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benevolent acts of his government obliterate the imprese sion, and the historian who would write in candor should confidently hold up the heir of the house of York, as the model to future governors of Ireland, of wisdom, of moderation, and of justice.
The partizans of Lancaster were glad to seize upon any pretext by which they could be liberated from the watchful jealousy of so formidable a rival as Richard, duke of York; and therefore represented Ireland as peculiarly demanding, from the turbulence and disorder which convulsed that country, the presence of so efficient a ruler. The duke, enjoying most extensive and powerful connections in Ireland, hoped that his absence from his own country would not much diminish his pretensions to the English crown; but in assuming the government of Ireland, he took care that he should be vested with almost unlimited power, and that the period of his administration should at least be ten years; that he should have a pension of two thousand marks from England, independent of his Irish revenue, and that he should have the power of appointing such officers as to him seemed most fit for their respective stations. He arrived in Ireland in the year 1449, and his appearance in this country was splendid and magnificent. In his deportment to all parties he was conciliating and polite; he united the ease and cordiality of the companion, with the dignity of the prince, and even disarmed those of his Irish subjects who were prepossessed against his government. The opposing rival lords, Ormond and Os, mond, he courted with equal success; and the followers of the reigning house of Lancaster seemed to forget the spirit of party, in their respect for the amiable and insinuating manners of the noble viceroy. In the various negotiations he had with the native Irish, he studiously recommended himself by his moderation and his equity. To his subjects of the colony he manifested the greatest zeal for their safety and tranquillity; and, by no other power than that
of a firm and undaunted determination to act impartially by all, did this excellent personage govern the colony with universal satisfaction and advantage. He convened a parliament at Dublin, in which various laws were passed for the security of the subject, and the prevention of oppression by the petty tyrant of the pale. Coin and coshierings were abolished. It was ordained that no lord should entertain more horse and footmen than he could support without burden to his neighbours. The number of the duke's adherents multiplied every hour, and the popular voice of Ireland was universally resounding the praises of his mild and honest government; but such scenes of peace were not to last very long. This happy interval for Ireland was short and transient; and the great theatre of ambition in England demanded the immediate presence of Richard. He was succeeded by sir Edward Fitzeustace, under whose administration, though vigorous and decided, we are to witness the resurrection of these petty wars which convulsed the country. The native Irish chieftains of the west, the south, and the north, the O'Connors and the O'Neils, again rose in arms. They were checked by the strong and decided measures of Fitzeustace. In the meantime the prospect in England became more and more gloomy. The general discontent increased, and the total loss of the French dominions roused and inflamed the public mind. The duke of York openly declared for the throne, and the victory gained by that prince at St. Alban's, put the British monarch in his
The spirit of Margaret of Anjou, wife of the weak and impotent Henry VI. rose in proportion to the violence with which she was opposed; and the battle of Bloreheath drove Richard for shelter to Ireland.* Here the reader of
* A love of justice and obedience to the laws distinguished the Irish people in a more eminent degree than any other nation perhaps in the world. To this fact we have the most irresistible testimony. Sir John
Irish history should pause to consider and observe the effects of good and impartial government on the hearts of the Irish nation. Let the enemies of Ireland here stop to contemplate the reception which this country gave to that
Davis, who observed this country with the eye of a philosopher as well as a lawyer, and who long resided in it as attorney-general, writes, “ That no nation in the world loved impartial justice more than the Irish, though it should make against themselves.” Lord Howth says, “ The Irish obey the laws framed for them on their hills, better than the English do theirs, framed by parliament in walled towns.” Mr. Taaffe writes, (and this gentleman, from his intimate knowledge of the Irish language, and his industry in research, may be relied on by the Irish readers, as no bad authority on the following interesting facts) “ The ancient Irish nation pot only supplied themselves with all sorts of manufactures of necessity, but even of elegance, and exported besides. They enjoyed a flourishing agriculture, cloth, and linen manufacture; iron and timber works, curious workmanship in gold and silver, a circumstance belonging to no other country in Europe. Their great monasteries, that were colleges, had botanic gardens. To their knowledge of astronomy some fragments of their books en astronomy, which we yet see, bear testimony: their