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O'Neill
O'Neill
193

rival, seized the opportunity, with Tyrone's consent, to have himself proclaimed MacCarthy mor. The English planters fled without striking a blow, and the settlement on which English statesmen had set such store vanished like the unsubstantial fabric of a vision.

But Tyrone possessed few of those qualities, of which foresight and breadth of aim are not the least essential, that go to constitute generalship, and months of precious time were lost during which he might have made himself master of Ireland, and welded into one homogeneous mass all those scattered elements of hostility towards England, to which recent events had imparted extraordinary vigour. When Essex landed at Dublin on 15 April 1599, the situation, so far as Tyrone was concerned, was practically unaltered. Essex's plan of first securing the three provinces of Munster, Leinster, and Connaught, ‘that thereby the main action of Ulster may be proceeded with with less distraction,’ whether his or the council's, has been harshly criticised; but it was rather the manner of its execution than the plan itself that was mainly responsible for his failure. After a fruitless expedition into Munster, he returned to Dublin on 3 July with his forces ‘weary, sick, and incredibly diminished.’ The wisdom of postponing further operations for that year was manifest to every one on the spot. But towards the end of July letters arrived from Elizabeth with peremptory orders to attack Tyrone with all speed. Accordingly, on 28 Aug., Essex left Dublin with a wholly inadequate force of 2,500 men. As he approached the borders of Ulster there was some skirmishing between him and Tyrone's outposts, but nothing like a general engagement. Tyrone, according to his wont, made overtures for a parley, and on 7 Sept. he and Essex met at a ford on the river Lagan, identified as Anagh-clint. What passed at this meeting has been much disputed, for Tyrone, according to Essex, flatly refused to commit to writing the conditions on which he was willing to submit, and Essex, unwisely as the event proved, consented to humour him. There is an interesting account of the meeting in the ‘Trevelyan Papers’ (ii. 101–4), in which Essex is made to say ‘If I was sure you would not violate your oath and promise, as heretofore you have already done, I would be very well content to speak unto the Queen's majesty, my mistress, for you’ (cf. Addit. MS. 5495, f. 16). The gist of Tyrone's demands appears in a document called ‘Tyrone's Propositions,’ printed in Winwood's ‘Memorials’ (i. 119); but a fuller copy of the same, contained in a letter from Captain Warren, has been printed in Gilbert's ‘Account of the National Manuscripts of Ireland,’ p. 249. The suggestion of treason on Essex's part may be dismissed as mere calumny. It was surely enough to condemn him in Elizabeth's eyes that he had shown so little regard for the dignity of the crown by consenting to treat on equal terms ‘as best becomes soldiers’ with a proscribed traitor. Sussex and Sidney would have shown themselves much more sensitive in this respect. It was agreed that commissioners should be appointed to arrange the details of the pacification, and that in the meantime there should be a truce for six weeks to six weeks, until 1 May 1600, either side being at liberty to break it on giving fourteen days' notice.

On 8 Nov. Tyrone in a letter signed O'Neill—the style he now openly adopted—announced his intention not to renew the cessation, but in December he was induced by the Earl of Ormonde to consent to a truce for one month. The interval was employed in completing his preparations for an expedition into Munster. Letters, little less than regal in style, were sent to MacCarthy Muskerry, to Florence MacCarthy, to Lords Barry and Roche, the ‘White Knight,’ and the ‘Sugan Earl of Desmond,’ appointing a meeting at Holy Cross in Tipperary ‘to learn the intentions of the gentlemen of Munster with regard to the great question of the nation's liberty and religion.’ For the benefit of the catholics of the towns in Ireland a manifesto was drawn up and scattered broadcast, calling on them to join Tyrone's standard, and threatening punishment if they refused. For himself, he declared that he had only the interests of religion at heart, and protested ‘that if I had to be king of Ireland without having the catholic religion, I would not the same accept.’ Early in January 1600 he began his march southward. Proceeding slowly through the central districts, scrupulously observing his promise to plunder all those who refused to join his standard, he reached Holy Cross on the appointed day. Saluting with all reverence the sacred relic preserved there, he proceeded to Cashel, where he was joined by the ‘Sugan Earl.’ Passing the Blackwater on 18 Feb., he fixed his camp at Inniscarra, on the river Lee, where he received the homage of the principal magnates of the province, and caused Florence MacCarthy [q. v.] to be inaugurated MacCarthy Mor. He pillaged the country of Lord Barry, who defied him; but, on the whole, the expedition was a failure. His principal henchman, Hugh Maguire, lost his life in a skirmish with Sir Warham St. Leger on 1 March. The loss was irreparable, and Tyrone, hearing that Sir