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Henry Bagnall and other adventurers, and four of the sept of Mac Mahon.*
Such being the situation of the Irish, any affectionate attachment to the queen was not to be expected from them: their forced submission could be no more than an insidious suspension of hostilities, till the favourable moment for rising in arms should present itself. The insurrection soon became general;t and so precarious did the very existence of the English power appear to government, that the queen condescended to appoint a commission of Sir Robert Gardiner and Sir Henry Wallop to conclude a peace with the Irish. This treaty was very solemn, and whilst it was pending, most of the Irish potentates made their complaints and petitions for redress of their respective grievances, which are to be seen at large in Morryson, p. 113. It produced, however, no more than a truce for some months, viz. to the 1st of April, 1596. The English historians generally attribute the failure of this treaty to the insolent and unconscientious demands of the Irish, whose terms (according to the Lambeth manuscript) were three, viz. 1. A general liberty of conscience. 2. A general pardon for all. 3. That no garrison, sheriff, or officer should remain in any of their countries (Newry and Carrickfergus excepted). After the recominencement of hostilities, the remainder of Elizabeth's reign was a continued scene of the most disastrous war, famine, and desolation. The council gave it under their hands, that it was an universal Irish rebellion to shake of all English government. For a series of years, particularly during the government of the Queen's favourite Essex, the arms of England were unsuccessful.
Sir Richard Cox. 1 vol. p. 359, says, that it cost him 600 cows to get a promise to be settled in his brother's inheritance; and that the four Mac' Mahons who received grants of parts of these estates, gave large bribes to the deputy. However, says he, it must be observed, that from henceforward the Irish loathed sheriff's and the English neighbourhood, as fearing in time they might all follow the fate of Mac Mahon, and therefore in the great treaty of Dundalk, in January 1595, they all desired to be exempted from garrisons, sheriffs and other officers.
† The insurrection though general was not universal : for after the general submission to the queen, in the last parliament, it is remarkable, that no chiefs of the Kavenaghs, O'Moores, O’Tools, O'Dempsies, or O'Connors could ever be brought to join in O'Neil's insurrection, notwithstanding they adhered to the religion of their ancestors, against which such severe laws had been enacted. A great share of the odium of government fell upon Fenton, the secretary, who had maintained his situation in a sort of independence of each deputy and governor through several successive administrations. He was supported by the personal favour of the queen, to whom he frequently repaired to lay before her the state of affairs in Ireland, and his own complaints of the different officers, so that he was said to be a moth in the garments of all the deputies of his time. He had established his own consequence in the oppression of the Irish, and abused the confidence of the queen, hy artful and false representations, to continue the same pernicious system of government for his own emolument and security.
During these violent contentions, every enormity was committed by both parties, at the very recital of which the soul sickens. At length the mutual system of devastation became so general, that the produce of that fertile island no longer sufficed to support its wretched inhabitants. The putrefied bodies of multitudes that fell daily, more by famine than the sword, brought on a pestilence, which threatened to clear the land of its aboriginal race. The advantages in this rueful state of calamity were of course with the English, who by commanding the coasts were supplied with provisions and other means of subsistence from England. This calamitous war was at last put an end to by the forced submission of Tyrone, and the dispersion of the other chieftains who had joined him in the rebellion.
The irascible and haughty character of Elizabeth was so affected by the obstinate resistance of Tyrone, and her feelings were so worked upon by the disgrace, 'trial, and execution of Essex, all of which she laid to the account of her rebellious subjects in Ireland, that her dissolution is generally supposed to have been accelerated from these causes. The Lord Deputy Mountjoy pressed upon Cecil the absolute necessity of an amicable conclusion to the war. But the irritated mind of the queen interposed unsurmountable obstacles : so fluctuating and contradictory were her latter orders respecting Ireland, that all the art and power of Cecil could not render them practicable to the lord deputy. He had, however, hazarded the bold determination, of acting up to reason, and upon his own authority, had sent articles for a pacification to Tyrone. In the height of his perplexity he received a private communication of the queen's death, of which he most prudently availed himself by instantly closing the treaty. The almost immediate knowledge of this event threw the humiliated dynast into despair and rage, from the sense of a precipitate submission, when perseverance for one short hour would have preserved his honour, maintained his reputation with his countrymen, and afforded a favourable opportunity of renewing the war, or concluding it upon more honourable terms with the new monarch. But the die was cast: and the once great and formidable Tyrone, now deserted by his followers, in the piteous state of fallen greatness, cast himself on his knees before the deputy, acknowledged his guilt, implored mercy, and renounced for ever the name of O'Neale, with all his former pretensions to independence, authority and sovereignty, entreating to be admitted, through the bounty of his sovereign, to some part of his inheritance for an honourable subsistence. The deputy pardoned him and his followers, and (with some exceptions) promised him the restoration of his lands and dignity. On these conditions the pacification was
ratified. Thus closed a rebellion evidently brought on, stimulated, and continued by the noxious policy of England's treating the Irish as a divided, separate, and enslaved people. But it was a melancholy solace, that the reduction of Ireland to this reluctant state of submission, through the gloomy tracts of blood, famine, and pestilence, cost the crown of England no less than 1,198,7171.; a sum, in those days, enormous.
By union alone can a repetition of such scenes be effectually prevented.
