CELT document E590001-004

A brief Declaration of the Government of Ireland

Thomas Lee

Edited by John Curry

A brief Declaration of the Government of Ireland.: Opening many corruptions in the same discovering the discontentments of the Irishry and the causes moving those expected troubles:: And, shewing means how to establish quietness in that kingdom honourably to your majesty's profit without any encrease of charge.

 p.587 87

Opening many corruptions in the same discovering the discontentments of the Irishry and the causes moving those expected troubles:

And, shewing means how to establish quietness in that kingdom honourably to your majesty's profit without any encrease of charge.


To the Queen's most excellent Majesty.

Understanding, most gracious sovereign, the proud and insolent terms the lords of the north of Ireland do now stand upon, it maketh me bold to set down my knowledge of those parts to your majesty, because I have debated often with the chiefs of them, what was fit they should yield unto your majesty; and that it was unmeet for them in any sort to condition with your highness: in the end (after long debating) they seemed somewhat to like and allow of that which I demanded, as hereafter shall appear. And because your majesty may the better judge the causes of their discontentments, I have here set down the unconsciable courses which have been held towards them, which being remedied, and that they may see your majesty doth no way allow of the same, there is no doubt (notwithstanding all their proud shews of disloyalty) but that they may be brought to dutiful obedience, and to yield you that profit which neither your majesty now hath, nor any of your progenitors ever had; so as they may likewise have that which they demand, being nothing unfit for your majesty to grant. In which discourse, if anything should seem unpleasing to your majesty, I humbly beseech you to pass it over, and to peruse the rest,  90 whereof I doubt not, but something will content your highness, for that it tendeth to your highness's service and commodity.

My meaning, whereby your highness's profit may arise, is by O'Donnel, Maguire, Bryan Oge O'Rorke, and Bryan Oge Mc Mahon.

The demands I made for your majesty were these, that they should receive your majesty's forces into their countries; and your laws to go current, as they did in other places; and some part of their countries to be reserved for your majesty, to dispose unto them who should govern them, and they to charge themselves with that proportion that was fit for them to bear.

To those demands they all yielded, so that they might have such gentlemen chosen, as they knew would use no treachery nor hard measures towards them, but to live upon that which your majesty would allow; and that which they would give of their free consents, and to be no further charged; and they would be as dutiful as any other country in Ireland now is. And how this may be performed, I have made bold with your majesty's favourable liking, here to set down upon my knowledge, both how your majesty's forces may be received with their consent, and they to yield great profit in discharge of that which your majesty allows to the soldiers to be well satisfied.


The cause they have to stand upon those terms, and to seek for better assurance, is the harsh practices used against others, by those who  91 have been placed in authority, to protect men for your majesty's service, which they have greatly abused and used in this sort.

They have drawn unto them by protection, three or four hundred of these country people, under colour to do your majesty service, and brought them to a place of meeting, where your garrison soldiers were appointed to be, who have there most dishonourably put them all to the sword; and this hath been by the consent and practice of the lord deputy for the time being. If this be a good course to draw these savage people to the state, to do your majesty service, and not rather to enforce them to stand upon their guard, I humbly leave to your majesty.

When some one who hath been a bad member (pardoned by your majesty) hath heard himself exclaimed upon to be a notable thief after his pardon; and hath simply come in without any bonds, or any other enforcement, to an open session, to take his trial, by your majesty's laws, if any could accuse him: notwithstanding his coming in after this manner, and without any trial at the time (because he was a bad man in times past) there hath been order given in that session for the execution of him; and so he has lost his life, to the great dishonour of your majesty, and discredit of your laws.

There have also been divers others pardoned by your majesty, who have been held very dangerous men, and after their pardon have lived very dutifully, and done your majesty great service,  92 and many of them have lost their lives therein; yet, upon small suggestions to the lord deputy, that they should be spoilers of your majesty's subjects, notwithstanding their pardon, there have been bonds demanded of them for their appearance at the next sessions. They knowing themselves guiltless, have most willingly entered into bonds, and appeared, and there (no matter being found to charge them) they have been arraigned only for being in company with some one of your highness's servitors, at the killing of notorious known traitors; and for that only have been condemned of treason, and lost their lives: and this dishonest practice hath been by the consent of your deputies.

When there have been notable traitors in arms against your majesty, and sums of money offered for their heads, yet could by no means be compassed, they have in the end (of their own accord) made means for their pardon, offering to do great service which they have accordingly performed, to the contentment of the state, and thereupon received pardon, and have put in sureties for their good behaviour, and to be answerable at all times, at assizes and sessions, when they should be called; yet, notwithstanding, there have been secret commissions given for the murdering of those men. They have been often set upon by the sheriffs of shires, to whom the commissions were directed, in sundry of which assaults, some of them have been killed, and others have hardly escaped. And after all this,  93 they have simply come without pardon or protection, to an open place of justice, to submit themselves to your majesty's laws; where they have been put to their trial upon several indictments, of all which they have been acquitted, and set at liberty. If this be a course allowable, for poor men to be handled in this manner, and to be at no time in safety of their lives, I humbly leave to your majesty.

When many notorious offenders have submitted themselves to your majesty's mercy, and have been accepted, and have had their pardons, and have put in good assurances to be at all times answerable to your laws; the chiefest rebel (whose followers they were) hath been countenanced and borne out by your state, to rob and spoil, burn and kill, these poor men who did thus submit themselves. When they have very pitifully complained against that arch-rebel and his complices, of these outrages,  p.589 they have been sharply rebuked and reproved for their speeches, and left void of all remedy for their losses; so as when in the end they have made petition to have licence by their own means, and help of their friends, to recover their goods from the rebels, they have been rejected, and utterly discomforted; yet, nevertheless, remained dutiful subjects, although they see that such as continue notorious malefactors, are in far more safety than they who depend upon your majesty's defence.

For it is well to be proved, that in one of your majesty's civil shires, there lived an Irishman, 94 peaceably and quietly, as a good subject, many years together, whereby he grew into great wealth, which his landlord thirsting after (and desirous to remove him from his land) entered into practice with the sheriff of the shire, to dispatch this simple man, and divide his goods between them. They sent one of his own servants for him, and he coming with his servant, they presently took his man, who was their messenger, and hanged him; and keeping the master prisoner, went immediately to his dwelling, and stared his substance (which was of great value) between them, turning his wife and many children to begging. After they had kept him fast for a season with the sheriff, they carried him to the castle of Dublin, where he lay by the space of two or three terms; and having no matter objected against him, whereupon to be tried by law, they by their credit and countenance, being both English gentlemen, and he who was the landlord (the chiefest man in the shire) informed the lord deputy so hardly of him, as that without indictment or trial they executed him, to the great scandal of your majesty's state there, and impeachment of your laws. For if this man had been such an offender as they urged, why was he not tried by ordinary course of law, whereby good example of justice might have been shewed, and your highness benefited by his wealth, which they shared; but to cut him off by martial law, who was a good householder, inhabiting a civil country always  95 liable to law, and last imprisoned in Dublin (where all the laws of that land have their head), was, in my conceit, rather rigour than justice; for as martial law is very necessary, and (in my opinion) ought to be granted to all governors of remote and savage places, where your majesty's laws are not received, with all other authority and power severely and sharply to cut off or punish offenders, according to the quality of their offence, until such time as the people shall become civil, and embrace the laws and peaceable living (for 'till then they are not to be governed without the like measure of justice) so to use the same where the people are civil and obedient to other laws, is very indirect, and savours of cruelty; and yet this, and the like exemplary justice, is ministered to your majesty's poor subjects there, who, if they have once been offenders, live they never so honestly afterwards, if they grow to any wealth, are sure by one indirect means or other to be cut off.

When there have been means made to an aged gentleman (never traitor against your majesty, neither he nor any of his ancestors, and dwelling in one of the remotest parts of your kingdom) to come into your state; and that the hard courses used to others, made him demand security for his coming in, which hath been sent unto him by great oaths and protestations, delivered by the messenger, whereof he hath accepted, and thereupon come in: yet, notwithstanding all these promised safeties, this aged gentleman  96 hath been detained prisoner for six years, and so yet remaineth. And his imprisonment is the only colour to satisfy your majesty for a wonderful great charge, which your majesty and your subjects were then put unto. But his detaining contrary to promise, hath bred great fear in all or most of his sort (in those parts) of crediting what your state there shall promise.

When upon the death of a great lord of a country, there hath been another nominated, chosen, and created, he hath been entertained with fair speeches, taken down into his country, and for the offences of other  p.590 men, indictments have been framed against him, whereupon he hath been found guilty, and so lost his life; which hath bred such terror in other great lords of the like measure, as maketh them stand upon those terms which now they do.

When there hath been a stratagem used for the taking into your majesty's hands a young youth  1, the heir of a great country, by whose taking his whole country would have been held in obedience, the practice whereof was most good and commendable; yet (after the obtaining of him) his manner of usage was most dishonourable and discommendable, and neither allowable before God nor man. My reasons are these: he being young, and being taken by this stratagem, having never offended, was imprisoned with great severity, many irons laid upon him as if he had been a notable traitor and malefactor, and kept still among those who were ever  97 notorious traitors against your majesty; having no other council, or advice, or company, but theirs, what good could come to this young man for his education among such, I humbly refer to your highness.

