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compute from the former of these estimates, and take the Irish land at 18,700 square miles, it would give a population of 16 to the square mile, a rate which may be increased by the large allowances to be made for waste districts. According to the second, we should have 36 persons, nearly, for the same spaces, but from this a very large deduction should be made for the English pale, and for the much increased population of towns, so that on the whole, we should have a general mean rate of population, not much increased for the rural districts. To furnish the reader with a more distinct idea of this rate, we may take the population of the present day at eight millions, which would give 428 nearly, for the same space, being more than eleven times greater than the former. This comparatively small population, was nevertheless, dense enough for the productive state of a pastoral country. Agriculture, which alone enables the soil to maintain a dense and increasing population, was not only neglected, but proscribed by the policy of the chiefs, who were fully aware of the changes it must gradually effect in the condition of the people. They were yet more sensible to the immediate effect in increasing the value of labour, and diminishing the range of their chases and pastures. Their policy was rather near-sighted, but such is the policy of more enlightened ages: by this means the progress of civilization was stayed, the increase of wealth and strength retarded, until the possession of the lands they kept waste, and the service of the people whom they enslaved, was wrested from their hands.
State of Property.—This unhappy condition of the people, was aggravated, as well as rendered permanent, by the state of property, which had the disadvantages of the feudal state: it was not like it, a system from which the order, connexion, and strength of society was preserved, when it had in itself no other combining law: but like it, it confined wealth and authority to the possession of a few. It also provided for continual craft, intrigue, assassination, usurpation, and provincial war; the main pursuit of chiefs, and entire occupation of the people. The chief had but a life interest in his territory—his -revenue was exaction_his lands were parcelled out among his kinsmen, captains, and upper servants, on the condition of service and certain returns in such produce as the lands afforded. But the succession entirely depended on the strength to secure it, and the people can only be said not to have passed with the soil, because they had no interest in it. In each of the lesser divisions of territory, every proprietor was armed with the pretensions of a chief, and levied the same exactions on those who lived under him, and claimed the same privileges of war and peace with his neighbours. All extra expenditure of hospitality or war, was levied by an equal tax on the whole territory subject to the chiefs, whether great or small: and thus another great restraint against disorder was wanting; there was no occasion to count the cost. The main object of existence was the increase of military strength, and it is obvious, that for this end the repression of all advances of the people, was not only a consequence, but a needful and evident policy. Under these circumstances, the island was, with the exception of its towns, and of the English pale, a waste of war and contention. Its lands uncultured, and its inhabitants barbarous and
poor; and only not slaves because they were not arisen to the level of which slavery is an evil: the state in which property, arts, and fixed habitations begin. But we shall have to resume this important topic.
Of the greater chiefs, who thus enslaved and disordered the country, there were about 90, of whom 60 were Irish, and 30 of English descent. We shall here insert the enumeration of these, from a document published by the State Paper Committee.
“ Who lyste make surmyse to the king for the reformation of his lande of Ireland, yt is necessary to shewe hym the state of all the noble folke of the same, as well of the kinges subjectes and Englyshe rebelles, as of Iryshe enymyes. And fyrst of all, to make His Grace understande that ther byn more then 60 countryes, called regyons, in Ireland, inhabytyd with the kinges Irishe enymyes. Some region as bygge as a shyre, and some a lytyll lesse; where reygneith more than 60 chyef capytaynes, whereof some callyth themselves kynges, some kynges peyres, in ther langage, some prynceis, some dukes, some arche dukes, that lyveth onely by the swerde, and obeyeth to no other temperall person, but onely to himselfe that is stronge; and every of the said capytaynes makeyth warre and peace for hymselfe, and holdeith by swerde and hathe imperiall jurysdyction within his rome, and obeyeth to noo other person, Englyshe ne Irishe, except only to suche persones, as may subdue hym by the swerde: of whiche regions, and capytaines of the same, the names folowyth immediate.
Here after insuyth the names of the chief Iryshe countreys and regions of Wolster, (Ulster) and chief capytaines of the same.
First, the great O'Neil, chief captain of the nation within the
countrey of, and region of Tyreown. (Tyrone.) O'Donel, chief captain of his nation within the region and coun
try of Tyrconnell, near Donegal. O'Neil, of Tre-ugh-O'Neill, or Claneboy, in the south-west of
Antrim, and north of Down, and chief captain of the same.
Ban, and chief captain of the same.
chief captain of his nation.
