Loftus MS.

Margaret Anne Cusack
start of chapter | Chapter XXV

The Loftus MS., in Marsh's Library, and Sir James Ware, both mention the positive opposition of the Parliament to pass this law, and the mission of the Earl of Sussex to consult her Majesty as to what should be done with the refractory members. If he then proposed the treachery which he subsequently carried out, there is no reason to suppose her Majesty would have been squeamish about it, as we find she was quite willing to allow even more questionable methods to be employed on other occasions.

The Loftus MS. mentions a convocation of bishops which assembled this year, "by the Queen's command, for establishing the Protestant religion." The convocation was, if possible, a greater failure than the Parliament. If the bishops had obeyed the royal command, there would have been some record of their proceedings; but until the last few years, when the ipse dixit of certain writers was put forward as an argument—for proof it cannot be called—that the Irish Catholic bishops had conformed to the Protestant religion, so wild a theory was not even hazarded. It would be impossible here to go into details and proofs of the nonconformity of each bishop. The work has been already undertaken, with admirable success, by an Anglican clergyman.[7] I shall, however, give some of the impediments offered to the progress of the Reformation in the time of Queen Elizabeth, and of the cruel persecutions which were inflicted on those who dared to wish for liberty to worship God according to their conscience.


[7] Clergyman.—The Rev. W. Maziere Brady, D.D. Mr. Froude remarks, in his History of England, vol. x. p. 480: "There is no evidence that any of the bishops in Ireland who were in office at Queen Mary's death, with the exception of Curwin, either accepted the Reformed Prayer-Book, or abjured the authority of the Pope." He adds, in a foot-note: "I cannot express my astonishment at a proposition maintained by Bishop Mant and others, that the whole hierarchy of Ireland went over to the Reformation with the Government. In a survey of the country supplied to Cecil in 1571, after death and deprivation had enabled the Government to fill several sees, the Archbishops of Armagh, Tuam, and Cashel, with almost every one of the Bishops of the respective provinces, are described as Catholici et Confederati. The Archbishop of Dublin, with the Bishops of Kildare, Ossory, and Ferns, are alone returned as 'Protestantes.'"