An Essay On The
Ancient and Modern State
With the Various Important Advantages
under the auspicious Reign of His most sacred Majesty
King GEORGE the Second.
Including a particular Account
of the great and glorious
for R. Griffiths.
Dedication. Essay. The Farmer's Case Of The Roman-Catholics Of Ireland. Footnotes
MATTHEW MC. NAMARA,
Of LIMERICK, Esq;
COUNSELLOR at LAW.
Justly sensible, Sir, how sincerely You have the Character and Esteem of our Native Country at Heart, I take Leave to offer to Your Perusal, and commend to Your favourable Acceptance, the following Sheets.
What gave them Rise, was my happening, some Time since, to have fallen into Company with two or three sprightly young Gentlemen, then just returned from their Continental Rambles,—who—altho' little burthened with the Religion, Laws, Learning, Policy, Customs, Habits, Manners, or Languages of any, or the several Countries they had scampered thro', affected, nevertheless, an high Contempt for this,—their Native.
I listened with silent Indignation, and determined to contribute my Mite towards giving such unattentive, uninformed Youths, a more adequate Idea of this Kingdom, under its ancient and under its present happy Establishment.
The common Accidents of Time must lead them by better Authority to clearer Knowledge: In the mean while, I profess my Obligations to them, as they have given me this Opportunity of declaring my Regard to my Country in general, and the particular Attachments that ever bind me, in the strictest Sense of Fidelity and Esteem, to a Friend so worthy as You have been to,
Sir, Your very obliged, and Most obedient Servant.
In a Nation, where almost every Gentleman is better acquainted, and more conversant, with the Nature and Circumstances of other Countries than those of his own, the Publication of such Hints as may somewhat contribute to remove so odd an Inattention, and induce those far better qualified to render a Subject so interesting some Justice, will not, I hope, be deemed an Impertinence; in one especially who, by this Essay, however feeble, hath nothing beside the Honour and Advantage of Ireland in View, a Kingdom whereof he is, without Vanity, proud of being a Native.
As the Story of Savages and Barbarians can contain nothing instructive, or entertaining, the Antemilesian Inhabitants of this Land having been mostly such, and all surviving Accounts of them almost totally overcast with Fable, we are therefore, in treating of the antient Scotia, or modern Ireland, to refer principally to three distinguished aeras, whereof the first is, its being peopled by an Iberian or Spanish Colony: The second, truly glorious, the Arrival of St. Patrick, in his most salutary Mission: The third and last, its Cession to Henry the Second, King of England, (the first of the Royal Race of Plantagenet) partly from a pretended Title of Adrian the Fourth, Pope of Rome; partly from the restless and insatiable Desires of Henry; more from the manifold Infirmities of the then reigning Irish Chiefs—but above all, from the peculiarly adverse Fate of Roderick, the last of our Kings.
The assiduous, exact, and candid Author of the Dissertations,(1) lately published, on the Origin, Government, Letters, Sciences, Religion, Manners and Customs of the antient Inhabitants of this Country, hath put all those Matters in so clear and happy, and, at the same Time, in so strong a Light, by the Powers of various foreign Testimonies, of undeniable Authenticity, coincident with our own, that scarce any Thing new can be offered on the same Subject.
It may, however, in general be observed, that Milesius, a Spanish Prince, so far back as the Reign of Solomon (instigated by Necessity, or induced by Ambition) with a considerable Number of Associates and Followers, landed from the Western Parts of Spain, on the Southern Coasts of this Island, where it is probable they met little, or but faint Opposition, from wild and undisciplined Inhabitants.
Those People, from their early Knowledge of the Phoenician Arts and Letters, imported such Rudiments of Government and Learning, as those primitive Times admitted; a Truth visible from the Similarity or rather Identity of the Phoenician and Scotic Alphabet.
This antient Colony quietly settled here, remote from the Storms and Revolutions of the greater World, and secured by Situation from its hostile Incursions, there is no Doubt but the Cultivation of Religion, Philosophy, Politicks, Poetry, and Musick, became the chief Objects of popular Study and Application: The Spirit of Ambition in succeeding Ages, with its unhappy concomitant Train of Sedition, Faction, and Violence, the foreign Invasions, and often the intestine Oppressions and Calamities, to which our neighbouring Nations were subject, calling forth the protective or conciliating Aids of those ancient Heroes, made them great Masters also in the Art military.
The Pentarchy originally formed by those Iberian or Celtic Spaniards, with a popular Right of Election, was certainly a Kind of Government extremely consistent with the Essence and Genius of true Liberty, and a System derived from the Patriarchs themselves. For when the various Necessities of Society required a Subordination, together with some stated Maxims to go by, to avoid the confused and promiscuous Intercourse in a State of Nature; then did the People elect the most Virtuous and Wise, to lead and conduct them in Times of War and Trouble; to govern, inform, and protect them, in milder and more auspicious Seasons. Then was the Motto of the Crown, or of the chief Ensign of Pre-eminence, Digniori detur, and so continued till the Degeneracy of Time, and the baneful Growth of Avarice and Pride, with the feverish Lust of Power, perverted it to—Rapiat Fortior!
Such, thro' a long Succession of Ages, was the Condition, and such at length the Fate of this Kingdom, destroyed after a longer Continuance than any other can boast, by the Abuse of its own Powers; a sure Argument that all created Beings, all sublunary Institutions, however wisely composed, in the very Essence of their Creation, and in the very Rudiments of their Formation, comprehend, at the same Time, the Seeds of Dissolution: Yet it is not more remarkable than true, that in the most boisterous Periods of this Kingdom's antient Establishment, the Arts and Sciences, with the fundamental Principles of Constitution, were preserved and cherished with inviolable Assiduity. The Priests, Philosophers, Advocates, Annalists, Poets and Musicians, were obliged to preserve Religion, political Wisdom, Law, History, &c. hereditarily in their respective Tribes, and to educate in these different Branches the Chiefs and Nobles of the Land, for which they were graciously maintained in secure and splendid Tranquillity: Those Sages attended the National Conventions, where all publick Acts were religiously recorded, and all Abuses of Power and Government retrenched or reformed; nor were they permitted, except in Case of extraordinary Necessity, or uncommon Merit, to deviate from their proper and primitive Spheres of Action: Since, where an harmonious Subordination of Rank and Order hath not been duly preserved, even in free Estates, Liberty itself (wisely attempered, the greatest of all social Blessings) hath often, from Abuse and Neglect, sickened into Licentiousness, the immediate lewd Mother of Anarchy! In the visible Creation, the direct Result of infinite Wisdom, the lesser Planets do not interfere with, much less shock or oppose the Motions and Revolutions of the greater; they constantly keep the Distances first prescribed them, and all move regularly to their respective Ends. The most verdant and fragrant Meadows may, from the too frequent Irruption of muddy Waters, degenerate into noxious Marshes, if some Care was not taken to divert those impure Gushings into their proper Channels. Hence it may be inferred, that laying open the most honorary, as well as important and useful Professions of Society, to the Intrusion, or rather pyratical Invasions, of the Scum and Dregs of the People, cannot, however varnished over with the fictitious Colourings of pretended Liberty, consist with true Political Wisdom.
Those ancient Sophi and Literati enjoyed their Places with the greater Security, that they were uninvadable by the inferior Classes of Mankind; with the greater Content and Chearfulness, that much Esteem and Emolument were connected with them: The Priest and Advocate informed and directed the Conscience and Conduct; the Historian and Annalist recorded the Institutions; the Poet and Musician celebrated and sung the Exploits of their Kings and Leaders: No Wonder then this Kingdom should have been revered at Home, and admired Abroad; when Religion formed, Erudition nurtured, Philosophy strengthened, History preserved, Rhetorick adorned, Musick softened, and Poesy refined, the National Wisdom and Accomplishments; to all which was added, a thorough Knowledge of Tactics, and great Skill and Agility in all the athletick Arts, and bodily Exercises.
In the Versions of some original Codes exported by our Countryman, the learned and pious St. Fiechry, still extant in the Navarre Library at Paris, the Constitutional Wisdom of Ireland appears in a clear and happy Light: Persons, Things, Actions, and Expressions, were cautiously attended to, by the Laws; Persons, in their Minority, Youth, and Manhood, according to their different Ranks in the State, so as by Care, Education, and Discipline, to render them, some subservient, others useful, some beneficial, and others ornamental thereunto. Things, so carefully, as to prevent, by prohibatory Laws, Wastes of whatsoever Kind, and to ascertain to each Individual, as well as Society, their proper and distinct Rights. Actions, by directing those in general, and particular, to the Honour of the Deity and Welfare of the Community: Expression, by the penal Interdiction of prophane Cursing and Swearing, Obscenity, Scurrility, Calumny, and Detraction, yet with a full Indulgence of proper Satire against such as merited popular Reprehension, or Contempt; the Satirist's Pen in those Days being as much dreaded, or rather more so, than the Magistrate's Rod, and consequently as diligently avoided by a Demeanour absolutely irreproachable.
