An Illustrated History of Ireland from AD 400 to 1800
by Mary Frances Cusack
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Several of the leading gentry of Limerick were also executed; and the traitor Fennell met the reward of his treachery, and was also hanged. Hugh O'Neill was saved through the remonstrances of some of the Parliamentary officers, who had the spirit to appreciate his valour and his honorable dealing.

Ludlow now took the command, and marched to assist Coote, who was besieging Galway. This town surrendered on the 12th of May, 1652. The few Irish officers who still held out against the Parliament, made the best terms they could for themselves individually; and there was a brief peace, the precursor of yet more terrible storms.

I have already given such fearful accounts of the miseries to which the Irish were reduced by confiscations, fines, and war, that it seems useless to add fresh details; yet, fearful as are the records given by Spenser of 1580, when neither the lowing of a cow nor the voice of a herdsman could be heard from Dunquin, in Kerry, to Cashel, in Munster, there seems to have been a deeper depth of misery after Cromwell's massacres. In 1653 the English themselves were nearly starving, even in Dublin; and cattle had to be imported from Wales. There was no tillage, and a licence was required to kill lamb.[490] The Irish had fled into the mountains, the only refuge left to them now; and the Parliamentary officers were obliged to issue proclamations inviting their return, and promising them safety and protection. But the grand object of the revolutionary party was still to carry out the wild scheme of unpeopling Ireland of the Irish, and planting it anew with English—a scheme which had been so often attempted, and had so signally failed, that one marvels how it could again have been brought forward. Still there were always adventurers ready to fight for other men's lands, and subjects who might be troublesome at home, whom it was found desirable to occupy in some way abroad. But a grand effort was made now to get rid of as many Irishmen as possible in a peaceable manner. The valour of the Irish soldier was well known abroad;[491] and agents from the King of Spain, the King of Poland, and the Prince de Conde, were contending for those brave fellows, who were treated like slaves in their native land; and then, if they dared resist, branded with the foul name of rebels. If a keen had rung out loud and long when O'Donnell left his native land never to return, well might it ring out now yet more wildly. In May, 1652, Don Ricardo White shipped 7,000 men for the King of Spain; in September, Colonel Mayo collected 3,000 more; Lord Muskerry took 5,000 to Poland; and, in 1654, Colonel Dwyer went to serve the Prince de Conde with 3,500 men. Other officers looked up the men who had served under them, and expatriated themselves in smaller parties; so that, between 1651 and 1654, 34,000 Irishmen had left their native land; and few, indeed, ever returned to its desolate shores.

But their lot was merciful compared with the fate of those who still remained. In 1653 Ireland was considered sufficiently depopulated by war and emigration to admit of a commencement of the grand planting. The country was again portioned out; again the ruling powers selected the best portion of the land for themselves and their favourites; again the religion of the country was reformed, and Protestant prelates were condemned as loudly, though they were not hunted as unmercifully, as Popish priests; again the wild and lawless adventurer was sent to eject the old proprietor, who might starve or beg while the intruder held his lands, and sheltered himself in his mansion, while a new cruelty was enacted, a new terror devised, a new iniquity framed, and this by rulers who talked so loudly of political and religious liberty. It was not convenient, more probably, it was not possible, to massacre all the native population who still survived; so they were to be banished—banished to a corner of their own land, imprisoned there safely by their ruthless conquerors, and there, without hope or help, it was supposed they must soon die out quietly.

This is the official proclamation which was issued on the subject: "The Parliament of the Commonwealth of England, having, by an Act lately passed (entitled an Act for the Settling of Ireland), declared that it is not their intention to extirpate this whole nation ... it is ordered that the Governor and Commissioners of Revenue ... do cause the said Act of Parliament, with this present declaration, to be published and proclaimed in their respective precincts, by beat of drum and sound of trumpet, on some market-day within ten days after the same shall come unto them within their respective precincts."

We may imagine the dismay and anguish which this announcement caused. The old Irish chieftain and the Anglo-Irish lord still had some kind of home and shelter on their own estate—it might be but an outhouse or a barn; it was certainly on the worst and least cultivated portion of their land, for the old castle had long since been taken from them, and their broad acres transferred to others. Yet, though they tilled the soil of which they so lately had been the lords, this little spot was home: there the wife and mother loved her little ones as tenderly as in the stately halls which her husband or his fathers had so lately possessed. It was home, and if not the dear old home, it was, perhaps, loved all the more for its sorrowful proximity to the ancestral castle—for the faint hope that the rightful owner might still be restored. But the trumpet had sounded the nation's doom. Confiscation and banishment, wholesale plunder and untold iniquity, reigned supreme. The name of the God of justice was invoked to sanction[492] the grossest outrages upon justice; and men who professed to have freed their own nation from the tyranny of kingcraft and of Popery, perpetrated a tyranny on another nation, which has made the name of their leader a byword and a curse.

The majority of the Catholic nobility and gentry were banished; the remainder of the nation, thus more than decimated, were sent to Connaught. On the 26th of September, 1653, all the property of the Irish people was declared to belong to the English army and adventurers, "and it was announced that the Parliament had assigned Connaught [America was not then accessible] for the habitation of the Irish nation, whither they must transplant, with their wives, and daughters, and children, before 1st May following, under the penalty of death, if found on this side of the Shannon after that day."[493] It must not be supposed that this death penalty was a mere threat; I shall give instances to prove the contrary. Any man, woman, or child who had disobeyed this order, no matter from what cause, could be instantly executed in any way, by any of these soldiers or adventurers, without judge, jury, or trial. It was in fact constituting a special commission for the new comers to murder[494] all the old inhabitants.

Connaught was selected for two reasons: first, because it was the most wasted province of Ireland; and secondly, because it could be, and in fact was, most easily converted into a national prison, by erecting a cordon militaire across the country, from sea to sea. To make the imprisonment more complete, a belt four miles wide, commencing one mile to the west of Sligo, and thence running along the coast and the Shannon, was to be given to the soldiery to plant. Thus, any Irishman who attempted to escape, would be sure of instant capture and execution.

The Government, as it has been already remarked, reserved the best part of the land for themselves. They secured the towns, church-lands, and tithes, and abolished the Protestant Church, with all its officers, which had been so recently declared the religion of the country. A "Church of Christ" was now the established religion, and a Mr. Thomas Hicks was approved by the "Church of Christ" meeting at Chichester House, as one fully qualified to preach and dispense the Gospel as often as the Lord should enable him, and in such places as the Lord should make his ministry most effectual. The Parliament also reserved for themselves the counties of Dublin, Kildare, Carlow, and Cork; and from these lands and the church property they were to enrich themselves, and, with what they could spare, to reward the leading regicides and rebels. The adventurers were next provided for. They claimed L960,000. This was divided into three lots, to be paid in lands in Munster, Leinster, and Ulster. All these were to be drawn by lot; and a lottery was held at Grocers' Hall, London, which commenced at eight o'clock in the morning, on the 20th of July, 1653, at which time and place men who professed the advancement of the Christian religion to be the business of their lives, openly and flagrantly violated the most solemn and explicit commands of that very belief which they declared themselves so zealous in upholding. The soldiers and officers were to obtain whatever was left after the adventurers had been satisfied.

A book was written by a Franciscan father, called Threnodia Hiberno-Catholica, sive Planctus Universalis totius Cleri et Populi Regni Hiberniae,[495] in which the writer states he had heard a great Protestant statesman give three reasons why this transplantation was confined to the gentry, and why the poor, who had not been either transported or hanged, were allowed to remain: (1) because the English wanted them to till the ground; (2) they hoped they would become Protestants when deprived of their priests; (3) because the settlers required servants, or else they should have worked for themselves.

But the fatal day at length arrived, and those who had dared to linger, or to hope that so cruel a sentence would not be finally executed, were at once undeceived. The commissioners had been in trouble all the winter: the people who were to be driven out of their farms refused to sow for those who were to succeed them; and the very plotters of the iniquity began to tremble for the consequences which might accrue to themselves. They fasted, they prayed, and they wrote pages of their peculiar cant, which would be ludicrous were it not profane. They talked loudly of their unworthiness for so great a service, but expressed no contrition for wholesale robbery. Meanwhile, however, despite cant, fasts, and fears, the work went on. The heads of each family were required to proceed to Loughrea before the 31st of January, 1654, to receive such allotments as the commissioners pleased to give them, and that they might erect some kind of huts on these allotments, to shelter their wives and daughters when they arrived. The allotment of land was proportioned to the stock which each family should bring; but they were informed that, at a future day, other commissioners were to sit at Athlone, and regulate even these regulations, according to their real or supposed affection or disaffection to the Parliament. All this was skilfully put forward, that the unfortunate people might transplant the more quietly, in the hope of procuring thereby the good-will of their tyrants; but the tyrants were quite aware that the stock would probably die from the fatigue of transportation and the want of food; then the land could be taken from the victim, and, as a last favour, he might be allowed to remain in the poor hut he had erected, until misery and disease had terminated his life also.

