CELT document E600001-001

Brief Relation of the Passages in the Parliament summoned in Ireland in 1613


This important account of the proceedings of the 1613 parliament in Ireland document is amongst the Carew Papers in Lambeth Palace. It is anonymous but since it is partly in handwriting of George Carew himself it was possibly compiled by him in England.


Brief Relation of the Passages in the Parliament summoned in Ireland in 1613


1. Brief Relation of the Passages in the Parliament summoned in Ireland in 1613, July 1613

Calendar of State Papers, Ireland, 1611–14, pp. 392–99.1

Ireland standing in the state it does, is worthy the consideration to examine the probabilities like to ensue, and to provide timely remedies against future events, for the face of this Parliament now prorogued threatens ensuing mischiefs. The occasion of the distemper which now appears to be in the natives of that realm, is not as a mushroom of a night's growth, but is rooted in their hearts for many years past. In the latter end of Queen Elizabeth's reign they were no less obstinate in the Romish religion than at this present, as did appear in all the past rebellions, but her many years promising a hope of change (as they conceived),  p.393 advised the wiser sort to patience, and to cover their ill affections, until no hope was left. Since his Majesty's happy reign over us, they have unmasked themselves, and by an unanim consent are resolved to leave no means unsought to work their ends, taking unusual and undutiful courses to effect the same.

Upon the first report of Queen Elizabeth's death, the citizens of Waterford, Cork, and Limerick, &c., took arms, banished the ministers out of their towns, and in their rooms massing priests were placed, divers of his Majesty's good tenants and subjects were imprisoned, officers of the army and of justice contemptuously used, the magazines of munitions and victuals seized upon and converted to their own use, forts razed, sundry of his Majesty's soldiers slain; and to be brief, nothing was left undone that in their malice and weakness they were able to effect. But this storm (as soon as the Lord Deputy presented himself with an army before their walls) was appeased, and not long after land, yea, more liberties and immunities, were granted unto them than formerly they had. Finding that forcible means was not the way to attain their designs, they attempted the same in a more humble manner, and presented unto his Majesty at Hampton Court —  2 — (by the hands of the fugitive traitor Tyrone) a petition subscribed by all the principal men of that kingdom then in England (the Earl of Thomond excepted), the substance of which was a free toleration of religion, which being by his Majesty rejected, and thereby they left in despair of success, treason entered into their hearts. The plot was to kill the Lord Deputy and Councillors of State, to possess themselves of the castle of Dublin, where the records and magazines of arms and munition remain, and then to declare themselves in overt rebellion, hoping to obtain that by force which by petition they could not do; and to back this enterprise a person of that realm was sent to the Archduke to solicit aid.

The discovery of this treason moved Tyrone, Tyrconnell, and some other of their accomplices to run out of Ireland. A peer of that realm, their associate, was taken prisoner, whom his Majesty in his clemency pardoned. The next attempt, which was but a branch of the former, was the rebellion of Cahir O'Doherty, but a happy shot which smote him on the head ended that business. By the flight of Tyrone, Tyrconnell, &c, the rebellion of O'Doherty, and the traitorous juggling of Sir Neal O'Donnell, O'Cahan, and others, six entire counties in Ulster were escheated. There was no reason of merit to move his Majesty's charity towards them; nevertheless the King left them not unprovided, everyone according to his quality having land assigned unto them. But neither the faiting of those traitorly projects, nor yet his Majesty's gentle hand in restraining his ministers from the execution of the laws in matters of religion, nor the  p.394 benefits they have received of his bounty, hath gained their love or humbled their obdurate hearts, for they are not contented with the connivance used (no man being busked for his conscience); but as it were in contempt of the laws and government in divers parts of the kingdom, yea, in the English pale, they have re-edified monasteries, wherein friars publicly preach and say mass, and the cities, towns, and country swarm with priests and Jesuits more than in former times, and in the fields seditious sermons are daily preached, whereunto thousands resort. 3

