Creation of the Earls of Thomond and Clanrickarde—How the King procured
Money—Prayers in English—Opposition of Dr. Dowdall—Accession of Queen
Mary—Joy of the Irish—The Catholic Service restored
Publicly—Accession of Queen Elizabeth—Shane O'Neill obtains his
Dominions—Parliament assembled—Unfair Dealing—Martyrs in the Reign of
Elizabeth—The Protestant Archbishop advises Persecution—Cruelties
enacted by English Officers—Shane O'Neill—The Deputy tries to get him
Poisoned or Assassinated, with the Queen's Concurrence—His Visit to
England—He refuses to Dress in the English Fashion.

[A.D. 1540-1567.]

very official was now required to take the oath of supremacy, and the
consequences of refusal were too well known to be estimated lightly. It
has been asserted by several historians, that no Irish clergyman
suffered death during this reign; but this statement is quite incorrect.
A careful examination of the State Papers and of the private records of
the religious orders, prove the contrary. In the spring of the year
1540, Lord Leonard Grey was recalled, and Sir William Brereton was
appointed Chief Justice. Grey was soon after committed to the Tower, on
a charge of high treason, and was executed in the following year. The
usual feuds between the Irish chieftains and the settlers were continued
during this period, as well as the usual feuds between the chiefs of
each party. Sir Anthony St. Leger, who was appointed Deputy at the close
of the year 1540, tried to reconcile the Ormondes and the Desmonds, and
describes the latter as "undoubtedly a very wise and discreet
gentleman"—a character which must be taken with some qualifications.

On the 1st of July, 1543, Murrough O'Brien was created Earl of Thomond
and Baron of Inchiquin; and De Burgo, known by the soubriquet of
Ulich-na-gceann ("of the heads"), from the number of persons whom he
decapitated in his wars, was created Earl of Clanrickarde and Baron of
Dunkellin. These titles were conferred by the King, with great pomp, at
Greenwich; but the Irish chieftains paid for the honour, if honour it
could be called where honour was forfeited, by acknowledging the royal

The Four Masters record the following events under the year 1545:—A
dispute between the Earl of Ormonde and the Lord Justice. Both repaired
to the King of England to decide the quarrel, and both swore that only
one of them should return to Ireland. "And so it fell out; for the Earl
died in England, and the Lord Justice returned to Ireland." Sir Richard
Cox asserts that the Earl and thirty-five of his servants were poisoned,
at a feast at Ely House, Holborn, and that he and sixteen of them died;
but he does not mention any cause for this tragedy. It was probably
accidental, as the Earl was a favourer of the reformed religion, and not
likely to meet with treachery in England. The Irish annalists do not
even allude to the catastrophe; the Four Masters merely observe, that
"he would have been lamented, were it not that he had greatly injured
the Church by advice of the heretics."[402]

Great dearth prevailed this year, so that sixpence of the old money was
given for a cake of bread in Connaught, or six white pence in Meath.

In 1546 they mention a rising of the Geraldines, "which did
indescribable damages;" and two invasions of the Lord Justice in Offaly,
who plundered and spoiled, burning churches and monasteries, crops and
corn. They also mention the introduction of a new copper coin into
Ireland, which the men of Ireland were obliged to use as silver.

The immense sums which Henry had accumulated by the plunder of religious
houses, appear to have melted away, like snow-wreaths sunshine, long
before the conclusion of his reign. His French and Scotch wars
undoubtedly exhausted large supplies; his mistresses made large demands
for their pleasures and their needy friends; yet there should have been
enough, and to spare, for all these claims. When the monasteries were
destroyed, the English clergy trembled for their own existence. The King
could easily have dispensed with their services, and deprived them of
their revenues. They were quite aware of their precarious tenure of
office, and willingly agreed, in 1543, to give Henry ten per cent, on
their incomes for three years, after the deduction of the tenths already
vested in the crown. Their incomes were thus ascertained, and a loan was
demanded, which, when granted, was made a gift by the ever-servile

