An Illustrated History of Ireland from AD 400 to 1800
by Mary Frances Cusack
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Smith concludes with "an offer and order" for those who wished to join in the enterprise. Each footman to have a pike,[433] or halberd, or caliver, and a convenient livery cloak, of red colour or carnation, with black facings. Each horseman to have a staffe[434] and a case of dagges,[435] and his livery[436] to be of the colour aforesaid.

Strype wrote a life of Sir Thomas Smith, Bart., Oxford, 1620. He mentions this attempt at colonizing Ulster, having this good design therein: "that those half-barbarous people might be taught some civility." He speaks of "the hopeful gentleman," Sir Thomas Smith's son and concludes with stating how the expedition terminated: "But when matters went on thus fairly, Mr. Smith was intercepted and slain by a wild Irishman."

Before his assassination Smith had written an account of his proceedings to his father, in which he says that "envy had hindered him more than the enemy," and that he had been ill-handled by some of his own soldiers, ten of whom he had punished. He also expresses some fear of the native Irish, whom he had tried to drive out of their lands, as he says they sometimes "lay wait to intrap and murther the maister himself."

I have given details of this attempted plantation in Ulster, because it illustrates the subject; and each plantation which will be recorded afterwards, was carried out on the same plan. The object of the Englishman was to obtain a home and a fortune; to do this he was obliged to drive, the natives out of their homes, and to deprive them of their wealth, whether greater or less. The object of the Irishman was to keep out the intruder; and, if he could not be kept out, to get rid of him by fair means or foul.

It is probable that the attempt of Smith was intended by Government principally as an experiment to ascertain whether the plantation could be carried out on a larger scale. The next attempt was made by Walter Devereux, Earl of Essex, who received part of the signories of Clannaboy and Ferney, provided he could expel the "rebels" who dwelt there. Essex mortgaged his estates to the Queen to obtain funds for the enterprise. He was accompanied by Sir Henry Kenlis, Lord Dacres, and Lord Norris' three sons.

Sir William FitzGerald, the then Lord Deputy, complained loudly of the extraordinary powers granted to Essex; and some show of deference to his authority was made by requiring the Earl to receive his commission from him. Essex landed in Ireland in 1573, and the usual career of tyranny and treachery was enacted. The native chieftains resisted the invasion of their territories, and endeavoured to drive out the men whom they could only consider as robbers. The invaders, when they could not conquer, stooped to acts of treachery. Essex soon found that the conquest of Ulster was not quite so easy a task as he had anticipated. Many of the adventurers who had assumed his livery, and joined his followers, deserted him; and Brian O'Neill, Hugh O'Neill, and Turlough O'Neill rose up against him. Essex then invited Conn O'Donnell to his camp; but, as soon as he secured him, he seized his Castle of Lifford, and sent the unfortunate chieftain a prisoner to Dublin.

In 1574 the Earl and Brian O'Neill made peace. A feast was prepared by the latter, to which Essex and his principal followers were invited; but after this entertainment had lasted for three days and nights, "as they were agreeably drinking and making merry, Brian, his brother, and his wife were seized upon by the Earl, and all his people put unsparingly to the sword-men, women, youths, and maidens—in Brian's own presence. Brian was afterwards sent to Dublin, together with his wife and brother, where they were cut in quarters. Such was the end of their feast. This wicked and treacherous murder of the lord of the race of Hugh Boy O'Neill, the head and the senior of the race of Eoghan, son of Nial of the Nine Hostages, and of all the Gaels, a few only excepted, was a sufficient cause of hatred and dispute to the English by the Irish."[437]

Essex visited England in 1575, and tried to induce the Queen to give him further assistance in his enterprise. On her refusal, he retired to Ireland, and died in Dublin, on the 22nd September, 1576. It was rumoured he had died of poison, and that the poison was administered at the desire of the Earl of Leicester, who soon after divorced his own wife, and married the widow of his late rival Essex complained bitterly, in his letter to Sir Henry Sidney, of the way in which he had been treated in his projected plantation of Clannaboy, and protested against the injustice which had been done through him on O'Donnell, MacMahon, and others, who were always peaceable and loyal, but "whom he had, on the pledged word of the Queen, undone with fair promises." Probably, only for his own "undoing," he would have had but scant pity for others.

Yet Essex could be generous and knightly with his friends, kind and courtly, at least to his English dependents. There are some curious accounts of his expenses while he was "Lord-General of Ulster," in a State Paper, from which it will appear that he could be liberal, either from natural benevolence or from policy. The entries of expenditure indicate a love of music, which he could easily gratify in Ireland, still famous for the skill of its bards. He gave ten shillings to the singing men of Mellifont, then inhabited by Edward Moore, to whom it had been granted at the suppression of monasteries. A harper at Sir John Bellew's received three shillings; "Crues, my Lord of Ormonde's harper," received the large sum of forty shillings, but whether in compliment to the bard or the bard's master is doubtful. The Earl of Ormonde's "musicians" also got twenty shillings. But there are other disbursements, indicating that presents were gratefully received and vails expected. "A boy that brought your lordship a pair of greyhounds" had a small donation; but "M'Genis, that brought your lordship two stags," had 13s. 4d., a sum equivalent to L7 of our money. Nor were the fair sex forgotten, for Mrs. Fagan, wife of the Lord Mayor of Dublin, was presented with a piece of taffeta "for good entertainment."

Sir Henry Sidney returned to Ireland in 1575. He tells us himself how he took on him, "the third time, that thanklesse charge; and so taking leave of her Majesty, kissed her sacred hands, with most gracious and comfortable wordes, departed from her at Dudley Castell, passed the seas, and arrived the xiii of September, 1575, as nere the city of Dublin as I could saufly; for at that tyme the city was greevously infested with the contagion of the pestilence."[438] He proceeded thence to Tredagh (Drogheda), where he received the sword of the then Deputy. He next marched northward, and attacked Sorley Boy and the Scotch, who were besieging Carrickfergus; and after he had conquered them, he received the submission of Turlough O'Neill and other Ulster chieftains. Turlough's wife, the Lady Agnes O'Neill, nee M'Donnell, was aunt to the Earl of Argyle, and appears to have been very much in favour with the Lord Deputy.

In the "depe of wynter" he went to Cork, were he remained from Christmas to Candlemas. He mentions his entertainment at Barry's Court with evident zest, and says "there never was such a Christmas kept in the same." In February he visited Thomond, and subdued "a wicked generation, some of whom he killed, and some he hanged by order of law." A nice distinction, which could hardly have been appreciated by the victims. The Earl of Clanrickarde caused his "two most bade and rebellious sonnes" to make submission, "whom I would to God I had then hanged." However, he kept them close prisoners, and "had a sermon made of them and their wickedness in the chief church in the town." John seems to have been the principal delinquent. Some time after, when they had been set at liberty, they rebelled again; and he records the first "memorable act" which one of them had done, adding, "which I am sure was John."[439]

Sidney then marched into the west, and had an interview with the famous Grace O'Malley, or Granuaile, which he describes thus: "There came to me also a most famous femynyne sea captain, called Granuge I'Mally, and offered her services unto me wheresoever I would command her, with three galleys and two hundred fighting men. She brought with her her husband, for she was as well by sea as by land more than master's-mate with him. He was of the nether Burkes, and called by nickname Richard in Iron. This was a notorious woman in all the coasts of Ireland. This woman did Philip Sidney see and speak with; he can more at large inform you of her." Grana, or Grace O'Malley, was the daughter of a chieftain of the same patronymic. Her paternal clan were strong in galleys and ships. They owned a large territory on the sea-coast, besides the islands of Arran. Her first husband was Donnell O'Flaherty. His belligerent propensities could scarcely have been less than hers, for he is termed Aith Chogaid, or "of the wars." Her second husband, Sir Richard Burke, or Richard an Iarainn, is described by the Four Masters as a "plundering, warlike, unjust, and rebellious man." He obtained his soubriquet from the circumstance of constantly appearing in armour. It would appear from this account that Sidney's statement of the Lady Grana being "more than master's-mate with him," must be taken with some limitations, unless, indeed, he who ruled his foes abroad, failed to rule his wife at home, which is quite possible. The subjoined illustration represents the remains of one of her castles. It is situated near the lake of Borrishoole, in the county Mayo. The ruins are very striking, and evince its having once been an erection of considerable strength.

Sir William Drury was made Lord President of Munster, 1576, in place of Sir John Perrot. Sir Nicholas Malby was installed in the same office in Connaught; but the barbarities enacted by his predecessor, Fitton, made the very name of president so odious, that Sidney gave the new Governor the title of Colonel of Connaught. The Earl of Desmond and Drury were soon at variance. Sidney says, in his Memoir, that the Earl "was still repyning at the government of Drury." After causing great apprehension to the governors, the Lord Deputy sent the whole party to Kilkenny, and found the "Earl hot, wilful, and stubborn; but not long after, as you know, he and his two brothers, Sir John and Sir James, fell into actual rebellion, in which the good knight, Sir William Drury, the Lord Justice, died, and he, as a malicious and unnatural rebel, still persisteth and liveth."

