The particulars of the exclusion of the Roman Catholic party from Cork, by Lord Inchiquin, are thus related in a rare tract entitled A plot discovered in Ireland, and prevented without the shedding of blood, London, printed by Jane Coe, 1644.
I know you have heard how my Lord of Inchiquin had put the Irish out of Cork in July last, and not without much cause, for there was a most horred, damnable, and bloody plot of conspiracie, invented and practized by the Popish Priests and blood-thirstie Jesuites, and the same of a sudden to be put in execution by the townsmen of Cork that were confederates with that bloody and arch-rebell the Lord of Muskerrie, who had prepared an armie in his countrie, neer Cork, to be in readinesse at an howre's warning, after he had intelligence from the Popish Priests and others of that faction, to approach toward Cork with his armie of rebels, who should have been let into the towne in the night, and for that purpose they had agreed among themselves, to have such townsmen that night to be in the watch, and in the court of guard, as should be in readinesse to seaze upon the magazine, armes, ordnance, powder, and shot, at an instant when the word should have been given, and the rest of their confederates to be likewise readie to let in the rebels at the gate, and so in the dead time of the night to enter into every Englishman's house, with swords, skenes, and pistols, with full resolution
p.95to massacre, murther and kill, man, woman, and childe, for which horrible murthers their holy fathers the priests had given to each one that did undertake this bloody designe a free pardon and dispensation, and it pleased God that, in the interim, that this execrable plot of treason was discovered, the priests, that were the chief contrivers of this most damnable plot, were taken, and at the time of their execution confest their mischievous intentions, which extended to the utter extirpation of all the English Protestants in Mounster, if God had not in his infinite goodnesse and mercy prevented it.
For the rest of the townsmen, that had engaged themselves in this inhuman conspiracy, they were so many in number, and being at least six to one of our English, they could not so well be taken, or apprehended, without great danger and much effusion of blood on both sides. But the Governour of Cork, and the rest of the chief commanders, for the better prevention of so great a danger, devised a remarkable counter-plot (for the taking and apprehending the town's conspirators rather by policie than by violence), and for that purpose caused Captain Muschamp, Governour of the great fort without the south gate of Cork, to fain and counterfeit himself to be in drink, and so as it were in a merry humour, invite himself to Master Major (Mayor) his house to dinner; and accordingly he dyned there, and after the Irish fashion was kindly entertained, and diverse cups passed round of sack clarret, and uscabaugh in friendly manner to welcome him, and make him to be the more merrily disposed.
And sitting at dinner, they discourst of diverse matters concerning the present distractions of these times, and diverse propositions were made, and every one gave their opinions according to their own apprehensions; and amongst other
p.96discourses, Captain Muschamp, seeming to be in a merry humour, did speak these or such like words.
Well, Master Major, if that it should please God that the parliament in England should have the best of it in this warre, and that the parliament ships were in the harbour of Cork, if you and the rest would not take the covenant to be true to the King and parliament; I protest I would, with the great ordinance in the fort, beat down all the houses in Cork about your eares.
With that the Major and the rest of the company rose up in a great fury, and said, that he had spoken treason, and he should answer it, and so they brought him before the Governor, and repeated the words he had spoken; desiring that he might be proceeded against according to law, in such cases provided. Whereupon the Governor gave many thanks to Master Major in shewing himself so good a subject, in discovering such a treason as that was, saying it was time to look about us, when we shall have the chief officers that are put in trust with matters of such concernment, as he was, being governor of the King's fort, should speak such treasonable words, and therefore. Master Major, you shall have my best assistance, and such punishment shall be inflicted upon him as marshall law will permit.
So the Major for the present departed, and a marshall court was called, and the counsell of warre met and sat upon his tryall, the businesse examined, the witnesses produced, the words were proved against him, and being found guilty, was condemned by the councell of warre for treason, had his sentence given to be hanged the next day. And at the time appoynted the shierfes, and the greatest part of the city came to see the execution, and the prisoner was brought out of the city well
p.97garded, with a considerable company of musqueteers; and when they perceived that the chiefest and most dangerous men of the city were come out of the gates, the word was given, and the prisoner, Captain Muschamp, being set at liberty, did command his officers to lay hold on all the chiefest of the citizens, and carry them prisoners to the fort, whereof he was captain and governor, and as soon as they were taken, so the chiefest aldermen and others in the city were taken, and kept prisoners as hostages to secure the English as well within, as without the gates, which were at that instant shut up, and the drawbridge taken up, so that none could come in, nor go out, till all matters were pacified.
And in the mean time there was a proclamation made, that if the Irish resisted the English, the souldiers should shoot them, and if any English were killed in that broyle, the chiefest of their city should be hanged over their walls; which proclamation did so terrifie the Irish, that they were all glad to be quiet, and so there was no great hurt done, which was much to be admired, that a matter of so dangerous a consequence, should be effected without any further trouble, and the projectors thereof highly to be commended in devising such a stratagem of mercy, in time of such troubles and rebellion, to prevent the shedding of guiltlesse blood.