Remonstrances and complaints were sent to the faction who governed England, but all was in vain. The principal petitioners were the descendants of the English nobles; they were now, by a just retribution, suffering themselves the very miseries which they had so ruthlessly inflicted on the native Irish. The petitioners, says Mr. Prendergast,[496] were the noble and the wealthy, men of ancient English blood, descendants of the invaders—the FitzGeralds, the Butlers, the Plunkets, the Barnwalls, Dillons, Cheevers, Cusacks, names found appended to various schemes for extirpating or transplanting the Irish, after the subduing of Lord Thomas FitzGerald's rebellion in 1535—who were now to transplant as Irish. The native Irish were too poor to pay scriveners and messengers to the Council, and their sorrows were unheard; though under their rough coats beat hearts that felt as great pangs at being driven from their native homes as the highest in the land.

One of these English families demands special mention. Edmund Spenser's grandson was now commanded to transplant, as though he to had been "mere Irish" and the very estate near Fermoy, which had been confiscated from the FitzGeralds seventy years before, and which the poet had obtained thus fraudulently, was now confiscated anew, and granted to Cromwell's soldiers. William Spenser protested; he pleaded his grandfather's name, he pleaded his grandfather's services, especially the odium he had incurred amongst the Irish by the way in which he had written of them; and lastly, William Spenser declares of himself that he had utterly renounced Popery since he came to years of discretion. But even Cromwell's interference could not save him; the soldiers were determined to have his lands, and they had them.

The commissioners appointed to conduct the transplanting had a busy time. They were overwhelmed with petitions: the heads of families demanding permission to return and save their crops; the women requesting to remain a few months longer for a similar purpose, when the men were not permitted to return. Hundreds of petitions were sent from aged and bedridden persons, to obtain leave to die in peace where they were. Then there were complaints from the officers who had charge of driving the people into the plantation; and above all, there was a charge, a grave charge, against the Irish people—they were as stiff-necked, wicked, and rebellious[497] as ever, and could not be brought to see that they were created for no other end than to be sacrificed for the benefit of English adventurers; and, moreover, they were declared to be a most treacherous race, for, years after, they might revenge all this kindness, by murdering the men who had taken possession of their lands and farms; and some had absolutely refused to transplant, and preferred death.

The manner in which these difficulties were met is thus recorded in a letter which was written for publication in London:—

"Athy, March 4, 1664-5.

"I have only to acquaint you that the time prescribed for the transplantation of the Irish proprietors, and those that have been in arms and abettors of the rebellion, being near at hand, the officers are resolved to fill the gaols and to seize them; by which this bloody people will know that they [the officers] are not degenerated from English principles; though I presume we shall be very tender of hanging any except leading men; yet we shall make no scruple of sending them to the West Indies, where they will serve for planters, and help to plant the plantation that General Venables, it is hoped, hath reduced."

So examples were made. Mr. Edward Hetherington was hanged in Dublin, on the 3rd of April, 1655, with placards on his breast and back, on which were written, "For not transplanting;" and at the summer assizes of 1658, hundreds were condemned to death for the same cause, but were eventually sent as slaves to Barbadoes. The miseries of those who did transplant was scarcely less than those of the persons who were condemned to slavery. Some committed suicide, some went mad, all were reduced to the direst distress. The nobles of the land were as cruelly treated and as much distrusted as the poorest peasant. The very men who had laid down their arms and signed articles of peace at Kilkenny, were not spared; and the excuse offered was, that the Act of Parliament overrode the articles. One of the gentlemen thus betrayed was Lord Trimbleston, and his tomb may still be seen in the ruined Abbey of Kilconnell, with the epitaph:—



[483] Trim For an illustration of this castle, see p. 560.

[484] Bibles.—See The Cromwellian Settlement of Ireland, by John P. Prendergast, Esq.—a most important work, and one which merits the careful consideration of all who wish to understand this period of Irish history, and one of the many causes of Irish disaffection. The scythes and sickles were to the corn, that the Irish might be starved if they could not be conquered.

[485] Quarter.—Cromwell says, in his letters, that quarter was not promised; Leland and Carte say that it was.

[486] Tale.—Cromwell's Letters and Speeches, vol. i. p. 456. The simplicity with which Carlyle attempts to avert the just indignation of the Irish, by saying that the garrison "consisted mostly of Englishmen," coupled with his complacent impression that eccentric phrases can excuse crime, would be almost amusing were it not that he admits himself to be as cruel as his hero.—vol. i. p. 453. A man who can write thus is past criticism. If the garrison did consist mainly of Englishmen, what becomes of the plea, that this barbarity was a just vengeance upon the Irish for the "massacre."

[487] Allowed of.—Letters and Speeches, vol. i. p. 477.

[488] Protection.—Dr. French, the Catholic Bishop of Ferns, has given an account of the storming of Wexford, in a letter to the Papal Nuncio, in which he states that the soldiers were not content with simply murdering their victims, but used "divers sorts of torture." As he was then in the immediate neighbourhood, he had every opportunity of being correctly informed. Cromwell must have sanctioned this, if he did not encourage it.

[489] Bribe.—40,000 golden crowns, and free leave to emigrate where he chose.—Hib. Dom. p. 448.

[490] Lamb..—Cromwellian Settlement, p. 16. See also Petty's Political Anatomy of Ireland.

[491] Abroad.—The Prince of Orange declared they were born soldiers. Sir John Norris said that he "never beheld so few of any country as of Irish that were idiots or cowards," Henry IV. of France said that Hugh O'Neill was the third soldier of the age; and declared that no nation had such resolute martial men.—Cromwellian Settlement, p. 22.

[492] Sanction.—See Cromwellian Settlement, p. 61, for a specimen of the "Bible stuff with which they crammed their heads and hardened their hearts."

[493] Day.—Cromwellian Settlement, p. 163.

[494] Murder.—"Whenever any unwary person chanced to pass these limits he was knocked on the head by the first officer or soldier who met him. Colonel Astell killed six women in this way."—Ibid. p. 164.

[495] Hiberniae.—The Wail of the Irish Catholics; or, Groans of the Whole Clergy and People, &c. By Father Maurice Morison, of the Minors of Strict Observance, an eyewitness of these cruelties. Insbruck, A.D. 1659. This religious had remained in Ireland, like many of his brethren, in such complete disguise, that their existence was not even suspected. In order to minister the more safely to their afflicted people, they often hired as menials in Protestant families and thus, in a double sense, became the servants of all men. Father Maurice was in the household of Colonel Ingolsby, the Parliamentary Governor of Limerick.

[496] Prendergast.—Cromwellian Settlement, p. 34. We can only recommend this volume to the consideration of our readers. It would be impossible, in anything less than a volume, to give the different details which Mr. Prendergast has brought together with so much judgment, and at the expense of years of research. We might have selected some cases from his work, but, on the whole, we think it will be more satisfactory to the reader to peruse it in its entirety. It may be obtained from our publishers, Messrs. Longmans and Co., Paternoster-row, London.

[497] Rebellious.—If the subject were not so serious, the way in which the officials wrote about the feelings of the Irish would almost provoke a smile. They say: "It is the nature of this people to be rebellious; and they have been so much the more disposed to it, having been highly exasperated by the transplanting work." Surely they could not be expected to be anything else but rebellious and exasperated!


The Irish transported as Slaves to Barbadoes—The Three Beasts who were to be hunted: the Wolf, the Priest, and the Tory—Origin and Causes of Agrarian Outrages—Cases of Individual Wrongs—Lord Roche—Mr. Luttrel Accession of Charles II.—His Base Conduct towards the Irish Loyalists—Gross Injustice towards the Irish Catholic Landowners—The Remonstrance opposed by the Clergy—A Quarrel in the House of Lords The Popish Plot—Ormonde's Difficulties—Seizure and Imprisonment of the Archbishop of Dublin—Imprisonment and Execution of the Most Rev. Dr. Plunkett, Archbishop of Armagh.


