CELT document E560001-001

Notes to be considered for the government of Ireland

Notes to be considered for the government of Ireland (PRO SP 63/12/20, ff. 58r-64r)

Prefatory Note

This text is a collection of 'Notes' composed by the Irish viceroy, Lord Justice Nicholas Arnold. The document is endorsed '29 January 1565', but this is most likely the date on which the paper was received in England, as an internal reference to 'Ffriday laste' being the 5th of January would suggest a date of composition between the 6th and 12th of January. Arnold had been appointed in Ireland to inquire into charges of corruption brought against the then viceroy, Lord Lieutenant Thomas Radcliffe, third Earl of Sussex. These had been made in 1561 and 1562 by a wide range of individuals including a group of Palesmen studying at the Inns of Court in London, the Master of the Rolls, John Parker, and the prominent Meath landholder, William Bermingham. 1 In particular, Bermingham's assertion that those in charge of the Irish military establishment were defrauding the crown by keeping their bands of soldiers under-manned and embezzling the leftover pay for themselves provoked Elizabeth I into appointing Arnold as commissioner to investigate these allegations. His initial inquiries led to the establishment of a formal commission comprised of Arnold and Thomas Wrothe in October 1563. With charges of misconduct mounting and having failed to prevent Shane O'Neill reaching a preponderant position in Ulster Sussex was replaced as viceroy by Arnold in May 1564.

Written several months into his tenure, copies of the 'Notes' were dispatched to the English Secretary of State, William Cecil, and to the Earl of Leicester, Robert Dudley, however the latter copy is not extant. This lost copy appears to have been prepared first and the version presented here copied therefrom, as in a number of places in the text the addressee is given the title of 'Lp. (lordship)' with this subsequently struck through and replaced with 'honour' to reflect William Cecil's lack of a peerage. The paper provides a significant insight into the Irish military executive in the early-1560s and the war of attrition waged between Arnold and fellow commissioners such as Bermingham with the principal army officials. The latter included Captain Henry Radcliffe, Sussex's brother and the Lieutenant of the Forts in the midlands counties of Offaly and Laois, the Marshall of the Army, George Stanley, Captain Girton, Captain George Delves, Captain Brian Fitzwilliams, and the auditor, William Dyxe, who collectively had sought to obstruct Arnold's investigations since 1562. Wholly half of Arnold's 'Notes' (nos 2-13) were concerned with detailing their efforts to do so. In particular they had repeatedly sought to delay providing proper accounts of the check-rolls which were used to record the number of troops mustered, which could then be used to determine if the captains had been embezzling the soldiers' pay into their own hands.

While this was Arnold's foremost concern in the 'Notes' he also showed an interest to defend himself against the opposition that his actions were arousing from Sussex, whose return to England placed him in a better position to undermine confidence in Arnold at court. In a number of lengthy points (nos 14-16) he argued that he could ably demonstrate that Sussex was guilty of misconduct himself while in office. In particular he stressed that Sussex had abused the right to take victuals and goods from the country, or the 'cess' as it was known in Ireland by this time. Equally the situation in Ulster taxed Arnold and in particular Shane O'Neill (nos 18-22) whom the crown had sporadically been in conflict with since the late-1550s. Arnold's advice was clear. Shane should be temporised with, a strategy which could result in his becoming a loyal subject, but which would certainly allow for the reduction of the standing army and thus expenditure. Moreover Shane might in time be used as an instrument for the removal of the Scots settlers from the northeast of the country. Conversely, Arnold rejected the idea of reinstating Calvagh O'Donnell in Tyrconnell (nos 24-26) arguing that this could not be accomplished without the continuous military and financial support of the crown. In concluding Arnold urged that a more permanent governor be appointed to succeed him and also defended his conduct in office in the face of the challenges he had encountered (nos 28-29).

A detailed point by point response to the 'Notes' was sent by Cecil upon receipt of the paper, while Sussex composed a defence of himself wherein he called for Arnold to prove the accusations he had made against him and others. 2 There is no extant evidence for a response from Leicester. Ultimately, though these responses had little bearing on events as the issues Arnold alighted onto in the 'Notes' remained largely unresolved. He himself was removed from office in June 1565 following the decision to appoint Sir Henry Sidney as Lord Deputy. 3 Under his successor the army establishment was again increased, largely in an attempt to overthrow Shane O'Neill in a direct refutation of Arnold's proposal. Similarly Calvagh O'Donnell was reinstated by the crown as lord of Tyrconnell. More significantly, given the motives for Arnold's initial appointment in Ireland, the abuses within the executive such as the falsifying of musters and check-rolls by captains to embezzle the soldiers' pay remained a common practice in the years and decades that followed. Moreover, the officers who had obstructed Arnold's investigations were not pursued thereafter. Finally, although the Queen's attitude to Sussex was cool following his administration in Ireland his leading role in the quelling of the Northern Rising in 1569 saw him elevated to the Privy Council and assent as one of the most powerful senior ministers of the 1570s. Arnold, the investigator of official corruption in Ireland, returned to England where he served in a number of relatively minor posts in his native Gloucestershire until his death in 1580.

