A Discourse Concerning Ireland
Different INTERESTS thereof,
In Answer to the
Exon and Barnstaple Petitions
That if a Law were Enacted to prevent the Exportation of Woollen-Manufactures from IRELAND to Foreign Parts, what the Consequences thereof would be both to ENGLAND and IRELAND.
Pro Aris & Focis
LONDON, Printed for Tho. Nott at the Queen's-Arms the Pall-Mall, and are to be sold by E. Whitlock near Stationers-Hall. 1697/8
PUBLISHED FOR Tho. Nott
THE greatest and the wisest Nations under Heaven, being subject to human Frailties, are apt sometimes to conceive wrong Notions of things; and I know no Opinion more groundless, and withal, more universally received by the People of England, than that which they entertain concerning that unhappy Kingdom of Ireland; which of all the Territories that they have by their powerful and victorious Arms subdued to the Obedience of this Crown, has been (as they imagine, and would perswade others) the most dearly purchased; They generally believe, that Aceldama to have cost England greater Numbers of Men, and vaster Quantities of Treasure, computing the Expence of both, from the time that the English had first footing there, till the Conclusion of the late War, than it really did the Greeks to Conquer the World by the Prowess of Alexander the Great; or the Romans to do the same under the Conduct of Julius Caesar. For we are told by Historians, that the Armies commanded by those Generals, were recruited by every fresh Victory they obtained, and the People that had one Day the misfortune to be subdued by them, must the next Day assist in the Destruction of their Neighbours.
The Spoils of conquered Nations in hand, and the Prospect of Empire at length, were the great Encouragements those Conquerors had to undergo their Toils and Labours. The Riches of the Foreign World were their principal Funds for the payment of their Forces; and tho' it would be absurd to imagine, that they had not frequently (and especially upon all urgent Occasions) Succors from their own Countries; yet those great things which in their different Ages in the World, are attributed to them, were principally atchieved at the Expence both of the Blood and Treasures of their vassal and tributary Provinces, which daily increased as they went forward with their Conquests.
But a great many of the English Nation are fully perswaded, that the course of their Victories in Ireland was not so swift and easy, but that the Methods by which it hath been brought under subjection have been very different, and the Work much more difficult and tedious.
For that being a poor and moneyless Country, there were no very great Encouragements for an Army to Conquer it, so that it was gained by piece-meal, and England was at the whole Expence of subduing it; for from the Reign of King Henry II. till the latter end of Queen Elizabeths Days, being 432. Years, it was not entirely conquered; in which time Seventeen Kings and Two Queens governed successively in England: for which Reasons they conclude, that it must of necessity have cost the English Nation vast Numbers of Men, and great Sums of Money, to keep their Ground, which they gained there from time to time, and at length to bring that whole Kingdom under subjection to the Crown of England.
And running away with this as an undoubted Maxim and Truth, they conclude, That it had been much better for England, that God had left Irelandout of the Book of the Creation, or placed it in some distant Corner of the World.
But this Conclusion will fail of course, when I shew the [Page 3] mistake of the foregoing Opinion, which will be the easiest thing imaginable to do, if they will allow their own Chronicles and the Writings of their most Authentic English Historians, to be the Rule of our Belief concerning the manner and means of Ireland's being Conquered by England. For which end I here intended to have inserted a brief Abstract of English History, so far as it relates to Ireland, from the Reign of King Henry II. to the Conclusion of the late War; but I find this in a great measure done to my hand by one Mr. W. H. in his Book entitled, Remarks on the Affairs and Trade of Englandand Ireland; printed for Tho. Parkhurst, at the Bible and Three Crowns in Cheapside near Mercers-Chappel, 1691. to which I refer such as think it worth their while to be satisfied more at large: And therefore I shall only desire those who think Ireland to have cost England so dear, to consult the Histories which are written concerning that Kingdom by their own Authors, and they will find that the first Number of Men sent over by Strongbow Earl of Chepstow and Pembroke, under the Command of Fitz-Stephens and Fitz-Gerrald, was but 400. which were followed soon after by Legross with 130. and in three Months after by Strongbow himself with 1200. more, being in August 1170. the whole three Numbers amounting but to 1730. which was the Complement of the Army, that by the Assistance of Mac Murragh King of Leinster and his Friends, did not only recover that King's Dominions in Leinster, but very much enlarge them, and in effect, made the Kings of England Lords of Ireland, and all this was done at the private Expence of Strongbow, and his Friends; as the remaining Provinces of that Kingdom were most, if not all of them, subjected to the Crown of England at the Expence of particular Persons, who notwithstanding, were well rewarded for their Services, by the grants of those vast Estates which were given them by the Kings of England, and which many of their Successors enjoy to this Day.
'Tis true that King Henry III. in the Year 1172. landed there in Person, with a Party which some say, consisted of 4500. but others only of 500 Knights; but had no occasion to make use of them, for upon his arrival, the Natives of the three Provinces of Leinster, Munster, and Connaught were so terrified, that five of their Kings became tributary to him; by which means he did not only cut off the Communication which France held with Ireland theretofore, from whence they had considerable Succours whenever the English waged War against them; but he had himself, in four Years after, a very considerable Subsidy out of that Kingdom. His Successors also had frequently great Aids of Men, Money, and Provisions from thence, which were great Assistances to the English in their several Wars against the French, Scotch, and Welch; all which is owned by the most Authentic English Historians that have written upon this Subject. And 'tis certain that they make it plainly appear that the People of England from their first entrance into Ireland for 400 Years, which reached to the middle of Queen Elizabeth's Reign, were considerable gainers by that Kingdom, and that there were greater Numbers of Men, and more Money, and Provisions sent from thence into England, France &c. in the several Kings Reigns that govern'd during those Years, who were generally involved either in Civil Wars in the Heart of England, or in Foreign Wars against the French, Scotch or Welch, than were sent out of England all that time towards the Reduction or Conquest of Ireland.
For tho' there were frequent Rebellions raised in Ireland before the Reign of Queen Elizabeth, yet they were generally quash'd by the English of that Country and such of the Irish as adhe ed to them, with very little Cost to England, till that grand Rebellion which was raised by Tyrone and others, who were set on and encouraged by the Pope (who by his publick Bell excommunicated Queen Elizabeth [Page 5] and the Kingdom of England) and were assisted with Men and Money by the Spaniard.
For till the Pope's Supremacy was invaded, and Religion reformed, most of the Irish except the Grandees of them, that lost their Estates, by Conquest at first, or by Rebellion after they had submitted to the Crown of England, with their particular Friends and Adherents, mo st of the rest, I say, were well enough satisfied with the English Government, under which they lived much more securely and happily, than they did under their own Petty Kings, who were daily Killing and Robbing, and using all manner of Acts of Hostility towards each other.
But the Pope being disobliged, the Quarrel ceased to be (as formerly) between English and Irish, on account of Civil Interest, and was taken up between Protestant and Papist, on account of Religion, for the English Papists joyned with the Irish, as did some Irish Protestants with the English on the other hand, and the Papists of both kinds became Enemies to the Crown of England, by the instigation of their Priests and Friars, as we must expect they will ever remain while those Incendiaries are suffered to continue amongst them.
And the Truth of the Matter is, that the antient Irish being a poor dispirited, and cowardly People, that is, the generality of them, they would in all probability run with as much dread from the English, as the Spartan Slaves did from their Masters, to their several Imployments, when they appeared with no Arms, but Whips in their Hands; were they not assisted and managed by the degenerate English Papists, who are the most desperate and troublesome Enemies the Protestants have in that Nation.
For the Proof of which we need not look further back, than the late Rebellion, for the Chief among the very first, that began about Christmas 1688. to drive away the Protestants Cattel in the Counties of Mayo and Galway in the [Page 6] Province of Connaught, where the Rappareeing Trade began, were of antient degenerate English Families, such as the Jordans, Stanfords, Joyces, Garvys, and several others, whose Predecessors were antiently transplanted thither from England.
And as for the Army which was raised there for the late King James, it could never have been brought to be any way considerable, had none joyned in it but the antient Irish. We know that Tyrconnel and Sarsfield who were the Two principal Commanders among them, were both of English Families. And 'tis remarkable that most of those Families that were the chief Instruments in the Conquest of Ireland, are this Day, or at least were in the late War, the most dangerous and perverse Enemies the English met with in that Kingdom; and particularly the Burks or de Burgo's, the Chief of which Name was so eminently serviceable in the Conquest of the Irish, that the Estate which was granted him in consideration of that Service, was thought sufficient to recommend an Heiress of that Family Elizabeth de Burgo, to Lionel Duke of Clarence, third Son to Edward III. King of England, the yearly Rent thereof, even in those Days, being computed at 30000 Marks.
But in the late War, that Family has been so far from being serviceable to England, that I knew my self four Lords of the Name who were Colonels of Regiments; by which we may imagine what a Number of this Family was in all other Posts in the Irish Army. The Principal of those Lords, Clanrickard, a half-witted, hot headed Zealot, being (to satisfy his foolish Ambition of being thought great) made a kind of a Sham-Governour of the Town of Galway, would have in one Day (by the Advice of some of the malicious Inhabitants of that place) sacrificed to his Rage and Folly, the Lives of Sir Thomas Southwel and all his Party, being between Two and Three Hundred Protestant Gentlemen, which he certainly had done, had he not been prevented by [Page 7] others who had the Sense to consider that they might very probably be called in a little time, to a severe Account, for so horrid and barbarous a Murder.
Another, by his Title Galmoy, was Colonel of Horse, and spared no Protestant with whom he could find any manner of pretence to pick a Quarrel; he was the first (that I heard of) who drew blood in the late War, having hanged up Carleton and Dixy at a Sign Post in Belturbot, without any manner of Tryal, either by Martial or Common Law; after which the Rabble cut off their Heads, and kicked them through the Street as Foot-balls. He also occasioned several other Gentlemen in the Queens County, after they had made Terms for their Lives, to be hanged and quartered at Maraburrough, for which Reasons he has thought fit to Transport himself to France, where he still remains. The other two Lords of that Family, were one of them taken Prisoner, and the other kill'd at Aghrim.
Hugh Lacy was also one of those that in the Reign of Henry II. at his own expence Conquered the Kingdom of Meath, which is a considerable part of Ireland: And his Successors are most, if not all of them bigotted Papists, one of them I knew in the Year 1687. to be principal of the Dominican Fryars in the City of Limerick; his Father had been a Colonel in the Rebellion of 1641. and was one that bore a great Sway in that Country at that time; and tho' I do not know what Imployments the rest of that Family had, yet I do not doubt, but they were, to the utmost of their power, active and vigorous in carring on the late War.
And I may justly give the same Account of the Fitz-Stephens and a great many of the Fitz-Gerralds, whose Ancestors Commanded the first Forces that Strongbow sent into Ireland, tho' the chief of the latter be a Protestant and the first Earl of Ireland. There are also several of the ancientest English Families who continue Papists, and have undoubtedly [Page 8] been as deeply engaged in the War as their Neighbours.
But besides these particular Families, there are, in one part of that Kingdom, a whole Generation of People called the Natives, or the Birth of Galway (as they style themselves) who were reckoned before the late War to have been worth 30000 l. per annum, in Lands in the Province of Connaught, beside their Trade or Merchandize by which they purchased their Estates: They consist of 14 Families, which they call Tribes, such as Lynch, French, Blake, Kirwan, Dean, Skerret, Bodkin, Morris, Athy, &c. the generality of which are so far from owning themselves to be Irish men, that they care not for intermarrying, nor to have any dealings with the ancient Irish, more than the purchasing their Lands, or receiving their ready Money for Wines, and other Merchandize: They were at first a Colony of Fisher-men, and when they began to Trade to Sea, and grew great and rich by that means, were frequently molested, and Plundered by the old Irish, so that they were constrain'd to make their Application to King Edward VI. from whom they obtained a Charter, with great Privileges and Immunities, by which they were enabled yearly to choose their own Clergy-men, in opposition to the Irish Arch Bishop of Tuam, and were, in short, put thereby in a posture of defending themselves contrà gentem quandam feram & barbaram Offlaherty, which are the words of their Charter. This Town in the Rebellion of 41. was one of the last in that Kingdom that surrendred to the Earl of Munrath, upon very advantageous Articles, as it did this last War to General Gynckhel. In the Year 1688. the Mayor of that Town, one Brown by name, had a Commission for a Regiment sent him by Tyrconnel, which was accordingly raised there and in the Neighbourhood. There were also a great many of the Natives of that Town, who were Field-Officers, Captains, and Subalterns in other Regiments in that Kingdom.
Now there is no doubt to be made, but those Papist; of English Extraction, in conjunction with the Old Irish, have been very injurious to the People of England, and have put them to a vast Expence both of Men and Money, as well in this late War, as in that of Tyrone in the Reign of Queen Elizabeth, and that horrid Rebellion of Forty One, in which (according to the best Accounts we have) above 200000 Protestants of all Sexes and Ages were barbarously murdered in cold Blood; but this will not be sufficient to prove that the English have been loosers by Ireland, and that it were better for them there were no such Country in the World. For let us but consider the State of that Nation in the Reign of King Charles II. and the yearly Benefit which 'tis apparent to the World England made of it, and we shall find it demonstrable, that 'tis a mere vulgar Error, either to think or say so.
For it is plain Matter of Fact, that in the latter end of that King's Reign, and the two or three first Years of the late King James's, that they received Forty Thousand Pounds per annum, which was or might have been transmitted to them into England out of the Revenues of Ireland, and remained clear to them over and above the Charge of the whole Establishment of that Kingdom, that is both of the Military and Civil List, which amounted to 243663 l. Sterl. to this we may add above 10000 l. a Year paid out of that Revenue in Pensions to several Persons resident in England.
