Page images

England, to be occupied as they were affected in that factious time; upon whose departure the O'Neyles, and other Irishrie heere, sought and took opportunitie to withdraw from their dutie of allegiance, and so to doe all that, which appertained to rebelious and undutifull subjects to doe, and so discontinued uncontrolled, untill the foure and thirtieth year of the raign of your most famous and victorious father King Henry the Eighth, at which time O'Neyle, O'Breene, Mac William Bourk, and others, the greatest and chiefest captaines of the Irishrie of this realm, repaired into England to his majestie's royal presence, and there with all humilitie, free consent, and good will submitted themselves unto his grace, resigning and surrendering up unto his highnesse hands their captainships, stiles, titles, dignities, superiorities, countries, and lands, to be ordered and disposed at his grace's pleasure ; who, like a mercifull and bounteous prince, accepting the same, returned them home againe, with English names of honour, great gifts and possessions, to be holden in succession, by English tenure, of his majestie, his heires and successours for ever. And farther in a parliament holden at Dublin within this realm, the eight and twentieth year of the raigne of youre said most famous father, it was enacted by an act, intituled, The Act of Absencie:

" That forasmuch as it was notorious and manifest, that this “ land of Ireland, being heretofore inhabited and in due obedi

ence to the said king's most noble progenitors, who in those

days, in the right of the crowne of England, had great posses“sions, rents, and profites within the same land, hath principally

growen into ruine, rebellion, and decay, by occasion that great “ dominions, lands, and possessions within the same land, as well “ by the king's graunts, as by course of inheritance, descended to “noblemen of the realm of England, and especially the lands and “ dominions of the earledomes in Ulster and Leinster; the con

quest and winning whereof, in the beginning, not only cost the “ king's said noble progenitors, and their faithfull subjects of this

realm, charges inestimable, but also those, to whom the said “ lands was given then, and many years after abiding within the “ said land, nobly and valiantly defended the same against all the “ king's enemies, and also kept the same in such tranquillity and “good order, as the king of England had due obedience of the 6 inhabitance there, the laws obeyed, and of the revenues and re“ galitie were duely answered ; and after the gift or discent of " the said lands, possessions, and dominions to the persons afore" said, they and their heires absented themselves out of the said “ land of Ireland, denjorning within the realm of England, not

pondering ne regarding the preservation thereof, the townes, “ castles, and garrisons appertaining unto them, fell in ruin and



“ decay, and the English inhabitants therein, in default of defence " and justice and by compulsions of those of the Irish, were ex“ iled, whereby the king's said progenitors lost as well their said “ dominion and subjection there, as also all their revenues and " profites, and their said enemies, by redopting or retaining the “ said lands, dominions, and possessions, were elevated into great “pride, power, and strength for suppressing of the residue of the “ king's subjects of this land, which they daily, ever since, have " attempted, whereby they from time to time usurped and en“ croached upon the king's dominion, which hath been the prin

cipall cause of the miserable estate wherein the land was at " that present time :” and those lands and dominions, by negligence and default of the very inheritors, after this manner lost, may

bee good example to your majestie, intending by the grace of God, the reformation of the said land, to foresee and prevent, that the like shall not insue hereafter. Therefore the three estates of this realm, assembled in the present parliament, did enact, condicend, and agree, “That your majesties said most " famous father should have, hold, possesse, and injoy, to him, “ his heires and successors, for ever, as in the right of the crown “ of England, as well the said earldomes of Ulster and Leinster, as “ also all other honours, mannours, lordships, castles, seignories, " and other hereditaments whatever to the said. persons in any

wise belongingor appertayning, within this your majesties realm " of Ireland.” And likewise in a parliament holden at the said citie of Dublin within this land, in the three and thirtieth year of the raign of your said most victorious father, it was enacted then by authoritie of the said parliament, “ That your majesties “ said most famous father should bee king of Ireland, and that “ his highnesse, his heires and successours, as kings of the same “ realm should have all kingly estate, preheminence, dignitie, and “ superioritie over this land and the people of the same :" all which recent and strong titles considered together with this your majesties late honourable eviction of the said dominion of Ulster from the usurpation of the traytirous intruder Shane O'Neyle, maketh to manifest proof to the world of your cleere, sound and unspotted titles, both to the whole body of this realm, and in

particularitie to that part and member of Ulster, out of which hath like to have growen the infection and subversion of this your realm.



JUNE, 1598.....PAGE 69.


WHEN this shall come to your majesty's hands, I know not; but whensoever it hath that honour, give it leave (I humbly beseech your majesty) to tell you, that now having passed through the provinces of Leinster and Munster, and been upon the frontier of Connaught (where the governour, and the chief of the province were with me) I dare begin to give your majesty some advertisement of the state of this kingdom, not as before by hearsay, but as I beheld it with mine own eyes. The people in general have able bodies by nature, and have gotten by custome ready use of arms, and by their late successes boldness to fight your majesties troups : In their pride they value no man but them. selves; in their affection they love nothing but idleness and licentiousness; in their rebellion they have no other end, but to shake off the yoak of obedience to your majesty, and to rout out all remembrance of the English nation in this kingdom. I say, I this of the people in general; for I find not only a great part thus affected, but that it is a general quarrel of the Irish; and they who do not profess it, are either so few, or so false, that there is no account to be made of them.' The Irish nobility, and lords of countries, do not only in their hearts affect this plausible quarrel, and are divided from us in religion, but have an es. pecial quarrel against the English government, because it li. miteth, and tieth them who have ever been, and ever would be as absolute tyrants as any are under the sun; the towns (being inhabited by men of the same religion and birth as the rest) are so carried away with the love of gain, that for it, they will furnish the rebels with all things that may arm them, or inable them against the state, or against themselves. The wealth of the kingdom (which consisteth in cattel, oatmeal, and other victuals) is allmost in the rebels hands, who in every province, till my coming, have been masters of the field.

