Taken from John Francis Gilbert’s A Contemporary History of Affairs in Ireland, from 1641 to 1652. The letter has been rendered into modern English.
Kilkenny, 21st March, 1645.
I received your letter, and am exceedingly glad of your accustomed pains taken on my behalf to his Excellency, as for that he commanded you to return to me. I do highly thank his Excellency for his manifold favours and good intentions towards me; and I protest to you I never doubted of his Excellency’s good performance unto me of any encouragement delivered by you on his behalf to me. I shall desire you now to assure his Excellency that whenever he think it convenient to send for me that I will not fail to wait upon him.
As for any distinction made between septs of the Irish, there are none that doth it, but idle, malicious fellows and troubling heads, that hath nothing else to do but measure others by their own evil inclinations. As for my part, I take God to witness, I never harboured any such thought in my mind, or, for ought I know, any of my friends; and as far as I can seriously conceive, all the Irish in this kingdom prays for nothing more than that his Excellency shall govern them all. And I cannot conjecture what blind persons there are that will presume to make any distinction betwixt the nation, for it is most certain that there is never a man of those whom they term, or none Irish, but are allianced to the other in blood throughout all Ireland. Therefore I hold him no better than a devil that will make any difference, but call and term all Irish.
As for your advice that I should not take the charges of an army from the Lord Nuncio, it is not the Lord Nuncio that implores me, it is the Supreme Council that commands me to draw into Ulster with 3,000 foot and 300 horse. It is true the Lord Nuncio gave the Council monies to entertain those men, and they being designed for Connacht, and I see no reason but I should be commanded by them to oppose the King’s enemies. And if there be peace, as I hope there will, let his Excellency be confident that he shall command those under my command as soon as any army in Ireland. You desire that I should not be so conversant with the Spanish agent, I assure you he is my old acquaintance, and one that I have seen Secretary of Wars and State, and I hope he shall be a means to recover me the payment due to me upon his Majesty, and that is it that makes me confer with him now and then, and no other end or design.
I heard of the proceedings of Chester before I received your letter. I do very much admire that you or any body of wit would hearken to that base and foolish report that the Bishop of Clogher and myself should have a hand in stopping men from England. You may conceive that we both doth understand that the keeping of our enemies in action abroad is that which will secure us at home; and take it from me that the men out of Ulster will be ready to go for England as soon as any men in Ireland. I am glad to hear of those defeats given in Scotland to the malignant party; I pray God continue it.
You write to me that I should write to my Lord Lieutenant or Sir Morish Eustace to excuse myself and the Bishop of Clogher for that mad talk laid to our charge. Nephew, the matter is so light and clearly against reason of war and state, that I do not believe that those unto whom you would have me make my apology would take us to be such fools. I pray you send me all the particular news you have. Still you know there are many lands in the north which do belong to the enemy, and I pray your reserve their custodium for those of Ulster; for there are many poor gentlemen in that province waiting for them, though they are not able to sue for them. This being, I remain,
Your most faithful uncle,
Owen O’Neill. For my affectionate nephew, Daniel