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Title: A Popular History of Ireland : from the Earliest Period to the Emancipation of the Catholics - Volume 2
Author: McGee, Thomas D'Arcy
Language: English
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*** Start of this LibraryBlog Digital Book "A Popular History of Ireland : from the Earliest Period to the Emancipation of the Catholics - Volume 2" ***

A Popular

History of Ireland:

from the

Earliest Period

to the

Emancipation of the Catholics 

by Thomas D'Arcy McGee

In Two Volumes

Volume II


 BOOK VIII. (Continued from Volume I)
 CHAPTER IV.—Sir Henry Sidney's Deputyship—Parliament of
1569—The Second "Geraldine League"—Sir James Fitzmaurice
 CHAPTER V.—The "Undertakers" in Ulster and Leinster—Defeat and
Death of Sir James Fitzmaurice
 CHAPTER VI.—Sequel of the Second Geraldine League—Plantation of
Munster—Early Career of Hugh O'Neil, Earl of Tyrone—Parliament of
 CHAPTER VII.—Battle of Glenmalure—Sir John Perrott's
Administration—The Spanish Armada—Lord Deputy
Fitzwilliam—Escape of Hugh Roe O'Donnell from Dublin Castle—The
Ulster Confederacy formed
 CHAPTER VIII.—The Ulster Confederacy—Feagh Mac Hugh
O'Byrne—Campaign of 1595—Negotiations, English and
Spanish—Battle of the Yellow Ford—Its Consequences
 CHAPTER IX.—Essex's Campaign of 1599—Battle of the Curlieu
Mountains—O'Neil's Negotiations with Spain—Mountjoy Lord Deputy
 CHAPTER X.—Mountjoy's Administration—Operations in Ulster and
Munster—Carew's "Wit and Cunning"—Landing of Spaniards in the
South—Battle of Kinsale—Death of O'Donnell in Spain
 CHAPTER XI.—The Conquest of Munster—Death of Elizabeth, and
Submission of O'Neil—"The Articles of Mellifont"
 CHAPTER XII.—State of Religion and Learning during the Reign of Elizabeth

 CHAPTER I.—James I.—Flight of the Earls—Confiscation of
Ulster—Penal Laws—Parliamentary Opposition
 CHAPTER II.—Last years of James—Confiscation of the Midland
Counties—Accession of Charles I.—Grievances and
"Graces"—Administration of Lord Strafford
 CHAPTER III.—Lord Stafford's Impeachment and Execution—Parliament
of 1639-'41—The Insurrection of 1641—The Irish Abroad
 CHAPTER IV.—The Insurrection of 1641
 CHAPTER V.—The Catholic Confederation—Its Civil Government and
Military Establishment
 CHAPTER VI.—The Confederate War—Campaign of 1643—The
 CHAPTER VII.—The Cessation and its Consequences
 CHAPTER VIII.—Glamorgan's Treaty—The New Nuncio
Rinuccini—O'Neil's Position—The Battle of Benburb
 CHAPTER IX.—From the Battle of Benburb till the Landing of Cromwell at
 CHAPTER X.—Cromwell's Campaign—1649-1650
 CHAPTER XI.—Close of the Confederate War
 CHAPTER XII.—Ireland under the Protectorate—Administration of
Henry Cromwell—Death of Oliver

 CHAPTER I.—Reign of Charles II.
 CHAPTER II.—Reign of Charles II. (Concluded)
 CHAPTER III.—The State of Religion and Learning in Ireland during the
Seventeenth Century
 CHAPTER IV.—Accession of James II.—Tyrconnell's Administration
 CHAPTER V.—King James to Ireland—Irish Parliament of 1689
 CHAPTER VI.—The Revolutionary War—Campaign of 1639—Sieges of
Derry and Enniskillen
 CHAPTER VII.—The Revolutionary War—Campaign of 1690—Battle
of the Boyne—Its Consequences—the Sieges of Athlone and Limerick
 CHAPTER VIII.—The Winter of 1690-91
 CHAPTER IX.—The Revolutionary War—Campaign of 1691—Battle of
Aughrim—Capitulation of Limerick
 CHAPTER X.—Reign of King William
 CHAPTER XI.—Reign of Queen Anne
 CHAPTER XII.—The Irish Soldiers Abroad, during the Reigns of William and

