Obrazy na stronie

in England in the century preceding, had it been offered them, and that the so as to have compelled the Irish to English were too weak to force their the adoption of a uniform system of laws upon them, and too wise to excivil government and law, according pose them to contempt by offering to the Norman policy elsewhere, all them unenforced, for the first five asperities between the two races would centuries after the conquest. Their have been at an end before the third Irish neighbours scorned their law, so generation, and Merus Hibernicus long as the Pale, that boundary of the would have been a term unknown in real conquest, extended between them. the dictionary of nations. Such was Independence is everywhere respectathe effect of a thorough conquest in ble; the odium of a partial conquest England, where the national antipa was more than counterbalanced among thies between Norman and Saxon did these dwellers beyond the limits of full not long survive the period of the cru- subjection, by the credit they had in sades. It was the misfortune of the holding their own institutions ; so that Irish to be but half-conquered—to lose to be a mere Irishman, without the the point of honor, without participat English Pale, for the first four centuries ing in the strength and policy of their after the conquest, was not, by any superiors. Thus the odium of con means, a cause of contempt. Nay, quest, which in other countries had such were the charms of a loose life been neutralized by the admission of among fosterers and gossips, that numthe conquered to equal rights, remain. bers of the English nobility voluntarily ed here for many centuries, an inde- embraced the Irish mode of living, pendent cause of insolence, on the and, by their influence and counteone band, and of soreness on the other, nance, so far rescued mere Irishism limited only in its operation by the without the Pale, from the odium of slight check abovementioned.

the original conquest, that it is very To an incomplete conquest, in the questionable whether an Irish chief, or first place, most of the misfortunes of an Hibernianized noble, in those days, the country may be traced. The early was not as much respected as a lord of adventurers did no more than win a the Pale in his own territories. title to be enforced at some future But, while the Irish without the time. The submissions of the Irish Pale were thus wiping off the disgrace kings were of little other effect than of conquest, by seducing into a conpuiting the title on record ; and it genial barbarism, the noblest families depended on the vigour and policy of of the conquerors, it was very different future ages, on the wisdom of British with those who resided among the unmonarchs reigning four and five hun- corrupted English within that boundary dred years after, to obtain anything of order and discipline. Here they approaching to possession. But it was were the minority in number, engaged not that England was unwilling to in servile pursuits, without pretension make a final and beneficial conquest at to independence or dignity, with the first. She was unable ; the retention remembrance of defeat daily renewed of her possessions in France ; the by forced services to English authoririvalry of the crown and nobility at ties, and but partially and reluctantly home; the wars of the Roses; the wars admitted to a participation in those in Scotland ; these were objects of rights which alone could remove the much more engrossing care than the odious distinction. And here indeed improvement of so uncertain an estate the policy of the English is justly as that possessed by her in the wilds blameable. We can well excuse them of Ireland.

for not extending equal rights to those And the alteration of the institu- who would have spurned the offer; tions of a people can only be effected but we must condenin their partial enby a power able, if necessary, to en- franchisement of those who could not force the change. Men do not part have refused the boon. This governwith native laws and manners on the ment of one people by two laws, withmere solicitation of suspected friends; in the same territory, was what first there must be force at hand to compel made the Merus Hibernicus a term of their acquiescence, or vain will be the real reproach. most lucid exposition of the superi Of the Irish within the Pale, five ority of the system proposed. The septs alone were admitted to the enplain truth is, that the great majo- joyment of English law; the Oneills rity of the Irish beyond the Pale, would of Ulster; the O'Maclaughlins of not have accepted the English law Meath (now extinct); the O'Briens of

Thomond; the O'Connors of Con- comes and does not deny the said bominaught; and the Mac Murroghs of cide, but saith that the said Geoffry was Leinster. These were the “ quinque an Irishman, and not of free blood, and Sanguines”—the five free families; and for good and evil he puts himself upon whoever was not of their blood, and the country, &c. And the jurors say, had not a special charter of denization, upon their oath, that the said Geofry was an alien in the Pale- liable to all was an Englishman, and that, therefore, the penalties, but incapable of any of the said John is guilty of the murder of the advantages of the common law of the aforesaid Geoffry. Therefore the the land he lived in ; a monstrous injus. said John is hanged,” &c. &c. tice that would scarcely be believed at this day were the fact not on record in the mere Irish within the Pale, during

