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In May 1642 the catholic prelates, nobles, gentry and clergy met at Kilkenny and set up a supreme council. Summons 'in nature of writs' were sent to the lords spiritual and temporal and to the counties and boroughs. When the persons so summoned met, they issued the orders given below, 'to be observed as the model of their government.' [J. T. Gilbert, History of the Irish confederation and the war in Ireland, vol. 1 p. 112.]
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Created: By deputies of the Assembly at Kilkenny (October 1642)
Beatrix Färber (ed.)
Benjamin Hazard (ed.)
Benjamin Hazard (capture)
In May 1642 the catholic prelates, nobles, gentry and clergy met at Kilkenny and set up a supreme council. Summons in nature of writs were sent to the lords spiritual and temporal and to the counties and boroughs. When the persons so summoned met, they issued the orders given below, to be observed as the model of their government.
Orders made and established by the lords spiritual and temporal, and the rest of the general assembly for the kingdom of Ireland, met at the city of Kilkenny, the 24th day of October, Anno Domini 1642, and in the eighteenth year of the reign of our sovereign lord, King Charles, by the grace of God, of Great Britain, France and Ireland, etc.
Imprimis that the Roman catholic church in Ireland shall and may have and enjoy the privileges and immunities according to the great charter, made and declared within the realm of England, in the ninth year of King Henry III, sometime king of England, and the lord of Ireland, and afterwards enacted and confirmed in this realm of Ireland. And that the common law of England, and all the statutes of force in this kingdom, which are not against the Roman catholic religion, or the liberties of the natives, and other liberties of this kingdom, shall be observed throughout the whole kingdom, and that all proceedings in civil and criminal cases shall be according to the same laws.
Item, that all and every person and persons within this kingdom shall bear faith and true allegiance unto our sovereign lord King Charles . . . his heirs and lawful successors, and shall uphold and maintain his and their rights and lawful prerogatives, . . .
Item, that the common laws of England and Ireland, and the said statutes, called the great charter, and every clause, branch and article thereof, and all other statutes confirming, expounding or declaring the same, shall be punctually observed within this kingdom, so far forth as the condition of the present times, during these times, can by possibilities give way thereunto, and after the war is ended the same to be observed without any limitations, or restriction whatsoever.
Inasmuch as the city of Dublin is the usual and principal seat of justice of this kingdom, where the parliament and ordinary courts were held, and some other places where principal councils were kept sometimes, are as yet possessed and commanded by the malignant party who are enemies to God and their king and his majesty's well-affected subjects, this assembly is necessitated during
p.149this war in some formalities and circumstances to deviate from the proceedings prescribed by the said laws and statutes; . . . For the exaltation therefore of the holy Roman catholic church, for the advancement of his majesty's service, and the preservation of the lives, estates, and liberties of his majesty's true subjects of this kingdom against the injustice, murders, massacres, rapes, depredations, robberies, burnings, frequent breaches of public faith and quarters, and destruction daily perpetrated and acted upon his majesty's said subjects, and advised, contrived, and daily executed by the malignant party, some of them managing the government and affairs of state in Dublin, and some other parts of this kingdom, to his majesty's greatest disservice, and complying with their confederates, the malignant party in England and elsewhere, who (as it is manifest to all the world) do complot, and practise to dishonour and destroy his majesty, his royal consort the queen, their issue, and the monarchial government, which is of most dangerous consequence to all the monarchs and princes of Christendom, the said assembly doth order and establish a council by name of a supreme council of the confederate catholics of Ireland, who are to consist of the number of four and twenty to be forthwith named, whereof twelve at the least, to be forthwith named, shall reside in this kingdom, or where else they shall think expedient, and the members of the said council shall have equal votes, and two parts of three or more concurring present votes, to conclude, and not fewer to sit in council than nine, whereof seven at least are to concur; and of the four and twenty a president shall be named by the assembly, to be one of the said twelve resident . . . And the said council shall have the power and pre-eminence following, viz. the lords general and all other commanders of armies, and civil magistrates and officers in the several provinces shall observe their orders and decrees, and shall do nothing contrary to their directions, and shall give them speedy advertisement and account of their proceedings . . .
