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ducing several of the garrisons in Munster, and, after a siege of some duration, compelled Cork itself to surrender to his arms.
Discouraged and mortified by these reverses, the earl Marshall willingly resigned the reins of authority to Hamo de Valois, who finding, on his arrival, the government enibarrassed, for want of means, made no scruple of commencing his career by a
1197. forcible invasion of the property of the Church. Notwithstanding the angry remonstrances of Cuming, archbishop of Dublin, Hamo persisted in his design, -seizing several lands belonging to the see of Dublin, and taking possession also of the temporalities of the church of Leighlin, together with the property of the canons.
The indignant archbishop, after having, in vain, tried entreaty, remonstrance, and excommunication, in utter despair, at length, of redress from the Irish authorities, laid the sentence of interdict on his diocess, and departed for England to invoke the interference of the throne. But neither earl John nor king Richard appear to have afforded him any remedy. Among the letters of Pope Innocent III. written at this time, and containing some curious particulars respecting the Irish Church,* there is one addressed to earl John, complaining angrily of the outrageous conduct of his deputy, and desiring him to compel that officer to restore to the church and canons of Leighlin the temporalities of which he had despoiled them. In the mean while Hamo, who had enriched himself amply by these exactions, was recalled from the government of the country, and Meyler Fitz Henry, one of the earliest of the adventurers in the Irish wars, was appointed his successor in the office.
In the following year died, at the advanced age of 82, Roderic O'Connor, the last of the monarchs of Ireland, who during ten years of his life reigned over Connaught alone, for the eighteen following wielded the sceptre of all Ireland, and
1198. finally devoted the thirteen remaining years of his existence to inonastic seclusion and repentance. A mistaken zeal for the national honour has induced some writers on Irish history to endeavour to invest the life and character of this unfortunate prince with some semblance of heroic dignity and interest. In their morbid sympathy with his own personal ruin and fall, they seemed to forget that, by his recreant spirit, he brought down a kingdom along with him, and entailed subjection and its bitter consequences upon his country through all time. But it is in truth idle to waste words on the personal character of such a man; the only feeling his name awakens being that of pity for the doomed country, which, at such a crisis of its fortunes, when bonour, safety, independence, national existence, were all at stake, was cursed for the crowning of its evil destipy, with a ruler and leader so utterly unworthy of his high calling,
How much the fate of an entire nation may depend on the domestic relations of its ruling family, is strikingly exemplified in the instances both of Roderic and of Henry, whose struggles and contentions with their own children gave a direction to their public measures, of which the subsequent history of both countries has deeply felt the influence. Had not Henry been called away, by a dark conspiracy within his own family, from applying his powerful mind to the conquest and settlement of Ireland, far different might have been the destiny of that ill-starred land. Had the house of Roderic, on the other hand, united in defence of their rights, and thus set an example of zealous co-operation to others, a more healthful confidence in themselves and their rulers might have been awakened in the people of Ireland, a brave resistance would have won from the conqueror respect and forbearance towards the vanquished, and, at least, the disgrace of unnatural treachery would not have been added to that of insignificance and weakness.
One of the few circumstances of Roderic's life that deserve to be mentioned with any honour, was the effort made by him to recall to life the now almost extinct learning of the country, by his patronage of the schools of Armagh, and by the annual endowment, first established under his auspices, for the head-master of that institution. It is worthy of remark, too, as affording an instance of those strange contrasts which Irish society, as we have seen, so frequently presents, that this annual pension for the encouragement of a school, to which the lovers of learning resorted from all parts of Europe, was, according to the custom of rude, uncivilized times, paid in oxen.
* One of these letters refers to an attempt made by an ecclesiastic named Daniel, to impose upon the Pope by means of forged letters, professing to have been written by certain Irish bishops, recommending Daniel as a person qualified to fill the vacant see of Ross. Dr. Lanigan, in referring to this letter of Pope Innocent, mentions that one of the candidates for the bishopric is designated therein by the initial letter of his name. But it will be seen, from the following extract, that all the candidates are so designated :-“ Propter quod idem predecessor noster causam eorum vobis fratres Casselen et Laomen (al. Laarensis) Episcopi sub en forma commisit, ut de forma et processu electionis memorati D. solicitè quæreretis, et si eum electum canonicè fuisse constaret, ipsum faceretis pacifica possessione gaudere ; alioquin inter prædictos F. et. E. audiretis causam et cujus electionem canonicam et magis rationaliter factam inveniretis, &c. &c."--Letters of Pope Innocent III., published by Baluzius, tom. i. 1. I. ep. 364.
