is seventy years of age, and who was appointed to his office by the Lord Lieutenant's own assignation, may return into his country, and descend into his grave in peace. (fn. 144)
Sir Henry Brouncker was another of Sir Arthur Chichester's contemporaries, having succeeded Sir George Carew in the office of President of Munster on the 4th of June 1604. (fn. 145) He had been for more than twenty years engaged in service in Ireland, during a most troubled period, and seems to have had a temper rendered fierce by the scenes in which he had been partaker. His letter of 12th September 1606 gives an account of his rigorous proceedings towards the recusants of his province, and shows the exercise of a greater amount of zeal than humanity. (fn. 146)
Sir Jeffrey Fenton, Secretary of State, had seen fifteen years' service in Ireland in the Civil Departments, having held besides his secretaryship, the post of SurveyorGeneral (fn. 147) and other offices. Sir Arthur Chichester speaks of him as best knowing the disposition of the Irish in all parts of the kingdom. (fn. 148) He had to undergo the usual charge of inordinate wealth; whereupon he took the unusual step of seeding to Cecil "a true collection "of all his worldly estates in England and Ireland, the results of his fifteen years' service in Ireland," and appealed to him whether he had not been better off serving some noblemen about the Prince. (fn. 149)
These were the principal statesmen engaged in Ireland with Sir Arthur Chichester in the conduct of public affairs at the period comprised in this portion of the Calendar. In addition to the ordinary details of administration, many of which are full of interest, the correspondence contains a full account of the sedition of the Munster corporate towns at the commencement of the new reign, which is minutely described in Lord Mountjoy's despatches; of the results to Ireland of the Gunpowder Plot, the consequences of which were visited with severity on the Roman Catholics of that kingdom, though it plainly appeared from the investigations set on foot by the Government that the conspirators had no allies in Ireland; and thirdly, of the proceedings in the case of the so-called Mandates, being a process for enforcing the conformity of the principal gentry and burghers by means of the King's prerogative and the aid of the Castle Chamber or Star Chamber, which claimed a jurisdiction to punish disobedience to the King's Mandate under the Great or Privy Seal by fine and imprisonment. The defence of these proceedings drawn up by the Judges, gives a very clear view of the nature of the prerogative as understood by the Crown lawyers in the reign of James I. (fn. 150) Of these matters, however, and many others, a particular account is reserved for the Preface of the second volume of the Calendar.
Among noteworthy events of a less public character may be mentioned the attempted transplantation of a body of moss-troopers of Cumberland and Westmoreland, the Grahams of Netherby and others, to the county of Roscommon. The articles of agreement between the Commissioners of the Middle Shires and Sir Ralph Sidley, who undertook to set down these wild horsemen and their families on farms in his seignory of Roscommon, with the various provisions to prevent their escape thence and return to their former abodes, present some features very characteristic of the time. (fn. 151)
The summary of the correspondence presented in this Calendar will be found somewhat more ample and detailed than in the earlier Calendars of Irish State Papers. The Editors have been induced to adopt this fuller rendering of papers with a view to maintaining a certain uniformity with the Calendar of the Carew Papers, which, both from the period of which it treats and the correspondence which it embraces, must almost be regarded as a part of the same historical picture. (fn. 152) Indeed, the letters of Lord Mountjoy, of Sir Arthur Chichester, and above all of Sir John Davys, well deserve to be given in full detail; and as regards two of Sir John Davys's letters in particular,—his accounts of his Munster circuit,—it has been thought right to print the text verbatim, as a fitting and natural complement of the well-known accounts of his other journeys in Ireland already known in his published writings.
It was originally proposed to carry down the Calendar to the end of 1606; but to have done this would have extended the volume to a length quite beyond the ordinary limit of the publications in this series. The volume terminates, therefore, with the month of October.