Page images

ers. The great provincial families vied with each other in contributing material to the restoration of religion. Then Holy Cross was founded by the O'Briens; then Cong and Sligo rose upon the grants of the O'Connors; then Mellifont raised its noble front heavenward; then Ardagh, Kells, Ferns, Lismore, Clonmacnoise, and Boyle rejoiced in the return of their long-absent glory. St. Malachy died at Armagh in 1148; but the good work did not pause. In 1152, the council of Kells was held by the legate, Cardinal Papiron, where the palliums (or Roman capes) were duly delivered to the four archbishops, and where, also, a memorable event - the abolition of the slavery of Saxon domestics was decreed.

The Irish church might now have looked for another apostolic age. . But it was not so ordered.

A new trial in the civil order awaited pastors and people. As Maolmorra had invited the Danish invasion long before, so his descendant, Dermid, banished for political and personal crimes, conspired to bring in the Normans. Though guilty and unpopular, he had a party in Leinster, and when, in 1169, that party was reënforced by a few foreign knights, the Danish town of Wexford opened its gates to them. The next year, Danish Waterford received a further detachment of his allies, under Richard, Earl of Pembroke ; and then the wedge entered that divided beyond repair the uncentralized native constitution. In 1172, Henry II. visited Ireland, and made compacts with some of its princes, and prescribed limits to his own subjects, settled on the eastern coast. Under enterprising leaders, at different times, these limits were enlarged in various directions. De Courcy, Fitzgerald, Butler, and De Burgo are the great names of the Normans in Ireland. Against them, the Milesians may put, without fear or shame, the O'Briens, O'Connors, and O'Neils. The fluctuating frontiers of the Norman interest during four centuries show that the children of the Scotii knew how to guard their land against the descendants of the Danes.

This internecine, colonial, or civil war was necessarily highly prejudicial to the best interests of religion.

National feuds were carried into the chapter, the cloister, and even the pulpit. Henry's chaplain, Giraldus, taunted the Archbishop of Cashel that the Irish church was without martyrs.

“ We will have martyrs enough now that your master has come among us," was the prompt reply. Giraldus, in a sermon at Christ Church, Dublin, reflected on the native clergy. The next day, Auban O'Molloy, Abbot of Glendalough, from the same pulpit preached a retort, in which there are allusions to St. Thomas à Becket not to be misunderstood. These were but faint portents of troubles and collisions to come. Among the native clergy, most conspicuous was St. Lawrence, Archbishop of Dublin. Visiting England, he narrowly escaped martyrdom, while celebrating mass at the altar of St. Thomas of Canterbury; going to Rome, he is ordered by Henry not to return to his see, the metropolis of which is now under the English flag. He died an exile, at Eu, in Normandy. In 1175, Primate Conor died at Rome, whither he had gone to consult the successor of St. Peter. In 1215, Dionysius, Archbishop of Cashel, also died at Rome; the same year, returning from the fourth Lateran council, died O'Heney, Bishop of Killallo. The native bishops have frequent and urgent occasions for appealing to Rome. Besides instigating to invasion and plunder, the Kings of England claim a right of nomination to Irish bishoprics not to be borne. Thus David, a relative of Fitz Henry's, being appointed, in 1208, Bishop of Waterford, is slain in a tumult, endeavoring to get possession of it; thus, in 1224, we have “ Robert, the English Bishop,” of Ardagh. In 1236, Maolmorra O’Laughlin, “ having obtained the pope's letters, with the consent of the king,” is consecrated Archbishop of Tuam, in England. In 1258, when a successor to this prelate was to be chosen, the suffragans of Tuam nominated O'Flynn, but the King of England nominated Walter, of Salerna. Walter died the same year, and so a collision was avoided.*

* Annals of the Four Masters, under the several dates in the text. In addition to these nominations, we find, in 1246, Albert of Cologne nominated for Armagh ; in 1267, a “ Roman Bishop" of Clonfert, and in 1530, a Greck Bishop of Elphin.


The same fierce contest of nationalities was carried into the monastic houses. Mellifont totally excluded men of English birth, for which it was severely censured by the chapter of the order. Donald O'Neil complains, by name, of English monks who preached the extermination of the Irish ; at Bective, Conal, and Jerpoint, no Irish brother of the order may enter. Many years and many reprimands were needed to take the edge off this deadly, criminal quarrel, and to establish religious unity between the two races. Happily, in the fourteenth century, this better spirit generally prevailed. The statute of Kilkenny (A. D. 1367) enacted in vain a decree of non-intercourse; the union went on.

