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TO THE RIGHT WOR|thie and honorable gentleman sir Walter Raleigh knight, seneschall of the duchies of Cornewall and Excester, and lord warden of the stannaries in Deuon and Cornewall: Iohn Hooker wisheth a long, a happie, and a prosperous life, with the increase of honour.

_AMong all the infinit good blessings, right honorable, which the Lord God hath bestowed vpon vs, I thinke none more expedient and necessarie, than the vse and knowledge of histories and chronicles: which are the most assured registers of the innumerable benefits and commodities, which haue and dailie doo grow to the church of God, and to the ciuill gouernment through out all nations. The vse of them began and was receiued euen from the first begin|ning, The first vse of histories. and immediatlie vpon the dispersing of the sonnes of Adam through out the world: for they were no sooner diuided into seuerall nations, but they did (as Cicero saith) make choise of some one man among themselues, who surpassed the rest in wisedome, know|ledge and vnderstanding, Ad quem confugiebant. These kind of men The first chro|nographers. for the most part in those daies were preests and philosophers, and for their great knowledge, wisedome and credit, had the charge to commend to their posteritie such notable and good acts as were woor|thie the memorie. And as all other nations had such men, so the re|mote Ilands in the great Ocean had the like. For Britaine, now conteining England, Scotland and Wales, had The first chro|nographers in England and Ireland. their Druides and Bardos, and Ireland had their Odalies or Rimers, who being verie wise men & of great credit, did deliuer all their saiengs in meeter, and were therefore called Poets. And these for the better alluring of the people to attention, and to frame them to the knowledge of vertue, did vse to sing with an instrument such les|sons and instructions as they were woont to giue, whether it were concerning manners and common conuer|sation, Poets were the first chro|nographers in Britaine. or matters of policie and gouernment, or of prowesse and martiall affaires, or of the gests of their ance|stors, or of anie other thing thought meet to be learned and woorthie the knowledge, by which meanes they made men the more apt, readie, and willing to applie themselues to vertue and to a commendable course of life, both concerning God how he was to be honored, the magistrate how he was to be obeied, & the common soci|etie how it was to be conserued; and finallie how the whole course of mans life was to be ordered and directed. The definition of an historie. Cicero de oratore. These and manie other like commodities when Cicero had considered, did grow by these means, which is the verie substance of an historie: he described the same to be the witnesse of time, the light of truth, the life of memorie, and the mistresse of life: willing and aduising euerie man at all times and in all matters to haue their recourse to the same, and to be well exercised in the knowledge thereof, bicause the things past are set downe therin, and by them a man may learne what to doo in the life to come. For as the wise man saith, There is nothing Ecclesiast. 1. 3. new vnder the sunne: for the thing which is now hath beene, and by the things past we are taught the things to come. And so saith Augustine: Historia magis vel certè non minùs praenunciandis futuris, quàm enunciandis August. de ciuit. Dei. Chronica Ca|rionis. Thucidides. praeteritis inuenitur intenta: Histories doo teach and aduertise vs as well of the things to come, as of the things past: and the knowledge thereof is so no necessarie that Melancthon would haue no man to be vnlearned in hi|stories, bicause Sine qua nulla in re quispiam lucem habet. And Thucidides the old ancient historiographer of Grecia would that euerie man should haue about him a booke of histories, as a thing most necessarie for him in all matters whatsoeuer: and this did he draw and learne (as it should seeme) from Moses, who when he had faithfullie and diligentlie written and set downe the whole course of the world, the woonderfull works of God, and all the most necessarie precepts and rules for mans life, either concerning matters of religion or causes of ci|uill policies, or of common societie: then he and Iosua assembling all the people togither, did deliuer vnto them the whole Pentatychon of Moses to be dailie read & taught, with a commandement that they should neuer haue Deutero. 5. Iosue. 1. that booke out of their hands, but to haue alwaies their continuall recourse to them, as well for their life, as also for their direction in all their causes. Which thing they did most diligentlie obserue and keepe, and not onelie in matters of religion, but in all doubtfull matters, as to the most true oracles, they would make their recourse for their full resolutions. As the enimies of Iehuda, when they saw the prosperous successe of the building of the temple in the times of Ezras and Nehemias, and they much maligning the same, made sute to king Artaxerxes 1. Esdras. 4. Nehemias. that he would reuoke the decree which king Cyrus had made vnto the Iewes, licencing them to build the tem|ple, alledging manie great and sundrie matters against them. Wherevpon the king commanded the chronicles to be searched, whether it were true that had beene informed against them. Likewise when Hamon had gree|uouslie Esther. 6. complained vnto king Ahasuerus against Mardocheus and the Iewes, charging them with sundrie hai|nous offenses worthie death, the king commanded the chronicles to be searched. Also when Paule and Sylas Acts. 17. first preached the gospell at Thessalonica and Baerea, a doctrine then accompted strange and new, they searched and examined the books Num haec ita se haberent. For as they found things there recorded, so gaue they credit, and by the same they did proceed in the like. For it was a common thing among the Romans, that not onelie EEBO page image 61 they would make recourse in all doubtfull matters to their owne annales: but what so euer they sound in the like in anie other nation or commonwealth, which might further them in anie thing touching their owne affaires, they would draw the same into an example for themselues to follow, which was no small benefit to their com|monwealth.

