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perty, as the latter displayed towards the Irish.* And the rapine and depredation perpetrated on the Irish by the Anglo-Hibernians under the sanction of law, was retaliated on the latter by the English. From this view of the subject, it appears that there were two different species of oppression and misgovernment, existing in Ireland one, on the part of the English, operating on the Anglo-Hibernians, and the Irish; and the other, of the Anglo-Hibernians operating on the Irish-the latter, therefore, groaning under a double yoke-the Anglo-Hibernians under a single one.
The most usual means of accomplishing the nefarious purpose of y confiscating estates in Ireland, were
1. By implicating the nobility and gentry in some fictitious plotand citing them to appear before the deputies—if they appeared, seizing them, and trying them by martial law-or by a jury packed for the purpose, or acting under the dread of corporal or other punishment, if their verdict did not quadrate with the views of the government.t
2. If they did not appear, as often was the case, in consequence of the perfidy so frequently experienced by those who ventured to comply with the requisition, regarding their non-appearance as a confession of guilt, declaring them traitors, and overrunning and seizing their territories.
Recourse in both cases, was generally had to acts of attainder for the confiscation of the estates of the parties.
An act of attainder is a tremendous instrument of persecution and destruction. There are few conceivable cases, in which it can be used, without manifest injustice and oppression. As it is enacted by the highest authority in the state, there lies no appeal against its overwhelming operation, however atrociously wicked. The instances of its use in England are not very numerous, and rarely occurred, except in times of extreme turbulence and violence, when the voice of reason and justice was drowned in the clamour of faction, cruelty, prejudice, and persecution. Moreover, acts of attainder were passed there only by parliaments correctly constituted, according to the usual constitutional forms; whereas, in Ireland, when confiscation was the object in view, the most base, corrupt; and tyrannical measures were adopted to secure such a parliament as would meet the views of the government, however unjust, with the most obsequious complaisance.
** The late emigrants from England triumphed over the old race, as if they had all forfeited their privileges, and were consolidated with those Irish who had been reduced by their arms."164
+ In trials, in which the government was concerned, if the verdict did not please the deputies or presidents, it was by no means uncommon to fine and imprison the jurors, under a pretence, easily framed and difficult to be refuted, that they had given verdicts against the evidence. By these means, the advantages of jury trial, in crown cases, were almost wholly destroyed.
See case of Bourke, supra 75.
164 Leland, I. 354.
What a frightful view opens on the mind at the reflection of a packed parliament, collected together in a corrupt and profligate manner, consigning to death with a stroke of the pen, eighty or a hundred persons, without opportunity of defence--and a large portion of the members of this very parliament, sure to divide among them the spoils of the victims they immolated, and devoting to ruin and poverty their unoffending beirs!
Lord Strafford, guilty of a complicated series of injustice, tyranny, and oppression, in the administration of the government of Ireland of which in some cases a single act would outweigh the guilt of a score of persons who have expiated their crimes in penitentiaries, was attainted after a regular accusation preferred in due form by a committee of the House of Commons. He had a patient hearing by his peers, and made an elaborate and affecting defence, in which he forcibly appealed to the hearts of his auditors, and availed himself of all the resources of a powerful mind. However intrinsically just the sentence--however clearly established the oppression—the depredation on private property-the iniquitous sentences in the Star chamber—the ruinous fines imposed, not merely for trivial oftences, but for the honest and conscientious discharge of duty-in a word, the various malversations of which he was guilty-yet as there was great informality in the proceedings, which were destitute of the sanction of approred precedents, his condemnation and execution have been subjects of regret and censure with the great majority of the historians who have touched on the eventful period of the civil wars in England during the seventeenth century. There is scarcely a saint in the martyrology, whose fate has been more deplored by the most devoted votary of the religion for the profession of which he was immolated, than Strafford's has been by all the historians who have arrayed themselves under the banners of the monarchic or aristocratic principles. And there are even some of the whig writers who appear disposed to regard his death as a stain on the escutcheon of those, who, in 1640 and 1641, contended against inveterate regal usurpations-many of which had been submitted to without a murmur for centuries—and the enormity of which had been only recently placed in the full glare, of day by the increased light which the press had shed on royal duties and popular rights.