Such was the degraded condition of numberless plea rolls of our early the reigns of the three Edwards ; but, courts. For example, in the common plea-roll of the 28 Edward the 3rd

while every assice recorded their hu

miliation along the eastern and south" Simon Neale brings his action of

ern coasts of the island, agents more trespass against William Newlagh, for powerful than even the going judges breaking his close at Clondalkin, in the were at work through the midland county of Dublin. The defendant pleads counties, and among the wilds of the that the plaintiff is Hibernicus, and not west and north, for their exaltation. of the five bloods. The plaintiff replies, These agents have been already hinted that he is of the five bloods, to wit, of at in the licentiousness and pride of the Oneills of Ulster, who by grant, &c. the Anglo-Norman nobility, who, ra. do use the English law, and are reputed ther than submit to the second-hand to be free men. The defendant rejoins, authority of a deputy governor, prethat he is not of the Oneills of Ulster, ferred establishing their own indepennor yet of the five bloods, and thereupon dence among men of a congenial tem. they are at issue,” &c.

per, where scorn of English law would Again, at a gaol delivery before secure them from the impertinent inJohn Wogan, Lord Justice of Ireland, trusion of sheriffs, and the inconvenient in the 4th of Edward the 2nd

incursions of the courts, and hereditary

attachment to rank and splendor had “ William, the son of Roger, being long solicited their acceptance of so indicted of the murder of Roger de Can- many petty thrones among the bearts of teton, feloniously by him slain, appears

a generous people who already looked and says, that by the said homicide he could commit no felony, inasmuch as he saith, that the said Roger was an Irish- the Third, had seen the pale extended

The latter part of the reign of Edward man, and not of free blood. Also, he saith that the said Roger was of the side of the Shannon ; English govern,

over two-thirds of the country on this name of O'Hederiscal (O'Driscoll) and not of the name of Canteton, and there

ment paramount in all the walled upon he puts himself on the country, &c. in every county glad to purchase char.

towns of the kingdom ; the mere Irish And the jurors say, upon their oath, that the said Roger was an Irishman, and of ters of denization, and the pride of conthe name of O'Hederiscal, and was re

quest, in full gratification, from one puted to be an Irishman all his life. end of the island to the other. The Therefore the said William is acquitted of commencement of the reign of his the said felony. But, inasmuch as the

weak successor saw the Pale shrunk to said Roger O'Hederiscal was the Irish- four counties along the coast ; English man of our lord the king, the said Wil- government driven out of Munster and liam is recommitted to gaol until he shall

Ulster ; the English language profind sureties for the payment of five

scribed outside the walls of a few forts marks to our lord the king, in quittance and cities, and the pride of a barbaric for his said Irishman."

independence amalgamating the conAgain, as an example of the case,

quered and conquerors all over the

island. where the party slain was of English state of things continued ; a nominal

For two hundred years this blood, from the roll of the 29th of allegiance ; a practical independence ; Edward the 1st

feuds and family wars, as in the days “ Before Walter Lenfant and his bro- of Con-cead-catha ; Norman lords, in thers, the going judges at Drogheda, in the places of old Milesian kings, and the county of Louth, John Laurens, in- mere Irishism anything but disereditdicted for the murder of Geoffry Dowdal), able.

upon their

conquerors as kidsmen.


At length came the Reformation—a extended daily, and in proportion as change demanded by the intelligence that patrimony of the law embraced of England. But in Ireland there was the remainder of the country, so did no intelligence. The preaching of ten mere Irishism again come more and thousand reformers would have been more within the sphere of growing scarce sufficient to have prepared the contempt. What had been indepenIrish for the exercise of mental liberty. dence, was now a double disability. The Whatever learning still lingered on stigma of native birth, increased by the through the turmoil of an unlettered odium of non-conformity, became an and contentious oligarchy, was in the aggravated cause of reproach. The hands of men the most averse to in- respect which men with arms in their novation. The people were incapable hands claim even from their enemies, of forming opinions for themselves was the only check to that utter coil. those who formed their opinions for tempt in which this much tried people thein, abhorred the thought of change. were presently to be beld. But the change had been effected It is impossible adequately to exthroughout the dominant country, and press the vexation and rage of the uniformity, however premature in other English, on finding their efforts for the respects, offered this advantage at least, civil reformation of the Irish baffled, that those who for centuries had had as they were for the next hundred nothing in common with their fellow- years. They loaded them with resubjects of England and the Pale, would proaches; they exaggerated all their at last possess a bond of union among follies and vices; they denied them themselves, and, with their neighbours, the possession of the ordinary virtues in identity of faith and religious disci- even of savage life ; nay, of the ordipline. Had the Reformation been nary forms of humanity ; but still they effected in Ireland at this time, the could not despise men with arms in odious distinction of mere Irishism their hands. The dissolution of rewould soon have been forgotten ; but ligious houses had removed the chief the miscarriage of the Reformation was examples of domestic luxury, and the

more signal than the former necessities of war had compelled the failure of the law; and it was now dis. people generally to adopt a coarser covered that the readiest means of sort of diet, and a ruder style of living. obtaining a chance of an agreement The meanness of the Irish houses, and in religion, was to enforce a conformity the poverty of their tables, soon became in civil institutions.

