Eudoxus: But if that country of Ireland whence you lately came, be so goodly and commodious a soyle as you report, I wounder that no course is taken for the tourning therof to good uses, and reducing that salvage nation to better goverment and civillity.
Irenius: Mary, so ther have bin divers good plotts devised, and wise counsells cast alredy about reformation of that realme, but they say it is the fatall destiny of that land, that no purposes, whatsoever are meant for her good, wil prosper and take good effect: which, whether it proceede from the very genius of the soyle, or influence of the starrs, or that Almighty god hath not yet appoynted the time of her reformacion, or that he reserveth her in this unquiet state still, for some secret scourge, which shall by her come unto England, it is hard to be knowne, but yet much to be feared.
Eudoxus: Surely I suppose this but a vaine conceipt of simple men, which judge things by ther effects, and not by ther causes; for I would rather thinck the cause of this evel, which hangeth upon that country, to proceede rather upon the unsoundnesse of the counsell, and plotts, which you say have bin oftentimes layd for her reformacon, or of fayntnesse in following and effecting the same, then of any such fatall course or appoyntment of god, as you misdeme; but it is the manner of men, that when they are fallen into any absurdity, or theyre actions succeede not as they would, they are ready alwayes to impute the blame therof unto the heavens, so to excuse ther own folly and imperfections: so have I also heard it often wished, (even of some whos great wisedome in [my] opinion should seme to judg more soundly of so weighty a consideracon) that all that land weare a sea-poole; which kind of speach, is the manner rather of desperate men far driven, to wish the utter ruine of that which they cannot redresse, then of grave counsellors, which ought to thinck nothing so hard, but that through wisdome it may be maistered and subdued; since the poet sayth, that the wiseman shall rule even over the starrs, much more over the earth: for were it not the part of a desperate physition to wish his diseased patient dead, rather then to imploy the best indevours of his skill for his recovery: but since we are so far entred, let us I pray you, devise of those evills, by which that country is held in this wretched case, that it cannot, as you say, be recured. And if it be not painfull to you, to tell us what things during your late continuance ther, you observed, to be most offensive, and impeachfull unto the good rule and government therof.
Irenius: Surely, Eudox, the evills which you desire to be recounted are very many, and almost countable with those which were hidden in the basket of Pandora: but since you so please, I will out of that infinit number, reckone but some that are most capitall, and commonly occurrent both in the life and condicions of private men, and also in the manage of publique affaires and pollicie. The which you shall understand to be of divers natures, as I observed them: for some of them are of very great antiquity and long continuance; others more late and of lesse endurance; others dayly growing and increasing continually, as the evill occasions are every day offred.
Eudoxus: Tell them, I pray you, in the same order that you have now rehearsed them; for ther can be no better methode then this which the very matter itself offreth. And when you have reckoned all the evills, let us heare your opinion for redressing of them. After which ther will perhaps of it self appere some reasonable way to settle a sound and perfect rule of government by shunning the former evills, and following the offred good. The which methode we may learne of the wise Physitions, which first require that the malady be knowne throughly and discovered: afterwards do teach how to cure and redresse it: and lastly do prescribe a diet with streight rules and orders to be dayly observed, for fear of relaps into the former disease, or falling into some other more dangerous then it.
Irenius: I will then according to your advisement, begin to declare the evills which seme to be most hurtfull to the comon-weale of that land: and first, those which I sayd were most ancient and long growne: and they are also of 3 kinds; the first in the lawes, the second in customes, the last in religion.
Eudoxus: :Why, Irenius, can there be anie evill in the lawes? can things which are ordayned for the safetie and good of all, turne to the evill and hurt of them? This well I wote both in that state and in all other, that were they not contayned in doutie with feare of lawe which restrayneth offences, and inflicteth sharpe punishment to misdoers, no man should enjoy anie thing, everie mans hand would be against another. Therfore in finding fault with the lawes I doubt me you shall muche over-shote your selfe, and make me the more dislike your other dislikes of that government.
Irenius: The lawes Eudoxus, I doe not blame for them selves, knowing that all lawes are ordayned for the good of the common weal and for repressing of licensiousnesse and vice: but it falleth out in lawes, no otherwise then it doth in Phisick, which was at first devized, and is yet dayly ment and ministred for the health of the patient: but neverthelesse we often se that either through ignorance of the disease, or unseasonablenesse of the time, or other accidents comming betwene, in stead of good it worketh hurt, and out of one evill, throweth the patient into many miseries: so the lawes were at first intended for the reformacon of abuses, and peaceable continuance of the subjects: but are since either disannulled or quite prevaricated through chang and alteration of times, yet are they still good in them selves: but to that common wealth which is ruled by them they worke not that good which they should, and sometimes also perhaps that evil which they would not.
Eudoxus: Whether do you meane this by the common lawes of the realme or by the statute lawes and acts of parliament?
Irenius: Surely by them both: for even the common lawes, bein that which William of Normandy brought in with his conquest and layd upon the neck of England, though it perhaps fitted well with the state of England then being, and was readily obeyed through the power of the commander which had before subdued the poeple to him, and made easy way to the setting of his will; yet with the state of Ireland peradventure it doth not so well agre, being a poeple altogether stubborn and vntamed and, if it were once tamed, yet now lately having quite shaken of ther yoke and broken the bands of ther obedience. For England, before the entrance of the Conqueror, was an unpeaceable kingdome, and but lately entred to the mild and godly goverment of King Edward surnamed the confessor; besides now lately growne unto a lothing and detestation of the unjust and tirannous rule of Harold, an usurper, which made them the more willing to accept of any reasonable condicons and order of the new Victor, thincking surely it could be no worse than the latter, and hoping well it would be as good as the former: yet what the proofe of the first bringing in and establishing of the lawes was, was to many full bitterly made knowne. But with Ireland it is far otherwise: for it is a nation ever acquainted with warrs, though but amongest them selves, and in ther owne kind of military disciplin, trayned up from ther youths: which they have never yet bin tought to lay aside, nor made to learne obedience unto the law, scarsely to know the name of law, but in stead therof have alwayes preserved and kept ther owne law, which is the Brehon law.
Eudoxus: What is that which you call the Brehon law? it is a word unto us altogether unknowne.
Irenius: It is a certaine rule of right, unwritten, but delivered by tradition from one to an other, in which oftentimes there appereth great shew of equity, in determining the right betwene part and party, but in many things repugning quite from gods law and mans, as for example, in the case of murther. The Brehon that is ther judg, will compound betwene the murtherer, and the frends of the party murthered, which prosecute the action, that the malefactor shall give unto them, or to the child, or wife of him that is slaine, a recompence, which they call an Iriach; by which vile law of thers, many murders are amongest them made up and smothered. And this judg being, as he is called, the Lords Brehon, adjudgeth for the most part a better share unto his Lord, that is the Lord of the soyle, or the head of that septe, and also unto him self, for his judgment, a greater portion than unto the plaintifes or parties grieved.
Eudoxus: This is a most wicked law indede: but I trust it is not now used in Ireland, since the kings of England have had the absolute dominion therof, and established ther owne lawes there.
Irenius: Yes truly, for ther are many wide countries in Ireland, in which the lawes of England were never established, nor any acknowledgement of subjection made: and also even in those which are subdued and seme to acknowledg subjection, yet the same Brehon law is privily practised amongest them selves, by reason that dwelling as they do, whole nations and septs of the Irish together, without any Englishman amongest them, they may do what they list, and compound or altogether conceale amongest them selves ther owne crimes, of which no notice can be had by them which would and might amend the same, by the rule of the lawes of England.
Eudoxus: What is this which you say? and is ther any part of that realme, or any nacon therin, which have not yet been subdued to the crowne of England? Did not the whole realme universally accept and acknowledg our late Prince of famous memory, Henry the eight, ther ownely King and liege Lord?
Irenius: Yes, verily: in a parliament held in the time of Sir Anthony Saint-Leger, then Lord Deputy, all the Irish Lords and principall men came in, and being by faire means wrought thereunto, acknowledged King Henry for their Soveraigne Lord, reserving yet, as some say, unto them selves, all ther owne former privileges and signories inviolate.
Eudoxus: Then by that acceptance of his soveraignety they also accepted of his lawes: why then should any other laws be now used amongest them?
Irenius: Trew it is that therby they bound them selves to his lawes and obedience, and in case it had been followed against them, as it should have bin, and a goverment therupon presently settled amongest them agreeable therunto, they should have bin reduced to perpetuall civillity and contayned in continuall duty: but what boots it to breake a colt, and to let him streight run lose at randome? so were this people at first well handled, and wisely brought to acknowledg allegiance to the King of England: but being straight left unto them selves, and ther owne inordinate life and manners, they eftsones forgot what before they were taught, and so sone as they were out of sight by them selves, shooke of their bridles, and began to colt anew, more licensiously than before.
Eudoxus: It is great pitty, that so good an opportunity was omitted, and so happy an occasion foreslacked, that might have bred the eternall good of that land: but do they not still acknowledg that submission?
Irenius: No, they do not; for now the heirs and posterity of them which yeilded, the same are, as they say, either ignorant therof, or do willingly deny, or steadfastly disavow it.
Eudoxus: How can they so do justly? doth not the act of the parent, in any lawfull grant or conveyance, bind his heires forever therunto? Sith then the ancestors of thes that now live yeilded them selves their subjects and liege men, shall it not ty ther children to the same subjection?
Irenius: They say no: for ther ancestours had had no estate in any ther lands, Seigniories, or hereditaments, longer than during ther owne lives, as they allege: for all the Irish do hould ther lands by Tanistrie, which is to say, no more but a personall estate for his lifetime, that is Tanist. By reason that he is admitted therunto by election of the country.
Eudoxus: What is this you call Tanist and Tanistrie? they be names and tearmes never heard of or knowne to us.