In a war of such embittered acrimony as that which was carried on between Elizabeth and the Irish nation, backed and supported by no inconsiderable force from Spain, and often aided by the court of Rome, it was to be expected that religious prejudice and enthusiasm should be often resorted to, in order to enflame the minds in favour of their own, and detestation of the adverse cause. Thus every species of religious influence, by which the leaders (who were perhaps indifferent to all religion*) imagined they could enflame and stimulate their followers, was cagerly resorted to; not as the ground of the contention, but as means of ensuring success in the uncertainty of the contest..... This was not a war of Protestants against Catholics, for the royal army was filled with Irish, and they were mostly Catholics. Dr. Lelandt bears this honourable testimony to the religion of the Irish nation at that time, that “they saw numbers of “the Romish communiont act with firmness and vigour in support of that government to which they had sworn allegi
Thus Esses, in a conference with Tyrone, who was pleading a zeal for his ancient faith and the true religion, coarsely replied, that his horse had as much religion as Tyrone. Morys. 1 l. p. 168.' Tyrone was very accomplished, and spoke four modern languages with the fluency of a native.
2 Lel. p. 412. (Sull. p. 117, et alibi.) Dr. Leland also says (p. 306), "Candour obliges us to acknowledge, that the Romish clergy at this period “ did not uniformly concur in exciting the Irish to insurrections. Sullivan "himself confesses (although it was his business to represent the religious “ zeal of his countrymen in the most advantageous point of view) that a con" siderable party among this clergy, recommended a dutiful submission to government, and opposed the practices of their more intemperate brethren.”
No one can have fairly attended to the workings of human nature upon a multitude embarked in a desperate cause, who will not admit, that in propor. tion to the eagerness with which the cause is adopted, so are all means of aid, countenance, and support resorted to. O’Nial, at the beginning of his insur. rection, had entered into the war under a full conviction and repeated assurances of receiving succours from the Pope, and the King of Spain; and he continued constantly to importune both these powers for assistance. He particularly urged the Roman pontiff to countenance his cause, and by some pub. lic act to settle the minds of the Catholics of Ireland upon the unlawfulness of submitting to Elizabeth, who still remained subject to the excommunication pronounced against her by Pius V. Tyrone entreated his holiness to send over a nuncio to Ireland, whose presence might confirm the wavering, overawe the timid, and impose upon ail. Clement the VIlIth, however, was more sparing of his treasure and subjects, than of his words. He accordingly wrote a public breve from Rome on the 6th of April, 1600, addressed to the whole Irish nation ; a copy of which is to be seen in the Appendix, No. XII. Imprudent as such interference ever must be from the person who ought to be the arch
ance; they saw numbers of their ecclesiastics inculcating the “ doctrines of civil obedience and submission, and they were “ virulent in condemning, and industrious in counteracting such « doctrines.”
f As Elizabeth did not live to see the reduction of Ireland completed, her successor must be considered as the first English monarch who possessed the complete dominion of Ireland. For under him for the first time was the spirit of resistance to the English power broken down, and the English laws universally acknowledged.
minister of peace and harmony, still must it be recollected, that on this occa. sion the most earnest importunities were employed to bring forward the supreme pontiff to this interference.
Vide Lord Clare's speech, p. 10. Ere we enter upon another reign, it will be but candour to enable the impar. tial reader to see more fully the grounds and reasons why the Irish rose against Elizabeth, and so obstinately persisted in their rebellion. Many of these are collected together in a very strong and sensible Memorial submitted to the queen, by Captain Thomas Lee, a good officer and staunch Protestant, in the year 1594. Several of the facts he was eye witness to; others he vouches for the truth of. This is preserved in manuscript in Trinity College, Dublin ; some few extracts of which are to be seen in Appendix, No. XII. The whole is very long.
THE REIGN OF JAMES THE FIRST.
THE accession of the house of Stuart to the throne of England, and consequently to that of Ireland, forms a very notable æra in the modern history of that country. The conduct of the Irish to this family, and their treatment of them in return, furnishes a most melancholy illustration of that detestable policy of the Stuarts, which basely lavished that favour upon their enemy, which was the rightful perquisite of their faithful friend. True it is, that King James was the first monarch that extended the legislative as well as the juridical power beyond the pale. It was the interest of the crown to have the whole kingdom in effective subjection to the law of England; it was the interest of the kingdom to be no longer subjected to several chieftains, who were incessantly at war with each other, or with the crown of England. Ireland was so reduced by the sword, famine and desolation, that she abandoned all thoughts of that liberty and independence, which was only to be purchased by a continuance of such calamities. England revolted at the idea of retaining the sovereignty of a kingdom by so profuse a drain of blood and treasure, which her resources were inadequate any longer to supply.* James's first care therefore was to ingratiate himself with the Irish. Tyrone and Roderick O'Donnel, who in the late commotions had been very active against the government, accompanied Mountjoy to the court of King James, where they were most graciously received: the former was confirmed in all his lands and honours, the latter was created Earl of Tyrconnel. It is evident that James, on his first accession to the throne, not only permitted, but encouraged reports to be circulated that he should be favourable to the Catholic cause.
These reports were naturally magnified by the impetuosity and enthusiasm of
* Morrison (p. 197) says, that the queen's charge for Ireland, from the 1st of April, 1600, to the 29th of March, 1602, was 283,6731. 198. 4 1-2d. And Robertson, in his History of Scotland, tells us, that "it was part of James's "policy, in order to pave the way to his succession, to waste the vigour of the "state of England, by some insensible, yet powerful means : he had his agents "in Ireland, fomenting Tyrone's war (the Scots daily carrying munition to the “rebels) in Ulster; so that the Queen was driven almost to an incredible ex.
pence in carrying it on, and her enemies still encouraged by James's secret " assistance and promises.” Of this, Elizabeth complained to James in a let. ter, in 1599, remonstrating with him upon the impolicy of abetting what she termed the dangerous party, and failing his own ( Saund. King James.). No one therefore c uld be more alive to the dangers of the Irish persisting in rebellion than King James,