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obtaining small grants were not permitted to remain on the lands they had previously occupied, nor even anywhere in their native districts, but were dismissed into certain baronies set apart for them, and proverbially known as the most barren in the respective counties to which they belonged. A few servitors, or military men, were located in each of such baronies, to watch and overawe the native grantees; but, as a matter of course, the servitors' grants included whatever good lands could be found in the several bleak and rugged districts referred to. The reader will find these baronies distinctly specified in the plantation papers; and, indeed, they may be but too easily discovered on the otherwise fair face of Ulster, by their comparative sterility even at the present day. But whether the lands thus given to natives were good, bad, or indifferent, the servitors, in numerous instances, soon became their owners, and especially where such lands were granted in tolerably large quantities to natives of rank. Indeed, to make sure of this result in certain desirable cases, the servitors got grants of the natives' lands in reversion, and entered into possession at the deaths of the latter, whilst the rightful heirs, generally children of high rank, were thus left destitute (2).
the estate he had previously owned, is mentioned by Carew, in 1611, as evidently a remarkable coincidence See p. 460, note 33.
(2). Left destitute.-The sons of these families thus turned adrift, and of many other families of the same rank, and placed in the same unhappy position of outcasts on their own soil, took refuge in the woods, par ticularly of Armagh and Tyrone, and in certain fastnesses between Tyrone and Londonderry, where they lived by levying black-mail on the British settlers all around. To secure the extermination of these plunderers, who were generally designated woodkerne, the government was obliged, during many years, to place large forces under the command of numerous provost-marshals, and also to bribe native criminals by promises of pardon, and otherwise, to betray and destroy the woodkerne by every means in their power. By these agencies there was a systematic havoc made among the sons of the Ulster gentry, the innocent often suffering, because at times seen to associate with brothers, or other kinsmen, who were known as woodkerne. It was felt that the sooner these gentry (who had now no means of support) could be got rid of, the better. Sir Oliver St. John, created Viscount Grandison, and appointed to succeed Sir Arthur Chichester as lord deputy of Ireland, mentions in a letter of the 29th of September, 1619, that by the agency of natives, soldiers, and provost-marshals, employed by him for the purpose above named, he [St. John) had destroyed in three years, 300 of the idle sons of gentlemen, who had no means of livelihood but by spoiling the planters. But although St. John, from the time of his appointment as lord deputy in 1615, had thus done pretty extensive work in the way of extermination, he was forced to admit that the woodkerne were literally “irrepressible.' “Yet, it is true," says he, in the letter to the council in London already mentioned, "that when one sort is cut off, others arise in their places, for the countries are so full of the younger sons of gentry who have no means of living and will not work, that when they are sought for to be punished for disorders they commit in their idleness, they go to the woods to maintain themselves by the spoil of the quiet subjects.” The same class of gentlemen.
woodkerne, it would appear, were then troubling the other plantations, south, east, and west, and the grim deputy saw no remedy for the evil until a round number of them-say ten thousand-could be removed from Ireland, and so disposed of that they might be slain in foreign wars. “If I might have an opinion,” says he, meekly, when closing his letter to the council, “I think it would be an ease to the kingdom if some foreign Princes were to draw 10,000 of them to a war abroad." (MS. State Papers, vol. 235, No. 60). This stern policy was always adopted, when possible, to save the application of still sterner means, although St. John acknowledged, when speaking of certain woodkerne then in prison, that he had “not heard any greater hurt they have done than to steal victuals to fill their bellies." This lamentable state of affairs went on for many years, presenting at times curious phases, as differing circumstances tended either to discourage the woodkerne, or, on the other hand, to render them bolder in their movements. The government, however, could always keep them pretty well in check by seizing their relatives when necessary, and threatening destruction to the latter by way of retaliation. The following letter, from a succeeding lord deputy [Falkland), to the council in London, may be quoted as an illustration :—“Your Lordships have heard that certain of the O'Neales, being four in number, surprised the person of one Sir Benjamin Thornborough, as he rode (more carelessly than he should) not far from Armagh, and carried him away to the woods. From thence they caused him to write to me, the deputy, how it stood with him, and that in a few days they would execute him if I did not consent to protect them until they procured their pardon for some offences objected against them, which, indeed, were not heinous, yet such as made them doubtful of their safety, and, therefore, to stand upon their guard. Of him [Thornborough] we had compassion, and presently provided for the apprehension of the parents and other friends, giving out that they should all die if Thornborough perished, but his Majesty's honour so overswayed all further respects of the particular of Thornborough, as I, the deputy, gave sufficient order for prosecution of those insolent malefactors, if they should
The vast majority of the natives, however, who were dispossessed but did not obtain any small grants in freehold, were obliged to rent holdings as they best could, some on the servitors' estates, others on the bishops' herenagh and termon lands, and not a few on the Londoners' wide possessions. The Government encouraged (it did not see its way to compel) the servitors, bishops, and Londoners, to plant their lands with British tenants, but the servitors, bishops, and Londoners greatly preferred Irish tenants, who willingly paid higher rents and gave less trouble than the others (3).
