Borlase, Edmund [compiler] (1620–1682)

The history of the execrable Irish rebellion trac’d from many preceding acts, to the grand eruption the 23. of October, 1641. and thence pursued to the act of settlement.                                                                                                                                         

London, England: Henry Brome, Robert Clavel, and Richard Chiswell in St.Paul’s Church-Yard., 1680.     Price $2,700


 Folio. 35 x 25 cm.  Signatures: A⁴ b-d⁴ x1, B-2T⁴, (A*)-(T*)⁴ with one folding chart.  This is a large  copy in contemporary full speckled calf, with the later signet society arms in gilt center of front and rear boards. Spine label. Marbled edges. Later marbled endpapers as is typical of a lot of the Society of the Signet books.  There is a bookplate of Edw’d Place. 

 Very wide margins and side notes.  In this chronology, these dates being noted in the margins across from where events of that year are first recounted.

Long considered the go-to reference for the English reader on the Irish Rebellion, but in fact it is quite Biased as evidenced by a 17 pp. section entitled: “A Collection of Murthers in Several Counties of Ireland committed since the 23d of October, 1641. abstracted out of certain Examinations taken by Virtue of Commissions under the Great Seal of Ireland, which said Particulars are singled (amongst infinite others of that kind) pointing to the Circumstances, and the. Names of the Persons (or some of them) murthering or murthered: The fuller Evidence of which may be found (according to the Quotations) in the Archives of Dublin, now in Possession of the Clerk of the Council.”

There then follows a county-by-county graphic recounting of numbers maimed or killed (some might rightly or wrongly call this propaganda), the manner in which these assaults occurred, down to the last gruesome details, to wit: Drownings; bellies ripped open,and babies pulled out and brain-dashed; Women hanged up by the hair of their heads all night,;” A distracted gentleman run through with a pike, he laughing the while”; stripped naked and murdered in the church, someone being quartered alive,his quafters then thrown into the face of his father; Brains knock’d out with a Hatchet; “A Scotchman, an Englishman, &c a Welchman imprisoned in the Stocks at Newcastle, where they lay without breeches upon raw Hides, that their joints rotted, insomuch that when two of them were afterwards hang’d, one of their feet fell off by the Anckle”; “Mrs. Jane Addis of Kilcoursie (after her going to Mass) murthere’d in her house in Fox Countrey Com. Regu, having a child not a quarter old; the Murtherers putting the dead woman’s Breast into the child’s mouth, bade it such English bastard, and so left it”; people being buried alive, etc. etc. No seeming end to this evidence that human beings are worse beasts than beasts, by far. Or at very least and kindest, to propaganda, at any rate.