Discourse humbly presented by Richard Hudson

to His most gracious Sovereign, mighty James, King of England, Scotland, France, and Ireland.

Importing the ancient division of the kingdom of Ireland, into sundry provinces before the conquest thereof, by King Henry the Second, King of England, about 440 years past, and how it is now divided, and who at this present do inhabit the same, and by what laws it is now governed; and also declaring some cause of the infinite charge the Crown hath been put unto by the rebels in that realm; and showing some means for the more peaceable government thereof, without such continual great expenses, to the better contentment and enriching of the inhabitants, and saving of the daily exhausting of the treasure in the service in that realm, and touching the repeal of some judicial statutes in England and Ireland, against Scottishmen, and in England against Irishmen.

The kingdom of Ireland, at the ancient division thereof at the time of the said English conquest, was divided into five provinces, viz., Leinster, whereof Dermot M’Morragh was King, who drew the first English to that realm to assist him against the King of Meath; South Munster, governed by Dermot M’Cartie, King of the city of Cork, from whom the family of the M’Carties derive themselves; North Munster, ruled by Donald O’Bryan, King of the city of Limerick, of whom the Earl of Thomond is descended; Connaught, whereof Rotherick was then King, and of all Ireland; Ulster, whereof O’Neil was King, of whom the Earls of Tyrone and Tirconell, being descended of two brothers, are come; and Meath, quasi in medio regni positum, whereof O’Rowes was King. There were also many other petty Kings then in Ireland, whereof one was by election King of all Ireland. And since the said English conquest, the kingdom was divided into foar provinces, viz., Leinster, Munster, Ulster, and Connaught, and each province, except Ulster and other uncivil parts of the realm, is subdued into counties, and each county into baronies and hundreds, and every barony into parishes, consisting of manors, towns, and villages after the manner of England. And out of the province of Leinster are drawn the counties of Dublin and Kildare, and out of the province of Ulster is taken the county of Louth, into which the said county of Meath, being divided into two counties called Meath and Westmeath, is united. Which five last-mentioned counties, being about the quantity of Yorkshire in England, are called the English Pale, a country inhabited to this day with noblemen and gentlemen descended of English, who are civil men and have continued their obedience to the Crown, and retained the English habit and language since the said conquest of Henry the Second, and they do commonly marry within themselves and in England, and not with the mere Irish, who could never in their sundry rebellions draw the same inhabitants to join with them or expel them by force out of the said counties. King Henry the Second, upon his conquest of Ireland received the said Kings and others the chieftains of that realm, having sworn allegiance unto him and his successors, and did not absolutely suppress or transplant them or their followers out of the realm, as King William the Conqueror, upon the conquest of England, had done with many of the inhabitants thereof, by giving them territories and lands in Normandy, and planting and advancing the Normans in England, whereby Normandy continued many years after under the government of his posterity, and England peaceably descended from him to Your Majesty. But the course that King Henry the Second took for the settling of the kingdom of Ireland in his time, was his planting noble and worthy English gentlemen in all parts of the kingdom, and English colonies especially at Dublin, and other cities and borough towns throughout the realm, whose progeny, having the managing of the affairs of the kingdom, subdued by degrees the greatest part of the mere Irish, and brought them in subjection to the Crown of England. And, so long as their posterity were employed as councillors and principal officers of estate in time of war and peace in the realm, being such men as were thoroughly informed of all matters therein, and acquainted with the disposition of the people, the realm was well governed and daily increased in civility, and yielded some profit to the Crown of England without charge.

There hath been other English colonies sundry times planted in that realm, especially by our late Sovereign in the province of Munster, by the name of Undertakers, and in other parts of the kingdom; whereupon it groweth that the realm is now inhabited with English and Irishmen, descended of Englishmen, and with the mere and ancient Irishmen, whose nobility and gentry surnames commonly beginneth with M’ and 0′, as M’Cartie and O’Neil.

