Glimpses of Social Life in the Seventeenth Century—Literature and
Literary Men—Keating—the Four
Masters—Colgan—Ward—Usher—Ware—Lynch—Trade—Commerce depressed by
the English—Fairs—Waterford Rugs—Exportation of Cattle
forbidden—State of Trade in the Principal Towns—Population—Numbers
employed in different Trades—Learned
Professions—Physicians—Establishment of their College in
Churches—Post-houses and Post-offices
established—Custom-house—Exchange—Amusements—Plays at the
Castle—The First Theatre set up in Werburgh-street—Domestics Manners
and Dress—Food-A Country Dinner Party in Ulster.

[A.D. 1600-1700.]

otwithstanding the persecutions to which the Irish had been subjected
for so many centuries, they preserved their love of literature, and the
cultivated tastes for which the Celt has been distinguished in all ages.
Indeed, if this taste had not existed, the people would have sunk into
the most degraded barbarism; for education was absolutely forbidden, and
the object of the governing powers seems to have been to reduce the
nation, both intellectually and morally, as thoroughly as possible. In
such times, and under such circumstances, it is not a little remarkable
to find men devoting themselves to literature with all the zest of a
freshman anticipating collegiate distinctions, while surrounded by
difficulties which would certainly have dismayed, if they did not
altogether crush, the intellects of the present age. I have already of
the mass of untranslated national literature existing country and in
continental libraries. These treasures of mental labour are by no means
confined to one period of our history; but it could scarcely be expected
that metaphysical studies or the fine arts could flourish at a period
when men's minds were more occupied with the philosophy of war than with
the science of Descartes, and were more inclined to patronize a new
invention in the art of gunnery, than the chef d'oeuvre of a limner or
sculptor. The Irish language was the general medium of conversation in
this century. No amount of Acts of Parliament had been able to repress
its use, and even the higher classes of English settlers appear to have
adopted it by preference. Military proclamations were issued in this
language;[512] or if the Saxon tongue were used, it was translated for
the general benefit into the vernacular. During the Commonwealth,
however, the English tongue made some way; and it is remarkable that the
English-speaking Irish of the lower classes, in the present day, have
preserved the idioms and the accentuation used about this period. Many
of the expressions which provoke the mirth of the modern Englishman, and
which he considers an evidence of the vulgarity of the uneducated Irish,
may be found in the works of his countrymen, of which he is most justly

The language of Cromwell's officers and men, from whom the Celt had such
abundant opportunities of learning English, was (less the cant of
Puritanism) the language of Shakspeare, of Raleigh, and of Spenser. The
conservative tendencies of the Hibernian preserved the dialect intact,
while causes, too numerous for present detail, so modified it across the
Channel, that each succeeding century condemned as vulgarism what had
been the highest fashion with their predecessors. Even as Homeric
expressions lingered for centuries after the blind bard's obit had been
on record, so the expressions of Chaucer, Spenser, and Shakspeare, may
still be discovered in provincial dialects in many parts of the British
Isles. I do not intend to quote Tate and Brady as models of
versification and of syntax; but if the best poets of the age did not
receive the commission to translate the Psalms into verse, it was a poor
compliment to religion. We find the pronunciation of their rhymes
corresponding with the very pronunciation which is now condemned as
peculiarly Irish. Newton also rhymes way and sea, while one can
scarcely read a page of Pope[513] without finding examples of
pronunciation now supposed to be pure Hibernicism. In the Authorized
Protestant version of the Bible, learn is used in the sense of to
, precisely as it is used in Ireland at the present day: "If thy
children shall keep my covenant and my testimonies that I shall learn them" and their use of the term forninst is undoubtedly derived from
an English source, for we find it in Fairfax's Tasso.[514]

History and theology were the two great studies of the middle ages, and
to these subjects we find the literati of Ireland directing special
attention. The importance and value of Latin as a medium of literary
intercommunication, had been perceived from an early period: hence that
language was most frequently employed by Irish writers after it had
become known in the country. It is unquestionably a national credit,
that no amount of suffering, whether inflicted for religious or
political opinions, deprived the Irish of historians.[515] Some of their
works were certainly compiled under the most disadvantageous

None of the writers whom we shall presently enumerate, worked for hope
of gain, or from any other motive save that of the purest patriotism.
Keating, whose merits are becoming more and more recognized since modern
research has removed Celtic traditions from the region of fable to the
tableland of possibility, wrote his History principally in the Galtee
Mountains, where he had taken refuge from the vengeance of Carew,[516] Lord President of Munster. Although he had received a high education in
the famous College of Salamanca, for the sake of his people he preferred
suffering persecution, and, if God willed it, death, to the peaceful
life of literary quiet which he might have enjoyed there. He wrote in
his mother-tongue, although master of many languages; and in consequence
of this choice his work remained in MS. for many years. When it came to
light, those who were ignorant of the MS. materials of ancient Irish
history, were pleased to suppose that he had invented a considerable
portion, and supplied the remainder from the viva voce traditions of
the country people. Unfortunately, he was not sufficiently master of the
science of criticism to give the authorities which he had used so
carefully, and to prove their value and authenticity. But truth has at
length triumphed. Several of the works from which he has quoted have
been discovered; and it has been shown that, wild as some of his legends
may read in the garb in which he has given them, there is proof that
important facts underlie the structure, though it has been somewhat
overembellished by a redundant fancy.