It appeareth that, under the antient Government of Ireland, the Education of the landed Gentry, when Luxury, with its wasteful Catalogue of Vices, had not rendered Property so mutable and wavering as in modern Ages, was provided for; whether by the immediate Care of Parents, or essential Attention of Guardians, by the Laws of the Land; in order that Gentlemen should, to the Antiquity of Birth and Possession, add the important Dignity of Learning, and social Refinement of Arts: Since a Man at the Head of an original Estate, who should want the necessary Cultivation of Letters, was considered only as a Peasant in Disguise, and not more respected than a Hewer of Wood, or Drawer of Water.
In these Writings of St. Fiechry, the legislative Wisdom of Olam-Fodla; the philosophically-religious Capacity of Cormac-O Quin, who, from the pure Light of Nature, in a great Measure defeated the absurd Polytheism of the Druids; the consummate Integrity and Impartiality of Federach the Just, and Moran his Chief Justice; the Magnanimity of Con-Ked-Cathagh; the Conquests of Kineth Mac Alpin; the long, glorious, and peaceful Reign of Conary the Great, coaeval with the Birth of our Blessed Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, (undoubtedly the happiest, brightest, and most blissful Period the World ever saw;) are all displayed in a copious masterly Style, yet with strict chronological Exactness.
This learned St. Fiechry was Founder of the University in Paris, in the Beginning of the 8th Century. The better to enable him to carry on that noble Work, he obtained of Charles the Great a Tax on all Wheel-Carriages, within the Barriers of that City: Whence, a Hackney-Coach is at this Day technically term'd Fiacre.
Charles the Great, in order to repair the cruel and truly lamentable literary Dilapidations of the ferocious North-men, invited Numbers of the learned and pious Irish to the Continent, where he established and entertained them with Dignity, Tenderness, and Respect. In a curious Manuscript of Nicholaus Gurtlerus, (now in the French King's Parisian Library) Author of the Origines Mundi, where he alludes to these Times, you find the following favourable, but true Account of Ireland.—Temporibus illis, barbaris Normannorum Cohortibus undequaque irrumpentibus, Religio, Fides, Philosophia, Virtus, Hospitalitas, Fortitudo, Castitas, necnon et Amoeniores omnium generum Artes, Hibernia solummodo natali, veluti Solo, viguerunt; little Wonder that Ireland should have been esteemed the Ierne, or sacred Isle of the Greeks, the Insula Sanctorum, or Island of Saints of the Romans.—Would to Heaven our Countrymen had, upon all considerable Occasions, recollected those deserved Encomiums, thereby to approve them worthy their applauded Origin, and native Soil!
We now proceed to consider Ireland in her happiest and brightest View, after the Admission and Propagation of Christianity. It is certain there were many Christians in Ireland, before the Arrival of Palladius in 431, or of St. Patrick the Year following: St. Kieran, St. Ailbe, St. Declan, and St. Ibar, whom Ussher calls the Precursors, or Forerunners of St. Patrick, are pregnant Proofs of this; they were of the Birth of Ireland, from whence they travelled to Rome, in Search of Education and Learning, where they lived some Years, were ordained, and returned Home about the Year 402.
It seems that those early Preachers confined their Labours to particular Places, in which they had considerable Success, but fell very short of converting the Body of the Nation: However, they sowed the Seed which St. Patrick came after to water: And it is certain that St. Patrick was so well satisfied with the Progress they made, in their particular Districts in Munster, that this was the last Province in Ireland he thought proper to visit. That there were many Christians in Ireland, at this Period, seems to be confirmed by Prosper, who, in giving an Account of the Mission of Palladius, says, that he was ordained by Pope Celestin, and sent the first Bishop to the Scots believing in Christ. This Passage can mean nothing else, but that Palladius, born in Britain, was sent to the Scots [i.e. the Irish] who had already formed Churches under Kieran, Ailbe, Declan and Ibar; and so the Bishop of St. Asaph expounds it. This then was the next Attempt that was made for the Conversion of the Irish: Palladius engaged in a more ample and extensive Design than his Predecessors, yet he failed in the Execution of it, stay'd but a short Time in Ireland, and did little worth remembring; he converted, however, a few, and is said to have founded three Churches; but he had neither Courage to withstand the Fierceness of the heathen Irish, nor Abilities, for Want of the Language, proper for the Work.
Nathi, the Son of Garcon, an Irish Prince, opposed his preaching; upon which Palladius left the Kingdom, and died in the Land of the Picts, on the 15th of December, 431. This glorious Work was reserved for St. Patrick, to whose holy Life, divine Mission, and extraordinary Success, I refer the Reader. This great Apostle of the Irish founded and built the Cathedral Church of Ardmagh, about the Year 444, or 45, which, from that early Period to this, hath continued the Metropolitan Church of all Ireland. So that 1194 Years passed away from the Founding of the City of Rome, to that of Ardmagh.
The various and most signal Blessings derived to this Nation, from the salutary Mission of this illustrious Saint, require, in Gratitude, our giving the Reader yet a further Account of the Author of such Happiness and Glory to Ireland.
He was born in the extreme Bounds of Britain, (in that Part thereof which is now comprehended within the Limits of the modern Scotland) at a Village called Banaven, in the Territory of Tabernia, (as he himself saith in his Confession) in Vico Banaven Taberniae, &c. He tells us that he was born of a good Family. Ingennuus fui secundum Carnem. His Father was Calphurnius, a Deacon, who was the Son of Potitus, a Priest; from whence may be clearly inferred that the Clergy were not restrained from Matrimony in that Age. He was just advanced into his sixteenth Year, when he was taken Captive, the Manner of which is thus related by St. Evin and others: His Father, Mother, Brother, and five Sisters, undertook a Voyage to Aremorick Gaul, (now called Bass Bretagne) to visit the Relations of his Mother Couchessa. It happened about this Time, that the seven Sons of Factmude, a British Prince, were banished, and took to the Sea; that, making an Inroad into Aremorick Gaul, they took Patrick and his Sister, Lupita, (some say Tigrida also) Prisoners. They brought their Captives to the North of Ireland, and sold Patrick to Milcho Mac Huanan, a Prince of Dalaradia: Others tell the Story in a different Manner, and with a stronger Degree of Probability. That the Romans having deserted Britain, to preserve their own Country from the barbarous Incursions of the Northern Hive, the Irish made frequent Conquests, in North Britain especially, whence returning victorious, in one of those Expeditions among others brought Patrick Captive. But in this they all agree, and he himself confirms it, that he continued Prisoner in Ireland six Years; he was sold to Milcho and his three Brothers, which gave Occasion of his changing his Name into Cathraigh, or rather Ceathir-Tigh, because he served four Masters; Ceathir signifying four, and Tigh a House or Family. Milcho observing the Care and Diligence of his new Servant, bought out the Shares of his Brothers, and made him his own Property. He sent him to feed his Hogs on Sliev-Mis. And St. Patrick himself tells us his Behaviour in this Office.
"My constant Business was to feed the Hogs. I was frequent in Prayer; the Love and Fear of God more and more inflamed my Heart; my Faith was enlarged, and my Spirit augmented, so that I said an hundred Prayers by Day, and almost as many by Night. I arose before Day to my Prayers, in the Snow, in the Frost, and in the Rain, and yet I received no Damage; nor was I affected with Slothfulness; for then the Spirit of God was warm within me." It was here he perfected himself in the Irish Language, the wonderful Providence of God visibly appearing in this Instance of his Captivity, that he should have the Opportunity in his tender Years of becoming well acquainted with the Language, Manners, and Dispositions of that People, to whom he was intended as a future Apostle. He continued six whole Years in Servitude, and in the seventh was released. There seems to have been a Law in Ireland for this Purpose, agreeable to the Institution of Moses, that a Servant should be released the seventh Year.
Having parted from his Master, after a great Variety of Distresses, he at length arrived to his Parents, who received him with extraordinary Joy; with these he remained two Years, and probably would much longer, had he not by a Vision been quickened to a more active and glorious Life. In this he thought he saw a Man coming to him from Ireland, whose Name was Victoricus, with a great Number of Letters; that he gave him one of them to read, in the Beginning of which were contained these Words, Vox-Hiberionacum, the Voice of the Irish: While he was reading this Letter, he thought the same Moment, that he heard the Voice of the Inhabitants who lived near the Wood of Foclut, in the Barony of Tyr-Awley, and County of Mayo, hard by the Western Sea, crying to him with an audible and distinct Voice, "We intreat thee, holy Youth, to come and walk among us." He was greatly amazed at this Vision, and awoke; it animated him, however, to his future Studies and heavenly Progress; so far even, that he tells us himself, he thanked God, that after many Years he had dealt with the Irish, according to their crying out.
These early Scenes of this great Saint's Life, should, among many others, serve as lessons of Charity, Consideration, and Humility, to the Rich, the Great, the Proud, and the Wanton; who may recollect that, altho' he was well born, he was nevertheless, in the most vigorous Season of Life, a Slave and a Swine-Herd: Happy, though wretched Servitude! In which, his leisure Hours, mostly employed in Christian Confidence and Prayer, made him so signally the Favourite of Heaven, that from those cloudy Dawnings, he in Process of Time became a learned Doctor, a sanctified Missioner, a venerable Prelate, an eminent Primate, a national Apostle, and the bright Instructor of Kings! Such were the fruitful Rewards of uninterrupted unshaken Devotion, Piety, and Zeal! From this Time he formed the steady Resolution of converting the Irish; and, the better to accomplish the heavenly Task, he undertook a laborious Journey to foreign Countries, to enrich his Mind with Learning and Experience.