But these same writers pass over with the most frigid indifference the horrible attainders which imprint an inextinguishable stain on the legislation of Ireland, -and involved in destruction so many of the Irish and the Anglo-Hibernians, without a trial, without a hearing, without a defence, in three-fourths of the cases without a crime, and against all established precedents. There is not a sigh, not a lamentation, not a regret over the cruel fate of the sufferers-not a syllable of reproach against their oppressors I might without injustice say, their murderers! for many of these victims were as completely murdered as any of those who fell during the reign of terror under Danton or Robespierre. Were these historians narrating the slaughter of so many tigers, or leopards, or lynxes, they could not perform the duty with more stoical apathy.
See Chapter VI. devoted exclusively to this subject.
Yet there were more persons attainted by a single Irish statute of six pages, than are to be found in the British statutes during a century. There is now before me an act for the attainder of John Brown and others, which contains no less than one hundred and two names, including almost every person of considerable estate in the quarter of tlle country where Brown resided, whereby several hundred thousand acres of land were forfeited.* This act does not appear to have attracted the attention of a single writer of Irish history.
Acts of attainder were more frequent and sweeping against the Anglo-Hibernians, than against the Irish. This arose, as I have already stated,165 from their superior wealth. Had the deluded Anglo-Hibernians acted towards the Irish on principles of justice or equity-had they imparted to them the benefit of English laws, the two races would have coalesced together, and formed a solid phalanx which would have bid defiance to the machinations of the swarms of locusts who came over in the train of the deputies and presidents, and whose object, according to the affecting appeal to Pope John XXII. was "to repair their shattered fortunes.”
The extent of these depredations, and the temptations they held out to avarice and rapine, may be conceived from the fact, that of the estates of the great earl of Desmond, who
possessed the largest landed property of any nobleman in the English dominions, those who drove him to desperation, and finally hunted him to death, divided among them and their friends, no less than 259,000 acres.
On a calm view of the state of society during the time embraced in this portion of Irislr bistory, it will not appear extraordinary, that such awful scenes of rapine took place, in so deranged a situation of affairs—when those restraints on crime which wise laws afford, were almost wholly unknown--when the force of corrupt example and the inpunity experienced in the perpetration of this species of crime, tended to destroy all moral restraint-and when the temptations to peculation and oppression were so powerful, and the oppressed so defenceless. Indeed, these temptations were too great to be resisted, except by persons of the most sterling integrity and disinterestedness. And almost every page of history proves that characters of this
* This long enumeration is followed by a sweeping clause, which extends the attainder to “all others which by actual rebellion and other traitorous actions and practices have traitorously joined or combined themselves with the aforesaid offenders, or any of them, in their said rebellions or treasons, or have aided or assisted thein in any of their said rebellions or treasons, and have died or been slain in the same their actual rebellion or treasons, or have been by martial law executed for the same.??166 Now it is perfectly obvious that this opened a wide vortex to swallow up estates on a large scale. The estate of every inan who died during one of those rebellions was liable to be forfeited to the crown under this sweeping clause as the only evidence pecessary would be a deposition, and depositions, we well know, could be readily procured.
description are plants of rare growth. For one Aristides, or Phocion, or Socrates, there are a score Claudii, Verreses, and Bacops. And in the whole list of Irish deputies and presidents, from the invasion till the death of queen Elizabeth, there were but few who were not more or less criminal ; some as sanguinary as Domitian-Arthur Grey, and Mountjoy,
for instance-and others as corrupt as Verres; for example, Uffort, Furnival, and Tiptoft. The three who stand the fairest in history, are Sydney, Perrot, and Carew.-Yet we have seen that Sydney, in the affair of the cess, was an arrant and arrogant despot-And such was the tenor of his conduct throughout his whole career. He it was who paid the price of the blood of Shane O'Neil, to Piers, the Spy, who suborned the Scotch to murder the unfortunate prince. We shall find in the sixth chapter, that Perrot became a kidnapper, and planned the stupendous fraud of base coin, by which Elizabeth swindled the Irish out of 300,0001.-and that Carew has recorded of himself the felonious tricks of forgery and mail robbery.
