« ForrigeFortsæt »
upon making an acknowledgment that they intended not to resist any just prerogative of the crown. This forced submission of the imperious queen to the rights of her Irish subjects, was probably wrung from her by the intelligence she had received of the intentions of the King of Spain to invade her kingdoms, in retaliation for her fomenting and supporting the insurrection of his rebellious subjects in the Netherlands. Applications also had been frequent and urgent from the Irish chieftains to the court of Rome, for succours to enable them to shake off the English yoke, and preserve their ancient religion.
The insurrection of Desmond was not yet subdued : and a band of private adventurers, partly Spanish, partly Italian, and partly Irish, who had instigated them to the enterprise, landed a body of about 600 men on the coast of Kerry: they brought with them ammunition and arms for 5000 men; and took possession of the fort of Smerwick, which the Spaniards had began to erect but left unfinished. They were not joined as they expected by the Irish: being overpowered by numbers they surrendered at discretion; and horrible to relate, every individual except the commander and his staff, after having laid down their arms, was massacred in cold blood. This military butchery was committed under the orders of Sir Walter Raleigh, who commanded the besieging force: it was attempted to be justified by the imperious circumstance of an inferiority of numbers on the side of victory; and the queen is reported to have strongly reprobated the measure, when informed of it. It was however followed up with as much encreased rancour and virulence against the queen, as if she had with her own hand signed the mandate for this bloody execution, after a solemn treaty upon oath, that the foreigners should be permitted to depart unmolested with all the honours of war.
Although the insurrection of Desmond were now nearly suppressed, yet such was the fatality of Ireland, that she was ever to be a stranger to the enjoyment of national peace and tranquil. lity ; for scarcely could the olive branch be distinguished through the turbulent atmosphere of blood and slaughter, ere she were again provoked by the excessive rigour of her governors into fresh outrages. The Baron of Lixnau openly appeared in arms and was quelled; he pleaded that he had been irritated into rebellion by the galling oppressions of Grey and his officers. In this instance the cry of grievance was not unattended to: policy created justice: Lord Grey was recalled, and a general amnesty offered to such of the rebels as would accept of it. The queen had been for once truly informed, that if her governor continued to tyrannise with such barbarity, little would be left in Ireland for her majesty to reign over, but ashes and carcases.
The dissatisfaction of the Irish at the attempts to force the reformed religion upon them, and the excommunication of Elizabeth by Pius the Fifth, afforded a popular pretext for any rising against the government: the queen however was resolved to profit of the first appearance of tranquillity to convene a parliament. Desmond had been found in a retired cabin and beheaded by a common soldier ; and Baltinglass had fled in de spair into Spain ; Sir John Perrot the deputy had by his activity brought the nation into a more general disposition to loyalty, than had been manifested at any time since the accession of Elizabeth to the throne. It was the pride of Sir John Perrot to diffuse a spirit of submission and conformity to the English government, laws, and customs amongst the native Irish. To this parliament were summoned all the Irish chiefs, and many of them attended : but being so differently constituted, government could not expect from it* the same ductility they had experienced from the last. No attempt was even made in support of the new religion. The first part of the business of the session was a motion from the court party for a suspension of Poyning's law, which was negatived by the opposite or country party ; these gentlemen, particularly from the experience of the late parliament, were hittle disposed to invest the governor with a power of assenting to any laws, which might be procured in parliament: not having been yet broken in to the systematic support of measures by anticipation, they brought with them a very strong, though natural, jealousy and suspicion, that admi. nistration meditated some scheme of oppressive and extraordi. nary taxation. In this spirit they also opposed some other of the transmitted bills : even that for the renewal of the ordinary subsidy of 13s. 4d. for every plough land. They most determinedly rejected a bill for vesting in the queen the lands of traitors without office or inquisition, or even to declare those traitors, who should rebelliously detain any of her castles. The minister of the crown finding the parliament in a disposition to maintain the rights of Ireland against all demands and instructions from England, prorogued it after a short session of contest and opposition.t The second session of this parliament was begun on the 26th of April, 1586, and with much difficulty was the bill for the attainder of Desmond passed. The grand object of this bill was the forfeiture of his vast possessions, which were then computed at 574,628 Irish acres.
