About Maximapedia

Oneida Community

ONEIDA COMMUNITY (or Bible Communists), an American communistic society at Oneida, Madison county. New York, which has attracted wide interest on account of its pecuniary success and its pecuhar religious and social principles (see Communism).

Its founder, John Humphrey Noyes (1811-1886), was born in Brattleboro, Vermont, on the 3rd of September 181 1. He was of good parentage; his father, John Noyes (1763-1841), was a graduate of and for a time a tutor in Dartmouth College, and was a representative in Congress in i8r5-i8i7; and his mother, Polly Hayes, was an aunt of Rutherford B. Hayes, president of the United States. The son graduated at Dartmouth in 1830, and studied law for a year, but having been converted in a protracted revival in 1831 he turned to the ministry, studied theology for one year at Andover (where he was a member of " The Brethren," a secret society of students preparing for foreign missionary work), and then a year and a half at Yale, and in 1833 was licensed to preach by the New Haven Association; but his open preaching of his new religious doctrines, and especially that of present salvation from sin, resulted in the revocation of his license in 1834, and his thereafter being called a Perfectionist. He continued to promulgate his ideas of a higher Christian life, and soon had disciples in many places, one of whom, Harriet A. Holton, a woman of means, he married in 1838. In 1836 he returned to his father's home in Putney, Vt., and founded a Bible School; in 1843 he entered into a " contract of Partnership " with his Putney followers; and in March 1845 the Putney Corporation or Association of Perfectionists was formed.

Although the Putney Corporation or Association was never a community in the sense of common-property ownership, yet it was practically a communal organization, and embodied the radical religious and social principles that subsequently gave such fame to the Oneida Community, of which it may justly be regarded as the beginning and precursor. These principles naturally excited the opposition of the churches in the small Vermont village where the Perfectionists resided, and indignation meetings against them were held; and although they resulted in no personal violence Mr Noyes and his followers considered it prudent to remove to a place where they were sure of more liberal treatment. They accordingly withdrew from Putney in 1847, 3-id accepting the invitation of Jonathan Burt and others, settled near Oneida, Madison county, New York.

Here the community at first devoted itself to agriculture and fruit raising, but had little financial success until it began the manufacture of a steel trap, invented by one of its members, Sewall Newhouse; the manufacture of steel chains for use with the traps followed; the canning of vegetables and fruits was begun about 1854, and the manufacture of sewing and embroidery silk in 1866. Having started with a very small capital (the inventoried valuation of its property in 1857 was only $67,000), the community gradually grew in numbers and prospered as a business concern. Its relations with the surrounding population, after the first few years, became very friendly. The members won the reputation of being good, industrious citizens, whose word was always " as good as their bond "; against whom no charge of intemperance, profanity or crime was ever brought. But the communists claimed that among true Christians " mine and thine " in property matters should cease to exist, as among the early pentecostal beUevers; and, moreover, that the same unselfish spirit should pervade and control all human relations. And notwithstanding these very radical principles, which were freely propounded and discussed in their weekly paper, the communists were not seriously disturbed for a quarter of a century. But from 1873 to 1879 active measures favouring legislative action against the community, specially instigated by Prof. John W. Mears (1825-1881), were taken by several ecclesiastical bodies of Central New York. These measures culminated in a conference held at Syracuse University on the 14th of February 1879, when denunciatory resolutions against the community were passed and legal measures advised.

Mr Noyes, the founder and leader of the community, had repeatedly said to his followers that the time might come when it would be necessary, in deference to public opinion, to recede from the practical assertion of their social principles; and on the 20th of August of this year (1879) he said definitely to them that in his judgment that time had come, and he thereupon proposed that the community " give up the practice of Complex Marriage, not as renouncing belief in the principles and prospective finality of that institution, but in deference to public sentiment." This proposition was considered and accepted in full assembly of the community on the 26th of the same month

This great change was followed by other changes of vital importance, finally resulting in the transformation of the Oneida Community into the incorporated Oneida Community, Limited, a co-operative joint-stock company, in which each person's interest was represented by the shares of stock standing in his name on the books of the company.

In the reorganization the adult members fared alike in the matter of remuneration for past services - those who by reason of ill-health had been unable to contribute to the common fund receiving the same as those who by reason of strength and ability had contributed most thereto; besides, the old and infirm had the option of accepting a life-guaranty in lieu of work; and hence there were no cases of suffering and want at the time the transformation from a common-property interest to an individual stock interest was made; and in the new company all were guaranteed remunerative labour.

O'NEILL (FAMILY)

This occurred on the 1st of January 1881, at which time the business and property of the community were transferred to the incorporated stock company, and stoclc issued therefor to the amount of |6oo,ooo. In the subsequent twenty-eight years this capital stock was doubled, and dividends averaging more than 6% per annum were paid. Aside from the home buildings and the large acreage devoted to agriculture and fruit raising, the present capital of the company is invested, first, in its hardware department at Kenwood, N.Y., manufacturing stee! gametraps, and weldless chains of every description; second, the silk department at Kenwood, N.Y., manufacturing sewing silk, machine twist and embroidery silks; third, the fruit department at Kenwood, N.Y., whose reputation for putting up pure, wholesome fruits and vegetables is probably the highest in the country; fourth, the tableware department, at Niagara Falls, N.Y., which manufactures the now celebrated Community Silver; fifth, the Canadian department, with factory at Niagara Falls, Ontario, Canada, where the hardware lines are manufactured forCanachan trade. The annual sales of all departments aggregate over $2,000,000. The olTicers of the company consist of a president, secretary, treasurer and assistant treasurer, and there were in 1909 eleven directors. Each of the five leading departments is managed by a superintendent, and all are under the supervision of the general manager. Nearly all the superintendents and the general manager were in 1909 young men who were born in the community, and have devoted their life-work to the interests of the company. Selling offices are maintained in New York City. Chicago, St Louis, Cleveland, O., Richmond, Va., Atlanta, Ga., and San Francisco.