The Rents also of Lands in Ireland which belong to English Proprietors, or at least which were constantly spent in England, amounted to 100000 l. yearly, and 'tis affirmed by them that best understood the Trade of that Nation, that the English by their Shipping imployed in carrying Coals for Ireland, and in Merchandizing otherwise for the People of Ireland to several Parts of the World, gained above 70000 l. clear, per annum.
If we consider likewise the several other Advantages tha England receives by Ireland, for Students that come to the Universities and Inns of Courts, Travellers thither, the Post-Office, Interest of Money, &c. it will by a modest Computation appear, that the King and People of England did in those Reigns receive yearly above 200000 l. clear out of Ireland, besides the fore-mentioned Charge of the Establishment of that Kingdom, and the vast Advantages they gain'd by the Trade thereof; from thence they were supplied with many Commodities useful and necessary for the carrying on of their Manufactures here, and received vast Sums of Money from thence; for their superfluities both of English and Foreign Goods, the Computation of which I shall leave to those that are concern'd in that Trade at this Day, or were before the War, who must consequently best understand it.
Let us now suppose (as we justly may) that Ireland considered in the Circumstances in which it was in the Year, 1686. did yield to England one Million of Pounds Sterl. in four Years: and let us compute as near as we can, the Treasure which those three grand Rebellions that have been the most chargable to England, has amounted to, the first of which broke out in the Year 1597. (till which time Ireland was never accounted a burden to England) and the exact Charge of that War, 'tis said, came to 1191248 l. Sterl.
In the Rebellion of 1641. England being embroiled in a Civil War at home (Scotland also being in Confusion) was able to afford Ireland but very little Aids of Money, the Army that fought against the Rebels there, lived for the most part on their Shifts, and in consideration of the Pay due to them, had great part of the Lands of that Country set out as Debentures, which many of them this Day enjoy. But let us suppose that England in that War in Ireland, was at the Expence of one Million more.
And as for the last War in Ireland, I am informed, that cost England something more than two Millions, so that it is plain, that Ireland considered in the fore-mentioned Circumstances, in the Year 1686. yielded England in twenty Years, by a very modest Computation, more Money than ever it cost them to Conquer and keep it, and has more than once paid for its own purchase; and I may justly conclude this part of my Discourse with this Assertion, That Ireland next to England its self, is the richest Jewel in the Crown, and that it hath already been very Advantageous to England, and may be much more for the future, provided the English there be supported and encouraged, and the Natives kept in due subjection: The Truth of which, the before-mentioned Mr. W. H. has made out at large in his Book, which might have saved me this trouble, had it not met with the same Fate that this probably may, to be despised, and neglected, because it relates to Ireland, which is sufficient to prejudice a great many against it. But his having done this to my Hand, is not the only Reason of my being so brief in speaking to it, but because it is not the main Point, which I intend to insist upon. For lest I may meet in this sceptical Age, with some Persons, that it may be as hard to induce to give Credit to this Paradox, of Ireland's being useful and profitable to England, as it is to persuade others to believe the Doctrine of the Holy Trinity, and will as much question and object against the Truth of English History, as some do against the Authority of the Holy Scriptures. I shall therefore desire to be allowed only this one Postulatum or Principle to proceed upon, viz. That since Almighty God, when it was at his pleasure, and he might have forborn the Creation either of England or Ireland, thought fit to create them both in the Neighbourhood of each other, and allowing that Ireland has been always a vexatious and chargable Country to England (for if the People of England will say, and are resolv'd that this [Page 12] is, and shall be Truth, 'tis but Duty and good Manners in us of Ireland, to subscribe to it) yet that it is not only expedient, but almost necessary, for the common Security and well being of England at home, as well as for the Advantage of their Commerce and Trade abroad, that the Possession of Ireland, and the Government thereof, both in Church and State, should be always in English Hands, and managed according to the English Laws there Establish'd, and the Interest of this Crown therein, be constantly and entirely preserved.
And this is, what is, and hath been allow'd, not only by the wise Men of the present and former Ages, but by those who are most prejudiced against Ireland, otherwise they would not have thought it worth their while to assert their Title to it with so much Vigor, and Conquer it so often as they have done.
From this Concession (which I never heard to have been refused by any of the English Nation) I may deduce this very natural and undeniable Consequence.
That our most Wise and Gracious King, and the Grand Council of this Nation, the Two Houses of Parliament, would be so far from Enacting or Consenting to any thing that may prove apparently prejudicial to the English Interest in that Kingdom, which they have so lately, and at so dear a Price re-gain'd and re establish'd, and which being violated, must produce some evil Effects even to this Kingdom, that they cannot look favourably upon any that would impose such Advice upon them, but believe them either to be (at least) ignorant of the Constitution of that Country, or to act out of a Principle which I don't think convenient to mention.
It shall therefore be my Province, upon this Occasion, humbly to represent, how Dangerous (I apprehend) the Consequences of such a Law as is mentioned in my Title Page, will, in all probability, prove to the English Interest, [Page 13] and the Establish'd Church of that Nation, and only to offer to the Consideration of the Wise Men of England, whether they may not in some time, severely affect this Kingdom, tho' the Prejudice be immediately to Ireland.
And that I may with the greater perspicuity and plainness accomplish the same, 'twill be useful to take Notice, that that Nation consists principally of three several kinds of People, whose Interests and Dependencies are very different from each other.
I shall say something of them in particular, and endeavour to shew how far this Law if enacted, will affect each of them; and if I demonstrate that the English Party are like to be the only sufferers thereby, I hope I shall gain my Point, and that the Wisdom of England will not think convenient to do any thing that may be ruinous or prejudicial to that Interest.
First, I shall begin with the Irish Papists, as they consist of Popish English Families, as well as of the ancient Natives of that Kingdom, in which sense I desire to be understood all along, when I mention the Irish.
I have already hinted how vexatious and troublesom they have been to England ever since the Reformation of Religion, how vigorously they have at several times, endeavour'd to cast off the English Yoak, and how Bloody their Rebellions and Massacres have been. And 'tis certain, that all such of them as have been dispossessed of their Estates, especially since the beginning of Queen Elizabeths Reign, were turn'd out of them, by reason of their constant opposition to, and uneasiness under the English Government, with which ('tis apparent) they have believ'd their Interest to be wholly inconsistent; or it cannot be imagined they would have made so many violent Efforts to extricate themselves from it: I need not therefore give my self, or those to whose hands these Papers shall come, any further trouble, by producing Arguments to prove the Dependance and [Page 14] Hopes of the Irish Papists to be very opposite to those of the English of that Country, for if their Interests be so, this must of course be allow'd.
And this they have in the late War evidently demonstrated to the World: For when the Emperor, the King of Spain, and most of the other Roman Catholick Princes of Europe were in League with his Majesty of Great-Britain, the Pope himself being rather a Friend, than an Enemy; and such of those Princes as did not assist us against France, were all Neuters, the Irish only, with some small assistance from France, maintain'd a brisk and vigorous War against us, and did indeed make a stronger opposition to the Arms of England, than we might imagine it were possible for them to do, if we consider either the Condition in which they are now, (being unhorsed, and disarm'd of all manner of Weapons of War) or the Circumstances in which they were in any time since the Restoration of King Charles II. till the last part of his Reign, when by the great Encouragements they had (by the D. of York's means) from the Court of England, they began to seem formidable to the Protestants of Ireland. So that, I think I have made it evident, that as they believe the Extirpation of the English out of that Country would be their greatest Interest, and Advantage, so they have chiefly depended upon the French, and by them expected the accomplishment of that great Design.
Not that I will say that they have naturally a greater Affection for the French than any other Nation, but because they have, for some Years, esteem'd the French King to be the most powerful and the most Ambitious Monarch of Europe, of the Romish perswasion; and consequently the most likely to attempt the Expulsion of the British out of that Country, and (as they fondly imagined) to restore them to their pretended ancient Estates and Liberties; which is the same reason that induced them to be so fond of the Spaniard in the Reign of Queen Elizabeth.
And notwithstanding that there have been, all along the War, considerable Numbers of those Irish Papists in the French service, many of which remain there this very day, and the Ruins of Demolished Towns, and Fortresses in Ireland, and the vast heaps of the Bones of Slaughtered Men, which are to be seen in many parts of that Kingdom, are but too Fresh, and Sensible Monuments of their Villanies, and cannot when we see them, but make us Reflect upon their Behaviour towards us, and remember how few years have passed since they were by downright Dint of Sword beaten into good Manners; I say notwithstanding all these things, I have been very well assured that long before the Conclusion of the Peace, they have made application to the Emperor, K. of Spain and other Roman Catholick Princes, that they might Intercede for them to the K. of England, as being poor Persecuted Catholicks; because they are not left in a Posture of running into another Rebellion, and Cutting of Throats at pleasure.
And, to my certain knowledge, they had September last their Agents or Plenipotentiaries (as some stile them) in Flanders, and have the confidence to tell us, that they were never so happy as under an English Government, and that our present King has been gracious to them beyond expectation; and so far, they are in the right, and speak Truth, whether they believe it or no; but they do also endeavour to make us believe, that most of any Note among them having taken the Oath of Fidelity, they are now true Friends to King William and the English Interest of Ireland; and we know very well that Oaths have been ever such Sacred Tyes, as they could not break through, but have observ'd them, as invfoiably, as a certain Friend of theirs, (who was always Fam'd for being nicely just to his word) did perform his repeated Oaths and Promises of Preserving the Church of England, and Governing these Kingdoms according to the Laws then Established, &c.
But to lay any stress upon their asseverations to this purpose, is so grand a contradiction to Common Sense and Experience, that reason can never admit it, nor Mankind be so far Imposed upon, as that they should expect the performance of any thing of this kind from them, 'tis altogether as reasonable to imagine, that those Creatures which are called Tame Wolves, when let loofe, will abstain from their Prey and not fall upon the Flocks and Herds, nor Foxes upon the Poultry, tis as reasonable (I say) to believe this, as that Irish Men in power will preserve; and not endeavour to extirpate the Protestant Race out of that Country, and for my part, I shall scarce ever be convinced, but that the Character is very applicable to them which Hippolitus gives his Hunts man of the Spartan Dogs
which according to my Interpretation is as follows, That 'tis a Turbulent ungovernable Generation, greedy of Blood, and never in good order, but when tied up, or close coupled.
If these be the People which the Parliament of England propose to keep in low circumstances, they are very much in the right, for that Generation never becomes Rich or Powerful but they grow Troublesome and Uneasie, and are ready to joyn with any Popish Prince, that will assist them against the English Nation, who can never be too jealous, or careful to prevent their being in a condition, to repeat those Villanies which they have so often and so lately acted against the Protestants of that Kingdom, and consequently of putting England to any further Charge or Trouble in the Reduction of them.
There may be several particular methods proposed for weakning that Interest, and incapacitating them of being any further troublesome to England, such as Banishing their Priests and Fryars; taking care to have their Children, or the greater part of them, educated in the Principles of the Protestant Religion, as the French do, to have those of the Protestants in their Country, brought up to Popery. The prohibiting of Papists by Law to purchase any Lands or Freeholds in that Kingdom, and so forth.
But if the Government of England would think convenient to have Parliaments more frequently call'd in Ireland than they usually have been, especially in the Reign of King Charles II. who never called one from the time of the Settlement of that Country, to the day of his Death, which without dispute, gave the Irish Papists great opportunities of growing upon us, and being in a Condition of giving England such vigorous Opposition, as they did in the late War; whether his design in that omission, was to give that People those opportunities or no, I shall not determine; but am confident, that if Parliaments were frequently call'd there, and the management of Affairs were, in some measure, left to their discretion, there would be such prudent and effectual courses taken for suppressing the Natives of that Country, as would for ever prevent their being mischievous or uneasie to England; and 'tis certain that there is nothing which the considering and cunning Men among them, do dread more: but have had in all former Reigns, the Interest in the English Court, to prevent it.
By this means, of frequent Parliaments, and allowing the freedom of Trade, in some measure, to the English of that Country, it would in a few Years appear, that Ireland is of greater advantage to the English, than any thing they ever added to their Dominions, of which the Kings of England would be very sensible by the vast Revenues that would accrue to them; and this without prejudice to [Page 18] the Trade of England, whose Commodities outsell those of Ireland in all Foreign Markets; and considering that the Traders of Ireland lie already under such Restrictions, that 'tis impossible they should ever injure England, either in relation to its Manufactures at home, or its Commerce abroad; tho' there are some of that unsatiable Temper, that they think whatever the poor English of Ireland do gain by their Industry and the blessing of God upon their Endeavours, to be just so much lost out of their own Treasures.
Having said something of the Irish Natives in general, I come now to their Commerce and manner of living, and how far such a Law if enacted, will affect them.
Tho' it is not to be doubted, but that many more of the Ingenious sort of them, are fallen into Trade, in imitation of the English, yet they are no farther concern'd in the Woollen Manufactures, than in buying (from the Protestant Tradesmen) some small quantities of them for their own use, and some perhaps to Transport by way of Merchandize into other Countries. Nor are the Gentry or the better sort of them much addicted to the keeping of Flocks, or raising Sheep; for such of them as are possessed of any considerable quantities of Land, especially if they be ancient Families, think themselves above any business of that kind, or at least never mind it, but live after a careless and prodigal way, pleasing themselves with a great company of Followers, Servants and Tenants (the last of which are in the nature of Villains to them) and so that they have but a sufficient number of Sheep for their own use, do not much care, (nor indeed understand how) to propagate them. Sometimes where their Women are extrordinary Housewives (which is rare among 'em) they make Frize and ordinary Linnen for the use of their Families, this is all the Manufacture they are concern'd in, and indeed is scarce worth mentioning.
