The Ghegs especially, notwithstanding their fierce and lawless character, their superstition, ignorance and predatory propensities, possess some noteworthy qualities rarely found in eastern Europe: simple, brave, faithful, and sometimes capable of devoted attachment, these wild mountaineers make excellent soldiers and trustworthy retainers; they have long furnished a bodyguard to the sultan and, like the Tosks, are much employed as kavasses and attendants at foreign embassies and consulates in the East.
No measures had been taken to supply these voluntary crusaders with food or clothing; as harvest-time approached, the landlords commanded them to return to reap the fields, and on their refusing to do so, proceeded to maltreat their wives and families and set their armed retainers upon the half-starved multitudes.
Retainers, who were wont formerly to wander about as free lances, gave up their roving mode of life, settled down permanently in one principality, became landed proprietors, and.
For this purpose he organized, outside the regular administration, a large corps of civil officials and armed retainers, whose duty it was to obey him implicitly in all things; and with this force, which rose rapidly from 1000 to 6000 men, he acted like a savage invader in a conquered 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 Swilly, with their wives, families and retainers, numbering ninety-nine persons, and sailed for Spain.