David Heffernan

Nicholas Arnold

Edited by David Heffernan

Notes to be declared and considered of by the right honorable Sir William Cicill, knight, chief secreatarie to her Matie, &c.


First, it is to be considered that the lacke of a settled governoure heere dothe breede contynuall mutanyes, murthers, bodraggs, thefts and divers wayes disobedyence and contempts, in hope to receive (as the manner hathe bene) pardone at the comminge in of the newe governoure.

Then to give his Lp. honor to vnderstande that I haue apprehended allready, vppon a suspicion of treason for conferrence with the rebells, John Johnson, Robert Newton and John Thomas, all three Sir Henry Radcliff's men, one William Lye and another called John Sankye, Mr Marshall's men, vppon sondry accusacions made to me of theim for maynteyning of rebells and conferringe with theim synce proclaymacion hath bene made to the contrarye, which be the suspected persones I wrote of in my former lres., who (if the matters obiected against theim fall out aswell in proofe as they are like by accusacion) haue deserued well to dye.

If I shoulde neuer advertise any matter of the estate or of our commyssion witheout subscrybence of the greater parte of the councell, or of commyssioners, I shoulde either certefie to late, or not at all, bycause the nomber of theim do dwell so farre of as they may not be had in tyme convenyent, and called togeither will hardly be kept in consultacion twoo whole dayes. Yet haue I not certefied any thing which commannded I shall not be able to proue with sufficient testymony of theim.

To declare that Adams' accusacions be allreadye certefied. 4

To declare that neither I bare any malyce at all to Adams, nor that I have caused any of my L. of Sussex well willers to be apprehended, or executed, except open rebells, or the manyfest maynteners of theim may be accompted his L. well willers.

Brian Ffitzwilliam's checks, and the cawse why he was checked, do in myne oppynion sufficiently appere in the advertisement laste sente from the reste of the commyssyoners 5, and was checked in the whoale bycause he woulde not annswer any thinge at all to suche interogatories as we thought meete, and were by our enstruccions commannded to mynister to him and others to be annswered, but pospone suche matter as he listed and thought fitt for the excuse of his manyfest deceyvinge of her Matie in the enterteignment of his soldyours, with which tryfells he fedd vs so longe refusinge to annswer to any other that we weare enforced either to overthrowe the whoale effecte of our commyssion, not onely in his cace but allso by his example in all the reste, or to checke him in the whoale.

 58v The capiteynes and other my L. of Sussex friends haue bene so longe and so muche borne withall here (allthoughe not in my defaulte) as I feare rather rebuke of her Matie and your honnor for so longe tolleracion, then any blame or fault that may justly be layde to our chardge, who now remayne heere in commyssion for any extremitie or wronge offred to any of theim.

What cawse we haue had of checke, and how the rest be very like to fall out, it may appere to your Lp. honor by the booke of checks of Sir Henry Radcliff's band, which I haue sent enclosed with the lre. directed to yourself 6 now with this.2 7 And whatsoeuer it shall pleaz my L. of Sussex to say in the excuse (as his L. dothe terme theim) of his Capens., they all (allthoughe not all so deepe as Sir Henry Radecliff) be muche in the same predicamente.

