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continued scene of discord, warfare, and wretched
Every appearance of advantage was alternately taken by the English and the Irish to estend or to contract the Pale: and though success was various, ravage, desolation, and famine, invariably marked the progress of the conqueror. The most trifling differences and frivolous pretexts were greedily seized by the factious and irascible chieftains, whose passions more than interests kept their septs in continual war with each other. Proud of independence, inflated with self-consequence, they seldom agreed with their neighbours, and never coalesced but through weakness for protection, or through resentment to execute vengeance upon their enemy. Private discord equally distracted the English cantonments, or districts, as it did the old Irish septs. Every report, appearance, or even suspicion of dissension, weakness, or disorder within the Pale, was the signal for the septs to fly to arms, and harass the English, of whom their hatred was truly implacable. Every defeat of the English was followed up by an in undation of more formidable forces: the submis, v sion of the Irish was often abject, always precarious and occasional : it never lasted longer than the English forces commanded a decided superiority. Famine, pestilence, and wars, frequently brought this wretched people to the necessity of feeding on grass, leaves, and the flesh of their fellow-creatures. Such were the unceasing calamities to which that unfortunate country was doomed, during the reign of sixteen English monarchs, who held the sceptre from the invasion under Henry II to the reformation under Henry VIII. Thus Engel land, which by uniting with Ireland at the periodi? of the invasion would have acquired incalculable
advantageš, was in fact a sufferer by the accession of a country which kept her for the space of four hundred years in constant alarm, expense, and warfare. The statutes for the government of Ireland during this period breathe nothing but rancorous persecution, treating the Irish as aliens, and enemies to the English, even putting a price upon their heads at the mere private surmise, suspicion, or personal resentment of any Englishman. The history therefore of these intervening reigns includes nothing more than a change of tyrannical governors, and a series of aggravations on the part of the conquerors, and resistance and revenge on that of the subdued. Among all the instances of oppression on the one hand, and of calamity on the other, perhaps the most fatal, and certainly the most to be lamented, was the system of coygne and livery, which consisted, to use the words of a celebrated * writer on Ireland, “ in taking of man's meate, horse-meate, and money, of all the inhabitants of the country at the will and pleasure of the soldier, who, as the phrase of Scripture is, di: cat up the people as it were lread, for they had no other entertainment.”. ---- This extortion of coygne and livery,” says the same writer, “ did produce two notorious effects. First it made the land waste; next it made the people ydle. For when the husbandman had laboured all the yeare, the soldier in one night did consume the fruites of all his labour.
In the time of king Edward II. Maurice Fitz-Thomas of Desmond began that wicked extortion of coyyne and livery and pay! that is, he and his army took horse-meate, and man's meate, and money, without any ticket, or
* Dav. Disc. 174, &C.
any any other satisfaction. And this was after that the general fault of the commanders in this Jande."
Such was the unvarying system of English policy with respect to Ireland, during the period above named; a system which doomed that unhappy country to a series of calamities, naturally arising out of the internal divisions which distracted it, and the harsh oppressions by which it was unceasingly irritated.
CHAP. CHAP. III.
From the Reformation of Religion under Henry
VIII. to the Death of Queen Mary.
land. The twentieth year of the reign of Henry VIII. is properly termed the first year of
A.D. the reformation, and from this epoch are to
1528. be reckoned the many active and passive disasters which fill upon Ireland, whether they really arose out of the change of religion, or were ignorantly or maliciously attributed to such change. A variety of causes however combined to render the English monarch at this time hateful rather than gracious to the Irish nation. The earl of Kildare was at this epoch confirmed in the lieutenancy beyond the power of opposition. Instead of the state and dignity of a vicegerent, he atfected the rude grandeur of an Irish chieftain, and stood at the head of a wild and rapacious multitude of followers, to the annoyance of those whom he was appointed to protect. The lords of the old Irish race, who had always been the most unfriendly to the English government, were received as his kinsmen and associates. Two of his daughters were given in marriage to O'Connor of O'Fally, and Carrole, two powerful chieftains. The laws which prohibited such connections were reated with scorn, and the administration of
goierament was simpıy considered by kildae as an nstrument of establishing his own personal aus
thority and power. This powerful lord, who had held the government of Ireland much longer than any of his predecessors, experienced in cardinal Wolsey a formidable and determined enemy: The influence of this haughty priest over the mind of his royal master occasioned him to order the earl of Kildare to repair to England without delay, and to commit the government of Ireland during his absence, to some person for whom he was to be responsible. Unfortunately the earl entrusted this important commission to his son lord Thomas Fitzgerald, an impetuous youth of twenty years old, but who from his affábility and accomplishments was eminently qualified to gain the affections of the people. It was known in Ireland that soon after his landing in England, Kildare was committed to the Tower; and false reports were spread, that he had been beheaded. No sooner did these rumours reach his son, than he instantly declared himself in open rebellion; and was supported by numerous mal-contents amongst the Geraldines, whom Kildare had previously supplied with arms and ammunition. After various misfortunes and defeats occasioned by the inexperience and teinte rity of lord Thomas, the rebellion was suppressed under the administration of sir William Skeffing ton; and O'Neal and O'Carrole, two chiefs who had joined in it, made their submi-sion to the king. Lord Thomas also had been prim mised a pardon on condition of liis personal subniission; and he in consequence went over England for that purpose in perfect contidence He was treacheronsly arrested on his way Windsor, committed to the Tower, and there is cuted as a rebel and a traitor. Henry was o however satisfied with a single victim; but, consta