 CHAPTER I.—Accession of George I.—Swift's Leadership
 CHAPTER II.—Reign of George II.—Growth of Public Spirit—The
"Patriot" Party—Lord Chesterfield's Administration
 CHAPTER III.—The Last Jacobite Movement—The Irish Soldiers
Abroad—French Expedition under Thurot, or O'Farrell
 CHAPTER IV.—Reign of George II. (Concluded)—Malone's Leadership
 CHAPTER V.—Accession of George III.—Flood's
Leadership—Octennial Parliaments Established
 CHAPTER VI.—Flood's Leadership—State of the Country between 1760
and 1776
 CHAPTER VII.—Grattan's Leadership—"Free Trade" and the Volunteers
 CHAPTER VIII.—Grattan's Leadership—Legislative and Judicial
Independence Established
 CHAPTER IX.—The Era of Independence—First Period
 CHAPTER X.—The Era of Independence—Second Period
 CHAPTER XI.—The Era of Independence—Third Period—Catholic
Relief Bill of 1793
 CHAPTER XII.—The Era of Independence—Effects of the French
Revolution in Ireland—Secession of Grattan, Curran, and their Friends,
from Parliament, in 1797
 CHAPTER XIII.—The United Irishmen
 CHAPTER XIV.—Negotiations with France and Holland—The Three
Expeditions Negotiated by Tone and Lewines
 CHAPTER XV.—The Insurrection of 1798
 CHAPTER XVI.—The Insurrection of 1798—The Wexford Insurrection
 CHAPTER XVII.—The Insurrection elsewhere—Fate of the Leading United
 CHAPTER XVIII.—Administration of Lord Cornwallis—Before the Union
 CHAPTER XIX.—Last Session of the Irish Parliament—The Legislative
Union of Great Britain and Ireland

 CHAPTER I.—After the Union—Death of Lord Clare—Robert
Emmet's Emeute
 CHAPTER II.—Administration of Lord Hardwick (1801 to 1806), and of the
Duke of Bedford (1806 to 1808)
 CHAPTER III.—Administration of the Duke of Richmond (1807 to 1813)
 CHAPTER IV.—O'Connell's Leadership—1813 to 1821
 CHAPTER V.—Retrospect of the State of Religion and Learning during the
Reign of George III
 CHAPTER VI.—The Irish Abroad, during the Reign of George III
 CHAPTER VII.—O'Connell's Leadership—The Catholic
Association—1821 to 1825
 CHAPTER VIII.—O'Connell's Leadership—The Clare
Election—Emancipation of the Catholics


(Continued from Volume I)


Sir Henry Sidney, in writing to his court, had always reported John
O'Neil as "the only strong man in Ireland." Before his rout at Lough
Swilly, he could commonly call into the field 4,000 foot and 1,000
horse; and his two years' revolt cost Elizabeth, in money, about
150,000 pounds sterling "over and above the cess laid on the
country"—besides "3,500 of her Majesty's soldiers" slain in battle. The
removal of such a leader in the very prime of life was therefore a
cause of much congratulation to Sidney and his royal mistress, and as
no other "strong man" was likely soon to arise, the Deputy now turned
with renewed ardour to the task of establishing the Queen's supremacy,
in things spiritual as well as temporal. With this view he urged that
separate governments, with large though subordinate military as well as
civil powers, should be created for Munster and Connaught—with
competent Presidents, who should reside in the former Province at
Limerick, and in the latter, at Athlone. In accordance with this
scheme—which continued to be acted upon for nearly a century—Sir Edward
Fitton was appointed first President of Connaught, and Sir John
Perrott, the Queen's illegitimate brother, President of Munster.
Leinster and Ulster were reserved as the special charge of the Lord

About the time of O'Neil's death Sidney made an official progress
through the South and West, which he describes as wofully wasted by
war, both town and country. The earldom of the loyal Ormond was far
from being well ordered; and the other great nobles were even less
favourably reported; the Earl of Desmond could neither rule nor be
ruled; the Earl of Clancarty "wanted force and credit;" the Earl of
Thomond had neither wit to govern "nor grace to learn of others;" the
Earl of Clanrickarde was well intentioned, but controlled wholly by his
wife. Many districts had but "one-twentieth" of their ancient
population; Galway was in a state of perpetual defence. Athenry had but
four respectable householders left, and these presented him with the
rusty keys of their once famous town, which they confessed themselves
unable to defend, impoverished as they were by the extortions of their
lords. All this to the eye of the able Englishman had been the result
of that "cowardly policy, or lack of policy," whose sole maxims had
been to play off the great lords against each other and to retard the
growth of population, least "through their quiet might follow" future
dangers to the English interest. His own policy was based on very
different principles. He proposed to make the highest heads bow to the
supremacy of the royal sword—to punish with exemplary rigour every sign
of insubordination, especially in the great—and, at the same time, to
encourage with ample rewards, adventurers, and enterprises of all
kinds. He proposed to himself precisely the part Lord Stafford acted
sixty years later, and he entered on it with a will which would have
won the admiration of that unbending despot. He prided himself on the
number of military executions which marked his progress. "Down they go
in every corner," he writes, "and down they shall go, God willing!" He
seized the Earl of Desmond in his own town of Kilmallock; he took the
sons of Clanrickarde, in Connaught, and carried them prisoners to
Dublin. Elizabeth became alarmed at these extreme measures, and Sidney
obtained leave to explain his new policy in person to her Majesty.
Accordingly in October he sailed for England, taking with him the Earl
and his brother John of Desmond, who had been invited to Dublin, and
were detained as prisoners of State; Hugh O'Neil, as yet known by no
other title than Baron of Dungannon; the O'Conor Sligo, and other
chiefs and noblemen. He seems to have carried his policy triumphantly
with the Queen, and from henceforth for many a long year "the dulce
ways" and "politic drifts" recommended by the great Cardinal Statesman
of Henry VIII. were to give way to that remorseless struggle in which
the only alternative offered to the Irish was—uniformity or
extermination. Of this policy, Sir Henry Sidney may, it seems to me, be
fairly considered the author; Stafford, and even Cromwell were but
finishers of his work. One cannot repress a sigh that so ferocious a
design as the extermination of a whole people should be associated in
any degree with the illustrious name of Sidney.