Likewise Alexander the great, notwithstanding he were brought vp in all good letters vnder Aristotle, yet Alexander. when he was to inlarge his empire, he gaue himselfe to the diligent reading of Homer, the most exact chrono|grapher of the Troian wars: and so he esteemed that booke, that in the daie time he caried it about him, and in the night time he laid it vnder his beds head; and at all times conuenient he would be reading of it, and in the end was so perfect therein, that he could verbatim repeat the whole without booke; the stratagems, the policies, and the manie deuises vsed in those warres he practised in his owne warres, which stood him in great steed. Iulius Caesar also in his wars searched the ancient bookes and histories of the citie of Rome: and did not onelie thereby Iulius Caesar. draw a paterne for his owne direction, both for his ciuill and his martiall affaires: but also, he being then the greatest monarch of all the world, thought it not preiudiciall to his imperiall estate and maiestie, to commend vnder his owne hand writing vnto his posteritie, the historie of his owne age and dooings. Manie like princes hath England bred, who haue bin verie carefull, that the memoriall of the good things doone in their times should Mat. Parisiens [...]s in prefa [...]. be commended to their posteritie, to follow in the like. And therefore euerie king for the course of sundrie hun|dreds of yeares, was woont to reteine and keepe some wise, learned, and faithfull scribes, who should collect and record the things doone in euerie their seuerall times, and all which as time and course of yeares did serue, were published; and what great good benefits haue growne thereby to this present age, and like to serue to the future time, all the world maie easilie see and iudge. For this I dare boldlie saie and affirme: No realme, no nation, no state, nor commonwealth throughout all Europa, can yeeld more nor so manie profitable lawes, directions, rules, examples & discourses, either in matters of religion, or of ciuill gouernment, or of martiall affairs, than doo the histories of this little Isle of Britaine or England. I would to God I might or were able to saie the like, or the halfe like of Ireland, a countrie, the more barren of good things, the more replenished with actions of bloud, mur|ther, and lothsome outrages; which to anie good reader are greeuous & irkesome to be read & considered, much Ireland yeel|dech small matter for an historie. more for anie man to pen and set downe in writing, and to reduce into an historie. Which hath beene some cause whie I was alienated and vtterlie discouraged to intermedle therein: for being earnestlie requested, by reason of my some acquaintance with the maners and conditions of that nation during my short abode therein, to con|tinue the historie of that land, from the death of king Henrie the eight vnto these presents, which hitherto hath not beene touched; I found no matter of an historie woorthie to be recorded: but rather a tragedie of cruelties to be abhorred, and no historie of good things to be followed: and therefore I gaue the matter ouer, and was fullie resolued not at all to haue intermedled therewith. Neuerthelesse, being againe verie earnestlie requested, and no excuse neither of my age, nor of my often sicknesse, nor of my calling in the seruice of the commonwelth, nor of my small learning and skill, sufficient to compas such a matter, could be accepted: then (but with an euill will) I entred into it, and the more I bethought my selfe of the matter, the more I began to consider, and at length to behold the great and woonderous workes of God, both of his seuere iudgement against traitors, rebels, and disobedient; and of his mercie and louing kindnesse vpon the obedient and dutifull. Whereof, though there be The iustice of God against rebels. infinite examples both in the sacred histories and humane chronicles: yet I find none more apparant and effectu|all, nor more fit for vs, and for this our time and age, than the histories of our owne nation, which yeeld vnto vs most infinite examples, how yoong princes rebelling against the kings their fathers, noble men against their so|uereignes, and the commons against the kings and rulers, some by the mightie hand of God swallowed vp in the Grafton, Holinshed, Polydore, in Hen. 2. Edw. 2. seas, some deuoured with the swoord, some by martiall and some by ciuill lawes executed to death: and few or none haue escaped vnpunished. But of all others, none to be compared to this tragicall discourse of Ireland, and to the most vnnaturall wars of the Desmonds against hir sacred maiestie. Whose disobedience the Lord hath in iustice so seuerelie punished and reuenged, as the like hath not in our age beene seene nor knowne; which albeit somewhat at large it be set downe in the historie, yet breefelie and in effect is as followeth.