In 1545 a benevolence was demanded, though benevolences had been
declared illegal by Act of Parliament. This method of raising money had
been attempted at an early period of his reign; but the proposal met
with such spirited opposition from the people, that even royalty was
compelled to yield. A few years later, when the fatal result of
opposition to the monarch's will and pleasure had become apparent, he
had only to ask and obtain. Yet neither percentage, nor tenths, nor
sacrilegious spoils, sufficed to meet his expenses; and, as a last
expedient, the coin was debased, and irreparable injury inflicted on the

On the 28th of January, 1547, Edward VI. was crowned King of England.
The Council of Regency appointed by Henry was set aside, and Seymour,
Duke of Somerset, appointed himself Protector. St. Leger was continued
in the office of Lord Deputy in Ireland; but Sir Edward Bellingham was
sent over as Captain-General, with a considerable force, to quell the
ever-recurring disturbances. His energetic character bore down all
opposition, as much by the sheer strength of a strong will as by force
of arms. In 1549 the Earl of Desmond refused to attend a Council in
Dublin, on the plea that he wished to keep Christmas in his own castle.
Bellingham, who had now replaced St. Leger as Lord Deputy, set out at
once, with a small party of horse, for the residence of the refractory
noble, seized him as he sat by his own fireside, and carried him off in
triumph to Dublin.

In 1548 O'Connor and O'More were expelled from Offaly and Leix, and
their territory usurped by an Englishman, named Francis Bryan. Cahir Roe
O'Connor, one of the sept, was executed in Dublin, and a number of the
tribe were sent to assist in the Scotch wars. The political cabals in
England consequent on the youth of the King, who nominally governed the
country, occasioned frequent changes in the Irish administration.

In 1551 the Lord Deputy Crofts succeeded Sir Thomas Cusack, and led an
army into Ulster against the Scotch settlers, who had long been regarded
with a jealous eye by the English Government; but he was defeated both
at this time and on a subsequent occasion. No Parliament was convened
during this short reign, and the affairs of the country were
administered by the Privy Council. Dr. Browne and Dr. Staples were
leading members. The Chancellor, Read, and the Treasurer, Brabazon, were
both English. The Irish members were Aylmer, Luttrell, Bath, Howth, and
Cusack, who had all recently conformed, at least exteriorly, to the new

The most important native chieftain of the age was Shane O'Neill. His
father, Con, surnamed Baccagh ("the lame"), had procured the title of
Baron of Dungannon, and the entail of the earldom of Tyrone, from Henry
VII., for his illegitimate son, Ferdoragh. He now wished to alter this
arrangement; but the ungrateful youth made such charges against the old
man, that he was seized and imprisoned by the Deputy. After his death
Shane contended bravely for his rights. The French appear to have made
some attempt about this period to obtain allies in Ireland, but the
peace which ensued between that country and England soon terminated such

All efforts to establish the new religion during this reign was equally
unsuccessful. On Easter Sunday, A.D. 1551, the liturgy was read for the
first time in the English tongue, in Christ Church Cathedral. As a
reward for his energy in introducing the reform in general, and the
liturgy in particular, Edward VI. annexed the primacy of all Ireland to
the see of Dublin by Act of Parliament. There was one insuperable
obstacle, however, in the way of using the English tongue, which was
simply that the people did not understand it. Even the descendants of
the Anglo-Norman were more familiar with the Celtic dialect, and some
attempt was made at this time to procure a Latin translation of the
Protestant communion service.[403]

Dr. Dowdall had been appointed, in 1543, to the primatial see of Armagh,
by Henry VIII., who naturally hoped he would prove a ready instrument in
his service; but, to the surprise of the court, he put himself at the
head of the orthodox party, and was one of the most faithful opposers of
the introduction of the Protestant form of prayer. In 1552 he was
obliged to seek refuge on the Continent. On the death of Dr. Wauchop,
petitions were sent to Rome, requesting his appointment to the see of
Armagh. He was proposed in Consistory on the 1st of March, 1553.