The triumphant Deputy arrived at Carrickfergus in September, 1568, from
England. Here he received the "submission," as it is called, of
Tirlogh, the new O'Neil, and turned his steps southwards in full
assurance that this chief of Tyrone was not another "strong man" like
the last. A new Privy Council was sworn in on his arrival at Dublin,
with royal instructions "to concur with" the Deputy, and 20,000 pounds
a year in addition to the whole of the cess levied in the country were
guaranteed to enable him to carry out his great scheme of the
"reduction." A Parliament was next summoned for the 17th of January,
1569, the first assembly of that nature which had been convened since
Lord Sussex's rupture with _his_ Parliament nine years before.

The acts of this Parliament, of the 11th of Elizabeth, are much more
voluminous than those of the 2nd of the same reign. The constitution of
the houses is also of interest, as the earlier records of every form of
government must always be. Three sessions were held in the first year,
one in 1570, and one in 1571. After its dissolution, no Parliament sat
in Ireland for fourteen years—so unstable was the system at that time,
and so dependent upon accidental causes for its exercise. The first
sittings of Sidney's Parliament were as stormy as those of Sussex. It
was found that many members presented themselves pretending to
represent towns not incorporated, and others, officers of election, had
returned themselves. Others, again, were non-resident Englishmen,
dependent on the Deputy who had never seen the places for which they
claimed to sit. The disputed elections of all classes being referred to
the judges, they decided that non-residence did not disqualify the
latter class; but that those who had returned themselves, and those
chosen for non-corporate towns, were inadmissible. This double decision
did not give the new House of Commons quite the desired complexion,
though Stanihurst, Recorder of Dublin, the Court candidate, was chosen
Speaker. The opposition was led by Sir Christopher Barnewall, an able
and intrepid man, to whose firmness it was mainly due that a more
sweeping proscription was not enacted, under form of law, at this
period. The native Englishmen in the House were extremely unpopular out
of doors, and Hooker, one of their number, who sat for the deserted
borough of Athenry, had to be escorted to his lodgings by a strong
guard, for fear of the Dublin mob. The chief acts of the first session
were a subsidy, for ten years, of 13 shillings 4 pence for every
ploughland granted to the Queen; an act suspending Poyning's act for
the continuance of _that_ Parliament; an act for the attainder of John
O'Neil; an act appropriating to her Majesty the lands of the Knight of
the Valley; an act authorizing the Lord Deputy to present to vacant
benefices in Munster and Connaught for ten years; an act abolishing the
title of "Captain," or _ruler_ of counties or districts, unless by
special warrant under the great seal; an act for reversing the
attainder of the Earl of Kildare. In the sittings of 1570 and '71, the
chief acts were for the erection of free schools, for the preservation
of the public records, for establishing an uniform measure in the sale
of corn, and for the attainder of the White Knight, deceased. Though
undoubtedly most of these statutes strengthened Sidney's hands and
favoured his policy, they did not go the lengths which in his official
correspondence he advocated. For the last seven years of his connection
with Irish affairs, he was accordingly disposed to dispense with the
unmanageable machinery of a Parliament. Orders in council were much
more easily procured than acts of legislation, even when every care had
been taken to pack the House of Commons with the dependents of the

The meeting of Parliament in 1569 was nearly coincident with the formal
excommunication of Elizabeth by Pope Pius V. Though pretending to
despise the bull, the Queen was weak enough to seek its revocation,
through the interposition of the Emperor Maximilian. The high tone of
the enthusiastic Pontiff irritated her deeply, and perhaps the
additional severities which she now directed against her Catholic
subjects, may be, in part, traced to the effects of the
excommunication. In Ireland, the work of reformation, by means of civil
disabilities and executive patronage, was continued with earnestness.
In 1564, all Popish priests and friars were prohibited from meeting in
Dublin, or even coming within the city gates. Two years later, _The
Book of Articles_, copied from the English Articles, was published, by
order of "the Commissioners for Causes Ecclesiastical." The articles
are twelve in number:—1. The Trinity in Unity; 2. The Sufficiency of
the Scriptures to Salvation; 3. The Orthodoxy of Particular Churches;
4. The Necessity of Holy Orders; 5. The Queen's Supremacy; 6. Denial of
the Pope's authority "to be more than other Bishops have;" 7. The
Conformity of the Book of Common Prayer to the Scriptures; 8. The
Ministration of Baptism does not depend on the Ceremonial; 9. Condemns
"Private Masses," and denies that the Mass can be a propitiatory
Sacrifice for the Dead; 10. Asserts the Propriety of Communion in Both
Kinds; 11. Utterly disallows Images, Relics and Pilgrimages; 12.
Requires a General Subscription to the foregoing Articles. With this
creed, the Irish Establishment started into existence, at the command
and, of course, with all the aid of the civil power. The Bishops of
Meath and Kildare, the nearest to Dublin, for resisting it were
banished their sees; the former to die an exile in Spain, the latter to
find refuge and protection with the Earl of Desmond. Several Prelates
were tolerated in their sees, on condition of observing a species of
neutrality; but all vacancies, if within the reach of the English
power, were filled as they occurred by nominees of the crown. Those who
actively and energetically resisted the new doctrines were marked out
for vengeance, and we shall see in the next decade how Ireland's martyr
age began.