In 1577 serious complications were threatened, in consequence of the pecuniary difficulties of the crown. An occasional subsidy had been granted hitherto for the support of the Government and the army; an attempt was now made to convert this subsidy into a tax. On previous occasions there had been some show of justice, however little reality, by permitting the Parliament to pass the grant; a scheme was now proposed to empower the Lord Deputy to levy assessments by royal authority, without any reference to Parliament. For the first time the Pale opposed the Government, and resisted the innovation. But their opposition was speedily and effectually silenced. The deputies whom they sent to London to remonstrate were committed to the Tower, and orders were despatched to Ireland that all who had signed the remonstrance should be consigned to Dublin Castle.

It is said that Elizabeth was not without some misgivings as to the injustice with which her Irish subjects were treated, and that she was once so touched by the picture presented to her of their sufferings under such exactions, that she exclaimed: "Ah, how I fear lest it be objected to us, as it was to Tiberius by Bato, concerning the Dalmatian commotions! You it is that are in fault, who have committed your flocks, not to shepherds, but to wolves." Nevertheless, the "wolves" were still permitted to plunder; and any impression made on the royal feelings probably evaporated under the fascinating influence of her next interview with Leicester, and the indignation excited by a "rebel" who refused to resign his ancestral home quietly to some penniless adventurer. There had been serious difficulties in England in 1462, in consequence of the shameful state of the current coin; and the Queen has received considerable praise for having accomplished a reform. But the idea, and the execution of the idea, originated with her incomparable minister, Cecil, whose master-mind applied itself with equal facility to every state subject, however trifling or however important; and the loss and expenditure which the undertaking involved, was borne by the country to the last penny. Mr. Froude says it was proposed that the "worst money might be sent to Ireland, as the general dust-heap for the outcasting of England's vileness."[440] The standard for Ireland had always been under that of England, but the base proposal above-mentioned was happily not carried into execution. Still there were enough causes of misery in Ireland apart from its normal grievances. The Earl of Desmond wrote an elaborate and well-digested appeal to Lord Burleigh, complaining of military abuses, and assuring his Lordship that if he had "sene them [the poor who were burdened with cess], he would rather give them charitable alms than burden them with any kind of chardge." He mentions specially the cruelty of compelling a poor man to carry for five, eight, or ten miles, on his back, as many sheaves as the "horse-boies" choose to demand of him; and if he goes not a "good pace, though the poor soule be overburdened, he is all the waye beaten outt of all measure."

Cess was also commanded to be delivered at the "Queen's price," which was considerably lower than the market price. Even Sidney was supposed to be too lenient in his exactions; but eventually a composition of seven years' purveyance, payable by instalments, was agreed upon, and the question was set at rest. The Queen and the English Council naturally feared to alienate the few nobles who were friendly to them, as well as the inhabitants of the Pale, who were as a majority in their interest.

The Pale was kept in considerable alarm at this period, by the exploits of the famous outlaw, Rory Oge O'More. In 1577 he stole into Naas with his followers, and set the town on fire; after this exploit he retired, without taking any lives. He continued these depredations for eighteen years. In 1571 he was killed by one of MacGillapatrick's men, and the Pale was relieved from a most formidable source of annoyance. But the same year in which this brave outlaw terminated his career, is signalized by one of the most fearful acts of bloodshed and treachery on record. The heads of the Irish families of Offaly and Leix, whose extirpation had long been attempted unsuccessfully, were invited in the Queen's name, and under the Queen's protection, to attend a conference at the great rath on the hill of Mullach-Maistean (Mullamast). As soon as they had all assembled, they were surrounded by a treble line of the Queen's garrison soldiers, and butchered to a man in cold blood.

This massacre was performed with the knowledge and approval of the Deputy, Sir Henry Sidney. The soldiers who accomplished the bloody work were commanded by Captain Francis Crosby, to whom the chief command of all the kerne in the Queen's pay was committed. We have already related some incidents in his career, which show how completely destitute he was of the slightest spark of humanity.[441]

Sir Henry Sidney retired from office finally on the 26th of May, 1578. He dates his Memoir from "Ludlow Castell, with more payne than harte, the 1st of March, 1582." In this document he complains bitterly of the neglect of his services by Government, and bemoans his losses in piteous strains. He describes himself as "fifty-four yeres of age, toothlesse and trembling, being five thousand pounds in debt." He says he shall leave his sons L20,000 worse off than his father left him. In one place he complains that he had not as much ground as would "feede a mutton," and he evidently considers his services were worth an ampler remuneration; for he declares: "I would to God the country was yet as well as I lefte it almost fyve yeres agoe." If he did not succeed in obtaining a large grant for his services, it certainly was not for want of asking it; and if he did not succeed in pacifying the country, it was not for lack of summary measures. Even in his postscript he mentions how he hanged a captain of Scots, and he thinks "very nere twenty of his men."

It seems almost needless to add anything to the official descriptions of Ireland, which have already been given in such detail; but as any remark from the poet Spenser has a special interest, I shall give some brief account of his View of Ireland. The work which bears this name is written with considerable prejudice, and abounds in misstatements. Like all settlers, he was utterly disgusted with the hardships he endured, though the poet's eye could not refuse its meed of admiration to the country in which they were suffered. His description of the miseries of the native Irish can scarcely be surpassed, and his description of the poverty of the country is epitomized in the well-known lines:—

"Was never so great waste in any place, Nor so foul outrage done by living men; For all the cities they shall sack and raze, And the green grass that groweth they shall burn, That even the wild beast shall die in starved den."[442]

Yet this misery never touched his heart; for the remedy he proposes poses for Irish sufferings is to increase them, if possible, a thousandfold; and he would have troops employed to "tread down all before them, and lay on the ground all the stiff-necked people of the land." And this he would have done in winter, with a refinement of cruelty, that the bitter air may freeze up the half-naked peasant, that he may have no shelter from the bare trees, and that he may be deprived of all sustenance by the chasing and driving of his cows.

It is probable that Spenser's "view" of Irish affairs was considerably embittered by his own sufferings there. He received his property on the condition of residence, and settled himself at Kilcolman Castle. Here he spent four years, and wrote the three first books of the Faerie Queene. He went to London with Sir Walter Raleigh to get them published. On his return he married a country girl, named Elizabeth—an act which was a disgrace to himself, if the Irish were what he described them to be. In 1598, during Tyrone's insurrection, his estate was plundered, his castle burned, and his youngest child perished in the flames. He then fled to London, where he died a year after in extreme indigence.

His description of the condition of the Protestant Church coincides with the official account of Sidney. He describes the clergy as "generally bad, licentious, and most disordered;" and he adds: "Whatever disorders[443] you see in the Church of England, you may find in Ireland, and many more, namely, gross simony, greedy covetousness, incontinence, and careless sloth." And then he contrasts the zeal of the Catholic clergy with the indifference of "the ministers of the Gospel," who, he says, only take the tithes and offerings, and gather what fruit else they may of their livings.


[426] Willing.—Sidney's Despatches, British Museum, MSS. Cat. Titus B. x.

[427] Irreligion.—Mant, vol. i. p.287.

[428] Scattered.—Cox, vol. i. p.319.

[429] Civility.—Sidney's Letters and Memorials, vol i. p.112. Sidney's memoir has been published in extenso in the Ulster Arch. Journal, with most interesting notes by Mr. Hore of Wexford.

[430] Reformation.—Past and Present Policy of England towards Ireland, p. 27. London, 1845.

[431] Depend.—Shirley, p. 219. An admirable History of the Diocese of Meath, in two volumes, has been published lately by the Rev. A. Cogan, Catholic Priest of Navan. It is very much to be wished that this rev. author would extend his charitable labours to other dioceses throughout Ireland.

[432] Majority.—Leland, vol. ii. p.241.

[433] Pike.—This was probably the Morris pike or Moorish pike, much used in the reign of Henry VIII and Elizabeth. The common pike was used very generally by foot soldiers until the reign of George II. The halberd was introduced during the reign of Henry VIII. It was peculiar to the royal guard, and is still carried by them. In Shirley's comedy, A Bird in a Cage (1633), one of the characters is asked, "You are one of the guard?" and replies, "A Poor halberd man, sir." The caliver was quite recently introduced. It was a light kind of musket, fired without a rest. It derived its name from the calibre or width of its bore.

[434] Staffe.—This was probably a cane staff. We read in Piers Plowman's Vision of "hermits on a heap with hookyd staves."

[435] Dagges.—"Pistols."—"My dagge was levelled at his heart."

[436] Livery—It was usual for all retainers of a noble house to wear a uniform-coloured cloth in dress. Thus, in the old play of Sir Thomas More, we find:

"That no man whatsoever Do walk without the livery of his lord, Either in cloak or any other garment."

[437] Irish.—Four Masters, vol. v. pp. 1678-9. Camden mentions the capture of O'Neill, and says Essex slew 200 of his men; but he does not mention the treachery with which this massacre was accomplished.

[438] Pestilence.—Memoir or Narrative addressed to Sir Francis Walsingham, 1583. Ware says he wrote "Miscellanies of the Affairs of Ireland," but the MS. has not yet been discovered. The Four Masters notice the pestilence, which made fearful ravages.