Irenius: It is a custome amongest all the Irish, that presently after the death of any their chiefe Lords or Captaines, they do presently assemble them selves to a place, generally appoynted and knowne unto them, to chose an other in his stead: where they do nominate and elect, for the most part, not the eldest sonne, nor any of the children of ther Lord deceased, but the next to him of blood, that is, the eldest and worthiest, as commonly the next brother unto him, if he have any, or the next couzine germane, or so forth, as any is elder in that kindred or sept: and then next to him do those chose the next of the blood to be Tanist, who shall next succeede him in the said Captenry, if he live therunto.
Eudoxus: Do they use any ceremony in this election? for all barberous nacons are commonly great observers of cerimonies and superstitious rights.
Irenius: They use to place him that shall be their Captaine, upon a stone alwayes reserved for that purpose, and placed commonly upon a hill: in many of the which I have seen the fote of a man formed and graven, which they say was the measure of ther first Captaines foot, wheron he standing receiveth an oath to preserve all the former auncient customes of the country inviolable, and to deliver up the succession peaceably to his Tanist, and then has a wand delivered unto him by some, whose proper office that is: after which, discending from the stone, he turns him selfe round, thrice forwarde and thrice backward.
Eudoxus: But how is the Tanist chosen?
Irenius: They say he setteth but one fote upon the stone, and receiveth the like oath the Captaine did.
Eudoxus: Have you ever heard what was the occasion and first beginning of this custome? for it is good to know the same, and may perhaps discover some secret meaning and intent therein, very materiall to the state of that government.
Irenius: I have heard that the beginning and cause of this ordinance amongest the Irish, was specially for the defence and maintenance of ther land in ther posterity, and for excluding all innovacon or alienation therof unto strangers and especially to the English: For when ther Captaine dieth, if the Seigniory should discend unto his child, and he perhaps an infant, an other might perhaps step in betwene and thrust him out by strong hand, being then vnable to defend his right, or to withstand the force of a forayner: and therfore they do appoynt the eldest of the kin to have the seigniory, for that he commonly is a man of stronger yeares, and better experience to maintain the inheritance, and to defend the country, either against the next bordering Lords, which use commonly to incroch one upon another as each one is stronger, or against the English, which they thinck ly still in wayte to wipe them out of ther lands and territories. And to this end the Tanist is always ready knowne, if it should happen the Captaine suddenly to dy or be slayne in batayle, or to be out of the country, to defend and kepe it from all such doubts and dangers. [F]or which cause the Tanist hath also a share of the country allotted unto him, and certaine cuttings and spendings upon all the inhabitants under the Lord.
Eudoxus: When I heare this word Tanist it bringeth to my remembrance what I have read of Tania, that it should signify a province or Seignory [as] Aquitania, Lusitania, and Britania, the which some do thinck to be derived of Dania, that is, from the Danes: but, I thinck, amisse, for sure it semeth that it came anciently from those barberous nacons that overrane the world, which possessed those dominions, whereof they are now so called. And so it may well be that from thence the first originall of this word Tanist and Tanistry came, and the custome therof has since, as many others, else bin continued: but to that generall subjection of the land, wherof we formerly spake, me semes that this custome or tenure can be no bar nor impeachment, seing that in open parlyament by ther said acknowledgement they waived the benefit therof, and submitted them selves to the ordinance of ther new soveraigne.
Irenius: Yea but they say, as I earst tould you, that they reserved ther titles, tenures, and seigniories whole and sound to them selves, and for proofe alleged that they have ever since remayned to them untouched, so as now to alter them they say shoul'd be a great wrong.
Eudoxus: What remedy is ther then, or means to avoyde this inconvenience, for, without first cutting out this dangerous custom, it semeth hard to plant any sound ordinance, or reduce them to a civill government, since all ther evill customes are permitted unto them.
Irenius: Surely nothing hard; for by this act of parlament wherof we speake, nothing was given to King Henry, which he had not before from his auncestors, but onelie the bare name of a King: [f]or all other absolute power of principallity he had in him selfe before derived from many former Kings, his famous progenitours and worthy conquerors of that land, the which since they first conquered and by force subdued vnto them, what neede he afterward to enter into any such idle tearmes with them to be called ther King, when as it is in the power of the Conqueror to take upon him self what title he will over his dominions conquered: for all is the conqueror's, as Tully to Brutus saith: and therfore me semes in stead of so great and meritorious a service, as they boast they performed to the King, in bringing all the Irish to acknowledge him for ther liege, they did great hurt to his title, and have left a perpetuall gall in the mind of that people, who before being absolutely bound to his obedience, are now tyed but with tearmes whereas both ther lives, ther lands, and their liberties were in his fre power to appoynt, what tenures, what lawes, what condicions he would over them, which were all his: against which ther could be no rightful [re]sistance, or if there were, he might, when he would, establish them with a stronger hand.
Eudoxus: Yea, but perhaps it semed better vnto that noble King to bring them by ther owne accord to his obedience, and to plant a peaceable goverment amongest them, then by such violent means to pluck them under. Neither yet hath he therby lost any thing that he formerly had: for having al before absolutely in his owne power, it remayneth so still, he having neither forgiven nor foregon anything therby unto them, but having received something from them, that is a more voluntary and loyall subjection. So as her Majestie may yet, when it shall please her, alter any of thos former ordinances or appoynt other lawes, that may be more both for her own behoofe, and for the good of that poeple.
Irenius: Not so, for it is not so easy, now that things are growne into an habit and have ther certaine course, to change the channell, and turn ther streames an other way; for they may have now a collourable pretence to withstand such innovasion, having accepted of other lawes and rules alredy.
Eudoxus: But you say they do not accept of them, but delight rather to leane to the ould customes and Brehon lawes, though they be much more vnjust, and also more inconvenient for the common poeple, as by your late relacion of them I gathered. As for the lawes of England, they are surely most just and most agreeable both with the goverment and with the nature of the poeple: how falls it out then, that you seme to dislike of them, as not so meete for that realm of Ireland, and not onely the common law, but also the statutes and acts of parlament, which were specially provided and intended for the onely benefit therof?
Irenius: I was about to have tould you my reason therin, but that you your self drew me away with other questions, for I was shewing you by what means, and in what sort, the positive lawes were first brought in and established by the Norman Conqueror: which were not by him devised, nor applyed to the state of the realme then being, nor as it might best be, (as should by lawgivers be principally regarded,) but were indede the very lawes of his owne country of Normandy: the condicon wherof, how far it differeth from this of England, is apparent to everie least judgment. But to transfer the same lawes for the governing of the realme of Ireland, was much more inconvenient and unmete: for he found a better advantage of the time, then was in the planting of them in Ireland, and followed the execution of them with more severity, and was also present in person to overloke the magistrates, and to over awe the subjects with the terror of his sword, and countenance of his Majestie. But not so in Ireland: for they were otherwise effected, and yet not so remayned, so as the same lawes, me semes, can ill fit with their disposicion, or work that reformacon that is wished: for lawes ought to be fashioned unto the manners and condicons of the people to whom they are ment, and not to be imposed upon them according to the simple rule of right: for then, as I sayd, in stead of good they may work ill, and pervert justice to extreame injustice: [f]or he that would transfer the lawes of the Lacedemonians to the poeple of Athens should find a great absurdity and inconvenience: for those lawes of Lacedemon were devised by Licurgus, as most proper and best agreeing with that people, whom he knew to be inclined altogether to warrs, and therfore wholy trayned them up even from ther cradles in armes and military exercises, clean contrary to the institution of Solon, who, in his lawes to the Athenians labored by all means to temper ther warlike courages with swete delights of learning and sciences, so that as much as the one excelled in arms, the other exceded in knowledg: the like regard and moderation ought to be had in tempering and managing of this stubburn nation of the Irish, to bring them from their delight of licensious barbarisme unto the love of goodnesse and civillity.
Eudoxus: I cannot se how that may better be then by the discipline of the lawes of England: for the English were, at first, as stout and war like a poeple as ever were the Irish, and yet ye se are now brought to that civillity, that no nacon in the world excelleth them in all godly conversacon, and all the studies of knowledg and humanity.
Irenius: What they now be, both you and I se very well; but by how many thorny and hard wayes they are come therunto, by how many civill broyls, by how many tumultuous rebellions, that even hazard[ed] often times the whole safety of the kingdome, may easily be considered: all which they neverthelesse fairely overcame, by reason of the continewal presence of the King, whos onely person is oftentimes in stead of an army, to contayne the unruly poeple from a thousand evill occasions, which that wretched kingdome, is for want therof daily carried into. The which when they so make head, no lawes, no penalties can restraine, but that they do in the violence of that fury, tread doune and trample under foote all both divine and humane things, and the lawes themselves they do specially rage at, and rend in peces, as most repugnant to ther liberty and naturall fredome, which in ther madnesse they effect.
Eudoxus: It is then a very unseasonable time to plead law, when swords are in the hands of the vulgare, or to thinck to retaine them with feare of punishments when they loke after liberty and shake of all goverment.
Irenius: Then so it is with Ireland continually, for the sword was never yet out of ther hand, but when they are weary with warrs, and brought doune to extreame wretchednesse; then they creepe a litle perhaps, and sewe for grace, till they have gotten new breath and recovered strength againe: so it is in vaine to speake of planting of lawes and plotting of pollicies till they be altogether subdued.
Eudoxus: Were they not so at the first conquering of them by Strangbowe, in the time of King Henry the second? Was there not a thorowe way then made by the sword, for the imposing of the lawes upon them? and were they not then executed with such mighty hand as you sayd was used by the Norman Conqueror? What odds is there then in this case? why should not the same lawes take as good effect in that poeple, as they did here, being in like sort prepared by the sword, and brought under by extremity? and why should it not continew in as good force and vigor for the contayning of the poeple?
