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Laudabiliter was a papal bull issued in 1155 by Adrian IV, an Englishman, giving the Angevin Henry II of England the right to assume control over Ireland and to enforce the Gregorian Reforms on the Catholic Church in Ireland. The leaders of the Norman invasion of Ireland (1169–71) would later claim that Laudabiliter authorised the invasion. Richard de Clare, a Cambro-Norman knight from Pembrokeshire, was retained by Diarmuid MacMorrough, the deposed King of Leinster, as an ally in his fight with the High King of Ireland, Ruaidrí Ua Conchobair.
After almost four centuries, following the declaration of the independence of the Church of England from papal supremacy and rejection of the authority of Rome, a new basis for the English monarch's legitimate claim to the rule of Ireland was needed: the Crown of Ireland Act 1542 therefore established a sovereign Kingdom of Ireland with Henry being given the title of King of Ireland. There has been some controversy over the authenticity of Laudabiliter.
- 1 Papal bull
- 2 The Bull Laudabiliter
- 3 Evidence for the bull
- 4 Controversy
- 5 Divided significance
- 6 Authenticity debate
- 7 Papal letter of 1311 and the Irish Kings' Remonstrance of 1317
- 8 Laudabiliter and the Kingdom of Ireland 1542–1555
- 9 Notes
- 10 References
- 11 External links
A bull is a Papal letter that takes its name from the bubble-shaped, leaden seal which it bears. However, historians such as Laurence Ginnell, believe the letters written in the 12th century relating to Ireland were never sealed with any seal and are not correctly called bulls but rather privilegia or privileges.
The original bulla was a lump of clay moulded around a cord and stamped with a seal. When dry, the container cannot be violated without visible damage to the bulla, thereby ensuring the contents remain tamper-proof until they reach their destination. Stephen J. McCormick, in his preface to The Pope and Ireland, notes that it was well known that the forgery of both Papal and other documents was fairly common in the 12th century. Citing Professor Jungmann, who in the appendix to his Dissertationes Historiœ Ecclesiasticœ, in the fifth volume says, "it is well known from history that everywhere towards the close of the 12th century there were forged or corrupted Papal Letters or Diplomas. That such was the case frequently in England is inferred from the Letters of John Sarisbiensis and of others."
Currently, any attempt at sourcing the original document is impossible as the Vatican says the original Laudabiliter is no longer in existence. This has been used to further question the legitimacy of Laudabiliter. J. H. Round, for example, says that the grant of Ireland by Adrian is erroneously styled "the Bull Laudabiliter". It has been so long spoken of as a bull, he says, that one hardly knows how to describe it. He suggests that as long as it is realised that it was only a commendatory letter no mistake can arise.
The Bull Laudabiliter
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In 1155, Pope Adrian IV issued the papal bull Laudabiliter. The document commissioned the Angevin King Henry II to intervene in Ireland to assist in the reform of the governance of the Irish Church and the Irish system of governance according to the Roman (Latin Rite) ecclesiastical system. This followed the structural reform of the previously quasi independent form of the Church in Ireland as defined shortly before at the Synod of Kells. The bull derives its title from the Latin word laudabiliter (meaning laudably or in a praiseworthy manner), which is the opening word in bull, the usual manner in which bulls are named.
The proximity of Ireland to England as well as the Holy See's ongoing dispute with the Irish Church over Papal Supremacy, provided the impetus of conquest to the Papacy who had suggested the idea of invasion to both William the Conqueror and Henry I. Richard Lingard said that to justify the invasion of a "free and unoffending" people by Henry II, the Papacy "discovered" that the civilisation of the people and reform of their clergy were needed and for the benefits of this civilisation, and the Irish would cheerfully purchase with the loss of their independence. Furthermore, the Holy See claimed, under the Donation of Constantine, that every Christian island as the property of the Papacy and foresaw that any Papal Bull issued to the English crown authorising invasion of Ireland would cement the Pope's authority over the British Isles. However, the Papacy realised it could not directly advise King Henry to invade, recognising that the king would see through the advice an attempt to further expand Papal power. Therefore a few months after his coronation Lingard writes, John of Salisbury, a learned monk, was dispatched by Pope Adrian IV to King Henry II and assure Henry that the Pope's object was to provide instruction to an ignorant people, to remove vice from the Lord's vineyard and to extend the Papacy's power to Ireland merely in the form of the payment of Peter's Pence. The King, according to Lingard, "must have smiled at the hypocrisy of this address" but expressed his satisfaction and agreed to the Pope's request, reminding him to always keep in mind the conditions on which that assent had been granted. However, King Henry who fought against Papal Supremacy throughout his reign, refused to countenance any invasion of Ireland, correctly deducing that any invasion of Ireland made under the pretext of the Bull would lead to a significant curtailment on his power in Ireland and more importantly on England itself.
It was at a royal council at Winchester that Curtis said talk of carrying out this invasion had been had, but that Henry's mother, the Empress Matilda, had protested against it. In Ireland however, nothing seems to have been known of it, and no provision had been made against English aggression. J. Duncan Mackie, in his Pope Adrian IV. The Lothian Essay 1907 gives the date as 29 September 1155 for this meenting for conquering Ireland and giving it to Henry's brother William.
Curiously, despite the weight of historical evidence throughout diplomatic records, court records, and scholarly work, Laurence Ginnell cites the (Roman Catholic) Dr. Malone as evidence pointing to the Bull's illegitimacy. Dr. Malone states regarding the Laudabiliter "there does not appear to be in the domain of history a better authenticated fact than the privilege of Adrian IV to Henry II." However, Cardinal Gasquet writes that historians of this time were ignorant of the existence of Laudabiliter. He says that during the residence of the pontifical Court at Avignon two Lives of Pope Adrian IV were written. One was composed in 1331 and the second in 1356. In neither is there any mention of this important act of the Pope, although the authors find a place for many less important documents. However, within the Vatican Secret Archives there exists a large late-16th century picture of the bull being drafted, with a caption mentioning that the grant was made: "..sub annuo censu" – in exchange for an annual tax payment by the English Crown.
Evidence for the bull
That an actual bull was sent is not doubted by many and its authenticity has been questioned without success according to P. S. O'Hegarty who suggests that the question now is purely an academic one. According to Edmund Curtis great controversy has raged, with some writers saying its a pure forgery, others that it as a touched-up version of a genuine document, while others believing in its authenticity.