[439] John.—He was called Shane Seamar Oge, or John of the Shamrocks, from having threatened to live on shamrocks sooner than submit to the English. John was the younger of the two De Burgos or Burkes.

[440] Vileness.—Reign of Elizabeth, vol. i, p. 458.

[441] Humanity.—Dr. O'Donovan, with his usual conscientious accuracy, has given a long and most interesting note on the subject of this massacre, in the Annals of the Four Masters, vol. v.p. 1695. Dowling is the oldest writer who mentions the subject, and he expressly mentions Crosby and Walpole as the principal agents in effecting it. Dr. O'Donovan gives a curious traditional account of the occurrence, in which several Catholic families are accused of having taken part.

[442] Den.—Faerie Queene, book iii c. 3.

[443] Disorders.—"In many dioceses in England (A.D. 1561), a third of the parishes were left without a clergyman, resident or non-resident.... The children grew up unbaptized; the dead buried their dead." Elizabeth had to remonstrate with Parliament upon the "open decays and ruins" of the churches. "They were not even kept commonly clean, and nothing was done to make them known to be places provided for divine service." "The cathedral plate adorned the prebendal sideboards and dinner-tables. The organ pipes were melted into dishes for their kitchens. The organ frames were carved into bedsteads, where the wives reposed beside their reverend lords. The copes and vestments were slit into gowns and bodices. Having children to provide for, the chapters cut down their woods, and worked their fines ... for the benefit of their own generation." "The priests' wives were known by their dress in the street, and their proud gait, from a hundred other women."—Froude, Reign of Elizabeth, vol. i. pp. 465-467.


FitzMaurice obtains Help from Spain and from Rome—The Martyrs of Kilmallock—Death of FitzMaurice—Drury's Cruelties and Death—Arrival of San Jose—His Treachery—Massacre at the Fort del Ore—O'Neill shows Symptoms of Disaffection—Treacherous Capture of O'Donnell—Injustice to Tenants—O'Donnell attempts to Escape—O'Neill's Marriage with Mabel Bagnal—O'Donnell Escapes from Dublin Castle—Causes of Discontent—Cruel Massacre of Three Priests—Tortures and Death inflicted in Dublin on Bishop O'Hurley—O'Neill's Insurrection—His Interview with Essex—He marches to the South—His Fatal Reverse at Kinsale—The Siege of Dunboy—O'Neill's Submission—Foundation of Trinity College, Dublin, on the Site and with the Funds of a Catholic Abbey.

[A.D. 1579-1605.]

Exaggerated rumours were now spread throughout Munster, of the probability of help from foreign sources—A.D. 1579. James FitzMaurice had been actively employed on the Continent in collecting troops and assistance for the Irish Catholics. In France his requests were politely refused, for Henry III. wished to continue on good terms with Elizabeth. Philip II. of Spain referred him to the Pope. In Rome he met with more encouragement; and at the solicitation of the Franciscan Bishop of Killaloe, Cornelius O'Mullrain, Dr. Allen, and Dr. Saunders, he obtained a Bull, encouraging the Irish to fight for the recovery of religious freedom, and for the liberation of their country. An expedition was fitted out at the expense of the Holy See, and maintained eventually by Philip of Spain. At the earnest request of FitzMaurice, an English adventurer, named Stukeley, was appointed admiral. The military command was bestowed on Hercules Pisano, a soldier of some experience.

Stukeley was reported to be an illegitimate son of Henry VIII. He was a wild and lawless adventurer, and entirely unfitted for such a command. At Lisbon he forsook his squadron, and joined the expedition which Sebastian, the romantic King of Portugal, was preparing to send to Morocco. FitzMaurice had travelled through France to Spain, from whence he proceeded to Ireland, with a few troops. He had three small vessels besides his own, and on his way he captured two English ships. He was accompanied by Dr. Saunders,[444] as Legate, the Bishop of Killaloe, and Dr. Allen.[445] They were entirely ignorant of Stukeley's desertion until their arrival in Ireland. The squadron reached Dingle on the 17th of July, 1579. Eventually they landed at Smerwick Harbour, and threw themselves into the Fort del Ore, which they fortified as best they could. If the Earl of Desmond had joined his brother at once, the expedition might have ended differently; but he stood aloof, fearing to involve himself in a struggle, the issue of which could scarcely be doubtful.

A short time before the arrival of this little expedition, three persons had landed in disguise at Dingle, whom Desmond, anxious to show his zeal towards the ruling powers, consigned to the authorities in Limerick. They were discovered to be Dr. Patrick O'Haly, a Franciscan, and Bishop of Mayo, and Father Cornelius O'Rourke; the name of the third person has not been ascertained. On Sir William Drury's arrival at Kilmallock, they were brought before him, and condemned to torture and death. The torture was executed with unusual barbarity, for Drury was a man who knew no mercy. The confessors were first placed upon the rack, and then, as if the agony of that torment was not sufficient, their hands and feet were broken with large hammers, and other torments were added. When life was nearly extinct, they were released, and their martyrdom was finally accomplished by hanging. For fourteen days their bodies remained suspended in chains, and the soldiers used them as targets in their shooting exercises.

The Earl of Desmond, however, soon joined his brother. John Geraldine allied himself with the movement from its commencement. A second expedition was fitted out in Spain, which reached Ireland on the 13th of September, 1580. It was commanded by Colonel Sebastian San Jose, who proved eventually so fearful a traitor to the cause he had volunteered to defend. Father Mathew de Oviedo, a member of the Franciscan Order, was the principal promoter of this undertaking. He was a native of Spain, and had been educated in the College of Salamanca, then famous for the learning and piety of its alumni. The celebrated Florence Conry, subsequently Archbishop of Tuam, was one of his companions; and when he entered the Franciscan novitiate, he had the society of eleven brethren who were afterwards elevated to the episcopate. Oviedo was the bearer of a letter from the Roman Pontiff, Gregory XIII., granting indulgences to those who joined the army.

On the 18th of August, scarcely a month after he had landed in Ireland, James FitzMaurice was killed by Theobald and Ulick Burke, his own kinsmen. Their father, Sir William Burke, was largely rewarded for his loyalty in opposing the Geraldines; and, if Camden is to be believed, he died of joy in consequence of the favours heaped upon him. The death of FitzMaurice was a fatal blow to the cause. John Geraldine, however, took the command of the force; but the Earl hastened to Kilmallock to exculpate himself, as best he could, with the Lord Deputy. His apologies were accepted, and he was permitted to go free on leaving his only son, James, then a mere child, as hostage with Drury. The Geraldines were successful soon after in an engagement with the English; and Drury died in Waterford at the end of September. Ecclesiastical historians say that he had been cited by the martyrs of Kilmallock to meet them at Christ's judgment, and answer for his cruelties.

Sir Nicholas Malby was left in command of the army, and Sir William Pelham was elected Lord Deputy in Dublin. The usual career of burning and plundering was enacted—"the country was left one levelled plain, without corn or edifices." Youghal was burned to the ground, and the Mayor was hanged at his own door. James Desmond was hanged and quartered, by St. Leger and Raleigh, in Cork. Pelham signalized himself by cruelties, and executed a gentleman who had been blind from his birth, and another who was over a hundred years of age.

But the crowning tragedy was at hand. The expedition commanded by San Jose now arrived in Ireland. The Fort del Ore was once more occupied and strengthened; the courage of the insurgents was revived. Meanwhile Lord Grey was marching so southward with all possible haste. He soon reached the fort, and, at the same time, Admirals Winter and Bingham prepared to attack the place by sea. In a few days the courage of the Spanish commander failed, and he entered into treaty with the Lord Deputy. A bargain was made that he should receive a large share of the spoils. He had obtained a personal interview in the Viceroy's camp,[446] and the only persons for whom he made conditions were the Spaniards who had accompanied him on the expedition. The English were admitted to the fortress on the following day, and a feast was prepared for them. All arms and ammunition were consigned to the care of the English soldiers, and, this accomplished, the signal for massacre was given; and, according to Lord Grey's official[447] account, 600 men were slain in cold blood. So universal was the reprobation of this fearful tragedy, that Sir Richard Bingham tried to make it appear that it had not been premeditated. Grey's official despatch places the matter beyond question, and Dr. Saunders' letter supplies the details on authority which cannot be disputed.

Three persons who had been treacherously given up to the Viceroy, were spared for special torments; those were—a priest named Lawrence, an Englishman named William Willick, and Oliver Plunket. They were offered liberty if they would renounce the faith; but on their resolute refusal, their legs and arms were broken in three places, and after they had been allowed to pass that night and the next day in torment, they were hanged and quartered. The State Papers confirm the account given by Saunders of these barbarities. The English officers now endeavoured to rival each other in acts of cruelty to obtain official commendation and royal favour. Sir Walter Raleigh was especially active in Cork, and brought a charge of treason against the Barrys and Roches, old English settlers; but Barry set fire to his castle, and took to the woods, where he joined Lord Desmond. Lord Roche was taken prisoner, but eventually escaped from his persecutors. Pretended plots were rumoured in all directions, and numbers of innocent persons were executed. William Burke was hanged in Galway, and forty-five persons were executed. The Geraldine cause was reduced to the lowest ebb by the treachery of Jose. The Earl of Desmond and his sons were fugitives in their own country. The latter was offered pardon if he would surrender Dr. Saunders, the Papal Legate, but this he resolutely refused. Saunders continued his spiritual ministrations until he was entirely worn out with fatigue, and he died, at the close of the year 1581, in a miserable hovel in the woods of Claenglass. He was attended by the Bishop of Killaloe, from whom he received the last rites of the Church.

