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1492-1494]

POYNINGS' LAW

61

Henry had treated Simnel with contempt. But Warbeck had to pay the extreme penalty of his rashness. He was seized, flung into the Tower, and finally executed.

Warbeck's connection with Ireland was not, as we have seen, either very intimate or much prolonged; but it was sufficient to convince Henry of the necessity of establishing a strong, centralised government in the country. Accordingly, in 1494, he despatched thither Sir Edward Poynings, a knight of the garter and privy councillor, in whom he placed great confidence, with instructions to punish the adherents of Warbeck and to reduce the whole island to obedience.

Poynings' name has a permanent place in Irish history, by virtue of the legislative measures which he initiated and carried. In 1494 he summoned a parliament at Drogheda to give effect to his policy. This parliament asserted the dependence of Ireland upon England, extended to Ireland the English statutes then in force, and provided that no parliament should, for the future, be holden in Ireland until the chief governor and council had first certified to the king, under the great seal of Ireland, 'as well the causes and considerations as the acts they designed to pass, and until the same should be proved by the king and council of England.' The 'Statute of Kilkenny' was revived and amended; the exaction of 'coyne and livery'l

1 The custom of visiting the tenants' houses for refection, -a custom much abused by the Norman lords. - Joyce, History of Ireland.

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forbidden, and the use of Irish war-cries prohibited.

Fortified by these enactments, Henry determined to proceed steadily and cautiously with the work of securing, extending and consolidating his Irish possessions. He resolved in the first place to win the support of the Norman nobles, and, through them, to subdue and dominate the native chiefs.

1 The war-cries of the various chiefs were :- - The O'Neils, 'Lámh-dhearg abú’(The Red Hand to Victory); the O'Briens, 'Lámh-láiderabú' (The Strong Hand to Victory); the Kildare Geraldines of ‘Crom abú' (from the Geraldine castle of Crom, or Croom); the Desmond Geraldines, 'Seanaid abú' (from the Desmond castle of Shanid).

CHAPTER VIII

THE GERALDINES

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WO Norman families stood out

conspicuously from the restthe Butlers, who had given many proofs of their loyalty, and the Geraldines, whose allegiance had been of a more fitful and uncertain character.

But it was to the Geraldines that Henry addressed himself, because their influence with the native Irish was supreme.

The great Earl of Kildare had, as we have seen, warmly espoused the cause of Lambert Simnel, but he took no part in the projects of Perkin Warbeck. In 1494 Poynings suspected the earl of plotting against the government, and though no proofs were forthcoming, he was sent a prisoner to England. In 1496 he was admitted to the royal presence to plead his cause. He immediately won Henry's confidence by

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his frankness of speech and openness of demeanour.

'I would advise you, sir earl,' said the king, at the opening of the interview, to provide yourself with good counsel, for I apprehend you will need it.' 'I will show you, sire,' said the earl, “the best counsel in England.' 'Who is that?' said Henry. “The king,' answered Kildare, and Henry laughed heartily. "You are charged,' said the king, with burning the Cathedral Church of Cashel. What say you to that in the presence of my lord the archbishop?' who stood close by. 'Marry, sire,' answered Kildare, it is true; but then I thought the archbishop was in it.' This answer once more appealed to Henry's sense of humour, and he laughed more heartily than before. "Sire,' said

' the prosecuting counsel, 'all Ireland cannot govern this man.' Then,' said Henry, closing the audience, 'this man shall govern all Ireland.' Henry was as good as his word. Kildare was released, sent back to Ireland, restored to his honours and estates, and appointed lordlieutenant in place of Poynings on the 6th of August 1496.

During the remainder of Henry's reign, Kildare continued at the head of the Anglo-Irish government, and justified the king's confidence by his vigorous administration of the country. A quarrel broke out between the Norman MacWilliam Burke of Clanricarde and a native Irish chief, O'Kelly of Hy-Maney. Burke defeated O’Kelly and seized his castle.

O'Kelly appealed to the viceroy, and Kildare, gathering

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1496-1573] DEATH OF EARL OF KILDARE 65

around him the native chiefs of Ulster, except O'Neil, marched southwards and crushed MacWilliam Burke in a great battle at Knockdoe, near Galway, in 1504. For this achievement he was made a knight of the garter. In 1510, Kildare marched into Munster, determined to punish the southern chiefs who had stood by Burke. Joined by the Munster Geraldines, he crossed the Shannon and invaded Thomond. But O'Brien, supported by Burke and Macnamara, advanced to meet him. The earl, surprised by the formidable force which the southern chiefs had brought into the field, beat a hasty retreat. But O'Brien fell upon his army as it was passing through the bog of Monabraher, near Limerick, and completely routed it. However, in 1512, Kildare was up and doing again. He marched into Ulster and successfully attacked his enemies there. In 1513 he went southwards again, but while besieging the castle of a chief, O'Carrol, near Roscrea, he fell suddenly ill and died. So ended the great Earl of Kildare. 'He was a mightie man of stature,' says Holinshed, 'full of honour and courage

milde in government to his enemies sterne. He was open and playne, hardly able to rule himself when he was moved ; in anger not so sharp as short, being easily displeased and sooner appeased. Notwithstanding hys simplicitie in peace, he was of that valour and policie in warre as his name bred a greater terrour to the Irish than other men's armies.' Kildare was succeeded in the government of Ireland by his son Gerald.

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