CELT document E590001-003

Hugh O'Neill's War aims

Hugh O'Neill, Earl of Tyrone

Edited by R. B. McDowell


Hugh O'Neill's War Aims [November-December] 1599

Articles intended to be stood upon by Tyrone1


That the catholic, apostolic, and Roman religion be openly preached and taught throughout all Ireland, as well in cities as borough towns, by bishops, seminary priests, Jesuits, and all other religious men.


That the Church of Ireland be wholly governed by the pope.


That all cathedrals and parish churches, abbeys, and all other religious houses, with all tithes and church lands, now in the hands of the English, be presently restored to the catholic churchmen.


That all Irish priests and religious men, now prisoners in England or Ireland, be presently set at liberty, with all temporal Irishmen, that are troubled for their conscience, and to go where they will, without further trouble.


That all Irish priests and religious men may freely pass and repass, by sea and land, to and from foreign countries.


That no Englishman may be a churchman in Ireland.



That there be erected an university upon the crown rents of Ireland, wherein all sciences shall be taught according to the manner of the catholic Roman church.


That the governor of Ireland be at least an earl, and of the privy council of England, bearing the name of viceroy.


That the lord chancellor, lord treasurer, lord admiral, the council of state, the justices of the laws, queen's attorney, queen's serjeant, and all other officers appertaining to the council and law of Ireland, be Irishmen.


That all principal governments of Ireland, as Connaught, Munster, etc., be governed by Irish noblemen.


That the master of ordnance, and half the soldiers with their officers resident in Ireland, be Irishmen.


That no Irishman's heirs shall lose their lands for the faults of their ancestors.


That no Irishman's heir under age shall fall in the queen's or her successors' hands, as a ward, but that the living be put to the heir's profit, and the advancement of his younger brethren, and marriages of his sisters, if he have any.


That no children nor any other friends be taken as pledges for the good abearing of their parents, and, if there be any such pledges now in the hands of the English, they must presently be released.


That all statutes made against the preferment of Irishmen as well in their own country as abroad, be presently recalled.


That the queen nor her successors may in no sort press an Irishman to serve them against his will.


That O'Neill, O'Donnell, the Earl of Desmond, with all their partakers may peacable enjoy all lands and privileges that did appertain to their predecessors 200 years past.


That all Irishmen, of what quality they be, may freely travel in foreign countries, for their better experience, without making any of the queen's officers acquainted withal.


That all Irishmen may freely travel and traffic all merchandises in England as Englishmen, paying the same rights and tributes as the English do.


That all Irishmen may freely traffic with all merchandises, that shall be thought necessary by the council of state of Ireland for the profit of their republic, with foreigners or in foreign countries, and that no Irishman shall be troubled for the passage of priests or other religious men.


That all Irishmen that will may learn, and use all occupations and arts whatsoever.


That all Irishmen may freely build ships of what burden they will, furnishing the same with artillery and all munition at their pleasure.

[1599, November]

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Title (uniform): Hugh O'Neill's War aims

Author: Hugh O'Neill, Earl of Tyrone

Editor: R. B. McDowell

Funded by: University College, Cork and Writers of Ireland II Project

Edition statement

1. First draft, revised and corrected.

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Electronic edition compiled by: Beatrix Färber and Benjamin Hazard

Extent: 1660 words

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Publisher: CELT: Corpus of Electronic Texts: a project of University College, Cork

Address: College Road, Cork, Ireland—http://www.ucc.ie/celt

Date: 2007

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

CELT document ID: E590001-003

Availability: The electronic edition has been made available with the kind permission of the editor.Available with prior consent of the CELT programme for purposes of academic research and teaching only.

Source description


  • Calendar of State Papers relating to Ireland, 1599–1600 (London 1899) 279–281.