Immense rewards were now offered for the capture of the Geraldine leaders, but their faithful followers would not be bribed. John was at length seized, through the intervention of a stranger. He was wounded in the struggle, and died immediately after; but his enemies wreaked their vengeance on his remains, which were gibbeted at Cork. The Earl of Desmond was assassinated on the 11th of November, 1583, and the hopeless struggle terminated with his death. He had been hunted from place to place like a wild beast, and, according to Hooker, obliged to dress his meat in one place, to eat it in another, and to sleep in a third. He was surprised, on one occasion, while his soldiers were cooking their mid-day meal, and five-and-twenty of his followers were put to the sword; but he escaped, and fled to Kerry, where he was apprehended ended and slain. His head was sent to Elizabeth, and impaled on London-bridge, according to the barbarous practice of the time. His body was interred in the little chapel of Kilnamaseagh, near Castleisland. Complaints of the extreme severity of Lord Grey's administration had been sent to the English court. Even English subjects declared that he had "left her Majesty little to reign over but carcasses and ashes." He was therefore recalled. The administration was confided to Loftus, the Protestant Archbishop of Dublin, and Sir Henry Wallope, and an amnesty was proclaimed. Sir Thomas Norreys was appointed Governor of Munster, and Sir Richard Bingham, Governor of Connaught. In 1584 Sir John Perrot was made Deputy, and commenced his career by executing Beg O'Brien, who had taken an active part in the late insurrections, at Limerick, with a refinement of cruelty, as "a warning to future evil-doers."

In 1585 Perrot held a Parliament in Dublin, from which, however, no very important enactments proceeded. Its principal object appears to have been the confiscation of Desmond's estates. This was opposed by many of the members; but the crown was determined to have them, and the crown obtained them. Thus lands to the extent of 574,628 acres were ready for new adventurers. The most tempting offers were made to induce Englishmen to plant; estates were given for twopence an acre; rent was only to commence after three years. No Irish families were to be admitted as tenants, though their labours might be accepted or compelled. English families were to be substituted in certain proportions; and on these conditions, Raleigh, Hatton, Norris, St. Leger, and others, obtained large grants. The Irish question was to be settled finally, but somehow it was not settled, though no one seemed exactly prepared to say why.

Meanwhile Sir Richard Bingham was opposing the conciliatory policy of the Deputy, and hanged seventy persons at one session in Galway, in January, A.D. 1586. Perrot interfered; but the Burkes, who had been maddened by Bingham's cruelties, broke out into open rebellion; and he pointed to the revolt which he had himself occasioned, as a justification of his former conduct. The Scotch now joined the Burkes, but were eventually defeated by the President, the Irish annalists say, with the loss of 2,000 men. Another bloody assize was held in Galway, where young and old alike were victims.

The state of Ulster was now giving considerable anxiety to the English Government. Hugh O'Neill was just commencing his famous career; and although he had fought under the English standard in Geraldine war, it was thought quite possible that he might set up a standard of his own. He had taken his seat in parliament as Baron of Dungannon. He had obtained the title of Earl of Tyrone. He had visited Elizabeth, and by a judicious mixture of flattery and deference, which she was never able to resist he obtained letters-patent under the Great Seal restoring his inheritance and his rank. He was even permitted, on his return, to keep up a standing army of six companies, "to preserve the peace of the north."

In 1586 a thousand soldiers were withdrawn from Ireland to serve in the Netherlands; and as the country was always governed by force, it could scarcely be expected not to rebel when the restraint was withdrawn. O'Neill manifested alarming symptoms of independence. He had married a daughter of Sir Hugh O'Donnell, and Sir Hugh refused to admit an English sheriff into his territory. The Government had, therefore, no resource but war or treachery. War was impossible, when so large a contingent had been withdrawn; treachery was always possible; and even Sir John Perrot stooped to this base means of attaining his end. The object was to get possession of Hugh Roe O'Donnell, a noble youth, and to keep him as hostage. The treachery was accomplished thus: a vessel, laden with Spanish wine, was sent to Donegal on pretence of traffic. It anchored at Rathmullen, where it had been ascertained that Hugh Roe O'Donnell was staying with his foster-father, MacSweeny. The wine was distributed plentifully to the country people; and when MacSweeny sent to make purchases, the men declared there was none left for sale, but if the gentlemen came on board, they should have what was left. Hugh and his companions easily fell into the snare. They were hospitably entertained, but their arms were carefully removed, the hatches were shut down, the cable cut, and the ship stood off to sea. The guests who were not wanted were put ashore, but the unfortunate youth was taken to Dublin, and confined in the Castle.[448]

In 1588 Sir John Perrot was succeeded by Sir William FitzWilliam, a nobleman of the most opposite character and disposition. Perrot was generally regretted by the native Irish, as he was considered one of the most humane of the Lord Deputies. The wreck of the Spanish Armada occurred during this year, and was made at once an excuse for increased severity towards the Catholics, and for acts of grievous injustice. Even loyal persons were accused of harbouring the shipwrecked men, as it was supposed they might have obtained some treasure in return for their hospitality. FitzWilliam, according to Ware, wished to "finger some of it himself," and invaded the territories of several Irish chieftains. A complete history of FitzWilliam's acts of injustice, and the consummate cruelty with which they were perpetrated, would be so painful to relate, that they can scarcely be recorded in detail. He farmed out the country to the highest bidders, who practised every possible extortion on the unfortunate natives. The favourite method of compelling them to yield up their lands without resistance, was to fry the soles of their feet in boiling brimstone and grease. When torture did not succeed, some unjust accusation was brought forward, and they were hanged. A tract preserved in Trinity College, Dublin, gives details of these atrocities, from which I shall only select one instance. A landlord was anxious to obtain the property of one of his tenants, an Irishman, who had lived "peaceably and quietly, as a good subject," for many years. He agreed with the sheriff to divide the spoil with him, if he would assist in the plot. The man and his servant were seized; the latter was hanged, and the former was sent to Dublin Castle, to be imprisoned on some pretence. The gentleman and the sheriff at once seized the tenant's property, and turned his wife and children out to beg. After a short time, "they, by their credit and countenance, being both English gentlemen, informed the Lord Deputy so hardly of him, as that, without indictment or trial, they executed him."[449]

It was considered a grave reproach, and an evidence of barbarism, when Maguire sent word to the Lord Deputy, who wished to send a sheriff to Fermanagh: "Your sheriff will be welcome, but let me know his eric [the fine which would be levied on the district if he were killed], that if my people cut off his head, I may levy it on the country." One other instance from another source will sufficiently prove that the dread of an English sheriff was well founded. The chieftain of Oriel, Hugh MacMahon, had given a present of 600 cows to the Lord Deputy to recognize his rights. Sir Henry Bagnal the Marshal of Ireland, had his head-quarters at Newry, where his property had been principally acquired by deeds of blood, and he wished for a share of the spoil. A charge of treason was made against MacMahon after the cows had been accepted; a jury of common soldiers was empannelled to try the case. A few were Irish, and they were locked up without food until they agreed to give the required verdict of guilty, while the English jurors were permitted to go in and out as they pleased. The unfortunate chieftain was hanged, in two days after his arrest, at his own door; his property was divided amongst those whom we must call his murderers. The MacMahon sept were, however, permitted to retain a portion on payment of a "good fine, underhand," to the Lord Deputy.[450]

In 1590, Hugh of the Fetters, an illegitimate son of the famous Shane O'Neill, was hanged by the Earl of Tyrone, for having made false charges against him to the Lord Deputy. This exercise of authority excited considerable fear, and the Earl was obliged to clear himself of blame before Elizabeth. After a brief detention in London, he was permitted to return to Ireland, but not until he had signed certain articles in the English interest, which he observed precisely as long as it suited his convenience. About this time his nephew, Hugh O'Donnell, made an ineffectual attempt to escape from Dublin Castle, but he was recaptured, and more closely guarded. This again attracted the attention of Government to the family; but a more important event was about to follow. O'Neill's wife was dead, and the chieftain was captivated by the beauty of Sir Henry Bagnal's sister. How they contrived to meet and to plight their vows is not known, though State Papers have sometimes revealed as romantic particulars. It has been discovered, however, from that invaluable source of information, that Sir Henry was furious, and cursed himself and his fate that his "bloude, which had so often been spilled in reppressinge this rebellious race, should nowe be mingled with so traitorous a stocke and kindred." He removed the from Newry to her sister's house, near Dublin, who was the wife of Sir Patrick Barnwell. The Earl followed Miss Bagnal thither. Her brother-in-law received him courteously; and while the O'Neill engaged the family in conversation, a confidential friend rode off with the lady, who was married to O'Neill immediately after.

