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in Hibernia, Johannes Fitz-Reicher vice-comes Midiæ," &c. Others were grande parliaments, wherein the three estates of the land were assembled; such as in the submission of Mac-Mahowne, in the twenty-fifth year of Henry VI. are to be understood; where he promiseth in Arch parliaments to carry nothing out of the English pale contrary to the statutes; and these in the chronicles are sometimes called magna parliamenta, as in the annals of Ross, anno 1333. "Tenetur parliamentum magnum Dublin, et eundo versus dictum parliamentum occiditur dominus Willelmus nobilis juvenis comes Ultoniæ, per suos Anglicos Ultoniæ proditiose; et in eodem parliamento occiditur Mauricius filius Nicholai Othoil Hibernicus, et in armis strenuus:" but more usually communia parliamenta, as may be seen in sundry places of the annals set out by Mr. Camden; one whereof, because it containeth some other memorable things concerning the matter in hand, I will set down at large.
"Anno Domini 1341. commune parliamentum Hiberniæ de concilio regis mense Octobris extitit ordinatum. Ad idem parliamentum Mauritius filius Thomæ comes Desmondiæ non pervenit: ante quod tempus nunquam inter Anglicos in Anglia oriundos, et Anglicos in terra Hiberniæ oriundos, ita nobilis et manifesta divisio habebatur. Majores insuper civitatum regalium ejusdem terræ, una cum nobilioribus dictæ terræ universis unanimes existentes, habito consilio deliberato in cæteris conclusionibus decreverunt, et statuerunt parliamentum commune Kilkenniæ, mense Novembri; ad utilitatem et profectum regis, et præfatæ terræ, consilio justiciarii, et regalium prædictorum irrequisito penitus in hac parte. Justiciarius autem, et cæteri ministri regis ad idem parliamentum Kilkenniæ accedere nullatenus præsumpserunt. Majores igitur terræ prænotati, una cum majoribus civitatum ordinaverunt de solemnibus nunciis regi Angliæ quantocius destinandis pro statu terræ relevando, et conquerendo de ejus ministris in Hibernia, de iniquo, et injusto regimine eorundem; et non de cætero tolerarent, quod terra Hiberniæ per suos ministros more solito regeretur, con
queruntur pro parte de prædictis ministris per quæstiones. Quomodo terra plena guerris regi possit ab illo qui bellorum ignarus? Quomodo minister regis brevi tempore ad magnas opes venire posset? Quomodo rex in Hibernia non factus ditior?"
A like attempt of assembling a parliament without the privity of the king's council was not long after renewed by the Earl of Desmond; who is here noted to have absented himself from the king's parliament. The matter is thus related by John Clinn, a friar of Kilkenny, who lived at the time, anno 1344. "In festo cathedræ Petri fuit parliamentum factum apud Callan, rege nescio; ad quod venit Mauritius filius Thomæ cum multis millibus hominum, ad quod credidit majores terræ ad eum venisse. Sed rex timens talia conventicula suspecta, et potius malum, quam bonum ex hoc evenire; per breve regis prohibitum est omnibus, ne venirent: et per hoc majores terræ prædicto Mauritio se excusabant, sed domi manserunt."
The next year a parliament by the king's authority was summoned at Dublin; from whence the said Earl of Desmond again absented himself, and was thereupon prosecuted by the lord deputy; for so we read in Camden's annals, anno 1345. "Septimo die Junii commune parliamentum Dubliniæ; ad quod non venit dominus Mauricius filius Thomæ, comes Desmoniæ. Item dominus Radulphus de Ufford justiciarius Hiberniæ post festum beati Johannis baptistæ cum vexillo regis, sine tamen assensu majorum terræ levato, contra dominum Mauricium filium Thomæ, comitem Desmondiæ ad Momoniam progreditur," &c.
Afterwards upon the beheading of Thomas Earl of Desmond, called unto a parliament at Dublin by John Tiptoft, Earl of Worcester, it is said, that King Edward IV. about the ninth year of his reign, granted, that the earls of Desmond should never be enforced to come to any parliaments to Dublin more, nor any where. else in Ireland; using themselves dutifully to God, and to their prince; as in the book of Houthe is recorded.
Whereupon in the thirty-second year of Henry VIII. James Fitz-John, then admitted Earl of Desmond, in his submission before Sir Anthony Sentleger, on the sixteenth January, anno 1540. disclaimed the privilege challenged by his ancestors of not coming to parliament, grand council, or within any walled town.
Otherwise, sure it is, that all the lords of the land as well spiritual, as temporal, were bound to appear at these parliaments; and for default herein we find, that, in the days of Edward II. a fine of two hundred marks upon George Lord Roche; as also in the dayst of Henry VI. the bishops of Leghlyn, Ossory, Down, and Limrick were amerced for the same cause. And as they were bound to resort to parliaments, so were they there to take their places according to their estate, and to wear their robes of parliament after the manner of England. For the former, the order of sitting observed in the parliament holden at Dublin before Gerald, Earl of Kildare, in the twenty-fifth year of Henry VIII. is registered by John Allen, archbishop of Dublin, then present, the year before he was cruelly murdered by Lord Thomas Fitz-Gerald, son to the aforesaid earl. And for the latter two special statutes were provided, one in the sixteenth year of Edward IV. and another in the tenth year of Henry VII.