Irenius: The case yet is not like; but ther apperes great odds betwene them; for by the conquest of Henry the second, trew it is that the Irish were utterly vanquished and subdued, so as no enemy was able to hold up his head against his powre: in which there weaknesse he brought in his lawes, and settled them as now they ther remaine, like as William the Conqueror did: so as in thus much they agre, but in the rest, that is, the chiefest, they varie: ffor to whom did King Henry the second impose thos lawes, not to the Irish, for the most part of them fled from his power into deserts and mountaynees, leaving the wide country to the conqueror, who in ther stead eftsones placed Englishmen, who possessed all the land and did quite shut out the Irish, or the most part of them: and to those new inhabitants and Colonies he gave his lawes, to wete, the same lawes under which they were born and bred, the which it was not difficulte to place amongst them, being formerly well entred therunto; unto whom afterward ther repaired divers of the pore distressed poeple of the Irish for succor and reliefe: of whom, such as they thought fit for labor, and industriouslie disposed, as the most part of theire baser sort are, they received unto them as theire vassalls, but scarcelie vouchsafed to impart unto them the benefite of those lawes, under which them selves lived, but everie one made his will a commandment and a lawe unto his owne vassall. Thus was not the lawe of England ever properlie applied unto the Irish nacon, as by a purposte plott of goverment, but as they could insynuate and steale them selves under the same by theire humble carriage and submission.
Eudoxus: How comes it then to passe, that havinge ben once so lowe brought, and thoroughlie subjected they afterwards lifted them selves so stronglie agayne, and sithence doe stand stifflie against all rule and goverment?
Irenius: They saie that they contynued in that lowlynesse untill the time that the division betwene the houses of Lancaster and York arose for the Crowne of England: At which tyme all the greate English lords and gentlemen which had great possessions in Ireland, repaired over hither into England, to succor their ffriends here and to strengthen theire partie for to obtene the Crowne: others to defend there landes and possessions against suche as hovered after the same uppon hope of the alteracon of the kingdome, and successe of that side which they had favored and effected. Then the Irishe whom they before had banished into the mountaynes, where they lived only uppon white meates, as it is recorded: seeinge now there so dispeopled land weakened, came downe into all the playnes adjoyninge, and thence expellinge those fewe Englishe that remayned, repossesste them agayne; since whych tyme they have remayned in them, and growinge greater, have brought under them many of the Englishe which were before theire lords. This is one of the occasions by which all those countries which, lyinge nere unto any mountaynes or Irishe deserts, which had bin planted with Englishe, were shortlie displanted and lost. As namelie in Mounster, all the landes adjoyning unto Slowlougher, Arlo, and the bogg of Allon. In Connaght, all the Countries borderinge uppon the Culvers'; Montroo, and O'Rourkes' countrie. In Leinster all the landes neighboring unto the mountaynes of Glanmulls, unto Shellelagh, unto the Briskbagh, and Poulmont. In Ulster, all the countries near unto Tirconnell, Tyronne, and Hertellagh, and the Scottes.
Eudoxus: Surelie this was a great violence: but yett by your speche it semeth that onlie the Countrie and vallies near adjoyninge unto those mountaynes and desertes, were thus recovered by the Irishe: but how comes it now that wee see almost all that Realme repossessed of them? Was there any more such evil occasons growinge by the troubles of England? Or did the Irishe, out of thes places so by them gotten, breake further and stretche them selves out thorough the whole land? But nowe for ought that I can understand, there is no part but the bare English pale, in which the Irishe have not the greatest footinge.
Irenius: Bothe out of theis smale begynnynges by them gotten near to the mountaynes, did they spreade them selves into the Inland Countrie; and also, to theire further advantage, there did other like unhappie accidentes happen out of England, which gave harte and good opportunitye to them to regain theire old possessions. Ffor in the reigne of Kinge Edward the fourth, things remained yet in the same state that they were after the late breakinge out of the Irishe, which I spake of: And that noble Prince began to cast an eye unto Ireland, and to mynde the reformacon of thinges there rune amisse: for he sent over his brother the worthie Duke of Clarence, who having married the heire of Larie, and by her havinge all the Erledom of Ulster, and moche in Meathe and in Mounster, verie carefullie went about in the redressinge of those late evills: and though he could not beate out the Irishe agayne, by reason of his shorte contynuance, yet he did shutt them upp within those narrowe corners and glennes under the mountayne foot in which they lurked, and soe kept them from breaking any further, by buildinge strang holdes uppon everie border, and fortifyinge all passages: Amongest the which he built the castle of Clare in Thurmond: of which Countrie he had the inheritance, and of Mortymers landes adjoining, which is nowe by the Irishe called Killalowe. But the tymes of that good Kinge growinge troublesome, did lett the thorough reformacon of all things. And thereunto soone after was added another fatall mischiefe, which wrought a greater calamitie then all the former. For the said Duke of Clarence, then Lord Lieftenant of Ireland, was by practize of evill persons about the Kinge his brother, called thence awaye, and soone after by synister meanes was cleane made awaye. Presentlie after whose deathe all the North revoltinge, did sett up Oneale for theire Capten, beinge before that of smale power and regard: and there arose in that parte of Thomond, one of the O-Bryens, called Murrogh en ranagh, that is, Morrys of the ffarme, or waste wylde places: who, gatheringe unto him all the relickes of the discontented Irishe, eftsones surprised the said Castle of Clare, burnt and spoyled all the English there dwelling, and in short space possessed all the country beyond the river of Shenan and near adjoyning. Whence shortlie breakinge forth like a sudden tempest, he overran all Mounster and Connnaught, breakinge downe all the holdes and fortresses of the Englishe, defacinge and utterlie subvertinge all corporate Townes that were not stronglie walled: for those he had no meanes nor engynes to overthrowe; neither indede would he stay at all about them, but speedilie ran forwarde, counting his suddennes his most vantage, that he might overtake the Englishe before they could fortefie or gather them selves together. So in short time he cleane wyped out many greate townes, as first in Chegin, then Killalowe, before called Clarryfort; afterward Tharles, Mourne, Buttevant, and many others, viz. [gap of one line] whose names I can not remember, and of some of which there is now no memorie nor signe remayning. Upon report whereof there flocked unto him all the scume of the Irishe out of all places, that ere longe he had a mightie army, and thence marched forth into Lynster, where he wrought greate outrages, wastinge and spoylinge all the Countrie where he went: For it was his pollicie to leave no holde behinde him, but to make all playne and waste. In the which he sone after created himselfe Kinge, and was called Kinge of all Ireland; which before him I doe not read that any did so generallie, but onelie Edwarde the Bruce.
Eudoxus: What, was there ever any generall Kinge of all Ireland? I never heard it before, but that it was alwaies, whilest it was under the Yrishe, divided into fower, and sometimes into five kingdomes or dominions. But this Edward the Bruce, what was he, that he could make him selfe Kinge of all Ireland?
Irenius: I would tell you, that in case you would not challendge me for forgetting the matter which I had in hand, that is, the inconvenience and unfitnes which I supposed to be in the lawes of the land.
Eudoxus: No surely I have no cause, for neither is this impertynent thereunto; for sithence you did sett your corse, as I remember, in your first part, to treat of the evills which hindereth the peace and good orderinge of that land, amongest which that of the inconvenience of the lawes was the first which you had in hand, this discourse of the overrunninge and wastinge of the realme is very materiall there unto, for that it was the begynnyng of other evills, which sithence have afflicted that land, and opened a way unto the Irish to recover theire possession, and to beate out the Englishe which had formerlie wonne the same. And besides, it will give greate light both unto the seconde and third parte, which is the redressinge of those evills, and plantinge of some good forme or pollicie therin, by renewinge the remembrance of those occasions and accidentes, by which those ruynes hapned, and layinge before us the ensamples of those tymes, to be compared with ours and to be rewarded by those which shall have to doe in the like. Therefore I praye yow, tell them unto us, and as for the point where you lefte, I will not forgett afterwardes to call you backe agayne thereunto.
Irenius: This Edward le Bruce, was the brother of King Roberte the Bruce, who was Kinge of Scotland att such tyme as King Edwarde the second reigned here in England, and bare a most malicious and spitefull mynde against King Edwarde, doinge him all the scathe he could, and annoyinge his territories of England, whilest he was troubled with civill warres of his Barons att home. He also, to worke him the more mischiefe, sent over his said brother Edwarde, with a power of Scottes and Red-shankes into Ireland, where, by meanes of the Lacies and of Irishe with whom they combyned, they got footinge, and gatheringe unto him all the scatterlyn[g]s and outlawes out of all the woodes and mountaynes, in which they longe had lurked, marched forth into the English pale, which then was chieflie in the North, from the point of Dunluce, and beyond unto Dublyn: havinge in the midst of her Knockfergus, Belfast, Armagh; Carlingforde, which are nowe the most out-boundes and abandoned places in the Englishe pale, and some no parte thereof at all: ffor it stretcheth nowe no further than Dundalke towardes the North. There the said Edward the Bruce spoyled and burnt all the old English pale, puttinge to the sworde all the Englishe inhabitantes, and sacked and raced all Cytties and corporate Townes, no lesse then Murro en Ranagh, of whom I earst tolde you: ffor hee wasted Belfast, Greene castell, Kiells, Beltalbott, Castletowne, Newtowne, and many other verie good townes and stronge holdes he rooted out the noble ffamilies of the Audleys, the Talbottes, the Tutchites, the Chamberlaynes, the Mandevilles,and the Salvages, though of the Lord Salvage there remayne yet an heire, that is now a verie poore gentleman dwellinge at the Ardes. And cominge lastlie to Dundalke, he there made him selfe Kinge and rained by the space of one whole yere, by the name of Edwarde Kinge of Ireland, until that King Edwarde of England, having sett some quiett in his affaires at home, sent over the lord John Birmingham to be Generall of the warres against him, who encountringe him near to Dundalke, overthrew his armye and slewe him selfe, and presentlie followed the victory so hotlie upon his Scottes, that he suffred them not to staye, or gather them selves togeather agayne, untill they came to the sea coast. Notwythstandinge, all the waie as they fledd, for verie rancor and despite, they utterlie wasted and consumed whatsoever they had before left unspoiled; so that of all townes and castells, fortes, and bridges and habitacons, he left not any stick standing, nor any people remayning: for those fewe, which yett survived, fled from his furye further into the English pale that now is. Thus was all that godlie Countrie utterlie wasted and left desolate. And as [it] yet remayneth to this daie, which before had ben the chiefe ornament and beautie of Ireland. ffor that parte of the north sometyme was as populous and plentifull as any parte in England, and yelded unto the kinges of England, as yett appeareth by good recordes, thirty thousand markes of olde money by the peece, beside many thowsand of able men to serve them in their warres. Suer it is yett a most bewtifull and sweete Country as any is under heaven, seamed thoroughout with many godlie rivers, replenished with all sortes of fishe most aboundantlie; sprinkled with verie many sweete Ilandes and goodlie lakes, like litle inland seas, that will carrie even shippes uppon theire waters; adorned with goodlie woodes, fitt for buildinge of houses and shipes, so commodiouslie, as that if some princes in the world had them, they would soone hope to be lordes of all the seas, and er longe of all the worlde; also full of verie good portes and havens openinge upon England [and] Scotland, as invitinge us to come unto them, to see what excellent commodities that Countrie can afforde, besides the soyle it selfe most fertile, fitt to yelde all kynde of fruit that shalbe committed there unto. And lastlie the heavens most milde and temperate, though somewhat more moyste then the partes towardes the West.