But lest it should be imagined that the Generality of the Irish may be further concern'd in the Manufacture of that Kingdom, 'twill not be amiss to give an Account of their Commerce and manner of Living; and there are two Degrees of them; the first is a kind of People that call themselves Gentlemen, and Old Proprietors, and hope at one time or other to be restored to their ancient Estates, and the Number of this kind of Men is very considerable; for in the late War when they were, by virtue of the Act of Repeal, restored to their diminutive Estates, there were many of them that could not claim above 12, some not above 10, and other 6 Acres of Land, 50 or 60 Acres were large Fortunes among them; for it was a Custom among most of the ancient Irish, to make an equal dividend of whatever Lands they purchased among all their Sons, which is the true reason, that there are so many of those People in that Country, and which next to their Priests and Fryars are the Persons that, of the whole Irish Nation, are most dangerous and vexatious to the English: for they think themselves injured Persons, being (as they say) unjustly dispossessed of their Estates; those small Proprietors being excluded by the Act of Settlement passed in that Kingdom after the Wars of 41.
They are generally careful to procure some kind of Learning for their Children, whose Accomplishments are chiefly the speaking of Latin, Writing tolerably well, and Playing on the Harp; they think themselves too much Gentlemen to put their Sons to Trades, or breed them up to any thing that is Laborious, which is what they never betake themselves to, but sometimes walk about with their Snush-horns, enquiring for News; heretofore, concerning the French King and his Successes against the Confederates, but now (I suppose) their Enquiries will be concerning the Prince of Wales, what kind of Spark he is like to prove, and whether they may expect ever by his means to be restored to their [Page 20] Estates; at other times they smoak Tobacco by their Fire sides, or if the Weather be warm, Sleep, or Lowze themselves under the Hedges, and spend the rest of their time after some lazy and fruitless manner; but they are always in a readiness upon the least Commotion, to joyn the Enemies of England, and by the assistance of their Clergy, do compel the poor ignorant Common-People to follow them to all the Mischiefs imaginable, giving themselves the Titles of Colonels, Captains, and what other Officers they think convenient, according to the Numbers they can assemble.
But it will now be convenient to give some short account of those other poor common Irish, their Commerce and manner of Living. They are a People of so tame and cowardly a Disposition, that were they not actuated by their Gentry and Clergy, and they were in never so great a Tumult, did the English but appear to them with their Cudgels and Scourges only, they would undoubtedly betake themselves to their several Labours and Employments, which being considered, it will appear how far they are concern'd in the Woollen Manufactures of that Kingdom; such of them as live in the plain and fertile parts of the Country, are generally Slaves to the English, or to their Irish Landlords, and live by their daily Labour, working for 3d. and in some places 4d. a Day and their Dinner, their Stock is generally a Cow or two, some Goats, and perhaps six or eight small Irish Sheep, which they clip twice a Year, and convert the Wool into coarse Frize to cover their Nakedness, the same Cloaths serving them commonly both for wearing by Day, and for Bed cloaths by Night; when the Lambs of their few Sheep do fall, they preserve some small part of them to keep up their Number, and those they half starve for lucre of the Milk, the rest they sell in the Markets at 6d. or 8d. a piece; and this is what is known to all those who have had the least abode or acquaintance in those Parts of the [Page 21] Kingdom where the greatest Numbers of the Irish Inhabit. The only considerable Manufacture that I have seen or heard of among them, are those great quantities of coarse Linnen, Yarn, which are transported into Bristol, Biddiford, Liverpoole and other Parts of England.
Now a Law of this kind would be so far from being a Discouragement to that People of which I am treating, viz. the vulgar Irish, that it would be a very great Obligation laid upon them; For before the late War in that Kingdom, the Flocks were grown so numerous in all the plain Parts of the Country, that the vulgar Irish were driven for the most part into the mountainous and woody Parts of the Kingdom, except such as were necessary for some Services, in which the English for want of others, were forced to imploy them: Insomuch, that I have my self very frequently heard them curse the English Sheep with all the bitterness and rancor imaginable; and pray to God, That he would send a Rot or a Plague among the Sheep, that the poor of the Country might have greater scopes of Ground for tillage, &c.
And this was the true Reason, that in the beginning of the late War they made such barbarous Havock of that kind of Cattel more than any other, killing hundreds of them in the Fields, when they had occasion for the Flesh but of a very few, which did not a little contribute in two or three Years time, to occasion so great a Scarcity in that plentiful Kingdom, that if the Irish Army (especially when driven over the Shannon) had not been plentifully reliev'd from France, a great many of the Country must have inevitably perished by Famine.
So that 'tis a grand mistake to think that the Generality of them are Richer now than ever; there were undoubtedly a great many particular Persons among them, who by being more eminent Rapparees than others, and being concern'd in seizing the Protestants Goods, have [Page 22] made considerable Fortunes in the late Troubles, some of which have Transported themselves and their Effects into France, and others under the subterfuge of the Articles of Lymerick, Galway, &c. have sheltered themselves from common Justice, and live splendidly and securely upon the Spoils of ruined Protestants.
But the Irish in general are a kind of People that cannot keep Riches by them, for tho' the Gentry of them had ever so great Rents coming into them, they do usually spend their half Year's income, in less than three Months, running partly in Debt for the remainder of the time, and partly spunging on their Neighbours and Tenants, which latter was look'd upon to be so heavy a Burden to the Commonalty, that there has been an Act of Parliament passed against Cosherers or Smell-Feasts in that Kingdom: and indeed their extravagance, and ill management are the true Reasons why the Wine-Merchants, and other Traders among them have either purchased, or lent Money on the Estates of most of the antient Irish Families.
And as for the universal Plunder which the Irish Army the Rapparees, &c. took from the Protestants before, and in the late War, they were no sooner Masters of any part of it, but it was immediately destroyed: when they drove away an Herd of Cattel (which was common with them) they never ceased slaughtering both Fat and Lean, till they had consumed all, neglecting their Potato's and other ordinary Food, to which they had been accustom'd: when they plundered a House, they shaked the Feathers out of the Beds into the Streets or High ways, and made Sacks of the Ticking to carry away the other Goods; they cut the Curtains, Hangings, Linnen, &c. into Cloaths; both Men and Women neglecting all manner of Work, and living upon Spoil and Rapine, which was the means by which that Country was reduced to that miserable Condition in which the English Army found it when they reduced it; and [Page 23] yet I doubt not but if the Lands of the English of Ireland were to be sold, the Irish might soon be furnished with Money from abroad to purchase them.
Secondly, In order to make good my general Assertion, That the English of Ireland are like to be the only Sufferers, by the passing a Law pursuant to the Exon. Petition I cannot avoid saying something of another sort of People that Inhabit great part of that Kingdom, their Interest, Commerce and Dependance, and these are the Scotch Dissenters or Presbyterians (as they call Themselves) of that Nation, as in conjunction with that Party in Scotland, who have lately run down Episcopacy there.
For I must here declare to the World, that I intend no general national Reflection, knowing that thô the Kirk of Scotland be now Triumphant, yet there are still, both there and in Ireland. the remains of the Church of Scots, which (I hope) God will in his own good Time repair and beautifie and that there are a great many Men of Learning and Wisdom, Honour and Bravery of that Nation, concerned in all manner of Stations in these three Kingdoms, in the Church, the Army and the Commonwealth, between whom and our selves I do not think it reasonable nor fair to make any distinction, since we profess the same Faith, have been all along embarqued in the same common Cause, and (Thanks be to God) have to very good purpose cooperated towards the attainment of the same End, which is the security of our Religion and Properties, and that both may be Established upon Firm and Lasting Foundations in opposition to all manner of Enemies, according to the Antient and known Laws of these His Majesty's Dominions.
And because 'tis usual with that Party to interpret all things which are said (upon any occasion whatsoever) disobliging to them as Reflections upon the Reformed Churches abroad, I do here solemnly profess, that I have a very great esteem for those Churches, and have not the least intention [Page 24] of saying any thing that may give them the least Offence; being very sensible, that they are so far from having an ill opinion of the Church of England, that they are very well satisfied with her Doctrines, and, if we may believe some Learned Men among them (as I think in Reason and Charity we ought to do) they tell us, that if their Bishops would have joyn'd with them in the Reformation, they would not have rejected an Order so Ancient and Universal in the Christian Church: But since their Bishops were so tied to their Temporal Interests that they would not bear a part in that great Work, the Presbytery thought themselves obliged in Conscience to renounce the gross Idolatries, and Superstitions of the Church of Rome.
Now these Declarations being made, it will plainly appear, who these are, whose Interests and Dependance I am to shew, are different from those of the English of Ireland: And tho' we have too severe an Instance, and Proof, in the late Revolution in Scotland, that they are not shye either in doing, or saying any thing that may conduce to the promotion of their Old Cause and Interest; yet I shall endeavour to express my self in as soft and inoffensive Terms as I can, without doing wrong to the Subject in hand.
For it is not my purpose, at this time, to enter into a Controversie with them concerning Religion, but to let them know only, that I would not willingly have them our Masters, or that it should ever lye in their powers to deal with the Establish'd Church of Ireland as they did with that of Scotland; for there are a great many living Monuments of their Cruelties and Barbarities, especially to the poor Clergy of that Church, whom they were not satisfied by turning out of their Churches and Livings, without the least provision for their Families; nor yet, with pillaging and burning their Houses, stripping and abusing their Wives and Children in many places, but offered such indignities to their Persons, as were not offered to the Persons of the [Page 25] Protestant Clergy that stayed in Ireland during the late War in that Kingdom; not that I have a favourable opinion of the Vertue and Goodness of the Papists of Ireland in general; for I do not doubt, but they would have out as many Throats as they did in 41. had not the more considering Persons among their Chiefs foreseen, that in all probability they must very soon be call'd to an Account for it; for many of them have since the late War upon the least disgust, cursed themselves, that they left it in the power of the English that stay'd among them ever to injure them; nor had it seem'd strange to us, if they had proceeded to a Massacre, it being no more than a repetition of their former Villanies, and what we expected from them.
But it was wonderfully surprizing to us, to see a great many of the Episcopal Clergy of Scotland come into this Kingdom for shelter, in a more miserable Condition (if 'twere possible) from their own Country-men, Relations and Brethren (who call themselves Protestants, and have been the great Champions for Liberty of Conscience, and Declaimers against Persecution) than of Ireland did, much about the same time, from their inveterate, irreconcilable Enemies the Irish; the latter being driven away by force and violence, and in sure hope of a quick and happy return to their own Country, but the former by Law without the least prospect of Restauration, which is the most dismal Circumstance that ever attended any Affliction, and which renders the Damn'd themselves compleatly miserable.
I need not here trouble the Reader with the repetition of those inhumane Cruelties which were exercised on that poor Clergy; for this Nation has had sufficient Proofs and Accounts of them, not only in print, but from the Mouths of a great many, who bore a part in those Sufferings. I shall therefore only give some few Instances of the Bitterness of some of those People, to which I was an eye-witness in [Page 26] Ireland. If I mention any other passage, it shall be such as shall plainly shew, what usage we must expect from that Nation, should they ever be in a condition of Domineering over us. And
First. Being in Belfast, in the beginning of the Year 1690. a little before his Majesty Landed there, one of the Chaplains of the Army walking on the Key of that Town in his Gown, was spied by a parcel of Demi-Tarrs in blue Bonnets, who came in a Boat from Scotland to sell Oatmeal, and Eggs, &c. they were so transported with Rage at the sight of him, that not considering that they were not in Scotland (where they had been accustomed to use such Men ill, and were accounted Religious and Zealous in so doing) they began without more ado to revile him, and belch out, I know not how many Scotch Curses and opprobrious words against him, and would in all probability have offer'd him some Violence, had they not been soon made to know, by some Gentle-men that were near the place, that they were not in their own Country, where an Episcopal Clergyman, especially should he appear in his proper Habit, must expect to be used, as the Poet says the Owl is, when she happens to appear by Day light:
—à cunctis expellitur aethere toto.Ovid. Met.
All the rest of the Birds fall foul upon her, as a Bird of Darkness.
Secondly. Immediately after this happened, I met a Gentleman of very good Sense and Learning, and (I'm very well satisfied) of great Integrity, who was Chaplain to a Danish Regiment of Horse; he assured me, that being commanded by his Superiors in Denmark, to fit himself with the same Habit with the Clergy of England, as soon as he should come into our King's Dominions; and having done so at York, was soon after obliged to march with that [Page 27] Regiment to Edinburgh, where he no sooner appear'd in a Gown, but he was surprized at the Mobs flocking about him in great numbers, he perceiv'd that they began to come very near him, and to take up Dirt, and whatever else the Street afforded, to throw at him; being in some consternation, and not knowing what they meant, unless it were because they had discovered him to be a Stranger, not in the least imagining that the Gown could be so very offensive to them, he made what hast he could to some Persons that look'd like Gentlemen, who were walking towards him, whom he found smiling, and pleased at the Rabbles behaviour to him: He told them, that it was not the Custom of his Country to use Strangers after that inhumane manner, and that he little expected it, having come so far to serve the King of England; but that since the Gentlemen encouraged the other in so great a piece of Rudeness, he would apply to the Army with which he came for satisfaction for so great an Affront; whereupon finding him to be a Foreigner, they dispers'd the Mobb and begg'd his pardon, telling him that they thought he was an English Minister, or they would have rescued him sooner: To which he replied, That he therefore thought them the greater Barbarians; and that if they used their Neighbours after that unchristian manner; he was the less concern'd for his Abuse, and had no reason to expect either Civility, or Good-manners from them.
Thirdly. Another Instance of this kind, to which I was eye-witness, is as follows; In a few days after that Gentleman told me this Passage, there were two Clergy-men walking in their Gowns upon the Bridge of Belfast, who were also Chaplains in the Army, to whom I saw one go (who counted himself a topping Gentleman in the North of Ireland) and take up the Skirt of one of the Gowns in a gibing manner, telling them in a deriding Tone, and in broad Scotch (tho' 'twas not his usual Dialect) that the Bischops were put down in Scotland.