The taking of him as aforesaid, was most commendable, and for the good of that country, so he had been brought up in this manner, presently to have been sent to your majesty, to have been instructed in the fear of God, to have known his duty to your majesty, and to have been furnished with all necessary parts for a gentleman. And as your majesty should have found his disposition, so either to have detained him here or sent him home into his country, whose good example (by his virtuous training up) might have done God and your majesty much good service in those parts.

I have been the more bold to discover unto your majesty the dishonourable managing of your service there, by the indirect cutting off of sundry your majesty's poor subjects, because it pleased your highness (many years since) to impart unto me, how much you abhorred to have your people there dealt withal, by any practice, but only upright justice, by your majesty's laws and forces, which being otherwise handled, I desire to make known unto your majesty, and your most honourable council, for redress thereof.

But I fear, that they who have well liked that course, and have been practisers of the same, will inform your majesty, that those people are so bad,  98 as it is no matter of conscience to cut them off any way howsoever, which is (in my opinion) for none but tyrants and beggarly princes to imitate. But your majesty being of so great power to offend the mightiest kings of the world, and to revenge yourself upon them, may with much honour suppress your own vassals, by your highness's laws and forces, wherewith you are at charge in those parts for that purpose.

These principal instruments, as the lord deputy, and they who have been his assistants in those dishonest practices, have not only used these bad means against those poor remote and savage people, but have done all their endeavours (so far as in them lay) to discomfort and discredit your majesty's best servitors, living under their commands, because they misliked to execute such unjust practices and devices, and to allow of their covetous, unconscionable and dishonourable gettings.

I am emboldened, most gracious sovereign, to declare thus much, because, not only my poor self (one of the meanest in that place of service) have been partaker of it; but some of your majesty's chief officers also have tasted the indiscreet bitterness of the two last lord deputies, as namely, Sir Robert Gardiner, in his place of justice, a most worthy man, and void of all manner of corruption; and Sir Richard Bingham, in his place of government, against whom (even within his own jurisdiction) traitors have been suborned and countenanced by them; and the like  99, in nature, though not in quality, hath been done against myself; and as for Sir Richard, there was never man in his place that hath done your majesty like honourable  p.591 service, without increase of charge. For my own part, I leave the report of my service, to such as know it, and have seen it; yet have they not only done me injustice there, but have also used their best friends and credit here, to obscure my good deserts, and to make (as far as in them lieth) me a man to be hated of your majesty, depressing me with all their might and authority there, and crossing me with all their ability and malice here, not because I have slacked or not performed your majesty's service at any time, but for that I have aforetime and now, discovered unto your highness their dishonourable dealings and intolerable corruptions.

And I desire not that your majesty should either simply credit me this my plain detecting them, nor them in excusing themselves; but, if it please your highness, to appoint commissioners in that realm for the trial, if I prove not directly all that ever I have here declared, let me lose your gracious favour for ever.

Thus far of the disordered courses there held, all which notwithstanding, your majesty's profit, may arise in those parts, in sort, as followeth:
First for O'Donnel's country, it may please your majesty to send thither these gentlemen, against whom O'Donnel nor his country can take any exceptions; nor your state there can  100 think them unfit for judgment or ability; namely captain Anthony Brabazon, to be seneschal of that country, and to have under his charge twenty-five horse; captain Nathaniel Smith, to have 100 foot; captain William Warren, to have his five horsemen restored to him (which Sir William Fitz-Williams bestowed upon others) and added to the twenty which he hath, to strengthen his band, and to be sent thither to be sheriff of that county. And for the settling of your majesty's forces there, to reserve these lands to be inhabited by those, whom those gentlemen shall take with them, viz. one small barony belonging to Tyrconnel, on that side of the river towards Connaught, called, as I take it, the barony of Carbery: the castle of Ballyshannon to be reserved still in your majesty's hands, for him who shall command there; the abby of Tashiroe to be bestowed upon the seneschal; the abby of Donegal and the abby of Derry, two abbies that have no lands belonging to them, so much land therefore to be laid unto them, as shall be thought sufficient for their habitations, who shall be drawn thither.

And the remain of the whole country to be given to O'Donnel and the chief men under him, so as they will contribute to this charge, which it only the diet of the hundred foot, which they may pay in meal, butter and beef according to their usual manner, and your majesty's chief rent besides, which is 200 l. yearly, to be the seneschal's fee; which 200 l. your majesty seldom or never hath. This I believe O'Donnel  101 will submit himself unto and perform, if he may be handled thereafter.

This garrison once settled in that place, will procure great quietness in your province of Connaught, and stop the only passage which they have to go to and fro to assist any traitor that may rebel there.

For Maguire's country called Farmanohan Sir Dudly Loftus with his twenty-five horse (whereof he also wanteth five taken from him as aforesaid is mentioned) to be restored to him, and he to be sent seneschal of that country; Henry Warren, his brother-in-law, to be sent as sheriff and assistant unto him, and to have 100 footmen under his charge. Your majesty to bestow upon those two gentlemen (to be inhabited by them and their friends) all those islands which are upon the lough, and that one abby which is in the country, and the lands belonging to it, and the castle of Enniskillen, lately taken from Maguire and the rest of that country, to remain to the chief men inhabiting there, so as they defray the seneschal's fee and charge of the twenty-five horse, to be levied in butter, meal and beef, both for the diet and wages of the horsemen and their horse-meat, in such sort as the Irishry themselves shall set down, which will be a greater proportion than your majesty would demand.


For the county of Monaghan, called Macmahon's country, in respect of the great dislike which the Irishery have of the now seneschal there, it may please your majesty to let him be  102 removed, and in his place (for that it is next to the earl of Tyrone's country, and the chief place of the earl's abode) that Sir George Bourchire may be sent thither as seneschal, because of the companies of horse and foot which are under his charge, and for that he is a gentleman of good worth, who will with some good show live in the place, which will be a great comfort to the earl to have such a neighbour; and to assist Sir George in that service, to send Sir Henry Duke as sheriff of that country, to be placed in the Abby of Cloonis (which is your majesty's, and himself your farmer there) with his own company of light-foot, and a band of 100 foot more to be there in garrison.

This place of Cloonis is the only passage from M'Guire's country, and those parts, whereby the rebels may be stopped from doing your majesty's good subjects any great damage in the English pale.

Your majesty may supply those places with two hundred foot and twenty-five horse without any increase of charge, taking them from such of the old garrisons as may very well spare them; for some one of the commanders of them is not worthy of a company 2, because (in the last conflict with the rebels) he lost his colours, and all his men ran away; and he who receiveth such dishonour by such base traitors, it is a pity ever he should carry colours or credit any more.

The aforenamed two hundred foot and twenty five horse are to be placed in Tyrconnel and Farmanohan, and  103 the one hundred foot to be under Sir Henry Duke in Monaghan; at the abby of Cloonis may be also one of the companies of the old garrison, and yet all other places of service very well furnished within.

Within short time after Sir William Fitz-Williams his receiving the sword he (finding many of your majesty's garrison-bands of soldiers in the hands of divers of your highness's counsellors there) had an intent to take them from them, and to dispose them to such gentlemen as were more fit to follow your majesty's service, and often said it was no reason but rather a great shame that such as were assistants to him at the council board (having great offices and great entertainments belonging to them, and being otherways men of good living, and yet unable to lead men and follow the fury of the wars) should have bands of your majesty's soldiers remaining in their hands; adding moreover, that it was unfit and unsafe for your majesty's men and service to be trained by and trusted to their officer's discretion, but rather to be bestowed upon gentlemen of worth, ability and skill to follow the wars which purpose of his, if it had taken effect, would (no doubt) have advanced your majesty's service in that kingdom very much: but when he better considered his own estate, and his coming to that place, and what peril he should draw unto himself to hinder all his purposes of gaining, if he should strive with these great ones, he thought it more safe to let those bands remain as they  104 were, than to pluck such a danger upon himself, for he knew if he should displease them (being men of great friends and abilities) he could not have lived there six years to have made his commodity of that your majesty's poor kingdom, deserving the place so little as he did.

But your majesty being free from such doubt as troubled him, may dispose those bands (as he had purposed) unto men of good deserts, who have been long trained in your majesty's service there without reward, and many of them live discontented to see men of no worth accounted of, and themselves being men of value neglected.

Whereby also your majesty shall encourage many others to offer themselves freely to your highness's service, when they shall see good deserts rewarded.

If these counsellors had been heretofore themselves employed with their  p.593 bands in the remotest parts there, to do your majesty's service in person, where great need ever was, there is no doubt but it had much avail; but to hold their bands of soldiers as they have done and yet do, there it no reason why they should have them.

But to return to my purpose; these bands being well disposed of, and the forenamed garrisons placed in manner before expressed, and the same accepted of by the Irishery, because they shall see that it tendeth to their good, and that nothing shall be taken from them more than is compounded for, shall win them to honour, love and obey your highness, and your officers and laws.


Your majesty (to have this good service effected) 3 may be pleased, that as well the chief commanders of these garrisons, as also the soldiers, may be fully paid all their entertainment every month; whereby your majesty shall be freed from the charge of their victualling, and they shall have no cause to exact upon the poor people for the want of victuals or other provision.

It may likewise please your majesty, in respect of these late and present wars and troubles have greatly impoverished them, to grant unto the inhabitants of those countries of Tyrconnell, Farmanohan and Monaghan, two whole years respiteYoughall4 before they shall pay any of the aforesaid contributions; and that for those two years they may not have any assizes or sessions within their countries, but that the seneschals of those places may have full and absolute authority over them; together with martial law (as hath been accustomed) to cut off all malefactors and straggling traitors; in which time those countries may be quietly inhabited, and grow to some competent means to live upon, and be able to pay your majesty.

