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terford, and Carrickfergus were equally endowed. Thus the interests, the selfish interests, of a large body of bad men, in town and country, became inextricably inwoven with heresy, and the roots of one race were planted in the mouldering foundations of the other. The O'Neils were robbed to enrich the Chichesters, the McCarthys to build up the Butlers, the O'Sullivans to endow the Boyles and Kings, and the rich abbeys of the pious O'Connors fell a prey to the Burkes and Croftons. Henry's commissioners of course did not neglect themselves. Browne, in imitation of his friend Cranmer, had married a wife, and pleaded that he had a family to provide for. He complains in his letters that he was refused “Grace Dieu” and “a very poor abbey of friars, near Ballymore." As a consolation, he was endowed with lands and abbeys in other counties, which we find his descendants enjoying two generations later. After that his family vanishes from the records of the state.
The Irish church was as a rich argosy abandoned by its officers, the civil rulers, to be rummaged and preyed on by pirates. Besides the fifty cathedrals of its ancient dioceses, besides the numerous colleges enriched by the piety of early times, besides the many places of pilgrim
where the offerings of successive centuries were stored up, there were, to excite avarice and reward apostasy, nearly six hundred houses of the religious orders. The Augustinian orders, male and female, could count two hundred and fifty-six of their own foundations; the Cistercian houses were forty-four; the Benedictine, fourteen; the Dominicans, forty-one; the Franciscan orders, one hundred and fourteen; the Carmelites, twenty-nine; the Knights Hospitallers, twenty-two; the Hermits of St. Augustine, twenty-four; the Trinitarians, fourteen; the Norbertines, eight; the Bernardines, two Besides these, there were a few houses, under the rule of St. Bridget, and St. Columbcille, and a priory of Culdees at Armagh.*
Some of these houses, especially
* In Archdall's Monasticon there is an incomplete list of five hundred and sixty-three Irish houses confiscated. Vide Appendix No. I.
those of the Cistercian order, founded at the time of the restoration of religion, were endowed with large possessions and many privileges. They afforded pieces of silver enough for every Judas that could be found.
Henry VIII. did not live to direct the work he had commenced. Ulcerated in body and mind, he died a death of exquisite agony, in January, 1547. The daily fluctuations of his creed, during the last years of his life, had prevented any regular system of Protestant propagandism. The work of plunder, however, was zealously carried on by the king and the apostates, high and low. That method of conversion needed neither council nor confession of faith. It proceeded with complete success in every shire at the same time. In Ireland, it was limited only by the extent of military force, at the command of Dr. Browne, Lord Butler, Baron Finglass, and their fellow-commissioners. It took a full century to complete the grand scheme of sacrilege and spoliation which they devised.
The character of Henry, as exhibited in his Irish policy, is a compound of duplicity and ferocity. His treacherous execution of the six Geraldines ; his dissimulation before the act of election, and his instant use of his new powers for purposes of confiscation; his choice of agents, in church and state, such as Lord Leonard Grey and Archbishop Browne; his imposition of the oath of supremacy, — these high crimes against religion and law fully entitle him to be reckoned among the greatest criminals known to mankind. He united all the passions of Nero to all the crafty intelligence of Tiberius. His end was like theirs, a memorable manifestation of God's justice beginning in this world.
His election introduced that vicious confusion into the civil affairs of Ireland which has not yet been eliminated. It altered every thing old and salutary; it was a radical revolution. It substituted an heretical foreign king, an apostate, anti-national clergy, and an aristocracy of conquest, for native princes, a Catholic hierarchy, and the old tenures which secured the soil to its cultivators. The form of election was just sufficiently legal to con
stitute a de facto government, and yet was unconstitutional enough to render debatable every extreme exercise of its authority. A doubtful allegiance, and a vicious authority were, in the political order, counterparts of the first attempt to introduce the reformation into Ireland. We can hardly be surprised to find, three years after Henry's election, the Anglo-Irish Earl of Ormond poisoned at London for opposing his government, or, the same year, (1545, the Milesian Irish chiefs in secret treaty with Francis I. of France, who sent John de Montluc, as his envoy into Ulster. All they asked to shake off the yoke of England, was the pope's sanction, “two thousand arquebuses, two hundred light horsemen, and four cannon." * But the complications of French policy delayed any action upon this, the first projected Catholic insurrection.
