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identified the remains, and lost no time in dispatching a letter to Dublin castle announcing that M'Guire's forces had retired, leaving M'Gauran's headless corpse unburied on the plain of Tulsk. This, doubtless, was a source of comfort to Bingham, and atoned in some measure for his ineffectual attempt to seize the primate when he landed at Drogheda.
We have already remarked, that for some months previous to M'Gauran's untimely death, there was an angry correspondence between Fitzwilliam and lord Burghley, the latter alleging that the deputy, instead of taking active measures for the popish primate's arrest, seemed rather to have connived at his escape, and by so doing imperilled the safety of the realm and the propagation of the reformed religion. Burghley, it would appear, made these charges at the instigation of Miler Magrath, who hated the deputy, and affected to be a zealous servant of the crown, while, in reality, as we have seen in a former paper, he was acting the part of a consummate hypocrite, incessantly craving money and preferments, and covertly warning and protecting the dignitaries of the old religion which he pretended to have abjured. No one was better aware of this than Fitzwilliam; and, bad as his character was, he deserves respect for having left us striking portraits of Magrath, Legg, and other miscreants of the period, who were wil ling to perform any amount of villany for what they considered fair remuneration. There can be no doubt that Fitzwilliam saw those unfortunate men in their true colours, was thoroughly acquainted with their motives, and entertained a profound contempt for them. His estimate of Magrath, although archbishop of Cashel, and special favourite of the highest official of the crown, shows that he had no respect for that "fugitive friar," that he set no value on the apostasy of people of his class, and regarded him as nowise better than the absconding debtor Legg. Burghley's letter, charging the deputy with remissness in the performance of his duty, was written early in July, and at the close of that month-precisely twenty-eight days after M'Gauran's death-Fitzwilliam dispatched the subjoined reply, which not only vindicates his own character successfully, but exhibits that of Miler Magrath and his associate, Legg, in a light that is far from enviable :
Lord Deputy Fitzwilliam to Lord Burghley,
Kilmainham, 31st July, 1593.
"It is no small grief unto me that there should be so great credit given unto the false informations preferred there against me by the archbishop of Cashel and Legg, and that they should therein and for that cause be so much favoured and countenanced, as it appeareth they are; the one being, as your lordship knoweth, a fugitive friar reclaimed and a person in times past and now deeply charged; the other a base shifting fellow, that started hither for debt and ill demeanours, not knowing how to live there. The archbishop of Cashel doth most untruly charge me that I hindered him in the apprehension of the titulary primate: I desired and do desire nothing more earnestly than the confusion of such traitorous members, and had the archbishop underhand favoured such runnegates no more than I have done
there had not so many of them nestled in this state as have done; but the proofs of that and such like dealing of that archbishop are somewhat obscured by his great countenance there, as I have before noted. And as for that titulary primate, the advertisement holdeth for certain, that he is slain, and was a M'Gowran, bordering upon O'Roirke's country, and so I hope it will continue; but if it do not, theirs be the fault that so abuse the
What Lord Burghley may have thought of his protège, Magrath, after reading the deputy's letter, does not appear; but it is likely enough he must have been led to think that the queen's archbishop of Cashel was, notwithstanding his reclaimation, or simulated conversion, a mere cheat and humbug-an outcast, whose heart was dead to every honorable sentiment. What else could be have expected from one of his sort, who did not think it unbecoming the dignity and character of an archbishop to fraternise with the miscreant Legg (a name, by the way, which would be still more significant of its owner's calling by the addition of the ominous word black), who, after robbing his creditors in England, came to Ireland to traffic in the blood of popish ecclesiastics? Swindler and shifting fellow as he was, Miler Magrath thought him an excellent companion, placed him on the staff of his paid informers, and flattered himself, no doubt, that, with the aid of such a zealous and irreproachable coadjutor, the reformed religion would be propagated from Cashel to Cape Clear, notwithstanding the obstinacy of the "superstitious Irish," who marvelled, as well they might, that the archbishop and Legg were very reluctant to reform themselves!
