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powers are not crossed by internal divisions, or damped by foreign power, oppression, and intrigue. What but union with Great Britain could so effectually withdraw the checks and obstacles too long thrown in the way of Irish greatness, and effectually stimulate that people to emulate their pristine glory?
Ere I conclude this chapter, historical justice demands the refutation of a charge generally preferred against the Irish, of lawless intractability. I wish the imputation originally lay as much in ignorance, as in malevolence. In no nation of the earth, but Ireland, have we witnessed that the arts and sciences have flourished amidst the horrors and devastations of war. This was owing to the reverence and esteem, in which the Irish ever held the professors of the polite arts and sciences, and the ministers of religion. In like manner did they revere and hold as sacred the administration of justice. Even a constant intestine war of 400 years, nourished and kept alive by different English deputies, could not erase those exalted principles. Finglass, chief baron of the exchequer in the reign of Henry VIII. say's, " that the English statutes passed in Ireland are not ob“served 8 days after passing them, whereas those laws and sta“tutes made by the Irish on their hills, they keep firm and stable " without breaking them for any favour or reward.” Sir John Davies, who had still better opportunity of knowing the Irish, (as being the first English justice, that ventured on circuits out of the pale, assures us,
that there is no nation under the sun, u that love equal and indifferent justice better than the Irish ;
or will rest better satisfied with the execution thereof, although
it be against themselves.” This must be considered as the testimony of an enemy, written at the conclusion of a most bloody war for 15 years, and therefore more pointedly clears the Irish of this unfounded accusation. The additional testimony
of Sir Edward Coke, whose candor did not on all occasions keep pace with his learning, shall close this chapter: “For I have been informed by many of them, that have had
judicial places there, and partly of mine own knowledge, that " there is no nation of the Christian world, that are greater “ lovers of justice than they are, which virtue must of necessity “be accompanied by many others.”
OF THE STATE OF THE IRISH FROM THE INVASION UNDER HENRY PLANTAGENET TO THE REFOR
MATION OF RELIGION UNDER HENRY VIII.
THE object of the preceding chapter was to represent the state of Ireland, and the native powers, disposition, and character of the Irish, independently of any connection with England. We have seen the Irish to be a people endowed with great powers both of mind and body, of quick sensibility and impetuous retort, lovers of the arts and sciences, and enthusiastic encouragers of talent, devotees to religion and its ministers, warlike, brave and prodigal of life, inflated with the pride of ancestry, and violently led away with those national prepossessions, which, whilst they operate self-love and esteem (by some called patriotism) on one hand, seldom fail of producing contempt or hatred of foreign nations on the other. In a word, we have seen them a people super-eminently gifted by nature with all those active principles of public virtue,
which, when properly directed, ensure the attainment of national happiness, prosperity, and consequence. But it has ever been the bane of Ireland to be distracted with internal discord. This part comprises a period of nearly 400 years; and it demands our peculiar attention, inasmuch as it was a long test of the mutual disposition and relative conduct of the two nations of England and Ireland to each other, whilst both professed the same religion. It is the more necessary to be closely attentive to this circumstance, by how much Ireland, in latter days, has suffered on the score, under the pretext or by the abuse of religion. No convictions, no prepossessions on any side can be so violent, as to preclude the most poignant grief, that the sacred cause of religion should have been so often perverted to ends diametrically opposite to its benign institutions.
The latter part of the Irish history, immediately preceding the invasion of that kingdom by the English, presents to us a continued scene of intestine dissension, turbulence, and faction. About the
year of our Lord 1166, Roderic O'Connor, who was of the house of Heremon, and therefore of undoubted Milesian stock, was raised to the monarchy, and generally submitted to by the whole kingdom. His prospect of a happy and peaceful reign was soon clouded by the revolt of several of the petty kings or princes, who had sworn allegiance to him. Scarcely had he reduced them to obedience, when he was called upon by O'Rourke, king of Breffny, to assist him in avenging himself of Dermod, king of Leinster, by whom he had been grossly injured. Whilst O'Rourke was absent on a pilgrimage (a fashionable devotion in those days), his wife, who had long conceived a criminal passion for the king of Leinster, consented to elope, and lived with him in public adultery.* O'Rourke succeeded in rousing the monarch to avenge his cause, and immediately led a powerful force to his assistance. The whole kingdom took fire at the perfidy and iniquity of Dermod, who looked in vain for support from his own subjects. He was hated for his tyranny, and the chieftains of Leinster not only refused to enlist under his banner in so iniquitous a cause, but openly renounced their allegiance. Dermod thus deserted by his subjects was enflamed with rage at the disappointment, and resolved to sacrifice his all to personal revenge. Unable to weather the storm that was gathering, he took shipping, secretly, and repaired to Henry II. who was then in France, for protection and revenge.
It would be foreign from my purpose to notice the various accounts of different annalists, as to the precise date of the elopement of O'Rourke's wife; the flight of Dermod to Henry the Second; the first views and intentions of our monarch in invading Ireland; or those curious donations or crusading grants of the kingdom of Ireland, from Adrian IV. and Alexander the Thirdt to the English monarch: suffice it to say, that few or no misfortunes have befallen that country, from this period, whereof on some side or other the abuse of religion has not aggravated the calamity. The year of Christ 1152 is the epoch at which all our writers, from Archbishop Usher down to Dr. Leland, fix the full and unequivocal submission of the Irish Church to the See of Rome.f Usher has laboured to prove a difference
Abstractedly from the breach of morality, the Irish annexed the highest importance to conjugal infidelity; for as purity of blood was one of the fundamentals of their constitution, accordingly the offering violence to a woman, so early as the reign of their great and wise monarch Ollam Fodlah, was made punishable with death, and out of the power of the monarch to pardon.
