The Irish Catholic Confederacy and the Puritan Revolution 9780231894784

Presents a history of a period productive of grave national results for Ireland, and destined to influence the course of

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The Irish Catholic Confederacy and the Puritan Revolution
 9780231894784

Table of contents :
Foreword
Preface
Contents
List of Illustrations, maps
I. Irish Patriotism and British Imperialism
II. The Tudor System
III. Altars and Hearthstones
IV. The Policy of Thorough and the Scottish Covenanters
V. The Long Parliament and Ireland
VI. The Imperial Nexus
VII. The Revolutionary Leaders and the Plot
VIII. The Rebellion of ’41
IX. The Defection of the Pale
X. The Confederation of Kilkenny
XI. The Policy of Appeasement
XII. Peace Negotiations
XIII. The Glamorgan Episode
XIV.The Papal Nuncio
XV. Defeated in Victory
XVI. The Clerical Coup D’Etat
XVII. The Ormondist Reaction
XVIII.The Uncrowned King of Ireland
XIX. An Heretical Alliance and Ecclesiastical Fulminations
XX. Civil and Theological War
XXI.The Pacification of Ormond
XXII. The Battle of Ireland
XXIII. In Quest of A Protector
XXIV. To Hell or to Connaught
XXV. Religious and Political Aftermath
Bibliographical Note
Bibliography
Notes and References
Index

Citation preview

THE IRISH CATHOLIC CONFEDERACY AND THE PURITAN REVOLUTION

THE

IRISH

CATHOLIC

CONFEDERACY AND

THE

PURITAN REVOLUTION by Thomas L. Coonan

DUBLIN:

CLONMORE

NEW YORK :

&

REYNOLDS

LTD.

COLUMBIA UNIVERSITY PRESS

19 54

First

Published

1954

All Rights Reserved

MADE

AND

REPUBLIC

PRINTED OF

IN

THE

IREI.AND

BY

CAHII-L A N D C O . L T D . D U B L I N , K ) R CI.ONMORE

AND

REYNOLDS

LTD.

To the Memory of My Father CORNELIUS COONAN,

N.T.

and My Mother ELEANOR MOLLOY COONAN,

N.T.

FOREWORD PROFESSOR COONAN'S interest in the history of the Irish Catholic Confederacy was first aroused by his appreciation of the striking similarity between the ideas advanced by its leaders regarding AngloIrish constitutional relations and those expressed a century and a quarter later, on the eve of the American Revolution, by American colonial leaders concerning Anglo-American constitutional relations. His study, accordingly, began as one in constitutional history. But the fields into which historians, for their own purposes, have divided the wholeness of historical processes are not self-sufficient and isolated, and Dr. Coonan found it, in his own words, " impossible to divorce the strictly constitutional aspect of the Irish question from its religious and economic phases." He was thus led on to investigations which resulted in the comprehensive account he has given us of a manysided and complicated historical subject of widespreading ramifications. The Irish question in all its many phases has been notoriously controversial, and the literature to which it has given rise is preeminently polemical. Where bitter animosities have been enshrined in religious-patriotic tradition, it would be unreasonable and naive to look for complete detachment in an Irish Catholic historian of the Irish Catholic Confederacy, if indeed Ranke's ideal can ever be fully realized under any circumstances. A remark made by Stubbs in one of his lectures is worth recalling—" I do not see why an honest partisan should not write an honest book if he can persuade himself to look honestly at his subject and make allowances for his own prejudices." T h e man who is convinced that he is absolutely unbiased is the man who should leave history alone. Dr. Coonan suffers from no such disqualifying self-delusion. His research has been extensive, both in primary sources and in the relevant historical literature. He has made a serious and prolonged effort—and I think with much success—to recapture the spirit of an age long passed and to guard against the distorting effects of what has been called presentitis. He has, in a word, tried to see the Irish Catholic Confederacy in its seventeenth-century context. And he has set forth the results of his studies in English prose that can rise to very high levels. ROBERT LIVINGSTON SCHUYLER.

