Calendar of State Papers, Ireland, 1608-1610. Originally published by Longman and Co, London, 1874.
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The great majority of the State Papers calendared in this volume relate to the province of Ulster. The transactions which followed the flight of the Earls of Tyrone and Tyrconnell;—the new relations of the native population of the northern counties to the Crown of England involved in that momentous event; the consequent resolve of the Government to take advantage of the occasion for the purpose of effecting a new settlement of the province; the legal procedures instituted with this view; and the preparatory inquiries, investigations of tenure and title, measurements, surveys, and other preliminaries of the settlement;—may all be studied at large in the original records of those memorable years, which are more than ordinarily complete, and exhibit fewer notable deficiencies than those of the previous years of the reign of James I.
In the general sketch of the condition of Ireland at James I.'s accession, prefixed to the second volume of this Calendar, the northern province was but lightly touched upon, the notices there attempted being almost entirely confined to Leinster, Munster, and Connaught. We thought it best to reserve for the present place the details of the condition of Ulster and its native population; our object being to bring together in the several volumes of this Calendar such information regarding the condition of the period as might best serve to illustrate the principal subject-matter of the correspondence comprised in each volume.
State of Ulster at the Close of the Sixteenth Century.
A very interesting survey of Ulster, such as it was in the latter years of the sixteenth century, is contained in the Carew Papers, (fn. 1) a summary of which may serve to explain the general state of the province, and the distribution of the principal septs and families therein, just before the last of Tyrone's wars.
This instructive paper is entitled "The Description and present State of Ulster in 1586." The province is described as containing nine counties, that is to say, three of ancient making, and six made, or rather to be made, new: old—Louth, Down, Antrim; new— Manachan [Monaghan], Farnmanagh [Fermanagh], Tirone, Dungale [Donegal], Colrane, Armagh."
Each of these is described in detail.
Louth is said to be "exposed to the often incursions of many lewd and disordered people:" the names of its corporations, inhabitors, and principal surnames are detailed; but as Louth can scarcely be said to have been affected by the Ulster Plantation, we shall not dwell upon this portion of the Paper. It will be enough to give so much as refers to the well-known "escheated counties," and the already partially "settled" counties of Down and Antrim. In all these, it will be observed that, although the topographical denominations employed by the writer of the Paper are generally recognizable in the names of modern baronies or other local divisions, they do not always correspond with the actual baronial denominations of the present counties of Ulster.
"Manachan contains these countries;—Iriell [Oriel], Dartrey, Lowghtie [Loughtee], and Trow [Trough]. The chief captain there is Sir Rory M'Mahon, who has been some time contributory to Tirlough O'Neil, and now is left to the government of the Earl of Tyrone. He is able to make 100 horsemen and 400 footmen. Buildings in his country are none, save certain old defaced monasteries.
"The county of Farnmanagh contains all Farnmanagh, Tyrmingrah [Termon-Magrath], and Tirmin O'Mingan [Termon-oMongan]. Its captain is Sir Conohour M'Gwyre, under the rule of Tirlough O'Neyle, but is desirous to depend on the Queen. He is able to make 80 horsemen, 200 shot, and 300 kerne.
"In the county of Tyrone the chief captain is Tirlough O'Neyle Of late the half thereof and more, by a composition, is let to the Earl of Tyrone. Tirlough desires from Her Majesty to his son, the portion of Tyrone wherein he dwelleth. The O'Neales are all horsemen, and the Clandonelles all galloglas. The O'Donnells are much affected to Shan O'Neyle's sons. The whole force of this country is 300 horsemen and 1,500 footmen. Tirlough most commonly dwelleth in the castle of Straban. The new castle upon the Earl's part is Dungannon, and a defaced castle built by Shan O'Neyle upon the Blackwater, called Benburbe.
"The county of Dunegall contains all Tyrconell and O'Dohertie's Country. O'Donell is captain and governor of Tyrconell, the chief strength of whom standeth most upon the O'Gallochells [O'Gallagher's], and M'Swynes [M'Sweenys]. He is able to make 200 horsemen and 1,300 footmen. Between him and O'Neill hath been continual wars for the castle of Liffer and the lands thereabouts. O'Doghertie's country is a promontory almost environed with the sea, namely, with Lough Swyly [Lough Swilly] on the south, and Lough Foyle on the north. O'Doghertie is forced to contribute both to O'Neyle and O'Donnelle. His country, lying upon the sea, and open to the isles of Ila and Jura in Scotland, is almost yearly invaded by the Scots, who take the spoil of it at their pleasures, whereby O'Doghertie is forced always to be at their devotions. He is able to make 60 horsemen and 300 footmen. The build ings in his countries are the Derry and Greencastle, which are wardable." (fn. 2)
The county designated in this Paper as Coleran [Coleraine] corresponds for the most part with that which, since the Plantation, is known as Londonderry.
"The county of Coleran contains all O'Cahan's Country. Its captain is Rory O'Cahan, always left to the government of Tirlough only. His nation is able to make 140 horsemen and 400 footmen; yet because he bordereth so near the Scots, he is much affected to them. His castles are Anagh and Lybenadye [Limavady]. Near the salmon fishing are the castle of Colran and Castle Rooe [Castleroe], where Tirlogh O'Neale keeps a constable and a ward to preserve his part of the fishing.
"The county of Ardmache [Armagh] contains Oriragh [Orior] which is O'Hanlon's Country, Clanbrasell, Clancan [M'Cann's Country], Clanawlle[Clanawley], Mucknee[Mucknoe], Tiriagh [Toghrany], Fues [Fews], and O'Neylan, of late made all contributories to the Earl of Tyrone. O'Hanlon's Country is able to make 40 horsemen and 200 footmen. Clanbrasell has no horsemen, but 80 kearne. Clancan has no horsemen, but 100 kearne, who live upon stealth and robberies. Clanawlle appertains to the Archbishop of Armagh and his freeholders, containing the bridge and fort of Blackwater; and Tirlough Brasolach holds his portion of land from the Earl of Tyrone. The said Tirlough with his sons is able to make 30 horsemen and 80 footmen. Mucknoe and Tiriagh are now possessed by the Earl of Tyrone, who has placed there certain of his own waged followers. Fewes is peopled with certain of the Neyles, accustomed to live much upon spoil of the Pale. They are able to make 30 horsemen and 100 footmen. O'Neylan is claimed by the Earl of Tyrone. He hath placed there some of the Quins and Hagans who fostered him, and sometimes he dwelleth himself amongst them there in a little island, Loch Coe. The fort at Blackwater should be repaired and better fortified. At Ardmach, a small village, the church and friaries are broken and defaced." (fn. 3)
The local nomenclature of Down and the distribution of its families are of less importance for the history of the Plantation under King James; but in themselves they are very interesting. Outside of the central Pale, no part of the kingdom received so large an infusion of the early Anglo-Norman colonization as Down, and none retained it so long and with so marked characteristics.
"The county of Downe contains the lordship of the Newry and the lordship of Mowrne, Evagh [Iveagh], otherwise called Maginis's country, Kilulto [Kilultagh], Kilwarlin, Kinalewrty [Kinalarty], Clanbrasell M'Goolechan, Lechahull [Lecale], Diffringe [Dufferin], Little Ardes, Great Ardes, and South Clandeboy. Newry and Mowrne are the inheritance of Sir Nicholas Bagnall, who, at his coming thither, found them altogether waste, and Shane O'Neyle dwelling within a mile to the Newry at a place called Fedom [Fathom], suffering no subject to travel from Dundalk northward; but since the fortifications and buildings made there by the said Sir Nicholas Bagnall, all the passages are made free, and much of the countries next adjacent are reduced to reasonable civility." (fn. 4)
The condition of Iveagh was peculiar.
"Evagh is governed by Sir Hugh M'Enys [Maginis], the civilest of all the Irishry in those parts. He was brought by Sir Nicholas Bagnall from the bonaghe of the O'Neyles to contribute to the Queen. In this place only amongst the Irish of Ulster is the rude custom of tanistship put away. Maginis is able to make 60 horsemen and 80 footmen. Every festival day he wears English garments. The captain of Kilultoe is Cormack M'Neyl, who likewise was brought by Sir N. B. from the bondage of the O'Neyles. This country, afore the Barons' wars in England, was possessed and inhabited by Englishmen, and there doth yet remain there an old defaced castle which still beareth the name of one Sir Miles Tracy. The captain of Kilwarlin is a M'Genys, called Ever M'Rory, who sometime did contribute and yield to Clandeboy, but now depends only upon the Queen. In Kinalewrty, or M'Cartan's Country, some interest was given to Sir Nicholas Malbey, but was never quietly enjoyed by him. Its captain is Acolie M'Cartan. Clanbrasell M'Goolechan is inhabited by the Kelleys, a very savage and barbarous people, well affected to the Scots, whom they often draw into their country for the spoiling of the subjects. They contribute, but at their own pleasures, to the captain of South Clandeboy." (fn. 5)
Lecale, as has already been seen, formed a sort of outlying Pale. The coast was studded with castles, most of which still exist, in a condition of greater or less decay.
"Lecahul [Lecale] is the inheritance of the Earl of Kildare, given to his father and his mother by Queen Mary. In it is the bishop's see called Downe, fast built, and inhabited by one Sir John Cowrsy, [De Courcy] who brought thither with him sundry English gentlemen, and planted them in this country, where some of them still remain, though somewhat degenerate and in poor estate, yet they hold still their freeholds. Their names are Savadges, Russells, Fitzimons, Awdleys, Jordans, and Bensons. Diffrin, sometime the inheritance of the Mandevills, now appertains to one White, who is not of power sufficient to defend and manure the same; therefore it is usurped and inhabited for the most part by a bastard sort of Scots, who yield to the said Whites some small rent at their pleasure. Little Ardes is the inheritance of the Lord Savage, who has farmed the same to Captain Peerce. Here are certain ancient freeholders of the Savages and Smithes, who are often harrowed and spoiled by them of Clandeboy. Great Ardes was undertaken by Mr. Smith, and is now possessed by Sir Con M'Neyle Oge, who hath planted there Neyle M'Brian Ferto; but the ancient dwellers there are the O'Gilmars, a rich and strong sept, always followers of the Neyles of Clandeboy. Of South Clandeboy the captain is Sir Con M'Neile Oge, who, in the time that the Earl of Essex attempted this country, was prisoner in the castle of Dublin, together with his nephew Hugh M'Phelim, captain of North Clandeboy, by means whereof Sir Brian M'Phelim, younger brother to the said Hugh, then possessed both the countries." (fn. 6)
The population of Antrim, although containing but little of the English element, was yet of a somewhat mixed character. The coast had long been a favourite point of descent for the Scots, and a powerful Scottish colony had long been established in steady although not unmolested possession. In the earlier times, therefore, the relations of Antrim with England had involved questions of a specially complicated character; and even after the union of the kingdoms of Scotland and England, the interests of the different sections of the population of Antrim remained for a long time distinct.
"Antrim contains North Clandeboy, Island Magy [Island Magee], Brian Caragh's Country, Glines [Glens], and the Rowte. North Clandeboy is given by letters patent to Sir Brian M'Phelim's sons, the Queen's pensioners; notwithstanding, by a new division lately made by the now Lord Deputy, the one moiety thereof is allotted to the rule of Hugh M'Phelim's sons, whereby great dissension doth depend between them, and great slaughters are often committed on both parties. The principal followers in this country are the M'Gyes [M'Gees], M'O'Neilles, O'Machalons, (fn. 7) Durnans, and Turtures [Tuirtres]. Island M'Gye is almost all waste, and contains the M'Gyes, who contribute to the Lord of Clandeboy, but of right belong to the Queen's castle of Knockfergus. Brian Caragh's Country was a portion of North Clandeboy, won from it by a bastard kind of Scots of the sept of the Clandonels, who entered the same and yet hold it. Brian Caragh contributes to O'Neyle, and to them of Clandeboy. By reason of the fastness and strength of his country it is very hard to harm him, which maketh him so obstinate and careless, that he never yet would appear before my Lord Deputy, but yields relief to the Scots. The Glins, so called because it is full of rocky and woody dales, is backed with a very steep and boggy mountain, and on the other part with the sea, on which side there are very small creeks between rocks and thickets, where the Scottish galleys commonly land. It lies opposite to Cantier [Cantire] in Scotland. It contains seven baronies. These were sometimes the inheritance of the Baron Bissett, from whom it descended to a daughter who was married to one of the Clandonells in Scotland, by whom the Scots now make their claim to the whole, and quietly possessed the same many years, till now of late, being spoiled of their goods, they were totally banished into Scotland. But this country is again given, by instructions from Her Majesty, to be held from Her Highness, to Angus M'Connell, Lord of Cantier in Scotland, and to his uncle Sorleboy. The force of this country is uncertain, for they are supplied, as need requireth, from Scotland with what numbers they list to call, by making of fires upon certain steep rocks hanging over the sea. The ancient followers of the country are the Missetts, the M'-Y-Gills [M'Gills], the M'Awnles [Macauleys], the M'Carmacks [M'Cormacks], and the Clanalsters [Clan-Alisters]. The Rowte was sometime inhabited with English, for there remaineth [in] it certain defaced castles and monasteries of their buildings. The now captain that maketh claim thereto is called M'Gwillyn [M'Quillin], but the Scots hath well near expulsed him from the whole, and driven him to a small corner near the Bann, which he defendeth rather by maintenance of Tirlough O'Neile than his own forces; and the said Scots did inhabit the rest, which is the best part, till likewise they were banished by Her Majesty's forces as aforesaid, but now have come back, and possess all in usurped manner as before. The chief ancient followers of this country are the O'Haries [O'Haras] and the O'Quins." (fn. 8)
The "Description of Ulster" concludes by suggesting as the reason why this province has been more chargeable than any other; "the want of good towns and fortified places, the sufferance of the O'Neyles to usurp the government of the several captains and freeholders, the confining so near to the Isles of Scotland, and the want of religion, justice, and civil instructions."
Intended Court of Presidency for Ulster.
From this brief but comprehensive survey it will be seen that throughout the northern province the authority of the Crown, just before the last of Elizabeth's wars in Ireland, was little more than a name. It was not merely that the entire mass of the population was Irish, following Irish customs and obeying only Irish law. Ulster further differed from the other provinces in not having, as the others had, in cities or walled towns, any local centres of English power or English life and usage. The few positions north of Dundalk permanently occupied on behalf of the Crown, were purely military stations;—positions of observation or of defence, possessing no administrative function and exercising little influence on the surrounding population. The greater number were simply fortresses designed to command a pass, to serve as a cover on occasion of military movements, or to secure the means of communication or the transmission of supplies. But for the purposes of administration of law or of execution of justice they were entirely without organization and utterly deficient in authority. Long after the attempt to extend the Royal authority, in the form of a Court of Presidency, over the population, had been originated and partially carried into execution in the other provinces, it was felt to be utterly hopeless in Ulster. The idea is put forward in 1553 in Sir Thomas Cusake's book on the State of Ireland, (fn. 9) but is set aside as impracticable, until the country shall be "divided into shires and counties, so as to be of perfection to be governed with the courts of Presidents, as yet it is not." (fn. 10) In Queen Elizabeth's Instructions to Lord Deputy Sussex (4 July 1562), she expresses a wish for the establishment of "three places of councils and councillors for the remote parts, as for example, one at Limerick for Munster, one at Alone (Athlone), for Connaught, and one at Armagh or the Newry for Ulster;" (fn. 11) and the Queen's desire was that there should be established at each of these places "a president with a justice and certain councillors; and that for honour and authority, there should be joined with them in commission the carls, bishops, and the principal nobility of that part of the nation; and that the president, justice, and council should keep ordinary sessions at certain convenient times and places, wherein the controversies of the countries within their jurisdiction might be heard and determined according to order of common law, or in form of chancery, according to equity." (fn. 12) This wish, however, she declares to be only in the nature of a suggestion. She provides that counsel shall be taken regarding it with such members of the council and of the nobility of the several provinces as may seem meet. And it is plain that, after consideration, the project, so far as regarded Ulster, was abandoned or postponed.
A scheme of a Presidency for Ulster was also projected in the year 1562 (fn. 13) by Sussex; but it was plainly nothing more than a military governorship; (fn. 14) and although Cecil in his "Memorial for Ireland" puts Ulster on the same footing in this respect with the other provinces, the project so far remained entirely inoperative.
There is a more remarkable proposal contained in a "Discourse for the Reformation of Ireland," printed in the Carew Papers of 1583. (fn. 15) "The standing seat of the Deputy and the law," this discourse suggests, "should be translated from Dublin to Athlone, the centre of Ireland. The Deputy to have two Presidents, one in Munster, at Kylmalocke, the other in Ulster, at Lyeller (probably for Lyffer or Lifford). Two Marshals, to be at the direction of the Deputy and Presidents. The Presidents to serve for not less than five years, the marshals for life." And a similar proposal appears in "Sir John Perrot's Project," printed in the same volume. (fn. 16) Perrot suggests that 1800 English soldiers (400 horse and 1,400 footmen) should be placed in all parts of Ireland. The Deputy should "lie most at Aloan" (Athlone), and only two Presidents should be maintained, namely, in Ulster and in Munster.
