« PreviousContinue »
Concerning the care of business, the general and popular conceit hath been, that Irish causes have been much neglected; whereby the very reputation of better care will put life into them. And I am sure her majesty, and my lords of the council, do not think their care dissolved when they have chosen whom to employ: but that they will proceed in a spirit of state, and not leave the main point to discretion. Then if a resolution be taken, a consultation must proceed; and the consultation must be governed upon information to be had from such as know the place, and matters in fact and in taking of information I have always noted there is a skill and a wisdom. But for a beginning and a key to that which shall follow, it were good your lordship would have some large and serious. conference with Sir William Russel, Sir Richard Bingham, the earl of Thomond, and Mr. Wilbraham; to know their relation of the past; their opinion of the present; and their advice for the future. But I am of opinion much more would be had of them, if your lordship shall be pleased severally to confer; not obi ter, but expressly upon some caveat given them to think of it before; for bene docet qui prudenter interrogat.
For the points of apposing them, I am too much a stranger to the business to deduce them; but in a general topic, methinks the pertinent interrogations must be; either of the possibility and means of accord; or of the nature of the war; or of the reformation of abuses; or of the joining of practice with force in the disunion of the rebels. If your lordship doubt to put your sickle into another's harvest, yet consider you have these advantages; first, time brings it to you in Mr. Secretary's absence: next, vis unita fortior: thirdly, the business being mixt with matters of war, it is fittest for you and lastly, I know your lordship will carry it with that modesty and respect towards aged dignity, and that good correspondence towards my dear kinsman and your good friend now abroad, as no inconvenience may grow that way.
Thus have I played the ignorant statesman; which I do to no body but your lordship: except I do it to
the queen sometimes when she trains me on. But your lordship will accept my duty and good meaning, and secure me touching the privateness of that I write.
Rawley's XLVII. A LETTER of advice to the Earl of ESSEX, upon the first treaty with Tyrone 1598, before the earl was nominated for the charge of Ireland.
My very good Lord,
CONCERNING the advertisements, which your lordship imparted to me, touching the state of Ireland, I hold them to be no more certain to make judgment upon, than a patient's water to a physician: therefore for me upon one water to make a judgment, were indeed like a foolish bold mountebank, or Dr. Birket: yet for willing duty's sake, I will set down to your lordship what opinion sprang in my mind I read.
upon that The letter from the council there, leaning to mistrust and dissuade the treaty, I do not much rely on for three causes. First, because it is always the grace, and the safety from blame, of such a council to err in caution: whereunto add, that it may be, they, or some of them, are not without envy towards the person who is used in treating the accord. Next, because the time of this treaty hath no shew of dissimulation; for that Tyrone is now in no straits: but he is more like a gamester that will give over because he is a winner, than because he hath no more money in his purse. Lastly, I do not see but those articles, whereupon they ground their suspicion, may as well proceed out of fear, as out of falsehood. For the retaining the dependence of the Vraights, the protracting the admission of a sheriff, the refusing to give his son for an hostage, the holding off from present repair to Dublin, the refusing to go presently to accord, without including Odonell, and other his associates, may very well come of an apprehension in case he should receive hard measure; and not out of treachery: so as if the great person you write of be faithful, and that you have not heard some
present intelligence of present succours from Spain, for the expectation whereof Tyrone would win time, I see no deep cause of distrusting this course of treaty, if the main conditions may be good. For her majesty seem-> eth to me to be a winner thereby three ways: first, her purse shall have some rest: next, it will divert the foreign designs upon the place: thirdly, though her majesty be like for a time to govern but precario in the north, and be not, as to a true command, in better state there than before; yet, besides the two respectsof ease of charge, and advantage of opinion abroad, before mentioned, she shall have time to use her princely policy in two points to weaken them: the one, by division and the disunion of the heads; the other, by recovering and winning the people from them by justice which of all other courses is the best.
Now for the Athenian question: you discourse well; Quid igitur agendum est? I will shoot my fool's bolt, since you will have it so. The earl of Ormond to be encouraged and comforted. Above all things, the garrisons to be instantly provided for. For opportunity maketh a thief: and if he should mean never so well now, yet such an advantage as the breaking of her majesty's garrisons might tempt a true man.