King Henry the Second, upon the conquest of Ireland, established the laws of England in that realm, then being divided into two kinds, viz., common or universal law, as that the eldest son should have his father’s lands; custom law, as that, by the particular customs of some towns and manors, a man’s lands should be divided between all his sons, or that the youngest son only should inherit the same lands; whereunto is added, statute law; and he and his successors, Kings of England, held the kingdom of Ireland by the name of Lord of Ireland, having absolute kingly authority over the same, until King Henry the Eighth, the 33rd year of his reign, his heirs and successors. Kings of England, were by Act of Parliament in that realm acknowledged and enacted to be Kings of Ireland. Many great families of the mere Irish hold their seigniories and lands by their ancient Irish custom, called Tanestrie, which is that the eldest and worthiest of the name should have the seigniory during life; whereof groweth much bloodshed and rebellion bj^ contention for the seigniory every descent, he being often reputed the worthiest man who draweth most blood, which inciteth them to commit outrages. King John, second son of the said King Henry, in the lifetime of his father, upon the said conquest of Ireland, was Viceroy of that kingdom, as divers Princes of the blood royal have been since.

Ireland, since the said conquest thereof, hath been ruled by the Kings of England as a distinct kingdom, and Court of Parliament held there of the three estates of the inhabitants thereof in the same form as it is in England, for the making and repealing of such laws and statutes as are fit for that realm, by| commission from the King under the great seal of England, authorizing the Viceroy of that realm to summon a Parliament there, and to give the royal assent to such Acts as are agreed upon in that Parliament; whereof the King and his Council of State in England are to be informed by certificate under the great seal of Ireland, by force of a statute made in Ireland in the 10th year of King Henry the Seventh, and after, upon the King’s allowance of the same Acts, the Viceroy by force of his said commission give the King’s royal assent to such Acts as are agreed upon in the Parliament there. And in the 10th year of Henry the Seventh there was an Act of Parliament passed in Ireland, by which all the statutes of England were confirmed in Ireland; and such statutes as were since King Henry the Seventh’s time made in England, that were agreed upon in Parliament in Ireland to be necessary for that realm, were enacted there, and also divers other statutes fit for that realm, which are not enacted in England; so that Ireland is governed by the common laws of England, and by the ancient customs of that realm, and by the said statutes. And the like courts and form of administration of justice are ordained there according to the said laws; and the judicial records are made in Latin, and the judge and lawyers do plead in English, as they do plead in England. The Irish lawyers do study the law in the Inns of Court in England, being always such as are descended of English and not of the mere Irish, who are allowed to practice in England after they have been called to the bar, as Englishmen are in Ireland. The inhabitants of Ireland have no part in the election of Viceroy or placing of sovereign magistrates, but it is done by the King and such as are specially authorized. And the inhabitants of cities and borough towns in Ireland, by their charters which they have from the Kings of England, do elect their magistrates and officers as the cities and towns of England do.

There is a statute made in Ireland, the 33rd year of King Henry VIII., authorizing the Lord Chancellor and the King’s councillors, upon the avoidance by death or otherwise of the office of Lieutenant or other head Governor of that realm, to elect or choose one such person as shall be an Englishman born, being no spiritual person, or two of the said Council of English blood and surname, being not spiritual persons, to be Governors of that realm during the King’s pleasure; whereupon it is misconceived that an Irishman cannot be Lord Deputy of Ireland; whereas the said statute gives authority to the Council to choose a Governor as aforesaid, the King, notwithstanding, having power to make an Irishman Lord Deputy, as divers of the nobility of that realm have been.

The Earl of Kildare, who is the most ancient Earl of Ireland, and other the Earls of that realm, do give place to the Earls of England here, for that they have no voice in Parliament in England; neither hath the nobility of England any voice in the Parliament of Ireland.

The manner of trial of noblemen in Ireland for treason is by Act of Parliament in that realm.

