« ForrigeFortsæt »
War, in its best regulated state, is a most tremendous evil. In Ireland its horrors were increased tenfold by the unbounded sway of all the vilest passions, that disgrace, degrade, and brutalize human nature.
Even under the semblance of treaties of peace, and at the festal board, the Irish were not unfrequently perfidiously butchered.*
*“ The Irish manuscript annals of this reign, (Elizabeth's) mention a very dishonourable transaction of Essex on his return to Ulster. It is here given in a literal translation from the Irish, with which the author was favoured by Mr. O'Connor. 6 Anno 1574. A solemn peace and concord was made between the earl of Essex and Felim O'Nial. However, at a feast wherein the earl entertained that chieftain, and at the exd of their good cheer, O'Nial with his wife were seized, their friends who attended were put to the sword before their faces. Felim, together with his wife and brother, were conveyed to Dublin, where they were cut up in quarters. This execution gave universal discontent and horror.
“ In like manner, these annals assure us, that a few years after, the Irish chieftains of the King's and Queen's county were invited by the English to a treaty of accoininodation. But when they arrived at the place of conference, they were instantly surrounded by troops, and all butchered on the spot.-Such relations would be more suspicious, if these annals in general expressed great virulence against the English and their government. But they do not appear to differ essentially from the printed histories, except in the minuteness with which they record the local transactions and adventures of the Irish: and sometimes they expressly condemn their countrymen, for their rebellions against their prince."322
Let it be observed, that both the above notes are derived by Leland from the Irish annals, and therefore may appear somewhat of a departure from my plan of relying almost altogether on English authority. But the reason assigned by the reverend author, cannot fail to justify the procedure. And moreover, the second fact is fully corroborated by captain Lee,'an English officer, in the service of Élizabeth, as may be seen, supra page 81.
512 Leland, II. 312.
Representation in parliament. Fraud, venality, and corruption of
the executive, legislature, and judiciary.
" Justice is lame, as well as blind among us;
• This is a wretched state Where all agree to spoil the public good,”— Idem. AMONG the grievances under which the Irish groaned for centuries, the frauds and corruption perpetrated in packing parliaments, held a most conspicuous place in fact, they might be said to be the source of a large portion of the great mass of the misery of that unfortunate country. Under a parliament correctly constituted, the voice of the nation would have had its due share of influence, and it would have been impossible to have passed those various laws enacted in that country, which outraged every principle of reason and justice, or to have prosecuted that system of depredation and slaughter of which the preceding pages furnish a faint outline. Under parliamentary sanction, acts of rapine and violence have been carried into undisturbed operation, which would probably have been defeated, had they come forward in the naked form of executive mandates.
Parliaments were rarely held in Ireland* but to answer some sinister purpose of the deputies-principally to attaint some of the nobility or gentry. The grand object of the Irish administration was to
> Oooos * From the twenty-ninth year of Elizabeth, anno 1587, to the fifteenth of Charles I. anno 1639, embracing a period of 52 years, there were but two Parliaments held in Ireland;-one in 1613, under James I.; and the other in 1634-5, under Charles I.323 Thus were the powers of the legislature wholly suspended, in one instance, for twenty-six, and in another for twenty-one years.
+“For to what end was the parliament holden by the lord Leonard Gray in 28 H. VIII. but to attaint the Giraldines, and to abolish the usurped authority of the pope ? “ To what purpose did Thoinas, earl of Sussex,
hold his first parliament in the 3d and 4th king Philip and queen Mary, but to settle Leix and Offaly in the crown?
« What was the principal cause that Sir Henry Sydney held a parliament in the 11th year of queen Elizabeth, but to extinguish the name of O'Neal, and entitle the crown to the greatest part of Ulster ?
“ And lastly, what was the chief motive of the last parliament holden by Sir
John Perrot, but the attainder of two great peers of
323 Mountmortes, II. 175.
have a majority in parliament, devoted to the support of their measures, and pliant tools and ministers of their will. In this wicked purpose, they were almost universally crowned with success.
No fraud was too base to be employed for the accomplishment of this object. Recourse was had to the most barefaced violations of the rights of election. To the different counties the deputies sent the names of persons of whose support they were assured, and whom they were desirous to have elected. And every means afforded by address, art, intrigue, or corruption was employed to insure them success. When these means failed, as in the counties they sometimes did, open violence was used. In aid of all these resources, when ne. cessary, new boroughs were created in shabby and contemptible hamlets, where government was certain of having its minions, (I was about to say, elected_but that would be a prostitution of the term,) smuggled into parliament, to oppress and depredate on the nation, thus mocked and deluded with a pretended representation.
I shall notice here only two parliaments, both convened under Elizabeth, as the fraudulent and corrupt practices employed in the elections for them, are more distinctly marked by the historians, than those in preceding cases. The first sat in 1560, during the administration of lord Sussex-the other in 1568, under sir Henry Sydney:
There were twenty counties subject to England in the former period. To only ten of these counties were writs issued, Dublin, Meath, Westmeath, Lowth, Kildare, Catherlow, Kilkenny, Waterford, Tipperary, and Wexford.* Cork, Kerry, Limerick, Cavan, Clare, Antrim, Ardee, Down, and King's and Queen's counties, containing probably half the entire population of the kingdom, at all events, far more than half of the Irish subjects of England, were wholly unrepresented, and of course disfranchised.
Besides the twenty representatives from the counties, there were fifty-six from those boroughs in which the royal authority predominated. The other boroughs shared the fate of disfranchisement in com: mon with the ten counties.
