Corpus of Electronic Texts Edition
Remonstrance of the Irish Chiefs to Pope John XXII (Author: Domhnall Ó Néill)

section 5

Likewise, the Irish people, whom in set terms they had promised to shape to good morals and to bring under laws, they so shape that its holy and dove-like simplicity has been surprisingly altered into a serpentine craftiness through daily life with them and through


their bad example; and they also deprive it of the written laws by which, for the most part, it was formerly governed, and of all other . law, save what could not be uprooted, enacting for the extermination of our race most pernicious laws, beyond measure wicked and unjust, some of which are here inserted as instances.

In the King of England's court in Ireland these laws are rigidly observed, viz. that any person that is not an Irishman may bring any Irishman into court on any cause of action without restriction; but every Irishman, cleric or lay, excepting only prelates, is refused all recourse to law by the very fact of being Irish.

Also, as usually happens for the most part when by perfidy and guile some Englishman kills an Irishman, however noble and inoffensive, whether cleric or lay, regular or secular, even if an Irish, prelate should be killed, no punishment or correction is inflicted by the said court on such a nefarious murderer; nay more, the better the murdered man was and the greater the place be held among his people, the more his murderer is honoured and rewarded by the English, not merely by the populace but even by English religious and bishops, and most of al by those to whom it falls through their positions to inflict just punishment and due correction on such evil-doers.

Also, every Irishwoman, whether noble or otherwise, who marries any Englishman, is entirely deprived, after her husband's death, of the third part of his lands and possessions, her rightful dowry, precisely because she is Irish.

Likewise, wherever the English can oppress an Irishman by main force they in no way suffer the Irish to dispose of their property (by their last wishes or to make a last will and testament; nay, they appropriate to themselves all the goods of those persons, and deprive the Church of its right and of their own authority make serfs by violence of the blood that has been free from all antiquity.

Likewise, by the common council of this king of England and also by the action of certain English bishops, of whom the chief is a man of small wit and no learning, the archbishop of Armagh, an unjust statute has been lately made in the city of Kilkenny in this form of deformity:

It is agreed that it be enjoined on all religious that abide in the land of peace among the English that they do not receive into their order or religion any except those that are English by nation; and if they do otherwise the Lord King will take them as contemners of his command, and their founders and patrons will take them as disobedient and in opposition to this ordinance made by the common counsel of the whole land of Ireland among the English.’’


And even before this statute was made, and afterwards, the friars, preachers, minorites, monks, canons and other English religious have been observing it strictly enough, in the highest


degree being acceptors of persons; yet the monasteries of monks and canons where at the present day the Irish are refused were, generally speaking, founded by them.