The following summary of the evidence cited by McCormick in favour of the authenticity of Pope Adrian's letter, appeared he says in the Irishman newspaper and was compiled by J. C. O Callaghan, who was editor of the Macariae Excidium, and author of a number of works on Irish history. This list also appears in Alfread H. Tarleton's Nicholas Breakspear (Adrian IV.) Englishman and Pope, with the additional evidence of the Norman Chronicles that testify to the fact he suggests that the bull and the ring were deposited at Winchester.
- Firstly the testimony of John of Salisbury, Secretary to the Archbishop of Canterbury, who relates his having been the envoy from Henry to Adrian, in 1155, to discuss matters of Papal and Royal separation of powers and during which he was ordered by the Papacy to press for an invasion of Ireland under terms favourable to the Papacy.
- Secondly, the grant or Bull of Adrian, in extenso, in the works of Giraldus Cambrensis, and his contemporary Radulfus de Diceto, Dean of London, and those of Roger de Wendover and Matthew Paris in which the Laudabiliter is cited as a Bull.
- Thirdly, the Bulls of Adrian's successor, Pope Alexander III which cite the Laudabiliter Bull in a number of documents as precedent for extending Papal control over the German Kings of the Holy Roman Empire.
- Fourthly, the recorded public reading of the Bulls of Adrian and Alexander, at a meeting of Bishops in Waterford in 1175, during which the Laudabiliter is used by Papacy as evidence showing the clergy of England and Ireland were solely under Papal Supremacy.
- Fifthly, after Robert the Bruce of Scotland defeated King Edward II of England at Bannockburn and secured Scottish independence from England, his brother Edward launched the Bruce campaign in Ireland. Edward's Irish allies enclosed a copy of Laudabiliter prefixed to a 1317 Remonstrance sent to Pope John XXII asking him to recognise Edward Bruce as King of Ireland (see section below). This method of complaint was similar to Scotland's 1320 Declaration of Arbroath.
- Sixthly, from Caesar Baronius, in his work, the Annales Ecclesiastici, under Adrian IV includes a copy of this grant of Ireland in full, or, excodice Vaticano, diploma datum ad Henricum, Anglorum, Regem. A copy of the Bull was contained in the Bidlarium Romanum, as printed in Rome in 1739. Finally the text appeared in the official Vatican compendium of "Great Roman Bulls", which was also published in Rome in 1739.
McCormick might also have mentioned these aspects:
- In 1185, before John's first visit to Ireland, his father Henry wanted him crowned king of Ireland and wrote to Pope Lucius III for his consent, which was refused. His successor Pope Urban III approved later in the year, but the coronation never happened. Without Laudabiliter and the Church's claim to precedence in Ireland Henry would not have needed to seek Papal approval. Papal authority was based on its fairly recent claim to have a superior jurisdiction over Europe's monarchs, in line with the Gregorian Reforms and Dictatus papae.
- In 1331 the Justiciar and Council of Ireland wrote to Pope John XXII asking him to proclaim a crusade against some Irish clans, basing their request on their understanding that: "... the holy apostolic see in the time of Pope Adrian of blessed memory conceded the land to the illustrious king of the English...". The request was refused.
The Very Rev. Thomas N. Burke O.P., in his English Misrule in Ireland: A Course of Lectures in Reply to J. A Froude, puts forward a number of arguments against both the Bull of Adrian and the letters of his successor, Pope Alexander III. The Rev. Burke questions the date on the 'Laudabiliter', in addition to the terms contained in it and how it was obtained, questioning also the date in which it was first produced by Henry and why.
In addition to Laudabiliter and the letters Alexander a number of authors have examined the character of Giraldus Cambrenis and the account of John of Salisbury, in addition to challenging each other. McCormick's The Pope and Ireland is very much a challenge to James G. Maguire's Ireland and the Pope: A Brief History of Papal Intrigue Against Irish Liberty from Adrian IV. to Leo XIII. While Cambrensis Eversus by John Lynch is in response to the works of Giraldus Cambrensis. Goddard Henry Orpen responded to both Oliver Joseph Thatcher and J. H. Round in support of Giraldus Cambrensis while citing Miss Norgate in the English Historical Review, vol. viii.
Each of these points have been challenged by a number of authors including, Laurence Ginnell, Stephen J. McCormick, Cardinal Gasquet, in addition to Oliver Joseph Thatcher. Goddard Henry Orpen notes that as early as 1615 Laudabiliter was denounced as a forgery by Stephen White, to be followed by John Lynch (Cambrensis Eversus) in 1662 and later still by Abbé Mac Geoghegan. There are also a number of other writers, he notes which include Catholic historians such as Dr. Lingard and Dr. Lanigan, who have defended the authenticity of the Laudabiliter, and that English writers generally have accepted it as genuine.
It was only in the year 1872 that the first indictment of the evidence upon which the Bull had been accepted as genuine, was drawn up by the ultramontane Irish Australian prelate Dr. Moran, and published in the pages of the Irish Ecclesiastical Record. To the arguments against the grant in that article, the editor of the Analecta Juris Pontificii added fresh and according to Cardinal Gasquet "almost conclusive evidence of the forgery."
Ginnell has written that those who accept that Laudabiliter as authentic can be equally divided on their significance. Some he says use them with the special object of exposing the Papacy's venality, corruption, and "ingratitude towards mankind in general, and towards faithful Ireland in particular" while others use them as proof that no Pope ever erred in political matters, and suggest that Ireland has always been the object of the "Pope's special paternal care."
On the Pope's infallibility, another argument, again assuming the authenticity of Laudabiliter, is that it would be tantamount to the Pope having made a shockingly bad choice of an instrument in Henry II for reducing Ireland to law and order. He suggests this objection is at best feeble, seeing what the character of Henry II was, and that the English "in the seven hundred years that, have elapsed since that time have failed to accomplish the task assigned them." Ginnell suggests that it would not have constituted a greater Papal mistake than when conferring the title of Defender of the Faith on Henry VIII. That the subsequent use of this title by English Sovereigns illustrates he says, how willing they are "to cling to any honour or advantage derived from the Catholic Church," even when they have ceased to belong to it.
