For the better part of two days all those on board the
On the return of the Earl of Sussex he paid the usual official visit in state to Christ's Church, where apparently the English Litany (probably that prescribed by Henry VIII.) was sung after the Mass. In connexion with this celebration a story was put in circulation by Robert Ware in 1683 that the clergy, dissatisfied with the change in liturgy, determined to have recourse to a disgraceful imposture to prevent further innovations. On the following Sunday when the Archbishop and Deputy assisted at Mass, one of their number having inserted a sponge soaked in blood into the head of the celebrated statue of the Redeemer, blood began to trickle over the face of the image. Suddenly during the service a cry was raised by the trickster and his associates, "Behold Our Saviour's image sweats blood." Several of the common people wondering at it, fell down with their beads in their hands, and prayed to the image, while Leigh who was guilty of the deception kept crying out all the time, "How can He choose but sweat blood whilst heresy is now come into the Church?" Amidst scenes of the greatest excitement the archbishop caused an examination to be made; the trick was discovered; Leigh and his accomplices were punished by being made "to stand upon a table with their legs and hands tied for three Sundays, with the crime written upon paper and pinned to their breasts"; and to complete the story, a recent writer adds, "the Protestants were triumphant, the Roman party confounded, and Curwen's orders to have the statue broken up were obeyed without demur." Needless to say there is no foundation for such a tale. It first saw the light in that collection of gross inventions, /The Hunting of the Romish Fox/, published by Robert Ware in 1683, and is unsupported by any contemporary witnesses. It was not known to Sir Robert Ware, from whose papers the author pretended to borrow it; it was not known to Sir Dudley Loftus who devoted himself to the study of Irish history, and who, as nephew of Elizabeth's Archbishop of Dublin, would have had exceptional opportunities of learning the facts, nor was it known to Archbishop Parker, to whom, according to Ware, a full account was forwarded immediately. The author of it was employed to stir up feeling in England and Ireland so as to prevent the accession of James II., and as a cover for his forgeries he pretended to be using the manuscripts of his father.
For so far the Catholic religion was the only one recognised by law in Ireland, and consequently when Elizabeth instructed the Deputy to see that her English born subjects in Ireland should use the English service in their private houses, she took care to promise that none of them should be impeached or molested for carrying out her commands. But her Deputy was instructed to summon a Parliament in Ireland "to make such statutes as were lately made in England /mutatis mutandis/." The Parliament met in Dublin on the 11th of January 1560. According to the returns seventy-six members representing several counties and boroughs were elected. Dublin, Meath, Westmeath, Louth, Kildare, Carlow, Kilkenny, Waterford, Wexford, and Tipperary were the only counties represented, each of them having returned two members. Of the boroughs represented seventeen were situated in Leinster, eight in Munster, two, Athenry and Galway, in Connaught, and one only, namely, Carrickfergus, was situated in Ulster. Twenty-three temporal peers were summoned to take their seats, all of whom belonged to Anglo-Irish families except O'Brien of Thomond and MacGillapatrick of Upper Ossory. According to the record preserved in the Rolls' Office, three archbishops and seventeen bishops took their seats, the only absentees being Clogher, Derry, Raphoe, Kilmore, Dromore, Clonmacnoise, Achonry, Kilmacduagh, Kilfenora, and Mayo. Armagh was vacant, Primate Dowdall having died in August 1558, and his successor not having been appointed by Rome till February 1560. But for many reasons it is impossible to believe that the twenty bishops mentioned in this list were present at the Dublin Parliament. At best it is only a rather inaccurate account of those who were summoned to take their seats, as is shown by the fact that for seven of the Sees no names of the bishops are returned; and that Down and Connor are represented as having sent two bishops although both Sees were united for more than a century. If it be borne in mind that according to the returns in the State Paper Office four archbishops and nineteen bishops are represented as having attended the Parliament of 1541, although, in his official report to the king, the Deputy stated expressly that only two archbishops and twelve bishops were present; and also that gross errors have been detected in the lists of spiritual peers supposed to have been in attendance at the Parliaments of 1569 and 1585, it will be obvious to any unprejudiced mind that the return for the Parliament of 1560 cannot be accepted as accurate.