Mary succeeded to the crown in 1553. A Protestant writer explains the
difference between the religious persecutions of her reign, and those
which occurred during the reign of Henry VIII., with admirable
discrimination and impartiality: "The religious persecutions which
prevailed in this reign, proceeded altogether from a different cause
from that which stands as an everlasting blot on the memory of Henry
VIII. In Henry's instance, people were tortured and murdered in the name
of religion, but the real cause was their opposition to the will of an
arbitrary tyrant; whereas those who suffered under Mary, were martyred
because the Queen conscientiously believed in those principles to which
she clung with such pertinacity."[404] One of the principal of these
victims was Archbishop Cranmer, who had already caused several persons
to suffer in the flames for differing from his opinions, and thus almost
merited his fate. It is a curious fact that several Protestants came to
Ireland during this reign, and settled in Dublin; they were subsequently
the founders of respectable mercantile families.

Although the English people had adopted the reformed religion
nationally, there were still a few persons whom neither favour nor
indifference could induce to renounce the ancient faith; and this brief
respite from persecution tended to confirm and strengthen those who
wavered. In Ireland, always Catholic, the joy was unbounded. Archbishop
Dowdall immediately prepared to hold a provincial synod at Drogheda,
where enactments were made for depriving the conforming prelates and
priests. Happily their number was so few that there was but little
difficulty in making the necessary arrangements. The only prelates that
were removed were Browne, of Dublin; Staples, of Meath; Lancaster, of
Kildare; and Travers, of Leighlin. Goodacre died a few months after his
intrusion into the see of Armagh; Bale, of Ossory, fled beyond the seas;
Casey, of Limerick, followed his example. All were English except the
latter, and all, except Staples, were professing Protestants at the time
of their appointment to their respective sees. Bale, who owed the
Kilkenny people a grudge, for the indignant and rather warm reception
with which they treated him on his intrusion into the see, gives a
graphic account of the joy with which the news of Edward's death was
received. The people "flung up their caps to the battlements of the
great temple;" set the bells ringing; brought out incense and holy
water, and formed once more a Catholic procession, chanting the Sancta
Maria, ora pro nobis
, as of old. In fact, "on the accession of Mary to
the throne, so little had been done in the interest of the Reformation,
that there was little or nothing to undo. She issued a licence for the
celebration of Mass in Ireland, where no other service was or had been
celebrated worth mentioning, and where no other supreme head had been
ever in earnest acknowledged but the Pope."[405]

But the Irish obtained no temporal advantages during this reign—an
illustration of the truth of what I have before remarked, that the
nation has suffered almost as much from political as from religious
causes. The work of extermination still went on. The boundaries of the
Pale were increased thereby. Leix was designated the Queen's county, and
the fort of Campa obtained the name of Maryborough, in compliment to the
Queen. Offaly was named the King's county, and the fortress of Daingèan,
Philipstown, in compliment to her Spanish consort.

In the year 1553 Gerald and Edward, the sons of the late Earl of
Kildare, returned from exile, and were restored to the family honours
and possessions. The Four Masters say that "there was great rejoicing
because of their arrival, for it was thought that not one of the
descendants of the Earls of Kildare or of the O'Connors Faly would ever
again come to Ireland." They also mention that Margaret, a daughter of
O'Connor Faly, went to England, "relying on the number of her friends
and relatives there, and her knowledge of the English language, to
request Queen Mary to restore her father to her." Her petition was
granted, but he was soon after seized again by the English officials,
and cast into prison.