omit to deliver the gentleman, or not submit absolutely (and without condition for pardon or protection, and that with halters about their necks), to the mercy of his Majesty. And the effects are that, finding their friends thus apprehended, and that a resolution was taken for their pursuit, they not only set Thornborough free, but have put themselves upon the mercy of the King, and yesterday made their submission, with halters about their necks, being contented, besides, to go to foreign parts in the nature of a banishment for seven years, unless they be well warranted by licence to return in the meantime. Dublin Castle, 25 April, 1623." (MS. State Papers, vol. 237, No. 23). In the spring of the next year (1624), Sir Francis Annesley wrote to Sir Edward Conway, the English secretary, as follows: "There are now 30 or 40 rebels, well-armed, in two several parties in the counties of Tyrone and Londonderry, who have taken divers prisoners, and have committed many thefts and robberies upon the good subjects; and one company of them lately took a prisoner from a constable and 7 or 8 others, who were conducting him to the assizes of Tyrone to be tried there, and in doing thereof they cruelly murdered the constable, and carried the delinquent into the woods with them. All this is a trifle to speak of in this kingdom, where there are now many others in several counties upon their keeping (as we call it here), yet because of a sudden they appear bolder than they have done for a long time, we infer that it is fit to look to them Betimes. Dublin, 27 March, 1624." (See pp. 349-353). One of the most ruthless and brutal of the Ulster provost-marshals, in dealing with these hapless sons of the native gentry, was Sir Moses Hill, then of Stranmillis, near Belfast.
(3). The others.--The late Dr. Reid, in his History of the Presbyterian Church, vol i., p. 86, supposes that the area of the six escheated counties comprises above two millions of acres, without stating whether Irish or statute measure. Probably, however, he meant the former ; but even if so, the six counties contain at least 2,990,000 Irish acres. Of this quantity, whatever may have been its precise amount -- he affirms that only 400,000 acres were confiscated, leaving a remainder, as he states, of a million and a half unconfiscated. Dr. Reid came to this conclusion as to the extent of the confiscated land from a careful examination of Pynnar's 'Survey'; but he overlooked the fact that Pynnar only specified the amount of arable or 'profitable’land supposed to be comprised in the grants for the several plantation purposes, which amount of 400,000 acres constitutes, on an average of the six connties, about one ninth part of their whole area. “The remaining million and a half of acres,” he adds, "comprised not only
the unprofitable lands, but also large tracts of country held by the native proprietors who, either being not implicated in the revolt of 1607, or having made timely submission, were unmolested in their estates." It happens, however, unfortunately for Dr. Reid's arrangement that the unprofitable lands were confiscated as well as the profitable, and thrown into the adjoining proportions of undertakers rent-free--that there was no revolt in 1607 —and that if O'Dogherty's revolt of 1608 be intended, it could have had no influence on the standing or position of the two 'native proprietors,' Sir Tirlagh McHenry and Sir Henry Oge above named, as they were in no way implicated therein, and did not, therefore, require to make a timely submission. The confusion about #native proprietors' has arisen in part from the fact that several Irish gentlemen, who had remained quiescent, or had assisted the Government during O'Doherty's revolt, got each as his reward the rents paid for the grass of a certain number of cows, less or more, according to their several deserts, and generally for a period of two years, or from the summer of 1608, until the same date in 1610 (pp. 249-251). Another fact also must have had something to do in creating the confusion about 'native proprietors,' namely, that on the flight of the earls, their lands in the counties of Tyrone, Armagh, Coleraine, and Donegal were let by the government to native gentlemen, who had been no doubt 'proprietors,' but who were then only admitted as yearly tenants, from November, 1607, until the autumn of 1610, when the lands which they thus temporarily held were distributed amongst British undertakers (see pp. 239-241). Dr. Reid further ventures to apportion his 400,000 acres of confiscated lands as follows:-“I find that of the 400,000 forfeited acres, 100,000 were granted for church, school, and corporation lands, above 60,000 were granted to the native Irish, and the remaining 240,000 were disposed of to British undertakers or colonists, the majority of whose tenants were also Irish, the original inhabitants of Ulster.” Unfortunately for this second arrangement, so easily made by Dr. Reid, he happens to have altogether omitted in his enumeration of plantation purposes, three very important ones, to wit, the lands which were set apart for servitors, for the college at Dublin, and for the Ulster forts, forgetting also that British undertakers or 'colonists' were strictly prohibited from accepting any Irish tenants, however much they wished to do so. The college at Dublin alone got of the escheated lands nearly as much as Dr. Reid has distributed to the church, the free schools, and the corporate towns of the whole six counties !
