HENRY VII.'S POLICY

From Ireland and Her Story 1903

Justin McCarthy

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There was a certain humour in Henry's answer, but he soon showed he was not merely jesting. He left to the Earl of Kildare the full authority of governing Ireland in the best way he could. This probably seemed to Henry the easiest way of getting out of the difficulty. To govern Ireland after the fashion in which an English Sovereign would have her governed seemed to him to mean nothing but unceasing civil war, for which he had now no inclination. If the Earl of Kildare or any other man had influence enough to keep Ireland out of actual rebellion, and with any semblance of submission to the English monarch, Henry probably thought that no more satisfactory plan could be devised for maintaining the connection and sparing England the cost and trouble of another invasion and conquest. The statesmanship of the time does not seem to have thought of consulting the national feelings of the Irish. It did not occur to the advisers of Henry VII. that in the exercise of such a policy might be found the surest and indeed the only possible way to a genuine union of interests and affections between England and Ireland.

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