I meane assone as we of this commyssion haue finisshed the casshing and check of Sir Henry Radcliff's ffortie horssmen and fiftye footemen; Sir Geordge Stanley's 100 footemen; Capiteyne Dellves' 100 footemen; Gyrton's ffortye horssmenne; and the 30ti footemen with their offycers of Brian Ffitzwilliam's old bande (which I trust shallbe ended within 14 or 15 daies), to sende over Bermingham, so enstructed as he shall be able face to face to maynteigne and justefie the cawses of every man's checks; to declare the trewe cawses and impediments why we haue gone no faster forwarde; by whome we haue bene letted; and how vncourteously and vndewtifully we here commyssioners haue bene and yet dailie be vsed in the procedinge in this commyssion; howe dailie Sir Henry Radciff, Sir Geordg Stanley and Geordge Dellves (Sir William Ffitzwilliams being yet not muche dealed with) do laye dailie and openlye wheare we sitt in commyssion to our chardge, that we be iniust dealers, parciall adversaries, yea and open enemyes to theim, vtterly refuse to make any direct annswere to vs, to any one pointe of the check matter, in suche sorte as by her Mat's commyssion and enstruccions we be commanded (for the openinge of the trueth and her highnes' proffitte) to examyne theim. But they do daylie put their owne caces, and will annswere no matter but suche as they can best devise for the excusinge and wypenge away of their manyfest vntrewe dealinge with her highnes offred in their rolls and books of thentrye and dischardge of their soldiours, allthoughe we do daylie tell theim that dealinge  59r with them for the Queene's Matie and not for our sellues we ought not to be accompted adversaries or parciall, namely when we offer theim nothinge but that we haue good warrant or rather expresse commanndement to offer. And that we were not sent heither to examine theim vppon their owne devics, imagined to cullour or hyde suche apparant faults as we sawe did daylie fall out, but rather to try the trueth aswell of their former books delivered 8, as the trueth of those their tryflinge and vayne excuses, and did will theim (as we did longe before Sir Thomas Wrothe's goinge hence good sondry tymes synce had written and spoken to theim) to make out and sende, or deliver to vs, in writinge playne recknings how muche money they had received in prest out of the treasurie, what and how muche thereof they had delivered to every soldior in money, in munycion, in vytailes and in other necessaries, eche of thies things to haue bene severally and distinctly sett vntto vs, whiche they haue and yet still do refuse to doo. And will make annswere to nothinge more then (as aforesaide) they can devise for their owne excuses, saving now at lengthe Sir Henry Radcliff is hath bene contented to enter into recognisannce (but he will devise and make the covenannts thereof himsellf) whenn he had drawen and offred the deliverie of theim on such sorte penned as her Matie may take no advanntadge by theim. And in theim dothe refuse to enter into any covenannte which her Mat's learned councell heere can devise, except he may indent with her Matie that he shall make his owne paye, whiche grannted woulde not onely overthrowe the chief effecte of our whole commyssion, and shaddowe the more parte of their apparant faults, but allso it woulde drive the Queene's Matie to the proofe of that which they ought to proove, and do knowe she shall never be able to proove (bycause they haue before hande corrupted and made suche a confusion, bothe of the ckecke bookes and of their owne rolls, as dothe take away the juste order of all due proofe for her Matie), or ells her highnes to loose a great deale of that which will be prooved due to her and to the poore contreye heere. And therefore expedient that the Capens. may accordinge to our enstruccions be compelled  59v to make proofe of every man and the tyme of his service for whoome they do demannde any paye.

For the great gayne to the capteynes and losse to her Matie (beside the corecting of a nomber of faults) will not fall out in the examynacion and paye of those soldyours whiche now remayne here to be dischardged and paide, but in the proofe bothe of the persones, and tyme of servyce of all those men which be now dead or dischardged, and were rather (a great manye of theim) supposed to be heere then heere indede or not so longe heere as the Capens. have and will require paye for theim, which grannted may make the Capens. well able to paye her Matie, the soldiors which now remayne here and the contrye to with her highnes' owne money, and gayne to theim selves soommes to boote.

And there of I shoulde discourse all those frivolus reasons and devics which the Capens. (and their advocate Mr Dix) have vsed to make, to the ende they mought procure the paye into their owne hands (and the cawses of all those losses which mought ensewe to her Matie and contrye thereby), I shoulde write (to the trooble of your honnor in readinge) a longer booke then all our enstruccions. And therefore to make your honnoure (as shortly as I can expresse it) vnderstande the conclusion the Capens. and we be now at, I haue written it as followethe:

Vppon Ffriday laste, beinge the 5th of this Januarie 1564, we called Sir Henry Radecliff, Capiteyne Girton and Capen. Dellves, with their bands now to be casshed, before vs, requiringe of those Capens. (in the hering of the soldiours) the deliverie of perfect billes of reckninges as beforesaide, who then (as at all tymes before) refused so to doo. And thereon we dischardged theim presently out of waags and saide to the soldiours in their heeringe, 'go every one of yow which haue not a perfict bill of reckninge allready delivered from your severall capiteignes, and humbly and reverently requier bylls and recknings of theim, whiche yf they refuse to gyve come ye back to vs and, vppon your othe and other inquyrie made among  60r your sellues, ye shall euery one of yow receive present payments, wherein if ye who be capteynes shall happen to loose any thinge it muste be deyned to be loste in your owne defaults and follye. And if the Queene's Matie shallbe by your willfull delayes driven to loose ought we will lay it on your necks'. And we then saide thus muche more to the soldiours in the capiteignes heeringe, 'yf any of yow will refuse to come to take paye we will dischardge him presently out of waags, and drive him to seeke it, and to come by it, afterward, how he can vppon good proofe of his service'. Sayenge further to theim altogeither 'we will now presently ende the matter of casshinge of theim which be now to be dischardged and cutt of her Mat's daylie groweng great chardgs, heitherto prolonged by thies willfull delayes and obstynance of yow the capiteynes', and so we will indede ende this matter out of hande in the order before expressed, whiche in myne oppinion is the onely waye (whatsoever hathe bene, or shallbe, wrytten or saide to the contrary) as well to make the Quene's Matie vnderstande the difference betwene theim who haue serued here trewlie, and the craftye dealers, as to stay the payment of sondry sommes of money, which by any other way of tryall or offer yet made by the capiteynes would haue bene caryed awaye in a clowde to her Mat's great losse.

