CELT document E703001-005

Jacobite Appeal to Officers and Soldiers, 1689

Jacobite army officers

Edited by John T. Gilbert

Whole text


Jacobite Appeal to Officers and Soldiers, 1689

A letter to the officers and soldiers of his majesty's subjects that are in count de Schomberg's army.

Next to the honour of never engaging in a bad cause, there is nothing braver than to desert it, which you, gentlemen, are concerned to do upon a thousand obligations. The mortality itself amongst you is a warning to this purpose, being in many circumstances so strange as not to find a parallel in history; and you have reason to reflect whether it proceeds not from the same hand, only in another method, which destroyed so many thousand in the camp of Sennacherib. Remember the fortune of Egypt. The magicians themselves subscribed: “This is the finger of God;” and certainly no Christians should be more obdurate than they. You see the vanity of promising yourselves estates, and lands in Ireland: look upon the numbers of your dead, without or with the proportion of as much as to cover them. What have they bequeathed their families but repentance for the miseries of war whereunto your country is exposed by you? At the same time you fight against your honour, your liberty, your interest and your religion so directly, your very prosperity would turn to your destruction. There is nothing more apparent in the proceedings of Scotland than the total ruin and subversion of the church of England, which being contracted by the loss of the king, its safety naturally follows upon his majesty's restoration, especially the counterpart of your duty will engage him to preserve it. Your duty shows itself in the canons, homilies, oaths, Common-Prayer, etc., which are altogether for loyalty. The Scripture cannot countenance disobedience against any prince, but it did not enjoin subjection to Nero.

But if your case, gentlemen, be the rejecting and slighting of your duty though you know it; as you absolutely act against your consciences, so you stand in a double rebellion against your prince and against your church. What a contradiction is it to do this and mourn for the 30th of January 1648-9! For other persons of a greater latitude in their persuasions and principles it is less to be admired of some, that they  p.252 should depose the son upon evidence of his being a Catholic, who martyred the father and suppressed the Church of England upon the suspicion. The casualties of war are infinitely more intolerable than the greatest grievances and misfortunes of peace. These are incident but to private persons; the other are universal. These go against some laws; those destroy all. These may produce some sorrow and trouble; but the other are exercised in famine, pestilence and blood. And the damage of the whole accrues to every member; whereof there being no imaginable end but in the restoration of the king, your resistance not only contradicts your duty and religion, but the advices also both of public and private interest. If his majesty overcomes you, your estates are forfeited. If the war be prolonged, your estates are exhausted. Suppose you fill your houses with the riches of plunder. They are lost as they are gotten; and withal you know the curse upon Achan's spoil. In the place of the king, who expressed in his government the tenderness of a father, and gave you in his life the example of a saint; you sitting quietly under your own vines, and worshipping at your own altars, whilst traffic flourished abroad and Christian charity was promoted amongst one another; what is the excellence of the prince you espouse? A prince without nature towards his father, without honour towards his enemy; an oppressor of his own country, an usurper of yours; unfortunate in war, unfaithful in peace; postponing his oath, in the business of Statholder, to compass his ambition, and the laws of humanity, in the death of De Witt, to gratify his revenge; but for murdering of men in the field, after a peace mutually ratified, the battle of Mons is a perfect original. Who lays you under taxes without law, measure or end, and practises the very things he proposed to redress? Who oppresses you with foreigners under the colour of liberty, and holds with one religion, but runs with another; and intends you for nothing but to bear the charges of his personal ambition and your own slavery, at the uttermost hazard of your dear lives and fortunes? And where is your interest there?

