Seumas MacManus.

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English religion, while his legs were being slowly
e^ten to the bone — after which other ingenious

persuasions were practised on him, before his be-
ing hung upon the gallows. A Protestant his-
torian, revolting at this, describes the torture as
"The most horrible torture known to humanity."

That was a sample out of thousands of the
evangelizing methods of Elizabeth in Ireland.
Let us note some samples of the civilizing — say
the massacres of Smerwick, Clannaboy and Mul-

A garrison of Spanish allies of the Irish, who
held Smerwick Fort in Kerry, was attacked by
English troops under the Deputy, Lord Grey.
On promise of mercy, the Spaniards surrendered.
After their arms had been collected from them
Grey sent into the fort a company of English
.soldiers under Sir Walter Raleigh to give these
I fellows a taste of English mercy. Every Span-
^ iard was butchered in cold blood. Sir Walter
Raleigh was rewarded with a grant of forty thou-
sand acres (of other people's property of course),
in County Cork. It should be noted that the gen-



tie poet, Edmund Spenser, made public defence of
the Smerwick massacre.

In this connection I would pause to emphasize
the essential and unconscious brutality of the
Saxon nature when we find even the most beau-
tiful minded of the race — one who had such lofty-
imagination, sweet fancy, and rare poetic soul as
Edmund Spenser, not only defending this hor-
rible deed, but actually advocating, as he did,
that since the Irish nation could not be made
amenable to fire and sword, the race could be
wiped out (to make room for good Englishmen)
by creating famine and pestilence among them.
"The end will (I assure me) ' be very short."
Spenser says in his State of Ireland: "Although
there should none fall by the sword nor be slain
by the soldier ... by this hard restraint they
would quietly consume themselves, and devour
one another."

The massacre of Mullaghmast is probably a
still better illustration of Elizabeth's forcible and
effective civilizing strokes in Ireland. To the
Rath of Mullaghmast were invited by English
proclamation, some hundreds of the leading men
among the Irish within the Pale — chiefly men
of the clans O'Connor and O'More — invited for
a friendly interview. When they were collected,



they were surrounded by three or four lines of
horse and foot, fallen upon, and murdered to the
last man. No single soul was permitted to escape
from the dreadful Rath of Mullaghmast.

And then Clannaboy. The Earl of Essex in-
duced the Chief, Brian O'Neill of Clannaboy, to
make peace with him. But a dead O^Neill was
always a more comfortable sight to the English
than a live one. To celebrate the peace-making the
Earl with a great troop of retainers visited O'Neill.
Well, and purposely, armed they attended
the banquet given to Brian in his castle — to which
banquet Brian had invited many of his fellows of
note. In the middle of the banquet, when all the
Irish were off their guard, at a given signal the
English drew their weapons and massacred all
of the Irish present with the exception of O'Neill,

his wife, and his brother, who were carried to
Dublin and there cut in quarters — as a stimulus
to the Irish nation to respect, imitate, and adopt
English civiliza'don.

This massacre of Clanuaboy is treated by
Ethna Carbery in one of her most stirring
ballads —



(Belfast Castle, November, 1574)

From Brian O'Neill in his Northern home

Went swiftly a panting vassal,
Bidding the lord of Essex come

To a feast in his forded castle,
To a friendly feast where the gleaming foam

Of the wine-cup crowned the wassail.
To Brian O'Neill came his gentle wife.

And wild were her eyes of warning;
"A banquet-chamber of blood and strife,

I dreamt of 'twixt night and morning,
And a voice that keened for a Chieftain's life"—
But he laughed as he kissed her, scorning.

"In peace have I bidden the strangers here,

And not to the note of battle;
My flagons await them with bubbling cheer,

I have slaughtered my choicest cattle;
And sweetest of harpings shall greet thine ear,

Aroon ! o'er the goblet's rattle/'
In pride he hath entered his banquet hall,

Unwitting what may betide him,

♦From Ethna Carbery's "The Four Winds of Eirfnn
(Funk, Wagnalls Co.)



Girded round by his clansmen tall,

And his lady fair beside him ;
From his lips sweet snatches of music fall,

And none hath the heart to chide him.

Hath he forgotten his trust betrayed

In the bitterest hour of trial?
Hath he forgotten his prayer half-stayed

At the Viceroy's grim denial?
And the bloody track of the Saxon raid

On the fertile lands of Niall?