The earle of Desmond, named Girald Fitzgirald, was descended of a yoonger house of the Giraldines of Kil|dare, and both of them descended from one and the same ancestor Girald of Windsor, a noble gentleman of Normandie; who after his arriuall into England, trauelled into Wales, and there maried the ladie Nesta daughter to the great Roesius prince of south Wales, and by hir among others had issue Moris Fitzgirald, ancestor to these the foresaid Giraldines; and he being assistant to Dermon mac Morogh king of Leinster in Ireland, was one of the cheefest and most principall seruitors in the conquest, or rather one of the conquerors of that land vnder king Henrie the second. The issue and ofspring of this Moris as they were honourable in blood, so they were no lesse honorable in all their actions: they being verie famous for their good gifts of the mind, in wisedome and policie in their ciuill gouernment, and renowmed for their valiantnesse and prowesse in martiall affaires, in both which they had well tried themselues, and therefore manie times they had the cheefe gouernment of the whole realme, being sometime lord iustices, somtime lord lieutenants, and sometime lord deputies of the whole land: and for their truth and fidelitie were aduanced to honor. For Thomas Fitzgirald being the elder house, was cre|ated earle of Kildare in the ninth yeare of king Edward the second, in the yeare one thousand three hundred and fifteene. And in the beginning of king Edward the third his reigne, in the yeare one thousand three hundred twentie and seuen, Moris Fitzthomas a yoonger brother of that house was created earle of Desmond. And from thense as before, they continued verie honourable, dutifull & faithfull subiects, for the course of sundrie hundreds of yeares: vntill that this brainesicke and breakedanse Girald of Desmond, and his brethren, alies, and complic [...]s, forgetting the honour of his house, and forsaking their faith, dutie and alegiance, did breake into treasons, and shewed themselues open enimies, traitors and rebels, vsing all maner of hostilities and outrages, to the impeach of hir most sacred maiestie, and the destruction of the commonwelth: the price whereof in the end he paied with his and their own bloods, to the vtter destruction of themselues and that whole familie, there be|ing Sir Iames of Desmond ta|ken & hanged. Sir Iohn of Desmond kil|led & hanged. The earles sonne a priso|ner in the To|wer of Londõ. The countesse of Desmond I [...]eth a wofull life. D. Allen slaine D. Sanders di|eth miserablie. The land left altogither baren. verie few Giraldines in the prouince of Mounster left to bemone or bewaile their deaths. For first the earle himselfe, the cheefe of his familie, after his long repast in his traitorous follies, was driuen in the end to all extre|mities and penuries, and at the last taken in an old cotage, and his head was cut off and sent to London, and there set vpon London bridge, and his lands and inheritance confiscated and discontinued from his house and name for euer. Sir Iames one of his yoonger brethren, in taking of a preie, was taken and made a preie; he was han|ged as a theefe, quartered as a traitor, and his head and quarters dispersed and set vpon the gates and wals of the citie of Corke. Sir Iohn of Desmond, an other of his yoonger brethren, and next to himselfe the cheefe ringlea|der of this rebellion, was taken, his head cut off and set vpon the castell of Dublin, and his bodie hanged by the heeles at Corke. His onelie sonne and heire being wholie disinherited, is prisoner in the Tower of London. His ladie and wife destituted of all honour and liuings, leadeth a dolefull & a miserable life. His capteins, soldiers, and men of warre, put all for the most part to the swoord. The popes two prelats and nuncios, the one slaine in the field, and the other died most miserablie in the woods. The Italians and strangers few or none left aliue to returne to aduertise of their successe vnto their holie father. The common people such as escaped the swoord, all for the most part are perished with famine, or fled the countrie. The land it selfe being verie fertile, is waxed baren, yeel|ding nor corne nor fruits; the pastures without cattell, and the aire without fowles, and the whole prouince for the most part desolate and vnhabited, sauing townes and cities: and finallie, nothing there to be seene but mise|rie and desolation.

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