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erecting the sub-chiefs into freeholders; his real object being, not so much to protect their interests, as to weaken the power
of the chieftains. It never occurred to him that the humblest member of the tribe should, if strict justice were done, have received his allotment out of the common territory ; and the result of his settlement accordingly was, that the tribal land was cut up into a number of large frechold estates, which were given to the most important personages amongst the native Irish, and the bulk of the people were reduced to the condition of tenants at will.
In order to carry out this great revolution in land tenure, royal commissions were issued to survey the country, and to inquire into titles. Provision was made that two judges should go circuit twice a year to try offences against the law, and claims to property, by the help of juries, in supersession of the Brehon's arbitrations. All the shires were formally recognized,
. and sheriffs and coroners appointed to each. A decision of the Queen's Bench in Dublin in an ejectment suit decided that the law of Tanistry and gavelkind was nothing but "a lewd and damnable custom ;” and that land was descendible only according to the limitations of English law.*
The immediate result of this was that the northern chiefs found themselves plunged in litigation. Tyrone had a lawsuit with O'Kane in respect of his seigniorial rights over O'Kane's territory; and on the case being tried by the Council, it was conveniently discovered that
* McBrien v. OʻCallaghan, Daz'y's Reps., pp. 28, 49.
neither party had any right to the subject-matter in dispute, but that it had been vested in the Crown since 1570! The Bishop of Derry had a claim against O'Kane with regard to certain Church land, upon which the bishop charged him with having made encroachments. And so the actions multiplied, and the lawyers throve.
Tyrone had been over to the English court; had been graciously received by the king; and had returned to Ireland with the intention of settling down as a loyal subject. Rory O'Donnel, Red Hugh's younger brother, had also made his peace with the Crown. He had been created Earl of Tyrconnel, and received a grant of the county of Donegal, his brother the O'Donnel's country.
Though shorn of a great deal of their influence, these great chieftains might still be dangerous ; and the Government accordingly watched them narrowly for any opportunity to destroy them. Sir John Davis had instituted a galling system of espionage over Ulster, so that Tyrone complained that "he could not even drink a full carouse of sack, but the State was within a few hours advertised thereof." Insulted by the king's officers, harassed by litigation, and worried by spies, he appears to have dropped some incautious words to Lord Delvin, and the latter seems to have held some secret conversation with Tyrconnel at Maynooth Castle, when on a visit to the Earl of Kildare. There is no reason to suppose that this vague talk was in any way serious; but whatever it was, Lord Howth, who was admitted by the Government to be unworthy of credit, managed to obtain an inkling of it, developed it into a cut-and-dried plot to seize the Castle and murder the deputy, and embodied it in a letter, which he purposely dropped at the door of the council chamber.
Tyrone, who was shortly to appear in London on the hearing of the appeal in the suit with O'Kane, received information that it was the intention of the Government to arrest him on his arrival in England ; and he and Tyrconnel determined in a panic to fly to the continent. They hastened with their families on board a vessel lying in Lough Swilly, and eventually reached Rome, where Tyrconnel died the following year, and Tyrone, broken and blind, lingered eight years longer. Lord Delvin was formally arrested, and made a comprehensive confession. He was shortly afterwards created Earl of Westmeath ; and Lord Howth was rewarded by the command of a troop of horse.
A few months after the flight of the earls, O'Dogherty of Innishowen and some of the O'Donnels broke out into a futile revolt in the extreme north of the island. They were promptly crushed, and a hunted remnant of their following ruthlessly exterminated in their last refuge, Torry Island. In the mean time, O’Kane had been put on his trial for treason, a charge for which there does not seem to have been a shadow of foundation. But as a Donegal jury had recently acquitted Sir Neal O'Donnel, it was considered unsafe to try to obtain a legal conviction in Ulster, and he was forwarded to the Tower, where he afterwards died. So, one by one, the heads of the Ulster poppies were falling.
THE PLANTATION OF ULSTER.
NOTHING could have been more opportune for James's schemes for “pacifying ” Ulster than the flight of the carls. The door was at once thrown open for a wide and wholesale plantation of all the north.
By the "treason” of the chiefs, six counties were held, by a stretch even of English law, to be escheated to the Crown. The whole map of Ulster was a clean chart, for the king to draw upon as he pleased. The opportunity, most gratifying to the pedantic vanity of James, was given to constitute a new social and political system. The old order of things was to be clean wiped out, and a new creation was to come into existence, “as if his majesty were to begin a new plantation in some part of America."
According to English law, all that would have fallen to the Crown was the freehold lands of the persons attainted. But though it suited the Government in 1604 to cut down the rights of the chieftains to their demesnes, to exalt the lesser chiefs into freeholders, and to hold out fixity of tenure as the great benefit to be obtained by the introduction of English law and the creation of shireground ; in 1610 the theory was that the fee of the chieftains extended to the whole soil of Ulster, and that the newly created freeholders were no better than tenants at will.
The greatest care was taken to make the new plantation a success. Three royal commissions were at work in 1608, 1609, and 1610. Long and anxiously were the scheme and its details discussed by the king and Sir Arthur Chichester with Sir John Davis and the other commissioners. The plantation in Munster had been an acknowledged failure, by reason of the enormous size of the grants made to the undertakers. The grantees, who were too big to settle and farm personally, drew the rents, and took no trouble to plant English farmers on the land, but suffered the Irish to continue in occupation. The plantations of Leix and Offaly had been equally a failure, because the English planters and the old Irish had been allowed to live as neighbours in unrestricted intercourse.
These errors were to be avoided in Ulster. The tracts granted were to be of a manageable extent; the natives were to have locations of their own, to which they were to be removed; the new settlers drawn from England and Scotland were to be massed and grouped together, so as to be a strength and protection to each other; and the “swords-men,” the turbulent gentry whose occupation was gone with the war, and who were an idle and dangerous class, were to be shipped to Sweden and induced to enlist under Gustavus Adolphus, or to be transplanted into convenient places in Kerry, Tipperary,