In addition to the members of the society the company employs between 1500 and 2000 workmen. The policy has been to avoid trade-unions, but to pay higher wages and give better conditions than other employers in similar lines, and by so doing to obtain a better selection of workmen. The conditions of work as well as of living have been studied and developed with the idea of making both healthful and attractive. With this in view the company has laid out small villages, in many ways making them attractive and sanitary, and has encouraged the building of houses by its employes. Much has been accomplished in this direction by providing desirable building-sites at moderate expense, and paying a bonus of from. $100 to $200 in cash to every employe who builds his own home. The company has also taken an interest in the schools in the vicinity of its factories, with the idea of offering to the children of its employes facihties for a good education.

The communism of John H. Noyes was based on his interpretation of the New Testament. In his pamphlet, Bible Communism (1848), he affirmed that the second coming of Christ occurred at the close of the apostolic age, immediately after the destruction of Jerusalem, and he argued from many New Testament passages, especially i John i, 7, that after the second coming and the beginning of Christ's reign upon the earth, the true standard of Christian character was sinlessness, which was possible through vital union with Christ, that aU selfishness was to be done away with, both in property in things and in persons, or, in other words, that communism was to be finally estabUshed in all the relations of life. But, while affirming that the same spirit which on the day of Pentecost abolished exclusiveness in regard to money tends to obliterate all other property distinctions, he had no affihation with those commonly termed Free Lovers, because their principles and practices seemed to him to tend toward anarchy. " Our Communities," he said, " are families as distinctly bounded and separated from promiscuous society as ordinary households. The tie that binds us together is as permanent and sacred, to say the least, as that of common marriage, for it is our religion. We receive no new members (except by deception and mistake) who do not give heart and hand to the family interest for life and for ever. Community of property extends just as far as freedom of love. Every man's care and every dollar of the common property are pledged for the maintenance and protection of the women and the education of the children of the Community."

The community was much interested in the question of race improvement by scientific means, and maintained with much force of argument that at least as much scientific attention should be given to the physical improvement of human beings as is given to the improvement of domestic animals; and they referred to the results of their own incomplete slirpicultural experiments as indicative of what may be expected in the far future, when the conditions of human reproduction are no longer controlled by chance, social position, wealth, impulse or lust.

The community claimed to have solved among themselves the labour question, all kinds of service being regarded as equally honourable, and every person being respected according to his real character.

The members had some peculiarities of dress, mostly confined, however, to the women, whose costumes included a short dress and pantalets, which were appreciated for their convenience, if not for their beauty. 'J'he women also adopted the practice of wearing short hair, which it was claimed saved time and vanity. Tobacco, intoxicants, profanity, obscenity found no place in the community. The community diet consisted largely of vegetables and fruits; meat, tea and coffee being served only occasionally.

For securing good order and the improvement of the members, the community placed much reliance upon a very peculiar system of plain speaking they termed mutual criticism, which originated in a secret society of missionary brethren with which Mr Noyes was connected while pursuing his theological studies at Andover Seminary, and whose members submitted themselves in turn to the sincerest comment of one another as a means of personal improvement. Under Mr Noyes's supervision it became in the Oneida Community a principal means of discipline and government. There was a standing committee of criticism, selected by the community, and changed from time to time, thus giving all an opportunity to serve both as critics and subjects, and justifying the term " mutual " which they gave to the system. The subject was free to have others besides the committee present, or to have critics only of his own choice, or to invite an expression from the whole community.

Noyes edited The Perfectionist (New Haven, Connecticut, 1834, and Putney, Vermont, 1843-1846); The Witness (Ithaca, New York, and Putney, 1838-1843); The Spiritual Magazine (Putney, 1846-1847; Oneida, 1848-1850); The Free Church Ciicular (Oneida, 1850-1851); and virtually, though not always nominally. The Circular and The Oneida Circular (Brooklyn, 1851-1854; Oneida, N.Y., and Wallingford, Conn., 1854-1876); and The American Socialist (Oneida, 1876-1880). He was the author of The Way of Hoiinesi (Putney, 1838); The Berean (Putney, 1847), containing an exposition of his doctrines of Salvation from Sin; the Second Coming of Christ; the Origin of Evil; the Atonement; the Second Birth; the Millennium; Our Relations to the Primitive Church, etc. etc.; History of American Socialism (Philadelphia, 1870); Home Talks (Oneida, 1876); and numerous pamphlets.

See a scries of articles in the Manufacturer and Builder (New York, 1891-1894), by " C. R. Edson " (i.e. C. E. Robinson); The Oneida Community, by Allan Estlake (a member of the community) (1900); Morris Hillquit's History of Socialism in the United States (New York, 1903), and especially William A. Hinds' American Communities and Co-operative Colonies (3rd ed., Chicago, 1908). (W. A. H.)

