A blessing from O’Neill to the Justiciary, as in duty bound; and to the rest of the Council. And I am asking of them, what have I done that would go (tend) to the dishonour or to the injury of the Queen? Or to you, on account of which you have, since your arrival in Ireland, violated your engagements to me without reason or cause, and for which you have offered to invade me without sending me a messenger or a letter? In as much as we were obedient to the Justiciary whom you left in your place[1] in Ireland; and in as much as it was not malice that prevented me from appearing in my own proper person in the presence of her Gracious Majesty the Queen, but that I asked the Queen for a loan of a small sum[2] of money, because the money of Ireland does not possess current in England; and I offered to give up my own hostages for this money-loan, until I myself should return from England; and these hostages would be the best of my children,[3] and my foster brother,[4] and also my foster-father,[5] my foster-mother, and my brother; and after giving these in pledge for the small sum of money, to show that I would not break my promise, which indeed I would not do if I had delivered up no pledge at all; and when I sent my own people and the people of the Justiciary to request this again of the Queen for a pledge, and when we thought that it would be sent to us at your coming into Ireland, it was not thus you acted, but you did what we never anticipated would have been done by you; and, in good sooth, we also sent ten or twelve letters to the Justiciary who was appointed in Ireland after your departure, and now let these letters be produced in witness for me; and I also appeal to such of the Council as wish to hear conscientious evidence that it was not malice or negligence that prevented me from going hitherto in the presence of the Queen’s gracious Majesty, but the want of that loan-money, which we expected to reach us. And the intention which we then had of visiting the Queen we would have still, but for the amount of obstruction which you have unseemingly thrown in my way, by sending a force of occupation into my territory without a cause; for as long as there shall be one son of a Saxon in my territory against my will, from that time forth I will not send you either settlement or message, but will send my complaint through some other medium to the Queen, to inform her how you have baffled me in my said intention (of going to visit her,) and I will exercise my utmost against this force (of your soldiers) and against every one who will place them there, until they are removed. And if it be your determination not to prevent me any more, take your people away with you, if it so please your Honour, and I will appoint a day with you, as soon as ever you take away your people with you, to fulfil every promise and every offer which I made to the Queen; and be assured that it was not from fear of war that I promised to go to visit her before, but on account of her honour and her graciousness to preserve every thing that each party possesses, and to exalt me from this time forth, in order that I might bring the wild countries which are under me to civilisation and to goodness, and that I myself, and those who should come after me, might devote our time to the honour and service of the Queen, and of the servant (Deputy) who should be appointed in Ireland by her. And all Ireland would be the better of my going to visit the Queen, (by the permission of God,) for there would not be in Ireland any one man who would offer the slightest annoyance to her Deputy, as these troubles would be stayed by the power of God, the consent of the Queen, and the service which I would render her Deputy.

This is enough; but I pray you to send me every secret and every answer which you shall have touching this matter without malice, and not to do any more against me until you bring me the news, and to show my letters to the chief men of the Council.

