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Lluyd and other inspectors of these books hitherto experienced, arose, it seems, from not adverting to the proper method of reading them; as they are written in the manner well known to the Grecian antiquary by the name of BoustroPhedon. The unusual inversion of lines occasioned the apparent incoherence and confusion abovementioned. When this circumstance was once pointed out, the difficulties arising from an obsolete language appeared not so considerable.
The laws thus discovered appear to be no part of the great code or Seanchas-Moir, said to be framed in the days of Patrick, but of a date considerably later. The Seanchas-Moir is frequently quoted both in the text and comment, as also another old code called the laws of Ulster, which the learned Irish claim to have been made in the house of Eamania, long before the preaching of their great apostle. In one place it is ordained, that in a particular cafe, when the property of lands is disputed, the
UNANIMOUS voices Of TWELVE
men shall decide the controversy. Hence it was inferred by those who only- understood the translation, that these Irish laws were nothing more than the local ordinances of some Brehon, who had copied from the legal proceedings of his neighbours, the English settlers. But such inferences were immediately encountered by an appeal to the Hyle of these remains; which is said, bath in the text and comment, (evidently written at different periods) to be as distinguishable from the Irish of the twelfth or thirteenth century, as the language of Chaucer and Spencer
from the compositions of present times. And indeed the matter of these laws seems to bear strong internal marks of antiquity. They never once mention foreigners or foreign septs settled in Ireland. They abound in regulations for bartering goods; they rate all payments and amerciaments by cattle and other commodities, in the place of which the comment, as if in compliance with a change of manners, substitutes gold and silver taken by weight; they take not the least notice of coined money, which was introduced into Ireland by the Scandinavian invaders, and became common among the Irish septs soon after the settlement of the English. They mention the triennial assemblies, and convention at Taltion, and ordain that no debts shall be demanded or enforced by any legal proceedings during these meetings. Hence it seems not improbable, that these fragments are part of a compilation of laws which O'Flagherty tells us, were made by three brethren (whom he names) in the eighth century. But whenever they were made, or transcribed, they certainly exhibit a lively picture of the manners and customs of the Irish in early times, and serve to correct -some errours of their own, as well as of English writers. The reader will excuse this digression ; as it is a necessary introduction to what appears proper to be mentioned under another head."
The slate of Ireland at the time of the Englifli invasion, is well described, and accounts naturally for the subsequent.events; the historical matter is curious and entertaining, and though in some degree coloured with the romantic cha
S j ratter raster os the age, is extremely well authenticated. As we do not proless to give any thing further in this part of our work than a specimen of our author's manner, and our limits do not admit of a long extract, we ihall conclude this article with some curious particulars relative to the conduct'of Prince John and his English and Norman courtiers, soon after the first invasion; which, in some instances, will serve to place the manners of both nations in a strong point of view.
"To supply the loss sustained in Desmond, Henry sent Richard, brother to the late Milo de-Cogan, who led a chosen body of forces into Ireland; and was followed by Philip Barry, another brave commander, with a new and valuable reinforcement. Girald Barry, an ecclesiastic, better known by the name of Cambrensii, attended his brother Philip in this expedition on whose abilities Henry had such reliance, that he entrusted him with the tu:clage of his son John, and now lent him to gain such information, and to assist in such dispositions, as might be convenient to this prince, destined to assume the reins of government in Ireland. For the fame purpose was the archbishop of Dublin commanded to repair to his diocese.
These English ecclesiastics seem to have passed into Ireland with that sovereign contempt of those with whom they were to converse, Bnd that perfect conviction of their own superiority, which bespeak a contracted mind, and which a contrasted mind b not careful to con.ceal. While Cambrensis seemed Mesirous to inform himself, from his Iristi brethren, of the state and circumstances of their ecclesiastical
constitution, he could not resriia from mortifying them by invidious observations on their church, which they were thus piqued to defend and extol with greater zeal. They recounted the illustrious acts of those holy men, whose piety and learning had adorned the church of Ireland, and the large catalogue of saints it had produced. "Saints 1" said Girald, with the utmost self-sufficiency, " Yes, you *' have your saints; but where are "your martyrs? I cannot find one "Irish martyr in your calendar." "Alas!" replied the prelate of Cafhel, who probably looked on the death of Becket as a real martyrdom, " it must be acknow** ledged that as yet our people "have not learned such enormous "guilt, as to murder God's ser"vants; but now that Englishmen "have settled in our island, and "that Henry is our sovereign, we "may soon expect enough of mar"tyrs to take away this reproach "from our church."
