Karl Marx 1883

From Synopsis of J. B. Green’s
“History of the English People”

First Published: in Marx-Engels Archives, Vol. VIII, Russ. ed, Moscow, 1946;
Marx made this synopsis in English and German in the last years of his life, while working on a chronology of world history. He began to make excerpts from the second half of the first volume;
Source: Marx and Engels on Ireland, Progress Publishers, Moscow 1971;
Transcribed: by Andy Blunden.

1169-1171: Leinster (Ireland) in the hands of English “adventurers”; Richard of Clare, Earl of Pembroke, does homage for Leinster as an English lordship to Henry II, who, accompanied by Pembroke, visited his “new dominion which the adventurers had won.” [Fourteen years earlier, Pope Adrian IV had made him a present of Ireland. He (Henry) wanted to use the trade in English slaves (with Bristol) as a pretext for invasion, but nothing came of it at the time, because of the resistance of the English baronage.] ...

After Henry II left Ireland, nothing indeed but the feuds and weakness of the Irish tribes enabled the adventurers to hold the districts of Drogheda, Dublin, Wexford, Waterford, and Cork, which now formed the so-called English Pale. For their part, the adventurers were compelled to preserve “their fealty to the English Grown.” John (Lackland) came with an army, stormed its strongholds and drove its leading barons into exile, divided the Pale into counties, ordered the observance of the English law; but the departure of John and his army to England was a signal for a return of disorder within the Pale. ... Within the Pale itself, the English settlers were harried and oppressed by their own baronage as much as by the Irish marauders. ... After their victory at Bannockburn, Robert Bruce sent a Scotch force to Ireland with his brother [Edward Bruce] at its head; general rising of Ireland welcomed him; but the danger united pro nunc [for a time] the barons of the Pale, and in 1316 they emerged victors on the bloody field of Athenree by the slaughter of 11,000 of their foes and almost complete annihilation of the sept of the O'Connors. Thereafter, the barons of the Pale sank more and more into Irish chieftains; the Fitz-Maurices, who became Earls of Desmond and whose vast territory in Munster was erected into a County Palatine, adopted the dress and manners of the natives around them.

Kilkenny Statute of Edward III: this Statute forbade the adoption of the Irish language or name or dress by any man of English blood; it enforced within the Pale the exclusive use of the English law, and made the use of the native or Brehon law, which was gaining ground, an act of treason; it made treasonable any marriage of the Englishry with persons of Irish race, or any adoption of English children by Irish foster-fathers. ... However, this did not prevent the fusion of the two races, with the lords of the Pale almost completely denying obedience to English government.... In 1394 Richard II landed with an army at Waterford and received the general submission of the native chiefs. But the lords of the Pale held aloof: no sooner Richard quitted the island, than the Irish in turn refused to carry out their promise of quitting Leinster, and engaged in a fresh contest with the Earl of March, whom the King had proclaimed as his heir and left behind him as his lieutenant in Ireland. In the summer of 1398 March was beaten and slain in battle; now Richard II was eager to avenge his cousin’s death, and complete the work he had begun by a first invasion (with him as hostage was Henry of Lancaster’s son, later Henry V). The Percies (Earl of Northumberland and his son Henry Percy or Hotspur) refused to serve in his army. He banished the Percies, who withdrew into Scotland.

MAY 1399: Richard II [went] to Ireland and left his uncle, Duke of York, as regent in his stead.

JUNE 1399: Henry of Lancaster entered the Humber and landed at Ravenspur.

IN THE BEGINNING OF AUGUST 1399 Henry of Lancaster master of the realm when Richard II at last sailed from Waterford and landed at Milford Haven. By the treacherous pledges of the Earl of Northumberland the ass Richard was lured to Flint for a meeting with Henry of Lancaster, who took him to London as prisoner, where he was coffered in the Tower.