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were declared to be vested in the crown-many of his followers were pardoned and suffered to retain their lands, but with the incidents of English tenure. The chancellor was empowered to appoint commissioners for viewing all territories not reduced to English counties, and the deputy authorized, on their certificates, to reduce them into shires. It was also enacted, that no person should assume the Irish title or authority of chieftain or captain of his country, but by letters patent from the crown. The chief governor and council were also empowered to grant letters patent, whereby all those of the Irish or degenerate English race, who were disposed to surrender their lands, might be again invested with them, so as to hold them of the crown by English tenure. Other acts of great importance, and which prepared for the gradual civilization of Ireland, were passed in this parliament, but the distractions of the country prevented their having any immediate effect.
We pursue our narrative of the fated house of Desmond.
The early years of Elizabeth's reign were distracted by numberless conspiracies. The sentence of Rome had been twice solemnly pronounced, deciding against the validity of Henry's marriage with the mother of Elizabeth, and by necessary consequence denying her legitimacy. Elizabeth, on her sister's death, wrote to Sir Edward Carne, the English ambassador at Rome, to communicate her accession to the pope. The pontiff's reply was haughty and intemperate. He told Carne that England was a fief of the Holy See;—that, being illegitimate, Elizabeth could not possibly inherit.” Elizabeth instantly recalled her ambassador. Negotiations, however, to which England was no party, but in the result of which the fate of
to be carried on at the papal court. The sovereigns of France and of Spain were at the time engaged in a game of diplomacy, and
Elizabeth's illegitimacy, Mary Stuart, (queen of Scots,) who had been lately married to the French Dauphin, was the rightful queen of England; and on Mary of England's death, the queen of Scots and her husband assumed openly the arms of England. In this assumption they were countenanced and supported by the king of France, who was secretly soliciting a bull of excommunication against Elizabeth. Philip of Spain, the consort of the late queen of England, immediately upon her death, made proposals of marriage to Elizabeth, which it was Elizabeth's policy to allow her Roman Catholic subjects to believe were not altogether unfavourably received; and Philip had such hopes of ultimate success, that his agents were actively engaged at Rome in endeavouring to procure a dispensation to enable their master to marry his deceased wife's sister. The ecclesiastical state of England was such as to leave serious grounds of anxiety to the favourers of the doctrines of the Reformed Church. The bishops had been for the most part appointed during the reign of Mary, and so powerful was the effect of the sentence of Rome, denying the validity of Henry's marriage with Anne Bullen, that no archbishop would assist at the ceremonial of Elizabeth's coronation. It was a time when men's minds were violently agitated by controversies on subjects, the deep
importance of which can never die away; and it would be injustice to the actors in the scenes which we relate, to suppress the mention of the feelings by which they were inspired, and which give their true interest to what, in the language of Milton, would otherwise be of as little moment as an account of “the battles of kites and crows." The court of Rome acted, during the pontificate of Paul and of his immediate successors, in the feeling that England might be recovered to the Catholic church. Pius IV. sent two of the order of Jesuits into Ireland as his legates, besides those whom the general of the order had already placed there. Those whom Pius chose for this delicate mission were men of opposite characters: Paschase Broet was remarkable for serenity of temper, great cheerfulness, open candour, and steady prudence-qualities which had won the regard of Loyola, who named the young enthusiast his angel; Alphonso Salmeron was the other, described as powerful of voice and pen-a fiery champion of the church. These missionaries are described as acting with the enthusiasm of young and ardent devotees against the efforts of the English to introduce the doctrines of the reformation into Ireland. In a plausible document which praises their zeal, they are described as exciting insurrection wherever they went; “their exertions,” it is mildly said, “ became dangerous to those whom they attached to their cause.” The view which was taken of their conduct in England is thus recorded in a document of the state council of the period: “ What an abuse is this to bear us in hand that no harm is meant by the pope, when already he hath done as much as in him lieth to hurt us; the pope, even at this instant, hath his legate in Ireland, who is already joined with certain traitors there, and occupied in stirring a rebellion."*
We have already described the distractions of the south of Ireland. In such circumstances as Munster was now placed by the absence of Desmond, and by the want of any effective power of control in the lords justices, it is not astonishing that the disaffected there, having strong bonds of union with the continental states in their common hostility to the doctrines of the reformation, should look abroad for assistance; and accordingly we find swarms of Irish adventurers, at this period, in every court in Europe. France, Spain, and Rome, seemed to listen to every tale that gave them the hope, with Irish aid, to recover England to the Holy See. In addition to the military adventurers, whom the love of excitement, and the hope of interesting foreign powers with the proofs which they were able to bring of the certainty of support from Ireland in any meditated invasion of the British dominions, the state of ecclesiatical affairs in Ireland created another body of residents from that country in the courts of every country which remained united to the Papal See. As soon as Elizabeth had declared for the reformation, the bishops appointed in Mary's reign, who refused to conform to the new arrangements, were displaced. Their ecclesiastical title of bishops still remained, and they continued to style themselves bishops of the sees to which they had been consecrated, but from which they were forced to remove. As
* Sharon Turner's Elizabeth. Lord Somers's Tracts.