Further Reading: a Selection

  1. By the King: although the offences committed against the Queene our sister deceased, and the honour of her estate by the Earle of Tyrone, ... Imprinted at London: By Robert Barker, Printer to the King's most Excellent Maiestie, Anno Dom. 1603.
  2. By the King: a proclamation touching the earles of Tyrone and Tyrconnell. Imprinted at London: By Robert Barker, Printer to the Kings most Excellent Maiestie, Anno Domini 1607.
  3. Thomas Gainsford, The true and exemplary and remarkable history of the Earle of Tirone (London 1619).
  4. Fynes Moryson, An itinerary, containing his ten yeeres travell through the twelve dominions of Germany, Bohmerland, Sweitzerland, Netherland, Denmarke, Poland, Italy, Turky, France, England, Scotland & Ireland. 4 vols. Printed at the University Press by Robert Maclehose & Company Ltd. for James Maclehose and Sons, Publishers to the University of Glasgow, 1907–908. [Reprint of 1617 edition.]
  5. John Mitchel, The life and times of Aodh O'Neill, prince of Ulster; called by the English Hugh, earl of Tyrone (Dublin 1845). [Several times reprinted.]
  6. Charles Meehan, The Fate and Fortunes of Hugh O'Neill, earl of Tyrone, and Rory O'Donel, earl of Tyrconnel: their flight from Ireland, their vicissitudes abroad, and their death in exile (New York 1868).
  7. Tadhg Ó Cianáin, The flight of the earls; edited from the author's manuscript, with translation and notes, by Rev. Paul Walsh. (Dublin 1916).
  8. J. K. Graham, 'The early life of Hugh O'Neill'. Bulletin, Ulster Society for Irish Historical Studies, 1 (1939).
  9. Sean O'Faolain, The great O'Neill. A biography of Hugh O'Neill, Earl of Tyrone, 1550–1616. (London: Longmans Green, 1942).
  10. L. W. Henry, 'The earl of Essex and Ireland, 1599'. Bulletin of the Institute of Historical Research, 32:85 (1959) 1–23.
  11. Hiram Morgan, Tyrone's rebellion: the outbreak of the nine years' war in Tudor Ireland (Royal Historical Society, Studies in History, 67). (Woodbridge: Boydell 1993).
  12. John McCavitt, 'The political background to the Ulster plantation, 1607–1620'. In: Brian Mac Cuarta (ed.), Ulster, 1641: aspects of the rising (Belfast: Queen's University of Belfast, Institute of Irish Studies, 1993) 7–23; 188–192.
  13. Hiram Morgan, 'Faith and fatherland or queen and country? an unpublished exchange between O'Neill and the state at the height of the Nine Years War'. Dúiche Néill 9 (1994) 9–65.
  14. Andrew Hadfield; John McVeagh (eds.), Strangers to that land: British perceptions of Ireland from the Reformation to the famine (Ulster Editions and Monographs, 5). Gerards Cross: Smythe, 1994.
  15. Murray Smith, 'Flight of the earls? Changing views on O'Neill's departure from Ireland'. History Ireland, 4:1 (1996) 17–20.
  16. Micheline Kerney Walsh, An exile of Ireland: Hugh O'Neill, prince of Ulster. (Blackrock, Co. Dublin: Four Courts 1996).
  17. Francesca Loverci, 'Dall'isola d'Irlanda a quella di Utopia. Propaganda politica sui due fronti negli anni della rivolta di Hugh O'Neill (1595–1603)'. Clio: rivista trimestrale di studi storici 34 (1998) 377–386.
  18. David M. Gardiner, '"These are not the thinges men live by now a days": Sir John Harington's visit to the O'Neill, 1599'. Cahiers Élisabéthains, 55 (1999) 1–16.
  19. Henry A. Jefferies, 'Hugh O'Neill, earl of Tyrone, c.1550–1616'. In: Charles Dillon; Henry A. Jefferies; William Nolan (eds.), Tyrone: history and society (Dublin: Geography Publications 2000) 181–232.
  20. Nicholas Canny, Making Ireland British 1580–1650 (Oxford:Oxford University Press 2001).
  21. John McCavitt, The flight of the earls (Dublin: Gill & Macmillan 2002).
  22. Nicholas Canny, 'Taking sides in early modern Ireland: the case of Hugh O'Neill, earl of Tyrone'. In: Vincent P. Carey; Ute Lotz-Heumann (eds.), Taking sides? colonial and confessional mentalities in early modern Ireland (Dublin: Four Courts 2003).
  23. Charles Guénot, Comte de Tyrone, ou, L'Irlande et le protestantisme au XVI Siècle. (Tours: Mame 1867).

The edition used in the digital edition

Curtis, Edmund and R. B. McDowell, eds. Irish Historical Documents 1172–1922‍. 1st ed. 1943. London and New York: Barnes & Noble.

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

  title 	 = {Irish Historical Documents 1172–1922},
  editor 	 = {Edmund Curtis and R. B. McDowell},
  edition 	 = {1},
  note 	 = {1 volume; ix + 311 pp},
  publisher 	 = {Barnes \& Noble},
  address 	 = {London and New York},
  note 	 = {1943}


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Creation: By Hugh O'Neill, Earl of Tyronne

Date: 1599

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  • The text has been rendered in Modern English. (en)

Keywords: political; prose; 16c; Hugh O'Neill

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(Most recent first)

  1. 2008-09-23: Keywords added; file validated; new wordcount made. (ed. Beatrix Färber)
  2. 2008-07-19: Div0 modified. (ed. Beatrix Färber)
  3. 2007-11-28: Bibliography created, file parsed; SGML and HTML files created. (ed. Beatrix Färber)
  4. 2007-11-28: File proofed (2); more structural and content markup applied; file converted into XML; header created. (ed. Beatrix Färber)
  5. 2007-10-20: Text scanned. (data capture Benjamin Hazard)
  6. 2005-10-20: File proofed (1); structural and content markup added. (ed. Benjamin Hazard)

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