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An Essay On The

Ancient and Modern State

Of Ireland

With the Various Important Advantages

Thereunto Derived,

under the auspicious Reign of His most sacred Majesty

King GEORGE the Second.

Including a particular Account

of the great and glorious

St. Patrick


Henry Brooke

Dublin: Printed

London: Re-Printed

for R. Griffiths.



The Farmer’s Case Of The Roman-Catholics Of _Ireland_.






Justly sensible, Sir, how sincerely You have the Character and Esteem of
our Native Country at Heart, I take Leave to offer to Your Perusal, and
commend to Your favourable Acceptance, the following Sheets.

What gave them Rise, was my happening, some Time since, to have fallen
into Company with two or three sprightly young Gentlemen, then just
returned from their Continental Rambles,—who—altho’ little burthened with
the Religion, Laws, Learning, Policy, Customs, Habits, Manners, or
Languages of any, or the several Countries they had scampered thro’,
affected, nevertheless, an high Contempt for this,—their Native.

I listened with silent Indignation, and determined to contribute my Mite
towards giving such unattentive, uninformed Youths, a more adequate Idea
of this Kingdom, under its ancient and under its present happy

The common Accidents of Time must lead them by better Authority to clearer
Knowledge: In the mean while, I profess my Obligations to them, as they
have given me this Opportunity of declaring my Regard to my Country in
general, and the particular Attachments that ever bind me, in the
strictest Sense of Fidelity and Esteem, to a Friend so worthy as You have
been to,

Your very obliged, and
Most obedient Servant.


In a Nation, where almost every Gentleman is better acquainted, and more
conversant, with the Nature and Circumstances of other Countries than
those of his own, the Publication of such Hints as may somewhat contribute
to remove so odd an Inattention, and induce those far better qualified to
render a Subject so interesting some Justice, will not, I hope, be deemed
an Impertinence; in one especially who, by this Essay, however feeble,
hath nothing beside the Honour and Advantage of _Ireland_ in View, a
Kingdom whereof he is, without Vanity, proud of being a Native.

As the Story of Savages and Barbarians can contain nothing instructive, or
entertaining, the _Antemilesian_ Inhabitants of this Land having been
mostly such, and all surviving Accounts of them almost totally overcast
with Fable, we are therefore, in treating of the antient _Scotia_, or
modern _Ireland_, to refer principally to three distinguished æras,
whereof the _first_ is, its being peopled by an _Iberian_ or _Spanish_
Colony: The _second_, truly glorious, the Arrival of St. _Patrick_, in his
most salutary Mission: The _third_ and last, its Cession to _Henry_ the
Second, King of _England_, (the first of the Royal Race of _Plantagenet_)
partly from a pretended Title of _Adrian_ the Fourth, Pope of _Rome_;
partly from the restless and insatiable Desires of _Henry_; _more_ from
the manifold Infirmities of the then reigning _Irish_ Chiefs—but above
all, from the peculiarly adverse Fate of _Roderick_, the last of our

The assiduous, exact, and candid Author of the _Dissertations_,(1) lately
published, on the Origin, Government, Letters, Sciences, Religion, Manners
and Customs of the antient Inhabitants of this Country, hath put all those
Matters in so clear and happy, and, at the same Time, in so strong a
Light, by the Powers of various foreign Testimonies, of undeniable
Authenticity, coincident with our own, that scarce any Thing new can be
offered on the same Subject.

It may, however, in general be observed, that _Milesius_, a _Spanish_
Prince, so far back as the Reign of _Solomon_ (instigated by Necessity, or
induced by Ambition) with a considerable Number of Associates and
Followers, landed from the Western Parts of _Spain_, on the Southern
Coasts of this Island, where it is probable they met little, or but faint
Opposition, from wild and undisciplined Inhabitants.

Those People, from their early Knowledge of the _Phœnician_ Arts and
Letters, imported such Rudiments of Government and Learning, as those
primitive Times admitted; a Truth visible from the Similarity or rather
Identity of the _Phœnician_ and _Scotic_ Alphabet.

This antient Colony quietly settled here, remote from the Storms and
Revolutions of the greater World, and secured by Situation from its
hostile Incursions, there is no Doubt but the Cultivation of Religion,
Philosophy, Politicks, Poetry, and Musick, became the chief Objects of
popular Study and Application: The Spirit of Ambition in succeeding Ages,
with its unhappy concomitant Train of Sedition, Faction, and Violence, the
foreign Invasions, and often the intestine Oppressions and Calamities, to
which our neighbouring Nations were subject, calling forth the protective
or conciliating Aids of those ancient Heroes, made them great Masters also
in the Art military.

