Fox's Book of Martyrs by John Foxe

A history of the lives, sufferings and triumphant deaths of many early Christian martyrs.

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Chapter XVII



Rise and Progress of the Protestant Religion in Ireland; with an
Account of the Barbarous Massacre of 1641

The gloom of popery had overshadowed Ireland from its first
establishment there until the reign of Henry VIII when the rays
of the Gospel began to dispel the darkness, and afford that light
which until then had been unknown in that island. The abject
ignorance in which the people were held, with the absurd and
superstitious notions they entertained, were sufficiently evident
to many; and the artifices of their priests were so conspicuous,
that several persons of distinction, who had hitherto been
strenuous papists, would willingly have endeavored to shake off
the yoke, and embrace the Protestant religion; but the natural
ferocity of the people, and their strong attachment to the
ridiculous doctrines which they had been taught, made the attempt
dangerous. It was, however, at length undertaken, though attended
with the most horrid and disastrous consequences.

The introduction of the Protestant religion into Ireland may
be principally attributed to George Browne, an Englishman, who
was consecrated archbishop of Dublin on the nineteenth of March,
1535. He had formerly been an Augustine friar, and was promoted
to the mitre on account of his merit.

After having enjoyed his dignity about five years, he, at
the time that Henry VIII was suppressing the religious houses in
England, caused all the relics and images to be removed out of
the two cathedrals in Dublin, and the other churches in his
diocese; in the place of which he caused to be put up the Lord's
Prayer, the Creed, and the Ten Commandments.

A short time after this he received a letter from Thomas
Cromwell, lord-privy seal, informing him that Henry VIII having
thrown off the papal supremacy in England, was determined to do
the like in Ireland; and that he thereupon had appointed him
(Archbishop Browne) one of the commissioners for seeing this
order put in execution. The archbishop answered that he had
employed his utmost endeavors at the hazard of his life, to cause
the Irish nobility and gentry to acknowledge Henry as their
supreme head, in matters both spiritual and temporal; but had met
with a most violent opposition, especially from George,
archbishop of Armagh; that this prelate had, in a speech to his
clergy, laid a curse on all those who should own his highness'
supremacy: adding, that their isle, called in the Chronicles
Insula Sacra, or the Holy Island, belonged to none but the bishop
of Rome, and that the king's progenitors had received it from the
pope. He observed likewise, that the archbishop and clergy of
Armagh had each despatched a courier to Rome; and that it would
be necessary for a parliament to be called in Ireland, to pass an
act of supremacy, the people not regarding the king's commission
without the sanction of the legislative assembly. He concluded
with observing, that the popes had kept the people in the most
profound ignorance; that the clergy were exceedingly illiterate;
that the common people were more zealous in their blindness than
the saints and martyrs had been in the defence of truth at the
beginning of the Gospel; and that it was to be feared that Shan
O'Neal, a chieftain of great power in the northern part of the
island, was decidedly opposed to the king's commission.

In pursuance of this advice, the following year a parliament
was summoned to meet at Dublin, by order of Leonard Grey, at that
time lord-lieutenant. At this assembly Archbishop Browne made a
speech, in which he set forth that the bishops of Rome used,
anciently, to acknowledge emperors, kings, and princes, to be
supreme in their own dominions; and, therefore, that he himself
would vote King Henry VIII as supreme in all matters, both
ecclesiastical and temporal. He concluded with saying that
whosoever should refuse to vote for this act, was not a true
subject of the king. This speech greatly startled the other
bishops and lords; but at length, after violent debates, the
king's supremacy was allowed.

Two years after this, the archbishop wrote a second letter
to Lord Cromwell, complaining of the clergy, and hinting at the
machinations which the pope was then carrying on against the
advocates of the Gospel. This letter is dated from Dublin, in
April, 1538; and among other matters, the archbishop says, "A
bird may be taught to speak with as much sense as many of the
clergy do in this cvountry. These, though not scholars, yet are
crafty to cozen the oor common people and to dissuade them from
following his highness orders. The country folk here much hate
your lordship, and despitefully call you, in their Irish tongue,
the Blacksmith's Son. As a friend, I desire your lordship to look
well to your noble person. Rome hath a great kindness for the
duke of Norfolk, and great favors for this nation, purposely to
oppose his highness."

A short time after this, the pope sent over to Ireland
(directed to the archbishop of Armagh and his clergy) a bull of
excommunication against all who had, or should own the king's
supremacy within the Irish nation; denouncing a curse on all of
them, and theirs, who should not, within forty days, acknowledge
to their confessors, that they had done amiss in so doing.

