Charles I. and Ireland

Margaret Anne Cusack
start of chapter | Chapter XXVIII

James I. died on the 27th March, 1625, and left his successor no very pleasant prospects in any part of his kingdom. He was pronounced by Sully to be "the wisest fool in Europe;" Henry IV. styled him "Captain of Arts and Clerk of Arms;" and a favourite epigram of the age is thus translated:—

"When Elizabeth was England's King,
That dreadful name thro' Spain did ring;
How altered is the case, ah sa' me!
The juggling days of good Queen Jamie."

On the accession of Charles I., in 1625, it was so generally supposed he would favour the Catholic. cause, that the earliest act of the new Parliament in London was to vote a petition, begging the King to enforce the laws against recusants and Popish priests. The Viceroy, Lord Falkland, advised the Irish Catholics to propitiate him with a voluntary subsidy. They offered the enormous sum of £120,000, to be paid in three annual instalments, and in return he promised them certain "graces." The contract was ratified by royal proclamation, in which the concessions were accompanied by a promise that a Parliament should be held to confirm them. The first instalment of the money was paid, and the Irish agents returned home to find themselves cruelly deceived and basely cheated. Falkland was recalled by the Puritan party, on suspicion of favouring the Catholics; Viscount Ely and the Earl of Cork were appointed Lords Justices; and a reign of terror was at once commenced.