Shane O'Neill made an unsuccessful attempt to recover his paternal
dominions, in 1557. The following year his father died in
captivity,[406] Dublin, and he procured the murder of Ferdoragh, so that
he was able to obtain his wishes without opposition. Elizabeth had now
ascended the English throne (A.D. 1558), and, as usual, those in power,
who wished to retain office, made their religion suit the views of the
new ruler. The Earl of Sussex still continued Viceroy, and merely
reversed his previous acts. Sir Henry Sidney also made his worldly
interests and his religious views coincide. A Parliament was held in
Dublin, in 1560, on the 12th of January. It was composed of seventy-six
members, the representatives of ten counties, the remainder being
citizens and burgesses of those towns in which the royal authority was
predominant. "It is little wonder," observes Leland, "that, in despite
of clamour and opposition, in a session of a few weeks, the whole
ecclesiastical system of Queen Mary was entirely reversed." Every
subject connected with this assembly and its enactments, demands the
most careful consideration, as it has been asserted by some
writers—who, however, have failed to give the proofs of their
assertion—that the Irish Church and nation conformed at this time to
the Protestant religion. This certainly was not the opinion of the
Government officials, who were appointed by royal authority to enforce
the Act, and who would have been only too happy could they have reported
success to their mistress.

A recent writer, whose love of justice has led him to take a position in
regard to Irish ecclesiastical history which has evoked unpleasant
remarks from those who are less honest, writes thus: "There was not even
the show of free action in the ordering of that Parliament, nor the
least pretence that liberty of choice was to be given to it. The
instructions given to Sussex, on the 10th of May 1559, for making
Ireland Protestant by Act of Parliament, were peremptory, and left no
room for the least deliberation. Sussex had also other instructions
(says Cox) to him and the Council, to set up the worship of God as it is
in England, and make such statutes next Parliament as were lately made
in England, mutatis mutandis. [Hist. Angl. Part I. p.313.] It is plain
that her Majesty's command is not sufficient warrant for a national
change of faith, and that a convocation of bishops only is not the
proper or legal representative assembly of the Church. It is also plain
that the acts of an unwilling Parliament, and that Parliament one which
does not deserve the name of a Parliament, cannot be justly considered
as the acts of either the Irish Church or the Irish people."[407]

The official list of the members summoned to this Parliament, has been
recently published by the Irish Archæological Society. More than
two-thirds of the upper house were persons of whose devotion to the
Catholic faith there has been no question; there were but few members in
the lower house. No county in Ulster was allowed a representative, and
only one of its borough towns, Carrickfergus, was permitted to elect a
member. Munster furnished twenty members. No county members were allowed
in Connaught, and it had only two boroughs, Galway and Athenry, from
which it could send a voice to represent its wishes. The remaining fifty
members were chosen from a part of Leinster. In fact, the Parliament was
constituted on the plan before-mentioned. Those who were considered
likely to agree with the Government, were allowed to vote; those of
whose dissent there could be no doubt, were not allowed a voice in the
affairs of the nation.

It might be supposed that, with the exception of a few members of the
upper house, such a Parliament would at once comply with the Queen's
wishes; but the majority made no secret of their intention to oppose the
change of religion, and the penal code which should be enacted to
enforce it. The Deputy was in an unpleasant Position. Elizabeth would
not easily brook the slightest opposition to her wishes. The Deputy did
not feel prepared to encounter her anger, and he determined to avoid the
difficulty, by having recourse to a most unworthy stratagem. First, he
prorogued the house from the 11th of January to the 1st of February,
1560; and then took advantage of the first day of meeting, when but few
members were present, to get the Act passed; secondly, he solemnly swore
that the law should never be carried into execution, and by this false
oath procured the compliance of those who still hesitated. I shall give
authority for these statements.