He continued abroad thirty-five Years, pursuing his Studies under the Direction principally of his Mother's Uncle, St. Martin, Bishop of Tours, who had ordained him Deacon; and after his Death, partly with St. German, Bishop of Auxerre, (who ordained him a Priest, and called his Name Magonius, which was the third Name he was known by,) partly among a Colony of Hermits and Monks, in some Islands of the Tuscan Sea; and he employed a good Part of the Time in the City of Rome, among the Canons Regular of the Lateran Church: At length, having his Soul thoroughly tempered with religious Virtue, enlightened with the true Evangelical Faith, and his Understanding enlarged by the most profitable and edifying Studies, he arrived in Ireland about the 60th Year of his Age; and in the Year of our Lord 432, landed in the County of Wicklow, where he began his Ministry, by the Conversion of Sinel, a great Man in that Country, the Grandson of Finchad, who ought to be remembered, as he was the first Fruits of St. Patrick's Mission in Ireland; he was the 8th in lineal Descent from Cormac, King of Leinster, and came afterwards to be enumerated among the Saints of Ireland.
From this Country he sailed to an Island on the Coast of the County of Dublin, called after him Inis Phadring, and by the English, Holm Patrick at this Day, where he and his faithful Companions rested after their Fatigues. From Inis Phadring, he sailed Northward to that Part of Ulster called Ulidia, and put in at Inbherslaying Bay. When he and his Fellow Labourers landed, Dichu, the Son of Trichem, Lord of the County, being informed that they were Pirates, came out with armed Men in order to kill them: But being struck with the venerable Appearance of St. Patrick, he gave him Audience, and listened attentively to the Word of Life preached by him; he changed his wicked Purpose, believed, and was baptized, and brought over all his Family to the Faith: It is further observed of him, that he was the first Person in Ulster, who embraced Christianity. He dedicated the Land whereon his Conversion was wrought to the Service of God, where a Church was erected, changed after to an eminent Monastery. He travelled hence by Land to Clunebois in Dalaradia, to endeavour the Conversion of his old Master Milcho, whose Service he had left thirty-eight Years before; but this obstinate Prince, hearing of the great Success of St. Patrick's preaching, and ashamed to be persuaded in his old Age, to forsake the Religion of his Ancestors, (by one especially who had been his Servant, in a most inferior Station,) made a funeral Pile of his House and Goods, and by the Instigation of the Enemy of Mankind, burned himself therein: Thus ended Milcho McHuanan.
Hence St. Patrick returned to Inis, the Habitation of Dichu, and in his Journey converted great Numbers to the true Faith of Christ. In some time, he took his Leave of Dichu, and bent his course Southward by Sea, keeping the Coast on his Right-hand, and arrived at Port Colbdi, where he landed, and committed the Care of his Vessel to his Nephew Luman, desiring him to wait for him there forty Days, while he and his Disciples were travelling in the inner Parts of the Country to preach the Gospel. His Intention in this Journey was, to celebrate the Festival of Easter in the Plains of Bregia, and to be in the Neighbourhood of the Great Triennial Convention at Tarah, which at this Season was held by King Leogair, and all his Tributary Princes, Nobles, Druids, Annalists, and Fileas. St. Patrick wisely foreseeing that whatever Impressions he should make on this august Assembly must have an Influence on the whole Kingdom, and therefore, being supported with invincible Christian Fortitude, resolved not to be absent from a Place where his Presence was so conducive to the Ends of his Holy Ministry.
Never did the Spirit of popular Freedom exert itself more powerfully or harmoniously, than in those truly parliamentary Triennial Conventions of Ireland, where the supreme Monarch, the Provincial Kings, the feudatory Lords, the Nobles, landed Men, Druids, &c. by the unbiased Suffrages of the People, convened for the Peace, good Government and Security of each particular Province, as well as those of the whole Kingdom. Many Centuries had this wise Constitution subsisted here, before our Neighbours, even of South Britain, knew any thing relative to Houses, or Raiment; it being notorious that so late as the Arrival of Julius Caesar among them, they painted their Bodies, to render them terrible, and lived in the open Fields. It is really somewhat surprzing that People so near in Situation, should differ so essentially in Disposition, as the Inhabitants of those Islands have in all Ages; Hospitality having been the distinguishing Attribute of the Irish, and it's opposite Defect, that of the Britons; the Account given of them by Horace 1700 and odd Years ago, Visam Britannes Hospitibus feros, being as literally applicable to them at this Day, where the Force of Education doth not operate to mitigate their natural Ferocity.
But to return: St. Patrick in his Way to Tarah, took up his Lodgings at the House of the hospitable Sesgnen in Meath, who kindly received and welcomed him. St. Patrick preach'd Christ and his Gospel to him; he believed, and was baptized with his whole Family.
From the House of Sesgnen, he moved Westward, and arrived on Easter Eve at Fierta-fir-feic, on the Northern Banks of the River Boyne, where he rested, resolving there to prepare for the next Day's Solemnity. It was penal for any Person at the Time of the Celebration of this solemn Convention at Tarah, to kindle a Fire in the Province, before the King's Bonfire first appeared. I am of Opinion this was a religious Ceremony, as the chief Deity of the ancient Inhabitants, in exterior Worship especially, was Bel, or Belus; whence Apollo or Ap-haul, the Son of the Sun, whom they emblematically worshipped, by those fiery Offerings; whence the first Day of May, peculiarly dedicated to this Bel, is even now in Irish, called Lha-Bel-Thinih, and probably from the same Source may be derived the Custom of lighting up Bonfires, and Sops, on the Eve of the 24th Day of June. St. Patrick however, either not knowing or not minding this Ceremony, lighted up a Fire before his Booth, which altho' eight Miles distant from Tarah, was very visible. It was seen with Astonishment from Court, and the Druids informed the King, that if he did not immediately extinguish the Fire, he who kindled it, and his Successors, should for ever hold the Principality of Ireland; which hath hitherto turned out a true Prediction of those Heathen Priests, in a Primatial and Spiritual Principality.
The King dispatched Messengers to bring Patrick before him, and gave his positive Orders, that nobody should presume to rise out of his Seat, or pay him the least Honour: But Ere, the Son of Dego, ventured to disobey this Command; he arose, and offered the Holy Father his Seat. St. Patrick preached to him and converted him. He became a Person of eminent Sanctity, and after some Time was consecrated by St. Patrick, Bishop of Slain.
The Day following, when St. Patrick and two of his Disciples appeared unexpectedly at Court, and preached to the King and his Nobles, Dubtach, the King's Poet Laureat, payed Honour and Respect to the Saint, and was converted by his Preaching. Fiech, a young Poet, who was under the Tuition of Dubtach, was also converted, and afterwards made Bishop of Sletty, and is said to have been the Author of a celebrated Poem, composed in Praise of St. Patrick. Anselm, Arch-Bishop of Canterbury, relates the Conversion of Tingar, the Son of Clito, (one of the Nobles in this Assembly,) in the same Manner. The Queen also, and many others of the Court, became Christians; and altho' the King held out for a long Time with great Obstinacy, yet at last he submitted to be baptized. St. Patrick is said here to have wrought many Miracles: There could not truly, even according to the Purposes of human Wisdom, have happened a more solemn or weighty Occasion, for God Almighty's supporting this Holy Preacher by Miracles, than when the collective Body of the whole Nation was assembled together; from whose Report and Conviction, the Influences of his blessed Works and Doctrine must of Course spread through the whole Kingdom.
His Conduct and Proceedings here, with a particular Detail of the Miracles wrought by him, may be had at large in the History of his Life, published by John Colgan.
From Tarah, the Saint proceeded next to Talten, not far from thence, at the Season of the Royal Diversions: Here he preached to Cairbre, and Conall, the two Brothers of King Leogin; the former received him with great Indignity, and perversely shut his Ears against his Doctrine; but Conall believed, and was baptized, and gave St. Patrick a Place to build a Church on.
This Conall was Great-Grand-Father to Columb-Kill. He spent the Remainder of this Year in Meath and Louth, and the Districts adjoining, preaching, and converting great Numbers of People. The Taltenian Sports above-mentioned, have been much celebrated by the Irish Historians, and Antiquaries. They were a kind of warlike Exercises, somewhat resembling the Olympick Games, consisting of Racing, Tilts, Tournaments, Wrestling, Leaping, Vaulting, and all other manly and martial Exercises, which gave Rise to the many hyperbolical Tales, formerly related of those Taltenian Sports. They were exhibited every Year at Talten, a Mountain in Meath, for fifteen Days before, and fifteen Days after the First of August. Their first Institution is ascribed to Lughaid-lam-fadha, the twelfth King of Ireland, who began his Reign A. M. 2764 (a sufficient Proof of Ireland's Antiquity as a Kingdom). They were ordained by Lughaid, in Gratitude to the Memory of Tailte, the Daughter of Magh-More, (a Prince of some Part of Spain) who having been married to Eochaid, King of Ireland, took the same Lughaid under her Protection, and had the Care of his Education in his Minority. From this Princess both the Sports, and the Place where they were celebrated, took their Names: From Lughaid, the First of August was called Lugnasa, or the Memory of Lughaid, Nasa signifying Memory, in the Irish Language.