The honour and danger of organizing resistance to the progress of the
new religion now devolved upon the noble family of the Geraldines of
Munster, of whose principal members we must, therefore, give some
account. The fifteenth Earl, who had concurred in the act of Henry's
election, died in the year of Elizabeth's accession (1558), leaving
three sons, Gerald the sixteenth Earl, John, and James. He had also an
elder son by a first wife, from whom he had been divorced on the ground
of consanguinity. This son disputed the succession unsuccessfully,
retired to Spain, and there died. Earl Gerald, though one of the Peers
who sat in the Parliament of the second year of Elizabeth, was one of
those who strenuously opposed the policy of Sussex, and still more
strenuously, as may be supposed, the more extreme policy of Sidney. His
reputation, however, as a leader, suffered severely by the combat of
Affane, in which he was taken prisoner by Thomas, the tenth Earl of
Ormond, with whom he was at feud on a question of boundaries. By order
of the Queen, the Lord Deputy was appointed arbitrator in this case,
and though the decision was in favour of Ormond, Desmond submitted,
came to Dublin, and was reconciled with his enemy in the chapter house
of St. Patrick's. A year or two later, Gerald turned his arms against
the ancient rivals of his house—the McCarthys of Muskerry and
Duhallow—but was again taken prisoner, and after six months' detention,
held to ransom by the Lord of Muskerry. After his release, the old feud
with Ormond broke out anew—a most impolitic quarrel, as that Earl was
not only personally a favourite with the Queen, but was also nearly
connected with her in blood through the Boleyns. In 1567, as before
related, Desmond was seized by surprise in his town of Kilmallock by
Sidney's order, and the following autumn conveyed to London on a charge
of treason and lodged in the Tower. This was the third prison he had
lodged in within three years, and by far the most hopeless of the
three. His brother, Sir John of Desmond, through the representations of
Ormond, was the same year arrested and consigned to the same ominous
dungeon, from which suspected noblemen seldom emerged, except when the
hurdle waited for them at the gate.

This double capture aroused the indignation of all the tribes of
Desmond, and led to the formidable combination which, in reference to
the previous confederacy in the reign of Henry, may be called "the
second Geraldine League." The Earl of Clancarty, and such of the
O'Briens, McCarthys, and Butlers, as had resolved to resist the
complete revolution in property, religion, and law, which Sidney
meditated, united together to avenge the wrongs of those noblemen,
their neighbours, so treacherously arrested and so cruelly confined.
Sir James, son of Sir Maurice Fitzgerald of Kerry, commonly called
James Fitz-Maurice, cousin-germain to the imprisoned noblemen, was
chosen leader of the insurrection. He was, according to the testimony
of an enemy, Hooker, member for Athenry, "a deep dissembler, passing
subtile, and able to compass any matter he took in hand; courteous,
valiant, expert in martial affairs." To this we may add that he had
already reached a mature age; was deeply and sincerely devoted to his
religion; and, according to the eulogist of the rival house of Ormond,
one whom nothing could deject or bow down, a scorner of luxury and
ease, insensible to danger, impervious to the elements, preferring,
after a hard day's fighting, the bare earth to a luxurious couch.