Keating was also a poet. Many of his pieces are still well known and
highly popular in Munster, and copies of nearly all of them are
preserved by the Royal Irish Academy. One of his ballads has been
"coaxed" into verse by D'Arcy M'Gee, in his Gallery of Irish Writers.
It is entitled "Thoughts on Innisfail." I shall give one verse as a
specimen, and as an illustration of the popular feelings of the time:

"And the mighty of Naas are mighty no more,
Like the thunders that boomed 'mid the banners of yore;
And the wrath-ripened fields, 'twas they who could reap them;
Till they trusted the forsworn, no foe could defeat them."



The poet-priest must have died at an advanced age, though the precise
date of his demise has not been ascertained. He has also left some
religious works; and his "Shaft of Death" is well known and much admired
both by divines and Celtic scholars.[517]

O'Sullivan Beare's history is too well known to require more than a
passing mention. It was said that he wrote as fiercely as he fought.
Archbishop Usher, with whom he had many a literary feud, appears to have
been of this opinion; for, after having described O'Sullivan as an
"egregious liar," he was so sensitive to any counter abuse he might
receive in return, that he carefully cut out every disparaging epithet
which the historian used from the copy of his reply, which at present
lies, with Usher's other works, in the Library of Trinity College,

The Four Masters are included amongst the Irish writers of this century,
but I have already given ample details of their labours. The Acta
of Colgan, and Ward's literary efforts in a foreign land for
his country, are beyond all praise. Usher and Ware were also amongst the
giants of these days; and, considering the state of political and
religious excitement amongst which they lived and wrote, it is
incomparably marvellous that they should not have dipped their pens
still deeper into the gall of controversy and prejudice. Usher was one
of the Hibernis ipsis Hiberniores, for his family came to Ireland with
King John; but he admired and wrote Celtic history with the enthusiasm
of a Celt, and he gathered materials for other men's work with patient
industry, however he may have allowed party spirit to influence and warp
his own judgment in their use. Usher was Ware's most ardent patron.
Habits of indefatigable research did for him, in some degree, what
natural genius has done for others. Nor was he slow to recognize or
avail himself of native talent; and there can be no doubt, if he had
lived a few years longer after his acquaintance with MacFirbis, that
Irish literature would have benefited considerably by the united efforts
of the man of power, who was devoted to learning, and the man of gifts,
who had the abilities which neither position nor wealth can purchase.
John Lynch, the Bishop of Killala, and the indefatigable and successful
impugner of Cambrensis, was another literary luminary of the age. His
career is a fair sample of the extraordinary difficulties experienced by
the Irish in their attempts to cultivate intellectual pursuits, and of
their undaunted courage in attaining their end. Usher has himself
recorded his visit to Galway, where found Lynch, then a mere youth,
teaching a school of humanity (A.D. 1622). "We had proofe," he says,
"during our continuance in that citie, how his schollars profitted under
him, by the verses and orations which they brought us."[518] Usher then
relates how he seriously advised the young schoolmaster to conform to
the popular religion; but, as Lynch declined to comply with his wishes,
he was bound over, under sureties of £400 sterling, to "forbear
teaching." The tree of knowledge was, in truth, forbidden fruit, and
guarded sedulously by the fiery sword of the law. I cannot do more than
name a few of the other distinguished men of this century. There was
Florence Conry, Archbishop of Tuam, and founder of the Irish College of
Louvain. He was one of the first to suggest and to carry out the idea of
supplying Irish youth with the means of education on the Continent,
which they were denied at home. It is a fact, unexampled in the history
of nations, that a whole race should have been thus denied the means of
acquiring even the elements of learning, and equally unexampled is the
zeal with which the nation sought to procure abroad the advantages from
which they were so cruelly debarred at home. At Louvain some of the most
distinguished Irish scholars were educated. An Irish press was
established within its halls, which was kept constantly employed, and
whence proceeded some of the most valuable works of the age, as well as
a scarcely less important literature for the people, in the form of
short treatises on religion or history. Colleges were also established
at Douay, Lisle, Antwerp, Tournay, and St. Omers, principally through
the exertions of Christopher Cusack, a learned priest of the diocese of
Meath. Cardinal Ximenes founded an Irish College at Lisbon, and Cardinal
Henriquez founded a similar establishment at Evora. It is a remarkable
evidence of the value which has always been set on learning by the
Catholic Church, that even in times of persecution, when literary
culture demanded such sacrifices, she would not admit uneducated persons
to the priesthood. The position which the proscribed Catholic priesthood
held in Ireland at this period, compared with that which the favoured
clergy of the Established Church held in England, is curious and
significant. Macaulay says of the latter: "A young levite—such was the
phrase then in use—might be had for his board, a small garret, and ten
pounds a year; and might not only perform his own professional
functions, but might also save the expenses of a gardener or a groom.
Sometimes the reverend man nailed up the apricots, and sometimes he
curried the coach-horses. He cast up the farrier's bills. He walked ten
miles with a message or a parcel. He was permitted to dine with the
family, but he was expected to content himself with the plainest
fare—till he was summoned to return thanks for the repast, from a great
part of which he had been excluded."[519]