In the 17th century the authenticity of the Laudabiliter and Alexander III letters were recognised in Ireland by James Ussher, Protestant Archbishop of Armagh, by Peter Lombard, Catholic Archbishop of Armagh, and by David Rothe, Bishop of Ossory. In the 19th century the authenticity of the letters were recognised by the ecclesiastical historian, Dr. Lanigan, the Editors of the Macarice Excidium, and Cambrensis Eversus, in addition to the Very Rev. Sylvester Malone, D.D., Vicar General of Killaloe, while writing in the Dublin Review for April 1884, and in the Irish Ecclesiastical Record for October 1891. The latter author according to Ginnell was the most strenuous upholder of all the letters was obliged he says to abandon most of his earlier arguments without securing any new ones. English historians according to Cardinal Gasquet have universally taken the genuineness of the document for granted.
Among the Irish historians who have accepted John of Salisbury's account of 'Laudabiliter' they suggest that Adrian was deceived purposely as to the state of the Ireland at the time Cardinal Gasquet thus giving rise to the necessity of the English interference by the king, and have regarded the "Bull" as a document granted in error as to the real circumstances of the case.
Against their authenticity, Ginnell writes that we must notice the entire absence of written Gaelic recognition against their authenticity. In the 17th century he cites Stephen White, S.J., and the author of Cambrensis Eversus Dr. Lynch while in the 19th century he notes Cardinal Moran writing in the Irish Ecclesiastical Record for November 1872, and the Rev. W.B. Morris in his book, Ireland and St. Patrick.
According to Herbert Paul, author of The Life of Froude, the Rev. Burke "boldly denied that it [the bull] had ever existed at all" however in English Misrule in Ireland: A Course of Lectures in Reply to J. A. Froude, the Rev. Burke outlines the anomalies of the letter and states that it had been examined by Reimer an acceptable authority amongst English historians. The Rev. Burke does say though that "there is a lie on the face of it."
According to Curtis for the text of the Laudabiliter we only have Giraldus Cambrensis' Conquest of Ireland written around 1188, though in it his dating is not accurate, he says he must have had some such "genuine document before him." He suggests that better evidence for the grant of Ireland can be found in John of Salisbury's Metalogicus, written about 1159.
John of Salisbury
Henry according to Cardinal Gasquet at the beginning of his reign, sent ambassadors to Adrian IV, who was then at the close of his pontificate. This mission was given to three bishops and an abbot he says, they were Rotrodus, Bishop of Evreux, Arnold, Bishop of Lisieux, the Bishop of Mans and Robert of Gorham, Abbot of St. Albans. The date of this mission is the same as that claimed by Salisbury for his visit, 1155. It is most unlikely notes Gasquet that Henry would have sent two different embassies at the same time. If John of Salisbury were with this embassy he says, he could not have played the important part he claims, and would have gone in the capacity of a simple clerical retainer. The biography of Salisbury makes it very improbable he says that he was ever entrusted with such a mission. John of Salisbury he says, left England in 1137, to be educated on Continent, and only returned for a very short time in 1149. He then returned almost immediately to the Continent, where he became occupied in teaching at Paris. According to Gasquet it is hard to believe that Henry would have made the choice of sending an unknown and untried man to conduct so important and difficult a piece of diplomacy as negotiating with the Pope about the expedition to Ireland.
Giraldus Cambrensis, according to Thatcher apparently drew a false inference from John of Salisbury's works by saying that John went as the king's ambassador to the pope. Thatcher notes that other historians have since then unthinkingly copied this statement. This inference by Giraldus Cambrensis he says was pointed out by Abbé MacGeoghehan and Scheffer-Boichorst who called attention to the fact that John did not say that he was the king's ambassador, but had gone for the purpose of visiting his friend, the pope.
According to L. F. Rushbrook Williams, Abbot Robert of Gorham evidently saw with the elevation of Adrian IV an opportunity of acquiring privileges for St. Albans with the ostensible object of assisting in the settlement of some royal business which was in progress at the curia. Alfread H Tarleton suggests that some modern historians have stated that John of Salisbury accompanied this mission but this is a mistake, based he says on a confusion of the fact that John had many interviews with the Pope at Beneventum. The mistake may be due to the fact that the King, hearing John intended to visit the Pope, sent messages and letters through him in addition to employing a regular messenger, in the person of Robert the Abbot.
Gasquet suggests that there is almost conclusively evedience, that while a request of the nature described by Salisbury was made about this time to the Pope, Salisbury was not the envoy sent to make it. John of Salisbury, he notes, claims in Metalogicus to have been the ambassador for Henry II and obtained Laudabiliter for him and gives the year 1155 as the date when it was granted. However, when Salisbury finished his work called Polycraticus, written before Metalogicus he dedicated it to Thomas, afterwards St. Thomas a Becket, then Chancellor of England, who at this time was with Henry at the siege of Toulouse. This was in 1159; and in that year, Salisbury was presented to Henry apparently for the first time, by St. Thomas. From this fact Cardinal Gasquet concludes, Salisbury had to have been up to this time unknown to the king, and that it is most unlikely therefore that four years before this Henry had entrusted him with so private and confidential a mission to Rome.
Metalogicus and Polycraticus
According to the Very Rev. Thomas N. Burke O.P., when news of Pope Adrian's election had arrived in England, John of Salisbury was sent by Henry to congratulate him, and get this letter [Laudabiliter] in a "hugger-mugger way," from the Pope. The Laudabiliter, according to the Rev. Burke, has been examined by a better authority than his own and by one "who has brought to bear upon it all the acumen of his great knowledge." The date according to Reimer, he says "the most acceptable authority amongst English historians," was 1154. However Pope Adrian was elected on the 3d of December 1154 and the Rev. Burke suggests that it must having taken at least a month in those days before news of the election would have arrived in England, and at least another before John of Salisbury arrived in Rome making his arrival there around March 1155. The date being found inconvenient Reimer under whose authority is uncertain, changed the date to 1155.
