Glamorgan and the Great Seal
The Chicanery of Charles - His Secret Commission to Glamorgan - He begs Ormonde to secure Peace - Glamorgan and the Confederates - Rinuccini the Nuncio - Charles pens a Letter to the Pope - Glamorgan's Letter to the King discovered on the Battlefield of Naseby - The Nuncio in November enters Kilkenny - The Glamorgan Treaty found on Dead Archbishop - The Ormonde Peace signed - Deplorable State of Ulster.
The winter of 1644 was one of complicated intrigues, for Charles, painfully perplexed by the difficulties with which he had to contend in England, and nervously apprehensive of approaching danger, looked anxiously towards the only quarter from which he could expect aid, to Ireland and the support of his Roman Catholic subjects; and as ha appears never to have been in his element save in an atmosphere charged with secretiveness, hypocrisy, and falsehood, he now sought an agent on whom he could rely to scatter broadcast, without any qualms of conscience, royal promises never meant to be fulfilled. Such an emissary (Ormonde having proved too captious for the wholesale dissemination of falsehood under the guise of truth) the King found in Lord Herbert, eldest son of the Marquis of Worcester, who was devotedly attached to the royal cause, to which father and son had already conjointly contributed some £200,000. Charles, in gratitude, which in the King was a lively sense of favours to come, created Lord Herbert Earl of Glamorgan -a creation which, owing to the troublous times, was never formally made and on the 1st of April, 1644, granted him under the Great Seal by far the most extraordinary patent that has ever been issued bearing that august symbot.
By this document Glamorgan was created Lord Paramount of Ireland, with supreme command over all forces in the island. He was constituted admiral over a purely imaginary fleet, and authorized to pledge customs, woods, wardships, and all hereditary property of the Crown. As a kind of peri patetic irresponsible vendor of titles he was liberally supplied "with several patents under our Great Seal of England, from a l\larquis to a Baronet, which we give you full power and authority to date and dispose of without knowing our further pleasure"; and it was hoped that on a promise of the bestowal of one of these titles "persons of generosity" would freely subscribe cash to replenish the royal coffers.
Thus armed with almost royal powers, Glamorgan proceeded to Ireland, Charles promising "on the word of a King and a Christian" to ratify any acts for which the Earl was responsible, thereby ignoring the powers of Ormonde as Lord-Lieutenant, although a verbal promise was given by Glamorgan to the King that in all matters he would consult with the Viceroy.
Having thus secretly given Glamorgan more ample powers than were possessed by the Lord-Lieutenant, and having constituted him his confidential agent in Ireland, Charles recommenced to pester Ormonde with further proposals for peace, promising in connection with the Roman Catholics that "the penal statutes should not be put into execution, the peace being made and they remaining in their due obedience. And further that when the Irish give me that assistance which they have promised, for the suppressing of this rebellion, and I shall be restored to my rights, then I will consent to the repeal of them by a law. But all those against appeals to Rome and Prcemun£re must stand." He begged Ormonde "to conclude a peace with the Irish, whatever it cost", and later directed him to "make the best bargain he could". Even after Naseby the King, with astonishing assurance, wrote: "If within two months you could send me a considerable assistance, I am confident that both my last loss would be soon forgotten, and likewise it may (by the grace of God) put such a turn to my affairs, as to make me in a far better condition before winter than I have been at any time since the rebellion began ". The peace was to be concluded forthwith, and Ormonde, having thus settled matters in Ireland, was to repair to England with as large a force as he could collect to the aid of the King.
The most sober-minded of mortals must admit that Fate or Fortune is occasionally ironical, otherwise it is impossible to account for such strange freaks in human affairs as those which decreed that a hemisphere discovered by Columbus should be called after one Amerigo Vespucci, a pickle-dealer of Seville, and that the Great Seal of England should on April Fools' Day be attached to such a perfectly fatuous instrument as the patent granted to Glamorgan. On that document, although it is expressly stated that "for your greater honour and in testimony of our reality we have with our own hand affixed our Great Seal of England unto these our commission and letters, making them patents", it is believed that the affixing of the Seal was undertaken by Endymion Porter and the Earl himself, "rollers and no screw press" being employed in the work. The genuineness of the patent is, however, unquestionable; and proud in the consciousness of possessing the confidence of his King, by whom he had been promised the dukedom of Somerset, with power to "put on the George and blue dragon" at his pleasure, and to bear the garter in his coat of arms, Glamorgan, on reaching Dublin in August, 1645, had a conference with Ormonde, after which he proceeded to Kilkenny, where he explained to the Supreme Council the powers with which he had been invested.
It is necessary here, for the complete comprehensiun of subsequent events in Ulster, to follow for a while the trend of events in the south of Ireland, where the Confederates were engaged in arranging the terms of a treaty with Glamorgan while they awaited with impatience the arrival of a Papal Nuncio.
By the treaty entered into by Glamorgan on behalf of the King, and Lords Mountgarret and Muskerry on behalf of the Confederation, it was agreed that the Roman Catholics should enjoy the free and public exercise of their religion; that they should hold for their use all the churches of Ireland not at the moment in the actual possession of the Protestants; that they should be exempt from the jurisdiction of the Protestant clergy; and that neither the Lord-Lieutenant nor any other person should have power to disturb them in these privileges. The Confederates, on their side, undertook to send to England under Glamorgan's command, for the service of the King, 10,000 men, one-half that number to be armed with pikes, the remainder with muskets. As these concessions had to be, on account of Charles's position, kept secret, Glamorgan swore to tell the King everything, and " not to permit the army entrusted to his charge to adventure itself, or any considerable part thereof, until conditions from His Majesty and by His Majesty be performed ".
