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Death of Bruce in the battle of Dundalk. 73 therein complained of, that the Irish might no longer have any excuse for their revolt. This advice was partly complied with, but war still continued to desolate the unhappy country. Another battle was fought between the English and Bruce at Dundalk, in which that titular monarch met his death, from which catastrophe the English cause derived great strength. This happened in 1318, but the advantages resulting from it were not so great as might have been expected. The country was exhausted by war and famine, the treasury was impoverished, and the population was thinned. The storm had partly subsided, but it had not wholly passed away, and to the evils already existing were added fresh ones by the notorious misrule and rapacity of those to whom power and authority were entrusted. Among other barbarous and nefarious practices which sprung up during that period, there was none which embraced a wider field for every species of oppression, of rapine, and of massacre, than that which was then called coigne and livery, but which has since been known by the name of free quarters, viz. the forced quartering of soldiers upon the inhabitants. Of this hateful system, especially with regard to its effects upon Ireland. Sir John Davis thus delivered his opinion, for it was still practised in his time: "In the time of King Edward II. Maurice Fitz-Thomas, of Desmond, being chief commander of the ariny against the Scots, began that wicked extortion of coygne and

7.4 The extortion of "coigne and livery."

livery and pay; that is, he and his army tooke horsemeate and mansmeate and money at their pleasure, without any ticket or any other satisfaction. And this was, after that time, the general fault of all the governours and commanders of the army in this lande. And by this it appeareth, why the extortion of coygne and livery is called in the old statutes of Ireland a damnable custome, and the imposing and taking thereof made high treason. And it is said in an ancient discourse Of the Decay of Ireland, that though it were first invented in hell, yet if it had been used and practised there, as it hath been in Ireland, it had long since destroyed the very kingdome of Beelzebub." And (p. 171), "But the most wicked and mischievous custome of all others was that of coygne and livery, often before mentioned; which consisted in taking of mansmeate, horsemeate, and money of all the inhabitants of the country, at the will and pleasure of the soldier, who, as the phrase of Scripture is, did eate up the people as it were bread, for that he had no other entertainment. This extortion was originally Irish, for they used to lay bonught upon their people, and never gave their soldiers any other pay. But when the English had learned it, they used it with more insolency, and made it more intollerable; for this oppression was not temporary, or limited either to place or time, but because there was every where a continuale warre either offensive or defensive, and every lord of a countrie, and

Death of Edward II.

75 everie marcher, made warre and peace at his pleasure, it became universal and perpetuale; and was indeed the most heavy oppression that ever was used in anie Christian or heathen kingdom."

No other event of any importance occurred during the remainder of Edward's reign. As a legislator, he did more for Ireland than any of his predecessors; and such was his confidence in their loyalty and fidelity, that it is said he intended to throw himself upon their allegiance during the pressure of his multiplied calamities in England.

76

Two parliaments assembled in 1327.

CHAP. IV.

Reign of Edward III.--Various legislative provisions-Cruelty of some of them-Reign of Richard II. and Henry IV.-Viceroyship of the Duke of Lancaster-Reigns of Henry V. and VI.-Popularity of the Duke of York as Lord · Lieutenant of Ireland-Reigns of Edward IV, V.Richard III. and Henry VII.-The imposture. of Simnel and Warbeck-Account of Poyning's

law.

THE reign of Edward III. furnishes the first definite and precise marks by which we are enabled to trace the progress of the British constitution; but though much was done for England, very little was done for Ireland. His whole reign, indeed, to use the words of a contemporary historian, "was an uninterrupted tissue of the defection and reduction, confiscation and relapse, punishment and revenge of different chieftains, both English and Irish." A few, however, the leading circumstances that distinguished this period shall be briefly enumerated.

In the year of his accession, 1327, two parliaments were assembled, one at Kilkenny, the other at Dublin, but nothing particular was effected; and in 1331 several ordinances were made in the

English parliament for the regulation of Ireland.

Impolicy of Edward.

77

In the same year, also a papal bull was issued to excommunicate the lawless Irish; but the Irish contemning this, replied to it by invading the county of Wexford. The king was advised by his parliament to go over to Ireland in person, and he accordingly issued commissions to raise forces, and victualled his ships ready to transport them. But the same parliament advised him then not to go, and he disbanded his troops, and remained at home; issuing, however, a commission to the Prior of the hospital of St. John's of Jerusalem, in Ireland, to treat with the captains of the rebels, and to grant them such terms as he might see fit. But the most memorable transaction of this reign was the king's imprudent revocation of all the grants that had been made, either by himself or his father, in favour of the Irish, which revocation spread universal discontent throughout the country. Such an effect did it produce, in fact, that, as Prynne says, "It was upon the point of being lost for ever out of the Kings of England's hands." To allay this ferment, Sir John Morris, the chief governor, summoned a parliament to meet at Dublin in the month of October; but the mayors of the king's city, and the better sort of the nobility and gentry of the land, had announced a more general parliament to be held at Kilkenny in the month of November. In this convention, for such it strictly was, they agreed and ordained, that lemn ambassadors should be sent with all speed to the King of England, to

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