Category Archives: Ireland

Item of the Day: A Copy of the Deposition of Francis Branson (1680)

A copy of the Deposition of Francis Branson.

Found In: Letters from the English Kings and Queens Charles II, James II, William and Mary, Anne, George II, &c. To the governors of the Colony of Connecticut, together with the Answers  thereto, from 1635 to 1749; and Other Original, Ancient, Literary and Curious Documents, Compiled from Files and Records in the Office of the Secretary of the State of Connecticut. By R. R. Hinman, A. M. Secretary of the State of Connecticut. Hartford: John D. Eldredge, Printer, 1836. [pp. 119-120]


Francis Branson, commander of the ship Anne and Hester, aged 30 years or thereabouts, in the behalf of his Majestie testifieth, that William Kelso, Chirurgeon, and John Bowland, mate of the said ship, being aboard, in the great cabbin at sea, the 16th day of April last, 1680, amongst other discourses that then passed between them, the said William Kelso in hearing of this Deponent, did declare in the great cabbin, that he was the Chirurgeon Generall, in the late rebellion in Scottland, and that after the Duke of Monmouth had been there and qualified them, Kelso cutt of his hair and wore a Perriwigg, and made his escape into the north of Ireland, and from thence transported himself to Dublin, and was there some small time, and from thence he made his excape to Bristol, and there he stayed a while, and after went up to London. He then at the same time did declare, that he knew those persons that murdered the Arch Bishop of St. Andrews, and that they had made their escape disguised, and could not be found; that there were sixe of them that sett upon him, when he was in his coach, going over a plain 3 miles from a village, that they hauled him out of his coach and told him that he had betrayed them, and therefore nothing should satisfie them but his blood. His Daughter being in the coach with him, opened her bosome, and desired them to spare her father and kill her, but they fell upon him with pistols, first pistolling him, and then hewed him in pieces with their swores ; all which words were spoken by the said Kelso, when we wee coming from England, being then bound for the Isle of May.

Sworn to in Court, the 4th January, 1680, in Boston, New England. That this is a true coppie taken and compared with the original, 4th January 1680.




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Filed under 1680's, Crime and punishment, England, Great Britain, Ireland, Legal, New England, Posted by Caroline Fuchs, Trials

Item of the Day: Almon’s Anecdotes (1797)

Full Title:

Biographical, Literary, and Political Anecdotes of Several of the Most Eminent Persons of the Present Age.  Never Before Printed.  With an Appendix; Consisting of Original, Explanatory, and Scarce Papers.  By the Author of Anecdotes of the Late Earl of Chatham.  In Three Volumes.  Volume I.  London: Printed for T. N. Longman, and L. B. Seeley.  In Pater-Noster-Row.  1797. 


Secret and True History of the Irish Octennial Bill.

Irish Electors instruct their Representatives to bring in a Septennial Bill.  Extraordinary Preamble to it, with a View to Defeat it.  Sent to England.  Delayed.  Remarks.  Altered.  Returned to Ireland.  People of Dublin assemble in immense Numbers, and compel their Representative to pass the Bill. Further Remarks.  Management of the Parliament of Ireland, and of the last Parliament of Scotland.  Anecdote of Lord William Gordon. 

Before the year 1768, when this bill passed, the Parliament of Ireland was only determined by the King’s life; but now (according to this law) the Parliament of that kingdom is to be chosen once in eight years.  A short history of this extraordinary event cannot be underserving the reader’s attention.  No blame attached to the Lord Lieutentant in this affair; but a great deal of something worse attaches to the secret cabinet at St. James’s, whose design was to have defeated the measure, and to have transferred the odium of that defeat upon those, who, for other purposes, they had encouraged to demand it. 