That the said council shall have power to order and determine all such matters as by this assembly shall be left undetermined, and shall be recommended unto them, and their orders therein to be of force until the next assembly, and after, until the same be revoked.
That the said council shall have power and authority to do and execute all manner of acts and things conducing to the advancement of the catholic cause, and good of this kingdom, and concerning the war, as if done by the assembly, and shall have power to hear and determine all matters capital, criminal or civil, excepting the right or title of land . . .
Item, it is further ordered and established, that in every province of this kingdom there shall be a provincial council, and in every county a county council. The provincial council to be composed of the number of two of each county, and the said provincial council shall choose a president for themselves.
That the provincial council shall sit four times a year, and
p.150oftener if there be cause for it. That they shall have power and authority to review or reverse the judgment of the county council, the party complaining, entering security de adjudicate solvendi. And shall (during the troubles) have power to hear and determine all matters of the crown, as judges of oyer and terminer and gaol delivery were wont to do, so that no spiritual person be present at the determing matters of blood. And shall have power to hear and determine all civil causes, and to establish rents and possessions, so they meddle not with the title of lands, other than in case of dower and jointure.
And the sheriffs, provincial generals, and all commanders of the armies in case of disobedience, are respectively required to execute the decrees and orders . . .
Item, in every county there shall be a county council, consisting of one or two of each barony at the election of the county, and where there are no baronies, the council of such county to consist of the number of twelve.
And the said county council shall have power and authority in all points as justices of the peace . . .
Item, in every county there shall be coroners, high-sheriffs, high-constables, and petty-constables and gaolers, who are to do their respective offices as accustomed. The high-sheriff to be confirmed or nominated by the supreme council, and the high-sheriff is required to execute the commands, orders, and decrees of the provincial and county council.
Item, it is further ordered, that whosoever hath entered since the first day of October, 1641, or shall hereafter during the continuance of the war in this kingdom, enter into the lands, tenements, or hereditaments, at or immediately before the first day of October . . . shall immediately restore upon demand, the said possession to the party or parties so put out . . . provided, and so it is meant, that if any of the parties so put out, be declared a neuter or enemy by the supreme or provincial council, then the party who gained the possession as aforesaid shall give up the possession to such person or persons, as shall be named either by the said council provincial, or supreme council, to be disposed of towards the maintenance of the general cause, . . .
Item, for the avoiding of national distinction between the subjects of his Majesty's dominions, which this assembly doth utterly detest and abhor, and which ought not to be endured in a well-governed commonwealth, it is ordered and established, that, upon pain of the highest punishment, which may be inflicted by authority of this assembly, that every Roman catholic, as well English, Welsh, as Scotch, who was of that profession before the troubles, and who will come and please to reside in this kingdom and join in the present union, shall be preserved and cherished in his life, goods, and estates, by the power, authority, and force (if need require it) of all the catholics of Ireland, as fully and as freely as any native born therein, and shall be acquitted and eased of one third part (in
p.151three parts to be divided) of public charges or levies raised or to be raised for the maintenance of this holy war.
Item, and it is further ordered and established, that there shall be no distinction or comparison made betwixt Old Irish, and Old and New English or betwixt septs or families, or betwixt citizens and townsmen and countrymen, joining in union, upon pain of the highest punishment that can be inflicted by any of the councils aforesaid, according to the nature and quality of the offences, and division like to spring thence.
Item, it is further ordered and established, that all new converts born in any of his majesty's dominions or elsewhere, without manifest occasion given by the persons converted to the contrary, and joining in this cause, shall be accounted catholics and natives to all intents and purposes.
Item, it is further ordered and established, that all artificers, artizans, navigators, and mariners, not being denizens, who shall please to reside in this kingdom, after such time as they and their families shall be here settled, have and enjoy the free liberties and privileges of natives in all respects.