And likewise it may please your majesty, to appoint them such a judge for the circuit as will use them with all clemency and mercy, and not to take such slender advantages against them as many of their own countrymen have done; for, I assure myself, if the choice of a justice was left to themselves, they would never choose an Irishman, because none are so corrupt as they.


Whereas young O'Roirke is also out, and a great disquiet of your majesty's province of Connaught, he will in like sort yield himself a subject, and receive a sheriff into his country, and pay all duties appertaining, so as he may be accepted into grace, and restored to all that was his father's. This I think he verily will perform, because I have been moved to be a dealer between Sir Richard Bingham and him.

And whereas I have taken upon me to nominate certain gentlemen as fit men for the places aforesaid, without any of their privities, yet I am well assured (if it please your majesty to appoint and command them) they will with all their abilities and endeavours be ready; but if any of them shall mislike in respect of the dangers of the place and smallness of their companies, there will be others who will undertake it.

A great part of that unquietness of O Donnel's country came by Sir William Fitzwilliams, his placing of one Willis there to be sheriff, who had with him three hundred of the very rascals and scum of that kingdom, which did rob and spoil that people, ravish their wives and daughters, and made havock of all; which bred such a discontentment, as that the whole country was up in arms against them, so as if the earl of Tyrone had not rescued and delivered him and them out of the country, they had been all put to the sword.

The profit which shall redound to your majesty by placing these garrisons aforesaid in this  107 sort, will (after the first two years) amount yearly to 6000 marks, that is to say 3000 marks to be saved, and 3000 marks to be gained.

Concerning Tyrone, as your majesty hath bestowed it upon the earl, so for the better furtherance of the aforesaid services, it may please your  p.594 highness to accept of his own affairs, which were that all Tyrone might be one county, which granted, he would (upon his own charge) build a gaol and a session-house, and receive a sheriff into his country, whereby your laws might be observed there.

And where the earl's adversaries have in times past incensed your majesty against him for the hanging and cutting off one Hugh Gavelock, a notable traitor, and son to Shane O'Neale, informing your majesty that the said Hugh was your majesty's subject, it shall be well proved that he was ever a traitor against your majesty, a daily practiser with foreigners (as the Scots and others) for the disturbances of that kingdom, and one who sought by all means to overthrow the earl, who by martial law, (which he then had) did cut him off for his offences. For the doing whereof, he did incur your highness's displeasure; and the said martial law, which kept that whole country in awe, was taken from him, the want whereof has made his country people grow insolent against him, and careless of observing any humanity or duty which hath bred the outrages now in practice, so that (in my poor opinion) it were requisite to restore  108 the same authority unto him, provided it should not extend to the cutting off of any such malefactors as shall be of his own country, his tenants and followers; and I dare say he may every year hang 500 false knaves, and yet reserve a great stock to himself: he cannot hang amiss there, so he hangs somebody.

For the performance of the service in those aforesaid countries, it is not O'Donnell, Maguire, Brian Oge Macmahon, nor Brian Oge O'Roirke, nor any of those four who must be dealt withal, for they are all traitors and villains, and most obstinate against your majesty. But the foundation must be laid upon the earl of Tyrone, to draw him by any reasonable conditions unto your majesty, that you may have conference with him, and as he is made by your majesty a great man there, so may he be also a special good member in that commonwealth to redress and remedy many great disorders, which no doubt he would faithfully do, if he might be trusted, for what maketh a man honest but trust.

And whereas some affirm that he standeth upon a pardon for himself and his followers; I think not so; for he and they hold themselves in less safety thereby, than they were before, because they have seen pardons serve (in their conceit) rather for traps to catch others in, than for true and just remission and acceptance into the free benefit of subjects, which maketh him fear the like practice towards himself.


For whom, although I have undertaken at my first coming, that he should have performed as much as I then delivered on his behalf to your majesty, now I dare not engage my credit so far from him, because it is long since I saw him.

But if it please your majesty to send me unto him with encouragement and protection immediately from your majesty, that he shall come to your lord deputy there, and to your highness here in safety, to come and go without impediment or stay of his person, I doubt not but to bring him and his son (whom I would wish to be detained, but as himself shall like of) and whatsoever he undertaketh to the lord deputy, coming in after this manner, there is no doubt of his performance: I know his adversaries, who never were such friends as they might have been to the commonweal of that kingdom, will be earnest with your majesty against this, and that it is a great dishonour to you to grant it; but it will be proved, by their testimony who live there, how greatly it shall advance your majesty's service in this dealing with him, who hath been heretofore served faithfully and valiantly, and hath therefore well merited, and shall save the lives of your highness's subjects, and the expence of much of your treasure.

They who will be against this, have those many years suffered notorious traitors, namely, Feagh M'Hugh, and the bastard Geraldines, mightily to  p.595 dishonour your majesty, in the very view of your state; and with that base rebel and  110 his adherents they will deal as it were by way of intreaty to accept of protections, which is as much dishonour to a prince of your excellency and greatness as may be, so to condition with such beggarly objects, as have neither power nor wealth, and yet are noted here to be great and dangerous men to your state there.

If there go not some speedy contentment to the earl, to stay all this expected fury which is very like to happen, but that there must be present wars made upon them, your majesty shall take them in hand at a very unfit time, when they are thoroughly provided, to do great mischief, and your majesty, not so provided, to defend your poor subjects from their sudden force and fury.

Your majesty, since you were queen, never had so great a cause to bethink you of the service of that place, as now you have. Your highness shall not get so great honour in cutting off him, and thousands of those bare people that follow him, as you shall to win him and them to be good and loyal subjects, and to live and serve your highness for good offices. As the case now standeth with the earl, he hath small encouragements to be otherwise than now he is.

For where it was your majesty's pleasure he should have great encouragement given him, by thanks for his last good service against Maguire, it was held from him, and instead of that, they devised all means and policies to aggravate matters against him to your majesty, which is credibly  111 made known unto him; and more, that upon what security soever he should come in, your majesty's pleasure is to have him detained. How he hath these advertisements from hence, I know not, but your majesty is, or shall be informed that he and his lady are papists, and foster seminaries, &c.

True it is, he is affected that way, but less hurtfully and dangerously than some of the greatest in the English pale: for when he is with the state, he will accompany the lord deputy to the church and home again, and will stay and hear service and sermon; they, as soon as they have brought the lord deputy to the church door, depart as if they were wild cats, and are obstinate; but he, (in my conscience) with good conference, would be reformed; for he hath only one little cub of an English priest, by whom he is seduced for want of his friends access unto him, who might otherwise uphold him.

There hath been an old dunsical demand in taking pledges of such as are held dangerous men to your majesty's state there. I make bold to give it that term, because there is no one who hath known your service of Ireland longest, who can set down and prove that ever Irishman was held in obedience by this pledge: if any can, let me lose my credit for ever. I am able lo set down of my own knowledge, almost by twenty years experience, in which time I have seen many pledges taken for the Irishery,  112 for retaining them in obedience, the father for the son, the son for the father, the brother for the brother, and many other of like nature; that they have taken their times, nevertheless, without any regard of pledge, to play the traitors against your majesty at their pleasure. For when they neither fear God, nor be careful of their duty towards your majesty, nor for your force to reform them, your majesty may be assured, it's not their pledges that can hold them in obedience. Your majesty, therefore, may (in my opinion) do well to let no such demand be made of them, but when they shall give cause of offence, let them be thoroughly followed with your forces, and plagued in such sort, as may make them afraid to offend you. For the less your majesty shall esteem them, the more obedient you shall have them; and by this course your majesty shall save a great deal of charge for the diet of such as they put in for pledge.

And where there was a credible report made, that the earl of Tyrone  p.596 came in to the now lord deputy, without pardon or protection; I assure myself, your majesty shall find he came upon the credit of your state, altho' in policy he might be willed to give out otherwise, and no doubt, but such have often mistaken his actions and intents, would make an open demand of him, how? and he perhaps answer them, without protection; and upon this his answer, they might be very importunate with  113 the lord deputy and the council, that he might be detained for great matters of treason, wherewith they had to charge him, which demand of theirs being refused, it is not unlike but they would either write to your majesty, or to their friends here, to inform your majesty how provident they were to have him safe kept, and yet their cares and offers were neglected.

Let those device of theirs take effect, or otherwise to have him cut off, your majesty's whole kingdom there would moan it most pitifully; for there was never man bred in those parts, who hath done your majesty greater service than he, with often loss of his blood upon notable enemies of your majesty's; yea, more often than all the other nobles of Ireland. And what quietness your majesty had these many years past in the northern parts of that kingdom, it's neither your forces there placed, (which have been but small) nor their great service who commanded them, but only the honest disposition and carriage of the earl, hath made them obedient in those parts to your majesty. And what pity it is that a man of his worth and worthiness shall be thus dealt withal by his adversaries (who are men who have had great places of commandment) and neither they, nor their friends for them, are able to set down they ever did your majesty one good day's service, I humbly leave to your majesty.

If he were so bad as they would fain enforce (as many as know him and the strength of his  114 country, will witness thus much with me) he might very easily cut off many of your majesty's forces which are laid in garrison in small troops, in divers parts bordering upon his country; yea, and overrun all your English pale, to the utter ruin thereof; yea, and camp as long as should please him under the walls of Dublin, for any strength your majesty yet hath in that kingdom to remove him.