They are grown so bold that they do not only exercise their religion almost in public everywhere, but defend the same even in the face of the State. Against the oath of supremacy to be tendered unto justices of the peace, mayors, sheriffs, bailiffs, and other public ministers, which by the laws of the realm are to take the same, and also against the oaths of allegiance which every subject ought to take, they are obstinately opposite. The law fee, 12d. the Sunday, for not coming to the church they resist, and stick not to say that both that statute and 2nd Eliz. are no lawful Acts. Their sons they send to be educated in Spain, France, Italy, and the Archduke's dominions more frequently than accustomed, which hath been no ancient custom amongst them; for Sir Patrick Barnwell (now living) was the first gentleman's son of quality that was ever put out of Ireland to be brought up in learning beyond the seas. And now, lastly, how frowardly they have demeaned themselves before and since the summoning of Parliament, and upon the first day of the first session of the same shall be briefly declared. Upon the signification of the King to the Lord Deputy, about Michaelmas 1611, that a Parliament should be held in Ireland, for the better settling and reforming of that state, the Lord Deputy, as he was directed, published the same, inviting the subjects of that realm to exhibit their grievances, and to consider of propositions that might be good either for the public or for the just relief of any particular, and, further, told them that for the better encouragement of the new plantations in Ulster, and generally for the drawing of inhabitants into such other places as were either weakly peopled or dangerous in respect of their situations, his Majesty thought it meet to erect new corporations, which would produce good effects for the strength of the kingdom. These intentions deserved applause with dutiful acknowledgement, but it fell out otherwise, for nothing was so distasteful to them as the name of a Parliament, and especially the noise of the erection of new corporations was poison in their ears; for the priests and Jesuits (who keep the natives of Ireland in lawful obedience) have sown such seeds of obstinacy in their hearts, as they presently resolved to impugn his designs to  p.395 their uttermost power; whereunto they were the more easily induced by a conceived fear that, not only for the present, laws would be made to curb them in religion, but that also in after times the King, by addition of new corporations (the inhabitants being Protestants), would make what laws he pleased. 4 This mutinous interpretation of his meaning, fomented by seditious priests, took such firm root as sundry lords of the English pale, assisted with the principal gentlemen of the same, endeavoured (before the Commons) to have the intended Parliament in England. After the Commons no art or industry was omitted to raise scandal whereby the hearts of the people might be alienated from it.

5 Unto his Majesty in November 1612 the lords of the pale and others in a joint letter wrote against it, finding themselves grieved at the proceedings of the L. Deputy and Council, that they were not conferred with about the Bills of Parliament to be transmitted into England, which demand by ancient customs and precedent never appertained to them. They inveighed against the new corporations, exclaimed against the oath of supremacy tendered to magistrates, and darkly intimated, under colour of representing the perils depending upon the Parliament, the danger of revolt, and aimed at tolerance of religion in saying, that if his Majesty would withdraw such laws as touched religion their minds would be settled in a firm and faithful subjection.

6 The 17th of May 1613, the said Lords exhibited a petition unto the Lord Deputy, stuffed with stubborn and unseemly phrases, the contents for the most part agreeing with the letters which they had written unto his Majesty. And in the same they did not forbear to question the King's prerogative, whether he had power or not to erect new corporations or to call by writ English or Scottish noblemen (landed in Ireland) to sit in his Parliament. They found fault with many of the boroughs lately erected, alleging that they were unmeet to be incorporated.

They excepted against the holding of Parliament within the castle of Dublin, and also against the Deputy's guard of 100 foot, as if the strength of the place and the guard had been prejudicial to their freedom. They excepted also against the powder and munitions, which evermore have been placed in a room within the castle, and other frivolous objections were forced, which was done only to impeach the proceedings of the Parliament. And finding their endeavours to be in vain, they concluded to refuse their attendance.

7 The 18th of May 1613, being the first day of the Parliament, they, according to the usual manner, delivered their reasons, which moved the King to call the general assembly, and the  p.396 Lord Deputy, in his name, recommended to the Commons Sir John Davies as their Speaker, whereupon the knights, citizens, and burgesses repaired to the Commons House, but in the election of their Speaker contention arose. The Protestant party named Sir John Davies, the Papists cried No, and named Sir John Everard. The Protestants having given their voices unto the election of Davies, went out of the House to number their voices by poll, desiring the Recusant party to send some one to tell them, which they refused; neither would they permit that themselves should be numbered. And whilst the Protestants without were numbering their heads, the Recusants within seditiously elected Sir John Everard to be their Speaker and set him in the chair. The Protestants sending some one to number the Recusants sitting, and finding their voices to be the major part, being returned into the House required Sir John Everard to give place, but he sat still and would not rise, he and the Recusants insisting that their election was legal and just. Many words of heat passed, but, in the end, the Protestants being the stronger party pulled Sir John Everard down, whereupon the Papists went out of the House protesting not to sit there any more. Before they were gone out of the outer room (which was locked and they wanted the key), the Protestants entreated them to return to their places, to submit themselves to the order of the House, and admit Sir John Davies to be their Speaker, whereupon no other answer was returned but an obstinate refusal.