In Ireland there were few learned men in the Established Church, and
even Usher seems to have been painfully indifferent to the necessity of
superior education, as well as regular ordination, for his clergy. In
1623 Dr. Blair was invited to Ireland by Lord Clannaboy, to take the
living of Bangor, vacated by the death of the Rev. John Gibson, "sence
Reformacione from Popary the first Deane of Down." Dr. Blair objected
both to episcopal government and to use the English Liturgy; yet he
"procured a free and safe entry to the holy ministry," which, according
to his own account, was accomplished thus. His patron, Lord Clannaboy,
informed "the Bishop Echlin how opposite I was to episcopacy and their
liturgy, and had the influence to procure my admission on easy and
honorable terms." At his interview with the Bishop, it was arranged that
Dr. Blair was to receive ordination from Mr. Cunningham and the
neighbouring clergy, and the Bishop was "to come in among them in no
other relation than a presbyter." These are the Bishop's own words; and
his reason for ordaining at all was: "I must ordain you, else neither I
nor you can answer the law nor brook the land." In 1627 Blair had an
interview with Archbishop Usher, and he says "they were not so far from
agreeing as he feared." "He admitted that all those things [episcopacy
and a form of prayer] ought to have been removed, but the constitution
and laws of the place and time would not permit that to be done." A few
years later Mr. John Livingstone thus relates his experience on similar
subjects. He had been appointed also by Lord Clannaboy to the parish of
Killinchy; and, "because it was needful that he should be ordained to
the ministry, and the Bishop of Down, in whose diocese Killinchy was,
being a corrupt and timorous man, and would require some engagement,
therefore my Lord Clannaboy sent some with me, and wrote to Mr. Andrew
Knox, Bishop of Raphoe, who told me he knew my errand, and that I came
to him because I had scruples against episcopacy and ceremonies,
according as Mr. Josiah Welsh and some others had done before; and that
he thought his old age was prolonged for little other purpose than to
perform such ceremonies." It was then arranged that he should be
ordained as Dr. Blair and others had been. The Bishop gave him the book
of ordination, and said, "though he durst not answer it to the State,"

that he might draw a line over anything he did not approve of, and that
it should not be read. "But," concludes Mr. Livingstone, "I found that
it had been so marked by some others before, that I needed not mark
anything; so the Lord was pleased to carry that business far beyond
anything that I have thought, or almost ever desired."[520]

Such facts as these were well known to the people; and we can scarcely
be surprised that they increased their reverence for the old clergy, who
made such sacrifices for the attainment of the learning necessary for
their ministry, and who could not minister, even if they would, without
having received the office and authority of a priest by the sacrament of

But literary efforts in Ireland were not confined to the clergy;
O'Flaherty and MacFirbis devoted themselves with equal zeal to the
dissemination and preservation of knowledge; and we envy not the man who
can read without emotion the gentle complaint of the former, in his Ogygia: "I live a banished man within the bounds of my native soil—a
spectator of others enriched by my birthright." And again: "The Lord
hath wonderfully recalled the royal heir to his kingdom, with the
applause of all good men; but He hath not found me worthy to be restored
to the kingdom of my cottage. Against Thee, O Lord, have I sinned: may
the Lord be blessed for ever!"

The customs and dress of the upper classes in Ireland were probably much
the same as those of a similar rank in England.[521] Commerce was so
constantly restricted by English jealousy, that it had few opportunities
of development. In a curious old poem, called the Libel of English
, the object of which was to impress on the English the
necessity of keeping all trade and commerce in their own hands, we find
Irish exports thus enumerated:—

"Hides and fish, salmon, hake, herring,
Irish wool and linen cloth, falding

And masternes good be her marchandie;
Hertes, birds, and others of venerie,
Skins of otter, squirrel and Irish hare,
Of sheep, lambe, and fore is her chaffere,
Felles of kids, and conies great plentie."

It will be observed that this list contains only the natural produce of
the country; and had any attempt been made to introduce or encourage
manufactures, some mention would have been made of them. The silver and
gold mines of the country are alluded to further on, and the writer very
sensibly observes, that if "we [the English] had the peace and good-will
of the wild Irish, the metal might be worked to our advantage." In the
sixteenth century the Irish sent raw and tanned hides, furs, and
woollens to Antwerp,[522] taking in exchange sugar, spices, and mercery.
The trade with France and Spain for wines was very considerable; fish
was the commodity exchanged for this luxury; and even in 1553, Philip
II. of Spain paid[523] £1,000 yearly—a large sum for that period—to
obtain liberty for his subjects to fish upon the north coast of Ireland.
Stafford, in speaking of the capture of Dunboy Castle, says that
O'Sullivan made £500 a-year by the duties which were paid to him by
foreign fishermen, "although the duties they paid were very

Stanihurst has described a fair in Dublin, and another in Waterford,
where he says the wares were "dog-cheap." These fairs continued for six
days, and merchants came to them from Flanders and France, as well as
from England. He gives the Waterford people the palm for commerce,
declares they are "addicted to thieving," that they distil the best aqua vitæ, and spin the choicest rugs in Ireland. A friend of his, who
took a fancy to one of these "choice rugs," being "demurrant in London,
and the weather, by reason of a hard hoar frost, being somewhat nipping,
repaired to Paris Garden, clad in one of the Waterford rugs. The
mastiffs had no sooner espied him, but deeming he had been a bear, would
fain have baited him; and were it not that the dogs were partly muzzled
and partly chained, he doubted not he should have been well tugged in
this Irish rug."