Archbishop Browne gave notice of this in a letter dated,
Dublin, May, 1538. Part of the form of confession, or vow, sent
over to these Irish papists, ran as follows: "I do further
declare him or here, father or mother, brother or sister, son or
daughter, husband or wife, uncle or aunt, nephew or niece,
kinsman or kinswoman, master or mistress, and all others, nearest
or dearest relations, friend or acquaintance whatsoever,
accursed, that either do or shall hold, for the time to come, any
ecclesiastical or civil power above the authority of the Mother
Church; or that do or shall obey, for the time to come, any of
her, the Mother of Churches' opposers or enemies, or contrary to
the same, of which I have here sworn unto: so God, the Blessed
Virgin, St. Peter, St. Paul, and the Holy Evangelists, help me,"
etc. is an exact agreement with the doctrines promulgated by the
Councils of Lateran and Constance, which expressly declare that
no favor should be shown to heretics, nor faith kept with them;
that they ought to be excommunicated and condemned, and their
estates confiscated, and that princes are obliged, by a solemn
oath, to root them out of their respective dominions.

How abominable a church must that be, which thus dares to
trample upon all authority! How besotted the people who regard
the injunctions of such a church!

In the archbishop's last-mentioned letter, dated May, 1538,
he says: "His highness' viceroy of this nation is of little or no
power with the old natives. Now both English and Irish begin to
oppose your lordship's orders, and to lay aside their national
quarrels, which I fear will (if anything will) cause a foreigner
to invade this nation."

Not long after this, Archbishop Browne seized one Thady
O'Brian, a Franciscan friar, who had in his possession a paper
sent from Rome, dated May, 1538, and directed to O'Neal. In this
letter were the following words: "His Holiness, Paul, now pope,
and the council of the fathers, have lately found, in Rome, a
prophecy of one St. Lacerianus, an Irish bishop of Cashel, in
which he saith that the Mother Church of Rome falleth, when, in
Ireland, the Catholic faith is overcome. Therefore, for the glory
of the Mother Church, the honor of St. Peter, and your own
secureness, suppress heresy, and his holiness' enemies."

This Thady O'Brian, after further examination and search
made, was pilloried, and kept close prisoner until the king's
orders arrived in what manner he should be further dispposed of.
But order coming over from England that he was to be hanged, he
laid violent hands on himself in the castle of Dublin. His body
was afterwards carried to Gallows-green, where, after being
hanged up for some time, it was interred.

After the accession of Edward VI to the throne of England,
an order was directed to Sir Anthony Leger, the lord-deputy of
Ireland, commanding that the liturgy in English be forthwith set
up in Ireland, there to be observed within the several
bishoprics, cathedrals, and parish churches; and it was first
read in Christ-church, Dublin, on Easter day, 1551, before the
said Sir Anthony, Archbishop Browne, and others. Part of the
royal order for this purpose was as follows: "Whereas, our
gracious father, King Henry VIII taking into consideration the
bondage and heavy yoke that his true and faithful subjects
sustained, under the jurisdiction of the bishop of Rome; how
several fabulous stories and lying wonders misled our subjects;
dispensing with the sins of our nations, by their indulgences and
pardons, for gain; purposely to cherish all evil vices, as
robberies, rebellions, thefts, whoredoms, blasphemy, idolatry,
etc., our gracious father hereupon dissolved all priories,
monasteries, abbeys, and other pretended religious houses; as
being but nurseries for vice or luxury, more than for sacred
learning," etc.

On the day after the Common Prayer was first used in
Christchurch, Dublin, the following wicked scheme was projected
by the papists:

In the church was left a marble image of Christ, holding a
reed in his hand, with a crown of thorns on his head. Whilst the
English service (the Common Prayer) was being read before the
lord-lieutenant, the archbishop of Dublin, the privy-council, the
lord-mayor, and a great congregation, blood was seen to run
through the crevices of the crown of thorns, and trickle down the
face of the image. On this, some of the contrivers of the
imposture cried aloud, "See how our Savior's image sweats blood!
But it must necessarily do this, since heresy is come into the
church." Immediately many of the lower order of people, indeed
the vulgar of all ranks, were terrified at the sight of so
miraculous and undeniable an evidence of the divine displeasure;
they hastened from the church, convinced that the doctrines of
Protestantism emanated from an infernal source, and that
salvation was only to be found in the bosom of their own
infallible Church.

This incident, however ludicrous it may appear to the
enlightened reader, had great influence over the minds of the
ignorant Irish, and answered the ends of the impudent impostors
who contrived it, so far as to check the progress of the reformed
religion in Ireland very materially; many persons could not
resist the conviction that there were many errors and corruptions
in the Romish Church, but they were awed into silence by this
pretended manifestation of Divine wrath, which was magnified
beyond measure by the bigoted and interested priesthood.

We have very few particulars as to the state of religion in
Ireland during the remaining portion of the reign of Edward VI
and the greater part of that of Mary. Towards the conclusion of
the barbarous sway of that relentless bigot, she attempted to
extend her inhuman persecutions to this island; but her
diabolical intentions were happily frustrated in the following
providential manner, the particulars of which are related by
historians of good authority.

