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THE LIBRARY

OF

THE UNIVERSITY
OF CALIFORNIA

LOS ANGELES



FROM THE LIBRARY OF
FRANK J. KLINGBERG



IRELAND AND ENGLAND



IN THE PAST AND AT PRESENT



BY
EDWARD RAYMOND TURNER

Professor of European History in the
University of Michigan




NEW YORK

THE CENTURY CO.

1919



Copyright, 1919, by
THE CENTUBY Co.



Published, October, 1919



PA

9/o



TO
ELEANOR BOWIE TURNER

AND

E. B. T.

IN MST. MEM.



1327111



PREFACE

I have written this book with the desire of helping
to bring about better understanding of a question
which is very troublesome and perplexing, not only
to the Irish and the English, but, less directly, to the
people of the United States, a matter which still
creates one of the most formidable obstacles to com-
pletely good relations between the English-speaking
peoples.

In America Irish matters are usually discussed by
extremists; and with all deference to the teaching of
writers inspired with the best and most generous pas-
sion for their cause, it must be said that no more cor-
rect judgment can be made about Ireland from the
excessive denunciations of some Sinn Feiners than
would come from the notions of British partisans and
tories.

I have tried to write an account which considers
all the principal aspects of the subject, and in pre-
senting both sides or all sides I have often used the
very words of the advocates themselves, though I
cannot always vouch for the correctness of their
opinions.

Others may, if they desire, tell just how the Irish
question should be settled, but then I do not think
they can realize how complicated and difficult that



viii PREFACE

question is. Actually the settlement has been going
forward for some time ; more time is required to make
it complete; nor can that completion be attained by
any simple expedient or at once. I have succeeded
in the purpose of my writing if I bring into clearer
view what the difficulties are.

There is little doubt, I think, that most of the peo-
ple of Great Britain wish Ireland well and are re-
solved to do complete justice, that they are quite
willing for Ireland to have Home Rule. Until re-
cently most Irishmen would have been satisfied with
Home Rule, and I think after a while most of them
will again be reconciled to have it. As for com-
plete separation, England will not and cannot as
things are in this world allow it, nor, in my opinion,
does Ireland really need it. The logic of geography
and of history and of things existent tends now, as
for centuries past, to the unification of the British
Isles, with such self-determination in the parts as
seems desirable, and not towards separateness and dis-
integration.

It may be that I have done my task ill; but so far
as I have failed it is not because of bitterness or
malice. I have wished to write without prejudice and
do justice to all. I am myself partly of Irish de-
scent south Ireland and I have also been in Eng-
land sufficiently to know the great and admirable
qualities of the English people, which are now better
known in this country as a result of the war.

So freely have I used the work of others who



PREFACE ix

studied the subject before me that I must make the
most generous acknowledgment in this place. Parts
of the writing, however, are based upon my own
studies and observations abroad.

EDWARD RAYMOND TURNER.
Ann Arbor, Michigan.
June 1, 1919.



CONTENTS

PART I
POWER AND SUBJECTION

CHAPTER PAGE

I ANCIENT IRELAND 3

II IRISH CHRISTIANITY 18

III THE ANGLO-NORMANS IN IRELAND 32

IV CONQUEST AND TAKING OF THE LAND ... 56

V THE NADIR OF SUBJECTION 81

VI GRATTAN'S PARLIAMENT 95

VII IRELAND UNDER THE UNION 106

VIII THE FAMINE AND THE FENIANS 134

PART II
THE NEW AGE: ATONEMENT AND REDRESS

I THE BEGINNING OF A NEW SPIRIT .... 159

II DISESTABLISHMENT OF THE CHURCH OF IRELAND 181

III LAND LEGISLATION 188

IV THE AGRICULTURAL RENAISSANCE .... 216

V THE GOVERNMENT OF IRELAND 226

VI THE STRUGGLE FOR HOME RULE .... 242

VII THE ARGUMENTS ABOUT HOME RULE . . . 266

VIII ULSTER . 293



CONTENTS

PART III
IRISH NATIONALITY AND THE WAR

CHAPTER PAGE

I IRISH LANGUAGE AND LITERATURE AND THE

IRISH REVIVAL 315

II SINN FEIN 349

III THE EASTER REBELLION 369

IV THE HOME RULE QUESTION DURING THE WAR . 396
V THE QUESTION OF CONSCRIPTION .... 418
VI AMERICA, GREAT BRITAIN, AND THE IRISH QUES-
TION 438

VII CONCLUSION 462

INDEX . 481



PART I
POWER AND SUBJECTION



IRELAND AND ENGLAND



CHAPTER I

ANCIENT IRELAND

On Lough Neagh's bank, as the fisherman strays,

When the clear cold eve 's declining,
He sees the round towers of other days

In the wave beneath him shining.
Thus shall memory often, in dreams sublime,

Catch a glimpse of the days that are over;
Thus, sighing, look through the waves of time

For the long-faded glories they cover.