And I thinke yea and am sure to I woulde haue ended thies matters of dischardge muche before this tyme, yf either I coulde haue brought the capiteynes to any order prescribed or commannded by our enstruccions, or that I had not bene otherwise letted allmoste contynually in doinge her Matie other weighty servics touchinge the estate heere.

And nowe vnderstandinge that the right honorable, the Erle of Sussex, doothe mysselike bothe with my procedings heere and advertisements heeretofore made into Englande, I am enforced moste humbly to crave leave bothe to put her Matie and your Lp. in remembrannce that I never made sute to serve or to come into Irelande, but was sent for and commannded to go. And at my comminge away, and afterwarde aswell by enstruccions and lres. ready to be shewed, as by her Mat's owne mowthe, especially commannded to learne by  60v all wayes I coulde devyse to vnderstande the trewe estate and condicion of that this realme, not onely in the wellthe, the povertie, the government of the people by justice, or of the oppressinge of theim otherwyse, but allso of the deceipte offred to her highnes by her capiteynes in paye demannded, and soondry other matters apperinge in her Mat's soondrye enstruccions and commyssions, and from tyme to tyme to advertise myne oppynion and knowledge therein, whiche I do assure your Lp. (by the faythe I owe to god and the Queene's Matie) I haue in myne owne oppynion done trewlye without malyce or respect to any manne's person living, wherein if my L. of Sussex be offended it must be longe of the matter and not of any thinge I haue layde particulerly to his chardge, and so his L. 9 faulte and not myne, bycause I do not remember that I for my part have burthened his L. persone at any tyme with any thinge more then with the myssvsinge in woordes (and otherwayes) of me and others myne assocyatts commyssioners at my firste comminge into this lande, which woords and myssehandlinge as heretofore (without declaracion of the names of the witnesses) so now I do sende theim herewith severally articled as they were spoken and done with the names put to of suche gentlemen as have subscribed the same 10, every man to asmuche as his remembrannce did serve him to carye awaye, which I truste is proofe sufficient that suche woords were spoken.

And if I haue declared allso to her Matie or to any one of her moste honnorable privie councell that the Earle of Sussex, while his L. was lord lieutenannt here, did take vpp in divers yeeres his bieves for the provision of his house at the pryce of 8s. Irisshe, when the like byeves were solde in the markett for 23s. or more, and the hyde for 6s. and many tymes more, and his muttons at 12d. Irisshe, when the like in euery market were solde for 3s. at the leaste, their tallowe and skynnes commonly more woorthe then was paide for the whole sheepe, his goose, his henne, his chicken, his eggs, his butter, his porks, at haulf the pryses they were woorthe in the market (and not yet all payde for), whiche was a great empoverisshing of the whole Englisshe Paale. If I haue sayde that my lorde of Sussex tooke vpp in divers yeeres the moste parte of corne that served his house by cesse in the contrey, the wheate at 4s. the pecke and the maulte at 2s. 8d., the wheate then being solde in the markett for 20s. and vppwarde, and the maulte for 12s. (which was allso a great chardge  61r to the contrye), when he mought haue bene served of corne ennoughe for his house of porte corne belonginge to the Quene, and to himsellf at lyke pryses as he tooke that served him by cesse of the contrey, and that the Quene's Matie shoulde haue left nothinge therby, bycause she receaveth now but 2s. for euery pecke of all the rente corne (or porte corne as it is called termed), and as is payde after the rate his L. paide the contrey, which was 4s. for euery pecke her highnes mought haue received double the rente for her corne that hathe at any tyme yet bene paide. If I haue saide that the nomber of horssmen which their horsses and horsboyes, and the nomber of soldyours footemen, layde at suche small raats vppon the Pale, with so longe delayes of payment that the people thereof be made poorer then they were at any tyme within these 20ti yeeres, I may saye theim agayne bycause I am able to prove theim all to be trewe.

And heere if any man (as I knowe some man will do) declaring the nomber of the ploughe landes and acres of the Paale which do contribute to the cesse, and ratinge the cesse vppon every of them, woulde so sett it out that it mought seme (althoughe the trueth be otherwise) that the pryvate cesse sett vppon every man were so small that it coulde hurte no man, I may say, and vnder the proteccion of your honnor well proove (bycause it is allso trew), that allthoughe no one of thies things be the onely cawse of the decay of the contrey, yet the provision, the cesses and acatinge of the late L. lieutenannt's house, the burthen of the horssmen with their horsses and boyes, the great nomber of footemen allso layde on the contreye, with the longe delay of paymente for their boorde, with the cesses of corne and bieves, and cariadgs of theim to the fforts, put alltogether haue brought this contrey into so great povertie and myserye as not considered, and holpen in tyme may breede suche an inconvenyence as may shortly growe to the great perill of the whole estate.