Item, it is further ordered and established, that as in regard of the present estate and condition of this kingdom, no Irishman especially if he be a catholic, or any other catholic, is admitted of or permitted to continue in the Inns of Court, and to the end the laudable laws of England and Ireland may not die amidst the disasters of these times, one Inns of Court shall be erected in such a place of this kingdom as to the supreme council shall be thought fit, for the training of the gentry of this kingdom to the knowledge of these laws.
Item, it is further ordered and established, that no lord, gentleman, or any other person, shall raise or keep any company of soldiers, but such as shall be authorized by the supreme council, provincial council, or county council, or magistrate within their own corporate towns; and that the statute against cesses, and coynye or livery be duly put in execution. And that no company or soldiers whatsoever shall be paid or relieved by the country, excepting such as are or shall be enrolled in the marshals' lists, and none shall be billeted but by the constable.
Item, it is further ordered and established for the advancement of learning, that in every province of this kingdom free-schools shall be erected and maintained, and in such places, and in such manner and form as by the metropolitan of the diocese in their respective provinces shall be thought fit.
Item, it is further ordered and established, that the king's customs, rents, revenues, arrears and dues, and the rents, estates and profits of the lands, hereditaments, goods and chattels of the enemies, which are or shall be declared by the provincial or supreme council, or by the general council, be received and collected, and be disposed for his majesty's use and service.
Item, it is further ordered and established, that church
p.152lands and tithes impropriate in the catholic owners before those troubles, and joining in this cause may be left to them according to their several estates, until the same be disposed of by the parliament . . .
Item, it is ordered and established, that the possession of protestant archbishops, bishops, deans, dignitaries, and parsons, in right of their respective churches, or their tenements in the beginning of these troubles, shall be deemed, taken, and construed as the possession of the catholic archbishops, bishops, deans, dignitaries, pastors and their tenements respectively, . . .
Item, it is ordered and established, that to prevent the springing up of all national distinctions, the oath of association or union be taken solemnly, after confession and receiving the sacrament in the parish churches, throughout the kingdom, and the names of all the persons of rank and quality in every parish that must take the same to be enrolled in parchment. . .
Gilbert MSS, 219 (Pearse Street Public Library).1
After the cessation of 1643 the confederate catholics sent agents to Oxford to lay their demands before the king. The propositions first presented were regarded by the council as unreasonable. But the agents proved councellable, and presented new propositions, which though in many things unreasonable for the king to grant, yet are not very scandalous for them to ask.2
The demands of the Roman catholics of Ireland humbly presented to his sacred majesty in pursuance of their remonstrance of grievances,3 and to be annexed to the said remonstrance.
That all acts made against the professors of the Roman catholic faith, whereby any restraint, penalty, mulct, or incapacity may be laid upon any Roman catholic within the kingdom of Ireland may be repealed, and the said catholics to be allowed the freedom of the Roman catholic religion.
That your majesty be pleased to call a free parliament in the said kingdom, to be held and continued as in the said remonstrance is expressed, and the statute of the tenth year of the reign of King Henry VII, called Poynings' act, and all acts explaining or enlarging the same, be suspended during that parliament, for the speedy settlement of the present affairs, and the repeal thereof to be there further considered of.
That all acts and ordinances made and passed in the now pretended parliament in that kingdom, since the seventh day of August 1641, be clearly annulled, declared void, and taken off the file.
That all indictments, attainders, outlawries in the king's
p.153bench, or elsewhere, since the said seventh day of August 1641, and all letters patent, grants, leases, custodiums, bonds, recognizances, and all other records, act or acts depending thereupon, or in prejudice of the said catholics, of any of them, be taken off the files, annulled, and declared void, first by your majesty's public proclamation and after by act to be passed in the said free parliament.
That inasmuch as under colour of such outlawries, and attainders, debts due to the said catholics have been granted, levied and disposed of, and of the other side, that debts due upon the said catholics to those of the other party have been levied and disposed to public uses, that therefore all debts be by act of parliament mutually released or all to stand in statu quo, notwithstanding any grant or disposition.