Now by this frequent use of parliaments, appointed to be holden every year, and oftentimes more than once within the compass of one year, as appeareth both by the chronicles, and by a statute" in the thirty-fourth year of Henry VI. whereby the summoning of parliaments, more than once in the year, is for a time restrained, it may easily be collected, that the principal use of parliaments in former times was not so much to make new laws, as to see the old put in execution, and to advise of other matters, that concerned the state of the commonwealth. Sometimes they were gathered for the trial or acquittal of some great personages, as may be seen in the annals often alleged,
* Camden Hibern. pag. 729. ex archivis regis.
1 Rotul. parliamentar. Hib. ann. 27. Hen. VI. cap. 21–24. "Ex Rotul. parliamentar. Hibern. 34. Hen. VI. cap. 6.
anno 1310. 1317. and 1327. Sometimes for consultation in times of great danger; as the parliament holden at Kilkenny in the days of Edward II. whereof John Clinne thus writeth anno 1315. "Commune parliamentum magnatum Hiberniæ apud Kilkenny pro auxilio, et consilio habendo contra Scotos in principio mensis Junii." Sometime for viewing the state of the king's tenants, as the parliament holden at Ross, in the time of Henry IV. of which another author writeth in this manner: anno 1401. "Thomas Dominus de Lancaster, filius et locum tenens domini regis Henrici quarti in Hibernia, tenuit parliamentum apud Ross, in quo habuit visum chartarum, et patentium horum, qui a domino rege tenuerunt in capite." Sometime for obtaining a subsidy: as the parliament holden at Kilkenny, in the forty-fourth year of Edward III. before Sir William Windsor; wherein three thousand pounds were granted to the king, "pro subsidio ad guerras," as we read in the same author: and another held in the same place in the days of Henry IV. by Thomas of Lancaster; of whom Henry Marlburgh, vicar of Balscadden, in his chronicles thus writeth: anno 1408. "Post festum S. Hilarii tenuit parliamentum apud Kilkenny, causa tallagii habendi." Sometime for hearing and determining controversies of right between party and party; as the parliament holden at Dublin in the fifth year of Henry VI. before James Butler Earl of Ormond; the whole roll whereof containeth nothing but a process upon a writ of error, in a plea betwixt the prior of Lanthony in Wales, and the prior of Molingar in Ireland. Sometime also for enacting and establishing statutes for the government of the land; of which kind these are the special.
In the reign of Edward II. a parliament holden in Kilkenny, whereof in the annals set down by Mr. Camden, mention is made in these words: Anno 1309. "Parliamentum tentum est apud Kilkenny in octavis purificationis beatæ Mariæ per comitem Ultoniæ, (et Johannem Wogan justiciarium Hiberniæ) et cæteros magnates; in
w Ex collectaneis Thadæi Dowling.
quo fuit sedata magna discordia orta inter quosdam magnates Hiberniæ, et multæ provisiones tanquam statuta providebantur: utiles terræ Hiberniæ, si fuissent observatæ."
In the fortieth year of Edward III. another parliament holden at Kilkenny the first Thursday in Lent, by Lionel Duke of Clarence, the king's son, and lieutenant of Ireland: the acts whereof are to be seen among the rolls of the Chancery, and are commonly known by the name of the statutes of Kilkenny; of which in the act of confirmation, it is thus recorded: "All the season, that the said statutes were set in use, and duly executed, the land continued in prosperity, and honour; and since the time that they were not executed, the subjects rebelled, and digressed from their allegiance, and the land did fall to ruin and desolation."
In the third year of Henry IV. a parliament holden at Dublin in the month of September by Thomas Lancaster the king's son, and lieutenant of Ireland; wherein divers statutes were enacted touching herbinage, and livere, the office of clerk of the market, and escheator, &c.
In the fifth year of the same king, another parliament holden at Dublin before the Earl of Ormond; wherein the acts of the two precedent parliaments were confirmed; as appeareth by Henry Marleburgh, whose words are these anno 1404. "In die S. Vitalis incipit parliamentum Dubliniæ coram comite Ormondiæ, tunc justiciario Hiberniæ; ubi confirmata fuerunt statuta de Kilkenny Dubliniæ, et charta pro Hibernia :" or as another author" setteth it down: "Charta libertatis Hiberniæ, et statuta Kilkenniæ fuerunt confirmata authoritate parliamenti, coram comite Ormoniæ, justiciario Hiberniæ die Vitalis martyris."
* Stat. Hib, ann. 10. Hen. VII. cap. 8.
y Collectan. Thadæi Dowling.