KING EDWARD AND QUEEN MARY. CRANMER'S ATTEMPTS TO
The boy Edward, son of Henry VIII. by Lady Jane Seymour, was crowned king, in 1547, in the tenth year of his age. His mother's brother, Edward Seymour, duke of Somerset, was declared protector of the kingdom, during the minority of his nephew.
The ruler of England, in matters of religion, during the reign of Edward, or rather the protectorate of Somerset, was Thomas Cranmer, a native of Nottingham, who, from being an expelled scholar of Oxford,
* Cox, Rerum Hib. Anglicarum.
and the husband of the barmaid of the Dolphin Inn, had risen to the rank of King Henry's Archbishop of Canterbury. He had first attracted the king's attention by writing in favor of the divorce of Queen Katharine; he had secretly married the niece of the reformer Osiander, while he still pretended to be a Catholic and a bishop; he had assisted at the marriage, the accusation, and sentence of the four queens, whom Henry successively espoused and put away. By consenting to every thing, he had at last overcome every thing, and, next to the regent, was the most powerful man in the kingdom.
Ireland attracted, early, Cranmer's attention. An order in council commanding the use of the new liturgy in that kingdom was issued; another order commanded the administration of the oath of allegiance; another transferred the primacy from Armagh to Dublin, much to the satisfaction of George Browne. Some new bishops of Cranmer's making — among them Dr. Goodacre for Armagh, Dr. Lancaster for Kildare, Dr. Bale for Ossory, and Dr. Travers for Leighlin were sent over. They were providently accompanied by six hundred horse and four hundred foot, under Sir Edward Bellingham, "a man of great valor, and celebrated for military science," who was honored with the title of "marshal and captain general of Ireland.” The old bishops, being summoned to Dublin, to take the oath of allegiance, boldly refused, with three sorrowful exceptions, Myler Magrath, Archbishop of Cashel, Staples, Bishop of Meath, and Quinn, or Coyn, Bishop of Limerick. The apostasy of Magrath alone excited attention, the other two being “nominations” of Henry.
of Henry. The laity of his diocese rose in a tumult of indignation, and ordered him to leave the city of Cashel, where Dr. Edmund Butler, son of the Earl of Ormond, was enthroned in his stead. Magrath fled into England, and threw himself on the bounty of Cranmer. In Queen Elizabeth's reign, we find him, for a time, intruding in the see of Lismore, and, except in the polemical songs of the age, we hear of him no more.
James I.'s captains in Munster did not spare his heirs, though they pleaded their kindred s to Milerus, late archbishop.” The other king's bishops” succeeded little better. Dr. Goodacre, having the fear of Shane O'Neil before his eyes, never ventured to Armagh ; Dr. Bale, under cover of Ormond Castle, entered Kilkenny. He preached “very peaceably” so long as the Irish did not understand him; but when he ordered his menials to pull down images and crosses, they rose, “slew five of his servants, and barely suffered him to escape."* Dr. Lancaster's diocese lay among the O'Connors and O'Moores of Offally and Leix, who had no very strong desire for his administration. They rose in arms against it, and Bellingham marched to support the bishop. A battle was fought at Three Castles, in Kilkenny, in which the Catholics were defeated, and Maurice 66 of the Wood," son of the Earl of Kildare, was taken prisoner. He, with two of his nephews, was executed at Dublin. The bishop and the foreign soldiery triumphed : they built or repaired forts in Offally and Leix, and strongly garrisoned Cork, Belfast, and Athlone. These garrisons, when not otherwise employed, were allowed to make descents upon the churches and schools of the adjacent country. At Down, they mutilated the shrine of Sts. Patrick, Bridget, and Columbcille. Taking to their longboats, the northern garrison plundered the shrines of Rathlin Islet, and coming to Derry, they assailed the Black Abbey of St. Columbcille, in which so many princes and prelates had laid down mitre and crown. Here, Shane O'Neil's forbearance ended, and with the red hand of Ulster, he brushed the wretches out. Four miles above Athlone, on the sloping banks of the Shannon, stood the seven churches, the castle, round tower, and village of Clonmacnoise. There St. Kiaran died, and their Abbot Tighernan O'Broin, after the Danish desolations gathered together the early annals of our race. In a sudden foray, the garrison of Athlone surrounded Clonmacnoise, slew all its religious inhabitants who remained, mutilated the tombs of chiefs and abbots, and carried