After the plantation of Ulster, Irish commerce was allowed to flourish
for a while; the revenue of the crown doubled; and statesmen should have
been convinced that an unselfish policy was the best for both countries.
But there will always be persons whose private interests clash with the
public good, and who have influence enough to secure their own advantage
at the expense of the multitude. Curiously enough, the temporary
prosperity of Ireland was made a reason for forbidding the exports which
had produced it. A declaration was issued by the English Government in
1637, which expressly states this, and places every possible bar to its
continuance. The Cromwellian settlement, however, acted more effectually
than any amount of prohibitions or Acts of Parliament, and trade was
entirely ruined by it for a time. When it again revived, and live cattle
began to be exported in quantities to England, the exportation was
strictly forbidden. The Duke of Ormonde, who possessed immense tracts of
land in Ireland, presented a petition, with his own hands, against the
obnoxious measure, and cleverly concluded it with the very words used by
Charles himself, in the declaration for the settlement of Ireland at the
Restoration, trusting that his Majesty "would not suffer his good
subjects to weep in one kingdom when they rejoiced in another." Charles,
however, wanted money; so Ireland had to wait for justice. A vote,
granting him £120,000, settled the matter; and though for a time cattle
were smuggled into England, the Bill introduced after the great fire of
London, which we have mentioned in the last chapter, settled the matter
definitively. The Irish question eventually merged into an unseemly
squabble about prerogative, but Charles was determined "never to kiss
the block on which his father lost his head."[525] He overlooked the
affront, and accepted the Bill, "nuisance" and all. One favour, however,
was granted to the Irish; they were graciously permitted to send
contributions of cattle to the distressed Londoners in the form of
salted beef. The importation of mutton, lamb, butter, and cheese, were
forbidden by subsequent Acts, and salted beef, mutton, and pork were not
allowed to be exported from Ireland to England until the general dearth
of 1757.

The commercial status of the principal Irish towns at this period (A.D.
1669), is thus given by Mr. Bonnell, the head collector of Irish customs
in Dublin: "Comparing together the proceeds of the duties for the six
years ending December, 1669, received from the several ports of Ireland,
they may be thus ranked according to their worth respectively, expressed
in whole numbers, without fractions, for more clearness of

"Rate. Ports. Proportion
per cent.
1 Dublin 40
2 Cork 10
3 Waterford 7
Galway 7
Limerick 5
4 Kinsale 5
Youghal 5
Drogheda 3
5 Londonderry 3
Carrickfergus 3
Ross 1
Wexford 1
6 Dundalk 1
Baltimore 1
Sligo 1"

"Killybeg, Dungarvan, Donaghadee, Strangford, Coleraine, and Dingle, are
mentioned as "under rate."

The linen trade had been encouraged, and, indeed, mainly established in
Ireland, by the Duke of Ormonde. An English writer[526] says that
200,000 pounds of yarn were sent annually to Manchester, a supply which
seemed immense in that age; and yet, in the present day, would hardly
keep the hands employed for forty-eight hours. A political economist of
the age gives the "unsettledness of the country" as the first of a
series of reasons why trade did not flourish in Ireland, and, amongst
other remedies, suggests sumptuary laws and a tax upon celibacy, the
latter to weigh quite equally on each sex.[527] Sir William Petty does
not mention the trade but he does mention the enormous amount of
tobacco[528] consumed by the natives. It is still a disputed question
whether the so-called "Danes' pipes," of which I give an illustration,
were made before the introduction of tobacco by Sir Walter Raleigh, or
whether any other narcotizing indigenous plant may have been used. Until
one, at least, of these pipes shall have been found in a position which
will indicate that they must have been left there at an earlier period
than the Elizabethan age, the presumption remains in favour of their
modern use.



I shall now give some brief account of the domestic life of our
ancestors 200 years ago, and of the general state of society, both in
the upper and lower classes. Petty estimates the population of Ireland
at 1,100,000, or 200,000 families. Of the latter he states that 160,000
have no fixed hearths; these, of course, were the very poorest class,
who lived then, as now, in those mud hovels, which are the astonishment
and reprobation of foreign tourists. There were 24,000 families who had
"one chimney," and 16,000 who had more than one. The average number
appears to be four. Dublin Castle had 125, and the Earl of Heath's
house, twenty-seven. There were, however, 164 houses in Dublin which had
more than ten.