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Fourthly. I have heard several of the vulgar Scotch of Ireland, belonging to the Army say, That when the Papists were Conquer'd, they hoped the Bishops (meaning the Episcopal Party) should be the next against whom they should Fight, and I was credibly inform'd, that it was a frequent Expression among the Commonalty of them.
These two last Instances I produce, to shew that this furious Zeal, and Spirit of Persecution, is not peculiar to those of Scotland, but that their Friends in Ireland have their portion of the same: which might be further proved by several particulars, were it necessary to the main Design and Matter in hand.
Fifthly. But there is one Instance more, to which tho' I was not an eye-witness, yet I received the Account from those whose Veracity I do not at all question, viz. That some poor Gentlewomen who, about the beginning of the Siege of London-Derry, were sent by their Husbands (who stay'd behind them in that Service) to Scotland for security, when they were Landed there with heavy Hearts, and probably not very much in their Purses, yet they found within themselves, some small degrees of Satisfaction and Ease arising from the consideration of their being safely Landed in a Protestant Country, out of the noise of continual Allarums, and the Dangers and Fears occasioned by the Neighbourhood of a powerful Enemy, to which for some time before they had been subject: And there they had for some time, such a Reception as might be reasonably expected in that Country, till partly by their own unwary Discourse, but chiefly by the Malice and Treachery of some of their Presbyterian Neighbours that went over about the same time, they were discovered to be such as made use of that horrid Book called The Common-Prayer; and (which was worst of all) that one of them was the Wife of a Curate, which is the Title they have for our Ministers; upon which Discovery, the poor Gentlewomen were turned out of doors, with as [Page 29] much precipitation, and violence, as if they had escaped from a City where the Plague raged, or that some Judgment from Heaven must inevitably fall upon the House that should harbour them; and could have neither Meat, Drink, nor Lodging for their Money (notwithstanding that Coin is so well beloved by the Inhabitants of that Country) but were forced to walk further, where being less known, they were more regarded, and were very glad that they escaped without Violence.
And now, methinks, they that had so lately cried out against Persecution on account of Religion, and the barbarity of the Penal Laws, as they did in the Reign of King Charles II. and the late King James also, till those Managers which led that unfortunate Prince by the Nose, began to think it Policy, to caress them, and bring them to side with his Interest against the Church of England; Methinks (I say) they should not have made such severe applications of a Law of that kind, as they did in their own Country; and at a juncture of time, when the King and People of England were engaged, not only in a Foreign War against France, but in another bloody War in Ireland, and a third in Scotland.
I will not say, that this proceeding against the Episcopal Church of Scotland, at that time, looked like an Imposition upon the Necessities of England; but the World must judge the taking that Advantage, to be ungenerous; and that it was as much, as if they had said, that since their Assistance was required against the Common Enemy, the extirpation of Episcopacy was the recompence they expected, and must have, in consideration of their Services.
And tho' they could not say, when they were resolv'd to ruin that Church, as the Jews did when they were bent upon the Crucifixion of our Saviour, We have a Law among us, and by that Law he ought to die; yet they enacted, among themselves, a Law to that purpose, which occasioned a great [Page 30] many to side with Dundee, and opposed His Majesty's Interest in that Kingdom, to the utmost of their Power, who longed earnestly for this happy Revolution, and expected thereby to be delivered from the then imminent Danger of Slavery and Popery, not thinking that they should fall under another no less cruel Bondage.
And indeed, this proceeding might have turned the Hearts of a great many more, in that Nation, against the Interest of His present Majesty and the People of England; had not those poor Men wisely considered, that it was the Act of their own bigotted Country-men, and therefore instead of taking up Arms against England, they fled hither in great Numbers, for Succour and Protection; which may be justly esteem'd to be one remarkable Link in that Chain of amazing Providences, which attended His Sacred Majesty in rescuing these Nations from Tyranny and Misery: for since the great Principle of Self-preservation was never more universally acknowledged, than at this Day; we must not believe the desires of Liberty and Property to be peculiar to our selves alone: and had the Episcopal Party in Scotland joyn'd entirely with our Enemies, and the Providence of God had not appeared so visibly in the Affairs of Ireland; but that Enniskillin and Londonderry had been taken by the Irish, and the late King James's Army, or a considerable part of it, been transported into Scotland: it might have altered the face of Affairs, been of fatal Consequence to these Nations, and an universal prejudice to all the Confederate Princes of Europe. And whether the War carried on by Dundee and his Accomplices, has been prejudicial or chargeable to the People of England, is a point which I shall leave to their own determination.
But that I may obviate an Objection which (I am apprehensive) may here be raised, I do confess that the Presbyterians as well of Ireland as Scotland, were in the late War active and assisting in the suppression of the Enemies of [Page 31] England; and do highly approve their Prudence and Foresight, in rejecting those Conditions which were in the latter part of the late Reign offered them by the Papists, from whom they very well knew, they were to expect no manner of performance, longer than they served their Turn; and do think it was wisely said by an English Dissenting Minister, that the Papists would make scaffolding of the Presbytery, to pull down the Church of England, and that when the Work should be finished, that kind of Lumber would be thought fit for nothing but to be thrown into the Fire.
Nor do I envy them the free Exercise of their Religion, and the other Priviledges which they enjoy upon these accounts: and do hope they are now fully convinced that the Cruelties which in the two last Reigns, were exercised upon them, and they charged upon the Church of England; I hope (I say) that they are now abundantly convinced, that those bitter Waters proceeded from another Spring, since it is apparent to the World that those Princes were acted by Popish Emissaries, who were at the bottom of their Councils.
I am also very much of the Opinion of the before-mentioned Mr. W. H. That all Protestants ought to be united against the Common Enemy; and should think it a great Happiness, they could, by any fair means be brought to so Heavenly a Temper; and do desire they will, in order thereto, seriously consider (if as he says they differ only from us on account of a few unnecessary Ceremonies.) how great a Mischief it is, on such slight Grounds, to separate from a Protestant Church established by Law in England and Ireland, respected, beloved, and honoured by all the Reformed Churches abroad, and against which, they can frame no other material Objection.
But as I have said already, 'tis not my Business at this time to run into Religious Controversies, but to contribute [Page 32] my small Endeavours towards the Security of that Church, and the Prosperity of that Body of Men, of which I profess my self to be a Member; and tho' an inconsiderable one, yet such as must partake both in the Indolence and Sufferings of the whole.
There may perhaps be some in the World, who will pretend to admire at me, that I should be troubled with the thoughts of Sickness and Misery, in Health and Prosperity! that I should be disturbed by the Consideration of foul Weather, when the Heavens smile, and all Nature is gay and pleasant! that I should talk of the Subversion and Sufferings of a Church, that is but just delivered from her Enemies, and the hands of them that hate Her, and restored to Peace and Prosperity; that is countenanced by the Government, and supported by the Laws of that Country! they will say, that it were enough for me to write after this melancholy manner, if we were actually Sufferers, and laboured under some heavy Calamity or Oppression.
Indeed this Objection must be allowed to be very rational, had we not too too clear a prospect of an alteration, if means be not used in time to prevent it; they may envy the present Serenity of our Clime, our Health, and the soundness of our Constitution, of which Blessings, tho' we be very sensible, and do thank God for them; yet we cannot but take notice of those Clouds that we see thicken at a distance, which may probably break out upon us (in the midst of our Summer) in Hail and Thunder: And when we perceive those Symptoms about us, which are but too sure Prognosticks of an approaching Distemper, we think it highly reasonable to make use of all proper means to prevent it.
We have seen our next Neighbouring Church ruined by Men void of Remorse or Pity; and that the very same, or their Brethren in Ireland have made considerable advances towards doing the same thing there since the late War, gaining [Page 33] daily footing in all the Cities, Corporations, and Societies in that Kingdom, so far that in the most considerable of them, they have been Mayors, Sheriffs, &c. and that out of Decency and Respect to the Government, they have waited on the Sword to Church on Sunday Morning in their Formalities, yet they usually sculked in the Afternoon to a Conventicle, which is a common thing in the North, and some other Parts of Ireland. Men of this dissembling Principle, may prove tolerable Magistrates, whilst they are bounded by Law, aw'd by the Chief Government of the Nation, and remain in the Stations which they now are; but when they come to be Knights and Burgesses in Parliament (as in process of time they are like to be) and the Affairs of the Church come to be debated before them, then let the sober part of Mankind judge, what may be expected from their Consultations.
We do therefore think it more prudential to take time by the forelock, and speak before we are ruined, than to trust to such a bloody after-Game as has been lately repeated in that unfortunate Kingdom. For to believe that if the Scotch Presbyterians of that Country, had it in their Power, they would not use the Episcopal Church of Ireland, as their Brethren of Scotland did that with them, would be as unreasonable as to imagine, that off-sets will not bear the same Flowers with the main Roots, from whence they were divided, or that Trees will produce Fruit of a different Species, by being transplanted from one Soil into another.
I shall therefore further consider them as a People of a different Interest and Dependance from the English of Ireland; in their Interests, 'tis plain, they are link'd with their Friends in Scotland, and consequently their main Dependance must also be upon them, whom they imitate both in their Ecclesiastical and Civil Affairs, and from thence they take all their Measures which concern either Religion or Commerce; from thence they are furnished with their Clergy, and do [Page 34] hold a strict and constant Correspondence with each other.
The number of this People is wonderfully increased in Ireland since the Battel of the Boyne, in the Year 1690. for by common Computation, above Fourscore Thousand Families of them have since that time, transplanted themselves from Scotland into that Kingdom; and they are possessed not only of almost the whole Province of Ulster, but are in great numbers, in many Parts of the other Provinces, even in the Counties of Cork, Kerry, and Limerick, which are that Part of Ireland, that lies most remote from Scotland, and in those Counties which were the Frontiers in the Years 1690 and 1691. and were wasted by both Armies, there are many more of this People to be seen than of any other Inhabitants.
As for their Commerce, 'tis certain, that many of them in the most considerable Sea-Ports of that Kingdom, are fallen into the Merchandizing Trade thereof, and by their Correspondence with Scotland and France, have sufficiently enrich'd themselves.
But because the happy Conclusion of the Peace, has put it out of their Power to be any further injurious to the People of England upon the account of assisting their Enemies, I shall forbear enlarging upon this Particular, and only add, that the very last Winter, there were such vast Quantities of Corn and Meal carried to the Northern Parts of Ireland, and so to Scotland; that it had certainly occasioned a Famine in that plentiful Kingdom of Ireland, had not the then Lords Justices thereof very timely, and prudently, by their Proclamation, prohibited the farther Exportation of those Commodities.
Let us now consider this People's Manufacture, not only in the North, but other Parts of Ireland, where they have fixed themselves since the late War, and this doth generally, [Page 35] if not altogether, consist in Linnen-Cloth, with which they do not only furnish Ireland, but do frequently send great Quantities of it into several Parts of England. This is a Truth so well known to Men of Trade, and to all such as have had the Opportunity of seeing that Country, or of having Commerce with that People, that I need not multiply words in proving it.
But 'tis certain the Commonalty of them are so intent upon this kind of Manufacture, that the very Husbandmen and their Servants, when they return from their Labours abroad, such as Plowing, Sowing, Fencing, &c. do imploy themselves by their Fire-sides in this kind of Work, and sit reeling of Linnen-Yarn, while the Women are busy in Spinning; and by this Constancy and Diligence, that Country produces great Quantities of good Linnen yearly.
But their Woollen Manufacture is so very inconsiderable, that I may justly say, it bears no more proportion to that of the English of Ireland, than their Friends in Scotland's Fleet did to the Royal Navy of England some Years ago, when a reflecting News-monger told us in his printed Paper, That the Scotch Fleet, consisting of two Frigats, cruising off the North of Ireland, was taken by two French Privateers.
I do indeed allow, that they make some ordinary Woollen Cloth for their own use; but that they are concerned in any thing that can be called a Wollen Manufacture to be transported into other Countries, is what (I never heard) they somuch as pretended.
The Merchants of them (as I have said of the Irish Merchants) do undoubtedly deal in Woollen Manufactures, which they transport to other Countries, but they Buy those Commodities from the English of that Kingdom, who there are the only considerable Manufacturers of that kind.
And from hence it may be easily perceived, how far the Law before mentioned (if enacted) can affect this kind of Men; the generality of them being not at all concern'd in the Matter: and tho' it may be some small disadvantage to the Merchants of them, as well as to others that Trade that way, yet it cannot much disoblige them, for 'twill be a great means to make them Masters of the Lands of the English of that Kingdom, for they are the best able and the likeliest of any to purchase them, being by much the richest People in that Country, or at least much richer than ever they were before.
This will not appear improbable, if we consider, that tho' they were despoiled by the Irish in the beginning, as the English were; yet that the War at length proved vastly advantageous to them; for Duke Schonberg having landed with the Army in the North of Ireland in the beginning of the Year 1689. the greater part of them had the opportunity of settling immediately in their places of abode, became Victuallers and Suttlers to the Camp: and the Army continuing the whole Winter after the Camp of Dundalk among them, and being duly paid from England, the Inhabitants of that Province got the greater part of that Money for their Meat, Drink, and other necessary Commodities with which they supplied the Soldiers from England, Scotland, and out of the Product of their own Country. And that part of the Army which was on the Frontiers that Winter, brought in considerable Preys of Cattel from the Enemy, which they sold at easy Rates to the Inhabitants, who by this means began to have some stock on their Lands again.