Many of the Irish soldiers who had entered into the service of foreign princes, were obliged to leave their wives and families behind. When we recall the number of those who were thus expatriated, it will not seem surprising that thousands of young children were left utterly destitute. These boys and girls, however, were easily disposed of by the Government; and Sir William Petty states, that 6,000 were sent out as slaves to the West Indies. The Bristol sugar merchants traded in these human lives, as if they had been so much merchandize; and merchandize, in truth, they were, for they could be had for a trifle, and they fetched a high price in the slave-market. Even girls of noble birth were subjected to this cruel fate. Morison mentions an instance of this kind which came to his own knowledge. He was present when Daniel Connery, a gentleman of Clare, was sentenced to banishment, by Colonel Ingoldsby, for harbouring a priest. Mrs. Connery died of destitution, and three of his daughters, young and beautiful girls, were transported as slaves to Barbadoes.[498]

A court was established for the punishment of "rebels and malignants;" the former consisting of persons who refused to surrender their houses and lands, and the latter being those who would not act contrary to their conscientious convictions in religious matters. These courts were called "Cromwell's Slaughter-houses." Donnellan, who had acted as solicitor to the regicides, at the trial of Charles I., held the first court at Kilkenny, October 4, 1652. Lord Louther held a court in Dublin, in February, 1653, for the special purpose of trying "all massacres and murders committed since the 1st day of October, 1641." The inquiries, however, were solely confined to the accused Catholics; and the result proved the falsehood of all the idle tales which had been circulated of their having intended a great massacre of Protestants, for convictions could only be obtained against 200 persons, and even these were supported by forged and corrupt evidence.[499] Sir Phelim O'Neill was the only person convicted in Ulster, and he was offered his life again and again, and even on the very steps of the scaffold, if he would consent to criminate Charles I.

As the majority of the nation had now been disposed of, either by banishment, transportation, or hanging, the Government had time to turn their attention to other affairs. The desolation of the country was such, that the smoke of a fire, or the sign of a habitation, was considered a rare phenomenon. In consequence of this depopulation, wild beasts had multiplied on the lands, and three "beasts" were especially noted for destruction. In the Parliament held at Westminster in 1657, Major Morgan, member for the county Wicklow, enumerated these beasts thus: "We have three beasts to destroy that lay burdens upon us. The first is the wolf, on whom we lay L5 a head if a dog, and L10 if a bitch. The second beast is a priest, on whose head we lay L10; if he be eminent, more. The third beast is a Tory, on whose head, if he be a public Tory, we lay L20; and forty shillings on a private Tory."[500]

Wolves had increased so rapidly, that the officers who left Ireland for Spain, in 1652, were forbidden to take their dogs with them, and were thus deprived of the pleasure and the pride (for Irish dogs were famous) of this consolation in their exile. Public hunts were ordered, and every effort made to keep down beasts of prey. But the whole blame was thrown on the second beast. It was declared solemnly that if there had been no priests there would have been no wolves.[501] The syllogism ran somewhat in this fashion:—

The Popish priests are the cause of every misery in Ireland;

The wolves are a misery:

Therefore the priests are to blame for the existence of the wolves.

"By a similar process of reasoning," observes Mr. Prendergast, "it is proved that the Irish have caused the ruin, the plundering, and the desolation of the country, from the first invasion, for so many ages." And this is undoubtedly true; for if there had been no Irish, no Irish could have been plundered; and if there had been no plunder, there could not have been the misery of the plundered. The number of wolves to be destroyed may be estimated from the fact, that some lands valued at a high rate were let for a stipulated number of wolves' heads in lieu of rent. But the wolves were more easily got rid of than the priests. The priests were accustomed to be persecuted, and accustomed to be hunted. They came to Ireland, as a general rule, with the full knowledge that this would be their fate, and that if they ended their lives, after a few years' ministration, by hanging, without any extra torture, it was the best they could hope for, as far as this world was concerned. Some, however, would have preferred the torture, expecting an additional recompense for it in the next. But there were parts of the country where it was incomparably more difficult to hunt out a priest than a wolf; so the Government gave notice, on the 6th of January, 1653, that all priests and friars who were willing to transport themselves, should have liberty to do so for twenty days. But the priests and friars had no idea of leaving the country. They had gone abroad, at the risk of their lives, to fit themselves in some of the splendid continental colleges for their duties, and to obtain authority to administer the sacraments; they returned, at the risk of their lives, to fulfil their mission; and they remained, at the risk of their lives, to devote them to their own people, for whose sakes they had renounced, not only earthly pleasures and joys, but even that quiet and peaceful life, which, as Christian priests, they might have had in foreign lands. The people for whom they suffered were not ungrateful. Poor as they were, none could be found to take the proffered bribe. Long lists may be found of priests who were captured and executed, and of the men who received the rewards for their capture; but you will not see a real Irish name amongst them; you will perceive that the priest-catchers were principally English soldiers; and you will remark that the man in whose house the priest was discovered generally shared his fate. But it was useless. They were hung, they were tortured, they were transported to Barbadoes, and, finally, such numbers were captured, that it was feared they would contaminate the very slaves, and they were confined on the island of Innisboffin, off the coast of Connemara. Yet more priests came to take the place of those who were thus removed, and the "hunt" was still continued.

The number of secular priests who were victims to this persecution cannot be correctly estimated. The religious orders, who were in the habit of keeping an accurate chronicle of the entrance and decease of each member, furnish fuller details. An official record, drawn up in 1656, gives the names of thirty Franciscans who had suffered for the faith; and this was before the more severe search had commenced. The martyrdom of a similar number of Dominicans is recorded almost under the same date; and Dr. Burgat[502] states that more than three hundred of the clergy were put to death by the sword or on the scaffold, while more than 1,000 were sent into exile.

The third "beast" was the Tory. The Tory was the originator of agrarian outrages in Ireland, or we should rather say, the English planters were the originators, and the Tories the first perpetrators of the crime. The Irish could scarcely be expected to have very exalted ideas of the sanctity and inviolable rights of property, from the way in which they saw it treated. The English made their will law, and force their title-deed. The Anglo-Normans dispossessed the native Irish, the followers of the Tudors dispossessed the Anglo-Normans, and the men of the Commonwealth dispossessed them all. Still the Celt, peculiarly tenacious of his traditions, had a very clear memory of his ancient rights, and could tell you the family who even then represented the original proprietor, though that proprietor had been dispossessed five or six hundred years. The ejectments from family holdings had been carried out on so large a scale, that it can scarcely be a matter of surprise if some of the ejected resented this treatment. There were young men who preferred starving in the woods to starving in Connaught; and after a time they formed into bands in those vast tracts of land which had been wholly depopulated. The men were desperate. It is difficult to see how they could have been anything else, when driven to desperation. They were called robbers; but there was a general confusion about meum and tuum which they could not understand. Strangers had taken possession of their cattle, and they did not comprehend why they should not try to obtain it again in any possible way. Young men, whose fathers had landed estates of L2,000 a-year, which were quietly divided amongst Cromwell's Life-Guards, while the proprietor was sent out to beg, and his daughters compelled to take in washing or do needlework, could scarcely be expected to take such a change in their circumstances very calmly. A man who had been transplanted from an estate worth L2,500 a year near Dublin, which his family had owned for four hundred years, and whose daughters were given the munificent gratuity of L10 a-piece by the Council Board, and forbidden for the future to ask for any further assistance, might certainly plead extenuating circumstances[503] if he took to highway robbery. Such circumstances as these were common at this period; and it should be borne in mind that the man whose holding was worth but L40 a-year felt the injustice, and resented the inhumanity of his expulsion, quite as much as the nobleman with L4,000. So the Tories plundered their own property; and, if they could be captured, paid the penalty with their lives; but, when they were not caught, the whole district suffered, and some one was made a scapegoat for their crime, though it did not seem much to matter whether the victim could be charged with complicity or not. After some years, when even the sons of the proprietors had become old inhabitants, and the dispossessed generation had passed away, their children were still called Tories. They wandered from village to village, or rather from hovel to hovel, and received hospitality and respect from the descendants of those who had been tenants on the estates of their forefathers, and who still called them gentlemen and treated them as such, though they possessed nothing but the native dignity, which could not be thrown off, and the old title-deeds, which were utterly worthless, yet not the less carefully treasured. Yet, these men were condemned by their oppressors because they did not work for their living, and because they still remembered their ancient dignity, and resented their ancient wrongs. To have worked and to have forgotten might have been wiser; but those who are accustomed to ease are slow to learn labour, even with the best intentions; and those who had inflicted the wrongs were scarcely the persons who should have taunted the sufferers with the miseries they had caused.

Charles II. commenced his reign de facto in 1660, under the most favourable auspices. People were weary of a Commonwealth which had promised so much and performed so little; of the name of liberty without the reality; of the exercise of kingly power without the appurtenances or right of majesty. But the new monarch had been educated in a bad school. Surrounded with all the prestige of royalty without its responsibilities, and courted most ardently by followers whose only object was their own future advancement, which they hoped to secure by present flattery, it is scarcely a matter of surprise that Charles should have disappointed the hopes of the nation. In England public affairs were easily settled. Those who had been expelled from their estates by the Cromwellian faction, drove out[504] by the new proprietors; but in Ireland the case was very different. Even the faithful loyalists, who had sacrificed everything for the King, and had so freely assisted his necessities out of their poverty, were now treated with contempt, and their claims silenced by proclamation; while the men who had been most opposed to the royal interest, and most cruel in their oppression of the natives, were rewarded and admitted into favour. Coote and Broghill were of this class. Each tried to lessen the other in opinion of their royal master as they ran the race for favour, and each boasted of services never accomplished, and of loyalty which never existed. The two enemies of each other and of the nation were now appointed Lord Justices of Ireland; and a Parliament was assembled on the 8th of May, 1661, the first meeting of the kind which had been held for twenty years.