Mr. Froude, when discussing this Ulster Plantation, fol. lows closely, although as if at times impatiently, in the wake
· Readers are to observe, that although the plantation arrangements took for granted the confiscation of the six entire counties, and were carried out only on this basis, the plantation papers are found, as a general rule, to record very much smaller quantities of land than those really appropriated to the several purposes already mentioned. The papers, indeed, only profess to specify the amount of arable lands supposed to be conveyed in each grant, but it is notorious that the real quantities even of such lands, whether given to individual grantees, or for public uses, must have been in many instances very much understated. The great discrepancies, however, between the quantities expressed in these plantation grants and the quantities actually conveyed, are accounted for principally by the fact that into very many proportions were thrown large sweeps of what was called 'unprofitable' land, but which was soon afterwards acknowledged by the grantees to be very profitable as pasturage, although not exactly coming under the definition of ‘arable.' These discrepancies also, in some measure, are traceable to the hasty and imperfect surveys made in 1608 and 1609 (see pp. 67, 118, 122, 123), to say nothing of occasionally corrupt manipulation on the part of the surveyor-general. (See p. 154). But from whatever causes, the fact was too flagrant to be long overlooked, and was acknowledged by the owners themselves in the succeeding reign. A memorable admission was made on this point, at an early period, even by the Londoners. On taking possession of their vast territory in 1611, they admitted that, almost at the threshold of their entrance therein, they had stumbled on two 'proportions' which were passed by the survey as 2,500 acres, but which, in reality, comprised at least 10,000 acres ! (See p. 421). It does not appear that any similar admissions were afterwards made by the same party, but it is a well-known fact that the lands handed over to the several London companies were, on an average, at least seven times the amount popularly supposed to have been conveyed in their charter. And, as to the case of undertakers in the other five counties, the understatement of the actual quantities conveyed appears to have been even more decided. When Wentworth, in 1633, began to look narrowly into their patents, he discovered certain very tangible arguments for squeezing them pretty tightly in favour of the King. He found, in fact, that the patents, as a general rule, did not express more than the tenth part of the lands actually possessed by the patentees! When writing to Coke triumphantly about this discovery, the zealous lord deputy affirms that in Ulster, as in plantations elsewhere, the Crown “had sustained Shameful Injury, by passing in truth ten
of Dr. Reid. His statement is, perhaps, more graphic than that of his precursor, although equally gratuitous and unre. liable. “The six escheated counties," says Mr. F., “con tained in all two million acres. Of these a million and a half, bog, forest, and mountain, were restored to the Irish. The half million acres of fertile lands were settled with families of Scotch and English Protestants." (See The English in Ireland, vol. i., p. 69.) This, to be sure, is an easy and popular style of managing a knotty question ; but, in the present instance, it is something worse than ludicrous. On what possible grounds could Mr. F. assert that a million and a half of acres were restored to the Irish ? Could he not have explained, in one or two eloquent sentences, how the Irish appropriated this vast and very unexpected gift, or why there should
have been so much care, and outlay, and anxiety, on the part of the government to secure the escheat or fall of the whole six counties to the crown? Was this pon. derous and difficult job done from the mere whim of English statesmen and lawyers; or, being done, was it as whimsically set aside, by the discovery that only a fragment or fourth part of the lands thus taken from the owners was worth holding ? Mr. F. seems to think that the fertile land for Scotch and English Protestants was included in a sort of ring-fence, and thus easily shut off from the bogs, forests, and mountains of Ulster. He had not heard that special grants, exclusively of the mountains, and also of the soil from which the forests were being cleared, were made to distinguished and favoured English servitors.