8 The day following, the 19th of May 1613, which was the second day of Parliament, the Irish Lords wrote to the King exclaiming against the proceedings, calling them preposterous courses. They expressed their passions with epithets of pius dolor et justa iracundia, and did not vouchsafe in their letter to name the assembly a Parliament, but termed it an intended action. They signified a general discontent, not only against the new corporations, but also against the plantations; the new boroughs incorporated they termed Tituli sine re, et figmenta sine rebus. They wrote contemptibly against the persons of divers burgesses, and, as in their former letters, they intimated a menace of rebellion, and in a manner delineated how it might be managed.

9 The same day the Commons House of Parliament wrote to the Lords of the Council of England, wherein they took exception against the new corporations, and at divers burgesses sent from them, they complained of wrongs done unto them, that Sir John Davies was set in the Speaker's chair and that Sir John Everard was forcibly pulled out of it. They exaggerated their case so far, as they said their extremities were such and so strange as they wanted words to express them, and so unlikely to be believed, as that they were to be equalled to any accident transmitted, to posterity. They charged his  p.397 Majesty's counsellors and principal officers to be the actors of the disorders complained of.

10 The 20th of May 1613, the Commons exhibited a petition to the Deputy, wherein they presumed to call the King's acts and proceedings to account. They prayed to be dispensed of their attendance in the House, pretending that they were in fear of their lives. They required by what authority most of those who possessed the House sat therein. They craved sight of the fiants, of the charters of the new corporations, and likewise the view of his Majesty's letters for their erection, together with their returns and other places for the Parliament.

11 The day following being the 21 of May 1613, they preferred another petition to the Deputy, wherein by way of condition, if they might be secured of their lives and have the benefit of the laws of the kingdom and the censure of the undue returned knights and burgesses, they would repair to the House and present their Speaker. All which the Deputy, in his Majesty's name, granted, willing them to repair to their House, and he would be ready in the Upper House to receive their Speaker.

12 But their intent was far different from their words, for the same day they delivered unto the Deputy another petition, demanding that all such burgesses of the corporations might be sequestered from the House, and excluded before the objections propounded against them were declared and decided; which was a strange demand; for until a Speaker is established differences concerning undue elections cannot be determined. And albeit Sir John Davies was legally set in the chair, they would not acknowledge him as appeared in the petition, wherein they said, “that Sir John Everard being by us elected, ejected irregularly by others, and another intruded in his place by force, &c,” it plainly lieth open, the cunning they used in their former petition in saying they would present their Speaker, meaning Sir John Everard, whereas the Deputy intended to receive Sir John Davies.

13 The same day, the 21 of May 1613, the Lords exhibited a second petition to the Deputy, wherein they discovered a manifest combination with the Commons of the Recusant party, containing matter touching the Upper House. They complained of undue returns made by the sheriffs and others, of knights and burgesses of the new corporations, of men chosen to serve that were not resident in them, at the holding of the Parliament in the Castle of Dublin, at the Lord Deputy's guard, that Sir John Davies was not duly elected Speaker, that Sir John Everard had a due and orderly election, that he was by force ejected, and by force Sir John Davies intruded. They questioned the Deputy's authority in erecting new corporations, saying that his commission did not  p.398 bear it. They prayed a dispensation for not attending the Parliament and desired leave for some of them to go into England to complain unto his Majesty. By this it appeareth that their wilful obstinacy was in a degree more faulty than that of the Lower House, because they intermeddled in business not appertaining unto them.

14 The next day, 22 of May 1613, the Lords presented a third petition to the Deputy, wherein they said they would not come any more to the House until his Majesty had taken some better order for settling things. Their reasons were that although the Commons House and theirs were distinct, yet they both together made but one body, protesting also that any laws made in this Parliament would, in their execution, be cried out on by the subject, as unjustly enacted.

15 The 25 May 1613, the Recusant Commons by petition pressed the Deputy to give them the copy of his Majesty's letter for making new corporations, view of their charters, returns of all the knights, citizens, burgesses, &c., and license for their agents to present the difficulties and occurrants happened in the Parliament unto his Majesty, that they might know his pleasure. Lastly, they demanded the copy of the commission for holding the Parliament.