The letter of Elizabeth, with her positive instructions to have the law
passed, was dated October 18, 1559, and may be seen in extenso in the Liber Munerum Hibernia, vol. i. p.113. There are several authorities
for the dishonest course pursued by the Lord Deputy. The author of Cambrensis Eversus says: "The Deputy is said to have used force, and
the Speaker treachery. I heard that it had been previously announced in
the house that Parliament would not sit on that very day on which the
laws against religion were enacted; but, in the meantime, a private
summons was sent to those who were well known to be favourable to the
old creed."[408] Father George Dillon, who died in 1650, a martyr to his
charity in assisting the plague-stricken people of Waterford, gives the
following account of the transaction: "James Stanihurst, Lord of
Corduff, who was Speaker of the lower house, by sending private summons
to some, without any intimation to the more respectable Irish who had a
right to attend, succeeded in carrying that law by surprise. As soon as
the matter was discovered, in the next full meeting of Parliament, there
was a general protest against the fraud, injustice, and deliberate
of the proceeding; but the Lord Justice, having solemnly
sworn that the law would never be carried into execution, the
remonstrants were caught in the dexterous snare, and consented that the
enactment should remain on the statute-book."[409] Dr. Rothe
corroborates these statements, and records the misfortunes which
followed the Speaker's family from that date.[410] Dr. Moran[411] has
very acutely observed, that the day appointed for the opening of
Parliament was the festival of St. Brigid, which was always kept with
special solemnity in Ireland; therefore, the orthodox members would
probably have absented themselves, unless informed of some business
which absolutely required their attendance.

The Loftus MS., in Marsh's Library, and Sir James Ware, both mention the
positive opposition of the Parliament to pass this law, and the mission
of the Earl of Sussex to consult her Majesty as to what should be done
with the refractory members. If he then proposed the treachery which he
subsequently carried out, there is no reason to suppose her Majesty
would have been squeamish about it, as we find she was quite willing to
allow even more questionable methods to be employed on other occasions.

The Loftus MS. mentions a convocation of bishops which assembled this
year, "by the Queen's command, for establishing the Protestant
religion." The convocation was, if possible, a greater failure than the
Parliament. If the bishops had obeyed the royal command, there would
have been some record of their proceedings; but until the last few
years, when the ipse dixit of certain writers was put forward as an
argument—for proof it cannot be called—that the Irish Catholic bishops
had conformed to the Protestant religion, so wild a theory was not even
hazarded. It would be impossible here to go into details and proofs of
the nonconformity of each bishop. The work has been already undertaken,
with admirable success, by an Anglican clergyman.[412] I shall, however,
give some of the impediments offered to the progress of the Reformation
in the time of Queen Elizabeth, and of the cruel persecutions which were
inflicted on those who dared to wish for liberty to worship God
according to their conscience.

Notwithstanding the solemn promise of the Lord Deputy, the penal
statutes against Catholics were carried out. In 1563 the Earl of Essex
issued a proclamation, by which all priests, secular and regular, were
forbidden to officiate, or even to reside in Dublin. Fines and penalties
were strictly enforced for absence from the Protestant service; before
long, torture and death were inflicted. Priests and religious were, as
might be expected, the first victims. They were hunted into mountains
and caves; and the parish churches and few monastic chapels which had
escaped the rapacity of Henry VIII., were sacrificed to the sacrilegious
emissaries of Elizabeth. Curry gives some account of those who suffered
for the faith in this reign. He says: "Among many other Roman Catholic
bishops and priests, there were put to death for the exercise of their
function in Ireland, Globy O'Boyle, Abbot of Boyle, and Owen O'Mulkeran,
Abbot of the Monastery of the Holy Trinity, hanged and quartered by Lord
Grey, in 1580. John Stephens suffered the same punishment from Lord
Burroughs, for saying Mass, in 1597; Thady O'Boyle was slain in his own
monastery at Donegal; six friars were slain at Moynihigan; John
O'Calyhor and Bryan O'Freeor were killed at their monastery in Ulster,
with Felimy O'Hara, a lay brother. Eneus Penny was massacred at the
altar of his own parish church, Killagh. Fourteen other priests died in
Dublin Castle, either from hard usage, or the violence of torture."