In the Year of the World 2700, _Gideon_ then reigning fourth Judge of the _Hebrews_, appear'd many Heroes, as _Hercules_, _Orpheus_, _Castor_, _Pollux_, the _Argonauts_, _Jason_, _Laomedon_, _Thesaeus_, _Dedalus_, &c. The _Amazones_, Heroines of _Scythic_ Extraction, having lost their Husbands in Battle, took up Arms themselves, with a manly Spirit of Resentment, and (inspired with Love of their deceased Husbands, and Grief for so great and irretrievable a Loss!) subdued _Asia_, and built _Ephesus_. _Hercules_ and _Thesaeus_ waged War against those Heroines, and defeated them, more to the Glory of the Vanquished than their own, those Matrons having defended themselves with surprizing Resolution. They cut off the Guards set over them, and escaped the Severity and Pride of their Conquerors. _Hercules_, in Honour of such extraordinary heroick Females, instituted the _Olympick_ Games; as likewise did _Thesaeus_, the _Isthmian_, in the Year of the World, about 2700, the _Taltenian_ Sports, the very same with the _Olympick_, brought sixty-four Years after from _Spain_ into _Ireland_, by _Tailte_, and her Followers. Now this _Tailte_, Queen of _Ireland_, was the Grand-daughter of an _Amazone_ Princess, those immortal Females having, with their Progeny, Friends and Followers, to avoid the ruinous Hostilities of _Hercules_ and _Thesaeus_, sought Shelter in _Spain_, whither they imported the Learning of _Trismegistus_, the Grandson of _Mercury_, and Glory of _AEgypt_, together with all the literary Arts derived into _Greece_, from _Phoenicia_, by _Cadmus_, the Brother of _Europa_, about the Year of the World 2530, _Othoniel_ then reigning the first Judge of the _Hebrews_. The Posterity of this ancient and illustrious Colony, about the Year of the World 3000, (_Solomon_ then reigning with great Splendour, third King of the _Hebrews_) settled in this Kingdom, as before observed: So that, by an impartial Estimate of Dates, Periods, and Facts, our Origin is well ascertained, our early Possession of Letters, wise Policy, and the politer Arts, proved, and the Remark of an _Italian_ Monk in the 7th Century, from the University of _Mongret_, in an Epistle to his Correspondent at _Rome_, justified, _Nil mirum Populum hunc Celtico Scythicum e praeclara Amazonidum stirpe oriundum, vera Religione et _ incorrupta Fide illuminatum, sapientia Doctrina optimisque Morbidus ornatum, viros fortes et Faeminas castas plerumque procreare_. A Rescript of this Original Epistle still extant, in the _Vatican_ Library, some Years ago in the Hands of Father Don _Levy_, may therefore, I believe, be found in the College of _Lombard_ at _Paris_.
In this shining Period were Cathedrals and Churches erected, Universities founded and established, Colleges, Seminaries and Schools propagated in many Parts of this Kingdom, which, at the same Time, became a peaceful and hospitable Retreat to religious and learned Men, disturbed on the Continent of Europe, by the frequent Invasions, and cruel Hostilities of the North-men, whose Piracies and Barbarity, even Ireland could not always escape! For, from the Time of Artigrius, Archbishop of Ardmagh in 822, for near 200 Years the cruel Danes miserably ravaged this Kingdom, destroying, by Fire and Sword, every Establishment, as well of Piety as Learning, (to both which, and to all religious Maxims of civilized Society, they had been avowed implacable Enemies) till they were themselves, in 1014, totally defeated at Clontarf, by the invincible Arms of the Great Monarch, Bryan Borou, from whom descended a Race conspicuous for exemplary Prelates, heroick Leaders, and steady Patriots.
The learned Author of the Dissertations before-mentioned, charges this Hero with a Violation of the Constitution of his Country: Yet the Violation seems of far earlier Date, when the supreme Monarchy was, by the Hugonian Law, inalienably united to one Family, whose Sovereignty, however founded originally, whether by Birth, or Election, was essential to the public Welfare: For we must allow that the Preservation of the People is the principal Law to which all others are subordinate. Salus Populi suprema Lex; and equally, that not only the Necessities, but the Safety also of the People, at that Time of Danger and Distraction, eagerly called forth the Conduct and Valour, the protective and restorative Abilities of that great and virtuous Man, of whom a faithful Historian, in his Detail of the Battle of Clontarf, says; Integra prius adept a Victoria rebus humanis eodem Die excessit vir Bello ac Pace summus, Justitiae, Religionis, Literarum, Cultor eximius, et cum Carolo Magno utique comparandus.
In the 239th Page of the Dissertations, the excellent Author expresseth himself as follows:
"I now proceed to give some Account of the second Royal House of Scots, the oldest of the Milesian Race, and the Posterity of Eber." This Race then being avowed the oldest, in Respect of Primogeniture, must, of Course, have been prior in Point of Dignity and Sway, or at least, equally entitled to the Election of the People to such Ranks; were not those by violent Measures annexed to the Heremonian Line: Yet, however this might have been, certain it is, that no Houses that we read of, ancient or modern, have produced a greater Number of truly heroick Princes, or of longer Continuance, than those of the North and South Hy-Nial; from whom also issued many noble Families of real Worth, and equal Renown. With Bryan, the happy Genius of Ireland, in a great Measure, expired: For the cruel Danes had, for near 200 Years before, so wofully overturned the Universities of Ardmagh, Dondaleith-Glass, Mongret, and Lismore, with all other Seminaries of Piety and Learning, (the only genuine Sources of national Greatness, Concord, good Discipline, and Happiness) had obliged, in the 8th Century, so many learned Men to seek that Shelter and Security on the Continent, which the barbarous Hostilities, and impious Manners of those Northerns, denied them at Home; had made such frequent lamentable Breaches in the antient, wise Constitution of the Kingdom; had, by the fatal Example of their profligate dissolute Lives, so vitiated the national Morality; and finally, had left behind them so many noxious Seeds of Faction and Anarchy, as, in less than two Centuries, gave up a Kingdom, of above 2000 Years Establishment, the unaccountable Prey of a few adventurous Normans!
Patrick governed the See of Dublin about ten Years, and, in a Voyage to England, perished by Shipwreck, in the British Sea, on the 16th of October, 1084; having been sent to Lanfranc, Archbishop of Canterbury, by King Tirdelvac.
Donat, or Dongus O'Haingly, having spent some Time in the Study of useful Learning in Ireland, went over into England, and became a Benedictine Monk at Canterbury. He was afterwards, (by the Consent of King Tirdelvac, and the Clergy of Dublin) consecrated, A. D. 1085, in the Cathedral of Canterbury, by the before-mentioned Lanfranc, to whom he made the following Profession of Obedience:
"I, Donat, Bishop of the See of Dublin in Ireland, do promise Canonical Obedience to you, O' Lanfranc, Archbishop of the holy Church of Canterbury, and to your Successors."
It is evident that the Title of the Kings of England to this Kingdom, by Papal Donation, or Appointment, was very insufficient, if not absolutely trifling: Nor could a Right of Conquest be urged in any Period of the Reign of Henry the Second, or his Descendants. But the Great and Royal Families of Ireland, long the Prey of Faction, deliberately preferred a limitted and stipulated Submission to foreign Authority, to the various Evils arising from intestine Feuds and Animosities; and this, had the wise Conditions thereof been constantly attended to, with mutual Observance, had been a sound Title, well and judiciously founded.
True it is, that after the Surrender of the Crown by King John to the See of Rome, the Pope exerted some temporal Authority in this Kingdom, instanced in his having created Mc. Con More Mc. Namaras(2) Duke of Klan Cullane, a Man of great Valour and Piety, supported by ample Possessions in the Baronies of Tulla and Bunratty, in the County of Clare; which extensive Districts entirely belonged to that ancient, hospitable, martial, and religious Race, of which Mc. Con More was Chief: The Mc. Namaras, more or less, have in all Ages made, and still continue to make, a distinguished Figure, as well in the Field, as in the learned Professions; and were formerly so warlike a People, that of themselves they formed an heroic Cavalry, justly stiled the Phalanx of that Part of Ireland wherein they resided.
How our Neighbours came to call us waild Ayrish, I am a Loss to conjecture; it being evident we have been a thousand Years, at least, in Possession of Letters, Laws, and Civility, before the Arrival of Julius Caesar in Britain.
I am equally at a Loss to know why a Man should become a standing Jest for his Ignorance in an alien Tongue, almost the constant Fate of our Countrymen in Britain, where, whoever is not smartly expert in the English Language, is immediately denominated a Teague, a Paddy, or I know not what, in the Stile of Derision: At the same Time that the most awkward-tongued Irishman in London speaks English with far more Propriety, and a better Accent, than the smartest British Petit Maitre in Paris doth French.
Some dramatick Scriblers, (probably of our own degenerate Growth) the better to qualify them for eleemosinary Dinners, gave Rise to this impertinent Treatment of a Nation, which, from the concurrent Testimonies of all the Dispassionate and Learned, can, in Reality, be as little the Object of Scurrility, as any other.