These things being considered, and how unwilling he is (upon my knowledge) to be otherwise towards your majesty than he ought, let him (if it so please your highness) be somewhat hearkened unto, and recovered (if it may be) to come in unto your majesty to impart his own griefs, which no doubt he will do, if he will like his security. And then, I am persuaded, he will simply acknowledge to your majesty how far he hath offended you; and besides (notwithstanding his protection) he will, if it so stand with your majesty's pleasure, offer himself to the marshal (who hath been the chiefest instrument against him) to prove with his sword, that he hath most wrongfully accused him. And because it is no conquest for him to overthrow a man ever held in the world to be of most cowardly behaviour, he will, in defence of his innocency, allow his adversary to come armed against him naked, to encourage him the rather to accept of his challenge.

I am bold to say thus much for the earl, because I know his valour, and am persuaded he  115will perform it; and what I have spoken of him, over and above this, these reasons have led me to it.

Being often his bedfellow, he hath divers times bemoaned himself, with tears in his eyes, saying, if he knew any way in the world to behave himself (otherwise than he hath done) to procure your majesty's assured good opinion of him, he would not spare (if it pleased you to command him) to offer himself to serve your highness in any part of the world against your enemies, though he were sure to lose his life.

And as he hath in private thus bemoaned himself unto me, so are there many eye-witnesses here in your highness's court, who have seen him do no less openly; which tears have neither proceeded from dissimulation, nor of a childish disposition, (for all who know him will acquit him thereof)  p.597 but of meer zeal unto your highness, and grief and fear to lose your favour, whom he desireth with his life, and all he hath, most dutifully and loyally to serve.

Whereas I have taken upon me to nominate certain gentlemen as fittest to be employed in the above-mentioned services in those remote places, I know there will be great exceptions against them, because they are thought to be too near friends to the earl. But I will prove, that none can ever do your majesty such good service there, as they who have been always trained up in those parts in service, and are best acquainted with the earl, and the other lords  116 of those countries. And I am of opinion, if it were demanded of the earl and the rest, they had rather have strangers placed in those places, than those gentlemen of their acquaintance: because these, in any outrages in these countries, dare trust the earl with themselves and their small troops, to be aided by him, whereof they should not fail; when strangers would be loth, and fear so to do: for their trust will procure the earl and his followers to undertake and perform with them whatsoever they shall require for your majesty's service.

And what is it to your majesty to lay upon the earl the trust and credit of settling your majesty's forces in those parts, and to give him your majesty's free protection to come in, without fear, from time to time, to answer to any thing that shall be objected against him, and to retire home again? And if it shall at any time happen that he shall so offend, as to deserve punishment, then your majesty is to prepare your princely forces, and make royal war upon him, letting him sharply taste what it is to offend so gracious and great a prince.

And likewise, the rest of the lords of those countries are (upon the receiving in of your majesty's garrisons, and paying the duties and compositions before specified) to have the like measure afforded them.

I am the bolder, must gracious sovereign, to set down this my opinion for managing those remote places, and preventing these present  117 expected troubles; because I have been an eye-witness of a needless and a chargeable war held against one of the lords of the north, namely, Surleboy, a Scot, which war ended not by your majesty's forces, but by the loss of that rebel's chief instrument, his son Alexander; yet were the said traitors intreated to accept of their pardon, and had more bestowed upon them for playing the traitors, than they demanded before. And my fear is (if this expected fury shall follow to be wars) it will fall out to the like or a worse issue; for he who doth now oppose himself against the earl, was the chief commander then, and did most dishonourably perform it, as shall be apparently proved, when it shall please your majesty to appoint.

I have heard, many think much that the earl performed not his promise with the now lord deputy, but they little consider what slender encouragement he had given him at his coming in to do it. If he found, as like he did, in what great peril he was to be detained, as notwithstanding the assurance whereupon he came in, if his adversaries' credit would have place, he had been restrained. There was no likelihood of his performance of any thing he then undertook, because he saw himself in so great peril, neither is it like he will hereafter hazard the like. But if his promise be expected to be performed, then, I think, he desireth good assurance, first, of his own safety, whereupon there may be hope he will effect all promises, good  118 offices, and services, for the good of that poor kingdom; and till then, there it nothing to be expected from him but doubt, and preparation to defend himself, and offend greatly.

When your majesty's garrison soldiers were first planted in the county of Monaghan, there was great service offered to Sir William Fitzwilliam by Sir Henry Duke, for his sitting down at the abby of Cloonis (whereof he is farmer) with his own company of light foot, and fifty of your highness's garrison soldiers, and to have discharged your majesty of all manner of  p.598 victualling charge, only to have been monthly fully paid their entertainment; and at that time there were at the same abby good and defensible buildings to succour your majesty's garrison, which are defaced and pulled down by the traitors, for fear they should serve for that purpose. If this offer had then been accepted, it had greatly furthered your majesty's service now, and peradventure had prevented, or at least hindered the troubles now expected, because it is so near upon Maguire's country, and the stay of his passage to the English pale.

Notwithstanding it much imported that this service should have been hearkened unto, yet Sir William Fitzwilliam his malice at that time was so extreme against Sir Henry Duke, who no doubt would have performed it as effectually as he offered it, as he utterly rejected it; even as he did the like and many greater services offered by other your majesty's good servitors there.


His greedy desire at that time, in respect of his own gain, made him careless of these offers, and of those good servitors, who would freely offer themselves; he esteemed best of the baser sort, as of one Willis, and such as he was, whom he made captains and officers in the Irish countries, who with their great troops of base rascals, behaved themselves so disorderly, as made the whole country to rise in an uproar, and to drive them out, which advantage given by those bad and lewd fellows to the ill-disposed Irishery, hath emboldened them ever since to stand in no fear or subjection of your highness's state, or forces there. These, and many the like services, as bad or worse, did Sir William Fitzwilliam, whilst he had authority in that place.

Although many needless journies were made by Sir William Fitzwilliam, which were both chargeable to your majesty, and troublesome to your poor subjects, yet was there one into the province of Connaught, which was very necessary, and grounded upon probable reason, determined for the cutting off and utter banishing of the traitor O'Roirke, and all his confederates; which service could not be performed without the assistance of the earl of Tyrone, who was sent unto before the journey was undertaken. The messenger was one belonging to your highness's council there, a friend of Sir William Fitzwilliam, and one well-affected by the earl, who declared to him the cause of his coming down to be for preparation against O'Roirke, and  120 what the lord deputy's demand was, that the earl should perform therein. The earl most honourably (as he had often times before) undertook to perform as much as the lord deputy then required, returning the said messenger very well satisfied; for he sent the lord deputy word, he would be ready to attend the service with one thousand men at the place appointed, and more he would have brought, if he had more time, or sooner warning. The place to him assigned was on the border of Tyrconnel, on that side of Lougherne towards Connaught, there to stop the passage, that O'Roirke with his companies and creatures should not that way escape into those parts, which he well liked of, and promised so to do, adding further (if it pleased the lord deputy to command him) he would break a ferry with his forces into O'Roirke's country, and either drive him out of it, or deprive him of life, and prey his whole country, and do great service upon all O'Roirke's adherents. This answer of the earl's seemed to satisfy the lord deputy very well, who prepared your majesty's forces forthwith, and sent word to the earl to be in readiness upon six days warning.

The lord deputy took with him all your highness's garrison, and the raising out of the pale as many as he thought fit, and went onward his journey, giving out (because the rebels should not suspect) that it was only to see sessions and assizes duly kept in Connaught, and sat in divers places accordingly, insomuch as at length he  121 came to Sligo, which joins upon O'Roirke's country, where he abode four or five days with all his forces, being sufficient  p.599 to execute upon O'Roirke, and the other traitors, as much as he had before determined; the earl all this while expecting when he should be called to that pretended service, kept all his forces ready together for the purpose, which was no small charge for him. But as it fell out afterwards, Sir William (as it seemed) had no such intention; for upon a sudden he departed from Sligo, journeying quite cross the whole province to Limerick, leaving O'Roirke's country at his back, doing no service, but charging the poor country (whereof as then it had little need) imposing the performance of all this expected stratagem on Sir Richard Bingham, with some of the garrison to assist him, who most honourably and painfully prosecuted the said proud traitor upon his feet, to the great endangering of his life by the disease of the country, which caught him in the pursuit of that traitor, whom he then drove out of his country, by which means he was afterwards sent to have his deserts here in England. Which exploit (if it had been performed as it was plotted by Sir William Fitzwilliam) O'Roirke had perished there, and all those traitors, which are now assistants to his son, had then been cut off.

And if it shall seem to your majesty, that the time will be over-long to have all these (and those other notes by me before delivered to your  122 majesty) tried by commission, it may please your majesty to let him presently be called before your honourable council here, to see how he can answer, first, the leaving off of this so great and necessary a service by himself complotted; secondly, why he placed not your highness's garrison (lying then idle, and doing no service) in Tyrconnel for the respects aforementioned; and thirdly, why he refused the many great offers of those your well known and experienced servitors there, which was to do several services, and put your majesty to no charge for the effecting of them; and to make choice of such base men as Conell, Fuller, and Willis, whose behaviour I have partly touched before, being such as a well advised captain of that kingdom would not admit into any office in his company.

