apart by nature as the safe abode of an opulent,
united and happy people.
In the reign of Henry the Second of England
, and in his name, English barons and adventurers invaded Ireland
; and before the end of the thirteenth century its soil was parcelled out among ten English families.
As the occupation became confirmed, the English
system of laws was continued to the English
colonists living within the pale which comprised the four counties of Dublin
, and Kildare
In the Irish parliament, framed ostensibly after the model of the English
constitution, no Irishman could hold a seat: it represented the intruders only, who had come to possess themselves of the land of the natives, now quarrelling among themselves about the spoils, now rebelling against England
, but always united against the Irish.
When Magna Charta
was granted at Runnymede
, it became also the possession and birthright of the Norman inhabitants of Ireland
; but to the ‘mere Irish
’ its benefits were not extended, except by special charters of enfranchisement or denization, of which the sale furnished a ready means of exaction.
The oligarchy of conquerors in the process of time began to amalgamate with the Irish; they had the same religion; they inclined to adopt their language, dress, and manners; and to speak for the rights of Ireland
more warmly than the Irish themselves.
To counteract this tendency of ‘the degenerate English
,’ laws were enacted so that the Anglo-Irish could not intermarry with the Celts, nor permit them to graze their lands, nor present them to benefices, nor receive them into religious houses, nor entertain their bards.
The mere Irish
were considered as out of the king's allegiance; in