Mary had appointed Dr. Pole (an agent of the bloodthirsty
Bonner) one of the commissioners for carrying her barbarous
intentions into effect. He having arrived at Chester with his
commission, the mayor of that city, being a papist, waited upon
him; when the doctor taking out of his cloak bag a leathern case,
said to him, "Here is a commission that shall lash the heretics
of Ireland." The good woman of the house being a Protestant, and
having a brother in Dublin, named John Edmunds, was greatly
troubled at what she heard. But watching her opportunity, whilst
the mayor was taking his leave, and the doctor politely
accompanying him downstairs, she opened the box, took out the
commission, and in its stead laid a sheet of paper, with a pack
of cards, and the knave of clubs at top. The doctor, not
suspecting the trick that had been played him, put up the box,
and arrived with it in Dublin, in September, 1558.

Anxious to accomplish the intentions of his "pious"
mistress, he immediately waited upon Lord Fitz-Walter, at that
time viceroy, and presented the box to him; which being opened,
nothing was found in it but a pack of cards. This startling all
the persons present, his lordship said, "We must procure another
commission; and in the meantime let us shuffle the cards."

Dr. Pole, however, would have directly returned to England
to get another commission; but waiting for a favorable wind, news
arrived that Queen Mary was dead, and by this means the
Protestants escaped a most cruel persecution. The above relation
as we before observed, is confirmed by historians of the greatest
credit, who add, that Queen Elizabeth settled a pension of forty
pounds per annum upon the above mentioned Elizabeth Edmunds, for
having thus saved the lives of her Protestant subjects.

During the reigns of Elizabeth and James I, Ireland was
almost constantly agitated by rebellions and insurrections,
which, although not always taking their rise from the difference
of religious opinions, between the English and Irish, were
aggravated and rendered more bitter and irreconcilable from that
cause. The popish priests artfully exaggerated the faults of the
English government, and continually urged to their ignorant and
prejudiced hearers the lawfulness of killing the Protestants,
assuring them that all Catholics who were slain in the
prosecution of so pious an enterprise, would be immediately
received into everlasting felicity. The naturally ungovernable
dispositions of the Irish, acted upon by these designing men,
drove them into continual acts of barbarous and unjustifiable
violence; and it must be confessed that the unsettled and
arbitrary nature of the authority exercised by the English
governors, was but little calculated to gain their affections.
The Spaniards, too, by landing forces in the south, and giving
every encouragement to the discontented natives to join their
standard, kept the island in a continual state of turbulence and
warfare. In 1601, they disembarked a body of four thousand men at
Kinsale, and commenced what they called "the Holy War for the
preservation of the faith in Ireland;" they were assisted by
great numbers of the Irish, but were at length totally defeated
by the deputy, Lord Mountjoy, and his officers.

This closed the transactions of Elizabeth's reign with
respect to Ireland; an interval of apparent tranquillity
followed, but the popish priesthood, ever restless and designing,
sought to undermine by secret machinations that government and
that faith which they durst no longer openly attack. The pacific
reign of James afforded them the opportunity of increasing their
strength and maturing their schemes, and under his successor,
Charles I, their numbers were greatly increased by titular Romish
archbishops, bishops, deans, vicars-general, abbots, priests, and
friars; for which reason, in 1629, the public exercise of the
popish rites and ceremonies was forbidden.

But notwithstanding this, soon afterwards, the Romish clergy
erected a new popish university in the city of Dublin. They also
proceeded to build monasteries and nunneries in various parts of
the kingdom; in which places these very Romish clergy, and the
chiefs of the Irish, held frequent meetings; and from thence,
used to pass to and fro, to France, Spain, Flanders, Lorraine,
and Rome; where the detestable plot of 1641 was hatching by the
family of the O'Neals and their followers.

A short time before the horrid conspiracy broke out, which
we are now going to relate, the papists in Ireland had presented
a remonstrance to the lords-justice of that kingdom, demanding
the free exercise of their religion, and a repeal of all laws to
the contrary; to which both houses of parliament in England
solemnly answered that they would never grant any toleration to
the popish religion in that kingdom.

This further irritated the papists to put in execution the
diabolical plot concerted for the destruction of the Protestants;
and it failed not of the success wished for by its malicious and
rancorous projectors.

The design of this horrid conspiracy was that a general
insurrection should take place at the same time throughout the
kingdom, and that all the Protestants, without exception, should
be murdered. The day fixed for this horrid massacre, was the
twenty-third of October, 1641, the feast of Ignatius Loyola,
founder of the Jesuits; and the chief conspirators in the
principal parts of the kingdom made the necessary preparations
for the intended conflict.

In order that this detested scheme might the more infallibly
succeed, the most distinguished artifices were practiced by the
papists; and their behavior in their visits to the Protestants,
at this time, was with more seeming kindness than they had
hitherto shown, which was done the more completely to effect the
inhuman and treacherous designs then meditating against them.

The execution of this savage conspiracy was delayed until
the approach of winter, that sending troops from England might be
attended with greater difficulty. Cardinal Richelieu, the French
minister, had promised the conspirators a considerable supply of
men and money; and many Irish officers had given the strongest
assurances that they would heartily concur with their Catholic
brethren, as soon as the insurrection took place.

The day preceding that appointed for carrying this horrid
design into execution was now arrived, when, happily, for the
metropolis of the kingdom, the conspiracy was discovered by one
Owen O'Connelly, an Irishman, for which most signal service the
English Parliament voted him 500 pounds and a pension of 200
pounds during his life.

