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the raqaiaitioa only strengthened the right a£ Byeae. aw -am . tion of the true fact* «f the mi1 The king, on aasv letters patent directing the confirmation of Byrne i ] proceeding* were frustrated by the persevers part/. Graham possessed considerable interest ana s»acw«fcismc wnx remorseless dexterity te- spin ont the tune and create =—"•<- tj- set op chums and offered objections; and. heme bacsec T» ~iTiia s* I ana authoritv, and by a warrant from the lecd-depsrty. he ihrinssr nassesaiOE of part of the lands. Sir James Piers Fitz-Geraid. am as i i■iiiiin , in this nefarious proceeding- made a bold attempt upon '"^ It tsnrt which was in possession of Bryan, a son of Pheiinx.
Bryan remonstrated, and as he was actually m paaness^sn. Fits-Gerald's patent was stayed: at the same time an appiirii— was nsaac nth* king, tor justice against the ether intruder, Graham, assn ihr case was ordered to be heard before the Irish cooneiL Sir R.-"*^ alii Lsh' that the lands were not the property of the Byrnes, bat «f eertam. freenoioers. and a iuiismiwion was ordered to Pt amine witnesses an the act The parries were ssnnmoned to London. Sir Richard ijeuuned ti* cd .«nee of the duke of Buckingham, who must hare fclt a strong rnaai wiia his lapriacip Led and reckless dishonest*. Thk diiie seeixoded sua representations, bat the presence of the dnhr of Rich——r win* knew ail the truth, defeated their attempts M impose upon sa» royai Air. by a ainin espososre of the real acts of the esse.
r'us im-t.-mi-nri-T craredy was thus prolonged. It seem* wonderful low. asking back n una a tusfereui point of human atftacce. ih&t those 30»w: winua .-void. *» eamiy iet asade the law for the «vU of oppresjtoiu wvrw w znn&nMac when k was intended to arrest 'ifjai miinn and ititeciiw. Bat when it became simply the ease between two indiriiua1> jt jimnic rank and mrfaenee. there was ao disposition to interr«tK --a* -mti-hinerT i£ the Law. or the common forms of justice, by any uueMerwnot if the Ctiwh or eouneil; and thus was left open, a wide suwrv* of .souse, tor the administration of the law was at that period swhjtttt » (ivory corrupt indnmce of authority or fear. According to the policy of the pertou, we bate little doubt in saying, that so clear a cube >qooju have been settled by a patent which should set aside every <j*asive plea. The commissions now appointed for the rehearing of a case, apou the merits of which no one living entertained the slightest doubt, were o£ course compelled to affirm the decision of every former commission. On this they had Bo ehoiee; bat they mast have known, that the object of the claimant was to protract the decision by evasions, and pretences, for the mere purpose of gaining time, of which he knew well how to avail himself. He knew, and every one who gave a thought to the matter understood, the effect of delay: the changes of influence in the court, the consequences of impatience and irritation on the Irish character, tbe facility of implicating his opponents in some indiscretion, or should tlii* I'hi. ol iiitulvitig them in suspicion. Sir Richard stayed the priiceeilltign hy « new plea; he had won over one of the Hymen, nnil It *M imw pl'ttposeil to show that the king had a title tn I In' Ifiiiiln. On stit'lt A ipiention, the commission had no power* tn ilri'lilr.
A flew t'iimmUnliM ««* «P|"ili^wU their finding was still according to the true facts of the case, so far as to make the villany of the whole proceeding apparent; for, as their object was manifestly to favour Sir Richard's design, they directly negatived the allegations upon which he rested his cause in the previous commission. They found that the lands in question, were truly the inheritance of Pheagh MaeHugh, who died in rebellion. Proceeding no farther than this stage of the -case, with wilful perversion they evaded the fact that the lands had heen restored to the son by <jueen Elizabeth: and what shows additionally the flagitious spirit in which this commission proceeded, is the fact, that they pursued the inquiry, in direct opposition to the king «nd council, who wrote over to forbid these vexatious and superfluous proceedings. The next step on such a decision, would be to seize and dispose of the lands, as crown property in Ireland, was then disposed .of. Here too the king interposed, and directed that no step of this nature should be taken, until the question should be decided by himself in council; but Byrne's friend, the duke of Richmond, had gone abroad to Spain, and the affair was not of sufficient magnitude to .occupy the attention of the cabinet, without the aid of some person of .weight. The duke died in the interim, and it was soon felt by their enemies, that the Byrnes had no friend in court. The commission acted in direct opposition to the injunctions of the court, and knew that they were quite safe in doing so: in the press of public affairs, it was easy then to pursue a point sub silentio. The mechanism of legal proceedings was loose in its operations—the morality of public men was, as we have observed, lax—there was no vigilant press to detect and expose. The commission knew that the victim of spoliation loses his authority and weight with his property, and that at a certain point of ruin, the voice of complaint can be stifled. On this principle of tyranny, they now proceeded more boldly and steadily to work.
