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serving the queen against the Scots, the wily barbarian covered his real design to maintain bis claim to Ulster by force. Lord Sussex was too clear-sighted to be deluded by the pretence, and began at once to put the northern borders of the pale in a state of defence. He issued a proclamation forbidding all military service under unauthorized persons, and commanding all so engaged to come in on an appointed day, under the penalty of treason. He also increased the pay of the soldiery on the northern border. He was, however, recalled into England, where more pressing services demanded his presence, and an English knight, Sir Nicholas Arnold, was sent over; but great complaints arising from his want of influence, and other causes, and the aspect of Irish affairs beginning to look alarming, it was thought advisable to send over Sir Henry Sidney, who had already been distinguished for his successful administration of Ireland. It was high time indeed to take the most active and wise precautions. Various disorders had broken out in every part of the country, and no common means of prudence and alertness were required to restore even the usual state of order. Among the precautions now taken, an English officer, with a strong garrison, was stationed in Derry, to curb the disaffection of O'Neale, whose intentions were not concealed. He felt resentment rather than alarm, and his pride was more roused than his confidence shaken, for he yet rested in ignorant reliance on the force he had about him, and the great deference he had received from friend and foe. It was at this period that his pride sustained a violent check from the earldom of Clancarthy being conferred on M‘Carthy More. He told the commissioners of the queen, " that though the queen were his sovereign lady, he never made peace with her but at her own seeking;” and that she had made a wise earl of M.Carthy More; but that he kept as good a man as he; he cared not for so mean a title as earl; his blood and power were better than the best, and therefore he would give way to none of them; his ancestors were kings of Ulster, that he had won Ulster by the sword, and would keep it by the sword.” On the report of Sidney, the queen sent over her vicechamberlain to confer with him on the best means for the suppression of a rebel so daring and incorrigible. They agreed that this service should be prepared for during the summer months, and carried into effect during the following winter.
Shane O'Neale, fully resolved on trying the fate of war, yet cautiously avoided all appearance of open rebellion. His plan was, however, artless to a degree not in our own times easily conceived; it was to provoke hostility by appearing in arms before fortified places; and he seems to have formed the notion that thus he need not be involved in war with the queen until he had first gained a victory.
This expedient was more dangerous than he imagined. After some mischievous irruptions upon the borders of the pale, and a feeble demonstration of force in an unsuccessful attempt on Dundalk, he marched and encamped near Derry, in the month of October, with two thousand five hundred foot, and three hundred horse. Without attacking the town, he aimed by every insolence to draw out the garrison. So far he was successful. Colonel Randolph issued forth at the head of three hundred foot and fifty horse, and a battle took
place, in which O'Neale was defeated and put to flight, leaving four hundred dead on the field. This victory was dearly purchased by the death of the brave Randolph. O'Neale had the assurance to complain: he remonstrated as an injured friend, against an attack which no direct hostility had provoked, and demanded a conference with Sidney, at Dundalk. The lord-deputy granted his desire; but before they could meet, an accidental circumstance gave a new turn to the mind of Shane O'Neale. By some unlucky accident, the powder magazine was blown up in Derry, and the provisions of the garrison, as well as their means of defence, being thus destroyed, the soldiers were obliged to embark for Dublin. The means of transport were at the time so defective, that one of the consequences of such a step was, that it became expedient to destroy the horses that they might not fall into the hands of the enemy. To avoid this disagreeable resource, Captain Harvey and his troop resolved to brave the dangers of a long and circuitous route through many hostile regions to Dublin. This they effected, and after being four days pursued by native parties through an enemy's country, they gained their destination without loss.
The accident which occasioned this retreat changed the purpose of O'Neale. A notion was circulated which Cox thus relates from Sullevan. “ Mr Sullevan," says Cox, “ makes a pleasant story of this, and tells us that St Columbkill, the founder and tutelar saint of Derry, was impatient at the profanation of his church and cell by the heretics, the one being made the repository of the ammunition, and the other being used for the Lutheran worship; and therefore, to be revenged on the English for this sacrilege, the saint assumed the shape of a wolf, and came out from an adjacent wood, and passing by a smith’s forge, he took his mouth full of red hot coals and ran with it to the magazine, and fiercely spit the fire into the room where the ammunition lay, and so set all on fire, and forced the heretics to seek new quarters!”
Shane O'Neale felt the advantage of being freed from the constraint of the garrison, and was perhaps as forcibly actuated by his superstition. He was expected in vain by Sidney, who waited for him six days at Dundalk.
O'Neale was at the same time strongly encouraged by the troubles which started up in other quarters, so as to draw away the attention and divide the forces of the deputy. It was reported that the earl of Desmond had taken the field with the intention of joining O'Neale: on further inquiry the report was found incorrect. Desmond was at war with the earl of Ormonde and other noblemen, and on the deputy's summons, attended on him in Dublin, and took his station with one hundred horse to protect the borders of the pale. The deputy was nevertheless compelled to march through Connaught and Munster, as O'Neale took occasion to invade the pale, in which he destroyed some castles. He next attacked Armagh, which was unprotected, and burned the church; he entered Fermanagh and expelled the M‘Guires, who had rejected his claim of sovereignty. Further, to place beyond doubt the nature of his designs, he again sent emissaries to Spain, at that time the hope of Irish insurgents. While engaged in these seemingly unequivocal proceedings, he not the less preserved the language
of fair purpose, and endeavoured to amuse Sidney with assurances of loyalty and invitations to meetings at which he never meant to attend.