And therefore I do humbly beseche yow that I may be supported and allowed by your honnor playnely to declare these things, which I thinke I may not with my duetie of alledgiannce and a saulf consyence spare vntolde, whiche favourable heringe, and supportinge in my trutthe denyed (as I trust they shall not be to me), may make me (or any suche other as I am servinge in this place) vtterly vnhable to do so good service  61v as we shoulde, and mought well do, vnder her Mat's supporte and yours. And herein I do proteste before god and her Matie I haue neither wrytten nor spoken any thinge more then I haue thought to be trewe, nor taken vppon me the direct knowledge of any thinge which (her Matie and your honnor not offended) I will not stande to prove. Wherein if any thinge shall seeme doubtful to your honnor, or yf any man will denye the trueth of any thinge that I haue now written, vppon advertisement thereof from your honnor, I will I trust satissfie your honnor therein, bothe by trewe and playne demonstracion of good matter, and good and substanciall proofe by witnesse yf it shallbe requyred.

O'Nele 11 in myne oppinion can never be able to make a conquist or an over throwe of Tyrconnell, O'Donell's contrey, or to bringe thinhabitannts thereof so to his devocion as he mought therby get either strength or profitte, vnles he should disspeople Tyrone, his owne contrey, which were but an evill exchanndge for him, and thinke he will never attempt it. And O'Nele, thinkinge himsellf either to be assured of the freendshipp of Tyrconnell or not to leave theim enemyes at his backe, may ever be the more bolde to expugn and expell the Skotts, whome otherwise he may be enforced to reteigne for his owne strength and saulfgard (the title betwene the baron's soonnes and him dependinge as it yet doothe).

O'Nele, if his followers or freendes of this nacyon were pulled from him, is like to imaginn that he must be enforced either to loose lande and lief or to seeke ayde and reskue of stranngers, Skotts or other wheare he may gett them, wheare as if by her Mat's supporte he may be abled to keepe in hande all his followers he shall not neede to seeke mayntenannce of any strannger. And yet in myne judgment he may the easlyer be overthrowen whensoever it may please her Matie to enter into the generall reformacion of Ireland, before which tyme (pardone craved for writenge playnely) it may do muche more hurt then good to proffer to make conquest of any one Irisshman or contrey, more then is allready conquered.

 62r And if O'Nele may be drawen on with gentle woordes, and some title of honnor, and suffred to pull in as many followers as he can by any means gett, he will rest I thinke contented, and his followers, what with their owne deceiptfull and vnstable nature and with the great imposicions O'Nele would daylie laye on theim in the meane tyme, would with more ease and les chardge be drawen from him to serve the Queene, then kept from him vnto the tyme of service at her highnesse' chardge. Ffor if either his followers shallbe pulled from hym, or his enemye O'Donell advannced or preferred before him, he will so plague theim from tyme to tyme as the vnseasonable defence or proteccion of theim once taken into her Mat's hands would stande her Matie in greater chardgs then the reformacion of this whole estate in tyme convenyent woulde doo.

And therefore (as I yet vnderstande it) the makinge of O'Nele ryche and stronge, and the assuring of him of the Queene's Mat's favour and proteccion, woulde rather overthrowe O'Nele (whensoever her highnes woulde go about the vtter overthroweng of him indede), then the kepinge of him poore and doubtfull woulde doo. And yet in the meane tyme he may become so good a subiect as hereafter her Matie shall thinke mette rather to be cherisshed then throwen owt. And so craving aswell leave to declare to your honnor that I did never beare either to O'Donell or to O'Nele or to any other in this lande any kynde of love, hate or affeccion other then I thought mysellf dewtyfully bounden to beare for her Mat's beste servyce, and assuredly am indifferently affected to theim all meaning not muche to trust any of theim as allso to put your honnor in remembrance that I thinke it will be more expedient and behoofefull for her Matie (as thestate of this realme now standeth) rather to beare something with the weaknes of O'Nele (whoo must either be borne withall in some tryfells or hasarded to be loste) then with the renewing of the rebellion of the O'Cconnors and O'Mores (now all most vtterly subdued), to styrre vpp the Brenye, which is O'Reiglie's contry, the Tooles, the Byrnes, the Demsyes and a nomber of others allready bent to do whatsoever myschief they may be able to do, yf they either mought vnderstand  62v that they mought put their cattell backe into or toward O'Nele's contry when we shoulde go about to plague theim, or that O'Nele woulde not joyne with vs in her Mat's servyce when they were to be plagued, which oppynion of O'Nele's obedyence hathe bene and yet is the chief cawse of staye of theim all this doubtfull tyme from extremyties (allthogh they ceasse not daylie to do some myschief in one place or other of the Paale, as Cahir O'Reigly hathe lately done in Meathe, whiche I doubt not shall be recompenced shortly well ennoughe).

