Page images

while O'Donnell established a communication with the Spaniards at Castlehaven. Altogether, however, the whole Irish army, according even to English authorities, amounted to only 600 foot and 500 horse with 300 Spaniards, under Captain Alphonso Ocampo, whilst the English force is generally supposed to have amounted to at least 10,000 men.

O'Neill and O'Donnell differed in opinion as to the propriety of attacking the English camp on a certain night, proposed by the commander of the Spaniards, Don Juan Del Aguila, who wrote pressingly to the Irish leaders entreating them to come to his assistance at once; O'Donnell thought they were bound to accede to this request. An immediate attack was resolved on, and by the treachery of Brian MacHugh Oge MacMahon, Carew was apprized of the intended onslaught. On the night of the 23rd, the Irish set out in three divisions, Captains Tyrrell, O'Neill and O'Donnell respectively, commanding the van, the centre, and the rere. The guides missed their way, and after wandering through the night, O'Neill found himself separated from O'Donnell, at the very entrenchments of the English, who were fully prepared for the attack. O'Donnell was now at a considerable distance, and just as O'Neill was preparing either to retreat or put his men in order of battle, the English cavalry charged their broken lines, and notwithstanding the stout resistance of the Irish and the gallantry of the Spaniards, O'Neill's command were either cut down or compelled to retreat. O'Donnell came at last and repulsed the English wing. O'Neill made extraordinary exertions to rally his flying troops, but all to no purpose, nearly a thousand of the Irish fell. The prisoners were immediately hung; and three days after the battle of Kinsale, the heroic Red Hugh O'Donnell had sailed in a Spanish ship from Castlehaven for Spain, where he was received with the greatest honors. O'Neill returned to Ulster. The Spaniards capitulated, marching out of Kinsale with colors flying, and with arms, ammunition, and all their property. On the return of Don Juan, who was suspected by the Irish of treachery, probably owing to the friendship which suddenly sprung up between him and Sir George Carew, he was placed under arrest and died of grief. The famous defence of Dunboy castle by Richard Con ant Father Collins, to whom O'Sullivan had committed that fortalice, is an event too well known to require particular description. The President having levelled its fortifications returned to Cork; and after a series of marvellous adventures and romantic escapes, O'Sullivan, O'Connor Kerry, and William Burke reached the Shannon at Terryglass, and having caused their followers to make corraghs or basket boats they crossed the river, and eventually arrived safely in the county of Leitrim, though perpetually harassed by enemies.1 Garret Stack still held the Castle of Ballygarry from the Confederates, but Sir Charles Wihnot having advanced from Limerick by water to attack it, the garrison surrendered at discretion.

In the year 1602, forty-two of the religious having begged of the Queen to be transported, were ordered to Scattery island, where, having embarked on board a man-of-war, when at sea, by the queen's orders, they were all thrown over board, and the perpetrators were rewarded by abbey lands.'

1 The Queen's forces who attacked O'Sullivan's Castle of Dunboy were commanded by the Earl of Thomond, and during the attack the last chief of the MacMahona of Skin tight Caleb) was accidentally shot by his own son, who proceeded after the fall of Dunboy with the other exiles to Spain, thns apparently terminating a line, which was supposed to be extinct until the publication of the pedigrees of MacMahon, the illustrious Duke of Magenta, proved that it is still well represented.

* Hibtrnia Domimrana.

1603. The "pacification" of Munster thus appeared complete, and that of Ulster took place nearly at the same time.

The Annals of the Four Masters1 mention that before his departure for Spain, Hugh Roe O'Donnell advised O'Neill and the Irish who remained in Ireland after the defeat at Kinsale, to exert their bravery in defending their patrimony against the English, until he should return with forces to their relief, and to remain in the camp in which they then were, because their loss was small. He also pointed out the difficulties of a return to their own country, and the ill-treatment that awaited them in such an eventuality—but the chiefs of the Irish, the annalists add, did not like his advice, but resolved on returning to their territories. "They afterwards," the historians continue, " set out in separate hosts, without ceding the leadership to any, and after suffering much from declared enemies and treacherous friends during their march, reached their homes without any remarkable loss."

The Annals of the Masters for this year end with this entry, "an intolerable famine prevailed all over Ireland." Moryson gives a frightful account of this famine, which the English caused in Ireland "by destroying the rebels' corn, and using all means to punish them ;"2 and, no doubt, the Irish had been utterly destroyed by famine, had not a general peace shortly followed Tyrone's submission. There was a survey made of the lands in the county of Limerick which were forfeited in the reign of Queen Elizabeth.3





