Menu Loading - Please Wait

DAVIES to SALISBURY.

       Though his Lordship has received advertisement at large from the Deputy and Council of the departure of the Earls of Tyrone and Tyrconnell, conceives  he will  accept in good part divers relations thereof, and sundry men's notes and observations thereupon; and troubles him at this time, because this flight of the earls crosses his coming over this next term, by interrupting the business he should have been employed in.

       For the accident, doubtless, it is true that they are embarked and gone with the most part of that company of men, women, and children, who are named in the proclamation; it is true they took shipping the 14th  of this present September; that the Saturday before the Earl of Tyrone was with my Lord Deputy at Slane, where he had speech with his Lordship of his journey into England; told him he would be there about the beginning of Michaelmas term, according to His Majesty's directions; that he took his leave of the Lord Deputy in a more sad and passionate manner than he used at other times; that from thence he went to Mellifont, Sir Garret Moore's house, where he wept abundantly when he took his leave, giving a solemn farewell to every child and every servant in the house, which made them all marvel, because it was not his manner to use such compliments.

       From thence, on Sunday, he went to Dundalk; on Monday he went to Dungannon, where he rested two whole days; on Wednesday night, they say, he travelled all night with his impediments, that is, his women and children; and it is like-wise reported that the Countess, his wife, being exceedingly weary, slipped down from her horse, and, weeping, said she could go no farther; whereupon the Earl drew his sword, and swore a great oath that he would kill her in the place, if she would not pass on with him, and put on a more cheerful countenance withal.

 

 

                            Countess of Tyrone falls from her horse

      Yet, the next day, when he came near Lough Foyle, his passage that way was not so secret but the governor there had notice thereof, and invited him and his son to dinner; but their haste was such that they accepted not that courtesy, but they went on, and came that Thursday night to Rathmullan, a town on the west side of Lough Swilly, where the Earl of Tyrconnel and his company met him. There they took some beeves from one Francis Whyte, an Englishman, and killed them for their provision.  There the Earl of Tyrconnel sent for the foster-father of his brother Caffar O'Donel's son, willing him to bring the child with him. He presently repaired with the child towards the place where the Earls lodged, but being met by the way by the Baron of Dungannon and Caffar O'Donel himself, they took the infant violently from him, which terrified the foster-father, so that he escaped by the swiftness of his horse, their horses being tired with travelling. Of this child they have a blind and superstitious prophecy, because he was born with six toes upon one foot; for they affirm that one of their saints of Tyrconnel hath prophesied that when such a one, being of the sept of O'Donel, shall be born, he shall drive all the Englishmen out of Ireland.

        But now the great question is, whither those travelers have directed their course.  The common voice and opinion is that they are gone into Spain. The reasons and presumptions are these:- First, Sir Cormac M'Baron O'Neill, the Earl of Tyrone's brother, brought the first news of their departure, and reported that the Earl his brother sent one O'Hagan unto him, who persuaded him to accompany his brother into Spain, but he would not be moved by his persuasion, but presently made his repair to the State, to acquaint the Lord Deputy with this accident; howbeit it was noted that Sir Cormac had his private end in this, for withal he was an earnest suitor to have the custodiam of his brother's country, which, perhaps, might be to his brother's use by agreement betwixt them; and, therefore, for this and other causes of suspicion, the constable of the Castle of Dublin has the custodian of him. Next it is said, that McQuire, who hath been lately in Spain, came in the ship wherein they are embarked, disguised like a mariner; and that Florence O'Mulconnor, the Pope's titulary Bishop of Tuam, and a pensioner of Spain, came also in that ship from the coast of Flanders.  If this be true, it is to be presumed that these men brought some message out of Spain, whereby the Earls are invited to come thither.

Again, the Earl of Tyrconnel hath no license nor other pretence to go into Scotland or to England, but hath been noted of late for his extreme discontentment, and suspected for some treasonable practices, so that lie hath no place to direct his course into but Spain, which receives  all the discontented persons of this kingdom. Again, it is certain that Tyrone, in his heart, repines at the English Government in his country, where, until his last submission, as well before his rebellion as in the time of his rebellion, he ever lived like a free prince, or rather like an absolute tyrant there.  But now the law of England, and the ministers thereof, were shackles and handlocks unto him, and the garrisons planted in his country were as pricks in his side; besides, to evict any part of that land from him, which he has heretofore held after the Irish manner, making all the tenants thereof his villeins-though the truth be, that for one

moiety of his country, at least, he was either a disseisor of the Bishops of Armagh and Clogher, or an intruder upon the King's possession; for the Irish Lords, in all ages, have preyed more upon laud than upon cows, and were praedones terrarum,, as the poet speaks of Alexander the Great - this was as grievous unto him as to pinch away the quick flesh from his body.

      Those things, doubtless, have bred discontentment in him; and now his age and his burthened conscience, which no absolution can make altogether clear, have of late much increased his melancholy, so that he was grown very pensive and passionate; and the friars and priests perceiving it, have wrought nightly upon his passion.  Therefore it may be he has hearkened unto some project of treason, which he fears is discovered) and that fear has transported into Spain.  For it has been  told my  Lord Deputy, that as he now passed

through his country, he said to some of his followers, that if he went into England he should either be perpetual prisoner in the Tower, or else lose his head and his members, meaning, as it seems, he should have the judgment of a traitor; but he (Sir John) thinks the primary and highest cause of his departure to be the divine justice, which will not suffer to go down to his grave in peace one who has been the cause of so much trouble and bloodshed in this kingdom.

