Our traveller more than once hints that if he fell into the hands of the Parliamentarians by the capture of the Irish vessel he was in, certain death awaited him. It was rumoured, he observes (page 2), that the Parliamentarians threw into the sea all the Irish and those of their party, owing to the massacre the Irish had made in their country of English Protestants by a zeal for religion. And this appears to have had more than mere rumour for its foundation, from the following entry in the record of the proceedings of the Committee of the Admiralty, on the 17th December, 1646.
Whereas by an ordinance of both Houses of Parliament dated 24th October, 1644, it is declared that no quarter shalbe hereafter given to any Irishman, nor to any Papist borne in Ireland which shalbe taken in hostility against the Parliament, either upon the sea or within this kingdome and it is thereby ordained that all officers and commanders by sea and land shall upon the takeing of every such Irishman or Papist borne in Ireland forthwith put every such person to death. For the execution of such ordinance instructions have been issued by this Committee to the Commanders of the Fleete, according to the strict command therein given.
Now upon consideracion of what's presented in severall letters directed from severall persons in the West of England
p.136to Sir John Northcot, Sir Samuell Rolle, and Sir John Yong, members of the House of Commons, concerning the interruption of Trade by the Irish Frigats, being much increased in number and strength, and the suffringe and dangers of some English that have been by them taken prisoners at sea. In some of which letters was inclosed a letter from one of the said prisoners at Wexford, importing that the casting of some Irish over boord that hath been taken at sea by Captain Gilson, hath deprived the said prisoners of hopes of mercy unless the said Ordinance be recalled; the number of the said prisoners at Wexford and thereabouts being informed to be about 150. Also the copie of a letter from Jasper Bolor the Maior of Wexford conteyning severall scandalous expressions against the parliament, complaints of throwing Irish over bord by Captain Gilson and Captain Plunket, and threats that unles answere be given by the first of February next that no such course shalbe hereafter used, and the said Captain sent over to receive punishment, 168 persons that are prisoners there and in other parts of Ireland shall suffer, and those that hereafter fall into theire hands shall receive the same measure. Also a peticion to both houses of Parliament from the wives and freinds of some of the said prisoners praying the Parliament's compassion in procuring the said prisoners release in such way as they shall in theire wisdome thinke fit.
Ordered. That the state of this buisines be reported to both houses with this Committee's desire that they will please to declare theire pleasure therein, and to direct what instructions this Committee shall hereafter give to the Comanders of the Parliaments ships in reference to the said Ordinance.C.