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man full of prosperity and royalty, and the enricher of churches and monasteries.'
From the death of MacMurrough to the accession of Henry VII. (1417-1485) Ireland remained in a state of confusion and anarchy. The Irish defied the authority of England, but did not combine to overthrow it, and the English settlers, hemmed around on all sides by a hostile population, barely maintained the struggle for existence.
The fusion of Norman and Irish races went on as before, and the feeble attempts made to enforce the 'Statute of Kilkenny' only excited contempt and ridicule.
In 1449, Richard, Duke of York (heir-presumptive to the English throne) became lordlieutenant. He was the first English governor who tried to rule on popular principles, and his term of office was remarkable for the meeting of the first parliament which asserted the legislative independence of Ireland. But affairs in England forced him to return to that country in 1451, and the government of Ireland fell into the hands of incompetent and unprincipled deputies.
Meanwhile England was plunged into all the horrors of civil strife. The Wars of the Roses raged from 1455 to 1485. The opportunity was favourable to the destruction of English power in Ireland, root and branch. But the Irish were too divided among themselves to seize it. There was no national unity, though there was intense hatred of the foreigner. The Pale had shrunk to the smallest dimensions. It 1485)
was, indeed, confined to Dublin, and parts of Meath, Louth and Kildare. It needed but one united and resolute effort, and the English settlement would have disappeared altogether. That effort was never made. Irish and Normans possessed all the lands outside the narrow limits of the Pale. But within these limits the English settlers held their ground.
In 1485 the Wars of the Roses ended, and Henry Tudor ascended the English throne. A new era, crimsoned with misfortune, now dawned
HE accession of Henry VII.
(1485) brought peace to Eng. land, and gave her statesmen leisure to turn their attention to Irish affairs. It became their chief concern to effect the subjugation of the country, to bring
it under the influence of English law, to improve its judicial administration, and to develop its great natural resources. But the Tudor dynasty was hateful to the Norman Irish. They remembered with gratitude the popular government of the Duke of York, and gave their sympathies to the representatives of the White Rose. Henry they regarded as a usurper, and when Lambert Simnel, the son of an Oxford tradesman, pretending to be Edward, Earl of Warwick (grandson of the Duke of
York), appeared in Dublin in 1487, they rallied round him, and the lord-deputy, Garret Oge Fitz-Gerald, Earl of Kildare, proclaimed him as Edward VI., King of England and France and Lord of Ireland. The arrival of John de la Pole, Earl of Lincoln (nephew of Edward IV.), whom Richard III. had adopted as his heir, lent additional strength to the impostor's cause, more particularly as Lincoln brought with him 2000 German soldiers under Martin Schwartz, a captain of good repute. Lincoln must have been fully aware of the deception, but he advised that the so-called Edward should be crowned, and accordingly the Bishop of Meath performed the ceremony of his coronation in the Irish capital.
The Anglo-Irish leaders, encouraged by this demonstration, resolved on an immediate invasion of England, and, early in June 1487, Schwartz's 2000 Germans, with a great multitude of Norman Irish, sailed from Dublin. Landing on the Lancashire coast, they marched swiftly into Yorkshire, but at Stoke, in Nottinghamshire, came into collision with Henry's formidable host, and were defeated with such slaughter that one-half of their number lay dead on the field of battle. Simnel was made prisoner, received the king's contemptuous pardon, and closed his career as a menial in the royal household. Henry, with sagacious generosity, forgave Kildare and the Irish nobles, and knowing the great influence of the former, retained him in the office of lord-deputy. Later on (1489) the summoned Kildare and the more powerful Anglo-Irish lords to his presence. He entertained them at a splendid banquet at Greenwich, where, in curious illustration of the irony of history, the attendant who served them at table was none other than Lambert Simnel. During their stay at Greenwich they accompanied Henry in solemn procession to the church, and were ultimately dismissed with many marks of the royal favour. But the Norman Irish still remained attached to the House of York, and another opportunity of showing that attachment soon presented itself.
On the 5th May 1492, a merchant vessel from Lisbon dropped anchor in the harbour of Cork. Among the passengers a young man, whom no one knew, drew general attention by the grace of his bearing and the courtly elegance of his address. In person he was exceedingly well-made and comely, with handsome features ; his movements were distinguished by their dignified ease; his whole bearing was that of one born to a high position, It was soon announced aboard that he was none other than Richard, Duke of York, the second son of Edward IV.; and his replies to the questions pressed upon him were so satisfactory, that he speedily obtained a large amount of support. The citizens of Cork declared in his favour, and the Earl of Desmond brought him his powerful aid. He disappeared from Ireland, however, with the suddenness that had characterised his arrival, and passed on to play his part elsewhere. This was Perkin Warbeck, the second pretender who disturbed Henry's reign.