Essex hath coveted Massareene,

And Toome by the Bann's wide border,

Edenhucarrig s dark towers — the scene
Of hard-won fight's disorder;

And Castlereagh, set in a maze of green
Tall trees, like a watchful warder.

Brian O'Neill he hath gazed adown

Where the small waves, one by one, met

The sward that sloped from the hilltops thrown
Dusky against the sunset;

Sighed in his soul for his lost renown,
And the rush of an Irish onset.



Woe ! he is leagued with his father's foe,

Hath buried the ancient fever
Of hate, while he watches his birthright go

Away from his hands for ever;
No longer Clan-Niall deals blow for blow.

His country's bonds to sever.

I|t 3»C * 3|( 4^ «

Over the Ford to his castle grey

They troop with their pennons flying —

(Was that the ring of a far hurrah,
Or the banshee eerily crying?)

In glittering glory the gallant array

Spurs hard up the strand, low-lying.

Three swift-speeding days with the castle's lord
They had hunted his woods and valleys ;

Three revelling nights while the huge logs roared,
And the bard with his harp-string dallies,

Freely they quaffed of the rich wine, poured
As meed of the courtly sallies.

(Yet one fair face in the laughing crowd
Grew wan as the mirth waxed faster.

Her blue eyes saw but a spectral shroud,
And a spectral host that passed her;

Her ears heard only the banshee's loud
Wild prescience of disaster.)



Gaily the voice of the chieftain rang,

Deeply his warriors blended
In chant of the jubilant song they sang

Ere the hours of the feasting ended;
Eut hark ! Why that ominous clash and clang?

And what hath that shout portended?

What Speech uncourteous this clamor provokes.
Through the midst of the banter faring?

Forth flashes the steel from the festal cloaks,
Vengeful and swift, unsparing —

And Clannabuidhe's bravest reel *neath the
Strive blindly, and die despairing!

O'Gilmore sprang to his Tanist's side

Shrilling his war-cry madly —
Ah ! far are the kerns who at morning-tide

Would flock to the summons gladly ;
The echoes break on the rafters wide,

And sink into silence sadly.

Captive and bleeding he stands — the lord
Of the faithful dead around him;
Captive and bleeding — the victor horde

In their traitorous might surround him;



From his turrets is waving their flag abhorred,

And their cruel thongs have bound him.
« ♦ 4t * * «

Cold are the fires in the banqueting hall,
Withered the flowers that graced it,

Silent for ever the clansmen tall

Who stately and proudly paced it;

Gloom broods like a pall o'er each lofty wall
For the foul deed that disgraced it.

There is grief by the shores of the Northern sea,
And grief in the woodlands shady,

There is wailing for warriors stout to see,
Of the sinewy arm and steady;

There is woe for the Chieftain of Clannabuidhe,
And tears for his gentle lady.

The honest Scottish Protestant Dr. Smiles
sums up the Elizabethan work in Ireland, "Men,
women and children wherever found were put in-
discriminately to death. The soldiery was mad
for blood. Priests were murdered at the altar, chil-
dren at their mother's breast. The beauty of
woman, the venerableness of age, the innocence
of youth was no protection against these san-
guinary demons in human form."

And old Hollinshed enthusiastically sets down,



"The soldiers in the camps were so hot upon the
spur, and so eager upon the vile rebels, that they
spared neither man, woman or child. They put
all to the sword."

Cox, an English writer of the old time, tells
with much relish, "They performed their duty so
effectually and brought the rebels to so low a con-
dition that they saw three children eating the en-
trails of their dead mother, on whose flesh they
had fed many days."

The historian Lecky (a bitter anti-Home Ruler,
and staunch upholder of British power in Ire-
land), admits in the preface to his "History of
Ireland in the Eighteenth Century." "The slaugh-
ter of Irishmen was looked upon as literally the
slaughter of wild beasts. Not only men, but even
v/omen and children who fell into the hands of
the English, were deliberately and systematically
butchered. Bands of soldiers traversed great
tracts of country, slaying every living thing they
met." And he also says, "The suppression of the
native race was carried on with a ferocity which
surpassed that of Alva in the Netherlands, and
which has seldom been exceeded in the pages of

It is no wonder that in a short time one of her
soldier courtiers was able to convey to Eliza-



bcth the gratifying Intelligence. "There is now
little left in Ireland for your Majesty to reign
over, but carcasses and ashes."