So very seasonably was this plot discovered, even but a few
hours before the city and castle of Dublin were to have been
surprised, that the lords-justice had but just time to put
themselves, and the city, in a proper posture of defence. Lord
M'Guire, who was the principal leader here, with his accomplices,
was seized the same evening in the city; and in their lodgings
were found swords, hatchets, pole-axes, hammers, and such other
instruments of death as had been prepared for the destruction and
extirpation of the Protestants in that part of the kingdom.

Thus was the metropolic happily preserved; but the bloody
part of the intended tragedy was past prevention. The
conspirators were in arms all over the kingdom early in the
morning of the day appointed, and every Protestant who fell in
their way was immediately murdered. No age, no sex, no condition,
was spared. The wife weeping for her butchered husband, and
embracing her helpless children, was pierced with them, and
perished by the same stroke. The old, the young, the vigorous,
and the infirm, underwent the same fate, and were blended in one
common ruin. In vain did flight save from the first assault,
destruction was everywhere let loose, and met the hunted victims
at every turn. In vain was recourse had to relations, to
companions, to friends; all connections were dissolved; and death
was dealt by that hand from which protection was implored and
expected. Without provocation, without opposition, the astonished
English, living in profound peace, and, as they thought, full
security, were massacred by their nearest neighbors, with whom
they had long maintained a continued intercourse of kindness and
good offices. Nay, even death was the slightest punishment
inflicted by these monsters in human form; all the tortures which
wanton cruelty could invent, all the lingering pains of body, the
anguish of mind, the agonies of despair, could not satiate
revenge excited without injury, and cruelly derived from no just
cause whatever. Depraved nature, even perverted religion, though
encouraged by the utmost license, cannot reach to a greater pitch
of ferocity than appeared in these merciless barbarians. Even the
weaker sex themselves, naturally tender to their own sufferings,
and compassionate to those of others, have emulated their robust
companions in the practice of every cruelty. The very children,
taught by example and encouraged by the exhortation of their
parents, dealt their feeble blows on the dead carcasses of the
defenceless children of the English.

Nor was the avarice of the Irish sufficient to produce the
least restraint on their cruelty. Such was their frenzy, that the
cattle they had seized, and by repine had made their own, were,
because they bore the name of English, wontonly slaughtered, or,
when covered with wounds, turned loose into the woods, there to
perish by slow and lingering torments.

The commodious habitations of the planters were laid in
ashes, or levelled with the ground. And where the wretched owners
had shut themselves up in the houses, and were preparing for
defence, they perished in the flames together with their wives
and children.

Such is the general description of this unparalleled
massacre; but it now remains, from the nature of our work, that
we proceed to particulars.

The bigoted and merciless papists had no sooner begun to
imbrue their hands in blood than they repeated the horrid tragedy
day after day, and the Protestants in all parts of the kingdom
fell victims to their fury by deaths of the most unheard-of

The ignorant Irish were more strongly instigated to execute
the infernal business by the Jesuits, priests, and friars, who,
when the day for the execution of the plot was agreed on,
recommended in their prayers, diligence in the great design,
which they said would greatly tend to the prosperity of the
kingdom, and to the advancement of the Catholic cause. They
everywhere declared to the common people, that the Protestants
were heretics, and ought not to be suffered to live any longer
among them; adding that it was no more sin to kill an Englishman
than to kill a dog; and that the relieving or protecting them was
a crime of the most unpardonable nature.

The papists having besieged the town and castle of Longford,
and the inhabitants of the latter, who were Protestants,
surrendering on condition of being allowed quarter, the
besiegers, the instant the townspeople appeared, attacked them in
a most unmerciful manner, their priest, as a signal for the rest
to fall on, first ripping open the belly of the English
Protestant minister; after which his followers murdered all the
rest, some of whom they hanged, others were stabbed or shot, and
great numbers knocked on the head with axes provided for the

The garrison at Sligo was treated in like manner by O'Connor
Slygah; who, upon the Protestants quitting their holds, promised
them quarter, and to convey them safe over the Curlew mountains,
to Roscommon. But he first imprisoned them in a most loathsome
jail, allowing them only grains for their food. Afterward, when
some papists were merry over their cups, who were come to
congratulate their wicked brethren for their victory over these
unhappy creatures, those Protestants who survived were brought
forth by the White-firars, and were either killed, or
precipitated over the bridge into a swift river, where they were
soon destroyed. It is added, that this wicked company of
White-friars went, some time after, in solemn procession, with
holy water in their hands, to sprinkle the river; on pretence of
cleansing and purifying it from the stains and pollution of the
blood and dead bodies of the heretics, as they called the
unfortunate Protestants who were inhumanly slaughtered at this
very time.