A year prior to the date of Fitzwilliam's letter, another fellow, following the same disreputable avocation, made his appearance in Ireland, to help in the godly work of converting the natives from the errors of popery. worthy's name was Bird," but his letter, shows that he belonged to the carnivorous species, and that he was, in sooth, a veritable bird of prey. It would appear that this man had done some signal service to Burghley, for he wrote that personage a letter, asking £40 in fee-farm, "for the sakes of Lady Burghley, deceased, and Lady Oxford." Fearing, however, that his claim might be ignored, and knowing that Burghley was intent on the extermination of popery, he added a postscript, which he thought must assuredly recommend him to the bountiful consideration of the lord High Treasurer. It runs thus,
"My lord, if the surprising of Dr. Creagh, with some other Romish Legates of the Irishry, with some English Jesuits, lately arrived, labouring to seduce the people from their obedience to her majesty, being the chiefest disturbers of the quiet of the state, may be an inducement of my thankful and serviceable duty for such gracious favours as from her majesty I may receive by your lordship's good means, I make no doubt to use such endeavours, by authority secretly to be delivered to me here, to shorten the number of such impostumate members, by whom also others
of their sort may be disordered in England, passing and repassing to and fro."
Touching the proposal contained in the foregoing extract, we have merely to remark that the Creagh whom Bird mentions was simply bishop of Cork and Cloyne, and at no time legate from the holy See. Bird, however, thought to enhance his offer by giving the prelate a title which he never claimed, and counted, doubtless, on getting a large reward for the apprehension of such an important delinquent. Grasping as Bird was, and willing to lay hands on the poor bishop, he failed to realise his undertaking, for Creagh was sheltered by the woman whom Miler Magrath styled his wife, and Miler himself took special pains to keep him out of the way of the queen's officers.
There can be no doubt that those who followed the detestable profession of bishop and priest-hunters in Ireland during Elizabeth's reign were, generally speaking, Englishmen; but it would be preposterous to assert that Ireland did not occasionally furnish some miscreants who devoted themselves to the same calling. It must, however, be admitted that the latter were less truculent than their English collaborateurs, and less disposed to earn money by consigning prelate or priest to the hands of the executioner. Miler Magrath may be taken as a type of this class, for although he was ever ready to clutch the reward which the executive offered for such "advertisement" as might lead to the apprehension of popish ecclesiastics, there is nothing to show that he ever connived at the legal murder of any of them. On the contrary, he and his paramour sheltered them when they were pursued by the English officials, and threw the latter off the true trail at the very moment when the prize was almost within their grasp. In fact, the Irish bishop and priest-hunter was never entirely dead to the upbraidings of conscience, whereas the English ruffians who plied the same trade seem to have regarded it as a profitable and amusing pastime. The former, indeed, would start the game, run it to earth, and then stipulate for its life; but the latter cared for nothing except the reward, and shrank from no villany that enabled them to grasp it. A notable illustration of this dissimilarity in the character of the two classes is furnished by the history of Richard Creagh,* archbishop of Armagh, who, after escaping out of the castle of Dublin, in the winter of 1567, was arrested the same year by Miler Hussey, a retainer of the Earl of Kildare, and one O'Shaughnessy, both of whom, we need hardly say, were catholics, but zealous servitors of the English crown. The price set on the unfortunate primate's head was £40 (a large sum in those days), and although it is hard to believe that the Geraldine, who was indebted for his existence and estates to the protection he received from Leverons, the banished catholic bishop of Kildare, could be tempted by such an offer; it is nevertheless certain that he did his utmost to procure Creagh's
*He escaped from the tower of London, in 1565. Some of his letters are given in Shirley's Original Papers, but the most valuable of them have not been published.
arrest. Great, however, as Kildare's influence was, his retainers failed to discover the fugitive archbishop, though they sought him "at imminent peril to their lives," nor were Hussy and O'Shaughnessy able to effect their object till they had sworn that they would not deliver their prize to the Queen's officers unless the earl of Kildare and the deputy, lord Sydney, pledged their honour that his life would not be forfeited. On this condition Creagh was surrendered to his captors, who, soon afterwards, repenting their infamous conduct, and foreseeing that the finger of scorn would be pointed at them, renounced their claim to the forty pounds, and petitioned the lords of the privy council to be a means to her majesty to grant pardon of life to the unfortunate archbishop.
Hussy and O'Shaughnessy had the example of Judas Iscariot before their eyes, and although neither hung himself in desperation, it is recorded that a fearful retribution overtook one of them, and perhaps both.* Be that as it may, they were honoured with letters of thanks from the queen, who, not wishing to trust an Irish jury, resolved that Creagh should be removed to London, "where he was sure to receive what he deserved." The credit of the Irish bishop-hunters was thus saved in their own country, and if any one reproached them with perfidy, could they not say that they refused the reward and bargained for the primate's life? At all events, O'Shaughnessy must have thought himself a very fortunate man, high-minded, and above all miserable prejudices-in a word, a most liberal Catholic, when he received the following epistle, duly sealed and signed by his sovereign lady queen Elizabeth.
