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the offences themselves. * Of course, when criminals escaped, their namesakes, how innocent soever, underwent the penalty of their offences.
If any bishop or archbishop promoted an Irishman to the situation of a canon, or to any ecclesiastical situation whatever, he forfeited the whole amount of his living.t
“In all the Parliament-rolls which are extant from the fortieth year of Edward the Third, when the statutes of Kilkenny were enacted, till the reign of king Henry the Eighth, we find the degenerate and disobedient English called rebels, but the Irish which were not in the king's
peace, are called enemies."1114 "All these statutes speak of English rebels, and Irish enemies, as if the Irish had never been in the condition of subjects, but always out of the protection of the law, and were indeed in worse case than aliens of any foreign realm that was in amity with the crown of Eng. Land. For by divers heavy penal laws, the English were forbidden to marry, to foster, to make gossips with the Irish, or to have any trade or commerce in their markets or fairs : nay, there was a law made no longer since than the twenty-eighth year of Henry the Eighth, that the English should not marry with any person of Irish
Ooo.co * “Five persons of the best of every stirpe or nation of the Irishry, and in the countries that be not yet shire grounds, and till they be shire grounds, shall be bound to bring in, to be justified by law, all idle persons of their surname which shall be charged with any offence; or else satisfy, of their own proper goods, the hurts by them committed to the parties grieved ; and also yield to the queen's majesty, her heirs and successors, such fines, as by the lord deputy, governor or governors and council of this realm, shall be assessed for their offences."115
7“ Proclamation went foorth, that no méere frish borne should be made major, bailiffe, porter, officer, or minister in anie towne or place within the English dominions: nor that ani archbishop, abbat, prior, or anie other, being of the king's allegiance, upon forfeiture of all that he might forfeit, should advance anie that was méere Irish borne to the roome of a canon, or to have anie other ecclesiastical benefice that laie among the English subjects."'116
# The system adopted in Ireland secured neither the lives nor the property of the natives, nor the chastity of their wives or daughters. Their situation, as justly observed by sir John Davis, was incomparably worse than that of foreigners; for the life or property of a Frenchman, a Spaniard, or a Mussulman was adequately protected within the English pale. If any of them were robbed or murdered, the criminal would undergo the sentence of the law, and in the latter case would be hanged. But if any Englishman was robbed or pretended to be robbed by an Irishman, he might, as we have seen, without the interference of an officer, seize on the property of any innocent Irishman of the same sept: and, as above stated, the murder of an Irishman was not punished with death; it was redeemed by a fine.
114 Davies, 85.
115 Statutes, 229.
110 Hollinshed, VI. 257.
blood, though he had gotten a charter of denization, unless he had done both homage and fealty to the king in the Chancery, and were also bound by recognizance with sureties, to continue a loyal subject. Whereby it is manifest that such as had the government of Ireland, under the crown of England, did intend to make a perpetual separation and enmity between the English and the Irish, pretending, no doubt, that the English should in the end root out the Irish ; which the English not being able to do, caused a perpetual war* between the nations, which continued four hundred and odd years."117
“ The Irish had always been considered not as subjects, but as aliens, and even as enemies, out of the protection of the law; in consequence whereof, all marriages and alliances, and even commerce with them were prohibited, and they might be oppressed, spoiled, and killed by the English at pleasure, not being allowed to bring any action, NOR ANY INQUISITION LYING FOR THE MURDER OF AN IRISHMAN. This made it impracticable for them to exercise any commerce, or settle in any towns, but forced them to stand on their defence, to fly to the mountains, and there live in a barbarous manner.
