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time were enabled to give their insurrectionary movements the aspect of a national cause, and the colouring of right and justice. Hitherto their turbulence was instigated by causes merely personal; at times they were stirred by ambitious projects, at times roused by flagrant wrongs; often again by mutual resentments. Now a sanctity and a virtue lent its influence to their stormy and discontented spirits, and the deep-rooted policy arising from their clear perception of their own immediate interests, gained the unwonted and formidable power of organization. Tyrone fought to resist the influence under which his principality was fast sinking into the expansion of another frame of polity; but thousands sought his banner under the notion, that they followed the champion of their altars. To this summary of the past, one further notice remains to be added. Had the matter rested in the operation of these elements alone, we can have no hesitation in affirming that the blighting disasters of the following period must have been wholly prevented. The decisive advantages gained by the arms of Mountjoy and Carew, the rapid growth of the English interests in a period of tranquillity, and the suppression while it might be effected without violation of conscience, of party and religious difference, must have soon introduced the sanatory operation of those civil causes which belong to order, and are a portion of human nature when subjected to the process of civilization. But another element of power, more intense than the arms of parties, or the power of government, was infused into the waters of Irish bitterness. It was not to be anticipated that the see of Rome was to remain a neutral spectator of the conflict. The objects and views of Rome need no discussion here; but it belongs to our historical commentary to state that, from the moment of a combination so auspicious as that of the Irish, and the ecclesiastics *f the Roman communion, the popes, were not remiss in contributing their utmost to a cause, which they regarded as the cause of the papacy. The Jesuits were at once set at work, to foment or heal divisions as need required—to give unity to opposition, to mine and countermine with their wonted zeal, assiduity and talent. Against the vast moral influence of such an instrument, there is, perhaps, in the whole compass of social elements no provision. In the organization of the Jesuits, there was obtained, a similar power to that of a system of machinery by which forces small in themselves are increased, by the concentration of their directions, to some vast product of their separate agencies. A discipline, which, severing the intellectual development from the moral, sifting the mind from its animal frailty, and condensing it into a single organ, to be moved at the will of a single mind, and carry on with untiring perseverance, vigour, and vigilance, a single, consistent and well-digested policy, in a country where there was no resisting mass of intelligence or knowledge. Such was the new deeply working-power which was thenceforward to commence its gradually accumulating control in the long revolutions of Ireland.
Character of James I.—The most decisive step in advance, which occurs in the whole course of our anomalous history, is due to the wisdom of James. A monarch not less remarkable for his high intellectual endowments than for the very prominent weakness and incapaeities which have obtained a more than due share of notice. We are far from denying the truth of the several strictures of those writers who have attempted the sketch of his character, bat we are disposed to think that though the features generally given are not incorrectly drawn, the likeness has been bat imperfectly caught. Scott, in one of those inimitable master-pieces, which haTe placed him and for many generations will continue to place him at the head of all who attempt moral delineation, has giren the moral likeness of this monarch with his usual fidelity and force. Bat the understanding of James, has always been underrated, in order to bring it into keeping with the general impression which his infirmities have left behind. A prejudice sanctioned by history, and rendered specious by broad facts, is always hard to cope with, and cannot perhaps be controverted without some risk. Much of the reputation of an individual, must ever arise from the circumstances under which he appears, or by which the estimate of his mind is formed. The greatest mathematician of our own times was found to have a remarkable incapacity for business:—had circumstances placed him for life in some office of minute and numerous details, it is probable that this defect alone would have attracted the notice of men. The rare gifts of the power of generalizing and of comprehensive and subtle analysis, may by rare good fortune happen to coexist with those more common and generally available but lesser faculties which constitute prudence and common sense in the management of ordinary affairs: but the union must be rare, not only because the faculties are in some measure opposed, but because their exercise is apt to lead to different mental habits. And with this, the additional fact is to be allowed for, that the most available qualities in life af e not intellectual, but moral. The man who is wise in thought, who can understand or investigate difficulties, and cast a comprehensive and accurate eye over the combination of affairs, may go out from his study and be a fool or a knave: because, though men use their reason in study, they act from impulse and habit.