His answering in these three points, and as many of the rest as shall please your majesty, will, I don't doubt, be so gross, as your majesty and honourable privy council may the more easily judge of the rest. It may be, most gracious sovereign, that he will frame answers to all objections, or else be persuaded by some of his friends, not to esteem them worth answering, in respect of the inequality of my estate to his, chiefly for the place which he held. For this I appeal to your majesty, how much it importeth. And I do further affirm, that until he can disprove these many allegations, or some of them, I ought to be credited as well or better than he;  123 because he hath avouched to your highness's most honourable council monstrous and apparent untruth, which I can as well prove as any of these aforesaid articles, namely, about the buying and getting of imprest bills into his hands, which he hath sworn and forsworn that he never did; but for the proof hereof, if it be your highness's pleasure, that Sir Henry Wallop and his men be called, they can testify what great sums of money they had paid him for imprest bills in the time of his government, whereof most of them came to him better cheap than buying: for some were given him for cows, which he took in bribes, upon base conditions, of the Irishry; other for placing men in sundry offices. And he that will make no conscience to forswear such a thing before so honourable personages, is hardly to be credited in excusing greater matters.

It may be also upon demand, why he did not place your majesty's garrison soldiers in those Irish countries? He will answer, that they could not be spared from other places; wherein your majesty may well reprove him thus; for those were the places where the foot bands were then bestowed; Sir George Bourchier's at the Dingon in Ophalie, capt. St. Leger's at the fort in Lease, capt. Dowdall's band at Youghall, fifty of Sir Henry Wallop's band at Enniscorthy, the marshal's company at Newry. And in all those places there was no need of garrison, because  p.600 there were no enemies out to do service upon, but they might very well have been  124 bestowed in other places, as some of them are now, when it is too late.

And for the fifty soldiers under my charge, they did your majesty as little service in all the time of his government, as the rest, although they lie in a place of great service, which is at Knockfergus; he having appointed such base commanders over them to direct them, as deserved not the pay of one of the soldiers. And although it was your majesty's pleasure that I should command them, as captain over them; and notwithstanding that I often made petition to him, and used all the means I could besides, to go down to my company, and to have that authority he gave to others, undertaking to do your majesty great service in that place, yet did he, (for what cause I know not) utterly refuse to grant my request; as he rejected many other great services by me offered unto him, holding me, to my great charge, to live upon the borders of Feagh McHugh's country, where I was fain to retain many men upon my own purse, to defend myself, and do your majesty some service upon those traitors; whereby, though it were to my cost, I took many notable rebels, who were commanders of men, and brought them in to abide the censure of your majesty's laws, which cut them off. For these, and many other services done in his time, he rewarded me with all hindrance that ever he could do me, not only by his authority and power, but by obscuring my deserts.


As it is the custom and manner, most gracious sovereign, of some to darken and disgrace the deeds of the well-deserving, thereby to countenance and grace their own favourites, though they merit nothing; which manifestly appeareth in the plotting down of that service done upon that traitor Maguire the last year, which, as I understand (by Sir George Carew) was first delivered to my lord treasurer, and by his lordship shewed onto your majesty, wherein capt. Dowdall is portrayed on foot, wading the ford in the fore front, arm and arm with myself; which is most untrue, as one Sadler, who was then his ensign-bearer, and divers other gentlemen, and others of credit, who are now in your majesty's court, can testify. For he came not in the ford at all to wet his foot, but forsook his place, both he and his lieutenant behaving themselves as in my other notes I have declared to your highness already. But when he saw the rebels defeated off their place and driven to flight, then he came over the ford upon his horse, and so on horseback offered to lead the battle, which he ought to have done on foot, having no reason to ride, except he meant (if the enemy should make head again) to shift for himself. These and the like untruths (as the case now standeth) serve to grace such servitors, and to obscure and hinder the merits of such as deserve well. Although it would be too tedious to your majesty to hear of all the needless journeys made by Sir William  126 Fitzwilliam in the time of his government, yet can I not omit (besides that one before rehearsed) his last journey into the county of Cavan, by the which your majesty may judge of all the rest.

Within short time after the overthrow to that traitor Maguire, wherein your majesty's soldiers were worn out, of all manner of reparations, he sent for them to meet him one hundred miles from their garrison places, which was at the Cavan. The time limited for their repair was but short, yet came they thither the day appointed. He carried with him many horsemen through the English pale, to the great prejudice and impoverishment of the same, by reason of his many needless journeys before. And he ought in conscience at that time have forborne coming into the county of the Cavan, because it was charged with 200 soldiers, which were newly erected for service against Maguire, and paid only by the inhabitants of that country; yet nevertheless he made his journey thither, and there remained many days, to the great charge of that poor country, having no other cause but only to see a boat launched; which was so needless a journey undertaken and  p.601 performed, that many a gentleman then under his command might (with his men) as well have effected, as it was by his presence; which course if he had taken, it had saved the great charge whereat your majesty then was, the extream and needless labour of your poor soldiers, and given the people of that country  127 no cause of exclamation, who came before him in great troops with their plow-irons in their hands, ringing them together with pitiful moans, saying they were undone by his coming amongst them, because they were not able to bear the soldiers already put upon their charge. But so little was he moved with this their complaint, that he assessed them with more soldiers, horsemen and boys. In his return towards Dublin he was met by many of the said poor country people with the like lamentable outcry, which he regarded as much as the former.

He commanded your majesty's soldiers back again to their places of garrison, as little respecting their long journey, and the relief of their wants, as he did the poor peoples' outcry whom he had oppressed. It was then near Christmass, when the soldiers to whom (against that good time) he would not allow one penny of imprest, he seeing them all very poor and greatly turmoiled.

Moreover he was so miserable, as he refused to lend one of your majesty's captains 20l. to imprest amongst his soldiers, he promising upon his credit, to pay the same within six days next after his coming to Dublin: such was his honourable mind, as he never respected no man's necessity in comparison of his own commodity. This needful 5 journey, although it did not benefit him much, yet it served his turn another way; for he coming home to Dublin in the deadest time of the winter, a little before Christmass,  128 it caused him to lie so close, and to keep so miserable a Christmass, as was never there seen in representation of the state.

As he hath 6 had neither care nor conscience in sundry sorts, to dishonour so gracious a prince as your majesty (who did most bountifully enable him to do your majesty good and honourable service and to spend liberally in his house) but to turn all those your majesty's bounties to his own private gain, preferring that before your majesty's service and the good of those your people; your majesty (in my opinion) being advertised by those notes by me delivered, and the same proved true, may with safe conscience benefit yourself with that which he hath dishonestly gotten both by your majesty and your highness's subjects in that poor kingdom; which example will (no doubt) cause others hereafter to prefer your majesty's service and profit before their own, and to beware of the like trespass for fear of the like justice.

It may please your majesty likewise to be advertised, that divers persons having been for their offences pardoned by your majesty, and thereby emboldened to frequent all places without fear, having been apprehended and committed straightway to prison, without any cause given (since their pardoning) whereof law might take hold: they have offered very sufficient bail which hath been refused, and they detained, because they, in times past, were bad (for which they were pardoned) or for fear they should be  129 bad in time to come. And being thus kept severely in prison many years, they have at length made friends there, and by great sums of money here, purchased their pardon 7 from hence whereby they have been enlarged; now when they obtain their liberty by these money-means, and not by the justice which your majesty's laws allow them, they think themselves very hardly used, and others thereby become doubtful, and afraid to trust to their pardons; supposing, if they want such friends and such means, they should either be indirectly cut off, or else for ever kept in prison, upon suggestion or surmise. But if they might perceive, that it is not your majesty's pleasure to have them thus handled, and that none should lie in prison without receiving trial by your highness's laws, if their cause so  p.602 required, or else upon good sureties to go at liberty, by either of which means, they may enjoy the benefit of your gracious laws, even as your good subjects which never offended, no doubt it would free them of great fear and suspicion, and make them more dutiful than ever they were.

There is one prisoner in the castle of Dublin, an aged and impotent gentleman, of whom (if it be your highness's good pleasure) I desire your majesty shall take notice; his name is Sir Owen Mc Tool, one who was never traitor against your majesty, nor ever in any traiterous action, but so good a subject, and so faithful a servitor as (for his deserts) he had a pension from your  130 majesty, whereof Mr John Perrot bereft him. This gentleman was sent for by promise and assurance from the state, that he should not be abridged of his liberty; contrary whereunto he was committed unto prison, where he hath remained these eight years; for whose enlargement all bail hath been refused, yet is the gentleman of so great years, as he is not able to go, and scarcely able to ride; for which respects and for the state's promise (methinks) he ought to find favour. Moreover he is pledge for no man; if he were, pledges profit nothing, as before I have rehearsed. He is father-in-law to the earl of Tyrone, and if the earl recovers your majesty's favour, how highly your majesty shall honour yourself by bestowing this old gentleman's liberty upon the earl, and how much your majesty shall provoke the earl to acknowledge your highness's favour therein, your majesty may easily judge, and they who know the state of that kingdom can inform. But if the earl be not so happy as to obtain such grace at your majesty's hands, yet it may please your majesty graciously to regard the poor aged gentleman, that upon good sureties he may have his liberty; for which I know there would be five hundred pounds given, though he can by no means steed them in any bad practice against your majesty's state there, neither in body nor council, neither can his imprisonment stay any of his friends from doing evil, if they be badly disposed. If therefore your highness  131 would be pleased to release him of your own princely motion, he putting in sufficient sureties within the English pale to be ever ready within twenty days to answer to whatsoever may be objected, you shall bind him (as his bounden duty) always to pray for your highness, and mightily increase the affection of your majesty's people there.

