Page images

and a thousand other disorders, which it is impossible to remedy, on account of the anarchy in which we live ; an anarchy, which alas ! is tremendous not only to the state, but also to the church of Ireland; the ministers of which are daily exposed, not only to the loss of the frail and transitory things of this world, but also to the loss of those solid and substantial blessings, which are eternal and immutable.

“ Let those few particulars concerning our origin, and the deplorable state to which we have been reduced by the above donation of Adrian IV. suffice for the present.

“ We have now to inform your holiness, that Henry, king of England, and the four kings his successors, have violated the conditions of the pontifical bull, by which they were impowered to invade this kingdom ; for the said Henry promised, as appears by the said bull, to extend the patrimony of the Irish church, and to pay to the apostolical See, annually one penny for each house ; now in this promise, both he and his successors above-mentioned, and their iniquitous ministers, observed not at all with regard to Ireland. On the contrary, they have entirely and intentionally eluded them, and endeavored to force the


As to the church lands, so far from extending them, they have confined them, retrenched them, and invaded them on all sides, insomuch that some ca. thedral churches have been by open force, notorious-: ly plundered of half their possessions : nor have the persons of our clergy been more respected ; for in

[ocr errors]

every part of the country, we find bishops and prelates cited, arrested, and imprisoned without distinction, and they are oppressed with such servile fear by those frequent and unparalleled injuries, that they have not even the courage to represent to your holiness the sufferings they are so wantonly condemned to undergo. But since they are so cowardly and so basely silent in their own cause, they deserve not that we should say a syllable in their favor. The English promised also to introduce a better code of laws, and enforce better morals among the Irish people; but instead of this, they have so corrupted our morals, that the holy and dove-live simplicity of our nation is, on account of the flagitious example of those reprobates, changed into the malicious cunning of the serpent.

“ We had a written code of laws, according to which our nation was governed hitherto; they have deprived us of those laws, and of every law except one, which it is impossible to wrest from us; and for the purpose of exterminating us, they have established other iniquitous laws, by which injustice and inhumanity are combined for our destruction. Some of which we here insert for your inspection, as being so many fundamental rules of English jurisprudence established in this kingdom.

Every man, not an Irishman, can, on any charge, however frivolous, prosecute an Irishman ; but no Irishman, whether lay or ecclesiastic (the prelates alone excepted) can prosecute for any offence whatsoever, because he is an Irishman. If any Englishman should, as they often do, treacherously and perfidiously murder an Irishman, be he ever so noble or so innocent, whether lay or ecclesiastic, secular or regular, even though he should be a prelate, no satisfaction can be obtained from an English court of justice

; on the contrary, the more worthy the murdered man was, and the more respected by his own countrymen, the more the murderer is rewarded and honored ; not only by the English rabble, but even by the English clergy and bishops ; and especially by those, whose duty it is chiefly, on account of their station in life, to correct such abominable malefactors. Every Irish woman, whether noble or ignoble, who marries an Englishman, is after her husband's death deprived of the third of her husband's lands and possessions, on account of her being an Irish woman. In like manner, whenever the English can violently oppress to death" an Irishman, they will by no means permit him to make a will or any disposal whatsoever of his affairs : on the contrary, they seize violently on all his property, deprive the church of its rights, and by force reduce to a servile condition that blood, which has been from all antiquity free.

“The same tribunal of the English, by advice of the king of England, and some English bishops, among whom the ignorant and ill-conducted archbishop of Armagh was president, has made in the city of St. Kenniers (Kilkenny) the following absurd and informal statute : that no religious community in the English pale, shall receive an Irishman as novice, un


der pain of being treated as contumacious contemners of the king of England's laws. And as well be fore as after this law was enacted, it was scrupulously observed by the English Dominicans, Franciscans, Monks, Canons, and all other religious orders of the English nation, who shewed a partiality in the choice of their religious subjects ; the more odious, inasmuch as those monasteries were founded by Irishmen, from which Irishmen are so basely excluded by Englishmen in modern times. Besides, where they ought to have established virtue, they have done exactly the contrary ; they have exterminated our native virtues, and established the most abominable yices in their stead.

“ For the English, who inhabit our island, and call themselves a middle nation (between English and Irish) are so different in their morals from the English of England, and of all other nations, that they can with the greatest propriety, be stiled a nation not of middling, but of extreme perfidiousness; for it is of old, that they follow the abominable and nefarious custom, which is acquiring more inveteracy every day from habit, namely, when they invite a nobleman of our nation to dine with them, they, either in the midst of the entertainment, or in the unguarded hour of sleep, spill the blood of our unsuspecting countrymen, terminate their detestable feast with murder, and sell the heads of their guests to the enemy. Just as Peter Brumichehame, who is since called the treacherous baron, did with Mauritius de Shis fellow-sponsor, and the said Mauritius's brother, Cal

nacus, men much esteemed for their talents and their honor among us; he invited them to an entertainment on a feast-day of the Holy Trinity ; on that day, the instant they stood up from the table, he cruelly massacred them, with twenty-four of their followers, and sold their heads at a dear price to their enemies; and when he was arraigned before the king of England, the present king's father, no justice could be obtained against sạch a nefarious and treacherous offender. In like manner Lord Thomas Clare, the Duke of Gloucester's brother, invited to his house the most illustrious Brien Roe O'Brien of Thomond his sponsor.

“ All hope of peace between us is therefore completely destroyed; for such is their pride, such their excessive lust of dominion, and such our ardent ambition to shake off this insupportable yoke, and recover the inheritance, which they have so unjustly usurped ; that, as there never was, so there never will be, any sincere coalition between them and us : nor is it possible there should in this life, for we entertain a certain natural enmity against each other, flowing from mutual malignity descending by inheritance from father to son, and spreading from generation to generation.

« Let no person wonder then, if we endeavor to preserve our lives, and defend our liberties, as well as we can, against those cruel tyrants, usurpers of our just properties, and murderers of our persons ; so far from thinking it unlawful, we hold it to be a meritorious act, nor can we be accused of perjury or rebel

« PreviousContinue »