Dr. Adam Loftus, the Protestant Archbishop of Armagh, was one of the
most violent persecutors of the Catholics. In his first report to the
Queen, dated May 17th, 1565, he describes the nobility of the Pale as
all devoted to the ancient creed; and he recommends that they should be
fined "in a good round sum," which should be paid to her Majesty's use,
and "sharply dealt withal."[413] An original method of conversion,
certainly! But it did not succeed. On the 22nd of September, 1590, after
twenty-five years had been spent in the fruitless attempt to convert the
Irish, he writes to Lord Burleigh, detailing the causes of the general
decay of the Protestant religion in Ireland, and suggesting "how the
same may be remedied." He advises that the ecclesiastical commission
should be put in force, "for the people are poor, and fear to be fined."

He requests that he and such commissioners as are "well affected in
religion, may be permitted to imprison and fine all such as are
obstinate and disobedient;" and he has no doubt, that "within a short
time they will be reduced to good conformity." He concludes: "And this course of reformation, the sooner it is begun the better it will
prosper; and the longer it is deferred, the more dangerous it will be."
When remember that such words were written, and such deeds were enacted,
by the head of the Protestant Church in Ireland, and sanctioned by the
head of the Protestant Church in England, they may surely be content to
allow modern controversialists the benefit of their pleasant dream that
Catholic bishops conformed. If they had conformed to such doctrines and
such practice, it can scarcely be seen what advantage the Anglican
Establishment could gain from their parentage.

Seven years later, when the same prelate found that the more the Church
was persecuted the more she increased, he wrote to advise pacification:
"The rebels are increased, and grown insolent. I see no other cure for
this cursed country but pacification, [he could not help continuing] until, hereafter, when the fury is passed, her Majesty may, with more
convenience, correct the heads of those traitors."[414] The prelate was
ably seconded by the Lord Deputy. Even Sir John Perrot, who has the name
of being one of the most humane of these Governors, could not refrain
from acts of cruelty where Catholics were concerned. On one occasion he
killed fifty persons, and brought their heads home in triumph to
Kilmallock, where he arranged them as a trophy round the cross in the
public square. In 1582 he advised her Majesty "that friars, monks,
Jesuits, priests, nuns, and such like vermin, who openly uphold the
Papacy, should be executed by martial law."[415] The English officers
seem to have rivalled each other in acts of cruelty. One is said to have
tied his victim to a maypole, and then punched out his eyes with his
thumbs.[416] Others amused themselves with flinging up infants into the
air, and catching them on the points of their swords.[417] Francis
Crosby, the deputy of Leix, used to hang men, women, and children on an
immense tree which grew before his door, without any crime being imputed
to them except their faith, and then to watch with delight how the
unhappy infants hung by the long hair of their martyred mothers.[418]

Father Dominic à Rosario, the author of The Geraldines, scarcely
exceeded truth when he wrote these memorable words: "This far famed
English Queen has grown drunk on the blood of Christ's martyrs; and,
like a tigress, she has hunted down our Irish Catholics, exceeding in
ferocity and wanton cruelty the emperors of pagan Rome." We shall
conclude this painful subject for the present with an extract from
O'Sullivan Beare: "All alarm from the Irish chieftains being ceased, the
persecution was renewed with all its horrors. A royal order was
promulgated, that all should renounce the Catholic faith, yield up the
priests, receive from the heretical minister the morality and tenets of
the Gospel. Threats, penalties and force were to be employed to enforce
compliance. Every effort of the Queen and her emissaries was directed to
despoil the Irish Catholics of their property, and exterminate them.
More than once did they attempt this, for they knew that not otherwise
could the Catholic religion be suppressed in our island, unless by the
extermination of those in whose hearts it was implanted
; nor could
their heretical teachings be propagated, while the natives were alive to
detest and execrate them."[419]