And Sir George Carew — after doing his fearful
share, with rack and torch and sword, in reducing
Ireland almost to a solitude — wiped his sword,
took up his pen, and leisurely wrote his Hibernia
Pacata — Ireland Pacified !

The only other quality in an Englishman's
makeup that is at all comparable with his un-
conscious brutality, is his unconscious humor.


Elizabeth's worthy work of introducing Brit-
ish civilization to the benighted Irish met with
marked success.

But the good work probably reached its cli-
max under Cromwell, who scourged, tortured
and butchered the population, and drenched the
land in a deluge of blood.

For Cromwell, the ground was well prepared.
Five Northern Counties had been depopulated
thirty years before, to make room for James's
Scotchmen. The wretched Irish survivors of the
depopulation campaign, those who had been
robbed of their houses and lands, and bereaved
o'i kith and kin, were hunted like animals in the
hills to which they had fled. On the 23rd of
Oct. 1641 there was a general rising of the hunt-
ed ones. They swooped back over the lands
where their plunderers had been fattening in ease
and plenty. England was aroused by frightful
reports of a general massacre of almost all the
British in Ireland!


It would not have been strange if these poor
wretches — plundered, harried, hounded, and driv-
en to frenzy — had wreaked terrible vengeance
on, and exterminated, their merciless tyrants.
But the Protestant Minister, Rev. Ferdinand
Warner in his ^'History of the Irish Rebellion,"
written a few years after the event, says, "It is
easy enough to demonstrate the falsehood of the
relation of every English historian of the re-
bellion." And another celebrated Protestant
historian, Dr. Taylor, in his "Civil Wars of Ire-
land," says, "The Irish massacre of 1641 has
been a phrase so often repeated, even in books
of education, that one can scarcely conceal his
surprise when he learns that the tale is apocryp-
hal as the wildest fiction of romance." He says,
"There were crimes committed owing to the
wickedness of particular men. But it is only
fair to add that all atrocities were not only dis-
couraged, but punished, by the Irish nobility and

To suppress this rebellion the whole pack of
England's carefully nurtured savageries, and
best trained savages, were unleashed against

Sir Charles Coote typical of the English gen-
erals in this war employed rack, and dungeon


and roasting to death for appeasing of the tur-
bulent natives. He stopped at nothing — even
hanging w^omen with child.

Lord Clarendon in his narrative of the events
of the time records, how, after Coote plundered
and burned the town of Clontarf, he massacred
townspeople, men and women, ''and three suck-
ling infants." And in that same week, says
Clarendon, men, women and children of the vil-
lage of Bullock frightened of the fate of Clon-
tarf, went to sea to shun the fury of the soldiers
who came from Dublin under Colonel Clifford,
''Being pursued by the soldiers in boats and
overtaken, they were all thrown overboard."

Coote and Clifford were not better or worse
than the average of the pacifiers of Ireland. I
could quote here more instances of the blood-
freezing kind than would fill a large book. But
for my purpose one or two samples are as good
as a thousand. Castlehaven sets down one in-
cident characteristic of the humanity of the Eng-
lish troopers. He tells how Sir Arthur Loftus,
Governor of Naas, marched out with a party of
horse, and being joined by a party sent by Or-
mond from Dublin, "They both together killed
such of the Irish as they met .... but th^
most considerable slaughter occurred in a g.-ai


strait of furze, situated on a hill, where the peo-
ple of several villages had fled for shelter." Sir
Arthur surrounded the hill, fired the furze, and
with the points of swords, drove back into the
flames the burning men, women and children
who tried to emerge — till the last child was burn-
ed to a crisp. Says Castlehaven in his Memoirs,
"I saw the bodies — and the furze still burning."
For it should be particularly noted that the
suckling infant aroused in the brave Britons the
same noble, blood-thirst that did the fighting
rebel. The butchering of infants was more dili-
gently attended to during the Cromwellian per-
iod, than in any previous or subsequent English
excursion through Ireland. It is matter of rec-
ord that in the presence, and with the tolera-
tion, of their officers — in at least one case with
the hearty approval of a leader — the common
soldiers engaged in the sport of tossing Irish
babes upon their spears. A noted old English
historian, Dr. Nalson, in his account of the
rebellion states (Introduction to his Second Vol-
ume) "I have heard a relation of my own, who
was a captain in that service (in Ireland), relate
that .... little children were promiscuously
sufferers with the guilty, and that when anyone
who had some grains of compassion repreh^nd^


the soldiers for this unchristian inhumanity, they
would scoffingly reply 'Why? nits will be lice!'
and so despatch them."