In this meantime the Deputy seeing the froward obstinacy of the Recusants in both Houses, by proclamation in his Majesty's name, commanded them to repair for the passing of the bill of recognition to the Parliament.

16 But instead of appearing, the Recusant Commons, the 26th of May, presented a petition to his Lordship wherein they acknowleged the King's title to the realm of Ireland and their obedience to him, yet with an obstinate resolution they protested never to return to the House until the knights and burgesses, whom they would except unto, were turned out, and until Sir John Davies was ejected, and Sir John Everard established and received as Speaker.

17 After the example of the Commons the Lords in a petition to the Deputy on the 27 of May excused their not coming to the House, and in manifestation that their refusing to attend was no want of duty to his Majesty, they made a recognition of the King's title to the crown of Ireland, but refused their personal attendance in Parliament for the reasons formerly alleged.

The Deputy, with extreme patience, gave mild answers to these petitions, sed opus et oleum perdidit. Unto persuasions that moved to conformity, they were as deaf as adders, no words pleasing their ears, that did not say, away with the new corporations, cast Davies out of the chair and place Everard in it. The Lords and gentlemen of the Recusant party, at their first coming to the city of Dublin came attended  p.399 with troops, as if they had purpose to effect their designs by force, which was to be feared they would have attempted if the Parliament had been held in the town, as heretofore hath been accustomed. When they were moved by the Deputy to consider of propositions meet to be handled in that great Council, they never made use of his Majesty's grace, whereby it was evident they meant to oppose and not concur in the making of laws. In the choice of the Speaker, they did impugn against him whom his Majesty had recommended; and when they saw they failed in plurality of voices, mutinously they nominated an Anti-Speaker, who was most unmeet, being formerly displaced from the office of judge, nevertheless they obstinately maintained his election.

Notwithstanding the just answers made them by the Deputy, to all their petitions, assuring them on his Majesty's behalf freedom and protection during the Parliament, and satisfying their exceptions, remitting to their own censures and examinations the misreturns and undue elections of knights and burgesses, and yielding to all their demands, yet, such was their froward dispositions, as in contempt of the King they departed from the Parliament; notwithstanding by proclamation they were required to return, and having notice given them, that no Act should be read in the house but the Act of Recognition, their passion so far overmastered their judgment as they peremptorily refused to obey.

This obstinacy of the Commons was seconded by the Lords, for besides the proclamation, every Lord had a messenger sent unto him to require his return, with promise that no other Bill should be read.

But neither fear of the King's indignation nor yet the bond of duty appertaining to subjects, had power to work their return; and so the first session ended, and presently certain selected men of both Houses were sent into England to complain to his Majesty of grievances, and to make apologies for their obstinacies. And for the defraying of their charges a general levy of money was made throughout the realm whereunto the Popish subjects did willingly condescend.

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Title (uniform): Brief Relation of the Passages in the Parliament summoned in Ireland in 1613

Author: unknown

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Electronic edition compiled by: Beatrix Färber

Proof corrections by: Beatrix Färber

Introduction by : Hiram Morgan

Funded by: University College, Cork, School of History and The HEA under PRTLI4

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1. First draft, revised and corrected.

Extent: 4410 words

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Publisher: CELT: Corpus of Electronic Texts: a project of the History Department, University College Cork

Address: College Road, Cork, Ireland—http://www.ucc.ie/celt

Date: 2013

Date: 2019

Distributor: CELT online at University College, Cork, Ireland.

CELT document ID: E600001-001

Availability: Available with prior consent of the CELT programme for purposes of academic research and teaching only.The document named E600001-001 formerly contained Bacon's text 'Certain considerations touching the Plantation in Ireland'. In March 2019 this text was integrated into file E600001-015. That file, in turn, formerly contained the 'Brief Relation' which in March 2019 has been moved to the present document.

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MS sources

  1. Washington, DC, Folger Shakespeare Library, MS X.d. no.158 (Document 19).
  2. Lambeth Palace, (Carew Papers) MS 600, p. 225ff; a manuscript of 12 pages in length, half of which is in Sir George Carew's hand and half in that of a copyist (Document 19).