In order to prevent this forfeiture, a feoffment from Desmond of all these lands previous to his treason was produced by one of the members, who was a Geraldine. The house was at first embarrassed,
The Annals of the Four Masters give the names of many of the Milesian families that attended this parliament, which was the first that extended beyond the pale. Vide Appendix, No. iX.
+ Two acts were only passed in this first session, viz. for the attainder of Lord Baltinglass, and reversing that of Lord Walter Delahyde.
and about to acquiesce in the validity of the instrument, when the original of an association was produced of a date prior to that of the fraudulent grant, to which the name of this Giraldine was subscribed, and which expressly avowed the defiance and opposition of it's members to the queen's government. * The bill then passed without further opposition for the attainder of Desmond and about 140 of his accomplices, and all their honours and estates were declared to be forfeited to the crown. This also gave occasion to another bill for annulling any such fraudulent conveyances in future. Some other bills of regula. tion were passed, particularly that for the impost and custom of wines, which had been thrown out in the former session.t From this time is to be dated the commencement of that unparalleled system of confiscation and depopulation, which being in its nature diametrically opposite from that of union pointedly marks the evils, which so long afflicted Ireland from the want of this salutary measure.
In order to extirpate the aboriginal owners of the soil, transpose the property and alter the very face of the country, Elizabeth now entered upon her favourite scheme of planting or repeopling Munster with an English colony. Letters were written to every county in England, to encourage younger brothers to become undertakers, or adventurers in Ireland. Estates were offered in fee at a small acreable rent of three. pence, and in some places two-pence, to commence at the end of three years; and one half only of these rents was to be demanded for the three following. Seven years were to be allowed to complete the plantation. The undertaker for 12000 acres was to plant eighty-six families on his estates ; those who engaged for less seigniories, were to provide in proportion. None of the native Irish were to be admitted among their tenantry. And amongst other advantages, they were assured that suffi. cient garrisons should be stationed on their frontiers, and commissioners appointed to decide their controversies. Sir Christopher Hatton, Sir Walter Raleigh, Sir Thomas Norris, Sir Warham Saintleger, Sir George Bourchier, and a number of other gentlemen of power and distinction received grants of different portions.
In Connaught another system was pursued, which tended proportionally to sharpen the rancour of the people against the government. The sheriffs and other officers of justice, who had been admitted by the burghers, followed the example of the
In order to shew the nature and grounds of this insurrection of Desmond, the form of the association is given in the Appendix, No. X. and also a letter from Desmond to Ormonde.
† As a proof of the humour of these times, they passed an act against witch. craft and sorcery.
lord president, and acted not only with rigour, but with imperiousness. They entered the several counties, attended with large bodies of armed men, pillaging the inhabitants, whom they affected to despise, terrifying them with their military train, and rendering the execution of the laws odious and oppressive : thus confirming and encreasing their aversion from a system accepted with reluctance.* Sir Richard Perrot severely reprobated the harsh and violent government of Bingham, urging several instances, in which the old inhabitants had been proyoked and forced into insurrection by injustice, rigour, and oppression. Bingham on the other hand urged the necessity of a strict and severe government in a disordered state, the restlessness and insincerity of the old natives, and the danger to be apprehended from the governor's present indulgence.t Whether in this (as in more recent instances) the system of mildness or that of rigour were ultimately more conducive to the welfare of the state, will ever be controverted by the respective advocates for moderation or terrorism. It must however be admitted on all hands, that submission produced by fear, is ever different from the obedience and fidelity, which spring out of affection and attachment.