To engage in war for private discontents and jealousies, besides that unconcerned persons perish in the common ruin, which renders it  p.253 unnatural and unjust, it is to oppose a slight disease with a mortal remedy, and set your house on fire to cure the smoke. If the public prospers, a man's share of the public good is some consolation under his private suffering; but if the public lies under suffering, his share of that evil aggravates his own. So you may examine it, and as you have the grace to practise it you will find yourselves the more satisfied there is no true interest like honesty. Other courses furnish matter for shame and repentance, but the methods of honesty are sure, as they are honourable, and will justify you before God and the world. Honour is the excellence of a man, particularly of a soldier: it is not the reward of confidence and daring only; for a freebooter is not a man of honour: but the rules of honour are formed upon the rules of justice, virtue, and nature; which if you apply to yourselves, you must either change your side or change your field. Your returns to the king, who employed you and confided in your arms, are so ungrateful and unnatural they cannot be honourable. To depose him from the property he was possessed of by all divine and human laws is so unjust it cannot be honourable. To be deluded with imaginary stories and pretences of a suppositious prince is so weak and irrational, it cannot be honourable. To call in multitudes of strangers and foreigners, of desperate fortunes and several nations, who are contriving your slavery, together with the old invaders of our country, the Danes, who held our ancestors in a war of three hundred years, and their insolence became intolerable to a proverb, till the very women fell upon them with the indignation of so many Judiths, it is so shameful it cannot be honourable.

Therefore, that which we wish you, gentlemen, is to return to yourselves and your duty. Your repentance will yet satisfy the world and entitle you to the rewards of your virtue; for it may be a man's unhappiness to commit a fault, but it is purely his virtue to amend it.

—Imprimatur: Richard Nagle. —Dublin, printed for Alderman James Malone, bookseller, in Skinner Row, 1689.

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Title (uniform): Jacobite Appeal to Officers and Soldiers, 1689

Author: Jacobite army officers

Editor: John T. Gilbert

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Electronic edition compiled by: Beatrix Färber and Janet Crawford

Edition statement

2. Second draft.

Extent: 1681 words

Publication statement

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: 2005

Date: 2010

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

CELT document ID: E703001-005

Availability: Available with prior consent of the CELT programme for purposes of academic research and teaching only.

Source description


  • A letter to the officers and soldiers of his majesty's subjects that are in count de Schomberg's army, Dublin 1689.

The edition used in the digital edition

‘Jacobite Appeal to Officers and Soldiers, 1689’ (1971). In: A Jacobite narrative of the war in Ireland‍. Ed. by John T. Gilbert. (First published 1892). Shannon: Shannon University Press, pp. 251–253.

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

  editor 	 = {John T. Gilbert},
  title 	 = {Jacobite Appeal to Officers and Soldiers, 1689},
  booktitle 	 = {A Jacobite narrative of the war in Ireland},
  address 	 = {Shannon},
  publisher 	 = {Shannon University Press},
  date 	 = {1971},
  note 	 = {(First published 1892)},
  pages 	 = {251–253}


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Project description: CELT: Corpus of Electronic Texts

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Profile description

Creation: by Jacobite army officers

Date: 1689

Language usage

  • The text is in English. (en)

Keywords: political; prose; 17c; Jacobite War

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(Most recent first)

  1. 2019-06-05: Changes made to div0 type. (ed. Beatrix Färber)
  2. 2010-05-03: Conversion script run, header updated; encoding improved; new wordcount made; file parsed; new SGML and HTML versions created. (ed. Beatrix Färber)
  3. 2008-09-24: Keywords added; file validated. (ed. Beatrix Färber)
  4. 2008-07-20: Value of div0 "type" attribute modified, changes to file structure made; 'langUsage' revised. (ed. Beatrix Färber)
  5. 2005-08-25: Normalised language codes and edited langUsage for XML conversion (ed. Julianne Nyhan)
  6. 2005-08-04T14:21:13+0100: Converted to XML (conversion Peter Flynn)
  7. 2005-07-14: Header created, file parsed, HTML file created. (ed. Beatrix Färber)
  8. 2005-07-12: File proofed (2), more content markup applied. (ed. Beatrix Färber)
  9. 2005-05: First proofing of the text; structural and some content markup applied. (ed. Janet Crawford, Co. Tipperary)
  10. 2005-05: Text scanned in. (text capture Benjamin Hazard)

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