Why should even poor Teague prove so constant a Butt, to Farce-wrights, and Hackney Laughers; when, upon Examination, he is, by a thousand Degrees, preferable to the British Hobbinol, or French Gregoire? For Teague is a very Pattern of Hospitality; so much so, that if a Gentleman should happen to miss his Road, and be nessitated to seek the Shelter of Teague's Cabbin, or Hut, was poor Teague trusting to two Sheep for his worldly Subsistance, he would kill one, and sell the other, at the next Village or Inn, for the better Entertainment of his Guest, and think himself happy in such an Occasion of approving his Generosity and Respect: He would the next Morning abandon his Spade, and chearfully trot ten Miles to shew such bewilder'd Gentleman the right Road. He is naturally civil, generous, and hospitable, (for scarce a Night passeth that poor Travellers are not entertained in his Cottage,) extremely respectful to his Superiors, and to his Lord and Master faithful to Death. The military Annals of Europe proclaim his Capacity and Taste for Fighting; then if you should take this identical Teague's infant Son, and give him a regular liberal Education, it is one hundred to one, but he turns out a Gentleman of Merit, Learning, Worth, and Politeness; whereas it would certainly require more than Herculean Labour to chissel a French Paisan, a primitive Westmoreland, or Devonshire Boor, not only into the Form of an elegant, but even into that of a sociable Creature.
The Insignificancy of those Jesters and Spatterers, will more clearly appear, if we look back to the wise, free, and truly parliamentary Constitution of this Kingdom; if we recollect the vast Length of its Duration, as a free and independant State; the military Prowess of its Inhabitants in all Ages; their victorious Conflicts with the Romans, and with the French under Henry the Vth, and the Black Prince; their having founded a Monarchy in North Britain, whence, by a Right of Descent, in Addition to every other, his present Majesty, (whom God long preserve,) by the special Providence and infinite Mercy of Heaven, ruleth over us: If we consider the Number of our Universities, Colleges, and Academies, religious Monasteries and pious Seminaries, resorted to from all civilized Parts of Europe, our Metropolitical and Diocesan Cathedrals; on such impartial Review, surely, the foregoing Tribe of Sneerers and Flouters must dwindle into deserved Contempt.
I shall close this feeble Attempt on the antient State of Ireland, with the Description thereof by Donat, Bishop of Fesulae, near Florence, in the 7th or 8th Century; referring, at the same Time, to the most authentick British Antiquaries, Campden, Giraldus Cambrensis, Buchanan, Ware, &c. for Confirmation of what hath been previously observed on the same Subject.
Finibus Occiduis describitur optima Tellus, Nomine et Antiquis SCOTIA scripta Libris—— Insula dives Opum, Gemmarum, Vestis et Auri, Commoda Corporibus, Aere sole Solo; Melle fluit pulchris et lacteis SCOTIA Campis Vestibus atque Armis, frugibus, arte viris. Ursorum Rabies, nulla est ibi; saeva Leonum Semina, nec unquam SCOTICA Terra tulit Nulla Venena nocent, nec Serpens serpit in Herba, Nec conquesta canit Garula Rana Lacu; In qua SCOTORUM Gentes habitare merentur Inclita Gens Hominum Milite, Pace, Fide.
Thus Englished by the Ingenius and Reverend Mr. Dunkin:
"Far Westward, lies an Isle of antient Fame, By Nature bless'd, and SCOTIA is her Name; Enroll'd in Books: Exhaustless is her Store Of veiny Silver, and of Golden Ore: Her fruitful Soil for ever teams with Wealth, With Gems her Waters, and her Air with Health: Her verdant Fields with Milk and Honey flow; Her woolly Fleeces vie with Virgin Snow: Her waving Furrows float with bearded Corn, And Arms and Arts her envy'd Sons adorn. No savage Bear, with lawless Fury, roves; No rav'nous Lion, thro' her peaceful Groves; No Poison there infects; no scaly Snake Creeps thro' the Grass, nor Frog annoys the Lake: An Island worthy of its pious Race, In War triumphant, and unmatch'd in Peace."
This Donat, Bishop of Fesula, was an Irishman, of the antient and hospitable Family, afterwards O Hogan; a Family which held ample and fair Possessions in the Province of Munster, and which, in former Times, adorned the See of Killaloe, with four very learned and exemplary Prelates; namely, with Matthew O Hogan, who succeeded to this Bishoprick, in the Reign of Henry the IIId, and in the Year of our Lord 1267; and who, having much enlarged his Diocese, and done many signal Acts of popular Charity, died in the Year, 1281, and was buried in Limerick, in a Convent of Dominican Friars. To this Bishop succeeded Maurice O Hogan, who governed this See with peculiar Zeal and Charity, upwards of sixteen Years, and died in 1298, or the Year following, and was buried in his own Church. Thomas O Hogan, Canon of Killaloe, was consecrated in 1343, and died on the 30th of October, 1354; five Days after which, he was buried among his worthy Ancestors at Nenagh; as may be seen in the Annals of that Place.
Richard O Hogan succeeded to the See of Killaloe, in 1525, and was in 1539 translated to Clon Mac Nois: He was a Prelate of great Learning and Capacity, in all spiritual and ecclesiastical Matters.
This antient Family is, at this Time, represented by Edmund O Hogan, Esq; High Sheriff of the County of Clare, a Gentleman, who, by the whole Tenor of his Life, hath proved Generosity of Heart, Charity, and Hospitality, to be Qualities inherent.
Dermod Mac Murchad, sovereign Prince of Hy-Kinsellagh, banished by Roderick O Connor, King of Ireland, for his various and high State Crimes, sought Sanctuary and Redress in the Court of England; where, in the Absence of Henry, then in Normandy, diverse adventurous Normans, Flemings, Saxons, and old Britons, (being themselves unsettled, and unestablished) acceded to the Fate and Fortunes of Dermod, under the Conduct of Strongbow, Earl of Pembroke; whose casual Success in Ireland, against Roderick (owing more to the general Defection, at that fatal Period, of the Irish Chiefs against their lawful Sovereign, than to any superior Valour or Address of those Adventurers) induced Henry to a deliberate and grand Invasion of a Kingdom, to which he could lay no Claim on the Score of Nature, Reason, or Right, and whither his pretended Mission, on the Score of collecting St. Peter's Dues, (which St. Peter himself never once thought of, or imagined) was as ridiculous as groundless. The Summa Dies, however, arrived: and the People of Ireland, wearied out with intestine Strife, acknowledged Henry for their Sovereign Lord; and a grand Charter of Rights and Covenants, mutual Protection and Allegiance, was entered into, anteriorly to that of England. How well this Charter was observed on the protective Side, the absolute Anarchy of near four Centuries, from its original Date and Perfection, to the Reign of Queen Elizabeth, demonstrates: A whole Nation, that sought Protection, and that agreed for quiet, regular, and lawful Government, upon rationable Terms, deprived of the Power of ordaining Laws for its own Security and Well-being, and precluded (all to four or five great and favourite Families) from the Benefits and Advantages accruing from those of that Kingdom, to which it had voluntarily united itself; exposed, through such a Length of Time, to arbitary Depredations, and unpunished, unredressed, uncensured Rapine, Quis talia sando temperet a Lachrymis!
King Henry called back into England, to lay the Storms raised by his rebellious Sons, with whom and Thomas Becket, Archbishop of Canterbury, he was so constantly embroiled to the End of his Life, that he could little attend to the Settlement of the Affairs of this new acquired Sovereignty.
Richard the First, his immediate Successor, called away to the Holy Wars against the Saracens, had as little Leisure as his Predecessor to promote the Quiet, or Happiness of Ireland.
From the usurped Authority of King John, a continued Series of Papal Animosity, Bloodshed, Calamities and Piracies, closed at last by Poison; little beside political Disasters of all Sorts, could be expected.
Henry the Third, through a Reign of Fifty-six Years, was continually involved in Troubles and Hostilities, with his inflexible English Barons.
Edward the First, a great and warlike Prince, was, throughout his whole Reign, engaged in the Reduction of the Welch and Scots, and so intent thereon, that he could turn his Thoughts to no other Object.
Edward the Second, indeed, sent Gaveston hither, more to screen him from the implacable Resentments of the stubborn English Nobility, than to render any good Offices to the Inhabitants of this Country; who, indiscriminately, (Strongbownians as well as Irish) felt the Severity of that insolent Favourite's Measures.
Richard the Second visited this Kingdom in Person, with the good Intentions of establishing Peace, Order, and Harmony, in a valuable but long neglected Estate: Yet his own adverse Fate, conspiring with that of this Land, called him back, before he could carry his favourable Resolutions into Execution, to defend his English Dominions from the hostile Attacks of Henry, Earl of Hereford, who, with the Duke of Norfolk, Son to John of Gaunt, had some Years before been banished by Richard, to prevent a personal Combat: This King, worthy more propitious Stars, long agitated and afflicted by the Turbulence and irreconcilable Obstinacy of his British Subjects, perished at last under the impious Hands of Sir Pierce of Exton, who, at the Head of eight barbarous armed Assassins, rushed into his Chamber, and murdered him.
