Presented are the documents relating to the ceasefire which was arranged between Hugh O’Neill (Aodh Ó Néill) and the English crown shortly before Christmas, 1597.
The first document presented is O’Neill’s submission to the Queen of England, which he was made to undertake before there could be any discussion of ceasefires. It took two full days for O’Neill to agree to sign the submission, which was greatly watered down and allowed numerous concessions to O’Neill.
The second document is the terms of the ceasefire. Again O’Neill refused to sign the initial terms.
The third document is O’Neill’s answer to the terms discussed, in which he demands concessions not included in the initial terms. The English were outraged and, in their own words, ‘were forced to enter into a particular debating of every article, and of his answer thereunto.’
The fourth document, submitted 22 December, again outraged the English. It was a ‘humble petition’ of demands which the English did not consider to be on the table.
The fifth and final document is O’Neill’s ‘Book of Grievances’ wherein he details the various crimes of the English government in Ireland, against not just Gaelic subjects, but subjects of the English crown.
Reading between the lines of the below documents, one can see O’Neill playing a strong hand. He extracts numerous concessions from the crown, even in submission as a rebel, makes demands far exceeding the scope of a ceasefire treaty, and, in representing the grievances of the numerous peoples of the island, rather than his subjects only, one can see his ambitions to extend his rebel coalition beyond the Gaelic chiefs, to even the English settlers in Dublin.
For full context on this treaty, we recommend this article by Hiram Morgan. We also recommend James O’Neill’s book The Nine Years War 1593-1603 for further context and additional information on the war.
The text in the following documents was taken from the aforementioned article by Hiram Morgan, and published in Dúiche Néill: Journal of the O’Neill country historical society, 1997.