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Frenchmen in the vigor of health, superabounding 1415. with provisions, and commanding every advantage of situation. These dazzling objects diverted the mind of the young monarch from the ungracious task of modelling a nascent and refractory people. The utmost advantages he could look to from Ireland, were the auxiliary troops he might thence bring into the field to forward the progress of his arms in France. The Irish have ever been a martial people, conspicuously forward in engaging under any honorable banner, and supereminentiy distinguished for their prowess and fidelity to their engagements *. Whilst he was laying siege to Harfleur, in Normandy, he was gratified with the arrival of a reinforcement of sixteen hundred Irishmen, well armed and disciplined, under the command of the martial Prior of Kilmainham.
The incompetency of the English government at Causes of home, drove the corrupt deputies in Ireland to revive ters in trethe abominable system of coigne and livery, which had been declared treasonable by the statutes of Kil-kenny. The renovation of this oppression drove the natives, as well as several English chieftains into insurrection, which naturally increased the national calamities of devastation and bloodshed. In the relation, in which these two nations then stood to each other,
* Happy for the British empire, were its government duly im. pressed with the incalculable advantages of availing itself of the unchecked energies and martial spirit of this important part of its population.
o fortunatos nimium sua si lona norint
1416. an intercourse and exchange of inhabitants frequently
took place. The seat of empire, and its superior opulence and cultivation held out attractions to the Irish to flock to England in search of employment and promotion, whilst their own country, from the extinction of its monarchy and internal calamities, was daily dropping into indigence and insignificance. Ireland, on the other hand, as a new conquered country of great fertility and extent in proportion to its population, held out temptations to the adventurous and indigent families in England, to answer the specious promises and allurements of colonization and planta
The English parliament, in the fourth year of
this reign, from jealousy and prejudice at the influx English
of Irishmen into this country, passed an act imposing penalties on Irish prelates for collating Irishmen to benefices in England, or bringing Irishmen to parliament, lest they should discover the counsels of England to rebels. This unjust act, which seems almost inoperative upon the face of it *, was extended so far beyond its letter and spirit, that occasion was taken from it to expel indiscriminately all the Irish, without distinction of quality or birth, not even excepting the students of the inns of court, who were thus excluded from England and from the study of the very laws, by which they were to be governed. Every measure was
countable act of the
* If Irish prelates had not the advowsons in them, they co ld nos collate to livings in England ; and if they had, why should They not use their legal rights, which could not rest in them, unle s they were subjects of the King.
ind sa Misors
carried into execution, however extravagant, which 1416. suited the ministers on either side of the water, who appear to the attentive observer of Irish government almost uniformly from the invasion to have systemati. cally had a thorough understanding with each other in the mal-administration of Irish affairs.
The misconduct of the chief governor raised so M much irritation in Ireland, that it was found requisite Irish mi
Risters to appoint a person commanding the affections of the natives, and possessing the confidence of the English government. For this purpose, the Earl of Ormond was created lord lieutenant, with the extraordinary powers of summoning councils, holding, adjourning, proroguing, and dissolving parliaments, pardoning treasons, murders, and felonies, and removing and appointing all officers of state, (except the chancellor and treasurer!. Immediately after the glorious triumph of Agincourt, the Irish had prepared a strong remonstrance of their grievances to be transmitted to the King; but the chancellor, Sir Laurence Merbury, feeling himself implicated in the objects of the remonstrance, and acting in concert with those, who had created the necessity of it, refused to affix the great seal, without which he pretended it could not be submitted to his majesty. Thus for several years were continued the abuses of the Irish government with impunity, by the manæuvres of the very delinquents, who occasioned the grievances.
The first parliament holden under Ormond granted Irish re. a subsidy of 1000 marks, and provided for the lica quilation of all the debts of former governors; but
1420. these acts were accompanied with a full representation
of grievances. Merbury being absent, the person deputed to the custody of the seal had either too much honesty, or too little power, to refuse to affix it to their petition. The archbishop of Dublin and Sir Christopher Preston, were instantly commissioned by the Irish parliament to present their remonstrance to the throne *. The petition sets forth the distresses of the King's subjects in Ireland, harassed by the perpetual incursions of the Irish enemy, and the injustice and extortion of the King's ministers. The King's personal appearance in Ireland is most earnestly intreated to save his people from destruction. The insolent opposition of Merbury to their first petition is complained of. Stanley and Furnival, two former governors, are accused of the most iniquitous practices; and while honorable mention is made of the conduct of Crawly, archbishop of Dublin, and of their present governor, all the other governors and officers are represented as corrupt, rapacious, and oppressive, secreting and misapplying the revenue, defrauding the subject, and levying coigne and livery without inercy: the unreasonable exclusion of their students from the inns of court, the insufficiency and extortion of the officers of the Exchequer, the number of absentees, and other matters of grievance are strongly urged. It prays, that those, who hold of the king in capite niay not be exposed to the hardship of repairing to
* This petition docs not appear to have been much attended to by the English government, for no other effect than the removal of Merbury from the seals can be fairly traced to this cause.
England to do homage ; but that the chief governor 1422. be commissioned to receive it ; that their commerce may be defended, their coin regulated, their churches supplied with faithful pastors, without such delays as they had experienced from selfish and designing governors. But, above all things, it urgently intreats, that trusty commissioners be appointed to inspect the conduct of the King's officers in Ireland ; plainly declaring, that scenes of iniquity would be discovered utterly abhorrent from the equity of the throne, and absolutely intolerable to the subject. The victorious and favourite Henry was cut off in Death of
Henry IV. the prime of life by a disorder (a fistula) which the surgeons of that age had not the skill to cure. He died resigned to the call of his Maker, with every appearance of having fervently prepared himself for the awful transit: He lamented the extreme youth of his infant son, who was then only nine months old; and, in the spirit of the christian chivalry of that day, declared his intention, had God prolonged his life, to commence a crusade for rescuing the holy land out of the hands of the Saracens. He reigned nine years, four months, and eleven days.