« PreviousContinue »
Council admitted that there never was so diligent a Deputy:-‘‘We never see any here in that room of more forwardness and activity than he is.” Strange to say—if any thing can be considered strange in what relates to the government of Ireland under the Tudors—the King deemed it necessary to send commissioners over to Ireland to examine not merely into the state of the country, but into the conduct of the Deputy. It is clear he was not popular with the home government. More than once he had to complain that his services were disregarded, and his privileges diminished. Now he is thwarted by the Treasurer, anon by the Provost Marshal; then he falls under displeasure through the insinuations of Cowley, or the pretentious criticisms of Body, Cromwell's special correspondent. “I suppose,” he writes, “it had “ been good for me that I never had come here; and better “ it were for me, your displeasures put apart, to be at “home, though I should live there like a poor gentleman, than to be here in this high authority, never in rest “ne quiet. And yet, what travail and pain soever I take “ to do my master service, according to your advertise“ments, the praise and thanks due thereunto by naughty “ detractions, reports, and other crafty means shall be “taken away; so, as I suppose, it is predestimate to “ this country to bring forth sedition, incention, lies, and “ such other naughty fruits, and also that no man shall “ have thanks for service done here. For, as far as I “ can learn, few men hitherto, being here in any authority, “ hath finally consecuted favours and thanks, but rather “ the contrary, with poverty for their farewell.” + The commission was appointed after some deliberation. It arrived in Ireland in September 1537, and proceeded to inquire prae ceteris into the state of the crown lands, and
* 26 June 1537. t State Papers, II. 389.
the best means of reducing the army.” A detailed account of their proceedings will be found in their letters to Cromwell, published in the State Papers.f Their survey was completed on the 2nd of January 1538, but they remained in Ireland until April of the next year, when they left for England, taking with them Aylmer, Alen, and Cowley. Besides reducing the army and raising a revenue, Cromwell and the King had another object at heart—the recognition of the royal supremacy. In this, as in other matters, Alen took a prominent part; † and he did not fail to insinuate to the commissioners that the first and chief ground for the reformation of Ireland was “to have “a good Deputy, whose room requireth such knowledge, “experience, wit, activity, discretion, and other qualities, “ that it is not a little difficulty to get a perfect man for “ the same.” He intimates that Grey was not ruled by the Council; that he was too much inclined to insist upon hostings; that he was not always sober in language. “And to “ be plain,” he adds, “except my Lord Deputy use another “ moderation and temperance than he hath done of late, “ he shall be more meet to be ruled than rule; for, no “ doubt, he hath lost in effect the hearts of English and “ Irish, friend and foe; so as, the duty which men bear to “ the Sovereign set apart, he is served with cold hearts."S
* It is worth noticing that the instructions for the commissioners were founded upon articles in Alen's handwriting, drawn up some months before. f State Papers, II. 510 seq. † Ibid. II. 480. § Ibid. p. 488 seq. There is a passage in this despatch of Alen's too noteworthy to be omitted :-" For, in mine opinion, whosoever regardeth “ not the hearts and service of Irishmen shall do the King but slender “ service ; and, as I have learned, the King's dominion this many years “ hath been defended much by the strength of Irishmen ; for whoso will “ refuse them all and set them at naught, shall not be able with all the “ King's subjects to defend the King's dominion, without extreme im“ poverishment of the same.” (P. 490.)
We may reasonably conclude that Grey, soured a little by the contradictions to which he was exposed, was inclined to be imperious, and sometimes expressed himself in language scarcely calculated to soothe the irritable minds of his opponents.” But this was not the whole extent of his offence. Archbishop Brown, created not long since Archbishop of Dublin, a bustling prelate, somewhat proud of his exaltation and his influence with Cromwell, took occasion to insinuate that Grey was not loyal to the King's supremacy. He attributed his little success in the conversion of Ireland to the opposition he encountered from the Deputy...f. He had been treated by Grey with great contempt;-and the Deputy's example had proved infectious. “Neither by oaths of them “ solemnly taken, nor yet by threats of sharp correction, “ can I persuade or induce any, either religious or secular, “ since my coming over, once to preach the Word of God, “ or the just title of our most illustrious Prince.” + These accusations were multiplied by a knot of inferior men, mainly in the interests of the Butlers, supported by Cowley and Alen; all of whom unremittingly poured their contingent of scandal into the ears of Cromwell, and praised each other whilst they defamed the Deputy. “Thanks be to God!” exclaims one of these disinterested
* See Carew Papers, I. 89.