And if he or any other, of whom such security shall be taken, shall afterwards offend as traitors, your majesty's coffers are to be enriched by the forfeitures 8 of their sureties bonds (which are in no case to be remitted) and the traitors to be honourably cut off by your majesty's forces at your pleasure; which justice will be an example to traitors how they offend, and to their sureties how they become bound.

There have been (these many years past) divers traitors suffered, I might rather say suborned, in all their bad and traitorous actions, who (if matters had been discreetly and uprightly handled) might either have been utterly overthrown or cut off, or else drawn to subjection and due obedience to your majesty and your laws, without any other, or more charge unto your highness than you have been at continually; for your majesty's soldiers were not at all employed, and yet those traitors were suffered to go uncorrected for all their murders and treasons; nay more, they were suffered 9 to use your highness unreverently, which caused your majesty's good subjects with grudge and heart's grief, often times to complain.


The principal rebels and arch-traitors whom I mean, are Feagh Mc Hugh, and the bastard Geraldines, who are by marriage linked in affinity with that grand traitor; and because I would have your majesty understand how you have been long abused by untrue informations concerning this traitor and his complices, I protest they neither are of that ability to offend, nor of that power to defend, nor so hardly to be constrained to yield their due obedience, as hath been reported; yea, and that  p.603 without the employing of great troops of soldiers against them, or charging the near bordering subjects extraordinarily: for they will now with more willingness afford all their helps of provision in the traitors' country, than they have done heretofore, because then they were greatly charged, and no whit defended. But if they might have such 10 a one chosen and appointed for that service as they know would never cease until he had quite destroyed that den of mountain-thieves, the poor subjects would neither spare charge nor trouble to assist him. The means how to reform these disobedient rebels, and to perform this service are these:

First, let no protection be granted to any, save only to such as shall come in unto him who shall be appointed to follow that service, and offer themselves to do offices against the chief traitors: which when they have performed, and that special good hath succeeded their draught, then let them have pardon for their former faults,  133 and safe protection (without any traitorous practice, which hath too commonly been used towards them) so long as they shall behave themselves as good and loyal subjects, living in duty and obedience unto your highness, your officers and laws.

And if any who be, or shall be, in authority to protect, do send for any offender upon promise that the same shall safely come and go, and then shall (contrary to that promise) take away the life of that offender, be his transgression never so heinous, let that man in authority (be he never so mighty) lose his credit in that place, and be punished to the uttermost that law will afford, for so dishonouring your majesty, when your highness's word is past: for such usage is the cause why they will not now come to the lord deputy upon protection, and much less will they trust any other, except they have had long experience of his upright and just dealing.

Furthermore, whosoever hath a country or a seignory, which your majesty hath bestowed upon him, let him be bound that all his tenants shall be answerable to your laws, or himself to satisfy all spoils and trespasses which they, or any to whom they give maintenance, shall commit against your majesty's good subjects.

I know there will be great exceptions taken against this; they 11 affirming, that many dwell upon their lands whether they will or not: let this (if it please your highness) be no excuse, for if they 12 know how to receive their 13 rents and customs,  134 let them 14 likewise pay the spoil done to the good subjects, or bring in the offenders to answer to the law; especially if they have the commandment of any of your majesty's soldiers, by whose assistance they may enforce them to obedience.

And whosoever shall be appointed to serve upon the aforesaid traitors Feagh Mc Hugh and his adherents, shall not need to have more than 100 foot and some 20 or 25 horse, which horsemen it were requisite (for good respects) should be strangers to that border; and with this small number may he do very great service.

But if it be objected, that this proportion of soldiers is too weak to do service against so strong a traitor, if it may please your majesty to give me the leading of these soldiers, and the credit of the service, I will either lose my life, or effect as much as I have here set down. And where I will venture my life to perform such a service as this, I trust your majesty will venture your soldiers, and give me in charge to lie upon those borders, to see your majesty's subjects live in safety, and to give those traitors, and the inhabitants of those parts to understand, that henceforth they are no more to expect protection, but to submit themselves as subjects, and so continue, or else to feel the sharp punishment due to obstinate rebels. And to such as shall submit and do service upon the rest, there is pardon to be granted, and to him who shall do the best service, shall not only be given pardon, but also maintenance for him to live upon. By which means  135 I am assuredly persuaded, I shall find instruments among themselves,  p.604 that shall serve effectually to cut off the rest; so shall your highness be honourably served, and those parts of your kingdom, so near the state, be reduced to obedience, for the example of those countries which are more remote.

If this traitor Feagh Mc Hugh should be made more strong by his friends, (as I see not how they should) and that further force should be required against him, your majesty's subjects in the English pale would willingly yield to your highness 600 soldiers, horse and foot, at their own charge for six months, and longer if need required 15, so as they might see your majesty would once take him in hand: thus much, many of the best of them, willed me to deliver to your highness.

There is no cause, why these expected troubles in the North should hinder the present proceedings against these traitors in the south, who are persuaded they are spared but till such time as your majesty have settled the north, and then they expect to be followed by your highness's forces for their cutting off: all things therefore considered, they should not be forborne till then; for though there be 16 wars in the north, these in the south will offend your majesty's subjects as much as they can, and thereby keep the state more busied and troubled. And if they happen to be over hardly distressed, then will they fly to the north, there to be safe from your majesty's forces: which refuge, if they be once driven unto,  136 it's great odds they shall never come back to annoy the south, which I pray God I may once see, and that some of your majesty's good subjects may dwell where that traitor Feagh Mc Hugh's forefathers and followers have remained these 100 years, to the great dishonour of the state and hurt of the poor subject.

For the due reformation of all the disorders in that poor realm of Ireland, and the execution of what worthy action soever shall be by your majesty, and your honourable council here determined, and for recovering the honour of that state, which former governors there have lost; your majesty, in my judgment, hath made a most excellent choice of the now lord deputy, a man accomplished with all necessary parts both in body and mind, as I doubt not but his service shall hereafter give good testimony, although he have received the sword in a far more troublesome and dangerous time than any of his late predecessors ever did. For neither the last Desmond's wars, nor those of Connor's and the Moore's, being both put together, are comparable to that which is now expected if it prove wars, which I desire (if it be God's will and your majesty's good pleasure) may be otherwise, not for my private affection for any in the north, but for the public good which I wish to that poor kingdom.

For the benefit whereof, and for the performance of all such honourable services as are now expedient to be done, and all the rest before in  137 this declaration mentioned, it's your majesty, who must not only direct him, but also thoroughly enable his lordship, that he may give better encouragement to your majesty's soldiers to take pains in your highness's service than, than they have had, or yet have; because they daily see that he who never served your majesty in those services, shall come to far better preferment in that place, than the best commander or serving servitor there. Besides you cannot get that done, which they do, who painfully, and faithfully serve.

What encouragement then can a man have to offer himself freely in the wars of that conntry, who shall neither get honour, reward nor payment for his labour? I speak by experience of myself, who (upon my credit) have not had ten crowns imprest of my own private pay those ten years, to furnish me towards your majesty's service when I was called upon, and yet I have made one at all times.

When such hard measure then is offered unto captains, I humbly refer to your majesty, what encouragement they can have to go to the field. Although without money or any thing else, they will do their best endeavour,  p.605 with their substance and themselves, to do your highness service; because I know (and so do all the rest) that it's not your majesty's pleasure to have them so discouraged, but the fault is in them who have been thither sent as deputies, who have preferred their own gain before your highness's honour and service, or the just rewarding of  138 such as have most truly and painfully served, and for that they would please such cowardly captains, as were their instruments to bring them in cows, to convert into angels, to cram their greedy purses; whom I have a better will particularly to name than thus generally to write of, if I were persuaded, your highness would thereupon discard them: and I know they would not challenge me, because I do them no wrong.

To encourage therefore your majesty's soldiers, and to furnish the lord deputy against all accidents that may happen, if it may please your majesty, that all the treasure which is sent over into the 17 realm at sundry times, may be entirely sent at one time, with commandment, that your majesty's whole garrison may be fully paid every month, your majesty should be most honourably served, and the soldiers well contented, and the subjects not occasioned to exclaim for want of payment for the soldiers diet, when both captains and soldiers should have in their purses to satisfy that, and to furnish themselves with all other necessaries.

For notwithstanding your highness's garrison hath been so slenderly paid these many years, your majesty hath not saved any thing thereby, but it hath enriched a sort of base clerks, and beggarly merchants, who will not now credit a captain 18 for a groat upon his bill; but all the commodity goeth to the lord deputy, the clerks and the merchants, so as the captain, to furnish his company  139 can get no money unless he will give 400 for 200 or 200 for 100, and after the like rate; and in this prowling manner your soldiers are paid.

Forasmuch as your majesty doth pay all in the end, you may (if it be your highness's pleasure) as well benefit your captains, and soldiers as other men's clerks, by sending an overplus of treasure to the lord deputy, to pay the old debt due only to captains and soldiers, which few thousands will discharge; except it be one man, unto whom your majesty oweth five or six thousand pounds, which (if it be your highness's pleasure) may with safe conscience be detained in your hands, because he hath so ill deserved, through the dishonouring your majesty in the place wherein he serveth.

And now (most gracious sovereign) for that (as I have heard) it hath been credibly reported to your majesty, that the last Desmond's wars did cost but 40,000 pounds, thereby to rather to induce your highness to make wars upon the north, I have thought it my duty (under your majesty's protection) to set down the truth thereof, whereby it may the more easily be judged what the charge of these expected northern troubles may stand your highness in, by comparing the said Desmond's wars and these together.