The date that Metalogicus was written is fixed according to the author himself according to Stephen J. McCormick pointing to the fact that John of Salisbury immediately before he tells us that the news of Pope Adrian's death had reached him his own patron, Theobald, Archbishop of Canterbury though still living, was "weighed down by many infirmities." Pope Adrian died in 1159 he says and the death of Archbishop, Theobald of Bec occurred in 1161. However Gile and other editors of John of Salisbury's works, without a dissentient voice, according to McCormick refer the Metalogicus to the year 1159, a view shared by Curtis.
The testimony of John of Salisbury, who, in his Metalogicus (lib. iv., cap. 42) writes, that being in an official capacity at the Papal Court, in 1155, Pope Adrian IV, then granted the investure of Ireland Henry II of England. However, John of Salisbury also kept a diary which was later published which is entitled Polycraticus and had a detailed account of the various incidents of his embassy to Pope Adrian, yet in it he makes no mention of the Bull, or of the gold ring and its fine emerald, mentioned in Metalogicus or of the grant of Ireland, all of which would have been so important for his narrative in Metalogicus. If Adrian granted this Bull to Henry at the solicitation of John of Salisbury in 1155 there is but one explanation for the silence in Polycraticus, according to McCormick and that this secrecy was required by the English monarch. If this were the case, he says how then can we be asked to admit as genuine this passage of the Metalogicus, if John still continuing to discharge offices of the highest trust in the Court, would proclaim to the world as early as the year 1159, that Pope Adrian had made this formal grant of Ireland to his royal master.
J. Duncan Mackie writes that those who desire to do away altogether with Laudabiliter, find in the last chapter of the sixth book of the Metalogicus, an account of the transaction between John and Pope Adrian and in this passage is an almost insurmountable difficulty. It become necessary he says to assume that it is an interpolation, and this can only be done "in the face of all probability." In the first place, he says the Metalogicus was only finished in 1159, and there is still extant a manuscript of date earlier than 1200, in which there is no sign that the chapter was a late insertion.
John of Salisbury, speaking of the existence of Laudabiliter in the last chapter of the Metalogicus does not give its text and it was at least thirty years after Adrian's death that the Laudabiliter itself first appeared in the Expugnatio Hibernica of Giraldus Cambrensis or Gerald Barry as he is often called. Oliver Joseph Thatcher suggests that the trustworthiness of Giraldus, to whom he says we owe Laudabiliter preservation, has nothing to do with the question of its genuineness, and should be left out of the discussion. While Thomas Moore says the character of the man himself ought to be taken into account, noting that we should consider whether a taste for the morally monstrous may not also have inspired his pen.
On the authority of Giraldus, Frederick J Furnivall citing James F. Dimock who comments in his preface of Giraldus works says "recent Irish scholars have quietly received Giraldus for what he is worth, as an impetuous, strongly biassed writer, whose statements have generally more or less of truth in them, but with much unfair one-sidedness." Dimock also notes that some late Irish writers, reacting to the criticism of Giraldus seemed to him to put more faith in Giraldus's history than it really deserves. While Dimock who edited Qiraldi Cambrensis Opera says that De Expugnatione Hiberniae is, in great measure, rather "a poetical fiction than a prosaic truthful history."
John J. Clancy, whose work, Ireland: As She Is, As She Has Been, and as She Ought to Be, and cited by McCormick writes that Gerald was commissioned by Henry II. to paint the Irish as a lawless, graceless, god less crew; so that Gerald promptly reported that "their chief characteristics were treachery, thirst for blood, unbridled licentiousness, and inveterate detestation of order and rule" Commenting on Gerald who wrote these words Clancy notes that it has been said that "he never spoke the truth, unless by accident." Thomas Mooney writes that Gerald Barry, commonly called Giraldus Cambrensis stands conspicuous as the historian and traducer of Ireland, and it was on such an authority the majority of subsequent English writers have deprived Ireland of her two thousand years of literature and glory.
Giraldus, Tarleton notes gives the text of Laudabiliter in no less than three of his works, in addition to Expugnatio. It is also included in De rebus a se gestis and De Instructione Priucipis however the texts he says do not always agree but that in the main they are identical. Giraldus, Cardinal Gasquet says devoted the rest of his life to writing the Expugnatio Hibernica, and published three editions. The first was published about 1188, and the last, which was dedicated to King John, in 1209. In Expugnatio Giraldus declared that truth was not his only object, but that he took up his pen to glorify Henry II.
According to Cardinal Gasquet every subsequent English chronicler who mentions Laudabiliter has simply accepted it on Giraldus's authority.
On the question of the date when Laudabiliter was first made known, most of those who deny its authenticity believe that it was first made known about 1180 according to Ginnell. Citing Dr. Kelly a strong supporter to its authenticity he suggests that the only authority for holding that it was made known in Ireland as early as 1175 is that of Giraldus Cambrensis.
The date the Bull was produced
It was, according to the Rev. Burke, in the year 1174 that King Henry produced Laudabiliter which he said he got from Pope Adrian IV. permitting him to go to Ireland. The Rev. Burke asks, if he had Laudabiliter, when he came to Ireland, why did he not produce it, as this was his only warrant for coming to Ireland? For twenty years, according to McCormick that is from 1155 to 1175, there was no mention of the gift of Adrian. Henry did not refer to it when authorising his vassals to join Dermot MacMurrough in 1167, or when he himself set out for Ireland to receive the homage of the Irish princes and not even after he assumed his new title and accomplished the purpose of his expedition.
Curtis however while accepting that it is true that the Laudabiliter was not published by Henry when in Ireland, that can be explained by his being alienated from Rome over the murder of Thomas Becket, in addition to the Empress Matilda, having protested against this invasion of Ireland. The date Rev. Burke writes, that was on Laudabiliter was 1154, therefore it was consequently twenty years old. During this twenty-year period nobody ever heard of this Laudabiliter except Henry, and it was said that Henry kept this a secret, because his mother, the Empress Matilda, did not want Henry to act on it.
The Synod of Cashel in 1172 McCormick notes was the first Episcopal assembly after Henry's arrival in Ireland. The Papal Legate was present and had Adrian's Bull exist it should necessarily have engaged the attention of the assembled Fathers. However, "not a whisper" as to Adrian's grant he says was to be heard at that Council. Even the learned editor of Cambrensis Eversus Rev. Dr. Kelly while asserting the genuineness of Adrian s Bull, admits "there is not any, even the slightest authority, for asserting that its existence was known in Ireland before the year 1172, or for three years later."
