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LXXXIV.-THE EARL OF Essex To THE EARL OF ARLINGTON. My LoRD, Dublin Castle, Oct. 12*, *73.
I have had severall complaints from some of y" Scotch Nation of their persecution (as they terme it) upon yo score of Nonconformitie, divers of those people who are dissenters from ye Church having bin (as they say) excommunicated, & Writts de Excomunicato Capiendo taken out & executed upon them, to yo great disquiett of that nation, & hindrance of y" Trade of y" Kingdome. I thought it my best cours my self to examine some one case of this nature, to see how their complaints were grounded. The first w" offer'd it selfe was of one Martin, an inconsiderable fellow in all respects. They call’d him a Merchant, whom I find to be but a very mean Pedlar. However, tho’ he may be of no value himselfe, Yet in regard ye whole Party seems to concerne themselves in his cause, I thought it not improper for me to informe myselfe fully of all yo Proceedings won have bin ago him. That I might y" more clearly understand what ye Points are on wo" these dissenters insist, & if not be able my self to prescribe some way how these matters might be accommodated to their satisfaction, & woo yo support of y" Church Government, yet at least I might be so instructed as to give such an Acco to his Majestie, as he might thereupon order what he should think fitt to have done in relation to them.
The State of this Person's case I have here enclosed, drawn up by one of y" King's Councell, wherein y Lóp will finde, that 'tis not for Nonconformitie that this man has bin excommunicated, but for contempt, he neglecting to make appearance to a citation out of y" Bps Court upon ye Acco of Fornication; And ye Truth is, I doe not think any of them are prosecuted purely upon yo score of Nonconformitie, at least some care has bin taken that none should be soe, for they are indulged their meetings on Sundays, provided it be in convenient places, & that they doe not affront yo publick worship established. But if men (as this Martine) shall take yo libertie to live wo what women they please, & then contemptuously refuse to give any Acco to yo Judge proper in that case for their soe doing, & shall goe away w” this unpunished, I doe not see how yo Goverm' of y" Church can long subsist; & besides ye wickedness wo" it would countenance, such a Licence as this would also, without doubt, be a great inducement to many men to goe over to their Party. These men pretend indeed a scruple to our Ceremonies of Marriage, looking upon that of y" King as a piece of Idolatry, & soe will only marry their owne way, wo" if they should be indulged, they ought certainly at least to give an Acco what way & in what manner they marry. I confess 'tis hard what to advise upon this occasion, for that People are to a Miracle encreased in this Kingdome, & grown very Powerfull; by some of my Lord of Strafford's " Lies, woo I have here by me, I find that in ye beginning of his time there was a view taken of all yo British (including English & Scotch) in yo Province of Ulster, & by that Returne there were then only thirteen thousand & some odd hundred persons of all sorts of yo two Nations, whereas now of y" Scotch Nation, by y' best Estimates I can make, there are not fewer then fourscore or an hundred thousand Men fitt to bear Arms. These are for y” generallitie, & I thinke I may say all upon yo matter, except yo Gentry, Presbiterians, some of them more moderate, & others of a more violent sort. They being now soe considerable, I humbly conceive it will require some care & prudence how to deale woo them, especially in regard of y" present conjuncture of Affairs, his Majestie having a war won a Forreigner. I shall not presume to offer my opinion in this case, but having observed to y Lóp these particulars, & instanced in that concerning their marriages, wo" doubtless is yo most difficult of any to accommodate, I shall pursue such commands
as his Majestie shall thinke fitt to send. In order to which I have for ye present dismiss'd this Martine, allowing him six weeks time from ye 27th of Sep to make his Peace why" Church, or otherwise to returne to Prison as I found him.
Dr Loftus is still in custody, & will not be brought to acknowledge his fault. The Lieut & Councell here may, & I believe will, suspend him of his Employments; but in regard he has a Pension upon ye Civill List as one of y" Masters of Chancerie, That cannot be alter'd without a Lie from his Majestie, a draught whereof I hope to send y Lóp by yo next, & y Person whom I shall recofiend in his room will be Do Topham, already one of y" Masters of Chancerie, but paid yo like Sallary by Concordation.
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LXXXV.--THE EARL of Essex To SIR HENRY CAPEL.