Eudoxus: Truly Irenius, what with the prayses of your countrie, and what with the lamentable Dysolucon therof made by those ragtailes in Scotland, you have fylled me with a greate compassion of theire calamities, that I doe moch pittie that sweet land, to be subject to so many evills, as everie daie I see more and more throwen upon her, and doe halfe begynne to thinke, that it is, as you said at the begynninge, her fatall misfortune, above all countries that I knowe, to be thus miserablie tossed and turmoiled with theis variable stormes of afflictions: but synce wee are thus far entred into the consideracon of her mishappes, tell me, have there ben any more such tempestes, as you terme them, wherein she has thus wretchedlie ben wracked?
Irenius: Verie many more, god wot, have there ben, in which her principall partes have ben torn a sunder, but none that I can remember, so universall as these. And yet the rebellion of Thomas ffitzGarrett did well nighe stretche it self into all partes of Ireland. But that, which was in the tyme of the Lord Gray, was surelie no lesse generall then all theis; for there was no part free from the contagion, but all conspired in one to cast off theire subjeccon to the Crowne of England. Nevertheles, thorough the most wise and valiant handlinge of that right noble Lord, yt got not that head which the former evills found; for in them the Realme was left, like a shipp in a storme amiddest all the raginge surges, unruled and undirected of any: ffor they to whom she was committed either fainted in theire labor, or forsooke theire charge. But he, like a most wise pilott, kept her corse carefullie, and helde her most stronglie against those roaringe billowes, that he brought her safelie out of all: so as longe after, even by the space of xij or xiij yeres, she rode at peace, thorough his onlie paynes and excellent endurance, how ever envye list to blatter against him. But of this wee shall have more occacon to speake at an other tyme: now (if it please you) lett us return agayne unto our first corse.
Eudoxus: Trulie I am verie glad to heare your judgement of the governement of that honourable man so soundlie; for I have heard it oftentymes maligned, and his doinges depraved of some, who, I perceyve, did rather of malicious mind, or private greevance, seeke to detract from the honor of his deedes and counsells, then of any just cause: but he was nevertheles, in the judgement of all good and wise men, defended and maynteyned. And nowe that he is dead, his immortall fame survives, and flourisheth in the mouthes of all the people, that even those which did backbite him, are choked with theire owne venom, and breake theire galls to heare his so honorable report: But lett him rest in peace, and turne wee to oure more troublous matters of Discourse, of which I am right sorie that you make so short an end, and covet to passe over to your former purpose; for there be many partes of Ireland, which I have hearde have ben no lesse vexed with the like stormes, then theis of which you have treated. As the Countie of the Byrnes and Tooles near Dublyn, with the insolent outrages and spoyles of ffeagh mac Hugh, the countries of Carlo, Wexforde, and Waterforde, of the Cavenaghes: The countries of Leix, Kilkennye, and Kildare, of the Moores, the countries of Offalie, Meath and Langford, of the Conhours. The countries of Westmeath, Cavan, and Louth, of the O Relyes, the Kellies, and many others. So as the discoursing of them, besides the pleasure which should redound out of your historie, be also verie proffitable for matter of pollicie.
Irenius: All these which you have named, and many more besides, often tymes have I right well knowne, to kyndle greately fyres of tumultuous troubles in the counties bordering uppon them. All which to rehearse should rather be to Chronicle tymes, then to searche into the reformacon of abuses in that Realme: and yet verie needfull it wilbe to consider them, and the evills which they have stirred upp, that some redresse thereof, and prevencon of the evills to come, may thereby rather be devysed. But I suppose wee shall have a fitter opportunity for the same, when wee shall speak of the particler abuses and enormities of the government, which wilbe next after these general defectes and inconveniences, which I said were in the lawes, customes, and religion.
Eudoxus: Goe to them, in gods name, and followe the course which yee have purposed to your selfe, for yt fitteth best I must confesse with the purpose of our discorse. Declare your opynion, as you begon, about the lawes of the Realme, what incommoditie you have conceived to be in them, chiefly in the common lawe, which I would have thought most free from all such dislike.
Irenius: The comon law is, as I before said, of it selfe most rightfull and verie convenient, I suppose, for the kingdom for which it was first devized; for this, I thinke, as yt seemes reasonable, that out of the manners of the people, and abuses of the countrie, for which they were invented, they tooke theire first begynninge, for else they should be most unjust: for no lawes of man, accordinge to the straight rule of right, are just, but as in regard of the evills which they prevent, and the safetie of the common weale which they provide for. As for example, in the true ballancinge of Justice, it is a flatt wrong to punishe the thought or purpose of any, before it be enacted: for true justice punisheth nothing but the evill acte or wycked worde, yet by the lawes of all kingdomes it is a capitall cryme, to devise or purpose the death of the King: the reason is, for that when such a purpose is effected, it should be too late to devise of the punishment therof, and should turne that common-weale to more hurt by suche losse of theire Prince, then suche punishment of the malefactors. And therefore the lawe in that case punishes his thought: for better is a mischief, then an inconvenience. So that jus polliticum, though it be not of it selfe just, yet by applicacon, or rather necessitie, it is made just; and this only respect maketh all lawe just. Nowe then, if these lawes of Ireland be not likewise applied and fitted for that Realme, they are sure verie inconvenient.
Eudoxus: You reason stronglie; but what unfitness doe you fynde in them for that Realme? shewe us some particulers.
Irenius: The common lawe appointeth that all trialls, aswel of crymes as titles and ryghtes, shall be made by verdict of Jurye, chosen out of the honestist and most substancal free-holders: Nowe all the ffree-holders of that Realme are Irishe, which when the cause shall fall betwene an Irishe man and an Englyshe, or betwene the Quene and any ffreeholder of that countrye, they make no more scruple to passe against the Englisheman or the Quene, though it bee to strain theire oaths, then to drinke milke unstrayned. So that before the jury goe togeather, it is all to nothing what theire verdict will be. The tryall thereof have I so often sene, that I dare confidentlie avouche the abuse thereof: Yet is the lawe of it selfe, as I said, good; and the first institucon thereof being given to all Englishemen verie rightfull, but nowe that the Yrishe have stepped in to the rowmes of the Englishe, who are nowe become so hedefull and provident to keepe them forth from thensforth, that they make no scruple of conscience to passe against them, it is good reason that either that corse of the Lawe for trialls be altered, or that other provision for juries be made.
Eudoxus: In soothe, Irenius: you have discovered a point worth the consideracon. For hereby not onelie the Englishe subject fyndeth no indifferencie in decidinge of his cause, be it never so just; but also the Quene, aswell in all pleas of the crowne, as also for all inquiries of escheate: lands attainted, wardshipps, concealements, and all suche like, is abused, and exceedinglie endamaged.
Irenius: You saie verie true; For I dare undertake, that at this daie there are more attainted landes, concealed from her Majestie, then she hath possessions in all Ireland: and that is no smale Inconvenience: for, besides that she looseth so moche land as should turne ther to her greate proffitt, she besides looseth so many good subjectes, which might be assured to her, as those landes would yelde inhabitantes and living unto.
Eudoxus: But does that people, saie you, make no moer conscience to perjuer them selfes in there verdicts, and to dampne there sowles?
Irenius: Not onelie so in there verdictes, but also in all other there dealings, speciallie with the Englishe, they are most willfullie bent: for though they will not seme manifestlye to doe it, yet will some one or other subtile headed fellowe amongest them pick some quirke, or devyse some subtile evasion, whereof the rest will lightlie take hold of, and suffer them selves easilie to be ledd by him to that them selves desired: ffor in the most apparant matter that can be, the least question or dowbt that can be moved, will make stop unto them, and put them quite out of the way. Besides that, of them selves, they are for the most parte, so cautelous and wylie headed, especiallie being men of so smale experience and practize in lawe matters, that you would wonder whence they borrowe suche subtilties and slye shiftes.
Eudoxus: But mee thinke, this inconvenience might be moche helped in the judges and chief majestrates which have the choosinge and nominatinge of those Jurors, yf they would have care to appoint either most Englishmen, or suche Yrishemen as were of the sowndest disposition: for wee dowbt not but some there bee incorruptible.
