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his eldest son, who at first carried all before him, was compelled, after half a year of triumph, to surrender with his uncles, and was hanged at Tyburn. Failure so absolute daunted for awhile the insurrectionary spirit, and through the King's adroitness and forbearance it seemed doubtful whether it would revive. The Kildare Geraldines were attainted, but their estates were left untouched, to be restored as the return of their loyalty. Few if any of the confederates were punished with loss of lands. There were confiscations, but confiscations of the estates not of the Irish but of the English absentees. Those of the colonists who were unable, or who neglected, to discharge the duties attaching to their places, were declared to have forfeited their tenures. English noblemen who held lands in Ireland were required to reside and maintain them. The rights of property were made stringently conditional as the fulfilment of its obligations. Justice so far was even-handed, and justice being a rare virtue in that country never failed to be appreciated.
A measure followed which, from another side, produced a favourable effect on the Irish leaders. The abbeys in Ireland as well as England were suppressed so far as an act of Parliament could suppress them. The estates of the Church were passed on easy terms to the great persons in the different provinces, as a bribe to purchase their assistance in carrying out the statute. Superstition or piety in some places forbade the sacrilege; in others conscience was too weak to resist temptation. The chiefs and nobles having consented to a share in the spoils,
1 Act of Absentees, 28 Hen. VIII. cap. 3. Irish Statutes.
forgave the spoiler ; and the first singular results of CHAP. this violent and seemingly dangerous act were the acquiescence of the O'Neills, O'Briens, and MacCarties, in the plans of Henry for a change in their mode of tenure. They surrendered their lands, to take them back again subject to English conditions and to the English rule of inheritance. They accepted earldoms in the place of their Irish chieftaincies, and attended in their robes at a parliament in Dublin; while Henry himself, seemingly with universal consent, took the title of King of Ireland, when before he had been but Dominus, or Lord.
The beginnings of a new order of things were happily laid, and there had never, since the Conquest, been better promises of peace. As usual, when England showed strength and resolution, Ireland became immediately submissive. If Henry had lived a few more years, and if the quarrel with the Pope had not been further complicated by differences of doctrine, the emphatic success of an authoritative policy at a critical time might have spared the need of future outlawries, spoliations, and insurrections.
The short and unhappy reign of Edward the Sixth produced less agitation in Ireland than might have been anticipated. Attempts were ventured to introduce and force upon the people the doctrinal theories for which even England was unprepared. Evangelical Protestantism of a serious kind was really and truly better fitted to make its way among an impressionable people like the Irish than the ambiguous formulas of the Anglican Church; but spiritual conversion was too tedious a process for the impatient precipitancy of the advanced Reformers. Unconsecrated prelates were thrust into the Irish sees under the naked authority of letters patent. John Bale, the most virulent and the most profane of the unfortunate party whose excesses provoked the counter reformation, commenced work as Bishop of Ossory, which would have led, under ordinary circumstances, to an instant explosion. In Ossory, the bishop was under the exceptional protection of Lord Ormond, who was himself a Protestant; the Irish leaders were as yet apparently uncertain whether to accept finally the bribe of the Church lands; and the secular government was in the hands of Sir Edward Bellingham, one of the ablest viceroys who ever wielded the Irish sword. But the exasperation which would have soon burst into rebellion rendered easy and complete the counter-revolution under Edward's successor. On the marriage of Philip and Mary, and the formation of the
close alliance with Spain, religion was no longer a cause of difference. The friars were reinstated in the religious houses, and the English Church and the Catholic clergy worked hand in hand for the restoration of order.
The two countries, notwithstanding, were no nearer than before to a real union. No sooner was the quarrel of the creeds suspended, than the old grounds of jealousy revived ; and Mary, before she died, found herself at issue with the most powerful chief of the native race on questions of jurisdiction and inheritance. Con O'Neill had accepted the earldom of Tyrone from Henry the Eighth, with reversion to his eldest legitimate son. The amours of Con had been miscellaneous. His children irregularly begotten were numerous. The custom of the tribe on the death of a chief had been to choose in his place the bravest and the strongest. The Baron of Dungannon, the lawful heir under the patent of the earldom, was inefficient and unpopular. His bastard brother, Shan or John, a model Irishman, fierce, brave, and unscrupulous, the idol of the clan, was elected by acclamation, not to the English title, which he despised, but to the name and place of the O'Neill. The Baron of Dungannon was murdered; Shan O'Neill emerged for a brief period of splendour into the championship of Irish liberty, and prepared, Church or no Church, to vindicate the right of his people to manage their affairs and elect their rulers on their own principles. In the settlement of this dispute the life or death of Mary would have made no difference ; and if Ireland was to be reclaimed to civilization, a reconquest would have been equally a necessity, though the Reforma