But, notwithstanding these indications of the ventilation of the design, the Ulster presidency was destined to remain a dead letter. The condition of that province made the exercise of supreme authority in the name of the English Sovereign therein a practical impossibility, unless perhaps on the terms which were suggested by O'Neill, (fn. 17) namely, that he himself should be the President. This notion, indeed, of entrusting the command in the Crown's name in the Irish districts to native chiefs, was not entirely new when it was proposed by O'Neill. Nearly twenty years before, when Sir Thomas Cusake, during Lord Sussex's deputyship, was sent over, in the summer of 1562, with a scheme of pacification for Ireland, one of the articles which he carried back with him proposed the establishment of four Presidents, one in each province. Out of these four, three, the Presidents of Ulster, Munster, and Connaught, were to be Irish or AngloIrish chiefs, either elected by the people, or, at least, acceptable to them. As President for Ulster, O'Neill was proposed by name; for Munster, the Earl of Desmond; for Connaught, Clanricard or O'Brien. Nor, for the moment, in the panic into which Elizabeth had just been thrown by recent reverses, was the project unfavourably entertained; but, like every other effort to draw the two races in Ireland together, it was soon put aside. It is true that a certain admixture of the native element appears in a scheme of a Council for Munster, proposed by Sidney in 1565, in which the great Anglo-Norman nobles Ormond and Desmond, and the Irish chiefs Thomond and Clancarty, were to be associated with the Archbishop of Cashel and the Bishops of Cork and Waterford. But this scheme of 1565 was never carried beyond paper. The Munster Council, when it came to be a reality, was a purely English institution; and indeed, during the remaining years of the 16th century, through the Desmond wars and the last convulsive effort which was crushed out at Kinsale, the Council of Munster was nothing more than a council of war. Nor can it be doubted that the project of a Presidency for Ulster, if it had been carried out at that time, would inevitably have fallen into the same track.
The last allusion to a Presidency for Ulster in Elizabeth's reign occurs in the articles of submission and pardon propounded to Tyrone in January 1596 by the Queen's commissioners, Sir Henry Wallopp and Sir Robert Gardner. The eleventh of these articles stipulates that "when Her Majesty shall appoint a President and Council in Ulster, the Earl's tenants and followers shall yield contributions, compositions, rents, and services for their maintenance." (fn. 18) To this condition Tyrone returned an absolute refusal. He "would not yield that any other should be over him except Her Majesty or her Deputy;" and from the peremptory terms of his repudiation of the condition, as well as from all the circumstances of the time, it may readily be inferred that the establishment of the Presidency was felt by Tyrone to be designed exclusively in the English interest, and to be but a part of that general plan for "the reformation of Irish usages and institutions," and for their assimilation to those of England, which was the life-long dream of Lord Burleigh, and which was accepted by Cecil almost as the very essence of that political inheritance from his father to which he succeeded as the Queen's chief adviser in the affairs of Ireland.
At all events, whatever may have been the intentions of Elizabeth or her advisers in 1596, the scheme of the Ulster Presidency fell to the ground. And thus through all the alternations of success and failure of English arms in Ulster down to the very end of Elizabeth's reign, English law and English usage remained unknown in that province. The well-known anecdote of Maguire's inquiring the "eric" of a sheriff whom it was proposed to send to his country, exactly represents the condition of things which prevailed throughout Ulster down to the death of the Queen. Sir John Davys (fn. 19) states that the first sheriffs ever made in Tyrone or Tyrconnell were those appointed by Sir George Carey in the first year of his deputyship; and in one of his earliest letters to Salisbury, written a few months after his arrival in Ireland, he says that until the circuit of Chief Baron Pelham in the first year of King James I.'s reign, the forms of English justice had not for many years been seen in that province. (fn. 20)
Government of Ulster under James I.
It was not unnatural, therefore, that on the accession of James I., the project of the Ulster presidency should at once be revived. But the renewed project was more than ever conceived in accordance with English ideas, and aimed still more openly than before at the overthrow of the Irish system of septs, and the establishment of the royal authority, not only as the sole, but as the direct and immediate, source of law and justice. In one of the first communications on the state of Ireland which Sir John Davys addressed to Cecil after entering on office as solicitor-general, he describes the native populations of Tyrconnell and Tyrone as most warmly disposed to accept the King's administration of justice. He says that the humbler sort "reverenced the King's judge," [Chief Baron Pelham,] "as a good angel sent from heaven;" (fn. 21) while he represents the over-mastering position of the great Irish chiefs as the one fatal obstacle to the supremacy or the free action of English law.
As an evidence of the feeling which prevailed, he states that, in matter of fact, "divers of the better sort" in the province of Ulster absolutely "refused to accept the King's commission of the peace until they should receive Tyrone's warrant to do so." (fn. 22)
It will be remembered that in the scheme of government proposed by Sir Thomas Cusake, in 1562, it had been sought to enlist on the side of English law this predominating influence of the native chiefs, by entrusting them with the authority of the Crown in their several countries. But the form of administration for the northern presidency, which commended itself to King James's early advisers, proceeded on the very opposite principle.
One of the first to suggest it was Richard Hudson, in his "Discourse on Ireland." Far from proposing, as Cusake had done, one of the great native chiefs as the representative of the King and the depositary of his authority in Ulster, Hudson insisted that the President of that province should not only be of English race, but moreover, should be a nobleman of great estate and quality, in order that his personal authority might countervail the overpowering influence of the native lords; and that thus "the Earls of Tyrone and Tyrconnell and other great chieftains of countries might be the sooner reduced to the obedience of the law, which has not heretofore been thoroughly executed there, and might embrace civil government." (fn. 23) Indeed, the principle of excluding the Irish element was extended still further by other advisers of the Crown. Mr. Justice Saxey would have the native Irish, or even English born in Ireland, excluded from every branch of the executive, and from every department of the administration of the law, declining to admit any Irishman to the office of judge or councillor of state in Ireland. (fn. 24)
It does not appear from the papers calendared in this series, that any steps were actually taken in the early years of James I. towards the establishment of the Ulster presidency. It is true that, from the first, even the best informed looked towards that as the form of government which was ultimately to be established. Chichester was of opinion that, "unless the province were brought to the government of a president and council for a time, there could be no perfect reformation and good settlement; for the poor people would be for ever oppressed by the great lords, and no man dares to complain when help is so far from them." (fn. 25) Sir Henry Dillon in like manner assured Salisbury that it was essential "to the full settling of the province." (fn. 26) Accordingly rumours of the actual appointment of a president for Ulster occur from time to time in the correspondence. The establishment of a northern presidency was a subject of perpetual apprehension to Tyrone, (fn. 27) unless on the condition of its being vested in his own person. Even Chichester, with all his opportunities of information, not only advised the measure in the most decisive terms, but regarded its accomplishment as so probable and so imminent, that he thought it necessary to stipulate for the exemption of his own government of Carrickfergus from the new jurisdiction. At a later period he even looked to the post as a place of desirable retirement for himself, when he should be released from the office of Lord Deputy; (fn. 28) and it would seem that at one time the appointment was commonly believed to have been actually conferred upon him. Captain Edmund Leigh, Chichester's "whispering companion," (fn. 29) assured Tyrone that the office was already passed to Chichester; (fn. 30) whereupon the unhappy Earl declared that, "rather than live under the like yoke, and considering the misery he saw endured by others under the like government, he would sooner pass all to himself than abide it." (fn. 31) And although part of this objection was personal to Chichester, whom he feared and hated, the office itself was an object of the deepest suspicion and alarm to him. On a former occasion, when there was question of a like suit on the part of Sir Henry Docwra, Tyrone had declared that, rather than be governed by any other than His Majesty and his deputy-general of that realm, he would choose to dwell in England in His Highness's presence." (fn. 32)
But notwithstanding these appearances and the rumours which grew out of them, it would seem that Cecil preferred to retain in his own hands the immediate direction of affairs in the northern province. No encouragement was given to the suit of any of the pretenders to the office of president; and at the very time when the measure appeared most probable, and when the popular rumours regarding it were at their height, Chichester was directed to "assure the Earl that the King had no thoughts of establishing a presidentship in Ulster." (fn. 33)
Ulster in 1607.
The government of Ulster as maintained up to the very eve of the plantation, was almost as purely a military government as it had been during the wars of Tyrone. The province, as we gather from an important paper of January 1607, drawn up by Sir Arthur Chichester, and entitled, "A Declaration of the present State of the Province of Ulster, and how the several parts thereof are now governed," 25 January 1607, (fn. 34) was divided into ten districts or governments;—viz., (1), Loughfoyle; (2), Armagh and Upper Tyrone; (3), Lower Tyrone; (4), Coleraine and Glanconkeyne; (5), Carrickfergus; (6), Lecale and M'Cartan's Country; (7), Iveagh, Newry, and Mourne; (8), Cavan; (9), Monaghan; and (10), Ballyshannon. The respective limits of these governments are pretty accurately ascertained.
The district of Loughfoyle comprised the greater part of Tyrconnell—that which lay to the east of the mountain of Barnesmore—and was under the command of Sir Henry Docwra, Sir Richard Hansard, and Sir George Paulet.
In Upper Tyrone and Armagh, which was under the command of Sir Toby Caulfield and Sir Francis Roe, was comprehended the whole of the present county of Armagh and the south-eastern portion of Tyrone.
Lower Tyrone comprised the north-west of the modern county of Tyrone, in the direction of Lifford. It was governed by Captain Edmund Leigh, an object of special dislike and suspicion to Tyrone.
The Coleraine district consisted of O'Cahan's Country and Glanconkeyne, and was under the command of Sir Thomas Phillips; and one of the chief grievances of the Earl of Tyrone was founded on the invasion of his territorial rights in this district by the grant to O'Cahan of an independent estate therein.
The government of Carrickfergus was in the hands of Sir Arthur Chichester, with Sir Foulke Conway as his lieutenant. It comprised the whole of Antrim and the north-eastern border of Down.
The remaining portion of Down was divided into two districts.
The former of these, comprising Lecale and M'Cartan's Country on the south-west side of Dundrum estuary, was commanded by Sir Gregory Cromwell.
Sir Edward Trevor had the command of the latter, namely, Iveagh or Magennis's Country, Newry, and Mourne.
Sir Garrett Moore was the governor of Cavan.
Sir Edward Blayney commanded in Monaghan, with the title of Seneschal.
Lastly, Sir Henry Folliot was governor of Ballyshannon, in which government was included the whole of the present county of Fermanagh, with the part of Tyrconnell or modern Donegal which lies west of Barnesmore.
But the function of all these officers was purely executive, and chiefly confined to military affairs, nor, in the State Papers of the time, do they appear in relation to the administration, except in the capacity of reporters or advisers.
The truth seems to be that Cecil and the English Council addressed themselves steadily during the early years of James I. to one course of policy, which was believed by them to be more manageable from a distance than through the direct operation of a local executive and under the influence of local solicitation and intrigue;— the systematic enforcement of a recognition of the King's relation as sovereign lord of the land of Ireland, the establishment of his title in the forfeited lands in Ulster, the breaking up of the predominance of the great native lords of that province, and the creation in its several septs of a class of minor freeholders holding directly under the Crown, exempt from the impositions of the greater chiefs, and released from the obligations by which they were tied to the chiefs in absolute dependence, political, military, and social.
Conversion of Irish Tenures.
The law which was passed in the twelfth year of Queen Elizabeth, enabling the Lord Deputy to accept surrenders and make re-grants of estates to the Irish, remained, in a great degree, inoperative during her reign. Comparatively few of the Irish lords surrendered, and of those who surrendered, almost all obtained re-grants of the whole to themselves only, and all in demesne. And, as in passing these grants, no care, to use the words of Sir John Davys, (fn. 35) was taken of the inferior septs of people inhabiting and possessing those countries under great lords, and as these continued to hold their several portions in course of tanistry and gavelkind, and yielded the same Irish duties or exactions as they had done before," the direct result was, that in each country so re-granted but one single freeholder was created, all the rest being "tenantsat-will, or rather tenants in villenage." (fn. 36)
This law of Elizabeth, therefore, did little, if anything, towards the transformation of Irish tenures or the introduction of those "civil" usages which it was the great object of English statesmen to enforce throughout the Irish countries. The effect in this direction was least of all in Ulster. The condition of Tyrone's hereditary lands does not appear to have been in the slightest degree affected, whether by the new forms which accompanied his Earl's patent under Elizabeth, or by the far larger and more comprehensive terms of his submission at the accession of James I.; and how little active change had taken place even six years later may be inferred from the state of things described by Sir Toby Caulfield, who was appointed receiver over the lands of the fugitive Earls, in the report which is prefixed to the account of the "Collection of Tyrone's Rents from his Flight in 1607 till November 1610," rendered by Sir Toby when the lands were given out to undertakers. Caulfield, on entering upon office, had been directed (fn. 37) "not to innovate any manner of collecting or gathering the rents," but, on the contrary, to "make it appear that the King would be a better and more generous landlord than Tyrone was or could be." The following description, therefore, exactly represents the Irish rent-system:—
"First. There was no certain portion of lands let by the traitor Tyrone to any of his tenants that paid him rent.
"Secondly. Such rents as he reserved were paid to him partly in money and partly in provisions of victuals, as oats, oatmeal, butter, hogs, and mutton.
"Thirdly. The money rents that were so reserved were chargeable on all the cows that were milch or in-calf which grazed on his lands, after the rate of 12d. a quarter the year, which cows were to be numbered but twice in the year by Tyrone's officers, viz., at May and Hallowtide; and so the rents were levied and taken up at the said rate for all the cows that were so numbered, except only the heads and principal men of the creats, who, in regard of their enabling to live better than the common multitude under them, whom they caused willingly to pay the said rents, were usually allowed a fourth part of the whole rents, which rise to 300l. Irish by the year, or thereabouts, which they detained on their own hands by direction from the Lord Deputy, and so was never received; and for the butter and other victualling provisions they were only paid by such as they termed horsemen, called the Quynnes, Haugans [O'Hagans], Conelands, and Devlins, which were rather at the discretion of the givers, who strove who should give most to gain Tyrone's favour, than for any due claim he had to demand the same.
"Fourthly. All the cows for which those rents are to be levied must be counted at one day in the whole country, which required much travel and labour and many men to be put in trust with that account, so as that country, which is replenished with woods, doth greatly advantage the tenants that are to pay their rents to rid away their cows from that reckoning; and also to such overseers to be corrupted by the tenants to mitigate their rents by lessening the true number of their cattle, which must needs be conceived they will all endeavour to the uttermost, being men, as it were, without conscience and of poor estate, apt to be corrupted for small bribes, which they may the more easily do in regard that the bordering lords adjoining are ready to shelter their cows that should pay those rents, whereby they may procure those tenants to live under them.
"Fifthly. The said rent is uncertain, because by the custom of the country the tenants may remove from one lord to another every half year, as usually they do, which custom is allowed by authority from the State."
From this curious paper it appears that the land-system of Tyrone bore a close resemblance to one of the Indian forms of land-tenure, such as prevailed in the provinces of the Bengal Presidency before the Cornwallis settlement; the chief and inferior lords in the Irish sept holding the place of the Zemindar, and the "collector of duties and rents" representing the "head man" or "punch" in the Indian village-system. The same uncertainty of tenure and fluctuation of assessment seem to characterize both systems, with this further element of variability in Tyrone, that while the rent or duty was dependent on the estimate of the collector, the extent of the tenant's interest was measured by the assignment, not of a definite number of acres, but of a right to pasture a determinate number of cows, on the common lands of the sept.
In all the State papers of the period the system is represented as resulting, for the tenants, in the most painful uncertainty of tenure and great social insecurity and discontent. In a political point of view the result was most formidable to the English interest, as it rendered the creaghts entirely dependent on the head of the sept and the inferior chiefs, and placed the whole power of the community unreservedly in their chiefs' hands for all services, whether of war or of peace.
Such being the condition of the Irish tenures in Ulster in the first years of James I., it will easily be understood that attention was directed at once to the failure of the Statute of Elizabeth; and that two new commissions were issued; the first for accepting surrenders and re-granting lands to the Irish and "degenerate English;" the second, for defective titles. In both these measures Sir John Davys takes credit for a desire on the part of the Crown to settle and secure the under-tenants; but the political design of the measure is no less plain and unmistakeable. (fn. 38)
In all inquisitions upon surrenders, the course, Sir John says, was not to accept the lord's surrender immediately, but to inquire in each case into three points; first, to ascertain the quantity and boundaries of the land; secondly, to distinguish the quantity held by the lord "in demesne," and that occupied by tenants and followers; thirdly, to find what yearly customs, duties, and services the lord received yearly out of the lands so held. These points being ascertained, the commissions proceeded to "draw into a particular" the lord's proper possessions in demesne, and to convert into a money rent, the Irish duties, such as coshering, sessings, rents of butter, oatmeal, and the like, at a reasonable valuation. It was only on the footing of this adjustment that the surrender was accepted and re-grant passed; and the re-grant to the lord did not comprehend the entire of the original lands in absolute possession, but only those held by the lord in demesne absolutely; the rest being re-granted to the tenants, respectively charged with these customs and duties converted into a money rent "in lieu of all uncertain Irish exactions." (fn. 39) The same care was taken of the under-tenants in the inquisitions regarding defective titles. (fn. 40)
The most instructive among the papers comprised in this Calendar are the letters of the Lord Deputy and Council, those of Sir Arthur Chichester himself, and, above all, those of Sir John Davys, giving an account of the progresses or circuits in which the general inquisitions into the King's titles to lands in Ulster were taken. The two well-known letters of the last-named writer to Lord Salisbury, printed in the Dublin edition of his works, may be taken as specimens of the entire; but the letters upon the same subject, which are made public for the first time in this Calendar, are not inferior in interest; and those of Chichester and of the Council, although falling short of the graphic power and the felicitousness and variety of illustration which distinguish all the compositions of Davys, are no less minute in their details of the social usages and the personal characteristics of the population of the districts which they surveyed.