O'NEILL, the name of an Irish family tracing descent from Niall, king of Ireland early in the 5th century, and known in Irish history and legend as NiaU of the Nine Hostages. He is said to have made war not only against lesser rulers in Ireland, but also in Britain and Gaul, stories of his exploits being related in the Book of Lcinster and the Book of Ballymotc, both of which, however, are many centuries later than the time of Niall. This king had fourteen sons, one of whom was Eoghan (Owen), from whom the O'Neills of the later history were descended. The descendants of Niall spread over Ireland and became divided into two main branches, the northern and the southern Hy Neill. to one or other of which nearly all the high-kings (ard-ri) of Ireland from the 5th to the 12th century belonged; the descendants of Eoghan being the chief of the northern Hy Neill.' Eoghan was grandfather of Murkertagh (Muircheartach) (d. 533), ' A list of these kings will be found in P. W. Joyce's A Social History of Ancient Ireland (London, 1903), vol. i. pp. 70, 71.

O'NEILL (FAMILY)

said to have been the first Christian king of Ireland, whose mother, Eire or Erca, became by a subsequent marriage the grandmother of St Columba. Of this monarch, known as Murkertagh MacNeill (NialJ), and sometimes by reference to his mother as Murkertagh Mac Erca, the story is told, illustrating an ancient Celtic custom, that in making a league with a tribe in Meath he emphasized the inviolability of the treaty by having it written with the blood of both clans mixed in one vessel. Murkertagh was chief of the great north Irish clan, the Cinel Eoghain,' and after becoming king of Ireland about the year 517, he wrested from a neighbouring clan a tract of country in the modern County Derry, which remained till the 17th century in the possession of the Cinel Eoghain. The inauguration stone of the Irish kings, the Lia Fail, or Stone of Destiny, fabled to have been the pillow of the patriarch Jacob on the occasion of his dream of the heavenly ladder, was said to have been presented by Murkertagh to the king of Dalriada,by whom it was conveyed toDunstaffnage Castle in Scotland (see Scone). A lineal descendent of Murkertagh was NiaU Frassach (i.e. of the showers), who became king of Ireland in 763; his surname, of which several fanciful explanations have been suggested, probably commemorating merely weather of exceptional severity at his birth. His grandson, Niall (791-845), drove back the Vikings who in his time began to infest the coast of Donegal. Niall's son, Aedh (Hugh) Finnlaith, was father of Niall Glundubh (i.e. Niall of the black knee), one of the most famous of the early Irish kings, from whom the family surname of the O'Neills was derived. His brother Domhnall (DonneU) was king of Ailech, a district in Donegal and Derry; the royal palace, the ruined masonry of which is stiU to be seen, being on the summit of a hill 800 ft. high overlooking loughs Foyle and Swilly. On the death of Domhnall in gii Niall Glundubh became king of AQech, and he then attacked and defeated the king of Dalriada at Glarryford, in County Antrim, and the king of Ulidia near Ballymena. Having thus extended his dominion he became king of Ireland in 915. To him is attributed the revival of the ancient meeting of Irish clans known as the Fair of Telltown (see Ireland: Early History). He fought many battles against the Norsemen, in one of which he was killed in gig at Kilmashoge, where his place of burial is still to be seen.

His son Murkertagh, who gained a great victory over the Norse in 926, is celebrated for his triumphant march round Ireland, the MoirlhimcheU Eiream, in which, starting from Portglenone on the Bann, he completed a circuit of the island at the head of his armed clan, returning with many captive kings and chieftains. From the dress of his followers in this expedition he was called " Murkertagh of the Leather Cloaks." The exploit was celebrated by Cormacan, the king's bard, in a poem that has been printed by the Irish Archaeological Society; and a number of Murkertagh's other deeds are related in the Book of Lcinster. He was killed in battle against the Norse in 943, and was succeeded as king of Ailech by his son, DonneU Ua Niall (i.e. O'Neill, grandson of Neill, or Niall, the name O'Neill becoming about this time an hereditary family surname'), whose grandson, Flaherty, became renowned for piety by going on a pilgrimage to Rome in 1030.

Aedh (Hugh) O'Neill, chief of the Cinel Eoghain, or lord of Tir-Eoghain (Tir-Owen, Tyrone) at the end of the 12th century, was the first of the family to be brought prominently into conflict with the Anglo-Norman monarchy, whose pretensions he took the lead in disputing in Ulster. It was probably his son or nephew (for the relationship is uncertain, the genealogies of the O'Neills being rendered obscure by the contemporaneous occurrence of the same name in different branches of the family) Hugh O'Neill, lord of Tyrone, who was styled " Head of the liberality and valour of the Irish." Hugh's son, Brian, by gaining 1 The Cinel, or Kind, was a group of related clans occupying an extensive district. See Joyce, op. cit. i. 166.

