Page images


between the Englishman and the Spaniard. But their interests in the fight were not equal. The Englishman fought for dominion and spoil. The Spaniard fought for an ally in whose cause he was halfhearted and supine. To Mountjoy, defeat meant the loss of Ireland and the shame of his own country.

To Del Aquila, it meant return to Spain and the end of a bootless mission. The one would have held out whilst the last ration of the last horse remained. But the other flinched. The struggle needed heroism and self-sacrifice. Del Aquila was heroic, but he was not selfsacrificing. He was prepared to fight, he was not prepared to suffer any more. He was determined that now the conflict should be ended quickly, whatever befel. He therefore despatched a messenger to O'Donnell to attack the English army in the rear while he assailed them in the front. Victory, he said, was assured, if this plan was carried out with vigour and skill. At this crisis O'Neil arrived upon

the He and O'Donnell held a council

O'Donnell, with the impetuosity of youth, was in favour of an instant attack upon the English lines.

But the maturer wisdom of O'Neil counselled delay. It was, he said, a question of holding out. The English were clearly reduced to the last extremities. Let Del Aquila only stand firm and the whole English army must surrender. The substance of these deliberations were


of war.




conveyed to Del Aquila, but he refused to hold out any longer.

If the Irish did not attack the English army he would surrender Kinsale. That was his last word, and it left O'Neil no alternative but to fight. On January 3, 1602, O'Neil reluctantly gave the order to advance. He had hoped to surprise Mountjoy by a night attack. But his plans were communicated to the English general, and when, in the early hours of the morning of the 4th, the Irish army approached the English lines, the enemy was ready for them. Seeing this, O'Neil manquvred to delay the attack, and to change the order of battle. But Mountjoy, leaving Carew to hold the Spaniards in check, fell upon the Irish while carrying out these operations, and threw them into the utmost confusion. Instead of surprising Mountjoy, they were themselves surprised by the suddenness and vigour of his onset. O'Neil,who commanded the centre, rallied his men, but they reeled under the English onslaught, and fell steadily back. O'Donnell, who commanded the rear, now came up, and, supported by Tyrrell of "Tyrrell's Pass, ' charged the English with great gallantry. For a moment the tide of battle was turned back, and had Del Aquila done his duty and given a good account of Carew, the situation might have been retrieved. But there

sortie from Kinsale; and Mountjoy was left free to handle the foe in his front. Checked for the time by the furious charge of O'Donnell, the English



finally rallied, and renewed their assaults upon the centre

with redoubled energy. O'Neil

, though fighting desperately, was no longer able to bear up against these sustained attacks, and his army, pressed home on every side and baffled at every turn, at length gave way out-manceuvred, overwhelined, undone. Mountjoy's victory was decisive; the battle of the Yellow Ford was avenged, the great rebel of the north was outwitted, and crushed.

O'Neil returned to Ulster with a shattered army, whither Mountjoy followed him, laying waste the whole country. “We have seen,' says the viceroy, 'no one man in all Tyrone of late but dead carcases merely hunger - starved, of which we have found divers as we passed Between Tullaghoge and Toome (seventeen miles] there lay unburied 1000 dead, and since our first drawing this year to Blackwater there were about

3000 starved in Tyrone;' and he adds, with a pious exclamation, ‘To-morrow (by the grace of God), I am going into the field, as near as I can utterly to waste the County Tyrone.'

O'Donnell sailed for Spain to seek fresh succour for the Irish cause. Del Aquila surrendered Kinsale and went back to his own country in disgrace. Immediately on his arrival he was thrown into prison, where he pined away and died. Carew captured O'Sullivan Beare's castle of Dembay, and put the garrison to the sword. O'Sullivan Beare fled to Ulster with a thousand followers almost all of whom perished





on the way by sickness, starvation and disease. When the old chief reached Brefney, and threw himself on the protection of the prince of that territory, he was only attended by forty faithful adherents. O'Donnell saw Ireland no He died at Simancas on September 10th 1602, poisoned, there is but too much reason to believe, by an English agent in the employment of Carew. In March 1603, O'Neil, who had all the time been harassed by Mountjoy, surrendered to the lord-deputy at Mellifont, near Drogheda, received a free pardon, and was restored to his titles and estates. "I have omitted nothing,' wrote Mountjoy, before O'Neil's surrender, both by power and policy, to ruin him and utterly to cut him off; and if by either I may procure his head before I have engaged her royal word for his safety, I do protest I will do it, and much more be ready to possess myself of his person, if by only promise of life, or by any other means, whereby I shall not directly scandal the majesty of public faith, I can procure him to put himself into my power.'



And now all was

The fire stamped out. Ireland was subdued.

The Norman period had been a period of occupation and settlement. The Tudor period was a period of conquest and extermination. The first invaders had shown


Mountjoy had previously employed another agent to assassinate O'Neil.







every disposition to mingle with the native race ; the second

resolved to root them out. A common religion had united the one;

separate religions divided the other. Protestantism established by law; Catholicism was suppressed by terror. All places of emolument and power reserved for Protestants;

Catholics sternly excluded from every position of favour and trust. Catholic worship was forbidden. Catholic priests were placed under ban; Catholic property was spoliated; Catholic sentiment was spurned and insulted. Thus

new trouble added to the old, and fresh causes of injury soon increased and multiplied. The Norman colonists had hoped to share the island with the natives. The Tudors were determined to acquire it for themselves. No rights' but theirs were to be respected; no claims but theirs would be allowed. The hateful policy of 'Plantation'

now inaugurated. Vast estates, which for generations had been in the possession of natives or Normans,

confiscated in Munster and Leinster, and hordes of adventurers poured into the country, bent on spoil and outrage. And it was on this foundation of national oppression, religious persecution, and public plunder that the dominion of the English in Ireland was raised by the Tudor dynasty.



« PreviousContinue »