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was, to control, and, if possible, prevent, the wholesome influence of the British government, in order to maintain their own monopoly of oppression. Had Henry remained a sufficient time to complete his prudent plans, he might really have established an English interest in Ireland; but he only left behind him an oligarchy, which, like all other oligarchies in a country possessing the semblance of freedom, was ever jealous of the sovereign, and odious to the people! This is precisely the case at the present moment, and until the existing orange oligarchy is utterly destroyed, there can be no permanent peace for Ireland.

A foreigner becoming acquainted with this subject for the first time, would be much surprised to observe in how many points the modern and early histories of that country coincide. It was but a year or two ago that those abominable statutes were repealed, which excluded the Irish Catholics from office on account of their religion. But Edward III. issued a similar decree, not indeed against the Catholics of Ireland, for there were then no religious distinctions known, but against the Irish en masse. He actually promulgated a proclamation, that none but those of English birth should be eligible to any office in Ireland ! Not content with this audacious insult, he instructed his son, the Duke of Clarence, whom he appointed Lord Deputy of that country, to summon an assembly of corrupted chieftains at Kilkenny, by whom the celebrated statute named after that city was enacted. We need but mention a few of its provisions, to shew how unrestrained was the insolence of the governing party at that period (1367). It provided, among other things, that marriage with the Irish, or submission to the Irish law, as distinguished from the English, should be punished as high treason ! It declared, that if any man of English descent should use an Irish nanie, the Irish language, or observe Irish customs, he should forfeit bis estates, until security was given for his conformity to English habits. It was also declared penal, to present a mere Irishman (that is, one who had not purchased a charter of denization) to any benefice, or to receive him into any monastery. And, finally, it was strictly forbidden to entertain any native bard, minstrel, or story teller; or to admit any Irish horse to graze on the pasture of a liege subject. Who can wonder, after such a precious specimen of legislation as this, which in spirit as well as in letter existed in Ireland to a very late period, at the miserable aspect which that degraded country now presents ? Verily the abuses of its government are of no modern origin. They bear date nearly five hundred years ago, and their consequences are still conspicuous, in the wretchedness and general disaffection which they have generated, and will for many years prolong.

As if the system established by the statute of Kilkenny had not been sufficiently degrading and detrimental to Ireland, the reformation came, and in its train followed, not peace and good-will, but disturbance, and sacrilege, and robbery. "It is highly honourable to the advisers of Queen Mary, that her reign in Ireland, at least, was commenced by several acts equally just, humane, and politic! No persecution of the Protestants, as Mr. Taylor attests, was attempted ; and several of the English who fled from the furious zeal of Mary's inquisitors, found a safe retreat among the Catholics of Ireland! It is but justice,' he continues,' to this maligned body to add, that on three occasions of their obtaining the upper hand, they never injured a single person in life or limb, for professing a religion different from their own. This testimony is valuable coming from a writer who proclaims himself a devoted member of the Church of England! No doubt can be entertained, that in England a real gun-powder plot existed: in Ireland a similar plot was imagined, and was followed by real confiscations, witnesses having been absolutely hired and kept in the pay of the local government, for the purpose of establishing conspiracies that never were even thought of by the parties who were implicated in the results. In this manner the king took to himself more than half a million of acres in the north of Ireland, where, without paying any regard to the rights of the occupants, he determined to seitle colonies from England and Scotland, and to drive the actual inhabitants into the woods and mountains. It was thus that the Indians were treated by the Spaniards in South America. The plea for this iniquitous proceeding was, that the chieftains who held, in fact, but a noininal sovereignty over that part of the country, had rebelled; therefore the lawful owners, against whom no charge of treason, or any other crime, was made, were deprived of their property. This was the logic upon which the government of Ireland was administered !