At Kilmore, Dr. Bedell, bishop of that see, had charitably
settled and supported a great number of distressed Protestants,
who had fled from their habitations to escape the diabolical
cruelties committed by the papists. But they did not long enjoy
the consolation of living together; the good prelate was forcibly
dragged from his episcopal residence, which was immediately
occupied by Dr. Swiney, the popish titular bishop of Kilmore, who
said Mass in the church the Sunday following, and then seized on
all the goods and effects belonging to the persecuted bishop.

Soon after this, the papists forced Dr. Bedell, his two
sons, and the rest of his family, with some of the chief of the
Protestants whom he had protected, into a ruinous castle, called
Lochwater, situated in a lake near the sea. Here he remained with
his companions some weeks, all of them daily expecting to be put
to death. The greatest part of them were stripped naked, by which
means, as the season was cold, (it being in the month of
December) and the building in which they were confined open at
the top, they suffered the most severe hardships. They continued
in this situation until the seventh of January, when they were
all released. The bishop was courteously received into the house
of Dennis O'Sheridan, one of his clergy, whom he had made a
convert to the Church of England; but he did not long survive
this kindness. During his residence here, he spent the whole of
his time in religious exercises, the better to fit and prepare
himself and his sorrowful companions for their great change, as
nothing but certain death was perpetually before their eyes. He
was at this time in the seventy-first year of his age, and being
afflicted with a violent ague caught in his late cold and
desolate habitation on the lake, it soon threw him into a fever
of the most dangerous nature. Finding his dissolution at hand, he
received it with joy, like one of the primitive martyrs just
hastening to his crown of glory. After having addressed his
little flock, and exhorted them to patience, in the most pathetic
manner, as they saw their own last day approaching, after having
solemnly blessed his people, his family, and his children, he
finished the course of his ministry and life together, on the
seventh day of February 1642.

His friends and relations applied to the intruding bishop
for leave to bury him, which was with difficulty obtained; he, at
first telling them that the churchyard was holy ground, and
should be no longer defiled with heretics: however, leave was at
last granted, and though the church funeral service was not used
at the solemnity, (for fear of the Irish papists) yet some of the
better sort, who had the highest veneration for him while living,
attended his remains to the grave. At this interment they
discharged a volley of shot, crying out, Requiescat in pace
ultimus Anglorum, that is, "May the last of the English rest in
peace." Adding, that as he was one of the best so he should be
the last English bishop found among them. His learning was very
extensive; and he would have given the world a greater proof of
it, had he printed all he wrote. Scarce any of his writings were
saved; the papists having destroyed most of his papers and his
library. He had gathered a vast heap of critical expositions of
Scripture, all which with a great trunk full of his manuscripts,
fell into the hands of the Irish. Happily his great Hebrew
manuscript was preserved, and is now in the library of Emanuel
College, Oxford.

In the barony of Terawley, the papists, at the instigation
of the friars, compelled above forty English Protestants, some of
whom were women and children, to the hard fate of either falling
by the sword, or of drowning in the sea. These choosing the
latter, were accordingly forced, by the naked weapons of their
inexorable persecutors, into the deep, where, with their children
in their arms, they first waded up to their chins, and afterwards
sunk down and perished together.

In the castle of Lisgool upwards of one hundred and fifty
men, women, and children, were all burnt together; and at the
castle of Moneah not less than one hundred were all pput to the
sword. Great numbers were also murdered at the castle of Tullah,
which was delivered up to M'Guire on condition of having fair
quarter; but no sooner had that base villain got possession of
the place than he ordered his followers to murder the people,
which was immeidately done with the greatest cruelty.

Many others were put to deaths of the most horrid nature,
and such as could have been invented only by demons instead of
men. Some of them were laid with the center of their backs on the
axle-tree of a carriage, with their legs resting on the ground on
one side, and their arms and head on the other. In this position,
one of the savages scourged the wretched object on the thighs,
legs, etc., while another set on furious dogs, who tore to pieces
the arms and upper parts of the body; and in this dreadful manner
were they deprived of their existence. Great numbers were
fastened to horses' tails, and the beasts being set on full
gallop by their riders, the wretched victims were dragged along
until they expired. Others were hung on lofty gibbets, and a fire
being kindled under them, they finished their lives, partly by
hanging, and partly by suffocation.

Nor did the more tender sex escape the least particle of
cruelty that could be projected by their merciless and furious
persecutors. Many women, of all ages, were put to deaths of the
most cruel nature. Some, in particular, were fastened with their
backs to strong posts, and being stripped to their waists, the
inhuman monsters cut off their right breasts with shears, which,
of course, put them to the most excruciating torments; and in
this position they were left, until, from the loss of blood, they

Such was the savage ferocity of these barbarians, that even
unborn infants were dragged from the womb to become victims to
their rage. Many unhappy mothers were hung naked in the branches
of trees, and their bodies being cut open, the innocent
offsprings were taken from them, and thrown to dogs and swine.
And to increase the horrid scene, they would oblige the husband
to be a spectator before suffering himself.