No reliable account of the proceedings of the Parliament of 1560 has as yet been discovered. It met on the 11th January, was adjourned on the following day till the 1st of February, when it was dissolved. It is more probable, however, that it lasted till the 12th February. According to the Loftus manuscripts the Parliament was dissolved "by reason of [its] aversion to the Protestant religion, and their ecclesiastical government." "At the very beginning of this Parliament," according to another distinguished authority, "Her Majesty's well wishers found that most of the nobility and Commons were divided in opinion about the ecclesiastical government, which caused the Earl of Sussex to dissolve them, and to go over to England to consult Her Majesty about the affairs of this kingdom." This latter statement is confirmed by the fact that the Earl of Sussex certainly left Ireland in February 1560. And yet, according to the accounts that have come down to us, it was this assembly that gave Protestantism its first legal sanction in Ireland. It abolished papal supremacy, restored to the queen the full exercise of spiritual jurisdiction as enjoyed by Henry VIII. and Edward VI., enjoined on all persons holding ecclesiastical or secular offices the oath of royal supremacy under pain of deprivation, imposed the penalty of forfeiture of all goods for the first offence on those who spoke in favour of the Pope, the punishment laid down for /praemunire/ in case of a second such offence, and death for the third offence, and enjoined the use of the Book of Common Prayer in all the churches of the kingdom. Any clergyman who refused to follow the prescribed form of worship was liable to forfeit one year's revenue and to be sent to prison for the first offence, to total deprivation and imprisonment at will for the second, and for the third to perpetual imprisonment. The laity were obliged to attend the service under threat of excommunication and of a fine of twelve pence to be levied off their goods and chattels by the church-wardens. The First Fruits were restored to the crown, and the formality of canonical election of bishops was abolished. For the future in case of a vacancy the right of appointment was vested directly in the sovereign.
In view of the fact that the cities and counties from which the members were returned resisted stubbornly the introduction of the English service, that most of the lay peers clung tenaciously to the Mass, some of them, like the Earl of Kildare, being charged with this crime a few months after the dissolution of Parliament, and that the bishops with one or two exceptions, opposed the change, the wonder is how such measures could have received the sanction of Parliament. According to a well-supported tradition they reached the statute book only by fraud, having been rushed through on a holiday, on which most of the members thought that no session would be held. Later on, when objection was taken to such a method, the Deputy, it is said, silenced the resisters by assuring them that they were mere formalities which must remain a dead letter.
It is sometimes said that the Irish bishops of the period acknowledged Elizabeth's title of "supreme governor in spirituals," and abandoned the Mass for the Book of Common Prayer. Nothing, however, could be farther from the truth. With the single exception of Curwen, from whom nothing better could have been expected considering his past variations, it cannot be proved for certain that any of the bishops proved disloyal to their trust. There is some ground for suspicion in case of Christopher Bodkin of Tuam and Thomas O'Fihil, both of whom were represented as having taken the oath, but the strong recommendation of the former to the Holy See by the Jesuit, Father David Wolf, and the fact that the latter is consistently passed over by contemporary writers in their enumeration of the Protestant bishops, show clearly that their lapse, if lapse there might have been, was more or less involuntary. The fact that some of the bishops, as for example Roland Fitzgerald of Cashel, Lacy of Limerick, Walsh of Waterford, De Burgo of Clonfert, Devereux of Ferns, O'Fihil of Leighlin, and Bodkin of Tuam, were appointed on government commissions does not prove that they had ceased to be Catholics, just as the appointment of Browne on a similar commission during the reign of Queen Mary does not prove that he had ceased to be a Protestant. That the Irish bishops remained true to the faith is clear from some of the official papers of the period. In 1564 two of the commissioners, who had been appointed to enforce the Acts of Royal Supremacy and Uniformity of Worship, reported that there were only two worthy bishops in Ireland, namely, Adam Loftus, who had been intruded into Armagh but who dare not visit his diocese, and Brady, who had been appointed by the queen to Meath. "The rest of the bishops," they say, "are all Irish, we need say no more." In the following year it was announced that Curwen of Dublin, Loftus, and Brady were the only bishops zealous "in setting forth God's glory and the true Christian religion"; and in 1566 Sir Henry Sidney reported that, with the exception of Loftus and Brady, he found none others "willing to reform their clergy, or to teach any wholesome doctrine, or to serve their country or common-wealth as magistrates." In a document drawn up by one of Cecil's spies in 1571 the bishops of the province of Armagh, Cashel, and Tuam are all described as /Catholici et Confoederati/, while in the province of Dublin, Loftus, Daly, Cavenagh, and Gafney, the three latter of whom had been intruded by the queen into Kildare, Leighlin, and Ossory, are described as Protestants, as is also Devereux of Ferns, about whose orthodoxy there may be some doubt, though unfortunately there can be very little about his evil life.
