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LXXXIV.—THE EARL OF ESSEX TO THE EARL OF ARLINGTON.
Dublin Castle, Oct. 12th, °73. I have had severall complaints from some of ye Scotch Nation of their persecution (as they terme it) upon ye 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 ye great disquiett of that nation, & hindrance of ye Trade of ye 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 wch 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 ye Proceedings wch have bin agt him. That I might ye more clearly understand what ye Points are on wch these dissenters insist, & if not be able my self to prescribe some way how these matters might be accommodated to their satisfaction, & wth ye support of ye Church Government, yet at least I might be so instructed as to give such an Acct 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 ye King's Councell, wherein yr Lõp 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 ye Bps Court upon ye Acct of Fornication; And ye Truth is, I doe not think any of them are prosecuted purely upon ye 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 ye publick worship established. But if men (as this Martine) shall take ye libertie to live wth what women they please, & then contemptuously refuse to give any Acct to ye Judge proper in that case for their soe doing, & shall goe away wth this unpunished, I doe not see how ye Govermt of ye Church can long subsist; & besides ye wickedness wch 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 ye King as a piece of Idolatry, & soe will only marry their owne way, weh if they should be indulged, they ought certainly at least to give an Acct 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 * Lřes, wch I have here by me, I find that in ye beginning of his time there was a view taken of all ye British (including English & Scotch) in ye Province of Ulster, & by that Returne there were then only thirteen thousand & some odd hundred persons of all sorts of ye two Nations, whereas now of ye Scotch Nation, by ye best Estimates I can make, there are not fewer then fourscore or an hundred thousand Men fitt to bear Arms. These are for ye generallitie, & I thinke I may say all upon ye matter, except ye 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 wth them, especially in regard of yo present conjuncture of Affairs, his Majestie having a war wth a Forreigner. I shall not presume to offer my opinion in this case, but having observed to yr Lõp these particulars, & instanced in that concerning their marriages, weh doubtless is ye most difficult of any to accommodate, I shall pursue such commands
* Whom Essex calls “the greatest Governor.”
as his Majestie shall thinke fitt to send. In order to which I have for yo present dismiss'd this Martine, allowing him six weeks time from ye 27th of Sept to make his Peace wth ye 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 ye Masters of Chancerie, That cannot be alter'd without a Lře from his Majestie, a draught whereof I hope to send y Lõp by ye next, & ye Person whom I shall recoñend in his room will be Dr Topham, already one of ye Masters of Chancerie, but paid ye like Sallary by Concordation.
LXXXV.- THE EARL OF ESSEX TO SIR HENRY CAPEL.
Dublin Castle, Oct. 13, '73. Here is one Oliver Plunkett, ye Romish Titular Primate of this Kingdome, who seems to be one of ye best men of his Persuasion I have mett wth; & 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 ye Goverment then any of their Titular Bộs in this country. I know not well what Proceedings may be in Parliament in relation to us here, or how far ye 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 ye selfe, & some of our Friends, secure this Gentleman from any such severitie, wch should be singly & personally inflicted on him.
LXXXVI.-THE EARL OF ESSEX TO SIR HENRY COVENTRY.
Dublin Castle, Octob? 25: 73. I lately rečd a Lře of his Maties, under ye Signett subscribed by y selfe, wch relates to a Patent granted many years since to Si Nicholas Armorer & St Gabriel Silvius of ye forfeitures of all bonds enter'd into for ye exportation of wooll. This Lře, among other things, has directed that for ye future no securities for ye due exportation of wooll be taken, but wth ye privity & approbation of ye substitutes of these Patentees, & this upon pretence, that oftentimes his Maties Officers of ye Customs in ye severall Ports of this Kingdome doe take bonds from Persons who are insolvent, & so when ye Persons have carried out ye 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 ye Law then any way to redress them, for when I observe that these Gentlemen have a clause in their Patent authorising them to compound wth those whose bonds are forfeited, what will ye effect in probabilitie be of consulting them in taking ye securities for prevention of undue exportation of wooll, but putting it into their power to compound ye Penalties, even before ye bonds are enter'd into, & be so far from hindring ye inconvenience, wch ye Trade of England suffers by ye exportation of wooll out of Ireland into forreign parts, as twill setle a more ready way for men wth impunitie to violate such Laws as doe here provide agt it. Possibly, if it were strictly enquired into, it would be found that not ye insolvency of securities, but ye compounding of forfeited bonds may have bin ye principall reason that his Mafie has had so ill an Acct of these Penalties (for ye gth part of them reserved as his Maties due, wch should be accounted in his Exchecquer, will not be a justification to ye Patentees so long as ye 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 wch they were gained, have ever proved most mischievous in their execution, &, for instance, I shall mention one to you now in this Kingdome wch was granted to Sr George Hamilton = Tis of all Penalties incurred for ploughing wth ye Horse Taile, wch is expressly Provided ayt 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 ye Publick; but this Patent is notoriously found to destroy ye good intent of that Law, for those who have a mind to continue their Ploughing by ye Horse Taile doe only compound wth Sr 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 ye Patentee, but of no force to reforme ye Irish from their ill Habits.
As to this of ye wooll, I rečd a Lře 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 herewth enclosed a copy of his Lõps Lře, together wth that of mine, for yr perusall. The Truth is, I cannot thinke of any properer way for prevention of that abuse, then that ye Lieut here doe impose some certain Rules upon ye King's Officers for ye taking of these bonds, & that great rigour & severitie be used for ye neglect & breach of them. The rules may be such
In ye first Place, I conceive that mention'd in his Maties Lře concerning ye 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 Lře to six in number, but considering ye severall Countrys wch 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, wch will make eight.
Next, that all ye Officers of ye Customs, who are entrusted to