Through warfare, and faction, and national controversies, the great duty of education was not neglected. Flan O'Gorman and other scholars of the twelfth and thirteenth centuries, it is written, “studied twenty years in the schools of France and England.” Armagh College being declared sole school of theology, seven thousand scholars are counted there at one time. The Dominicans of Dublin bridge the Liffey for the convenience of their scholars ; Archbishop de Bicknor projects and commences a University of St. Patrick's, for which bulls are issued at Rome; St. Nicholas College, at Galway, begins to make itself known to the learned. At Oxford, there are national feuds between “ the three nations," and a serious riot on Palm Sunday, 1274. The Irish students are prohibited from entering the English colleges after this, and so remain at home, or betake themselves to Paris. The great mental rivalry between the two races was favorable to learning.

Among the laity, even the noblest, there is no lack of devotion. Godfrey and Richard count some of them among their followers, as the zealous Tasso sings : "the concert of Christendom” was completed by the Irish harp.” Ullgarg O'Rorke died beside the Jordan in 1231;

* The native saints were popularly supposed to avenge their invaded country. Dermid McMurrogh died by the interposition of St. Columbcille, and Strongbow by St. Bridge's; St. Kiaran saved Clonmacnoise from the King of England's constable ;” i. e., De Lacy.

Hugh O'Connor, grandson of Roderick, died on his return from Jerusalem in 1224. Roderick himself died in the religious habit, at Cong, in 1198, having spent five years in the cloister. In his will he left offerings to the churches at Rome and Jerusalem. During the two succeeding centuries, almost every second obituary of an Irish noble states that he “gained the victory over the devil and the world,” in the religious house and habit of some regular order. When St. John of Matha founded his noble brotherhood for the redemption of captives, Ireland erected fifty-three houses of that order -as many as England and Scotland put together. Such was the Irish church of the middle

ages. In the state, the provincial rulers still maintained their rank and title ; but though many noble names are mentioned as “worthy heirs of the crown of Ireland," no regular election to that bigh office seems to have taken place during the three centuries following the death of Roderick.




The election of Henry VIII. of England as King of Ireland is one of the primary facts irf the history of both nations. To our present purpose its consideration is indispensable.

The Kings of England, from Henry II. to Henry VII., had always claimed the lordship of a part of Ireland. Sometimes, in the purposely indefinite language of diplomacy, they had styled themselves “ Dominus Hibernice," without qualification. This title they assumed in the same sense that the Danish Vi-kings of Dublin and


Waterford, in the tenth and eleventh centuries, had styled themselves “ kings” of the whole country. The bulls of Popes Adrian and Alexander, which were relied on as the foundation of their title, were couched in very general terms, and the non-fulfilment of their conditions necessarily rendered the title conditionally given of no legal authority. During the thirteenth century, the Holy War, in the fourteenth, the wars with France and Scotland, postponed the formal assertion of sovereignty. At the close of the fourteenth, the young Richard II., a candidate for the empire, was tauntingly told, by the German electors, to " conquer

Ireland first.” Under the instigation of this taunt, his expeditions of 1394 and 1399 were undertaken, in which Art. McMurrogh won a deathless name, Henry IV. his knightly spurs, and Richard II. lost his early character for courage, and finally his

While Richard was absent in Ireland, the banished Duke of Lancaster returned to England, seized the government, and captured his luckless predecessor. Thus commenced, with the next century, that civil war of the roses, which closed on Bosworth Field in 1485. Henry Tudor, Earl of Richmond, the conqueror upon that day, was a bastard, like William of Normandy; he conquered, like William, with foreign men and arms. Still, the parliament confirmed his title; and his marriage with Elizabeth of York, the lawful representative of the royal line, as well as the strong desire of all Englishmen for peace at any price, gave a sanction and a strength to his claims, which no other king had obtained in the same century, The present British monarchy properly dates from the battle of Bosworth Field.

Henry VII's administration needs to be known, in order to understand the more important reign of his

The one prepared the way for the other, in church and state, in Ireland and in England. The leading idea of the new king was, the centralization of all power and patronage in the hands of the sovereign. Money was his darling object; taxation and confiscation his favorite means. An insurrection in Yorkshire, in the second year of his reign, and the successive attempts of two


« PreviousContinue »