the peculiar subjects of ridicule, u bile It was then, on the impulse of the their manners, inorals, and general Reformation, that the first effectual character, were assailed by the most efforts were made to restore the pale spiteful libels. The opinions which the to its former extent. The Hibernized English delighted to entertain of them, noble, who had dwelt in barbaric state, during the latter end of the reign of surrounded by brehons and bards Elizabeth, may be generally gathered among his vassals and kinsmen, on the from all the cotemporary works ; but land from which his ancestors had ex- “ Derrick's Image of Ireland,” printed pelled the English laws two centuries at London in 1581, and dedicated, by before, suddenly found himself exposed permission, to the accomplished Sir to new incursions of the civil autho- Philip Sidney, affords a more striking rities_his brehon's chair usurped by example of the prevailing taste of that the sheriff—the luxurious establish- day, than any other work with which ment of his neighbour Abbot broken we are acquainted. Derrick had been up, and parcelled out among men, a follower of Sir Henry Sidney, during proud of their superior civilization—a his government of Ireland, where he more severe and less congenial disci- had doubtless seen much barbarism pline, in the place of that ecclesiastical and poverty ; but whether anything pomp by which his own hollow pa- like that which he describes, and gloats geantry of authority bad been long over in his scurrileus production, is countenanced-in a word, every thing highly improbable.

Such as his poem to drive him either into English habits is, it is valuable for the plates, which on the one hand, or rebellion on the will yet be of the greatest service to other. The wealthier and wiser con. the historian of Irish costumes, as well formed : the multitude resisted. As as for our present purpose of showing in every contest between discipline and to what a height the unnatural appetite desultory valour, the cause of govern- for abuse of every thing Irish had ment and order prevailed. The pale risen in the reign of Elizabeth. He

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sets out by claiming something akin to a comparison between them and the inspiration for his doggrels.

beasts there dwelling, much to the ad“ The author,” says he in a marginal vantage of the latter ; for, says he, in note, “in this his first beginnyng, shew

one of his marginal notes, which are eth that God was the onely cause whiche generally more to the purpose than his moved bym to write, and set out this hys rhyming text :workes, helpyng and favourably support • By pollicie, brute beasts are brougbt yng hym in the same; who being otherwise insufficient, and not able of hymself and obeying man, orderly in their nature

to a peaceable order of living, servyug to doe the same, but by the goodness and and kynde; yea, the very fowles of the furtherance of God, yieldeth to hym due ayre, and beasts of the fielde, have a cerhonor therefore.”

tain kinde of reverence and feare towards And then proceeds to shew forth the those whom they consider do work them honorable estate and royalty of the any good; but onely these monsters of kings of England, from King Arthur: the worlde, these pernicious members of

“ His actes, manhoode, conquestes, Sathan, these wretched wretches have no magnanimitie, chivalrie, and what else consideration, nor yet bear any kindly in chronicles, are sufficiently set out to affection towards her majestie, whose the greate comforte and consolation of mercie doth preserve them, whose gra all British and Englishmennes heartes.” cious favour doth protect them, whose And King Edward the Third, “who, not royaltie not only wisheth them good, but abiding the malaperteness of the drunken also doth them good, not for a day, a Pope of Rome, which needes would be a week, a monthe, a year, but continually. stickler between him and the Frenche O ingratitude most intolerable, and blindkyng, standes at defiance bothe with ness irrecuperable !" Frenche kyng and Pope, and offereth to And thereupon he breaks into this fight hand to hand with them bothe,” expostulation with Saint Patrick, through Henry the Eighth, “who to the admiration of the worlde unhorseth the

“ 0, holie saint, O, holy man, Pope, and makes him go on foote, where

O, man of God, I saie; as before he spared not to ride on the

O, Patrick, chief of all these Karne, neckes of Christian emperours and kyngs,

If speak to thee I may, farre better than himself,” down to

What moved thee the wrygling snake,
“Our gracious sovereign queene,

And other worms to kill ?
That sacred virgin pure,

What caused thee on sillie beastes
whose arm," as he informs us in a note,
“ hath given antichrist such a cut over-

To woorke thy cruell will ? thwaire his monkishe visnayme, (physi- What thing incensed thee for to strike ognomy, ) that his chirurguns have given hym over.”