* The lands were divided into portions of two thousand, fifteen hundred, and one thousand acres, according to the capacity of the undertakers. They were bound to sublet only to English tenants; to give these secure leases on equitable terms; to erect houses after the English fashion ; and to adopt the English system of agriculture. They were strictly prohibited from giving land to the mere Irish, or to such persons as refused the oaths of allegiance and supremacy. The companies in the city of London obtained very large grants as undertakers; and it is but justice to add, that their estates are, and long have been, the best managed in Ireland. Few complaints would be made of absenteeism, if the estates of all absentees were managed with so much attention to the comforts of the tenantry, and the general welfare of the country, as those of the London companies. In the commencement of the plantation, their conduct was, however, far different; they openly, and almost avowedly, violated every part of their contract; they acted entirely by agents, in whose selection little care was taken ; and they permitted them to exhaust, in private emolument, resources of which they were slow in learning the value.'—vol. i. pp. 239, 240.

Plots of treason, however, could not be plausibly invented every day; the ingenuity of the Irish government could go no farther at that time in that particular way, and they had therefore recourse

to a new device, which was, “ a commission for the discovery of defctive titles," at the head of which was placed, the notorious Sir William Parsons. At any period, the issuing of a commission of this kind would be deemed, in a free country, tantamount to an abdication of the crown: no community who had nerves to feel, and arms to defend, their rights, would endure such an act of tyranny, without bringing the question to an issue in the field, if the king who sanctioned, would find soldiers to enforce, such a decree. But situated as Ireland was in the reign of the first James, after a long course of civil wars, which necessarily produced much confusion in every family, and destroyed many of their title papers, a sweeping investigation of that description was the very extreme point to which, it would seem, that tyranny could by possibility be extended. It was carried into execution as a matter of course in Ireland. When the requisite documents could not be found, where feudal services were left nperformed, where crown rents remained unpaid, or any other irregularity bad taken place, it was taken instant advantage of, and the lands were seized by the crown. The reign of James was, in consequence, a mere system of robbery in Ireland ; his officers, surpassing him in inquity, plundered the loyal, as well as the disaffected. We suppose that there is to be found in no history of any part of the world, a narrative so truly appalling, as that which we subjoin, in connexion with this state Inquisition.

• Bryan and Turlogh Byrne were the rightful owners of a tract in Leinster, called the Ranelaghs. Its vicinity to the capital made it a desirable plunder; and accordingly Parsons, Lord Esmond, and some others, determined that it should be forfeited. The Byrnes, however, had powerful interest in England, and obtained a patent grant of their lands from the King. Parsons and Esmond were not to be disappointed so easily. They flatly refused to pass the royal grant; and, deeming the destruction of the Byrnes necessary to their safety, they had them arrested on a charge of

The witnesses provided to support the charge, were Duffe, whom Turlogh Byrne, as a justice of the peace, had sent to prison for cow-steal ing, MacArt and MacGriffin, two notorious thieves, and a farmer named Archer. This last long resisted the attempts to force him to become a perjured witness; and his obstinacy was punished by the most horrible tortures. He was burned in the fleshy parts of the body with hot irons ; placed on a gridiron over a charcoal fire; and, finally, flogged until nature could support him no longer, and he promised to swear any thing that the commissioners pleased. Bills of indictment were presented to two successive grand juries in the county of Carlow, and at once ignored, as the suborned witnesses were unworthy of credit, and contradicted themselves and each other. For this opposition to the will of government, the jurors were summoned to the Star-Chamber in Dublin, and heavily fined. The witnesses, MacArt and MacGriffin, being no longer useful, were given up to the vengeance of the law. They were hanged for robbery at Kilkenny; and, with their dying breath, declared the innocence of the Byrnes.

• The ingenuity of Parsons and his accomplices was not yet exhausted.


The Byrnes presented themselves before the Court of King's Bench in Dublin, to answer any charge that might be brought against them. No prosecutor appeared, and yet the chief-justice refused to grant their discharge. During two years, repeated orders were transmitted from England, directing that the Byrnes should be freed from further process, and restored to their estates; but the faction in the castle evaded and disobeyed every mandate. At length, on learning that the Duke of Richmond, the generous patron of the persecuted Irishmen, was dead, it was determined by Parsons to complete the destruction of the victims. He had before been baffled by the integrity of a grand jury; on this occasion, he took proper precautions to prevent a similar disappointment. The bills were sent before the grand jurors of Wicklow, the majority of whom had obtained grants of the Byrne property, and all were intimately connected with the prosecutors. The evidence placed before this impartial body was the depositions of four criminals, who were pardoned on condition of giving evidence; but even these wretches were not brought in person before the jury. Their depositions were taken in Irish by one of the prosecutors, and translated by one of his creatures. These suspicious documents, however, proved sufficient, and the bills were found.

