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REV. GEORGE HILL,
Editor Of The Montgomery Manuscripts, AND AUTHOR OF An Historical Account
of the Macdonnells of Antrim.
“Jf any there be which are desirous to be strangers in their own soile,
and forrainers in their own citie, they may so continue, and therein
HE contents of this volume may be described, in general terms, as a compilation from
State Papers relating to the movement which we now familiarly designate the · Plantation of Ulster. Calendars of the Carew Manuscripts, and of other equally
important collections of Irish State Papers, have recently brought to light plantation records of such value, variety, and extent, that the compiler was induced to prepare from them a connected narrative of the events to which they, more or less directly, refer. This narrative, it may be stated, embodies also a large amount of equally important materials derived from the Patent Rolls of the period, the Inquisitions of Ulster, the Barony Maps of 1609, and other original, but hitherto comparatively inaccessible sources. The publication of these numerous papers and documents, and especially of such as have been recently presented to the public by means of fairly and carefully prepared calendars, is indeed an addition to our historical literature of inestimable value.
Before the publication of the Carew calendars, there was not much known of the causes leading to that lamentable struggle of seven years' duration, which commenced in 1595, and closed with the surrender of the northern chiefs in 1602. The preceding events had remained provokingly hazy, if not indeed mysterious, for it was well known that during many years before 1588 the English rule became rather popular than otherwise in the North, and that Shane O'Neill was finally defeated, in 1567, by the O'Donnells rather than by the government. Hugh O'Neill, although eventually one of the most formidable of his name, had been educated in English ideas and habits, serving loyally in English armies, first against the Desmonds of the South, and afterwards against the Macdonnells of the North. He had repeatedly, also, and of his own free will, renounced the title of The O'Neill, accepting in preference the dignity of an English earldom, and restoration to the family estates by royal grant rather than by the sanction of Celtic law. How, then, did it happen, that these friendly relations of full twenty years' standing, between the government and the Irish of Ulster, were so abruptly and utterly broken up? By what means did it come to pass, that, whilst Shane O'Neill found it necessary to force the O'Donnells and Maguires into the northern combination he had formed against the Government, Hugh O'Neill, on the contrary, required to hold in check the headlong fury of the entire northern population in its vehemence for war with the English? The reader will find that certain very significant petitions and remonstrances, preserved among the Carew papers, have amply illustrated this remarkable state of affairs. (See pp. 38-50). Camden might have given us more light on the subject than he has deigned to afford, for he was actually writing Ulster history at the time to which we refer, and had access to the Irish State Papers soon after their receipt in London ; but he looked only at one side of the great controversy then raging in our northern province, and concocted his historical