In countering this rebellion the Britsh opened
the game with the fearful County Antrim horror
known to history as the Massacre of Island
Magee — where, after murdering a multitude in
b'd, the women and children, screaming and
begging for mercy, were driven before the troops'
goading bayonets to the terrible Gobbins clififs —
and thrown over the cliffs to fearful death below!

The singer of Ireland's woes and Ireland's joys,
Ethna Carbery, sang a fierce song of this terrible

I am Brian Boy Magee —
My Father was Eoghain Ban —
I was wakened from happy dreams
By the shouts of my startled clan;
And I saw through the leaping glare
That marked where our homestead stood.
My mother swing by her hair —
And my brothers lie in their blood.

In the creepy cold of the night
The pitiless wolves came down —
Scotch troops from that Castle grim
Guarding Knockfergus Town;


And they hacked and lashed and hewed,
With musket and rope and sword,
Till my murdered kin lay thick,
In pools, by the Slaughter Ford!

I fought by my father's side,
And when we were fighting sore
We saw a line of their steel
With our shrieking women before ;
The red-coats drove them on
To the verge of the Gobbins gray.
Hurried them — God, the sight!
As the sea foamed up for its prey.

Oh, tall were the Gobbin cliffs,
And sharp were the rocks, my woe !
And tender the limbs that met
Such terrible death below;
Mother and babe and maid
They clutched at the empty air.
With eyeballs widened in fright.
That hour of despair.

(Sleep soft in your heaving bed,
O little fair love of my heart!
The bitter oath I have sworn
Shall be of my life a part;



And for every piteous prayer
You prayed on your way to die,
May I hear an enemy plead,
While I laugh and deny.)

In the dawn that was gold and red,
Ay, red as the blood-choked stream,
I crept to the perilous brink —
Great Christ ! was the night a dream ?
In all the Island of Gloom
I only had life that day —
Death covered the green hill-sides,
And tossed in the Bay.

I have vowed by the pride of my sires —
By my mother's wandering ghost —
By my kinsfolk's shattered bones
Hurled on the cruel coast —
By the sweet dead face of my love,
And the wound in her gentle breast-
To follow that murderous band,
A sleuth-hound who knows no rest.

I shall go to Phelim O'Neill
With my sorrowful tale, and crave
A blue-bright blade of Spain,
In the ranks of his soldiers brave,



And God grant me the strength to wield

That shining avenger well — ■
When the Gael shall sweep his foe
Through the yawning gates of Hell.

I am Brian Boy Mageel

And my creed is a creed of hate;

Love, Peace, I have cast aside —

But Vengeance, Vengeance, I wait!

Till I pay back the four-fold debt

For the horrors I witnessed there,

When my brothers moaned in their blood.

And my mother swung by her hair.

In 1644 the British Parliament ordered no
quarter to Irish troops in Britain. Ormond shipt
150 Royalists from Galway to Bristol, under Wil-
ioughby. Captain Swanley seized the ship,
picked out from amongst the troops seventy
whom he considered to be Irish and threw them
overboard. The Journal of the English House
of Commons for June of that year records that
"Captain Swanley was called into the House of
Commons and thanks given to him for his good
service, and a chain of gold of two hundred
pounds in value."

In pursuance of the same admirable policy,
Napier in his "Life of Montrose" says that, in



Scotland, in one day, eighty Irish women and
children were thrown over a bridge, and

Clarendon tells that the Earl of Warwick when
he captured Irish frigates, used to tie the Irish
sailors back to back, and fling them into the sea.

So, a sympathetic atmosphere had been created
for Cromwell's coming. And Cromwell quickly
demonstrated that he deserved such preparation.

In Wexford town alone, although negotiations
for surrender had begun, Cromwell slew two
thousand. Lingard in his "History of Eng-
land" says, "Wexford was abandoned to the
mercy of the assailants. The tragedy recently
enacted at Drogheda was renewed. No distinc-
tion was made between the defenceless inhabi-
tants and the armed soldiers, nor could the
shrieks and prayers of three hundred females
who had gathered round the great Cross in the
market-place, preserve them from the swords
of these ruthless barbarians."