Irenius: Some there be in dede as you saie; but then woulde the Irishe partie cry out of partialitie, and complayne he hath not Justice, he is not used as a subject, he is not suffered to have the free benefitt of the lawe: And theis outcryes the majestrates there doe moch shune, as they have cause, since they are so reddelie harkened unto here; neither can it be indede, although the Irishe partie would be content to be so compassed, that such englishe freeholders, which are but fewe, and such faithful yrishmen, which are in dede as few, shall alwaies be chosen for trialls: ffor beinge so fewe, they shoulde sone be made wearie of theire freeholdes. And therefore a good care is to be had by all occasions to encrease theire nomber, and to plant more by them. But were it so that the Juries could bee picked out of suche choise men as you desire, there would nevertheles be as bad a corrupcon in the triall: ffor the evidence beinge brought in by the base Irishe people, will be as deceiptfull as the verdictes: for they care muche lesse then the others what they sweare, and sure theire lordes may compell them to saie any thing: ffor my self have heard when one of that base sort, which they call charles, being challenged, and reprooved for his false oathe, have answered confidentlie, that his lord commaunded him, and that it was the least thing he could doe for his lord, to sweare for him: so inconscionable are theis common people, and so litle feeling have they of god, or theire owne sowles good.
Eudoxus: It is a most miserable case: but what helpe can there be in this? ffor though the manner of the triall shoulde be altered, yet the proofe of every thinge must nedes be by the testimonies of such persons as the parties shall produce: which if they shall corrupt, however can there any light of truthe appeare? what remedy is there for this evill, but to make heavie lawes and penalties against jurors?
Irenius: I thinke sure that will do smale good: ffor when a people are inclyned to any vice, or have no towche of conscience, nor sence of theire evill doinge, yt is booteles to thinke to restrayne them by any penalties or feare of punishment; but either the occacon is to be taken awaie, or a more understandinge of the right, or shame of the fault is to be imprinted. For if Lycurgus should have made it deathe for the Lacedemonians to steale, they beinge a people which naturallie delighted in stealth, or if it shoulde be made a capitall cryme for the Fflemminges to be taken in drunkennes, there should have been fewe Lacedemonians soone left, and fewer Fflemminges: so unpossible it is to remove any fault so generall in a people, with terror of lawes or more sharpe restraintes.
Eudoxus: What meanes may there be then to avoide this inconvenience? for the cause sure semes verie harde.
Irenius: Wee are not yet come to that point to devyse remedies for the evills, but onlie have nowe to recompt them; of the which this that I have tolde you is one defect in the common Lawe.
Eudoxus: Tell us then, I praie you further, have you any more of this sorte in the common Lawe?
Irenius: By rehersall of this, I remember also of an other like, which I have often observed in trialls to have wrought greate hurt and hinderance, and that is, the excepcons which the common Lawe alloweth a fellon in his triall:. ffor he may have, as you knowe, xxxvj excepcons peremptorye against the Jurors, of which he shall shewe no cause, and as many as he will of suche, as he can shew cause. By which shifte there beinge, as I have shewed you suche smale store of honest Jurie men, he will either put of his trial, or drive it to such men as perhapps are not of the sowndest sorte, by whose meanes, yf he can acquite him self of the cryme, as he is likelie, then will he plage suche as were brought first to be of his jury,and all suche as made any partie against him, and when he comes forth, will make theire cowes and garrons to walke, yf he doe not other mischief to theire persons.
Eudoxus: This is a slye device, but I thinke might sone be remedied: but wee must leave it a while with the rest: in the meane tyme doe you goe forward with others.
Irenius: There is another no lesse inconvenient then this, which is for the triall of accessaries to felony: ffor, by the common Lawe, the accessarie can not be proceeded against till the principall have receyved his triall. Nowe the case often falleth in Ireland that a stealth beinge made by a rebell, or an outlawe, the stolen goodes are conveyed to some husbandman or gente, which hath well to take to, and yet liveth most by the receipt of suche stealthes, where they are found by the owner, and handled: whereuppon the party perhapps is apprehended and committed to gaole, or putt uppon suerties, till the Sessions, at which the owner, preferring a bill of Indictment, proveth sufficiently the stealth to have been committed vppon him by suche an outlawe, and to have ben found in the possession of the prisoner, against whom, nevertheles, no [course] of Lawe can proceede, nor triall can be had, for that the principall thiefe is not to be gotten, notwithstandinge that he likewise, standeth perhapps indicted at once with the receyver, beinge in rebellion or in the woodes, where peradventure he is slayne before he is taken, and so the receivor cleane acquited and discharged of the cryme. By which means the thieves are greatlie encouraged to steale, and theire mainteyners imboldned to receive theire stealthes, knowing howe hardlie they can be brought to any triall of lawe.
Eudoxus: Trulie this is a greate inconvenience, and a great cause, as you saie, of the maintenance of theeves, knowinge theire receivors alwaies readie; ffor, would there be no receivors, there would be no theeves. But this, me semes might easelie be provided for by some act of Parliament, that the receivor being convicted by good proofes, might receive his triall without the Principall.
Irenius: You saie very true, Eudoxus but that is almost impossible to be compassed. And herein also you discover another imperfeccon in the course of the common Lawe, and first ordynance of the Realme; for you knowe that the said Parliament must consist of the peeres, gentlemen, freeholders, and burgesses of that Realme it self. Nowe theis beinge perhappes them selves, or the most parte of them (as maye seeme by theire stif withstandinge of this act) culpable of this cryme, or favorers of theire friendes, which are suche by whom theire kitchens are sometymes amended, will not suffer any suche statute to passe. Yet hathe it oftentymes ben attempted, and in the tyme of Sir John Perott verye earnestlie, I remember, labored, but by no meanes could be effected: And not onelie this, but many other like, which are as nedeful for the reformacon of that Realme.
Eudoxus: This also is surelie a great defect; but wee maye not talke, you saie, of the redressing of this, untyll our seconde parte come, which is purposelye appointed thereunto. Therefore procede to the recountinge of moe suche evilles, yf at leaste you have any more.
Irenius: There also is a greate inconvenience, which has wrought greate dammadge to her Majestie, and to that Common wealth, through close and collorable conveyances of the landes and goodes of Traytors, fellons, and fugitives: as, when one of them mindeth to goe into rebellyon: he will convey away all his landes and Lordships to foeffes in trust, wherby he reserveth to himselfe but a state for term of lief which beinge determined either by the sword or by the haulter, theire Lande streighte commeth to the heire, and the queene is defrauded of the intent of the Lawe, which layed that grivyous punishment upon Traytors to forfeite all theire landes to the Prince, to the ende that men might be the rather terrefied from commyttinge treasons: ffor many which would little esteeme theire owne lyves, yet for remorse of theire wyves and children, shoulde bee withheld from that hayneous cryme. This appeared playnelie in the late Earle of Desmond: ffor before his breakinge forth into open rebellyon he hade conveyed secretelie all his landes to feoffes of trust, in hope to have cutt of her Majestie from the escheate of his landes.
Eudoxus: Yea, but that was well ynoughe avoyded; ffor the acte of Parliament which gave all his landes to the queene did, (as I have hearde,) cutt of and frustrate all suche conveyaunces, as had any tyme, by the space of xii yeres before his rebellyon, bene made: within the Compasse whereof, that fraudulent feoffment, and many other the like of his accomplisses and fellow-Traytors were contayned.
Irenius: Very true, but how hardlie that acte of Parliament was wrounge out of them, I cann wytnes: and were yt to be compassed againe, I dare undertake it would never be compassed. But were yt soe that such actes might easilie be brought to passe against Traytors and fellons, yet were yt not an endless trouble, that no Traytor nor fellon should be attaynted, but a Parliament must be called for bringinge his landes to the queene, which the Common Lawe geveth her.
Eudoxus: Then this is no faulte of the Common Lawe, but of the persons which worke this fraude to her Majestie.
Irenius: Yes, mary, for the Common Lawe hath left them this benefitt, whereof they make advantage, and wrest yt to theire bad purposes. Soe as they are thereby the bolder to enter into evill accons, knowinge that yf the worste befall them, they shall loose nothinge but themselves: whereof they seme surely verye careles, as Cæsar in his Commentaryes sayth, are very fearles of death.
Eudoxus: But what meane you of fugitives herein? or how doth this concerne them?
Irenius: Yes, very greatly: for yee shall understand that there be many ill disposed and undutyfull persons of that Realme, like as in this pointe there are allso in the Realme of England, too many, which beinge men of good inheritance, are for the dislike of religion, or danger of the law into which they are run, or discontent of the present government, fled beyond the seas, where they lyve under Princes that are her Majesties professed Enemies, and converse and are confederate with other Traytors and fugytives which are there abidinge. The which nevertheles have the benefitt and profittes of their landes here, by pretence of suche cullorable conveyances thereof, formerlie made by them to theire pryvie frendes here in trust, whoe secretly sende over unto them the saide revenewes, wherwith they are there maintayned and enabled against her Majestie.
Eudoxus: I doe not thinke that there be any such fugitives which are releived by the profitt of theire lands in England: ffor there is a straighter order taken. And yf there bee any such in Ireland, yt were good yt were likewise looked unto: for this evil may easelie be remedied: but proceede.
Irenius: Yt is also inconvenient in the Realme of Ireland, that the wardes and marriadges of gentlemens Children should be in the disposicon of any of these Irish Lords, as nowe they are, by reason that theire landes are helde by knightes service of those Lords, as now they are. By which meanes yt cometh to passe, that those said gentlemens children, beinge thus in the warde of those Lords, are not only thereby brought up lewdlie and Irishe like, but allso for ever after soe bounden to theire services, as that they will runne with them into any disloyall accon.
Eudoxus: This grievance, Irenæus, is allso complayned of in Ingland; but how can yt bee remedied? since the service must followe the tenure of the landes, and the landes were geven awaye by the Kinges of England to those Lords, when they first conquered that Realme: and to say the truth, this allso would be some prejudice to the Prince in her Wardship.