Perhaps it was not till after the flight of the Earls and O'Dogherty's rebellion that this policy was distinctly formulated. The greater equality of estates had long been aimed at, and carried out to some extent in the division of Monaghan, (fn. 41) and in this county and Fermanagh the lands, except Termon and church lands, had been set out amongst the inhabitants. But from the moment of the flight, the doctrine of the necessity of "cutting off the heads," was broached openly; Chichester now formally laid it down "that Ulster would never be reduced to good government until the principal heads should be cut off and more equality of estates established among them." (fn. 42) And indeed the principle of this policy may be traced throughout all the correspondence of the reign of James I. Sir John Davys, in one of his early letters to Cecil from Ireland, represents the relations, which Tyrone and the other great chiefs sought to maintain with the tenants of their territory, as a standing danger to the State and a fatal obstacle to the civil reformation of the country. Comparing the pretensions of Tyrone with those of the great feudal barons of the fifteenth century in England, he reminds Cecil that it was by means of this very class of tenants-at-will which Tyrone seeks to perpetuate, that—
"The Earl of Warwick was enabled, in the time of Henry VI. and the great lords in the times of the barons' wars, to raise so great a multitude of men; whereas at this day, if any of the great lords of England should have a mind to stand upon their guard, well may they have some of their household servants and retainers or some few light-brained fractious gentlemen, to follow them; but as for those tenants who have good leases for years, or being but copyholders, seeing that by the law at this day they can bring an action of trespass if they dispossess them without care of forfeiture, these fellows will not hazard the losing of their sheep, their oxen, and their corn, and the undoing of themselves, their wives and children, for the love of the best landlord in England." (fn. 43)
The Ulster chiefs, Davys alleges, sought to enforce their pretensions with the same object; and in this they acted against the earnest desire and protest of their tenants, who had fled into the Pale and other places, to avoid the cutting and extortion" of their lords; and he adds that Tyrone's tenants would rather "be strangled than returned unto him, for he would be master both of their bodies and their goods, and would exercise a greater tyranny now he would have done if they had never departed." (fn. 44) Davys, therefore, earnestly urges that, in the next Parliament, an Act should be passed that would "enjoin every great lord to make such certain and desirable estates to his tenants, which would be good for themselves, good for their tenants, and good for the commonwealth." (fn. 45)
Nor was the conflict which thus sprang up with the great lords, confined to the humbler tenants of the sept. During the northern progress of the Lord Deputy and Council in 1605, many "gentlemen of the O'Neils and other septs" in all the counties, preferred petitions, claiming "a right in freehold to several parcels of land possessed by them and their ancestors; which the Earl withstood, alleging the whole country to be his own and in his own disposition." And whatever were the merits of this controversy, it was the plain interest of the Crown, as well in policy as in revenue, to support the claim of the minor tenant and freeholder. The provision in Tyrone's act of submission, by which he renounced all claim and title to any lands but such as might be granted to him by the King's letters patent, would have lost half its value to the Crown, if he were to be restored to his lands by letters patent under the old condition of more than feudal authority over the inferior landholders. Accordingly, as Tyrone's submission was quickly followed by that of many others, both within and without his territory, who had shared in his rebellion, the submission of each was received or promised to be received on an entirely independent footing; and one of the requisitions in the first petition of the Irish Council made to the King on his accession was, that he would "give warrant to pass to the Irish lords of countries such estates in their lands as had been promised to them." (fn. 46) The lands so surrendered were only re-granted to be held in direct and absolute relation with the Crown; and the immediate result, in law at least, was to create in each of the several Irish septs a body of inferior lords entirely independent of the great magnate of the sept, who might serve, individually or in the aggregate, as a counterpoise to the predominant authority with which the chief had been previously invested.
The effects of this policy were soon felt. It was not alone that the greater potentates, such as O'Cahan and Tirlagh O'Neil, claimed and exercised, independently of Tyrone, seigniorial rights in the lands which they now held by re-grant, but which had formerly been subject to O'Neil's suzerainty, if not part of his territorial estate. One of the grievances which were alleged after the flight, not by Tyrone only, but by Tyrconnell and M'Guire, was that the under lords of those countries who were wont to depend immediately upon them, whereby they maintained their greatness and strength, had been drawn from them, so that they were allowed no means to help themselves but by their own possessions." (fn. 47) And although Tyrone had been persuaded or compelled to create by his own action a certain number of freeholds in three of the baronies of O'Cahan's Country, and had even named the persons who were to hold them, (fn. 48) yet Chichester complains in one of his letters to Salisbury that the Earl was "labouring by all possible means," not merely with those created by himself but with the direct grantees or re-grantees of the Crown, "to draw them to forego their patents and to hold again directly under himself, as they had been accustomed." (fn. 49)
Such had been the steps, silent and tentative for a while, of King James's policy of encroachment upon the social and territorial system of the native lords of Ulster during the early years of his reign, and such were its prospects of ultimate success, when an event occurred, which, by placing almost the entire province unreservedly at the feet of the Government, opened the way for a "settlement" more extensive in its range, more sweeping in its character, and more regardless of individual interests and of hereditary rights, than even the boldest of the King's advisers had till then dared to contemplate. On the 4th (or according to new style, the 14th) of September 1607, the Earls of Tyrone and Tyrconnell, with a small train of their families and followers, set sail from Rathmullen, on Lough Swilly, in Donegal, never again to set foot upon the land of their fathers.
Flight of the Earls of Tyrone and Tyrconnell.
The causes, as well as the motives of this memorable and momentous "Flight of the Earls" are involved in much obscurity, notwithstanding the many papers relating to it calendared in this volume, but the extracts from the despatches of British ambassadors and agents in Flanders, Spain, and Italy, contained in the Appendix, will be found to contain several interesting particulars of the subsequent history of the Earls and their followers during the year after their flight from Ireland, never heretofore published.
The first to convey to the Lord Deputy and Council the startling intelligence of the embarkation of Tyrone and Tyrconnell, was Tyrone's own brother, Sir Cormac MacBaron. Sir Cormac made a merit to the Council of having refused to accompany the Earls, and of having given notice to them that he would inform the Government of their flight: but Chichester did not scruple to give the traitor credit for a double treachery, pointing out that the fugitives had certainly "taken Sir Cormac's eldest son with them, which gave great cause to suspect that he himself was not unacquainted with their purpose." (fn. 50) And it further appeared, on Sir Cormac's arrest and examination, that whereas "on the night before the flight he came after the Earl as far as Dunalonge, within five miles of Derry and the Liffer, and there learned the Earls' resolution, he did not give notice to either garrison, but concealed it until he was assured the Earls were embarked and gone; himself remaining all the next day at the castle of Newton, as it should seem, expecting the certain news, and thereof to be the first messenger to him (Chichester), as indeed he was." (fn. 51) Sir John Davys assigns as MacBaron's motive that he hoped to get a custodiam of his brother the Earl of Tyrone's late country; "and therefore," adds Sir John, for this and other causes of suspicion, the Constable of the Castle of Dublin has now the custodiam of him." (fn. 52)
Not a moment was lost in taking advantage of the flight. A proclamation was issued to assure the people of Tyrone and Tyrconnell that, notwithstanding the departure of the Earls and their train, the inhabitants would not be disturbed in the peaceable possession of their lands so long as they demeaned themselves as dutiful subjects; and that "commissioners, as well English as Irish, had been appointed in the several counties, to protect them, as being now under His Majesty's immediate protection, and to administer justice instead of the Earls, to whom he had formerly committed the government thereof." (fn. 53)
The commissioners were eighteen in number, of whom five were Irish:—Sir Neale O'Donnell, Sir Cahir O'Dogherty, Sir Tirlagh McHenry O'Neill, Sir Henry Oge O'Neill, and Sir Donell O'Cahane.
Of the communications addressed to England regarding this occurrence by far the most interesting, as usual, is that of Sir John Davys, which contains some curious and characteristic particulars of the immediate antecedents of the flight.
"The Saturday before the Earl of Tyrone was with my Lord Deputy at Slane, where he had speech with his Lordship of his journey into England; told him he would be there about the beginning of Michaelmas term, according to His Majesty's directions; took his leave of my Lord Deputy in a more sad and passionate manner than he used at other times; from thence he went to Mellifont, Sir Garret Moore's house, where he wept abundantly when he took his leave, giving a solemn farewell to every child and every servant in the house; which made them all marvel because it was not his manner to use such compliments.
"From thence, on Sunday, he went to Dundalk; on Monday he went to Dungannon, where he rested two whole days; on Wednesday night, they say, he travelled all night with his impediments, I mean his women and children; and it is likewise reported that the Countess, his wife, being exceedingly weary, slipped down from her horse, and, weeping, said she could go no farther; whereupon the Earl drew his sword, and swore a great oath that he would kill her in the place, if she would not pass on with him and put on a more cheerful countenance withal.
"Yet, the next day, when he came near Lough Foyle, his passage that way was not so secret but the governor there had notice thereof, and invited him and his son to dinner; but their haste was such that they accepted not that courtesy, but went on, and came that Thursday night to Rathmullan, a town on the west side of Lough Swilly, where the Earl of Tyrconnell and his company met them.
"There they took some beeves from one Francis Whyte, an Englishman, and killed them for their provision. There the Earl of Tyrconnell sent for the foster-father of his brother Caffar O'Donel's son, willing him to bring the child with him. He presently repaired with the child towards the place where the Earls lodged, but being met by the way by the Baron of Dungannon and Caffar O'Donel himself, they took the infant violently from him, which terrified the foster-father, so that he escaped by the swiftness of his horse, their horses being tired with travelling.
"Of this child they have a blind and superstitious prophecy, because he was born with six toes upon one foot; for they affirm that one of their saints of Tyrconnel hath prophesied that when such a one, being of the sept of O'Donel, shall be born, he shall drive all the Englishmen out of Ireland."
Opinion, Davys says, was much divided as to the destination of the fugitives, some supposing them to have fled to Spain, others to Scotland, with a view to a marriage of Tyrone's son, the young Baron of Dungannon, with the daughter of M'Kallym [MacCallum], the Earl of Argyle. Among the reasons alleged in support of the former opinion, the following is interesting, as evidently embodying the views of Sir John Davys himself:—
"It is certain that Tyrone, in his heart, doth repine at the English Government in his country, where, until his last submission, as well before his rebellion as in the time of his rebellion, he ever lived like a free prince, or rather like an absolute tyrant there. But now the law of England and the ministers thereof were shackles and handlocks unto him, and the garrisons planted in his country were as pricks in his side; besides, to evict any part of that land from him, which he hath heretofore held after the Irish manner, making all the tenants thereof his villeins;—though the truth be that for one moiety of his country, at least, he was either a disseisor of the Bishops of Armagh and Clogher, or an intruder upon the King's possession; for the Irish lords, in all ages, have preyed more upon land than upon cows, and were prædones terrarum, as the poet speaketh of Alexander the Great;—this was as grievous unto him as to pinch away the quick flesh from his body.
"Those things, doubtless, have bred discontentment in him; and now his age and his burthened conscience, which no absolution can make altogether clear, have of late much increased his melancholy, so that he was grown very pensive and passionate; and the friars and priests perceiving it, have wrought nightly upon his passion. Therefore it may be that he hath hearkened unto some project of treason, which he feareth is discovered, and that fear hath transported him into Spain. For it hath been told my Lord Deputy, that as he now passed through his country, he said to some of his followers, that 'if he went into England, he should either be perpetual prisoner in the Tower, or else lose his head and his members;'—meaning, as I take it, he should have the judgment of a traitor. But I verily think the primary and highest cause of his departure to be the divine justice, who will not suffer to go down to his grave in peace, one who hath been the cause of so much trouble and bloodshed in this kingdom."
We may add the concluding reasons assigned by Sir John for believing that Spain cannot be the Earl's destination; less for any interest attaching to the discussion itself, than as a curious specimen of the contemporary Anglo-Irish estimate of the character of the Earls and of the probable influence of their flight from Ireland, whether upon the fortunes of the country or upon the general policy of the period. It was argued that Tyrone could not have fled to Spain:
"First, because he has reported often since he was received to grace, that during his late rebellion, the King of Spain made plain demonstration that he held but a contemptible opinion of him. 'For,' said he, 'when we expected a royal aid from him, and great store of crowns to supply our wants, the priests and friars that came unto us brought hallowed beads and poor counterfeit jewels, as if we had been petty Indian kings that would be pleased with threepenny knives and chains of glass, and the like beggarly presents.'
"Again, he has ever been noted to be subtle, fox-like, and craftily wise in his kind; and, therefore it were strange that he should quit an earldom and so large and beneficial a territory, for smoke and castles in the air, and that, being possessed of a country quietly, he should leave the possession in order to try if he could win it again by force.
"Lastly, he has carried with him a train of barbarous men, women, and children, to the number of 50 or 60 persons. If he means to make them appear like persons of good quality, they will presently spend all his Allhallowtide, rent which he hath taken up by way of anticipation; but if he shall carry them through the country in the fashion and habit wherein now they are, doubtless they will be taken for a company of gipsies, and be exceedingly scorned and despised by that proud nation. As for himself, minuet præsentia famam, when the formal Spanish courtier shall note his heavy aspect and blunt behaviour; so that they will hardly believe he is the same O'Neill who maintained so long a war against the crown of England. Therefore, if he be gone into Spain the first news of him will be, either that he is a shorn monk or dead with extreme grief and melancholy.
"As for the Earl of Tyrconnell, he will appear to be so vain a person that they will scarce give him means to live, if the Earl of Tyrone do not countenance and maintain him.
"As for them that are here, they are glad to see the day wherein the countenance and majesty of the law and civil government hath banished Tyrone out of Ireland, which the best army in Europe and the expense of two millions of sterling pounds did not bring to pass. And they hope His Majesty's happy government will work a greater miracle in this kingdom than ever St. Patrick did; for St. Patrick only banished the poisonous worms, but suffered the men full of poison to inhabit the land still; but His Majesty's blessed genius will banish all those generations of vipers out of it, and make it, ere it be long, a right fortunate island."
It was not until after a painful voyage of twenty-one days that the fugitive party landed at Quillebœuf on the Seine, on the 26th of September (or according to new style the 4th October) 1607. It consisted in all of ninetyone individuals; comprising, of the immediate family of Tyrone, the Earl himself, his countess Catherine, his sons —Hugh Baron of Dungannon, John, and Brian; Art Oge O'Neil, son of his brother Sir Cormac; Fardorcha, son of his brother Con, and Hugh Oge, son of his brother Brian; and of the family of Tyrconnell, the Earl himself, his infant son Hugh Baron of Donegal, his brother Caffar, his sister Nuala, wife of Neil Garve O'Neil, and his two nephews, Donell Oge and Naghtan O'Donnell. On the following day Tyrone, accompanied by Cuconnaght Maguire and a train of gentlemen, proceeded to Lisieux, to wait upon the Governor of Normandy. A demand for their extradition was at once made by the English Ambassador, but refused; and they were sent forward with honour upon their journey, by way of Amiens, Arras, and Douay, to Flanders, where they were joined by O'Neill's son, colonel of the regiment of Irish exiles, and were received with all distinction and hospitality by the Archduke Albert.
The movements of the party during their stay in the Low Countries may be traced with curious minuteness in the correspondence of Sir Thomas Edmonds, the Ambassador at Brussels. Not a day was lost, on the discovery of the flight, whether upon Lord Salisbury's part (fn. 54) in reporting the event to the Ambassador, or upon that of the Ambassador (fn. 55) in communicating to Salisbury the rumours which had reached Brussels. The unhappy fugitives, from the moment of their landing on the continent, were surrounded by spies; and, as invariably happens, not a few of these were of their own household. Their company speedily began to dissolve at their side. Within a few days of their arrival in Flanders "young St. Leger" came to Sir Thomas Edmonds to make his peace with the King, protesting that he "with many others was blindfoldly carried into this journey, without knowing whither he went." (fn. 56) Henry Ovington [Hovenden] in like manner declared that "he had had no kind of knowledge of the resolution of the Earls till the night before his departure; being surprised by that short warning, and precipitated into the journey, of which he now repented." (fn. 57)
And it would have been well if the backsliding had been confined to these and similar changes of purpose and withdrawals from the Earls' party; but there speedily arose, under the skilful management of Salisbury's agent, a crowd of double-dyed traitors, competing with each other in the race of treachery, each seeking to outstrip his rival in baseness and to exalt his own services by discrediting those of his fellow traitor. Foremost in this odious company was John Rathe, the very man who had acted as pilot on the voyage from Ireland, who was again admitted by Tyrone to attend him on his further journey, and who nevertheless appears in the State Paper correspondence as having sold himself unreservedly to the service of Salisbury!
Another of Edmonds's agents was one Gaspar Travers, "who had come in Rathe's company;" and it is curious to find these wretched men carrying with them, throughout these varieties of foreign adventure and amid the complications of intrigue in which they were embarked, all the petty local and provincial prejudices of their old country. Travers, it appears, was a native of Munster; and he is denounced to Edmonds by Rathe as unfit on this account to be trusted, "the Munster men being noted to be always as false as the devil." (fn. 58) And it must be said that Travers fully justified this character; for having accepted Edmonds's commission as a spy upon Tyrone, he completed his falsehood by disclosing this fact to Tyrone himself, and engaging to betray to the Earl all the secrets of his adversary. (fn. 59)
The precautions adopted for carrying out this system of espionage, and for the transmission of the secret intelligence obtained thereby, were curious in the extreme. Salisbury himself arranges (fn. 60) all the details of the plan with one of his intelligencers (bearing the name of Henry Richardson), who had been despatched to Rome, as a spy upon the proceedings of Tyrone. It would seem that Richardson had expressed some apprehension as to the prudence of sending his letters through the French Ambassador at Rome (a medium indeed, which Salisbury confesses he himself "does not hold so safe"); and in consequence, Salisbury tells him that he "has taken order with one John Browne, an honest merchant in London, that if at any time he (Richardson) direct his letters to Florence to Mr. Thomas Young, under the name of Henry Richardson, to Mr. James Brokesby, they will be received and conveyed covertly in Young's packet, to England." But he warns him always to take the name of Henry Richardson, both to Young and Salisbury himself, and to "maintain the style of his letters, as from one catholic to another, according to their former agreement." (fn. 61) How closely this counsel was carried into practice, may be seen most amusingly in an unsigned letter entitled, "Advertisements from Rome;" the main subject of which is an account of the ceremonial of a canonization at Rome, written with all the enthusiasm of a devout catholic;—conveying news regarding the several religious orders; enclosing a packet of "Agnus Deis;" apologizing for not forwarding a greater number; and sending Father Parsons's commendations. And yet this letter, with all its parade of catholic piety and all its details of catholic gossip, is but a skilfully disguised report of Salisbury's agent, giving incidentally an account of the doings of Tyrone and his friends at Rome. The original paper still bears Salisbury's own endorsement, "Advertisements from Rome, written with some clauses to disguise the affection of the intelligencer." (fn. 62)
Tyrone's first design was to go to Spain at once, and he actually set out from Flanders for that country in the end of November; but he was called back by a messenger from the Archduke, and remained at Louvain till the 28th of February 1608, when he proceeded through Lorraine and Switzerland, and by the St. Gothard pass to Milan, which city he reached in the end of the following month. The exiled Earl had hardly entered Italy when Sir Henry Wotton, the English ambassador at Venice, sent a secret emissary charged, as Wotton tells Salisbury, "to accompany Tyrone and his 'ging' over all Italy;" writing at the same time to King James, that "as His Majesty's servants in France and in Brabant had hitherto kept him informed of the proceedings of the fugitives, it is now his duty, since Tyrone and his followers have entered on Italian ground, to give His Majesty an account of them." (fn. 63)
It was within a few days of Wotton's undertaking this task of surveillance, that he received from an unnamed adventurer, a proposal for the assassination of Tyrone, which he communicated without delay to the King himself, under the feigned signature of Ottavio Baldi, in the curious letter which will be found in the Appendix of the Calendar, Vol. II., p. 657.