Thrown back as the country had been by the harassing events of the century just now closed, into a state of confusion and disorganization, differing but little, in its general aspect, from barbarism, it could not be expected that her native literature would escape the prevailing eclipse, or leave any names behind which even the antiquary would consider worthy of preservation. There is still extant, however, a Metrical Catalogue of the kings of Ireland, composed, in this age, by a learned antiquary named Giolla Moduda, abbot of Ardbracken, in Meath. This chronological poem, which is frequently referred to, as of high authority, by Irish scholars, was written during the reign of the great Turlogh O'Connor ; and it is a proof alike of the courage and the professional trustworthiness of the antiquary, that he ventured to deny to that powerful monarch, then in the full flow of success, any place in the series of Ireland's legitimate kings.
To Celcus, or Cellach, the eminent archbishop of Armagh, who died A. D. 1129, Bale has attributed a Book of Constitutions and other writings; but apparently on no better grounds than he has for bestowing upon him a wife and children, and sending him to be educated at Oxford. With as little foundation, probably, has a Life of St. Malachy been attributed to Congan, one of those Irish correspondents of St. Bernard, whose entreaties, as he tells us, induced him to undertake a Life of St. Malachy bimself.*
For whatever insight we may have gained, previously to the epoch of the English invasion, into the social condition and habits of the Irish, we are indebted solely to the testimony of the Irish themselves; for it is a singular fact that, so long had this people remained secluded from all the rest of the world, that the account given of them by the Welsh ecclesiastic Giraldus, who went thither, as we have seen, in the train of prince John, was the first and only one known to have been writen by a foreign visiter of that country, from the days of Himilco and the Greek geographers down to the time of Henry II. With the aid, therefore, of this light, but following cautiously its guidance, I shall proceed to offer some brief remarks respecting the social and moral condition of the Irish people, at the gloomy period we have now reached; and if not to throw around it any very favourable colouring, at least to show that it has been represented too darkly by others.
To those pre-occupied by the picture drawn in the pages of Giraldus of the low state of civilization among the Irish at this time, it would be difficult, I fear, to suggest any consideration that would weaken the hold bis authority has taken of their minds. There are indeed few enormities, whether in morals or manners, that are not attributed by him to the natives. In estimating the value, however, of his testimony, the character of the man himself ought to be taken into account; and, finding him so ready a believer and reporter of all sorts of physical marvels and monsters, we should consider whether a taste for the morally monstrous may not also have inspired his pen, and induced him, in a similar manner, to impose as well upon himself, perhaps, as his readers. He who gravely tells of a certain race of people in Ossory,t who were, every seven years, transformed into wolves, would hardly hesitate at the easier effort of giving them also wolfish habits and dispositions.
There is yet another feature of his character as a censor, which must be attended to in appreciating the value of his censure, and that is, this proportion always found to exist between his general charge and the facts which he cites to support it. The Irish people he pronounces to be faithless, cruel, inhospitable, and barbarous; and as long as he deals thus only in generalities, the imagination is left at large to divine the extent to which all these vices may have been carried. But whenever, as in the following instance, he subjoins proofs of the alleged charge, the mind is relieved by knowing definitely the amount of the transgression. " This people,” he says, " are a most filthy race; a race of all others the most uninformed in the very rudiments of faith,--they do not as yet pay tithes or first-offerings."I He then adds the charge before noticed, respecting what he calls their “incestuous” marriages, meaning thereby marriages within that degree of consanguinity which the canons of the church had proscribed.
Another consideration which I have more than once endeavoured to press upon the reader's inind is, that at all periods of Ireland's course with which we are acquainted, so wide has been the interval, in civilization and social comforts, between her highest and
* In St. Bernard's Preface to this work, which is addressed to Congan, he says, “Tu id mihi Abba Congane, injungis . ..... ac tecum pariter (ut ex Hybernia scribis) vestra illa omnis ecclesia sanctorum, libens obedio.