The Catholic, or national interest, was certainly not represented; for there were present seventy-two Protestant peers, and only twenty-one Catholics; while the House of Commons comprised two hundred and sixty members, all of whom were burgesses except sixty-four, and the towns had been so entirely peopled by Cromwell's Puritan followers, that there could be no doubt what course they would pursue. An attempt was now made to expel the few Catholics who were present, by requiring them to take the oath of supremacy. The obsequious Parliament voted L30,000 to the Duke of Ormonde, whose career of duplicity was crowned with success. It is almost amusing to read his biographer's account[505] of the favours bestowed on him, and the laudations he bestows on his master for his condescension in accepting them. Carte would have us believe that Ormonde was a victim to his king and his country, and that the immense sums of money he received did not nearly compensate him for his outlays. Posterity will scarcely confirm the partiality of the biographer.

The Bill of Settlement was opposed by the Irish Catholics through their counsel, but their claims were rejected and treated with contempt. Charles had told his Parliament, on his restoration, that he expected they would have a care of his honour and of the promise he had made. This promise had been explicitly renewed by Ormonde for the King, before he left for Breda; but the most solemn engagements were so regularly violated when Irish affairs were concerned, that nothing else could have been expected. A Court of Claims was at length established, to try the cases of ejectment which had occurred during the Commonwealth; but this excited so much indignation and alarm amongst the Protestants, that all hope of justice was quickly at an end, and the time-serving Ormonde closed the court. The grand occupation of each new reign, for the last few centuries, appears to have been to undo what had been done in the preceding reigns. An Act of Explanation was now passed, and a Protestant militia raised, to satisfy that party. It was provided by the new Act that the Protestants were, in the first place, and especially, to be settled; that any doubt which arose should be decided in their favour; and that no Papist, who, by the qualifications of the former Act, had not been adjudged innocent should at any future time be reputed innocent, or entitled to claim any lands or settlements. It will be remembered that Ormonde had cut short the sittings of the court to satisfy Protestant clamour; in consequence of this, more than 8,000 Catholic claimants were condemned to forfeit their estates, without even the shadow of an inquiry, but with the pretence of having justice done to them, or, as Leland has expressed it, "without the justice granted to the vilest criminal—that of a fair and equal trial."[506]

Although it would seem to the ordinary observer that the Catholics had been dealt with severely, the dominant faction were still dissatisfied; and Ormonde was obliged to threaten a dissolution, and to expel some members for complicity in a plot to overthrow the English Government, which had just been discovered, and of which the ringleader was a man named Blood. It was now ascertained that the Cromwellian distribution of lands had been carried out with the most shameful injustice towards the very Government which had sanctioned it; and that the soldiers, who went with texts of Scripture on their lips, and swords in their hands, to destroy Popery, had cheated[507] their officers and self-elected rulers with shameless audacity.

The famous Remonstrance was drawn up about this time. It was prepared by Peter Walsh, a Franciscan friar, who was a protege of Ormonde's, and who devoted more attention to politics than to his religious duties. The Remonstrance contained expressions which were by no means consonant with that pure Catholic feeling for which the Irish had been always remarkable; but it suited the Duke's purpose all the better, and he induced a considerable number of the nobility, and some of the clergy, to affix their signatures to it. They were little aware, in giving expression to the loyalty they so sincerely felt, that they were supposed to countenance disrespect to the Church which they so deeply revered. A synod of the Irish bishops and clergy was therefore held in Dublin, to consider the document, June 11th, 1666. Although ecclesiastics were then under the penal laws, and liable to suffer at any moment, Ormonde connived at the meeting, hoping that his ends would be thereby attained. He has himself left his object on record. It was to "sow divisions among the clergy;" and Lord Orrery had written to him, being well aware of his plans, suggesting that this was a fitting time for their accomplishment. But the clergy were not so easily deceived; and even the miserable friar has left it on record, that out of 1,850 ecclesiastics, regular and secular, only sixty-nine signed the Remonstrance. The synod now prepared another document; and if the expression of loyalty was all that Ormonde required, he should have been fully satisfied; but, unfortunately, this was not the case, and he bided his time to avenge himself bitterly on the men who refused to sacrifice their conscience to his will.

During the same year (1660), the Irish sent over a contribution of 15,000 bullocks, to relieve the distress which occurred in London after the Great Fire. In return for their charity, they were assured that this was a mere pretence to keep up the cattle trade with England; and accordingly an Act was passed in which the importation of Irish cattle was forbidden, and termed a "nuisance," and language was used which, in the present day, would be considered something like a breach of privilege. The Duke of Buckingham, whose farming interests were in England, declared "that none could oppose the Bill, except such as had Irish estates or Irish understandings." Lord Ossory protested that "such virulence became none but one of Cromwell's counsellors;" and he being the eldest of the Duke of Ormonde, and having Irish interests, opposed it. Several noble lords attempted to draw their swords. Ossory challenged Buckingham; Buckingham declined the challenge. Ossory was sent to the Tower; the word "nuisance" remained; some members of the "Cabal" said it should have been "felony;" and the Irish trade was crushed. Even the Puritan settlers in Ireland began to rebel at this, for they, too, had begun to have "Irish interests," and could not quite see matters relative to that country in the same light as they had done when at the other side of the Channel. At last they became openly rebellious. Some soldiers mutinied for arrears of pay, and seized Carrickfergus Castle—ten of them were executed, and peace was restored; but the old Cromwellians, both in England and Ireland, gave considerable anxiety to the Government; and, indeed, it seems marvellous that they should not have revolted more openly and in greater force.

So many complaints were made of Ormonde's administration, that he was now removed for a time. He was succeeded by Lord Berkeley, in May, 1670, a nobleman whose honest and impartial government earned him the respect of all who were not interested in upholding a contrary line of conduct. The Catholics offered him an address, which was signed by two prelates, who held a prominent position, not only in their Church, but also in the history of the period; these were Dr. Plunkett, Archbishop of Armagh, and Dr. Talbot, Archbishop of Dublin. Colonel Richard Talbot, who was afterwards created Earl of Tyrconnel by James II., had been, for some time, the accredited agent of the Irish Catholics at the English court; he now (A.D. 1671) attempted to obtain some examination into the claims of those who had been ejected from their estates during the Commonwealth. After some delay and much opposition, a commission was appointed; but although the "Popish Plot" had not yet made its appearance, a wild "no Popery" cry was raised, and the King was obliged to recall Lord Berkeley, and substitute the Earl of Essex. Even this did not quiet the storm. On the 9th of March, 1673, an address was presented to the King by the Commons in England, demanding the persecution of Papists in Ireland; and the weak monarch, all the more afraid of appearing to show partiality, because of his apprehension that Popery might be the true religion, and his still more serious apprehensions that his people might find out his opinion, at once complied, and even recalled the Commission of Enquiry.

In 1677 Ormonde was again appointed Viceroy, and he held the office during the ensuing seven years, at an advanced age, and a period of extraordinary political excitement. The "Popish treason" was the first and the most fearful of these panics. Ormonde was at Kilkenny when he received the first intimation of the conspiracy, October 3, 1678; but he had too much knowledge of the world to credit it for a moment. Like other politicians of that, and indeed of other ages, he was obliged to keep up his reputation by appearing to believe it in public, while in private[508] he treated the whole affair with the contempt it merited. It was soon reported that the plot had extended to Ireland, and Archbishop Talbot was selected as the first victim. The prelate then resided with his brother, Colonel Talbot, at Carton, near Maynooth. He was in a dying state; but although his enemies might well have waited for his end, he was taken out of his bed, carried to Dublin, and confined a prisoner in the Castle. He died two years later. "He was the last distinguished captive destined to end his days in that celebrated state prison, which has since been generally dedicated to the peaceful purposes of a reflected royalty."[509] His brother was arrested, but allowed to go beyond the seas; and a Colonel Peppard was denounced in England as one of the leading Irish traitors. But the Colonel was quite as imaginary as the plot. No such person existed, and a non est inventis was all the return that could be made to the most active inquiries. There was one illustrious victim, however, who was found, who was executed, and who was not guilty, even in thought, of the crime of which he was accused.

