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6. The shameless abuses and corruption, which prevailed in the election of members of parliament.
7. The system of intolerance fraudulently established by a corrupt and packed parliament under Elizabeth.
8. The state of the established church from the date of the act which ordained uniformity of worship till the close of that queen's reign.
9. Sketch of the Irish character.
Situation of various conquered countries. The' fate of Ireland more
calamitous and wretched than that of most other subjugated nations. A flagitious code of laws. Murder and robbery legalized by act of parliament. Despotic power of lords deputies. Martial law.
“ Every inconsiderable party, who, under pretence of loyalty, received the king's commission to repel the adversary in some particular district, became pestilent enemies to the inhabitants. Their properties, their lives, the chastity of their families, were all exposed to barbarians, who sought only to glut their bruta! passions, and by their horrible excesses, saith the annalist, purchased the curse of God and man."104
IN most cases of conquered nations, the subjugated people, after scenes of desolation and slaughter, generally become amalgamated with their conquerors, and partake of their laws and privileges or else the latter adopt those of the former. Thus the countries conquered by the Romans enjoyed the benefit of Roman laws. The various provinces from time to time conquered by the French were incorporated with the rest of the country, and either had the benefit of the general laws, or retained their own provincial customs.
When the Normans conquered England, the battle of Hastings terminated the havoc of the conquered nation. Great mutations of property took place, until the cravings of the conquerors were satisfied. They then ceased forever. The conquerors and the conquered were consolidated into one common mass, and formed but one people. In a hundred years all distinction between them was wholly lost.
Wales, too, when conquered by Edward I. after the vengeance of the ruthless conqueror was satisfied by the immolation of the bards, enjoyed as much prosperity as during her independence, perhaps more. There were no wars, no massacres, no rapines, no acts of attainder, no confiscations of millions of acres.
The conquest of China by the Tartars was similar in point of life and property—but wholly different as to laws, customs and manners, all of which were imparted by the conquered nation to the conquerors.
But to the ill-fated Irish such bappiness was unfortunately denied. The sordid and selfish views of the Irish administrations issued a mandate of proscription against them. Age succeeded age, and found a wretched system in constant operation, to prevent the amalgamation of the two nations into one, and to expose the unhappy natives as a constant incentive to the avarice and other baleful passions of
104 Leland, I. 331.
the invaders and their descendants, and a constant prey to their violence, without the shadow of the protection of law or justice. In fact, to the unbridled indulgence of those passions, which it has been the steady aim of all wise legislators to curb and control by strong penal sanctions, this vile code held out every encouragement.* It combined almost all the odious features, which have at any time disținguished the worst governments in the world. Its grand object-at! least its inevitable tendency-was to draw an eternal line of separa- tion between the two descriptions of inhabitants—the English and their descendants, and the native Irish, and to perpetuate a deadly, rancorous and interminable hostility between them. In consequence, Ireland, for nearly four hundred years, was a great human slaughter house, deluged with blood. Proofs of this state of things in the fourth chapter.
To the mass of my readers this hideous picture will appear a caricature, pourtrayed by a heated imagination. This is not wonderful.For that such a horrible system should have continued for centuries is truly incredible. And therefore I feel it incumbent on me to prove by testimony of the most indubitable character, that it is a fair repre. sentation of a system, which, for above five hundred years, blighted and blasted one of the fairest portions of the earth.
In order to establish these positions I shall in the first place give a sketch of a few of the most striking of the cruel laws enacted against the native Irish, and then detail the effects they produced.
The first law to be noticed is one whereby the murder of an Irishman was punishable only by a fine-whereas the murder of an Englishman was a capital offence. The flagrant injustice of this law, and its pernicious effects on society, are too plain and palpable to require comment.
Marriage or fosterage with the natives, or gossipred, which was a tie of uncommon force among the Irish, were by law declared high treason,-a law tending to render eternal the hostility, and spread wide the devastation and horrors of warfare, between the aboriginals and the English colonists,-a law, in a word, of the most baleful tendency.
Forfeiture of land was the penalty on an Englishman, using the Irish language, or Irish customs, unless security was given to renounce them.
* It held out encouragement to robbery and murder, as will appear in the succeeding pages, from a view of the odious code of laws established there.
7“ The murder of an Irishman was punishable only by a fine, a slight restraint on the rage of insolence and rapine; while the murder of an Englishman was a capital offence in the Irish native.":105
" It was enacted, that marriage, nurture of infants, and gossipred with the Irish, should be considered and punished as high treason!!!!"106 $"ff any man of English race shall use any Irish
105 Idem, 329.
106 Idem, 378.
Heavy penalties were enacted against such of the English as allowed Irishinen to graze their lands.*
The property of an Irishman about to depart the country, might be seized by an Englishman, who was entitled to one-half as a premium for the robbery.
