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parently as Marshal of the army; and, on the surrender of Thomas FitzGerald, carried his prisoner over into England.* Already, as early as 21st August, the veteran intriguers in the Council, John Alen and Justice Aylmer, had written to complain of Skeffington's inability, recommending that Lord Leonard should be substituted in his place. “In “judgments by his doings now,” they say in their letter to Cromwell,+ “he would execute that room very well; “ for he beginneth to order well the army, and is a stirrer “ abroad, and no sleeper in the morning;” alluding to Skeffington's infirmities. Their recommendation was seconded on the 10th of September by Brabazon, the Treasurer, in a letter to the same minister:— “My Lord Deputy that now is is a very good man of war,i but he is not quick enough for the country, and somewhat covetous; therefore my poor advice shall be to your mastership that he may
repair into England, seeing he hath done well, and considering his age and sickness, which is not meet for the wars here.”
So, on the death of Skeffington, Grey succeeded to the Deputyship. We need not the confirmation of State Papers to assure us that the new Deputy was active and even rigorous. He was perhaps scarcely tolerant enough of the infirmities of others, who, accustomed to more indulgent rulers, were not prepared all at once to second his efforts with that willingness and activity which the new Deputy expected. It is clear also from his antecedents and from his connexion with Kildare that he was not likely to favour their antagonists, the Butlers. This consideration may have
* Skeffington writes to Henry VIII. on 24 August, “his [i.e. Fitz“ Gerald's] desire is, now that he is brought to uttermost extremity, to “ be conducted to your Highness by the Lord Leonard Grey.”
f State Papers, II. 267.
: Ibid., II. 279.
had some weight with the English Government in Grey's appointment; for now that the Geraldines were humbled, more danger was to be apprehended from the Butlers. He had not been many weeks in office before his enemies were in full cry. As early as the May of 1536 I find him writing to Cromwell, requesting him not to listen to false rumours. Grey incurred needless odium by adopting severe and parsimonious measures against Skeffington's widow—measures as useless as they were unpopular. His enemies increased as his administration went on ; for in Ireland an easy and indolent Deputy was hated and despised by his Council; an active one hated and feared. Factions sprang up in the Council chamber, and before the expiration of a twelvemonth the Deputy reckoned among his most pertinacious enemies some of those who had once been foremost in desiring his advancement. First Brabazon; then Alen and Aylmer ; then Brown, Archbishop of Dublin; finally, a host of inferiors hunted him singly or in packs; criticised his operations, or misrepresented his proceedings to the King and Cromwell.” It had now become one prime object of Cromwell's policy to reduce the expense of the Irish establishment, diminish the army, and, if possible, extract a revenue from Ireland. The King's expenses had been great during the Northern rebellion, and on 28th May 1537 we find Tuke stating to Cromwell that he found great difficulty in raising even so small a sum as 3,000l. for the Irish establishment. Retrenchment ill suited either the military purposes of Grey, or the interests of the Irish Council. Without sufficient reinforcements it was impossible to extend the King's authority or keep the Irish in subjection. The FitzGeralds, exasperated by the treatment of their relatives, still more by the apprehension of the five brethren of the Earl of Kildare, were either ripe for rebellion, or their moody discontent, worse than open rebellion, proved a serious obstacle to economic reforms. Through the interested activity of the Butlers, and the execution of the Geraldines, the earldom of Kildare had become little better than a desert. The Earl’s lands in the counties of Dublin, Kildare, Carlow, Westmeath, and elsewhere were wasted, “not occupied ne manured.” But void lands in Ireland meant lands without English tenants; meant lands without English defenders; meant also lands occupied by the turbulent and wasteful Irish, who contributed nothing to the King's revenue, and could live where Englishmen starved. “Please your Mastership,” writes Herbert to Cromwell,+ “the gentlemen of the county of “ Kildare are the most sorriest afraid men in the world; “ for they think that they shall be taken, one after “ another of them, as Sir James FisCerrot was, and his “ brethren. The country is much waste and void of “ inhabitants; for here is no farmers that is able to “ inhabit, which is the greatest decay now of this “ country.” The submission or death of their chiefs did not necessarily carry with it the subjection of the Irish population— did not necessarily diminish the Deputy's labours, as the Council in England vainly imagined. In July 1536, William Body, a creature of Cromwell's, was sent over to induce the authorities in Ireland to bestir themselves, and encourage them to greater activity in advancing the King's financial projects. He found them reluctant; they were already hampered shall come thereby. And admitting the impossibility that their cattle were saved, yet in continuance of one year the same cattle shall be dead, destroyed, stolen, strayed, and eaten ; for by the reason of the continual removing of them, going from one wood to another, as they shall be forced to do, their lying out all the winter, and [their] narrow pastures, they shall be stolen, lost, strayed, and dead. And most of all, when all the great number of the Irishry, so being in exile, being together with their tenants and sequel, [by] taking their corn and other victual, [they] shall have no manner sustenance, but alonely the residue of the same cattle, if there shall be any ; whereby their said cattle must in short time be consumed, and then they shall be without corn, victual, or cattle, and thereof shall ensue the putting in effect of all these wars against them.” Fortunately the necessities of the English government compelled it to adopt more moderate counsels. The adherents of FitzGerald, and of other chieftains who successively rose in rebellion, were wisely admitted to mercy on payment of a fine, thus strengthening the hands of the government, and diminishing their powers of mischief for the future. Step by step—slowly advancing and as slowly receding— Grey contrived to bring the country into a better state of obedience. The Geraldines were no longer formidable. In 1537 Desmond submitted, and shortly after O'Connor's powers were impaired by the loss of the castles of Dengan. and Athlone. In September he was in such great distress that Grey was able to write of him :—As to “that “ arrant and rank traitor, I trust in God and in our said ‘ sovereign Lord that he is now at the best that ever he
* Letter to Cromwell, 31 October 1536.
* The Council to Henry VIII., State Papers, II. 338.
by want of money; they had no means for repelling