The Queen to O'Shaughnessy.
1567, July 5.
"Right trusty and well-beloved, we greet you well. As well by sundry advertisements from our right trusty and well-beloved sir H. Sydney, knight of our order, our deputy in that our realm of Ireland, as also by your own demonstration we have right well understood and perceived your good will and disposition to serve and obey us. Whereof, as we cannot be unmindful, so among other things we will not forget to allow right well of your service in staying and bringing to our said deputy an unloyal subject of that land, being a feigned bishop, who not long before brake out of our Tower of London; all which, your doings and good services, confirming in us more and more right good opinion of your loyalty towards us, we do so retain in our remembrance, as we will not forget the same towards you to your comfort, in any your reasonable cause to be brought before us, and for that we understand and see your service meet to be by us allowed, we pray you to continue the same as occasion shall serve by the direction of our said deputy, who doth both make good accompt of you, and testifieth the same from time to time unto us.'
As to the archbishop's escape out of Dublin castle, it may be well to note that he was assisted in effecting it by Laurence and John Walsh, who were wardens, and, we may presume, Catholics. Nevertheless, it would appear that these officials did not embark in this dangerous business disinterestedly, and as true Catholics would have done, but with a view to a round sum of money, which it was said the king of Spain was willing to pay for the prisoner's enlargement. The Walshes, doubtless,
*Roth Analecta Sacra.
held their place for some good services rendered to the crown, and like Miler Magrath, Hussy, O'Shaughnessy, and others of that class, were well disposed to do anything short of shedding the blood of "Romish ecclesiastical dignitaries," for a handsome remuneration. Hussy removes all doubt on this subject, for, in reply to an interrogatory touching Creagh's escape, he states
"That both Laurence and John Walshe went out of Develyn (Dublin) with Creagh, but which of them was the cause of his escape this examinate knoweth not; but for himself he saith that he was never privy to that escape, and thinketh verily that either one of them, or they both, did seek his enlargement to have a reward for him in Spain, being counted a very holy man throughout Ireland, and he utterly denieth that he either willed Laurence Walshe to go with Creaghe, or John Walshe to stay.'
We have not been able to ascertain what became of the Walshes, but, it is probable, that, instead of Spanish gold they got good weight of iron chain in the lord deputy's dungeon.
Having dwelt at such length on the distinctive features of the two classes of bishop and priest-hunters who figured in the times of Creagh, and shown satisfactorily, as we think, that the few Irish who followed that avocation were not so entirely callous to the prickings of conscience as their English colleagues were, it may not be out of place to make a few observations on the character of the archbishop himself, whose only crime was inflexible devotion to the holy see, and stern opposition to the advancement of the reformed religion. We might adduce many proofs of this, but the admission contained in a letter from the lord deputy, sir William Fitzwilliam, to Mr. Secretary Walshingham, will suffice to show that Creagh was persecuted simply because he obstructed Adam Loftus (who there is good reason to believe was an apostate priest) in propagating protestantism; there was only one way to get rid of such a difficulty, and Fitzwilliam suggests it thus--" I beseech you to send away hence one Creagh, a Romish thing, that wonderfully infecteth this people, and hindereth the archbishop of Dublin's godly endeavours to promote religion, which hath enforced him to be importunate unto me for the sending of him away." We need hardly say that this was speedily done, and that Creagh was sent to the Tower of London, where he died by poison, given him in his food, after an imprisonment that extended over many years. To suppose that he was ever guilty of any act of treason or disloyalty to the English crown would be most absurd, and in direct contradiction to his own protestations repeated over and over in reply to the interrogatories put to him during his imprisonment. His utter detestation of Shane O'Neill's " rebellion," and the description he has left us of the condition of the Ulster Catholics, whom he describes as "brought up in all kinds of iniquities, murders, adulteries, drunkenness, robbing, stealing, forswearing, and the like without any
* Examination of Miler Hussy upon Interrogatories, 7th December, 1575. Public Record Office, London. Irish Correspondence (State Papers). Vol. 54.