Rabble of Mac Rebels

Thomas Wilson, writing to Sir Robert Cecil in March 1604 from Spain, describes the Irishmen in Spain (spelling and punctuation modernised):

“Besides this Mac Williams here is a great sort of other Macs and macaques as Mac Sweeny, Mac Shannon (or ‘Mac a shame on him’), Maurice Mac-I-know-not-who, Mac an Earl, Mac a devil, & such a rabble of Mac Rebels as never [a] Christian king had, that a man cannot stir in any corner but he shalbe confronted with some of them.”

In the Early Modern letters I work on, it’s quite rare to find passionate outbursts of this kind, so this was a nice change from the straightforward newsspeak that’s the norm. 🙂

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