The Irish code of laws was intended to lay the aboriginals prostrate at the feet of the English of the pale-and, I repeat, to expose them to the fierce operation of the worst passions of human nature, in the gratification of which they afforded uncontrolled sway to the invaders and their descendants. The latter, however, in their turn, drank to the dregs the bitter cup of proscription and desolation. Their descent afforded them no security against the ruthless violence of the Irish administrations and their hungry satellites. In fact, the Courcies, the Baltinglasses, the Fitzgeralds, the Butlers, &c. possessing more wealth, better cultivated lands, and more elegant habitations, than the Irish, afforded stronger temptation to rapine and violence, and therefore were more frequently their victims on a large scale. Though they were not subject to the operation of those wicked laws, they were the victims of the needy dependents on the government. There was this great difference between the fate of the two descriptions of people. The aboriginals laboured under a double hardship--they suffered from the rigorous exécution of wicked laws, and the violation of human and divine law. The descendants of the English invaders suffered under the latter grievance only, as will fully appear in the succeeding chapter. Most of the laws for the government of the Pale were as unexceptionable as could reasonably be expected from the barbarous era in which they were enacted.
But every feature of the code, as it regarded the Irish race, bore the strongest and most indelible marks of consummate weakness of head, and dire malignity of heart.
Such a system could not fail to produce deleterious conse
*" In a word, if the English would neither in peace govern them by the law, nor could in war root them out by the sword, must they not needs be pricks in their eyes, and thorns in their sides, till the world's end, and so the conquest never be brought to perfection."118
117 Davics, 86.
118 Carte, I. 13.
119 Davies, 91.
quences on society. Lawless tyranny, oppression, and spoliation, on the one hand, and on the other the most affecting scenes of distress and misery, were the necessary consequence. Any man of strong mind, who studied this code attentively, might, without any knowledge of the actual history of Ireland, form a tolerably accurate idea of the course of heart-rending events which that blood-stained history presents to view, to harrow up the feelings.*
"The oppression exercised with impunity in every particular district; the depredations every where committed among the inferior orders of the people, not by open enemies alone, but those who called themselves friends and protectors, and who justified their outrages by the plea of lawful authority; their avarice and cruelty, their plundering and massacres were still more ruinous than the defeat of an army, or the loss of a city!!! The wretched sufferers had neither power to repel, nor law to restrain or vindicate their injuries. In times of general commotion, laws the most wisely framed, and most equitably administered, are but of little moment. But now the very source of public justice was corrupted and poisoned."190
6 At a distance from the supreme seat of power, and with the advantage of being able to make such representations of the state of Ireland as they pleased, the English vicegerents acted with the less reserve. They were generally tempted to undertake the conduct of a disordered state, for the sake of private emolument, and their object was pursued without delicacy or integrity,t sometimes with inhuman violence."191
“ A set of needy and rapacious adventurers passing over from Britain, in a constant succession, made no scruple of enriching them
ooOOOO.. * That a bad government corrupts a nation is a truth attested by the whole course of history. The following picture displays in vivid colours the awful effects of the atrocious system pursued in Ireland.
“ This was then the present state of all Ireland, altogether devoured with robberies, murders, riots, treasons, ciuill and intestine warres, and few or none assured and faithfull to hir highnesse out of the English pale, and out of cities and townes: and yet the one being gentlemen and living by their lands, by continuall spoiles and robberies were decaied ; the other by the losse of their traffike, being merchants, impoverished, and brought to such extremities, as not able to relieue and mainteine themselves.'
+ The annexed description of one of these harpies, will serve, mutatis mutandis, for a large portion of the rulers of Ireland for above four centuries.
“ Furnival departed with the execration of all those, clergy and laity alike, whose lands he had ravaged, whose castles he had seized, whose fortunes had been impaired by his extortion and exactions, or who had shared in the distress arising from the debts he left undischarged."'123
120 Leland, I. 328.
121 Leland, II. 12.
selves by the most unjustifiable methods. There was not a native who could be secure from their rapacity."124
“ By the new adventurers, employed in the service of the crown, both were regarded indiscriminately as one people equally disaffected, and dangerous to the English interest. These men, who had raised large fortunes in Ireland, and frequently upon the ruin of the old natives, affected to be considered as the only loyal subjects of the realm ; and artfully contrived that even the most respectable of the old English families should be regarded by the crown with suspicion, and excluded from every office of trust and honour.