[That whereas your majesty's subjects of that kingdom have and do suffer extremely by the offices found since the first year of Queen Elizabeth, of many countries and territories, upon no real title, or upon feigned or old titles of two hundred, three hundred, four hundred years, and by many illegal, and unjust attainders, by acts of parliament or otherwise, since the time aforesaid, unto which hitherto no traverse, monstrans de droit, or petition of right could be admitted, it is therefore humbly desired that the said offices, and attainders, and all grants, leases, and estates thereupon derived from the crown be reviewed in free parliament according to justice and conscience, still reserving to your majesty the rents and profits thereout answered before the late commission of defective titles, and special care to be therein likewise had of purchases made for valuable consideration by your majesty's faithful subjects. And] That the late offices, taken or found upon feigned or old titles since the year 1634, to entitle your majesty to several countries in Connaught, Thomond, and in the counties of Tipperary, Limerick, and Wicklow, be vacated and taken off the file, the possessors settled and secured in their ancient estates by act of parliament, and that the like act of limitation of your majesty's titles for the security of the estates of your subjects of that kingdom be passed in the said parliament, as was enacted in the 21st year of his late majesty's reign in this kingdom.
That all marks of incapacity imposed upon the natives of that kingdom to purchase or acquire leases, offices, lands, or hereditaments, be taken away by act of parliament, and the same to extend to the securing of purchases, leases, or grants already made, and that for the education of youth, an act be passed in the next parliament for the erecting of one or more inns of court, universities, free and common schools.
That the offices and places of command, honour, profit and trust within that kingdom be conferred upon Roman catholics natives of that kingdom, in equality and indifference with your majesty's other subjects.
That the insupportable oppression of your majesty's subjects
p.154by reason of the court of wards, and respite of homage be taken away, and a certain revenue in lieu thereof settled upon your majesty without diminution of your majesty's profit.
That no lord not estated in that kingdom, or estated and not resident, shall have vote in the said parliament by proxy or otherwise, and none admitted to the house of commons but such as shall be estated and resident within the kingdom.
That an act shall be passed in the next parliament, declaratory that the parliament of Ireland is a free parliament of itself, independent of, and not subordinate to, the parliament of England, and that the subjects of Ireland are immediately subject to your majesty as in right of your crown, and that the members of the said parliament of Ireland, and all other the subjects of Ireland are independent, and in no way to be ordered or concluded by the parliament of England, and are only to be ordered and governed within that kingdom by your majesty and such governors as are or shall be there appointed, and by the parliament of that kingdom according to the laws of the land.
[That two acts passed in the parliament of this kingdom of England, the one entitled An act for the speedy and effectual reducing of the rebels in his majesty's kingdom of Ireland to their due obedience to his majesty and the crown of England, and another act entitled An act for adding unto and explaining the same, shall be declared void; and that all grants and assignments, under such grants or any other acts or estates whatsoever made in pursuance of them, or otherwise, or in pursuance of the act or acts of subscriptions, or any other act or proclamation, and all other acts and ordinances made in the parliament of England in prejudice of the said catholics, shall be declared void.]
That the assumed power or jurisdiction in the council board, of determining all manner of causes, be limited to matters of state, and all patents, estates, and grants illegally and extra-judicially avoided, there or elsewhere, be left in state as before, and the parties grieved, their heirs or assigns, till legal eviction.
That the statutes of the eleventh, twelfth, and thirteenth years of the reign of Queen Elizabeth concerning staple commodities be repealed, reserving to his majesty lawful and just poundage, and a book of rates to be settled by an indifferent committee of both houses for all commodities.
That in as much as the long continuance of the chief governor or governors of that kingdom in that place of so great eminence and power, hath been a principal occasion that much tyranny and oppression hath been exercised upon the subjects of that kingdom, that your majesty will be pleased to continue such governor hereafter but for three years, and that none once employed therein be appointed for the same again until the expiration of six years next after the end of the said three years; and that an act pass to disable such governor, or governors, during their government, directly or indirectly, in use, trust, or otherwise, to make any
p.155manner of purchase, or acquisition of any manors, lands, tenements, or hereditaments within that kingdom, other than from your majesty, your heirs, or successors.