Oliver Plunkett had been Archbishop of Armagh since the death of Dr. O'Reilly, in 1669. He belonged to the noble family of Fingall; but he was more respected for his virtues and his office than even for his rank. He was now accused of being in correspondence with the French; it was a favourite charge against Catholics at that time, and one which could be easily brought forward by men who did not mind swearing to a lie, and not easily disproved by men who could only assert their innocence. Lord Shaftesbury was the great patron of Titus Oates, the concocter of the plot, and the perjured murderer of scores of innocent men. It was a serious disappointment to find that no evidence of a conspiracy could be found in Ireland. Carte, who certainly cannot be suspected of the faintest shadow of preference for an Irishman or a Catholic, says that every effort was made to drive the people into rebellion. He gives the reason for this, which, from former experience, one fears must be true. "There were," he says, "too many Protestants in Ireland who wanted another rebellion, that they might increase their estates by new forfeitures." "It was proposed to introduce the Test Act and all the English penal laws into Ireland; and that a proclamation should be forthwith issued for encouraging all persons that could make any further discoveries of the horrid Popish plot, to come in and declare the same."

Unfortunately for the credit of our common humanity, persons can always be found who are ready to denounce their fellow-creatures, even when guiltless, from mere malice. When, to the pleasure of gratifying a passion, there is added the prospect of a reward, the temptation becomes irresistible; and if the desire of revenge for an injury, real or imaginary, be superadded, the temptation becomes overwhelming. In order to satisfy the clamours of the "no Popery" faction, an order had been issued, on the 16th of October, 1677, for the expulsion of all ecclesiastics from Ireland; and a further proclamation was made, forbidding Papists to enter into the Castle of Dublin, or any fort or citadel; and so far, indeed, did this childish panic exceed others of its kind, that orders were sent to the great market-towns, commanding the markets to be held outside the walls, to prevent the obnoxious Catholics from entering into the interior. Rewards were offered of L10 for an officer, L5 for a trooper, and L4 for a soldier, if it could be proved that he attended Mass; and how many were sworn away by this bribery it would be difficult to estimate. On the 2nd of December, a strict search was ordered for the Catholic ecclesiastics who had not yet transported themselves. Dr. Plunkett had not left the country. At the first notice of the storm he withdrew, according to the apostolic example, to a retired situation, where he remained concealed, more in hope of martyrdom than in fear of apprehension.

The prelate had never relaxed in his duties towards his flock, and he continued to fulfil those duties now with equal vigilance. One of the most important functions of a chief shepherd is to oversee the conduct of those who govern the flock of Christ under him. There was a Judas in the college of the Apostles, and many Judases have been found since then. The Archbishop had been obliged to excommunicate two of his priests and two friars, who had been denounced by their superiors for their unworthy lives. The unhappy men resented the degradation, without repenting of the crimes which had brought it upon them. They were ready for perjury, for they had renounced truth; and the gratification of their malice was probably a far stronger motive than the bribe for the capture of a bishop. The holy prelate was seized on the 6th December, 1679. Even Ormonde wished to have spared him, so inoffensive and peaceful had been his life. He was arraigned at the Dundalk assizes; but although every man on the grand jury was a Protestant, from whom, at least, less partiality might be expected towards him than from members of his own Church, the perjured witnesses refused to come forward. Indeed, the prelate himself had such confidence in his innocence, and in the honorable dealing of his Protestant fellow-countrymen, when their better judgment was not bewildered by fanaticism, that he declared in London he would put himself on trial in Ireland before any Protestant jury who knew him, and who knew the men who swore against him, without the slightest doubt of the result.

Jones, the Protestant Bishop of Meath, was, unfortunately for himself, influenced by fanaticism. He had served in Cromwell's army,[510] and had all that rancorous hatred of the Catholic Church so characteristic of the low class from whom the Puritan soldiery were drawn. He was determined that the Archbishop should be condemned; and as men could not be found to condemn him in Ireland, he induced Lord Shaftesbury to have him taken to London. The Archbishop was removed to Newgate, about the close of October, 1680, and so closely confined, that none of his friends could have access to him. He spent his time in prayer, and his gaolers were amazed at his cheerfulness and resignation. His trial took place on the 8th of June, 1681; but he was not allowed time to procure the necessary witnesses, and the court would not allow certain records to be put in, which would have proved the character of his accusers. Six of the most eminent English lawyers were arrayed against him. The legal arrangements of the times deprived him of the assistance of counsel, but they did not require the judges to help out the men who swore against him: this, however, they did do.

The prelate was condemned to die. The speech of the judge who pronounced sentence was not distinguished by any very special forensic acumen. Dr. Plunkett had been charged by the witnesses with political crimes; the judge sentenced[511] him for his religious convictions; and, by a process of reasoning not altogether peculiar to himself, insisted that his supposed treason was a necessary result of the faith he professed. The Archbishop suffered at Tyburn, on Friday, July 11, 1681. He went to his death rejoicing, as men go to a bridal. His dying declaration convinced his hearers of his innocence; and, perhaps, the deep regret for his martyrdom, which was felt by all but the wretches who had procured his doom, tended to still the wild storm of religious persecution, or, at least, to make men see that where conscience was dearer than life, conscientious convictions should be respected. It is at least certain, that his name was the last on the long roll of sufferers who had been executed at Tyburn for the faith. Blood was no longer exacted there as the price which men should pay for liberty of belief. It were well had that liberty been allowed by men to their fellow-men in after years, without fines or confiscations—without those social penalties, which, to a refined and sensitive mind, have in them the bitterness of death, without the consolations of martyrdom.


[498] Barbadoes.—Threnodia Hib. p. 287.

[499] Evidence.—In a work written expressly to excite feeling in England against the Irish, it is stated that they [the Irish] failed in the massacre.—See Cromwellian Settlement, p. 5, for further evidence.

[500] Tory.—Cromwellian Settlement, p. 150.

[501] No wolves—Declaration printed at Cork, 1650.

[502] Dr. Burgat.—Brevis Relatio. Presented to the Sacred Congregation in 1667. Dr. Moran's little work, Persecution of the Irish Catholics, gives ample details on this subject; and every statement is carefully verified, and the authority given for it.

[503] Circumstances.—Lord Roche and his daughters were compelled to go on foot to Connaught, and his property was divided amongst the English soldiers. His wife, the Viscountess Roche, was hanged without a shadow of evidence that she had committed the crime of which she was accused. Alderman Roche's daughters had nothing to live on but their own earnings by washing and needlework; and Mr. Luttrell, the last case mentioned above, was allowed as a favour to occupy his own stables while preparing to transplant.

[504] Drove out.—Carte's Ormonde, vol ii. p. 398.

[505] Accounts—Carte's Ormonde, vol. ii. pp. 398, 399. He considers all "bounties" to him as mere acts of justice.

[506] Trial.—Chief Justice Nugent, afterwards Lord Riverston, in a letter, dated Dublin, June 23rd, 1686, and preserved in the State Paper Office, London, says: "There are 5,000 in this kingdom who were never outlawed."

[507] Cheated.—Books were found in the office of the surveyor for the county Tipperary alone, in which only 50,000 acres were returned as unprofitable, and the adventurers had returned 245,207.—Carte's Ormonde, vol. ii. p. 307. "These soldiers," says Carte, "were for the most part Anabaptists, Independents, and Levellers." Equal roguery was discovered in other places.

[508] Private.—For full information on this subject, see Carte's Ormonde, vol. ii. pp. 476-482. I will give one extract to verify the statement above. "The Duke of Ormonde had, in truth, difficulties enough to struggle with in the government of Ireland, to preserve that kingdom in peace, and yet to give those who wished to imbroil it no handle of exception to the measures he took for that end."—vol. ii. p. 477.

[509] Royalty.—D'Arcy M'Gee's History of Ireland, vol ii p. 560.

[510] Army.—Carte says "he was Scout-Master-General."—Ormonde, vol. ii. p. 473.

[511] Sentenced.—See Dr. Moran's Memoir of the Most Rev. Dr. Plunkett. This interesting work affords full details of the character of the witnesses, the nature of the trial, and the Bishop's saintly end.


Glimpses of Social Life in the Seventeenth Century—Literature and Literary Men—Keating—the Four Masters—Colgan—Ward—Usher—Ware— Lynch—Trade—Commerce depressed by the English—Fairs—Waterford Rugs—Exportation of Cattle forbidden—State of Trade in the Principal Towns—Population—Numbers employed in different Trades—Learned Professions—Physicians—Establishment of their College in Dublin—Shopkeepers—Booksellers—Coffee-houses—Clubs—Newspapers— Fashionable Churches—Post-houses and Post-offices established— Custom-house—Exchange—Amusements—Plays at the Castle—The First Theatre set up in Werburgh-street—Domestics Manners and Dress— Food-A Country Dinner Party in Ulster.

[A.D. 1600-1700.]