“ The true cause which for a long time fatally opposed the gradual coalition of the Irish and English race, under one form of government, was, that the great English settlers found it more for their immediate interest, that a free course should be left to their oppressions; that many of those whose lands they coveted should be considered as aliens; that they should be furnished for their petty wars by arbitrary exactions, and in their rapines and massacres be freed from the terrors of a rigidly impartial and severe tribunal."128
I presume that the preceding statements, with the motto prefixed to this chapter, fully justify the strong picture I have drawn of the deplorable state of Ireland, and its grievous sufferings.* It will scarcely be denied, that the government of the Turks, however oppressive and despotic, is beneficent and patriarchal towards the Greeks, compared with that of Ireland under the English deputies for three or four hundred years. A Turk is not allowed by law to plunder a Greek -nor to murder him on paying a fine. The Ottonian policy never excites hostility between different Greek chieftains for the purpose of
ogo * In a pathetic address framed by a convention of “the prelates, earls, barons and commons of the land," held at Kilkenny, and presented to Edward III. there is a long enumeration of the multiplied and vexatious grievances suffered by the inhabitants of the pale from the tyranny and injustice of their governors, the details of which would be too long to insert. Leland has condensed it as follows:
“Chietly, and with particular warmth and earnestuess, they represent to the king, that his English subjects of Ireland had been traduced and misrepresented to the throne, by those who had been sent from England to govern them; men who came into the kingdom without knowledge of its state, circumstances, or interest ; whose sole object was to repair their shattered fortunes ; too poor to support their state, much less to indulge their passions, until they had filled their coffers by extortion, to the great detriment and affliction of the people;
that, notwithstanding such misrepresentations, the English subjects of Ireland had ever adhered in loyalty and allegiance to the crown of England, had maintained the land for the king and his progenitors, served frequently both against the Irish and their foreign enemies, and mostly at their own charges."127
124 Crawford, I. 177. 126 Leland, 1. 267.
125 Leland, III. 101. 127 Leland, I. 358.
thinning the population, and despoiling the subject race of the fair inheritance of their fathers, as was almost uniformly the case from Henry II. to Elizabeth, inclusive. It is not high treason for a Turkish woman to nurse a Greek child-nor for a Greek woman to nurse a Turkish child. The Greeks are not liable to punishment for the crimes of their children. They suffer neither pains nor penalties in Turkey for their religion-nor are their priests banished from their native country for worshipping the Living God according to the dictates of their conscience. In one word, it would be in vain to search in the Moslem code, enacted for the government of the Greeks, any parallel with the odious features of the legislation of Ireland, for so many centuries of misery as the conquest entailed upon that island.
There can be no doubt that the cause of humanity would have gained immensely, had Henry II. exterminated the whole nation, men, women and children; provided he had peopled the island with an English colony, and imparted to them the benefit of English laws. The population, at the time of the invasion, was probably not more than 7 or 800,000, if so many. If extirpated, their sufferings would have been soon terminated. The English colonists and their descendants would have enjoyed a high degree of happiness and prosperity during the six hundred and fifty years which have since elapsed. Whereas, for the five hundred years between the descent of the English and the final subjugation of the country under William III, the average waste of human life could not have been less than 10,000, but say only 6,000 per annum-amounting on the whole to 3,000,000.* But the loss of life can only be regarded as a secondary consideration. The havoc that war makes of human beings bears no comparison with the havoc it makes of human happiness, particularly when it brings in its train the plague and famine; as it so frequently did in Ireland. But even independent of plague and famine, the sufferings of the survivors ordinarily far outweigh those of the wretches who fall a sacrifice to the horrors of war. I forbear for the present to touch on the misery and sufferings of the Irish peasantry during the whole of the last and the present century.
Subject to every species of oppression and outrage, that rampant injustice and unbridled licentiousness could inflict, the Irish presented repeated supplications to the crown of England, to be admitted to the benefit of the English laws, proffering due obedience to their monarch. To such a reasonable request, it would be difficult to conceive an objection. It promised an abundant harvest of solid advantages to the rulers and their subjects. The former would not only be spared the expense of numerous armies—but might derive very
* Sir William Petty calculates the destruction that took place in Ireland between 1641 and 1652, by war, famine, pestilence, and banishment, at above 600,000, of whom the banished were not more than 40,000. This goes far towards proving my statement to be within bounds.198
128 Petty, 311.