The lord-deputy, upon the decision of the late commission, issued his warrant to the sheriff of Wicklow, and Sir William Parsons was put into possession of a large portion of the inheritance, while one of Byrne's sons (Bryan) who held another part, was exhorted to submit his claim to the decision of the lord-deputy. Bryan understood the purpose of this counsel too well, and held his own. Sir W. Parsons Attempted to obtain a judgment in the exchequer j but the cause was dismissed with the reprobation it deserved.
A more effective course of proceedings was next adopted—the case was too outrageously unfair for law; or for even the formal justice of a. packed commission of inquiry. On 13th March, 1625, the Byrnes were apprehended and committed to close confinement. It was easy to get up false information. Four witnesses, all persons under accusations themselves, were found to come forward with accusations against Brian and Tirlogh, the sons of Phelim O'Byrne. Of these informers, one was instigated by revenge, and another by terror and suffering. Tirlogh Duff Kavenagh, had heen apprehended upon a warrant issued by Phelim, who was a magistrate, and was happy to revenge himself and to escape sentence by the accusation. The story of Archer is more revolting. He was an Englishman; they stripped him naked, and placed him sitting upon a heated gridiron, then scorched him with gunpowder on the tendcrest parts of his body, and finally flogged him, until he was compelled to make the desired accusation. The other two were Kavenaghs; they were afterwards hanged at Kilkenny, and died confessing the falsehood of their accusations. On this information the two Byrnes were tried; but the bills were thrown out by two grand juries. This proceeding gave a little more notoriety to the affair, than the prosecutors could have wished, but they had weighty influence, and a case to state. They represented the grand juries as contumacious, and had them fined in the Star Chamber, a court less scrupulous than a grand jury.
Such a proceeding, nevertheless, had necessarily the effect of retarding the progress of the persecutors. The affair became sufficiently notorious to demand caution. They were under the necessity of discharging the Byrnes, whom a jury had acquitted. This they did with a reluctance, which is exposed by the delays they made. Tirlogh Byrne was after five months' imprisonment enlarged on bail, to appear on ten days' warning; but Bryan, who was the possessor of the coveted lands, was detained four months more, until a petition to the council was referred to lord Aungier, and the chief justice, who enlarged him on Christmas eve, under his recognisance to appear in court the first day of the following term. He appeared, and as no case was made, he was again dismissed under the same obligation to appear on ten days' notice. But that was insufficient for the disappointed eagerness of the staunch bloodhounds at his back—
- ea turba cupidine pradae
Per rupes, scopulosque, adituque, carentia raxa,
The tantalized cupidity of Parsons, Esmonde, and their associates became inflamed by the ardour of this fiend-like chase, and gradually lost sight of the last restraints of humanity. They would not acquiesce even in the formal mockeries of justice, and the hapless Byrnes were again seized and placed under irons in the castle. They feared the effect which might be produced by the appearance of Bryan Byrne before king Charles. The decisions of the privy council of England were, it is true, just, and its sagacity not to be deceived by the flimsy statements of the Irish informers; but they had hitherto lost their weight in crossing the channel: the official authorities to which they were directed were parties in the cause, and the king's letters were mere waste paper. It was, however, evident, that the appearance of the Byrnes would necessarily put a new and dangerous face upou the whole affair: they were too well fortified in their facts, and the proofs would thus come before the king.
Under these circumstances, it was thought expedient to set a fresh, prosecution on foot: the victims were for the moment secure: the gaols were raked for informers: and felons were respited from the gallows and set on to prove a case of treason. So vile were the witnesses that they could not be trusted in a court of justice: their depositions in writing were brought down into the King's Bench. The chief justice expressed his doubt that the jury would receive such evidence. But this was a slight obstacle, a sheriff and a jury was got up for the occasion. Of these, some were bribed by promises of a share in. the plunder—some were dependants of the prosecutors—all were selected forsome gross disqualification. With a compliant judge, felon witnesses, and a packed jury, the result was according to the desire of the vile suborners who conducted this devilish farce, and a bill was found against the prisoners. So far this atrocious plot succeeded. The shock was sufficient to kill the unfortunate lady who saw her husband and children thus laid open to the base pursuers of their land and life. The trial was, however, still before them; and as the witnesses hitherto used, were not such as to be presented in an open court, the parties concerned exerted themselves in the county of Wicklow. Graham and Belling, happening to be provosts-marshal, used their official powers and swept together a vast rabble of witnesses, whom they compelled by the ordinary means of bribery, threats, and torture, to serve their purpose. With these, however, little was to be done when confronted with the fair examination of the court—some retracted—some equivocated; and the case made out was insufficient. Several of the witnesses were soon after hanged, and declared aloud on the gallows that they were executed because they could not by their evidence convict the Byrnes.