''The adoption of hereditary names became general in Ireland, in obedience, it is said, to an ordinance of Brian Boru, about the end of the 10th century. For the method of their formation see Joyce, op. cit. ii. 19.

the support of the earl of Ulster, was inaugurated' prince, or lord, of Tyrone in 1291; and his son Henry became lord of the Clann Aodha Buidhe (Clanaboy or Clandeboye), early in the 14th century. Henry's son Murkertagh the Strongminded, and his great-grandson Hugh, described as " the most renowned, hospitable and valorous of the princes of Ireland in his time," greatly consolidated the power of the O'Neills. NiaU Og O'NeiU, one of the four kings of Ireland, accepted knighthood from Richard II. of England; and his son Eoghan formally acknowledged the supremacy of the English crown, though he afterwards ravaged the Pale, and was inaugurated " the O'NeiU " (i.e. chief of the clan) on the death of his kinsman DomhnaU Boy O'Neill; a dignity from which he was deposed in 1455 by his son Henry, who in 1463 was acknowledged as chief of the Irish kings by Henry VII. of England. Contemporary with him was NeiU Mor O'NeUl (see below), lord of Clanaboy, from whose son Brian was descended the branch of the O'Neills who, settling in Portugal in the 18th century, became prominent among the Portuguese nobility, and who at the present day are the representatives La the male line of the ancient Irish kings of the house of O'Neill.

Conn O'Neill (c. 1480-1559), 1st earl of Tyrone, surnamed Bacach (the Lame), grandson of Henry O'NeiU mentioned above, was the first of the O'Neills whom the attempts of the English in the 16th century to subjugate Ireland brought to the front as leaders of the native Irish. Conn, who was related through his mother with the earl of Kildare (Fitzgerald), became chief of the Tyrone branch of the O'Neills (Cinel Eoghain) about 1520. When Kildare became viceroy in 1524, O'Neill consented to act as his swordbearer in ceremonies of state; but his allegiance was not to be reckoned upon, and while ready enough to give verbal assurances of loyalty, he could not be persuaded to give hostages as security for his conduct; but Tyrone having been invaded in 1541 by Sir Anthony St Leger, the lord deputy. Conn delivered up his son as a hostage, attended a parliament held at Trim, and, crossing to England, made his submission at Greenwich to Henry VIII., who created him earl of Tyrone for life, and made him a present of money and a valuable gold chain. He was also made a privy councillor in Ireland, and received a grant of lands within the Pale. This event created a deep impression in Ireland, where O'Neill's submission to the EngUsh king, and his acceptance of an English title, were resented by his clansmen and dependents. The rest of the earl's life was mainly occupied by endeavours to maintain his influence, and by an undying feud with his son Shane (John), arising out of his transaction with Henry VIII. For not only did the nomination of O'Neill's reputed son Matthew as his heir with the title of baron of Dungannon by the English king conflict with the Irish custom of tanistry (q.v.) which regulated the chieftainship of the Irish clans, but Matthew, if indeed he was O'NeiU's son at aU, was illegitimate; while Shane, Conn's eldest legitimate son, was not the man to submit tamely to any invasion of his rights. The fierce family feud only terminated when Matthew was murdered by agents of Shane in 1558; Conn dying about a year later. Conn was twice married, Shane being the son of his first wife, a daughter of Hugh Boy O'NeiU of Clanaboy. An illegitimate daughter of Conn married the celebrated Sorley Boy MacDonneU (q.v.).

Shane O'Neill (c. 1530-1567) was a chieftain whose support was worth gaining by the English even during his father's lifetime; but rejecting overtures from the earl of Sussex, the lord deputy, Shane refused to help the English against the Scottish settlers on the coast of Antrim, allying himself instead with the MacDonnells, the most powerful of these immigrants. Nevertheless Queen Elizabeth, on succeeding to the English throne, was disposed to come to terms with Shane, who after his father's death was de facto chief of the formidable O'NeiU clan. She accordingly agreed to recognize his claims to the chieftainship, thus throwing over Brian O'NeiU, son of the murdered Matthew, ' The ceremony of " inauguration " among the ancient Irish clans was an elaborate and important one. A stone inauguration chair of the O'Neills is preserved in the Belfast Museum. See Joyce, op. cit. i. 46.

O'NEILL (FAMILY)

baron of Dungannon, if Shane would submit to iicr authority and that of her deputy. O'Neill, however, refused to put himself in the power of Sussex without a guarantee for his safety; and his claims in other respects were so exacting that Elizabeth consented to measures being taken to subdue him and to restore Brian. An attempt to foment the enmity of the O'Donnelis against him was frustrated by Shane's capture of Calvagh O'Donnell, whom he kept a close prisoner for nearly three years. Elizabeth, whose prudence and parsimony were averse to so formidable an undertaking as the complete subjugation of the powerful Irish chieftain, desired peace with him at almost any price; especially when the devastation of his territory by Sussex brought him no nearer to submission. Sussex, indignant at Shane's request for his sister's hand in marriage, and his demand for the withdrawal of the English garrison from Armagh, was not supported by the queen, who sent the earl of Kildare to arrange terms with O'Neill. The latter, making some trifling concessions, consented to present himself before Elizabeth. Accompanied by Ormonde and Kildare he reached London on the 4th of January 1562. Camden describes the wonder with which O'Neill's wild gallowglasses were seen in the English capital, with their heads bare, their long hair falling over their shoulders and clipped short in front above the eyes, and clothed in rough yeUow shirts. Elizabeth was less concerned with the respective claims of Brian and Shane, the one resting on an English patent and the other on the Celtic custom, than with the question of policy involved in supporting or rejecting the demands of her proud suppliant. Characteristically, she temporized; but finding that O'Neill was in danger of becoming a tool in the hands of Spanish intriguers, she permitted him to return to Ireland, recognizing him as " the O'Neill," and chieftain of Tyrone; though a reservation was made of the rights of Hugh O'Neill, who had meantime succeeded his brother Brian as baron of Dungannon, Brian having been murdered in April 1562 by his kinsman Turlough Luineach O'NeiO.