And because he may as well waver upon his own' inconstancy as upon occasion, and wanton variableness is never restrained but by fear, I hold it necessary to be menaced with a strong war: not by words, but by musters and preparations of forces here, in case the accord proceed not: but none to be sent over, lest it disturb the treaty, and make him look to be over-run as soon as he hath laid away arms. And, but that your lordship is too easy to pass in such cases from dissimulation to verity, I think, if your lordship lent your reputation in this case; that is, to pretend, that if peace go not on, and the queen mean to make, not a defensive war as in times past, but a full re-conquest of those parts of the country, you would accept the charge; I think it would help to settle Tyrone in his seeking accord, and win you a great deal of honour gratis.
And that which most properly concerns this action, if it prove a peace, I think her majesty shall do well to cure the root of the disease; and to profess, by a commission of peaceable men, chiefly of respect and countenance, reformation of abuses, extortions, and injustices there; and to plant a stronger and surer government than heretofore, for the ease and protection of the subject. For the removing of the sword or government in arms from the earl of Ormond, or the sending of the deputy, which will eclipse it, if peace follow, I think it unseasonable.
Lastly, I hold still my opinion, both for your better information, and the fuller declaration of your care, in meddling in this urgent and meriting service, that your lordship have a set conference with the persons I named in my former letter.
Rawley's XLVIII. A LETTER of advice to my Lord of ESSEX, immediately before his going into Ireland.
My singular good Lord,
YOUR late note of my silence in your occasions hath made me set down these few wandring lines, as one that would say somewhat, and can say nothing, touching your lordship's intended charge for Ireland: which my endeavour I know your lordship will accept graciously and well; whether your lordship take it by the handle of the occasion ministred from yourself, or of the affection from which it proceeds.
Your lordship is designed to a service of great merit and great peril; and as the greatness of the peril must needs include a like proportion of merit ; so the greatness of the merit may include no small consequence of peril, if it be not temperately governed. For all immoderate success extinguisheth merit, and stirreth up dis taste and envy; the assured forerunners of whole charges of peril. But I am at the last point first, some good
Our author observes, "I was not called or advised with some year and a half before his lordship's [namely, the earl of Essex's] going into Ireland," which explains this passage. Apology, Vol. III. p. 217.
spirit leading my pen to presage to your lordship success; wherein, it is true, I am not without my oracles and divinations; none of them superstitious, and yet not all natural. For first, looking into the course of God's providence in things now depending, and calling to consideration, how great things God hath done by her majesty and for her; I collect he hath disposed of this great defection in Ireland, thereby to give an ur gent occasion to the reduction of that whole kingdom; as upon the rebellion of Desmond there insued the reduction of that whole province.
* Next, your lordship goeth against three of the unluckiest vices of all others, disloyalty, ingratitude, and insolency; which three offences, in all examples, have seldom their doom adjourned to the world to come.
Lastly, he that shall have had the honour to know your lordship inwardly, as I have had, shall find bona erta, whereby he may better ground a divination of good, than upon the dissection of a sacrifice. But that part I leave; for it is fit for others to be confident upon you, and you to be confident upon the cause: the goodness and justice whereof is such as can hardly be matched in any example; it being no ambitious war against foreigners, but a recovery of subjects; and that after lenity of conditions often tried; and a recovery of them not only to obedience, but to humanity and policy, from more than Indian barbarism.
There is yet another kind of divination, familiar to matters of state; being that which Demosthenes so often relied upon in his time; when he said, That which for the time past is worst of all, is for the time to come the best which is, that things go ill, not by accident, but by errors; wherein, if your lordship have been heretofore an awaking censor, yet you must look for no other now, but Medice, cura teipsum: and though you shall not be the happy physician that cometh in the declination of the disease: yet you embrace that condition which many noble spirits have accepted for advantage; which is, that you go upon the greater peril of your fortune, and the less of your reputation; and so the honour countervaileth the adventure; of which