He makes one of these Ossorian wolves tell his own story ;-"De quodam hominum genere sumus Os. syriensium, unde quolibet septennio per imprecationem sancti cujusdam Natalis scilicet Abbatis .... formam enim humanam prorsus exuentes, induunt iupinam."
1 "Gens enim hæc, gens spurcissima, gens vitiis involutissima, gens omnium gentium in fidei rudimentis incultissima :-Nondum enim decimas vel primitias solvunt."— Topog. Dist. 3. c. 19.
lowest classes, that no conclusion founded solely on acquaintance with one part of her population can furnish any analogies by which to judge of the real condition of the other. Giraldus himself appears to have been aware of this peculiarity in the structure of Irish society, or at least to have been puzzled by the contrasts resulting from it; and hence his summary of the character of the people is, that “where they are good you will find none better,-where they are bad, none worse."*
In his account of the clergy of the country, there are but few dark shades interspersed. He speaks of them as commendable for their attention to all religious duties, and possessing, among various other virtues which he allows to them, the “ prerogative of chastity". in an eminent degree. He lauds also their exceeding abstinence and sparingness of food ; though in wine, he says, they were accustomed, after the fast and toils of the day, to indulge more freely than was becoming. I He repeats, however, his commendation of the blameless purity of their lives, which, notwithstanding this indulgence, they most strictly, he admits, preserved. Altogether, his tribute to the character of the Irish clergy (though of the bishops he complains as slothful and inattentive to their duty) is such as, at any period, it would be honourable to a clerical body to receive.
One of his charges against the Irish prelates was, that, from the time of St. Patrick's missiou, not a single Irish bishop had suffered martyrdom for the faith; and, on his advancing, one day, this opinion, in the presence of Maurice, achbishop of Cashel, whom he describes as a learned and discreet man, that prelate thus significantly replied to him: -" It is true our nation may seem to be barbarous, uncultivated, and cruel ; yet have they always shown reverence and honour to men of the church, nor ever would raise their hands in violence against the saints of God. But there is now come among us a people, who not only know how, but have been accustomed to make martyrs. From henceforth, therefore, Ireland will, like other nations, have her martyrs." ||
In his account of the state of manufactures and the useful arts among the Irish, Giraldus falls into no less inconsistencies than on the subject of their morals and manners. For while, on the one hand, he tells us that they had no sort of merchandize, nor practised any mechanical art whatsoever, he informs us, on the other, of articles common among them, such as cloth dresses, fringes, linen shirts, military weapons well steeled, musical instruments, and other works of art, all implying a certain advancement in different trades and handicrafts. T He mentions a book, also which he had seen at Kildare, containing a Concordance of the Four Gospels, according to the correction of St. Jerome; and which is described by him as so beautifully painted and embellished with innumerable emblems and miniatures, that you might be sure, he adds, it was the workmanship not of human, but of angelic hands.**
*“ Est enim gens hæc cunctis fere in actibus immoderata et in omnes affectus vehementissima. Unde et sic mali, deterrimi sunt et nusquam pejores: ita et bonis meliores non reperies.". The learned Petavius (Petau) attributes, almost in the same words, the same character to the ancient Athenians.-Orat. &. | Inter varias quibus pollet virtutes, castitatis prærogativa præeminet atque præcellet." c. 27.
“ Inter tot millia vix unum invenies, qui post jugem tam jejuniorum quain orationum instantiam, vino variisque potionibus diurnos labores enorimius quam deceret, noctu non redimat."-Ibid.
Unde et hoc pro miraculo duci potest, quod ubi vina dominantur, Venus non regnat.".
“Verum est, inquit; quia licet gens nostra Barbara, nimis inculta et crudelis esse videtur, veris tamen Ecclesiasticis honorem magnum, et reverentiam semper exhibere solebant, et in sanctos Dei nulla occasione manum extendere. Sed nunc in regnum gens advenit quæ martyres et facere novit et consuevit. A modo Hibernia, sicut aliæ regiones, martyres babebit."-Dist. iii. c. 32.
1 " Item non lino vel lanificio, non aliquo mercimoniorum genere, nce ulla mechanicarum artium specie vitam producunt."-Dist. iii. c. 10. See Gratianus Lucius, c. 12, where he clearly proves, from Giraldus's own showing, that the Irish must have bad “carminatores, linctores, metrices, teziores, fullones, panni tonsores, et sartores."