Arrogance naturally begat hatred; and recrimination was the necessary consequence of violent invectives. In their fy nodical meetings, these professors of the religion of peace were chiefly employed in all the bitterness of mutual reproach. The abbot of Baltinglafs, preaching on the subject of clerical continence, took occasion to. extol the exemplary chastity of hit brethren before they had been, infected by the contagion of English foreigners; and described the libidinous excesses of these new clergy, with an offensive acrimony. He was answered by Cambrensis with still greater acrimony, who, while he allowed'the praise of chastity to the Irish ecclesiastics, charged their
whofc Oriole order with revelling, falsehood, barbarity, treachery, and dissimulation. The warmth which jan Irish bishop expressed at such virulence, served but to excite the ridicule of the other party, who observed, with a contemptuous triumph, how ill such spirit suited the effeminacy of his appearance.Contemptible as such altercations may appear, they had a dangerous influence in propagating and fomenting animosities between two people, who, circumstanced as they now were, could find their real interests only in a rational and equitable union.
And, as if all measures were to be taken to provoke the Irish natives to the utmost, Henry, with an instability not very accountable in so great a character, once more listened to the suggestions of thole who represented the dangerous power of his Irish vicegerent, his ambition, and his alarming connection with the king ot Connaught, recalled Lacy from his government, and appointed for his successor Philip de liraosa, or Philip of Worcester as he is called, a man, whose sole object was to enrich himself by plunder and oppression. His first act of power was to wrest some valuable lands from proprietors, who had purchased of Lacy, under pretence of appointing them for the King's provisions. He marched through different parts of the kingdom with a formidable body of troops, enforcing his exactions with the utmost rigour. At Armagh, he spent six days feasting and revelling inmid-lei.t, to the great scandal of this seat of piety, and extorting money from the clergy with the most unrelenting severity.. In vain
did the sufferers plead, that by the articles of the synod of Cashel they were exempt from military exactions; they had no recourse but to denounce the judgment of heaven against their ravisher. A sudden fit of sickness, which seized him at his departure, was confidently declared to be the effect of such denunciations. An accidental fire in the quarters of Hugh Tirrel, one of his attendants, was converted into a miraculous punishment of his sacrilege, in robbing one of the religious houses of rheir furnace. This ignorant superstition served to confirm the prejudices, and inflame the aversion of the natives; encouraging them to hope, that they should still find some favourable occasion to exterminate those, who were the declared objects of divine wrath.
But the power which Philip exercised with such odious violence was not of long duration; for prince John now prepared to exercise that authority in Ireland, which Henry's late donation had conferred upon him. He received the order of knighthood trom his father's hand; and a Iplended train was provided 10 attend him to nis seat of government. The Roman pontiff, who assumed the right of creating kings, is said to have formerly given Henry his permission to a'ppoint which-ever of his sons he should chuie King of Ireland; and now the (ame ridiculous arrogance was repeated, under the pretence of favour and indulgence to the English monarch, ahrongh he had but just refused to go to the holy land, at the urgent imlances ot the Pope. A legate was lent to England, who made a gracious tender of his services to wait ou
S 4 the the prince, and to perscrm the ceremony of his coronation in Ireland,; presenting him at the same time with a curious diadem of peacocks feathers, hallowed by the benediction of the sovereign pontiff. But Henry, who possibly disliked this officious interference of the Pope, when it was not necessary to his purposes, and possibly apprehended, that too great exaltation might encourage his young son to such acts of dilobedience as he had already experienced in his family, declined this gracious offer, and fen; John to his government without any additional title or ceremonial, but with a considerable force, and a magnificent attendance.
