The Land-War In Ireland (1870) eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 533 pages of information about The Land-War In Ireland (1870).
him from one island to another, in the recesses and sequestered places of Tyrone.  After some time the Lord Justice sent out from the camp at Armagh, a number of his captains with 1000 men to take some prey and plunder in Oriel.  O’Neill, having received private information and intelligence of those great troops marching into Oriel, proceeded privately and silently to where they were, and came up to them after they had collected their prey; a battle ensued in which many were slain on both sides; and finally the preys were abandoned, and fell into the hands of their original possessors on that occasion.’

That is the whole account of the most signal victory over the English that had crowned the arms of Ulster during those wars!  Not a word of the disparity of the forces, or the flight of the English cavalry, or the slaughter of the Englishmen-at-arms, or the humiliation and disabled condition of the garrison at Armagh.  Equally unsatisfactory is the record of the subsequent march through Tyrone by Sussex, in the course of which his army slaughtered 4000 head of cattle, which they could not drive away.  Of this tremendous destruction of property the Four Masters do not say a word.  Such omissions often occur in their annals, even when dealing with contemporary events.  Uncritical as they were and extremely credulous, how can we trust the records which they give of remote ages?



The moral atmosphere of Elizabeth’s court was not favourable to public virtue.  Strange to say at this time Lord Pembroke seemed to be the only nobleman connected with it whose patriotism could be depended on; and, according to Cecil, there was not another person, ‘no not one’ who did not either wish well to Shane O’Neill, or so ill to the Earl of Sussex as ’rather to welcome the news than regret the English loss!’ It would be difficult to find ‘intriguing factiousness’ baser than this even in barbarous Ireland.  The success of O’Neill, however, had raised him high in the opinion of the Queen, who proposed, through the Earl of Kildare, to leave him in possession of all his territories, and let him govern the Irish ‘according to Irish ideas’ if he would only become her vassal.  Sussex had returned to Dublin with the remnant of his army, while Fitzwilliam was dispatched to London to explain the disaster, bearing with him a petition from the Irish Council, that the troops who had been living in free quarters on the tenants of the Pale should be recalled or disbanded.  ’Useless in the field and tyrannical to the farmer, they were a burden on the English exchequer, and answered no purpose but to make the English name detested.’

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The Land-War In Ireland (1870) from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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