The Pentarchy originally formed by those _Iberian_ or _Celtic Spaniards_,
with a popular Right of Election, was certainly a Kind of Government
extremely consistent with the Essence and Genius of true Liberty, and a
System derived from the Patriarchs themselves. For when the various
Necessities of Society required a Subordination, together with some stated
Maxims to go by, to avoid the confused and promiscuous Intercourse in a
State of Nature; then did the People elect the most Virtuous and Wise, to
lead and conduct them in Times of War and Trouble; to govern, inform, and
protect them, in milder and more auspicious Seasons. Then was the Motto of
the Crown, or of the chief Ensign of Pre-eminence, _Digniori detur_, and
so continued till the Degeneracy of Time, and the baneful Growth of
Avarice and Pride, with the feverish Lust of Power, perverted it
to—_Rapiat Fortior_!

Such, thro’ a long Succession of Ages, was the Condition, and such at
length the Fate of this Kingdom, destroyed after a longer Continuance than
any other can boast, by the Abuse of its own Powers; a sure Argument that
all created Beings, all sublunary Institutions, however wisely composed,
in the very Essence of their Creation, and in the very Rudiments of their
Formation, comprehend, at the same Time, the Seeds of Dissolution: Yet it
is not more remarkable than true, that in the most boisterous Periods of
this Kingdom’s antient Establishment, the Arts and Sciences, with the
fundamental Principles of Constitution, were preserved and cherished with
inviolable Assiduity. The Priests, Philosophers, Advocates, Annalists,
Poets and Musicians, were obliged to preserve Religion, political Wisdom,
Law, History, _&c._ hereditarily in their respective Tribes, and to
educate in these different Branches the Chiefs and Nobles of the Land, for
which they were graciously maintained in secure and splendid Tranquillity:
Those Sages attended the National Conventions, where all publick Acts were
religiously recorded, and all Abuses of Power and Government retrenched or
reformed; nor were they permitted, except in Case of extraordinary
Necessity, or uncommon Merit, to deviate from their proper and primitive
Spheres of Action: Since, where an harmonious Subordination of Rank and
Order hath not been duly preserved, even in free Estates, Liberty itself
(wisely attempered, the greatest of all social Blessings) hath often, from
Abuse and Neglect, sickened into Licentiousness, the immediate lewd Mother
of Anarchy! In the visible Creation, the direct Result of infinite Wisdom,
the lesser Planets do not interfere with, much less shock or oppose the
Motions and Revolutions of the greater; they constantly keep the Distances
first prescribed them, and all move regularly to their respective Ends.
The most verdant and fragrant Meadows may, from the too frequent Irruption
of muddy Waters, degenerate into noxious Marshes, if some Care was not
taken to divert those impure Gushings into their proper Channels. Hence it
may be inferred, that laying open the most honorary, as well as important
and useful Professions of Society, to the Intrusion, or rather pyratical
Invasions, of the Scum and Dregs of the People, cannot, however varnished
over with the fictitious Colourings of pretended Liberty, consist with
true Political Wisdom.

Those ancient _Sophi_ and _Literati_ enjoyed their Places with the greater
Security, that they were uninvadable by the inferior Classes of Mankind;
with the greater Content and Chearfulness, that much Esteem and Emolument
were connected with them: The Priest and Advocate informed and directed
the Conscience and Conduct; the Historian and Annalist recorded the
Institutions; the Poet and Musician celebrated and sung the Exploits of
their Kings and Leaders: No Wonder then this Kingdom should have been
revered at Home, and admired Abroad; when Religion formed, Erudition
nurtured, Philosophy strengthened, History preserved, Rhetorick adorned,
Musick softened, and Poesy refined, the National Wisdom and
Accomplishments; to all which was added, a thorough Knowledge of Tactics,
and great Skill and Agility in all the athletick Arts, and bodily

In the Versions of some original Codes exported by our Countryman, the
learned and pious St. _Fiechry_, still extant in the _Navarre_ Library at
_Paris_, the Constitutional Wisdom of _Ireland_ appears in a clear and
happy Light: Persons, Things, Actions, and Expressions, were cautiously
attended to, by the Laws; _Persons_, in their Minority, Youth, and
Manhood, according to their different Ranks in the State, so as by Care,
Education, and Discipline, to render them, some subservient, others
useful, some beneficial, and others ornamental thereunto.

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