Irenius: I doe not mean this by the Princes warde, but by suche as fall into the handes of the Irish Lordes: for I could wishe and this I woulde enforce, that all those wardships were in the Princes disposicon, for then yt might be hooped that she, for the universall reformacon of that realme, woulde take better order for the brininge up of those wardships in good nourture, and not suffer them to come into so bad handes. And thoughe these thinges be alreadie passed awaye by her progenitors former graunts unto those said Lords, yet I coulde find a way to remedie a greate paret thereof, as hereafter, when fytt time serveth, shall appeare. And since wee are entred into speache of such grauntes of former princes to sondrie persons of that Realme of Ireland, I will mencon unto you some other, of like nature to this, and of like inconvenyence, by which the Kinges of England passed unto them a greate parte of theire prerogatyves, which though then yt were well intended, and perhaps well deserved of them which receaved the same, yet nowe such a gapp of mischiefe lieth open thereby, that I could wish it weare stopped. Of this sorte are the grauntes of the Countyes Palletynes in Ireland, which though at first were graunted upon good consideracon when they were first conquered, for that those lands lay then as a very border to the wylde Irish, subject to contynewall invasion, soe as yt was needeful to geve them greate privileges to the defense of the inhabitants therof; yet now that it is no more a border, nor frontiered with enemies, why should such pryviledges be any more contynewed?
Eudoxus: I would gladlie knowe what you call a county Pallentyne, and whence yt is so called.
Irenius: It was as I suppose first named Pallatyne of a Pale, as yt were a pale and defence to their innere landes, soe as now yt is called the English Pale, and therof allso is a Palsgrave named, that is an Earle Palentyne. Others thincke of the Latyne, Palare, that is, to foraige or outrune, because that marchers and borderers use commonly soe to doe. So as to have a County Pallentyne is in effecte but to have a priviledge to spoile the Enemyes borders adjoyninge. And surely soe yt is used at this day, as a priviledged place of spoiles and stealthes; for the County of Tipperarie, which is nowe the only County Pallentyne in Ireland, is by abuse of some bad ones, made a receptacle to rob the rest of the Countryes about yt. By meanes of whose priviledges none will follow theire stealthes, soe as yt, beinge scytuate in the very [lap] of all the land, is made nowe a border, which how inconvenient yt is, let every man judge. And though that right noble man, that is the lord of that libertye, doe payne him selfe all that he may to yeilde equall Justice unto all, yet cann there not but greate abuses lurke in soe inward and absolute a priviledginge, consideracon whereof is to be respected carefully, for the next succession. And much like unto this graunte there are also other priviledges graunted unto most of the Corporacons there; that they shal not be bounde to any other goverment then theire owne; that they shall not be charged with any garrisons; that they shall not be travaelled forth of theire owne franchises; that they may buye and sell with theves and Rebells; that all amercements and fynes which shalbe ymposed upon them shall come unto themselves. All which, though att the tyme of theire first grante they were tollerable, and perhapes reasonable, yet nowe are most unresonable and inconvenyent. But all these will easilie be cutt of with the superior power of her Majestys prerogatyve, against which her owne grauntes are not to be pleaded nor enforced.
Eudoxus: Nowe truelie, Irenius, you have, meseemes, very well handled this pointe touchinge inconvenyences in the Common Lawe there, by you observed, and yt seemeth that you have had a myndefull regard unto the thinges that may concerne the good of that Realme. And yf you cann aswell goe through with the Statute Lawes of that lande, I will thincke you have not lost all your tyme there. Therefore, I praye you, nowe take them to you in hande and tell us what you thincke to be amisse in them.
Irenius: The Statutes of that realme are not manie, and therefore wee shall the sooner run through them. And yet of those fewe there are sondrie impertinent and unnecessarie: the which perhappes though at the tyme of the making of them were very needful, yet nowe through chainge of time are cleane antiquated, and altogether idle: As that which forbiddeth any to weare theire beardes all on theire upper lip, and none under the chynne, and that which putteth away saffron shirts and smockes, and that which restryneth the usinge of guylte bridles and pettronells, and that which appointed to the recorders and Clarkes of Dubline and Drodagh, to take but ijd. for the Coppie of a playnt, and that which commandeth bowes and arrowes, and that which maketh that all Irishmene that shall converse amonge the Englishe shalbe taken for spies, and soe punished, and that which forbiddeth persons ameanable to lawa to enter and distrayne in the lands in the which they have tittle; and many other the like which I could rehearse.
Eudoxus: These, trulie, which you have repeated, seme very fryvolous and fruitles; for by the breach of them little dammage or inconvenience cann come to the Common-Wealth, nether, indeede, yf any transgresse them, shall he seeme worthie of punishment, scarce of blame, savinge be that they abide by the names of lawes. But lawes ought to be suche, as that the keepinge of them should be greatlie for the behoofe of the Common-Wealth, and the violatinge of them should be very haynous, and sharply punishable. But tell us of some more weightie dislikes in the Statutes then these, and that may be more behouefull importe the reformacon of them.
Irenius: There is one or two statutes which make the wrongfull destrayninge of any mans goods against the forme of Common Lawe to be fellony. The which statutes seeme surelie to have benn at firste meant for the greate good of that Realme, and for restrayninge of a fowle abuse, which then raigned commonly amongst that people, and yet is not altogether layed aside; that when anyone was indebted to another, he would first demaunde his debt, and yf he were not paied, he would streighte goe and take a distres of his goods or Cattel, where he could finde them, to the value: which he would keepe tyll he were satisfied, and this the simple Churle (as they call him) doth commonly use to doe yet, thorough ignorance of his misdoing, or evill use that hath longe settled amongest them. But this, though it be sure most unlawfull, yet surely me seemes to hard to make it death, since there is no purpose in the partie to steale the others goods, or to conceale the distres, but doth yt openly, for the most parte before witnesses. And againe, the same statutes are soe slackelie pende, besides that latter of them is so vnsensiblye contryved that yt scarse carrieth any reason in yt, that they are often and very easily wrested to the fraude of the subjecte; as yf one goinge to distrayne upon his land or Tenemente, where lawfully he may, yet yf in doinge therof he transgres the leaste point of the Common Lawe, he streightly commiteth fellonie. Or if one by any other occasion take any thing from another, as boys use sometimes to cap one another, the same is straight fellony. This is a very harde lawe.
Eudoxus: Nevertheles the evill use of distrayninge another mans goods, you will not deny but is to be abolished and taken awaye.
Irenius: Yt is soe, but not by takinge awaye the subjecte withall; for that is to violent a medycine, speciallie this use beinge permitted, and made lawfull to some, and to other some, death. As to most of the Corporate Townes there, it is graunted by theire charter, that they may, every man by himselfe, without an officer (for that were more tollerable) for any debt, to distrayne the goods of any Irishe, beinge founde within theire liberty, or but passinge through theire Townes. And the first permissyon of this was for that in those tymes when that graunt was made, the Irishe were not amesnable to lawe, soe as yt was not saifetie for the Townesman to goe to him forth to demaund his debt, nor possible [to] drawe him into lawe, soe that he had leve to be his owne bayliffe, to arrest his saide debtors goods within his owne franchise. The which the Irish seinge, thought yt as lawfull for them to distrayne the Townesmans goods in the countrey where they founde yt. And soe [by] ensample of that graunt to Townes-men, they thought yt lawfull, and made yt an use to distrayne one anothers goods for smale debtes. And to say truth, me thinkes yt hard for every tryflyng debt of 2 or 3s. to be dryven to lawe, which is so far from them sometymes to be sought, for which me thinkes yt were an heavy ordinance to geve death, especyally to a rude man that is ignorant of Lawe, and thinketh a common use or graunt to other men a lawe for himselfe.
Eudoxus: Yea, but the Judge, when it commeth before him to triall, may easilie deside this doubte, and lay open the intent of the lawe by his better discrecon.
Irenius: Yea, but yt is daingerous to leave the sense of a lawe unto the reason or will of Judges, whoe are men and may bee miscaryed, by affeccions, and many other meanes. But the lawes ought to be like to stony tables, playne, stedfast, and ymmoveable. There is allso suche another statute or twoe, which make Coigne or lyverye to bee treason, no lesse inconvenient then the former, beinge, as yt is penned, howe ever the first purpose thereof were expedient; for thereby nowe noe man cann goe into anothers howse for Lodginge, nor to his owne Tenants howse to take victuall by the waye, notwithstandinge that there is no other meanes for him to have lodgings or horse meate, nor mans meate, there beinge noe Innes, nor none otherwise to bee bought for money, but that he is indaingered to that Statute of Treason, whensoever he shall happen to falle out with his Tennant, or that his said hoste list to complaine of grevance, as oftentymes I have seene them very malishiouslie doe thorowe the least provocation.
Eudoxus: I do not well knowe, but by gesse, what you doe meane by these termes of Coigne and Lyvery: therefore, I praye you explaine them.