All these proceedings took place behind Ormonde's back, the Lord-Lieutenant, in blissful ignorance, continuing, in accordance with the King's oft-expressed desire, to negotiate with the Confederates as to the terms of the proposed peace; while Charles, to further complicate matters, on hearing of the approaching visit of Rinuccini, the Pope's Nuncio-Extraordinary, wrote to Glamorgan enclosing letters, one of which was addressed to the newly-elected Pope, His Holiness Innocent X, the other to the Nuncio, both to be delivered to Rinuccini on his arrival.
In his letter to the Nuncio the King, having penned a panegyric on Glamorgan, wh-o was a Roman Catholic, and having promised to ratify any agreement at which His Majesty's agent and the Pope's legate should arrive, concludes the epistle, which is written in French C" very far from correct "), by stating that it is the first that he has ever addressed to a representative of the Pope, and assures Rinuccini of his friendship as soon as an understanding is arrived at between him and the Earl.
On 14th June, 1645, the battle of Naseby was fought, and one of the consequences of Fairfax's victory was the discovery, in a private cabinet belonging to the King, of a letter addressed to Charles by Glamorgan, in which the writer promised to land in Wales by the beginning of June, and assured the King that the gentlemen of Monmouth, Glamorgan, Brecknock, and Carmarthen would raise and arm 4000 men in those counties to join him. With the ships which were to transport the Irish, Glamorgan undertook to blockade Milford Haven while the Welsh troops marched into Pembrokeshire. He further stated that he had £30,000 ready for this service, with 10,000 muskets, 2000 case of pistols, 800 barrels of gun powder, besides his own arti llery, and that he was assured of £30,000 more on his return from Ireland. The discovery of this document did not improve the King's position.
The long-expected Rinuccini now arrived, landing on the 22nd of October in Kenmare Bay after a narrow escape from "a Parliament frigate" by which he had been chased, and entered Kilkenny on the 12th of November. Here the Pope's Nuncio was received by his co-religionists with all the honours due to his rank and profession, and, on the letters from the King being delivered to him by Glamorgan, he, though at first doubtful whether he ought to accept letters from a heretic, however regal, decided on reflection to do so on account of the Earl's recognized devotion to the Church which he represented. The Nuncio could scarcely be regarded as a harbinger of peace to Ireland, for while at Rochelle h had purchased a frigate of twenty-six guns, and he brough with him a large quantity of arms and ammunition, includinK 2000 muskets and cartouch belts, 4000 swords, 2000 pikeheads, 400 brace of pistols, and 20,000 pounds of gunpowder. These arms, on arrival, were stored in Ardtully Castle. The potent factor Rinuccini was in Irish politics at this period is proved by the fact that, in addition to the arms he supplied, he also brought, in specie collected from Rome, from Cardinal Mazarin, and other sources, no less a sum than 100,000 dollars for the use of the Irish.
Glamorgan, in the fullness of his heart and to prove his confidence in the Confederates, left the original of his treaty in their hands when he himself took his departure for Dublin, and Thomas Walsh, Archbishop of Cashel, possessing himself of it, had several copies of it made for distribution amongst the clergy. One of those to whom a copy was sent was Malachy Queely, Archbishop of Tuam; and that important town being attacked by a combined force of English and Scots, under circumstances into which we need not enter, the Archbishop was taken prisoner and killed in a brutal manner. On the body of the murdered Archbishop a certified copy of the Glamorgan treaty was found. This, with a recital of the Earl's private commission from the King and of his oath to the Confederates, falling into the hands of Sir Charles Coote, the younger, who with Sir Robert Stewart and Sir Frederick Hamilton was with the invading army, were by him sent in November to Lord Digby, Secretary of State, who had just arrived in Dublin, and to Ormonde, with the result that on Glamorgan's visiting the capital on Christmas Eve, to treat about the levying of troops, he was on St. Stephen's Day arrested on a charge of high treason by order of the Viceroy.
Into the trial and the consequences to Charles or Glamorgan we need not enquire. Suffice it to say, so far as our province is concerned, that the result of the exposure was fatal to the peace negotiations, for it was generally accepted without demur that "the Protestants of England would fling the King's person out of the window if they believed it possible that he had lent himself to such an undertaking ".
The General Assembly met early in January, 1646, and negotiations for peace were renewed with Ormonde, the result being that on the 28th of March a peace which was no peace was signed by the Viceroy on behalf of the King, and by Lord Muskerry, Sir Robert Talbot, and others on behalf of the Confederates. The treaty contained thirty articles, the only one of which bearing directly on the question of religion being the first, which provided "that the professors of the Roman Catholic religion in this kingdom of Ireland, be not bound to take the oath of supremacy expressed in the Second of Queen Elizabeth ".
Ulster in the meantime was in a deplorable state. While the Confederates were confused by cabals in their councils, and their army paralysed by the jealousy of their generals, Sir Phelim O'Neill disliking Owen Roe as a rival both in military fame and in his claim to the chieftaincy, Munro plundered the province with impunity, and sent detachments of his Scots to serve under Sir Charles Coote, who was now Parliamentary Lord President of Connaught. Ormonde would on no account pronounce the Scots to be rebels, for many who had taken the Covenant were really Royalists. The harsh treatment of the King, who had on the 5th of May surrendered himself to the Scottish army, and the success of Montrose in Scotland had a great effect in Ulster, and for a moment Ormonde deemed it possible to unite the English 'and Scots forces in the province under his own command. The officers of the English forces in Ulster met at Antrim on the 17th of May, and agreed to receive Commissioners from the Parliament. They were ready, they said, to continue the war until the conclusion of a safe and honourable peace by consent of King and Parliament~ but they added that they" called heaven and earth to witness that it was not their fault, if they were forced to take any other way for thei preservation and subsistence ".
The war was to be continued in a way which Ormond and the English officers little anticipated.