Notwithstanding the persecutions to which the Irish had been subjected for so many centuries, they preserved their love of literature, and the cultivated tastes for which the Celt has been distinguished in all ages. Indeed, if this taste had not existed, the people would have sunk into the most degraded barbarism; for education was absolutely forbidden, and the object of the governing powers seems to have been to reduce the nation, both intellectually and morally, as thoroughly as possible. In such times, and under such circumstances, it is not a little remarkable to find men devoting themselves to literature with all the zest of a freshman anticipating collegiate distinctions, while surrounded by difficulties which would certainly have dismayed, if they did not altogether crush, the intellects of the present age. I have already of the mass of untranslated national literature existing country and in continental libraries. These treasures of mental labour are by no means confined to one period of our history; but it could scarcely be expected that metaphysical studies or the fine arts could flourish at a period when men's minds were more occupied with the philosophy of war than with the science of Descartes, and were more inclined to patronize a new invention in the art of gunnery, than the chef d'oeuvre of a limner or sculptor. The Irish language was the general medium of conversation in this century. No amount of Acts of Parliament had been able to repress its use, and even the higher classes of English settlers appear to have adopted it by preference. Military proclamations were issued in this language;[512] or if the Saxon tongue were used, it was translated for the general benefit into the vernacular. During the Commonwealth, however, the English tongue made some way; and it is remarkable that the English-speaking Irish of the lower classes, in the present day, have preserved the idioms and the accentuation used about this period. Many of the expressions which provoke the mirth of the modern Englishman, and which he considers an evidence of the vulgarity of the uneducated Irish, may be found in the works of his countrymen, of which he is most justly proud.

The language of Cromwell's officers and men, from whom the Celt had such abundant opportunities of learning English, was (less the cant of Puritanism) the language of Shakspeare, of Raleigh, and of Spenser. The conservative tendencies of the Hibernian preserved the dialect intact, while causes, too numerous for present detail, so modified it across the Channel, that each succeeding century condemned as vulgarism what had been the highest fashion with their predecessors. Even as Homeric expressions lingered for centuries after the blind bard's obit had been on record, so the expressions of Chaucer, Spenser, and Shakspeare, may still be discovered in provincial dialects in many parts of the British Isles. I do not intend to quote Tate and Brady as models of versification and of syntax; but if the best poets of the age did not receive the commission to translate the Psalms into verse, it was a poor compliment to religion. We find the pronunciation of their rhymes corresponding with the very pronunciation which is now condemned as peculiarly Irish. Newton also rhymes way and sea, while one can scarcely read a page of Pope[513] without finding examples of pronunciation now supposed to be pure Hibernicism. In the Authorized Protestant version of the Bible, learn is used in the sense of to teach, precisely as it is used in Ireland at the present day: "If thy children shall keep my covenant and my testimonies that I shall learn them" and their use of the term forninst is undoubtedly derived from an English source, for we find it in Fairfax's Tasso.[514]

History and theology were the two great studies of the middle ages, and to these subjects we find the literati of Ireland directing special attention. The importance and value of Latin as a medium of literary intercommunication, had been perceived from an early period: hence that language was most frequently employed by Irish writers after it had become known in the country. It is unquestionably a national credit, that no amount of suffering, whether inflicted for religious or political opinions, deprived the Irish of historians.[515] Some of their works were certainly compiled under the most disadvantageous circumstances.

None of the writers whom we shall presently enumerate, worked for hope of gain, or from any other motive save that of the purest patriotism. Keating, whose merits are becoming more and more recognized since modern research has removed Celtic traditions from the region of fable to the tableland of possibility, wrote his History principally in the Galtee Mountains, where he had taken refuge from the vengeance of Carew,[516] Lord President of Munster. Although he had received a high education in the famous College of Salamanca, for the sake of his people he preferred suffering persecution, and, if God willed it, death, to the peaceful life of literary quiet which he might have enjoyed there. He wrote in his mother-tongue, although master of many languages; and in consequence of this choice his work remained in MS. for many years. When it came to light, those who were ignorant of the MS. materials of ancient Irish history, were pleased to suppose that he had invented a considerable portion, and supplied the remainder from the viva voce traditions of the country people. Unfortunately, he was not sufficiently master of the science of criticism to give the authorities which he had used so carefully, and to prove their value and authenticity. But truth has at length triumphed. Several of the works from which he has quoted have been discovered; and it has been shown that, wild as some of his legends may read in the garb in which he has given them, there is proof that important facts underlie the structure, though it has been somewhat overembellished by a redundant fancy.

Keating was also a poet. Many of his pieces are still well known and highly popular in Munster, and copies of nearly all of them are preserved by the Royal Irish Academy. One of his ballads has been "coaxed" into verse by D'Arcy M'Gee, in his Gallery of Irish Writers. It is entitled "Thoughts on Innisfail." I shall give one verse as a specimen, and as an illustration of the popular feelings of the time:

"And the mighty of Naas are mighty no more, Like the thunders that boomed 'mid the banners of yore; And the wrath-ripened fields, 'twas they who could reap them; Till they trusted the forsworn, no foe could defeat them."

The poet-priest must have died at an advanced age, though the precise date of his demise has not been ascertained. He has also left some religious works; and his "Shaft of Death" is well known and much admired both by divines and Celtic scholars.[517]

O'Sullivan Beare's history is too well known to require more than a passing mention. It was said that he wrote as fiercely as he fought. Archbishop Usher, with whom he had many a literary feud, appears to have been of this opinion; for, after having described O'Sullivan as an "egregious liar," he was so sensitive to any counter abuse he might receive in return, that he carefully cut out every disparaging epithet which the historian used from the copy of his reply, which at present lies, with Usher's other works, in the Library of Trinity College, Dublin.

The Four Masters are included amongst the Irish writers of this century, but I have already given ample details of their labours. The Acta Sanctorum of Colgan, and Ward's literary efforts in a foreign land for his country, are beyond all praise. Usher and Ware were also amongst the giants of these days; and, considering the state of political and religious excitement amongst which they lived and wrote, it is incomparably marvellous that they should not have dipped their pens still deeper into the gall of controversy and prejudice. Usher was one of the Hibernis ipsis Hiberniores, for his family came to Ireland with King John; but he admired and wrote Celtic history with the enthusiasm of a Celt, and he gathered materials for other men's work with patient industry, however he may have allowed party spirit to influence and warp his own judgment in their use. Usher was Ware's most ardent patron. Habits of indefatigable research did for him, in some degree, what natural genius has done for others. Nor was he slow to recognize or avail himself of native talent; and there can be no doubt, if he had lived a few years longer after his acquaintance with MacFirbis, that Irish literature would have benefited considerably by the united efforts of the man of power, who was devoted to learning, and the man of gifts, who had the abilities which neither position nor wealth can purchase. John Lynch, the Bishop of Killala, and the indefatigable and successful impugner of Cambrensis, was another literary luminary of the age. His career is a fair sample of the extraordinary difficulties experienced by the Irish in their attempts to cultivate intellectual pursuits, and of their undaunted courage in attaining their end. Usher has himself recorded his visit to Galway, where found Lynch, then a mere youth, teaching a school of humanity (A.D. 1622). "We had proofe," he says, "during our continuance in that citie, how his schollars profitted under him, by the verses and orations which they brought us."[518] Usher then relates how he seriously advised the young schoolmaster to conform to the popular religion; but, as Lynch declined to comply with his wishes, he was bound over, under sureties of L400 sterling, to "forbear teaching." The tree of knowledge was, in truth, forbidden fruit, and guarded sedulously by the fiery sword of the law. I cannot do more than name a few of the other distinguished men of this century. There was Florence Conry, Archbishop of Tuam, and founder of the Irish College of Louvain. He was one of the first to suggest and to carry out the idea of supplying Irish youth with the means of education on the Continent, which they were denied at home. It is a fact, unexampled in the history of nations, that a whole race should have been thus denied the means of acquiring even the elements of learning, and equally unexampled is the zeal with which the nation sought to procure abroad the advantages from which they were so cruelly debarred at home. At Louvain some of the most distinguished Irish scholars were educated. An Irish press was established within its halls, which was kept constantly employed, and whence proceeded some of the most valuable works of the age, as well as a scarcely less important literature for the people, in the form of short treatises on religion or history. Colleges were also established at Douay, Lisle, Antwerp, Tournay, and St. Omers, principally through the exertions of Christopher Cusack, a learned priest of the diocese of Meath. Cardinal Ximenes founded an Irish College at Lisbon, and Cardinal Henriquez founded a similar establishment at Evora. It is a remarkable evidence of the value which has always been set on learning by the Catholic Church, that even in times of persecution, when literary culture demanded such sacrifices, she would not admit uneducated persons to the priesthood. The position which the proscribed Catholic priesthood held in Ireland at this period, compared with that which the favoured clergy of the Established Church held in England, is curious and significant. Macaulay says of the latter: "A young levite—such was the phrase then in use—might be had for his board, a small garret, and ten pounds a year; and might not only perform his own professional functions, but might also save the expenses of a gardener or a groom. Sometimes the reverend man nailed up the apricots, and sometimes he curried the coach-horses. He cast up the farrier's bills. He walked ten miles with a message or a parcel. He was permitted to dine with the family, but he was expected to content himself with the plainest fare—till he was summoned to return thanks for the repast, from a great part of which he had been excluded."[519]

