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Page:Dictionary of National Biography volume 42.djvu/195

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O'Neill
O'Neill
189

of all the lands contained in the patent granted by Henry VIII to his reputed grandfather Con. But the government thought enough had already been conceded to him, and he was obliged to accept a patent which practically confirmed the settlement arrived at by Perrot.

Returning to Ireland, Tyrone was soon involved in fresh disputes with Turlough and Sir Ros MacMahon. In March 1588 Perrot, who was beginning to lose confidence in his professions of loyalty, proclaimed a general hosting against him; but Tyrone at once submitted, went to Dublin, and put in two of his best pledges as guarantee to keep the peace. Commissioners Benyon and Merriman were sent to settle his differences with Turlough, but he resented their intrusion, and in April invaded Turlough's territory with a large army. He took Turlough by surprise, and harried his country up to the very walls of Strabane. But at Carricklea, on 1 May, he was utterly routed by the combined efforts of Turlough, Niall Garv O'Donnell [q. v.], and Hugh Mac Deaganach, and forced to seek safety in flight. The news of his defeat was received with great satisfaction in Dublin. ‘Nothing,’ according to Perrot, ‘had done so much good in the north these nine years.’ But it required something like a threat of instant war to compel him to desist from attempting to revenge his defeat by a fresh invasion. Later in the year Turlough took advantage of the proviso in his agreement to demand the restoration of his lands between the Mullaghcarne mountains and the Blackwater. The privy council were inclined to concede his demand; but Tyrone swore he would lose his life sooner than surrender them. Lord-deputy Fitzwilliam was afraid that Shane O'Neill's sons, who had found a patron in Turlough, and had a strong following in the country, would seize the opportunity to assert their claims. Turlough was consequently induced in May 1589 to waive his demand, and to consent to a renewal of the lease for the remaining four years at an increased rent of five hundred fat beeves.

The new arrangement was equally distasteful to Tyrone and to Turlough, and served to embitter still further the relations between them. Depredations occurred on both sides, and Tyrone complained that Turlough was instigating Shane's sons, Hugh Geimhleach and Con, to plunder him. Fitzwilliam, who went to Newry to inquire into the matter, thought that Turlough was the principal sufferer, but he agreed in laying the blame on Shane's sons. About the end of the year Tyrone bribed Hugh Maguire [q. v.] with some cattle and horses to surrender Hugh Geimhleach, and if he did not, as was asserted, hang Hugh with his own hands on a thorn tree, he procured a hangman from Cavan to execute him. Fitzwilliam was indignant, and summoned Tyrone to Dublin. But the earl merely said he thought he had done well to execute him, ‘being the son of a traitor and himself a traitor;’ and having given surety in 2,000l. to appear whenever he was wanted, he was allowed to return home. But he subsequently professed sorrow for what he had done; and Fitzwilliam, who was inclined to regard him with favour, gave him permission to go to England. On arriving at court in March 1590, he was for some time placed under restraint. But the deputy wrote eloquently in his behalf, urging that of his own knowledge the Pale had ‘felt great good and security in his neighbourhood,’ and that so long as Turlough lived he was not really dangerous, though ‘when he is absolute and hath no competitor, then he may show himself to be the man which now in his wisdom he hath reason to dissemble.’ He was accordingly ‘purged with mercy,’ and returned to Ireland on 20 Aug. For some time he caused the government little or no anxiety.

In January 1591 his wife, the daughter of O'Donnell, died, and Tyrone, who had been attracted by the personal charms of Mabel Bagenal, daughter of Sir Nicholas Bagenal, made overtures to her brother, Sir Henry, for an alliance with her. But Bagenal repulsed his overtures with contempt. Tyrone, however, found opportunities to speak with the young lady in private, and, having succeeded in winning her affections, persuaded her to elope with him ‘to an honest gentleman's house within a mile of Dublin … when I did not once touch her until I had sent to Dublin and had entreated the Bishop of Meath to marry us together in honest sort, which he did’ in August. The elopement caused a great sensation. Sir Henry refused to pay his sister's dowry, which henceforth became a principal grievance with Tyrone. According to a statement attributed to Tyrone himself (Trevelyan Papers, ii. 101), Mabel herself before long regretted her rashness, and ‘because I did affect two other gentlewomen, she grew in dislike with me, forsook me, and went unto her brother to complain upon me to the council of Ireland, and did exhibit articles against me.’ She died a year or two later, and so did not live to see her brother killed in battle by her husband. As for Tyrone, he declared that his chief object in marrying her was ‘to bring civility into my house and among the country people’—a specious plea,