The matter had been prolonged too far, and made too notorious for the accusers. Successful in evading the notice of the English court, they had forced their base proceedings upon the attention of the Irish public. The friends and neighbours of the Byrnes became fully cognizant of the state of facts, and joined in an application to the court of England. A commission was sent over to investigate the affair. This commission was fortunately directed to the primate, the archbishop of Dublin, the chancellor, the chief justice, and Sir Arthur Savage, who sat in November, 1628, when after a full examination into the charges, they fully acquitted the Byrnes and restored them to liberty.
The better part of their estate however was gone, while the persecutions had been directed against their life. Their lands were shuffled, by patents easily obtained by the heedlessness of official inspection, and by the power of the parties concerned, into the hands of their enemies.
Carte, who is our authority for the facts of this tale of terror, observes upon it—" This affair made a great noise all over the kingdom, and furnished occasion for some articles in the graces furnished about this time. And though there appears no other instance of the like treatment—though compositions for defective titles were generally made on easy terms, and the hardships suffered were confined to a few particular persons—yet the apprehension of them was more general, and the terror thereof extended to all."
&icfiar&, dfourt!) lEarl of ©lanricarfce,
DIED A. D. 1635.
It will not be here necessary for us to detail the history of a family which has already given so many illustrious names to Irish history. Nor will the design of this work admit of our travelling back into the historical events which we have already detailed in the previous period:
we must therefore be content to sum briefly the chief incidents of his life. He first entitled himself to the notice of government by conduct which indicates his loyalty and good sense. His father having declared himself for the earl of Tyrone, he repaired at once to England,* by which he not only constrained his father's conduct, but extricated himself from the suspicions which it would otherwise be hard to escape, without taking some course at variance with his duty to his father. In 1599* he was appointed governor of Connaught. But the most distinguishing incident of his career is to be found in the history of the battle of Kinsale, fought in 1601, between the English under lord Mountjoy, and the confederate forces of O'Neil and O'DonelL'j' In. our account of this battle we have already had to mention that he conducted himself with extraordinary valour, and by achievements of personal prowess, earned the distinction of being knighted upon the field of battle. In this battle he is said to have slain twenty of the enemy, and to have had numerous remarkable escapes, "his garments being often pierced with shot and other weapons."
In consequence of this, and other services in the same war, king James appointed him governor of Connaught, keeper of his house at Athlone, and one of the privy council. The consummation of this memoir could offer nothing more than successive appointments, now of no historical importance or personal interest. We shall endeavour to state them, in the fewest words:—In 1602, his legitimacy was impeached by his brother, who had been his enemy from an early age. A commission was appointed at his own desire, and this disagreeable question set at rest. In 1615, he refused the presidency of Munster, on the excuse of a long illness, and the king, from a consideration of his valuable services in that province, and unwilling to leave him under the command of any provincial governor, appointed him to the command of the county and city of Gal way. Here his own estates chiefly lay, and the appointment was equally adapted to his interest and ease.
In 1624 he was advanced to the English peerage, under the title of baron Somerhill, and viscount Tunbridge; and in a few years after, Charles I. conferred the title of baron of Imany, viscount Galway, and earl of St Albans. He took his place by proxy in the English house of lords, in 1635, but died the same year. Lodge, from whose peerage we have collected these particulars, quotes the following extract from Strafford's letters:—" This last pacquet advertised the death of the earl of St Albans, and that it is reported that my hard usage broke his heart; God and your majesty know my innocency; they might as well have imputed to me for a crime his being threescore and ten. years old; but these calumnies must not stay me humbly to offer to your majesty's wisdom this fit opportunity, that as that cantoned government of Galway began, so it may end in his lordship's person."
This nobleman was married to the daughter and heir of Sir Francis Walsingham, secretary of state to queen Elizabeth: she was the widow of Sir Philip Sidney, and again of the unfortunate earl of Essex; by her third husband, the earl of Clanricarde, she had one son, Ulick de Burgh,
• Moryson. t 1W<L