vacancies in church dignities occurred by death, Elizabeth filled the places with churchmen favourable to the reformed doctrines, and the papal court, denying her right, appointed to the same dioceses bishops of its own. The Romish claimants of episcopal rank and authority resided abroad, and were active agents of the disaffected in Ireland. While Desmond was still a prisoner in the Tower, the earl of Clancare, James Fitz-Maurice, M‘Donough Carthy, and others, held a meeting in Kerry, from whence they dispatched their bishops of Emley and Cashel for aid to the king of Spain, “to reform religion,” and the immediate result of the mission was a supply, from the king of Spain, of a thousand targets, a great number of sword-blades, harquebusses, and other weapons.* The insurrections in Ireland during the early years of Elizabeth's reign, frantic as they may seem, if regarded as the rebellion of Irish clans against the sovereignty of England, were far from being such rash enterprises. Ireland was but one of the fields of battle, on which the great powers of Europe seemed disposed to try the question of the right to the crown of England. The bull of excommunication which all Catholic princes were invited to execute, had been already issued against Elizabeth. The same policy, which in a few years after fitted out the Armada, from the moment when Philip had lost all hopes of obtaining England by marriage, animated the counsels of Spain. Looking at the history of those times from the vantage-ground of the present, we feel that the heart of England being with Elizabeth, there could have been but little chance of a successful invasion; but, dignified as her bearing was, and well calculated to inspire the continental nations with that awe of England which they have since learned, there was much at the moment to alarm-much to create great doubt as to the event. The interests of religion at stake gave a character of sublimity to the contest, not less likely to affect those who regarded the reformation as a violent disruption of Christian unity, than the advocates of the reformed doctrines. The language of detestation in which Elizabeth is spoken of, both in the papal bulls and in the writings of the Roman Catholics of the period, is evidence of the intensity of feeling under which men acted at the time.
The agents of Spain practised successfully on the mind of James Fitz-Maurice, whom the imprisonment of his kinsman, the earl, had at once irritated, and inspired with the hope of succeeding to his vast estates and power of the family. James Fitz-Maurice O’Desmond, as his name is sometimes written, was the son of Sir Maurice Fitz-Gerald, the Black, as he was called, or more often the Murderer, from his having slain James, the thirteenth earl. Between Fitz-Maurice and the title of Desmond, according to the English laws of succession, there were none except the earl and his brothers. In more peaceful times, wilder dreams of succeeding to property less important have been indulged and realised. Fitz-Maurice, a faithful clansman, was yet one of a family seeking to assimilate themselves to Irish habits and manners, and if the law of tanistry, which on the vacancy of the chieftainry by death or otherwise, gave the sovereignty over the family to
* Sidney's Letters.
the most worthy of the name and blood, suggested to him the hope of attaining this honour, even before the death of Desmond, it was but the natural suggestion of the circumstances in which he was placed. He was a man of popular talents, and as it answered his purposes, he courted popularity; “ a deep dissembler, passing subtile, and able to compass any matter he took in hand, courteous, valiant, expert in martial affairs,” ardently attached to his views of religion. Such is the character which Hooker, a writer not willing to allow any merit to the unhappy Geraldines, gives to this distinguished man, who squandered his talents and his life in these miserable wars.