There were at this time three powerful contemporary members of the O'Neill family in Ireland - Shane, Turlough and Hugh, 2nd earl of Tyrone. Turlough had been elected tanist (see Tanistry) when his cousin Shane was inaugurated the O'Neill, and he schemed to supplant him in the higher dignity during Shane's absence in London. The feud did not long survive Shane's return to Ireland, where he quickly re-estabUshed his authority, and in spite of Sussex renewed his turbulent tribal warfare against the O'Donnelis and others. Elizabeth at last authorized Sussex to take the field against Shane, but two several expeditions failed to accomplish anything except some depredation in O'Neill's country. Sussex had tried in 1561 to procure Shane's assassination, and Shane now laid the whole blame for his lawless conduct on the lord deputy's repeated alleged attempts on his life. Force having ignominiously failed, Elizabeth consented to treat, and hostihties were stopped on terms that gave O'Neill practically the whole of his demands. O'Neill now turned his hand against the MacDonneUs, claiming that he was serving the queen of England in harrying the Scots. He fought an indecisive battle with Sorley Boy MacDonnell near Coleraine in 1564, and the following year marched from Antrim through the mountains by Clogh to the neighbourhood of Ballycastle, where he routed the MacDonneUs and took Sorley Boy prisoner. This victory greatly strengthened Shane O'Neill's position, and Sir Henry Sidney, who became lord deputy in 1566, declared to the earl of Leicester that Lucifer himself was not more puffed up with pride and ambition than O'Neill. Preparations were made in earnest for his subjugation. O'Neill ravaged the Pale, failed in an attempt on Dundalk, made a truce with the MacDonneUs, and sought help from the earl of Desmond. The English, on the other hand, invaded Donegal and restored O'Donnell. Failing in an attempt to arrange terms, and also in obtaining the help which he solicited from France, O'Neill was utterly routed by the O'Donnelis at Letterkenny; and seeking safety in flight, he threw himself on the mercy of his enemies, the MacDonneUs. Attended by a small body of gallowglasses, and taking his prisoner Sorley Boy with him, he presented himself among the MacDonneUs near Cushendun, on the Antrim coast. Here, on the 2nd of June 1567, whether by premeditated treachery or in a sudden brawl is uncertain, he was slain by the MacDonneUs, and was buried at Glenarm. In his private character Shane O'Neill was a brutal, uneducated savage. He divorced his first wife, a daughter of James MacDonnell, and treated his second, a sister of Calvagh O'DonneU, with gross cruelty in revenge for her brother's hostility; Calvagh himself, when Shane's prisoner, he subjected to continual torture; and Calvagh's wife, whom he made his mistress, and by whom he had several children, endured iU-usage at the hands of her drunken captor, who is said to have married her in 1565.

Turlough Luineach O'Neill (c. i 530-1 595), earl of Clanconnell, was inaugurated chief of Tyrone on Shane's death. Making professions of loyalty to the queen of England, he sought to strengthen his position by aUiance with the O'Donnelis, MacDonneUs and MacQuUlans. But his conduct giving rise to suspicions, an expedition under the earl of Essex was sent against him, which met with such doubtful success that in 1575 a treaty was arranged by which O'NeiU received extensive grants of lands and permission to employ three hundred Scottish mercenaries. In 1578 he was created baron of Clogher and earl of ClanconneU for life; but on the outbreak of rebeUion in Munster his attitude again became menacing, and for the next few years he continued to intrigue against the English authorities. The latter, as a counterpoise to Turlough, supported his cousin Hugh, brother of Brian, whom Turlough had murdered. After several years of rivalry and much fighting between the two relatives, Turlough resigned the headship of the clan in favour of Hugh, who was inaugurated O'NeiU in 1593. Turlough died in 1S9S- Hugh O'Neill (c. 1540-1616), 2nd earl (known as the great earl) of Tyrone, was the second son of Matthew, reputed iUegitimate son of Conn, 1st earl of Tyrone.' He succeeded his brother, Brian, when the latter was murdered by Turlough in 1562, as baron of Dungannon. He was brought up in London, but returned to Ireland in 1567 after the death of Shane, under the protection of Sir Henry Sidney. He served with the Enghsh against Desmond in Munster in 1580, and assisted Sir John Perrot against the Scots of Ulster in 1584. In the foUowing year he was allowed to attend parliament as earl of Tyrone, though Conn's title had been for life only, and had not been assumed by Brian. Hugh's constant disputes with Turlough were fomented by the English with a view to weakening the power of the O'NeUls, but after Hugh's inauguration as the O'NeiU on Turlough 's resignation in 1593, he was left without a rival in the north. His career was marked by unceasing duplicity, at one time giving evidence of submission to the English authorities, at another intriguing against them in conjunction with lesser Irish chieftains. Having roused the ire of Sir Henry Bagnal (or Bagenal) by eloping with his sister in 1591, he afterwards assisted him in defeating Hugh Maguire at BeUeek in 1503; and then again went into opposition and sought aid from Spain and Scotland. Sir John Norris was accordingly ordered to Ireland with a considerable force to subdue him in 1595, but Tyrone succeeded in taking the Blackwater Fort and Sligo Castle before Norris was prepared; and he was thereupon proclaimed a traitor of Dundalk. In spite of the traditional enmity between the O'NeiUs and the O'DonneUs, Tyrone alUed himself with Hugh Roe O'DonneU, nephew of Shane's former enemy Calvagh O'Donnell, and the two chieftains opened communications with Philip II. of Spain, their letters to whom were intercepted by the viceroy. Sir William RusseU. They put themselves forward as the champions of the Catholic religion, claiming liberty of conscience as well as poUtical liberty for the native inhabitants of Ireland. In April 1596 Tyrone received promises of help from Spain. This increased his anxiety to temporize, which he did with signal success for more than two years, making ' The grave doubt as to the paternity of Matthew involved a doubt whether the great earl of Tyrone and his equally famous nephew Owen Roe had in fact any O'Neill blood in their veins.