Irishmen born are denizens by birth in England, and may bear office and inherit lands in England, as is to be seen, without charters of denization, as Englishmen are and doth in Ireland. And also. Irishmen do pay only such customs and duties in England as Englishmen pay. The wards of the nobility of Ireland are disposed by the King, and the inferior wards by the Viceroy and certain of the Council there, according to their commission. Titles of honour, lands, and offices in Ireland hath been usually granted since the conquest by the King, under the great seal of England or Ireland, at the election of the King. Erroneous judgments given in the King’s Bench in Ireland are reserved to writ of error in the King’s Bench in England.

There is now no mint in Ireland, but the coin of that realm is made in England.

And when the nobility and gentry of English race were weakened by participatiag in that intestine civil war of the House of York and Lancaster, the mere Irish, of whom there was then little memory, grew strong, being after debilitated by the then Earls of Kildare, Desmond, Ormond, Clanrickard, and by other noble persons and gentry descended of English, whose ancestors were the suppressors of the rebels in that realm.

The Earl of Kildare (grandfather to the now Earl of Kildare), who married the Marquis Dorset Gray’s daughter, being Lord Deputy of that realm in King Henry the Eighth’s time, was called into England, disgraced, and attainted in Ireland. After, he died in prison in England, where he had lived a long time; and his brothers and eldest son were deprived of their lives by the sinister practices of Cardinal Wolsey, set forth at large in the Irish Chronicle, and of late acted publicly upon the stage in London, in the tragedy of the life and death of the said Wolsey, too tedious to be reported to Your Majesty. By which attainder, the House of Kildare lost lands of good value in England and Ireland. And whereas some of the nobility of England held titles of honour and great possessions in Ireland, whereby they were partakers of the good and evil estate of that realm; and likewise some of the nobility of Ireland had honours and possessions of great value in England; by a statute made by King Henry the Eighth, in Ireland, all their honours, lands, and hereditaments which they held in that realm was given to the King, for that they were absent out of Ireland; whereby the said nobility of England have not since had that care of the good estate of that realm, as they formerly had when the same did concern them particularly, nor the nobility of Ireland that credit in England which their ancestors formerly had; having by attainders and other means in King Henry the Eighth’s time lost their said honours and lands which they held in England.

And Desmond and other ancient English houses were afterwards overthrown, and few men of note of English descent of that nation employed or continued in the public affairs, and councillors of State in the kingdom, and some unfit persons employed as inferior magistrates there. And there were captains and other marshal [martial] men made high sheriffs of divers counties, and continued many years together in their offices in that realm; and at the end of their sheriffwick, they do commonly obtain pardon for their offences, so as such sheriffs are thereby encouraged to extort and oppress the people, and freed from the due punishment which the law would impose upon them for their misdemeanors.

The people of that realm are uncivil for want of education and learning, and the country full of idle men without any trade, which encourageth men there to enter into rebellion for that they doubt not to be followed by such dissolute persons, who are ready to take arms for spoil when there is any occasion offered.

The bishops of that realm, for their private gain, have made leases for many years of their spiritual lands for small or no rents; whereby there are few bishopricks in that realm sufficient to support the dignity of the bishop. And thereof it groweth that some do hold three, and others two, bishopricks, with many parsonages, in commendam, for their better maintenance, to the great hindrance of the preferment of learned men and decay of the State ecclesiastical.

These and other the enormities of that Commonwealth wherewith he (Hudson) will now omit to trouble the King any further, hath brought forth many rebellions, and especially this last general and dangerous combination of the mere Irish throughout the whole realm, few excepted, and assisted by some discontented persons of English name, having turned their Irish kerne to the warlike order and arms of soldiers whereby the whole kingdom for the most part is depopulated, wasted, and rent asunder; and by the daily extortion of the soldiers taking meat and money of the subjects at their pleasure, whereas, by the statute of that realm, the soldiers should pay for their meat, whereby great numbers of the subjects perished.