In 1561 Sussex returned from England with reinforcements for his army,
and marched to Armagh, where he established himself in the Cathedral.
From thence he sent out a large body of troops to plunder in Tyrone, but
they were intercepted by the redoubtable Shane O'Neill, and suffered so
serious a defeat as to alarm the inhabitants of the Pale, and even the
English nation. Fresh supplies of men and arms were hastily despatched
from England, and the Earls of Desmond, Ormonde, Kildare, Thomond, and
Clanrickarde assembled round the Viceregal standard to assist in
suppressing the formidable foe. And well might they fear the
lion-hearted chieftain! A few years later, Sidney describes him as the
only strong man in Ireland. The Queen was warned, that unless he were
speedily put down, she would lose Ireland, as her sister had lost
Calais. He had gained all Ulster by his sword, and ruled therein with a
far stronger hand, and on a far firmer foundation, than ever any English
monarch had obtained in any part of Ireland. Ulster was his terra
; and he would be a bold, or, perhaps I should rather say, a rash
man, who dare intrude in these dominions. He could muster seven thousand
men in the field; and though he seldom hazarded a general engagement, he
"slew in conflicts 3,500 soldiers and 300 Scots of Sidney's army."[420] The English chronicler, Hooker, who lived in times when the blaze and
smoke of houses and haggards, set on fire by Shane, could be seen even
from Dublin Castle, declares that it was feared he intended to make a
conquest over the whole land.

Even his letters are signed, if not written, in royal style.[421] He
dates one Ex finibus de Tirconail, when about to wage war with the
neighbouring sept of O'Donnell; he dates another, Ex silvis meis,
when, in pursuance of his Celtic mode of warfare, he hastened into his
woods to avoid an engagement with the English soldiers; he signs himself Misi O'Neill—Me, the O'Neill. As this man was too clever to be
captured, and too brave to be conquered, a plan was arranged, with the
full concurrence of the Queen, by which he might be got rid of by poison
or assassination. Had such an assertion been made by the Irish
annalists, it would have been scouted as a calumny on the character of
"good Queen Bess;" but the evidence of her complicity is preserved in
the records of the State Paper Office. I shall show presently that
attempts at assassination were a common arrangement for the disposal of
refractory Irish chieftains during this reign.

The proposal for this diabolical treachery, and the arrangements made
for carrying it out, were related by Sussex to the Queen. He writes
thus: "In fine, I brake with him to kill Shane, and bound myself by my
oath to see him have a hundred marks of land to him and to his heirs for
reward. He seemed desirous to serve your Highness, and to have the land,
but fearful to do it, doubting his own escape after. I told him the ways
he might do it, and how to escape after with safety; which he offered
and promised to do." The Earl adds a piece of information, which, no
doubt, he communicated to the intended murderer, and which, probably,
decided him on making the attempt: "I assure your Highness he may do it
without danger if he will; and if he will not do what he may in your
service, there will be done to him what others may."[422]

Her Majesty, however, had a character to support; and whatever she may
have privately wished and commanded, she was obliged to disavow
complicity publicly. In two despatches from court she expresses her
"displeasure at John Smith's horrible attempt to poison Shane O'Neill in
his wine." In the following spring John Smith was committed to prison,
and "closely examined by Lord Chancellor Cusake." What became of John is
not recorded, but it is recorded that "Lord Chancellor Cusake persuaded
O'Neill to forget the poisoning." His clan, however, were not so easily
persuaded, and strongly objected to his meeting the Viceroy in person,
or affording him an opportunity which he might not live to forget. About
this time O'Neill despatched a document to the Viceroy for his
consideration, containing a list of "other evill practices devised to
other of the Irish nation within ix or tenn yeares past." The first item
mentions that Donill O'Breyne and Morghe O'Breyne, his son, "required
the benefit of her Majesty's laws, by which they required to be tried,
and thereof was denied;"[423] and that when they came to Limerick under
the protection of the Lord Deputy, they were proclaimed traitors, and
their lands and possessions taken from them. Several other violations of
protection are then enumerated, and several treacherous murders are
recorded, particularly the murder of Art Boy Cavanagh, at Captain
Hearn's house, after he had dined with him, and of Randall Boye's two
sons, who were murdered, one after supper, and the other in the tower,
by Brereton, "who escaped without punishment."