The Reign of Henry the Fourth was short, tumultuous, and bloody; Deluges of noble Blood having been shed by the bare Hands of the common Executioner, to confirm a Throne acquired by abominable Crimes, and Violence! And no sooner had these dreadful Storms begun to abate, than Henry was forced to depart from a Scene he had more adorned, (for he was, without Question, a great and valiant Man) had not his Ambition blindly hurried him beyond the Bounds of Justice and Nature.
Henry the Fifth, his Son and Successor, and truly Inheritor of his Ambition and warlike Genius, imagining himself aggrieved by the Salique Law, which excluded his Great Great-Grandmother, Isabel, from the Monarchy of France, turned his elevated Thoughts intirely to the Conquest of that Kingdom: Wherein, by his own vast Merit in martial Affairs, and the Co-operation of the Queen of France, (Consort of Charles the Sixth, then frantick,) and that of the Duke of Burgundy, a great and powerful Prince, he so far succeeded, as, after his Marriage with Catharine de Valois, Daughter of Charles the Sixth, to be crowned, and acknowledged King of France.
To this great and victorious Monarch succeeded Henry the Sixth, who, through a long, various, and constantly clouded Reign, seemed the very Play of Fortune! This Day a King, the next a Prisoner! One Day acknowleged by his Parliament, the next attainted! One Day a Conqueror, and the next a Captive!
Fierce, frequent, and bloody, were the Conflicts between the Houses of York and Lancaster, the White and Red Roses; the former endeavouring to recover its Loss, the latter to maintain its usurped Authority. In this dreadful Quarrel perished two hundred thousand of private Soldiers; ten thousand of the Nobility, Gentry, and Persons of Distinction; three Kings; and, at last, the entire Race of Plantagenet.
Edward the Fourth soon fell, by his natural Intemperance, or rather by the insatiable Cruelty of Gloucester; who had already sacrificed his Brother Clarence, to pave his Way to the Throne. Nor better fared it with Edward the Fifth, who, by all the Arts of Seduction and Delusion, which his unnatural Uncle and Guardian, Richard, practised on the Fears and Weakness of the Queen Dowager; was, with his Brother the Duke of York, conveyed with great Pomp to the Tower; where the bloody Tyrant, aided by the Duke of Buckingham, soon sacrificed those young, innocent and hopeful Princes to his wicked and boundless Ambition. But he soon after lost his own flagitious Life, and a most cruelly-acquired Crown, on the Plains of Bosworth.
To him succeeded Henry the Seventh, and the first of the Race of Tudor, a great, wise and valiant Prince, but rather too much inclined to Rigour, and Avarice; Imperfections which extremely blemished his other great Qualities.
In the tenth Year of this Reign, the Parliamentary Constitution of Ireland received a deeper Stab than had ever before, or since, been inflicted thereon, by a Statute Law, commonly called Poynin's Act; by which a new, and, till that wretched Period, an unheard of Order, was added to the three established Ranks of the State. By this Law, the English Privy-Council may impose a Negative on the free and unanimous Parliamentary Ordinances of the representative Body of the Kingdom of Ireland; a manifest Injury to the Authority and Dignity of Parliament; and an equal Diminution of the Royal Prerogative, that only should include, and should alone exert, a Power so important.
In Times dark, tumultuated and dangerous, no Wonder extraordinary Laws should pass: Desperate Diseases require desperate Remedies: But when the Fever is removed, it certainly is a horrid Management to leave the blistering Plaister still sticking to the recovered Patient's Back.
The Distempers of this Nation were heavy, complicated and chronic; and finally curable, only by the salutary all-healing Hands of our present King, and present Parliament.
To Henry the Seventh succeeded Henry the Eighth, as consummate a Tyrant, in every Sense, as ever swayed the British, or any other Sceptre; whose whole Life was so continued a Scene of wanton Dissipation, Lust, Cruelty, Rapine, Bloodshed and Sacrilege, that it must have been a peculiar Happiness, to any Part of his Dominions, to have been neglected or forgotten by him: Nor could the two succeeding Reigns of Edward the Sixth, and Queen Mary, short, various, cloudy, and vastly agitated on the Score of Religion, (which, in those two Reigns, took Faces almost diametrically opposite,) afford this Kingdom much reflected Sunshine.
To those ensued that of Queen Elizabeth, a Princess of powerful Abilities, who, truly intent on the Peace and Welfare of her Subjects, caused her Laws to operate, and Justice to circulate in this Kingdom, abandoned, as hath been observed, to a State almost of Anarchy, thro' a dismal Series of seventeen Reigns: But the Reformation in Religion, which she established in England, and introduced in Ireland, much obviated her Purposes for the latter Kingdom: For, the Irish, more tenacious of their Altars, than of their Fire-places, could not easily reconcile themselves to the Exchange of a Religion they deemed a new one, for that they had been in Possession of from the fourth, to the fifteenth Century: Which produced a rebellious Defection, in a few of the principal Chieftains of this Land, and gave Occasion to the greedy Provincial Precedents, of trumping up imaginary Rebellions, to pave the Way to real Forfeitures; thereby to aggrandize their own Houses; what some of them effectually accomplished, to the Ruin and Extirpation of many honest Families.
This great and illustrious Princess, (whose Reign had remained untarnished, had it not been for the Death of the ill-fated Queen of Scotland) was succeeded by James the Sixth of Scotland, and the first of the Stuart Race that governed England: From this Prince, descended of Irish Kings, the People of Ireland might have expected many Favours and Immunities; wherein, however, they were miserably disappointed: Which, with a Train of other Hardships and antiparental Severities, (particularly his alienating, at one Stroke, six of the best Counties in the Kingdom, on the procured Testimony of an obscure wretched Individual, one Teige Lenane,) is too sufficient and too lasting a Proof of: Heu! tot Conquesta Annorum, hauserit una Dies! The Possession of at least twenty Centuries, of the great and good, the heroic and hospitable O Neils, O Donnels, Mac Guires, Mac Gennises, O Reillys, O Cahanes, &c. ravished away to gratify hungry Favourites, and indigent Relatives! the six Counties, however, as the Law Term has it, escheated. Had the Highlands of Scotland, at that unhappy Period, been more populated, probably six or eight Counties more had been procured to escheat, and there had been a braa Clutch of bonny Traitors; the O Connors, Mac Carthys, O Briens, O Donnels, O Hares, O Malones, &c. had been all in the same Bottom with the Families above mentioned; especially, as they could not, according to James the First's own Phrase, look to the Pope, and row with him.
To James the 6th of Scotland, and first of England, succeeded Charles the First; who, notwithstanding his eminent Possession of all the Virtues that adorn and illustrate human Nature, could neither divert the adverse Fate of Subjects, or prevent his own.
The Disseisin of many honest Families in the County of Kilkenny, and elsewhere, by the Earl of Strafford, on stale Pretences of Non Performance of Covenants on their Part; his Attempt of confiscating twenty-five Parts in thirty of the whole Province of Connaught, on a Claim of Descent, dormant 300 Years, and originally ill founded, with the arbitrary Steps by him taken to the Accomplishment of this wasteful Purpose; too clearly proved that Nobleman a second Verres. The cruel and intoxicated Administration of the Rump Parliament; the insolent, licentious, and riotous Controul of the military Independents; the abject Tyranny of Oliver Cromwell, who prostrated Constitution, Church and State, will always be recollected with the Contempt, Horror, and Detestation of every good Subject.
The Calamities from 1641, to the happy Restoration of King Charles the Second, in 1660, being common to all good Subjects, were the more tolerable, ferre quam sortem patiuntur omnes, nemo recusat: But now or never, surely, might his ever loyal, ever faithful Irish Subjects have, with the most reasonable Assurance, hoped, if not for publick and lasting Rewards, the common Wages of uncommon Fidelity; at least, for a Restitution of what had been their own, through Ages immemorial.
Will late Posterity believe, that, in Favour of mercenary Adventurers, who advanced Money to provide for a desperate regicide Army; in Favour of the Officers of this same Army, whom their Ringleader Cromwell, seared as his Conscience was, indulged with no more than temporary Grants of the Estates belonging to the King's most faithful Subjects: Will Posterity, I say, believe, that, in special Favour of such Men, those identical Subjects, the bravest Advocates, as well as the most affectionate undeviating Friends of the Monarchy and Constitution, were for ever deprived of their Properties! To remunerate the others, the most inveterate and implacable Enemies of EITHER! Doing Good for Evil is a Divine Precept, and certainly includes a most sublime Moral; but rendering Evil for Good, is such a Principle as must carry Horror with it, among savage Nations!
The King of France's immediate Letter, on this Subject, to King Charles the Second, as it reflects Honour on the Memory of those illustrious Sufferers, I therefore take Leave to transcribe in this Place.
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His Most Christian Majesty's Letter to the King of Great Britain, in Favour of the Roman Catholicks of Ireland.