[That, whereas your majesty's standing army formerly in that kingdom, was of so small and inconsiderable a number, that they rather appeared a mark of suspicion and jealousy on the nation, and rendered them to all other nations as a people not to be trusted, than any strength for the defence of the kingdom, and yet exhausted a great part of your majesty's revenue, which the several officers converted to their private use, having few or no soldiers, but such as they collected of their tenants and servants, at days of musters and pay; to remove therefore that badge of distrust from your said subjects, it is humbly desired that no such army be any longer maintained in that kingdom, whereby much of your majesty's revenue will be hereafter saved for better uses, and your subjects there, with your majesty's consent, will take such course for the safety of that kingdom, by way of trained bands, or otherwise as shall be most serviceable to your majesty, and satisfactory to your said subjects.]4
[That the present government of the said catholics may continue within their quarters and jurisdictions until the parliament, and after until their grievances be redressed by acts of parliament, and for a convenient time for the execution thereof.]
[That an act of oblivion be passed in the next free parliament, to extend to all your majesty's said catholic subjects of that kingdom, for all manner of offences, capital, criminal, and personal, with a saving and reservation to both houses within six months next after the passing of the said act, to question any person or persons of any side for any notorious murders, cruelties, rapines, and robberies against public faith, and such persons as have privately or publicly in their councils or actions joined against your majesty with the rebels at Westminster, and the same to hear and determine according to law, honour, and justice, and the said act to extend to all goods and chattels, customs, mesne profits, and prizes, arrears of rents, received or incurred since these troubles.]5
Forasmuch, dread sovereign, as the ways of our address unto
p.156your majesty for apt remedies unto our grievances was hitherto debarred us, but now at length through your benign grace and favour laid open, we therefore, in pursuance of our remonstrance formerly presented, do humbly offer these, which granted, your said subjects will readily contribute the ten thousand men, as in the said remonstrance is specified, towards6 the suppressing the unnatural rebellion now in this kingdom, and will further expose their lives and fortunes to serve your majesty as occasion shall require.
J. T. Gilbert, History of the Irish confederation and the war in Ireland (188291), iii. 12833.
As soon as it was known that a catholic mission was going to Oxford, a group of protestants secured permission from the lord lieutenant to send over a delegation. It presented its propositions in April 1644.
We most humbly desire the establishment of the true protestant religion in Ireland, according to the laws and statutes in the said kingdom now in force.
That the popish titular archbishops, bishops, Jesuits, friars, and priests, and all others of the Roman clergy be banished out of Ireland, because they have ever been the stirrers up of all rebellion, and while they continue there, there can be no hope of safety for your majesty's protestant subjects; and that all the laws and statutes established in that kingdom against popery and popish recusants may continue of force, and be put in due execution.
That restitution may be made of all our churches and church rights and revenues, and all our churches and chapels re-edified, and put in as good estate as they were at the breaking out of the rebellion, and as they ought to be, at the charge of the confederate Roman catholics (as they call themselves) who have been the occasion of the destruction of the said churches, and possessed themselves of the profits and revenues thereof.
That the parliament now sitting in Ireland, may be continued there for the better settlement of the kingdom, and that all persons duly indicted in the said kingdom, of treason, felony, or other heinous crimes, may be duly and legally proceeded against, outlawed, tried, and adjudged according to law, and that all persons lawfully convicted and attainted, or so to be convicted or attainted for the same, may receive due punishment accordingly.
That no man may take upon him, or execute the office of a mayor or magistrate in any corporation, or the office of a sheriff, or justice of peace, in any city or county in the said kingdom, until he hath first taken the oaths of supremacy and allegiance.