It may not perhaps be altogether candid to lay to the account of Elizabeth every abuse of power by her deputy; the Irish however who smarted under the abuse, would not easily detach the vice of the agent from that of the principal. Sir William Fitzwilliam, the new deputy, is represented to have been
Sir John Davis tells us, p. 251, that to enure and acquaint the people of Munster and Connaught, with the English government againe (which had not been in use amongst them for the space of 200 years before) Sir Henrie Sydney had instituted two presidency courtes in those two provinces, placing Sir Edward Tritton in Connaught, and Sir John Perrot in Mounster ; (and p. 252:) Though he reduced all Connaught into counties, he never sent any justices of assize to visite that provence, but placed commissioners there, who governed it only in a course of discretion, part martial and part civil. Sir Richard Bingham presided in Connaught whilst Sir Richard Perrot was the lord deputy. Sir Richard Perrot considered the peace and welfare of Ireland, as the honour and advantage of England, and was desirous of extending the English ascendency by coalescing and uniting with the natives, and bringing their several interests into a common focus, by a mild though efficient government. Sir Richard Bingham was supported by the court in carrying on a government of rigour, cruelty, and oppression, and he ultimately succeeded in overturning the administration of Perrot.
† It has been too frequently the case in Ireland, that the governors, who have deserved the best of Ireland, have fallen victims to a spirit of intrigue in England, or rather to the English ascendency in the Irish cabinet. Perrot was recalled, accused and found guilty of treason, but died before judgment was executed upon him. Borlase says, the queen's anger being qualified, there were great hopes of his pardon. (P. 140.) His biographist says of him, Pacificavit Connaciam, relaxavit Mediam, Subjugavit Ultoniam, fregit Lage. niam, ligavit Mononiam, Extirpavit Scotos, refrenavit Anglos : 8 bis omnibus per&que vectigal acquivivit Regina.
interested and corrupt in the extreme: considering himself sent out to that government with a view to reward former services still unrequited, he assumed the government as a source of selfremuneration, and resolved to take every occasion of converting it to his own emolument. In search of imaginary treasures brought into the country by that part of the Spanish armada, which had been driven on the north western coast, he drove O'Rourke of Breffney* into open rebellion; and without any proof, or even presumption of guilt, he committed Sir Owen Mac Toole, and Sir John O'Dogherty to close confinement in the castle of Dublin : these two persons eminently respected within the pale, had rendered signal services to government, and were always known to have been well affected. Fitzwilliam chose to suspect them of having secreted Spanish treasure: and on that charge alone kept them confined without means of justifying themselves by any sort of trial. One was released on the point of death, brought on by the severity of his durance, and the other after two years imprisonment purchased his liberty for an enormous sum of money. This severe and arbitrary treatment of two persons universally revered, was received with universal abhorrence. The loyal Irish trembled for their own safety: many repented of their submissions: and the disaffected were confirmed in their inveteracy. And as if the secret fire of discontent and animosity were not sufficiently kindled in the northern province, Fitzwilliam by his intemperate conduct seemed to court every occasion of seeding the flame.
Mac Mahon, chief of the district called Monaghan, had surrendered his country, holden by Tanistry, to the queen, and had taken a regrant thereof from the crown to himself in tail male, with remainder in like manner to his brother Hugh. Having died without issue, Hugh petitioned to be admitted to his inheritance: but immediately upon his arrival in Dublin, he was committed to prison. Fitz-William went into Monaghan, where he received an accusation against Hugh, that two years before he had hostilely entered into a neighbouring district to recover some rent due to him by force of arms. In the unreformed parts of Ireland, these actions were common and unnoticed; but the English law made them treasonable. The unhappy Mac Mahon for an offence committed before the law, which made it capital, had been received in his country, was tried, condemned by a jury' (said to have been formed of private soldiers), and executed, in two days, to the utter consternation of his countrymen. His estate was distributed to Sir
After some hostilities he was obliged to flee to Sotland, where by the order of the king he was seized and delivered up to Elizabeth : he was afterwards hanged as a traitor in London.