Page images




Attack on Clonard

254 Ditto on Castlecomer.

260 Battle of Antrim of Saintfield ...

264 to of Ballynahinch

264 Insurrection in the county of Cork Lord Cornwallis arrives in Dublin

266 Agreement between the chiefs of the rebellion and the Bri

tish government • • • . 267 French invasion, and capture of Killalla • Lord Cornwallis receives intelligence of the landing of the .. French troops • . •

- 285 Battle of Castlebar . . . 286 Description of the French officers Lord Cornwallis marches against the enemy

304 Total surrender of the French army . Rebels attack Granard, and are defeated Battle of KiHalla - . French officers removed to London Arrival of three French frigates at Killalla .

354 Appendix

361 Catechism of the United Irishmen :

372 Further particulars of the massacre at Scullabogue 392 Descent made by James Napper Tandy

406 Claims of the loyalists who suffered during the rebellion 421


307 30 342 348

[merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][merged small]

Review of the History of Ireland, from the first Invasion of

the English, in the Year eleven hundred and seventy.


BEFORE entering upon a detail of that unhappy struggle between the people of Ireland and Great Britain, which has distracted and considerably impaired the population, consequently injured the trade and diminished the wealth, of the country of the former, we shall take a short retrospective view (that we may the better understand the nature of our subject) of its general history from the time of its first invasion by the English during the reign of Henry II. in the year one thousand one hundred and seventy, to the period more immediately connected with the principal object of our consideration.

Torn by intestine dissentions, divided into a number of weak and petty states, and harassed by the incessant invasions of the Danes, the people of Ireland, with the exception of a few religious devotees, continued later than most other European nations in a state of barbarian darkness and commotion. No law had any weight but that of force; no tie extended further than the limits of the territory possessed by any particular sect or clan into which the people were divided; a chieftain distin


guished by strength of body, ferocity of manners, or superior skill in conducting a predatory band in quest of plunder, was the only object of their attachment and admiration. In such a state of society, acts of treachery and brutality abounded, which were not unfrequently alleviated by noble instances of magnanimity, benevolence and hospitality; virtues rarely to be met with in civilized life, but nearly peculiar to the ardent temper and elevated imagination of the savage.

Meantime England, consolidated into one great and powerful kingdom, under the dominion of William I. commonly called the Conqueror, and his successors, advanced rapidly in knowledge, in civilization, and in strength, and began to be sensible of her consequence and importance on the theatre of Europe. Occupied previous to the reign of Henry II. with repelling the restless inroads of her neighbours the Scots, and attempts to reduce them under her dominion, with defending and enlarging her possessions on the Continent, and with repressing domestic animosities, she began under the administration of that great and politic, though not always fortunate prince, to turn her attention towards Ireland. The proximity of its situation to England, and the fertility of its soil were not overlooked by Henry, who was fully sensible of the vast advantages which might accrue to his own kingdom from the conquest of the sister island.

Statesmen, to suit the purposes of their ambition, are seldom at a loss for plausible pretences to justify their undertakings; but, at a time when the popes, taking advantage of the truly deplorable state of mental darkness in which mankind were involved, arrogated to themselves not only supreme authority over the spiritual concerns of the church, but the absolute disposal of the temporal affairs of the world, the consent of the bishop of Rome was deemed by Henry necessary to give a sanction to his projected enterprise.

Owing; however, to the state of affairs on the Continent, he was, for several years, obliged to suspend the execution of his plan, though the ambitious prelate, eager to extend the sphere of his own authority by having the Irish church reduced to a complete dependance on the see of Rome, issued a bull in the

year one thousand one hundred and fifty-six, authorising him to take possession of the country. This was presented to Henry, together with a ring, in token of his being invested with the sovereignty of Ireland.

While affairs were in this situation, however, Dermod MacMurchad, Irish provincial king of the countries of Ossory, Decies, and other territories of Leinster, having seduced and carried off the wife of OʻRourke, king of Breffney, while the latter was absent on a pilgrimage, the husband called on Roderic O‘Connor, king of Connaught, to assist him in punishing the Leinstrian prince. By their united efforts, and the defection of his own subjects, who hated him for his tyranny, Dermod was compelled to fly, and to leave his mistress, together with his kingdom, at the disposal of his enemies. Instigated by revenge, he fled, with rancour in his breast, to Guienne, in South France, where Henry then was; and, prostrating himself at his feet, implored his protection, and his assistance towards regaining his dominions; promising, should he succeed, to hold them in vassalage of the crown of England.

Henry saw at once the benefit that might accrue from this occurrence; and, encouraging the fugitive prince by the most courteouş demeanour, accepted his vassalage, and held out to him hopes of vigorous support. As his situation would not at that time allow his personal interference in his behalf, he presented him with letters of credence, addressed to his own subjects, permitting them to enter into the service of the monarch of Leinster.

With these he departed to England, and published them in Bristol, then the principal port of communication between England and Ireland. There he remained a whole month without a prospect of gaining succour, and had begun to despair of restoration, when Richard, earl of Pembroke, surnamed Strongbow, on account of his feats of archery, distinguished no less by his affability and generosity than by his military talents, but who was estranged from the royal favour and of dissipated fortune, was pointed out to him as likely to close with his proposals.

He accordingly pressed Richard to espouse his cause, and even promised to give him his daughter Eva in marriage, and to make him heir to his dominions. Overcome by such seducing offers, the earl promised to assist him with a considerable force in the ensuing spring, provided he could obtain from Henry his particular licence and approbation.

Conceiving that by this negociation he had effectually secured the recovery of his territories, Dermod immediately proceeded to St. Davids in South Wales, intending to return by that course privately to Ireland, and there to await in silence the arrival of his ally with a force to support him. During his journey, he had the good fortune to add to his adherents, Robert Fitzstephen, governor of Cardigan, a magnanimous, brave, and skilful soldier, eminent for loyalty, whom Rice-ap-Griffith, a Welch chieftain, who commanded in the country about Pembroke, had imprisoned, that he might not be in a situation to oppose an intended revolt against Henry. To Fitzstephen and to his maternal brother, Maurice Fitzgerald, Dermod bound himself to cede the town of Wexford, with a large portion of land, as soon as he should be fairly re-established.

After receiving their solemn protestations to join him in the spring with their followers, he set sail with his Irish train and a few Welch adventurers, and landed without being observed on the Irish coast, about the end of the year one thousand one hundred and sixty-nine.

· Punctual to his engagements, Fitzstephen, together with Maurice de Prendergarst, sailed from Wales in the beginning of May one thousand one hundred and seventy; and making his appearance on the Southern coast of Wexford, disembarked his forces, consisting of forty knights, sixty men in armour, and five hundred archers, in the bay of Bannow, twelve miles from the town of Wexford, which, after he had been joined by Dermod, surrendered to his arms, though not before the garrison had sustained a vigorous assault.

Having received a further reinforcement by the arrival of Fitzsgerald, Dermod's power was so considerably increased, that he was enabled to reduce the lord of Ossory, whose territories, together with those of Decies and Glandelagh, he had

« PreviousContinue »