times the Quantities of Land expressed in their Patents.". (See Strafford's Letters and Despatches, vol. i.; P. 132). Such was, indeed, the reckless style in which the escheated lands were scattered about to British undertakers ; and, certainly, in a no less lavish manner for British plantation purposes generally. Thus, whilst 'the college at Dublin' was represented by plantation documents as obtaining just 10,000 acres in Ulster, the real fact is that 'old Trinity' owns 96,000 statute acres of the escheated lands in the counties of Armagh, Fermanagh, and Donegal. (See p. 454). As another illustration, it may be stated that whilst plantation records give just 8,282 acres to corporate towns and free schools conjointly, the truth is (see Report of Commissioners on Endowed Schools), that the five Royal or Free Schools alone hold fragments of the escheated lands comprising at least 20,000 statute acres. (4).
(4). Statute acres.-It may be mentioned, in passing that the Rev. Dr. Killen of Belfast, also makes a little excursion into the Plantation of Ulster, and that he, too, loses himself amid its labyrinthian windings, although under the immediate guidance of Dr. Reid on the one hand, and “the learned Dr. O'Conor, himself a Roman Catholic,” on the other. In other words, Dr. Killen has simply rendered the confusion of the other two doctors 'worse confounded.' What, for example, is the precise meaning of the following announcement by Dr. Killen :-“The counties to which the confiscated estates belonged were amongst the smallest or the most thinly populated in the province; and the lands planted with English and Scottish settlers did not amount to one fourth of their area. The Plantation, therefore, properly so called, extended only over a mere fraction of the north of Ireland." Can it be, that by the estates' Dr. Killen means the lands owned by the two fugitive earls of Tyrone and Tyrconnell, and that he thinks these were the only lands confiscated ? If so, we can comprehend his meaning, at least to some extent, for the earls' lands lay in the three counties of Armagh, Tyrone, and Donegal, one of which is small, and another thinly peopled ; but is Dr. Killen not aware that the 'estates' also of the O'Hanlons, the O'Cahans, the O'Doghertys, the Maguires, and the O'Reillys, were all confiscated, and that these 'estates,' with the lands of the two earls aforesaid, comprised the whole six counties of Armagh, Tyrone, Coleraine, Donegal, Fermanagh, and Cavan? "The Plantation, properly so called," included, we suppose, the lands appropriated to plantation purposes, and if nearly four millions of statute acres constituted “only a mere fraction of the north of Ireland," then it follows that the north of Ireland, or Ulster, must be a much more extensive region than has been hitherto generally imagined. Whilst Dr. Killen apparently endorses Dr. Reid's statements, even including the revolt of 1607," he wisely abstains from any details as to the location of the displaced multitudes, or the disposal of the million and half acres alleged by Dr. Reid to have been 'unmolested,' and by Mr. Froude to have been given back to the natives. Dr. Killen evidently attaches much importance to the three cases mentioned by Dr. O'Conor, of Roman Catholic landowners being permitted to hold on, even after the plantation arrangements had been introduced. But these are not cases in point, and do not affect the question relating to the general dispossession and displacement of
the natives. One of these cases, namely, that of Sir Henry Oge O'Neill (Sir Felim Roe O'Neill's grandfather), has been already referred to and explained in a preceding note. It may be added here, however, that although Sir Henry Oge, and his eldest son Tirlagh, were both slain at the same time whilst assisting the government to put down Sir Cahir O'Dogherty's revolt, only a portion of his lands were given to his heir, Sir Felim, son of Tirlagh, whilst the greater part was distributed among Sir Henry Oge's brothers and younger sons,-Chichester, on that occasion, adopting the provisions of the Celtic law, and abandoning the feudal law of primogeniture, from a fear lest one or other of the claimants might give him trouble by drawing together a party against the government. (See pp. 96, 318, 319). The case of Lord Audley, created Earl of Castlehaven, is quite beside the question. He was not a native, but an Englishman, and, although a Ron an Catholic, he recommended himself immensely to the king by his zeal as an Ulster planter. He proposed to undertake no less than 100,000 acres of the sands from which his co-religionists had been driven, and to build thereon no fewer than 33 towns. (See pp. 79, 135, 136). The proposal threw the king into ecstacies of delight, but was simply ridiculous, considering old Audley's slender means, and his very unfavourable antecedents as a planter in Munster. He was father-in-law, however, to Sir John Davys, the Attorney-General, and through his influence, no doubt, Audley got two proportions for himself and one for each of his two sons, which neither