Wotton describes his visitor as an Italian of middle age, sober in countenance, well clothed and well fashioned, and by the accents and phrase of his speech, undoubtedly a Lombard, or one long bred in that part of Italy. Having presented a credential ticket, which appeared "to have been penned not improvidently," the stranger stated that he was sent from a gentleman banished by a Prince with whom the King of England might do much; which gentleman had understood that there were arrived in Milan certain dangerous rebels against the King, of whom one was said to be the head and leader. This leader the gentleman undertook to find a means to send a casa del diavolo [to the Devil's house], (that was his phrase), if he could be assured it would be so acceptable a piece of service to the King, as to merit His Majesty's favourable letters for his repatriation. This was the substance of what he had to say, and he stipulated that, until Wotton could ascertain the King's will as to the proposal, he should forbear to demand the quality, abode, or name of the person that had sent him, and should content himself with knowing that he was a man both of spirit and understanding for a business of that nature, and (though unknown) long devoted to His Majesty's service. He added also, that, when the thing should be effected, he would not only discover himself to Wotton, but likewise peradventure far un salto [make a run] into England.
Wotton confesses that he was somewhat troubled with the latter part of this speech, not seeing sufficient cause for so much wariness—the party being (as was confessed) a banished man, a class who are commonly not over dainty of their names in treaties of this kind; and he resolved to answer the proposal with some reservation and ambiguity.
He began, therefore, by professing the difficulty of giving an answer touching the acceptableness of the foresaid piece of service; for the persons who seemed to be aimed at were so far from being dangerous (as his visitor had termed them), that they were indeed most contemptible; having run away solely because they could do no harm at home; whereas the King was so tenderly beloved by his own people and so renowned among strangers for the justice of his government, that "his honour could not be hurt with what bruit soever such a handful of traitorous vagabonds should scatter as they go."
On Wotton's proceeding to say that, albeit the thing proposed might no doubt be done very justly (the parties standing in actual proclaimed rebellion), yet it was somewhat questionable whether it might be done honourably; —they not having been openly proscribed to destruction abroad, and this course not being so familiar and frequent with Englishmen as in other states;—the stranger interrupted him somewhat eagerly, saying that "the gentleman who had sent him knew not tante distinctioni" (so many nice distinctions). The sum and substance was this, that, if he could but be assured it would be well taken by the King, the thing should be done, and then, as concerns the conscience of him that would do it, sua Majta lasci far a lui [let His Majesty leave it to himself];— just in the style (as Wotton confesses) of a fellow that was fit for such a purpose. Wotton replied that since the point which alone or chiefly he required to know was, how acceptable it would be, he would take the liberty to tell him his own conceit, that services of this kind rendered to princes, "were commonly most obligatory when they were done without their knowledge." "Intendo vossignoria" [I understand you], said he, smiling. Wotton answered that he might peradventure understand him too far; and therefore with his leave he would explain himself, that "what he had said he meant not directly of the King of England, but of the general rules and affection of other princes in the like cases."
The contrast in what follows of the interview between, on the one side, the unblushing profligacy of the hardy bravo, and the polished but scarce veiled cynicism of the veteran diplomatist on the other, is so eminently dramatic, that it must be told in Wotton's own words:—
"With that," continues Sir Henry, "he fell into direct laughter, and said I was 'troppo geloso' [too jealous]. I answered that himself seemed rather so, by such concealment of the party from whom he came. 'Let not that trouble you' (said he), 'for the effect shall show that he is un galant' huomo e gran servidore di sua Majta, [a gentleman and a great servant of His Majesty]; neither doth he demand any favour till the execution of what he hath promised.' I answered, that 'he seemed indeed an honest man by his hating of those that were naught; and that Your Majesty loved honest men in all countries, and was desirous likewise of their love, and that by nature you were the thankfullest prince of the world.' 'But' (said I) 'the gentleman may perhaps not have yet understood that these traitors (according to the fashion of such men,) go very sufficiently armed, and are of no certain abode in any one place.' 'Yes,' (said he), 'they will abide some time in Rome, and thence into Spain, if they be not prevented.' Which I think he took out of the common voice; for of particularities I found him so ignorant that he could not name the man whom he offered to kill, otherwise than the head and leader of the rest. As for their being armed, he could scant keep himself from laughing again at that 'poor circumstance,' as he called it; and thus we spent some other voluntary words, to and fro, of no great substance, till at last I told him that, though he had barred me from all inquisitiveness about the person that had sent him, yet I would be bold, with his favour, to demand his own name. This he also denied me; saying that to know him or not to know him importava niente al negotio [had nothing to do with the business]; he was for his part but a messenger, and had no other business here than only to speak with me, which having done, he would that very evening depart; yet he had order to leave first a note in my hands how he might hear from me, addressing my letters to one in Mantua, his friend, without any superscription.
"The note I received, and so he departed. Neither do I yet know any more of him, nor can I conjecture anything of the person that sent him, save that, by all likelihood, he is some one banished out of this State, and hovering about the Court of Mantua, who had caught this news at the first voice, and found it to be a fit means for his own restitution. As for my part, I have left him in the motions of his own will; and as Your Majesty shall be further pleased to command me, I will proceed in it. This is the first proposition concerning Your Majesty in particular, if the consideration of such distracted runagates can any way concern you." (fn. 64)
Whether any, and what, notice was taken at home of his most extraordinary communication, these papers supply no information. But its cool and business-like tone and the masterly diplomacy with which, while seeming to deprecate the proposal, and to under-rate its value to the service of his sovereign, the negociator contrived to draw out all its details, and, by anticipating its possible difficulties, to suggest or discover a means of overcoming them, are hardly surpassed by the most finished efforts of the genius of Shakespeare.
The crime of assassination, or at least the suspicion of it, was not confined to one side in this deadly conflict. The death of the Earl of Tyrconnell in the end of the following July seems to have been attributed by public report at Rome to the machinations of the Irish party and the Jesuits, acting in complicity with the Pope and the Spanish Ambassador. Sir Henry Wotton, in reporting the Earl's death to Salisbury, transmitted to him a notice which he had received from Rome, and the acceptance of which, without discredit, by an Ambassador, affords a curious illustration of the loose ideas of political morality which prevailed at the time. This singular communication states that Tyrconnell, in the freedom of the confidence which he placed in the General of the Jesuits, complained one day of the ill treatment which he was receiving from the Pope and the Spaniards, and hinted that "he could easily make his own peace and that of his followers with the King of Great Britain by disclosing the whole proceedings of the Earl of Tyrone and his fellow conspirators; but that there was one thing which restrained him from so doing, namely, the Head of his religion." This perilous menace, the report says, speedily reached the Pope and the Spanish Ambassador; and the latter soon after waited upon Tyrconnell, accompanied by an Irish friend of the Earl, and by remarking that the Earl looked very ill, persuaded him to go to bed. In due course the Pope's physician was sent to visit and prescribe for him; and in a very few days Tyrconnell began to decline, and, "without knowing what his ailment was, grew worse from day to day, till he died, and was buried in the cemetery of the convent of S. Pietro in Montorio, which is under the immediate protection of the King of Spain."
The inference directly suggested, namely, that the Earl was thus got rid of by poison in order to anticipate the betrayal of the cause which he was believed to be meditating, and that this step was taken at the instance or with the cognizance of personages so distinguished, forms a curious set-off for Sir Henry Wotton's proposal to the King of England. And yet these very papers themselves supply the most complete series of evidence that the Earl's death was the result of fever caught in a journey to Ostia, by which several of the train who had accompanied him were affected, and with which his own page and the son of the Earl of Tyrone were seized at the same time with himself.
Rising of O'Dogherty.
Before the excitement which was created by the flight of Tyrone and Tyrconnell, and which was stimulated by a succession of reports of their imminent return with an army from Spain and Flanders and with subsidies in money and arms from the Pope, had subsided, a fresh impulse was given to the hopes of the discontented natives by the temporary success of Sir Cahir O'Dogherty's uprising and seizure of Derry, on the 19th of April 1608. The particulars of this transaction will be found related with great minuteness in the letters and reports from the officers of the district, and in the letters of Chichester to Salisbury and to the Lords of Council. (fn. 65)
An intercepted letter, written in Irish by O'Dogherty to O'Gallagher, chief of the "foster family" of the O'Donnell, is specially interesting, as an illustration of the relations which subsisted between the minor tanists of the same territory, and still more of the well known institution "fostering" among the native Irish. The letter was written in the very crisis of O'Dogherty's struggle, after his stronghold, Beart Castle, had been invested by a party left for the purpose by Sir Thomas Ridgeway, and just as O'Dogherty "had planted himself in an unknown and unaccessible fastness, called Glyn Loughvagh" [Loughveagh]. (fn. 66)
"The commendation of O'Doghertie unto O'Galchure [O'Galaher].
"I would have you understand that, if you have any hope here or hereafter of your foster son [the infant Hugh O'Donnell, Baron of Donegal, Tyrconnell's heir], and your earthly lord [Tyrconnell], or the good of O'Doghertie, then cause your sept and yourself to aid O'Doghertie. You may the easier perform this, because 'the churls' [meaning the English] have no courage but what encouragement Neale Arte Oge's sons and Tyrconnell have given them. Now that we have given them over, we make no reckoning of them. Let no man imagine we are any weaker for losing Birte Castle, unless he may take thought of the inconstantness of such as he trusted of his own people, whom now he little regards. Be it known to you, O'Galchure, O'Doghertie desires you should possess anything which the Earl makes account of, rather than any man else of Tyrconnell, because the Earl so desires it. What answer you make to these matters and concerning Lough Easke, send it, in writing or by word of mouth, betwixt this and the next morning.—From Bally Aghtranyll. Cahire O'Doghertie."
The writer's hatred and contempt of "the churls," his appeal to O'Gallagher's loyalty to his territorial chief, and his allusion to the still more tender tie which ought to bind him to his foster child, are eminently characteristic.
But the appeal was in vain. Within a few days O'Gallagher surrendered the castle of Lough Eske to Sir Henry Folliott.
It may be said, however, that in general these papers do not add much to what had been already known and published regarding this ill-starred uprising. The war, in Chichester's expressive phrase, was made "thick and short:" (fn. 67) the success of "the Tyrconnell rebels" was a brief and inglorious one; and before the summer had passed, the Privy Council of England were "gratified by the welcome news of the death (though too good a death) at Kilmacrenan, of the traitor O'Dogherty," (fn. 68) slain during the battle by some of his own men, (fn. 69) who obtained from Chichester the 500l. which he had put upon O'Dogherty's head. (fn. 70)
There is one episode of this miserable struggle, however, of which nothing seems to have been known hitherto, and which is related in a most characteristic dispatch of Sir Henry Folliott to Chichester;—the capture and destruction of the last remnant of the followers of O'Dogherty, who had taken refuge in Torry, an island in the open Atlantic, about ten miles from the north coast of Donegal. The principal of these was Shane M'Manus Oge O'Donnell, who was the most prominent of the sept after the departure of the Fugitives, and who is represented by Chichester as "ambitious to be created O'Donnell, if means and occasions were answerable to the design." (fn. 71) On the dispersion of the main body, Shane M'Manus Oge, with about two hundred and forty followers well armed, betook himself to "the islands of Claudie, hoping there to lie safe and difficult to come at, and to increase in number and reputation after their departure." Chichester drew his forces around so as to invest them completely; and M'Manus, finding himself hardly beset, retired with a party of some sixty armed men, into the island of Torraghe [Torry], where he had a well victualled and furnished castle. This island stands some two or three leagues from the main shore, and contains about four quarters of land. It is strongly situated by nature, and has such a current of tides about it, that ships very seldom can cast anchor near it. The castle stands separate from the great island, "upon a lesser islet, a steep rock, containing likewise a small circuit of land." Having first broken their boats, Chichester left Sir Henry Folliott, Sir Ralph Bingley, and Captain Paul Gore, with several parties of soldiers, about two hundred in all, "to watch their opportunities, upon the main land, and to prevent the rebels' escape by currockes [corrachs] or boats made of hides, which they use." They then "searched and harrowed" the islands of Claudie, and in his return Chichester "took in Loghveagh, where were twenty rebels that kept it, and ruined their island and fort." He states that the principal man that held the fort—one of the O'Gallaghers—killed three or four of his best associates after he yielded up the island; for which service Chichester took him into protection. And he adds with characteristic sang-froid, that he "held this practice with these rebels in all places where he came, and found it more successful than any force; such is their levity and great fear when they are prosecuted with effect." (fn. 72)
But the consummation of the tragedy was reserved for the island of Torry, to which the main body had withdrawn, and which Chichester had surrounded with parties of surveillance. The story is told by Folliott, and we shall give the chief incidents in his own words. The reader of Mr. Froude's History of England will remember the terrible picture which he draws of the massacre in Rathlin Island, under Essex, in July 1575. (fn. 73) The tragedy of Torry differs in the number of victims, which was comparatively small; but, if we regard the hideous condition attached to the offer of pardon,—disgraceful alike to the butchers who imposed it and to the wretches by whom it was carried into effect,—which condition, as may be inferred from Chichester's despatch just quoted, was offered under his direction, the transaction is hardly surpassed in atrocity by the more wholesale enormities of the older story.
Folliott, having explained and apologised to Chichester for suffering the escape of the principal body of the fugitives from the island, proceeds with his narrative. A constable and warders remained in the castle after the flight of the rest.
"The next day, after his coming and viewing the castle and grounds about it, the constable called to Sir Mullmory M'Swyne, (then with Sir Henry Folliott's force,) and entreated him to procure him leave to speak with him, promising to perform good service; on which he suffered him to come; and at his coming, he asked him what he would do to save his life and the rest that were with him; after many excuses of Shane M'Manus Oge's innocency, and his being forced to remain there, he offered the castle, with all that was in it, for safety of their lives. But of this he (Sir Henry) made small account, considering it as the King's already. But he made him this proffer; if he would undertake the bringing to him Shane M'Manus Oge's head, and give him good security for the performance of it, he would undertake they should have their pardons. He (the constable) protested he could by no means perform it, but promised to do the best he could in that or anything else for the King's service."
Folliott then ordered him to go back, but for a long time he refused to go,—
"still entreating for mercy, urging his unfortunate stay there, and his innocency, with his forwardness to do anything which lay in his power."
In the end Folliott promised the constable his life, on condition of his delivering up the castle and the warders:—
"He spoke of the difficulty of this in respect of the numbers; but withal promised seven of their heads, with the castle and all that was in it, within two hours."
And here occurs one of the most shocking incidents of this shocking tragedy. Before Sir Henry dealt with the constable for the heads of all his men, Captain Gore had dealt with M'Swyne (another of the garrison), and had fixed the same terms. This M'Swyne came with the constable to the camp.
"So they departed," continues Sir Henry, "each of them being well assured and resolved to cut the other's throat; by ill hap to M'Swyne, it was the constable's fortune to get the start of the others, and he killed two of them; instantly the rest of them fled into the island, hiding themselves among the rocks and cliffs; and at break of day he caused them to look for them, giving them two hours for the bringing in of their heads without the assistance of any of the soldiers, otherwise their own were like to make up the number promised by them. After a little search they found three of them in a rock, the passage to which was so dangerous that he had well hoped it would have cost the most of their lives; but the constable with the first shot he made killed the principal; the other two men ran away towards Sir Henry's men. One of them promising some service, but of little moment, he delivered him again to the constable to be hanged; and as he was being led to execution, the desperate villain, with a skione [skeane] he had secretly about him, stabbed the constable to the heart, who never spake a word, and was afterwards himself, with the other three, cut into pieces by the other; and so there were but five that escaped; three of them churls, and the other two young boys." (fn. 74)
Results of Tyrone and Tyrconnell's Flight, and O'Dogherty's Rebellion.