I am,

Seán Ó Néill chuig Iarla Sussex

Beandacht ó Ua Néill do chum an Iustís mar dhligheas se, ⁊ do chum na coda ele do’n Chomhairle; agus atáim ag a fiafraighe diobh créd do rinne me do ni, do rachadh a n-easonoir no a n-dighbháil don Bhanrioghain no daoibhsi, as ar bhriseabhair orum gan fhatha, gan adhbhur, ⁊ tairgsin gabhaltus do dhenamh orum, gan giolla, gan liter do chur chugam ó do thangabhair a n-Erinn; ⁊ an Iustís do fhagabhair in bhur n-ionadh a n-Erinn go rabhamair-ne umhal dó; ⁊ nach raibhe do mhailis orum gan mo phearsa fén do dhol a bh-fiadhnuise grás na Banrioghna, acht an mhéid gur chuir me iarroidh air sochamal airgid ar an m-Banrioghain, ar son nach imigheann airged na h-Ereann a Saxanoibh, ⁊ gur fhuráil me mo bhráighe gill fén do chur ris an innmhus sin no go bh-fillinn fén as Saxanoibh. Agus as í so an bhráíghe gill, iodhon, an mac is fear do’m chloinn ⁊ do mo dhearbh-chomhalta, iodhon, m’oide ⁊ mo bhuime ⁊ mo bhrathair, ⁊ iad sin do chur a ngioll res in big airgid ar nach brisfinn mo ghealla, da m-béind gan mo gheall ris; ⁊ gur chuir me mo dhaoine fen ⁊ daoine an Iustís da ath-iarroidh sin a ngioll air na braighdibh sin a g-ceann na Banrioghna; ⁊ an uair do shaoilemur sin do theacht chugainn re bhur theachtsa a n-Erinn, ni h-amhlaidh sin do rindeabhair-si, acht a ni nar shaoileamar do dhenamh daoibh; ⁊ dar n-doigh do chuireamar a deich no a dó dhég do litreachibh a g-ceand an Iustís do bhi a n-Erinn ó do imgheabhair-si fós; ⁊ tugthar na litreacha sin do lathair, ⁊ cuir is in fiadhnuise de, ⁊ na litreacha sin orum, ⁊ fiadhnuise an mhéid thoigerus cogus do dhenamh don Chomuair an fad bhias én mhac Saxanoigh am’ thir dom’ neamh-thoil, ni chuirfe me reidhiughadh no teachtaireacht chugoibh ó’n uair-si amach; acht mo chosaoid do chur slighe ele a g-ceann na Bnahrioghna, da inisin di mar do chuireabhair-si an toirmeasc sin orum; ⁊ do dhena me mo dhicheall ar an m-baradh sin, ⁊ ar gach duine da ccuirfe ann iad, no go m-berthear as iad. Agus ma ta a rún agoibh gan mo thoirmeasc ni is mó, beiridh bhur muinntir chugaibh ma’s toil le bhur n-onoir é, ⁊ do dhenfa lá ribh, mar is taoisge bheireas sibh bhur muinntir chugoibh, do chriochnughadh gach geallta ⁊ gach trialla da ttug me do’n Bhanrioghain. Agus biodh a dheimhin agoibh nach d’egla chogaidh do ghell me dul ‘n a ceand a roimhe, acht a ngioll ar a h-onoir ⁊ ar a grásaibh do chumhdach gach neith da bh-fuil ag gach duine, ⁊ dom’ mhédughadh ó so suas, innus go ttugainn na tirtha fiadhanta a ta fúm do chum sibheltuis ⁊ do chum maithis, ⁊ innus go ccaithind me féin ⁊ gach duine da m-bia am’ dhiaigh re serbhis ⁊ re h-onoir na Banrioghna ⁊ na feadhmantoigh bhias a n-Erinn uaithe; ⁊ budh fherrde Ere uile mo dhul-sa a g-ceand na Banrioghna do thoil Dé, uair ni bhiadh a n-Erinn én dhuine do chuirfedh saobhnós beg no mór ar a feadhmanntach, ar a se as anadh se saobhnós sin do chumhachtuibh Dé ⁊ d’aonntna na Banrioghna, ⁊ don t-serbhis do dhenaim-ne d’a feadhmantach.

Ni beag; acht guidhmid sibh gach rún ⁊ gach fregra bhias aguibh air sin do chur chugam gan mhailis; ⁊ gan ni is mó do dhenamh orm no go ttuga sibh sgéla; ⁊ taisbena no litreacha do mhaithibh na Comhairle.


[1]  Whom you left in your place – This was Sir William Fitzwilliam, who was Lord Deputy in the absence of Sussex, by commission from the Queen, in 1560.

[2] Small sum. – Cox, p. 316, states that her Majesty lent him two thousand five hundred pounds, which was no small sum in those times.

[3] The best. – He was evidently Henry O’Neill, who afterwards escaped with O’Donnell from the Castle of Dublin, and was thought to have been lost in the snow, in the mountains of Wicklow; but he escaped into Ulster, where Hugh, Earl of Tyrone, threw him into prison. See Four Masters, p. 1. 917.

[4] My foster-brother. – He was Dubhaltach O’Donnelly who was afterwards slain by O’Donnell, A.D. 1567.

[5] My brother. – This might mean “my kinsman.” He was probably his youngest brother, who became a bishop.