By Eugenio O’Neill, General of the Confederate Catholics of Ireland, of the Ulster Forces, and by the rest of the Commanders of the same Forces.
We might be held prodigal of our own honour and give occasion of suspicion if, in the midst of the multitude of calumnies and impostures which have been belched forth against us, we should neglect to apologise for our integrity.
We have, by free and full consent, without any reluctancy in the face of the world, taken the oath of association appointed by universal votes. This oath we have as often as any of the rest of the Confederates frequently and freely iterated.
Such as boast most of loyalty, but are most conscious of disloyalty, have by the Cessation given unto the King’s enemies two entire counties of Munster, which were within the possession of the Confederate Catholics, without receiving any guarantee or assurance of restitution at the expiration of the Cessation. Kilkenny and other quarters belonging to the Confederate Catholics they have actually delivered over unto the great personage1 whom in their souls, they know to be wholly disposed to betray the kingdom unto the Parliament.
Unto this great personage they still adhere, notwithstanding those horrid treasons committed in delivering over unto the Parliament the Castles of Dublin, Drogheda, Trim, Dundalk, and all other garrisons remaining in his quarters.
Yet these men would needs be held loyal subjects, and all others who oppose their sinister practices must be held disloyal.
We provoke2 the whole world to charge us with the least act of disloyalty committed since these commotions, unless it be indeed disloyalty to defend with Christian resolution the freedom of our religion and the liberty of our free-born nation, whereunto by oath we are obliged.
Others may take more hold upon state policy, and continue in allegiance only whilst they are necessitated: Vae duplici corde.
Unto such we may in no way adhere without sound assurance of their fidelity, for which the late Cessation hath not well provided, where an endeavour is made to blemish our integrity, and, not being capable of moving the Heavens to their design, they made recourse to Acheron.
Unto those who thus seek to avoid3 our forces we may not adhere, but, bound by our oaths, we deny to yield obedience unto this unwarrantable and prejudicial Cessation.
Our arms have been taken up to defend ourselves and distressed exiled Catholics that depend upon us, and we beseech the Lord of Hosts never to bless our designs longer than we unfeignedly observe (without respect to private ends), and continue real and faithful unto that resolution.
We, therefore, conjure all the Confederate Catholics to join with us against all Parliamentary rebels, and all factionists who comply unto them to the violation of their oath and the injury of our distressed nation.
Signed by the General and Commander at Athlone.
2 i.e., dare or call upon.
3 i.e., destroy.