Fynes Moryson, secretary to Lord Mountjoy who savagely laid waste to the country of Ireland at the turn of the seventeenth century to defeat the ‘rebels’, was described as a ‘bookish man’ and was a learned fellow of Oxford – as was his master.
Not in Ireland. A perusal of Moryson’s testimony finds the following:
"Captaine Trevor and many honest gentlemen lying in the Newry can witness that some of the old women of those parts used to make a fire in the fields, and divers little children, driving out the cattel in the cold mornings and coming thither to warm them, were by them surprised, killed and eaten, which at last was discovered by a great girle breaking from them by the strength of her body.
Captain Trevor, sending out soldiers to know the truth, they found the children’s skulls and bones and apprehended the old women who were executed for the fact."
Moryson’s testimony was tempered, not by compassion but by faith in his master’s policy of burning the crops and stealing the cattle, which brought not just the rebels but the whole country to its knees. He cited the above almost gleefully as an example of the depradations resulting from ‘our policy of destroying the rebels’ corne and using all means to famish him".
And yet the local chieftains around Newry had long before submitted.
[It surprises the present writer that the name of Mountjoy continues even into the third millennium to be ‘celebrated’ in district names and official edifices the length and breadth of Ireland].