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and it was unsafer still to refuse. In this dilemma he took a prudent middle course: he begged to be excused from immediate attendance, and invited the lord justice to be his gossip, on the faith of which tie he would come and submit to do all that the queen's service might demand. The compliance of a man like Sidney with this irregular proposal, may show the real power and danger attributed to Shane O'Neale. Sidney was entertained with the barbaric magnificence of an Irish prince, and stood sponsor to the child of Shane O'Neale. After the ceremony was completed, a conference was held between the Irish leader and the lord justice: and Shane justified his conduct, and asserted his pretensions with temper and clearness.
He affirmed that the lord Dungannon was not the son of the late earl, but that he was well known to be the son of a smith in Dundalk, by a woman of low degree, and born after the earl's marriage, of which he was himself the eldest son. It was objected that he had, notwithstanding, no right to assume the title, as the earl had surrendered his territories to the king, and that under that surrender, the settlement had been made. To this it was replied by Shane, that according to the institutions still existing amongst the Irish, his father had no power to make such a surrender, having but a life-right to the title and territories of O'Neale; that his own claim was by election according to the law of tanistry. He went on to argue, that by the English law the letters patent were illegal, as no inquisition had been or could be made, as the country should for this purpose be made shire ground. The deputy, referring probably to the recent tumults in Tirconnel, complained of his assumption of a right of oppressive interference in the affairs of the northern chiefs; to this it was frankly replied by Shane, that he arrogated nothing beyond the lawful rights of his ancestors, who were the acknowledged superior lords of the northern chiefs. By the advice of his council, the deputy answered that he was sure the queen would do whatever should appear just; and advised O'Neale to continue quiet, until her pleasure should be known. He then departed, and O'Neale remained at peace during his administration.
This period was unfortunately of no long continuance. Sussex came over to take the administration into his own hands, and held a turbulent parliament, in which the regulation of ecclesiastical affairs was to some extent effected, and the sovereignty of Elizabeth, as queen of Ireland, affirmed by statute. The opposition met by Sussex in this assembly was, however, enough to deter him from remaining, and he returned to England, leaving Sir William Fitz-William deputy. The change was unfavourable; the times required a person of more weight. The efforts which had been recently made, and were still in progress, to introduce the reformation—now happily established in England, where the soil had long been prepared into Ireland, where all was opposed to the introduction of any change founded on the advance of civilization, caused a violent excitement of popular feeling, and a dangerous activity among the priesthood of the Romish communion. Emissaries from Rome were at work in every quarter among the chiefs; and the king of Spain was already entering on the course of successful cajolery, by which, during the greater portion of the reign
of Elizabeth, he contrived, with the least conceivable såcrifice of means, to keep up a delusive reliance on his power and assistance among the refractory chiefs, whose eagerness for small advantages, and blindness to remote consequences, were the result of their rude state; though the credulity with which they listened to all illusive promises, has been proved by time to have in it something of national temper.
Shane O'Neale, surrounded by dependants and flatterers, by nature disposed to insubordination—strongly urged by these underhand agencies, and seeing the general ferment of the people, soon resolved to take advantage of the weakness of the administration. His first demonstrations were directed by keen and cherished animosity; the occasion which gave latitude to turbulence, was favourable to revenge. Recollecting the humiliation which he had so recently met from the arms of O'Donell, he made a sudden inroad upon the territory of that chief, whom he seized, with his family. The chief himself he cast into prison, and only released him at the ransom of all his moveables of any value. When released from durance, Calvagh O'Donell had to learn that his cruel enemy had reserved a more galling humiliation for him than the chains redeemed so dearly; his son was retained for an hostage, and his wife for a mistress. Shane O'Neale, notwithstanding his ability and intelligence, is said to have been coarse and brutal in his habits; and this cruel and ungenerous conduct is quite reconcileable with the general descriptions of his character preserved by the old historians, and repeated more doubtfully by the ablest moderns, by all of whom he is described as one addicted to gross debauchery and beastly excess, the fever of which he was often fain to allay by having himself buried up to the shoulders in the earth. This account has been questioned on the specious ground of not being consistent with the other ascertained features of Shane's characterhis subtilty, cautious policy, his polished manners, and the great ability shown in conference with the lord-justice. But this is the reasoning of men who are more conversant with books than with life. There is a latitude in human character that cannot be found in annals, or in the necessarily contracted record of men's deeds. Any one who is conversant with mankind, in any class of society, can easily recall greater contrasts than that presented by the cunning and sensuality—the wit and brutality—the politeness and cruelty—the prudence and the drunken intemperance of Shane O'Neale; these qualities scarce afford materials for the characteristic antithesis of Irish eloquence. O’Neale's native intelligence and subtilty of understanding, were in no way inconsistent with the simplicity of a barbaric chief, and still less so with the want of that steady regard for the principles of truth, and the strict duties of mercy and humanity, which scarce can be said to have belonged to his age; still less again with the existence of fierce passions and appetites. He was not without native virtues, which are indicated in many of his actions, but cannot be quoted in disproof of vices, which have been charged on strong authorities, and denied upon none.
