(1343-1346.) During the incumbency of these English knights, whether acting as justiciaries or as deputies, the first systematic attempts were made to prevent, both by the exercise of patronage or by penal legislation, the fusion of races, which was so universal a tendency of that age. And although these attempts were discontinued on the recommencement of war with France in 1345, the conviction of their utility had seized too strongly on the tenacious will of Edward III. to be wholly abandoned. The peace of Bretigni in 1360 gave him leisure to turn again his thoughts in that direction. The following year he sent over his third son, Lionel, Duke of Clarence and Earl of Ulster, (in right of his wife,) who boldly announced his object to be the total separation, into hostile camps, of the two populations.
This first attempt to enforce non-intercourse between the natives and the naturalized deserves more particular mention. It appears to have begun in the time of Sir Anthony Lucy, when the King's Council sent over certain "Articles of Reform," in which it was threatened that if the native nobility were not more attentive in discharging their duties to the King, his Majesty would resume into his own hands all the grants made to them by his royal ancestors or himself, as well as enforce payment of debts due to the Crown which had been formerly remitted. From some motive, these articles were allowed, after being made public, to remain a dead letter, until the administration of Darcy, Edward's confidential agent in many important transactions, English and Irish. They were proclaimed with additional emphasis by this deputy, who convoked a Parliament or Council, at Dublin, to enforce them as law. The same year, 1342, a new ordinance came from England, prohibiting the public employment of men born or married, or possessing estates in Ireland, and declaring that all offices of state should be filled in that country by "fit Englishmen, having lands, tenements, and benefices in England." To this sweeping proscription the Anglo-Irish, as well townsmen as nobles, resolved to offer every resistance, and by the convocation of the Earls of Desmond, Ormond, and Kildare, they agreed to meet for that purpose at Kilkenny. Accordingly, what is called Darcy's Parliament, met at Dublin in October, while Desmond's rival assembly gathered at Kilkenny in November. The proceedings of the former, if it agreed to any, are unrecorded, but the latter despatched to the King, by the hands of the Prior of Kilmainham, a Remonstrance couched in Norman-French, the court language, in which they reviewed the state of the country; deplored the recovery of so large a portion of the former conquest by the old Irish; accused, in round terms, the successive English officials sent into the land, with a desire suddenly to enrich themselves at the expense both of sovereign and subject; pleaded boldly their own loyal services, not only in Ireland, but in the French and Scottish wars; and finally, claimed the protection of the Great Charter, that they might not be ousted of their estates, without being called in judgment. Edward, sorely in need of men and subsidies for another expedition to France, returned them a conciliatory answer, summoning them to join him in arms, with their followers, at an early day; and although a vigorous effort was made by Sir Ralph Ufford to enforce the articles of 1331, and the ordinance of 1341, by the capture of the Earls of Desmond and Kildare, and by military execution on some of their followers, the policy of non-intercourse was tacitly abandoned for some years after the Remonstrance of Kilkenny. In 1353, under the lord deputy, Rokeby, an attempt was made to revive it, but it was quickly abandoned; and two years later, Maurice, Earl of Desmond, the leader of the opposition, was appointed to the office of Lord Justice for life! Unfortunately that high-spirited nobleman died the year of his appointment, before its effects could begin to be felt. The only legal concession which marked his period was a royal writ constituting the "Parliament" of the Pale the court of last resort for appeals from the decisions of the King's courts in that province. A recurrence to the former favourite policy signalized the year 1357, when a new set of ordinances were received from London, denouncing the penalties of treason against all who intermarried, or had relations of fosterage with the Irish; and proclaiming war upon all kernes and idle men found within the English districts. Still severer measures, in the same direction, were soon afterwards decided upon, by the English King and his council.
Before relating the farther history of this penal code as applied to race, we must recall the reader's attention to the important date of the Kilkenny Remonstrance, 1342. From that year may be distinctly traced the growth of two parties among the subjects of the English Kings in Ireland. At one time they are distinguished as "the old English" and "the new English," at another, as "English by birth" and "English by blood." The new English, fresh from the Imperial island, seem to have usually conducted themselves with a haughty sense of superiority; the old English, more than half Hibernicized, confronted these strangers with all the self-complacency of natives of the soil on which they stood. In their frequent visits to the Imperial capital, the old English were made sensibly to feel that their country was not there; and as often as they went, they returned with renewed ardour to the land of their possessions and their birth. Time, also, had thrown its reverent glory round the names of the first invaders, and to be descended from the companions of Earl Richard, or the captains who accompanied King John, was a source of family pride, second only to that which the native princes cherished, in tracing up their lineage to Milesius of Spain. There were many reasons, good, bad, and indifferent, for the descendants of the Norman adventurers adopting Celtic names, laws, and customs, but not the least potent, perhaps, was the fostering of family pride and family dependence, which, judged from our present stand-points, were two of the worst possible preparations for our national success in modern times.