But a crisis was approaching; and while this event tended to embitter the English officials against the Earl, a recurrence of outrages against the northern chieftains prepared them for revolt. One of their leading men, O'Rourke, was executed this year (A.D. 1591) in London. He had taken refuge in Scotland some time before, from those who wished to take his life, as the easiest method of securing his property, but the Scots had given him up to the English Government. He was said to be one of the handsomest and bravest men of his times, and his execution excited universal pity. The apostate, Miler Magrath, attempted to tamper with his faith in his last moments, but the chieftain bade him rather to repent himself and to return to the faith of his fathers.

Hugh O'Donnell made another attempt to escape from confinement at Christmas, A.D. 1592. He succeeded on this occasion, though his life was nearly lost in the attempt. Turlough Roe O'Hagan, his father's faithful friend, was the principal agent in effecting his release. Henry and Art O'Neill, sons of Shane the Proud, were companions in his flight. They both fell exhausted on their homeward journey. Art died soon after, from the effects of fatigue and exposure, and Hugh recovered but slowly. He continued ill during the remainder of the winter, and was obliged to have his toes amputated. As soon as he was sufficiently recovered, a general meeting of his sept was convened, when he was elected to the chieftaincy, and inaugurated in the usual manner. He then commenced incursions on the territories occupied by the English; but as the Earl of Tyrone was anxious to prevent a premature rebellion, he induced the Lord Deputy to meet him at Dundalk, where he obtained a full pardon for his escape from Dublin Castle, and a temporary pacification was arranged.

In 1593 he collected another army; Turlough Luineach resigned his chieftaincy to the Earl of Tyrone; and Ulster became wholly the possession of its old chieftains—the O'Neill and O'Donnell. An open rebellion broke out soon after, in consequence of the exactions of two English officers on the territories of Oge O'Rourke and Maguire. Several trifling engagements took place. The Earl of Tyrone was placed in a difficult position. He was obliged to join the English side, while his heart and inclination were with his own people; but he contrived to send a messenger to Hugh Roe, who had joined Maguire's party, requesting him not to fight against him. He was placed in a still greater difficulty at the siege of Enniskillen, which took place the following year; but he compromised matters by sending his brother, Cormac O'Neill, with a contingent, to fight on the national side. Cormac met the English soldiers, who had been sent to throw provisions into the town, almost five miles from their destination, and routed them with great slaughter. The site of the engagement was called the "Ford of the Biscuits," from the quantity of that provision which he obtained there. An Irish garrison was left at Enniskillen, and the victorious party, after retaliating the cruelties which had been inflicted on the natives, marched into northern Connaught to attack Sir Richard Bingham.

On the 11th of August, in this year, 1594, Sir William Russell was appointed Deputy in place of FitzWilliam. Tyrone appeared at the Castle soon after, and complained of the suspicions which were entertained of his loyalty, not, it is to be supposed, without a very clear personal conviction that they were well founded. The Viceroy would have received him favourably, but his old enemy, Bagnal, charged him with high treason. O'Neill's object was to gain time. He was unwilling to revolt openly, till he could do so with some prospect of success; and if his discretion was somewhat in advance of the average amount of that qualification as manifested by Irish chieftains hitherto, his valour redeemed him from all possible imputation of having made it an excuse for cowardice, or any conciliation with the "English enemy," which was not warranted by motives of prudence.

Tyrone now offered to clear himself by the ordeal of single combat with his adversary, but Bagnal declined the offer. The following year (A.D. 1595), the new Deputy took O'Byrne's Castle, at Glenmalure. One of the Kildare Geraldines revenged the injuries done to this chieftain, by making nocturnal attacks in the neighbourhood of Dublin; but he was soon captured, and hanged in Dublin. These and similar outrages excited popular feeling to an unwonted degree; but there were other wrongs besides the robberies of chieftains' estates, and their subsequent murder if they resisted oppression. The men whose lives the Irish nation have always held even more sacred than those of their most ancient chiefs, were daily slaughtered before their eyes, and the slaughter was perpetrated with cruelties which were so utterly uncalled-for, so barbarously inhuman, that they might well have excited the burning indignation of a heathen or a Turk.

These men were the priests of the old faith which the Irish had received so many hundred years before, and which neither death nor torments could induce them to forsake. I shall mention but two of these outrages, premising that there were few places in Ireland where similar scenes had not been enacted. In the year 1588 three Franciscan fathers were martyred, who had devoted themselves for some years previously to the spiritual necessities of the people. Many Catholic families from Carlow, Wexford, and Wicklow had been obliged to fly into the mountainous districts of Leinster, to escape further persecution. The three fathers, John Molloy, Cornelius Dogherty, and Wilfred Ferral, were unwearied in their ministrations. They spoke to these poor creatures of the true Home, where all their sufferings should be rewarded with eternal joy—of how wise it was to exchange the passing things of time for the enduring goods of eternity; they visited the sick, they consoled the dying; above all, they administered those life-giving sacraments so precious to the Catholic Christian; and if, like the holy martyrs, persecuted by heathen emperors, they were obliged to offer the adorable sacrifice on a rock or in a poor hut, it was none the less acceptable to God, and none the less efficacious to the worshippers. These shepherds of the flock were specially obnoxious to the Government. They preached patience, but they were accused of preaching rebellion; they confirmed their people in their faith, but this was supposed to be equivalent to exciting them to resist their oppressors. The three fathers were at last seized by a party of cavalry, in a remote district of the Queen's county. They were tied hand and foot, and conducted with every species of ignominy to the garrison of Abbeyleix. Here they were first flogged, then racked, and finally hanged[451], drawn, and quartered. The soldiers, brutalized as man can be brutalized by familiarity with scenes of blood, scoffed at the agonies they inflicted, and hardened themselves for fresh barbarities. But there were men who stood by to weep and pray; and though they were obliged to conceal their tears, and to breathe their prayers softly into the eternal and ever-open ear of God, the lash which mangled the bodies of the men they revered lacerated their souls yet more deeply; and as they told to others the tale of patient suffering endured for Christ and His Church, the hearts of the people were bound yet closer to their faithful pastors, and they clung yet more ardently to the religion which produced such glorious examples.

The other execution is, if possible, more barbarous. If the duty of an historian did not oblige me to give such details, I would but too gladly spare you the pain of reading and myself the pain of writing them. The name of Dermod O'Hurley has ever stood prominent in the roll of Irish martyrs. He was a man of more than ordinary learning, and of refined and cultivated tastes; but he renounced even the pure pleasures of intellectual enjoyments for the poor of Christ, and received for his reward the martyr's crown. After he had taught philosophy in Louvain and rhetoric at Rheims, he went to Rome, where his merit soon attracted the attention of Gregory XIII., who appointed him to the see of Cashel. O'Sullivan describes his personal appearance as noble and imposing, and says that "none more mild had ever held the crozier of St. Cormac." His position was not an enviable one to flesh and blood; but to one who had renounced all worldly ties, and who only desired to suffer like his Lord, it was full of promise. His mission was soon discovered; and though he complied with the apostolic precept of flying, when he was persecuted, from one city to another, he was at last captured, and then the long-desired moment had arrived when he could openly announce his mission and his faith.

When he had informed his persecutors that he was a priest and an archbishop, they at once consigned him to "a dark and loathsome prison, and kept him there bound in chains till the Holy Thursday of the following year (1584)." He was then summoned before the Protestant Archbishop Loftus and Wallop. They tempted him with promises of pardon, honour, and preferment; they reasoned with him, and urged all the usual arguments of heretics against his faith; but when all had failed, they declared their determination to use "other means to change his purpose." They did use them-they failed. But these were the means: the Archbishop was again heavily ironed. He was remanded to prison. His persecutors hastened after him; and on the evening of Thursday, May 5, 1584, they commenced their cruel work. They tied him firmly to a tree, as his Lord had once been tied. His hands were bound, his body chained, and then his feet and legs were thrust into long boots, filled with oil, turpentine, and pitch, and stretched upon an iron grate, under which a slow fire was kindled. The spectacle which was exhibited when the instruments of torture were withdrawn has been described, but I cannot write the description. What sufferings he must have endured during that long night, no words could tell. Again he was tempted with the offer of earthly honours, and threatened with the vengeance of prolonged tortures. Through all his agony he uttered no word of complaint, and his countenance preserved its usual serene and tranquil expression. His sister was sent to him, as a last resource, to tempt him to apostatize, but he only bade her ask God's forgiveness for the crime she had committed. Meanwhile, the cruelties which had been executed on him became known; public feeling, as far as it was Catholic, was excited; and it was determined to get rid of the sufferer quietly. At early dawn of Friday, May 6, 1584, he was carried out to the place now called Stephen's-green, where what remained of human life was quickly extinguished, first by putting him again to torture, and then by hanging.

O'Neill had hitherto acted merely on the defensive; but the memory of the events just related was still fresh in the minds of thousands, and it was generally felt that some effort must be made for freedom of conscience, if not for deliverance from political oppression. A conference was held at Dundalk. Wallop, the Treasurer, whose name has been so recently recorded in connexion with the torture of the Archbishop, and Gardiner, the Chief Justice, received the representatives of the northern chieftains, but no important results followed.

