Page:Dictionary of National Biography volume 50.djvu/177

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earl of Desmond [q. v.], with whom St. Leger was much pleased, and on his submission admitted him to the earldom of Desmond. He even accepted an invitation to Kilmallock, ‘where,’ as he wrote to the king, ‘I thinke none of your Graces Deputies cam this hundreth yeris before.’ From Kilmallock he proceeded to Limerick, chiefly in order to parley with O'Brien, who met him there. The interview was not so satisfactory as he could have wished, but he was gratified by the submissive attitude of MacGillapatrick of Ossory and MacWilliam of Connaught, and returned, much satisfied with his journey, to Dublin.

Parliament, for which great preparations had been made, assembled at Dublin on 13 June, and among the acts passed was one giving to Henry and his heirs the title of King of Ireland. ‘And for that the thing,’ wrote St. Leger, ‘passed so joyously, and so miche to the contentation of every person, the Sonday foloing ther were made in the citie greate bonfires, wyne sette in the stretis, greate festinges in their howses, with a goodly sorte of gunnes.’ Two noblemen of importance alone held aloof—O'Donnell and O'Neill. With the former St. Leger had an interview on 6 Aug. in O'Reilly's country, when a basis for an agreement was arrived at. O'Neill, on the other hand, obstinately refused either to submit or to meet the deputy, and so on 15 Sept. St. Leger invaded his territory with fire and sword. O'Neill attempted to outflank him and attack the Pale, but his manœuvre was frustrated by Lord Louth. A second and third hosting followed in quick succession, which brought O'Neill to his knees. A parley was granted him and a subsequent meeting appointed at Dundalk to arrange the terms of his submission. The adjourned meeting of parliament at Limerick on 15 Feb. 1542 was attended with good results, and O'Brien having renounced his claim to any land on the east side of the Shannon, he was received to mercy and recommended for the title of Earl of Thomond. Henry, indeed, complained that St. Leger was a little too free in granting Irishmen their requests; but things were going smoothly for the first time within the memory of the oldest living official, and his objections were treated, as perhaps they were meant to be made, pro forma. But there were those of his colleagues that regarded St. Leger with jealousy, and Robert Cowley, master of the rolls, slipped across to England without license to complain of his maladministration. His complaint was found to be grounded on malice, and, having been dismissed from his office, he was left for a time to reflect on his misdemeanour in the Fleet.

After the submission of O'Neill, St. Leger thought the time had come when he could advise the king to entrust the government to an Irish nobleman, especially since he had found in the Earl of Desmond a counterpoise to any overweening pretensions on the part of Ormonde. But his suggestion was not likely to recommend itself to Henry, and indeed appears to have been ignored by him (cf. St. Leger to Paget, 3 Aug. 1545). Other proposals of a more practical sort, however, received his approval, such as the establishment of a permanent council in Munster, the removal of restrictions on the admission of Irish students into the inns of court, and the adoption of measures for the better preservation of state documents and for the reformation of the countries bordering on the Pale. As a sign that Ireland could be made a source of strength to the crown, St. Leger in April 1543 volunteered to raise a force of five hundred horsemen for the war in France or Scotland. But in January 1544 he was allowed to repair to England, and the execution of his project devolved on Lord-justice Sir William Brabazon [q. v.] St. Leger's departure was the signal for disturbances, which the council attributed to ‘youre lordshipes olde frende Occhonor’ [see O'Connor, Brian or Bernard, (1490?–1560?)]; but which were perhaps as much due to the rumour that the young heir to the earldom of Kildare was about to return with the assistance of France. Nevertheless the levy was fairly satisfactory, and the list of kerne raised is an excellent commentary on the practical results of St. Leger's administration.

It was the end of June before St. Leger, having in the meantime received the honour of the Garter together with an augmentation of 200l. to his salary as deputy, returned to his post. The effect of his return was instantaneous, and before many weeks had elapsed he was able to report that the country had returned to its former state of tranquillity. In view of the threatened invasion by France, measures were taken by him to fortify Cork and Kinsale, and in September orders arrived from the council to raise two thousand kerne to assist the Earl of Lennox in his Scottish expedition. The notice, St. Leger remarked, was a short one, and ‘two thousand men were not so soon to be levied,’ but he hoped to have them ready for embarkation within a fortnight. The men were forthcoming at the time fixed, owing to the exertions of the Earl of Or-