Hardly had the Acts of Royal Supremacy and Uniformity been passed when a commission was addressed to a number of judges and officials to administer the oath of supremacy. Of the bishops within the sphere of English jurisdiction at this period Curwen had already given his adhesion to these measures, William Walsh of Meath promptly refused, as did also Thomas Leverous of Kildare (Feb. 1560). Later on, when the Lord Deputy returned from London, another attempt was made to induce these bishops to change their minds, but without success. In reply to the Deputy the Bishop of Kildare declared that all jurisdiction was derived from Christ, "and since Christ did not deem it right to confer spiritual authority on women, not even on His own Blessed Mother, how, he asked, could it be believed that the Queen of England was the supreme governor of the Church?" Thereupon the Deputy threatened him with deprivation and the consequent loss of his revenues unless he made his submission, but the bishop reminded him of the words of Sacred Scripture, "What shall it profit a man to gain the whole world if he suffer the loss of his own soul?" He was driven from the See, and for a time taught a private school in the County Limerick, but he returned to his diocese, where he died near Nass (1577). The Bishop of Meath continued to oppose the religious policy of the government. In 1565 he was summoned once more by the commissioners, but "he openly protested before all the people the same day that he would never communicate or be present where the service should be ministered, for it was against his conscience and against God's word." As he was a man "of great credit among his countrymen, upon whom in causes of religion they wholly depend," he was thrown into prison, where he languished in great suffering till 1572, when he contrived to make his escape to France. Later on funds were supplied by the Holy See to enable him to continue his journey to Spain. He died amongst his brethren, the Cistercians, at Alcalá in 1577. John O'Tonory, too, who had been appointed to Ossory after the precipitate flight of Bale, seems to have given offence to the government. Though the latter preferred to devote himself to historical studies after the accession of Elizabeth rather than to entrust himself to the tender mercies of the people of Kilkenny, his rival does not seem to have been regarded by the government as the lawful Bishop of Ossory. His name does appear on a list of ecclesiastical commissioners appointed in 1564, but this seems to have been a mistake on the part of the officials or possibly a bait thrown out to induce O'Tonory to make his submission. At any rate it is certain that in 1561 the Bishopric of Ossory was returned as vacant, and it was suggested that the appointment should be conferred on the Dean of Kilkenny, and in July 1565, before the death of O'Tonory, in the instructions drawn up for Sir Henry Sidney and corrected by Cecil, her Majesty is made to say that the "Bishopric of Ossory has been long vacant." As this can refer only to the death of Bale, who died in 1563, it is clear that O'Tonory was bracketed with Walsh and Leverous as far as Elizabeth's ministers were concerned. Had it been possible for the government to do so, similar measures would have been taken against the bishops in the other parts of Ireland, but, faced as it was with Shane O'Neill in the North and a threatened confederation of the whole Geraldine forces in the South, it was deemed prudent not to precipitate a crisis by a violent anti-Catholic propaganda in those parts of the country not yet subject to English influence.
