« PreviousContinue »
who had arrived from England as they were making terms with the enemy.* FitzGerald was proclaimed a traitor. His army, illorganized from the first, and never probably large, dwindled down to 100 horse and 300 foot. Its chief exploits consisted in burning Dunboyne, Trim, and the neighbouring country; exploits more fatal to its own eventual success than the most energetic operations of the Deputy. FitzGerald soon after fell into great distress; found no safety in flight, asked pardont (1535), submitted unconditionally to Lord Leonard Grey, who was then in
* Alen apparently adhered to the old faith. It is curious that Skeffington, who must have been a Protestant, at least so far as falling in with the royal supremacy, should have proposed to subject FitzGerald and his adherents to the rigid forms of excommunication such as had prevailed in the palmiest days of the middle ages. The Chancellor (Armagh), whom he consulted, demurred at first, but afterwards consented. His difficulty may have arisen from some tenderness for the son of Kildare, rather than from any legal objection. The sentence of excommunication, or the curse, as it was called, will be found in Carew Papers, I. 56, and verbatim from the Carew MSS. in State Papers, II, 217. It is to the full as terrible in its imprecations as the celebrated curse of Ernulphus, which plays so important a part in Sterne's “Tristram Shandy.”
f Carew, I. 73, and State Papers, II. 274.
# Stanihurst, who is in error in supposing that Lord Grey was Deputy at the time, states that Grey, at the suggestion of Brereton, proposed a parley, and during the conference persuaded FitzGerald to submit himself to the King's mercy, upon an assurance that he should be pardoned on his arrival in England. Both parties received the sacrament openly in the camp, in confirmation of this agreement. On arriving in England with the letters of the Deputy and Council, FitzGerald was apprehended, in 1535, on the road to Windsor, and committed to the Tower. But before this act was known in Ireland, his uncles were invited to a banquet at Kilmainham, manacled—“sweet sauce will have sour sauce,” says the writer— marched to Dublin, and shortly after sent to England, although two of them were known to have opposed their nephew's treasonable proceedings. But the King, adds Stanihurst, in his quaint way, “was resolved to lop “off as well the good and sound grapes, as the wild and fruitless berries. “Whereby appeareth how dangerous it is to be a rub, when a King is “ disposed to sweep an alley.” (Chron. of Ireland, 97.)
Ireland,” marshal of the King's army, was made prisoner, sent to England, and committed to the Tower. Here he lingered in great misery till 1537, and was relieved from his wretchedness by the gallows. Of the royal mercy to which he had submitted, on the assurance of favourable treatment, we may judge by the following letter which he wrote to his servant, John Rothe, during his imprisonment in the Tower :
“My trusty servant, I heartily commend me unto you. I pray you that you will deliver this other letter to O'Bryen. I have sent to him for 20l. sterling, the which if he take you (as I trust he will), then I will that you come over, and bring it unto my Lord Cromwell, that I may so have it. I never had any money since I came into prison but a noble, nor I have had neither hosen, doublet, nor shoes, nor shirt but onse]; nor any other garment but a single frieze gown, for a velvest] furred with budge; and so I have gone wolward, and barefoot and barelegged, divers times (when it hath not been very warm); and so I should have done still, and now, but that poor prisoners, of their gentleness, hath sometime given me old hosen and shoes, and old shirts.
“This I write unto you, not as complaining on my friends, but to show you the truth of my great need, that you should be the more diligent in going unto O'Bryen, and in bringing me the beforesaid 201, whereby I might the sooner have here money to buy me clothes, and also for to amend my slender commons and fare, and for other necessaries. I will you take out of that you bring me for your costs and labour. I pray you have me commended unto all my lovers and friends, and show them that I am in good health.
“By me, THOMAS FITZGERALD.”
“A coarse frieze gown instead of velvet furred with budge l’” Silken Thomas, so named by his Irish minstrel for the gay apparel of himself and his retainers, was thinking of past splendour. His was not the only mightiness that mated with misery in those tragic times.
* State Papers, II. 273. f Ibid. II. 402.