Moore : "Let Erin Remember the Days of Old,"
Irish Melodies.

Teach your Children to be loyal to Mother Eire.

Smn Fern Leaflet, 1911.

THE old and more proper name of the home of
the Irish people was Erin, perhaps from a root
word signifying fat or fruitful, because of the fer-
tility of the pastures of the land. As the Romans
called their Hellenic neighbors Greed, Greeks, and
affixed to them that name in the usage of posterity, so
the designation of this island was for the outside
world at least changed during the period of the Scan-
dinavian invasions, when the Danes corrupted Erin,



4 IRELAND AND ENGLAND

the name of the natives, to Ireland,, a name which
they made. Far off in a dim and scarce visible past
there lived in Erin, as in other places, the old stone
men, and after them the new stone men who reared,
as they did in France and Britain, their dolmens or
burial houses, which stand even now before the travel-
ler in gaunt and silent witness of days long forgotten.
Later came from the continent of Europe, at a time
not known, but which legend assigns to the year 1700
B. C., the Goidels or Gaels. Erin was peopled by
Goidelic members of the Celtic race, as the neighbor-
ing island was settled by the other great branch, the
Brythons.

Of early Celtic Ireland we have slight information,
aside from legendary accounts. It lay off on the rim
of the world, and was scantily discerned by classical
writers, though Ptolemy described it better than Al-
bion or Britain. Erin was known to the Phenicians;
and Greek writers called it the Sacred Island, lernis,
lerne. In the time of Tacitus its harbors were more
renowned than those of Britain. It may be that con-
siderable commerce w/as carried on in early times, and
that some civilization had developed there by the be-
ginning of the Christian era. The old stories of the
era before the introduction of Christianity have to
do with kings who fought great battles, of Cuchul-
lain of Ulster, of Medb, queen of Connaught, of the
men of Leinster who must pay great tribute, of Ul-
stermen who made voyages to Alban or Scotland, of
Ollamh Fodla who established the meeting of noble



ANCIENT IRELAND 5

and learned men at Tara, and of Tuathal, who con-
solidated the monarchy, and formed the new province
of Meath to be the demesne of the over-kings at Tara.
Legend merges into history about the time of the
Romans. As afterwards the Germanic barbarians
who conquered the western provinces of the Roman
Empire never advanced into Erin, so the Romans
themselves never came there from Britain, though
Tacitus declares that Agricola, his father-in-law, was
wont to say that the conquest might be made with
one legion, and that it would be well for the Roman
power to be established on all sides and "liberty put
away out of sight." When Roman power was de-
clining in Britain, we hear much of the Scots who
came from Erin to Britain again and again for war-
fare and plunder, and of Laeghaire in the fifth cen-
tury, in whose time the work of Saint Patrick began,
There has come down a large amount of old Gaelic
literature, annals, historical and genealogical writ-
ings, religious and ecclesiastical pieces, romances and
tales, and treatises of law, medicine, and science, from
which directly or indirectly much can be learned
about the early history and life of the people. The
oldest of them are in a difficult language, much of
which had been partly forgotten, until the middle of
the nineteenth century, when a Bavarian, Kaspar
Zeuss, published his Grammatica Celtica. Using the
Irish glosses, or explanations which Gaelic teachers
had written in the margins or between the lines of

i "Agricola," c. 24.



6 IRELAND AND ENGLAND

Latin texts for the guidance of their students, he re-
covered the lost grammatical forms and also the mean-
ings of numerous words, and was thus the founder of
Celtic philology. The writings are in poetry or in
prose, the early poetical compositions often obscure,
with some of the most complicated and difficult versi-
fication ever invented. It has been held that a prim-
itive form of writing was used in- Erin in very early
times, but these letters, the so-called oghams, which
are largely groups of parallel lines, are by most critics
traced either to the Roman alphabet or to the Scandi-
navian runes, so that reading and writing are believed
to have been introduced into the island not before the
time when Christianity was brought there.