Commissioners were appointed to administer the oath of supremacy to the bishops, the judges, and higher officials, to the justices of the peace, etc., in Kildare (1560), and to the officials in Westmeath. But unless bishops could be found willing to take the place of those who refused to accept the new laws, no progress could be made. Curwen of Dublin, following his old rule of accepting the sovereign's religion as the true one, submitted to the Act of Supremacy and the Act of Uniformity. In accordance with the queen's instructions he removed the pictures and statues from Christ's Church and St. Patrick's, blotted out the paintings and frescos on the walls, so as to cover up all signs of "idolatry" and to prepare a back-ground for carefully assorted Scriptural texts. He was not, however, happy in his new position. He petitioned to be transferred from Dublin to Hereford, basing his claim on the fact that "he was the man that of his coat hath surlyest stood to the crown either in England or Ireland." But his petition was not granted. Two years later Adam Loftus, who though nominally Archbishop of Armagh feared to visit his diocese, charged Curwen with serious crimes which he was ashamed to particularise, and probably as a result of this the queen instructed her Deputy to induce him to resign on the promise of an annual pension of ￡200 (1563). But Curwen, fearing that "the leaving of the archbishopric and not receiving another" might lead people to believe that he was deprived, stood out boldly for better terms. Hugh Brady, the queen's Bishop of Meath, then proceeded to attack him. According to him everybody in Dublin from the archbishop to the petty canons were "dumb dogs," "living enemies to the truth," "neither teaching nor feeding any save themselves," and "disguised dissemblers." As this did not produce any effect, he wrote once more, demanding that the authorities should "call home the old unprofitable workman," a petition in which he was supported by Adam Loftus. Their prayers were heard at last, and Curwen was translated to Oxford. When the news of his recall was announced to him he merely expressed the wish that he could get "the last half-year's rent of the Bishopric of Oxford," and that he should be allowed to change quickly so that "he might provide fire for the winter and hay for his horses."
The See of Armagh which was vacant by the death of Primate Dowdall was conferred by the Pope on Donat O'Teige (Feb. 1560). The latter was consecrated at Rome, and arrived in Ireland probably towards the end of the same year. In the summer of 1561 he was present at Armagh with the army of Shane O'Neill whom he encouraged to go forward boldly against the forces of the Deputy. Needless to say such a primate was not acceptable to Elizabeth who determined to appoint one Adam Loftus, then a chaplain to the Earl of Sussex. Loftus was a young man only twenty-eight years of age, who had made a favourable impression on the queen as well by his beauty as by his learning. Letters were dispatched immediately to the Chapter of Armagh commanding the canons to elect him, but as they refused to obey the order, nothing remained except to appoint him by letters patent (1562). As he dare not visit the greater part of his diocese he applied for and received the Deanship of St. Patrick's, Dublin, and about the same time he became a suitor for his brother that he might get the rectory of Dunboyne. In 1563 Elizabeth thought of changing him to Kildare, and in 1566 the Deputy recommended him for Meath, believing that "he would thankfully receive the exchange, and willingly embase his estate to increase so much his revenue." But Loftus had set his heart on securing the Archbishop of Dublin. Time and again he made the most damaging charges against Curwen so as to secure his removal, although when the removal was arranged he learned to his surprise that the authorities intended to promote not himself, but his fellow-labourer, Hugh Brady of Meath. In April 1566, when he thought that Brady had no chance of succeeding to Dublin, he had recommended him for the appointment, but in September, when he learned that there was danger of his recommendation being followed, he wrote to warn Cecil that "if it would please his honour to pause a while he could show such matter as he would, except it were for the Church of God's sake, be loath to utter by any means, but least of all by writing, upon knowledge whereof the matter, he knows, should go no further." Brady having learned that Loftus had gone to England wrote to Cecil to put him on his guard against believing any charges against him that might be made by the Primate. He returned in November without having succeeded, only to find that Shane O'Neill had overrun his diocese so that it was not worth more than ￡20 a year. He petitioned to be allowed to resign, "for," he said, "neither is it [Armagh] worth anything to me, nor [am] I able to do any good in it, for that altogether it lieth among the Irish." At last in 1567 his wishes were granted, and he became Archbishop of Dublin. But he was still dissatisfied. As the diocese, according to him, was worth only ￡400 (Irish) a year (over ￡30,000) and had only two hundred and forty acres of mensal land, he insisted that he should be allowed to hold with it the Deanship of St. Patrick's, a request, however, that was refused peremptorily by the queen. In Dublin he continued the same policy of grabbing everything for himself, his relatives and dependents until at last the chapter, weary of his importunities, obliged him to promise not to ask for anything more. Fortunately his guarantee was entered in the records, as he appeared soon again to solicit one last favour.