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It seems to be the artful model of subsequent concessions to Ireland; which are, in substance, "give me your liberties—give me your properties at my disposal-give up your country, and I will give to you in return the blessings of the English constitution.”
It thus proceeds:
“ Edward, by the grace of God, king of England, lord of Ireland, and duke of Aquitaine, to our trusty and wellbeloved Robert de Clifford, justiciary of Ireland, greeting:
“The improvement of the state and peace of our land of Ireland, signified to us by your letter, gives us exceeding joy and pleasure. We entirely commend your diligence in this matter, hoping, by the divine assistance, that the things there begun so happily by you, shall, as far as in you lieth, be still further prosecuted with the greater vigour and success.
“ And whereas the community of Ireland hath made a tender to us of eight thousand marks, on condition that we grant to them the laws of England, to be used in the aforesaid land, we will give you to know, that inasmuch as the laws used by the Irish are hateful to God, and having held diligent conference and full deliberation with our council in this matter, it seems sufficiently expedient to us and to our council, to grant to them the English laws; provided always that the general consent of our people, or at least of the prelates and nobles of that land, well affected to us, shall uniformly concur in this behalf. We therefore command you, that, having entered into treaty with those Irish people, and examined diligently into the wills of our commons, prelates, and nobles, well affected to us, in this behalf, and having agreed between you
ments in arts and industry; and for these specious and intoxicating blessings, we should stipulate to surrender that liberty which raised our coun. try from beggary to independence, and should again agree to rely on the parental protection of that power, which chained dowa the rich and proligc energies of our country for 600 years.
and them on the highest fine of money that you can
with them, for one turn only, to repair to us when we shall think fit to demand them.” Such is the language of a king, communicating what he terms the blessings of English law; and such are the conditions on which the tortured Irish inhabitants of the pale were to obtain the protection of his majesty Edward the first. But such is the language of tyranny over every conquered people; the bayonet and the sword are the forerunners of the blessings which despotism dispenses; and the sighs of a persecuted nation are generally answered by hypocritical professions of kindness from the hand which caused them.
Such was the influence of the petty tyrants of the Irish, that they were able to intercept the rays of royal mercy, however feeble in their heat; ard the English ascendancy of the pale struggled with their sovereign, for the perpetuity of that monopoly of despotism, from which the native Irish petitioned to be relieved. It should be here observed, that the men who opposed the communication of English laws to the native Irish, professed the same religion and the same faith, as the unfortunate people over whom they ruled; that the ascendancy here complained of was an English ascendancy, and that the same opporturities, enjoyed by catholic, as well as protestant, would be equally abused, and the same tyranny equally exercised. No Irish protestant has oppressed his countryman, because he is a catholic-1o-he has oppressed him because it was the policy of England to encourage and support a mono
poly of power in the hands of a few, and when England became protestant, her Irish tyrants were protestants, as her Irish tyrants were catholics in the time of Edward, because England was catholic,
The commons, the prelates and nobles, who threw themselves between Edward and his subjects, and who endeavoured to preserve the little petty tyranny of monopoly, were catholics; but such is the nature of man under such circumstances; the temptation is too seducing, and the motive too strong to be weighed against the remote, though certain rewards of integrity and public virtue. Two years elapsed, and a second petition was presented by the native Irish, and a second time resisted by the catholic baa rons, clergy and commons. The consequence of this tantalizing policy, was the universal distraction of the country, the renewal of the most implacable hostilities, and a wild, barbarous, and destructive civil war,
The English adventurers, the Fitzgeralds, the Burkes, the Butlers, Eustaces, and Lacys, rose on the ruins which spread around them, and notwithstanding the wise and be nevolent remonstrances of Mac Carty, the deluded natives seemed to vie with each other in promoting the schemes and confederacies of their common enemy, The great and important undertakings in which the arms of Edward were now engaged, (1286) involved his government in embar. rassment, and the sufferings of Ireland were no reason why an experiment to raise new resources should not there be tried; he therefore demanded of the clergy, or rather of · all the spiritualities within the pale, an additional fifteenth, After some altercation and delay, this demand of Edward was acceded to.
The distractions of Ireland were so great at this period, that Edward determined to make some effort to prevent their recurrence. For this purpose he deputed sir John Wogan, in 1295, to administer the affairs of Ireland, or rather of that part of Ireland in possession of England, No viceroy as yet appeared better qualified, from the mildness
of his temper, his excellent understanding, and sound discretion, to heal the bleeding wounds of Ireland. With firmness, to put into execution, the well digested resolutions of parliament, he suppressed those whom he could not soothe; and we therefore see much done by this nobleman to compose the exhausting dissentions of the English barons with each other, and of the native Irish with both. . He summoned parliament more frequently than usual, and we find the acts of this assembly at this period, more deserving of notice than those which have preceded them. Various regulations were made to restrain the insolence and tyranny of the barons, to put a stop to their perpetual encroachments on the territories of each other, and to prevent the recurrence of those exasperating practices which so frequently drove the native Irish to rebellion.
HISTORY OF IRELAND.
The important events of this reign should have A.D. 1308.
been to England a source of useful instruction on
the inevitable evils flowing from that narrow and confined policy, which estimated its security by the distracting divisions of Irishmen, by its success in running county against county, the Irish within the pale against their native countrymen, and erecting on the ruins and weakness of both parties, a disgusting and torturing English ascendancy.
The successful invasion of Edward Bruce, brother of the celebrated Scottish monarch, the devastation committed by his arms, and the universal shock then given to the English interests in Ireland, should have taught the sister country, the necessity of no longer relying on the power of a faction to keep down the resentment of an injured and insulted people. From this example, succeeding rulers might have learned the wisdom of mild and parental government. They might have seen that the avarice of English speculators on the misfortunes of the people was the cause of general dissatisfaction, and that the first opportunity which may offer to a nation to release itself from the