Neil Martin discovers what ensured the long-term success of King James I's plantation in Ulster, and how religion was at the heart of the matter.
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It was said of Charles II that he took the Covenants,
though in his heart he hated them.
So there's never any question that these were things he believed in.
They were an expedient, to try and win over support in Scotland.
Charles doesn't want to be king of Scotland,
he wants to be king of all his kingdoms.
But Scotland, he reckons, is the best route to that victory.
So if the price to be paid in 1651
is taking the Covenants,
he's prepared to do it.
But it's never something he wants to see implemented.
"The crown being put upon Charles' head, a great shout begun,
"and he came forth to the throne and there passed more ceremonies,
"as taking the oath and having things read to him by the bishop.
"And his lords, who put on their caps
"as soon as the King put on his crown,
"and bishops came and kneeled before him."
For those who're sitting in the Convention in Dublin,
they're very clear that they want a Protestant establishment.
A lot of them will be fairly open as to quite exactly what form that will take.
And once it becomes clear that the mood in London is very much
towards a restoration of the pre-war system within the church,
then you see a lot of opinions swinging in that direction.
With the Restoration of the monarchy
came the purging of the Church of Ireland, of Presbyterian elements.
Under John Bramhall, who now became Archbishop of Armagh
and also under Jeremy Taylor, who's the Bishop of Down,
around 70 Presbyterian ministers
were expelled from the Church of Ireland.
So Presbyterianism becomes an underground or clandestine movement.
When our grandees gained intelligence of the pulse of the court,
they began to court the few old bishops that were in Ireland.
They allowed them considerable salaries
and began to give them their titles.
All things then turned
as the inclination of the King was observed to be.
The Convention sent commissioners to the King,
desiring the restoring of former laws and Church government and worship.
The honest brethren were thus put to great straits what to do,
having instruction from their brethren
to offer nothing else but that address.
And from their friends, on the other hand,
telling them that it would not be acceptable.
Neither would the great persons procure them
access to His Majesty, except that they alter some expressions in it.
It's very clear by the '50s that those Presbyterian ministers
who are co-operating closely are in Scottish communities.
Their goal is never to be
just a church for the Scottish people in Ireland.
But largely in the '50s, that's what they've become.
At the same time, the State becomes suspicious of Scottish people
and tries to keep Scottish people out of particular towns,
and keep Presbyterian ministers out of particular towns.
So it's reinforcing a sense of solidarity among the Scottish communities.
And it's reinforcing the connection between Presbyterianism
and Scottishness in Ulster.
"As long as those ministers are permitted amongst us,
"there shall be a perpetual seminary of schism and discontent."
There's an awareness across the 1660s, 1670s, 1680s,
that you're creating trouble for yourself if you clamp down too hard.
So there are many years in which you get complaints going
from people on the ground, saying,
"Presbyterians are meeting openly. They're building meeting houses.
"They're operating even at a regional level.
"Something should be done about this."
The State's reluctant to do too much,
because it doesn't want the trouble that might ensue.
The regium donum came about because a man called Forbes,
who was the Commander of the Irish Army, a Scotsman,
who understood the Presbyterian psyche...
My theory is he saw the lie of the land in Ireland
and understood the Presbyterians are here to stay,
the Church of Ireland are here to stay - we need some sort of accommodation.
If we can tie them into loyalty to the Government,
and a civil set-up, all to the good.
And so the first regium donum payment of £600
is going to pay a quarter of the stipend of Christian ministers.
The theory behind that system is that if you're paying a quarter
of their stipend, they're unlikely to preach sedition or rebellion.
Protestants moved fairly rapidly
to create their own, unofficial armed associations.
And this is happening in Ulster
long before James is being actively opposed as King,
so these organisations are coming into being
supposedly still loyal to the King, but for protective purposes.
And what you begin to see, not on the same scale as 1641,
but you begin to see some evidence
of that same incidence of violence on the ground.
