T. M. Healy, MP, Stolen Waters: A Page in the Conquest of Ulster (Longmans, Green 1913), 485pp, map and index.

[LIbrary of Herbert Bell holds a copy inscribed by author and dated 1928.]

Draws on Calendar of Irish State Papers, esp. ‘A King’s Letter’, Charles I, 24 Sept. 1638. The text concerns the fisheries of the Bann [‘the pearl of the adventure’], and Lough Foyle, promised as part of the inducements to the London Company in the plantation of Ulster. ‘Three centuries ago a number of counterfeits were issued by the Viceroy of Ireland’, when Arthur Chicester secured these assets for himself. ‘The Bann is still in the hold of the Deputy’s descendants’. Healy’s strategy in this work is to show how many officers of the crown were in fact consistently enemies of the crown’s interests in Ireland.

On p.403 he quotes Froude, and cites Lecky, against a later Chicester: ‘Sir Arthur Chicester, the great ViceroY of Ireland under James I, was, of all Englishmen who ever settled in the country, the most useful to it. His descendant, the Lord Donegall of whom it has become necessary to speak, was perhaps the persoN who inflicted the greatest injury upon it.’ (Froude). To Donegall’s evictions, Froude traces the uprise of the Peep of Day and Heart of Steel conspiracies [Healy, 404], and adds ‘Lord Donegall, for his services, was rewarded with a marquisate … a fitter retribution … would have been forfeIture and Tower Hill ..’

The book finally focuses on the necessity for net fishermen in inland waters to take out licences under the Act of 1848, and the power of refusal invested in the Bann leasees from the grandson of Donegall, Lord Shaftersbury [434-44], and adduces a forged lease. [452], narrating the trial which was occasioned by it, resulting in victory for Shaftesbury

Reference made to a select committee of 1842 which included RL Shiel, Dan. O’Connell, Villiers Stuart, Viscounts Adare and Clements [Leitrim], Maurice O’Connell [Tralee], Viscount Newry, Lord Hillsborough, Mr Murphy [Cork City], Burke Roche [ibid.], Ffolliot [sligo], Stafford O’Brien [Limerick], Sir Thomas Esmond [Wexford], and is seen as representing the conflicting claims of territorial ownership of the landed interest with general public.

Healy ends: ‘The fishermen of the North are but a friendless company. Still, the tale of their undoing has a prelude which pierces to the marrow of Irish history. It has also a living import. For their sake it is that one whose eyes have never looked upon Lough Neagh, has “written these lines and taken these pains.”

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