A company of gallant Normans in the pride of youth, luxurious and insolent, formed the splendid and the favourite part of this prince's train; and were followed by a number of Englishmen, strangers to the country they were to visit, desperate in their fortunes, the consequence of a life of profligacy, and silled with vast expectations of advantage from their present service. Those hardy Welshmen, who had fit It adventured into Ireland, and now attended to do homage to prince John, were but disagreeable mates to his gay courtiers; nor had the young prince sufficient judgment and experience to treat them with due attention. Glanville, a sage and eminent lawyer, had been sent by Henry to assist and direct his son. Several grave ecclesiastics were also appointed to accompany him; and among these Cambrensis, who had acquired some knowledge of the slate of Ireland, and returned in order to attend his master. But men of sage and reverend charac
ters were considered only as the formal appendages of a court. where a prince, yet in his boyish years, was engrossed by young associates, who flattered his levity, and provided for his pleasures. The whole assembly embarked in a fleet of sixty ships, and arrived at Water ford after a prosperous voyage, silling the whole country round with surprize and expectation.
The fame os this embarkation h.id a happy influence upon the Iristi chieftains, of whom several, the most refractory, now determined to do homage to the King's son, terrified by the magnificent representations of his force, and reconciled to submission by the dignity of his birth and station. But those native Lords of Leinster, who had ever adhered to the English government, were the first to pay their duty to the prince, and to congratulate his arrival. They quickly flocked to Waterford, and exhibited a spectacle to the Norman courtiers, which could not fail to provoke their contempt and ridicule. They saw, men cloathed in a manner totally different from their own, with hair of a different form, bushy beards, and all the marks of what they readily pronounced to be rudeness and barbarism. These unfashionable figures, who neither spake their language', nor were acquainted with their manners, advanced with great ease through the glittering circle, and according to their own customs and notions of respect, attempted to kit's the young prince. His attendants stepped in, and prevented this horrid violation of decorum; by rudely thrusting away the Irish lords. The whole assembly bu'ft
into into peals of laughter, plucked the beards, and committed various personal indignities upon their guests and allies, to demonstrate their own superior elegance of manners, and gratify the childish petulance of their master. Such were the tempers and understandings, that were to regulate the affairs of a disordered kingdom, to protect their adherents, to conciliate the unfriendly, and to reduce the disobedient. •' The Irish Lords, amidst all this disgusting plainness and novelty of appearance, Were spirited and proud; tenacious of their state, and of all men most impatient of the slightest mark of contempt. They turned their backs upon the court, boiling with indignation; they met others of their countrymen hastening to the prince; they related the manner of their own reception; they inflamed them to the highest pitch of resentment; they returned to their habitations, collected their families and substance, and repairing, some to the chiefs of Connaught, others to those of Thomond and Desmond, enlarged on the indignities they had sustained, expressed their own determined purpose of rivenge, entreaterf the more powerful lords to unite bravely against an enemy, possessed with an obstinate and implacable aversion to their whole nation, in despite of every conceflion or submission; requesting them seriously to consider what treatment they were to expect who had discovered any reluctance in yielding to the English invaders, when thole who had been the first to submit, found their services repaid with contemptuous insolence and outrage.. The flame wasicadily caught.
The chieftains agreed, instead of proceeding to do homage to prince John, to forget their private animosities, to unite in support of their independence, and to bind themselves in solemn league to exert their utmost endeavours to free their country from these imperious foreigners.
To inflame this dangerous spirit yet further, the attendants of prince John thought themselves every , where privileged to harrast and oppress. Even in the maritime towns, which King Henry had peculiarly reserved to himself, new grants were pretended, and new claims advanced, against the citizens, to deprive them of their possessions; so that, instead of doing martial service, these veterans were, wholly engaged in vexatious litigation, to guard against the attempts of rapaciousness and fraud. The Irishmen who had peaceably submitted to live under English lords, and held the lands assigned to them for their services by English tenures, were treated with still less reserve. They were at once driven from their settlements with the most disdainful insolence, to make way for these luxurious courtiers, or their minions. They fled to the enemy with the most rancorous aversion to their oppressors; informed them of the situation and circumstances of the English settlements; taught them those arts of war which they had learned by a long intercourse with the foreigners, and directed where their attacks might be most effectual and distressing.
While the storm of war was thus collecting, John kept his state in. idle pomp, and his attendants indulged in their usual excesses,