Them with thy heavie hand,

When as thou left'st more spitefull beastes And now, having obtained the assis

Within this fertile lande ?" tance of Invention, Memory, and Con. veyance, the three chiefest friends, as By which spiteful beasts, he informs he considers, of the chronicler, he at us in the margin, that he means those length gets on “that famous Irishe “viperous wood-karne,” the progenisoile," the various commodities and tors of our present peasantry.

His delights of which occupy his pen further description of them is annexed, throughout some pages, till coming to with the marginal notes, as in the orispeak of the inhabitants, he institutes ginal : 1. In mappers thei be rude,

1. The fruit sheweth the goodness And monstrous eke in fashion ;

of the tree,
Their dealynges also thei bewray,

Approvyng all wood-karnes
A crooked generation.

strong theeves for to be. 2. For why, thei fear not God,

2. Irish rebells feare neither God
Nor honor yet their prince,
Whom, by the lawes of mighty Jove,
They ought to reverence.

3. The hautie heartes of wood-karne 3. Eche theet would be a lorde,

desire ruledom, but they shall To rule even by a becke:

have a rope. 4. The faithful subjects oftentimes

4. The rebell's envie towards a good Thei shorten by the neckes.

subject; whereto may be joyned And those that would be true

the affections of a pernicious To God and to the crowne,

papist towards a good Christian. 5. With fire, and sword, and deepe despight, 5. Marke the most pestilent nature Thei pluck such subjects doune.

of the wild villainous wood-karne.

nor man.

6. Wood-karnes are as grasshoppers

and caterpillers to their country and people.

7. The joye of rebells is in plagyng

of true men.

8. Spoyling and burning is the Irish

karne's renown.

6. Thus they be mortal foes

Unto the commonwealth,
Maintaining rakehelles at their heeles

Through detestable stealth.
Thei harpe upon one stryng,

And therein is their joye,
7. When as they find a subtile sleight,

To work true men's annoye.
For mischief is the game

Wherein thei doe delight,
8. As eke they holde a great renowne,

To burn and spoile by night.
When tyme yields true men ease,

Such rest thei pretermitte,
9. And give themselves to other artes,

For their behoof more fitte.
To wounde the barmeless sorte,

It is their knavishe guise,
And other some to stiffle quight,

In slumbrynge bed that lyes.
Another sorte thei spoile,

Even naked to the skin,
And leave him nothing for to wrappe

His naked body in.
10. Thei leave no kind of thyng

That may be borne awaie ;
The potte, the pan, the horse, the cowe,

And much more maie I say, &c. &c. 11. And when thei have their lust,

The sillie captive beaste
Must presentlie be knocked down,

To make the knaves a feaste, 12. But who shall be the coke ?

It is no question here ;
13. Nor for the pantler's chipped loves,

Do tbei ask once a year.
Each knave will plaie the cooke

To stand his lord in steed;
14. But tagge and ragge will equal be,

When chiefest rebell feedes.
Well, beeves are knocked down,

The butchers plaie their parte,
Thei take eche one the intrails forthe

The liver and the harte; 15. And being breathyng nowe

The unwashen puddyogs thei
Upon the coals or embers hotte

For want of gredyron laie,
And, scarce done half enough,

(Draffe serveth well for hogs,)
Thei take them up and fall thereto

Like ravenying hungrie dogs, 16. Devouring gutte and limme, &c. &c.

9. Wood-karnes exercise when true

men take rest :
To rob, burn, and murder,

When true men take rest,
With fire, sword, and ares

These traitors are prest.
Thei take no compassion of

Men, children, nor wives,
But joye when thei do them

Deprive of their lives. 10. Irishe karne seldom leave any

thyng worth the bearyng awaie behind them, but either thei take

it, or else do set it on fire. 11. The stolne poore cowe must be

knocked down, as soon as thei come home, to make the theeves

a feaste. 12. The woodkarne's cokes.

13. Bread seldomly used among wood


14. Master and man all one at eat

ing of meat.

15. A most perfect description of

Irishe horse-boys eatyng their meate.

17. No table there is spread,

They have no court-like guise,
The yearth sometimes standes them in

Whereon their victuall lyes.
Their cushions are of straw,

Of rushes, or of haye, &c. &c.
Their platters are of woode,

By cunnyng turners made,
But not of peanter (credit me)

As is our English trade.

16. The rudeness of horse-boys,

Is herein set open,
Who fill them with driff-draffe,

Farewell the good token. 17. The very order of the wilde

Irish, their sittyng, table, dishes,
and cushens described.
O brave swinish fashion,

Found out amongst hogges ;
Deservyng for manners

To sitte emongst dogges.

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