Case of James, earl of Desmond. This nobleman administered the government of Ireland as lord deputy under Edward IV, with great credit. He was of a high aristoeratical spirit-and, when the king contemplated a marriage with lady Elizabeth Grey, endeavoured to dissuade him from it as a degradation to the regal dignity.* Even after the marriage, he was imprudent enough to speak disparagingly of the queen, and to reflect on the king for stooping so far beneath his rank in the choice of a partner.267 The king betrayed his advice to the queen; and further, Des
eos ** This earl, (says Campion,) followed the fortune of king Ed- ! ward IV. during the civil wars of the houses of York and Lancaster; and that author makes the cause of his untimely end, to be owing to his having advised the king not to marry sir John Grey's widow, who was killed at the first battle of St. Alban’s, which advice the king did not take; the earl, after this, came over to his government of Ireland, where he continued to rule with honour; but the king, sometime after, having a dispute with his queen, let fall those words, “ that if he had taken his cousin Desmond's advice, her pride would have been more humbled," which she seemed to take no notice of for the present; but, upon their reconciliation, she asked the king, what advice the earl of Desmond had given him which concerned her ? The king, imagining the earl was not in her power to do him any mischief, freely told her; upon which, she first made interest to procure Desmond's removal from the govement of Ireland, and had her favourite, the eart of Worcester, sent over in his room ; who, calling a parliament at Drogheda, (a place remote from the earl's estate or alliances,) he there attainted him, and had him executed to the no small astonishment of the whole nobility of Ireland. He adds, that the queen procured a warrant, under the privy seal, for his execution."168
187 Campion, 150.- Hollinshed, VI. 269.-Spencer, 109, 168 Smith's Cork, II. 28.
mond's free conversation respecting her, reached her cars. She first procured his disinissal ; and then bad Tiptoft, marquis of Wor. cester, appointed deputy, with instructions to scrutinize the conduct of his predecessor, in order to discover materials to sate her ven. geance. This was not difficult. Contraventions of obsolete statutes, were proved against him, probably by perjury, to which free recourse was had in those days, to accomplish the purposes of a predominant party. Who could withstand the power of the crown in such a distracted country as Ireland was at that period ? A compliant parliament was convened; a bill of attainder was readily passed; and Desmond paid the forfeit of his life and estate for his own imprudence and the queen's displeasure.
“Desmond, relying either on his innocence or his power, had the hardiness to repair to the chief governor to justify bis conduct; but to the astonishment and confusion of his party, was instantly brought to the scaffold and beheaded."169
“ The laws, on which he was condemned, had been neither uni. formly obeyed, nor strictly executed. If he had exacted coyne and livery, (which, by the way, is not at all urged against him in the act of attainder,) the imposition had been frequently practised without question or controul; and they who in this respect were more obnoxious, had not only been unimpeached, but enjoyed a considerable share of royal confidence and favour. If he had corresponded with the enemy, the interest of his government might have been pleaded for it; and the distresses and necessities of the state, superior to all written laws, might have forced him to make such concessions, as a malicious interpreter of dormant statutes might have easily construed into a treasonable support and assistance."?170
Case of Thomas, the sixth Earl of Desmond. Ralph Ufford, lord justice of Ireland, was corrupt, tyrannical, and tapacious. He married “a miserable woman,” according to Hollinshed, who incited him to “ bribery and extortion,”* whereby in a short time he amassed a large fortune. The immense estates of the earl of Desmond held out strong temptations for the gratification of his avarice and rapacity, and he very soon gained possession of them.
*“ This man was verie rigorous, and through persuasion, (it is said,) of his wife, he was more extreame and couetous than otherwise he would haue beene, a matter not to be forgetten. For if this ladie had beene as readie to mooue hir husband to have shewed himselfe gentle and mild in his gouvernment as she was bent to pricke him forward unto sharpe dealings and rigorous proceedings, she had beene now aswell reported of, as she is infamed by their pens
that haue registered the dooings of those times.' “ His ladie, verilie, as should appeare, was but a miserable woman, procuring him to extora tion and briberie."172
109 Leland, II. 67.
171 Hollinshed, VI. 255.
172 Idem, 256.