I lO O'NEILL (FAMILY)

from time to time as circumstances required, professions of loyalty which deceived Sir John Norris and the earl of Ormonde. In 1598 a cessation of hostilities was arranged, and a formal pardon granted to Tyrone by Elizabeth. Within two months he was again in the field, and on the 14th of August he destroyed an English force under Bagnal at the Yellow Ford on the Blackwater. If the earl had known how to profit by this victory, he might now have successfully withstood the English power in Ireland; for in every part of Ireland - and especially in the south, where James Fitzthomas Fitzgerald with O'Neill's support was asserting his claim to the earldom of Desmond at the head of a formidable army of Geraldine clansmen - discontent broke into flame. But Tyrone, who possessed but little generalship, procrastinated until the golden opportunity was lost. Eight months after the battle of the Yellow Ford, the earl of Essex landed in Ireland to find that Tyrone had done nothing in the interval to improve his position. Acting on the queen's explicit instructions, Essex, after some ill-managed operations, had a meeting with Tyrone at a ford on the Lagan on th 7th of September 1599, when a truce was arranged; but EHzabeth was displeased by the favourable conditions allowed to the O'Neill and by Essex's treatment of him as an equal. Tyrone continued to concert measures with the Irish leaders in Munster, and issued a manifesto to the Catholics of Ireland summoning them to join his standard; protesting that the interests of religion were his first care. After an inconclusive campaign in Munster in January 1600, he returned in haste to Donegal, where he received supplies from Spain and a token of encouragement from Pope Clement VIII. In May of the same year Sir Henry Docwra, at the head of a considerable army, took up a position at Derry, while Mountjoy marched from Westmeath to Newry to support him, compelling O'Neill to retire to Armagh, a large reward having been offered for his capture alive or dead.

The appearance of a Spanish force at Kinsale drew Mountjoy to Munster in 1601; Tyrone followed him, and at Bandon joined forces with O'Donnell and with the Spaniards under Don John D'Aquila. The attack of these allies on the English completely failed. O'Donnell went to Spain, where he died soon afterwards, and Tyrone with a shattered force made his way once more to the north, where he renewed his policy of ostensibly seeking pardon whOe warily evading his enemies. Early in 1603 Ehzabeth instructed Mountjoy to open negotiations with the rebellious chieftains; and in April, Tyrone, in ignorance of Elizabeth's death, made his submission to Mountjoy. In Dublin, whither he proceeded with Mountjoy, he heard of the accession of King James, at whose court he presented himself in June accompanied by Rory O'Donnell, who had become chief of the O'Donnells after the departure of his brother Hugh Roe. The English courtiers were greatly incensed at the gracious reception accorded to these notable rebels by King James; but although Tyrone was confirmed in his title and estates, he had no sooner returned to Ireland than he again engaged in dispute with the government concerning his rights over certain of his feudatories, of whom Donnal O'Cahan was the most important. This dispute dragged on till 1607, when Tyrone arranged to go to London to submit the matter to the king. Warned, however, that his arrest was imminent, and possibly persuaded by Rory O'Donnell (created earl of Tyrconnel in 1603), whose relations with Spain had endangered his own safety, Tyrone resolved to fly from the country. " The flight of the earls," one of the most celebrated episodes in Irish history, occurred on the 14th of September 1607, when Tyrone and Tyrconnel embarked at midnight at Rathmullen on Lough SwQly, with their wives, families and retainers, numbering ninety-nine persons, and sailed for Spain. Driven by contrary winds to take shelter in the Seine, the refugees passed the winter in the Netherlands, and in April 1608 proceeded to Rome, where they were welcomed and hospitably entertained by Pope Paul v., and where Tyrconnel died the same year. In 1613 Tyrone was outlawed and attainted by the Irish parliament, and he died in Rome on the 20th of July 1616. He was four times married, and had a large number both of legitimate and illegitimate children.

Sir Phelim O'Neill (c. 1603-1653), a kinsman and younger contemporary of the earl of Tyrone, took a prominent part in the rebellion of 1641. In that year he was elected member of the Irish parhament for Dungannon, and joined the earl of Antrim and other lords in concerting measures for supporting Charles I. in his struggle with the parliament. On the 22nd of October 1641 he surprised and captured Charlemont Castle; and having been chosen commander-in-chief of the Irish forces in the north, he forged and issued a pretended commission from Charles I. sanctioning his proceedings. Phelim and his followers committed much depredation in Ulster on the pretext of reducing the Scots; and he attempted without success to take Drogheda, being compelled by Ormonde to raise the siege in April 1642. He was responsible for many of the barbarities committed by the Catholics during the rebellion.' During the summer his fortunes ebbed, and he was soon superseded by his kinsman Owen Roe O'Neill, who returned from military service abroad at the end of July.