An Englishman, who was robbed by an Irishman, might reprize himself on the whole sept to which the offender belonged. And if he falsely asserted he was robbed, by what means could he be convicted of the falsehood? This act legalized, and of course held out strong encouragement to a constant and systematic course of robbery and plunder.
Englishmen who claimed debts as due by Irishmen, might in corporate towns, without the aid of a magistrate, seize the property of the debtors if they came within the precincts. And there was nothing to prevent the seizure in the case of a pretended as well as of a real bona fide debt.$
By a law made in the reign of Edward IV. it was enacted, that any Englishman, meeting an Irishman
robbing, or going tò rob, or coming from robbing, unless he had an Englishman in his company, might kill him, and cut off his head, wiTHOUT TRIAL ;|| and, on bringing the
9000000cco language, or the Irish apparel, or any mode or custom of the Irish, the act provides that he shall forfeit lands and tenements, until he hath given security in the court of chancery, to conform in every particular to the English manners; or, if he have no lands, that he shall be imprisoned until the like security be given.”107
*" It was also made highly penal to the English, to permit their Irish neighbours to graze their lands, to present them to ecclesiastical benefices, or to receive them in monasteries or religious houses ; to entertain their bards, who perverted their imaginations by romantic tales, or their news tellers, who seduced them
by false reports.? t“ The person and goods of an Irishman, attempting to transport himself without license, might be seized by any subject, who was to receive one moiety of the goods for such service, the other to be forfeited to the king."109
“ If any Englishman be damnified by an Irishman not amesnable to law, he may reprize himself upon the whole sept or nation."110
" As to most of the corporate townes there, it is graunted by their charter, that they may, every man by himselfe, without an officer, (for that were more tolerable,) for any debt, distraine the goods of any Irish, being found within their liberty, or but passing thorough their townes."111
#“ It shall be lawful to all manner of men that find any thieves robbing, by day or by night, or going or coming to rob or steal, in or out, going or coming, having no faithful man of good name and fame in their company, in English apparel, upon any of the liege people of the king, to take and kill them, and TO CUT OFF THEIR HEADS,
107 Leland, 1. 378.
108 Idem, 379.
109 Idem, I. 9.
head to the portrief of the town, he was further authorized to levy « with his own hands," and those of his aiders in the murder, two pence for every plough land, one penny for every half plough land, as well as for every house and property worth forty shillings. This law did not merely legalize murder, but offered a premium for it; any Englishman might, at his pleasure, cut off the head of an Irishman, and declare that he was going to rob, or coming from robbipg: which assertions it was impossible to disprove; and a man, going to, or coming from, church, might be murdered, on pretence that he was going to rob, or coming from robbing. The murderer could then levy contributions on the barony, as a remuneration for the slaughter; and, considering the deadly hostility between the two nations, and the slight importance attached to the life of an Irishman, it is far from improbable that hundreds of them were thus decapitated; and that the business of chopping off heads was made as regular a trade, and as profitable a means of subsistence, as in some countries is the employment of shooting wolves or bears.
By another law, any man found within the Pale, with the beard on the upper lip, which was the Irish custom, might be seized, with his goods, as an Irish enemy, and ransomed as such.t
By another, five of the best men of every stirpe were obliged to deliver up all of their surname charged with offences, or to answer for
without any impeachment of our sovereign lord the king, his heirs, officers, or ministers, or of any others.
“ And it shall be lawful to the bringer of the said head, and his aiders to the same, for to distrain and levy by their own hands, of every man having one plough land in the barony where the said thief was so taken, two pence; and of every man having half a plough land, one penny; and of eyery man having one house, and goods to the value of forty shillings, one penny; and of every other cottier, having one house and smoke, one half penny."118
* The statute does not actually mention “ an Irishman”—but that such is its intent and purpose cannot be for a moment doubted; for otherwise why should the company of a man of good name in Eng. lish apparel, be sufficient to protect the real or supposed thief? But all doubt on the subject is removed by the fact, that the murder of an Englishman, or the descendant of an Englishman, as above stated, was a capital crime and of course this summary process of decapita tion would not be countenanced so far as regarded the inhabitants of
7* No manner of man, that will be taken for an Englishman, shall have no beard" (these two negatives are in the statute] " above his mouth ; that is to say, shall have no hair upon his upper lip; so that the said upper lip shall be once at least shaven every fortnight ; or of equal growth with the nether lip. And if any man be found among the English contrary hereunto, then it shall be lawful to every man to take them and their goods as Irish enemies, and to ransom them as such:"118
112 Statutes, 21.
113 Statutes, 5.