The death of Elizabeth was very acceptable news in Ireland. In Limerick the intelligence gave great hopes to the Catholics, who believed that they could henceforward freely enjoy the exercise of their religion.4 Her successor, James, was the first English monarch who had Irish blood in his veins, and the impression was all but universal that King James would restore the ancient religion which, for reasons of state, that worthless monarch had affected to favor. In some places indeed the Catholics had taken possession once more of their ancient churches; and the mayors of Cork and Waterford even refused or postponed the proclamation of the new king, supposing that the deputy's power had died out with the Queen. The citizens of Waterford went so far as to close their gates against the soldiers of Mountjoy, who had rapidly marched to Munster with a strong force, but he quickly undeceived them as to the privileges conferred by their charter, which exempted them from quartering soldiers; for the deputy threatened that "with King James' sword he would cut the charter of King John to pieces"—and Limerick, Kilkenny, Wexford, and Cashel, were obliged to submit in their turn. The publication of a general amnesty had, however, for a time, a tranquil:'sing effect. This was the last official act of Lord Mountjoy, who shortly after returned to England. He was accompanied by Tyrone and O'Donnell, who were well received by the King. On this occasion Hugh O'Neill was confirmed in his honors and possessions, and Rory O'Donnell, brother to Red Hugh, who died in Spain, was created Earl of Tyrconnell. English law was now first introduced into the territories of these noblemen. Still the horrible persecution went on; in 1604, Redmond Galcorg, Bishop of Derry, and VicePrimatc, was killed by the English soldiers—Analecta.

1 Ad. nn. 1602.

« Vol. II. pp. 283, 284.

» First Report of the Commissioners of Public Records, p. 122. Report 1810 to 1815.

« Arthur MSS.

At this time a terrible pestilence, which was brought over from England, raged throughout Munster, and carried off three hundred of the citizens of Limerick. James Galway was mayor, for the second time; and David, son of Nicholas Comyn, and Thomas, son of Patrick Creagh, were bailiffs.1

Sir Arthur Chichester, the succeeding Viceroy, re-established the long disused custom of circuits in Munster and Connaught; and as an extension of Royal favor, Corporations were granted to several towns. The rising hopes of the Catholics in the tolerant principles of their new King were soon rudely blighted by the issuing of a proclamation, promulgating the act of Uniformity, and commanding the "Papist" clergy to depart from the kingdom. He had already sent orders to Dublin that the Act of Supremacy should be administered to all Catholic lawyers and justices of the peace, and that the laws against recusants should be strictly enforced; a commission was issued calling on respectable Catholics to watch and inform against such of their co-religionists as did not frequent Protestant churches, and some Catholics who had remonstrated and petitioned for religious liberty were committed to prison; Sir Henry Blunkard was President of Munster, and Edmond Fox being mayor of Limerick, was deprived of his office three weeks before Michaelmas day, for refusing to take the oath of supremacy and not going to church. Andrew Creagh Fitzjasper was chosen mayor in the place of Fox, for the remainder of the year, and this Creagh was the first Protestant mayor of the city. Fox was eleven months mayor—Creagh one month. Dominick FitzPeter Creagh and James Woulfe were the bailiffs.2 Creagh was succeeded by Edmond Sexton, who had Christopher FitzEdward Arthur and Peter FitzThomas Creagh, bailiffs.3

In the year 1605, the customs of tanistry and gavelkind were abolished by judgment in the King's bench and the Irish estate thereby made descendible according to the course of the common law of England.4 In the year 1606, in order to atone for the severity of the proclamation against the Catholic Clergy, and to " quiet and oblige the Irish," as Cox expresses it, the king issued out a commission of grace under the great seal of England, to confirm the possessors of estates in Ireland, against new claims of the crown, by granting new patents to them.5 This if fairly carried out, was a very desirable and necessary measure, for a may be easily imagined, a great confusion of titles to estates had been occasioned by the troubles, and various changes which had happened in the kingdom, and whoever could not make out a clear and indisputable title to his estate, which considering the circumstances of the nation, for some time past was scarcely possible to do, lay completely at the mercy of the crown, and had no remedy except to compound with the king on whatever terms he could, and to get a new grant of his estate. Hence the enquiries into defective titles, which took place in the early part of the reign of King James.1 These inquisitions were first proposed in the causes of MacBrian Gonagh, O'Mulryan and other septs in Limerick and Tipperary, who had expelled the old English colonies planted there, whose heirs not being known, the lands had escheated to the crown; most counties in Ireland afforded abundance of similar cases. Even of those who had imagined they had settled their possessions by composition, having covenanted to take out letters patent, the greater number had neglected to do so, and holding their lands only by the indenture of the composition made with Sir John Perrott, and not having performed the stipulations they stood in need of new grants to give them a lawful title to their estates. There was also a failure or alleged failure in an infinite number of other cases. This was an age of adventurers and projectors.8 Every body was at work in trying to find out flaws in people's estates; the Pipe rolls and the Patent rolls were searched for reserved rents and ancient grants, and no means left untried to force gentlemen to a new composition, or to the accepting of new grants at higher rents than before. It was not to be expected that the fair domains of O'Neill and O'Donnell, would escape the greed of these covetous projectors. The claims of O'Neill to the princely possessions of his ancestors were disputed under English laws, he was harassed by legal enquiries into title, until at last he was compelled to leave the country, partly by means of law fictions, and processes calling on him to appear and answer in the cause of the Protestant Bishop of Derry, against Hugh Earl of Tyrone, partly by a conspiracy, supposed to have been concerted against him by Cecil, but which was put into execution by Christopher St. Laurence, Baron of Howth, who entrapped the Earls of Tyrone and Tyrconnell, the Baron of Delvin and O'Cahane into a plot into which they may readily be believed to have fallen by the representations made by Howth, of the probability of new penal enactments against Catholics. This is the opinion of Mr. Moore3 and others, but it is extremely probable that the plot was contrived by Cecil, the artful author of the Gunpowder plot, and that the flight of the Earls was exactly what the government wanted, who immediately declared them rebels, and proceeded to confiscate their vast possessions in six counties of Ulster.' O'Neill and O'Donnell with their families, sailed from Bathmullen on Lough Swilly, for Normandy, from which they proceeded to Rome, enjoying a pension from the Pope and the King. O'Donnell died the following year, O'Neill in 1608; Maguire at Geneva in 1608. The flight of the Earls, which may be said to have terminated the independence of Ireland, took place in 1607.