In October, 1562, Shane was invited to England, and was received by
Elizabeth with marked courtesy. His appearance at court is thus
described by Camden, A.D. 1562: "From Ireland came Shane O'Neill, who
had promised to come the year before, with a guard of axe-bearing
galloglasses, their heads bare, their long curling hair flowing on their
shoulders, their linen garments dyed with saffron, with long open
sleeves, with short tunics, and furry cloaks, whom the English wondered
at as much as they do now at the Chinese or American aborigines."
Shane's visit to London was considered of such importance, that we find
a memorandum in the State Paper Office, by "Secretary Sir W. Cecil,
March, 1562," of the means to be used with Shane O'Neill, in which the
first item is, that "he be procured to change his garments, and go like
an Englishman."[424] But this was precisely what O'Neill had no idea of
doing. Sussex appears to have been O'Neill's declared and open enemy.
There is more than one letter extant from the northern chief to the
Deputy. In one of these he says: "I wonder very much for what purpose
your Lordship strives to destroy me." In another, he declares that his
delay in visiting the Queen had been caused by the "amount of
obstruction which Sussex had thrown in his way, by sending a force of
occupation into his territory without cause; for as long as there shall
be one son of a Saxon in my territory against my will, from that time
forth I will not send you either settlement or message, but will send my
complaint through some other medium to the Queen." In writing to the
Baron of Slane, he says that "nothing will please him [the Deputy] but
to plant himself in my lands and my native territory, as I am told every
day that he desires to be styled Earl of Ulster."

The Lord Chancellor Cusack appears, on the contrary, to have constantly
befriended him. On 12th January, 1568, he writes of O'Neill's
"dutifulness and most commendable dealing with the Scots;" and soon
after three English members of the Dublin Government complain that
Cusack[425] had entrapped them into signing a letter to the unruly
chieftain. There is one dark blot upon the escutcheon of this remarkable
man. He had married the daughter of O'Donnell, Lord of one of the
Hebrides. After a time he and his father-in-law quarrelled, and Shane
contrived to capture O'Donnell and his second wife. He kept this lady
for several years as his mistress; and his own wife is said to have died
of shame and horror at his conduct, and at his cruel treatment of her father. English writers have naturally tried to blacken his character as
deeply as possible, and have represented him as a drunkard and a
profligate; but there appears no foundation for the former accusation.
The foundation for the latter is simply what we have mentioned, which,
however evil in itself, would scarcely appear so very startling to a
court over which Henry VIII. had so long presided.

After many attempts at assassination, Shane-an-Diomais [John the
Ambitious] fell a victim to English treachery. Sir William Piers, the
Governor of Carrickfergus, invited some Scotch soldiers over to Ireland,
and then persuaded them to quarrel with him, and kill him. They
accomplished their purpose, by raising a disturbance at a feast, when
they rushed on the northern chieftain, and despatched him with their
swords. His head was sent to Dublin, and his old enemies took the poor
revenge of impaling it on the Castle walls.

The Earl of Sussex was recalled from Ireland in 1564, and Sir Henry
Sidney was appointed Viceroy. The Earls of Ormonde and Desmond had again
quarrelled, and, in 1562, both Earls were summoned to court by the
Queen. Elizabeth was related to the Butlers through her mother's family,
and used to boast of the loyalty of the house of Ormonde. The Geraldines
adhered to the ancient faith, and suffered for it. A battle was fought
at Affane, near Cappoquin, between the two parties, in which Desmond was
wounded and made prisoner. The man who bore him from the field asked,
tauntingly: "Where is now the proud Earl of Desmond?" He replied, with
equal pride and wit: "Where he should be; upon the necks of the