The character of early Irish culture has been the
subject of much dispute. In later days, when Ire-
land was unhappy and debased, when there was little
in contemporary life to be proud of, and at other
times when hope was put in the future, ardent spirits
were won-t to look back through a glow of patriotic
romance beyond the traditions of the past, and they
saw a golden age in a happy island of the west. Re-
cently, in the midst of the Irish revival there have
been writers, such, for example, as Mrs. Green, who
have not hesitated to ascribe to early Irish society
an excellence and a fine character which can scarcely
have existed anywhere in primitive times. Much of
what these writers declare may have been so, though
probability is often against it, and their belief is many
times founded rather upon generous feeling and pa-



ANCIENT IRELAND 7

triotic desire than painstaking interpretation of the
texts. On the other hand, it must be remembered
that until recently few investigators outside of Ire-
land have taken interest in Irish antiquities, and Eng-
lish writers either had scant respect for Ireland or
based their accounts upon testimony of those who
wrote of Irishmen as degraded savages or regarded
them as inferior and wretched. It has been the ardu-
ous task of a new school of historians to study the
culture of Ireland in early times and estimate it more
truly, as well as to discover how far this culture was
handed down in the following ages. In controversies
of recent years there has been one party declaring
that the excellence of early Irish things and the in-
heritance from those times give to Irishmen a char-
acter which renders them, perhaps, the wisest, the
liveliest, and the best in the British Empire, and that
before the Irish people lies a mission to develop their
type of civilization and give it to the modern world.

The Gael is not like other men; the spade and the loom
and -the sword are not for him. But a destiny more glori-
ous than that of Rome, more glorious than that of Britain,
awaits him : to become the saviour of idealism in modern
intellectual and social life, the regenerator and rejuvenator
of the literature of the world, the instructor of the nations,
the preacher of the gospel of nature-worship, hero-worship,
God-worship such is the destiny of the Gael. 2

Somewhere I have seen the statement -of a writer,

2 Padraic Pearse .before a young men's literary society in 1897: L. G.
Redmond-Howard, Six Days of the Irish Republic (Boston, 1916), p.
131.



8 IRELAND AND ENGLAND

that it is the speeches of the Irish members which
give savor to the parliamentary debates of the United
Kingdom; and in a way this is true. On the other
hand, it has been widely said that as the past has been
so will the future be; the Irishman who was back-
ward once and unable to get for himself good govern-
ment, is after all the Irishman of the present, whom
it would be unwise to trust with Home Rule. Actu-
ally, as in all things, the truth seems to lie somewhere
in between these partisan statements. The Gaels of
earlier Ireland lived in the midst of conditions which
had some beauty and much good inherent in them,
and were well suited to the times when they devel-
oped, but which were rude and primitive compared
with what came later on, and were abandoned gener-
ally as peoples rose upward in the scale of culture.

The old Gaels were organized in tribal communi-
ties, where family relationship was the strongest of
all ties. Just as writers of the nineteenth century of
the Teutonist school often took from Tacitus an ac-
count of early Germanic communities consisting of
democratic assemblies of freemen, with their families
and dependents, so now there are Irish writers who
describe the Gaelic tribal system as something excel-
lent and democratic, giving freest play to develop-
ment of national character.

The law with them was the law of the people. They never
lost their trust in it. Hence they never exalted a central
authority, for their law needed no such sanction. While
the code was one for the whole race, the administration on



ANCIENT IRELAND 9

the other hand was divided into the widest possible range
of self-governing communities, which were bound together
in a willing federation. The forces of union were not ma-
terial but spiritual. . . . Such an instinct of national life
was neither rude nor contemptible. 3

But such an interpretation must be based on fancy
and desire and modern feeling rather than on careful
study of the past ; and it is not what the Brehon Laws
seem to show. One who did make such a study says :
"The social system was aristocratic: in no case have
we evidence that there was a community governed by
an assembly of representatives without a permanent
head." 4 Each group was governed by a chief, who
was always a member of the ruling family ; though it
should be said that the successor was often elected
during the lifetime of the ruler, being called then the
tanist, or second in authority.