The course by which it had originally been proposed to reform the Ulster tenures, and to introduce "civility" into that province, was cut short by these unforeseen events. Scarcely had the news of the flight of the Earls of Tyrone and Tyrconnell reached the Government, when suggestions began to pour in from all quarters as to the use to be made of the opportunity thus created. Within a few days of their departure (Sept. 11) Sir Geoffrey Fenton puts Salisbury in mind, "what a door is opened to the King, not only to pull down for ever these two grand houses of O'Neile and O'Donnell, but also to bring in colonies of the English to plant both countries, to a great increase of His Majesty's revenues, and to settle the countries perpetually in the Crown, and besides to recompense many well-deserving servitors in the distribution, without charge to His Majesty." (fn. 75) Sir John Davys, on the 12th, in a passage already referred to, hails the event as enabling the King to eclipse the legendary miracle of St. Patrick, by banishing not the "poisonous worms," but the man full of poison," out of the island. (fn. 76) In less rhetorical phrase, Richard Hadsor, on the 23rd September, draws Salisbury's attention to it as "offering good occasion for a plantation." (fn. 77) Sir Thomas Phillips turns it to account in his own behalf, September 22, by putting in an early claim for "a good scope of Tyrone's land" adjoining Coleraine, and promises, "if it be granted, that he would have planted upon it a company of honest English to serve His Majesty on all occasions." (fn. 78) Chichester himself regarded the news of Tyrone's departure as "far better for the King and commonwealth than if he were in the Tower of London; since by this course he had carried with him his children and kinsmen, who were in remainder in the estate of his country, and it would seem, unacquainted with his treasons before his departure; whereas by this course all will be His Majesty's, who, as Chichester hopes, will make the best use of it for the settlement of his better subjects." (fn. 79) And it is clear that these views were but an anticipation, or perhaps an echo of a foregone policy at the centre of government, for as early as the 27th of September Salisbury distinctly declares to Chichester "that he thinks it of great necessity that those countries be made the King's by this accident." (fn. 80) It is worthy of note too, that at this time he was of opinion that there "should be a mixture in the plantation, the natives being made His Majesty's tenants of part, but the rest to be divided among those who would inhabit, and in no case any man suffered to embrace more than it is visible he can and will manure," and that care should be taken to avoid the oversight of the plantation of Munster, whose 12,000 acres were commonly allotted to bankrupts and country gentlemen that never knew the disposition of the Irish. As a further specimen of the progressive stages of opinion, it may be added that Sir Oliver St. John at this period advised that no part [of the land to be planted] should be given away to Irish or English, but should be let by worthy and careful commissioners to the natives of the country at high and dear rates." (fn. 81)
Independently, therefore, of the suspicion of complicity with his brother and with Tyrconnell, which was alleged against Sir Cormac O'Neil, there were abundant reasons of policy for refusing his application for a custodiam of the lands of Tyrone after his flight. On the contrary, the first step taken by the Lord Deputy and Council was to appoint Sir Toby Caulfield, receiver of the fugitives' rent on the part of the Crown; and mention is made more than once in the correspondence to the return of the accounts of rents thus received in the King's name; (fn. 82) the final account being rendered by Sir Toby when his receivership determined, 1st November 1610, on the distribution of the lands to the undertakers. (fn. 83)
It is curious to trace in the successive stages of the correspondence the progress of the scheme of settlement from the first definite suggestion of a plan to the final organization of the measure, such as it was carried into actual execution. Before the end of the month in which the Earls fled, Chichester appears to have arranged, in his own mind, at least alternatively, all the uses to which their abandonment of their territory might be turned. On the 17th of September 1607, he proposes two plans to the Privy Council. He professes his own preference for the first:—
"If His Majesty will, during their absence, assume the countries into his possession, divide the lands amongst the inhabitants—to every man of note or good desert so much as he can conveniently stock and manure by himself and his tenants and followers, and so much more as by conjecture he shall be able so to stock and manure for five years to come;—and will bestow the rest upon servitors and men of worth here, and withal bring in colonies of civil people of England and Scotland at His Majesty's pleasure, with condition to build castles or stone houses upon their lands; and if he will bestow 10,000l. or 12,000l. to repair the forts already built, and to build some more small forts from the ground in fit places, and place 200 soldiers within them by 8, 10, or 12 in each of them, to be at His Majesty's charge for the five years aforesaid, and then to be left in the hands of those that shall be first entrusted with them, to be maintained and defended by the revenues of the lands which may be laid to them; then he assures himself that, besides the yearly benefit that will redound to His Majesty's coffers, which will be nothing inferior to the revenues of Munster or Connaught, the country will ever after be happily settled; there will be no need to spend their revenues in the reducing and defence of this realm from time to time, as has been customary for many hundred years heretofore." (fn. 84)
If this suggestion should appear unfeasible, the alternative is as follows:—
"But if His Majesty and their Lordships shall not like of that course (which is the best of all others that he can think on), then they must of necessity to descend to this other, and that is to drive out all the inhabitants of Tirone, Tirconnell, and Fermanaghe as near as they may, with all their goods and cattle, into the countries adjoining, over the rivers of the Bande [Ban], Blackwater, and Logh Erne, there to inhabit the waste lands, more than is sufficient to contain them, leaving only such people behind as will dwell under the protection of the garrisons and forts which would be made strong and defensible. He holds this an honest and laudable act, void of iniquity or cruelty; and even though it were touched with some, yet, in this case, it is prudence, and like to be recompensed with a public benefit to His Majesty and the whole realm, both for the present and future time. One or other of these designs should be suddenly apprehended, and directions and means sent to put it in execution without delay; for His Majesty should not much stand upon forms of law and justice with men that are assuredly gone to put on their arms, and therein to dispute with him concerning their claims." (fn. 85)
Within less than a fortnight (29th September) an answer is returned, which, without separately considering the terms of the two projects thus alternatively proposed, appears to adopt the leading principles of both:—
"For the plantation which is to follow upon attainder, the King in general approves of Chichester's project, being resolved to make a mixture of the inhabitants, as well Irish, as English and Scottish; to respect and favour the Irish that are of good note and desert, and to make Chichester specially judge thereof; to prefer English that are and have been servitors before any new men from hence; to assign places of most importance to men of best trust; and generally to observe these two cautions;—first, that such as be planted there be not needy, but of a reasonable sufficiency to maintain their portions; secondly, that none shall have a vast, but only a reasonable proportion; much less that any one of either nation shall be master of a whole country. But before this plantation can be digested and executed, much must be prepared by Chichester, as His Majesty is to be better informed of the lands to be divided; what countries are most meet to be inhabited; what Irish fit to be trusted; what English meet for that plantation in Ireland; what offers are or will be made there; what estates are fit to be granted; and what is to be done for the conviction of the fugitives, because there is no possession or estate to be given before their attainder." (fn. 86)
Accordingly, following the suggestion thus thrown out, the first step towards the plantation was the indictment of "the Fugitive Earls and divers of their adherents of certain high treasons, whereof they found themselves guilty when they made their sudden flight out of the country." (fn. 87)
Indictment of the Fugitive Earls and Their Adherents.
In order to understand all the bearings of this obscure and complicated procedure, it becomes necessary to consider the immediate causes of the flight of the Ulster Earls, especially of that of the Earl of Tyrone, and the consequences of that step.
In the summer of 1607, there was a cause depending before Sir Arthur Chichester and the Council Board, between the Earl of Tyrone and Sir Donel O'Cahan, concerning the rights claimed by the Earl over the territory possessed by O'Cahan, "that large and fruitful territory lying between Loughfoyle and the river Ban," as Sir John Davys describes it, (fn. 88) which the Earl contended was part of Tyrone, insisting that O'Cahan, consequently, was under his jurisdiction.
After an angry discussion before Sir Arthur and the Council Board (where the Earl in his passion so forgot himself as to snatch a paper out of O'Cahan's hand and tear it to pieces in the presence of the Board), (fn. 89) both parties asked for leave to repair to His Majesty. (fn. 90)
Sir Arthur Chichester and the Council apprized the King that inconveniences might arise among the loose people of the Earl and O'Cahan, by the absence of their heads, but the King, on 16th of July 1607, replied to Chichester that he was resolved on their coming over, conceiving that they would more contentedly abide the sentence of their sovereign than of his officers or ministers, however just soever they might be, (fn. 91) and the cause was to be heard in November following. About the 13th of August, Sir Arthur Chichester went down towards Ulster, (fn. 92) minding to spend the long vacation there, and to attend to the ordinary business of the province. (fn. 93) While he was staying at Slane the Earl of Tyrone often came to him, and by all his discourses seemed to intend nothing more than the preparation for his journey into England against the time appointed, only regretting that between the shortness of time and his present poverty he was not able to furnish himself as became him for such a journey and such a presence. (fn. 94) On the 6th of September, notwithstanding, Sir Arthur was informed that the two Earls of Tyrone and Tyrconnell, with their families and others, numbering 35 persons, (fn. 95) had embarked in a ship at Rathmullen, in Lough Swilly, for what destination was not then known, nor the causes of their flight. (fn. 96) Proofs of treason were subsequently discovered, as was alleged; and about the 15th of December 1607, Sir John Davys with other Commissioners, proceeded to Donegal and Tyrone, and there presented bills of indictment to grand juries of those counties, charging the two Earls and their companions with high treason, and these bills were, by the grand juries, found to be true bills. (fn. 97) They were returned into the King's Bench, in order that process might issue so that the parties should be attainted of outlawry, about the beginning of June, 1609, (fn. 98) when their lands might be completely confiscated. But before this time arrived events, as we saw, had happened which placed in similar condition the only two portions of Tyrone and Donegal remaining unconfiscated, that is to say, O'Cahan's country about Coleraine and Limavaddy, and the territory of Innishowen belonging to Sir Cahir O'Dogherty. For on the night between the 18th and 19th of April 1608, Sir Cahir O'Dogherty rose in insurrection and surprised and burned the infant city of Derry and slew the governor, Sir George Pawlet. (fn. 99) On the 5th of July 1608, O'Dogherty was slain, (fn. 100) and death in rebellion being in Ireland an attainder in law, if found by inquisition, Sir Thomas Ridgeway took down a Commission under the Great Seal to inquire super visum corporis of O'Dogherty. And thus were avoided all the delays in entitling the King to O'Dogherty's lands and goods that occurred in the Earls of Tyrone's and Tyrconnell's cases, which took up almost the whole time till O'Dogherty's death. (fn. 101) Sir Donel O'Cahan had no part in O'Dogherty's treason, having been in prison in the Castle of Dublin since the month of February preceding, strange as it may sound, at his own request. He and the Bishop of Derry had had differences about Church or termon lands in his territory. This made him jealous of the Government, and being summoned below stood upon his keeping, a sign in Ireland of revolt soon after to follow (wrote Chichester) if they have means or be not prevented. (fn. 102) However, O'Cahan repaired to Dublin, presented himself to Chichester on the 11th of February, (fn. 103) and on being charged with sundry misdemeanors, indignantly denied them and begged to be put under restraint, until he should disprove them, or better excuse himself; and Sir Arthur committed him to the constable of the castle. (fn. 104) The charge was not a capital one; and after he had been five months in prison, Sir Arthur Chichester asked permission to discharge him; (fn. 105) but this was not granted, and the Lords of the Council directed that he should be sent over to England. (fn. 106) There was a desire, however, to obtain a verdict for treason against him, and he was kept in the prison of the Castle of Dublin till June 1609, and an indictment containing six points of treason (fn. 107) was framed against him, and a jury summoned from Donegal for his trial at Dublin in that month; but Sir Neal O'Donnell being put on his trial in the King's Bench for notorious treason, on the 24th of June, and the jury not returning a verdict, (it was said that they had bound themselves by voluntary oath never to find the lord of their country guilty,) (fn. 108) Sir John Davys resolved, from the experience they had had of this northern jury, to put off O'Cahan's trial till direction should arrive from England. (fn. 109) He was never tried, but was sent over to England and imprisoned in the Tower of London, where he died some years later.
The indictment against the Earls and their companions had remained unpublished till it appeared in the second volume of this Calendar. The copy of it now in the Public Records was only entrusted to Salisbury by Sir John Davys in the strictest confidence; for he has appended to it a request that Salisbury will "suppress it, because records of this nature are never communicated." (fn. 110)
It contains three charges: first, that they rose in arms and assembled at Rathmullen on the 3rd of September 1607, with the design of the death and destruction of the King, and to deprive him of the government. Of this charge it is enough to say, that this levying of war was a far-fetched legal construction, for the Earls were only at Rathmullen on the eventful night of the 3rd of September 1607 in hasty flight from the King and kingdom.
The second is a charge that they intended to seize the Castle of Dublin, and the castles of Athlone, Roscommon, Ballyshannon, Lifford, and Duncannon (in Wexford), and divers other castles, and to deprive the King of the government of Ireland, and to introduce an army of foreigners.
The third and last, that they had left Ireland to bring back a foreign army. But, besides this general indictment against the whole company, there was, as against the Earl of Tyrone in particular, a separate indictment preferred in the county of Tyrone for an additional act of treason in assuming the name of "O'Neale."
Sir John Davys, upon his return to Dublin, gives the following account of the proceedings to the Earl of Salisbury. The letter is dated 6th January 1608.
"About ten days before Christmas was sent with other commissioners down into Ulster to indict the fugitive Earls and divers of their adherents of those high treasons whereof they found themselves guilty when they made their sudden flight out of this country . . . The Commissioners sat in two counties; first, at Lifford, in the county of Donegal, where [in which county] the fugitives were all assembled and committed some acts of rebellion before they took shipping: (fn. 111) and after at Strabane, in the county of Tyrone, where the Earl of Tyrone had taken upon him the name of 'O'Neale' (which is treason by Act of Parliament here) and besides committed many foul murders since he was last received to grace.
"In the county of Donegal they preferred against them all, their bill of indictment, containing the high and principal points of treason wherewith they were to be charged; namely, for conspiring and practising to deprive the King of his crown of Ireland, and to take the government into their own hands, which they intended to bring to pass by killing the Deputy and Council, by suppressing the castle of Dublin and other principal forts, by bringing in a foreign invasion and by stirring a new rebellion within the realm; and lastly, for committing certain acts at their departure, which being done by men whose traitorous hearts were poisoned with those former traitorous intentions amounted to an actual rebellion; and then departing with intent to return with a foreign power to depose the King from the royal government of this kingdom. The jurors empanelled to find this indictment were 23 gentlemen of the best quality and distinction in that county. Sir Cahir O'Doherty, who, next to the Earl of Tyrconnell, has the largest territory there, being the foreman; and of the 23 jurors, 13 were of the Irish nation and but 10 of the English, in order that there might be no exception of partiality in compounding the jury.
"The bill was read publicly both in English and Irish, though that were needless and not usual upon taking indictments; but they thought fit to discover a great deal of the evidence to all the hearers, to the end that all the country might be satisfied that the State proceeded against them upon a most just ground, and that the people, knowing their treacherous practices might rest assured that their guilty consciences and fear of losing their heads was the only cause of their running away, and not the allurement of any foreign prince. They laid open the evidence at large, and enforced it with the best advantage they could; but they found afterwards that but little rhetoric would have served to persuade the jury to find the bill against the Earls and Maguire, but because all the rest of their followers named in the bill were charged with all the treasons in as high a degree as the Earls themselves, they conceived a doubt how they might find the bill true against those followers, because it was very probable that most part of them knew not of the Earl's practices, and it was reported that some of them showed themselves unwilling to leave the kingdom." (fn. 112)
Having removed these scruples, the grand jurors found the bill to be a true bill, and the next day the Commissioners indicted the Earl of Tyrone at Strabane, a town lying only half a mile from Lifford, across the river Finn in Tyrone.
"Here they exhibited a bill against Tyrone," continues Sir John, "for assuming the name of 'O'Neale,' for proof whereof they had only one signet or warrant, written in Irish, wherein by the name of O'Neale he commands O'Quin, his marshal, to pay certain monies in this form:
"'O'Neale bids O'Quin to pay 60l., &c.,' but this warrant was signed 'Tyrone.'"
Notwithstanding, the jurors upon their own private knowledge found the bill of indictment true, and gave this reason: "Although," said they, "in presence of the English we should call him by the name of Earl, yet when he was in Tyrone amongst his followers he would be highly offended if we called him not O'Neale, so that we durst give him no other title." (fn. 113)
There remains, unfortunately, no report of Sir John Davys's speech nor note of the evidence he produced.