In the Year 1690. when the Army marched toward the Enemy, vast Numbers both of Men and Women followed from thence as Victuallers, Suttlers, &c. and having plenty of Money purchased most of the vast Preys which were taken by the Army that Campaign, and drove incredible Numbers [Page 37] of Cattel into Ulster, so that the Winter following they were able to supply Dublin, and the greater part of Leinster with Beef, Mutton, &c. and had still their Emissaries with the Army on the Frontiers, to buy up the Preys, which they took daily from the Enemy in great Numbers, and which generally, through want of Grass in the Enemies Quarters were lean, and not fit for present Service.
The Army began no sooner to Rendezvous in the Year 1691. but their old Acquaintance were up with them again, and follow'd the same Trade till Galway and Limerick were Surrenderd, at which juncture having more Money, and indeed understanding the Laganeers Trade, or Scampering, better than the English, they swept away most part of the Cattle of Connaught, and Munster with them. And, to my certain knowledge, within two Months after, the Cows which they bought for 8 or 10 Shillings, were purchased from them by the rest of the Kingdom at five and fifty Shillings, and some at three Pound a Head; by which means they got most of the Money, and consequently of the Trade of the Kingdom into their hands: So that several of them that used before the late War to beat upon the Hoof after a Pony laden with Pedlars Goods to the Fairs and Markets of the Kingdom, are now Masters of Ships at Sea, and Warehouses crammed with Merchants Goods at home.
But it would be as unreasonable to conclude from hence that the whole Country is Rich; as 'twould be to say, that a Man whose Estate consists of three or four different Farms, and most of his Cattle and Tenants are crowded into one of them, that therefore his Lands were all well stock'd and inhabited: For indeed if this be said of the rest of the Nation, 'tis a very great mistake, and particularly in relation to the English of that Country, whom I come now
Thirdly, To consider as they are a distinct People both from the Irish and Scotch, by which I mean the Protestant [Page 38] Families of that People, who first subdued that Nation, and have from time to time, supported and preserved the Interest and Title of England therein; never was any Rebellion promoted by the Irish Natives, but what began with the destruction of those poor English-men, who were sure to be the first sufferers, being most feared and hated by the Irish, who give them the Title of Clanna Galda in their own Language, which signifies the Children or Offspring of English-men; looking upon them as their Enemies and Conquerors, that first subdued them, and now enjoy the Estates that they lost, and which were granted to the others by the Crown of England, in consideration of their Services in the several Conquests and Rebellions of Ireland, and the several Provinces, and Parts thereof.
To these must be added those vast numbers of English that have more lately transplanted themselves and their Families into that Kingdom, and incorporated with their Friends and Country men which they found there; who are always ready to welcome and encourage such of the English Nation as desire to settle among them; that they may be thereby the better able to oppose the common Enemy of the People of England, whose Interests they esteem to be the same with their own, and consequently they depend upon them as their constant Friends, to whom they are to apply in all Emergencies, as the Irish have done of late Years upon the French; and the Scotch of Ireland, upon their Friends in Scotland.
A sufficient Demonstration hereof we have had in the beginning of the late Revolution when there was scarce any one of the English of Ireland, that fled hither for refuge, till the Tyranny at home was over-past, but could point to the Rock from whence he was hewn, give an account of the Family from whence he or his Ancestors sprang, and claim (as Mr. Phillips observes in his Book call'd The Interest of England in the Preservation of Ireland) a Father, Brother, or near Kinsman.
And accordingly, we had not only a Charitable, but a Generous Provision made for us, each of us being enabled to live in some proportion, to his Degree and Quality in his own Country: till by their Treasure, and their Blood mixed with ours, they settled us again on our ancient Foundations, restor'd us to our Religion, Estates and Liberties and gave us our Judges as at the First, and our Counsellors, as at the beginning. Which inestimable Blessings we received with Joy and Satisfaction; with all imaginable Gratitude to God, and the great Instruments by which he perfected our Liberty; to the King and People of England; for whom we are ready (as one Man) to hazard those Lives, and Fortunes, which it so lately cost them dear to secure to us.
For tho' I have had the opportunity of being acquainted with, or at least knowing by their Character, most of the considerable English Protestants of that Kingdom, yet I have not heard of twenty Jacobites among them all, and these too have learn'd to be so in England, and (if I mistake not) do live here for the most part, which they may do with greater ease and freedom than in Ireland, where the very Papists dare not own themselves to be otherwise, than Friends to King William, and his Government: For we have so lately experimented the Consequences of a Popish Government, having smarted under those Evils which only threatned England, or which (we thank God) were remov'd as soon as they began; that we think it as unreasonable, that one who resolves to live a Protestant, should desire that a Popish Prince might Rule over him; as that a Man should imploy a Wolf for his Shepherd, or an Eagle to protect and secure a Dove-house: But the World sure has had sufficient proofs, that it is next to a meer Contradiction, that the Protestant Religion should be cherished under the Wings of Popery. Indeed should I see that come to pass, I should think the Prophecy fulfilled one way which I never [Page 40] heard it applied before, That the Lion should lie down with the Lamb, and the sucking Child play on the hole of the Asp; But we are so well convinced of the Incompatibleness of our Religion and Popery, that in the whole House of Commons in Ireland, when the Association was to be Signed, there was but one Man, or two at the most, that so much as bogled at it; and they too, in spight of their squeamishness, were obliged to do it, under the penalty of being shamefully expell'd that Honourable Assembly: And by this Rule we may judge of the whole Body of the English of that Nation.
And I would to God that all that call themselves Protestants, and English Men were so firmly united in their Interests and Affections, so sensible of the great and mighty Deliverance which has been wrought for them, when they were at the very brink of Destruction, and ready to be tumbled into an Abyss of Misery; as the English of Ireland are, there would be very few or no disaffected Persons in these Nations, that should even wish evil to the present Government, except the Papists, whom notwithstanding the specious pretences they may make to us, we must never depend upon, as true, and hearty Friends.
Nor can I imagine, how it can be expected, the English of that Country should be of another Disposition than that of which our sufferings have taught us to be; for we cannot but reflect on the condition in which we were, in the latter end of the year 1687. and the beginning of (88.) when every stanch Protestant in that Nation, upon condition we could be sure of such a Deliverer, as God sent soon after to these Kingdoms, would undoubtedly have cried out, One half of my Goods I give to the War; as Zaccheus did of his to the Poor, when he found the Messiah.
But this did not serve our turn in Ireland, and consequently, I presume, none will deny our sufferings there, to have been much greater than the People of England: but for the [Page 41] further proof or illustration hereof, let us frame a comparison, between the personal or corporal sufferings of those which serv'd in the Army in that Kingdom, and abroad elsewhere; and the losses which the People of England, and the English of Ireland sustain'd in their Estates and Fortunes. And
First, There were a great many of the Army whose Distempers were so easie, that they were cured by Phlebotomy, and the ordinary Medicines which are used in common cases; with these I rank those also, whose wounds which they received in the War, were so favourable that they were brought to digestion, cleansed, and heal'd up by gentle means and applications; tho' both the one and the other did perhaps lose great part of their Blood, and Strength for a time, yet they made no great matter of it, but thought themselves happy Men that they escaped so.
And as these Men suffered in their Persons or Bodies, so we say, comparatively, the People of England (I mean such as were not Members of the Army) did in respect of their Estates and Fortunes; their Purses bled frequently and freely, and they paid incredible Sums of Money towards the carrying on of the War: But yet they liv'd quietly in their own Country and Houses, preserved generally their main Stock, and followed their lawful Callings and Affairs; which if the English of Ireland could have done, it had this day been a happy and flourishing Kingdom, tho' an Object far below either the Envy or Jealousie of England.
Secondly. Another kind of Sufferers which we have seen in the Army during the War, are such as have sat quietly and patiently while their Limbs were amputated, and (which is more dreadful) many of them cauterized or seared with hot Irons, and all in hopes of preserving their maim'd and imperfect Carcasses, that they might have a Being in the World, and be able to go, or halt about their Occasions, even this being more eligible than utter Dissolution.[Page 42]
To these Mens Condition, we may liken that of some few of the Protestants of Ireland, that is in relation to their Worldly Substance, viz. The Tradesmen, Taylors, Shoemakers, Hatters, &c. which continued in Dublin, and other Corporations in that Kingdom; tho' the Irish used these poor Men like Slaves, and gave them but what they pleased for their Commodities, or their Labour; yet they did not take all from them, but left them something to live upon, because they could not want them.
Thirdly. I can compare the Circumstances of the generality of the English of that Kingdom, the Nobility, Clergy, Gentry and Commonalty, with respect to their Estates and Fortunes, to none more aptly, than to those great numbers of Men, that lost their Lives by those malignant Distempers, that for some time raged in the Army; and fell in Battle by the hands of their Enemies. For I need not tell the World, that our Enemies were our Masters, that they dispossessed us of our Churches, Estates, and Houses, and burnt many of the latter to the ground; destroy'd the Improvements that we and our Fathers had been making ever since the former Settlement, almost through the whole Country; and made us as poor and miserable as they could. And tho' (thanks be to God) that poor Church was not totally destroy'd, yet she was reduced to so languishing a Condition, that she lay panting for Life and gasping; and had she not been powerfully and timely relieved, must very soon have expired: And yet that Nation has granted his Majesty (as in Duty and Gratitude they are bound) large Supplies, considering their mean Circumstances, towards the payment of the Army, without repining, or murmuring, among any Degree of the English of the Country, from the highest to the lowest; and will undoubtedly with all chearfulness imaginable, be always ready to do the like, according to their abilities, and the urgency of his Majesty's Occasions.
But to return from this Digression, I must further say, That if all that call themselves English-men, were so intirely United as those of Ireland, England would not be troubled with one kind of People; who, because they thought themselves Favourites in the late Kings Reign, must needs be Enemies to the present; nor with another sort, who are generally for any Government, but that which is actually in being. In short, setting aside that very small number which I have already mentioned, a Man may converse with the Protestants of that Kingdom, with as little danger of falling into the Company of that unaccountable People call'd Jacobites; as he is in, when he walks through the Fields and Meadows thereof, of treading upon Snakes or Adders, or any other poisonous Vermin. For of all the Clergy of that Establish'd Church of Ireland, I have not heard of above three or four of any note that were thought worthy of any Preferment in the Church; who, either out of a principle of Conscience, or in hopes of great Preferments, upon a Revolution, which I suppose may be now despair'd of, refused to take the Oaths to his present Majesty. Nor was there one Fellow of the University of Dublin that turn'd Tail in the late Revolution on any consideration whatever, or refused the Oaths, when they were tendered to them: Nor indeed a private Graduat, or inferiour Scholar, except two or three Irish Lubbers, that plaid the Hypocrite some Years, for a little Bread and Learning; they indeed appeared in their proper Colours, but their Names are not worth the Dimensions they would take up in Paper. And thus are both the Clergy of that Church, and their Congregations unalterably stanch, and firm to the Government of England both in Church and State, as it is by Law established, to continue for ever in the hands of Protestant Princes.
And yet these are the only People whom the afore mentioned Law (if it should be enacted) is like severely to [Page 44] affect; for, setting aside those Persons of the first Quality, that are above any thing of Trade, the English Gentlemen of Estates, and the Farmers of the Lands of those Noblemen and others, have been all along, the only considerable Flock masters of that Kingdom; some of them before the late War, were owners of 18000, others of 15000, some of 10000, some of 5000, and others of less numbers of Sheep according to their abilities, and the quantities of Land which they held. And I appeal to any one Man of Reputation in England, that knew Ireland in the Year 1688, whether this be not a great Truth, and whether in the Provinces of Leinster and Munster, and the other Parts of that Kingdom, where the English Plantations lay, were not all the considerable Sheepwalks in that Nation? And at this day the English there are owners of the greatest numbers of that kind of Cattle; for as soon as they were settled in their Estates and Farms, after the late War, they endeavoured to fall into the same Stock. And whether they do not, for the most part supply this Kingdom with those parcels of Wooll that come from thence, the English Merchants may soon inform themselves by their Factors in that Country; and I could name the most considerable of those Sheep-masters here or elsewhere, were there occasion for it.
As for the vulgar English of Ireland, they are the only Woollen Manufacturers, the Clothiers, Weavers, Dyers, Woosted-Combers, Hatters, and of all other Trades which belong to this Manufacture, in and throughout the whole Kingdom. I am very well assured that there are within the City and Suburbs of Dublin, above 12000 English Families of this kind of Tradesmen, of which there are computed to be above 50000 in that Nation who were bred to these Callings, and whose Genius leads them this particular way; and to disable them from following those Trades, and oblige them to earn their Bread by falling to work about Linnen Manufacture (as I have heard some Men propose since I [Page 45] came to London, who in their own Opinion, were of no small reach in Matters of Trade, nor in the Politicks neither) would be as hard and impracticable, as 'twould be to oblige all the Taylors in London to turn Shoemakers, or the Ribbon-Weavers to turn Clothiers.
There has indeed since the late War, an attempt been made, to set up a Linnen Manufacture in or near Dublin, and some of the greatest Men of the Kingdom were concern'd in it, who to encourage it, laid in considerable Sums of Money; but (as I heard from them that better understand the matter) it fell very short of what the Undertakers proposed by it in the beginning, for the Northern People supply that Country at cheaper Rates than the other could well afford it: Tho' 'tis very probable, that if the Parliament of Ireland give due Encouragement to such as shall engage in the Linnen Manufactures (as we hear they intend to do) the growing set of young People, as well the English, as others may betake themselves thereto; and consequently in some time, the Wollen Manufacturers Trade in that Kingdom, may in a great measure fall of it self: but to impose it upon the present Generation, is altogether impracticable, and must prove ruinous to them.
