CHAPTER IV. SUBSEQUENT PROCEEDINGS OF RICHARD II. - LIEUTENANCY AND DEATH OF THE EARL OF MARCH - SECOND EXPEDITION OF RICHARD AGAINST ART McMURROGH - CHANGE OF DYNASTY IN ENGLAND.
At Dublin, Richard prepared to celebrate the festival of Christmas, with all the splendour of which he was so fond. He had received letters from his council in England warmly congratulating him on the results of his "noble voyage" and his successes against "his rebel Make Murgh." Several lords and chiefs were hospitably entertained by him during the holidays - but the greater magnates did not yet present themselves - unless we suppose them to have continued his guests at Dublin, from Christmas till Easter, which is hardly credible.
The supplies which he had provided were soon devoured by so vast a following. His army, however, were paid their wages weekly, and were well satisfied. But whatever the King or his flatterers might pretend, the real object of all the mighty preparations made was still in the distance, and fresh supplies were needed for the projected campaign of 1395. To raise the requisite funds, he determined to send to England his uncle, the Duke of Gloucester. Gloucester carried a letter to the regent, the Duke of York, countersigned "Lincolne," and dated from Dublin, "Feb. 1, 1395." The council, consisting of the Earls of Derby, Arundel, de Ware, Salisbury, Northumberland, and others, was convened, and they "readily voted a tenth off the clergy, and a fifteenth off the laity, for the King's supply." This they sent with a document, signed by them all, exhorting him to a vigorous prosecution of the war, and the demolition of all forts belonging to "MacMourgh [or] le grand O'Nel." They also addressed him another letter, complimentary of his valour and discretion in all things.
While awaiting supplies from England, Richard made a progress as far northward as Drogheda, where he took up his abode in the Dominican Convent of St. Mary Magdalen. On the eve of St. Patrick's Day, O'Neil, O'Donnell, O'Reilly, O'Hanlon, and MacMahon, visited and exchanged professions of friendship with him. It is said they made "submission" to him as their sovereign lord, but until the Indentures, which have been spoken of, but never published, are exhibited, it will be impossible to determine what, in their minds and in his, were the exact relations subsisting between the native Irish princes and the King of England at that time. O'Neil, and other lords of Ulster, accompanied him back to Dublin, where they found O'Brien, O'Conor, and McMurrogh, lately arrived. They were all lodged in a fair mansion, according to the notion of Master Castide, Froissart's informant, and were under the care of the Earl of Ormond and Castide himself, both of whom spoke familiarly the Irish language.
The glimpse we get through Norman spectacles of the manners and customs of these chieftains is eminently instructive, both as regards the observers and the observed. They would have, it seems, very much to the disedification of the English esquire, "their minstrels and principal servants sit at the same table and eat from the same dish." The interpreters employed all their eloquence in vain to dissuade them from this lewd habit, which they perversely called "a praiseworthy custom," till at last, to get rid of importunities, they consented to have it ordered otherwise, during their stay as King Richard's guests.
On the 24th of March the Cathedral of Christ's Church beheld the four kings devoutly keeping the vigil preparatory to knighthood. They had been induced to accept that honour from Richard's hand. They had apologized at first, saying they were all knighted at the age of seven. But the ceremony, as performed in the rest of Christendom, was represented to them as a great and religious custom, which made the simplest knight the equal of his sovereign, which added new lustre to the crowned head, and fresh honour to the victorious sword. On the Feast of the Annunciation they went through the imposing ceremony, according to the custom obtaining among their entertainers.
While the native Princes of the four Provinces were thus lodged together in one house, it was inevitable that plans of co-operation for the future should be discussed between them. Soon after the Earl of Ormond, who knew their language, appeared before Richard as the accuser of McMurrogh, who was, on his statement, committed to close confinement in the Castle. He was, however, soon after set at liberty, though O'Moore, O'Byrne, and John O'Mullain were retained in custody, probably as hostages, for the fulfilment of the terms of his release. By this time the expected supplies had arrived from England, and the festival of Easter was happily passed. Before breaking up from his winter quarters Richard celebrated with great pomp the festival of his namesake, St. Richard, Bishop of Chichester, and then summoned a parliament to meet him at Kilkenny on the 12th of the month. The acts of this parliament have not seen the light; an obscurity which they share in common with all the documents of this Prince's progress in Ireland. The same remark was made three centuries ago by the English chronicler, Grafton, who adds with much simplicity, that as Richard's voyage into Ireland "was nothing profitable nor honourable to him, therefore the writers think it scant worth the noting."