In 1598 another conference was held, the intervening years having been spent in mutual hostilities, in which, on the whole, the Irish had the advantage. O'Neill's tone was proud and independent; he expected assistance from Spain, and he scorned to accept a pardon for what he did not consider a crime. The Government was placed in a difficult position. The prestige of O'Neill and O'Donnell was becoming every day greater. On the 7th of June, 1598, the Earl laid siege to the fort of the Blackwater, then commanded by Captain Williams, and strongly fortified. Reinforcements were sent to the besieged from England, but they were attacked en route by the Irish, and lost 400 men at Dungannon. At last the Earl of Ormonde and Bagnal determined to take up arms—the former marching against the Leinster insurgents; the latter, probably but too willing, set out to encounter his old enemy and brother-in-law. He commanded a fine body of men, and had but little doubt on which side victory should declare itself.

The contingent set out for Armagh on the 14th of August, and soon reached the Yellow Ford, about two miles from that city, where the main body of the Irish had encamped. They were at once attacked on either flank by skirmishers from the hostile camp; but the vanguard of the English army advanced gallantly to the charge, and were soon in possession of the first entrenchments of the enemy. Although Bagnal's personal valour is unquestionable, he was a bad tactician. His leading regiment was cut to pieces before a support could come up; his divisions were too far apart to assist each other. Bagnal raised the visor of his helmet for one moment, to judge more effectually of the scene of combat, and that moment proved his last. A musket ball pierced his forehead, and he fell lifeless to the ground. Almost at the same moment an ammunition waggon exploded in his ranks—confusion ensued. O'Neill took advantage of the panic; he charged boldly; and before one o'clock the rout had become general.

The English officers and their men fled to Armagh, and shut themselves up in the Cathedral; but they had left twenty-three officers and 1,700 rank and file dead or dying on the field. "It was a glorious victory for the rebels," says Camden, "and of special advantage; for thereby they got both arms and provisions, and Tyrone's name was cried up all over Ireland." Ormonde thought that the "devil had bewitched Bagnal," to leave his men unsupported; the Irish annalists thought that Providence had interfered wonderfully on their behalf.[452] O'Neill retired for a time to recruit his forces, and to rest his men; and a revolt was organized under his auspices in Munster, with immense success. O'Donnell was making rapid strides; but a new Viceroy was on his way to Ireland, and it was hoped by the royalist party that he would change the aspect of affairs.

Essex arrived on the 15th of April, 1599. He had an army of 20,000 foot and 2,000 horse—the most powerful, if not the best equipped force ever sent into the country. He at once issued a proclamation, offering pardon to all the insurgents who should submit, and he despatched reinforcements to the northern garrison towns, and to Wicklow and Naas. He then marched southward not without encountering a sharp defeat from Rory O'More. Be attacked the Geraldines, without much success, in Fermoy and Lismore, having, on the whole, lost more than he had accomplished by the expedition. An engagement took place between O'Donnell and Sir Conyers Clifford, in the pass of Balloghboy, on the 16th of August, in which Conyers was killed, and his army defeated. His body was recognized by the Irish, towards whom he had always acted honorably, and they interred the remains of their brave and noble enemy with the respect which was justly due to him.

Essex wrote to England for more troops, and his enemies were not slow to represent his incapacity, and to demand his recall: but he had not yet lost grace with his royal mistress, and his request was granted. The Viceroy now marched into the northern provinces. When he arrived at the Lagan, where it bounds Louth and Monaghan, O'Neill appeared on the opposite hill with his army, and sent the O'Hagan, his faithful friend and attendant, to demand a conference. The interview took place on the following day; and O'Neill, with chivalrous courtesy, dashed into the river on his charger, and there conversed with the English Earl, while he remained on the opposite bank. It was supposed that the Irish chieftain had made a favourable impression on Essex, and that he was disposed to conciliate the Catholics. He was obliged to go to England to clear himself of these charges; and his subsequent arrest and execution would excite more sympathy, had he been as amiable in his domestic relations as he is said to have been in his public life.

Ulster enjoyed a brief period of rest under the government of its native princes. In 1600 O'Neill proceeded southward, laying waste the lands of the English settlers, but promoting the restoration of churches and abbeys, and assisting the clergy and the native Irish in every possible way. Having lost Hugh Maguire, one of his best warriors, in an accidental engagement with St. Leger, the President of Munster, he determined to return to Ulster. A new Viceroy had just arrived in Ireland, and he attempted to cut off his retreat ineffectually.

O'Neill had now obtained a position of considerable importance, and one which he appears to have used invariably for the general good. The fame of his victories[453] had spread throughout the Continent. It was well known now that the Irish had not accepted Protestant Reformation, and it appeared as if there was at last some hope of permanent peace in Ireland.

Sir George Carew was sent over as President of Munster. He has left an account of his exploits in the Pacata Hibernia, which are not much to the credit of his humanity, but which he was pleased to consider refined strokes of policy. The English Government not only countenanced his acts, but gave the example of a similar line of conduct. James, son of Gerald, Earl of Desmond, who had long been imprisoned in London, was now sent to Ireland, and a patent, restoring his title and estates, was forwarded to Carew, with private instructions that it should be used or not, as might be found expedient. The people flocked with joy to meet the heir of the ancient house, but their enthusiasm was soon turned into contempt. He arrived on a Saturday, and on Sunday went to the Protestant service, for he had been educated in the new religion in London. His people were amazed; they fell on their knees, and implored him not to desert the faith of his fathers; but he was ignorant of their language as well as of their creed. Once this was understood, they showed how much dearer that was to them than even the old ties of kindred, so revered in their island; and his return from prayers was hailed by groans and revilings. The hapless youth was found to be useless to his employers; he was therefore taken back to London, where he died soon after of a broken heart.

Attempts were made to assassinate O'Neill in 1601. L2,000 was offered to any one who would capture him alive; L1,000 was offered for his head; but none of his own people could be found to play the traitor even for so high a stake. The "Sugane Earl" was treacherously captured about the end of August, and was sent to London in chains, with Florence MacCarthy. But the long-expected aid from Spain had at last arrived. The fleet conveyed a force of 3,000 infantry, and entered the harbour of Kinsale on the 23rd of September, under the command of Don Juan d'Aquila. It would appear as if Spanish expeditions were not destined to succeed on Irish soil for only part of the expedition arrived safely, and they had the misfortune to land in the worst situation, and to arrive after the war had ceased. The northern chieftains set out at once to meet their allies when informed of their arrival; and O'Donnell, with characteristic impetuosity, was the first on the road. Carew attempted to intercept him, but despaired of coming up with "so swift-footed a general," and left him to pursue his way unmolested.

The Lord Deputy was besieging Kinsale, and Carew joined him there. The siege was continued through the month of November during which time fresh reinforcements came from Spain; and on the 21st of December, O'Neill arrived with all his force. Unfortunately, the Spanish general had become thoroughly disgusted with the enterprise; and, although the position of the English was such that the Lord Deputy had serious thoughts of raising the siege, he insisted on decisive measures; and O'Neill was obliged to surrender his opinion, which was entirely against this line of action. A sortie was agreed upon for a certain night; but a youth in the Irish camp, who had been in the President's service formerly, warned him of the intended attack. This was sufficient in itself to cause the disaster which ensued. But there were other misfortunes. O'Neill and O'Donnell lost their way; and when they reached the English camp at dawn, found the soldiers under arms, and prepared for an attack. Their cavalry at once charged, and the new comers in vain struggled to maintain their ground, and a retreat which they attempted was turned into a total rout.

A thousand Irish were slain, and the prisoners were hanged without mercy. The loss on the English side was but trifling. It was a fatal blow to the Irish cause. Heavy were the hearts and bitter the thoughts of the brave chieftains on that sad night. O'Neill no longer hoped for the deliverance of his country; but the more sanguine O'Donnell proposed to proceed at once to Spain, to explain their position to King Philip. He left Ireland in a Spanish vessel three days after the battle—if battle it can be called; and O'Neill marched rapidly back to Ulster with Rory O'Donnell, to whom Hugh Roe had delegated the chieftaincy of Tir-Connell.

D'Aquila, whose haughty manners had rendered him very unpopular, now surrendered to Mountjoy, who received his submission with respect, and treated his army honorably. According to one account, the Spaniard had touched some English gold, and had thus been induced to desert the Irish cause; according to other authorities, he challenged the Lord Deputy to single combat, and wished them to decide the question at issue. In the meantime, O'Sullivan Beare contrived to get possession of his own Castle of Dunboy, by breaking into the wall at the dead of night, while the Spanish garrison were asleep, and then declaring that he held the fortress for the King of Spain, to whom he transferred his allegiance. Don Juan offered to recover it for the English by force of arms; but the Deputy, whose only anxiety was to get him quietly out of the country, urged his immediate departure. He left Ireland on the 20th of February; and the suspicions of his treachery must have had some foundation, for he was placed under arrest as soon as he arrived in Spain.