Sidney, of course, could not be imposed upon by a game so flimsy. Politics had not at that time reached the high perfection which omits to take facts, conduct, and the known character of men into account. Sidney was on the watch, and with a full comprehension of the character of Shane, and of his real strength, was exerting his vigilance and sagacity to counteract him. While Shane imagined that he was amusing the deputy, he was simply imposing on himself. Sidney conciliated those whom the exactions and tyrannies of O'Neale had offended, restored those chiefs whom he had unjustly deprived, and re-assured those whom his menaces had terrified. He thus restored Calvagh O'Donell, lord of Tirconnel, and M-Guire, lord of Fermanagh. He received the free submission of O'Conor Don, and O'Conor Sligo, &c., and soon contrived to draw round O'Neale a strong circle of enemies. Shane O'Neale, in whose character desperation and pride outweighed prudence, became furious, and vented his ill temper so freely, that his followers presently began to desert; and in one way or other, between desertion and slaughter, his force became reduced to a mere handful of ineffective followers.
In this dreadful extremity, he consulted with his faithful secretary, Neale MacConor, on the prudence of presenting himself to the lorddeputy with a halter round his neck, and throwing himself on his mercy. To this proposal it was replied by MacConor, that it would be time enough to try so dangerous an experiment when no other resource should be left; and advised that he should first endeavour to gain the Scots to his aid. Shane was persuaded. He issued letters proposing a general rising of the Irish chiefs, and was immediately proclaimed a traitor, and a day set for his adherents to surrender under the same penalties.
Shane O'Neale then repaired to Claudeboy, where Alexander MacConell, whose brother he had slain, was encamped with six hundred Scots. To conciliate the favour of this chief, he liberated his brother Surley Buy, whom he had detained in captivity since the victory which he had gained over his countrymen. The Scots were not to be conciliated by favours which were too evidently the resource of desperation, and simply saw the occasion for revenge. They, however, received their victim with apparent welcome, and Shane was deluded with all the pomp and circumstance of a reception suited to his pretensions. He had with him his secretary Mac Conor, and his mistress, the wife of Calvagh O'Donell, and a few soldiers. At the feast which was prepared for their entertainment, all went smoothly for a while, until by degrees, as the usquebagh or wine went round, the conversation gradually stole into the language of boast and accusation, and as confidence grew firm, in the heat of mind more sore and delicate subjects were as if by accident introduced. At last, a nephew of MacConell accused Mac Conor of having been the author of a foul and calumnious report that his aunt, James Mac Conell's wife, had offered to marry Shane O'Neale, the slayer of her husband; the secretary replied that if his aunt had been queen of Scotland, there could be no disgrace in such a marriage. Shane himself, heated with wine, boastfully main
tained the assertion of his secretary. The dispute grew loud, clamorous, and reproachful, and the soldiers of Shane who were present, took an angry part in it, till all became a scene of uproar and wild confusion. From words they soon came to blows, and the Scots rushing in, Shane and his secretary were slain. They wrapped their victim in an old shirt, and cast him into a pit; but four days after, captain Pierce cut off his head and brought it to the lord-deputy, by whose command it was set up on a pole in Dublin.*
Thus ended the brief, turbulent, and troubled career of Shane O'Neale. The rebellion which forms the main subject of his history, occupies a very peculiar crisis in the history of Ireland. We have, however, endeavoured to avoid encumbering our narrative with the discussion into which it would lead. We shall, in our review of the history of the period, take up the subject at some length.
Gerald, Sixteenth Earl of Desmond.
DIED A. D. 1583.
GERALD, the sixteenth earl of Desmond, " was," as the letter of queen Elizabeth expresses it, “not brought up where law and justice had been frequented.” On his father's death, a violent controversy, which had to be determined by arms, arose between him and an elder halfbrother, Thomas, who, from the colour of his hair and complexion, was called “the red," and is spoken of under that name by the Irish annalists. Thomas was the son of earl James by his first wife, the daughter of lord Fermoy, from whom, soon after the birth of this son, he had procured a divorce on the pretence of too near a consanguinity. Thomas's claims to the earldom were supported by Thomas, lord Kerry, and by the distinguished branches of the Geraldine family, who bore, and whose descendants still bear, the romantic titles of the White Knight, and the Knight of the Vallies, or as it is now more frequently called, of the Glen. In spite of this formidable opposition, Gerald succeeded in establishing his claim—was styled and acknowledged earl of Desmond, and as such sat in the parliament held in Dublin, in January, 1559. Thomas, after his unsuccessful attempt, retired to Spain, where he died, leaving a son, whose fortunes we shall have to record in a later period of our history. The disputed claim to the earldom threw Gerald into the hands of his Irish foīlowers, and though his rights seem to have rested on grounds familiar to English law, yet the necessity of sustaining them by the aid of armed retainers compelled him to adopt the wild and lawless life of an Irish chieftain. The exigencies of a turbulent life forced him to impose exactions on his dependents and neighbours. This course of ruin is one that it is painful to relate, as it involves the destruction of the illustrious house which he represented. In his extravagant ambition, in his desperate defiance of the power of England, and in his traitorous intercourse with foreign states, he appears to have been inspired with a wild spirit
* Camden, Ware, Hooker, Cox.
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By on hostilities. The lands of Ormonde ...
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trordinarx document, amid much that is obseure, and much that in susceptible wore than one interpretation, contained passages that show decided, bokálány to Desmond. She tells Sidney to “make some difference betwixt tried and just, and false friends; let the good service of well-deserve. Wewer be rewarded with loss; let their thanks be such
may encouragee new strivers for the like; suffer not that Desmond's -ie decline Bar wide from promised words, make you trust for
pledge than either himself or John” [his brother, afterwards Sir Johan Desmond] " for gage. He hath so well performed his
VOW*, that I warn you trust him no longer than you see one i I pay God your old strange sheep, late as you say, returned
fobile wear not her wooly garment on her wolfy back.” Sidney, pears to have felt what was the duty of an arbitrator better En voyal mistress, when he saw how strongly she was affected