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corollary to this, be declared, that "his majesty not only might, but absolutely ought to dispose of the lands as he had done, in law, in conscience, and in honour,” although the transaction was a gross and palpable violation of “law, conscience, and honour." He gravely urged, that they had “no certain estates of inheritance," which, he says, “ is manifest by two arguments,” the cogency of which cannot fail to strike the reader with some force. The first is,
That “they never esteemed lawful matrimony, to the end they might have lawful heirs ;"
And the second,
That “they never did build any houses, nor plant orchards or gardens!!! nor take any care of their posterities!!!"
Who can read such miserable chicanery, without ineffable disgust at the impudence, and abhorrence of the fraud and imposture, which attempted to justify the spoliation of possessions, many of which had descended from father to son for perhaps five hundred or a thousand years, because the owners did not “ esteem lawful matrimony," nor
plant orchards or gardens, nor build any houses ?”' and this covered over with the holy mantle of " law, conscience, and honour ?"
Not satisfied with this reasoning, he undertook to prove, that the plantation was absolutely for the good of the natives; for that by this Agrarian hocus pocus, five hundred acres thenceforward would produce more than five thousand had previously done. It followed of course, that the man who was plundered of four thousand five hundred acres out of five thousand, was actually, according to this logic, if not a gainer, at least not a loser by the robbery!
He closes his discourse by asserting, that the transplantation of the natives was made “ more like a father, than like a lord or monarch.” In proof of this position, he displays great learning on the transplantation of nations by the Romans, the Spaniards, and the English themselves in former times; and states, that when the English Pale was first planted, the natives were so wholly expelled, that
“ Lastly, this transplantation of the natives is made by his majesty, rather like a father than like a lord or monarch! The Romans transplanted whole nations out of Germany into France; the Spaniards lately removed all the Moors out of Grenada into Barbary, without providing them any new seats there: when the English Pale was first planted, all the natives were clearly expelled, so as not one Irish family had so much as an acre of freehold in all the five counties of the Pale: and now, within these four years past, the Gråmes were removed from the borders of Scotland to this kingdom, and had not one foot of land allotted to them here; but these natives of Cavan have competent portions of land assigned to them, many of them in the same barony where they dwelt before: and such as are removed, are planted in the same county ; so as his majesty doth in this imitate the skilful husbandman, who doth remove his fruit trees, not with a purpose to extirpate and destroy them, but that they may bring better and sweeter fruit after the transplantation."397
397 Davies, 276,
"* not one Irish family had so much as an acre of freehold in all the five counties."* This argument ought to have removed all doubts from the minds of the Irish; as it proved that the English had, from time immemorial, a prescriptive right to seize their lands, and not leave them so much as 66 one acre of freehold,” if they judged proper; and, of course, that James I. proved himself “ a father,” when he refrained from availing himself of his rights to their full extent.
The whole of the argument, if such miserable quibbles and trash can be called argument is to be found in the preceding note. I have given it in extenso, to afford the reader a fair sample of the “ law, conscience, and honour," displayed towards the “savage Irish," during the millenium of forty years, when, according to Clarendon, “whatsoever their land, labour, or industry produced, was their own, being free from fear of having it taken from them by the king, on any pretence whatsoever.”+
Although the extreme fallacy of the logic of sir John Davies in this speech, are too plain and palpable to require refutation, yet there is one point so very barefaced that it ought not to be passed over without exposure. The statements here given of the Irish character, are diametrically opposite to, and utterly incompatible with, the very flattering picture he drew of them in another part of his work. In order to show the inconsistency and disregard of truth, which prevail even among the most respectable of the Old English writers on Ireland and Irishmen, I venture to repeat and place in contrast, two different statements of sir John, who, nevertheless, it must be acknowledged, was among the most candid of those writers for centuries. Sir John Daries
Sir John Davies. “ Civility can not possibly be planted “ In time of peace the Irish are more among them but by this mixed plantation fearfull to offend the law than the Eng. of civil men."398
lish or any other nation whatsoever."399 This is clearly assuming that they “ There is no people under the sun that were savage barbarians, who required doth love equal and indifferent justice to he dispossessed of their property better than the Irishmor will rest better to introduce civilization among them. satisfied with the execution thereof, al
though it be against themselves, provided they may have the protection and benefit of the law, when upon just,
cause they do desire it."400 On a calm comparison of these statements, it is impossible not to feel pity for sir John, if he was a man of honourable principles, to be obliged by his office of attorney-general, to palliate or justify the wicked proceedings of his rapacious monarch. It must have cost him a severe struggle. Nothing can more fully prove the extreme injustice of the procedure, than the miserable defence offered by a man of such splendid, talents.
