Tyrone In England

Justin McCarthy
Chapter V | Start of Chapter

He was brought to London to be presented to King James, and was treated with great courtesy and hospitality. This aroused much anger among some of the older soldiers and courtiers in London, who did not understand why an Irish rebel should be treated as if he were a respectable member of society. Sir John Harrington expressed his opinions very freely in letters which are still preserved. "I have lived," he wrote, "to see that damnable rebel Tyrone brought to England, honoured, and well liked. Oh! what is there that does not prove the inconstancy of worldly matters? I adventured perils by sea and land, was near starving, ate horseflesh in Munster, and all to quell that man, who now smileth in peace at those who did harass their lives to destroy him; and now doth Tyrone dare us, old commanders, with his presence and protection."

When Tyrone returned to his own country he found that the reign of peace and reconciliation between England and Ireland was as far off as ever. Tyrone had believed it was fortunate for him to have made terms of peace in King James's reign and not in Elizabeth's. But he soon found that his hopes of a better time coming were premature. James no doubt thought it good policy to secure the allegiance of a man like Tyrone by apparently generous concessions. But he had no idea of adopting any policy towards Ireland other than the old familiar policy of striving to reduce her to the condition of an English province, with English laws, customs, costumes, and religion. The King appears to have set his mind on the complete suppression of the national religion by the enforcement of the sternest penal laws against Catholics. He was determined also to blot out whatever remained of the old Brehon laws, still dear to the memories of the people, and still cherished among the sacred traditions of the country.