Cromwell in explaining the matter to the com-
plete satisfaction of his saintly self and the pious
English nation, wrote, that he "thought it not
right or good to restrain off the soldiers from
their right of pillage, nor from doing execution
on the enem;y" (From "Cromwell's Letters.")



Though, after the sack of Drogheda, he prob-
ably could not surpass himself. In the five days
massacre at Drogheda only thirty men out of
a garrison of three thousand escaped the sword.
And it is impossible to compute what other thou-
sands, of non-combatants, men, women and chil-
dren, were butchered. In the vaults, underneath
the church, a great number of the finest women
or the city sought refuge. But hardly one, if
one, even of these, was left to tell the awful
tale of unspeakable outrage and murder.

And of all the men, women and children who
had taken refuge in the church tower, none
escaped. In the attack upon the church tower,
the English soldiers made good use again of a
device which they always practised when oppor-
tunity ofiFered. They picked up children
and carried them in front of them as bucklers.

Arthur Wood the Historian of Oxford, gives
us a narrative compiled from the account of his
bjother who was an officer in Cromwell's army,
and who had been through the siege and sack of
Drogheda — a narrative that throws interesting
sidelight upon the Christian methods of the Eng-
lish army, and the quaint point of view of the
most cultured of them. Wood's narrative says,
''Each of the assailants would take up a child



and use it as a buckler of defence to Iceep lilfli

from being shot or brained. After they had
killed all in the church they went into the vaults
underneath, where all the choicest of women and
ladies had hid themselves. One of these, a most
handsome virgin, arrayed in costly and gorgeous
apparel, knelt down to Wood with tears, and
prayers, begging for her life, and being stricken
with a profound pity, he did take her under his
arm for protection, and went with her out of the
church with intention to put her over the works,
to shift for herself. But a soldier, perceiving his
intention, ran his sword through her, whereupon
Mr. Wood, seeing her gasping, took away her
money, jewels etc., and flung her down over the
works." The instincts of the English gentleman
burst through the Christian crust in Mr. Wood.
But hearken to how one of the greatest of Eng-
lish Christians — ^perhaps the shining light of
English Puritanism — at one stroke, both haloes
his crime and honors God by giving God partner-
ship with him in his most demoniac work. In
his despatch to the Speaker of the House of Com-
mons, after Drogheda, Cromwell says, "It has
pleased God to bless our endeavor at Drogheda
. . . the enemy were about 3,000 strong in th<i
town. I believe we put to the sword the wboUi



number. -.] • . This hath been a marvelous great
mercy. , . , I wish that all honest hearts may
give the glory of this to God alone, to whom
indeed the praise of this mercy belongs." And
again this shining light of Christianity says, "In
this very place (St. Peter's Church), lOO of them
were put to the sword, fleeing thither for safety.
. . . And now give me leave to say how this
work was wrought. It was set upon some of our
hearts that a great thing should be done, not by
power or might, but by the spirit of God. And is
it not so clearly?"

The Englishman's intimacy with, and obedi-
ence to, the spirit of God, throughout England's
history in Ireland, enables him always to speak
with authority upon the subject. And the spirit
of God, we may expect, is exalted, when the
Englishman, with characteristic generosity
drapes it with his own character.

The English Parliament, on October 2, 1649,
appointed a Thanksgiving Day for the triumph
at Drogheda, and put upon record — "That the
House does approve of the execution done at
Drogheda, as an act both of justice to them
(the butchered ones) and mercy to others who
may be warned by it."

Carte in his **Life of Ormond" records that at


Drogheda, the offer to surrender, and request for
quarter, had been made before the final assault
and massacre.

The holy spirit that generally moved Britain
in this war is exemplified by a pamphlet pub-
lished in London at the height of the civiliz-
ing demonstration in Ireland. The pam-
phlet is represented as being published "by J. D.
and R. L at the sign of the Bible in Popes head
Alley, 1647." I^ the course of the pamphlet the
writer says, "I beg upon my hands and knees
ihat the expedition against them (the Irish) be
undertaken while the hearts and hands of our
soldiery are hot ; to whome, I will be bold to say,
briefly: happy be he that shall reward them as
they served us, and cursed be he who shall do
the work of the Lord negligently. Cursed be he
who holdeth back the sword from blood: yea
cursed be he that maketh not the sword stark
drunk with Irish blood; who doth not recom-
pense them double for their treachery to the Eng-
lish ; but maketh them in heaps on heaps, and
their country the dwelling place of dragons —

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