"Most High, Most Excellent, and Most Potent Prince, our dear and well-beloved Brother and Cousin! At the same Time that we have been told of your Majesty's great Goodness towards your Subjects, and the Precedent you have given of an extraordinary Clemency, in granting them your general Amnesty (some few only excepted, of those whom the Blood of their King, and that of his People, cry aloud to Heaven for Revenge against). We could not but let your Majesty know, that we were extremely surprized to hear, that the Catholicks of Ireland were excluded from that Act of Oblivion, and, by that Means, put into the Number of the most criminal! This News has so much the more excited our Compassion towards them, that we have been informed, that, in all the Changes which have hitherto happened in your Dominions, and in the almost general Defection of your Subjects, none stood more constant to their lawful Sovereign, even in the greatest Streights, than the Catholicks: So that, if they are now branded for their Religion, it may be said, for their Honour, that, in Times past, none could be found readier, or more cheerfully disposed, than they, to serve and assist their Prince; and that with so much Ardour, that their Zeal then for the Royal Family was reckoned a certain Mark of their true Religion. It is for that Reason that we now become their Intercessors to you: For, otherwise, had they failed in the Fidelity they owe you, instead of interceding for them, we would join with you in using them with all imaginable Rigour; and it would never come into our Thoughts to concern ourselves, as we do, for the Catholicks of Ireland; though we were obliged to it, by the last Treaty of Peace made with the Marquess of Ormond, and which was granted them by our Mediation. And, as we are well assured, that, since the Conclusion of that Peace, they have done Nothing which can be called a Failure of their Duty to you, we find ourselves under so much the greater Obligation to conjure you, to make good that Treaty to them, in that they religiously observed it on their Side, in all its Parts: And to beseech you not to suffer, that either the Hatred, which an immoderate Zeal swells some bigotted Sectaries with, nor the unlucky Spoils of these poor People, render criminal or miserable the most faithful of your Subjects; to whom their lawful King, as you are, is not the less dear, nor less respected, because of a different Belief from theirs. We propose Nothing to ourselves in this, nor ask any Thing, but what we daily practise (as you may know) towards those of our Subjects who are of the reformed Religion. And, as we have commanded the Sieur Marquis de Rouvigny to explain our Sentiments more amply on this Subject to you, be pleased to give him a favourable Audience: And, above all Things, be perswaded, that, in this Affair, we have no less your own true Interest in View, than what natural Reason and Equity requires; and that our sincere Friendship for you is the principal Motive of this Request. Dated at Paris, the 7th of September, 1660."
The good King Charles, regardless of this important Solicitation, unattentive to the plain Suggestions of common Right, and unaccountably forgetful of all their past signal Services and inviolate Zeal; observed indeed that those faithful Irish Subjects had no Stock; consequently, that dispossessing the Adherents of Oliver, who, with the Land, had pirated the national Stock, would cause much Confusion. As for the former, he hoped some Settlement might in Time be found for them; (in Truth, I believe, for aught his Majesty in Reality concerned himself, this might have been in Terra Australis Incognita). Their Want of Stock is the less to be admired at, it being well known, that, with their Pay in foreign Service, chiefly expended to contribute all in their Power to the Royal Support, they even went so far as to sell their Plate, and valuable Moveables, to answer the same generous Purpose: But, when every known Acre in the Kingdom, that could be disposed of, was given away by Wholesale to the Duke of York, the Heir-apparent of the Crown, (partial Distribution!) to new-fangled Favourites, and the staunch old Enemies of Church and Crown; it was hoped some Lands might be yet discovered, to satisfy and compensate those Irish Worthies, who had Nothing left for their Support, beside an inalienable Sense of Honour and Loyalty, and a Character of invincible Fidelity (which all Nations admired and applauded). No such Discovery, however, was made, nor any relative to the Irish, under that Administration, but what tended to convince them, by the famous Act of Settlement, &c. of the extraordinary severe Peculiarity of their Fate! Yet, ordained to shew Posterity unprecedented Specimens of Loyalty and Zeal, they still adhered, with inflexible Constancy, to the Fortunes of King James the Second, not mindful of their Injuries by James the First, their unexampled Sufferings by the excessive harsh Measures of King Charles the First, his Ministers, and Deputies, or their unheard-of Treatment (I won't say Wrongs, it being a Maxim the King of England can do none) by King Charles II. Little Wonder, a House, constantly sapping it's own best Pillars, should at length fall.
King James the Second, constrained to abdicate the Throne of England, endeavoured the Preservation of this his Kingdom of Ireland, where his faithful Subjects, (a Remnant of the various and manifold Wastes of foregoing Reigns) considering the thousand Disadvantages they laboured under, made such a Stand as later Ages will look up to with Astonishment! A Parcel of Men, congregated in the utmost Hurry and Confusion, undisciplin'd, unarm'd, uncloathed, unpaid! Yet did those very Men, animated by the Example of their heroick Leaders, (I mean their immediate Lords and Countrymen) on the Plains of Aughrim, convince the best veteran Army that Day in Europe, superior in Numbers, excellently provided for in every Respect, and conducted by a Prince of singular Valour and Address, that Irishmen were deserving of more auspicious Stars.
Never was a more gallant Defence than they, after this, made in Limerick; where, although abandoned by the Prince, (whose Cause they had so remarkably espoused) and his auxiliary French, they obtained an honourable CAPITULATION from those in Commission under King William the Third, whose strict Observance thereof, to the End of his glorious Life, reflects, among many other his great Atchievements, deserved Honour on his Memory.
The distinguished Figure made by those Noblemen and Gentlemen, who, regardless of Property or Ease, followed the Destiny of that hard-fated Prince, King James the Second, (namely, the Lords Mount-Cashel, Tyrconnel, Clare and Lucan, the Dillons, Nugents, Rooths, Burkes, Lees, Fitz-Geralds, Cooks, Lacys, Browns, Wogans, Baggots, Sheridans, Creaghs, Plunkets, Barnewals, Neagles, Lallys, Mac Carthys, Mac Donnels, Mac Guires, Mac Namarras, Mac Mahons, Mac Gennis's, O Neils, O Connors, O Donnels, O Briens, O Dwyers, O Shaghnussys, O Mahonys, O Sullivans, O Kellys, O Ferralls, O Reillys, O Haras, O Hogans, O Byrnes, O Daes, &c. &c. &c. the military Annals of Germany, France, Spain, Flanders, Italy, Naples, and Russia), must bear ample and authentic Testimony of, to future Ages.
Those were they, of whom Dr. Mac en Crow gives the following concise, but just and happy Character.
Genus acre Bello, Studiis Genus acre Minervae, Devotumque mori pro Rege, Fideque tuendis.
Among those who followed the Fortunes of King James the Second, were Sir Richard Neagle, his Attorney-General, and Dr. Moore, Provost of Trinity-college, near Dublin; two Gentlemen very justly distinguished in their respective Spheres; the former, a Gentleman of unshaken Integrity, and great Capacity in the Profession of the Laws; the latter, of exemplary Piety, universal Learning, and fine Accomplishments. Louis the Fourteenth, then King of France, protected those worthy deserving Men, with singular Tenderness and Attention; and was instructed and guided solely by Dr. Moore, in the restoring, establishing, and modelling the University of Paris, at that gloomy Period! quite buried in perplexed, unintelligible, peripatetic Philosophy, and disfigured with romantic Legends, and Gothic Jingle! But, at the Doctor's Appearance, Entities, Quiddities, Sympathies, Antipathies, occult Qualities, substantial Forms, metaphysical Degrees, Categories, and all this unideal wordy Stuff, vanished; and were succeeded by a clear, concise Method of Reasoning, and sound, useful, and experimental Philosophy. Greek, Hebrew, Syriac, Chaldaic, and Arabic, were Languages untaught, unknown, in the University of Paris, before Dr. Moore; for whom particularly, Louis the Fourteenth founded, established, and endowed the Royal College, now called College du Cambray: And how well our Doctor succeeded therein, may be inferred from the Character and Writings of his Pupils and Hearers, Boileau, Fontinelle, Porec, Montesquieu, Fleuri, Lauguet, with many others, and Rollin, his peculiar Favourite and immediate Successor, all great Genius's, applauded Writers, and celebrated Wits. So that, as Ireland had the Honour of founding, it had also that of restoring and reviving the great University of Paris, in the Persons of two of its learned Natives.
The Reign of her Majesty Queen Anne (glorious to her Arms, under the Conduct of John, Duke of Marlborough, and her other Generals, and justly distinguished by the Number of great Genius's and Wits, who enlightened that Period) was in this Kingdom chiefly employed in additional Acts against the further Growth of Popery: And many there were, who deemed it an unparallel'd Severity in her Majesty, to give her Royal Assent to them particular Laws; by which the Roman Catholicks of Ireland (already ruined by their inimitable Allegiance to her Royal Father, Uncle, and Grandfather) were precluded from availing themselves, by a tolerable easy Lease, of any Part or Parcel of these Estates, forfeited by their Ancestors, thro' their unremitting Endeavours, to support and maintain that Stem, of which she was herself an immediate Branch.
So late even as this Reign, the whole Kingdom of Ireland was a desolate diffusive Scene of total Decay! covered with all the ghastly Symptoms of the Consumption of Centuries! But, at length, on the happy Accession of his late Majesty of glorious Memory, the blissful Morning of Peace and Concord began its auspicious Dawn! Yet, as Time, publick Spirit, Patriotism (in its highest Conception) and unwearied Diligence, were all collectively essential to the giving Life, Vigour, and Activity, to national Industry and Improvement, so very long in a melancholy State of Languor and Oppression: Not before the present truly glorious Reign, did Hibernia tune her old Harp, now newly strung to universal Harmony and Elegance, and rear her awful Head from the stupid dismal Dozes of Ages; where comes the literal Application of my third Motto, RENASCIMUR.
