620. Maurice Geraldine to Philip II.
Maurice Geraldine, heir of the earl of Desmond, and the other
Irish gentlemen in your Majesty's service here, have received letters
by the archbishop of Tuam, who is now in your Majesty's court,
from the most powerful Catholics in Ireland, saying that they are
concerting a war against the queen of England, and they beg us to
supplicate your Majesty to send them succour with the utmost
We know that these gentlemen are Catholics, and are at the
present time the most powerful people in Ireland, and seeing that
voluntarily they risk their lives to serve God and your Majesty,
we have decided to beseech your Majesty, for the love of God, and
with the utmost earnestness of which we are capable, to favour us
all by looking down upon their need, and sending them such aid
you consider advisable.
We also beg to be allowed to go with it, to defend and support
the enterprise, and we trust with the divine favour that your
Majesty will be victorious, and conquer for yourself the realm of
Ireland, and then enter by this means into England. It would be
a great pity for these gentlemen to be lost for lack of succour, as
the earl of Desmond was lost when he rose like these. We trust
in God that your Majesty will consider well the advantage that
will ensue to Christendom from this business. The conjuncture is
favourable, the cause just, and all disposed to do good service. If
promptness be displayed, the Queen must withdraw the contingent
she sends to Flanders and France, and there will be fewer Englishmen
on the coasts of Spain. We humbly beg your Majesty to
favour the enterprise. We ourselves are ready to do anything we
are ordered to do.—Lisbon, 4th September 1593. Don Mauricio
621. Statement of the Archbishop Of Tuam to Philip II.
The Irish archbishop of Tuam states that for some years past he
has used great efforts, both publicly and privately, to unite the
Catholics of Ireland, with the object of their taking up arms for the
faith, and in your Majesty's service against the English heretics.
His enterprise succeeded, and the most powerful chiefs of the north
of Ireland heve now agreed, and have risen against the Queen, with
the tacit consent of many other Catholics who would like to do the
same. For this reason, in the name of all them, as your Majesty
will see by the letters they write, he has come hither to acquaint
your Majesty with it, and to beg your Majesty to show favour
so good an opportunity as this is to keep the Queen busy in
her own house. This your Majesty can easily do, as the gentlemen
who have risen have in their own lands troops and good
harbours ; and also by means of the Irish gentlemen who are in your
Majesty's service in these dominions, whose presence there would
be most important, particularly that of Don Maurice Geraldine,
cousin and heir of the earl of Desmond, and Viscount Baltinglas.
The said Archbishop, therefore, humbly begs your Majesty to send
some aid in troops and arms for the purpose named, and that an
answer be given to him speedily with regard to the whole business,
so that he may return at once as he has been ordered to do. If
your Majesty will comply with this request, the queen of England
will be so busy in Ireland that she will be unable to perturb the
dominions of your Majesty, as she has hitherto done. She will
indeed have need of the troops she is now employing against you.
Statement made by the archbishop of Tuam with regard to the
territories, men and commodities possessed by some of the
gentlemen of the north of Ireland for the service of his Majesty,
if he will send them succour against the English.
O'Donnell has 60 Irish miles of land from end to end, on the sea
coast, with excellent harbours, capable of receiving any fleets sent
thither. He can raise 3,000 men of his own vassals ; and besides
that he has the Scots within eight hours sail, with whom he has
close friendship and kinship, and they would help him.
Macguire has 40 miles of land, and can raise 2,000 men of his
Bernard O'Rourke, whose father on his way to Scotland for help
was unfortunately captured by the English and decapitated, (fn. 1) can
raise 1,000 men, and no more, because the English, after having
killed his father, devastated his lands. The lands of these three
chiefs join, and together they can raise 600 horse.
The chiefs of the house of Burgh, a great and famous family, are
continually in rebellion against the English, and can raise over
1,000 good men. They have also good harbours. Their lands are
in Connaught, about 20 miles distant from the above-mentioned.
There are many other Catholics of great importance in Ireland
anxious to rise against the Queen, as soon as they see aid coming
from your Majesty. And finally nearly all Irishmen are against the
English, and wish to get rid of such evil neighbours.
|622. Statement handed to the King by the archbishop of Tuam,
pointing out the favourable opportunities that existed, by
means of aid to be sent, for gaining all Ireland at a blow,
and keeping the Queen so busy in Ireland that she will
have no opportunity of troubling his Majesty's dominions,
or aiding the heretics of France and Flanders.
1. Dwells at length on the circumstance that both Maurice
Geraldine the heir of Desmond and his cousin Thomas Geraldine
are both here (in the Peninsula) in his Majesty's pay, and how the
province of Munster will rally to them if they go with a good force.
2. Similar arguments showing how Viscount Baltinglas and
Charles O'Connor (both in his Majesty's pay) could raise Leinster
with but few men the country being easily defensible, particularly
one valley, which a few soldiers could hold against the world.