PREFACE INCREASING interest in and appreciation of the Irish question as a straggle for legislative independence and cultural expression within the British Empire has been shown in recent years by the publication of source materials long in manuscript and by the appearance in America and England of a number of monographs and of larger works of reference. T h e constitutional aspect of the Irish struggle received an important fillip from C . H. Mcllwain's The American Revolution, A Constitutional Interpretation, and from the reply it evoked in R. L . Schuyler's Parliament and the British Empire. In reading these two significant books the student of the American Revolution discovers for the first time that, whatever may be said on ground of law and precedent for the American denial of the imperial authority of the English parliament while acknowledging that of the Crown, this central problem has stemmed from an older and an Irish interpretation of the British constitution. It is from such a standpoint that this study was undertaken. T h e Irish Catholic Confederacy, a system of national government arising out of the Catholic Rebellion of 1641, was based on the political maxim that King, Lords, and Commons of Ireland constituted the only power on earth competent to legislate for Ireland. Unhappily for the Irish Catholics, the celebrated " Puritan L o n g Parliament of England " took the position that, in virtue of historic precedent as well as of natural right, parliament possessed the " supreme a u t h o r i t y " to bind Ireland and all other parts of the British Empire " in all cases whatsoever." T h e immediate result of these two incompatible interpretations of the British constitution was the Cromwellian conquest and settlement of Ireland. T h e remote result was the Irish struggle of centuries against English domination—a struggle begotten of a national discontent, ever smouldering, sometimes erupting, frequently convulsing the political life of the British Empire, and not yet entirely healed. In time the spread of the Irish doctrine of legislative independence to other political entities of the British Empire contributed, on the one hand, to the American Revolution and, on the other, to a constitutional development within the Empire which has found its final expression in the Commonwealth of Nations. Whether in the light of the historic English connection, Ireland itself could have been brought to accept dominion status within the Commonwealth as a final solution is debatable. Against such a conclusion two powerful factors have militated—the tradition of Ireland as a mother country with an ancient and distinctive culture, and an assertive nationalism

x

The Irish Catholic Confederacy and The Puritan Revolution

born of English imperialist intervention. Egan O'Rahilly, a seventeenth century poet, set forth the difficulty with rugged candour and probably with an eye to posterity: Ci fada dhdt, litre, mhardha, mh/n-ndsmhar, Ad' bhanaltram t-siim le fHle is f/or-etSlus, Beir feasda ad' mh&rdrig f i gach crion-chdisir, 'S gach ladrann comhaitheach d'eis do chit dheSltadh. Long though thou hast been, O majestic, gentle-mannered Erin, A fair nursing-mother with hospitality and true knowledge ; Henceforth 8halt thou be an unwilling handmaid to every withered hand, While every foreign boor shall have sucked thy breasts. In treating of the Catholic Confederacy and its impact on the future of Anglo-Irish relations, it was found impossible to divorce the strictly constitutional aspect of the Irish question from its religious and economic phases. Moreover, the regrettably piecemeal character of Irish historical literature seemed to dictate the need of a synthesis of the Irish question in its peculiar seventeenth century setting. Richard Bagwell's Ireland Under The Stuarts, the one standard work on the period, does not give the Catholic Confederacy adequate coverage and is written from an English and Protestant viewpoint. These remarks are not intended to disparage a diligent work of research, but rather to indicate that the time has come when the papal interest in Ireland can no longer be viewed as an alien and obtrusive force, or the political outlook of the Old or native Irish ignored. In brief, this book is intended to fulfil the need of a comprehensive, wellbalanced history of a period productive of grave national results for Ireland, and destined to influence the subsequent course of the British Empire. The writer undertook the task at the inspiration and under the direction of Professor Robert Livingston Schuyler in a seminar at Columbia University. The writer cannot express too highly his appreciation of the active assistance, judicious counsel, and sympathetic concern of his preceptor, a gracious man of letters with a passion for both truth and form, enlivened by a never failing sense of humour. One's only regret is that in his retirement from Columbia University some of the glory has departed from that great Alma Mater. Nor would this foreword be complete without reference to some of the many others who have made this book possible. The writer wishes particularly to mention Carleton J. H. Hayes, professor emeritus of Columbia University, whose brilliant lectures and literary style were a stimulus to emulation ; the late Professor R. C. Binkley of Western Reserve University, whose careful critical methods in seminar work were of inestimable value; Professors J. Bartlett Brebner and John