One of the first steps of the League was to despatch an embassy for
assistance to the King of Spain and the Pope. The Archbishop of Cashel,
the Bishop of Emly, and James, the youngest brother of Desmond, were
appointed on this mission, of which Sidney was no sooner apprised than
he proclaimed the confederates traitors, and at once prepared for a
campaign in Munster. The first blow was struck by the taking of
Clogrennan Castle, which belonged to Sir Edmond Butler, one of the
adherents of the League. The attack was led by Sir Peter Carew, an
English adventurer, who had lately appeared at Dublin to claim the
original grant made to Robert Fitzstephen of the moiety of the kingdom
of Cork, and who at present commanded the garrison of Kilkenny. The
accomplished soldier of fortune anticipated the Deputy's movements by
this blow at the confederated Butlers, who retaliated by an abortive
attack on Kilkenny, and a successful foray into Wexford, in which they
took the Castle of Enniscorthy. Sidney, taking the field in person,
marched through Waterford and Dungarvan against Desmond's strongholds
in the vicinity of Youghal. After a week's siege he took Castlemartyr,
and continued his route through Barrymore to Cork, where he established
his head-quarters. From Cork, upon receiving the submission of some
timid members of the League, he continued his route to Limerick, where
Sir Edmond Butler and his brothers were induced to come in by their
chief the Earl of Ormond. From Limerick he penetrated Clare, took the
Castles of Clonoon and Ballyvaughan; he next halted some time at
Galway, and returned to Dublin by Athlone. Overawed by the activity of
the Deputy, many others of the confederates followed the example of the
Butlers. The Earl of Clancarty sued for pardon and delivered up his
eldest son as a hostage for his good faith; the Earl of Thomond—more
suspected than compromised—yielded all his castles, with the sole
exception of Ibrackan. But the next year, mortified at the
insignificance to which he had reduced himself, he sought refuge in
France, from which he only returned when the intercession of the
English ambassador, Norris, had obtained him full indemnity for the
past. Sir James Fitzmaurice, thus deserted by his confederates, had
need of all that unyielding firmness of character for which he had
obtained credit. Castle after castle belonging to his cousins and
himself was taken by the powerful siege trains of President Perrott;
Castlemaine, the last stronghold which commanded an outlet by sea,
surrendered after a three months' siege, gallantly maintained. The
unyielding leader had now, therefore, no alternative but to retire into
the impregnable passes of the Galtees, where he established his
head-quarters. This mountain range, towering from two to three thousand
feet over the plain of Ormond, stretches from north-west to south-east,
some twenty miles, descending with many a gentle undulation towards the
Funcheon and the Blackwater in the earldom of Desmond. Of all its
valleys Aharlow was the fairest and most secluded. Well wooded, and
well watered, with outlets and intricacies known only to the native
population, it seemed as if designed for a nursery of insurrection. It
now became to the patriots of the South what the valley of Glenmalure
had long been for those of Leinster—a fortress dedicated by Nature to
the defence of freedom. In this fastness Fitzmaurice continued to
maintain himself, until a prospect of new combinations opened to him in
the West.

The sons of the Earl of Clanrickarde, though released from the custody
of Sidney, receiving intimation that they were to be arrested at a
court which Fitton, President of Connaught, had summoned at Galway,
flew to arms and opened negotiations with Fitzmaurice. The latter,
withdrawing from Aharlow, promptly joined them in Galway, and during
the campaign which followed, aided them with his iron energy and
sagacious counsel. They took and demolished the works of Athenry, and,
in part, those of the Court of Athlone. Their successes induced the
Deputy to liberate Clanrickarde himself, who had been detained a
prisoner in Dublin, from the outbreak of his sons. On his return—their
main object being attained—they submitted as promptly as they had
revolted, and this hope also being quenched, Fitzmaurice found his way
back again, with a handful of Scottish retainers, to the shelter of
Aharlow. Sir John Perrott, having by this time no further sieges to
prosecute, drew his toils closer and closer round the Geraldine's
retreat. For a whole year, the fidelity of his adherents and the
natural strength of the place enabled him to baffle all the President's
efforts. But his faithful Scottish guards being at length surprised and
cut off almost to a man, Fitzmaurice, with his son, his kinsman, the
Seneschal of Imokilly, and the son of Richard Burke, surrendered to the
President at Kilmallock, suing on his knees for the Queen's pardon,
which was, from motives of policy, granted.

On this conclusion of the contest in Munster, the Earl of Desmond and
his brother, Sir John, were released from the Tower, and transferred to
Dublin, where they were treated as prisoners on parole. The Mayor of
the city, who was answerable for their custody, having taken them upon
a hunting party in the open country, the brothers put spurs to their
horses and escaped into Munster (1574). They were stigmatized as having
broken their parole, but they asserted that it was intended on that
party to waylay and murder them, and that their only safety was in
flight. Large rewards were offered for their capture, alive or dead,
but the necessities of both parties compelled a truce during the
remainder of Sidney's official career—which terminated in his
resignation—about four years after the escape of the Desmonds from
Dublin. Thus were new elements of combination, at the moment least
expected, thrown, into the hands of the Munster Catholics.


Queen Elizabeth, when writing to Lord Sussex of a rumoured rising by
O'Neil, desired him to assure her lieges at Dublin, that if O'Neil did
rise, "it would be for their advantage; for there will be estates for
them who want." The Sidney policy of treating Ireland as a discovered
country, whose inhabitants had no right to the soil, except such as the
discoverers graciously conceded to them—begat a new order of men,
unknown to the history of other civilized states, which order we must
now be at some pains to introduce to the reader.

