Henry the Seventh

Justin McCarthy
Chapter III | Start of Chapter

Henry VII. had not time at first to give himself much trouble about Ireland. Gradually, however, his attention became drawn to the fact that the Irish Chieftains were becoming more powerful throughout the country than they had been since the Norman invasion. Henry at last determined to reduce the country to complete subjection by a process which he believed to be more statesmanlike and to promise a more abiding effect than a momentary conquest on the battlefield. Up to this time no comprehensive attempt had been made to establish by force in Ireland the whole system of government and law prevailing in England. The "Parliaments" held from time to time in Ireland were, indeed, moulded after the fashion of the English Parliaments; but as they were allowed to retain, in the one country as in the other, something professing to be a representative principle, the Irish Parliament, with its Geraldine members, was never quite submissive to the wishes of the English Sovereigns. Henry and his advisers were of opinion that the time had come to assert the complete supremacy of the English constitution and laws over the unmanageable and indomitable Irish people.