knowledge of this science was much greater before than after Christianity.” Of the Irish language, Mr. Taaffe says, “ It was more copious and elegant than any cotemporary language, which the remains of their compositions in prose and verse abundantly evince. The ancient Irish music was acknowledged by their bitterest enemies, incomparably superior to that of the neighbo uring nations; and the remains thereof preserved in Ireland, Scotland, and England, though plagiarised, leave no doubt on that head. If music be sentiment guided by harmony, they possessed in the perfection of: sublime simplicity, the most soul-moving melody; never descending to the caterwauling semidemiquavers of some farraginous, incongruous, unmeaning overtures. A passion for literature, especially history, poetry, and music, was so firmly grafted in the Milesians, that it could not be extirpated without the extirpation of the nation. Every clan had hereditary lawyers, hereditary historians, hereditary physicians, hereditary bards, combining poetry and music. Thus family interest was engaged in the improvement and preservation of every art and profession. Every generation was sedulous to hand down the records, containing the rules and improvements of each profession, to their posterity. Hence the Danish wars of two hundred years, and the English and Irish wars of four hundred years continuance, were unable to pluck up the strong and deep roots of Irish learning, until the nation and it fell together; even still there is no such general passion for learning to be found in the bulk of the people in any other country, working against a current of obstacles and oppressions.” The fate of English literature was quite different, because it had not its roots in the constitution. The wars and policy of the Daues extirpated the learning which Ireland had planted; so that until the Norman conquest, few barons could write their names. former times many farms and manors were given by bare word, without writing, only with the sword of the lord on his head-piece, with a lance or a standing goblet, and many tenements with a quill, with a horsecomb, with a bow, with an arrow.” So writes Hayward in his life of William the conqueror.
prince, under whom she enjoyed the blessings of equal law. Let the viceroys of Ireland learn from this example how to govern, so as to secure the loyalty and affection of the people. Here we will find the Irish nation throwing themselves between their benefactor and his enemies, and with all the ardour of the most grateful affection, offering their lives and fortunes in his defence. This was not the extortion of monopoly; it was the kind offering of the heart overflowing with gratitude, and burning for the opportunity to give expression to its sensibility. Writs were sent over to Ireland to bring Richard to justice, but the Irish parliament answered those writs in the memorable language “ that it had ever been customary in their land, to receive and entertain strangers with due support and hospitality." The same assembly soon after enacted laws for the preservation of the duke's person. They declared that Ireland was only to be governed by laws enacted by the king, lords, and commons of Ireland ; that this realm hath also its constable and marshall, before whom all appeals are to be made. Richard is again encouraged to embark for England. Backed by the men and treasure of Ireland, he arrived in London, and was declared by the British parliament successor to Henry. Margaret prepared to oppose him, and the battle of Wakefield, in which Richard opposed the royal army with a disproportioned force, terminated his life and the hopes of the party.
The result of this celebrated action shook to its centre the English interest in Ireland, and the colony was again assailed on all sides by the incursions of the surrounding chieftains. Tributes were again imposed and paid by the colony, and thus a partial peace was purchased, O'Neil in the north, O'Brien and Mac Carty in the south, received those annual tributes. Thus did the various fluctuation of the houses of York and Lancaster operate with malignant and cruel effect on the peace and comforts of the Irish people, as well as the English colony.
HISTORY OF IRELAND.
A.D. The reign of Edward affords to the reflecting 1461. mind, few materials from which either instruction
or entertainment may be derived. It exhibits a painful picture of vindictive triumph and party fury, of narrow contracted policy with regard to Ireland, and avaricious rapacity with regard to the colony.
George, duke of Clarence, was created viceroy on the accession of Edward; and the adherents of the house of York were honored with new distinctions, and increased confidence. Sir Rowland Fitzeustace was created baron of Portlester, and sir Robert Barnwall baron of Trimbleston. The earl of Ormond first fell a victim to the vengeance of the Yorkists, and an act of attainder was passed by the Irish parliament against the family of Butler in 1462, for adhering to the king's enemies. Sir John Ormond, brother of the late earl, fted into Munster, and took up arms against the deputy. The house of Desmond oppose him, and, after a furious engagement, Ormond received a disastrous overthrow. The triumphant Desmond was now appointed viceroy, and, elated with his exaltation, the pride of his demeanour peculiarly mortified his enemies.