Lord Mountjoy and Sir George Carew

Patrick Weston Joyce

464. The person chosen by the queen to succeed Essex as deputy was Charles Blount, better known as Lord Mountjoy, a man of great ability and foresight, and a more formidable adversary than any yet encountered by O'Neill.

He came to Ireland in February, 1600. As soon as O'Neill heard of his arrival he broke up his camp at Inniscarra, where he had tarried for six weeks, and returned to Ulster.

465. Along with Mountjoy came Sir George Carew as president of Munster, a man quite as able and courageous as Mountjoy, but crafty and avaricious. He had an intense hatred of the Irish, mainly because his brother had been killed by them in the battle of Glenmalure (402).

466. Carew directed all his energies against the Munster rebels. He captured their castles one after another, and caused his soldiers to destroy the crops wherever he went in order to produce a famine. The famine ultimately came and the people—men, women, and children —perished by thousands of starvation.

467. He put forth all his efforts to capture the Sugan earl, who was an able leader of the insurgents, offering large rewards to any one who would betray him: but for a long time he was unsuccessful. The earl was at last taken in the great Mitchelstown cave by his old adherent the white knight, who delivered him up to Carew for a reward of £1,000. He was tried and found guilty of high treason; but he was not executed, lest his brother might be set up in his place and give more trouble.

468. While these events were taking place in the south, O'Neill and O'Donnell were kept busy in the north. It had long been the intention of the government to plant garrisons on the shores of Lough Foyle. For this purpose a powerful armament of 4,000 foot and 200 horse, under the command of Sir Henry Docwra, with abundance of stores and building materials, sailed for Lough Foyle in May, 1600. At the same time, in order to divert O'Neill's attention and draw off opposition, Mountjoy marched north from Dublin as if to invade Tyrone. While O'Neill and O'Donnell were opposing Mountjoy, Docwra succeeded in building forts at Culmore at the mouth of the river Foyle, at Derry, then almost uninhabited, and at Dunnalong five miles from Derry up the river.

469. Leinster had shared in the O'Neill rebellion: and Owney O'Moore, the chief of Leix, had succeeded in winning back most of his principality. The country had quite recovered from the wars of the Plantations (409, 410): the land was well cultivated, and the people were prosperous and contented.

470. But now to punish them for their part in the rebellion, Mountjoy proceeded in August, 1600, from Dublin, with a large force and a supply of sickles, scythes, and harrows to tear up the corn; and he soon destroyed the crops of the whole district; after which he returned to Dublin, leaving the people to despair and hunger, their smiling district turned to a black ruin.

471. Soon after this he marched north and employed himself in the same manner, till he had destroyed the people's means of subsistence over a large part of Ulster.

472. Niall Garve O'Donnell was married to Red Hugh O'Donnell's sister, and was one of the ablest and most trusted of the Ulster confederates. But on a sudden he betrayed his trust and went over to the English. This greatly crippled O'Neill and O'Donnell in their efforts to oppose Docwra; who still bravely held his ground in spite of all they could do.

473. By the middle of 1601 the rebellion may be said to have been crushed in the three southern provinces. In Ulster, though O'Neill and O'Donnell were still actively engaged in defensive warfare, they had become greatly circumscribed. But the rebellion was now fated to be renewed in another quarter of the island.