Secondary literature (a small selection)

  1. T. W. Moody. 'The Irish Parliament under Elizabeth and James I: A General Survey', Proceedings of the Royal Irish Academy, Sect C., Vol. 45 (1939/1940) 41–81.
  2. V. Treadwell, 'The House of Lords in the Irish Parliament of 1613-15', English Historical Review, 80 (1965) 92–107.
  3. John McCavitt, Sir Arthur Chichester. Lord Deputy of Ireland 1605–16 (institute of Irish Studies, Queen's University Belfast 1998).
  4. John McCavitt, 'An Unspeakable Parliamentary Fracas: The Irish House of Commons, 1613', Analecta Hibernica 37 (Dublin, 1998) 223–35.
  5. Coleman Dennehy, The Irish Parliament, 1613–89: The Evolution of a Colonial Institution (Studies in Early Modern Irish History), Manchester University Press, forthcoming 2019.

The edition used in the digital edition

‘Brief Relation of the Passages in the Parliament summoned in Ireland in 1613, July 1613’ (1874). In: Calendar of State Papers, Ireland, 1611–14‍. Ed. by C.W. Russell and John P. Prendergast. Vol. 14. London: Longman & Co., pp. 392–399.

You can add this reference to your bibliographic database by copying or downloading the following:

  editor 	 = {C.W. Russell and John P. Prendergast},
  title 	 = {Brief Relation of the Passages in the Parliament summoned in Ireland in 1613, July 1613},
  booktitle 	 = {Calendar of State Papers, Ireland, 1611–14},
  address 	 = {London},
  publisher 	 = {Longman \& Co.},
  date 	 = {1874},
  volume 	 = {14},
  pages 	 = {392–399}


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Creation: by an unknown author

Date: July 1613

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  • The text is in seventeenth-century English. (en)
  • Some phrases and citations are in Latin. (la)

Keywords: histor; political; parliament; report; 17c; plantation

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  1. 2019-05-21: Correction made to header. (ed. Beatrix Färber)
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  3. 2019-03-25: Additions made to bibliography. (ed. Hiram Morgan)
  4. 2019-03-22: Header constructed based on previous one. Text removed from E600001-015, inserted and structural encoding adapted. (ed. Beatrix Färber)
  5. 2019-01-21: Francis Bacon's tracts reviewed and rearranged in light of new research; Introduction supplied. (ed. Hiram Morgan)

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  1. The original, Lambeth Palace (Carew Papers) MS 600, p. 225ff, is a manuscript of 12 pages in length half of which is in Sir George Carew's hand and half in a copyist's. 🢀

  2. in margin: anno 1 James 🢀

  3. In margin: The places: —
    Ballifaunye, in Westm.
    Kilconel, in co. Galway.
    Rosanol, in co. Mayo.
    Butevant, in co. Cork.
    Kilcrea, in co. Cork.
    Timolog, in co. Cork.
    Quin, in Thomond.
    Ferierloghe, in Desmond.
    Kilkenny City.
    Waterford City and elsewhere. 🢀

  4. In margin: Note: — That in October before the Lords of Ireland did write unto his Majesty, Sir Patrick Barnwell addressed his letters to his cousin, Mr. Darcy, in England, wherein he bewailed the estate of that realm, scandalizing the intended Parliament, saying it would overthrow the kingdom, reduce it into perpetual thraldom, traducing the new intended corporations being devised only to pass votes, professing himself opposite unto it, and consulting how to provoke it. 🢀

  5. In margin: —
    Nov. 1612 the first letter of the Lords to his Majesty. 🢀

  6. In margin:17th May. The first petition to the Lord Deputy. 🢀

  7. In margin: 18th May. The first day of the Parliament. 🢀

  8. In margin: 19th May. The Lords' second letter to his Majesty. 🢀

  9. In margin: 19th May. The Commons letter to the Lords in England. 🢀

  10. In margin: 20th May. The Commons first petition to the Lord Deputy. 🢀

  11. In margin: 21st May. The second petition of the Commons to the Lord Deputy. 🢀

  12. In margin: 21st May. The third petition of the Commons to the Lord Deputy. 🢀

  13. In margin: 21st May. The second petition of the Lords to the Lord Deputy. 🢀

  14. In margin: 22nd May. The Lords' third petition to the Lord Deputy. 🢀

  15. In margin: 25th May. The fourth petition of the Commons to the Lord Deputy. 🢀

  16. In margin: 26th May. The fifth petition of the Commons to the Deputy. 🢀

  17. In margin: 27th May. The Lords' fourth petition to the Lord Deputy. 🢀


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