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Deceived by the solemn oaths of the Irish that Dublin had fallen, Fitz-Stephen capitulated, on the promise of a safe passage to Wales, and was instantly loaded with chains. Of all his possessions, Strongbow only retained Dublin and Waterford.

The earl now perceived that he could effect no lasting conquests by himself. He crossed over into England, and waited upon Henry at Newnham, in Gloucestershire, where a large army had already gathered round the king. The terms of reconciliation were arranged, with a little difficulty: Strongbow renewed his homage and oath of fealty, and engaged to surrender Dublin and the other fortified posts of Leinster to Henry. In return he received back his English estates, and was to retain his other Irish territory. King and earl then set sail, and landed near Waterford, October 18, 1171 a.d. The fleet comprised four hundred ships, and at least five hundred knights, with many archers, were on board. A deputation from the citizens of Wexford soon appeared, delivered Fitz-Stephen to the king, and claimed the merit of arresting an English rebel. It was Henry's policy to play the part of mediator between his piratical subjects and the natives. Fitz-Stephen was kept some weeks in custody as prisoner of state. In a royal progress to Cashel, Henry received the submission of the native princes of Munster, and placed rulers over Cork and Limerick. His success encouraged him to display his natural sympathies: Fitz-Stephen was liberated, Wexford annexed, and some of the late deputation punished with death. Yet nothing arrested the general impulse of submission. O'Rourke came in at Dublin. Roderic himself, who had collected an army on the banks of the Shannon, gave way at the critical moment, and agreed to render homage and pay tribute. Christmas was passed at the capital-even then important from its commerce-with a full court and amid lavish hospitality.

Early in 1172 A.D., a synod was held at Cashel. The programme of church reform was carried out. Marriages were restricted within the seventh degree of relationship. Baptisms were to be public, and more formal than heretofore.



Tithes were instituted; and church lands were freed from the hospitality and other burdens which the chieftains of the country had been accustomed to exact. The clergy were freed from the legal obligation to assist in paying the blood-fine of a relation. These laws, especially the first and last, which struck at the clan system, were salutary enactments. But they do not seem important enough to exculpate Henry before God and man for his violent conquest of an inoffensive people; rather they tend to prove that Irish barbarism had been overstated. The court held at Lismore to establish order among the English settlers, is better evidence of the real objects of the conquest. The country was partially distributed among Norman nobles; but as the English conquest of Ireland, more rapid than the Norman of England, had been effected by fewer men, and was more insecure, the changes in the property and laws of the nation were proportionally smaller. Meath, as the appanage of royalty, of course accrued to the English crown; Henry assigned the whole of it to Hugh de Lacy, whom he made justiciary of the realm and governor of Dublin. The object of this enormous grant, no doubt, was to balance Strongbow's power. The families of Desmond, Ormond, and Vernon received other estates. But the number of those invested was small; and although some of the Irish, by a sort of fiction, received their estates again of the king as fiefs, they were to be held by native, not by feudal, laws of succession. Generally the native laws were to remain in force, except among English settlers, or where provision to the contrary was made. The slightness of the change no doubt mainly contributed to the readiness with which the supremacy of the English crown was accepted. In April, 1172 A.D., Henry was able to return to England, leaving only Ulster behind him nominally unsubdued.

A series of petty wars between Irish chiefs and Norman nobles soon broke out. The precarious nature of the English

1 Wilkins, vol. i., pp. 472, 473. I suspect the special direction to baptize in clean water is the foundation of the old story, that the sons of Irish chiefs used to be baptized in milk.



dominion became manifest; and Henry was forced to publish the papal bull granting Ireland to him, which he had hitherto suppressed. At last, in 1175 A.D., Roderic O'Connor made a treaty with the English crown, and agreed to render homage, tribute, and submission, in return for royal rights in his own kingdom of Connaught. At the same time, the limits of the English pale, as it was afterwards called, were defined. This district, which was immediately subject to the king of England and his barons, comprised Dublin with its appurtenances, Meath, Leinster, and the country from Waterford to Dungarvan. The articles of this treaty were ratified in a council of prelates and barons. From the English point of view, the kings of England were henceforth lords-paramount of Ireland; the fee of the soil vested in them; and all Irish princes in future were no more than tenants-in-chief. From the Irish point of view, the English kings were nothing more than military suzerains in the districts outside the pale.1

For the conquest of Ireland, I regard Giraldus Cambrensis as the only real authority. I have based this chapter upon Moore's History of Ireland.




THE death of Becket and the conquest of Ireland did not give Henry the repose he desired. The double curse of his own actions and his wife's character, followed him inexorably through life. There were strange stories of Eleanor's ancestry. Her father had carried off his viscount's wife, and had been cursed by a monk of the time with a prediction that no good fruit should ever come of the unhallowed alliance. One of her ancestors had married a woman of no birth, but endowed with marvellous beauty. It was observed that the countess always quitted church, before the mass was offered up. One day her husband gave orders she should be detained, and the lady escaping from those who held her, rose into the air, with two of her children in her grasp, disappeared through the church window, and was never more seen. "We came of the devil, and shall go to the devil," was Richard Cœur de Lion's comment upon this tradition. But Henry needed no other Nemesis than that of his own crimes. He had unbridled passions, and no principle but a fear of divine wrath and a hope of divine favour. His penance at Becket's tomb, while he favoured Becket's murderers and disregarded his principles, was no mere appeal to the bigotry of the multitude: it rested on the idea that he could cajole the saint into procuring success for him. In a similar spirit, he once exclaimed, in the last years of his life, that he

1 Brompton; Twysden, 1045.

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would no longer reverence Christ, who gave a beardless boy the victory over him. In his observance of promises, Henry was so bad as to be branded with utter untrustworthiness by his contemporaries. Yet the truth seems to be that he fixed certain arbitrary bonds to himself, the feudal oath or kiss, which he never broke; he was thus punctilious but not honourable. His love of diplomacy was increased by his want of warlike ability; rapid movements and large forces often won him successes; but he was not a match for soldiers-born, like his own sons or Philip Augustus. A passionate and uncertain man, Henry was disliked in his own household. His conjugal infidelities distressed his queen the more that she was older than himself. The fiery and vindictive woman revenged her wrongs as a wife on Henry's heart as a father.

The coronation of the young prince Henry had been procured by his father at the price of much intrigue, many promises, and a yet deeper breach with Becket. During Becket's lifetime, it enlisted the prince on his father's side against the primate, whom he regarded as his enemy. But when Becket was removed, prince Henry soon wearied of the title, without the power, of royalty. During a visit to Paris, he was persuaded by the French king to demand that his father should entrust him with England or Normandy. The news of this intrigue reached Henry II., and he instantly recalled his son. But in 1173 A.D., the king of England was in the south of France, occupied with a settlement of feudal claims, and a contract of marriage between his youngest son, John, and a princess of Savoy. Prince Henry took occasion to protest against the cession of Chinon, Loudon and Mirebeau, as his brother's marriage portion; and having established a grievance, escaped from the court as it returned north, and took refuge at St. Denys. It soon appeared that there were other malcontents in the king's family. Richard and Geoffrey contrived to join their brother; the queen herself was taken in man's clothes,

1“Omnia prius quam arma pertentans."-Girald. Camb. de Inst. Princ.,

P. 71.

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