At the town of Issenskeath they hanged above a hundred
Scottish Protestants, showing them no more mercy than they did to
the English. M'Guire, going to the castle of that town, desired
to speak with the governor, when being admitted, he immediately
burnt the records of the county, which were kept there. He then
demanded 1000 pounds of the governor, which, having received, he
immediately compelled him to hear Mass. and to swear that he
would continue to do so. And to complete his horrid barbarities,
he ordered the wife and children of the governor to be hanged
before his face; besides massacring at least one hundred of the
inhabitants. Upwards of one thousand men, women, and children,
were driven, in different companies, to Portadown bridge, which
was broken in the middle, and there compelled to throw themselves
into the water, and such as attempted to reach the shore were
knocked on the head.

In the same part of the country, at least four thousand
persons were drowned in different places. The inhuman papists,
after first stripping them, drove them like beasts to the spot
fixed on for their destruction; and if any, through fatigue, or
natural infirmities, were slack in their pace, they pricked them
with their swords and pikes; and to strike terror on the
multitude, they murdered some by the way. Many of these poor
wretches, when thrown into the water, endeavored to save
themselves by swimming to the shore but their merciless
persecutors prevented their endeavors taking effect, by shooting
them in the water.

In one place one hundred and forty English, after being
driven for many miles stark naked, and in the most severe
weather, were all murdered on the same spot, some being hanged,
others burnt, some shot, and many of them buried alive; and so
cruel were their tormentors that they would not suffer them to
pray before they robbed them of their miserable existence.

Other companies they took under pretence of safe conduct,
who, from that consideration, proceeded cheerfully on their
journey; but when the treacherous papists had got them to a
convenient spot, they butchered them all in the most cruel

One hundred and fifteen men, women, and children, were
conducted, by order of Sir Phelim O'Neal, to Portadown bridge,
where they were all forced into the river, and drowned. One
woman, named Campbell, finding no probability of escaping,
suddenly clasped one of the chief of the papists in her arms, and
held him so fast that they were both drowned together.

In Killyman they massacred forty-eight families, among whom
twenty-two were burnt together in one house. The rest were either
hanged, shot, or drowned.

In Kilmore, the inhabitants, which consisted of about two
hundred families, all fell victims to their rage. Some of them
sat in the stocks until they confessed where their money was;
after which they put them to death. The whole county was one
common scene of butchery, and many thousands perished, in a short
time, by sword, famine, fire, water, and others the most cruel
deaths, that rage and malice could invent.

These bloody villains showed so much favor to some as to
despatch them immediately; but they would by no means suffer them
to pray. Others they imprisoned in filthy dungeons, putting heavy
bolts on their legs, and keeping them there until they were
starved to death.

At Casel they put all the Protestants into a loathsome
dungeon, where they kept them together, for several weeks, in the
greatest misery. At length they were released, when some of them
were barbarously mangled, and left on the highways to perish at
leisure; others were hanged, and some were buried in the ground
upright, with their heads above the earth, and the papists, to
increase their misery, treating them with derision during their
sufferings. In the county of Antrim they murdered nine hundred
and fifty-four Protestants in one morning; and afterwards about
twelve hundred more in that county.

At a town called Lisnegary, they forced twenty-four
Protestants into a house, and then setting fire to it, burned
them together, counterfeiting their outcries in derision to the

Among other acts of cruelty they took two children belonging
to an Englishwoman, and dashed out their brains before her face;
after which they threw the mother into a river, and she was
drowned. They served many other children in the like manner, to
the great affliction of their parents, and the disgrace of human

In Kilkenny all the Protestants, without exception, were put
to death; and some of them in so cruel a manner, as, perhaps, was
never before thought of.

They beat an Englishwoman with such savage barbarity, that
she had scarce a whole bone left; after which they threw her into
a ditch; but not satisfied with this, they took her child, a girl
about six years of age, and after ripping up its belly, threw it
to its mother, there to languish until it perished. They forced
one man to go to Mass, after which they ripped open his body, and
in that manner left him. They sawed another asunder, cut the
throat of his wife, and after having dashed out the brains of
their child, an infant, threw it to the swine, who greedily
devoured it.

After committing these, and several other horrid cruelties,
they took the heads of seven Protestants, and among them that of
a pious minister, all of which they fixed up at the market cross.
They put a gag into the minister's mouth, then slit his cheeks to
his ears, and laying a leaf of a Bible before it, bid him preach,
for his mouth was wide enough. They did several other things by
way of derision, and expressed the greatest satisfaction at
having thus murdered and exposed the unhappy Protestants.

It is impossible to conceive the pleasure these monsters
took in excercising their cruelty, and to increase the misery of
those who fell into their hands, when they butchered them they
would say, "Your soul to the devil." One of these miscreants
would come into a house with his hands imbued in blood, and boast
that it was English blood, and that his sword had pricked the
white skins of the Protestants, even to the hilt. When any one of
them had killed a Protestant, others would come and receive a
gratification in cutting and mangling the body; after which they
left it exposed to be devoured by dogs; and when they had slain a
number of them they would boast, that the devil was beholden to
them for sending so many souls to hell. But it is no wonder they
should thus treat the innocent Christians, when they hesitated
not to commit blasphemy against God and His most holy Word.