And suer I am there is no one waye to be devised fitter to enforce her Matie to keepe a greater garryson here then shallbe needefull or expediente for her Mat's proffitte, and the eaze and relief of this her poor afflicted contrey, then to offer O'Nele suche condycions as he will not, or may not, well receive, nor any waye so fitt to disapoinnt the present dischardge of the bands now to be casshed, and the matter of check (bothe now allmoste ended), as to dryve out Shane O'Nele, who I thinke vsed with some suche pollycie as your wisdomes can devise woulde be made the moste apte mynister for thexpellinge of the Skotts, and other necessarie servics before rehersed, that may be founde (of his estate and condycion) in this whole lande.

And therefore, still trustinge that I shall not offende your honnor in wryteng playnely what I think, I cannot but wryte that whosoeuer dothe put theese fryvolus doubts in her highnes' hedd, or yours, either doth not vnderstande the trewe estate of Irelande indede, or for excusing of former faults and negligencs, or for the maynteyninge of whatsoever they have allready wrytten or spoken (which vppon dewe examynacion may be founde vntrewe or mysse taken by theim), would be lothe her Matie or your honnor should vnderstande the trewe estate thereof.

O'Donell I fear me will not be brought into his contrey and settled therein without her Mat's power and greate chardgs. And brought into it (as he is nowe hated and doubted of by his vncles,  63r his bretherne and the rest of the gentlemen and freeholders there) shall hardly contynew any tyme therein without her Mat's contynuall assistence and great chardgs, vnlesse he shall be dryven to call in Skotts for his ayde, whome, as he now resteth, he shall never be able to reteigne.

Ffor it is a thinge almost impossible to fynde any nomber of Skottes that will followe any man whome they do knowe neither to haue money in hand to enterteigne theim with, nor contry at his owne devocyon to bringe theim to. But when he shallbe holpen to the possession of his coontrey, yf after his kynsmen, followers or people do at any tyme fall out with hym (as it is verey like daylie to come to passe, the great hate with doubt of their lyves dependinge on bothe sides as they nowe doo) they will on every side plucke in as many Skotts as they can gett, every man for his owne defence and saulfgarde.

12I cannot learne of any man in this lande that ever O'Donell, or any of his, did ever serve her Matie any one daye in the fielde against any man, or that he ever did seeke friendshipp, or offer any kynde of service before he was by extreame necessitie compelled there vnto for his owne saulfgarde or relief.

Neverthelesse now that I haue (as I trust dewtifullye) declared myne oppynion I will with all humble dilligence according my bounden duetye execute to the vttermost of my power whatsoever the Queene's Matie or your honnor will commannde. Assuringe your honnor I am with all the wilde Irisshe at the same poynt I am at with beares and banddoggs when I se theim fight, so that they fight earnestly indede and tugge eche other well. I care not who have the woorsse.

And yet I thinke that the reports whiche be dailie brewted here of my L. of Sussex retourne heither with an armye to expugne O'Nele, and of the favoure and ayde which O'Donell hathe, and is like to haue against hym out of England, for which purpose it is allso bruted here O'Donell dothe tarie thus longe in Englande, may sette  63v O'Nele in suche feare and doubte as may occasion him to practize with stranngers for his ayde and assistannce, and make vs here not able to wynne suche things at his hand for her Mat's better service, and the quietnes of this contrey, as otherwise we mought be able to doo. And therefore (pardone once more craved to speake my mynde) it will be verey necessarye for her Matie either to sende some one suche a governor presently out of Englande as she meaneth to settle heere, which may remove thies doubts out of O'Nele's hedd, or ells to make some practyse with O'Nele in the meane tyme for the staye of him, who lefte thus in doubte is like ennoughe to practyse ellswheare for his owne saulftye in suche sorte as it may turne to her Mat's great chardge, trooble and dannger of this her highnes' whole realme.