Rearing and tending cattle was the principal employment of the people,
as, indeed, it always has been. There were, he estimates, 150,000
employed in this way, and 100,000 in agriculture. "Tailors and their
wives" are the next highest figure—45,000. Smiths and apprentices,
shoemakers and apprentices, are given at the same figure—22,500.
Millers and their wives only numbered 1,000, and the fishery trade the
same. The woolworkers and their wives, 30,000; but the number of
alehouse-keepers is almost incredible. In Dublin, where there were only
4,000 families, there was, at one time, 1,180 alehouses and ninety-one
public brewhouses. The proportion was equally great throughout the
country; and if we may judge from the Table of Exports from Belfast
before-mentioned, the manufacture was principally for home consumption,
as the returns only mention three barrels of beer to Scotland, 124 ditto
to the Colonies, 147 to France and Flanders, nineteen to Holland, and
forty-five to Spain and the Mediterranean. There are considerable
imports of brandy and wines, but no imports of beer. We find, however,
that "Chester ale" was appreciated by the faculty as a medicament, for
Sir Patrick Dun, who was physician to the army during the wars of 1688,
sent two dozen bottles of Chester ale, as part of his prescription, to
General Ginkles, Secretary-at-War, in the camp at Connaught, in 1691. He
added two dozen of the best claret, and at the same time sent a "lesser
box," in which there was a dozen and a-half potted chickens in an
earthen pot, and in another pot "foure green geese." "This," writes the
doctor, "is the physic I advise you to take; I hope it will not be
nauseous or disagreeable to your stomach-a little of it upon a
march."[529] It is to be supposed such prescriptions did not diminish
the doctor's fame, and that they were appreciated as they deserved.

A century previous (A.D. 1566), Thomas Smyth seems to have been the
principal, if not the only English practitioner in Dublin; and although
he sold his drugs with his advice, his business did not pay. However,
Thomas was "consoled" and "comforted," and "induced to remain in the
country," by the united persuasions of the Lord Deputy, the Counsellors
of State, and the whole army. The consolation was administered in the
form of a concordat, dated April 25th, 1566, by which an annual stipend
was settled on him, the whole army agreeing to give him one day's pay,
and every Counsellor of State twenty shillings, "by reason of his long
contynuance here, and his often and chardgeable provision of druggs and
other apothecarie wares, which have, from tyme to tyme, layen and
remained in manner for the most part unuttered; for the greater part of
this contray folke ar wonted to use the mynisterie of their leeches and
such lyke, and neglecting the apothecarie's science, the said Thomas
thereby hath been greatly hyndered, and in manner enforced to abandon
that his faculty."[530] It was only natural that the English settler
should distrust the leeche who gathered his medicines on the hillside
by moonlight, "who invoked the fairies and consulted witches;" and it
was equally natural that the native should distrust the Saxon, who could
kill or cure with those magical little powders and pills, so
suspiciously small, so entirely unlike the traditionary medicants of the
country. In a list still preserved of the medicines supplied for the use
of Cromwell's army, we may judge of the "medicants" used in the
seventeenth century. They must have been very agreeable, for the
allowance of sugar, powder and loaf, of "candie," white and brown, of
sweet almonds and almond cakes, preponderates wonderfully over the
"rubarcke, sarsaparill, and aloes."[531] Mr. Richard Chatham was
Apothecary-General, and had his drugs duty free by an order, dated at
"ye new Customs' House, Dublin, ye 24th of June, 1659."

Dr. William Bedell was the first who suggested the foundation of a
College of Physicians. On the 15th of April, 1628, he wrote to Usher
thus: "I suppose it hath been an error all this while to neglect the
faculties of law and physic, and attend only to the ordering of one poor
college of divines." In 1637 a Regius Professor of Physic was nominated.
In 1654 Dr. John Stearne was appointed President of Trinity Hall, which
was at this time set apart "for the sole and proper use of physicians;"
and, in 1667, the physicians received their first charter from Charles
II. The new corporation obtained the title of "The President and College
of Physicians." It consisted of fourteen Fellows, including the
President, Dr. Stearne. Stearne was a grand-nephew of Archbishop Usher,
and was born in his house at Ardbraccan, county Meath. He was a man of
profound learning; and although he appears to have been more devoted to
scholastic studies than to physic, the medical profession in Ireland may
well claim him as an ornament and a benefactor to their faculty. The
College of Physicians was without a President from 1657 until 1690, when
Sir Patrick Dun was elected. The cause of this was the unfortunate
illiberality of the Provost and Fellows of Trinity College, who refused
to confirm the election of Dr. Crosby, simply because he was a Roman
Catholic. In 1692 the College received a new charter and more extended
privileges; and these, with certain Acts of Parliament, form its present

In medieval cities the castle was the centre round which the town
extended itself. Dublin was no exception to this rule, and in this
century we find High-street and Castle-street the fashionable resorts.
The nobility came thither for society, the tradesmen for protection.
Castle-street appears to have been the favourite haunt of the
bookselling fraternity, and Eliphud Dobson (his name speaks for his
religious views) was the most wealthy bookseller and publisher of his
day. His house was called the Stationers' Arms, which flourished in the
reign of James II. The Commonwealth was arbitrary in its requirements,
and commanded that the printer (there was then only one) should submit
any works he printed to the Clerk of the Council, to receive his imprimatur before publishing the same. The Williamites were equally
tyrannical, for Malone was dismissed by them from the office of State
Printer, and tried in the Queen's Bench, with John Dowling, in 1707, for
publishing "A Manuall of Devout Prayers," for the use of Roman

There were also a great number of taverns and coffee-houses in this
street; the most noted was the Rose Tavern, which stood nearly opposite
to the present Castle steps. Swift alludes to this in the verses which
he wrote on his own death, in 1731:—

"Suppose me dead; and then suppose
A club assembled at the Rose."

