Letter of Dr. David Kearney, Archbishop of Cashel, to the Irish College of Salamanca, 18th July, 1612
When I was over there among you [see here – shane], I gave you a full account of the state of this our native country, and of the troubles and dangers with which we are surrounded. These have since become palpable in the cruel death inflicted on our brother, the bishop of Down, and his chaplain, the 1st day of February of the present year, which we have already detailed to you.
At present the state of our affairs is very doubtful..We have ample evidence that a Parliament is about to assemble, and this makes us very uneasy, for we may expect nothing less from it than serious injury to our faith, as in all probability the votes of the perverse will outweigh those of the Catholics, so that they may decree what they like. Within our jurisdiction some wicked men and greedy officials have appeared, who will not pass even the miserable sacristans, who have scarcely enough to eat, but lay on them fines and taxes, which if anyone will not, or cannot, pay, or if he refuses the oath of the king’s supremacy, he shall get well off with the loss of his property and the privation of his office.
Some time ago, as I am credibly informed, there came to this country that deceptive and false bishop called Knox, who in the Isles bordering on Scotland committed such cruel acts on the Catholics, and intends to do the same here, and they assure me he has a commission of martial law from the king to hang, wherever he may find him, any priest or religious, without examination of cause, or the observance of the forms of law and justice.
They are busily employed in planting their colonies, as they call them, depriving the natives and rightful owners of their lands and possessions which they inherited from their ancestors from time immemorial to the present, and giving them to strangers and heretics without law or reason. Feeling these and other grievances, some inhabitants of the town and neighbourhood of Wexford, who are regarded as the most warlike people of the kingdom, and are skilful mariners, have put to sea in a well-found ship, to lead the life of pirates, and harass the heretics.
Come what may let our adversaries plot as they will we are determined to labour as God helps us, instructing our Catholics, and exhorting them never to consent to anything prejudicial to the liberty of the Catholic religion. In other secular affairs we do not mingle, but leave to God to employ His divine providence in behalf of the church when we do what we can.
This year has been one of prodigies here, for the summer has been very dry and hot, and it has twice rained blood in two different parts of the west of Munster. In the cathedral church of this diocese a great fall of snow occurred on the day of the Holy Ghost, though it was then exceedingly hot, and it fell only within the cemetery. May God grant it be of as happy omen as what fell in Rome when the church of Our Lady, St. Mary Major, was founded.