The siege of Dunboy is one of the most famous and interesting episodes in Irish history. The castle was deemed almost impregnable from its situation; and every argument was used with Sir George Carew to induce him to desist from attacking it. It was then, indeed—

"Dunboy, the proud, the strong, The Saxon's hate and trouble long."[454]

But the Lord Deputy had resolved that it should be captured. The Lord President considered the enterprise would be by no means difficult, for "he declared that he would plant the ordnance without the losse of a man; and within seven dayes after the battery was begun, bee master of all that place."[455] There was considerable delay in the arrival of the shipping which conveyed the ordnance, and operations did not commence until the 6th of June. The defence of the castle was intrusted by O'Sullivan to Richard MacGeoghegan. The chief himself was encamped with Tyrrell in the interior of the country. The soldiers were tempted, and the governor was tempted, but neither flinched for an instant from their duty. The garrison only consisted of 143 fighting men, with a few pieces of cannon. The besieging army was about 3,000 strong, and they were amply supplied with ammunition. On the 17th of June, when the castle was nearly shattered to pieces, its brave defenders offered to surrender if they were allowed to depart with their arms; but the only reply vouchsafed was to hang their messenger, and to commence an assault.

The storming party were resisted for an entire day with undaunted bravery. Their leader was mortally wounded, and Taylor took the command. The garrison at last retreated into a cellar into which the only access was a narrow flight of stone steps, and where nine barrels of gunpowder were stored. Taylor declared he would blow up the place if life were not promised to those who surrendered. Carew refused, and retired for the night, after placing a strong guard over the unfortunate men. The following morning he sent cannon-ball in amongst them, and Taylor was forced by his companions to yield without conditions. As the English soldiers descended the steps, the wounded MacGeoghegan staggered towards the gunpowder with a lighted candle, and was in the act of throwing it in, when he was seized by Captain Power, and in another moment he was massacred. Fifty-eight of those who had surrendered were hanged immediately; a few were reserved to see if they could be induced to betray their old companions, or to renounce their faith; but as they "would not endeavour to merit life"[456] they were executed without mercy. One of these prisoners was a Father Dominic Collins. He was executed in Youghal, his native town—a most unwise proceeding; for his fate was sure to excite double sympathy in the place where he was known, and, consequently, to promote double disaffection.[457] O'Sullivan Beare assigns the 31st of October as the day of his martyrdom.

The fall of Dunboy was a fatal blow to the national cause. The news soon reached Spain. Hugh O'Donnell had been warmly received there; but the burst of grief which his people uttered when they saw him departing from his native land, was his death-keen, for he did not long survive his voluntary expatriation. The war might now be considered over—at least, until the victims recovered courage to fight once more for their own; but the victims had to be taught how dearly they should pay for each attempt at national independence. Captain Harvey was sent to Carberry, "to purge the country of rebels"[458] by martial law. Wilmot was sent to Kerry, with orders to extirpate whole districts, which arrangement is called "settling the country," in the official document from which I quote. On one occasion a number of wounded Irish soldiers were found, who are described as "hurt and sick men;" they were at massacred, and this is called putting them out of pain.[459]

Donnell O'Sullivan now found his position hopeless, and commenced his famous retreat to Leitrim. He set out with about 1,000 people, of whom only 400 were fighting men; the rest were servants, women, and children. He fought all the way, and arrived at his destination with only thirty-five followers.[460]

O'Neill now stood merely on the defensive. The land was devastated by famine; Docwra, Governor of Derry, had planted garrisons at every available point; and Mountjoy plundered Ulster. In August he prepared to attack O'Neill with a large army, and, as he informs Cecil, "by the grace of God, as near as he could, utterly to waste the country of Tyrone." O'Neill had now retired to a fastness at the extremity of Lough Erne, attended by his brother, Cormac Art O'Neill, and MacMahon. Mountjoy followed him, but could not approach nearer than twelve miles; he therefore returned to Newry. In describing this march to Cecil, he says: "O'Hagan protested to us, that between Tullaghoge and Toome there lay unburied 1,000 dead."

The news of O'Donnell's death had reached Ireland; and his brother submitted to the Deputy. In 1603 Sir Garret More entered into negotiations with O'Neill, which ended in his submitting also. The ceremony took place at Mellifont, on the 31st of March. Queen Elizabeth had expired, more miserably than many of the victims who had been executed in her reign, on the 24th of March; but the news was carefully concealed until O'Neill had made terms with the Viceroy.

Trinity College, Dublin, was founded during this reign. Sir John Perrot had proposed to convert St. Patrick's Cathedral into an university; but Loftus, the Protestant Archbishop, would not allow it, because, according to Leland, "he was particularly interested in the livings of this church, by leases and estates, which he had procured for himself and his kinsmen." When the Deputy, whom he cordially hated, had been withdrawn, he proposed a plan which gave him the credit of the undertaking without any expenditure on his part. The site he selected was in what was then called Hogges-green, now College-green; and the place was the "scite, ambit and presinct"[461] of the Augustinian Monastery of All Saints, which had been founded by Dermod MacMurrough, King of Leinster, A.D. 1166. Dr. Loftus, after obtaining this grant, and such rents as still belonged to the old Catholic monastery, endeavoured to raise a subscription to supply the further funds still necessary to complete the work. In this he signally failed; for those to whom he applied excused themselves on the plea of poverty. Other funds were therefore sought for, and easily obtained; and the revenues of some suppressed Catholic houses in Kerry, Mayo, and Ulster, were taken to endow and erect the Protestant University.


[444] Dr. Saunders.—He has given a full and most interesting account of this expedition, in a letter to the Roman court. The original has been printed by Monsignor Moran, in his Archbishops, a work which every reader should possess.

[445] Dr. Allen.—He was a medical man, and was killed in an engagement immediately after the arrival of the expedition.

[446] Camp.—Dr. Saunders' letter, Moran's Archbishops, p. 202.

[447] Official.—Lord Grey says, in his official despatch to the Queen, dated "From the camp before Smerwick, November 12, 1580:" "I sent streighte certeyne gentlemen to see their weapons and armouries laid down, and to guard the munition and victual, then left, from spoil; then put in certeyne bandes, who streighte fell to execution. There were 600 slayn." After this exploit, "Grey's faith"—Graia fides—became proverbial even on the Continent. Grey appears to have a touch of the Puritan (by anticipation) in his composition, for we find him using very unctuous language about one John Cheeke, who "so wrought in him God's Spirit, plainlie declairing him a child of His elected;" and he calls the Pope "a detestable shaveling." Raleigh is said to have had the execution of this butchery; his friend, Spenser, was "not far off," according to his own account. He has attempted to excuse his patron, Lord Grey, but his excuse simply shows that the massacre was reprobated by all persons not destitute of common humanity.

[448] Castle.—The Four Masters give a detailed account of this treachery, taken from the life of Hugh Roe O'Donnell, which was written by one of themselves. A copy of this work, in the handwriting of Edward O'Reilly, is still preserved in the Library of the Royal Irish Academy.

[449] Him.—This document was written by Captain Lee, and presented to the Queen in 1594. It is printed in Desiderata Curiosa Hibernica, vol. ii. p. 91.

[450] Deputy.—Four Masters, vol. vi. p. 1878. The State Papers clearly prove the Deputy's guilt.

[451] Hanged.—It was usual to hang the Franciscans by their own cord, or to tie them together with their cords and hurl them from the summit of a tower or from a high rock into the sea.

[452] Behalf.—The Four Masters give copious details of this important engagement, which O'Donovan has supplemented with copious notes, vol. vi. pp.2061-2075.

[453] Victories.—The victory of the Blackwater was hailed with salvos of artillery from S. Angelo. The Pope and Philip III. of Spain corresponded with O'Neill constantly, the one about the affairs of the Church, the other with generous offers of assistance. At one time the Emperor sent him 22,000 crowns of gold.

[454] Long—Dunboy and other Poems, by T.D. Sullivan, Esq.

[455] Place—Hibernia Pacata, vol. ii. p. 559.

[456] Life.—Hib. Pac. vol. ii. p. 578.

[457] Disaffection.—Dr. Moran quotes a letter from Dublin, written 26th Feb., 1603, which says that he imparted great edification to the faithful by his constancy, and that the whole city of Cork accompanied him with its tears.

[458] Rebels.—Commission from the Lord Deputy to Harvey.—See the document in extenso, Hib, Pac. vol ii. p. 447.

[459] Pain.—Hib. Pac. p. 659.

[460] Followers.—The father and mother of the celebrated historian, O'Sullivan were amongst the number of those who reached Leitrim in safety. Philip, the author, had been sent to Spain while a boy in 1602, for his education: the whole family joined him there soon after. Dr. O'Donovan is not correct in his genealogy. It is well known that the real representative of the family is Murtough O'Sullivan, Esq., of Clohina, co. Cork.

[461] Presinct.—History of the University of Dublin, by W.B.S. Taylor. London, 1845.


Accession of King James—Joy of the Irish Catholics—Their Disappointment—Bishops, Priests, and Laity imprisoned for the Faith—Paul V. encourages the Catholics to Constancy—Plot to entrap O'Neill and O'Donnell—Flight of the Earls—Ulster is left to the Mercy of the English Nation—The Plantation commences—Chichester's Parliament, and how he obtained Members—Death of James I., and Accession of Charles—The Hopes of the Catholics are raised again—They offer a large sum of Money to obtain "Graces"—It is accepted, and the "Graces" are treacherously refused—The Plantation of Connaught—How Obedience was enforced and Resistance punished—Conspiracy to seize Dublin—Sir Phelim O'Neill-Massacre of Island Magee.