       These are the arguments of their departure into Spain. On the other side, others have been of opinion that they are gone into Scotland, for which they make this reason:- It has  been confidently reported all this summer that Sir Randal M'Sorley, who has married the Earl of Tyrone's daughter, and has good alliance and acquaintance in Scotland, has, for the space of four or five months past, been treating with the Earl of Argyle for a marriage between the Baron of Dungannon and the Earl of Argyle's daughter; that they descended to articles of agreement, which were transmitted to the Earl of Tyrone, and he liked well thereof. It was likewise said that the Earl of Tyrone intended this summer to see the consummation of the marriage. There is not any Irishman in the north that has not heard of this intended match, for the common news amongst them was, that Mac O'Neale should marry the daughter of M'Kallym [MacCallum], for so the Scottish-Irish call the Earl ofArgyle.  In the meantime the Earl of Tyrone is sent for into England to receive order in the cause between him and O'Cahan, or rather betwixt him and the King's Majesty, touching the title of 0'Ca.han's Country; and he is directed by the King's letters to attend at court about the beginning of Michaelmas term.  The Lord Deputy gives him notice of His Majesty's pleasure, and wills him to prepare himself for that journey.  Accordingly he levies moneys among his tenants to defray his charges in England; repairs to the Lord Deputy, takes his leave solemnly, and returns into Tyrone.  From thence, say they, it is likely he resolved to pass into England through Scotland, and to conclude the marriage by the way because he wrote an express letter to his son, which letter is since come to the hands of the Lord Deputy, willing him to prepare and furnish himself with apparel fit for that occasion.   He takes in his company the Earl of Tyrconnel and his brother, both uncles to the Baron of Dungannon, and Sir Nial Garve O'Donel's wife, his aunt; for O'Donel's sister was mother to the baron. These, with the Countess of Tyrone, and the Earl of Tyrone's principal followers, are likely persons to be present at the marriage.

       Upon all this matter some have collected a probable presumption that he is gone into Scotland. Again, they make arguments concluding negatively that he is not gone into Spain. First, because he has reported often since he was received to grace, that during his late rebellion, the King of Spain made plain demonstration that he held but a contemptible opinion of him.  " For," said he, " when we expected a royal aid from him) and great store of crowns to supply our wants, the priests and friars that came unto us brought hallowed beads and poor counterfeit jewels, as if we had been petty Indian kings that would be pleased with threepenny knives

and chains of glass, and the like beggarly presents." Again, he has ever been noted to be subtle, fox-like, and craftily wise in his kind ; and, therefore, it were strange that he should quit an earldom and so large and beneficial a territory, for smoke and  castles in the air, and that, being possessed of a country quietly, he should leave the possession to try if lie could win it again by force. Lastly, he has carried with him a train of barbarous men, women, and children to the number of 50 or 60 persons.  If he means to  make them  appear like persons of good quality, they will presently spend all his Allhallowtide rent, which he hath taken up by way of anticipation; but if he shall carry them through the country in the fashion and habit wherein now they are, doubtless they will be taken for accompany of gipsies, and be exceedingly scorned and despised by that proud nation.  As for himself, minuet praesentia famam, when the formal Spanish courtier shall note his heavy aspect and blunt behaviour, so that they will hardly believe he is the same O'Neill  who maintained  so  long a  war  against the crown of England.  Therefore, if he be gone into Spain the first news of him will be either that he is a  shorn monk or dead with extreme grief and melancholy. As for the Earl of Tyrconnel, he will appear to be so vain a person that they will scarce give him means to live, if the Earl of Tyrone do not countenance and maintain him.

         As for them that are here, they are glad to see the day wherein the countenance and majesty of the law and civil government hath banished Tyrone out of Ireland, which the best army in Europe and the expense of two millions of sterling pounds did not bring to pass.  And they hope His Majesty's happy government will work a greater miracle in this kingdom than ever St. Patrick did, for St. Patrick only banished the poisonous worms, but suffered the men full of poison to inhabit the land still; but His Majesty's blessed genius will banish all those generations of vipers out of it, and make it, ere it be long, a right fortunate island. This is his (Sir John's) poor and weak conjecture touching this accident which he  humbly submits to his  Lordship's judgment.

 

P.S.-The sudden departure of Sir Oliver Lambert prevented the transmitting of these letters, but he will not fail to be quicker in his next advertisements.  Since his departure, Sir Thomas Bourke, the Earl of Clanricard's brother, is committed to the castle of Dublin.   The cause of his restraint being a matter of state his Lordship will understand from the State otherwise. There is no alteration of the course of things in the kingdom. They have (God be blessed) peace and quiet everywhere, and in the north itself they hear that the Earl's tenants and neighbours seem to be glad of their departure, and hope henceforth to be free from their oppression and tyranny.  Since the date of these letters, he was commanded by the Lord Deputy and Council to draw an

instrument of association to be subscribed and sworn unto by the noblemen and gentlemen of this kingdom. It is drawn in such a form that he can dare affirm confidently no man would have refused to swear and subscribe unto it ; but some doubt being conceived by some of the council that it might be refused in respect of the novelty, the Lord Deputy hath thought fit first to transmit to his Lordship,  and therefore forbears to trouble him with a copy thereof.

 

Dublin, 12 Sept. 1607.

 

 

Note that the letter is dated the 12th of September but refers to the Flight having taken place on the 14th of September. Discrepencies between Old Style/New Style dating may account for this.

<< Back To Last Page

       2004 DR. J. MCCAVITT.  |  LINK EXCHANGE  |  CONTACT US |  SITE CREDITS |  BUY THE BOOK |  BACK TO HOMEPAGE