King James was, with the exceptions to be made in conformity with these observations, what Sully pronounced " the wisest fool in Christendom," or what Scott has more elaborately described, " deeply learned without possessing useful knowledge; sagacious in many individual cases, without having real wisdom; fond of his power, and desirous to maintain and augment it, yet willing to resign the direction of that and of himself, to the most unworthy favourites; a big and bold assertor of his rights in words, yet one who tamely saw them trampled on in deeds; a lover of negotiations, in which he was always outwitted; and a fearer of war where conquest might have been easy. He was fond of his dignity, while he was perpetually degrading it by undue familiarity; capable of much public labour, yet often neglecting it for the meanest amusement; a wit, though a pedant; and a scholar, though fond of the conversation of the ignorant and uneducated. Even his timidity of temper was not uniform, and there were moments of his life, and those critical in which he showed the spirit of his ancestors. He was laborious in trifles, and a trifler where serious labour was required; devout in his sentiments, and yet too often profane in his language ; just and beneficent by nature, he yet gave way to the iniquities and oppression of others. He was penurious respecting money which he had to give from his own hand, yet inconsiderately and unboundedly profuse of that which he did not see. In a word, those good qualities which displayed themselves in particular cases and occasions, were not of a nature sufficiently firm and comprehensive to regulate his general conduct."
Indolence, love of pleasure, strong physical propensities, and much timidity neutralized the very considerable sagacity, observation, and natural beneficence of James—under all those circumstances in which they could have any influence. They made him variable, irresolute, and the slave of firmer minds. His defects were not intellectual but moral. Accordingly under circumstances, abstracted from his besetting weaknesses and the influence of favouritism, it may be uniformly observed, that he has left many proofs of statesman-like wisdom. Among these, Ireland offers a very favourable illustration.
State of the country on the accession of king James From the brief
retrospect in the preceding pages the reader will have anticipated the main circumstances, which must have regulated the policy of king James. His accession was indeed attended by some favourable circumstances, arising from both the position of affairs and the feelings of the country. The people were generally impressed with favourable expectations from a monarch in whom the ancient line of Milesius was considered to be restored.* He was the son also of a mother who was universally regarded as a martyr to the church of Rome. The rebellion of Shane O'Neale, had been the means of exciting a very strong sense of religious enthusiasm among the people, and this had been much increased by the rebellion of Hugh, earl of Tyrone. These wars had their rise in the ambition, the discontent, the real grievances, and the refractory spirit of the Irish chiefs. These workings had been additionally developed by the intrigues of official agents, and underplots of parties unconnected with government. The pretext of religious motives having been adopted, by chiefs whose conduct exposed their sacrilegious disregard of every sacred thing, was zealously and efficaciously encouraged by the church of Rome, and was the means of gradually diffusing a strong and permanent spirit among the people. The Protestantism of those, whom they had been taught for the long course of two generations, to regard as tyrants and oppressors, augmented the religious animosity thus raised; and excited a deep-seated hostility nursed by every art of their leaders, nourished too by the injustice and folly of their opponents, until it obtained a diffusive existence in the very nature of the people, and became a plant of indigenous growth. Then however this national disease slumbered for a moment: in part because the spirit of the nation had been stunned by the fierce retribution which was drawn down on all by the madness of a few; and partly from the hopeful expectations of the new reign.
On the part of James, there seems every reason to infer the wisest and soundest intentions. He had nevertheless many difficulties to
'See Vol. I. p. 41.
euwvuunT. 71* Twt «oiRi=i£Ma. '.£ w» nay a^iy :h* term) of the tjf'iz&rt itsxcj&A Tjl irr«yjiiiiaiui- w<7i-'~y«H-; *=t£ as it then stood, w*t k*agAi>.-t of Visor orrt«s«d in» mj rt^-iSar polity capable of iauproveaaftsc, oiJ*» by <&s=e«i -.*. ©wsprtii«isve to be effected wkLoai 'iyyHiZ^/a. 'Meat**- a&d .ca&a&tr^iz she Dtcrasary corruption of aiibam*&agri?&£r,/ staApenadvoi abrae- Tbelri-hpeople,although tsisAtz the earliest civilized of tit races of E--srope, had, from a variety of eaoKi, bung back in the twilight of azoiquiry, till their antique 'uitxhututsus .mere become barbarism. From the first inroads of the Dane*, tb«r state had been one of mouldering dilapidation. And wb«-a it became a question how their fallen and abject condition was to be retrieved—how they could be rendered capable of forming a portion of the modern worid, and released from the position, abject for themselves, perilous for England, of being a mere position of approach for foreign intrigue;—when a question so vital both to England and Ireland arose, it was quite evident that there was but one course practicable. This was full of difficulties and objections: the disease was a malorganization of every one of the vital parts. The existing disposition o£ property, the laws of inheritance, the distribution of power and influence, the civil jurisdiction, the ecclesiastical disunion, the prejudices, ways of life, and manners of the nation, were all as unfavourable to improvement, to regular government, to trade, as they were to national tranquillity or freedom. The nation had been half conquered, and had been floundering on like a wounded bird, that can neither fly nor walk, escape or resist; and was become full of conflicting and heterogeneous elements. Two races were prejudiced against each other, two laws conflicted for predominance, two powers struggled for mastery, two religions cursed each other.