It may be admitted, that the disaffection of Shane O'Neale, was the result of injuries real or apprehended; it was at least increased and matured by views of policy, and by the influence of fatterers and advisers. His pride made him keenly alive to the appearance of slight or favour, and in his intercourse with the queen, or her deputies, the influence of this sentiment is easy to be discerned. But new instruments, not quite so clearly traceable, were also at work; and however he may have contracted an occasional sense of regard for the queen, a constant current of opposite causes was still controlling this inclination, and bringing him back to the level and direction of the dispositions of an opposite tendency, which were the air in which he breathed. Having once taken a determined step into rebellion, he was quickly led to extremities which were equally pointed out by inclination and caution. From the government he could only expect severe justice; but it was whispered by pride, and echoed by a thousand flatterers, that the prince of Tyrone might safely hold out for higher indulgence from an enemy which seemed unable to carry its anger to extremities, and even showed itself ready to purchase peace on the easiest terms of compromise. Thus impressed, Shane O'Neale began to breathe defiance and revenge against the English. His determination appeared in manner, conversation, and in the ferocious zeal with which he vindicated his hate against the slightest disposition or act which savoured of English.
caused to be hanged for eating English biscuit, which he considered as a base instance of unpatriotic degeneracy.
The queen ordered Sussex to lead his army to the north; and O'Neale, who had carried fire and sword through the pale, now lent a docile and pliant ear to his kinsman, the earl of Kildare, who represented in strong terms the hopeless character of the contest in which he was about to embark. Shane was not on his part wanting in plausible allegations to give a colour to his repentance and justify the past; and, such was the policy of the time, his excuses were allowed. Sussex advised submission, and as before, promised justice. It was arranged that O'Neale should be suffered to retain his possession of Tyrone, until the parliament should have examined and decided on the validity of the patents granted to his father and supposed brother; if they should be declared void, that he should then receive possession of his lands by tenure from the crown, and be created earl of Tyrone. To this O'Neale consented, and repaired to Dublin, where he was honourably received, and made his submission in due form. While remaining in Dublin, he received intimation of a rumour that he was to be sent over to England, under a guard. Alarmed at this report, he took ship and passed over to England himself, where he presented himself before the queen, with a gorgeous train of his followers, arrayed in the rude magnificence of ancient Ulster. His guard of gallowglasses Chinese and Americans are in the present day. He was received with courtesy, and is described as having cast himself on his knees before the queen, and with a loud and wailing voice begged pardon for his rebellion. He was then interrogated upon the murder of the baron of Dungannon, and the seizure of Tyrone, to which he replied by the explanation already given in his meeting with Sir Henry Sidney; on which he was honourably dismissed, and returned to Ireland, and landed at Howth on the 25th of May.
from their uncovered heads, their shirts stained with saffron,* having ample sleeves, over which were short tunics, and hairy cloaks, which, says the annalist, were objects of wonder to the English, not less than
* The curious reader may desire to see the original description.“ Ex Hibernia jum venerat Shanus O'Neale, ut quod ante annum promiserat, præstarét, cum securrigo galloglassorum sattellitio, capitibus nudis, crispatis cincinnis dependentibus, camisiis flavis croco, vel humana urina infectis, manicis largioribus, tuniculis brevioribus et lacernis billosis.” Camd. ad. an. 1562.