The communications of the insurgents in the south of Ireland with Spain were soon learned by the government. The lord-deputy at once proclaimed them traitors, and prepared for an expedition against them. Sir Peter Carew, who commanded at Kilkenny, made the first assault against the insurgents by taking Cloughgriman, a castle of Sir Edmond Butler's, which he gave to be plundered by his soldiers. He returned to Kilkenny, and was not many days there when, as he was walking in his garden, he was fired at by a man of the earl of Ormonde's. More surprise is expressed at the incident than ought to have been felt. While Carew remained at Kilkenny, news was brought him that the rebels were encamped in great numbers three miles from the town. Carew held a council with his officers, and they agreed to send out to ascertain the truth of the matter. Henry Davels, an “ honest and a valiant English gentleman,”* who had served long in Ireland, and whose marriage connected him with Kilkenny, was appointed to this service. From an eminence near the town he espied a company of about two thousand men resting upon a little hill in the middle of a plain, being all armed and marching in battle array. When he returned with this report, Carew directed Captain Gilbert to charge them. Gilbert, with Davels and twelve others of the company, galloped before the rest and gave the charge. Carew followed so near “ that all the company, even as it were at one instant, gave the like charge.” Four hundred Irish soldiers were slain in the first onset; most of the remainder were butchered in their flight to the neighbouring mountains—“ of her majesty's side no one man was slain.”
Sir Peter Carew returned to Kilkenny exulting in this victory. Hooker describes every captain and soldier of his company as carrying two gallowglasses' axes in his hands, which they brought home as the spoils of a vanquished enemy. “ The townsmen of Kilkenny were very sorry for the slaughter of so many men.” It seems difficult to believe this utter destruction of nearly two thousand men in arms without the loss of one man on the part of the conqueror. That many of the Irish were surprised and slaughtered appears certain, and the maddened natives were ere long in the field seeking bloody revenge.
They besieged Kilkenny. The town was garrisoned and well defended, and the disappointed insurgents burned and plundered the small towns and villages in the open country. They overran and spoiled the county of Waterford, and even of Dublin. After “they had taken their pleasure in this country,” they went to the county of Wexford. Ruffian outrages, committed at the fair of Enniscorthy, are particularly recorded—violation of women, and unsparing slaughters—from thence they went into Ossory and the Queen's County, and ravaged the country. In Ossory they met with the earl of Clancare and FitzMaurice, with whom they combined. They made arrangements for procuring aid from Scotland, and sending new messengers to the pope, and the king of Spain. All Ireland, with the exception of the English pale, is described as “imbrued and infected with this rebellion."
The earl of Ormonde, who was in England during the commencement of these disturbances, did what he could to satisfy the queen that the danger was not so great as it appeared; his own high sense of loyalty was deeply offended by his brothers' participating in the outrages; he pleaded for them with the queen, and besought her permission to serve in Ireland against them, if he could not otherwise reclaim them to allegiance. Elizabeth, who doubted not the good faith of the earl, confided to him the important trust which he sought. He arrived at Wexford on the 14th of August, 1569, the very day on which the frightful outrages were committed at the fair of Enniscorthy. Sidney had already gone down to the south, by his presence “to encourage the well affected, and to terrify the enemies of government.” Ormonde found him encamped near Limerick, and brought with him his brother, Edmond Butler, in bonds. The first show of activity on the part of government was sufficient to disunite the insurgents. The earl of Clancare, who had so lately styled himself king of Munster, falling upon his knees, acknowledged his treason, and prayed her majesty's pardon, and surrendered his eldest son as a hostage to insure his fidelity. O'Brien, earl of Thomond, still held out; but on hearing of the approach of Ormonde's army, he fled to France. Through the intervention of Norris, the English ambassador at that court, he afterwards obtained his pardon.
In 1570, presidency courts of Munster and Connaught were established, in pursuance of Sidney's earnest recommendation. Sir John Perrot was the first president of Munster. He was reputed to be the natural son of Henry VIII., and to have inherited much of his father's character. From whatever source he may have derived his blood, he inherited from the Pembrokeshire family, whose name he bore, considerable revenues;-he was not only wealthy, “but” says Hooker, “ valiant and of great magnanimity, and so much the more meet to govern and tame so faithless and unruly a people as those over whom he was made ruler.” The president's authority was, in his own district, all but absolute. He had power of life and death, was attended with armed guards of horse and foot, and his patent gave him the command of all the military forces in the province. Like the viceroy, he could confer the honour of knighthood. With the assistance of his chief justice and second justice, he had authority to hear and determine all complaints, to hold commissions of oyer and terminer and gaol delivery, and to hold his courts where he thought proper. All persons who had not freehold property worth five pounds a year, or personal property of ten pounds, might be tried for any offence with which