McCormick says that it is extremely difficult, in any hypothesis, to explain in a satisfactory way this silence, nor is it easy to understand how a fact so important, to the interests of Ireland could remain so many years concealed including from those in the Irish Church. Throughout this period he says, Ireland numbered among its Bishops one who held the important office of Legate of the Holy See, and that the Church had had constant intercourse with England and the continent through St. St Laurence O'Toole and a hundred other distinguished Prelates, who enjoyed in the fullest manner the confidence of Rome.
Four letters of Pope Alexander III
On the conclusion of the Synod of Cashel according to Edmund Curtis, Henry sent envoys to Pope Alexander III asking for a papal privilege for Ireland. Alexander from Tusculum then published three letters on the Irish question. The three letters according to Oliver Joseph Thatcher are numbered 12,162, 12,163, and 12,164 in the Regesta of Jaffé-Loewenfeld, and printed in Migne, Patrologia Latina, Vol, CC, cols. 883 ff. They all have the same date, 20 September, and it is certain he says that they were written in 1172. Cardinal Gasquet writes that they were first published in 1728 by Hearne in the Liber Niger Scaccarii the Black Book of the Exchequer and are addressed to the Irish Bishops, to the English king, and to the Irish princes. While they all have the same date of 20 September, and are written from Tusculum, he suggest that they are attributed to the year 1170.
In the letter to Henry, according to Thatcher, Alexander beseeches Henry to preserve whatever rights St. Peter already actually exercises in Ireland, and expressing confidence that Henry will be willing to acknowledge his duty. In this letter Thatcher notes, there is no mention of Adrian IV., or any document issued by him, and there is nothing that can possibly be interpreted as a reference to Laudabiliter. Thatcher notes that in none of these letters do we find any reference to Adrian IV. or to any of his letters.
On the letters of Alexander III, Cardinal Gasquet cites the editor of the Analecta who notes that they completely ignore the existence of Laudabiliter. The letters he says recognise no title or claim of Henry to dominion except "the power of the monarch, and the submission of the chiefs." They do mention the Pope's rights over all islands, and ask Henry to preserve these rights. This proves he says that the grant of Adrian was unknown in Rome as completely as it was in England and Ireland. Such a deduction is confirmed he says by the action later of Pope John XXII with the Ambassadors of Edward II at the beginning of the 14th century. Although the author of the article in the Analecta does not agree with Dr. Moran as to the authentic character of these documents, he admits that they, at least, form some very powerful arguments against the genuineness of Pope Adrian's grant.
Citing Mathew of Westminster, Rev. Burke notes that "Henry obliged every man in England, from the boy of twelve years up to the old man, to renounce their allegiance to the true Pope, and go over to an anti-Pope" and asks was it likely then, that Alexander would give Henry a letter to settle ecclesiastical matters in Ireland? Rev. Burke citing Alexander who wrote to Henry, notes that instead of referring to a document giving him permission to settle Church matters in Ireland Alexander said;
|“||Instead of remedying the disorders caused by your predecessors, you have oppressed the Church, and you have endeavored to destroy the canons of apostolic men.||”|
However Curtis in his History of Ireland suggests that Henry was at this time in May 1172 reconciled with the Papacy. The Rev. Burke notes that Alexander's letter carried the date 1172 and asked was is it likely that a Pope would have given a letter to Henry, who he knew well, asking Henry to take care of the Church and put everything in order? The Rev. Burke then asks "is this the man that Alexander would send to Ireland to settle affairs, and make the Irish good children of the Pope?" Responding again to Mr. Froude, who then said that "the Irish never loved the Pope till the Normans taught them" The Rev. Burke notes that until "the accursed Normans came to Ireland," the Papal Legate could always come and go as he pleased and that no Irish king obstructed him and that no Irishman's hand was ever raised against a Bishop, "much less against the Papal Legate." However the very first Legate that came to Ireland, after the Norman Invasion, the Rev. Burke writes that in passing through England, Henry "took him by the throat, and imposed upon him an oath that, when he went to Ireland, he would not do anything that would be against the interest of the King". It was unheard of that a Bishop, Archbishop, or Cardinal should be persecuted, the Rev. Burke says until the Anglo-Normans brought with them "their accursed feudal system, and concentration of power in the hands of the king..."
According to Curtis, the Pope sent another privilege which was published by papal envoys after at the Synod of Waterford which he said conferred on Henry the dominion over the Irish people. Whatever we may think of the so-called Bull of Adrian, says Curtis, there can be no doubt that the letters and privilege of Alexander conferred the lordship of Ireland upon Henry II. Herbert Paul says that James Anthony Froude also maintained that the existence of Laudabiliter were proved by this later letter. However the Rev. Burke said that he preferred to believe that it was a forgery. He based this view he said on the authority of Dr. Lynch, author of "Cambrensis Eversus," in addition to the Abbé McGeoghegan, and Dr. Moran, Bishop of Ossory that this letter of Alexander's was a forgery.
Papal copy of 'Laudabiliter'
Froude also said there was a copy of Laudabiliter in the archives at Rome and how would the Rev. Burke "get over that"? The Rev. Burke in response pointed out that the copy had no date at all on it and that Caesar Baronius, the historian, along with the learned Dr. Mansuerius declare that a rescript or document "that has no date, the day it was executed, the seal and the year, is invalid" and was therefore "just so much paper". The result of this being "that even if Adrian gave it, it was worth nothing." The Rev. Burke continued that the "learned authorities tell us that the existence of a document in the archives does not prove the authenticity of that document" and that it "may be kept there as a mere record." However Curtis in his A History of Ireland from Earliest Times to 1922 states that there is no original or copy of Laudabiliter in the papal archieves. While accepting that there is no copy of Laudabiliter in the papal archieves Mackie suggests that this proves nothing, for there is at Rome no document dealing with the affairs of Ireland before the year 1215.