Political clubs, lawyers' clubs, and benevolent clubs, all assembled
here; and the Friendly Brothers of St. Patrick had their annual dinner
at the Rose, at the primitive hour of four o'clock, annually, on the
17th of March, having first transacted business and heard a sermon at
St. Patrick's.

The first Dublin newspaper was published in this century, by Robert
Thornton, bookseller, at the sign of the Leather Bottle, in
Skinner's-row, A.D. 1685. It consisted of a single leaf of small folio
size, printed on both sides, and written in the form of a letter, each
number being dated, and commencing with the word "sir." The fashionable
church was St. Michael's in High-street. It is described, in 1630, as
"in good reparacion; and although most of the parishioners were
recusants, it was commonly full of Protestants, who resorted thither
every Sunday to hear divine service and sermon." This church had been
erected originally for Catholic worship. Meanwhile the priests were
obliged to say Mass wherever they could best conceal themselves; and in
the reign of James I. their services were solemnized in certain back
rooms in the houses of Nicholas Quietrot, Carye, and the Widow O'Hagan,
in High-street.[533] Amongst the fashionables who lived in this locality
we find the Countess of Roscommon, Sir P. Wemys, Sir Thady Duff, and
Mark Quin, the Lord Mayor of Dublin in 1667. Here, too, was established
the first Dublin post-house, for which the nation appears to have been
indebted indirectly to Shane O'Neill, of whose proceedings her Majesty
Queen Elizabeth was anxious to be cognizant with as little delay as
possible. In 1656, it having been found that the horses of the military,
to whom postal communications had been confided previously, were "much
wearied, and his Highness' affayres much prejudiced for want of a
post-office to carry publique letters," Evan Vaughan was employed to
arrange postal communications, and was made Deputy Postmaster. Major
Swift was the Postmaster at Holyhead, and he was allowed £100 a-year for
the maintenance of four boatmen, added to the packet boats, at the rate
of 8d. per diem and 18s. per month for wages. Post-houses were
established in the principal towns in Ireland about the year 1670, by
means of which, for 8d. or 12d., letters could be conveyed, twice a
week, to the "remotest parts of Ireland," and which afforded "the
conveniency of keeping good correspondence."

The Dublin Philosophical Society held their first meetings on Cork-hill,
at the close of this century, and it is evident that there were many men
in that age who had more than ordinary zeal for scientific research. Dr.
Mullen has left a detailed account of the difficulties under which he
dissected an elephant, which had been burned to death in the booth where
it was kept for exhibition on the 17th June, 1682. According to Haller,
oculists are indebted to him for some important discoveries connected
with the organs of vision.[534]

The old Custom-house stood on the site of houses now comprised in that
part of Dublin known as Wellington-quay. Here a locality was selected,
in the reign of James I., for the purpose of "erecting cranes and making
wharves." This street, now so busy and populous, was then in the
suburbs, and is described in the lease, A.D. 1620, as "a certain parcel
of ground, lying in or near Dame-street, street, in the suburbs of the
city of Dublin." A new Custom-house was erected about the period of the
Restoration, with the addition of a council-chamber, where the Privy
Council and Committees of the House of Commons were accustomed to
assemble. By an order of the Privy Council, 19th September, 1662, the
Custom-house-quay was appointed the sole place for landing and lading
the exports and imports of the city of Dublin. In 1683 the public
Exchange of Dublin was transferred from Cork House to the Tholsel, a
building erected early in the reign of Edward II., and described by
Camden as built of hewn stone. Here the Mayor was elected on Michaelmas
Day, and the citizens held their public meetings. A clock was set up in
1560, no doubt very much to the admiration of the citizens. A new
Tholsel or City Hall was erected in 1683, on the same site, and there
was a "'Change," where merchants met every day, as in the Royal Exchange
in London. Public dinners were given here also with great magnificence;
but from the marshy nature of the ground on which the building had been
set up, it fell to decay in 1797, and a new Sessions-house was erected
in Green-street.

Nor did the good people of Dublin neglect to provide for their
amusements. Private theatricals were performed in the Castle at the
latter end of the reign of Queen Elizabeth, if not earlier. The sum of
one-and-twenty shillings and two groats was expended on wax tapers for
the play of "Gorbodne," "done at the Castle," in September, 1601.
Miracle and mystery plays were enacted as early as 1528, when the Lord
Deputy was "invited to a new play every day in Christmas;" where the
Tailors acted the part of Adam and Eve, it is to be supposed because
they initiated the trade by introducing the necessity for garments; the
Shoemakers, the story of Crispin and Crispianus; the Vintners, Bacchus
and his story; the Carpenters, Mary and Joseph; the Smiths represented
Vulcan; and the Bakers played the comedy of Ceres, the goddess of corn.
The stage was erected on Hogges-green, now College-green; and probably
the entertainment was carried out al fresco. The first playhouse
established in Dublin was in Werburgh-street, in 1633. Shirley's plays
were performed here soon after, and also those of "rare Ben Jonson."
Ogilvy, Shirley's friend, and the promoter of this enterprise, was
appointed Master of the Revels in Ireland in 1661; and as his first
theatre was ruined during the civil war, he erected a "noble theatre,"