* If this account be correct, it evinces how early the system of depredation on the Irish commenced to what a sweeping extent it was carried-and what cause the nation had to curse the lust of Dermod, king of Leinster, which led to the fatal invasion of Ireland.
+ Supra, page 48. 398 Davies, 281. 399 Idem, 201. 400 Idem, 213.
It is extraordinary that the Baotian dulness of the Irish rendered them incapable of comprehending the cogency of sir John Davies's reasoning: it was too elegant and refined for their uncultivated minds. The poor idiots could not conceive why they should be stripped of their estates, and expelled from house and home, because an anony. mous and absurd letter had been dropped in the Privy Council Chamber.
The lord deputy, however, had stronger, and far more irresistible arguments than sir John, to which they were forced to submit:
* The natives seemed not unsatisfied in reason, though they remained in their passions discontented, being much grieved to leave their possessions to strangers, which they had so long after their manner enjoyed; howbeit, MY LORD DEPUTY DID SO MIX THREATS WITH ENTREATY, PRECIBUSQUE MINAS REGALITER ADDIT, as they promised to give way to the undertakers, if the sheriff, by warrant of the commissioners, did put them in possession."401
He judiciously " mixed threats with entreaties, precibusque minas regaliter addit" that is, in the true polite Tyburn style, persuasion on the tongue, and the pistol in hand. Whatever difficulty there might be in yielding to the one, was removed by the application of the other. No mode of conviction is so powerful. Make a low bow, with entreaties, and add, threats, properly supported, in case of refusal. He must have been a most stubborn disputant, who could resist the conviction arising from the overwhelming arguments of the deputy, with an army at his command, the power of proclaiming martial law at pleasure, and the executioner ready to support his reasoning with a rope or an axe. Neither Demosthenes, Cicero, Burke, Pitt, nor Fox, could withstand such logic.
It were endless to recapitulate the odious features of this “ nificent project.”. With one more, I shall close the catalogue of ra. pine and oppression.
The adjustment of the rent, payable by the different descriptions of persons to whom these lands were allotted, affords a striking instance of gross partiality and injustice, and of an utter disregard of the forms of honesty. The undertakers, who had the choicest portions of the soil, were to pay to the crown a rent of six shillings and eightpence,
every sixty acres; the servitors, ten shillings; but the natives, plundered of their paternal estates, and reduced from the enviable condition of independent freeholders to that of tenants, were to pay thirteen shillings and four-pence.109 That is to say, the des. poiled owners of the soil were to pay exactly double the rent for inferior lands, which the despoilers paid for the superior: and, to add to the iniquity, the undertakers and servitors were to pay no rent till the third year, being rent-free for two years; whereas the natives were to pay the second year, being rent-free only one year.
401 Davies, 284.
402 Hibernica, 66.
The Egyptians spoiled once more. Regal rapine, in the King's and
Queen's counties, Leitrim, Longford, and Westmeath. Three hundred and eighty-five thousand acres forfeited, for the charitable purpose of civilizing the natives.
