Address to King James II at Kilkenny, March 22, 1689

A printed version of the text can be found on pages 389 to 391 of volume 8 (N.S.) of Calendar of the Manuscripts of the Marquess of Ormonde, K.P., Preserved at Kilkenny Castle. Reports of the Historical Manuscripts Commission [36] ( London: His Majesty's Stationery Office, 1920).

Great Monarch,

If our affection to your Majesty could digest an abuse that proved so fatal to the prerogative, we should rejoice at the defection of England that lent us the opportunity of kissing your hand in this loyal kingdom of Ireland. Whereas the honour of your Majesty's pleasure was unexpected, so are our expectations of joy unspeakable. Never was a King of England so kind to this country; never was this country so kind to a British prince. We conducted a Fergus to Scotland; we welcome in James the Second the undoubted heir of Fergus by the lineal descent of one hundred and ten crowned heads, with that boast of antiquity, to which no other monarch of the universe can aspire. We acquit Scotland for the principal and interest of thirteen hundred years by receiving your Majesty, in whose person we consider no stranger, we behold no conqueror, but our own blood restored to us after the absence of so many centuries, a son of Fergus, King of Ireland, and actually present in Ireland, which verifies an old proverb of ours that avereth we should have about this time a King of our own, and continue under him and his issue a most happy nation for ever.

And though the regard to antiquity and right of accession be very taking with this nation, yet your Majesty's fondness all along of this country prompted them to that alacrity, that James Duke of York was always their darling and King James the Second almost their God. We offered the other English monarchs perhaps but the bare duty of our allegiance; your Majesty has robbed our affections. They commanded our obedience; your Majesty sways our hearts. Our compliance with the other princes was reported to smell of compulsion; our endeavours for your Majesty's interest are the effect of a national inclination and the work of a sympathy of blood. This occasioned our chapels to be daily thronged, and our altars to be constantly perfumed with fervent prayers for your Majesty's long life since your access to the Crown. This motived our fervent votaries before the venerable Sacrament of the Body of Christ for that issue male that should inherit as well your virtues as your sceptre. This caused our fasts and three days of humiliation each week to beg the defeat of so unnatural an invasion. This squeezed our tears at the news of your Majesty's confinement, and prompted our grief to a resolution either of securing your Majesty's interest at least here, though horseless, armless, and untrained, or of being buried in the same ruins that would oppress your person, for we lived by your government and breathed by your life; our love to this light could not survive your funeral.

And if violence had wrought so far on necessity as to force from your Majesty in that pressing juncture an order for laying down our arms, we were resolved not to obey King James against King James, nor heed the commands of a restraint that would obstruct the liberty which to compass we did not stammer at the consideration of the power. We were engaging beyond our ability. The justice of our cause did dictate unto us those assurances of Heaven's assistance that we thought but of victories, though we were investing men well accoutred all naked ourselves, though we were encountering muskets with pikes, and cannons with clubs, and to that end the young wife did not dread the hazard of her husband, the mother did not heed the risk of her only son, the aged father did encourage the enlisting of that child that was the only prop of his drooping years, our peers quitted their ease, our gentlemen regarded not the hazard of their estates, our farmers did not value the loss of their stock, all were rich enough so they were backed with so much wealth as could subsist men for your Majesty's service. Our barns are changed into armouries, our shops are metamorphosed into magazines, our lex mercatoria is the right and left, our exchanges are the chapels and parades, pouring forth prayers in the one and trailing pikes in the other. All ages, sexes, and professions do run as for a wager to assert your Majesty's right; our very children are better skilled in the book of exercise than in the horn-book; they are better with the word than with the A B C; for no age pleads minority, no years does challenge privilege, when your Majesty's crown is at stake.

All this, great Sir, is nothing to the measure of our wishes; it is a short sphere to the scope of our affection. If our capacity did enable us farther, our endeavours would stretch farther, our fortress would vie with the malice of our enemies, our loyalty would outdo their desertion; if more able we were more active would we be.

What we have left, dread Sovereign, is to supply with voices what we are short of means, to wish your sacred Majesty a thousand times welcome to this your natural kingdom, to offer you with all sincerity of our souls, all our lives and fortunes towards your reinthroning. The sun has not seen us these three thousand years so united as your Majesty's interest has at present knitted us. We are now one hand, one soul, one bill, one heart. That one heart dances in your hand. Order us to attack the faithless excellent, your fanatic Bristol, your deserting Chester, your rebellious London; we will march by the first beat of drum. Command us to the East or West Indies, to the Northern or Southern Pole; the first sound of trumpet still finds us ready to sail. Give us the signal to invest the source of treacherous Amsterdam, to surround the factious Hague, and seize the sinews of ungrateful Holland; we have stock enough of courage to advance towards them.

These are, mighty Sir, the real sentiments of all Irish heads, prompted by God towards your Majesty's restoration, and animated by the great person you deputed here; none else could stem the tide of defection that was flowing as violently in the Irish Channel as in the English, none but he could outstand the shock that was threatened. Particularly this is the sense of the trusty city of Kilkenny, which being styled Little Rome, stoops not to the Great Rome, with assiduity of precarious addresses to Heaven for your Majesty's prosperity, nor in this forwardness to maintain our interest does it vere to Carthage, to Numantia.

Sure, best of Princes, as your are master of our hearts, command our willingness; you will find our hearts as ready for blows as ourselves are stowed with wishes, for the reinthroning, reseating your Majesty unto your own throne.

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