But the few following general observations arising from a survey of the many papers in this volume concerning the charges in this indictment may be made. The charge of conspiring to surprise the castle of Dublin and other forts is in the very words of Lord Delvin's confession, made at Dublin Castle on the 6th of November 1607, after the flight of the Earls. (fn. 114) And comparing this with a careful summary made by Sir Arthur Chichester, just before the flight, of the various informations given to him by Lord Howth, between the 29th of June and 25th of August 1607, (fn. 115) it is plain that the Earl of Tyrconnell, about Christmas 1605, in his anger at being deprived of some of his lands, opened his thoughts to Lord Delvin in the garden at Maynooth (for Tyrconnell had married Bridget, daughter of the Earl of Kildare), knowing that he also was discontented at having failed to get some lands promised him by the King in Longford. He said he was resolved to attempt something to recover his lands, and suggested that Delvin should join him. Delvin said his plot was too dangerous, but if he could get forces from the King of Spain he would join. The Earl of Tyrconnell told him that the Earl of Tyrone, Maguire, and others would declare themselves and join with him (for the whole kingdom was discontented) when they saw the Deputy and Council in their hands, and the kingdom without other government than their own. (fn. 116)
Lord Howth, whose truth Sir Arthur Chichester suspected from the outset, who on his own statement went to England seeking employment or pension from the King, (fn. 117) and whom his subsequent conduct in falsely charging Sir Garrett Moore as an accomplice of the Earl of Tyrone, (fn. 118) and afterwards the Lord Chancellor of other ridiculous offences, (fn. 119) rendered unworthy of credit, learning these few particulars from Delvin in the freedom of confidential intercourse, believed that there was a plot for a general insurrection on foot, and conceived the design of becoming discoverer, and in order to gain the greater credit, represented himself as a party to it. He went over to England, and first disclosed the plot to the Privy Council there, and then came over to Ireland to confer with Sir Arthur Chichester. "I like not his look and gesture," wrote Sir Arthur to the Privy Council, "when he talks with me of this business, which, together with his words, I set down in writing immediately upon his departure from me." (fn. 120) The Privy Council wrote to Sir Arthur that they concurred in his distrust of Lord Howth, and believed that "he rather prepared the propositions he speaks of than that the persons he names did originally "propound them to him," and that they had observed there the same uncertainty in his words and gestures as Sir Arthur had observed. (fn. 121) Lord Howth had laid a foundation for his disclosures by leaving an anonymous paper at the door of the Council chamber on the 18th of May 1607, warning the Deputy and Council of a plot for a general insurrection. (fn. 122) He must have then gone to England and communicated with the Council, for he returned to Ireland to communicate with Chichester on the 29th of June, and continued in communication with him till the 25th of August 1607, when Sir Arthur left Dublin for Slane on his journey into Ulster. There his first business was to digest Lord Howth's communications into the paper entitled "Brief Collections drawn from sundry discourses between the 29th of June and 25th of August 1607;" and on the 6th of September while thus engaged he learned the flight of the Northern Earls two days before. (fn. 123) He had already determined to arrest the Earl of Tyrconnell; but his astonishment at Tyrone's flight was great, for neither Lord Howth nor Delvin had involved him, (fn. 124) and Sir John Davys was equally astonished, for he had been ever noted, said he, "to be craftily wise in his kind, and therefore it were strange (continued Sir John) that he should quit an Earldom, and so large and beneficial a territory for smoke and castles in the air, and that, being possessed of a country quietly, he should leave the possession and try if he could win it again by force." (fn. 125)
The most probable cause of their flight seems to be that, the fact of Lord Howth's being in communication with the Privy Council in England and with Sir Arthur Chichester at Dublin becoming known to Tyrconnell, he apprized Tyrone of it, and assured him that, though he might not have been included in Howth and Delvin's catalogue, he would be certainly arrested when he should appear in London for the hearing of the cause between him and O'Cahan before the Privy Council. About that time John Bath was sent into Spain to ask the King of Spain for an asylum, as they feared it was intended to arrest them; but the King of Spain was unwilling to receive them, for he would give no offence to the King of England, being now in league with him. But soon afterwards, news coming that Tyrone was sent for into England, that he would never be suffered to return to Ireland, and that Tyrconnell was to be taken and committed in Ireland, a messenger was sent to bid them be in readiness to attend the coming of a ship, which should be sent for soon after. (fn. 126)
The events that followed upon the flight of the Earls showed that Lord Howth's tale of a general (or of any) insurrection was untrue. After the flight of the Earls Lord Howth and Lord Delvin were arrested; Lord Howth colourably, (fn. 127) Lord Delvin in order to obtain his confession. (fn. 128) Delvin confessed that he listened to Tyrconnell's suggestions, but told him the execution was impossible without a Spanish force; and that he believed that Tyrconnell shortly after sent a friar to Spain to deal with the King of Spain for a force of 10,000 men. (fn. 129) Delvin, however, had made one proviso: "If you can get forces from the King of Spain," said he, "I will join with you in attempting the castle or anything else, the killing of the Lord Deputy excepted, whose blood I will not "see spilt, for he has ever been my good friend." (fn. 130) When Howth framed his story, he represented himself as playing the part Delvin played, taking these very exceptions; but he made Lord Mountgarret, Sir Thomas Bourke, Sir Theobald Bourke, Sir Randal M'Donnell, and sundry others never named by Delvin, to be parties to the plot. (fn. 131)
The suspicions of Lord Howth's falseness entertained by Sir Arthur Chichester and the Council were justified by the events. Mountgarret and Sir Randal M'Donnell (Tyrone's sons-in-law) and others, hearing that they were charged, appeared voluntarily before Chichester, and denied the truth of the charge, and were not further troubled. (fn. 132) Salisbury assured Chichester he had no fears of Spain giving any forces to the Irish. (fn. 133) The whole story, in fact, of a plot for a general insurrection, fell to the ground, and was only based on the speeches and acts of Tyrconnell, a person so empty and vain that he "would scarce be countenanced in Spain or get the means to live, if the Earl of Tyrone should not maintain him." (fn. 134) Sir John Davys's judgment of their flight was the true one, that they fled for fear; (fn. 135) and Salisbury repeatedly assured Chichester afterwards that all his intelligence from abroad proved there was no design on the part of the King of Spain to aid them. (fn. 136) Tyrone's own statement is consistent with this. He concludes the collection of his grievances (addressed to His Majesty after his flight) with complaints of the watch kept upon him in Ulster, and the intention displayed by Sir Arthur Chichester in examining M'Guire in order to obtain evidence against him, and placing Captain Leigh, that "whispering companion," as Sheriff of Tyrone, as a spy upon him, and seeing that the Lord Deputy sought his destruction, he esteemed it a strife against the stream for him to live secure in Ireland. He added that the insults he received from inferior officers were sufficient to drive any human creature not only to forego a country, were it ever so dear to him, but also the whole world, in order to eschew such a government. Among these he included His Majesty's Attorney-General, Sir John Davys, "a man more fit to be a stage player than a counsel to His Highness," (fn. 137) who gave him very irreverent speech before the Council table, which being permitted by the Council, the Earl said he would appeal to His Majesty, when Sir John Davys replied that he was right glad thereof, and that he thereby expected to achieve honour. Finding his condition, therefore, insecure, of two evils he chose the least, and he thought better rather to forego his country and lands, and to make an honourable escape with his life and liberty only, than by staying with dishonour and indignity to lose both life, liberty, living, and country, which in very deed he much feared. (fn. 138)
It is further observable that Lord Howth's bearing was that of a man who had served the State in this transaction from the outset, not that of one who had temporarily erred, like Lord Delvin, in listening to Tyrconnell's proposals. On the day but one after Chichester had heard of the flight of the Earls, he propounded for a troop of horse for himself and another for Delvin. (fn. 139) Sir Arthur Chichester said his travels and expenses in the business he undertook were great, and he was driven to borrow money to defray his charges, amongst the rest 250l. from himself (Chichester), and when he asked for repayment Lord Howth told him, he (Chichester) must charge it upon the King, since it was expended in His Majesty's service. (fn. 140) In point of fact, he was soon after rewarded by the command of a troop of horse. (fn. 141)
The Earls and their friends, and amongst them Maguire of Fermanagh, having been thus found guilty of high treason, Sir Cahir O'Dogherty slain in rebellion, and Sir Donnel O'Cane being in prison, their goods and lands escheated to the Crown. But to entitle the Crown to take possession of the lands, it was necessary to have another verdict, ascertaining what lands the Earls, O'Dogherty, and Maguire held of the Crown.
The Commission for this inquiry issued and was executed in the year following their flight, that is to say, in the summer of 1608; but it was not until the autumn of 1610 that the lands which had been previously found to be vested in the King were distributed amongst the Ulster planters.
Three years, therefore, passed, from the date of their flight (4th September 1607), till the Plantation, which was begun in November 1610. But before we proceed to the history of this great social revolution, it may be fit to state what previous efforts had been made at plantation in Ulster.
Early Plantations in Ulster.
There had already been three vain attempts in Queen Elizabeth's reign to begin the colonization of Ulster. On 5th October 1572, a grant was made to Chatterton and his heirs, of Orier, the Fews, and the Gallowglas country in the county of Armagh, on the terms that he should, by the 28th March 1579, possess and plant these territories with civil and loyal subjects, and have the tenants armed either as horsemen or footmen, after the English manner, according to the proportions of land they should hold. But Chatterton was slain by the Irish of Orier, shortly after the date of the letters patent, and the scheme totally failed. (fn. 142)
The next attempt was an equal failure. On the 16th November 1572 the Queen granted the Little Ardes in the county of Down, to Sir Thomas Smith and his son; upon condition that they should, with a power of natural Englishmen, subdue the rebels in the Great and Little Ardes and Clanaboy, and plant these places with good, true, and faithful subjects of the Queen; but it was found by inquisition (13th October 1623) that Smith, the son, with a few Englishmen, entered Ulster on the 12th October 1572, but that neither he nor his father's followers subdued the rebels. (fn. 143)
The last attempt before King James's plantation was that of the Earl of Essex. On the 9th of July 1573 the Queen granted the territories forming the county of Antrim to Walter Earl of Essex, to subdue and plant with English; (fn. 144) but this also failed, and Essex received a grant of the barony of Farney, in Monaghan, for his pains.
These several attempts in Ulster failed from, their very outset through the strength of the Irish, but there were other plantations somewhat more successful in Leinster and Munster.
In Leinster, in the reign of Edward VI. the O'Moores and O'Connors of Leix and Slewmargy, since formed into the King's and Queen's Counties, having broken out into a fresh rebellion after the subduing of the Earl of Kildare's insurrection by King Henry VIII., it was determined in the reign of Philip and Mary to plant those countries with English colonists, which was effected in the first years of Queen Elizabeth's reign.
And in Munster, after the subduing of the Earl of Desmond's rebellion in 1584, his forfeited lands and those of his followers, extending over great part of Limerick, Kerry, Cork, Waterford, and Tipperary, were inhabited by colonists from Somersetshire and Devonshire, Lancashire and Cheshire.
These colonies, as well in Leinster as Munster, had undergone great reverses through the insurrections of the Irish, owing, as was believed, to defects in the schemes of plantation. In the plantation of the King's and Queen's Counties the colonists and the ancient inhabitants dwelt intermixed. They were not under condition to drive out the Irish, but only not to keep any Irishman born without the county. One of the grants in this plantation will give a view of the whole. The following to George Harpoole, though made in James I.'s reign, is made pursuant to the conditions of Philip and Mary.
20th July, 18 James I., the King grants to George Harpoole of Monk's Grange, in the Queen's County, the Old Stone Bawn of Castlenoe, and other lands contiguous, to hold as of the castle of Maryborough, on condition of maintaining ten able Scotch galloglasses, and a foot soldier of English blood and surname, with suitable horses and arms, not to use the Breawne [Brehon] law where the King's subjects were concerned. He, his family, and servants to use the English language, dress, and furniture, so far as reasonably might be done; to appear annually on 1st September with all his tenants, between sixteen and sixty, able to bear arms, before the constable of Maryborough Castle, or the sheriff of the county; not to keep any Irishman able to carry arms, born without the county; every woman to forfeit her dower or jointure on marrying an Irishman, even though he be a native of the county; to keep his principal mansion on the premises; and not to part with any of the lands for a term beyond thirty-one years without the consent of the Lord Deputy. (fn. 145)
These counties presented a nearly continual scene of warfare between the colonists and ancient inhabitants, the Moores and the other septs having risen in insurrection and been suppressed no less than eighteen times between Queen Mary's settlement and the accession of James I. (fn. 146) In 1607 they were brought so low that Sir Arthur Chichester concluded they might be easily compelled to transplant. (fn. 147) If not transplanted, he thought they would be utterly extinguished. (fn. 148) Sir Arthur accordingly obtained a grant of the lands of Tarbert, in the county of Kerry, to be made to Mr. Patrick Crosby for this plantation; (fn. 149) and the seven septs having at length consented to depart and dwell in Kerry under Crosby, a regular agreement was made between Crosby and them on the 17th of March 1608, detailing the conditions of their life under him at Tarbert. (fn. 150) At the moment of departure the chiefest, out of their pride and affection to live where they had so often kindled the fire of rebellion, were unwilling to go. But Chichester, in view of the coming displantation of the swordmen of Ulster, resolved to add force to persuasion, and so, and by the efforts of Mr. Crosby, aided by a Mr. Piggot, of the Queen's County, the business was effected, and the seven septs were (17th June 1609) deported, some to Thomond, more to Connaught, and most into Kerry with Mr. Crosby. (fn. 151)
Ulster Plantation of James I.
Such had been the history of Plantation in Ulster up to the time at which Tyrone and Tyrconnell's Flight, O'Dogherty's unsuccessful uprising, and the wholesale confiscations which followed these events, suggested to the advisers of the King a new attempt, and on a much larger scale.
It had been designed to remedy in the Munster Plantations the errors of the Plantation of the King's and Queen's Counties. By the articles dated 1586, the forfeited lands, instead of being granted to planters to dwell dispersed, as in the King's and Queen's County Plantations, the lands were grouped into seignories of 12,000 and 6,000 acres. The colonists were to be of English birth, and the heirs female inheritable were not to intermarry with any but of English birth, or with descendants of the first patentees or of the English of the plantation, much as in the King's and Queen's Counties plantation; but then followed this proviso, that none of the mere Irish should be maintained or permitted in any family there. The county of Limerick (with parts of Cork, Tipperary, and Waterford) were set out to Sir Christopher Hatton, Edward Fitton, Rowland Stanley, Knights, and the undertakers of Chester and Lancaster. The county of Cork and part of Waterford adjacent to Sir Walter Raleigh, John Stowell, and John Clifton, Knights, and the undertakers of Devonshire and Somersetshire; and the county of Limerick to Sir W. Courtney, Edward Hutton, and Henry Outred, Esquires. Each grantee was to build his capital mansion on the premises, and twelve other houses for the freeholders of the manor and other tenants. They were to form from among their tenants five squadrons of cavalry, to be under their own command, yet in the Queen's pay; and a President's Court was to administer cheap and speedy justice amongst them. (fn. 152) Yet the whole of this plantation was swept away in Tyrone's rebellion in 1596, about ten years after its being founded, making (as Bacon said) the work of years to be the spoil of days;—troops of Irish, led on by bag-pipers, (fn. 153) firing the houses and hay yards of the English planters, who had fled from the storm, the loss and public disgrace being attributed to the neglect of the plantation rules by the planters, in not building fit mansions, and arming and marshalling their tenants.
Thus as the capital error in the plantation of the King's and Queen's Counties had been the intermixed habitation of the colonists and natives, it was intended to remedy the oversight in the plantation of Munster by forbidding the planter to use any Irish as tenants or servants, or to suffer them to dwell on their lands; but this, if carried out, would deprive the planters of labourers, and render the Irish desperate, and was of course neglected.
We have now to see how these dangers were provided against in the Plantation about to be made in Ulster. To prevent the intermixed habitation of English and Irish, the new colonists were assigned proportions or districts where they were to dwell apart from the Irish, thus avoiding the error of the King's and Queen's Counties plantation; whilst the faults of the Munster plantation were remedied by removing the Irish of the lower orders to districts assigned to servitors, as those were called who had served in the Irish wars or been employed in the civil service there, and were best fitted to govern them. The planters were to build castles of two stories, 18 feet high, and embattled.
The principal men of the Irish were to be pacified by competent grant of lands for their livelihood in the neighbourhood of the servitors; and the swordmen were to be removed, some to Sweden, and the rest, after the precedent of the transplantation of the seven septs of Leix, to dwell in Munster, under the Earls of Ormonde, Thomond, and Clanricarde, or other great lords. (fn. 154)
The new Plantation of James I. was the work of three several commissions in 1608, in 1609, and in 1610. In order to a clear understanding of the State Papers of these years it will be necessary to consider these commissions separately.
The First Commission in A.D. 1608.
And first, with respect to the Commission of 1608. On the 6th of January in that year, Sir John Davys in giving Salisbury a full account of the indictment of the Earls, informs him that, the indictments being found true and returned into the King's Bench, the proceedings for outlawing the Earls would be completed about the middle of June. (fn. 155)
Shortly afterwards the Commission for inquiry into the lands escheated must have been issued; (fn. 156) for on the 5th of July 1608, (fn. 157) Sir Arthur Chichester and the other Commissioners, set out from Dublin for Ulster. Sir Cahir O'Dogherty being still in the field, Sir Arthur Chichester had summoned forces to attend him, and at Lurgan Green on the seaside, three miles south of Dundalk, he was engaged in reviewing these forces as well as "the risings out" of the five shires of the Pale, when news was brought him at 4 o'clock in the afternoon, from Sir Richard Wingfield, the Marshal, and Sir Charles Lambert, from the seat of war in Donegal, that Sir Cahir had been killed on the previous day. (fn. 158) He immediately directed Sir John Davys, who was with him, to draw a proclamation announcing the death of the traitor, and warning all persons against harbouring any of his adherents. (fn. 159) Sir Thomas Ridgeway, leaving the army, hastened up to Dublin, and on the 15th of July, was ready to take horse, bringing with him a commission under the Great Seal to inquire super visum corporis of the traitor, and to find that he was slain in rebellion, this being an attainder in law in Ireland; thus overtaking the slower proceedings by outlawry, which had consumed the time up to the deputy's setting out in the other cases. (fn. 160) Their business was of a twofold or rather threefold nature, for, while they were joined in commission of assize and jail delivery with the judges, they had their own special business to inquire concerning the forfeitures, and part of the army was with them while other parts of it were pursuing the remnants of O'Dogherty's forces, and executing traitors by martial law. This mixture seems strange in the present day, but Sir Thomas Ridgeway thought that this mixed course of warring, and doing other services was advantageous, "these things being best done in this country when the sword is drawn." (fn. 161) In each of the several counties they held the assizes, and also executed their commission of inquiry or escheat; holding their first session at Armagh, where (says Sir John Davys) "they had a good appearance and good attendance, and the grand jury most willingly indicted their kinsmen and followers who had gone out into rebellion with young O'Hanlon and Brian M'Arte." (fn. 162) They went next to Dungannon, where Shane Carragh O'Cahan was tried and hanged; next to Coleraine, whence Sir John dated his letter; and at that date they were passing on to Donegal; and Sir John hoped before Michaelmas to present a perfect survey of six several counties, which the King then had in actual demesne. (fn. 163)
These being the proceedings of the assizes, their other business was the Commission of Escheat.
"Touching the survey of these counties," says Sir John Davys, which are now devolved to the Crown, Mr. Treasurer (Sir Thomas Ridgeway), and himself before the surveyor came, took an inquisition at Dungannon, whereby they surveyed all the county of Tyrone, and found all the temporal land in the county escheated to the Crown by the outlawry of the late Earls, (excepting only two ballibetaghs which were granted to Sir Henry Oge O'Neale by the King), and the rest of the lands being in the possession of certain scholars called Herrenagh, and whereof they were in ancient times true owners and proprietors, the jury found to be vested in the Crown by the statute 11th of Elizabeth, whereby Shane O'Neale was attainted, and never since divested by any grant from the late Queen or His Majesty. From Dungannon they passed into the county of Coleraine, through the glyns and woods of Glanconkeyn, where the wild inhabitants wondered as much to see the King's Deputy as the ghosts in Virgil wondered to see æneas alive in Hell." (fn. 164)
To sum up the wonders of this journey, Sir John Davys says, "The day after they began this journey they received news of O'Doherty's death, which happened not only on the fifth day of the month, but on a Tuesday, but the Tuesday 11 weeks, that is 77 days after the burning of the Derry, which is an ominous number, being seven elevens and eleven sevens; besides it happened at the very hour, if not at the same instant, that the Lord Deputy took horse to go against him." (fn. 165) Within two days came news of the taking of Shane Carragh, within two days after Oghie O'Hanlon was overcome, and so for a variety of other like happy events.