But these are Matters of Fact, and the Proof of them depends upon Testimony, wherefore I shall only with all becoming Humility, propose to the Honourable the House of Commons in England, or the Committee appointed by them, to enquire into Matters of this nature, who, I am sure, will think it reasonable to make a full Scrutiny into Affairs of that grand Importance, before they give their positive Opinion of them to the House; I say, I shall only humbly offer to them, that they will examine some of those English Gentlemen who are uninterested in that Kingdom, and have had occasion to travel thither both before and since the late War (of which there are several in, and about London, and when occasion shall offer, may be easily found) and let them [Page 46] declare their Knowledge and their Sentiments in this matter, and I do not doubt, but they will be of the same Opinion with me, that if any one should endeavour to perswade the Parliament of England to pass such a Law, he must be thought to level it against the English of that Kingdom only, and that if he be a true Friend to the English Interest of that Nation, or to the establish'd Church, either here or there, he must needs be a very great Stranger to the Affairs and Constitution of that Country.
'Tis true, the Parliament of England must see things at that distance with other Men's Eyes, and may be abused, and imposed upon, by malicious and false Suggestions, tho' they were the wisest Assembly upon Earth, as indeed they have appear'd to be, by their wonderful Conduct during the late grand Revolution, and the Wars after it. But when they are better inform'd, 'tis to be hop'd they will think it their Business, rather to encourage, than ruin the English of that Nation, that is, if any inhabiting there may be thought English Men; for a Man may travel out of England to Africk, Asia, or America, remove his Family with him, if he think convenient, live as long as he pleases in the English Factories of those Countries, and have Sons and Daughters born to him: and if he and they happen to return into England, they shall not be denied either the Title or Priviledge of English People. But let a Man once land upon Irish Ground, breath of that Air, drink one Dish of St. Patrick's Well, and especially if he live there some few Years; upon his return hither, he must rest satisfied with the odious Character of an Irish-man. And yet there are no People under Heaven that have suffered so much for being English as they have done; no Amboyna, nor any other Plantation that the English have been Masters of, in the remotest and most barbarous Parts of the World, have ever seen such Cruelties acted in them, as have been exercised by the Irish Papists on the Protestants of Ireland, which will abundantly [Page 47] appear to any one that will be at the trouble of reading the Histories of that Country, particularly Sir John Temple's Account of the grand Rebellion begun in the Year 1641.
It must needs therefore be a very great Grief to all considering Persons among them, to think, that they should be esteemed as Strangers and Foreigners by their Friends in England; and because they do but begin to look like what they formerly were, and to recover some part of those great Losses which they sustain'd in the late War, that they should be look'd upon by England with a jealous Eye; and because they are suspected to be rich (which God knows, and they know themselves to their sorrow, is a groundless mistake) that an effectual course should be taken at once to crush and ruin them: But to shew further, how great a trouble this must needs be to all thinking Men among them, let us consider the Case of one particular Man, with whom I am very intimately acquainted. His Grandfather, being the first of the Family, that remov'd into that Kingdom, was barbarously murdered for no other reason, but for being an English Protestant; several others of his nearest Relations perished then upon the same account, and such of them as escaped with their Lives, were stript and ruined, and in the late War both they and he were great Sufferers; he was himself during that War all along in the King's Service, his Father was proclaimed Rebel, for raising Men, and holding out a Garrison against the Irish Army, and killing considerable Numbers of them, and a considerable Sum of Money offered for his Head; one of this Man's Brother-in-Law was hang'd and quarter'd in the beginning of the Year 1689. for raising Men for his present Majesty's Service, and another kill'd in Flanders, his Brothers and other Relations were in the Armies of Enniskillin, and Londonderry; and most of them that are capable of bearing Arms, have been all along the Wars in Flanders in his Majesty's Service, and that this Man must now be look'd upon as an Irish man and an Alien, [Page 48] debarr'd of the Priviledges of an English man, and those Commodities with which it hath pleased God to bless his Country, rendered almost useless to him and his Posterity: this Man must certainly think this a piece of great hardship and cruelty, and it must occasion in him some very dispiriting and melancholly Considerations.
Tho' this be literally true, yet I do not make it one Man's Case in particular; for there are very few of the Protestant English Nobility, Gentry, or Commonalty of that Kingdom, especially if their Families have been of so long a standing as the Year 1641. but can truly say that their Case is much like this, and that something of the same kind has happened to them. So that if we should suppose that it lay in the Power of England to sink the whole Island of Ireland into the bottom of the Sea (which a great many do very positively, tho' very rashly and groundlesly affirm, would be for the Interest of England) we might reasonably expect, that they who receiv'd us so kindly and affectionately, when we were in real Distress (of which I have already said something) would either spare the Country for our sake, or at least imitate Heaven in the case of Lot and his Family, call us out of that hated place, before they destroyed it, and provide for us a Zoar elsewhere. Or since they can only make it poor and miserable, we might also expect, that they would in some measure consult our Prosperity and Safety, have some kind of tenderness for us, and at least, reserve us for the last morsel. But on the contrary, tho' we be not the offending Party, never could be taxed for any disobedience to England, upon which we have our whole Dependance in extremity or trouble, and are the principal Men they expect should stand their Ground, and secure their Interest in that Country for them, yet we are the only People, who, if this Law be enacted, are singled out for Destruction.
Now to shew farther how great a severity this would be, let us change the Scene, and suppose that a Law of this nature were intended against the English Inhabitants of any one of our Foreign Plantations, as those of Newfoundland in particular, whose Case is not very unlike to ours; the French not long ago invaded those Coasts, landed a Party of Soldiers there, who committed all manner of Hostilities whereever they came; took one or more of their Fortifications, and reduced the Inhabitants, who are Subjects of England, to a most wretched and lamentable Condition, insomuch that some hundreds of them were forced to fly for Refuge into other Countries or Plantations. And to redress these Injuries, England thought convenient to fit out a Squadron of Ships, with some Regiments of Land-Forces, which were sent upon that Expedition, not without a considerable Expence to the Nation. Now this Expedition being over, and those poor People being settled in their former Habitations, begin to follow their respective Imployments, and retrieve some part of the great Losses which they sustained by the Enemy; should England now take up a prejudice against them, give them the denomination of Americans, or Indians, and impose such severe Rules or Laws upon them, in respect to their Trade or Commerce; that such of them as could live elsewhere, must quit that Country, and such other poor People as could not so easily remove from thence, must be reduced to so miserable and low a Condition, that they must lie obnoxious to the cruelties and fury of the neighbouring Indians, or any other Enemy that should think fit to attack them: this would, in all probability, bring England in some few Years, under the necessity either of quitting their Pretensions to that Colony, or sending another Fleet and Army to regain it, and would rather be thought Cruelty or Infatuation, than Prudence or good Management. And yet I know not how it comes to be thought otherwise in reference to Ireland, which is esteemed [Page 50] by all the wise Men of England, as much more necessary and precious, than Newfoundland, or any other Plantation or Colony of that kind, as their Gold and Silver is, in comparison to their Half-pence and Farthings. And if they rightly consider the matter, they cannot but conclude, that the English of Ireland (let them call us Irish-men, or what they please) are a body of Men, which next to themselves in Great Britain, they ought to love and value more than any People under Heaven; since we are Flesh of their Flesh, and Bone of their Bone, and there is so natural and intimate a Relation and Connexion between them and us, that we are always ready to stand or fall, to be happy or miserable with them.
It would be thought very unnatural and barbarous (were there any one so mad as to be guilty of such a thing) that a Man should be angry with his Hand or Foot, and should therefore use means to prevent the Circulation of the Blood, and stop the Passage of the common Nutriment of the Body, into that part: this would, in all human probability, cause such violent Distempers in the Body, as might occasion the Stagnation of the whole Mass of Blood, and the Dissolution of the Body. And this is certainly, in a politick Sense, the Case of England and Ireland. If it be necessary for the Security, and well being of this Nation, that the Soveraignty of Ireland should still be continued to the Kings of England, and yet that the People of England will rather choose to ruin the intire Interests of their Friends in that Country, than suffer them to turn the most beneficial Productions thereof, to their Advantage; it may in some time prove very prejudicial, if not fatal to the People of England themselves, which will further appear from the more than probable, if not the necessary Consequences of such a Statute; which I shall endeavour as briefly and plainly as I can, to offer to the Consideration of such as will vouchsafe to peruse this Paper. And
1. The first and immediate Consequence that must necessarily follow the promulgation of such a Law, will be the unavoidable Ruin of those many Thousands of English Families, who live by the Woollen Manufactures in Ireland, and in which the Strength of the English Interest in that Kingdom, doth in a great measure consist; when their Trades are rendred useless to them, and they are incapacitated of earning their Bread thereby; they must (at least the greater part of them) remove themselves and their Families into some other part of the World, where they may hope for a livelihood, for in Ireland 'twill be morally impossible they should have it, since Tradesmen of this kind are generally Strangers to all Callings, except those in which they were educated. To England great part of them dare no more venture, than those who since last Session of Parliament, transplanted themselves from the Fryars and other priviledged Places; and tho' 'tis not to be believed that the Parliament of England would deliberately and wilfully do any thing that may lessen the number of the English, and weaken their own Interest in Ireland; yet if we should suppose that they should enact such Laws for the Encouragement of those Tradesmen, by which their Creditors in England must be very easy to them, or indeed forgive them their whole Debts, even this would not prove a sufficient motive to them for returning into England; for if they could not live here in the beginning of their time, much less will they be now able to subsist by what they shall earn, having been accustomed to the exuberant Plenty and Cheapness of Ireland, and having generally very numerous Families, that Country being remarkably fruitful for the procreation of Children.
If they should remove to Scotland, as 'tis not unlikely many of them would upon such an occasion, that Country being much cheaper than England, and it being not improbable that there would be great Encouragements proposed to [Page 52] them there; they must in all probability imbody with the Scotch, and become one People with them, in relation both to their Religion, and Civil Interests; for we know by woful Experience, that Men of those ordinary Capacities are but too prone, and easy to be drawn away from the antient established Church of these Nations, especially when they can propose to themselves any temporal Advantages thereby; and by this means, the People of Scotland, with their Correspondents and Friends in Ireland (both their Interests being inseparable) will not only be the easier and cheaper furnished with Woollen Manufactures to carry on their East-India Trade, but will be capacitated to Trade to the West-Indies also, and that notwithstanding the Restriction laid, or to be laid upon them by England, that they should not carry any Commodities to the Western Plantations, except Servants and Provisions, which is all the People of Ireland are allowed to transport into that part of the World: they will (I say) by this means be in a great measure enabled to carry on a Trade to America, that is, if what they have lately said in the Case of the Royal-Fishery be allowed them; that being a free, unconquered People, no Laws can affect them, but such as are of their own making, and that consequently they have a right to Trade abroad wherever the English do; that there has been lately a Dispute of this kind between the Gentlemen concern'd in the Royal-Fishery, and the People of Scotland, concerning Freedom and Priviledge, I am very well satisfied the former can and will testify.
But I will allow that this may be a Mistake in me, and that the Scotch must in this particular be over ruled by England: yet as for their East-India Trade, that is undeniable; the Consequence of which will be, that since there are so great Immunities allowed them in reference to that Trade, and Piracy is at an end, they will prosecute it with diligence and vigour, and will, by the Assistance of their Friends [Page 53] and Correspondents in Ireland, who will undoubtedly be concern'd with them, be enabled to make a considerable progress therein, and will furnish Ireland with all manner of East-India Goods, at much cheaper Rates than the English Merchants can afford them; So that those considerable Sums of Money which come yearly out of Ireland, for Silks, Muslins, Bengals, Cotton, Rice, and all other Commodities which come from the East-Indies, (where the People of Ireland have no manner of Traffick) will be totally lost to England, and a great means of enriching Scotland.
In order to which end, they will not want the Wool of Ireland, that is, if any of the Flock-masters of that Kingdom shall think it worth their while to deal in Sheep, as it cannot well be supposed they will, if this Law be enacted; and that, in spight of all the Laws that can, or shall be made by England and Ireland, to prevent them, and all the diligence which shall be used to have those Laws duly executed, the Scotch (I say) notwithstanding all these means will have the Wool of Ireland, or great part of it, transported into Scotland, except we could suppose that there might be Officers day and night on the Watch, in all the Creeks and Corners of the Sea-Coasts of the North of Ireland; for it being but about three Hours sail from thence to Scotland, they may, in the dead of night, load their open Boats (in which 'tis common with them to go to Market to Ireland) with what Goods they and their Correspondents shall think convenient, and be at their Port in their own Country, before the next morning, or at least out of the reach of those concern'd in the Revenue of Ireland: and undoubtedly this has been often practised for some Years past, to the great prejudice of England, and the Benefit of France; and we may be sure it will be more industriously continued now than ever, especiaily if they can find the way of having it wrought up in their own Country, [Page 54] and sending it abroad to Foreign Markets; for since there are those People called Owlers even in England, and under the Eye of the Government, notwithstanding the strict and Penal Laws that are against them, and the great Care and Diligence that are used to prevent them, we may very well expect the like Dealings between Ireland and Scotland, who have much greater Opportunities of carrying on a Commerce of that kind, than 'tis possible for England to have with France, or any other Country.
But let us suppose that those ruined Manufacturers should Transport themselves and their Families into Holland, or other Foreign Countries, and they, and their Posterity be for ever lost to these Kingdoms; the Irish Popish Merchants will have then, by reason of the Cheapness of Wool, greater Encouragement for carrying on their old Woollen Trade with France than ever; for tho' by Act of Parliament in Ireland, 'tis made Felony, without Benefit of Clergy, to Transport Wool into any Foreign part of the World, except England, or even to put any on Ship board clandestinely, yet I have seen several that were taken in the Fact, tried for their Lives, but matters were so ordered by the Interest of the Merchants of those Towns, where the Offences were committed, that I never knew any of the Offenders suffer.
