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others of the principal rebels have confessed, that this commission was the summer before promised at London to the Irish commissioners; to whom the king then discovered in plain words his great desire to be revenged on the parliament of England.
205. After the rebellion broke out, which in words only he detested, but underhand favoured and promoted by all the offices of friendship, correspondence, and what possible aid he could afford them, the particulars whereof are too many to be inserted here; I suppose no understanding man could longer doubt who was “ author or instigator" of that rebellion. If there be who yet doubt, I refer them especially to that declaration of July 1643, with that of “no addresses,” 1647, and another full volume of examinations to be set out speedily concerning this matter. Against all which testimonies, likelihoods, evidences, and apparent actions of his own, being so abundant, his bare denial, though with imprecation, can no way countervail; and least of all in his own cause.
206. As for the commission granted them, he thinks to evade that by retorting, that “ some in England fight against him, and yet pretend his
ii. 584.) The rebels also are said to have “published and declared that they had the king's authority for all they did;" this however the partial historian denominates “a calumny, without the least shadow or colour of truth.” (History, ii. 23.) But, says Warburton, “how could the historian say this, who well knew that the Irish rebels produced the broad seal fixed to an instrument in which was this pretended authority ?” (History, vii. 542.) He insinuates his suspicions that the history had been mutilated, which has since been found to have been the case.
authority.” But though a parliament, by the known laws, may affirm justly to have the king's authority inseparable from that court, though divided from his person, it is not credible that the Irish rebels, who so much tendered his person above his authority, and were by him so well received at Oxford, would be so far from all humanity, as to slander him with a particular commission, signed and sent them by his own hand.
207. And of his good affection to the rebels this chapter itself is not without witness. He holds them less in fault than the Scots, as from whom they might allege to have fetched “their imitation;" making no difference between men that rose necessarily to defend themselves, which no Protestant doctrine ever disallowed, against them who threatened war, and those who began a voluntary and causeless rebellion, with the massacre of so many thousands, who never meant them harm.
208. He falls next to flashes, and a multitude of words, in all which is contained no more than what might be the plea of any guiltiest offender :-he was not the author, because “ he hath the greatest share of loss and dishonour by what is committed.” Who is there that offends God, or his neighbour, on whom the greatest share of loss and dishonour lights not in the end ? But in the act of doing evil, men use not to consider the event of these evil doings; or if they do, have then no power to curb the sway of their own wickedness : so that the greatest share of loss and dishonour to happen upon themselves, is no argument that they were not guilty. This other is as weak, that “a king's interest, above that of any other man, lies chiefly in the common welfare of his subjects;" therefore no king will do aught against the common welfare. For by this evasion any tyrant might as well purge himself from the guilt of raising troubles or commotions among the people, because undoubtedly his chief interest lies in their sitting still.
209. I said but now, that even this chapter, if nothing else, might suffice to discover his good affection to the rebels, which in this that follows too notoriously appears; imputing this insurrection to “the preposterous rigour, and unreasonable severity, the cuvetous zeal and uncharitable fury, of some men;" (by these “some men,” his continual paraphrase, are meant the parliament;) and, lastly, “ to the fear of utter extirpation.” If the whole Irishry of rebels had feed some advocate to speak partially and sophistically in their defence, he could have hardly dazzled better; yet nevertheless would have proved himself no other than a plausible deceiver. And, perhaps (nay more than perhaps, for it is affirmed and extant under good evidence, that) those feigned terrors and jealousies were either by the king himself, or the popish priests which were sent by him, put into the head of that inquisitive people, on set purpose to engage them. For who had power“ to oppress” them, or to relieve them being oppressed, but the king, or his immediate deputy ? This rather should have made them rise against the king, than against the parliament.
210. Who threatened or even thought of their
extirpation, till they themselves had began it to the English ? As for “preposterous rigour, covetous zeal, and uncharitable fury,” they had more reason to suspect those evils first from his own commands, whom they saw using daily no greater argument to prove the truth of his religion than by enduring no other but his own prelatical; and, to force it upon others, made episcopal, ceremonial, and common-prayer book wars. But the papists understood him better than by the outside ; and knew that those wars were their wars. Although if the commonwealth should be afraid to suppress open idolatry, lest the papists thereupon should grow desperate, this were to let them grow and become our persecutors, while we neglected what we might have done evangelically to be their reformers : or to do as his father James did, who instead of taking heart and putting confidence in God by such a deliverance as from the powder-plot, though it went not off, yet with the mere conceit of it, as some observe, was hit into such a hectic trembling between Protestant and papist all his life after, that he never durst from that time do otherwise than equivocate or collogue with the pope and his adherents. (73)
(73) Burnett represents James I. as terrified into toleration by a story reported to him by Sir Dudly Carlton, who had been his ambassador in Spain, where, it seems, the priests were accustomed in their conversation to menace the king's life, unless he became more tolerant to papists. This effectually cured the northern Solomon of his persecuting habits; for, though he still continued to write against the Catholics, his actions were in their favour.-(History of his own Times, i. 12.)
211. He would be thought to commiserate the sad effects of that rebellion, and to lament that “ the tears and blood spilt there did not quench the sparks of our civil” discord here. But who began these dissensions? And what can be more openly known than those retardings and delays, which by himself were continually devised, to hinder and put back the relief of those distressed Protestants ? which undoubtedly, had it not been then put back, might have saved many streams of those tears and that blood, whereof he seems here so sadly to bewail the spilling. His manifold excuses, diversions, and delays, are too well known to be recited here in particular, and too many.
212. But “he offered to go himself in person upon that expedition,” and reckons up many surmises why he thinks they would not suffer him. But mentions not that by his underdealing to debauch armies here at home, and by his secret intercourse with the chief rebels, long ere that time everywhere known, he had brought the parliament into so just a diffidence of him, as that they durst not leave the public arms to his disposal, much less an army to his conduct. He concludes, “That next the sin of those who began that rebellion, theirs must needs be who hindered the suppressing, or diverted the aids.” But judgment rashly given, ofttimes involves the judge himself. He finds fault with those “who threatened all extremity to the rebels,” and pleads much that mercy should be shown them. It seems he found himself not so much concerned