at a cost of £2,000, immediately after his new appointment, on a portion
of the Blind-quay. Dunton describes the theatres, in 1698, as more
frequented than the churches, and the actors as "no way inferior to
those in London." The Viceroys appear to have been very regular in their
patronage of this amusement; and on one occasion, when the news reached
Dublin of the marriage of William of Orange and Mary, the Duke of
Ormonde, after "meeting the nobility and gentry in great splendour at
the play, passed a general invitation to all the company to spend that
evening at the Castle."[535]

The inventory of the household effects of Lord Grey, taken in 1540,
affords us ample information on the subject of dress and household
effects. The list commences with "eight tun and a pype of Gaskoyne
wine," and the "long board in the hall." A great advance had been made
since we described the social life of the eleventh century; and the
refinements practised at meals was not the least of many improvements. A bord-clothe was spread on the table, though forks were not used until
the reign of James I. They came from Italy, to which country we owe many
of the new fashions introduced in the seventeenth century. In The Boke
of Curtosye
there are directions given not to "foule the bord-clothe wyth the knyfe;" and Ben Jonson, in his comedy of "The Devil is an Ass,"

alludes to the introduction of forks, and the consequent disuse of

"The laudable use of forks,
Brought into custom here as they are in Italy,
To th' sparing o' napkins."

The English edition of the Janua Linguarum of Comenius, represents the
fashion of dining in England during the Commonwealth. The table was
simply a board placed on a frame or trestles, which was removed after
the meal to leave room for the dancers. Old Capulet's hall was prepared

"A hall! a hall! give room, and foot it, girls!
More light, ye knaves, and turn the table up."

The head of the table, where the principal person sat, was called the
"board-end;" and as one long table was now used instead of several
smaller ones, the guests of higher and lower degree were divided by the
massive saltcellar, placed in the centre of the table. Thus, in Ben
Jonson, it is said of a man who treats his inferiors with scorn, "He
never drinks below the salt." The waiters, after settling the cloth,
placed the spoons, knives, forks, bread, and napkins beside the
trenchers. The butler served out the drink from the cupboard, the origin
of our modern sideboard. The "cobbord," erroneously supposed to have
been like our modern cupboard, is specially mentioned amongst Lord
Grey's effects. Lord Fairfax, in his directions to his servants, written
about the middle of the seventeenth century, says: "No man must fill
beer or wine the cupboard keeper," and he should know which of his "cups
for beer and which for wine, for it were a foul thing to mix them
together." There was another reason, however, for this arrangement—much
"idle tippling" was cut off thereby; for as the draught of beer or wine
had to be asked for when it was needed, demand was not likely to be so
quick as if it were always at hand. There were also cups of "assaye,"

from which the cupbearer was obliged to drink before his master, to
prove that there was no poison in the liquor which he used. The cupboard
was covered with a carpet, of which Lord Grey had two. These carpets, or
tablecovers, were more or less costly, according to the rank and state
of the owner. His Lordship had also "two chares, two fformes, and two
stooles." Chairs were decidedly a luxury at that day. Although the name
is of Anglo-Norman origin, they did not come into general use until a
late period; and it was considered a mark of disrespect to superiors,
for young persons to sit in their presence on anything but hard benches
or stools. The Anglo-Saxons called their seats sett and stol, a name
which we still preserve in the modern stool. The hall was ornamented
with rich hangings, and there was generally a traves, which could be
used as a curtain or screen to form a temporary partition. The floor was
strewn with rushes, which were not removed quite so frequently as would
have been desirable, considering that they were made the repository of
the refuse of the table. Perfumes were consequently much used, and we
are not surprised to find "a casting bottel, dooble gilte, for
rose-water," in the effects of a Viceroy of the sixteenth century. Such
things were more matters of necessity than of luxury at even a later
period. Meat and pudding were the staple diet of the upper classes in
1698. Wright[536] gives a long and amusing extract from a work published
by a foreigner who had been much in England at this period, and who
appears to have marvelled equally at the amount of solid meat consumed,
the love of pudding, and the neglect of fruit at dessert.

We are able, fortunately, to give a description of the fare used during
the same period in Ireland, at least by the upper classes, who could
afford to procure it. Captain Bodley, a younger brother of the founder
of the famous Bodleian Library in Oxford, has left an account of a
journey into Lecale, in Ulster, in 1603, and of the proceedings of his
companions-in-arms, and the entertainment they met with. His "tour" is
full of that gossiping, chatty, general information, which gives an
admirable idea of the state of society. This is his description of a
dinner: "There was a large and beautiful collar of brawn, with its
accompaniments, to wit, mustard and Muscatel wine; there were
well-stuffed geese (such as the Lord Bishop is wont to eat at
Ardbraccan), the legs of which Captain Caulfield always laid hold of for
himself; there were pies of venison and various kinds of game; pasties
also, some of marrow, with innumerable plums; others of it with
coagulated milk, such as the Lord Mayor and Aldermen of London almost
always have at their feasts; others, which they call tarts, of divers
shapes, materials, and colours, made of beef, mutton, and veal." Then he
relates the amusements. After dinner they rode, and in the evening they
played cards, and had, "amongst other things, that Indian tobacco of
which I shall never be able to make sufficient mention." Later in the
evening "maskers" came to entertain them; and on one occasion, their
host gave them up his own "good and soft bed, and threw himself upon a
pallet in the same chamber."[537]