It's the birth of a son and an heir,
and a Catholic succession, that sealed James II's fate.
The Protestant side is looking at Catholicism with suspicion -
Gunpowder Plot and all of that is now in the psyche.
To have a Catholic succession, a Catholic monarchy,
and all the European dimension comes in there,
with Spain and France and all of that...
Well, "No, we want our Protestant Reformation values," if you like.
That was the point of no return, I think.
"Good my Lord, I have written to let you know that all our Irishmen
"through Ireland is sworn that on the ninth day of this month,
"they are to fall on, to kill and murder man, wife and child.
"And I desire Your Lordship to take care of yourself,
"for whosoever of them can kill any of you,
"they are to have a captain's place."
In the established Church, in the Presbyterians,
there is still an element of a common Protestantism,
particularly when it's placed under threat.
And they do see James as that kind of threat.
They see James as someone who has departed from the way
a King should be.
So, rather than rebelling against a king,
it's the King who's departed from the way he should have acted,
to be a proper King.
COMMANDER GIVES ORDERS TO OPEN FIRE
It says everything about relations at the time that the one church
was used for two services.
And never the twain could meet.
The Anglicans worshipped in the morning
and the Presbyterians in the afternoon.
That speaks volumes about relations even in a time of siege
when life is on the line, they couldn't work together
and they couldn't accommodate each other.
Presbyterians were very proud of the role
they played in the siege of Derry.
Contemporary sources tell us
they made up the majority of those who were within the walls.
The problem was that a... difference of opinion
developed amongst Anglicans and Presbyterians
about who were the true heroes of the Siege of Derry.
We had George Walker on the one hand
who went on a propaganda campaign fairly soon after the siege,
saying he was the guy who saved Derry from the Jacobite forces.
Presbyterians, particularly John Mackenzie and other people,
said it was Presbyterians that had saved Derry.
For them, the hero was Adam Murray rather than George Walker.
"Your Majesty's most obliged,
"most faithful, most obedient subject and servant."
The injustices of the past are burning away
and they want to impress upon the King their loyalty
and their force for good, and their numbers in the community.
They are a key clientele and William responded to that.
The most significant migration was the 1690s.
This was the last time in Scottish history
that people in the Lowlands starved to death.
People who migrated from Scotland to the north of Ireland
in the 1690s were actually famine victims.
And, you know, given the politics of Ireland and the Irish famine,
there's no supremacy over people
in the sense that a famine victim is a famine victim.
So, perhaps as opposed to a migrant from Scotland to Ulster
being a sturdy, hardy, hard-working Ulster Scot...
In fact, many of them were people who were in a pretty perilous position.
Probably the thing that bothers them most
is that their marriages are not accepted as valid,
where Catholic marriages are.
But marriages conducted by a Presbyterian minister are not valid.
That has all sorts of implications for the legitimacy of children,
the inheritance of property.
So it's those kind of practical problems -
we're not talking large-scale repression
but things that affect people's everyday life -
that creates frustration and tension even in the '90s.
Presbyterians found themselves in the situation in Ireland
where a confessional state had been set up,
where your access to political and social power
was based on the religion you confessed.
In other words, being a member of the established Church of Ireland.
And those who weren't members of the established Church of Ireland -
the Catholic majority
and the Presbyterian community in the north of Ireland -
were excluded by penal laws
from access to full political and social power.
And the best example of that was the so-called Sacramental Test
that was tacked on to the 1704 Popery Act.
Presbyterians took grave offence to this, because they said,
"Here we are defending the Protestant constitution
"at the Siege of Derry, and in 1704, we're being treated
"the exact same as the Catholics we were fighting against."
So Presbyterians found themselves
in a second-class if not third-class status by the early 18th century.
Neil Martin discovers why the final years of the 17th century ensured the long-term success of King James I's plantation in Ulster. At the heart of the matter was religion and the support that Ulster's Scottish Presbyterians gave to Protestant William of Orange.