If the mere Irish in their late rebellion had the understanding to unite themselves together in one body (quod omen Deus avertat !), and leave their factious contention for superiority each great family being descended of the petty Kings, holding themselves not inferior one to another, and yield themselves and their estates in subjection to certain chiefs (which some of their principal heads earnestly desired and could never effect by God’s divine providence), and have their soldiers trained as well to make a stand with their pikes in a plain field as their shot and swordsmen are expert at fighting in straits and grounds of advantage, the kingdom had been in great danger to be lost; which, as it is thought, hath put the question, heretofore made by some in Parliament, Whether it were necessary to end the wars of Ireland? out of controversy. Being of late conceived that it is fit to end the wars, and to reduce the kingdom to an uniform civil government, and establish the laws by which the civil part thereof is ruled universally throughout all parts of the kingdom to an uniform civil government, and benefit and strengthen the Crown of England, and not to be a mean to weaken the same.

The means whereby he (Hudson) conceives that realm may be reduced to better estate, followeth; viz :

First. That justice may be duly ministered throughout the realm, according to the laws thereof, by learned and sincere judges and magistrates; and that choice be made of men of good quality, estate, and integrity to be presidents and governors of the said provinces of Munster, Connaught, Leinster, and Ulster; and the English Pale, being about Dublin, the principal seat of the Viceroy; and the Council of State and chief courts of law to be governed by the Viceroy, as heretofore hath been accustomed. And also that noblemen and civil gentry of quality, natives of the country, whose posterity the good or evil estate of that realm shall most concern, being capable thereof, may be used as councillors of State, together with such English and Scottish man of worth as His Majesty shall think fit; and also as lieutenants of counties, judges, and annual sheriff’s, and other principal officers in the counties. And that they may be continued and employed, with the favour of the good subjects of that realm, against such as shall rebel there, and rewarded for their services as in former times they have been; whereby the service may be effected without the continual charge of maintenance of an army, as in former times hath been done. And if His Majesty would be pleased to give instructions to the State in Ireland, as the late Queen hath done, that such of his subjects there as should die in his service, their lives being within age, should have the benefit of their own wardships, it would be a great encouragement to them to use their lives for His Majesty’s service.

And that in the province of Ulster, the fountain of the rebellion of that kingdom, which is inhabited with the most uncivil people of the realm, and the strongest faction of the mere Irish, a president or governor, judges, and State, as is in Munster and Connaugbt, to be erected at Ardmaghe, the prime metropolitan see of the realm, and centre of that province, where the late Earl of Essex’s father was Governor in Her late Majesty’s reign, but no State established; which President, upon the first establishment, were meet to be a nobleman or of great estate and quality, for that the Earls of Tyrone and Tyrconnell and other great chieftains of countries who are inhabitants there, may be the sooner reduced to the obedience of the law, which was not heretofore thoroughly executed there, and to embrace civil government.

And that the same province and all other uncivil parts of the realm, which is not yet shire ground, may be divided into counties, as the English Pale is, and justice duly ministered there.

And that the country of Tyrone, granted to the Earl of Tyrone by Her late Majesty in the 29th year of her reign, with other the like countries, may be subdivided into seigniories, manors, and freehold estates, amongst the gentry and inhabitants of that country, without which no trial in law by twelve men can be held.

And that men having goods of some value may be jurors to try causes, although they have no lands, and that thereby the tenants of the same seigniories and freeholds may depend of the Crown.

And that present order be taken that the soldiers may live upon their pay in their garrisons; and, when they shall have occasion for service to travel abroad in the country, so that they may content themselves with such meats as the poor people are able and willing to give them gratis, and not to take meat and money at their pleasure as they used to do.