**** Ut vere hæc omnia angelica potius quam humana intelligentia jam asseveraveris esse composita."Dist. ii. c. 38.
Condition of Ireland during the reign of king John.-The dissensions among the natives
fomented by the great English Lords.-Contention between Cathal and Carrach for the principality of Connaught.-Each abetted by English auxiliaries.-Two thirds of that province surrendered by Cathal to king John.—Rivalry between John de Courcy and Hugh de Lacy.—De Courcy sent prisoner to England. - The earldom of Ulster transferred, on his death, to De Lacy.-Murder of De Courcy's natural son by one of the De Lacys.-Expedition of king John_to Ireland.-Submission of many of the Irish chiefs.-Effect of his presence upon the English barons.—Panic and fight of William de Braosa and the two De Lacys. --Outrage committed by the septs of Wicklow.-Introduction by John of Eng. lish laws and usages into Ireland.-His return to England.--Administration of De Grey Peace in Ireland.
The reign of king John, which, in the hands of the English historian, presents so proud and stirring an example of successful resistance to wrong, exhibits in our Irish records, but a melancholy picture of slavery and suffering. Some brief struggles were, indeed, attempted, in the course of this reign, by the natives; but, while fondly persuading themselves that, in these efforts, they fought in their own cause, they were, really, but instru. ments in the hands of some rival English lords, who, by exciting and assisting the native chieftains against each other, divided and weakened the national strength, and thereby advanced their own violent and rapacious views.
Thus, when, on the death of the monarch Roderic, his two sons broke out into 10 fierce contention for the right of succession, William de Burgh, a baron of the
family of Fitz-Adelm, espoused the cause of the brother named Carrach, while John de Courcy and Walter de Lacy were seen to range themselves on the side of Cathal of the Bloody Hand ;* and a signal victory gained over the latter and his English aux. iliaries, at Kilmacdaugh, appeared, for a time, to have finally decided the contest
. As the alliance, however, of William de Burgh had been chiefly the means of ensuring Carrach's success, there was yet a chance that this powerful lord might be brought to
desert the chief's cause, and that thus the fortunes of the discomfited Cathal 1200.
might again be retrieved. Speculating, justly, as it appears, on the selfish views
of De Burgh, this prince held forth to him such prospects of gain and advantage, as succeeded in winning him over from the banner of his rival.t With the aid of so disreputable an alliance, Cathal again took the field against his brother, and, after a sanguinary action, in the course of which Carrach was slain, regained his principality.I
Down to this period, the province of Connaught, the hereditary kingdom of the last Irish monarch, had, however, torn by civil dissension, continued to preserve its territorial integrity, as guaranteed by the solemn treaty between Henry and king Roderic. But at the crisis we have now reached, this inviolability of the realm of the O'Connors was set aside, and through the act of its own reigning prince. Whether from weariness of the constant dissensions he had been involved in, or, perhaps, hoping that by the cession of a part of his territories he might secure more valid title to the remainder, Cathal, of his own free will, agreed to surrenders to king John two parts of Connaught, and to hold the third from him in vassalage, paying annually for it the sum of 100 marks. The letter of A. D.
king John,|| wherein the terms of this compact are stated and agreed to, is 1205.
addressed to Meyler Fitz-Henry, who, was, at this time, justiciary or lord justice
of Ireland and whose name is associated with the earliest adventures of the AngloNormans in this island.
* See chap. xxxii. of this work, pp. 299. 300. † Ware's Annals, ad. an. 1200. i Annal. Inisfall. The Book of Clonmacnoise, at the years 1201-2, commemorates a number of achievements performed by Cathal, in conjunction with William de Burgh. $ Close Roll, 6 John.
This letter is given by Leland at full length, p. 175.
The mischief of the policy pursued by Henry II., in deputing to an upstart and suddenly enriched aristocracy (the most odious, perhaps, of all forms of political power) the administration of Irish possessions, was in a few instances more strikingly exemplified than in the rivalry, which now had reached its most disturbing height, between John de Courcy and the rich and powerful baron, Hugh de Lacy, son of the first lord of Meath. Following the exanıple of De Courcy himself, this baron had assumed for some time, a state of princely independence, entering into treaties with his brother lords and the native chiefs, and aiding the latter in their local and provincial feuds.