† Vide Appendix, No. I. Dr. Leland says, p. 7. T bus was the correspondence opened with the Church of Ireland, and the preeminence of Rome formally acknowledged. From the unaccountable and perhaps unjustifiable purport of this bull, breve, or letter of Adrian, by which he gave Ireland to Henry the Second, some Catholic writers have conceivel it impossible that it should have really issued from the Vatican. Father Alford, an English jesuit, strongly denied its authenticity (Bow. Hist. of Popes, 6 vol. 108); and Abbe Gheoghegan most strenuously labours to prove it a forgery, from a variety of reasons, which he works up into a dissertation upon the subject. One of the chief grounds of his assertion is the profigate character of Henry, which rendered bim unfit for an apostle. He contends that the pope was misinformed as to the state and cultivation of
in the Irish Church from the Church of Rome, before this period, in doctrine, discipline, and communion; yet he and all other writers admit that from the assembly at Kells (some say Drogheda), at this period, where there were 3000 of the clergy convened, as an unequivocal mark of their entire union and communion, in all things, with the See of Rome, the four archbishops of Armagh,
Dublin, Cashel, and Tuam, received the pall from Cardinal Paparon, who was admitted into Ireland with a legatine commission ; and from thenceforth the Irish prelates formally submitted to, and recognised the spiritual supremacy of the bishop of Rome.
Imagination can scarcely invent a pretext for the bishop of Rome's exceeding the line of his spiritual power, by the formal assumption of temporal authority over independent states. Such acts of power have, however, been most unwarrantbly exercised by the Roman pontiffs, and most unaccountably submitted to by temporal sovereigns. Adrian IV. was an Englishman, and therefore the more blameable in prostituting the spiritual supremacy to the wicked purpose of forwarding the ambition of his own sovereign. The Irish nation, however, drew the true line of demarcation between the spiritual and temporal power, by resisting this mock donation of the kingdom to a foreigner; a distinction which the nation has generally made, but which before the accession of his present majesty it had not been allowed to give earnest of upon oath. If any thing can strongly paint the abusive profanation of religion, it certainly is Henry's attempt to gloss over with the sanctified varnish of spiritual sanction the infamous support of an adulterous tyrant, and the more iniquitous efforts of his own ambition and usurpation. Possibly King Henry may have relied more upon the devotion of the Irish to the Roman mandate than upon the power of his arms. In the first, he was disappointed; and he would have failed in the latter, had Ireland been united in itself.
Dermod made a most humiliating address and a canting representation of his sufferings to Henry, whom he found in Acquitane ; promising, that if through his powerful interposition he should recover his lost dominions, he would hold them in vassalage of Henry and his successors for ever. This fell in with the ambitious views of our monarch ; but his affairs being then too much embarrassed to allow him to undertake any enterprise in person in favour of the guilty fugitive, he encouraged Dermod by promises of vigorous support, and gave him in the mean time letters of credit and service to such of his subjects as should be ready and willing to assist him in the recovery of his dominions. With these recommendations and credentials, Der. mod repaired to Bristol ; which in those days was the chief port of communication with Ireland. Here he engaged with Richard Earl of Pembroke, surnamed Strongbow, to give him his daughter in marriage, and settle his kingdom upon him, in case, by his assistance, he should regain possession of it. To Robert Fitz-Stephens and Maurice Fitz-Gerald he promised the city of Wexford and the adjacent country, on the like condition of success. The sprit of adventure, backed by the encouragement of the king'(who intended to avail himself of the successes of these adventurers to acquire a permanent footing in Ireland), induced Strongbow and his co-adventurers to prepare a respectable force for supporting the efforts of Dermod to regain possession of that territory, out of which they were to reap so luxuriant a harvest. Dermod, in the mean while, went over in disguise and spent the winter in the monastery at Ferns, which he had founded; there he busied himself in preparations for the intended invasion and waited the return of the spring, when the promised succours were to be sent out from England. They did arrive; and, by a most unexpected turn of fortune, Dermod was reinstated in his ancient rights. Various are the statements of the British forces landed in Ireland on this expedition. None extend them beyond 3000, including the friends and adherents of Dermod who joined them after their landing. It is to be remarked, that this prince, notwithstanding his tyranny and flagitious conduct rendered him odious to the steady and thinking part of his subjects, yet being of a comely and robust stature, of athletic powers and boisterous intrepidity, he was much favoured by the lower classes, by which such personal accomplishments are highly prized: these persons he was anxiously careful to flatter, favour, and protect. His ambition also prompted him to secure the favour and countenance of the clergy (under whose guidance he considered the lower order of the people constantly to move), by bounties, largesses, and foundations, which he substituted for those acts of benevolence and virtue, that ought alone to have ingratiated him with this select order. These were the instruments upon which he rested his ambition, and ultimately they did not fail him. It is painful to read the instances of inhumanity by which the English adventurers violated their treaties, and defiled their victories by the massacre of their prisoners. The personal
religion in Ireland : and he also combats his holiness' assumption of a right to dispose of all islands that ever bad received the light of Christian faith ; and concludes that it was a forgery from its not liaving been published till the year 1171, notwithstanding it bears date in December 1154. (Vide Geog. Hist. 1 vol. 438'to 462.) The pontificate of Adrian lasted only about five years, viz. from the 3d of December, 1154, to the 4th of September, 1159. The Abbe also draws another reason in support of his favourite thesis from its appearance in Baronius without a date. But, assuredly, an author of Baponius's credit and respectability, possessing the readiest means of ascertaining the truth, never will be suspected of having published a forgery as an authentic act of the sovereign pontif.