Hinc priscae redeunt Artes, felicibus inde Ingeniis aperitur iter, despectaque Musae Colla levant.——
Having travelled through a tedious Night, thick-set with Horrors of various Hues! and thus come to the End of a painful Journey; give me Leave, kind Reader, to indulge awhile with admiring the beautiful Variety of Objects, which now surround me, to the serene Delight of the Mind, and refined Gratification of Sense; before I attempt that Display of them to which I have no Occasion of professing my Inequality.
In this Reign, and not before, our Linen Manufacture, in many Respects one of the most profitable Branches of our national Commerce, received all the Encouragement from Royal Bounty, and Parliamentary Sanction, that could be reasonably hoped for.
Persons of the highest Rank, Dignity, and Fortune, were appointed Trustees for the Propagation, Encouragement, and Diffusion, of this beneficial Trade, throughout the respective Provinces.
The Linen-Hall was erected in Dublin, under as just and nice Regulations as any commercial House in Europe.
The North of Ireland began to wear an Aspect entirely new; and, from being (through Want of Industry, Business, and Tillage) the almost exhausted Nursery of our American Plantations, soon became a populous Scene of Improvement, Traffic, Wealth, and Plenty; and is, at this Day, a well-planted District, considerable for Numbers of well-affected, useful, and industrious Subjects.
Now arose, now shone forth, the ever Honourable DUBLIN SOCIETY; a Society equalled by none. It is true, we read of Patriarchs, Philosophers, Warriors, Orators, and Poets; of Senates, Parliaments, Councils, &c. but we no where, abstracted from our own Country, meet a Set of pious Patriots, from their private Funds, adorning their Country in general, in every Degree and Branch of Industry, and Improvement; and, inspired with Sentiments truly public and social, munificently rewarding their Countrymen, of whatsoever Denomination, without Favour or Distinction; for meliorating their proper Estates, or Farms; for excelling in any Production of Nature, or Art; for any Discovery, or Invention, useful to Mankind: A Set of truly honourable, and generous Personages, instructing their Countrymen with clear, yet philosophical Precepts, encouraging them by their Example, and rewarding them from their inexhaustible Bounty! Such, and such unrivalled, is the ILLUSTRIOUS DUBLIN SOCIETY! What Pity, the ample Distributions, and instructive Writings of this learned and munificent Body, are not regularly published, in Latin, English, and French, for the peculiar Honour of this Nation, the Edification of Posterity, and as a bright Pattern of Imitation to all other civiliz'd Countries!
Now likewise appeared the Philharmonic Society, that, (from a few Gentlemen, who used occasionally to meet, in order to while away an Hour with a gentle Tune, and chearful Glass) grew into an harmonious Body, not alone for the Improvement of the charming Art of Music, but for the effectual Relief also of successive Thousands, from Misery, Famine, and Confinement: Concordia res parvae crescunt. ORPHEUS, we are told, built the Walls of Thebes, by the irresistible Powers of Harmony: Be this true or fabulous; how many Iron Gates have we not seen open, to the persuasive Charities of this tuneful Society! how many gloomy Cells vacated by their Charms! This elegant Society, by moderate Loans, Interest-free to the industrious Poor, prevents many such from getting into the Distress of Prisons, or following offensive Courses; and, by enabling them to obtain an honest Livelihood, rendereth them useful Members to the Community: So that, of this Society, it might have been justly said,
Omne tulit Punctum quae miscuit utile dulci.
In this happy Reign was incorporated, under the protective Sanction of Royal Bounty, a Society, truly Christian, for the pious Establishment of Protestant CHARTER-SCHOOLS throughout the Kingdom: An Institution far more productive of national Morality, and Reformation, than excommunicative Discipline, or restrictive penal Statutes; since Persuasion and Rewards have ever been, and must ever continue to be, more consistent with the meek and benevolent Temper of true Christianity, more effectual, Apostolic, and Catholic, than Punishments, Persecution, or Sequestrations.
In this Reign shines out a Christian Divine, who, in the inestimable individual Dr. Madden, collects a whole Society of Patriots; a venerable Man, not alone the Guide of his particular Congregation, but a pure, also clear and lasting Light of Perfection, and noble Imitation, to his Countrymen in general.
On Madden, kindred Angels smile! Bright Mirrour to his native Isle! To whom old Age shall say, and Youth, With grateful and prophetic Truth,
Semper Honos, Nomenq; tuum, Laudesq; manebunt.
St. Patrick's Hospital, for the Reception of Lunaticks and Ideots, a lasting Monument of the late Dean Swift's Charity, as are his various Writings, of his great Genius and Wit: Mercer's charitable Hospitable in Stephen-street: The noble Hospital for the Relief of poor Lying-inn-Women, of the Projection of our late excellent Countryman, Dr. Bartholomew Mosse; by which a great Number of Women and Children are preserved from miserable and untimely Ends: The Charitable Infirmary on the Inns-Quay: The New Hospital for Incurables, on Lazer's-Hill: St. Nicholas's Hospital, in Francis-street: The Meath Hospital, in Skinner's Alley: The Lock Hospital, in George's-Lane, for hapless Women and Children, tainted with the Venereal Infection: And the Charitable Hospital in King-street, Oxmantown, are all the humane and pious Growth of this transcendent Reign.
Those Hospitals are duly and regularly attended, by the most eminent Physicians, and skilful Surgeons, without Fee or Reward: So that, from this obvious Consideration, the frequent and large Collections in our Churches, for the comfortable Support, and Christian Education, of indigent Boys; the stated Distributions of our Chief Magistrates, to the Helpless and Needy; and, in Truth, from the general Disposition of its worthy Inhabitants; we may, without any Risque of incurring the least Censure of Adulation, or Vanity, pronounce DUBLIN as charitable a Metropolis as any in the known World. In the beautiful new Garden, plann'd by Dr. Mosse, breathing in all the natural Fragrance of the Spring, adorned with all the Elegancies of Art, all the Splendor of Illumination, and inspired with the most soothing Charms of delightful Harmony; to behold Crowds of young Ladies, in the full Glow of Beauty, and Bloom of Youth, finely habited, and elegantly decorated in the Manufactures of our own Country, (and finished in the most exquisite Taste, by our own Artizans); to behold them, I say, converting their very Amusements and Recreations to the heavenly Purposes of relieving the Distressed, must, to every thinking Irish Spectator, afford a Prospect of the utmost rational Joy!
As all Men, who render their Country distinguished Honour, or singular Service, deserve, therefore, lasting Monuments of public grateful Acknowledgment to their Memories; it is hoped that, in this Respect, Dr. Mosse will not be forgotten by those who are evidently fond of encouraging and rewarding public Zeal:
Eternal Joys to Mosse kind Heaven give, By whom, on Earth, so many Thousands live!
The Marine Society, of recent Institution also, disposeth many poor young Men into a Condition of acquiring an honest, and praise-worthy Livelihood, and of becoming useful Members of the Community; by serving on Board of his Majesty's Fleets in War-time, and serving our Merchants in Times of Peace; and, in this double Capacity, of contributing to the general Welfare of their Mother-Country, to which they may otherwise prove a Burden.
Our publick Entertainments of various Kinds are, for the most Part, conducted with strict Propriety, and real Politeness; those especially of the Theatre, which should, by no Means, pass for Matter of slight or casual Consideration; seeing the Romans, the greatest of all People, esteemed the Theatre worthy the Attention of particular Laws, Roscia Lex Theatralis, &c. Mr. Sheridan's general Merit as a Player stands confessed; but as a Manager, that Gentleman's falling frequently under the heavy Displeasure of the Public, (whether from an haughty Distaste to his Profession, or indulged Arrogance of Temper) with his violent Introduction of anti-dramatick Rope and Wire-dancing, Tumbling, and Fire-eating, to the visible Degradation of a liberal Stage, whereon nothing mean, shocking, or monstrous, should ever appear; he hath not succeeded so well: Then, his Scheme of uniting an Academy, for the sober regular Education of Youth, with a publick Theatre, seemed rather the feverish Delusion of a distempered Brain, and heated Imagination, than the cool deliberate Result of rational Judgment; from which fermented Source, also seem'd directly to flow his avowed Concern for the long lost Art of Oratory among us: Had Mr. Sheridan attended to the Debates of our High Court of Parliament; been frequent in our different Churches, and at the Bars of our Courts of Judicature; and had, in this Case, formed a comparative Judgment, from the Writings of Demosthenes, Plato, Isocrates, Cicero, and Pliny the Younger; from the Rules and Precepts of Aristotle, Longinus, Horace, Quinctilian, Scaliger, Rapin, Poree, and Rollin; he had been then convinced how little Occasion there was for his lamenting the Loss of an Art in this Kingdom, which breathes there in full Maturity of all it's persuasive Charms. This his dogmatical Assertion of the long-lost Art of Oratory, his wild Academical Projects, with the foregoing theatrical Inconsistencies, too much subject that Gentleman to the Character given, by the Roman Satirist, of an assuming sharp-set Greekling: