Imágenes de páginas

century, and a rapid outline, in three succeeding sections, of various campaigns in the service of Spain. So superficial, and comparatively inadequate a notice, of a period pregnant with interesting events, is to be regretted; for there, indeed, our countrymen found their most welcome refuge, and enjoyed peculiar advantages, while, in their native land, the genuine Irish, those unmistakably such, bearing the distinctive prænomina of O, and Mac, were more especially marked for oppression. Even their murder, we learn from Sir John Davis, as Meri Hiberni, was not legally cognisable as such. "And herewith, says Spenser, (View of the State of Ireland, page 244, edit. 1809,) would I also wish that all the O's, and the Macs, which the heads of septs have taken to their names, to be utterly forbidden and extinguished. For that the same being an ordinance, (as some say,) first made by O'Brien, for the strengthening of the Irish, the abrogating thereof will so much enfeeble them." An unworthy offshoot, as a soldier of the Brigade, though of some literary talent, James Rutledge, but who was expelled from that corps, in one of his dramatic pieces, the "Bureau d'Esprit," we may, in association with Spenser's expressed wish, add, introduces an Irishman, whose name felicitously combines the three distinctive Irish prænomina, "M. de Fitzmaco." The " Bureau d'Esprit" turned into just ridicule Madame Dudeffant's literary meetings, as well as others of similar pretensions. And Gibbon, (chapter XXV.,) says "I am informed that some champions of the Milesian Colony may still be found among the original natives of Ireland," which we know to be true, and that Spain is still looked upon as the original

nursery of the Irish population; but whether true or not, well may an O'Brien, or O'Neil, a Mac Carthy, or an O'Connell, approach his sovereign and say-'Equ' μὲν Μιλήσιος, ἤκω δὲ τῆς σῆς δικαιοσύνης βουλόμενος ἀπολαῦ σαι. (Herodot. 'Eparσ. T.) adding from the old collection of Michael Apostolius-Πάλαι ποτ' ἦσαν ἄλκιμοι Μιλήσιοι, (Lugd. Bat. Elzev., 1619, 4to.)

The long struggle for independence against Elizabeth's galling yoke, still bitterly remembered, and the frequent theme of song in the country, was no unfitting introduction to the author's main view; nor does he fail to impart a corresponding tone of animation to the recital. As a fair sample of the general execution of the work, the following extract will be sufficiently illustrative of the writer, and of the two most prominent characters, English and Irish, in this national contention.

"Since the fall of Edward Bruce at Dundalk, no chieftain had arisen, round whose standard the Irish could rally with so much confidence and unanimity, as now seemed to attend the splendid career of O'Neal. But these bright prospects were soon dissipated; and shades descended on the opening scene of victory and independence. Charles Blount, Baron Mountjoy, was appointed Chief Governor. Unaccustomed to the perils of war, and delighting in literature and retirement, this nobleman's arrival in Ireland excited little alarm; but the vigour of his mind, his capacity and courage, soon appeared in his measures, and admonished the Earl of Tyrone, that a statesman now directed the public councils, who could neither be approached by flattery, nor misled by artifice; that a soldier wielded the sword of state, who had skill to plan, and resolution to accomplish the suppression of the most enterprising efforts of Irish disaffection."

In the transit of O'Neal to join his allies in the south, an anecdote characteristic personally of the chieftain, and demonstrative of the still imperfect

fusion of the Irish and English race, here omitted, is related in Smith's History of Cork, (vol. i., p. 171.) "The barony of Barrets, or Barret's-country, as it is usually termed, takes its name from the ancient English family called Barret, of whom it is said that O'Neal, Earl of Tyrone, (anno 1600,) on his progress to Kinsale to assist the Spaniards, asked who lived in that castle, pointing to Ballincollig; and being told one Barret, who was a good Catholic, and his family possessed of that estate above four hundred years, O'Neal swore in Irish, 'No matter, I hate the English churl, as if he came but yesterday.'" Yet this alienation of race and feeling, prevalent as it must have been in the North, did not extend to Munster ; for the Fitzgeralds, the Roches, the De Courcy's, Fitz-Maurices, Barry's, &c., descendants of the first invaders, with the Burkes, the Birminghams, and others of Connaught, coalesced and extensively intermarried with the highest Milesian, or indigenous families, so as to incur the reproach of being "Ipsis Hibernis, Hiberniores," in English consideration.

