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· ORIGIN AND CONSTITUTION
“THE SOCIETY OF THE GOVERNOR AND ASSISTANTS, LONDON, OF THE
NEW PLANTATION IN ULSTER, WITHIN THE REALM OF IRELAND,”
The Honourable the Jrish Society;
TOGETHER WITH MEMORANDA OF PRINCIPAL OCCURRENCES
FROM 1611 TO 1898.
of the Members of the Court of Assistants.
HISTORICAL NARRATIVE, &C.
The Irish Society.
PREPARED FOR THE PRIVATE AND EXCLUSIVE USE OF THE MEMBERS
OF THE SOCIETY.
In the reign of Queen Elizabeth, two great families, the O'Neills and O'Dohertys, divided between them the whole of the province of Ulster, in the north of Ireland, with the exception of the counties of Down and Antrim. The O'Neills were represented by Hugh O'Neill, Earl of Tyrone, and the O'Dohertys by Sir John and Sir Cahir O'Doherty.* These persons had been in constant rebellion against the English Crown, but Hugh O'Neill thought proper to pay a visit to the Court of Queen Elizabeth and make bis submission. On his return to Ireland, however, this great earl, to show that he was as independent as ever, displayed his loyalty by once more
* Sir John and his son Sir Cahir were Lords of Inishowen, in the centre of which stands the hill now called Grianan, upon the summit of which is still to be seen the remains of an ancient palace. Within the territorial boundary of Inishowen, was the entire parish of Templemore, or Derry.
breaking out into open rebellion. This led to a forfeiture to the Crown of all the estates of the O'Neills and the O'Dohertys.
To entitle the Crown to possession of the forfeited lands, it became necessary to inquire before a jury of twelve men of the county in which the lands were situate, and to define what had been the possessions of the traitors, and what had been their rights and privileges.
Accordingly a commission was issued by the Crown in the year 1602, and another in the year 1609. The commissioners thus appointed were directed to inquire into the title of the Crown to the several escheated and forfeited lands in Ulster, and, by virtue of the commission, inquisitions were duly held in the different counties, the several escheated lands, rights and privileges and fisheries were ascertained and defined, and proper returns were made into the Rolls Office.
The Earl of Salisbury, Lord High Treasurer to King James the First, suggested to the King a project for establishing a Protestant colony on the forfeited estates, and the King approved the scheme. Certain conditions were thereupon laid down by the Privy Council for observance, and these were published under the title, “ Conditions to be observed by the British Undertakers of the escheated Lands in Ulster.”
The publication of these conditions did not induce the public to take up the matter, so his Majesty, conceiving the City of London to be the ablest body to undertake so important a 'work, directed the Earl of Salisbury to write a letter to Sir Clement Edmonds, the City Remembrancer, desiring him to acquaint the Lord Mayor (Humphrey Weld), that the earl desired a conference should be had with him on the subject. Accordingly, on or about the 30th of July, 1609, the Lord Mayor sent to Sir John Jolles and Sir William Cockaine, who were well aquainted with Irish affairs, and thereupon a meeting was appointed to be held at Sir John Jolles's house, where certain propositions, made by his Majesty to the City, were considered. · After a few days had elapsed, the Lords of the Privy Council and the Corporation of the City of London came to an understanding on the subject; and the latter expressed their willingness to undertake the plantation, provided the representation of its advantage and practicability, which formed the basis of their determination, should, upon investigation, appear to be correct. Accordingly, to determine this point, a Court of Common Council was convened (1st Aug., 1609), when it was agreed that four wise, grave and discreet citizens should be immediately sent to view the situation proposed for the new colony, who should make a report to the Court on their return from thence, of their proceedings and opinions. And thereupon John Broad, Goldsmith, Robert Treswell, Painter-Stainer, John Rowley, Draper, and John Munns, Mercer, were appointed as the deputation; who, being furnished with written instructions, proceeded on their mission to Ireland. On their return, they presented a report of their various transactions to