In one place they burnt two Protestant Bibles, and then said
they had burnt hell-fire. In the church at Powerscourt they burnt
the pulpit, pews, chests, and Bibles belonging to it. They took
other Bibles, and after wetting them with dirty water, dashed
them in the faces of the Protestants, saying, "We know you love a
good lesson; here is an excellent one for you; come to-morrow,
and you shall have as good a sermon as this."

Some of the Protestants they dragged by the hair of their
heads into the church, where they stripped and whipped them in
the most cruel manner, telling them, at the same time, that if
they came tomorrow, they should hear the like sermon.

In Munster they put to death several ministers in the most
shocking manner. One, in particular, they stripped stark naked,
and driving him before them, pricked him with swords and darts
until he fell down, and expired.

In some places they plucked out the eyes, and cut off the
hands of the Protestants, and in that manner turned them into the
fields, there to wander out their miserable existence. They
obliged many young men to force their aged parents to a river,
where they were drowned; wives to assist in hanging their
husbands; and mothers to cut the throats of their children.

In one place they compelled a young man to kill his father,
and then immediately hanged him. In another they forced a woman
to kill her husband, then obliged the son to kill her, and
afterward shot him through the head.

At a place called Glaslow, a popish priest, with some
others, prevailed on forty Protestants to be reconciled to the
Church of Rome. They had no sooner done this than they told them
they were in good faith, and that they would prevent their
falling from it, and turning heretics, by sending them out of the
world, which they did by immediately cutting their throats.

In the county of Tipperary upwards of thirty Protestants,
men, women, and children, fell into the hands of the papists,
who, after stripping them naked, murdered them with stones,
pole-axes, swords, and other weapons.

In the county of Mayo about sixty Protestants, fifteen of
whom were ministers, were, upon covenant, to be safely conducted
to Galway, by one Edmund Burke and his soldiers; but that inhuman
monster by the way drew his sword, as an intimation of his design
to the rest, who immediately followed his example, and murdered
the whole, some of whom they stabbed, others were run through the
body with pikes, and several were drowned.

In Queen's County great numbers of Protestants were put to
the most shocking deaths. Fifty or sixty were placed together in
one house, which being set on fire, they all perished in the
flames. Many were stripped naked, and being fastened to horses by
ropes placed round their middles, were dragged through bogs until
they expired. Some were hung by the feet to tenterhooks driven
into poles; and in that wretched posture left until they
perished. Others were fastened to the trunk of a tree, with a
branch at top. Over this branch hung one arm, which principally
supported the weight of the body; and one of the legs was turned
up, and fastened to the trunk, while the other hung straight. In
this dreadful and uneasy posture did they remain as long as life
would permit, pleasing spectacles to their bloodthirsty

At Clownes seventeen men were buried alive; and an
Englishman, his wife, five children, and a servant maid, were all
hanged together, and afterward thrown into a ditch. They hung
many by the arms to branches of trees, with a weight to their
feet; and others by the middle, in which posture they left them
until they expired. Several were hanged on windmills, and before
they were half dead, the barbarians cut them in pieces with their
swords. Others, both men, women, and children, they cut and
hacked in various parts of their bodies, and left them wallowing
in their blood to perish where they fell. One poor woman they
hanged on a gibbet, with her child, an infant about a
twelve-month old, the latter of whom was hanged by the neck with
the hair of its mother's head, and in that manner finished its
short but miserable existence.

In the county of Tyrone no less than three hundred
Protestants were drowned in one day; and many others were hanged,
burned, and otherwise put to death. Dr. Maxwell, rector of
Tyrone, lived at this time near Armagh, and suffered greatly from
these merciless savages. This person, in his examination, taken
upon oath before the king's commissioners, declared that the
Irish papists owned to him, that they, at several times, had
destroyed, in one place, 12,000 Protestants, whom they inhumanly
slaughtered at Glynwood, in their flight from the county of

As the river Bann was not fordable, and the bridge broken
down, the Irish forced thither at different times, a great number
of unarmed, defenceless Protestants, and with pikes and swords
violently thrust about one thousand into the river, where they
miserably perished.

Nor did the cathedral of Armagh escape the fury of those
barbarians, it being maliciously set on fire by their leaders,
and burnt to the ground. And to extirpate, if possible, the very
race of those unhappy Protestants, who lived in or near Armagh,
the Irish first burnt all their houses, and then gathered
together many hundreds of those innocent people, young and old,
on pretence of allowing them a guard and safe conduct to
Colerain, when they treacherously fell on them by the way, and
inhumanly murdered them.

The like horrid barbarities with those we have
particularized, were practiced on the wretched Protestants in
almost all parts of the kingdom; and, when an estimate was
afterward made of the number who were sacrificed to gratify
diabolical souls of the papists, it amounted to one hundred and
fifty thousand. But it now remains that we proceed to the
particulars that followed.

