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in many respects the most able and enlightened, and most fruitful of important and far-reaching consequences to Ireland. In many respects also it justifies the praises of his contemporaries, even if the entire credit of its success is in some measure due to the able and energetic rule of his predecessor; for the advantages James enjoyed were undoubtedly great. He was not a Sassenach. He had none of that hated blood in his veins, the mention of which alone creates such unconquerable aversion in the minds of many. Rightly or wrongly, the Irish claimed him as of the same stock with themselves. He had not offended their religious prejudices; he had not been identified with their real or their fancied wrongs. Moreover, the union of the two Crowns had converted foes into friends. The Scotch, glad of any pretext to land in Ireland and assist the rebel leaders of Ulster in resisting the power of England, had no such inducement now when a Scotchman sate on the English throne. If danger threatened, James could turn his arms to the South or the West, without apprehending, as Elizabeth must have done, that the North would seize the opportunity of breaking out into rebellion. Something also must be attributed to the difference of sex in the two Sovereigns, and to the general contempt of the Celtic races for the rule of a woman. But chiefly James, like the rest of the Stuarts, had no apprehension that his officers and nobles would conspire against him. Jealous of his nobles, fearing lest their distance and their opportunities in Ireland should tempt them to rebellion, Henry VIII. never cared to support his Deputies too zealously, or aggrandize their authority too much. His suspicion filled his court with their spies and their enemies; and any charge, however idle, of their comforting the disaffected Irish, or enriching themselves to the disadvantage of the Crown, were received by him and his ministers with ready, if not implicit, credit. They who, on the disgrace of their predecessors, started from these shores with flattering hopes, loaded with favours and presents, found themselves, after a few months, circumvented in all their plans, and irretrievably disgraced at the English Court, by means they could never discover. Happy were they if their hopes ended only with disgrace, and their labours were crowned with nothing worse than ingratitude. Such was the history of almost every Deputy under the reign of a jealous and suspicious monarch, whose warmest favours could at any time be converted into unappeasable anger and resentment by the vilest instruments. Nor was it much better under his daughter Elizabeth. Both father and daughter inherited, though in different degrees, the Lancastrian policy of ingratitude. Both struck the blow without waiting for its justification. With both the power to do mischief was assumed for the inclination; and the least and most unconscious failure of respect, still more the least overt symptom of disobedience, was fatal to the guilty or the guiltless. In the latter days of Elizabeth, when the succession to the Crown was undecided, the Irish Deputy was exposed to a fresh load of suspicion. Ireland was the back door to Scotland; and Irish Deputies could carry on without notice or detection, if they pleased, a correspondence with the King of Scotland. Therefore, both with Henry and Elizabeth, it was always a difficult problem how to trim their policy so exactly, that whilst Ireland should be kept in its obedience, no Irish Deputy, by his military exploits or his popularity, should aim at independence, and become a formidable opponent to his royal master. This is the reason why expeditions, undertaken by the Deputies with brightest hopes, and attended at the outset with signal success, were unsupported by sufficient aid from home, suddenly languished, grew dry, and stranded. And this was one motive for the wavering and uncertain policy of Elizabeth, never able to determine whether to crush or to spare the revolting Irish leaders. For this reason, to the chagrin and vexation of every Deputy, she never discouraged an appeal to herself from any Irish traitor, who, after infinite trouble, had been brought to bay, and who founded his best hope of escape from punishment or forfeiture on the indulgence of the very Sovereign he had disobeyed and despised. It is hard to say whether she was more troubled by the successful maintenance or suppression of rebellion in this illusive kingdom, which continually alarmed her fears; at one time lest Ireland, at another time lest its rulers, should become independent. It was otherwise with James. When, therefore, he is praised by Sir John Davys for his promptitude in reinforcing his army against the rebels, and instantly sending supplies out of England and Scotland for that purpose," we may accept this panegyric without suspicion, remembering, at the same time, that James was never haunted, like Elizabeth,
with that “solecism of power,” as Bacon calls it, “to
“think to command the end, and yet not to endure the
so far, at least, as Ireland was concerned.f But it would be unjust to the memory of Elizabeth not to acknowledge that, whatever praise may be due to James I. for his Irish policy, that policy could never have succeeded had not she prepared the way for it. Before James ascended the throne the military genius of Montjoy
had almost solely extinguished the embers of rebellion in
* Discovery, &c., p. 208.
f “It is common with princes (saith Tacitus) to will contradictories. Sunt plerumque regum voluntates vehementes et inter se contrariae. For it is the solecism of power to think to command the end, and yet not to endure the mean.” Essay, xxix.
Ireland. He had taught all future Deputies the way to certain victory, and the Irish themselves the hopelessness of resistance. Even of those civil reforms, on which Sir John Davys justly insists, which accomplished so much for the pacification of Ireland, – such as the division of the Irish countries into shires, and the more regular administration of justice,—the example was set by Sir Henry Sidney, or at least pursued by him, in imitation of the Earl of Sussex; though the efforts of both, owing to the difficulties they encountered, and their preference of the sword to the gown, were confused and incomplete.” “There was not till late years,” it is noticed in a state paper,t “a third part of the kingdom subject to English “law and government, so as the English Pale, and two “or three shires in Leinster, and some of the corporate “towns of Munster only sent knights and burgesses to “Parliament, and the Lords of the Upper House were for “ the most part all of Leinster. And this is the cause “why the ancient barons of Ireland have so mean “estates; for, to fill up the Upper House of Parliament, “ the esquires of the Pale were created barons for “ necessity of service in those days; whereas, such as “ have been made earls and barons of late years, in the “other provinces, have far greater territories. All the “other parts of the land were under the tyranny of the “Irish, who made such continual incursions upon the “English, as they could never make such a form of com“ monwealth amongst themselves as was capable of good “ laws and their execution. Now the whole island, con“taining 34 shires, being entirely subdued, as there was “much valour and martial virtue shown in the conquest
* See specially Sir Oliver St. John's report in this volume, p. 293. f Dated 1611. See p. 165.
“ and recovery thereof, so must there be much wisdom “used in establishing civil government, which cannot “ be done without making new laws for settling both “ the persons and possessions of the subjects.” The work of bringing such a country as Ireland into civil order and perfect obedience to the most wise and moderate policy could not be accomplished by one sovereign or in one generation. “In kingdoms “conquered,”—to use the words of Carew, who knew Ireland well,—“nothing but time, and that must be the “flux of hundreds of years, has power to unite the “conqueror's issue to the ancient inhabitants in perfect “amity.” But the most signal, if not the most important, act of the Irish policy of James I. was his plantation of the escheated lands of Ulster, after the treason and flight of the Earls of Tyrone and Tyrconnel. The papers in this volume, and many others not included here, testify how carefully and anxiously the whole project was conceived and planned, and the numerous precautions adopted for ensuring its success. The almost total failure of a similar attempt of Queen Elizabeth to settle English colonists on the forfeited
* See his “Discourse on the present state of Ireland, 1614,” at p. 305. Its melancholy and foreboding tone is remarkable, and contrasts strongly with the triumphant spirit of Sir John Davys. Sir George bears testimony to the great improvement of the Irish in all respects: their civilization by foreign travel; their accomplishments as disciplined soldiers, scholars, and politicians; their more complete instruction in religion; but he anticipated, whenever a rebellion did arise, that it would be much more dangerous to the State than any that had preceded it. He thought the new plantation of Ulster and of other parts with English and Scotch would greatly embitter the quarrel. He adds that the old English settlers and the ancient Irish combine against England, and “the quarrel for “which they will rebel will be under the veil of religion and liberty, than “which nothing is esteemed so precious in the hearts of men.” What little essential difference do centuries make in the characters of nations !