Synod of Waterford 1175
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Terms of 'Laudabiliter'
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Papal letter of 1311 and the Irish Kings' Remonstrance of 1317
However within a century-and-a-half, Norman misrule in Ireland became so apparent that Laudabiliter was to be invoked again, this time in aid of the rights of the Gaelic Irish clans. Pope Clement V had written to Edward II of England in 1311 reminding him of the responsibility that Laudabiliter put upon him to execute government in Ireland for the welfare of the Irish. He warned Edward II that:
|“||... the kings of England ... have in direct violation of [Laudabiliter], for a long period past kept down that people [of Ireland] in a state of intolerable bondage, accompanied with unheard-of hardships and grievances. Nor was there found during all that time, any person to redress the grievances they endured or be moved with a pitiful compassion for their distress; although recourse was had to you ... and the loud cry of the oppressed fell, at times at least, upon your own ear. In consequence whereof, unable to support such a state of things any longer, they have been compelled to withdraw themselves from your jurisdiction and to invite another to come and be ruler over them ...||”|
In 1317, during the Bruce invasion, some of the remaining Gaelic kings, following decades of English rule, tried to have the bull recast or replaced, as a basis for a new kingship for Ireland, with Edward Bruce as their preferred candidate. Led by Domnall mac Brian Ó Néill, King of Tír Eógain, they issued a Remonstrance to the next Pope, John XXII, requesting that Laudabiliter should be revoked, but this was refused.
|“||... in the year of the Lord 1155, at the false and wicked representation of King Henry of England, under whom and perhaps by whom St. Thomas of Canterbury, as you know, in that very year suffered death for justice and defence of the church, Pope Adrian, your predecessor, an Englishman not so much by birth as by feeling and character, did in fact, but unfairly, confer upon that same Henry (whom for his said offence he should rather have been deprived of his own kingdom) this lordship of ours by a certain form of words, the course of justice entirely disregarded and the moral vision of that great pontiff blinded, alas! by his English proclivities.||”|
Clearly the kings believed that Laudabiliter was the ultimate legal basis for their continuing problems at that time. In the meantime they had misremembered the year of Becket's death (1170, not 1155), but painfully recalled the date of Laudabiliter. In its date, style and contents the Remonstrance argues against the attempts to negate the bull centuries later. It is also clear from these documents that Clement V wanted Edward II to promote a more tolerant administration in Ireland, but without going so far as to revoke the bull of 1155. Given that he was a Pope during the controversial Avignon Papacy, John XXII was not in a position to alienate the support of kings such as Edward II.
Laudabiliter and the Kingdom of Ireland 1542–1555
Laudabiliter had a continuing political relevance into the 16th century. Henry VIII of England was excommunicated by Pope Paul III on 17 December 1538, causing his opponents to question his continuing claim to be Lord of Ireland, which was based ultimately on Laudabiliter. Henry established the Kingdom of Ireland in 1542, whereby the kingdom was to be ruled in "personal union" with the Kingdom of England. This was not recognised by Europe's Roman Catholic monarchs. Therefore in 1555 a further papal bull Ilius was issued by Pope Paul IV naming Queen Mary and her husband Philip (later Philip II of Spain) as monarchs of Ireland.
- Ginnell, Laurence (1899). The Doubtful Grant of Ireland By Pope Adrian IV. To King Henry Investigated. Dublin: Fallon & Co. p. 1.
- McCormick, Stephen J. (1889). The Pope and Ireland. San Francisco: A. Waldteufel. pp. Preface.
- Curtis, Edmund (2002). A History of Ireland from Earliest Times to 1922. New York: Routledge. p. 49. ISBN 0-415-27949-6.
- Round M.A., J. H. (1899). The Commune of London and other Studies. Westminster: Archibald Constable and Co. pp. 171–172.
- Curtis, Edmund (2002). A History of Ireland from Earliest Times to 1922. New York: Routledge. pp. 39–40. ISBN 0-415-27949-6.
- Salzman, Louis Francis (1921). Original Sources of English History. Cambridge: W. Heffer & Sons Ltd. p. 66.
- Gwynn, Stephen (1923). The History of Ireland. New York: The MacMillan Company. p. 80.
- Lingard, Rev. John (1819). A History of England from the First Invasion by the Romans to the Accession of Henry VIII. Vol II. London: J.Mawman. pp. 101–102.
- Gasquet, Cardinal (1922). Monastic Life in the Middle Ages. London: G. Bell & Sons Ltd. pp. 150–151.
- Curtis, Edmund (2002). A History of Ireland from Earliest Times to 1922. New York: Routledge. pp. 38–39. ISBN 0-415-27949-6.
- Mackie, J. Duncan (1907). Pope Adrian IV. The Lothian Essay. Oxford: B. H. Blackwell. p. 111.
- Ginnell, Laurence (1899). The Doubtful Grant of Ireland By Pope Adrian IV. To King Henry Investigated. Dublin: Fallon & Co. p. 6.
- Gasquet, Cardinal (1922). Monastic Life in the Middle Ages. London: G. Bell and Sons, Ltd. pp. 163–164.
- Vatican secret archive website; accessed April 2010
- O'Hegarty, P. S. (1918). "1". The Indestructible Nation 1. Dublin & London: Maunsel & Company, Ltd. p. 3.
- McCormick, Stephen J. (1889). The Pope and Ireland. San Francisco: A. Waldteufel. p. 29.
- Tarleton, Alfread H. (1896). Nicholas Breakspear (Adrian IV.) Englishman and Pope. London: Arthur L. Humphreys. pp. 168–169.
- Magnum Bullarium Romanum; Vol. 2, pp. 351–52. Vatican, Rome, 1739.
- Warren W.L. King John; Eyre & Spottiswoode, London 1960, p.35.
- Davidson LS & Ward JO, The sorcery trial of Alice Kyteler (New York, 1993), appendix 8. ISBN 0-86698-171-3
- Online version of the letter in English
- Burke, O.P., Very Rev. Thomas N. (1873). "1". English Misrule in Ireland: A Course of Lectures in Reply to J. A Froude 1. New York: Lynch, Cole & Meehan. pp. 27–32.
- The Doubtful Grant of Ireland By Pope Adrian IV to King Henry Investigated, Laurence Ginnell, Fallon & Co, Dublin (1899), The Pope and Ireland, Stephen J. McCormick, A. Waldteufel, San Francisco (1889), Monastic Life in the Middle Ages, Cardinal Gasquet, G. Bell and Sons, Ltd, London (1922).