Irenius: I knowe not whether the wordes be Englishe or Irishe, but I suppose them rather to be auncyent Englishe, for the Irishemen Englishe cann make no derivacon or analogie of them. What lyverie is, wee by Common use doe knowe well enough, that it is allowance of horsemeate, as commonly they use the word in stabline, as to keep horses at liverye; the which worde, as I gesse, is deryved of liveringe or delivering forth theire nightlie foode. Soe in greate howses, the lyvery is said to be served up for all night, that is theire eveninges allowance of drinke. And lyvery is allso called the [upper] garment which a serving man weareth, soe called, as I suppose, for that yt was delyvered or taken from him at pleasure: So yt is apparant, that by the worde Liverie is there meante horsemeate, like as by the word Coigny is understood mans meat: But whence the worde is deryved is very hard to tell. Some say of coyne, for that they vsed [commonly] in theire Coignes, not only to take meate, but coyne allso; and that that takinge of money was specyally meante to be prohibited by that statute: But I thinke rather this word Coignye is deryved of the Irishe. The which is a common use amongest the cheife landelords, to have a common spendinge upon theire Tennants; for all theire tennants, being commonly but tennants att will, they use to take of them what victuall they list, ffor of victualls they were wounte to make smale reconinge: neither in this was the Tennante wronged, for yt was an ordinarie and knowen custome, and his lord commonly used so to covenante with him, which yf at any tyme the tennante disliked, he might freelie departe at his pleasure. But nowe by this statute the Irishe lord is wronged, for that he is cutt of from his customary services, of the which this was one, besides many other of the like, as Cuddie, Cossherie, Bonnagh, Shragh, Sorehin, and such others, the which I thinke at first were customes brought in by the Englishe upon the Irishe, the which were never wonte, and yet are loath to yeilde any certen rent, but onlye such spendinges: for theire common sayinge is: Spende me and defende me.
Eudoxus: Surely I take yt as you saye, that therein the Irishe Lord hath wronge, since yt was an auncyent custome, and nothinge contrarie to lawe, for to the willinge there is no wronge done: And this right well I wott, that, even here in England, there are in many places as strange Customes as that of Coygnie and lyverye. But I suppose by your speache, that yt was the first meaninge of the [statute] to forbid the violent takinge of victualls upon other mens Tenants against theire willes, which surelie is a greate outraige, and yet not soe greate me seemes, as that yt shoulde be made Treason: for consideringe that the nature of Treason is concerninge the royall estate or person of the prince, or practizinge wyth his enemies to the derogacon and dainger of his crowne and dignitie, yt is hardlie wrested to make this treason. But as you erst said, Better a mischiefe then an inconvenience.
Irenius: Another statute I remember, which havinge been an ancyent Irishe custome is nowe upon advisement made an Englishe lawe, and that is called the Custome of Kincougish, which is, that every heade of everie sept and every chiefe of every kindred or familie, should be required answerable and bound to bring foorth every one of that sept and kindred under it at all times to be justified, when he should be required or charged with any treason, felony or other haynous crime.
Eudoxus: Whie, surely this seemes a very necessary lawe. For considering that many of them bee such losells and scatterlinges, as that they cannot easily by any sheriffe, Constable, Bayliffe, or other ordinary officer be gotten, when they are challenged for any such facte; this is a very good meanes to gett them to be brought in by him that is the heade of the septe or chiefe of that howse: wherefore I wonder what [just] excepcon ye cann make against the same.
Irenius: True, Eudoxus, in the pretence of the good of this statute, yee have nothinge erred, for yt seemeth very expedient and necessarie: But the hurte which cometh thereby is greater then the good. For, whilest every chiefe of a septe standeth soe bounde to the lawe for every man that is of his bloud or sept that is under him inclusive, every one of his sept is put under him and he is made greate by the commaundinge of them all. For yf he may not commaund them, then that lawe doth wronge that bindeth him to bringe them forth to bee justified: and yf he may commaund them, then he may commaund them aswell to yll as to good. Hereby the lords and captaines of the countries, the principalls and heades of septs, are made stronger, whome yt shoulde be a most specyall care in pollicie to weaken, and to sett up, and strengthen divers of his underlines against him, which whensoever he shall offer to swarve from dutye, may be able to bearde him; for it is very daingerous to leave the command of soe many as some septes are, beinge v or vi thowsande persons, to the will of one man, whoe may leade them to what he will, as he himselfe shall be inclyned.
Eudoxus: In very deede, Irenius, yt is very daingerous, especially seinge the disposicon of those people not allwayes inclynable to the best. And therefore I hold yt noe wisedome to leave unto them, to much commaund over theire kindred, but rather to withdrawe theire followers from them asmuch as may bee, and to gather them under the commaund of lawe by some better meane than this custome of Kincougish. The which word I woulde bee glad to knowe what yt namely signifieth, for the meaninge thereof I seeme to understand reasonabe well.
Irenius: It is a worde mingled of Englishe and Irish together, so I am partlye led to thinke, that the custome thereof was first Englishe and afterwardes Irish, for suche an other lawe they had here in Englande, as I remember, made by Kinge Alured, that every gentleman should contynually bringe forth his kindred and followers to the lawe. So Kin is Englishe and Coughish signifieth affinitie in Irishe.
Eudoxus: Sith then that wee have thus reasonablie handled the inconveniences in the lawes, lett us nowe passe unto your second parte, which was, as I remember, of the abuses of Customes; in which, me seemes, yee have a fayre champion laied open unto you, in which yee may at large stretch out your discourse into many sweete remembrances of Antiquities, from whence yt seemeth that the customes of that natyon proceede.
Irenius: Indeede, Eudoxus you say very true; for all the customes of the Irishe which I have very often noted and compared with that I have red, would mynister occasion of most ample discourse of the first originall of them, and the antiquitie of that people, which in truth I doe thinke to bee more auncient then most that I know in this ende of the worlde; so as yf it were in the handlinge of some man of sound judgement and plentifull readinge, it would be most pleasant and profitable. But yt may bee wee may, at some other time of meetinge, take occasion to treate thereof more at large. Here only it shall suffice to touch such Customes of the Irish as seeme offensive and repugnant to the good government of that Realme.
Eudoxus: Followe then your owne corse, for I shall the better content my selfe to forbeare my desire nowe, in hope that you will, as you say, some other time more abuondantly satisfie yt.
Irenius: Before wee enter into the treatise of theire Customes, yt is first needfull to consider from whence they sproung, for from the sundrie mannors of the nations, from whence that people which nowe are called Irishe were derived, some of the customes which nowe remayne amongest them have benn fetcht, and since they have benn contynwed amongest them; for not of one nacyon was that people as yt is, but of sondrie people of different condicons and manners: But the chief which have first possessed, and inhabited yt, I suppose to be Scythians.
Eudoxus: How commeth it then to passe, that the Irish doe derive themselves from Gathelus the Spaniard?
Irenius: They doe indeed, but (I conceive) without any good ground. For if there were any such notable transmission of a colony hether out of Spaine, or any such famous conquest of this kingdome by ,Gathelus, a Spaniard, as they would faine believe, it is not unlikely, but the very Chronicles ofSpaine (had Spaine then beene in so high regard as they now have it) would not have omitted so memorable a thing, as the subduing of so noble a realme to the Spaniard, no more then they doe now neglect to memorize their conquest of the Indians, especially in those times, in which the same was supposed, being nearer unto the flourishing age of learning and writers under the Romanes. But the Irish doe heerein no otherwise, then our vaine English-men doe in the Tale of Brutus, whom they devise to have first conqured and inhabited this land, it being as impossible to proove, that there was ever any such Brutus of Albion or England, as it is, that there was any such Gathelus of Spaine. But surely the Scythians (of whom I earst spoke) which at such tyme as the Northerne Nations overflowed all Christendome, came downe to the Sea coste, where enquiringe for other countryes abroade, and gettinge intelligence of this Countrye of Irelande, finding shippinge convenient, passed over thither, and arived in the North parte thereof, which is now called Ulster, which first inhabiting, and afterwardes stretchinge themselves forth into the Ilande as theire nombers encreased, named yt all of themselves Scuttenlande, which more briefly is called Scutland, [or] Scotland.
Eudoxus: I wonder, Irenius, whether you runne so farre astraye; for whilst wee talke of Ireland me thinkes you rippe up the originall of Scotland; but what is that to this?
Irenius: Surelie very much, for Scotland and Ireland are one and the same.
Eudoxus: That seemeth more strange; for wee all knowe right well that they are distinguished, with a greate sea runninge betweene them; or else there are twoe Scotlands.
Irenius: Never the more are there twoe Scotlands, but twoe kindes of Scotts there were indeede, as you may gather out of Buchanan, the one Irine or Irishe Scotts, the other Albyne Scotts; for those Scotts or Scythians arrived, as I supposed, in the North parts of the Island, where some of them afterwards passed into the next coaste of Albyne, nowe called Scotland, which, after much trouble, they possessed, and of themselves named yt Scotland; but in process of tyme, as is commonly seene, the denominac[o]n of the part prevailed in the whole, for the Irishe Scotts puttinge away the name of Scotts, were called only Irishe, and Albyne Scotts, leavinge the name of Albyne, were called only Scotts. Therefore yt cometh of some wryters, that Ireland is called Scotia-major, and that which nowe is named Scotland, is called Scotia-minor.
Eudoxus: I doe nowe well understande your distinguishing of the twoe sortes of Scotts, and twoe Scottlands, howe that this which is nowe called Irelande was auncyently called Erine, and afterwardes of some wrytten Scotland, and that which is nowe called Scotland was formerlie called Albyn, before the cominge of the Scutts thither: But what other Nations inhabited thother partes of Irelande?
Irenius: After this people thus planted in the north or before, (for the certaintie of tymes in thinges soe farre from all knowledge cannot bee justlie avouched), another nation cominge out of Spaine aryved in the West part of Irelande, and findinge it waste, or weakelie inhabited, possessed yt; who whether they were native Spaniards, or Gaules or Affricans or Goaths, or some other of those Northerne Nations which did spread all over-spred all Christendome, it is impossible to affirme, onlie some naked conjectures may be gathered; but that out of Spaine certenlie they came, that doe all the Irishe Cronicles agree.
Eudoxus: You doe verie boldlie, Irenius, venture upon the histories of auncyent tymes, and leane too confidently unto those Irishe Cronicles which are moste fabulous and forged, in that out of them you dare take in hande to laye open the Originall of a nation soe antique, as that noe monument remaynes of her begynninge and [firste] inhabitinge there; specially havinge bene allwayes without letters, but only bare tradicons of tymes and remembrances of bardes, which use to forge and falsifye every thinge as they liste to please or displease any man.