The charge of those wars to your majesty was high, notwithstanding the great supplies then had of your subjects, and the great succour and assistance of sundry castles and good towns, which held firm and faithful  140 to your majesty to receive and aid your soldiers upon all extremes, which towns and castles stood in most commodious places, not only to annoy, but utterly, in a manner, to overthrow the traitor and all his co-partners. And where it cost your majesty then one pound, it cost your subjects three, during all the time of those wars, which charge of your subjects I can well makeout; for the chief lord of one small village who had but eight pounds yearly rent for the same village, paid 19 for one year's cess to your highness's soldiers thirty eight pounds sterling, whereof I was also an eye-witness. These wars I say did stand your majesty in four thousand pounds at the least, for the monthly charge was 7000l., besides the victualling by sea. And yet after all this, your majesty afforded pardon to the basest rebel who then took arms against you, who yet liveth in view of your state.


The cause of those Desmond's wars, was even like to this in the north, through the great mistaking of the Desmond's adversaries; and that it cost your majesty no less than I do here set down, as Henry Wallop can well testify.

Moreover, there are no helps to be hoped for in the north, either of castles or towns, wherein to garrison, or once lodge your majesty's soldiers, for the following and suppressing of those traitors; for those parts are merely void of such refuge. Again, all the friends to your highness in those countries are but two, O'Hanlon and Maginnes, and they uncertain, as your majesty may thus  141 judge: for O'Hanlon is married to the earl of Tyrone's sister, and merely enriched by the earl; Maginnes his eldest son is to marry the earl's daughter. And this affinity, in the manner of the Irish 20, is always to the party 21 they see strongest; and when your majesty (as there is no doubt) shall prevail, they will then seek favour and make offer of much service, but seldom or never perform any; whereof myself have been too often a witness. These things considered, it may please your majesty and honourable council, to be rightly and thoroughly advertised before there be wars made in the north parts, whatsoever by sinister informations may be suggested to the contrary.

For it is not the north only your majesty shall now have to deal withal, but your highness's whole province of Connaught shall be in great peril of losing, except Sir Richard Bingham be more strongly enabled or assisted than he is now, trusting to only one band of 100 foot and 50 horse, wherewith I confess he hath done great service. Knockfergus and the Clanboyes, 22 which are now garrisoned only with 100 foot and 25 horse (who have done your majesty no service by reason of such bad commanders as have been appointed over them) cannot but be lost without a very great garrison, and exceeding great charge; so that your highness's realm of Ireland being now (as it were) divided into four parts, viz. Leinster, Munster, Connaught and Ulster, will be in very great danger to be half lost; for Ulster  142 is the earl's already: and in Connaught there are divers who have been traitors not long since (and yet scarce good subjects) who watch but such an opportunity. And in Leinster there are many who now stir not, who will then arise in arms, namely the Birns, the Tools, the Moors, 23 the Connors, and the Cavanaughs; and many other as false traitors as those, who (if they once perceive troubles to increase in the north) will seek to molest and offend the English pale, as they have done in times past.

And one special matter more is to be thought upon, where your majesty, in all the wars of Shane O' Neale, had Tyrconnel24 faithful and ready to do your highness service, and to assist your soldiers, giving the traitor many overthrows (being then an utter enemy to all the Neals); now it's not so, for O'Donnel is married to the earl of Tyrone's daughter, and is thereby so linked to him, that no place of succour is left to your majesty's forces in all the north; for Sir John O'Dogherty (who was well affected to your majesty's service) is now in hold under O'Donnel, so as no aid is to be expected from him. This poor gentleman hath been hardly used on both sides; first, by Sir William Fitzwilliam, who imprisoned him, in hope to have had of him some Spanish gold; and now by O'Donnel, because he shall not in these troubles annoy him.

To write of all other particularities belonging to the north, would he over-tedious. To conclude  143 therefore (with your majesty's pardon) there are but two ways, either to accept of their own offers of submission and contribution, for defraying of the charge, in this discourse, especially before mentioned, and so to place your majesty's garrisons in their countries, thereby to hold them in continual obedience to your highness's profit, or else to make royal war upon them, and so utterly to overthrow and root them up, through all the whole north of that kingdom, and plant others in their room or places. I may in no wise omit humbly to acquaint your majesty, what great hindrance unto your present service the stay of Sir  p.607 Robert Gardiner his coming over is like to be, because that he can best truly 25 report to your highness the state of Ireland, who (as he was specially chosen by your majesty to be a chief instrument for the good of that poor kingdom, where he ever did, and doth minister such upright justice, as is void of bribery, affection, intreaty of friends, or fear of authority to over-rule him, thereby to do any thing unfit for a man of his place) can very hardly be spared from thence; yet, as the necessity of this time importeth, it were (under pardon) most meet he were sent for with all speed; for that (as he can) so he will, without fear of any, inform your majesty truly how the state of that your kingdom now standeth, and shew good means how to stay this expected present fury, that is like to happen, for 26 the utter ruin and cutting off many of your majesty's subjects, and the exceeding  144 expence of your highness's treasure. There will be (no doubt) many reasons alledged to your majesty to stay him there, but I humbly beseech your highness not to hearken to them, for the authors of these troubles are afraid of his coming hither. But his instant repair over, will more avail him than his stay there, although it's well known he doth (as far as his authority extendeth) afford the people justice, without begging it or buying it, which hath been too often bought and sold there. And your majesty may at your pleasure return him hither again when he hath done exceeding good service there: although I fear he will be loath (if either his own credit or friends may prevail) to go back thither anymore, because he seeth he is not able to do your majesty such good service as he would and might, if he were more strongly assisted; moreover good deserts there, procure scarce good opinion, or friends here.

What mean I to say thus much, when it is not to be amended? nay, what pity it is that so gracious a prince, as is your majesty, cannot help it! For these many years past your poor subjects have been crying out for justice, and could never get it; besides it's grown to such gain by corruption, that unless your majesty vouchsafe to take it upon yourself, or make special choice of some of your honourable council here to look into it, it will not be holpen; for if it be referred (as it hath been) there will be such shuffling, and so much time spent, to save  145 the credit of some one, that thousands of your majesty's good subjects shall perish the while. And the rather, because advice is chiefly required of him who is causer of all those troubles, and that 27 your majesty may the better judge what good can follow by his directions, let him set down what service he did you when he had the whole authority in his own hands, 28 whereby your highness may discern the rest. I know (and thereon dare pawn my life) he cannot prove any one honourable or profitable service he did your majesty therein, at the time of his government.

Opinion is likewise required of some other counsellors now here, who can say as little of those northern parts, as he who was never there. This being most true, let not (I humbly beseech your majesty) your poor realm of Ireland be trusting to the advice of such blind advisers: but vouchsafe your highness to be advised by those who know your service there, by their own experience, and eye-witness of that whereof they shall yield their opinion; and no one (of a counsellor) can do it better than Sir Robert Gardiner, because his circuit is northward, whereby he doth hear the griefs and discontentments of those people.

Moreover I most humbly beseech your majesty to be no longer abused by lip-labour, and paper and ink; which have, these many years, gone for current payment instead of good service; and in show of discovering great and  146 weighty causes, when in truth they seldom tend 29 to any such purpose; but seeing your majesty doth pay them so well, it may please you to require better service at their hands, whom your highness doth there put in trust.


If I have in these my plain and simple discourses offended your majesty any way, I most humbly ask pardon for the same.

As the physician cannot cure the disease of his patient, until he both know and take away the cause thereof, so neither are the calamities of your majesty's kingdom of Ireland to be remedied, until your majesty be both rightly advertised of the same, and put in practice the redress of the great abuses there; which can't be better done (in my simple skill) than by making an example of some one who has 30 served your majesty corruptly in that place; and the greater the personage is, the greater the justice, and the more your honour in making a precedent of such a one: for your inferior officers can punish small offenders, but it is in your majesty only to correct the mighty transgressors.

And so may your majesty (if so you will vouchsafe) look down by degrees, and in time survey your highness's captains, who serve you there; discerning, by a little observation, the good from the bad; which is easily done, if every one be called to account, what service he hath done you, what traitors he hath cut off, having full authority for it, or else how your  147 highness's subjects have been defended by him and his soldiers. He who hath not performed one of these two, is unworthy to have command or have pay.

Furthermore, when some experienced captain shall make offer of his best endeavours, let him (if it please your highness) be hearkned unto, and especially when it tendeth greatly to the advancement of your majesty's service, without encrease of charge. And let them not (I beseech your highness) be put off so grossly as they have been, with saying it is too small a proportion of soldiers to perform so great a service. For that is not the cause (most dread sovereign), but this; if they should allow of those services when they are offered, it would discover, as many think, some of their great abuses, which your majesty may perceive, when you see great services done with 100 where 500 have been employed, and your highness's subjects no whit the better defended.

There is no well advised captain will make offer of service, but he hopeth to perform, or lose his life; and especially when he shall not gain thereby; for his soldiers must be paid, or else they will not serve; besides he must keep them, or else he cannot effect the service undertaken, so that his only hope of gain resteth in reputation, reward, and preferment from your majesty, as he shall deserve; and not in polling and pilling the soldiers and your majesty's subjects.