And that the offer made by Dutchmen to inhabit Lough-foyle, upon the borders of the country of the Earl of Tyrone, upon such conditions as shall be thought fit by His Majesty, be accepted, and certain of his civil subjects joined with them, whose trades and example may draw the people to grow civil. And that soldiers be likewise planted at Bealeshanen [Ballyshannon], in the country of Tyrconnell, and such other uncivil places of the realm as His Highness shall think fit, and especially in or near the straits or chief passages which gave the rebels advantage.

And to advance learned men to all spiritual dignities and livings, whose doctrine, life, and example may edify the people; and schools of learning to be erected in every county of the kingdom, and maintained by the clergy, according to the statute in that behalf made in that realm, whereby the people may be reduced to know their duty to God and His Majesty and become civil.

And for the prevention of such further unreasonable estates to be made by bishops of the church lands, to the overthrow of their sees, that the statute made in this realm the first year of the late Queen may be enacted this next Parliament in Ireland, by which it is ordered that bishops shall make estates of the lands of their bishopricks but for 21 years, or three lives, yielding the old and accustomed rents to them and their successors.

And that His Majesty may be pleased to divide and settle by Act of Parliament in Ireland, the territories and lands of the mere Irish, in those of each family that hath best right thereto; so that there shall be no just cause of such dissension between them hereafter as formerly hath been, to the great disquiet of Ireland.

And if His Majesty would be also pleased in the happy union of England and Scotland to unite His Highness’s realm of Ireland in amity, being a land so fertile as wanteth nothing, serving for the necessity, use, or pleasure of man, in few years of a peaceable good government it would become the land of plenty, as was to be seen in the time of Sir John Parrott’s government in that realm, about 18 years past; it would yield a great contentment to his subjects of that realm, that as the inhabitants of His Majesty’s kingdoms are all his subjects, so they may be reputed one, without any prejudicial difference in respect of their countries.

And that some prejudicial statutes which are in England and Ireland against Scottishmen, whereof a catalogue shall be presented unto His Majesty, when he shall be pleased to command the same, may be repealed; and that likewise some old statutes against Irishmen in England may be frustrated; and that it may be enacted by Parliament in England and Ireland, that it shall be lawful for all the King’s subjects of his three kingdoms to receive and supply one another with corn and all other things which the one kingdom shall have to spare and is wanting in his other realms, paying His Highness custom for the same; as the English inhabitants of Munster by their patents made of lands in Ireland by Her late Majesty, are allowed to bring corn from thence into England.

And also if the King would be pleased to compose his Grand Council of State of English and Scottish men and of some of His Highness’s subjects of Ireland, or of such men of quality or integrity as were employed and of good experience in Ireland, and well affected to the country and the people thereof, for the better and speedier dispatch of the affairs thereof; who, being men of good understanding by their experience and intelligence, may best inform His Highness what is fit to be done in such business, wherein they shall be used touching the several functions, whereby if any error be committed by the Viceroys or magistrates of any of his kingdoms, His Highness may be better informed how to reform the same; and also if His Majesty, being endowed with great wisdom, knowledge, and learning, may be pleased, for the better administration of justice, to sit at his leisure sometimes personally in courts of justice, and at the common board, as some of His Majesty’s noble progenitors have done, his Monarchy in short time would grow civil, rich, and powerful; and where he shall think it fit, the turbulent, loose, and unprofitable men of his kingdoms may be weeded out, especially of Ireland, and employed abroad in his service in foreign countries, to the end they may not be instruments of rebellion and mischief, as they are commonly in Ireland, whereof there are a great number at the time, who were lately rebels there, and hath no means of livelihood, and to be employed beyond sea.

And so, humbly craving pardon for this his boldness, proceeding not of presumption or diffidence of the wisdom of the King’s grave Council, but only of his own dutiful zeal to do His Highness service, and ardent desire of the peaceable good estate of that his native distressed country of Ireland, his grandfather being an Englishman, and having left him a poor patrimony within the English Pale there, he wholly submits the same to His Majesty’s princely censure.

Source: Internet Archive