Irenius: Trulie I must confesse I doe soe, but yet not so absolutelie as yee suppose. But I doe herein relye upon those bardes or Irishe Cronicles, though the Irishe themselves, through their ignorance in matters of learninge and deepe judgement, doe most constantly beleve and avouch them. But unto them besides I adde my owne readinge; and out of them both togeather, with comparison of tymes, likenes of manners and customes, affinitie of words and names, properties of natures and uses, resemblances of rights and ceremonies, monuments of Churches and Tombes, and many other like circumstances I doe gather a likelyhood of truth; not certenly affirminge any thinge, but by conferringe of tymes, language, monuments, and such like, I doe hunt out a probabilitie of thinges, which I leave unto your judgement to beleve or refuse. Nevertheles there bee some very auncyent authors which make mencyon of those thinges, and some moderne, which by comparinge of them with the present tymes, experience, and theire owne reason, doe open a wyndow of greate light unto the rest, that is yet unsene; as namely, of the oulder, Cesar, Strabo, Tacitus, Ptolemie, Plinie, Solinus, Pompeus, Mela, and Berosus; of the latter, Vincentius, Æneas Silvius, Ludus, Buckhanan, [of all of which I do givemost credit unto Buchanan] for that he himselfe, being an Irishe Scott or Picte by nacon, and beinge very excellently learned, and industrious to seeke out the truth of these thinges concerninge the originall of his owne people, hath both sett downe the testimonies of the auncyents truly, and his owne opinion withall very reasonablie, though in some thinges he doth somewhat flatter. Besides, the Bardes and Irish Croniclers themselves, though through desier of pleasinge perhappes to much, and ignorance of arte and pure learninge, they have [clouded] the truth of those tymes; yet there appeareth amongest them some Reliques of the true antiquitie, though disguised, which a well eyed man may happilie discover and finde out.
Eudoxus: How cann there bee any truth in them at all, since the auncyent nations which first inhabited Ireland were altogether destitute of letters, much more of learninge, by which they might leave the veritie of things wrytten. And those bardes comminge alsoe soe many hundred yeres after, could not knowe what was done in former ages, nor delyver certenty of any thinge, but what they feyned out of theire unlearned heades.
Irenius: Those bardes indeede, Cesar writeth, delyver no certen truth of any thinge, nether is there any certen holde to be taken of any antiquitie which is receaved by tradiccon, since all men bee lyars, and [may] lye when they will; but yet for auncyentnes of the wrytten Cronicles of Ireland, geve me leave to say somethinge, not to justifie them, but to showe that some of them might say truth. For where yee say that the Irish have allwayes benn without letters, yee are therein much deceaved, for yt is certen, that Ireland hath had the use of letters very auncientlie, and longe before England.
Eudoxus: Is yt possible? how comes yt then that they are so barbarous still, and soe unlearned, beinge soe olde scollers? For learninge as the Poett saith, emollit mores nec sinit esse feros: whence then I pray you coulde they have those letters?
Irenius: It is harde to saye: for whether they at theire first comminge into the land, or afterwardes by tradinge with other Nations which hade letters, learned them of them, or devised them amongest themselves, [it is very doubtful. But that they had letters anciently, it is nothing doubtful,] for the Saxons of Englande are saide to have theire letters, and Learninge, and learned men, from the Irishe; and that also appeareth by the likenes of the Carracter, for the Saxons carracter is the same with the Irishe. Now the Scythians never, I cann reade, of oulde had letters among them: therefore yt seemeth that they had them from the nacyon which came out of Spaine, for in Spaine there was (as Strabo wryteth) letters auncyently used, whether brought unto them by the Phenicians, or the Persians, which as yt appeareth by him) had some footinge there, or from Marseles, which is saide to have been inhabited by the Greekes, and from them to have had the Greeke carracter; of the which Marsilianns yt is said, that the Gaules learned them first, and used only for the furtherance of theire trades and private busines: for the Gaules (as is stronglie to be proved by many au ncyent and authenticall wryters) first inhabite all the sea coste of Spaine even unto Cales and the mouth of the Streights, and peopled also a greate parte of Italie, which appeareth by sundrie Citties and havens in Spaine called of them, as Portingalia, Gallecia, Galdunum; and also by sundrie nacons therein dwellinge, which yet have reseaved theire owne names of the Gaules, as the Rhegnie, Presamarie, Tamariti, Cineri, and divers others. All which Pompeius Mela, beinge himselfe a Spaniarde, yet saith to have descended from the Celtics of Fraunce, whereby yt is to be gathered, that that nacon which came out of Spain into Ireland were auncientlie Gaules, and that they brought with them those letters which they had learned in Spain, first into Ireland, the which some allso saye doe muche resemble the olde Phenicon carracter, beinge likewise distinguished with pricke and accent, as theires auncyentlie; but the further enquirie thereof needeth a place of longer discourse than this our shorte conference.
Eudoxus: Surelie you have showed a greate probabilitie of that which I had thought impossible to have benn proved; but that which you nowe saye, that Ireland shoulde have benn peopled with the Gaules, seemeth much more strainge, for all theire Cronicles doe say that the west and south was possessed and inhabited of Spaniards: and Cornelius Tacitus doth allso stronglie affirme the same, all which you must either overthrowe and falsifie or renounce your opinion.
Irenius: Neither so, nor soe, for the Irish Cronicles, as I said unto you, beinge made by unlearned men, and wrytinge thinges accordinge to the apparance of the truth which they conceyved, doe erre in the circumstances, not in the matter. For all that came out of Spain (they beinge no diligent searchers into the differences of the Nacyons) supposed to be Spaniards, and so called them, but the groundworke thereof is nevertheles (as I saide) true and certen, however, they through theire ignorance disguise the same, or through theire owne own vanitie whilst they would not seeme to bee ignorant, doe thereupon buylde and enlarge many forged histories of theire owne antiquitie, which they delyver to fooles and make them beleve them for true: as for example, that first of all one Gathelus the sonne of Cecropes, or Argos, who havinge married the Kinge of Egyps his daughter, thence sayled with her into Spain, and there inhabited: Then that of Nemedus and his fower sonnes, who coming out of Scythia peopled Ireland, and inhabited yt with his 2 sonnes twoe hundred and ffifty yeares, till he was overcome of the Gyants dwellinge then in Irelande, and at the last quite banished and rooted out. After whome two hundred yeres, the sonnes of one Dela, beinge Scythians, aryved there againe, and possessed the whole lande, of which the youngest, called Slaynius, in the ende made himselfe Monarch. Lastlie, of the iiij sonnes of Milesius Kinge of Spain, which conquered that land from the Scythians, and inhabitinge yt with Spaniards, called yt of the youngest Heberuus, Hibernia: all which are in truth mere fables, and very Milesian lyes, (as the lattine proverbe is;) for there was never such a Kinge of Spain called Milesius, nor any suche colony seated with his sonnes, as they fayne, that cann ever bee proued. But yet under these tales yee may in manner see the truth lurke. For Scythians, here inhabitinge, they name and doe speake of Spaniards whereby appeareth that both those nations here inhabited: but whether very Spaniards, (as the Irishe greatlie affecte), ys no way to be proved.
Eudoxus: Whence commeth it that the Irishe do soe greatlie covett to to fetch themselves from the Spaniards, since the olde Gaules are a more auncyent and much more honorable nation?
Irenius: Even of a very desier of newfanglenes and vanitie, for beinge as they are nowe accompted, the most barbarous Nation in Christendome, they to avoide that reproache woulde deryue them selves from the Spaniards, whom they now see to bee a very honorable people, and next borderinge unto them: But all that is most vaine; for from the Spaniard, that now is, is come from as rude and salvage nations as they, there beinge, as yt may be gathered by corse of ages and veiwe of theire owne histories (though they therein labored much to enoble themselves) scarse any dropp of the oulde Spanishe bloode left in them; for all Spain was first conquered by the Romaynes, and filled with Colonies from them, which were still encreased, and the native Spaniarde still cutt of. Afterwards the Carthaginians in all the longe Punicke Warres havinge spoiled all Spain, and in the ende subdued yt whollie tothem selves, did, (as yt is likelye) roote out all that were affected to the Romaynes. And lastly the Romaines, havinge againe recovered that countrye and beate out Hanniball, did doubtles cutt of all that had favored the Carthaginians, soe that betwixte them both, to and fro, there was scarse a native Spaniard left but all inhabited of Romaynes. All which tempests of troubles being overblowen, there longe after arose a newe storme more dreadfull then all the former, which over-ranne all Spain, and made an infinite confusion of all thinges; that was, the comming downe of the Gothes, the Hunnes, and the Vandalles, and lastly all the Nations of Scythia, which, like a mountaine flud, did overflowe all Spain, and quite drowned and washt away whatever relicts there were left of the land-bred people, yea and of all the Romaynes too. The which Northerne Nations findinge the complexion of that soile, and the vehement heate there far different from theire natures, toke no felicitie in that country but from thence passed over, and did spread themselves into all Countries in Christendome, of all which there is none but hath some mixture or sprincklinge, yf not [thorough] peoplinge, of them. And yet after all those the Mores and Barbarians, breakinge over out of Africa, did finally possesse all Spain, or the moste parte therof, and treade downe under theire foule heathenishe feete what ever little they founde there yet standinge. The which, though afterwards they were beaten out by Ferdinando of Arragon, and [Isabell] his wife, yet they were not soe clensed, but that through the marriages which they had made, and mixture of the people of the land, during their long contynuance there, they had left no pure drop of Spanish bloode, nor of Romayne nor Scythian. Soe that all nacons under heaven, I suppose, the Spaniard is the most mingled, most uncerten, and most bastardlie; wherefore most foolishly doe the Irish thinke to enoble themselves by wrestinge theire auncestrie from the Spaniard, whoe is unable to deryve himselfe from any nacon certen.