Page:A Compendium of Irish Biography.djvu/207

From Wikisource
Jump to: navigation, search
This page needs to be proofread.


FIT

said they were deliberately humiliated, by Simnel, whom they had once crowned, being set to attend on them. When the adven- turer Warbeck appeared in Ireland, Henry prudently displaced the Earl, and for a time the Butlers regained their supremacy. Both Kildare and Ormond joined Lord- Deputy Poyning in a raid on the O'Han- lon's territory in Ulster. Eventually the enemies of Kildare triumphed, and he was thrown into the Tower, where he remained two years. During his imprisonment, on 22nd November 1494, his Countess, Alison, died of grief, and was buried at Kilcul- len. When brought to trial in 1496, and asked whether he was provided with coun- sel, he replied, "Yea, the ablest in the realm ; youi' Highness [the King] I take for my counsel against these false knaves." Accused by the Archbishop of Cashel of burning down his cathedral, he answered : " I would not have done it if I had not been told that my Lord Archbishop was in- side." This frankness delighted the King, and we are told that when some one exclaimed, "All Ireland cannot govern this Earl," Henry VII. rejoined, " Then let this Earl govern aU Ireland." He had been sent to England almost a convicted traitor, and returned Lord-Deputy. Soon afterwards he showed his zeal by expe- ditions against the O'Briens in Thomond and the O'Neills in the north. In 1499 he entered Connaught and established castles at Athleague, Roscommon, Tulsk, and Castlerea. Many useful enactments were passed at a parliament held by him at Castledermot in 1499. Next year he rnarched against malcontents in the north, and also against Cork, the mayor of which city he hanged. Some years later a power- ful confederacy under Lord Clanricard was formed in Connaught, and a large army as- sembled. Kildare marched against them, and on the 19th August 1504 a battle was fought at Knocktuagh ("Hill of Axes"), now Knockdoe, seven miles from Galway. Clanricard was routed with a stated loss of 4,000 to 9,000 men, and Galway and Athenry were taken. O'Brien fell, and two sons and a daughter of Clanricard were taken prisoners. " We have for the most number killed our enemies," said Lord Gormanstown to Kildare, on the field of Knocktuagh, " and if we do the like with the Irish that we have with us, it were a good deed." The battle is thus described by the Four Masters : " Far away from the troops were heard the violent onset of the martial chiefs, the vehement efforts of the champions, the charge of the royal heroes, the noise of the lords, the clamour of the troops when en-

FIT

dangered, the shouts and exultations of the youths, the sound made by the faUing of brave men, and the triumphing of nobles over plebeians." Kildare's power was firmly established by this victory, and he was created a Knight of the Garter by the King. In 1 5 1 3, in an expedition against the O'CarroUs, he was wounded by the enemy while watering bis horse in the river Greese at KUkea. He was conveyed by slow stages to Kildare, where, after lingering a few days, he died, 3rd September, and was buried in his chapel of St. Mary in Christ Church. He it was that first intro- duced artillery into Ireland. The door was until lately shown in St. Patrick's through a hole in which the Earl of Ormond and he shook hands after an encounter between their followers in the church. Some of the coins issued in Ireland in bis time bear his arms. He was thrice married. Holinshed says : " He was a mightie man of stature, full of honoure and courage, who had ben Lord-Deputie and Lord-Justice of Ireland three-and-thirtie years. Kildai'e was in government milde, to his enemies sterne. He was open and playne, hardley able to rule himself, when he was moved ; in an- ger not so sharp as short, being easily dis- pleased and sooner appeased. . . Not- withstanding hys simplicitie in peace, he was of that valoure and policie in warre, as his name bred a greater terrour to the Irish than other men's armyes." '5* ^- ^'^ PitzGerald, Gerald, 9th Earl of Kildare, son of the preceding, was born in 1487. He is said to have been one of the handsomest men of his time. The Irish annalists call him " Geroit Oge," or "Garrett MacAlison," after his mother. In 1496 he was detained by Henry VII. at his coui't as a hostage for his father's fidelity. In 1 503, when but sixteen, he mar- ried Elizabeth Zouche, and was soon after permitted to return to Ireland. Next year he was appointed Lord High Treasui-er. In August 1 504 he commanded the reserve at the battle of Knocktuagh, where his rashness and impetuosity were the cause of some loss. On the death of his father in 1 5 1 3 he succeed- ed to the title, and was by the council chosen Lord-Justice. Henry VIII. soon after- wards appointed him Lord-Deputy. Some of the Irish chiefs at the end of 1 5 1 3 having ravaged parts of the Pale, the Earl, early in the following year, defeated O'More and his followers in Leix, and then, marching north, took the Castle of Cavan, killed O'Reilly, chased his followers into the bogs, and returned to Dublin laden with booty. This energetic action was so highly approved by the King that he granted the Earl the customs of the ports in the County

183