Another way they have for Transporting Wool into France (to make out the Deficiencies of the former) by which many of the Irish Merchants have frequently transported whole Ship-loads, to that degree, that they are either foully belied, or have purchased considerable Estates with the vast summs of Money which they have gained by that illegal Commerce: for there is a Clause in the aforesaid Act, which requires that all Persons whatsoever who shall Transport Wool from Ireland to England, shall before they put it on Ship-board, enter it into the Custom-House of the respective Port where it is Shipped, and shall bring sufficient [Page 55] Security to the Collector of the said Custom house, and enter into Bonds, that the Wool so Shipped should be landed and disposed of, in some Port of England, and that the Merchants should in a certain limited time, return Certificates to that purpose from England.
And the Stratagem which they used to evade this, is as follows; First they entered the Ship in, and sometimes by a wrong Name; and in the next place, they either brought some Bankrupt Fellows, who pretended to be Men of Credit and Reputation in the World, to perfect those Bonds which the Law required, and who could upon occasion easily abscond and frustrate the Design of the Law in that case; or otherwise, they brought Persons, who by their Habit and Behaviour seem'd, and perhaps were substantial Men, but gave themselves Names of Persons dead long before, or perhaps of such, as they never knew to have been in the World: And having thus deceived the Officers of the Custom-House, they convey'd vast quantities of Wool into France: And if at any time the Merchant fear'd or heard, that his Ship was discovered to have put this Trick on those concern'd in the Revenue, he immediately gave orders she should be sold, and another bought in France or Holland. That this has been often practised, will appear by the Wool-Bonds taken in Ireland for several Years before the late War, for some thousands of pounds, subscribed with Names as fictitious as those of John a Nokes or John-a Styles. And I do really think, that there is now one worthy Member in the House of Commons of England, who can affirm this to be true, for he was (if I mistake not) the first discoverer of those Practices, having been concern'd in the Revenues of Ireland for some Years, and may perhaps be best able to give directions how to prevent that Trade for the future, that is, as far as 'tis possible it should be hindred.[Page 56]
For it is but reasonable to conclude, that if Wool be reduced to a lower value than it was at in those times, as it necessarily must, if that Law be enacted; that then those Merchants and their Confederates will run all hazards in carrying on the same beneficial Trade for the future, and 'twill be next to an impossibility to prevent them; there being Bays and Harbours capable of receiving Ships in the most desart and mountainous Maritim parts of that Country; from whence it will not lie in the power of Man to hinder their conveying of what Commodities they shall think convenient, to any Country where they may expect a kind Reception.
But it may perhaps be here objected, that the English of that Kingdom are concern'd in this Owling Trade as well as others.
To which I must answer, That if there be some few particular Persons, that have either married the Daughters, or learn'd the Manners of the People of the Land, who have been thus guilty, 'tis not my business to justifie them. But the English of Ireland, in general, are Men of greater Loyalty, Conscience, and Honesty, than for private gain to do any thing that may be a wrong to their King, and opposite to the publick good of their Country; the truth of which will abundantly appear to any one that considers the strict and severe Laws they have made in relation to this particular. And indeed there are but very few English Dealers in the Sea-Ports of that Kingdom, where these Cheats are generally practised; for besides the under-hand Contrivances that have been frequently made use of to ruin any English-man that sets up a Trade there, the adjacent parts of the Country are mostly inhabited by People that will not deal with any English man, for any thing they can be furnish'd with by those of their own Country or Profession; and if the Irish be suffered again to go on with this WoolTrade (of which the English of that Country's being prohibited [Page 57] to go on with their Manufactures, would in a great measure hinder them) it will be a great means of enabling them to come in for a snack of the Estates of the English there. For
Secondly. Another Consequence of that Law (if enacted) will be the Ruin of the English Gentlemen and Farmers, who (as I have already said) are the principal, if not the only considerable Flock-masters of that Kingdom. For if the Manufactures be discouraged and run down; and the Manufacturers forced to leave the Country, the prices of Wool must fall of course, and consequently the value of Sheep also. The Farmers (whose principal Substance has always consisted in that kind of Cattel) will not be able to pay their Rents, and in their own defence must throw up their Leases to their Landlords, who by this means must needs be fellow-sufferers with them, and will neither be well able, nor indeed willing to hold their Estates in that Kingdom, which will not seem a Paradox, if we consider,
That the English of that Country are the only sufferers by the late War: many of them, that had Estates, or a Title to Estates, which was the most they had in those miserable Times, raised considerable Sums of Money among their Friends in England, to equip them for the Army; or put them in a condition of returning into their own Country. Others, who owed Debts before, were by the loss of their Estates, both real and personal, and the great Interest of Money in that Kingdom, rendered uncapable of paying off those Debts; which are the true Causes, that so many of the English Estates there are, this day, so deeply encumber'd. 'Tis not good Manners to name Noblemen, and Gentlemen, upon this occasion: but this is certainly the Condition of many of the English Landlords in Ireland, from the highest Rank to the lowest: and the great means which many of them proposed for the recovery of their [Page 58] losses, and their future security, were the raising of Flocks, and the encouragement of the Woollen Manufactures; towards which ends, not a few of them, have laid out great part of what Money they could procure after the War, in Sheep; and have given great encouragements to Tradesmen of all kinds, who are fit for that purpose; by letting them convenient Lands at easie Rates, and building them Work-houses, some at their own private expence; and others at the publick charge, even in the remotest, and most Irish Counties of that Kingdom; with an intent to plant English Colonies, that may be able to secure themselves, and snub the Irish, whenever they shall perceive them begin to grow high and insolent: And if this Law pass, that Charitable, as well as Useful Design, must necessarily fall to the ground; and end in the inevitable ruin of those English Manufacturers and Farmers; and the great detriment of the Landlords; the last of which will, many of them, be forced to Sell or Mortgage their Estates to satisfie their Creditors.
Or let us suppose (as 'tis but reasonable we should) that many of the English Gentlemen of Ireland have been better Husbands than others, and have not only good Estates in Lands, but have Money by them; so that the loss of their Flocks cannot be of such very ill consequence to them; but that they may live plentifully without them, either by Tenanting their Lands with the vulgar Irish, or by dealing in other Stock, such as Black Cattel, Horses, &c. And let us suppose that those other Gentlemen, whose Fortunes are encumbered, should by being good Husbands, or living poorly, have a prospect of getting over those difficulties, and clearing their Estates in some Years: Yet if the English Interest be run down, and their Numbers so lessened, as by this Law they must needs be, neither the one nor the other will think it safe to continue in a Country, where they have themselves so lately, and their Ancestors so often heretofore been sufferers: but will rather choose to dispose [Page 59] of their Estates there, and purchase some small Concerns, where they may live with some security, and partake of the Privileges of English-men or Free Subjects, from which a Law of this kind must undeniably exclude them.
Now the Purchasers of those Lands, must be either the Irish or the Scotch; or most probably they will both be Sharers; if the Irish get a considerable part of them, they will in a few Years be in a condition of affording large assistance to any Foreign Prince, or pretended Popish-Heir, that may endeavour to disturb the Peace and Tranquility of these Kingdoms.
But 'tis likely the Scotch will be the greater Purchasers, and by that means grow Rich and Formidable, and able to stand by England with their Lives and Fortunes, against all that shall oppose them: And to be the same easie and neighbourly People, that they have been from the time of the ancient Picts (when Mr. Cambden tells us, their Friends in Scotland began to make frequent Visits into England) down to our own Times. But lest I should seem to design this as an Invective, and to incense England against them; and withal to be as Impertinent, as we should suppose a Stranger to have been, that should have come into the City of Jerusalem in her prosperity, and told that People a Story out of their own Chronicles, how vexatious the Gentiles in their neighbouring Countries had been to them for many Ages. I shall therefore only say further, that both the Irish, and they have, so lately that we cannot yet forget it, given us evident Demonstrations, how they would deal with us, if we lay at their Mercy; and this they did at the same time, with this only difference, that the latter did their Work more effectually than the others; the Irish did theirs in the time of War and Tyranny, and were themselves, and their pretended Act of Parliament, soon kick'd out of doors. But the Scotch, taking the advantge of a time when England was not at leisure to take notice of their Proceedings, ruin'd [Page 60] the Church of Scotland, by a Law, which is like to prove but too firm and lasting; which leads me
Thirdly, To a third Consequence, and one that I think, doth necessarily and evidently follow from what has been now said; and that is, that if the High Court of Parliament should pass such a Law as afore-mentioned, and either the Irish, or Scotch become Masters of Ireland, the Church which is now established there, must inevitably be ruined: which indeed is the main Consideration that engaged me in this Undertaking.
I heard the Question proposed since I came to London, What the Church had to do with Trade? or how a Law concerning the Woollen Manufacture could affect it? as if the whole Body of the People were not of the Church, nor the Clergy Members of the Commonwealth; but their Interests were different, and did not stand upon the same Basis with the establish'd English Laws of that Kingdom. And I think it might as well have been ask'd, What it concern'd the Church of England, if the grand Fleet had been burnt by the French in the late War? or the Church of Spain, if the Galleons had been taken by Monsieur Ponty? But because it may not be thought a good way to answer one Question, by proposing others, I shall in few words give a direct answer to it: I have already shewn how far this Statute must affect the Laity of the established Church of Ireland: and shall now endeavour to shew how far the Ecclesiasticks or the Church, strictly so called, must be concern'd in this matter. Tho', methinks, 'tis needless to tell the World, that if the Nobility, Gentry, and Commonalty, of that, or any other Nation be reduced to a low Ebb of Fortune, the Clergy must, by necessary consequence, bear a part in the common Sufferings, except that part of the World where the Church hath engrossed all to herself, and made the Country poor and miserable; and it is not long since we have by fatal Experience, found this to be true in Ireland.[Page 61]
But for greater Evidence sake, I shall endeavour to shew the Methods, by which that Church was ruined, to that Degree, that the Clergy who lived in those Parts of the Country, where the Irish principally inhabited, had for two Years before the War, little more than the Name of Livings; for they must either have set their Tythes, &c. to the Irish at what Rates they thought fit to offer, or they would pay little or none in kind; for the most expeditious means which the Clergy of that Kingdom had (or indeed have now) for the recovery of their dues, is a Statute passed in England, in the Twenty Seventh of Henry VIII. which mentions Ireland as well as England, and ordains, that if any Person being cited in a Decimary Cause to the Ecclesiastical Court, refused to appear, that then two Justices of the Peace (whereof one to be of the Quorum) shall upon the Receipt of a Certificate under the Seal of that Court, signifying his Contumacy, issue their Warrant against the Party so offending; and if he refuse to enter sufficient Security, that he will appear at a prefix'd time, and pay what by the said Court shall be adjudged against him, that then he shall be committed to safe Custody, till he make Satisfaction; which Law was commonly put in execution in several Diocesses of that Kingdom, and met with no opposition while Protestant Judges sat on the Bench; but they were no sooner thrust out, and Popish Judges appointed, but that Practice was declared illegal, and that Statute to be of no force in Ireland, and several Justices of the Peace discarded, for having issued their Warrants pursuant thereto.
By another Statute, which was made in Ireland in the Three and Thirtieth Year of Henry VIII. it is enacted, That if the Party summoned for Detention or Substraction of Tythes, shall enter his appearance in the Ecclesiastical Court, and Sentence shall pass there against him, that then two Justices of the Peace, qualified as aforesaid, shall at the request of the said Court, imprison the said Offender, [Page 62] without Bail or Main-prize, till he fulfil the Sentence so pronounced against him. But the intent of this Law was in those days easily deseated, for the Irish throughout the Kingdom were advised by their Lawyers to take no notice of any Citations issued out of the Ecclesiastical Courts.
So that the only Method which then remained of proceeding against Offenders of that kind, was to prosecute them to Excommunication, and to take Writs de Excommunicat, capient. out of the High Court of Chancery, which by reason of the great Charge of those Writs, is not to be done, but upon extraordinary occasions, and where the matter contested is considerable: however, to prevent even this Practice, as well as to obstruct the common Course of Justice in all Cases, where a Protestant was concern'd against a Papist, the Lord Chancellor Sir Charles Porter, who was a true Friend to the establish'd Church, and the English Interest, was displaced to make room for a profess'd, malicious Papist, who utterly refused the Clergy the Benefit of the Law in cases of that kind, and left the Laity of what Communion soever, to pay their Ministers what they thought convenient; so that 'tis plain, that if either the Irish, or Scotch have that one Minister of Justice on their side, that shall be no Friend to the establish'd Church, but shall discountenance the Proceedings of the Ecclesiastical Courts, he may himself singly go a great way towards the ruin of the Protestant Episcopal Clergy of that Nation.
And indeed it happened very well for them, that those Writs were not granted them by that Popish Lord Chancellor: for he, by the Direction of the Lord Tyrconnel had made Irish High Sheriffs in most of the Counties of Ireland, who would execute neither Writ, nor Decree on any Papist, either for Clergy-man, or Lay-man.
I think likewise that I have laid down sufficient Reasons to make us believe, that if the Scotch Presbyterians had the Estates of Ireland, and consequently the Magistracy and [Page 63] Power in their Hands, they would serve the Episcopal Clergy, and such as should adhere to them, after the same manner. The Question therefore that remains, is whether it be not probable that the Irish and they (whose Interests seem now to be so opposite to each other) might upon occasion of ruining the Episcopal Protestant Church, should they find a convenient Opportunity for that purpose, be reconciled, and joyn in that great Work, as the Evangelist tells us, Pilate and Herod were upon the Tryal and Condemnation of our Saviour, notwithstanding the Animosities that were between them before, Luk. 23.12.