Erin was divided among groups of people, large or
small. The smaller were ruled by flaiths or chiefs,
the larger by ris or kings, while all of them were in
some sort under the ard-ri or great king, who had a
sovereignty over the lesser kings, they being obliged
to attend him in war and pay tribute. That is to
say, there was the ard-ri at Tara in Meath ; under him
there were the kings of Ulster, Leinster, Munster,
Connaught, and Meath ; under them were lesser kings,
beneath whom there were chieftains in each case the
lesser being bound to the greater by war-service and

s Mrs. J. R. Green, Irish Nationality (London, 1911), pp. 14, 15,
* P. W. Joyce, A Short History of Ireland (London, 1904), p. 59.



10 IRELAND AND ENGLAND

tribute. Allegiance from less to greater was main-
tained by taking hostages : "He is not a king," says
the Brehon Law, "who has not hostages in fetters." 5
Whatever may be thought about the working of such
a system, it is evident from the old Gaelic tales and
romances that along with what was noble and splen-
did there was much tribal warfare and absence of set-
tled conditions. The same story from the tribal
period of English history, in Anglo-Saxon times, is
better known to a great many readers.

The people were divided into various ranks and
classes: kings and nobles, freemen, bondsmen with
few rights, and slaves with none. It will be remem-
bered that in Anglo-Saxon times there was a flourish-
ing slave trade between England and Erin, some-
thing that was not brought to an end until after the
Norman Conquest. Generally speaking, the lower
classes were bound to those above them by payments
and service. The service was work of various kinds ;
the payments were in cattle or provisions or articles
made by hand.

Within the tribal community the members were
bound together by common customs, and to greater or
less extent by feeling of kinship. Each member bore
part of the obligations of the tribe, such as contribu-
ting to the support of the childless old, and no mem-
ber was free to make contracts affecting the tribe.
On the other hand, the whole community was respon-
sible for each one of its members, and might be liable

6 Ibid., p. 64.



ANCIENT IRELAND 11

for his debts or fines. As far back as one may go,
there was among these people some private owner-
ship of land, but for the most part land belonged, at
least in theory, not to individuals but to the tribe.
Originally, it would seem, there had been collective
ownership, and land had been the common property
of the members of the community. Within a tribe
some of the land was held by the chieftain, and some
as private property, but the bulk of it was tribe land,
the arable being divided up among the tribesmen from
time to time, and the grazing land and waste held in
common. Thus, when a member who held part of
the tribe land died, his land did not go to his chil-
dren, but was divided up among the male adult mem-
bers of the community. This was the custom of
gavelkind, once widespread over Europe, and long
existent in English Kent. Hence a man could not
alienate his land outside the tribe, and there were
tribal obligations concerning the management and
disposal of it. Within these old restrictions a man
might do with his land as he pleased. This communal
or tribal land system is one of the important factors
in the history of Ireland. In early times such a
system had existed in most primitive communities of
the so-called Aryan peoples; it was in England
among the Anglo-Saxons and traces of it long con-
tinued. But it persisted in Ireland far longer than
in England ; and one of the tragedies of Irish history
is the forcible overthrow of the Irish system by the
alien system of the English invaders, and the wrongs



12 IRELAND AND ENGLAND

and hardships to the natives who scarce understood
what took place.

The old Irish system is known very largely from
the ancient Law of the Brehons, or professional law-
yers. Very influential, as time went on they tended
to form an hereditary legal class, giving judgment in
accordance with the custom of the land.

Call ye now the Brehons in,
And let the plea begin. 6

They had collections of laws by which they regulated
their decisions and taught their scholars. Many of
these collections have been preserved; their content is
known now as the Brehon Law.

Wherever the tribal system flourishes the idea of
the state is little developed. Constant warfare and
tribal dispute make it difficult to establish the idea of
a central authority. Accordingly there are in early
times no offences against the state, or crimes, as they
would now be called, but only against individuals or
groups. Therefore wrongs were not punished or
avenged by the state: the injured person or his kins-
men sought redress. In Erin, as elsewhere at first,
the law of retaliation prevailed, "an eye for an eye
and a tooth for a tooth." But in all primitive soci-
eties and among all early "Aryan" peoples, as ideas
of peace slowly develop, retaliation gradually gives
way to compensation. The injured party might take

6 Here and in several other places I quote Sir Samuel Ferguson's
The Welshmen of Tirawley.



ANCIENT IRELAND 13

into his own hands the law, but generally he referred
his case to a brehon. The penalty awarded went to
the person injured or his kinsmen. For homicide or
bodily hurt the fine was known as an eric:

Then the Brehons to MacWilliam Burke decreed
An eric upon Clan Barrett for the deed;
And the Lynott's share of the fine,
As foster-father, was nine
Ploughlands and nine score kine.