- The Pope and Ireland, Stephen J. McCormick, A. Waldteufel, San Francisco (1889)
- Lynch, John (1848). Matthew Kelly, ed. Cambrensis Eversus: The History of Ireland Vindicated. Dublin: The Celtic Society. pp. iii.
- Owen, Henry (1889). Gerald the Welshman. London: Whiting & Co. p. 39.
- Orpen, Goddard Henry (1911). Ireland Under the Normans 1169–1216. Vol 1. Oxford: Clarendon Press.
- The Doubtful Grant of Ireland By Pope Adrian IV to King Henry Investigated, Laurence Ginnell, Fallon & Co, Dublin (1899), The Pope and Ireland, Stephen J. McCormick, A. Waldteufel, San Francisco (1889), Monastic Life in the Middle Ages, Cardinal Gasquet, G. Bell and Sons, Ltd, London (1922), Studies Concerning Adrian IV., Oliver Joseph Thatcher, The Decennial Publications, Chicago (1903).
- Orpen, Goddard Henry (1911). Ireland Under the Normans 1169–1216. Vol 1. Oxford: Clarendon Press. p. 288.
- Gasquet, Cardinal (1922). Monastic Life in the Middle Ages. London: G. Bell and Sons, Ltd. p. 171.
- Ginnell, Laurence (1899). The Doubtful Grant of Ireland By Pope Adrian IV. To King Henry Investigated. Dublin: Fallon & Co. pp. 4–5.
- Ginnell, Laurence (1899). The Doubtful Grant of Ireland By Pope Adrian IV. To King Henry Investigated. Dublin: Fallon & Co. p. 3.
- Gasquet, Cardinal (1922). Monastic Life in the Middle Ages. London: G. Bell & Sons Ltd. p. 153.
- Paul, Herbert (1905). The Life of Froude. 1 Amen Corner, E.C. London: Sir Isaac Pitman & Sons, Ltd. p. 217.
- Burke, O.P., Very Rev. Thomas N. (1873). "1". English Misrule in Ireland: A Course of Lectures in Reply to J. A Froude 1. New York: Lynch, Cole & Meehan. p. 27.
- Gasquet, Cardinal (1922). Monastic Life in the Middle Ages. London: G. Bell and Sons, Ltd. pp. 155–156.
- Tarleton, Alfread H. (1896). Nicholas Breakspear (Adrian IV.) Englishman and Pope. London: Arthur L. Humphreys. p. 131.
- Alfread H. Tarleton gives the date of 9 October, St. Dionysius's day, when the ambassadors set out in Nicholas Breakspear (Adrian IV.) Englishman and Pope, p. 130. L. F. Rushbrook Williams also gives 9 October 1155 in History of the Abbey of St. Alban, Longman's Green & Co. London 1917, pp. 70–71. While both mention Robert assisting in some royal business and being a part of deputation including three bishops selected by Henry neither mention John of Salisbury.
- Gasquet, Cardinal (1922). Monastic Life in the Middle Ages. London: G. Bell and Sons, Ltd. p. 155.
- Laurence Ginnell in The Doubtful Grant of Ireland By Pope Adrian IV to King Henry Investigated, page23 says John was born at Old Sarum (Salisbury) between 1115 and 1120. In his youth he say, before 1130, he went to Paris to study, and he did not return to England until 1150.
- Thatcher, Oliver Joseph (1903). Studies Concerning Adrian IV. Chicago: The Decennial Publications. p. 4.
- Williams, L. F. Rushbrook (1917). History of the Abbey of St. Alban. London: Longman's Green & Co. pp. 70–71.
- Tarleton, Alfread H. (1896). Nicholas Breakspear (Adrian IV.) Englishman and Pope. London: Arthur L. Humphreys. pp. 133–134.
- Gasquet, Cardinal (1922). Monastic Life in the Middle Ages. London: G. Bell and Sons, Ltd. p. 153.
- Gasquet, Cardinal (1922). Monastic Life in the Middle Ages. London: G. Bell and Sons, Ltd. pp. 155, 157.
- Burke, O.P., Very Rev. Thomas N. (1873). "1". English Misrule in Ireland: A Course of Lectures in Reply to J. A Froude 1. New York: Lynch, Cole & Meehan. pp. 27–28.
- Curtis, Edmund (2002). A History of Ireland from Earliest Times to 1922. New York: Routledge. p. 39. ISBN 0-415-27949-6.
- McCormick, Stephen J. (1889). The Pope and Ireland. San Francisco: A. Waldteufel. p. 30.
- Mackie, J. Duncan (1907). Pope Adrian IV. The Lothian Essay. Oxford: B. H. Blackwell. pp. 114–115.
- Thatcher, Oliver Joseph (1903). Studies Concerning Adrian IV. Chicago: The Decennial Publications. p. 22.
- Moore, Thomas (1840). "XXXII". The History of Ireland 2 (New Edition ed.). London: Longman, Orme, Brown, Green. p. 342.
- McCormick, Stephen J. (1889). The Pope and Ireland. San Francisco: A. Waldteufel. p. 24.
- Dimock notes that Giraldus's abuse was not confined to Ireland and the Irish, that it was almost equally as fully lavished upon his own Wales and the Welsh. Cambrensis, Giraldus (1891). Frederick J. Furnivall M.A.. ed. The English Conquest of Ireland a.d. 1166–1185: Mainly from the 'Expugnato Hibernica' of Giraldus Cambrensis. Part 1. Published for The Early English Text Society. London: Kegan Paul, Trench, Trubner & Co., Limited. pp. xiii.
- Cambrensis, Giraldus (1891). Frederick J. Furnivall M.A., ed. The English Conquest of Ireland a.d. 1166–1185: Mainly from the 'Expugnato Hibernica' of Giraldus Cambrensis. Part 1. Published for The Early English Text Society. London: Kegan Paul, Trench, Trubner & Co., Limited. pp. xiii.
- Mooney, Thomas (1853). A History of Ireland, from the first settlement to the present time 1. Boston: Patrick Donahoe. pp. 108, 110.
- Thomas Mooney lists Hanmer, Campion, Spenser, Camden, and Leland, amongst the most conspicuous of the English defamers of Ireland in his A History of Ireland, from the first settlement to the present time Vol 1 p. 111
- Tarleton, Alfread H. (1896). Nicholas Breakspear (Adrian IV.) Englishman and Pope. London: Arthur L. Humphreys. p. 168.