On the accession, however, of John to the English throne, the daring openness with which De Courcy spoke of that event, as well as of the dark and guilty deed by which it was followed, drew down upon him the king's heaviest wrath ; and to his rival, Hugh de Lacy, now made lord justice, was committed the not unwelcome task of seizing the rebellious baron, and sending him prisoner to England. What was ultimately the fate of this bardy warrior we have no trust-worthy means of ascertaining.* The stories toldt of his subsequent adventures in England, his acceptance of the challenge of the champion of France, and his display of prowess in the presence of the two kings, are all not only fabulous in themselves, but wholly at Fariance with known historical events. That he did not succeed, as some have alleged, in regaining his place in the royal favour, may be taken for granted from the fact that, though he left a son io inherit his possessions, both the title and property of the earldom of Ulster were, on his decease, transferred to his rival, Hugh de Lacy. Nor did the hatred he had awakened in this family die with himself, but extended also to his race; as we find that, not many years after, a
1205. natural son of his, who bore the title of lord of Ratheny and Kilbarrock, was assassinated in cold blood, by one of the De Lacys.
In the year 1210, king John, with the view, chiefly, as it would seem, of diverting the minds of his people from the depressing effects of the papal interdict which now hung like a benumbing spell over his kingdom, undertook a inilitary expedition against Scotland ; and, having succeeded in that quarter, led, soon after, a numerous army 1210. into Ireland.|| Between the exactions and cruelties of the Englis on one side, and the constant revolts and fierce reprisals of the maddened natives on the other, a sufficient case for armed intervention was doubtless then, as it has been at almost all periods since, but too easily found. The very display, however, of so large a force was, of itself, sufficient to produce a temporary calm. No less than twenty, we are told, of the Irish princes, or chiefs, came to pay homage to the monarch, among whom were O'Neill of Tyrone, and the warlike Cathal, prince of Connaught; the latter offering, for the first time, his homage as a vassal of the English crown. I After remaining but two days in Dublin,** the king proceeded to Carrickfurgus, the ancient castle of which town he took possession of, and fixed his abode there for ten days.tt.
While thus auspicious appears to have been the cifect of the presence of royalty upon the natives, it produced, in a different way, no less salutary consequences, by the check it gave to the career of some of those rapacious barons, compared to whose multiform misrule the tyranny of one would have been hailed as a blessing. Among these, one of the most impracticable had been William de Breuse, or Braosa, to whom the king soon after his accession, had made a grant of estates in the south of Ireland. Struck with panic at the consciousness of his own misdeeds, this lord took flight precipitately from the kingdom, leaving his wife and daughter at the mercy of the monarch, who, when at Carrickfurgus, fi had them both taken into custody, and brought them over with him, on his return into England. At Bristol, he yielded so far to the lady's entreaties, as to allow an interview
• According to the Annals of Inissallen, he was slain by the De Lacys, Hanmar, whom Lodge follows, makes him die in France.
By Holinshed, Campion, and others. i Pat. Roll. 6 John.
$ Annal. Hibern, apud Camden. To defray ihe expenses of this expedition, he had seized and plundered the wretched Jews, all over Eng. land; and the memorable torture inflicted upon a Jew at Bristol, hy striking out, every day, one of his cheek. teeth, was for the purpose of forcing him to pay down 10,000 marks towards the cost of the Irish expedition. The religious house of Margam, in Wales, was specially exempted from the general exaction levied on this occasion, in consequence of the hospitality extended by its inmates to Henry and his army, both on their way to Ireland, and on their return.-Annal. de Margam.
4 Walsingham represents Cathal as having been, at this time, conquered and reduced by John. " In suam ditionem redegat totam terram Cutalo rege Conacciæ triumphalo,"--Ypodlg Neustrie. But the Annals of Inisfallen, with more correctness, stale it to have been an act of willing homage. "Cathal Crob Dearg. king of Connaught, came with a great retinue to pay his court to king John." See, for John taking Cathal under his protection, Rymer, tm. i. p. 136. ** Itinerary of king John.
# Ibid. 11 Rex Johannes transfretavit in fliberniam et cepit ibi castrum Krakefergus. - Chronic. Thome. Wikes. See also Itinerary.