Owen Roe O'Neill (c. 1590-1649), one of the most celebrated of the O'Neills, the subject of the well-known ballad " The Lament for Owen Roe," was the son of Art O'Neill, a younger brother of Hugh, 2nd earl of Tyrone. Having served with distinction for many years in the Spanish army, he was immediately recognized on his return to Ireland as the leading representative of the O'Neills. Phelim resigned the northern command in his favour, and escorted him from Lough Swilly to Charlemont. But jealousy between the kinsmen was complicated by differences between Owen Roe and the Catholic councO which met at Kilkenny in October 1642. Owen Roe professed to be acting in the interest of Charles I.; but his real aim was the complete independence of Ireland, while the AngloNorman Catholics represented by the council desired to secure religious liberty and an Irish constitution under the crown of England. Although Owen Roe O'Neill possessed the qualities of a general, the struggle dragged on inconclusively for three or four years. In March 1646 a cessation of hostilities was arranged between Ormonde and the Catholics; and O'Neill, furnished with supplies by the papal nuncio, Rinuccini, turned against the Scottish parliamentary army under General Monro, who had been operating with fluctuating success in Ireland since April 1642. On the sth of June 1646 O'Neill utterly routed Monro at Benburb, on the Blackwater; but, being surnmoned to the south by Rinuccini, he failed to take advantage of the victory, and suffered Monro to remain unmolested at Carrickfergus. For the next two years confusion reigned supreme among the numerous factions in Ireland, O'NeOl supporting the party led by Rinuccini, though continuing to profess loyalty to Ormonde as the king of England's representative. Isolated by the departure of the papal nuncio from Ireland in February 1649, he made overtures for alliance to Ormonde, and afterwards with success to Monck, who had superseded Monro in command of the parliamentarians in the north. O'Neill's chief need was supplies for his forces, and failing to obtain them from Monck he turned once more to Ormonde and the Catholic confederates, with whom he prepared to co-operate more earnestly when Cromwell's arrival in Ireland in August 1649 brought the Catholic party face to face with serious danger. Before, however, anything was accomplished by this combination, Owen Roe died on the 6th of November 1649.

The alliance between Owen Roe and Ormonde had been opposed by Phelim O'Neill, who after his kinsman's death expected to be restored to his former position of command. In this he was disappointed; but he continued to fight against the parhamentarians till August 1652, when a reward was offered for his apprehension. Betrayed by a kinsman while hiding in Tyrone, he was tried for high treason in Dublin, and executed on the loth of March 1653. Phelim married a daughter of the marquis of Huntly, by whom he had a son Gordon O'Neill, who was member of parliament for Tyrone in 1689; fought for the king at the siege of Derry and at the battles of Aughrim and the 1 See W. E. H. Lecky, Hist, of Ireland in the Eighteenth Century, i. 66-68 (Cabinet edition, 5 vols., London, 1892).

O'NEILL, E. - ONEONTA Boyne; and afterwards commanded an Irish regiment in the French service, and died in 1704.

Daniel O'Neill (c. 1612-1664), son of Conn MacNeill MacFagartach O'Neill, a member of the Clanaboy branch of the family, whose wife was a sister of Owen Roe, was prominent in the Civil Wars. He spent much of his early life at the court of Charles I., and became a Protestant. He commanded a troop of horse in Scotland in 1639; was involved in army plots in 1641, for which he was committed to the Tower, but escaped abroad; and on the outbreak of the Civil War returned to England and served with Prince Rupert, being present at Marston Moor, the second battle of Newbury and Naseby. He then went to Ireland to negotiate between Ormonde and his uncle, Owen Roe O'Neill. He was made a major-general in 1649, and but for his Protestantism would have succeeded Owen Roe as chief of the O'Neills. He joined Charles II. at the Hague, and took part in the expedition to Scotland and the Scotch invasion of England in 1652. At the Restoration he received many marks cf favour from the king, including grants of land and lucrative monopolies. He died in 1664.

Hugh O'Neill (d. c. 1660), son of Owen Roe's brother Art Oge, and therefore known as Hugh Mac Art, had served with some distinction in Spain before he accompanied his uncle, Owen Roe, to Ireland in 1642. In 1646 he was made a majorgeneral of the forces commanded by Owen Roe; and after the death of the latter he successfully defended Clonmel in 1650 against Cromwell, on whom he inflicted the latter's most severe defeat in Ireland. In the following year he so stubbornly resisted Ireton's attack on Limerick that he was excepted from the benefit of the capitulation, and, after being condemned to death and reprieved, was sent as a prisoner to the Tower of London. Released in 1652 on the representation of the Spanish ambassador that O'Neill was a Spanish subject, he repaired to Spain, whence he wrote to Charles II. in 1660 claiming the earldom of Tyrone. He probably died in Spain, but the date of his death is unknown.