Having thus accomplished this commission, Sir Arthur Chichester returned to Dublin, the time occupied in this first commission in 1608 being from the 5th July to the 2nd September, the day of Sir Arthur's return. (fn. 166)
By the 14th of October 1608 the office, as the formal record of the execution of the commission was called, was ready, and Sir Arthur Chichester had digested his views for the plantation, with his observations on each county separately, in the form of instructions for Sir James Ley and Sir John Davys, who now proceeded to London to confer with the King and Council there. (fn. 167) In each county he declares what places are fittest for fortified posts; states what legal claims any Irish or English have to any portions, and what natives had best be pacified by grants.
During the remainder of the year Sir John Davys continued in London (for he did not return to his duties in Ireland till the 5th May 1609) arranging with the King and the Commissioners of Irish Causes the project for the plantation.
While Davys and his colleagues were thus engaged in settling the general conditions of the plantation, a negociation was set on foot in England for a special undertaking on a most gigantic scale by the Common Council of the city of London, the particulars of which it will be convenient to mention here. Unlike the general business of the settlement, the negociation for the London plantation of Derry was conducted in the main, not by the Commissioners of the Plantation, but directly by the King and the Privy Council, by whom all the dealings with the common council of the citizens were directed. A committee of the latter, consisting of 17 members, entered on the 28th January 1609 into an agreement with the Privy Council, on the King's behalf, embodying in 27 articles all the essential conditions of the plantation, (fn. 168) and in the following August Sir Arthur Chichester was formally apprized of the conclusion of the compact by the Council, who informed him that four commissioners from the citizens, John Brode, John Monroes, Robert Treswell, and John Rowley, had been authorised by them to view the country and make report on their return. (fn. 169) The Privy Council, on the King's part, directed Sir Thomas Phillips to accompany and direct those commissioners, and requested Chichester to render to them every assistance in his power. Accordingly in the end of the same month they presented themselves to the Commissioners of the Plantation in the camp of Derry, a meeting to which Sir John Davys alludes in the amusing account of their map-making already quoted. "The Londoners," as the commissioners of the Common Council are styled, were made "exceeding welcome." Sir John confesses that they all used "their best rhetoric to persuade the 'Londoners' to go on with their plantation, which will assure this whole island to the Crown of England for ever." He adds that "they like and praise the country very much, specially the Banne and the river of Loughfoyle." One of the agents had fallen sick, and would fain return, but the Lord Deputy and all the rest used all means to comfort him to retain him, "lest this accident should discourage his fellow citizens." (fn. 170)
Another wholesale plantation which was proposed by Lord Audelay [Audley], to be undertaken in Tyrone, may deserve special notice. The scale of the undertaking is so prodigious that we must transcribe the heads of the proposal.
"Articles propounded and offered by the Lord Audelay to the Commissioners for Irish causes.
"The Lord Audelay is an humble suitor to His Majesty for 100,000 acres, which he promises to undertake to plant in manner following:—
"1. The 100,000 acres to be in Tyrone or the adjoining parts of Armagh, excepting lands allotted to forts, colleges, free schools, hospitals, and natives.
"2. He will divide the 100,000 acres into 33 parts, on which he will build 33 castles and as many towns. To each castle he will assign 600 acres and to each town 2,400, which shall consist of at least 30 families, comprising foot soldiers, artificers, and cottagers, with allotments of land to each.
"3. He will pay the rent expressed in the articles 533l. 0s. 8d. for 100,000 acres, the first half-year to be paid at Michaelmas come four years.
"4. He will perform the building within four years.
"5. He prays that of the 33 towns, six may be market towns and one incorporate, with two fairs yearly and one fair yearly in each market town.
"6. He is content to have only the advowsons within his own territories.
"7. He desires, within five manors, felons' goods, outlaws, and fugitives, felons of themselves, waifs and strays, court leet, and court baron.
"8. He desires license freely to erect iron mills, to make iron and glass, and sow woad within his own land for forty-one years.
"9. Lord Audelay and his son are content jointly to assure land of 1,000l. value on recognizance to His Majesty for the performance of the conditions; the bond to be cancelled at the end of five years on the Lord Deputy's certificate of the fulfilment of the conditions.
"Lastly, the great woods of Glanconkeyne, Killetro, and Slutart and others, are reserved to His Majesty.
"All these, together with all the printed articles not repugnant to these, he undertakes to perform, and he desires that they be transmitted to the Lord Deputy for his consideration and approval or disapproval.
"(Signed) G. Audelay." (fn. 171)
It is amusing to contrast with these magnificent schemes Chichester's quiet but sarcastic criticism of the resources and character of the noble undertaker. In a letter to Salisbury of the 13th October 1609, he refers to intelligence which had just arrived from England, that the Lord Audley had received a grant from the King of 100,000 acres in Tyrone. Of this grant he observes in passing, that "it is more than the whole county is found at by the book of survey." Of Lord Audley himself, he confesses that "he is an ancient nobleman, and apt to undertake much, but his manner of life in Munster, and the small cost he has bestowed to make his house fit for him or any room within the same, does not promise the building of substantial castles, nor a convenient plantation in Ulster." He adds in idiomatic phrase that Lord Audley is "near to himself," and that he "loves not hospitality." Such a one, he declares, will be unwelcome to the people, and will soon make himself contemptible; and he gives it as his opinion that if the natives be not better provided for in the conditions of the grant than he has yet heard of, "they will kindle many a fire in Lord Audley's buildings before they be half finished." This he suggests "out of duty, and for no other by respect whatsoever; for he affects nothing more than the reformation and well planting of that province in which he has spent the best of his time, and where the greatest part of his living is." (fn. 172)
Early in 1609 the general project was completed. On the 9th of March Sir Arthur Chichester received the imprinted books concerning the plantation of the escheated lands; (fn. 173) and on the following day gave a most critical review of the whole, and his remarks seem to have caused some alterations in the execution of it. (fn. 174)
By this original scheme the lands were to be divided between English and Scottish planters, servitors, and natives in precincts or proportions, these being subdivided into lots of 1,000, 1,500, and 2,000 acres each, the planters to be nominated by the King, and then to cast lots for the places where each should be planted. There were minute directions as to the divisions in each county. Sir Arthur said that such an equality of lots was not what he intended. Principal men of worth and reputation, with a following of honest men of all sorts to plant under them, ought to have greater portions than men of inferior condition who had not capital or credit to settle half a ballibetagh. Eminent persons he considered the cement to hold the rest together. He objected also to the lottery. It was copied, he said, from the wisest law-giver that ever was; but the Hebrews were mighty in numbers and rich in substance and compelled into the Land of Promise, and commanded by divine necessity to extinguish the nations and to possess their vineyards, cities, and towns all ready built; and there they were to remain, they and their posterity. But here they have no army, but a few; they are separated from support by the sea, and every man is free to stay or go.
The country, he continued, had no sign of plantation and was full of people. Tyrone, with Coleraine, had alone 5,000 able men, by which the numbers of the rest might be judged. And by this lottery kindred friends and acquaintance who might wish to plant together would be separated. Added to these and other inconveniences concerning the English and Scottish, the small provision made for the natives and the rumour of removing the swordmen or idle gentlemen, who are the men of the most credit, had so incensed them that, as a means to pacify them, he sent out the judges thither on circuit into Ulster before their usual time, and instructed them to declare that the King was graciously pleased to settle every principal man in a competent freehold. (fn. 175)
The Second Commission in 1609.
This project entailed the necessity of a new commission and another journey of the Commissioners to Ulster. It was required to mark out the bounds of ballibetaghs and other country denominations; to distinguish accurately the temporal lands and church lands, which were omitted in the execution of the former commission; to distinguish the limits and bounds of the precincts according to the new scheme; and to mark fit places for the undertakers to build upon, near to highways for safety to themselves and passengers, sites for towns, and other things. A new commission was accordingly issued, dated the 21st July 1609, with nineteen articles for instructions to the Commissioners annexed. (fn. 176) A very special part of the commission was to have another finding by the inquest concerning the termon lands; for although there had been a finding by the former inquest that the termons were not church lands but temporal, as only yielding services to the bishops, and so were forfeited and were the King's, yet the Bishop of Derry complained that this finding had been given by reason that there was not any bishop on the commission. And although the King had resolved to give them to the bishops, (fn. 177) he resolved to be first found unquestioned owner, in order to be in a position to impose conditions of plantation on the bishops.
Sir John Davys accordingly placed him and the primate and the Bishop of Kilmore and Ardagh, being the only bishops in Ulster, on the new commission, that they might not make their absence a ground of impeachment of the finding, as the Bishop of Derry had made that under the previous commission. (fn. 178)
Leaving Dublin on the 31st July, they returned on 30th September 1609. At the sessions they held in every county they had a grand jury, a jury of survey for every barony to inquire and find what lands were temporal and what lands ecclesiastical, and they appointed in every barony men to accompany Sir Josias Bodley and the surveyor, who were to make maps of every county and point out, nominate, and bound for them every parish, ballibo, and ballibetagh. (fn. 179) Sir Josias and the surveyors were sent on in advance, accompanied by a guard, for, though the country was then quiet and the "heads of greatness gone, yet our geographers (wrote Sir John Davys) do not forget what entertainment the Irish of Tyrconnell gave to a map-maker about the end of the late rebellion; for one Barkeley being appointed by the late Earl of Devonshire to draw a true and perfect map of the north part of Ulster (the old maps of Tyrconnell being false and defective), when he came into Tyrconnell the inhabitants took off his head, because they would not have their country discovered." (fn. 180)
One can imagine the ordinary proceedings of these surveyors, but there were some a little out of the ordinary at the city of Derry in consequence of the tenacity of the Bishop of Derry (George Montgomery) about his right as bishop.
"On Friday, being the 1st of September, they began the assizes and business at Derry," writes the author of the relation, "where, in the afternoon, the Lord Primate (Garvey), the Lord Bishop of Derry, and Sir Oliver St. John came to them. About this island grew great contention betwixt the Bishop and Sir Thomas Phillips. They themselves (the commissioners) and the jury trod the island and swore the Lord Bishop's witnesses on the ground (the Lord Primate interpreting); but yet he (the Bishop) being not contented with their proceedings, they on the Monday adjourned the jury to the Liffer, where they were to meet the Lord Deputy and the rest of the Council, his Lordship having rode to see Enishowen." (fn. 181)
The Commissioners lay in camp nine weeks, and during that time they performed two principal things: first, they took inquisitions in every county, and distinguished the Crown lands from the ecclesiastical, and supplied divers omissions in the former surveys touching the quantities, but the termon and erenagh lands were again found for His Majesty, and it was declared that the bishops had only rent and pensions out of them. Secondly, the counties being divided into baronies, they made a description of every barony in a several map, as well by view as by the information of the inhabitants; which was so accurately done (says Sir John Davys) that the name and situation of every ballibo, tate and poll is expressed, besides every castle, fort, mountain, lake, river, brook, wood, bog, and all other notorious landmarks and distinctions, so that the most obscure part of the King's dominion is now as well known as any part of England, and more particularly described.
These two services they performed in their journey, besides the sessions of justice which were held in every county, wherein pretended titles were examined, possessions were quieted, and many causes were heard and ended, and withal 1,000 loose and idle swordmen were sent away into Sweden, which tended very much to the preparation of the plantation. After their return to Dublin they finished their former work in three principal points.
1. An abstract was made out of the records of the King's title as of his subjects' titles to all the lands within the escheated counties, (fn. 182) which were reduced into a book and signed by the chief judges and the attorney-general, showing what lands the King might dispose of to undertakers by a good title. (fn. 183)
2. The inquisitions were drawn up in form of law, examined by the bishops [because of the termon lands], engrossed and returned, and lastly exemplified under the Great Seal of England. (fn. 184)
3. The maps were finished, and therein as well the proportions for undertakers of all sorts, as the Church lands and lands already granted and assigned to forts, corporate towns, free schools, &c. distinguished by sundry marks and colours. (fn. 185)
By the articles annexed to the Commission of 1609, the Commissioners were to make their return by the 1st of November in that year. (fn. 186) But the labour of making up the inquisitions of escheat and the perfecting of the maps occupied the whole of that year. On these maps was marked every precinct or proportion, and the Commissioners made every barony to be a great precinct, and marked out the bounds of every ballibo or ballibetagh and gave it its name on the map, being the first time such minuteness was attempted. They also marked out the Church lands, and distinguished them and the several proportions by colours. By means of the return of the Commissioners concerning their performance of the articles, (fn. 187) and the paper containing an account of the conventional signs used in the maps, (fn. 188) the nature of the plantation can be understood, as it never could be until this key of the maps was discovered. These maps, after lying hid from the year 1610 till the year 1861 in the State Paper Office, were in the latter year discovered (it may be said), and have been by the Lords of the Treasury since ordered to be reproduced in fac-simile by means of photo-zincography, and to be sold at the most moderate cost. (fn. 189)
On the completion of the maps, Sir John Davys and Sir Thomas Ridgeway, the Treasurer, were sent over in the month of February 1610 (fn. 190) with the inquisitions, maps, and advices from the Lord Deputy touching the plantation. (fn. 191) They remained in London employed in making out lists of servitors, thought fit to be undertakers, (fn. 192) fixing the proportions and places to be assigned to the principal natives (which Sir Arthur Chichester desired should be done there), (fn. 193) receiving petitions from various native Irish for lands, and a great variety of other details, till the 2nd of June, when Sir John Davys left London, (fn. 194) Sir Thomas Ridgeway being detained till the 5th of July. (fn. 195)
Commission of 1610.
On the 5th of June 1610 Sir Arthur Chichester received the King's warrant to prepare a new commission for Ulster (fn. 196) for putting the new planters into possession and removing the natives. They were now at the hazardous point of execution, and Sir Arthur seemed impressed with a sense of the importance of the occasion by the terms in which he announces his approaching departure to Lord Salisbury: "He intended (by God's permission) to be at the Cavan on Saint James' day, the 25th instant, there to begin that great work on the day of that Blessed Saint in Heaven and great monarch upon earth, to which he prays God to give good success, for they shall find many stubborn and stiff-necked people to oppose themselves against it, and to hinder the free passage thereof, for the word of removing and transplanting is to the natives as welcome as the sentence of death." (fn. 197)
For the present we must confine ourselves to the procedure of the Commissioners at Cavan, which may be taken as sufficiently exhibiting the spirit in which the Commission was executed throughout the escheated counties.
As soon as the proclamation was published, declaring what districts had been assigned for undertakers, what to servitors, and what to natives, and the natives having heard the order that they should withdraw from the lands assigned to the English and Scottish planters (which was done in the Public Sessions House, the Lord Deputy and Commissioners being present), up rose a lawyer of the Pale retained by them, and endeavoured to maintain that they had estates of inheritance in their possession which were not forfeited by the attainder of their chiefs. He asked two things, first, that they might be permitted to prove this; secondly, that they might have the benefit of the King's proclamation, (fn. 198) promising protection for their persons, lands, and goods, made about five years before.
To this Sir John Davys was directed by the Lord Deputy to make answer, which may be shortly stated to be that the county of Cavan was O'Reilly's Country, held of the King, and that, the two chief lords being slain in rebellion, their lands were forfeited and vested in the King; that the inhabitants had no estates of inheritance known to English law; that by their own Brehon law (suppose that it prevailed and had not been abolished) the King was now their chief; that, as they were mere villeins under their lords, they were removable at their wills; that the King, therefore, might dispose of the lands as he had done; and the only scruple that remained was, whether the King might in honour or conscience remove the ancient tenants and bring in strangers among them. Sir John then said the King could not in conscience suffer so fruitful a country to remain as it had done for many hundred years past, without houses, townships, building, or orchards; and that this could only be done by planting civilised colonists among them, and leaving them (the natives) fit proportions out of the remainder, which would become so valuable when all the lands should be fully stocked and inhabited, that 500 acres would be of better value than 5,000 were then.
With these and other arguments they seemed not unsatisfied in reason, though (he admits) in passion they remained ill contented, being grieved to leave their possessions to strangers, which their septs had so long enjoyed after the Irish manner. (fn. 199)
But as to the point of honour, and breach of the King's promise of protection, Sir John said nothing.
The inhabitants, having no estates, were not admitted to traverse the office. (fn. 200) But it is plain from the papers of the period that, if admitted, their plea would have been;— first, that whatever might be the powers of their chiefs, no such transplantation had been ever attempted by them; (fn. 201) second, that the several families and septs had well known territories, where the principal men had fixed seats and the poorer families fed their herds in common; (fn. 202) third, that often as their chiefs had been attainted before, no such measures had ever been employed; fourth, that they had not built houses because (as the chiefs would have probably said) they would have been taken by those that were stronger than they and used as garrisons against them, (fn. 203) and that the Irish had, all over the rest of Ireland, copied the English and built castles; (fn. 204) fifth, they would have relied on the proclamation published after the flight of the Earls, promising that they should not be disturbed in the peaceable possession of their lands because of their departure; (fn. 205) sixth, they would complain that it was done in a time of peace, and not on the suppression of a war when it would have seemed less unjust. (fn. 206)
The truth, however, appears to be that the flight of the Earls was so opportune for settling Ulster, that the occurrence was looked on by Sir Arthur Chichester as "providential." (fn. 207) Sir Arthur had long desired to plant English and Scottish freeholders throughout Ulster to be justices of peace and jurymen; for without this (he said) all commands were transmitted in vain. Few or none but of their own nation (English or Scotch) would aid the Government, he said, in prosecuting priests and Jesuits for performing their church duties, and many of the principal inhabitants even hated the Government for no other cause. (fn. 208) But now the King would be able in their absence to assume the countries into his possession, divide the lands among the inhabitants, to every man of note or good desert so much as he could conveniently stock and manure by himself and his tenants and followers, and so much more as by conjecture he could stock in five years, and bestow the rest upon servitors and men of worth here, and withal bring in colonies of civil people of England and Scotland, at His Majesty's pleasure, with conditions to build castles or stone houses upon their lands. (fn. 209) Such was the view of Sir Arthur just ten days after their flight, all which might now be done that Scotland was united to England, and Spain without opportunity to help the Irish, being in alliance with England.