The large stand-bed, or four-post, was then coming into use, and was,
probably, the "good and soft bed" which the host resigned to the use of
the officers, and which, if we may judge by the illustration of this
piece of furniture, would conveniently hold a considerable number of
persons. The pallet was placed on the truckle-bed, which rolled under
the large bed, and was generally used by a servant, who slept in his
master's room. The reader will remember the speech of Mine Host of the
Garter, in the "Merry Wives of Windsor," who says of Falstaff's room:
"There's his chamber, his house, his castle, his standing-bed and

However interesting the subject may be, there is not space to go into
further details. The inventory of Lord Grey's personal effects can
scarcely be given as a picture of costume in this century, for even a
few years produced as considerable changes in fashion then as now.
Dekker, in his Seven Deadly Sinnes of London, describes an
Englishman's suit as being like a traitor's body that had been hanged,
drawn, and quartered, and set up in several places; and says: "We that
mock every nation for keeping one fashion, yet steal patches from every
one of them to piece out our pride, and are now laughing-stocks to them.
The block for his head alters faster than the feltmaker can fit him, and
hereupon we are called in scorn block-heads." The courtiers of Charles
II. compensated themselves for the stern restraints of Puritanism, by
giving way to the wildest excesses in dress and manners. Enormous
periwigs were introduced, and it became the fashion for a man of ton to be seen combing them on the Mall or at the theatre. The hat was worn
with a broad brim, ornamented with feathers; a falling band of the
richest lace adorned the neck; the short cloak was edged deeply with
gold lace; the doublet was ornamented in a similar manner—it was long,
and swelled out from the waist; but the "petticoat breeches" were the
glory of the outer man, and sums of money were spent on ribbon and lace
to add to their attractions.

The ladies' costume was more simple, at least at this period; they
compensated themselves, however, for any plainness in dress, by
additional extravagances in their head-dresses, and wore
"heart-breakers," or artificial curls, which were set out on wires at
the sides of the face. Patching and painting soon became common, and
many a nonconformist divine lifted up his voice in vain against these
vanities. Pepys has left ample details of the dress in this century;
and, if we may judge from the entry under the 30th of October, 1663,
either he was very liberal in his own expenditure, and very parsimonious
towards his wife, or ladies' attire was much less costly than
gentlemen's, for he murmurs over his outlay of about £12 for Mrs. Pepys
and £55 for himself. The country people, however, were attired more
plainly and less expensively, while many, probably—

"Shook their heads at folks in London,"

and wondered at the follies of their superiors.

The arms and military accoutrements of the period have already been
mentioned incidentally, and are illustrated by the different costumes in
our engravings, which Mr. Doyle has rendered with the minutest accuracy
of detail. This subject, if treated at all, would require space which we
cannot afford to give it. The Life Guards were embodied by Charles II,
in 1681, in imitation of the French "Gardes des Corps." The Coldstream
were embodied by General Monk, in 1660, at the town from whence they
obtained their name.

From an account in the Hamilton MSS., published in the Ulster Archæological Journal, it would appear that it was usual, or, at least
not uncommon, for young men of rank to go abroad for some time, attended
by a tutor, to perfect themselves in continental languages. It need
scarcely be said that travelling was equally tedious and expensive. A
journey from Dublin to Cork occupied several days; postchaises are a
comparatively modern invention; and Sir William Petty astonished the
good people of Dublin, in the seventeenth century, by inventing some
kind of carriage which could be drawn by horses. With his description of
the condition of the lower classes in Ireland at this period, I shall
conclude this chapter. The accompanying figure represents the costume of
the Irish peasant about the fifteenth century. The dress was found on
the body of a male skeleton, in the year 1824, which was preserved so
perfectly, that a coroner was called to hold an inquest on it. The
remains were taken from a bog in the parish of Killery, co. Sligo. The
cloak was composed of soft brown cloth; the coat of the same material,
but of finer texture. The buttons are ingeniously formed of the cloth.
The trowsers consists of two distinct parts, of different colours and
textures; the upper part is thick, coarse, yellowish-brown cloth; the
lower, a brown and yellow plaid.


"The diet of these people is milk, sweet and sour, thick and thin; but
tobacco, taken in short pipes seldom burned, seems the pleasure of their
lives. Their food is bread in cakes, whereof a penny serves a week for
each; potatoes from August till May; muscles, cockles, and oysters, near
the sea; eggs and butter, made very rancid by keeping in bogs. As for
flesh they seldom eat it. Their fuel is turf in most places." The
potatoe, which has brought so many national calamities on the country,
had been then some years in the country, but its use was not yet as
general as it has become since, as we find from the mention of "bread in
cakes" being an edible during a considerable part of the year.