f The Irish clergy and religious seem to have adopted a plan of frustrating Brown's efforts, which must have been very mortifying to his self-esteem. “The faction,” as he calls them, who, before the passing of the act of supremacy, would preach till the “right Christians were weary” of hearing them, now refuse to open their lips, especially the Observants, “which be worst of all others, for I can neither make them swear, ne yet preach among us, so little regard they mine authority.” (State Papers, II. 539.)
# See his letter of 8 January 1538, S. P. II. 539.
zealots,” “the King's Majesty hath one Catholic city, and “ one champion, the Lord Butler, in this land, that dare “ repugn against the detestable abusions of so sundry “ sects as this miserable land is in manner overflowen withal, whose pharisaical ceremonies and hypocrisy, of “so long time continued here, hath not only trained and brought the people in manner wholly from the knowledge of God, but also in an evil and erroneous opinion “ of the King's most noble Grace, and of all those that “ under his Majesty be the setters forth of the true Word “ of God, and repugnators against those abuses.”f Lord Butler followed up the attack in almost the same words; and was supported by Agard, another member of the same clique. Since the departure of Robert Cowley, writes Agard to Cromwell,S “here is no news, neither “ business, but all after one rate ; so that here as yet “ the blood of Christ is clean blotted out of all men's “ hearts, what with that monster the Bishop of Rome, “ and his adherents. . . . . . . It is hard, my good “ Lord, for any poor man to speak against their abu“sions here; for except it be the Archbishop of Dublin, “ which doth here in preaching set forth God's Word “ with due obedience to their Prince, and my good “ Lord Butler, the Master of the Rolls, Mr. Treasurer, “ and one or two more, which are of small reputations,
here is else none, from the highest, may abide the
* White to Cromwell, 28 March 1538. White was in Lord Ormond's service, or had been.
t Grey had intimated in one of his letters that the Butlers were becoming formidable, notwithstanding their professions of attachment to the Crown. Not unlikely, considering that their great rivals the Geraldines were now powerless. See S. Pap. II. 419.
† State Papers, II. 563.
§ 5 April 1538.
“hearing of it, spiritual, as they call them, nor temporal; “ and in especial they that here rule all, that be the “temporal lawyers, which have the King's fee.” My Lord Deputy, says Archbishop Brown, still bears “his favours towards the Observants.” + “Our Governor,” says Lord James Butler in a letter to Cowley, then in London,t “threatens every man after such a tyrannous “ sort, as no man dare speak or repugne reasonably “ against his appetite; more than I or any other true
“ Christian man durst speak against the Bishop of
“ Rome's usurped authority, if we were there; of whose “ sect he is chief and principal in this land, albeit there “ is nothing so apparent but he will deny.” So far as these charges were intended to insinuate that Grey was not active in enforcing the King's supremacy, they are disproved by his actions. § But probably the authors of them were justified in ascribing to Grey a strong partiality for the old religion. “Surely he hath a special zeal to the Papists,” | might with some justice be urged against him by his enemies; for we find that on one occasion whilst he was holding a sessions at Trim, with the Archbishop of Dublin, Brabazon, and others, he not only refused to allow “the Papists, hypocrites, and worshippers of idols,” as the writer calls them, to be indicted and arraigned," but whilst the other three remained outside “the chapel where the idol of Trim stood, . . . . .
* Agard had a personal animosity against Grey, as we learn from another letter. He had set up broad looms and a dyehouse in Dublin. and his project was not countenanced by the Deputy, “which is my heavy lord.” (State Papers, II. 569.)
f State Papers, III. 67. # Ibid. p. 34. § Ibid. p. 59.
| Lord James Butler to Cromwell, 26 August 1538.
* Thomas Alen to Cromwell, 20 October 1538.