It will be convenient to pause here, in order to bring under notice at one view in our next volume the details of the execution of the Commission for putting the new settlers into possession, in respect severally of the undertakers, the servitors, and the natives.
We shall for the present conclude our notice of Plantations in Ireland with an episode in that curious history of which very little appears to be known, and to which we alluded briefly in the preface of the last Calendar.
Transplantation of the Græmes.
A more curious episode in the history of Plantations in Ireland still remains to be related, the memory of which has almost entirely disappeared. The Irish portion of the story of the Transplantation of the Græmes is told with full detail in the State Papers of this and the last volumes, but we have thought it desirable to complete the narrative by a summary account of the antecedent history of the projected colony from the Middle Shires; and with this view we have carefully examined the contemporary Domestic Papers of James I., very many of which are occupied with proceedings in reference to these Græmes and to the causes of their transplantation from their ancient home upon the Scottish Border.
Sir Walter Scott's Ballads and Tales, as well as his Border Antiquities, have rendered us familiar with the wild scenes of cattle-lifting mutually practised by the Scotch and English in the border counties of both kingdoms, producing a state of continued private war, and verging occasionally to a conflict between the two nations. The names of Dacres, Howard, Cranston, Musgrave, Armstrong, will awaken memories of gallant border-fights celebrated in the verses of "the Ariosto of the North." All this stirring, irregular life came to an end when this march-land, instead of being as of old styled "the Border" (and some of it "the Debateable Land"), became in the language of English statesmen after James's accession, "the Middle Shires of Britanny," or "the Middle Shires between England and Scotland." (fn. 210) Among the most active of these borderers in Cumberland were the Grahams or Græmes. They celebrated the King's "first entry into England" (as appears by the King's proclamation of 4th of December 1603) "by spoils and outrages, the smart of which was felt by all his subjects in the North." (fn. 211) The Earl of Cumberland having reduced them, by the aid of large forces, they submitted to the King's mercy, confessed themselves to be no meet persons to live in those countries, and humbly besought the King that they might be removed to some other parts, where they might become new men, and merit the mercy extended to them. (fn. 212)
Annexed to this proclamation are the names of 99 Grahams and their families, dwelling upon Esk and Leven, with notes of those who were fit to be transplanted.
The vulgar sort were dismissed, for ease of the prisons, but their heads and principals were retained as pledges for them.
The first effort made to relieve the country of their presence was by transporting them to serve the King in the Low Countries; but they were scarce arrived before they were back again, returning from Flushing and the Brill, some by way of Newcastle, where they were arrested, tried, and condemned to death on the statute for departing from the King's service without license; others by choosing less likely ports in order to escape observation; till at last of the 72 delivered at Flushing, 14 at the utmost (as one of the prisoners confessed) remained in Holland. (fn. 213)
Fifteen of Sir Henry Leigh's horsemen, under the leading of John Musgrave, of Plumpton, were sent to garrison Esk, and 15 others, under Sir William Cranston, were stationed in another district of the Grahams, with purpose as well to hunt those that broke out of Carlisle Castle, as to catch fresh supplies of recruits for the service in the Low Countries; but (write the Commissioners) "so far are we from having a competent number of them to transport, over a half of the numbers of those that were returned or dead, that we have not as many as may satisfy your honour's directions for execution." (fn. 214) The week before they had gone to the trouble of appointing a hunt to disguise a search for the Grahams, in the course of which they searched the house of Sir Richard Lowther, and only caught ten Grahams, while some of their own party were lost in a fog. (fn. 215) The Grahams had got intelligence of the design to send over new supplies, and seemed to be of that mind (write the Commissioners) that they had rather die at home with shame than serve His Majesty abroad with credit." (fn. 216)
Some few of them were hanged for theft;—a practice which had increased by the going over of soldiers to the Low Countries, who in the meantime, between their purpose to go and their going, were continually stealing and spoiling to furnish themselves for the journey. (fn. 217)
But though the Commissioners thus punished robbery, they seem always to have reprieved those they condemned to death for returning without license; and the worst of them had almost always to allege the merit of a share in betraying or apprehending, as the case might be, of "Sandyes Rimon, of Randelinton, and Arthur Grame, of Lewenbrigge." Among these were "Jocke (Græme) of the Peartree," and Jocke Ritchie, of whom we shall have more to say.
These two, having escaped from the service in the Low Countries, were arrested in London, being informed against by the Bishop of Carlisle, and were to be sent down to Carlisle for trial. (fn. 218) But the Commissioners begged them to remember "that Jocke of the Peartree is one of the five men that betrayed Sandyes Rimon, and so within the remission (although not named), than whom there is not a worse man." (fn. 219)
It may be conceived that it was with no satisfaction that Sir Arthur Chichester received the news, 30th April 1606, from the Privy Council, that His Majesty, for the quiet of "the middle shires between England and Scotland, was about to transplant some families (especially of the surname of Græme) into Ireland, and wished to know how many he could find room for, and what Lords or persons would be willing to receive them." (fn. 220) For his ill fortune, Sir Ralph Sidley, one of the "captains discharged the last caste in July 1604," (fn. 221) entered into regular articles with the Commissioners of the Middle Shires to receive them. He had married the widow of Henry Malby, son and heir of Sir Nicholas Malby, (fn. 222) for so many years Governor of Connaught for Queen Elizabeth; and in her right (probably as guardian of the infant heir) was seised of the manor and seigniory of Roscommon. (fn. 223)
These "Articles of agreement touching the transportation and transplantation of the Greames and other inhabitants of Leven, Esk, and Sark, the late borders of England, into Ireland," were "concluded between the Rev. Father in God the Lord Bishop of Carlisle, Sir Charles Hales, Knight, Sir Wilfred Lawson, Knight, and Joseph Pennington, Esq., of the one part, and Sir Ralph Sidley of the other part," (fn. 224) and bore date 12th September 1606.
Sir Ralph undertook to plant them on his seigniory of Roscommon on farms to tillage, on leases from three years to three years (unless His Majesty should order their perpetual continuance, as the Commissioners hoped he might), at a rent of 6d. an acre, and a fine of 3l. for every quarter of 120 acres of land. To help the Grahams to pay these fines, and to stock their lands and build dwellings (for the land had lain waste since the late war) the gentlemen of Cumberland and Westmorland had subscribed 300l., which was entrusted to Sir Ralph Sidley, and became (of course) the subject of charges by the Grahams by way of set-off against their defaults. Among the many provisions of the contract was one whereby Sir Ralph, as being rector impropriate of Roscommon, agreed to provide a proper minister to teach them their duty to God and the King's laws. The plan of planting them together under Sir Ralph was, that being kept together, they might better preserve their language and manners without intermixture with the Irishry, though they would, as Chichester thought, be easier entertained or placed, some under one landlord and some under another. "For they are," he continued, "of the religion, and a witty and understanding people, and withal very civil, compared with most of this nation." (fn. 225) Such was his opinion on the first view of them, but it altered on better acquaintance. Sir Ralph Sidley was to conduct them to Ireland; but he might as well have had the driving of a flock of mountain sheep without dogs, as of these without guards. With great difficulty 50 families were got together, and then under the conduct of the sheriff and with the aid of the country and all the horse garrison of the neighbourhood, they were marched to the port of Workington for embarkation, taking with them many horses and much household stuff. But before setting out many had fled. Of the chief Græmes not one escaped the Commissioners, for they had kept them safe at Carlisle; but the poorer, after appearing before them, and yielding themselves to transportation, at the instant thereof fled and hid themselves. The Commissioners, however, had not left between Leven and Sark but three Græmes of any ability, two of them being old men over 80, and some children. Some of the wives of those transported were great with child, some children at nurse, and were to follow next spring. (fn. 226) Annexed to the articles will be found a list of 124 names; and amongst them Walter of Netherby (the chief of them, (fn. 227) called also "the gude man of Netherby") (fn. 228) Fergy Grame, Sibil, Mariot, and Florence and Richard Grame; Jock Richie and Ellen his wife; Jock Watt, his brother; and William, son to Jock Richie; Isabel, Agnes, Gillian, and Blanche George, called Richie's Geordie; Agnes his wife, and Sibil his daughter; Grace, Rose, Morgan, and John; John of Peartree (the redoubtable "Jock,"), and Jane; John alias Pato, Geordie's John; John called "Gib's Jock Johnnie," and Janet his wife; George Hetherington of the Bassie, and Janet his wife, and various others. (fn. 229) Before six months were over, Chichester was overwhelmed with their complaints. They declared it was the utter undoing of themselves, their wives, and their children, coming over in such fashion; (fn. 230) they had settled at Roscommon, they said, because of want of wood and water; labourers were scarce and dear, and their language was not to be understood by them. (fn. 231) They prayed to be allowed to return to Cumberland, and they would yield His Majesty 500l. a year rent; or that they might be given lands of 300l. a year value in Ireland, and liberty for four of their own selection to go over as solicitors for the rest. (fn. 232) Not above six or seven householders of them were left at Roscommon, the rest had scattered; some had gone to Sir Ralph Sidley, some to Sir George Grame, their kinsman. Two of them were caught on board of a Scottish barque. They had little left, were without servants and cattle, and were unfurnished of all things necessary to manure a land that had been so long waste, and without house or habitation. (fn. 233) He had placed a few of their youngest in some companies of horse and foot, not knowing where else to bestow them; but found them so busy and turbulent, that one of them was able to dispose a whole garrison to become so. (fn. 234) Their unfortunate landlord, Sir Ralph Sidley, in replying to some of their charges against him the following year, declared they were an idle people, not only unwilling to settle down to industry, but addicted to spend the time and anything they had in drink, and upon horses and dogs for hunting and pleasure.
Having lost the season, provisions grew dear, and would not be given by the country; the industrious thinking them likely to prove as ill as the late (Irish) rebels; and the latter deeming them to be fellows likely to encounter them at their own weapons (fighting and cattle lifting). They did not frame themselves to follow the book of articles still in the custody of the chief man of their sept, called "the Gudeman of Netherby;" (fn. 235) and concluded by stating that their purpose in complaining was to remove from Roscommon, where the broad Shannon and other bounds restrained them. (fn. 236)
In the spring of the year 1610, Mr. Patrick Crosbic, (the same who conducted the O'Moores and others, "the seven septs of Leix," to Kerry), being then at Court, informed Chichester that the Lord Treasurer had had some speech with him about removing the Græmes to Ulster. They were then dispersed; and Crosbie gave it as his opinion that it was so best, for when they should be placed on any land together, the next country would find them ill neighbours; for they were a factious and a naughty people. (fn. 237)
The Philadelphia Papers. (fn. 238)
In the preface to the first volume we gave an account of this important collection, which was restored to this country by the Directors of the Philadelphia Library Company in the year 1867; and we there offered some suggestions as to the migration of these papers to America. They came into the possession of that public library in the year 1799, and the only account given of their deposit in that institution appears in an article in the "Atlantic Monthly Magazine" for the month of March 1868, in which it is stated that they were presented to the Philadelphia Library in the year 1799 by the grandson of a former Lord High Chancellor of Ireland on the eve of his departure from America. It is there suggested that they had been committed by King James the Second, on his flight to France, to the custody of his Chancellor, and that they had remained in the custody of that Chancellor's family till his descendant presented them to the library, not deeming that the dynasty which replaced the Stewarts on the throne had any right to the possession of them.
To any one familiar with the customs of these countries concerning the keeping of records and State papers the suggestion that these papers had been committed by the King to the hands of the Chancellor for custody would appear untenable, State papers being committed to the keeper of the State Paper Office, and other records to the officers of the Rolls for safe custody. And in lieu of this supposition of the writer in the "Atlantic Monthly Magazine," we suggested that these papers, being of a kind which, in the days of James the First and for many years subsequently, were regarded as the private property of the Lord Deputy to whom they were addressed, they had probably got out of the possession of the representatives of Sir Arthur Chichester, having been perhaps treated as old papers and deemed worthless, or sold as waste.
As these solutions were very unsatisfactory, and as the matter was one of considerable interest in an historical and literary point of view, we have spared no pains since the publication of the first volume of the Calendar to get at the true history of the case; and the following facts, obtained by correspondence with the representatives of the donor of the papers to the library, some in America and some in Ireland, afford, if not conclusive, yet strong presumptive evidence to show how they passed from the custody of Sir Arthur Chichester or his representatives and came to be lodged in the Philadelphia Library.
The person who deposited these papers in the Philadelphia Library in 1799 was Mr. Henry Hamilton-Cox. He was the eldest son of Joshua Hamilton, M.P. for Donegal, who in 1722 married Mary Dawson, eldest daughter of Joshua Dawson, of Castle Dawson, in the county of Londonderry. Esq., (fn. 239) for many years "clerk of the papers," an office first created in Ireland in his person on the 26th of January 1703. (fn. 240) On the 26th October 1708 Joshua Dawson and his son Arthur were appointed joint keepers of the papers. Joshua died in 1725, but Arthur survived, and only surrendered the office on 27th April 1748. (fn. 241) Thus for a period of fifty years Joshua and Arthur Dawson, jointly or in succession, were clerks of the papers, and these Philadelphia papers are known to have come out of the hands of the grandson of Mary Hamilton, otherwise Dawson, sister of Arthur Dawson, for forty years keeper of papers of this nature. Now what more likely, if it could only be shown that these papers were once in the Paper Office, than that they should have been lent, considering the carelessness used in keeping such documents in former days, by Arthur Dawson to his cousin Joshua Hamilton, the father of Mr. Henry Hamilton-Cox, and that, the papers remaining in the possession of Mr. Joshua Hamilton at Arthur Dawson's death, they passed to Mr. Henry Hamilton-Cox as papers of his father's, and, having thus become his own, were by him given to the Philadelphia Library ? (fn. 242) Although there is no direct evidence to prove that these four volumes of Sir Arthur Chichester's papers, the two first of them consisting of warrants under the King's sign manual and privy signet for the passing of lands and offices, and the two others of letters and despatches from the King's Privy Council concerning the government of Ireland, were deposited in the Paper Office, there are strong presumptions to prove that they were at one time either deposited there or in some other public office.
During the period of Arthur Dawson's custody of the papers there was an indefatigable officer and antiquary about the public offices named Mr. John Lodge;—a name well known to the general public for his Peerage of Ireland, first published in 1754, and to legal and historical searchers for his admirable "Records of the Rolls," "Acta Regia Hibernica," and other lists and indexes to the records. (fn. 243) Although his Peerage only appeared in 1754, he had already printed and circulated in 1745 a history of the Earls of Kildare as a specimen of a peerage of Ireland, and must consequently have been employed in literary and legal researches for a considerable time before. After his death there appeared a work compiled by him, (fn. 244) entitled "Desiderata Curiosa Hibernica; or, a Select Collection of State Papers transcribed from the originals or authentic copies," published in 1772, and in this work are to be found some important papers that came out of these volumes of Sir Arthur Chichester's. They consist of seventeen royal letters or despatches from the Privy Council, the first six of them being King's warrants, to be found in the two first volumes, the remaining eleven, however, being copied from the despatches and letters of the Privy Council to Sir Arthur contained in the third and fourth volumes.
The warrants, it may be objected, being most of them enrolled, might have been seen by Mr. Lodge in the Rolls; but of the despatches and letters no public or private copies were ever made, and those in the "Desiderata Curiosa Hibernica" must, therefore, have been made by Lodge from these volumes of Chichester's.
But these Philadelphia papers were not the only papers of Sir Arthur Chichester's that Mr. Lodge had access to. There is contained in the same "Desiderata Curiosa Hibernica" a paper of considerable length entitled "A Chronicle of Lord Chichester's Government of Ireland, containing certain Chroniculary Discourses for the years of our Lord 1612, 13, 14, and 15, collected and gathered by William Farmer, Chirurgeon," and "Addressed to the Right Honble Arthur Lord Chichester, Baron of Belfast, Lord Deputy of the realm of Ireland." One cannot but think that this also was once in the same office, but is now lost, fortunately, however, not without leaving copy to supply the wants of the original.
Such is the evidence to show that these "Philadelphia Papers" were once in "the Paper Office," in the custody of Joshua and Arthur Dawson, and that thence they passed into the possession of Joshua Hamilton, Arthur Dawson's first cousin, from Joshua Hamilton to his son Henry Hamilton-Cox, and from him to the Philadelphia Library.
It remains to be observed that Mr. Henry HamiltonCox descended not only from Joshua Dawson, but also from Sir Richard Cox, Lord Chancellor of Ireland (from 1703 to 1707), whose name he took in 1784 on inheriting from his uncle, Sir Richard Cox, Bart., the estates of Dunmanway, in the county of Cork, derived from Lord Chancellor Cox. (fn. 245)
It is needless to go further in order to show that the supposition that King James II. and his Chancellor had any connexion with these papers is groundless. It may be mentioned, however, that Sir Richard Cox was a most zealous opponent of James and supporter of King William, whose interest he promoted by his celebrated work, "Hibernia Anglicana," published in 1689, the very year of the Revolution; and that he was consequently rewarded by being made a judge of the Court of Common Pleas on that King's accession, his patent being dated 2nd September 1690.