Fourthly. Let us suppose that such a Conjunction may never happen between the Irish and Scotch, but that the Scotch alone may be Masters of Ireland, as in all probability, they must in some process of time; that is, if the English of that Kingdom be discouraged by England; that both Scotland and Ireland be of a piece, and that 'tis not impossible they may have some Friends and Adherents in this Kingdom of England; this being supposed, I do not doubt but all considerate Men, if they will declare their Sentiments ingenuously, will own, that it may very severely affect the English Nation, and especially the Church of England, as by Law establish'd; for that sacred Vine had but two main Plants that sprang from her, the one, which was that of Scotland, is cut up by the Roots already; and the same sacrilegious Hands, or some of the same stamp are at work on the other, which is that of Ireland; and these two being cleared out of the way, they may the more readily come at the Main-Body. Tho' this may seem to be a very remote Consequence from the aforesaid Law, if enacted, yet it is not unworthy the thoughts of all such as are well-wishers to the Church, and the publick welfare of England, to whom I shall leave, and earnestly recommend the further Consideration thereof.
I do not suggest these things through a fear that any evil of this kind may happen to us during the Reign of his present Glorious Majesty King William; for if common Gratitude and Honesty, Interest, and the Consideration of those many excellent things, which he has done for these Kingdoms, and Europe in general, be not sufficient Motives to keep all manner of Protestants within his Dominions, firm and loyal to him, yet his Wisdom, Power and Conduct cannot easily fail of that end. But we must not expect to enjoy always a Prince of his vast Experience in the World, the wisest of Councellors, and the best, and bravest of Generals; a Prince of so much Honour, Virtue and Goodness, so highly valued and esteemed by most of all the Princes of Europe; so formidable to his Enemies, when he had any that were considerable; so entirely beloved by the generality of his Subjects; and who has justly merited more Praises, were it possible to ennumerate them, than the learned and ingenious Eusebius in his immortal Panegyrick, ascribes to Constantine the Emperour, for he it is, that by his immense Wisdom, and the repeated hazards of his Royal Person, has secured to us our Estates, our Lives, our Liberties, our Religion; that has preserved, or rather made the English Nation the greatest People in this part of the World, and settled these Kingdoms upon such firm Foundations for future Peace and Happiness, as no Man living remembers us to have stood on before, and which cannot well be shaken but by disagreement and confusion among our selves. But my poor Encomiums are but as the Vapours which ascend from Earth toward Heaven, and my mean Pen would but sully his Glory; for which reason I shall leave the setting forth his Praises to the Masters of Sense and Eloquence, and return to the matter in hand, by saying, that we must not expect to be always happy in a Prince of his wonderful Qualifications: for tho' his Heroic Spirit and Actions, by the Divine Assistance, have plac'd him in [Page 65] the highest Rank of those which are called Gods upon Earth, yet he must die like a Man and fall like one of the Princes. And tho' (thanks be to God) the Wisdom of this Nation hath settled the Succession of the Crown, according to the Hearts desire of all well-wishers to the present Government and future Monarchy, and we have a fair prospect of Peace and Happiness under those who are appointed by Law to Reign over us; yet they are also subject to Mortality, and many unexpected Events, may happen to a Nation in the present Circumstances of the English, who are not the most united People in the World among themselves, and must expect, not to want Popish Pretenders, who whenever they can procure a Power, will think they have sufficient Right to contend for the Crown.
Now it is not reasonable to believe that the Parliament of England, when they have considered this matter, and are rightly inform'd concerning it, will, to gratify the Designs of any particular Persons, enact a Law that may be fatal to Posterity; and which perhaps may produce some evil Effects even in this present Generation, before a great many that are now alive may be summoned to another World: it being the sure means to ruin a great many Thousands of true Friends to the establish'd Church of England, and in a great measure to strengthen the Hands of her Enemies. For it is certain that the English of that Kingdom are not only most unanimous and hearty in the Interests of the present Government both in Church and State; but are a People who have been bred to Arms, and have been most of them in actual Service in the late Wars, and are all ready to appear in a very considerable Body, whenever his Majesty or his Protestant Successors shall have occasion to command them; and will, according to their Abilities, give him, or such his Successors all other reasonable Assistances, without the least repining or murmuring.
For which Reasons, it will not be unworthy the Grand Council of England to consider further, that the ruin of that People by such a Law, which seems to thwart the Methods of Divine Providence, in rendring the Blessings which Heaven hath bestowed upon them, in a great measure, useless to them, must not only be look'd upon, as a very indifferent piece of Policy, but may be esteemed by Almighty God as a very great Sin, which tho' it may spring from the root of Covetousness in some particular Persons; yet if a Law be enacted to that purpose, it must then become national, and may cause him, who alone can make a Kingdom rich and great, and happy, to stop the course of his Blessings, and divert those overflowings of Prosperity, which England may in all human probability, expect by a firm and lasting Peace: For the making of a Law of this nature, will not only be the sure means to prevent them from being rich, who are groundlesly suspected of being so, and the sending of them empty away: but will be also the taking of the Bread out of Thousands of hungry Mouths, and will in effect, prove the ruin of a Church and People, that have very often suffered for the English Nation; and I may say, with a great deal of Truth, have upon many occasions been eminently serviceable to them, but never offered them the least provocation. And whether this may be confistent with the Justice of England, I shall not presume to determine, but since the most Learned Casuists of the World, have a share in the Legislative Power, I shall humbly submit the matter to their Resolution.
I shall only propose one thing more to the Consideration of the wise Men of England, viz. that if they would but agree to make the best of their own Manufactures, they would be so far from obstructing the People of Ireland's pursuing theirs; that 'tis very probable they would in a little time be for giving them Encouragements for going on vigorously with them: And the true method of raising the [Page 67] English Manufactures to that pitch of perfection will be found to be extreamly easy and practicable, viz. let the great Men of the Nation unanimously resolve, that both them selves and their Families will in their Apparel, be conten with the Fabricks, the Cloaths and Stuffs of their own Country, and that they will discountenance others that shall presume the contrary; this will undoubtedly influence all such as are in inferiour Stations through these three Kingdoms, and his Majesty's Foreign Plantations: and ingenious Artists will be hereby incouraged to improve the English Manufactures, tho' I am very well assured that there are those in London already, that will undertake to furnish the Nobility and Gentry of these Kingdoms with Silks, Stuffs, Cloaths, &c. which shall be as rich, beautiful and serviceable, as any Nation under Heaven need to wish them, and at much cheaper Rates than 'tis possible to have them from abroad.
Juvenal deals very freely with the Antient Romans, and seems to be passionately concern'd, that they (being the greatest People upon Earth) did ape the Grecians in all particulars in their Habit, in their way of Eating, Drinking, Discourse and Behaviour, and did (as he tells us) do most other things after the Greek Fashion, and indeed these Nations have been faulty to that degree in these particulars, with respect to the French, that I have heard some intelligent Persons affirm, that in the two last Reigns, when an Embassador, suppose from Germany, Denmark, or Sweden had a desire to make an agreeable Figure in the Court of England, he thought it could not be done, unless he had his Cloaths from France, from whence most of the English Nobility, and they that esteem'd themselves to be the fashionable part of the Gentry had theirs; nor is Apparel the only thing in which they have been vainly fond of imitating the French, for most of those who reckon themselves the only genteel People, when they come to an honest English [Page 68] Gentleman's Table, and find it furnished with good Beef, Mutton, Veal, &c. they cannot away with that nasty Butchers Meat: Nor is the Poultry or Fowl thought fit for Stomachs of Quality, except they be so Frenchified, as to loose their natural Taste and Colour; but if they come to another place, and meet with a Dish of Scraps, which perhaps were detain'd a Day or two before from the Poor, and that be toss'd up after the French mode, O then 'tis excellent savory Victuals! little Master and Miss are not thought to call decently for Bread or Small beer at Table, unless they can do it in French; nor is the Curtezan of the Town sufficiently qualified to wheedle her easy Beau, unless she be in some measure Mistress of the French Tongue; without which indeed, no one can be sufficiently impertinent, nor bear a part in the noisy Conversation which is now in fashion. All this is certainly a kind of Homage paid to France, 'tis a tacit acknowledgement of some Excellencies in them, of which we are not Masters; and the owning ourselves obliged to them for the melioration and true use of our Cloaths, Meat, Conversation and other Accommodations and Blessings of this Life.
Tho' it may not be thought easy to reform in all these particulars at one time, yet methinks 'tis but reasonable it should be attempted in relation to our Cloaths, since that would be vastly advantageous to England, in keeping those great Sums of Money at home, which before the War were sent yearly to France for Silks, Stuffs, &c. 'twould also be a means of employing many Thousands of Hands, which by means of the great Importation of Foreign Commodities of that kind, do want Work; and 'tis very probable, that instead of prohibiting the People of Ireland from sending their Manufactures out of their own Country, their Assistance would be required in furnishing the Western Plantations with those coarse Woollen Commodities, which they are now by Law, debarred of sending to any of them.
For since our King has been the Glorious Instrument of retrieving the antient Grandeur and Honour of. England, and giving Peace to Europe, the Christian Princes will undoubtedly pay him the Respects which are justly due to his Merits: Foreign Nations will be fond of imitating the English Gallantry, and think London as competent a City for the Education of their young Nobility and Gentry in Arts and Arms, in Behaviour and Manners, as Paris has been this last Age esteem'd by us: and consequently, tho' perhaps France may think it below them to imitate our Fashions, or buy our Silks, Stuffs, or Cloaths, &c. from us; yet we shall at least be their Competitors, and other Kingdoms of Europe will follow the Modes and buy the Manufactures of England: but if the English Nation will think nothing becoming but what they have from France, 'tis no wonder the rest of the World should neglect those things which are despised by ourselves.
This (I think) is a Consideration much more worthy the Thoughts of the great Men of England, than that they should stoop at a Game so mean as the poor inconsiderable Manufactures of Ireland, which, according to the best Information I can have in this Kingdom, do not amount to the two hundredth part of those of England, and which, besides their being already prohibited from being transported to the Western Plantations, are so indifferent, that they will not sell in any Foreign Markets, where English Commodities can be had, and yet they are the main Support of a People who (I may safely say) are as Faithful and Loyal to the Crown of England, while fix'd on a Protestant Head, as Men can be, and whose Interests (I hope) the Wisdom of England will not think fit to sacrifice to the Covetousness of particular Persons, notwithstanding the Petition of the Citizens of Exon, &c. by which if they propose to have considerable Quantities [Page 70] of Irish Wool imported to them, they have taken the most effectual course to prevent the increase of Sheep, and the plenty of Wool in that Kingdom, for if a Law should be enacted against the Exportation of Woollen Manufactures from Ireland to any Foreign Parts, no Man of common Sense will think it worth his while to deal in Sheep, which are the most nice and dangerous, and will by that means be the most unprofitable Cattel in which a Man can deal in that Country.
For notwithstanding the People of Exon's Complaint of the want of Irish Wool, I can produce undeniable Proof, that the very last Summer the Wool of the Western part of that Kingdom lay on the Owners Hands for a considerable time, the Factors concern'd for the English, Dublin and Cork Merchants having offered but five Shillings a Stone for the best Wool of a full Years growth, which is sixteen Pound Averdupoize Weight, and 'tis certain that in Dublin the current Price of it was but seven Shillings and six Pence, and I am ready to demonstrate that good three Year old Weathers in as full Wool as they could be at that time of the Year, were sold in November last at five Pound a Score in the same part of Ireland. So that all the People of Ireland that are now in England, with whom I have had the Opportunity of Discoursing upon this Subject, are of Opinion that it had been a greater piece of Prudence in the Inhabitants of Exon, &c. to have petitioned the Parliament of England, that the People of Ireland might be encouraged to propagate that kind of Cattel, and not hindered of their little Manufactures which do not really injure any People in England; than to prefer a Petition, which if it occasion such a Law as I have already mentioned, will in all human probability be so grand a Discouragement to the Sheep masters of Ireland, that the Merchants and Manufacturers of England, [Page 71] will not find the tenth part of the Wool to be imported from Ireland, which in two or three Years they might have otherwise expected.
But to conclude the whole, I am partly assured that the main Body of the People of England are of Opinion, that all effectual means ought to be used, that the Irish Papists may never grow upon the English of that Nation, and become again vexatious and chargeable to England: and I think, I have sufficiently demonstrated that there can be no greater Service done to the main Body of the vulgar Irish, than the passing of the forementioned Law.
And as for the Scotch, perhaps many in England may think, that they prove as good Trustees in Ireland, as the English of that Country; and that if the English Interest there, were ruined or broken, Episcopacy deposed, and Presbytery establish'd, 'twould do as well. But I am confident all true Friends to the present happy Constitution of the Government of England and Ireland, both in Church and State, will be of Opinion, that it will be much more prudential, and infinitely more advantageous to England, that the Government and Estates of Ireland should be continued in the Hands of the English, and we should be preserved in a Condition of standing by England upon any occasion, both with Men and Money (of which this Law must render us wholly uncapable) than that we should for the bare prospect of some poor inconsiderable Profit to some particular Persons be weakened, and left at the Mercy of those that 'tis known to the World, would have but little Compassion upon us, could they be assured of carrying their point against us.
This, I say, I believe will be the Opinion of the great, the wise, Counsellors, and Senators of England, to whose Wisdom I most humbly submit what [Page 72] I have written upon this Subject, and refer the further confideration of what the Consequences of such a Law, as I have already so often mentioned, may be to that unfortunate Kingdom of Ireland, and even to England it self: and whose Consultations, I pray God to direct to the advancement of his own Glory, the good of his Church, the honour of his Sacred Majesty, and the safety and welfare of these Kingdoms.
PAG. 25 lin 21. read than those. p. 33. l. 3. for that v. tho. p. 37. l. 23. for Masters r. Owners, P. 44. l. 29. dele Families. l. 31. r. 30000. p. 69. l. 23. dele two.