, now part of the county of Monaghan. Chief captain of his nation. Here after insuyth the names of the chief Iryshe regions and countreys of Laynster, (Leinster) and the chief captains of the same.
M Morough (called also Kavanagh), of Idrone, in the west part
of Carlow. O'Byrne's country was in that part of the county of Wicklow,
between Wicklow-head and Arklow. O'Morough held the east part of the county of Wexford, between
Enniseorthy and the const, formerly called the barony of Deeps. O'Thole's country was formerly called the barony of Castle Keran,
and comprised that part of Wicklow, which lies between Tal
botstown, Newcastle, and Ballincar. O’Nolan inhabited the south-west point of Wexford. M-Gilpatrick, afterwards called Fitzpatrick, of Upper Ossory, in
the Queen's county. O’More of Leix, which was by the Irish statute, 3d and 4th
Philip and Mary, constituted part of one of the new counties
thereby erected, called Queen's county. O’Dempsy, of Glinmaliry, near Portnehinch, in the north part of
the Queen's county. O'Connor of Offaley, which was, by the above mentioned statute,
converted into King's county. O'Doyne, of Oregan, in the barony of Tindehinch, in Queen's
county. All of these were chief captains of their nation.
Here after foloweth the names of the chief Irish regions, and countreys of Mownster, (Munster) and chief captains of the same.
Fyrste of the Iryshe regions, and capytaines of Desmound.
county of Kerry, between Dingle Bay and Kenmare river. Cormok M-Teague (likewise a M‘Carthy,) of Muskerry, in the
county of Cork.
River and Bantry Bay.
and another of Kinalmeaky, both in Carbery.
north part of Tipperary.
the barony of Moyferta.
barony of Bunratty.
M'Brien of Coonagh, in Limerick. Here after insuyth the names of the chief Iryshe regions and countries of Conaght, and chief captains of the same.
O'Conor Roo, of Maghery Conough, near Lough Cane, in Ros
the county of Cavan.
bery, in the north part of Sligo. Here folowyth the names of the chief Irysh regions and countreys of the county of Meathe, and the chief captains of the same:
O'Mulloughlin of Clonlonan, in Westmeath.
barony of Moycashel, in Weastmeath. O’Mulmoy, or O’Mulloy of Fircal, in King's County. Also there is more than thirty greate captaines of the Englishe noble folk, that folowyth the same Irysh ordre, and kepeith the same rule, and every of them makeith warre and pease for hymself, without any lycence of the king, or of any other temporall person, saive to hym that is strongeyst, and of suche that may subdue them by the wswerde. Ther names folowyth immedyat:
The Erlle of Desmounde, lord of the county of Kerry.
of Clanwilliam, Condons, and Clangibbon, in the counties of
on the south of the Shannon, in Limerick, from the confines of
Kerry to near the River Deel.
powers of the county of Waterford.
the county of Kilkenny, and of the county of Fyddert, Fethard,
in the south-east of Tipperary. Here folowyth the names of Englishe greate rebelles in Conaght:
The lord Bourke, M William Oughter, of Mayo.
comprised the baronies of Longford, Leitrim, and Galway.
in the barony of Gallen, in Mayo.
barony of Costello, in Mayo. Sir Walter Barrett's sons of Tyrawley, in the north-east of Mayo. Here folowyth the names of the great Englishe rebelles of Wolster (Ulster):
Sir Rowland Savage, knight of Lecale, in the county of Down.
in Antrim. Hereafter folowyth the names of the Englyshe Capytaynes of the county of Meath, that obey not the Kinges lawe:
Out of these factions and jarring elements it is impossible, without the aid of some impracticable theory, founded on assumptions which no one has a right to take for data, to assign any process of things, by which order, wealth, and civil liberty could spring up. There is, in fact, no single medium of national advance that cannot be clearly and unanswerably shown to have been directly resisted by some overwhelming action of a contrary force. Internal tranquillity, industry, subjection to law, stability of property: all these are diametrically opposed to this state of divided and jarring jurisdictions—this pandemonium of little barbarian thronedoms and principalities, the prizes of craft and violence: won by armed insurrections, and maintained by despotic exactions.
But this is only the skeleton of a system of perpetual anarchy and wrong. Most of its workings were not inferior in pernicious efficacy to the main system from which they grew. These fierce and ambitious little kings, not only exerted in their diminutive jurisdictions, a tyranny benumbing to all the growing and advancing qualities of human nature ; more effective to repress these energies in proportion to the narrow compass in which they were exerted: with a consistent policy,