Vnderstandinge that the Queene's Matie and your honnor haue bene enfourmed that if I had followed the advice of the older soldiours here the rebells had bene overthrowen long er this, I do assure your honor thear was nothing done touching the service against those rebells, or any other of the estate, which was not deliberately consulted of by the whole councell, or as many of theim as I could convenyently call togeither, and put in practyse and execucion accordingly as may appere by the decres allway ready to be shewed vnder their hand wrytinge, which if I proove not when her highnes shall comannd it to be trewe, let me haue no better creadit with her Matie and your honnor then they which dare make these crafty and vntrew surmyzes to her Matie ought to haue. And besides that I dare adventure one whole yeere's close imprysonment (besides the losse of the one half of my lyvinge in England) that if he that made that reaport (what so ever he be) had evyn nowe to deale with the rebells and the repression of theim commytted to his chardge, he woulde in shorter tyme then they haue allready bene in manner vtterly subdewed  64r bring theim to be as many in nomber, and the contrey into as evill an estate, as it was when these late warres were begoonne.

The booke 13 before mencyoned of Sir Henry Radcliff's checkes and the lre. to be sent from the commyssioners, for that they were not yet come heither, I haue written vnto theim to send theim from Dublin to her Matie yf they be not allready sente.

N. Arnold
[Endorsed:] 29 January 1565. Nots to be consederid for ye government of Irland. Sent from Sir Nicholas Arnold from Waterford to ye Erle of Lec. and W.C.. Contr. Co. Sussex.

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Title statement

Title (uniform): Notes to be considered for the government of Ireland

Title (extended): [SP 63/12/20, c. 6–12 Jan. 1565]

Author: Nicholas Arnold

Editor: David Heffernan

Responsibility statement

Donated by: David Heffernan

Electronic file prepared by: Beatrix Färber

Funded by: University College, Cork and School of History

Edition statement

1. First draft, revised and corrected.

Extent: 7275 words

Publication statement

Publisher: CELT: Corpus of Electronic Texts: a project of the Department of History at University College, Cork

Address: College Road, Cork, Ireland & mdash; http://www.ucc.ie/celt

Date: 2014

Distributor: CELT online at University College, Cork, Ireland.

CELT document ID: E560001-001

Availability: Copyright lies with Ruth Canning. The text is reproduced here with her kind permission.

Source description

Manuscript Source

  • TNA: PRO, SP 63/12/20, c. 6–12 Jan. 1565, 'Nots to be consederid for ye government of Irland', fo 58r–64r.

Further reading: primary sources

  1. TNA: PRO, SP 63/5/51, c. March 1562, 'A book comprehending twenty-four articles, specifying the miserable estate of the English Pale in the years 1560 and 1561, delivered to the Privy Council, by certain students of Ireland and subscribed with their hands', printed in, Jon Crawford, Anglicizing the Government of Ireland: The Irish Privy Council and the expansion of Tudor Rule (Dublin, 1993), A 2, 432–438.
  2. TNA: PRO, SP 63/6/28, 1562, William Bermingham, 'Interrogatories relative to bishoprics, soldiers, cesses, musters, Laois and Offaly and dead pays'.
  3. TNA: PRO, SP 63/6/37, June 1562, John Parker, 'A slanderous book addressed to the Queen against the Lord Lieutenant Sussex and other governors of Ireland'.
  4. TNA: PRO, SP 63/12/1, c. 1565, William Bermingham, 'Notes to be consydered by your honorable lordshipps declaringe the Quene's Majesty's superfluose chargde'.
  5. TNA: PRO, SP 63/12/8, 10 Jan. 1565, 'Captains Sir Henry Radcliffe, Sir George Stanley, and George Delves to the Privy Council'.
  6. TNA: PRO, SP 63/12/14, 26 Jan. 1565, William Dyxe, 'Auditor Dyxe to Sir William Cecil'.
  7. TNA: PRO, SP 63/12/19, 29 Jan. 1565, Sussex, 'Declaration made by the Earl of Sussex to the Lords of the Council, showing the grievances of the captains and the impolicy of Nicholas Arnold's government'.
  8. TNA: PRO, SP 63/12/35, 24 Feb. 1565, William Bermingham, 'William Bermingham to Sir William Cecil'.
  9. TNA: PRO, SP 63/12/50, 28 Feb. 1565, William Cecil 'Sir William Cecil to Nicholas Arnold in response to Arnold's 'Notes' of Jan. 1565'.
  10. TNA: PRO, SP 63/12/62, 23 Mar. 1565, Sussex, 'The answer of the Lord Lieutenant Sussex to Arnold's 'Notes' of Jan. 1565'.

Further reading: secondary sources

  1. Ciaran Brady, The Chief Governors: The rise and fall of reform government in Tudor Ireland, 1536–1588 (Cambridge, 1994), 101–112.
  2. Vincent Carey, Surviving the Tudors: The 'Wizard' Earl of Kildare and English Rule in Ireland, 1537–1586 (Dublin, 2002), 121–133.
  3. Jon Crawford, Anglicizing the Government of Ireland: The Irish Privy Council and the expansion of Tudor Rule (Dublin, 1993), 282–283, 386–388.
  4. Susan Doran, 'The political career of Thomas Radcliffe, 3rd Earl of Sussex, 1526?–1583', PhD (London University, 1979), 118–148.
  5. David Heffernan, 'Tudor "Reform" Treatises and Government Policy in Sixteenth Century Ireland', PhD, 2 Vols. (UCC, 2013), I, 125–135.
  6. D.G. White, 'The Tudor Plantations in Ireland before 1571', PhD, 2 Vols. (TCD, 1967), II, 1–114.