Here is a stupendous system of fraud, which every man, with a spark of honour or justice in his composition, however hostile to Ireland or Irishmen, must pronounce infamous. The disfranchisement of so large a portion of the nation would have warranted a general
this realm, the viscount Baltinglas, and the earl of Desmond, and for vesting of their lands and the lands of their adherents, in the actual possession of the crown P99324
** In the House of Commons, we find representatives summoned for ten counties only. The rest, which made up the number seventy: sis, were citizens and burgesses of those towns in which the royal authority was predominant. It is therefore little wonder, that, in spite of clamour and opposition, in a session of a few weeks, the whole ecclesiastical system of queen Mary was entirely reversed by a series of statutes, conformable to those already enacted in the English legislature."225
524 Davies, 309.
325 Leland, II. 272,
insurrection. The pleas for the revolution in 1688, bore no more comparison to this grievance, than the river Liffey to the German Ocean. Laws made by a parliament thus wickedly constituted, were not obligatory on the nation, and, under an independent judiciary, would bave been declared null and void.
This parliament was thus profligately packed for the purpose of establishing the protestant, and proscribing the catholic religion. The details of the act for this purpose, are reserved for the succeeding chapter.
In the elections for the parliament held in 1568, the most manifest injustice prevailed, though of a diferent character. To pass over minor enormities, and condense the subject into the narrowest compass possible, I confine myself to three species of flagrant fraud:
1. Many persons were returned for places not incorporated, and which of course had no right to representation ;
II. In several of the places entitled to send representatives, the sheriffs and mayors returned themselves.
III. A swarm of Englishmen were returned for places which some of them knew not, and of which none of them were residents, although residence was, by law, an essential requisite in a representative.
In consequence of these frauds, the administration had a considerable majority in the house of commons, who elected Mr. Stanihurst, recorder of Dublin, their speaker, although sir Christopher Barnwell, had a large majority of the votes of the real members, those who were duly elected. For a considerable time, the latter disputed the validity of the votes of the intruding impostors, which gave rise to the utmost disorder, and contests that would have better suited with a bear-garden than a parliament.* Hooker, one of the impudent intruders, has left on record a circumstantial account of the affair; and, as the leader of the usurpers, endeavours to attach the guilt of the dishonourable proceeding to the members duly returned. But it is impossible to
*“ And in this matter they showed themselves very forward, and so unquiet that it was more like a bear-baiting of disorderly persons, than a parliament of wise and grave men.
“ The next daie following, being Friday, the lower house met: and, contrary to the order of that house, and duty of that company, instead of unity, there began a disunion; and for concord, discord was received. For all, or the most part of the knights and burgesses of the English pale, especially they, who dwelled within the counties of Meath and Dublin, who, seeing a great number of Englishmen to have place in that house, began to except against that assembly as not good, nor warranted by law. Their avantparler was sir Christopher Barnwell, knight; whó being somewhat learned, his credit was so much the more, and by them thought meetest and worthy to have been the speaker of that house: and he, being the spokesman, aileged three special causes, why he and his complices would not yield their consents. “ The first was, because that there were certain burgesses return
326 Hooker, apud Hollinshed, VI. 344.
read even his account, varnished as it is with false glosses, without being satisfied that the crime rested on him and his accomplices. As well might a band of ruffians or burglars, forcing themselves into a man's house, with a view to robbery or murder, charge the owner, who endeavoured to save himself, his family and property, with the crime of the affray, if bloodshed ensued, and with all its consequences, as a riotous rabble of strangers, who, in violation not merely of hopour and justice, but of the express law of the land,* had polluted the sanctuary of legislation by a forcible entry, could make the legal representatives of the nation responsible for their crime.
The proceedings of the legislature being impeded by these violent contests, it was agreed to refer the matter in dispute to the judges. This afforded but a miserable chance of redress for the Irish nation, as these functionaries were removable at the pleasure of the crown, and of course subservient to its views. However, the profligacy of the proceedings was fully established ; for the judges, biassed as they were, admitted the existence of the three enormo'ls frauds alleged by
ed for sundry towns which were not corporate, and had no voice in the parliament.
“The second was, that certain sheriffs, and certain mayors of towns corporate, had returned themselves.
- The third and chiefest was, that a number of Englishmen were returned to be burgesses of such towns and corporations as which some of them never knew, and none at all were residing and duel-. ling in the same, according as by the law is required."9337
Extract from an act passed anno 1541, the 23d of Henry VIII
“ Provided, and be it enacted by the authority of this present parliament, that from henceforth everie knight, citizen, and burgess, for everie parliament hereafter within this realm of Ireland to be summoned, appointed, or holden, shall be resident and dwelling within the counties, cities, and townes, chosen and elected by the greater number of the inhabitants of the said counties, cities, and townes, being present at the said election, by virtue of the king's writs for that intent addressed, and also the said knights to be elected and chosen in manner and forme before rehearsed. And every electour of the said knights to dispend and have lands and tenements of estate of freehold within the said counties, at the least to the yearly value of fortie shillings over and above all charges; and every of the inhabitants aforesaid choosing or electing in any other manner than as before is mentioned, to forfeit an hundred shillings. And every sheriff or other officer returning any knight, citizen, or burgess, chosen or elected in any other maner than as is before expressed, to forfeit an hundred pounds to be had and recovered as before is specified. And every konight, citizen, and burgess taking upon him or them to be knight, citizen, or burgess and not chosen nor elected in manner and forme as is before mentioned, to forfeit an hundred pounds, to be forfeited, recovered and taken in manner and forme before rehearsed."928
327 Hollinshed, VI. 342.
328 Statutes, 159.