These "Undertakers," as they were called, differed widely from the
Norman invaders of a former age. The Norman generally espoused the
cause of some native chief, and took his pay in land; what he got by
the sword he held by the sword. But the Undertaker was usually a man of
peace—a courtier like Sir Christopher Hatton—a politician like Sir
Walter Raleigh—a poet like Edmund Spencer, or a spy and forger like
Richard Boyle, first Earl of Cork. He came, in the wake of war, with
his elastic "letters patent," or, if he served in the field, it was
mainly with a view to the subsequent confiscations. He was adroit at
finding flaws in ancient titles, skilled in all the feudal quibbles of
fine and recovery, and ready to employ the secret dagger where hard
swearing and fabricated documents might fail to make good his title.
Sometimes men of higher mark and more generous dispositions, allured by
the temptations of the social revolution, would enter on the same
pursuits, but they generally miscarried from want of what was then
cleverly called "subtlety," but which plain people could not easily
distinguish from lying and perjury. What greatly assisted them in their
designs was the fact that feudal tenures had never been general in
Ireland, so that by an easy process of reasoning they could prove
nineteen-twentieths of all existing titles "defective," according to
their notions of the laws of property.

Sir Peter Carew, already mentioned, was one of the earliest of the
Undertakers. He had been bred up as page to the Prince of Orange, and
had visited the Courts of France, Germany, and Constantinople. He
claimed, by virtue of his descent from Robert Fitzstephen, the barony
of Idrone, in Carlow, and one half the kingdom of Desmond. Sir Henry
Sidney had admitted these pretensions, partly as a menace against the
Kavanaghs and Geraldines, and Sir Peter established himself at
Leighlin, where he kept great house, with one hundred servants, over
one hundred kerne, forty horse, a stall in his stable, a seat at his
board for all comers. He took an active part in all military
operations, and fell fighting gallantly on a memorable day to be
hereafter mentioned.

After the attainder of John the Proud in 1569, Sir Thomas Smith,
Secretary to the Queen, obtained a grant of the district of the Ards of
Down, for his illegitimate son, who accordingly entered on the task of
its plantation. But the O'Neils of Clandeboy, the owners of the soil,
attacked the young Undertaker, who met a grave where he had come to
found a lordship. A higher name was equally unfortunate in the same
field of adventure. Walter Devereux, Earl of Essex (father of the Essex
still more unfortunate), obtained in 1573 a grant of one moiety of
Farney and Clandeboy, and having mortgaged his English estates to the
Queen for 10,000 pounds, associated with himself many other
adventurers. On the 16th of August, he set sail from Liverpool,
accompanied by the Lords Dacre and Rich, Sir Henry Knollys, the three
sons of Lord Norris, and a multitude of the common people. But as he
had left one powerful enemy at court in Leicester—so he found a second
at Dublin, in the acting deputy, Fitzwilliam. Though gratified with the
title of President of Ulster and afterwards that of Marshal of Ireland,
he found his schemes constantly counteracted by orders from Dublin or
from England. He was frequently ordered off from his head-quarters at
Newry, on expeditions into Munster, until those who had followed his
banner became disheartened and mutinous. The O'Neils and the Antrim
Scots harassed his colony and increased his troubles. He attempted by
treachery to retrieve his fortunes. Having invited the alliance of Con
O'Donnell, he seized that chief and sent him prisoner to Dublin.
Subsequently his chief opponent, Brian, lord of Clandeboy, paid him an
amicable visit, accompanied by his wife, brother, and household. As
they were seated at table on the fourth day of their stay, the soldiers
of Essex burst into the banquet hall, put them all, "women, youths and
maidens," to the sword. Brian and his wife were saved from the
slaughter only to undergo at Dublin the death and mutilation inflicted
upon traitors. Yet the ambitious schemes of Walter of Essex did not
prosper the more of all these crimes. He died at Dublin, two years
afterwards (1576), in the 36th year of his age, as was generally
believed from poison administered by the orders of the arch-poisoner,
Leicester, who immediately upon his death married his widow.

It is apparent that the interest of the Undertakers could not be to
establish peace in Ireland so long as war might be profitably waged.
The new "English interest" thus created was often hostile to the
soundest rules of policy and always opposed to the dictates of right
and justice; but the double desire to conquer and to convert—to
anglicize and Protestantize—blinded many to the lawless means by which
they were worked out. The massacre of 400 persons of the chief families
of Leix and Offally, which took place at Mullaghmast in 1577, is an
evidence of how the royal troops were used to promote the ends of the
Undertakers. To Mullaghmast, one of the ancient raths of Leinster,
situated about five miles from Athy in Kildare, the O'Moores, O'Kellys,
Lalors, and other Irish tribes were invited by the local commander of
the Queen's troops, Francis Cosby. The Bowens, Hartpoles, Pigotts,
Hovendons, and other adventurers who had grants or designs upon the
neighbouring territory were invited to meet them. One of the Lalors,
perceiving that none of those who entered the rath before him emerged
again, caused his friends to fall back while he himself advanced alone.
At the very entrance he beheld the dead bodies of some of his
slaughtered kinsmen; drawing his sword, he fought his way back to his
friends, who barely escaped with their lives to Dysart. Four hundred
victims, including 180 of the name of O'Moore, are said to have fallen
in this deliberate butchery. Rory O'Moore, the chief of his name,
avenged this massacre by many a daring deed. In rapid succession he
surprised Naas, Athy, and Leighlin. From the rapidity with which his
blows were struck in Kildare, Carlow, and Kilkenny, he appeared to be
ubiquitous. He was the true type of a guerilla leader, yet merciful as
brave. While Naas was burning, he sat coolly at the market cross
enjoying the spectacle, but he suffered no lives to be taken. Having
captured Cosby, he did not, as might be expected, put him to death. His
confidence in his own prowess and resources amounted to rashness, and
finally caused his death. Coming forth from a wood to parley with a
party of the Queen's troops led by his neighbour, the Lord of Ossory, a
common soldier ran him through the body with a sword. This was on the
last day of June, 1578—a day mournful through all the midland districts
for the loss of their best and bravest captain.