“ Not e'en the high anointing hand of heav'n
JAMES's predominating passion for plunder and plantation bad been tolerably satisfied with the spoliation of Ulster, where, by a princely exercise of “ law, honour, and conscience," he had involved in ruin, the once proud owners of princely estates, raised toʻrank and fortune
many of the lowest orders of society, and, in a word, changed the whole face of the country. He for a while rested from his labours: but the devouring lust of plunder and plantation returned; and, be- , ing too iinperiously craving to be resisted, he resolved to gratify it. Encouraged by the facility with which he had effected his spoliations in Ulster, he displayed himself, on this occasion, in the bold character of a public depredator, scorning disguise or artifice. It was thought unnecessary to hire letter-droppers, or false witnesses, to swear to plots or conspiracies. Without any of the tricks played off by his predecessors, or, in the province of Ulster, by himself, he plundered his subjects, in King's and Queen's counties, Leitrim, Longford, and Westmeath, of estates to the amount of three hundred and eightyfive thousand acres. Thus this miserable mona
narch, in a time of profound
peace, at two successive operations, seized about the twentieth part of the whole island; five hundred thousand acres in Ulster, and three hundred and eighty-five thousand in Leinster: and it is more than probable, that, had his inglorious career continued as long as that of some of his successors, he would have seized every acre of the island, belonging to the Roman Catholics; for, after his depredation in Leinster was completed, he was seriously occupied in preparations for the plantation of Connaught,* when death humanely rescued his Irish subjects from the merciless gripe of a canting, hypo
*“The project recommended to the king was nothing less than that of establishing an extensive plantation in Connaught, SIMILAR TO THAT OF ULSTER; and, in his rage for reformation, IT WAS MOST FA• VOURABLY RECEIVED.
403 Leland, II. 558.
critical oppressor, who had, throughout his reign, plundered them as “a father, not as a monarch," and, according to the sovereign dictates of " law, honour, and conscience,” reduced them to beggary here, for “the good of their souls” hereafter!
But, as it was only " spoiling the Egyptians,” it is passed over by Leland, Carte, and Hume, not merely as an innocent, but as a necessary measure; nay, it appears from their statements as entitled to applause.
Leland informs us, that those counties, “ by their situation and circumstances, required particular regulation." And what was the “ particular regulation," which they underwent? It was simply, that the rights of property, held sacred among the most barbarous nations, the Moors and Algerines, were basely invaded by a wretched monarch, fraudulently ranked among the civilizers and benefactors of mankind :
“Naturally strong, and difficult of access, they afforded, in the very heart of the island, a safe retreat and shelter to the old inhabitants, who were tenacious of their barbarous customs, nestling in their filthy cottages in winter, in summer wandering with their cattle over the desert mountains. Thro' these districts, the Irish insurgents had usually passed from Connaught or Ulster, to annoy the Pale. They had served for a passage to Tyrone and his forces into Munster, and a retreat in his inglorious flight from Kinsale. In time of peace, they were the safe receptacles of robbers, where they defied the minisiers of justice; and, surrounded with woods, bogs, and mountains, lived in a sort of independence, and contemptuous resistance to the law. “ To reduce these savages to order and subjection," (that is, reader, those savages, than whom, according to Sir John Davies and Edward Coke, NO PEOPLE UNDER THE SUN LOVED JUSTICE BETTER ; and who were MORE FEARFUL TO OFFEND THE LAW THAN THE ENGLish*] “ inquisitions were held to examine the king's title to the whole or any part of their lands. It was found, that some parts had been anciently possessed by English settlers, who, in the disorders of the kingdom, had been expelled by the old natives, and which were therefore vested in the crown, as lands of absentees; others appeared to have been forfeited by rebellion. So that James deemed himself entitled to make a distribution of THREE HUNDRED AND EIGHTY-FIVE THOUSAND ACŘES in these counties, to such proprietors, and in such proportions, as might promote the general welfare and security, the extension of commerce, and the civility of the natives. The large portions re-granted to the old inhabitants, on permanent tenures, reconciled many to this new scheme of plan
Language hardly affords terms of contempt and disgust, adequate to brand the writer, who can cant and wbine, in extenuation of such atrocious spoliation. If the natives “nestled in filthy cottages,” it proceeded from the oppression of the wretched government under which they groaned, and which, in the lapse of ages, scarcely ever adopted a single measure dictated by sound or magnanimous policy, or calculated to clain the respect or gratitude of its Irish subjects.
* Supra, page 167.
404 Leland, II. 539.