Preface

xi

A. Krout of Columbia University and Professor William Haller of Barnard College, who read the manuscript and offered penetrating and helpful advice in order to lessen its defects; Professor M. E. Neville of Loyola University, Chicago, who pruned the dead wood from the manuscript and endeavoured to set off the style in the king's English ; Miss Nuala Finlay of St. Louis University, who prepared the manuscript for publication ; Professors John F. Bannon and Charles N. R. McCoy of St. Louis University, on whose profound knowledge of history and political philosophy the writer has freely drawn ; Archbishop H. P. Rohlman of Dubuque and Monsignor Martin O'Connell of Davenport, who made the writer's studies at Columbia University possible; H. L. Perkinson of St. Louis, who generously assisted publication ; and the librarians of university and college libraries all over the country and in parts foreign, whose patience the writer has grievously overtaxed. The reader is advised that the drama about to unfold is an intricate one, redolent of the sadness which Kathleen Ni Houlihan is apt to inspire in her votaries. One must not be too prone, however, to dwell on the historic misfortunes of the Irish. Thomas Moore characterized Ireland as the land of " the tear and the smile." In the human tragedy of Irish history there are few episodes unrelieved by flashes of comedy. The Catholic Confederacy was no exception to the rule, and in treating of that phase of the national struggle, it has been the conscious endeavour of the writer to balance its lighter against its graver side. We normally think of the tear and the smile as representing contrary emotions, but in the case of Ireland they seem to compensate for and complement each other, blending like the colours of the rainbow. When translated into the realms of the otherworldly, the combination expresses a notable trait of Irish character—a sense of resignation to the Almighty in defeat with the will to try again. This trait has helped to sustain the Irish people in the past, and it permeates that larger Irish struggle for free and Christian institutions down through the ages. After the battle of Kinsale, when it seemed that Queen Elizabeth had really conquered Ireland, Owen Ward inspired his countrymen to resist absorption by introducing the idea into a dirge of monotonous grandeur, in which he personified Ireland as the " Woman of the Piercing Wail." James Clarence Mangan's rendition of the pertinent lines will serve to illustrate it. And thou, O Mighty Lord, whose ways Are far above our feeble minds To understand, Sustain us in these doleful days, And render light the chains that tie Our fallen land:

xii

The Irish Catholic Confederacy and The Puritan Revolution Look down upon our dreary state, And through the ages that may still Roll sadly on, Watch thou o'er hapless Erin's fate, And shield at last from darker ill The blood of Con. THOMAS L .

COONAN.

CONTENTS PAGE FOREWORD

VII

PREFACE

IX

CHAPTER I. II.

IRISH PATRIOTISM AND BRITISH IMPERIALISM T H E TUDOR SYSTEM

III.

ALTARS AND HEARTHSTONES

IV.

THE

POLICY

OF

THOROUGH

35 AND

THE

SCOTTISH

COVENANTERS V. VI. VII. VIII. IX. X. XI. XII.

3 17

43

T H E L O N G PARLIAMENT AND IRELAND

60

T H E IMPERIAL NEXUS

72

T H E REVOLUTIONARY LEADERS AND THE P L O T

88

T H E REBELLION OF ' 4 1

105

T H E DEFECTION OF THE PALE

122

T H E CONFEDERATION OF K I L K E N N Y

138

T H E POLICY OF APPEASEMENT

157

PEACE NEGOTIATIONS

177

XIII.

T H E GLAMORGAN EPISODE

194

XIV.

T H E PAPAL N U N C I O

202

XV. XVI. XVII. XVIII. XIX.

DEFEATED IN V I C T O R Y

216

T H E CLERICAL C O U P D ' É T A T

227

T H E ORMONDIST REACTION

244

T H E UNCROWNED K I N G OF IRELAND AN

HERETICAL

ALLIANCE

AND

256 ECCLESIASTICAL

FULMINATIONS XX. XXI. XXII.

261

C I V I L AND THEOLOGICAL W A R

275

T H E PACIFICATION OF O R M O N D

284

T H E BATTLE OF IRELAND

294

XXIII.

I N QUEST OF A PROTECTOR

312

XXIV.

T O H E L L OR TO CONNAUGHT

320

RELIGIOUS AND POLITICAL AFTERMATH

333

BIBLIOGRAPHICAL NOTE

342

XXV.

BIBLIOGRAPHY

344

NOTES AND REFERENCES

360

INDEX

379

LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS JOHN BAPTIST RINUCCINI, ARCHBISHOP OF FIRMO, PAPAL NUNCIO TO THE CONFEDERATE CATHOLICS OF IRELAND

see p. 1 8 2 OWEN ROE O'NEILL

see p. 1 8 3 THE EARL OF STRAFFORD

see p. 1 9 8 OLIVER CROMWELL

see p. 1 9 9 JAMES BUTLER—DUKE OF ORMOND

see p. 2 1 4 ST. CANICE's CATHEDRAL, KILKENNY (INTERIOR VIEW)

see p. 2 1 5 KILKENNY

CASTLE—WHERE

THE

OF ITS

CONFEDERATION

HELD

SOME

MEETINGS

see p. 2 1 5 THE ROCK OF CASHEL

see p. 2 3 0 CHRISTCHURCH CATHEDRAL, DUBLIN

see p. 2 3 1 DUBLIN CASTLE. DUBLIN

LEFT :

CASTLE ENTRANCE WITH FIGURE OF JUSTICE

CASTLE—BERMINGHAM

TOWER

see p. 2 3 1

AND HOLY

TRINITY

CHURCH

MAPS PAGE IRELAND, 1 5 5 8 — 1 6 5 2

xvii

IRELAND—ACCORDING TO THE A C T OF SETTLEMENT, 26TH SEPT., 1 6 5 3 , AND SUBSEQUENT ORDERS

Reproduced by kind permission of the Cambridge University Press

xviii

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