While these events occupied the minds and tongues of men in the North
and East, a brief respite from the horrors of war was permitted to the
province of Munster. The Earl of Desmond, only too happy to be
tolerated in the possession of his 570,000 acres, was eager enough to
testify his allegiance by any sort of service. His brothers, though
less compliant, followed his example for the moment, and no danger was
to be apprehended in that quarter, except from the indomitable James
Fitzmaurice, self-exiled on the continent. No higher tribute could be
paid to the character of that heroic man than the closeness with which
all his movements were watched by English spies, specially set upon his
track. They followed him to the French court, to St. Malo's (where he
resided for some time with his family), to Madrid, whence he sent his
two sons to the famous University of Alcala, and from Madrid to Rome.
The honourable reception he received at the hands of the French and
Spanish Sovereigns was duly reported; yet both being at peace with
England, his plans elicited no open encouragement from either. At Rome,
however, he obtained some material and much moral support. Here he
found many zealous advocates among the English and Irish refugees—among
them the celebrated Saunders, Allen, sometimes called Cardinal Alien,
and O'Mulrian, Bishop of Killaloe. A force of about 1,000 men was
enlisted at the expense of Pope Gregory XIII., in the Papal States, and
placed under an experienced captain, Hercules Pisano. They were shipped
at Civita Vecchia by a squadron under the command of Thomas Stukely, an
English adventurer, who had served both for and against the Irish
Catholics, but had joined Fitzmaurice in Spain and accompanied him to
Rome. On the strength of some remote or pretended relationship to the
McMurroghs, Stukely obtained from the Pope the titles of Marquis of
Leinster and Baron of Idrone and Ross; at Fitzmaurice's urgent
request—so it is stated—he was named Vice-Admiral of the fleet. The
whole expedition was fitted out at the expense of the Pope, but it was
secretly agreed that it should be supported, after landing in Ireland,
at the charge of Philip II. Fitzmaurice, travelling overland to Spain,
was to unite there with another party of adventurers, and to form a
junction with Stukely and Pisano on the coast of Kerry. So with the
Papal benediction gladdening his heart, and a most earnest exhortation
from the Holy Father to the Catholics of Ireland to follow his banner,
this noblest of all the Catholic Geraldines departed from Rome, to try
again the hazard of war in his own country.