When Shane O'Neale went to England, lord Sussex had been sent for by the queen, to give a distinct account of Irish affairs, and Sir William Fitz-William was sworn in to govern during his absence. Sussex returned in July, and again took the oaths in St Patrick's church, the roof of Christ church having fallen in two months before, on the 3d of April, 1562. As O'Neale continued quiet, he was for some time enabled to attend to the execution of various measures for the improvement and security of the country. Among the chief of these may be mentioned the division of the reduced districts into counties; Annaly, was called Longford; and Connaught was divided into Clare, Galway, Sligo, Mayo, Roscommon, and Leitrim.*
Things could not continue long in this quiet state. O'Neale was little the wiser for the lessons he had received from experience and a life of struggle. He was surrounded by followers, kinsmen and friends, still ruder than himself. The general atmosphere of boasting and barbarian pride in which he breathed, may be feebly illustrated by a story from Ware. “A kinsman of his (O'Neale's) named Hugh O'Neale, drinking in company with the collector of the archbishop of Armagh’s revenues, at Drogheda, was heard to swear by his soul, that his cousin was a patient fool, and so were his ancestors, in taking an earldom from the kings of England, when by right themselves were kings. He further added, by way of question to the bishop's servant, “Is it not so ?' The man was glad to comply, and say it was 80, seeing six of the Irish in the room, with their skeans by them. But as soon as he came to his master, Adam Loftus, he cried out, • Pardon me, master. The archbishop asking him, “Why, what hast thou done?' he told him the whole story; whereupon he wrote to the lord lieutenant of it.” From this apparently trifling incident, a suspicion was strongly excited against O'Neale; on which the lord-lieutenant began preparations for an expedition into the north, which he made in April, 1563. He was not far on his way, when he had the good fortune to detect an ambuscade contrived by Shane O'Neale, whose party he quickly put to flight with the loss of many lives. Lord Sussex took a prey of four hundred black cattle, and for several days pursued his march, visiting Dundalk and Dungannon, till the 2d June, when he came to Tullahogue. Here he had an encounter with O'Neale's people; but they did not venture to stand the shock of the English, and scattered away before them into the woods. A few slight successes followed, until the 6th of June, when lord Sussex came upon and took three thousand cattle and fifteen hundred horses, with which he marched to Drogheda. . Such a loss induced O'Neale to listen to the voice of moderate counsel from the emissary of his kinsman, Gerald, earl of Kildare. He then sent to the lord-lieutenant his proposal of submission, and offered again to appear before the queen.* His submission was allowed, and once more he appeared with his retainers before the queen, to whom he repeated his submission in the presence of the ambassadors of Sweden and Savoy. Without placing any faith in his professions, the politic Elizabeth allowed her personal vanity to be soothed into complaisance by his flattery, and dismissed him with favour and presents, which she knew must have some influence upon the minds of himself and his turbulent allies and followers. Nor did she form a mistaken estimate of the influence of her munificent generosity on the mind of a barbarous chief, who with all his native subtilty, was a child in the ways of courts. Among other favours, she lent him a sum of £2500, and ordered her commissioners, Worth and Arnold, to inquire into his complaint against a person of the name of Smith, whom O'Neale accused of an attempt to poison him.
* Ware, ad. an. 1563.
The favour of the queen was loudly boasted by Shane, and gave him increased dignity in the eyes of his followers, who nevertheless regarded the affair rather in the light of a treaty of alliance than a submission. Shane's new-born zeal, though of brief duration, gave a strong impulse while it lasted, to his impetuous character. His fidelity was shown by an expedition against the islanders from the Hebrides, who had long infested the north, and were in possession of some towns. Coming to an encounter with these, he routed them, and slew their general. This exploit, though not perhaps without a touch of the double policy that looks for the promotion of self-service in the pretext of duty, was received as a grateful and deserving service. Sir Thomas Cusack was appointed to draw up and execute an instrument of agreement on the terms previously offered by lord Sussex. This was confirmed by letters patent from the queen, in which his services were recorded, and his former failings extenuated..
This exaltation to the pride of O'Neale, soon made him troublesome to his neighbours, over whom he asserted and exercised a tyrannical jurisdiction, under the pretence of preserving the peace of the north. Many complaints of this nature reached Dublin, and there began to prevail a strong sense that he was only waiting for a favourable opportunity to break out into rebellion. The lord-lieutenant wrote an account of these reports to the queen, and informed her also of the sedulous care with which O'Neale strengthened and disciplined his military force. From Elizabeth he received the following answer:“ As touching your suspicion of Shane O'Neale, be not dismayed, nor let any of my men be daunted. But tell them that if he arise, it will be for their advantage; for there will be estates for them who want. Nor must he ever expect any more favour from me.”+
Lord Sussex sent a messenger to demand an explanation. O'Neale was prepared with a reply which indicates the secret which governed alike his loyalty and his disaffection. Under the declared pretext of
* Leland appears to confound the two submissions here separately noticed, on the authority of Camden, Warè, &c.
t Ware's ad. an. 1564.