1 Arthur MSS. » Arthnr MSS., White's MSS. J Arthur MSS.

4 Cox, Hib. Ang. Davis's Reports. * Ibid.

1 Carte's Ormonde, II. 264. > Carte's Life of Ormonde, nbi supra.

• History of Ireland, vol. iv., p. 453, N., &c.

* Hardiman's Irish Minstrelsy, vol. ii., p. 430; Anderson's Royal Genealogies, London, 1736.





In the year 1609, according to some authorities, according to others1 in 1610, occurred the cruel execution of John Burke, Baron of Brittas, who was adjudged to a terrible death, and all his property confiscated for the use of the king, merely because a priest had been found celebrating mass in his house. His life and death were holy. Being offered, says Carve, the restitution of all his goods and a remission of the sentence passed on him, if he would only embrace the Protestant faith, he is said to have replied, " I prefer far to save my soul, to become possessor of the entire world." His grand-daughter, Honora was married to the illustrious defender of Limerick, Patrick Sarsfield, Earl of Lucan, and after his death at Landcn in Flanders, to the Duke of Berwick.8

We extract from Bothe's Analecta, translated in the White MSS. a detailed account of this event, which is the best possible commentary on the pretended toleration of the hypocritical pedant, who now occupied the throne of England.'

1 Carve, a Tipperary man and notary apostolic, refers this event to 1610 in his "Annals of Ireland," page 315.

* See O' Daly's History of the Geraldines, and Hibernia Dominicana, p. 5C5, where his daughter, a sanctified Dominican nun, is said to have died in 1646.

3 This illustrious champion of his faith was descended from such a noble family, and was possessed of so plentiful a fortune, as that Sir George Thornton, one of the chief governors of Minister, thought him to be a great match for his daughter, Grace Thornton, to whom the Lord Brittas was married, and had nine children by her. lie formed a purpose of going to Spain, in order the more freely to enjoy the benefits of the Catholic religion, which at this time was greatly persecuted in Ireland ; but his design being discovered to his father-in-law, Sir George, he be effectually managed with his fellow-governor, Sir Charles AVilmot, as entirely to prevent the Lord Brittas's departure. Being thus destuted in his journey he more fully and publicly performed all acts of the Catholic religion, by going openly to mass, assisting at sermons, having mass said in his own house, whither all the neighbours resorted to hear it; his domestic affairs be left entirely to his wife, and devoted himself entirely to religion, by harbouring and supporting ecclesiastics and religious persons, especially those of the order of St Dominick. This, his conduct, being represented in it new light to Charles Mountjoy, the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland, in his passage to Limerick, he thereupon forfeited the Lord Brittas's estate, and it was with the greatest interest and difficulty it was afterwards restored to him. He no sooner got possession, but he prepared a large hall in his house of Brittas for performing divine service therein the following Sunday, which was the first Sunday of October, and whither all those of the sodality of the rosary came to perform their devotions. When the President was informed of this, he sent one Captain Miller with a detachment of horse to apprehend Lord Brittas, just as divine service was going to begin. The congregation was alarmed, and through fear dispersed up and down ; the Lord Brittas, with his chaplain and three or four servants, retired into a strong tower adjoining his house, into which they denied Miller or his troop admittance. The President made handle of this to have him proclaimed as rebel, which laid the Lord Brittas under the necessity of seeking shelter in foreign countries ; to effect this he went to a distant seaport, in hopes of meeting with a ship to transport him, but he was disappointed, which made him seek for shelter in the inland country j but the edicts against him being published everywhere, he was discovered in Carrick, and apprehended by the magistrate of that town and confined in jail.

When his wife, who was with child, visited him in his confinement, his entire entertainment with her was inculcating on her the principles of the faith, the devotion to the Blessed Virgin, and that she may avoid all commerce with heretics; he, by her, wrote letters to father Edmond Hallaghan, the director of the Sodality, entreating him to have care of her instruction, and though she was big with child, by her husband's orders, she travelled from Carrick to Waterford, and from thence to Kilkenny, in quest of said director. The Lord Brittas, by the President's orders, was removed from Carrick to Limerick, where the President was to hold a court in a short time. On his trial the President assured him that he neither thirsted after his life, nor his estate, both which he should have, provided he conformed to the Protestant faith and religion; but the Lord Brittas absolutely refused to comply, or forsake the true religion he was educated

« PreviousContinue »