In Ireland there were few learned men in the Established Church, and even Usher seems to have been painfully indifferent to the necessity of superior education, as well as regular ordination, for his clergy. In 1623 Dr. Blair was invited to Ireland by Lord Clannaboy, to take the living of Bangor, vacated by the death of the Rev. John Gibson, "sence Reformacione from Popary the first Deane of Down." Dr. Blair objected both to episcopal government and to use the English Liturgy; yet he "procured a free and safe entry to the holy ministry," which, according to his own account, was accomplished thus. His patron, Lord Clannaboy, informed "the Bishop Echlin how opposite I was to episcopacy and their liturgy, and had the influence to procure my admission on easy and honorable terms." At his interview with the Bishop, it was arranged that Dr. Blair was to receive ordination from Mr. Cunningham and the neighbouring clergy, and the Bishop was "to come in among them in no other relation than a presbyter." These are the Bishop's own words; and his reason for ordaining at all was: "I must ordain you, else neither I nor you can answer the law nor brook the land." In 1627 Blair had an interview with Archbishop Usher, and he says "they were not so far from agreeing as he feared." "He admitted that all those things [episcopacy and a form of prayer] ought to have been removed, but the constitution and laws of the place and time would not permit that to be done." A few years later Mr. John Livingstone thus relates his experience on similar subjects. He had been appointed also by Lord Clannaboy to the parish of Killinchy; and, "because it was needful that he should be ordained to the ministry, and the Bishop of Down, in whose diocese Killinchy was, being a corrupt and timorous man, and would require some engagement, therefore my Lord Clannaboy sent some with me, and wrote to Mr. Andrew Knox, Bishop of Raphoe, who told me he knew my errand, and that I came to him because I had scruples against episcopacy and ceremonies, according as Mr. Josiah Welsh and some others had done before; and that he thought his old age was prolonged for little other purpose than to perform such ceremonies." It was then arranged that he should be ordained as Dr. Blair and others had been. The Bishop gave him the book of ordination, and said, "though he durst not answer it to the State," that he might draw a line over anything he did not approve of, and that it should not be read. "But," concludes Mr. Livingstone, "I found that it had been so marked by some others before, that I needed not mark anything; so the Lord was pleased to carry that business far beyond anything that I have thought, or almost ever desired."[520]

Such facts as these were well known to the people; and we can scarcely be surprised that they increased their reverence for the old clergy, who made such sacrifices for the attainment of the learning necessary for their ministry, and who could not minister, even if they would, without having received the office and authority of a priest by the sacrament of orders.

But literary efforts in Ireland were not confined to the clergy; O'Flaherty and MacFirbis devoted themselves with equal zeal to the dissemination and preservation of knowledge; and we envy not the man who can read without emotion the gentle complaint of the former, in his Ogygia: "I live a banished man within the bounds of my native soil—a spectator of others enriched by my birthright." And again: "The Lord hath wonderfully recalled the royal heir to his kingdom, with the applause of all good men; but He hath not found me worthy to be restored to the kingdom of my cottage. Against Thee, O Lord, have I sinned: may the Lord be blessed for ever!"

The customs and dress of the upper classes in Ireland were probably much the same as those of a similar rank in England.[521] Commerce was so constantly restricted by English jealousy, that it had few opportunities of development. In a curious old poem, called the Libel of English Policie, the object of which was to impress on the English the necessity of keeping all trade and commerce in their own hands, we find Irish exports thus enumerated:—

"Hides and fish, salmon, hake, herring, Irish wool and linen cloth, falding And masternes good be her marchandie; Hertes, birds, and others of venerie, Skins of otter, squirrel and Irish hare, Of sheep, lambe, and fore is her chaffere, Felles of kids, and conies great plentie."

It will be observed that this list contains only the natural produce of the country; and had any attempt been made to introduce or encourage manufactures, some mention would have been made of them. The silver and gold mines of the country are alluded to further on, and the writer very sensibly observes, that if "we [the English] had the peace and good-will of the wild Irish, the metal might be worked to our advantage." In the sixteenth century the Irish sent raw and tanned hides, furs, and woollens to Antwerp,[522] taking in exchange sugar, spices, and mercery. The trade with France and Spain for wines was very considerable; fish was the commodity exchanged for this luxury; and even in 1553, Philip II. of Spain paid[523] L1,000 yearly—a large sum for that period—to obtain liberty for his subjects to fish upon the north coast of Ireland. Stafford, in speaking of the capture of Dunboy Castle, says that O'Sullivan made L500 a-year by the duties which were paid to him by foreign fishermen, "although the duties they paid were very little."[524]

Stanihurst has described a fair in Dublin, and another in Waterford, where he says the wares were "dog-cheap." These fairs continued for six days, and merchants came to them from Flanders and France, as well as from England. He gives the Waterford people the palm for commerce, declares they are "addicted to thieving," that they distil the best aqua vitae, and spin the choicest rugs in Ireland. A friend of his, who took a fancy to one of these "choice rugs," being "demurrant in London, and the weather, by reason of a hard hoar frost, being somewhat nipping, repaired to Paris Garden, clad in one of the Waterford rugs. The mastiffs had no sooner espied him, but deeming he had been a bear, would fain have baited him; and were it not that the dogs were partly muzzled and partly chained, he doubted not he should have been well tugged in this Irish rug."

After the plantation of Ulster, Irish commerce was allowed to flourish for a while; the revenue of the crown doubled; and statesmen should have been convinced that an unselfish policy was the best for both countries. But there will always be persons whose private interests clash with the public good, and who have influence enough to secure their own advantage at the expense of the multitude. Curiously enough, the temporary prosperity of Ireland was made a reason for forbidding the exports which had produced it. A declaration was issued by the English Government in 1637, which expressly states this, and places every possible bar to its continuance. The Cromwellian settlement, however, acted more effectually than any amount of prohibitions or Acts of Parliament, and trade was entirely ruined by it for a time. When it again revived, and live cattle began to be exported in quantities to England, the exportation was strictly forbidden. The Duke of Ormonde, who possessed immense tracts of land in Ireland, presented a petition, with his own hands, against the obnoxious measure, and cleverly concluded it with the very words used by Charles himself, in the declaration for the settlement of Ireland at the Restoration, trusting that his Majesty "would not suffer his good subjects to weep in one kingdom when they rejoiced in another." Charles, however, wanted money; so Ireland had to wait for justice. A vote, granting him L120,000, settled the matter; and though for a time cattle were smuggled into England, the Bill introduced after the great fire of London, which we have mentioned in the last chapter, settled the matter definitively. The Irish question eventually merged into an unseemly squabble about prerogative, but Charles was determined "never to kiss the block on which his father lost his head."[525] He overlooked the affront, and accepted the Bill, "nuisance" and all. One favour, however, was granted to the Irish; they were graciously permitted to send contributions of cattle to the distressed Londoners in the form of salted beef. The importation of mutton, lamb, butter, and cheese, were forbidden by subsequent Acts, and salted beef, mutton, and pork were not allowed to be exported from Ireland to England until the general dearth of 1757.

The commercial status of the principal Irish towns at this period (A.D. 1669), is thus given by Mr. Bonnell, the head collector of Irish customs in Dublin: "Comparing together the proceeds of the duties for the six years ending December, 1669, received from the several ports of Ireland, they may be thus ranked according to their worth respectively, expressed in whole numbers, without fractions, for more clearness of apprehension:——

"Rate. Ports. Proportion Rate. Ports Proportion per cent. per cent. 1 Dublin 40 { Drogheda 3 2 Cork 10 5 { Londonderry 3 { Waterford 7 { Carrickfergus 3 3 { Galway 7 { Ross 1 { Limerick 5 { Wexford 1 4 { Kinsale 5 6 { Dundalk 1 { Youghal 5 { Baltimore 1 { Sligo 1"

"Killybeg, Dungarvan, Donaghadee, Strangford, Coleraine, and Dingle, are mentioned as "under rate."