The Clanaboy (or Clandeboye) branch of the O'Neills descended from the ancient kings through Neiil Mor O'Neill, lord of Clanaboy in the time of Henry VIII. , ancestor (as mentioned above) of the Portuguese O'Neills. NeiU Mor's great- greatgrandson, Henry O'Neill, was created baronet of Killeleagh in 1666. His son, Sir Neill O'Neill fought for James II. in Ireland, and died of wounds received at the battle of the Boyne. Through an elder line from Neill Mor was descended Brian Mac Phelim O'Neill, who was treacherously seized in 1573 by the earl of Essex, whom he was hospitably entertaining, and executed together with his wife and brother, some two hundred of his clan being at the same time massacred by the orders of Essex. (See Essex, Walter Devereux, 1st earl of.) Sir Brian Mac Phelim's son, Shane Mac Brian O'Neill, was the last lord of Clanaboy, and from him the family castle of Edenduffcarrick, on the shore of Lough Neagh in Co. Antrim, was named Shane's Castle. He joined the rebellion of his kinsman Hugh, earl of Tyrone, but submitted in 1586.

In the 18th century the commanding importance of the O'Neills in Irish history had come to an end. But John O'Neill ( 1740-1708), Tvfho represented Randalstown in the Irish parliament 1 761-1783, and the county of Antrim from the latter year till his death, took an active part in debate on the popular side, being a strong supporter of Catholic emancipation. He was one of the delegates in 1789 from the Irish parliament to George, prince of Wales, requesting him to assume the regency as a matter of right. In 1793 he was raised to the peerage of Ireland as Baron O'Neill of Shane's Castle, and in 1795 was created a viscount. In defending the town of Antrim against the rebels in 1798 O'NeOl received wounds from which he died on the 18th of June, being succeeded as Viscount O'Nefll by his son Charles Henry St John (1779-1841), who in 1800 was created Earl O'Neill. Dying unmarried, when the earldom therefore became extinct, Charles was succeeded as Viscount O'Neill by his brother John Bruce Richard (1780-1855), a general in the British army; on whose death without issue in 1855 the male line in the United Kingdom became extinct. The estates then devolved on William Chichester, great-grandson of Arthur Chichester and his wife Mary, only child and heiress of Henry (d. 1721), eldest son of John O'Neill of Shane's Castle.

William Chichester (1813-1883), 1st Baron O'Neill, a clergyman, on succeeding to the estates as heir-general, assumed by royal Ucence the surname and arms of O'Neill; and in 1868 was created Baron O'Neill of Shane's Castle. On his death in 1883 he was succeeded by his son Edward, 2nd Baron O'Neill (b. 1839), who was member of parliament for Co. Antrim 1863-1880, and who married in 1873 Louisa, daughter of the 1 ith earl of Dundonald.

For the history of the ancient Irish kings of the Hy Neill see: The Book of Leinster, edited with introduction by R. Atkinson (Royal Irish Academy, Dublin, 1880); The Annals of Ulster, edited by W. M. Hennessyand B. MacCarthy (4 vols., Dublin, 1887-1901); The Annals of Loch Cc, edited by W. M. Hennessy (Rolls Series, London, 1 871). For the later period see: P. W. Joyce, A Short History of Ireland (London, 1893), and A Social History of Ancient Ireland (2 vols., London, 1903); Tiic Annals of Ireland by the Four Masters, edited by J. O'Donovan (7 vols., Dublin, 1851); Sir J. T. GWhert, History of the Viceroys of Ireland (Dublin, 1865), and, especially for Owen Roe O'Neill, Contemporary History of A fairs in Ireland, j64i-i6$2 (Irish Archaeol. Soc, 3 vols., Dublin, 1879); also History of the Irish Confederation and the War in Ireland (Dublin, 1882); John O'Hart, Irish Pedigrees (Dublin, 1881) ; The Montgomery MSS., " The Flight of the Earls, 1607 " (p. 767), edited by George Hill (Belfast, 1878) ; Thomas Carte, History of tlie Life of James, Duke of Ormonde (3 vols., London, 1735); C. P. Meehan, Fate and Fortunes of Hugh O'Neill, Earl of Tyrone, and Rory O'Donel, Earl of Tyrconnel (Dublin, 1886); Richard Bagwell, Ireland under the Tudors, with an Account of the Earlier History (3 vols., London, 1885-1890); J. F. Taylor, Oiven Roe O'Neill (London, 1896); John Mitchell, Life and Times of Hugh, Earl of Tyrone, with an Account of his Predecessors, Con, Shane, Turlough (Dublin, 1846); L. O'Clery, Life of Hugh Roe O'Donnell (Dublin, 1893). For the O'Neills of the 18th century, and especially the Ist Viscount O'Neill, see The Charlemont Papers, and F. Hardy, Memoirs of J. Cauljield, Earl of Charlemont (2 vols., London, 1812). The O'Neills of Ulster: Their History and Genealogy, by Thomas Mathews (3 vols., Dublin, 1907), an ill-arranged and uncritical work, has little historical value, but contains a mass of traditional and legendary lore, and a number of translations of ancient poems, and genealogical tables of doubtful authority. (R. J. M.)

O'NEILL, ELIZA (1791-1872), Irish actress, was the daughter of an actor and stage manager. Her first appearance on the stage was made at the Crow Street theatre in 181 1 as the Widow Cheerly in The Soldier's Daughter, and after several years in Ireland she came to London and made an immediate success as Juliet at Covent Garden in 1814. For five years she was the favourite of the town in comedy as well as tragedy, but in the latter she particularly excelled, being frequently compared, not to her disadvantage, with Mrs Siddons. In 1819 she married William Wrixon Becher, an Irish M.P. who was created a baronet in 1831. She never returned to the stage, and died on the 29th of October 1872.

Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)

Privacy Policy | Cookie Policy | GDPR