Thus the country presented one wide anomaly in the system (if we may so call it) of the civilized world. Though like other countries, it had undergone a harassing repetition of those evils which were the ancient instruments of civilization;—invasion, conquest, and colonization: in this country alone they had all been neutralized by some untoward working. The evils alone remained; the storm that elsewhere awukened new elements into action, and brought more wholesome affinities into combination, here but left a wide spread waste of desolation, and the smouldering fires of contention and hate. No common spirit existed—no sense of general interest prompted either just concession, or rightly directed resistance. The nation was divided into parties, and every party had an interest of its own irreconcilable with all the rest. The people were but the slaves of the soil—the chiefs of two races were opposed to each other, to the government, and to the church; the church was cleft into three and often into four parties, among which there was a long struggle for ascendancy. The reformed clergy; the regulars and seculars of the church of Rome, which latter were the clergy of the pale; and those of the Irish church who had been chiefly upheld by the Irish chiefs. These last-mentioned divisions had in a great measure ceased; the reformation had cemented them, and the accession of the native chiefs had placed in their hands a vast preponderance which they never afterwards lost. Still all these parties had their several policies which they kept exclusively in view. The true interests of Ireland were only thought of, and that but loosely and generally by the English monarchs, who alone were concerned in its advance as a nation; but their good-will was long neutralized by a foul medium which lay between this island and the good intentions of England: those who looked to profit by her disorders; they were largely supported by those, (nearly all,) who desired to perpetuate the degradation in which their power subsisted.
Thus Ireland was a scene of party, faction and intrigue: only united in the opposition to all advance. There was no combined or pervading system of government, but a combination of causes, essentially incompatible with any rational form of polity. There were irregular and opposing jurisdictions, and an unconstitutional state of property.
Policy of king James.—The first act of the new reign, which demands especial notice, was an act of indemnity for all offences previous to the king's accession. This was accompanied by another just and wise measure, by which the people were declared exempt from the tyranny of their chiefs, and thenceforward placed under the protection of the king and the laws. On the following year, the government was committed to the able hands of Chichester, whose vigour, activity, and wisdom were best adapted to the state of the country and the designs of the king. Chichester pursued the policy then adopted, with ability and success. The ancient laws of property, only suited to a very primitive form of society, and in later times the main obstacle to civilization, were abolished. Tanistry and gavelkind were set aside by a judgment of the King's Bench. The administration of justice was, for the first time, rendered efficient, and extended over districtst hitherto inaccessible to law. The judges went their circuits, for the first time, in Connaught and Ulster; and the Munster circuit, which, under the degenerate race of the Southern Geraldines, had been discontinued for two centuries. The effects of this vigorous and decisive beginning, though in some measure counteracted by various afterworkings, were rapid and memorable. They are described by an eye-witness: "First, the common people were taught, by the justices of the assize, that they were free to the kings of England, and not slaves and vassals to their pretended lords: That the cuttings, cosheries, sessings, and other extortions of the lords, were unlawful, and that they should not any more submit themselves thereunto, since they were now under the protection of so just and mighty a prince, as both would and could protect them from all wrongs and oppressions. They gave a willing ear unto these lessons; and, thereupon, the greatness and power of these Irish lords over the people, suddenly fell and vanished, when their oppressions and extortions were taken away, which did maintain their greatness; insomuch, as divers of them, who formerly made themselves owners of all (by force), were now, by the law, reduced to this point: that, wanting means to defray their ordinary charges, they resorted ordinarily to the lord-deputy, and made petition that, by license and warrant of the state, they might take some aid and contribution from their people; as well to discharge their former debts, as for competent maintenance in time to come. But some of them being impatient of this diminution, fled out of the Vol, u. x