Protestant Ireland (2)

Margaret Anne Cusack
start of chapter | Chapter XXV

The letter of Elizabeth, with her positive instructions to have the law passed, was dated October 18, 1559, and may be seen in extenso in the Liber Munerum Hibernia, vol. i. p. 113. There are several authorities for the dishonest course pursued by the Lord Deputy. The author of Cambrensis Eversus says: "The Deputy is said to have used force, and the Speaker treachery. I heard that it had been previously announced in the house that Parliament would not sit on that very day on which the laws against religion were enacted; but, in the meantime, a private summons was sent to those who were well known to be favourable to the old creed."[3]

Father George Dillon, who died in 1650, a martyr to his charity in assisting the plague-stricken people of Waterford, gives the following account of the transaction: "James Stanihurst, Lord of Corduff, who was Speaker of the lower house, by sending private summons to some, without any intimation to the more respectable Irish who had a right to attend, succeeded in carrying that law by surprise. As soon as the matter was discovered, in the next full meeting of Parliament, there was a general protest against the fraud, injustice, and deliberate treachery of the proceeding; but the Lord Justice, having solemnly sworn that the law would never be carried into execution, the remonstrants were caught in. the dexterous snare, and consented that the enactment should remain on the statute-book."[4] Dr. Rothe corroborates these statements, and records the misfortunes which followed the Speaker's family from that date.[5] Dr. Moran [6] has very acutely observed, that the day appointed for the opening of Parliament was the festival of St. Brigid, which was always kept with special solemnity in Ireland; therefore, the orthodox members would probably have absented themselves, unless informed of some business which absolutely required their attendance.


[3] Creed.—Camhrensis Eversus, vol. iii. p. 19.

[4] Book.—Orationes et Motiva, p. 87.

[5] Date.—Analecta, p. 387.

[6] Dr. Moran.—Archbishops of Dublin, p. 68. Further information may be obtained also in Curry's Historical Review.