That all popish lawyers who refuse to take the oath of supremacy
p.157and allegiance, may be suppressed and restrained from practice in that kingdom, the rather because the lawyers in England do not here practise until they take the oath of supremacy, and it hath been found by woeful experience, that the advice of the popish lawyers to the people of Ireland hath been a great cause of their continued disobedience.
That there may be a present absolute suppression and dissolution of all the assumed arbitrary and tyrannical power, which the said confederates exercise over your majesty's subjects, both in causes ecclesiastical and temporal.
That all the arms and ammunition of the said confederates, be speedily brought into your majesty's stores.
That your majesty's protestant subjects, ruined and destroyed by the said confederates, may be repaired for their great losses, out of the estates of the said confederates, not formerly by any acts of this present parliament in England otherwise disposed of, whereby they may the better be enabled to reinhabit and defend the said kingdom of Ireland.
That the said confederates may give satisfaction to the army of the great arrears due unto them since the rebellion, and that such commanders as have raised forces at their own charges, and laid forth great sums of ready money out of their own purses, and engaged themselves for money and provisions, to keep themselves, their holds, and soldiers under their commands, in the due and necessary defence of your majesty's rights and laws, may be in due sort satisfied, to the encouragement of others in like times and cases which may happen.
That touching such parts of the confederate estates as being forfeited for their treasons, are come, or shall duly come into your majesty's hands and possession by that title, your majesty, after due satisfaction first made to such as claim by former acts of parliament, would be pleased to take the same into your own hands and possession, and for the necessary increase of your majesty's revenue, and better security of the said kingdom of Ireland, and the protestant subjects living under your gracious government there, to plant the same with British and protestants upon reasonable and honourable terms.
That one good walled town may be built and kept repaired in every county of the said kingdom of Ireland and endowed and furnished with necessary and sufficient means of legal and just government and defence, for the better security of your majesty's laws and rights, more especially the true protestant religion, in times of danger, in any of which towns no papist may be permitted to dwell or inhabit.
That all your majesty's towns, forts, and places of strength destroyed by the said confederates since the said rebellion, may be by them, and at their charges, re-edified and delivered up into your majesty's hands, to be duly put into the government under your majesty and your laws of good protestants, and that all strengths and
p.158fortifications made and set up by the said confederates since the said rebellion, may be slighted and thrown down, or else delivered up and disposed of for protestant government and security, as aforesaid.
That the establishment and maintenance of a complete protestant army, and sufficient protestant soldiers and forces, for the time to come, be speedily taken into your majesty's prudent, just and gracious consideration, and such course laid down and continued therein, according to the rules of good government, that your majesty's right and laws, and the protestant religion and peace of that kingdom be no more endangered by the like rebellions in time to come.
That whereas it appeareth in print that the said confederates amongst other things aim at the repeal of Poynings' law, thereby to open an easy and ready way for the passing of acts of parliament in Ireland, without having them first well considered of in England, which may produce many dangerous consequences both to that kingdom, and to your majesty's other dominions, your majesty would be pleased to resent and reject all propositions tending to introduce so great a diminution of your royal and necessary power for the confirmation of your royal estate and protection of your good protestant subjects both there and elsewhere.
That your majesty, out of your grace and favour to your protestant subjects of Ireland, will be pleased to consider effectually of answering them, that you will not give order for, or allow of the transmitting into Ireland any act of general oblivion, release or discharge of actions or suits whereby your majesty's said protestant subjects there may be barred or deprived of any of their legal remedies which by your majesty's laws and statutes of that kingdom, they may have against the said confederates or any of them, or any of their party, for, or in respect of any wrongs done unto them or any of their ancestors or predecessors, in or concerning their lives, liberties, persons, goods, or estates, since the contriving or breaking forth of the said rebellion.
That some fit course may be considered of to prevent the filling or overlaying of the commons house of parliament in Ireland, with popish recusants, being ill affected members, and that provision may be duly made that none shall vote or sit therein, but such as shall first take the oaths of allegiance and supremacy.
Cox, Hibernia Anglicana (1689), appendix, pp. 7578.