- Gasquet, Cardinal (1922). Monastic Life in the Middle Ages. London: G. Bell and Sons, Ltd. pp. 160–161.
- Gasquet, Cardinal (1922). Monastic Life in the Middle Ages. London: G. Bell and Sons, Ltd. p. 160.
- Ginnell, Laurence (1899). The Doubtful Grant of Ireland By Pope Adrian IV. To King Henry Investigated. Dublin: Fallon & Co. p. 7.
- Curtis, Edmund (2002). A History of Ireland from Earliest Times to 1922. New York: Routledge. p. 48. ISBN 0-415-27949-6.
- Thatcher, Oliver Joseph (1903). Studies Concerning Adrian IV. Chicago: The Decennial Publications. p. 24.
- Thatcher, Oliver Joseph (1903). Studies Concerning Adrian IV. Chicago: The Decennial Publications. pp. 24–25.
- Burke, O.P., Very Rev. Thomas N. (1873). "1". English Misrule in Ireland: A Course of Lectures in Reply to J. A Froude 1. New York: Lynch, Cole & Meehan. p. 28.
- The Rev. Burke points out that Adrian did not know Henry, but Alexander knew him well. Henry, he says in 1159, supported the anti-Pope, Octavianus, against Alexander and again in 1166, this time supporting the anti-Pope, Guido, against him.
- Burke, O.P., Very Rev. Thomas N. (1873). "1". English Misrule in Ireland: A Course of Lectures in Reply to J. A Froude 1. New York: Lynch, Cole & Meehan. pp. 29–30.
- Paul, Herbert (1905). The Life of Froude. 1 Amen Corner, E.C. London: Sir Isaac Pitman & Sons, Ltd. p. 218.
- Mackie, J. Duncan (1907). Pope Adrian IV. The Lothian Essay. Oxford: B. H. Blackwell. p. 110.
- Full Text of 1317 Remonstrance
- Magnum Bullarium Romanum Volume 4, part 1, page 315 (1743 edition; facsimile reprint 1965).
- The Doubtful Grant of Ireland By Pope Adrian IV to King Henry Investigated, Laurence Ginnell, Fallon & Co, (Dublin 1899).
- The Pope and Ireland, Stephen J. McCormick, A. Waldteufel, (San Francisco 1889).
- A History of Ireland from Earliest Times to 1922, Edmund Curtis, Routledge (London, 1936, 6th edn, 1950; reprinted New York 2002), ISBN 0-415-27949-6.
- The Indestructible Nation, P. S. O'Hegarty, Maunsel & Company, Ltd (Dublin & London 1918).
- English Misrule in Ireland: A Course of Lectures in Reply to J. A Froude, Very Rev. Thomas N. Burke, O.P., Lynch, Cole & Meehan (New York 1873).
- The Life of Froude, Herbert Paul, Sir Isaac Pitman & Sons E.C. (London 1905).
- Pope Adrian IV. The Lothian Essay 1907, J. Duncan Mackie, B. H. Blackwell (Oxford 1907)
- Ireland and the Pope: A Brief History of Papel Intrigues Against Irish Liberty from Adrian IV. to Leo XIII Third Edition, James G. Maguire, James H. Barry (San Francisco 1890).
- The Historical Works of Giraldus Cambrensis, Edited by Thomas Wright, George Bell & Sons (London 1905).
- Monastic Life in the Middle Ages, Cardinal Gasquet, G. Bell and Sons, Ltd, (London 1922)
- Gerald the Welshman, Henry Owen, Whiting & Co, London (1889).
- Nicholas Breakspear (Adrian IV.) Englishman and Pope, Alfread H. Tarleton, Arthur L. Humphreys, (London 1896).
- History of the Abbey of St. Alban, L. F. Rushbrook Williams, Longman's Green & Co. (London 1917).
- A History of England from the First Invasion by the Romans to the Accession of Henry VIII, Vol II, Rev. John Lingard, J.Mawman (London 1819).
- The Indestructible Nation, P. S. O’Hegarty, Maunsel & Company Ltd, (Dublin & London 1918).
- The History of Ireland, Stephen Gwynn, The MacMillan Company (New York 1923).
- Studies Concerning Adrian IV., Oliver Joseph Thatcher, The Decennial Publications, (Chicago 1903).
- The Commune of London and other Studies, J. H. Round M.A., Archibald Constable and Co. (Westminster 1899).
- Original Sources of English History, Louis Francis Salzman, W. Heffer & Sons Ltd (Cambridge 1921).
- The English Conquest of Ireland a.d. 1166–1185: Mainly from the 'Expugnato Hibernica' of Giraldus Cambrensis Part 1, Giraldus Cambrensis, Frederick J. Furnivall M.A.. ed, Published for The Early English Text Society. Kegan Paul, Trench, Trubner & Co., Limited (London 1891).
- History of the Abbey of St. Alban, L. F. Rushbrook Williams, Longman's Green & Co. (London 1917)
- Cambrensis Eversus: The History of Ireland Vindicated, John Lynch, Matthew Kelly ed., The Celtic Society (Dublin 1848).
- The History of Ireland Vol.2 (New Edition ed.), Thomas Moore, Longman, Orme, Brown, Green (London 1840).
- A History of Ireland, from the first settlement to the present time, Vol 1, Thomas Mooney, Patrick Donahoe, (Boston 1853).
- Ireland Under the Normans 1169–1216. Vol 1, Goddard Henry Orpen, Clarendon Press (Oxford 1911); see chapter 9 on the controversy.
- Selected Documents in Irish History, edited by Josef Lewis Altholz, M.E. Sharpe, Inc. 2000
- "Pope Adrians's bull Laudabiliter and note upon it" from Eleanor Hull, 1931, A History of Ireland, Volume One, Appendix I
- Lyttleton, Life of Henry II., vol. v p. 371: text of Laudabiliter asa reprinted in Ernest F. Henderson, Select Historical Documents of the Middle Ages (London : George Bell and Sons) 1896 with Henderson's note: "That a papal bull was dispatched to England about this time and concerning this matter is certain. That this was the actual bull sent is doubted by many".