DEARE BROTHER, Dublin Castle, Oct. 13, '73. Here is one Oliver Plunkett, yo Romish Titular Primate of this Kingdome, who seems to be one of y" best men of his Persuasion I have mett w”; & tho’ I doubt not but he is industrious enough in promoting his owne religion, yet I could never finde but he was of a more peaceable temper & more conformable to yo Goverment then any of their Titular Bps in this Country. I know not well what Proceedings may be in Parliament in. relation to us here, or how far yo matter of religion may be concerned in it, nor is it fitt for me to offer my Judgement at this distance in a cause of that nature. This only I shall say, that in case any debates should arise by way of discriminating of Persons, & putting banishments or other Punishments upon Particulars, I should be glad for ye reasons above-mentioned you would yo selfe, & some of our Friends, secure this Gentleman from any such severitie, weh should be singly & personally inflicted on him.
LXXXVI.—THE EARL OF Essex To SIR HENRY COVENTRY.
S*, Dublin Castle, Octobo 25: 73. I lately redd a Lie of his Mai", under yo Signett subscribed by yo selfe, wo" relates to a Patent granted many years since to So Nicholas Armorer & So Gabriel Silvius of ye forfeitures of all bonds enter'd into for ye exportation of wooll. This Lie, among other things, has directed that for yo future no securities for y” due exportation of wooll be taken, but wo ye privity & approbation of y" substitutes of these Patentees, & this upon pretence, that oftentimes his Maio Officers of ye Customs in yo severall Ports of this Kingdome doe take bonds from Persons who are insolvent, & so when yo Persons have carried out yo wooll into forreigne parts contrary to Law, no Penalties can be recover'd for their soe doeing. I confess for my owne part I doe not see how this can be a remedy for that mischief; nay, I am apt to believe it will by experience be found rather to multiply those cheats & elusions of y" Law then any way to redress them, for when I observe that these Gentlemen have a clause in their Patent authorising them to compound w" those whose bonds are forfeited, what will y' effect in probabilitie be of consulting them in taking yo securities for prevention of undue exportation of wooll, but putting it into their power to compound yo Penalties, even before y” bonds are enter'd into, & be so far from hindring y” inconvenience, wo" y' Trade of England suffers by yo exportation of wooll out of Ireland into forreign parts, as to will setle a more ready way for men wo impunitie to violate such Laws as doe here provide ag' it. Possibly, if it were strictly enquired into, it would be found that not y” insolvency of securities, but yo compounding of forfeited bonds may have bin y” principall reason that his Matie has had so ill an Acco of these Penalties (for yo 8th part of them reserved as his Ma" due, wo" should be accounted in his Exchecquer, will not be a justification to y” Patentees so long as yo Court of Exchecquer is so slack as they are in their duty).
It has bin my observation, that most Patents of this kind, however specious ye pretences are upon wo" they were gained, have ever proved most mischievous in their execution, &, for instance, I shall mention one to you now in this Kingdome wo" was granted to So George Hamilton = Tis of all Penalties incurred for ploughing w" yo Horse Taile, won is expressly Provided ag' by an Act of Parliam', & has in all times bin looked upon, not only as it is, a barbarous Custome, but in many particulars very inconvenient to yo Publick; but this Patent is notoriously found to destroy yo good intent of that Law, for those who have a mind to continue their Ploughing by yo Horse Taile doe only compound won St George Hamilton before hand, & are then by him priviledged so to doe, & in effect it makes that Statute no other then an opportunitie of some gain to yo Patentee, but of no force to reforme yo Irish from their ill Habits.
As to this of y" wooll, I redd a Lie from my Lord Clifford, late Ld. Trear of England, and returned him an answer to it, wherein I have offer'd as much as I can say upon this subject. You will have herew" enclosed a copy of his Lóps Lie, together woo that of mine, for y' perusall. The Truth is, I cannot thinke of any properer way for prevention of that abuse, then that y” Lieu" here doe impose some certain Rules upon y King's Officers for yo taking of these bonds, & that great rigour & severitie be used for yo neglect & breach of them. The rules may be such as these.
In ye first Place, I conceive that mention'd in his Mao Lie concerning yo obliging them to Shipp all in such particular Ports as shall be nominated for this purpose, may be very necessary. They are limited by this Lie to six in number, but considering yo severall Countrys wo" produce wooll, there cannot be fewer then seven allow’d, namely, Dublin, Drogheda, Waterford, Corke, Youghall, Limmerick, & Gallway, & for some reasons Ross may also be added, weh will make eight.
Next, that all yo Officers of y" Customs, who are entrusted to