Mountjoy was eventually successful; but the country possessed no quiet till after the Queen's demise. This able and unscrupulous sovereign-the Virgin Queen by anti-phrase-condescended (far more from policy than nature, for under her reign not less than 17,600 executions are numbered,)* to court, and, indeed,

* See "Parliamentary Debates," by Sir Henry Cavendish, under date of 27th November, 1770, where it is likewise affirmed, and not contradicted, that under Henry VIII. the executions by the axe or halter amounted to 72,000 on legal condemnation, although the statute-book only contained fourteen or fifteen capital offences, which, under George III. exceeded one hundred and fifty. This constant effusion of blood made Voltaire say that the History of England should be written by the executioner. Lord Beaumont

generally won the favour of her English subjects. For them she could attemper the iron hand of despotism; while Ireland, swayed with all the innate ferocity of her paternal blood, was made to feel its deadliest pressure. The desolated land was, in fact the object of her direst hate, if we except, perhaps, her implacable foe, Philip of Spain, a most congenial character, though less disguised in hypocrisy, popular, too, like her, with his own subjects-and her victim, the beauteous Mary of Scotland, too beauteous for female rivalry. Calumny, contempt, and wholesale murder of the Irish people, were ever welcome to her, as the writings of the day will evince.

Thus, George Tuberville, in his "Tragical Tales," first printed in 1587, chose even an epitaph for the utterance, gratifying, he well knew, to Elizabeth, of these feelings

"When rascall Irish hapned to rebel,

(Who seld, we see, doe long continue true,)

Unto the Lord of Essex lotte it fell

To have the lotte these outlawes to subdue."

Epitaph on Henry Sydenham and Giles Bampfield.

Nor does Spenser, though long connected with Ireland, appear more favourably disposed towards its inhabi

has shown how numerous the still unrepealed penal laws are: yet can anything be more disgraceful than those which proscribe the Jesuits, as a body, in France, unsatisfied, as justice should be, with the punishment of guilty individuals. But the order, as the ablest and foremost champions of catholicity, have ever, like the outworks of a citadel, been the first objects of aggression, both in calumny and personal persecution. This collective, indiscriminate outlawry is reproachable to more nations than one, of high pretensions to liberality of principles, and can only be paralleled, in its conflict of practice and profession, by the boasted free institutions of the Southern United States, which make complexion an irremissible crime, and repel from all social intercourse every human being, in whom may be discovered, or suspected, the slightest tinge of African blood.

tants, as numerous passages in his "View of Ireland," first published by Sir James Ware in 1633, sufficiently prove. His contemporary Shakspere, however, does not studiously revile the nation. In the "Comedy of Errors," words of no decorous import, (Act iii. sc. 2,) but with no depreciatory application to the people, are indeed ascribed to Dromio; and Ford, in the "Merry Wives of Windsor," (Act ii. sc. 2,) is made to say, "that he would rather trust an Irishman with his aqua-vitæ bottle, than his own wife with herself." We have here nothing to complain of; while, thanks to the marvellous influence of the illustrious philanthropist, whom we are proud to reckon among our fellow-citizens, Father Mathew, we may exult in the reformed habits and general temperance of the present day. Nor in the frequent reference to the Irish rebels, as they are denominated in Richard the Second, is the term accompanied by any epithet of exprobation. Of all the English contemporary authors, however, Sir John Davis shows most sympathy for the peoples' sufferings, and least prejudice of judgment in characterising the nation, which his office of Attorney-General enabled him fully to appreciate.

From the earliest ages Ireland has been the subject of the most odious misrepresentations. Strabo, in his fourth and eleventh books, classes her inhabitants with the Messagetes and others, who considered it a duty to eat their dead parents, as according to Herodotus the Indian tribe, whom he names Kallatians, equally did, (“ οἱ τούς γονέας κατεσθίουσι, ἔιρετο.”—Thalia 38.) And the same Greek geographer, (lib. iv.) also accuses them of habitual incest, which, however, we find Cæsar similarly assert of the Britons. "Uxores habent deni

« AnteriorContinuar »