Leonard Grey and the Lord Deputy received small thanks for their capture. “We accept it thankfully,” says the King coldly to Skeffington; “yet, if he had been “apprehended after such sort as was convenable to his “ deservings [i.e. slain], the same had been much more “ thankful, and better to our contentation.” One regrets to read such expressions as these in a royal letter. But it must be remembered that the King had expended 40,000l.” in crushing this rebellion, scarcely less than half a million in its modern equivalent. The insurrection had been formidable in all its proportions. Eight baronies had been wasted in Kildare alone,f the crops destroyed, foreign power summoned to the aid of the rebels, and the inability of the King to keep Ireland in order was made notorious to all the world. It must be added also, that the King was at this time entirely under the influence of Cromwell. In his treatment of the English and Irish nobility, that minister seems to me, notwithstanding his abilities, to have displayed, more than once, some traces of the narrowness and ignobleness of his origin, as men of sudden elevation are apt to do. I can trace no magnanimity, and very little generosity, in the exercise of his irresponsible power whenever the great and the noble were concerned. Perhaps he had seen too much of both in Wolsey's service.
O'Connor and other chiefs submitted during Skeffington's administration. Though his activity was frequently interrupted by sickness and advanced years,f he contrived to strengthen English authority in Ireland. Yet, like other Deputies, he could not escape the reproaches or calumnies of his associates. Ossory complained that the Deputy never acknowledged his services, and exposed him to needless expenses. $ “He followeth
* State Papers, III. 31. f Ibid. II. 263.
“ the counsel of such,” says the Earl, “as have neither “ strength, activity, practice, nor yet good will to further “ the King's most necessary affairs.” “My Lord Deputy “ that now is,” says the Treasurer Brabazon to Cromwell, “ is a very good man of war, but he is not quick enough “ for this country, and somewhat covetous; therefore my “ poor advice shall be to your mastership that he may “ repair into England.”f But the King refused to listen either to these repeated accusations or to Skeffington's reiterated prayers to be recalled. He was too conscious of the importance of the Deputy's services in Ireland to release him from his arduous post. Skeffington died shortly after, on the 31st December 1535; but before his death the English sessions were kept in five more of the shires than they used to be. “And sithence the first conquest,” says Justice Aylmer, “Irishmen was never in such fear as they be at this instant time.”f Happily, by his death, the grey-headed Deputy anticipated any change in this favourable opinion of the King. He was succeeded by Lord Leonard Grey. (1536.) This Leonard Grey, son of Thomas Grey of Groby, Marquis of Dorset, and of Cecilia his wife, grandson of Edward IV. and Elizabeth Woodville, had already distinguished himself for his bravery on various occasions. In 1511 he was one of the knights at the tournament, when Queen Catharine gave birth to a prince.S. In 1512 he served with his brother, the Marquis of Dorset, in Guienne. In 1513 he obtained leave of the King, with four of his brothers and other gallant Englishmen, to take part in the jousts at St. Denis, held by Francis of Valois, afterwards Francis I. He attended the Princess Mary, in 1514, into France, on the occasion of her marriage;
* State Papers, II. 272. f Ibid. 279. † Ibid. 295. § Brewer's Letters and Papers of Henry VIII., Vol. I., 1491.
and among the female attendants were his sisters, Miss Grey, and Miss Elizabeth Grey, afterwards married to Gerald Earl of Kildare. For Kildare, Grey became one of the sureties about 1521; went into Ireland, and was sent, about the year 1525,” from Maynooth to the King by Kildare, as bearer of certain complaints against the Earl of Ormond. He attended the King to the Field of the Cloth of Gold in 1520, and was with him at the meeting of the Emperor. In 1521 he and Arthur Pole fell under suspicion in relation to the treasons of the Duke of Buckingham. In 1523 he served with Dacre in the north against Albany and the Scotch, and distinguished himself greatly by his able defence of Wark Castle, in July. In November of the same year we find him, in conjunction with Skeffington, employed under Suffolk in the campaign against France. § With 20 men he carried the passage of Capye, defended by 200 menat-arms. No means exist, at present, for tracing his history further.|| In July 1535 he was sent into Ireland," ap
* Carew Papers, I, 30, 32.
f See my Calendar of Letters and Papers of Henry VIII., Vol. III., No. 1,204, cf. p. 500.
† Ibid. No. 3,158.
§ Various notices of Skeffington may be found in the same volume.
| Mr. Froude thinks that he was implicated in some foolish affair of magic or alchemy, but the evidence seems to me too slight to substantiate the imputation. The passage to which this able historian refers is found in the information of a priest named Stapleton, addressed to Cardinal Wolsey in 1528–9, and runs as follows:—
“The plate which was made for the calling of Oberon by them hath “rested in the hands of Sir Thomas Moore, Knight, since that I was “ before him. And when I had all the said instruments, I went to Nor“wich, where I had remained but a season, when there came to me a “glasier, which, as he said, came from the Lord Leonard, Marquis, for to “ search one that was expert in such business.”
* State Papers, II. 261.