Tract against Catholics in Ireland

Scope and Content

Anti-Catholic tract entitled: A Looking Glass for the Reformed Church and State of Ireland, wherein may be Discerned the Effegies of Popery, with all the Traterous Conspiracyes Irish Papists against the Crowne of England for about 200 yeares now Past. The volume is assigned, by a note on folio 1, to Robert Ware, son of Sir James Ware (1594-1666).

Administrative / Biographical History

Robert Ware (d. 1696), the Irish Protestant controversialist, was the son of the respected Irish antiquary, Sir James Ware (1594-1666). He was vehemently anti-Catholic, and published a series of vituperative tracts, such as Foxes and Fire-brands: or, a Specimen of the danger and harmony of Popery and Separation: wherein is proved...that separation from the Church of England is, in the judgment of Papists... the most compendious way to introduce Popery, etc. (1680), which went through several editions; Historical collections of the church in Ireland, during the reigns of K. Henry, VIII. Edward, VI. and Q. Mary (1681); The conversion of Philip Corwine a Franciscan fryar, to the reformation of the Protestant religion, anno 1589 (1681); and The hunting of the Romish fox, and the quenching of sectarian fire-brands: being a specimen of popery & separation (1683); A favourite device of his was to forge or invent documents to support his theses, such as the correspondence between Sir James Croft, Lord Deputy of Ireland, and George Dowdall, Archbishop of Armagh. Several of these forgeries were not exposed until the 20th century.

Related Material

British Library, Manuscript Collections, holds a volume of Robert Ware's historical collections relating to Ireland, c. 1666-96 (ref.: BL Add. MS 4813); also Memoirs taken out of the notes of Sir Henry Sidney, Knt. (ob. 1586), sometime Lord Deputy of Ireland, and out of the Lord Cecills papers ab Anno 1530 ad Annum 1566, as they were collected by James Usher, late Primat of all Ireland and Archbishop of Armagh, one of a series of anti-Catholic forgeries by Robert Ware (ref.: BL Add. MS 33,746 ).


Philip Wilson, 'The writings of Sir James Ware and the forgeries of Robert Ware', Transactions of the Bibliographical Society, vol. 15 (1917-19), pp. 83-94; cited in Joseph Rosenblum, The practice to deceive: the amazing stories of literary forgery's most notorious practitioners (New Castle, Del.: Oak Knoll Press, 2000), p. xvii.