[A.D. 1605-1642.]

Great was the joy of the Irish nation when James the First of England and the Sixth of Scotland ascended the throne. The people supposed him to be a Catholic in heart, and a prince in feeling. They should have judged less favourably of one who could see his mother sacrificed without making one real effort to avert her doom. His weakness, obstinacy, and duplicity, helped to prepare the way for the terrible convulsion of English society, whose origin was the great religious schism, which, by lessening national respect for the altar, undermined national respect for the throne.

The Irish Catholics, only too ready to rejoice in the faintest gleam of hope, took possession of their own churches, and hoped they might practise their religion openly. The Cathedral of Limerick was re-dedicated by Richard Arthur, the Cathedral of Cork and Cloyne by Robert Urigh, the Metropolitan Church of Cashel by Thomas Rachtar, the churches of Wexford by John Coppinger. Dr. White restored himself the churches of Clonmel, Kilkenny, and Ross, and other clergymen acted in like manner in other places. But the most open and remarkable manifestation of devotion to the old faith was in Cork, always famous for its Catholicity, for the generosity of its people, and their special devotion to literature and religion. All the Protestant Bibles and Prayer-books were publicly and solemnly burned, the churches were hallowed, and Smith says: "They had a person named a Legate from the Pope [Dr. Moran, who quotes this passage, supposes him to have been a Vicar-Apostolic], who went about in procession with a cross, and forced people to reverence it. They buried the dead with the Catholic ceremonies; and numbers took the sacrament to defend that religion with their lives and fortunes."[462]

But the Catholics were soon undeceived. King James drank "to the eternal damnation of the Papists"[463] solemnly at a public dinner, no doubt to convince the sceptical of his Protestantism; and he divided his time very equally between persecuting the Puritans and the Catholics, when not occupied with his pleasures or quarrelling with his Parliament. The Puritans, however, had the advantage; popular opinion in England was on their side; they were sufficiently wealthy to emigrate if they pleased: while the Catholics were not only unpopular, but hated, and utterly impoverished by repeated fines and exactions.

James' conduct on his accession was sufficiently plain. He was proclaimed in Dublin on the 28th September, 1605. A part of his proclamation ran thus: "We hereby make known to our subjects in Ireland, that no toleration shall ever be granted by us. This we do for the purpose of cutting off all hope that any other religion shall be allowed, save that which is consonant to the laws and statutes of this realm." The penal statutes were renewed, and enforced with increased severity. Several members of the Corporation and some of the principal citizens of Dublin were sent to prison; similar outrages on religious liberty were perpetrated at Waterford, Ross, and Limerick. In some cases these gentlemen were only asked to attend the Protestant church once, but they nobly refused to act against their conscience even once, though it should procure them freedom from imprisonment, or even from death. The Vicar-Apostolic of Waterford and Lismore wrote a detailed account of the sufferings of the Irish nation for the faith at this period to Cardinal Baronius. His letter is dated "Waterford, 1st of May, 1606." He says: "There is scarcely a spot where Catholics can find a safe retreat. The impious soldiery, by day and night, pursue the defenceless priests, and mercilessly persecute them. Up to the present they have only succeeded in seizing three: one is detained in Dublin prison, another in Cork, and the third, in my opinion, is the happiest of all triumphing in heaven with Christ our Lord; for in the excess of the fury of the soldiery, without any further trial or accusation, having expressed himself to be a priest, he was hanged upon the spot."

He then narrates the sufferings of the Catholic laity, many of whom he says are reduced to "extreme poverty and misery;" "if they have any property, they are doubly persecuted by the avaricious courtiers." But so many have given a glorious testimony of their faith, he thinks their enemies and persecutors have gained but little. Thus, while one party was rejoicing in their temporal gain, the other was rejoicing in temporal loss; and while the former were preaching liberty of conscience as their creed, the latter were martyrs to it.

Another letter to Rome says: "2,000 florins are offered for the discovery of a Jesuit, and 1,000 for the discovery of any other priest, or even of the house where he lives. Whenever the servants of any of the clergy are arrested, they are cruelly scourged with whips, until they disclose all that they know about them. Bodies of soldiers are dispersed throughout the country in pursuit of bandits and priests; and all that they seize on, they have the power, by martial law, of hanging without further trial. They enter private house, and execute whom they please, vieing with each other in cruelty. It is difficult to define the precise number of those who are thus put to death. All who are greedy and spend-thrifts, seek to make a prey of the property of Catholics. No doors, walls, no enclosures can stop them in their course. Whatever is for profane use they profess to regard as sacred, and bear it off; and whatever is sacred they seize on to desecrate. Silver cups are called chalices, and gems are designated as Agnus Deis: and all are, therefore, carried away. There are already in prison one bishop, one vicar-general, some religious, very many priests, and an immense number of the laity of every class and condition. In one city alone five of the aldermen were thrown into prison successively, for refusing to take the nefarious oath of allegiance, on their being nominated to the mayoralty; in another city, no less than thirty were likewise thrust into prison at Easter last, for having approached the holy communion in the Catholic Church."

The Catholics protested against this treatment in vain. A petition was considered an offence, and the petitioners were sent to gaol for their pains.

In 1611 the Bishop of Down and Connor was executed in Dublin. He had been seized, in 1587, by Perrot, and thrown into prison. He was released in 1593, and, according to Dr. Loftus, he took the oath of supremacy. This statement, however, is utterly incredible, for he devoted himself to his flock immediately after his release, and continued to administer the sacraments to them at the risk of his life, until June, 1611, when he was again arrested in the act of administering the sacrament of confirmation to a Catholic family. Father O'Luorchain was imprisoned with him, and they were both sentenced and executed together. At the trial the Bishop declared that the oath of spiritual supremacy was impious, and said that his enemies could not thirst more eagerly for his blood than he himself was desirous to shed it for Christ his Redeemer. This venerable prelate had attained his eightieth year, but he was full of the vigour of saintly heroism. When on the scaffold he asked the executioner to allow him to be the last victim, as he wished to spare Father O'Luorchain the terrible spectacle of his sufferings. But the good priest was not behind the Franciscan bishop in his zeal, and he exclaimed, with a touching grace of courtesy, which the occasion made sublime, that "it was not fitting for a bishop to be without a priest to attend him, and he would follow him without fear." And he did follow him, for the Bishop went first to his crown.

There was great difficulty in procuring any one who would carry out the sentence. The executioner fled, and could not be found when he learned on whom he was to do his office. At last an English culprit, under sentence of death, undertook the bloody work, on a promise that his own life should be granted as his reward.

Communications with Rome were still as frequent and as intimate as they had ever been since Ireland received the faith at the hands of the great Apostle. To be children of Patrick and children of Rome were convertible terms; and the Holy See watched still more tenderly over this portion of the Church while it was suffering and persecuted. Paul V. wrote a special letter to the Irish Catholics, dated from "St. Mark's, 22nd of September, 1606," in which he mourns over their afflictions, commends their marvellous constancy, which he says can only be compared to that of the early Christians, and exhorts them specially to avoid the sin of attending Protestant places of worship—a compliance to which they were strongly tempted, when even one such act might procure exemption, for a time at least, from severe persecution or death.

On another occasion the same Pontiff writes thus: "You glory in that faith by which your fathers procured for their country the distinguished appellation of the Island of Saints. Nor have the sufferings which you have endured been allowed to remain unpublished; your fidelity and Christian fortitude have become the subject of universal admiration; and the praise of your name has long since been loudly celebrated in every portion of the Christian world."[464]

O'Neill and O'Donnell may be justly considered the last of the independent native chieftains. When the latter died in exile, and the former accepted the coronet of an English earl, the glories of the olden days of princes, who held almost regal power, had passed away for ever. The proud title of "the O'Neill" became extinct; his country was made shire ground; he accepted patents, and held his broad acres "in fee;" sheriffs were admitted; judges made circuits; king's commissioners took careful note of place, person, and property; and such a system of espionage was established, that Davies boasts, "it was not only known how people lived and what they do, but it is foreseen what they purpose and intend to do;" which latter species of clairvoyance seems to have been largely practised by those who were waiting until all suspicions were lulled to rest, that they might seize on the property, and imprison the persons of those whose estates they coveted.

In May, 1603, O'Neill had visited London, in company with Mountjoy and Rory O'Donnell. The northern chieftains were graciously received; and it was on this occasion that O'Neill renounced his ancient name for his new titles. O'Donnell was made Earl of Tyrconnel at the same time. The first sheriffs appointed for Ulster were Sir Edward Pelham and Sir John Davies. The latter has left it on record, as his deliberate opinion, after many years' experience, "that there is no nation of people under the sun that doth love equal and indifferent justice better than the Irish, or will rest better satisfied with the execution thereof, although it be against themselves, so that they may have the protection and benefits of the law, when, upon just cause, they do desire it."

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