The Confederate Oath of Association drafted in Kilkenny in May 1642. This oath of association remained in effect until the defeat of the Confederates by 1653. The text is from The Confederation of Kilkenny by C.P. Meehan (1812-1890), published 1873.
“I, A.B., do profess, swear, and protest before God and His saints and angels, the I will, during my life, bear true faith and allegiance to my Sovereign Lord, Charles, by the grace of God, King of Great Britain, France and Ireland, and to his heirs and lawful successors; and that I will, to my power, during my life, defend, uphold and maintain, all his and their just prerogatives, estates, and rights, the power and privilege of the Parliament of this realm, the fundamental laws of Ireland, the free exercise of the Roman Catholic faith and religion throughout this land; and the lives, just liberties, possessions, estates, and rights of all those that have taken, or that shall take this Oath, and perform the contents thereof; and that I will obey and ratify all the orders and decrees made, and to be made, by the Supreme Council of the Confederate Catholics of this Kingdom, concerning the said public cause; and I will not seek, directly or indirectly, any pardon or protection for any act done, or to be done, touching this general cause, without the consent of the major part of the said Council; and that I will not, directly or indirectly, do any act or acts that shall prejudice the said cause, but will, to the hazard of my life and estate, assist, prosecute and maintain the same.
Moreover, I do further swear that I will not accept of, or submit unto any peace, made, or to be made, with the said Confederate Catholics, without the consent and approbation of the General Assembly of the said Confederate Catholics, and for the preservation and strengthening of the association and union of the kingdom. That upon any peace or accommodation to be made, or concluded with the said Confederate Catholics as aforesaid, I will, to the utmost of my power, insist upon and maintain the ensuing propositions, until a peace, as aforesaid, be made, and the matters to be agreed upon in the articles of peace be established and secured by Parliament.
So help me God and His holy gospel.”
Such was this solemn oath, or “faedus”, which gave a distinct appellation to those who bound themselves by it, and whom we are henceforth to know as the Confederate Catholics of Ireland.
Having issued a manifesto calling on all the Catholics of the country to take the oath, in order that “all Irish peers, magistrates, noblemen, cities, and provinces may be tied together with the holy bond of union and concord, and for the conservation and exercise of this union,” they ordained the following points: –
- Whereas, the war which now in Ireland the Catholics do maintain against sectaries, and chiefly against Puritans, for the defence of the Catholic religion, – for the maintenance of the prerogative and royal rights of our gracious King Charles, – for our gracious Queen, so unworthily abused by the Puritans, – for the honour, safety and health of their royal issue, – for to avert and repair the injuries done to them – for the conversion of the just and lawful safeguard, liberties, and rights of Ireland, – and, lastly, for the defence of their own lives, fortunes, lands, and possessions; whereas this war is undertaken for the foresaid causes against unlawful usurpers, oppressors, and the enemies of the Catholics, chiefly Puritans, and that hereof we are informed, as well by divers and true remonstrances of divers, provinces, counties, and noblemen, as also by the unanimous consent and agreement of almost the whole kingdom in this war and union, – we, therefore, declare that war, openly Catholic, to be lawful and just; in which war, if some of the Catholics be found to proceed out of some particular and unjust title – covetousness, cruelty, revenge, or hatred, or any such unlawful private intentions – we declare them herein grievously to sin, and therefore worthy to be punished and restrained with ecclesiastical censures if, advised thereof, they do not attend.
- Whereas the adversaries do spread divers rumours, do write divers letters, and, under the King’s name, do print proclamations, which are not the King’s, by which means divers plots and danger may ensue unto our nation; we, therefore, to stop the way of untruth, and forgeries of political adversaries, do will and command that no such rumours, letters, or proclamations may have place or belief until it be known in a national council, whether they truly proceed from the King, left to his own freedom, and until agents of this kingdom, hereafter to be appointed by the National Council, have free passage to his Majesty, whereby the kingdom may be certainly informed of his Majesty’s intention and will.
- We straightly command all our inferiors, as well churchmen as laymen, to make no alienation, comparison, or difference between provinces, cities, towns, or families; and lastly, not to begin or forward any emulations or comparisons whatsoever.
- That in every province of Ireland there be a council made up, both of clergy and nobility, in which council shall be so many persons, at least, as are counties in the province, and out of every city or notable town, two persons.
- Let one general council of the whole kingdom be made, both of the clergy, nobility, cities, and notable towns, in which council there shall be three out of every province, and out of every city, one; or where cities are not, out of the chiefest towns. To this council the provincial councils shall have subordination, and from thence to it may be appealed, until this National Council shall have opportunity to sit together.
- Let a faithful inventory be made, in every province, of the murders, burnings, and other cruelties which are permitted by the Puritan enemies, with a quotation of the place, day, cause, manner, and persons, and other circumstances, subscribed by one of public authority.
- We do declare and judge all and every such as do forsake this union, fight for our enemies, accompany them in their war, defend or in any way assist them, to be excommunicated, and, by these presents, do excommunicate them.
- We will and declare all those that murder, dismember, or grievously strike, all thieves, unlawful spoilers, robbers of any goods, to be excommunicated, and so to remain till they completely amend and satisfy, no less than if they were namely proclaimed excommunicated.