The edition used for the digital edition

Arnold, Nicholas (2014). Notes to be considered for the government of Ireland‍. Ed. by David Heffernan. seven folios. Cork: CELT.

You can add this reference to your bibliographic database by copying or downloading the following:

  title 	 = {Notes to be considered for the government of Ireland},
  author 	 = {Nicholas Arnold },
  editor 	 = {David Heffernan},
  edition 	 = {0},
  note 	 = {seven folios},
  publisher 	 = {CELT },
  address 	 = {Cork},
  date 	 = {2014}


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Project description: CELT: Corpus of Electronic Texts

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The text transcribed by David Heffernan comprises seven folios.

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Correction: The text has been checked and proof-read twice.

Normalization: The electronic text represents the transcription.

Quotation: There are no quotations.

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Segmentation: div0=the essay called Notes; div1=the document; div2=the section.

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Profile description

Creation: By Nicholas Arnold

Date: January 1565

Language usage

  • The text is in Elizabethan English. (en)

Keywords: Ireland; political; government; prose; notes; 16c

Revision description

(Most recent first)

  1. 2019-06-05: Changes made to div0 type. (ed. Beatrix Färber)
  2. 2014-10-31: File parsed; SGML and HTML versions created. (ed. Beatrix Färber)
  3. 2014-10-21: File converted to XML and encoded for structure; TEI header constructed; file parsed; SGML and HTML versions created. (ed. Beatrix Färber)
  4. 2014-10-02: Transcribed text, with introduction, footnotes and bibliographic detail, donated to the CELT Project. (ed. Dr David Heffernan)

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  1. TNA: PRO, SP 63/5/51, c. March 1562, 'A book comprehending twenty-four articles, specifying the miserable estate of the English Pale in the years 1560 and 1561, delivered to the Privy Council, by certain students of Ireland and subscribed with their hands', printed in Jon Crawford, Anglicizing the Government of Ireland: The Irish Privy Council and the expansion of Tudor Rule (Dublin, 1993), App. 2, pp. 432-438; TNA: PRO, SP 63/6/28, 1562, William Bermingham, 'Interrogatories relative to bishoprics, soldiers, cesses, musters, Laois and Offaly and dead pays'; TNA: PRO, SP 63/6/37, June 1562, John Parker, 'A slanderous book addressed to the Queen against the Lord Lieutenant Sussex and other governors of Ireland'. 🢀

  2. TNA: PRO, SP 63/12/50, 28 Feb. 1565, William Cecil 'William Cecil to Arnold in response to Sir Nicholas Arnold's 'Notes' of Jan. 1565'; TNA: PRO, SP 63/12/62, 23 Mar. 1565, Sussex, 'The answer of the Lord Lieutenant Sussex to Arnold's accusations against him and others in Ireland'. 🢀

  3. TNA: PRO, SP 63/13/69, 22 June 1565, 'The Privy Council to Nicholas Arnold', gives notice of Arnold's revocation.  🢀

  4. Most likely Robert Adams, an obscure figure who was active as a government agent in Ireland in the 1560s. The accusations referred to are unclear. 🢀

  5. This might refer to TNA: PRO, SP 63/11/24, 10 July 1564, William Bermingham, 'William Bermingham to the Privy Council', which addresses Fitzwilliams' check-roll and the mustering of his band.  🢀

  6. Some names were initially entered here but were subsequently erased to the extent that they cannot now be deciphered. They were replaced with 'yourself' in the margin. 🢀

  7. A note in the left hand margin notes that this was 'not sent'. 🢀

  8. These were most likely the musters taken in 1562 following the initial accusations against the captains and delivered to Arnold following his arrival in Ireland late in August 1562. See TNA: PRO, SP 63/7/6, 6 Sept. 1562, Sussex, 'Sussex to the Queen', for Sussex's notice of his delivery of these muster books to Arnold.  🢀

  9. Cecil has written 'Erle of Sussex' in the margin here. 🢀

  10. This document was either not sent by Arnold or else is not extant. 🢀

  11. Cecil has written 'O'Neyle' in the margin here. 🢀

  12. Cecil has written 'O'Donell' in the margin here. 🢀

  13. A note in the margin here reads 'not sent'. A version of this intended book may be TNA: PRO, SP 63/12/23(i), 'A brief division of the checks that Bermingham chargeth on Sir Henry Radcliffe to the amount of 8,000?'. 🢀


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