he nor they were able to manage. The third case, viz., that of Connor Roe Maguire, can never fairly be quoted but as an illustration of heartless ingratitude and injustice on the part of the government. This Ulster noble always opposed the Earl of Tyrone, and served actually against him throughout the whole period of the seven years' war. On the fall of his rebel cousin, Sir Hugh Maguire, at an early period in that struggle, Queen Elizabeth gave Connor Roe a grant of the entire county of Fermanagh as a reward for his loyalty, and to the exclusion of the son and younger brothers of the fallen chief, This came to be considered, however, as rather a highhanded exercise of the royal power, and on the accession of James I., Connor Roe was induced to surrender his grant of the whole six baronies of Fermanagh, on the promise of the king that he should certainly have a re-grant of three baronies. But, when the plantation was determined on, Connor Roe, through Chichester's
From occasional glimpses at the general condition of Ulster in the seventeenth century, as given in these plantation records, the reader will probably infer that our northern province must have had certain rare attractions for British settlers. Among the descendants of the latter, . however, it has been a cherished faith that our worthy ancestors came here to find homes only in a howling wilderness, or rather, perhaps, in a dreary and terrible region of muirland and morass. We very generally overlook the fact, that the shrewd and needy people whom we call our forefathers, and who dwelt north and south of the Tweed, would have had neither time nor inclination to look towards the shores of Ulster at all, had there been here no objects sufficiently attractive, such as green fields, rich straths, beauteous valleys, and herds of Irish cattle adorning the hill-sides. But such was, indeed, the simple truth. The glowing account of Fermanagh, for example, from the facile and graphic pen of Sir John Davys, would have been at least equally if not more appropriate as a description of Ulster in general ; for although few of our northern counties are so picturesque as the one thus selected by him for special admiration, there are several more fertile and productive. “We have now,” said he, when writing to Salisbury, “finished [their work as plantation commissioners) in Fermanagh, which is so pleasant and fruitful a country, that if I should make a full description thereof it would rather be taken for a poetical fiction than for a true and serious narrative.” (See p. 182.) Even the great and learned Chancellor Bacon himself could not afford to overlook a theme so touching to Englishinen as this Ulster plantation, and when it suited his argument, or served to glorify the King, he could grow eloquent on the subject of woods, rivers, ports, quarries, fishings, and all other Irish sources of wealth, summing up with the announcement that “it is not easy, no, not upon the continent, to find such confluence of commodities.” (See pp. 132, 133.) But, perhaps, even a more persuasive witness on this point than either Davys or Bacon, was Susan Montgomery, who came with her husband - the bishop—to Ulster, on his appointment to the three dioceses of Derry, Clogher, and Raphoe. On first hearing of her husband's good fortune, she wrote to her sister from the lovely little rectory of Chedsey or Chedzoy, in Somersetshire, as follows :—“The King has bestowed on him three Irish bishopricks; the names of them I cannot remember, they are so straunge, except one which is Derye. I pray God it may make us all merye.” This really good and amiable lady appears to have had some presentiment of troubles before her, but wished to make light of her own, and her sister's anxieties on the subject, by concluding her letter with the quaint little device of ending with the word 'merye,' evidently to rhyme with “ Derye.' She appears to have been free from that unworthy prejudice and suspicion then so generally cherished in English society against everything
advice, was shoved into a corner of one barony, and displaced from his ancestral residence of Castleskeagh to make room for a very worthless but influential Scottish undertaker, named Michael Balfour Lord Burleigh (see Pp. 61, 109). Another of Dr. Killen's statements is, per haps, to say the least, rather indefinite also, and has special reference to the Londoners' plantation in northern Ulster. "The corporation of the city of London,” says he, “obtained possession of a large part of what had been called the county of Coleraine, but which was now named
after its new proprietors, the county of Londonderry.” Dr. Killen appears to be thus actually under the impression that the Londoners' grant included only a part of the old county of Coleraine, whereas the present county of Londonderry contains not only all the old county of Coleraine, but also the very large barony of Loughinsholin, which formerly belonged to Tyrone, together with two fragments torn from the counties of Antrim and Donegal! See Killen's Eccl. History, vol. i., pp. 482, 483, 485.