The amount of the penalty varied with the character
of the injury and the rank of the person injured, and
there were comprehensive tables or codes of what
should be paid in a given case. In later days Eng-
lish observers in Ireland, like the poet Spenser, fa-
miliar as- they were with the English common law,
denounced this system of laws of compensation.

Eudoxm: What is that which you call the Brehon
law? . . .

Irenaeus: It is a rule of right unwritten, but delivered
by tradition from one to another, in which oftentimes there
appeareth great shew of equity, in determining the right
betweene party and party, but in many things repugning
quite both to God's law, and man's : As for example in the
case of murder, the Brehon, that is their judge, will com-
pound betweene the murderer, and the friends of the party
murdered, which prosecute the action, that the malefactor
shall give unto them, or to the child, or wife of him that is
slain a recompence, which they call an Eriach: By which
vilde law of theirs, many murders amongst them are made
up, and smothered . . .



14 IRELAND AND ENGLAND

Eudoxus: This is a most wicked law indeed . . . 7

The same system was well known, however, not
only among peoples of antiquity but among the Ger-
manic tribes, and flourishing in England in the An-
glo-Saxon period, it lingered on in some faint traces
for a long while after.

The public life of the Gaelic people was carried on
in assemblies large and small. There was the Fes
or convention held from time to time at Tara, at-
tended by the provincial kings and chieftains, the
leading people of Erin; and there were the aenachs
or fairs held in the districts every year or so,
and attended by all classes there. At these fairs,
which had their origin, probably, in the celebration
of funeral games, and were often held at the ancient
cemeteries, the Druids made their sacrifices, and in
later times Christian rites were celebrated, meetings
were held at which disputes were heard, laws were
promulgated or publicly read again, and such simple
matters of government and administration as then
were carried on were transacted by the proper per-
sons. Here also games were celebrated, parents met
and arranged the marriages of their sons and daugh-
ters, which were here performed, and markets were
held for the wares of the country. These fairs flour-
ished in olden times, but some of them continued into
the Middle Ages.

The religion of the Gaels before Christianity was

7 Edmund Spenser, A View of the State of Ireland, etc. (1596), in
A Collection of Tracts and Treatises . . . of Ireland (Dublin, 1890),
i. 421.



ANCIENT IRELAND 15

spread over the island was a religion in which forces
or objects of nature were worshipped. "The religion
of the Celestial Fire, or light, predominated; the sun
and the moon were the principal objects of wor-
ship." In Christian times this usage continued with
forms changed, and it is thought that the sacred fire
of St. Bridget at Kildare, which burned until Henry
III caused it to be extinguished, and which, rekindled,
burned until the time of Henry VIII, was an adapta-
tion of this very thing. Along with this and beneath
it, as elsewhere, were survivals of an earlier stage, the
period of animism or polydemonism. Among the old
Gaels there was widespread belief in the existence
of spirits or demons, animating everything. They
could be controlled or dealt with by formulas, incanta-
tions, or magic, which were known only to the wiz-
ards. By obtaining information from the demons
whom they controlled, the wizards became fortune-
tellers, as they became astrologers through their study
of the elements and the heavens. These wizards were
the famous Druids ; and the old Irish religion is some-
times called Druidism, like that of Britain and Gaul.
In Erin Druids were thought to possess tremendous
powers, working spells, chanting incantations, driv-
ing men mad, if they would, and foretelling events yet
to come. It should be said that in early times the
Brehons were members of the Druid class, though
afterward they became quite distinct.

s Arthur Ua Clerigh, History of Ireland to the Coming of Henry II
(London), i. 185.



16 IRELAND AND ENGLAND

It would seem also that before the Christian period
there had begun to develop what may be discerned
better in classical countries and Germanic and Scan-
dinavian lands, anthropomorphic conception of the
forces or objects of nature; that is, the worship of sun,
moon, mountains, winds, streams, as gods, strange
beings, monsters, very powerful, it may be, and
often strange and uncanny, but so far as they were
clearly conceived, after all essentially like men and



Online LibraryEdward Raymond TurnerIreland and England in the past and at present → online text (page 1 of 32)