Page images
PDF
EPUB

her time, and Queen Mary's was not forgotten. It was the first, and we believe it remains almost the only, case on record, where an English sovereign extended mercy to an Irish patriot prisoner.

Not alone in this, but in other cases, did Queen Mary do justice towards the Irish race. Gerald and Edward, sons of the Earl of Kildare, who had been sixteen years in exile in France and Rome, were restored to their estates and titles. The heir of Fitzpatrick, Earl of Ose sory, was also permitted to return, and resume his rank and property. « The greater part of the south of Ireland were much rejoiced” at this unhoped-for restoration of ancient Catholic families. The towns and cities were in special good humor. The only retaliatory measures they took against the reformers was the infliction of some nicknames. No Protestant suffered in life, or limb, or property. Nay, adds one of themselves, " Such was the general toleration, that many English families, friends to the reformation, took refuge in Ireland, and there enjoyed their opinions and worship without molestation.”* Cranmer's bishops were allowed, without hindrance, to quit the country.' Dr. Leverous was restored in Kildare, and Dr. Walsh, banished by Cranmer, in Meath; Dr. Hugh Curwin was appointed Archbishop of Dublin, and chan

[ocr errors]

* Taylor's History of Ireland, vol. i. The following Protestant anecdote of this reign is inserted for “what it is worth Mary despatched Dr. Cole to Ireland with a commission for punishing the Protestants ; Cole stopped at Chester, and being waited on by the mayor, a Romanist, Dr. Cole's zeal outran his discretion, and he exclaimed to the mayor, while holding up a leathern box, “ Here is a commission that shall lash the heretics of Ireland.. The landlady, Elizabeth Edmonds, who was a Protestant, and had a brother of the same creed in Dublin, became alarmed, watched her opportunity, and placed a pack of cards, wrapped up in a sheet of paper, and abstracted the commission. Dr. Cole arrived in Dublin, 7th October, 1558. The lord-lieutenant convened a full council to receive Dr. Cole and hear the queen's commission read, but when with great solemnity the box was opened, nothing but a pack of cards was found. The astonished doctor declared he had received à commission, and proceeded to England to obtain another, or a copy ; but while on his journey, the brief but iniquitous career of Mary was stopped, and the lives of many Protestants were saved. Mrs. Ed. monds received a -pension of forty pounds a year from Queen Elizabeth." Quoted in Martin's Ireland.'

[ocr errors]

cellor. The pope, (Paul IV.,) in June, 1555, confirmed the title to the kingdom, which Mary inherited from her father. A national synod, held the same year, restored the canons law, and effected much for the purity of religion throughout the island. In 1556, an Irish Parliament sat at Dublin; thence was prorogued to Limerick, and afterwards to Drogheda. Very important laws and ordinances were ordained in these sittings.

66 Cox mentions some acts of this Parliament which "bad not been printed. In them the queen's legitimacy "was admitted; she was invested with royal authority, "and her posterity declared entitled to inherit the crown “of England and Ireland; heresy was made liable to “punishment, and ordered to be suppressed; all the acts “which were passed against the pope, since the twentieth

year of the reign of Henry VIII., were repealed, and all “concessions made by Archbishop Brown were declared “null and void; the first fruits too were restored to the “church; but all these statutes were annulled in the be"ginning of the succeeding reign. An act was also passed "for granting the queen a subsidy of thirteen and four"pence on every plough-land; and another, by which it “was prohibited, under pain of felony, to introduce or “ receive armed Scotchmen into Ireland, or to inter

marry with them, without a license under the great 6 seal.”

This last law was suggested by the fact that a Scottish settlernent had been formed in Antrim, by the McDonnell's and others, who held that country by main force and the connivance of O'Neil. The Scottish and Irish Gael had always considered themselves one people, and in no respect did they more entirely agree than in hatred of the Saxon. In the summer of 1556, they besieged Carrickfergus, the garrison of which had given them much trouble; but the Lord Deputy Sussex, marching northward, defeated them with great loss. They still, however, kept their forts and fields in the glens of Antrim.

The only native opposition to Queen Mary arose from the despotic attempts of Sussex and Sidney to substi

66

attempts

tute the English for the Brehon law. Donald O'Brien and Shane O'Neil equally resisted the abolition of the old law of the land. Both maintained that the source of nobility was the election by the tribe; that the land of each clan belonged in common to its members, who had, however, the right to dispose of their part, with the general consent; that the customs, or Celtic common law, of gossipred, gavelkind, and coshering, answering to the old English usages of maintenance, fosterage, and gavelkind, were just and wise, and ought to stand; that hereditary Brehons were better judges than royal barons. *In short, they contended for all the former law of Ireland, excepting only that part regulating the supreme power. After some warlike demonstrations of the deputies, some castles and skirmishes won and lost, they finally made peace with O'Neil, at Kilmainham, and O'Brien at Dangan, in which they conceded to Ulster and Munster the free exercise of the Brehon law.