These desperate wretches, flushed and grown insolent with
success, (though by methods attended with such excessive
barbarities as perhaps not to be equalled) soon got possession of
the castle of Newry, where the king's stores and ammunition were
lodged; and, with as little difficulty, made themselves masters
of Dundalk. They afterward took the town of Ardee, where they
murdered all the Protestants, and then proceeded to Drogheda. The
garrison of Drogheda was in no condition to sustain a siege,
notwithstanding which, as often as the Irish renewed their
attacks they were vigorously repulsed by a very unequal number of
the king's forces, and a few faithful Protestant citizens under
Sir Henry Tichborne, the governor, assisted by the Lord Viscount
Moore. The siege of Drogheda began on the thirtieth of November,
1641, and held until the fourth of March, 1642, when Sir Phelim
O'Neal, and the Irish miscreants under him were forced to retire.

In the meantime ten thousand troops were sent from Scotland
to the remaining Protestants in Ireland, which being properly
divided in the most capital parts of the kingdom, happily
exclipsed the power of the Irish savages; and the Protestants for
a time lived in tranquillity.

In the reign of King James II they were again interrupted,
for in a parliament held at Dublin in the year 1689, great
numbers of the Protestant nobility, clergy, and gentry of
Ireland, were attainted of high treason. The government of the
kingdom was, at that time, invested in the earl of Tyrconnel, a
bigoted papist, and an inveterate enemy to the Protestants. By
his orders they were again persecuted in various parts of the
kingdom. The revenues of the city of Dublin were seized, and most
of the churches converted into prisons. And had it not been for
the resolution and uncommon bravery of the garrisons in the city
of Londonderry, and the town of Inniskillin, there had not one
place remained for refuge to the distressed Protestants in the
whole kingdom; but all must have been given up to King James, and
to the furious popish party that governed him.

The remarkable siege of Londonderry was opened on the
eighteenth of April, 1689, by twenty thousand papists, the flower
of the Irish army. The city was not properly circumstanced to
sustain a siege, the defenders consisting of a body of raw
undisciplined Protestants, who had fled thither for shelter, and
half a regiment of Lord Mountjoy's disciplined soldiers, with the
principal part of the inhabitants, making it all only seven
thousand three hundred and sixty-one fighting men.

The besieged hoped, at first, that their stores of corn and
other necessaries, would be sufficient; but by the continuance of
the siege their wants increased; and these became at last so
heavy that for a considerable time before the siege was raised a
pint of coarse barley, a small quantity of greens, a few
spoonfuls of starch, with a very moderate proportion of horse
flesh, were reckoned a week's provision for a soldier. And they
were, at length, reduced to such extremities that they ate dogs,
cats, and mice.

Their miseries increasing with the siege, many, through mere
hunger and want, pined and languished away, or fell dead in the
streets. And it is remarkable, that when their long-expected
succors arrived from England, they were upon the point of being
reduced to this alternative, either to preserve their existence
by eating each other, or attempting to fight their way through
the Irish, which must have infallibly produced their destruction.

These succors were most happily brought by the ship Mountjoy
of Derry, and the Phoenix of Colerain, at which time they had
only nine lean horses left with a pint of meal to each man. By
hunger, and the fatigues of war, their seven thousand three
hundred and sixty-one fighting men were reduced to four thousand
three hundred, one fourth part of whom were rendered

As the calamities of the besieged were great, so likewise
were the terrors and sufferings of their Protestant friends and
relations; all of whom (even women and children) were forcibly
driven from the country thirty miles round, and inhumanly reduced
to the sad necessity of continuing some days and nights without
food or covering, before the walls of the town; and were thus
exposed to the continual fire both of the Irish army from without
and the shot of their friends from within.

But the succors from England happily arriving put an end to
their affliction; and the siege was raised on the thirty-first of
July, having been continued upwards of three months.

The day before the siege of Londonderry was raised the
Inniskillers engaged a body of six thousand Irish Roman
Catholics, at Newton, Butler, or Crown-Castle, of whom near five
thousand were slain. This, with the defeat at Londonderry,
dispirited the papists, and they gave up all farther attempts to
persecute the Protestants.

The year following, viz. 1690, the Irish took up arms in
favor of the abdicated prince, King James II but they were
totally defeated by his successor King William the Third. That
monarch, before he left the country, reduced them to a state of
subjection, in which they have ever since continued.

But notwithstanding all this, the Protestant interest at
present stands upon a much stronger basis than it did a century
ago. The Irish, who formerly led an unsettled and roving life, in
the woods, bogs, and mountains, and lived on the depredation of
their neighbors, they who, in the morning seized the prey, and at
night divided the spoil, have, for many years past, become quiet
and civilized. They taste the sweets of English society, and the
advantages of civil government. They trade in our cities, and are
employed in our manufactories. They are received also into
English families; and treated with great humanity by the

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 1 Corinthians 9:12 (KJV)
If others be partakers of [this] power over you, [are] not we rather? Nevertheless we have not used this power; but suffer all things, lest we should hinder the gospel of Christ.
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Ordination service for Brother Adam Hollis to the Office of Deacon. September 15, 2019. Attending

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Visiting ministers at the Ordination service for Bro. David Scarbrough, October 3rd, 2010. From