The expectation of these rebels is very present, and very confident, that Spain will either so invade your majesty, that you shall have no leisure to prosecute them here, or so succour them, that they will get most of the towns into theire hands, e'er your majesty shall relieve and reinforce your army, so that now if your majesty resolve to subdue these rebels by force, they are so many, and so

framed to be soldiers, that the war will certainly be great, costly, and long. If your majesty will seek to break them by factions amongst themselves, they are covetous and mercenary, and must be purchased, and their jesuits and practising priests must be hunted out, and taken from them, which now do sodder so fast and so close together: if your majesty will have a strong party in the Irish nobility, and make use

of them, you must hide from them all purpose of establishing English government, till the strength of the Irish be so broken, that they shall see no safety but in your majestie's protection ; if your majesty will be assured of the possession of your towns, and keep them from supplying the wants of the rebels, you must have garrisons brought into them able to command, and make it a capital offence for any merchant in Ireland to trade with the rebels, or buy and sell any arms or mu. nition whatsoever; for your good subjects may have for their money out of your majestie's store that, which shall be appointed by order, and may serve for their necessary defence, whereas if once they be tradable, the rebels will give such extreme and excessive prices, that they will never be kept from them: if your majesty will secure this your realm from the danger of invasion, as soon as those, which direct and manage your majesty's intelligences give notice of the preparations, and readiness of the enemy, you must be as well armed, and provided for your defence : which provision consists in having forces upon the coast, enrolled and trained, in having magazines of victuals in your majestie's west and north-west parts, ready to be transported, and in having ships, both of war and transportation, which may carry and waft them both upon the first alarm of a decent; the enrolling and training of your subjects is no charge to your majestie's own cof. fers : the providing magazines will never be any loss, for in using them you may save a kingdom ; and if you use them not, you may have your old store sold, and (if it be well handled) to your majestie's profit. The arming your majestie's ships, when you hear your enemy's army is gone to sea, is agreeable to your own provident and princely courses, and to the policies of all princes and states of the world. But to return to Ireland again ; as I have shewed your majesty the dangers and disadvantages, which your servants and ministers here shall and do meet withall in this great work of reducing this kingdom, so I will now (as well as I can) represent to your majesty your strengths and advantages.

First, These rebels are neither able to force any walled town, castle, or house of strength, nor to keep any, that they get, so that while your majesty keeps your army and vigour, you are undoubtedly mistress of all towns and holds whatsoever; by which means, (if your majesty have good ministers) all the wealth of the land shall be drawn into the hands of your subjects ; your soldiers in the winter shall be with ease lodged, and readily supplyed of any wants, and we that command your majesties forces, may make the war offensive and defensive, may fight and be in safety as occasion is offered.

Secondly, Your majesty's horsemen are so incomparably better than the rebels, and their foot are so unwilling to fight in battle, or gross (howsoever they be desirous to skirmish and loose fight) that your majesty may be allways mistress of the champion countries, which are the best parts of the kingdom.

Thirdly, Your majesty victualling your army out of England, and with your garrisons burning and spoiling the country in all places, shall starve the rebels in one year, because no place else can supply them.

Fourthly, Since no war can be made without munition, and munition this rebel cannot have but from Spain, Scotland, or your towns here, if your majesty will still continue your ships and pinnaces upon the coast, and be pleased send a printed proclamation, that upon pain of death, no merchant, townsman, or other subject, do traffick with the rebel, or buy or sell in any sort any kind of munition or arms, I doubt not but in short time I shall make them bankrupt of their own store, and I hope our seamen will keep them from any new.

Fifthly, Your majesty hath a rich store of gallant colonels, captains, and gentlemen of quality, whose example and execution is of more use, than all the rest of your troups; whereas the best men of quality among the rebels, who are their leaders and their horsemen, dare never put themselves to any hazard, but send their kerne, and their hirelings to fight with your majesty's troups, so that although their common soldiers are too hard for our new men, yet are they not able to stand before such gallant men, as will charge them.

Sixthly, Your majesty's commanders being advised and exercised, know all advantages, and by the strength of their order will, in great fights, beat the rebels; for they neither march, nor lodge, nor fight in order ; but only by the benefit of footmanship, can come on, and go off at their pleasure, which makes them attend a whole day, still skirmishing, and never engaging themselves, so that it hath been even the fault and weakness of your majesty's leaders, whensoever you have received any blow, for the rebels do but watch and attend upon all gross oversights.

Now if it please your majesty to compare your advantages and disadvantages together, you shall find, that though these rebels are more in number than your majesty's army, and have (though I do unwillingly confess it) better bodies and perfecter use of their arms, than those men, which your majesty sends over; yet your majesty commanding the walled towns, holds, and

« PreviousContinue »