On the 17th November, 1558, Mary died at St. James's palace, Westminster; Gardiner, Bishop of Winchester, died before her, and Cardinal Pole on the following day. King Philip was absent in Spain; the Catholics were left without a head. The Protestants, on the contrary, had kept up a compact organization during this reign. The mercantile jealousy of Spain, the national humiliation of the loss of Calais, and the intrigues of those who had forfeited the possession of power by their conduct in former reigns, sustained that combination. They can only be characterized by the term party; for they had all the strength and weakness of party. They procured a vote of the Parliament declaring Elizabeth, daughter of Anne Boleyn, heiress to the throne. She was crowned in Westminster, according to the Roman ritual, the Bishop of Carlisle officiating. Dr. Heath, Archbishop of York, and other prelates, refused to attend.

These six years of Mary's reign were highly useful to the Irish church as a breathing space, as a truce between two battles. It demonstrated the hollowness of that court religion which was put on and off like a garment, and it enabled the hierarchy to strengthen their defences, and to recruit their broken order. The storm that now arose found it with full and well-ordered ranks, and prelates prepared to meet martyrdom rather than apostasy.

CHAPTER IV.

THE IRISH CATHOLIC STRENGTH AT THE ACCESSION OF ELIZABETH. - TEST OATHS ENACTED. - FIRST CATHOLIC CONFEDERACY.-THE INSURRECTION OF THE DESMONDS. – CONFISCATION OF MUNSTER. – THE FIRST MARTYRS. - THE ULSTER PRINCES. SECOND CATHOLIC CONFEDERATION.- ALLIANCE WITH SPAIN. BATTLE OF KINSALE.

When Elizabeth was crowned, there were about sixty great chiefs, or princes, in Ireland, all of whom possessed actual civil and military power. Perhaps forty were Milesians, the remainder Anglo-Normans. Cutting a crescent out of the Leinster side of it, the island was still Celtic. The Brehon laws were still administered in three of the provinces: the chiefs spoke Latin, French, or English, and the people under their banners still cherished their native tongue and native customs. Well organized, this force would be a formidable opposition. The O'Neil could command six thousand foot and one thousand horse; the Earl of Desmond, lord of two hundred and fifty thousand acres of the most fruitful soil of Munster, could count five hundred knights of his own name, each of whom stood for a dozen armed men; the O'Brien and his suffragans could command nearly equal force, and the western and Leinster chiefs as many more. With a population of little more than a million, Ireland had a total of nearly fifty thousand men in arms throughout this long reign, though never in one particular place, nor under one general-in-chief. The result teaches how vainly provincial forces must struggle for liberty if national unity does not inspire and concentrate their efforts.

а

The acts of supremacy, and uniformity, in the outset of the new reign, showed Catholics what they had to expect. By the one, all clergymen and laymen holding church property or civil office should swear to receive the queen's headship of the church- to deny this thrice was treason; by the other, none but the established liturgy was to be used by clergymen, on pain of perpetual imprisonment, and absence from the established churches on Sunday entailed a fine of one shilling on laymen. The oath of supremacy, by a retrospective enactment, was to be put to all who held public office, had taken a degree abroad, or were engaged in the profession of the laws. Members of the House of Commons were to be tested by it; the peers were exempt. Elizabeth's first Irish deputy, Charles Brandon, Duke of Sussex, called a Dublin Parliament in 1559; but, though the attendance was inconsiderable, its acts were held to be ever after binding.

At this Parliament was passed, among other acts, "an acte for the uniformytie of common prayer and service in the churche and admynystration of the sacraments in the church."

“An acte againste suche persons as shall unreverentlye speake agaynst the sacrament of the bodye and blode of Christe, commonlye called the sacrament of the alter, and for the receivynge thereof under bothe kyndes."

"An acte restoring the crowne the auncient jurisdistion over the state ecclesiasticall and spirituall, and abolyshinge all power repugnant to the same."

« An acte for the conferrynge and consecratynge of archebushopps and bushopps within this realme."

By the same Parliament, the late "pryorye or hospytall of Seynt Jones Jerusalem," in Ireland, was restored to the crown.

In the subsequent session, which began in 1560, an act was passed, of which the most important clauses

“ Sec. V. No foreign power to exercise ecclesiastical jurisdiction in this realm.

“ Sec. VI. Such jurisdiction annexed to the crown. “ Sec. VII. Ecclesiastical persons and officers, judges,

[ocr errors]

were

« PreviousContinue »