These good services then being accepted, and the abuses reformed, there is no doubt but your majesty's kingdom of Ireland shall quickly flourish in true subjection and due obedience, to your majesty's honour and comfort; which I beseech the Almighty to grant and continue.

The consideration (most gracious sovereign) of my own estate, who have engaged myself and my friends very far, for means to live, and do your majesty service, hath many times (in the penning of this discourse) sought to withhold me from discovering to your highness these causes of discontentments of your poor people in that kingdom, and the bad managing of your majesty's affairs there, with the means of quieting them, of advancing your majesty's service, and advantaging your revenues, assuring myself 31 that the doing of such an office would neither procure me any friends, nor pay any of my debts: besides it's against my profession (being a soldier) to be a penman, or so earnesty to seek for peace. Yet nevertheless, when I considered what due honour may be done unto God, what true service to your highness, and what good to that poor commonweal, it made me utterly neglect 32 my own fortune, and respect of my own private benefit, and emboldened me to discharge my duty to God and your majesty, and disclose my zeal for benefiting that poor realm. And if these my labours shall be rightly conceived of by your majesty, and your most honourable council, I  149 shall think my time happily spent and enjoy as much as I desire.


And thus, most humbly beseeching pardon for this my bold and rude discourse, and praying on my knees to Almighty God, the director of all princes hearts, that it may please him to move your majesty's mind duly to consider of the premises, and pitifully to regard the present state of that your poor kingdom, and beseeching him to bless your highness with all honour, health, and princely happiness, long to reign over us, I most humbly conclude with this my petition.

I humbly beseech your majesty, if it be your gracious pleasure to accept the earl of Tyrone into your highness's protection, that he may safely come in unto your majesty, or to your lord deputy, and hither at your pleasure, that I may be the messenger; because at my coming over he reposed great trust in me, to deliver unto your majesty those things wherewith he found himself grieved, wherein I doubt not but to do your highness acceptable service, by reason of the poor credit I have with him. But if your majesty be minded to deal otherwise with him (because it hath been reported by those who are adversaries both to him and me, that I am a great friend unto him) to show what manner of love mine is towards him, there is none of them, or 33 any other, who shall do greater service than I will, if it please your majesty to command me,  150 and enable me fit for it; if not, my service and myself rest at your highness's command 34 to be disposed as it shall please you, for whom as is my bounden duty I will daily pray &c.

Your majesty's faithful and obedient servant

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Title statement

Title (uniform): A brief Declaration of the Government of Ireland

Author: Thomas Lee

Editor: John Curry

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Electronic edition compiled by: Beatrix Färber

Proof corrections by: Beatrix Färber

Edition statement

2. Second draft, revised and corrected.

Extent: 18000 words

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

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

Date: 2009

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

CELT document ID: E590001-004

Availability: Available with prior consent of the CELT programme for purposes of academic research and teaching only.

Source description


  1. Dublin, Trinity College Library, MS. F. 4. 20, no. 652.
  2. Oxford Huntington Library Ellesmere MS 1731.
  3. London, British Library L 34313 no. 2.
  4. Dublin, National Library of Ireland, 1750.
  5. Gonville & Caius College Cambridge MS 150, part III
  6. Washington DC, Folger Shakespeare Library, MS add. 586, no. 3.

Printed primary sources

  1. John Lodge (ed.), Desiderata Curiosa Hibernica vol. 1 (1772), 87–150.
  2. John Curry (ed.), An Historical and Critical Review of the Civil Wars in Ireland, from the reign of Queen Elizabeth, to the settlement under King William; with the state of the Irish Catholics, from that settlement to the relaxation of the Popery Laws, in the year 1778. Extracted from parliamentary records, state acts, and other authentic materials. London: Robinson; Murray. 2 volumes 1786: vol 2, Appendix 1 pp 295–326. [Reprinted Dublin 1810 in one volume, 587–609.]

Secondary sources

  1. E. K. Chambers, Sir Henry Lee: An Elizabethan Portrait (Oxford 1936). Chapter 8 relates to his cousin Tom Lee.
  2. 'Irish costume in two portraits', Irish Sword 3 (1957), 44–46. (One portrait is of Thomas Lee).
  3. James P. Myers, 'Early English Colonial Experiences in Ireland: Captain Thomas Lee and Sir John Davies', Éire-Ireland 23:1 (1988) 8–21.
  4. Hiram Morgan, 'Tom Lee: the posing peacemaker', in: Brendan Bradshaw, Andrew Hadfield & Willy Maley (eds), Representing Ireland: Literature and the origins of conflict, 1534–1660 (Cambridge 1993) 132–165.
  5. Hiram Morgan, Tyrone's Rebellion: The outbreak of the Nine Years War in Tudor Ireland, Royal Historical Society Studies in History 67 (Woodbridge 1993).
  6. Hiram Morgan, 'Hugh O'Neill and the Nine Years' War in Tudor Ireland', The Historical Journal 36 (1993) 21–37.
  7. Ann Rosalind Jones, Peter Stallybrass (eds.), Renaissance Clothing and the Materials of Memory (Cambridge 2000) 50–52.
  8. A. L. Rowse, The Expansion of Elizabethan England, (University of Wisconsin Press 2003). See chapter 4, Ireland: colonisation and conquest; esp. 130–134.
  9. R. W. Dudley Edwards, Mary O'Dowd, Sources for Modern Irish History 1534–1641 (Cambridge 2003) 99.
  10. J. J. N. McGurk, DNB entry on 'Lee, Thomas (1551/2–1601)', Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, Sept 2004.

The edition used in the digital edition

‘A brief Declaration of the Government of Ireland; opening many corruptions in the same; discovering the discontentments of the Irishry; and the causes moving those expected troubles: and shewing means how to establish quietness in that kingdom honourably, to your majesty’s profit, without any encrease of charge.’ In: An Historical and Critical Review of the Civil Wars in Ireland [...]‍ Ed. by John Curry. Vol. 1. Reprint 1810. Dublin: R. Connolly, 70 Thomas St., pp. 587–609.

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

  editor 	 = {John Curry},
  title 	 = {A brief Declaration of the Government of Ireland; opening many corruptions in the same; discovering the discontentments of the Irishry; and the causes moving those expected troubles: and shewing means how to establish quietness in that kingdom honourably, to your majesty's profit, without any encrease of charge.},
  booktitle 	 = {An Historical and Critical Review of the Civil Wars in Ireland [...]},
  address 	 = {Dublin},
  publisher 	 = {R. Connolly, 70 Thomas St.},
  note 	 = {Reprint 1810},
  volume 	 = {1},
  pages 	 = {587–609}


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The present text covers pages 587–609 in Appendix 1.

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Creation: by Captain Thomas Lee

Date: 1594

Language usage

  • The text is in late sixteenth-century English (spelling modernised by the editor). (en)

Keywords: discourse; prose; contemporary affairs; government; 16c

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(Most recent first)

  1. Beatrix Färber: Text scanned. (data capture 2008-09-03 )
  2. 2019-06-05: Changes made to div0 type. (ed. Beatrix Färber)
  3. 2009-02-12: Note by Hiram Morgan added; new XML, SGML and HTML file versions created. (ed. Beatrix Färber)
  4. 2008-11-10: SGML and HTML file versions created. (ed. Beatrix Färber)
  5. 2008-09-30: File proofed (2), and compared with the text in Desiderata Curiosa Hibernica; milestones, supplied text and textual variants encoded. (ed. Beatrix Färber)
  6. 2008-09-20: Encoding finished; header created; file parsed and validated. (ed. Beatrix Färber)
  7. 2008-09: File proofed (1); structural and content markup applied. (ed. Beatrix Färber)

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  1. The editor inserts the earl of Tyrconnel here, but Red Hugh O'Donnell was never made an earl. His brother Rory was created first earl of Tyrconnell in 1604. 🢀

  2. CHib has 'some one of them is well worthy of a company' which seems to be a slip. 🢀

  3. CHib has 'affected'. 🢀

  4. CHib has 'respect'. 🢀

  5. CHib has 'needless'. 🢀

  6. CHib has 'He who hath'. 🢀

  7. 'their pardon' omitted in CHib (with corresponding space left blank in edition). 🢀

  8. CHib has 'forfeiture'. 🢀

  9. 'they were suffered' omitted in CHib. 🢀

  10. CHib has 'might, such'. 🢀

  11. 'they' omitted in CHib. 🢀

  12. CHib has 'he'. 🢀

  13. CHib has 'his'. 🢀

  14. CHib has 'him'. 🢀

  15. CHib has 'require'. 🢀

  16. Instead of 'for though there be' CHIb has 'for if their'. 🢀

  17. CHib has 'that'. 🢀

  18. CHib has 'will not credit a captain now'. 🢀

  19. CHib has 'he paid'. 🢀

  20. CHib has 'And if this affinity were the manner of the Irish'. 🢀

  21. CHib has 'part'. 🢀

  22. CHib has 'Glanboyes'. 🢀

  23. CHib has 'the Berns, the Tools, Moore's'. 🢀

  24. CHib has 'Terconnel'. 🢀

  25. CHib has 'true'. 🢀

  26. CHib has 'to'. 🢀

  27. For 'that', CHib has 'because'. 🢀

  28. CHib has 'hand'. 🢀

  29. CHib has 'tended'. 🢀

  30. CHib has 'have'. 🢀

  31. CHib has 'me'. 🢀

  32. CHib has 'neglect of'. 🢀

  33. CHib has 'nor'. 🢀

  34. CHib has 'commandment'. 🢀


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