3. And as his Majesty at present has no other wish than to
occupy the Queen in Ireland, and put her to expense and trouble,
this could be done with small aid to the insurgents now in arms in
the north, as everyone in the land will do his best to help, and in
any case shelter and refuge would always be obtainable. Arms and
ammunition could easily be sent to the ports, and thus an irregular
war kept up, which would tire the enemy and disturb the whole
country, as there are men in Ireland very experienced and adapted
for such class of warfare.
Note in the handwriting of Philip II. attached to the aforegoing
letter. It is doubtless addressed to his Secretary, Don Juan de
"Here are the letters and notes that the Irish Archbishop has just
given me. And if what they say is true, it would be a great pity
not to help them. What they demand in one of the letters is very
much, and would still be so if it were less than it is. You talk to
him, and get to the bottom of it all, and then we will see what is
the very smallest aid that will be needed. If it be so small that we
can give it, it will be well to help them. Let Don Cristobal (de
Mora) know what you do in the matter."
Note in the handwriting of Don Juan de Idiaquez to the King.
"The Irish archbishop of Tuam says that it will be of great
importance for the success of the confederacy of Irish Catholics,
that your Majesty should write very affectionately to the earl of
Tyrone, whose name is O'Neil, to induce him to enter into the
confederacy openly. He already belongs to it secretly, and he
should be assured that your Majesty's aid shall not fail them. The
Archbishop consequently begs your Majesty to order a letter to be
written to the earl to that effect."
Note in the handwriting of Don Juan de Idiaquez on the
wrapper containing the papers concerning the archbishop of
"Letters and papers given by the archbishop of Tuam to his
Majesty. The substance of them is as follows :—
That a very great opportunity exists to do much in Ireland
by sending some succour to them.
That the succour should consist of from five to ten thousand
men, or as many as may be convenient.
As they will go to harbours belonging to those who invite
them, they will, of course, be well received.
Seven thousand footmen and 600 horse can be raised there,
6,000 of the men being raised by chiefs whose lands join each
other, and the other thousand by a chief 20 miles off ; and it is
assumed that when the aid arrived many more would join than
they now say."
|623. Statement made to his Majesty of the present condition
of affairs in Ireland by the Irishman, John Slatimor,
a pensioner of his Majesty, sent secretly to Ireland by
his master, Maurice Geraldine, heir of the earldom of
Desmond, in order to discover the position, and persuade
his friends there to take up arms against the English. (fn. 2)
1. The chiefs of the North, who are in arms against the Queen,
have 4,000 men in the field, one thousand of whom are harquebussiers.
There are many Scotsmen amongst them.
2. The Viceroy recently ordered men to be sent to Ulster against
them, but he was badly served, for a dispute arose between four of
his principal followers, as to who should command the expedition,
and this was one of the principal causes why the design was
3. As a means of remedying the confusion thus caused, the
Viceroy and council ordered the formation of four squadrons, to be
commanded respectively by the four personages referred to ; each
squadron to go by a different road towards the disturbed country.
But since then the matter has slackened, and they have not gone
forward, but have sent to England for reinforcements.
4. The Viceroy and council have ordered that all cities, towns,
and villages in Ireland should lend a certain sum to the Queen to
prosecute the war.
5. Orders were also sent to all gentlemen in Ireland to bring in
their men, armed at their own expense, to aid the Viceroy, but
very few have done so, and those unwillingly, so that no effect has
6. In all the towns of the realm the Macguires, O'Roukes,
Burghs, and Mackennas, and the rest of the insurgents, were
proclaimed traitors and enemies of the Queen.
7. The enemies heard of the archbishop of Tuam's coming to
Spain to ask for aid, and have taken means to try to catch him on
his return if they can. Our people are anxiously awaiting his
reply, and are full of hope and energy.
8. The principal gentlemen of Munster have sent to Don Maurice
Geraldine and his cousin, Thomas Geraldine, to say secretly that
they are ready to rise against the English at any moment, if they
will come with aid. They are very firm.
9. A similar message has been sent to Viscount Baltinglas by
his friends and allies, especially Feagh McHugh, who can do great
harm to the English, as he has some strong places on his lands,
particularly one, in a famous valley, where 15 soldiers, with
plenty of ammunition, could hold the place against the world.
10. A merchant named Patrick Comerford came to Bilbao last
year to spy, and on his return gave notice that the Geraldines were
sending one of their men hither to plot with their friends against
the Queen, as will be seen by enclosed copy of a letter which I got
from a friend.
11. The English have recently discovered in Ireland a silver
mine, and have sent to England some pataches loaded with
silver, and they are daily extracting more. This mine is near
12. The affairs of Ireland are now in such a state that if his
Majesty will send prompt and powerful aid, great effect will be
produced. The Queen will be kept busy at home with small cost
to his Majesty. In order to keep the war alive it would be well to
send at once some arms and ammunition, especially harquebusses
and powder ; and one of the Irish gentlemen in his Majesty's pay
should be sent thither to animate them with his presence.