• To procure additional evidence, it was vecessary to use expedients still more atrocious. A number of persons were seized, and subjected to the mockery of trial by martial law, though the regular courts were sitting. The most horrid tortures were inflicted on those who refused to accuse the Byrnes; and some of the most obstinate were punished with death. But the firmness of the victims presented obstacles which were not overcome, before some virtuous Englishmen represented the affair so strongly to the King, that he was shamed into interference. He sent over commissioners from England to investigate the entire affair. The Byrnes were brought before them, and honourably acquitted. Their lives were thus saved; but Parsons had previously contrived to obtain a great portion of their estates by patent, and was permitted to keep them undisturbed.'—vol. i. pp. 243 -246.

Mr. Taylor, who has authenticated this statement by documents, which are still preserved in the library of the Dublin University, passes but a brief commentary upon the system which it discloses. Words are not necessary, and indeed would be inadequate, to express the horror, with which it must fill the heart of every man who has sympathy for his kind. But the atrocity of the reign of James did not stop here : from the omission of a formality, the enrolment of some patents, he was meditating the confiscation of the whole province of Connaught, when, fortunately for its inhabitants, he died. Martial law proclained in times of peace; corruption of witnesses, and juries, and judges; the conversion of the civil and ecclesiastical courts into instruments of oppression ; peculation in every office of the state; confiscation without trial, and without even a plausible pretence of guilt on the part of the supposed offenders, combined to mark his reign in Ireland, as more infamous than a Nero or a Caligula would have even dared to aspire to.

The reign of Charles I. in the same devoted country, though

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not intentionally oppressive, so far as the personal wishes of the king
were concerned, was, from a variety of causes, productive of new
calamities. From ignorance, rather than design, the administra-
tion of the unfortunate Earl of Strafford was so conducted, as to
bring upon his name a degree of detestation, which will never be
effaced from the memory of Ireland. He was, and still is, popu-
larly called " Black Tom," on account of the deeds of tyranny and
persecution which are justly attributed to him. The principle of
all his policy was the same, indeed, as that which the Duke of
Wellington once proclaimed in the House of Lords, that Ireland
ought to be treated as a conquered country, the inhabitants of
which had no rights, except those which were granted to them by
the crown. He acted upon this principle towards Catholics, and
Protestants, and presbyterians, and arrayed them all in rebellion
against Charles. But even in their hostility to the king, they
would not join with each other. It would be a curious fact in any
other country except Ireland, that a civil war was actually com-
menced in the year 1641, by four separate armies. There was first,

of the native Irish ; secondiy, that of the confederates, or Catholics of the Pale; and thirdly, that of the parliamentarians. The royalist army made a fourth, which, by proper management, might have been induced to join the first or second ; but no exertions could succeed in establishing any thing like harmony amongst those who were opposed to the parliamentarians, and the latter, though the weakest of the four, were eventually, of course, triumphant. The object of the different parties was property, and consequently, when the parliamentarians gained the victory, it was followed by a new series of confiscations, more extensive than any that had previously taken place. Such was the opinion entertained in England, with respect to Ireland, in the time of the Commonwealth, that Harrington, in his “ Oceana” a work notorious for the extravagant ideas of liberty which it advocates, gravely proposed that Ireland should be leased out by the government to the Jews ! The ordinance of the English parliament, however, with a degree of consideration, for which they really deserve some credit, premises that it was not their intention“ to extirpate” the Irish nation. Undoubtedly, it was a very great favour upon their part, to suffer the Irish to live in their own country! The greater part of the soil of Ireland was distributed under this ordinance amongst the Cromwellians, as they are called to this day; and if any portion of it be now in the hands of the Catholics again, they are indebted for it, not lo any acts of restitution upon the

part of the government, or its grantees, but to their own industry and enterprise, which have enabled them to purchase the estates of their

We need hardly remark, that this new settlement of Ireland, by the government of the Commonwealth, added not a little to the elements of discord which were already in operation in that unhappy country. We need not, therefore, wonder at the

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