The linen trade had been encouraged, and, indeed, mainly established in Ireland, by the Duke of Ormonde. An English writer[526] says that 200,000 pounds of yarn were sent annually to Manchester, a supply which seemed immense in that age; and yet, in the present day, would hardly keep the hands employed for forty-eight hours. A political economist of the age gives the "unsettledness of the country" as the first of a series of reasons why trade did not flourish in Ireland, and, amongst other remedies, suggests sumptuary laws and a tax upon celibacy, the latter to weigh quite equally on each sex.[527] Sir William Petty does not mention the trade but he does mention the enormous amount of tobacco[528] consumed by the natives. It is still a disputed question whether the so-called "Danes' pipes," of which I give an illustration, were made before the introduction of tobacco by Sir Walter Raleigh, or whether any other narcotizing indigenous plant may have been used. Until one, at least, of these pipes shall have been found in a position which will indicate that they must have been left there at an earlier period than the Elizabethan age, the presumption remains in favour of their modern use.

I shall now give some brief account of the domestic life of our ancestors 200 years ago, and of the general state of society, both in the upper and lower classes. Petty estimates the population of Ireland at 1,100,000, or 200,000 families. Of the latter he states that 160,000 have no fixed hearths; these, of course, were the very poorest class, who lived then, as now, in those mud hovels, which are the astonishment and reprobation of foreign tourists. There were 24,000 families who had "one chimney," and 16,000 who had more than one. The average number appears to be four. Dublin Castle had 125, and the Earl of Heath's house, twenty-seven. There were, however, 164 houses in Dublin which had more than ten.

Rearing and tending cattle was the principal employment of the people, as, indeed, it always has been. There were, he estimates, 150,000 employed in this way, and 100,000 in agriculture. "Tailors and their wives" are the next highest figure—45,000. Smiths and apprentices, shoemakers and apprentices, are given at the same figure—22,500. Millers and their wives only numbered 1,000, and the fishery trade the same. The woolworkers and their wives, 30,000; but the number of alehouse-keepers is almost incredible. In Dublin, where there were only 4,000 families, there was, at one time, 1,180 alehouses and ninety-one public brewhouses. The proportion was equally great throughout the country; and if we may judge from the Table of Exports from Belfast before-mentioned, the manufacture was principally for home consumption, as the returns only mention three barrels of beer to Scotland, 124 ditto to the Colonies, 147 to France and Flanders, nineteen to Holland, and forty-five to Spain and the Mediterranean. There are considerable imports of brandy and wines, but no imports of beer. We find, however, that "Chester ale" was appreciated by the faculty as a medicament, for Sir Patrick Dun, who was physician to the army during the wars of 1688, sent two dozen bottles of Chester ale, as part of his prescription, to General Ginkles, Secretary-at-War, in the camp at Connaught, in 1691. He added two dozen of the best claret, and at the same time sent a "lesser box," in which there was a dozen and a-half potted chickens in an earthen pot, and in another pot "foure green geese." "This," writes the doctor, "is the physic I advise you to take; I hope it will not be nauseous or disagreeable to your stomach-a little of it upon a march."[529] It is to be supposed such prescriptions did not diminish the doctor's fame, and that they were appreciated as they deserved.

A century previous (A.D. 1566), Thomas Smyth seems to have been the principal, if not the only English practitioner in Dublin; and although he sold his drugs with his advice, his business did not pay. However, Thomas was "consoled" and "comforted," and "induced to remain in the country," by the united persuasions of the Lord Deputy, the Counsellors of State, and the whole army. The consolation was administered in the form of a concordat, dated April 25th, 1566, by which an annual stipend was settled on him, the whole army agreeing to give him one day's pay, and every Counsellor of State twenty shillings, "by reason of his long contynuance here, and his often and chardgeable provision of druggs and other apothecarie wares, which have, from tyme to tyme, layen and remained in manner for the most part unuttered; for the greater part of this contray folke ar wonted to use the mynisterie of their leeches and such lyke, and neglecting the apothecarie's science, the said Thomas thereby hath been greatly hyndered, and in manner enforced to abandon that his faculty."[530] It was only natural that the English settler should distrust the leeche who gathered his medicines on the hillside by moonlight, "who invoked the fairies and consulted witches;" and it was equally natural that the native should distrust the Saxon, who could kill or cure with those magical little powders and pills, so suspiciously small, so entirely unlike the traditionary medicants of the country. In a list still preserved of the medicines supplied for the use of Cromwell's army, we may judge of the "medicants" used in the seventeenth century. They must have been very agreeable, for the allowance of sugar, powder and loaf, of "candie," white and brown, of sweet almonds and almond cakes, preponderates wonderfully over the "rubarcke, sarsaparill, and aloes."[531] Mr. Richard Chatham was Apothecary-General, and had his drugs duty free by an order, dated at "ye new Customs' House, Dublin, ye 24th of June, 1659."

Dr. William Bedell was the first who suggested the foundation of a College of Physicians. On the 15th of April, 1628, he wrote to Usher thus: "I suppose it hath been an error all this while to neglect the faculties of law and physic, and attend only to the ordering of one poor college of divines." In 1637 a Regius Professor of Physic was nominated. In 1654 Dr. John Stearne was appointed President of Trinity Hall, which was at this time set apart "for the sole and proper use of physicians;" and, in 1667, the physicians received their first charter from Charles II. The new corporation obtained the title of "The President and College of Physicians." It consisted of fourteen Fellows, including the President, Dr. Stearne. Stearne was a grand-nephew of Archbishop Usher, and was born in his house at Ardbraccan, county Meath. He was a man of profound learning; and although he appears to have been more devoted to scholastic studies than to physic, the medical profession in Ireland may well claim him as an ornament and a benefactor to their faculty. The College of Physicians was without a President from 1657 until 1690, when Sir Patrick Dun was elected. The cause of this was the unfortunate illiberality of the Provost and Fellows of Trinity College, who refused to confirm the election of Dr. Crosby, simply because he was a Roman Catholic. In 1692 the College received a new charter and more extended privileges; and these, with certain Acts of Parliament, form its present constitution.

In medieval cities the castle was the centre round which the town extended itself. Dublin was no exception to this rule, and in this century we find High-street and Castle-street the fashionable resorts. The nobility came thither for society, the tradesmen for protection. Castle-street appears to have been the favourite haunt of the bookselling fraternity, and Eliphud Dobson (his name speaks for his religious views) was the most wealthy bookseller and publisher of his day. His house was called the Stationers' Arms, which flourished in the reign of James II. The Commonwealth was arbitrary in its requirements, and commanded that the printer (there was then only one) should submit any works he printed to the Clerk of the Council, to receive his imprimatur before publishing the same. The Williamites were equally tyrannical, for Malone was dismissed by them from the office of State Printer, and tried in the Queen's Bench, with John Dowling, in 1707, for publishing "A Manuall of Devout Prayers," for the use of Roman Catholics.[532]

There were also a great number of taverns and coffee-houses in this street; the most noted was the Rose Tavern, which stood nearly opposite to the present Castle steps. Swift alludes to this in the verses which he wrote on his own death, in 1731:—

"Suppose me dead; and then suppose A club assembled at the Rose."

Political clubs, lawyers' clubs, and benevolent clubs, all assembled here; and the Friendly Brothers of St. Patrick had their annual dinner at the Rose, at the primitive hour of four o'clock, annually, on the 17th of March, having first transacted business and heard a sermon at St. Patrick's.

The first Dublin newspaper was published in this century, by Robert Thornton, bookseller, at the sign of the Leather Bottle, in Skinner's-row, A.D. 1685. It consisted of a single leaf of small folio size, printed on both sides, and written in the form of a letter, each number being dated, and commencing with the word "sir." The fashionable church was St. Michael's in High-street. It is described, in 1630, as "in good reparacion; and although most of the parishioners were recusants, it was commonly full of Protestants, who resorted thither every Sunday to hear divine service and sermon." This church had been erected originally for Catholic worship. Meanwhile the priests were obliged to say Mass wherever they could best conceal themselves; and in the reign of James I. their services were solemnized in certain back rooms in the houses of Nicholas Quietrot, Carye, and the Widow O'Hagan, in High-street.[533] Amongst the fashionables who lived in this locality we find the Countess of Roscommon, Sir P. Wemys, Sir Thady Duff, and Mark Quin, the Lord Mayor of Dublin in 1667. Here, too, was established the first Dublin post-house, for which the nation appears to have been indebted indirectly to Shane O'Neill, of whose proceedings her Majesty Queen Elizabeth was anxious to be cognizant with as little delay as possible. In 1656, it having been found that the horses of the military, to whom postal communications had been confided previously, were "much wearied, and his Highness' affayres much prejudiced for want of a post-office to carry publique letters," Evan Vaughan was employed to arrange postal communications, and was made Deputy Postmaster. Major Swift was the Postmaster at Holyhead, and he was allowed L100 a-year for the maintenance of four boatmen, added to the packet boats, at the rate of 8d. per diem and 18s. per month for wages. Post-houses were established in the principal towns in Ireland about the year 1670, by means of which, for 8d. or 12d., letters could be conveyed, twice a week, to the "remotest parts of Ireland," and which afforded "the conveniency of keeping good correspondence."

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