In the month of August, 1767, Lord Townshend was appointed Lord Lieutenant of Ireland.  During the preceding year, a considerable majority of the electors of Ireland instructed their representatives on the subject, or, as they termed it, on the necessity of bringing in, and passing, a bill, to limit the duration of Parliament to seven years; in like manner, as the Parliament of Great Britain is limited; and so warm and so numerous were the electors, particularly all the lower class, in support of this measure, that there was scarcely a town or country throughout the kingdom which did not instruct or insist upon their representatives voting for such bill; and the electors of some places carried their enthusiasm so far, as to compel their Members to make oath they would vote for it.  Accordingly, when the Irish Parliament met in the month of November, 1767, the heads of a bill for limiting the duration of Parliaments to seven years were brought into the House of Commons, and immediately passed.  But, agreeable to the mode of enacting laws at that time in Ireland, these heads of the bill were transmitted to England, for the approbabtion of the King and Council, that being the next stage of progress.  And here it must be observed, that the reason of the Commons passing the bill, was not the positive commands of their Constituents, but the sanguine hopes which the Irish Patriots themselves entertained, that it would, without a doubt, be rejected in England.  And therefore, in order to make this wished-fo rejection as certain as possible, the preamble of the bill stated, that, “Whereas it it the undoubted right of the people of Ireland to a more frequent choice of their representatives, &c.” They they changed the request of a boon into a demand of a right; which was certainly neither a respectful nor a proper mode of soliciting the resignation of a power that had been exercised by the Crown during a long period of years; for it implied, that the right had been withheld from the subject all that time […] 

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Filed under 1760's, 1790's, Ireland, Politics, Posted by Matthew Williams

Item of the Day: Baratariana (1777)

Full Title: Baratariana. A Select Collection of Fugitive Political Pieces, Published during the Administration of Lord Townshend in Ireland. The Third Edition, Corrected and Enlarged. Dublin: 1777.





Feb. 3, 1770.

My Lord,

Notwithstanding your publick conduct, this nation has obligations to you; and we should be the most ungrateful people on earth if we did not return you thanks, for administering to us the comfort of despising you. We thank you, my lord, that if you have been odious, you have been despicable also; and we acknowledge that of the many thousands you have injured by your conduct, there is not one man, who does not insult you with his compassion, and look down on your person with all the superiority of scorn and indignation. We must have expired under your measures if we had not this secret satisfaction of contemplating your character, and considering the humility of your destiny, that must never aspire to any thing more exalted than hatred, mitigated by derision. Our sense of injury is somewhat appeased, when in Council we behold you in the capacity of a political anarch, presiding over the misrule of your own administration; or when we see you deserting the Council, and at the most important crisis, forsaking the business of the nation for the sports of the field. We pity the intellectual hurricane that has driven you through the discharge of your duty with so much impropriety, and now drives you from the discharge of your duty with so much indeceny; and really, my lord if you were not our chief governour, you are most undoubtedly entitled to a station below our resentment.

We, my lord, who have beheld your predecessors, thought nothing at this time could be new in a Lord Lieutenant, except virtue. Rashness could not astonish a people who had seen the duke of Bedford; weakness could not astonish a people who had seen the duke of Northumberland; and a despicable character ceased to be a novelty, for we had not forgotten lord Herford: but there remained one innovation in politicks, which we had no conception of; a man who had all the defects of these great personages without the allay of their virtues; who was rash, weak, and contemptible, but was not intrepid, splendid, or decent; a man who had not spirit to assert government, and yet was audacious enough to violate the constitution; whose manners were ludicrous, whose person was despised, whose dispostion was vehemence without firmess, and whose conduct was not steady oppression, but rather the tremour of tyranny; such a man could not have been foreseen; but at length the miracle was produced, and this phaenomenon at the Castle appeared in your lordship.

I will suppose the time arrived, when you have departed this kingdom; I will suppose that you have escaped the scoffs, hisses, insults, reproaches, and the thousand other indignities that are probably prepared for your retreat; and that your midnight expediton as been successfull. I will suppose also, that you are honoured with an audience, and address the ear of your sovereign in the following manner.

“The people of Ireland are inclined to opposition; you must check this contagion of British spirit. Their patriotism is faction, and their publick spirit an outrage on majesty, in the person of his representative; no viceroy, for no king can please them. You must supress this restless and seditious people; you must overawe this aspiring spirit into an unscrupulous compliance; and by a steady arrogance, you must maintain in that kingdom the dignity of government, and the rights of the crown of Great-Britain.”

Having surmised what your Excellency will say to your king, I shall now



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Filed under 1770's, Great Britain, Ireland, Posted by Caroline Fuchs