This was in the spring of the year 1579. Sir Henry Sidney, after many
years' direction of the government, had been recalled at his own
request; Sir William Drury was acting as Lord Justice; and Sir Nicholas
Malby as President of Munster. Expectation of the return of
Fitzmaurice, at the head of a liberating expedition, began to be rife
throughout the south and west, and the coasts were watched with the
utmost vigilance. In the month of June, three persons having landed in
disguise from a Spanish ship, at Dingle, were seized by government
spies, and carried before the Earl of Desmond. On examination, one of
them proved to be O'Haly, Bishop of Mayo, and another a friar named
O'Rourke; the third is not named. By the timid, temporizing Desmond,
they were forwarded to Kilmallock to Drury, who put them to every
conceivable torture, in order to extract intelligence of Fitzmaurice's
movements. After their thighs had been broken with hammers, they were
hanged on a tree, and their bodies used as targets by the brutal
soldiery. Fitzmaurice, with his friends, having survived shipwreck on
the coast of Galicia, entered the same harbour (Dingle) on the 17th of
July. But no tidings had yet reached Munster of Stukely and Pisano; and
his cousin, the Earl, sent him neither sign of friendship nor promise
of co-operation. He therefore brought his vessels round to the small
harbour of Smerwick, and commenced fortifying the almost isolated rock
of _Oilen-an-oir_—or golden island, so called from the shipwreck at
that point of one of Martin Forbisher's vessels, laden with golden
quartz, some years before. Here he was joined by John and James of
Desmond, and by a band of 200 of the O'Flaherties of Galway, the only
allies who presented themselves. These latter, on finding the expected
Munster rising already dead, and the much-talked-of Spanish auxiliary
force so mere a handful, soon withdrew in their own galleys, upon which
an English ship and pinnace, sweeping round from Kinsale, carried off
the Spanish vessels in sight of the powerless little fort. These
desperate circumstances inspired desperate councils, and it was decided
by the cousins to endeavour to gain the great wood of Kilmore, near
Charleville—in the neighbourhood of Sir James' old retreat among the
Galtee Mountains. In this march they were closely pursued by the Earl
of Desmond, either in earnest or in sham, and were obliged to separate
into three small bands, the brothers of the Earl retiring respectively
to the fastnesses of Lymnamore and Glenfesk, while Fitzmaurice, with "a
dozen horsemen and a few kerne," made a desperate push to reach the
western side of the Shannon, where he hoped, perhaps, for better
opportunity and a warmer reception. This proved for him a fatal
adventure. Jaded after a long day's ride he was compelled to seize some
horses from the plough, in the barony of Clanwilliam, in order to
remount his men. These horses were the property of his relative, Sir
William Burke, who, with his neighbour, Mac-I-Brien of Ara, pursued the
fugitives to within six miles of Limerick, where Fitzmaurice, having
turned to remonstrate with his pursuers, was fired at and mortally
wounded. He did not instantly fall. Dashing into the midst of his
assailants he cleft down the two sons of Burke, whose followers
immediately turned and fled. Then alighting from his saddle, the
wounded chief received the last solemn rites of religion from the hands
of Dr. Allen. His body was decapitated by one of his followers, that
the noble head might not be subjected to indignity; but the trunk being
but hastily buried was soon afterwards discovered, carried to
Kilmallock, and there hung up for a target and a show. This tragical
occurrence took place near the present site of "Barrington's bridge,"
on the little river Mulkern, county of Limerick, on the 18th day of
August, 1579. In honour of his part in the transaction William Burke
was created Baron of Castleconnell, awarded a pension of 100 marks per
annum, and received from Elizabeth an autograph letter of condolence on
the loss of his sons: it is added by some writers that he died of joy
on the receipt of so many favours. Such was the fate of the glorious
hopes of Sir James Fitzmaurice. So ended in a squabble with churls
about cattle, on the banks of an insignificant stream, a career which
had drawn the attention of Europe, and had inspired with apprehension
the lion-hearted Queen.

As to the expedition under Stukely, its end was even more romantic. His
squadron having put into the Tagus, he found the King of Portugal, Don
Sebastian, on the eve of sailing against the Moors, and from some
promise of after aid was induced to accompany that chivalrous Prince.
On the fatal field of Alcacar, Stukely, Pisano, and the Italians under
their command shared the fate of the Portuguese monarch and army.
Neither Italy nor Ireland heard of them more.

Gregory XIII. did not abandon the cause. On the receipt of all these
ill-tidings he issued another Bull, highly laudatory of the virtues of
James Fitzmaurice "of happy memory," and granting the same indulgence
to those who would fight under John or James of Desmond, "as that which
was imparted to those who fought against the Turks for the recovery of
the Holy Land." This remarkable document is dated from Rome, the 13th
of May, 1580.


We must continue to read the history of Ireland by the light of foreign
affairs, and our chief light at this period is derived from Spain. The
death of Don Sebastian concentrated the thoughts of Philip II. on
Portugal, which he forcibly annexed to the Spanish crown. The progress
of the insurrection in the Netherlands also occupied so large a place
in his attention, that his projects against Elizabeth were postponed,
year after year, to the bitter disappointment of the Irish leaders. It
may seem far-fetched to assert, but it is not the less certainly true,
that the fate of Catholic Munster was intimately involved in the change
of masters in Portugal, and the fluctuations of war in the Netherlands,

The "Undertakers," who had set their hearts on having the Desmond
estates, determined that the Earl and his brothers should not live long
in peace, however peaceably they might be disposed. The old trick of
forging letters, already alluded to, grew into a common and familiar
practice during this and the following reign. Such a letter, purporting
to be written by the Earl of Desmond—at that period only too anxious to
be allowed to live in peace—was made public at Dublin and London. It
was addressed to Sir William Pelham, the temporary Lord Justice, and
among other passages contained this patent invention—that he (the Earl
and his brethren) "had taken this matter in hand with great authority,
both from the Pope's holiness and King Philip, who do undertake to
further us in our affairs, as we shall need." It is utterly incredible
that any man in Desmond's position could have written such a
letter—could have placed in the hands of his enemies a document which
must for ever debar him from entering into terms with Elizabeth or her
representatives in Ireland. We have no hesitation, therefore, in
classing this pretended letter to Pelham with those admitted forgeries
which drove the unfortunate Lord Thomas Fitzgerald into premature
revolt, in the reign of Henry VIII.

Sir John of Desmond had been nominated by the gallant Fitzmaurice in
his last moments as the fittest person to rally the remaining defenders
of religion and property in Munster. The Papal standard and benediction
were almost all he could bequeath his successor, but the energy of
John, aided by some favourable local occurrences, assembled a larger
force for the campaign of 1579 than had lately taken the field. Without
the open aid of the Earl, he contrived to get together at one time as
many as 2,000 men, amongst whom not the least active officer was his
younger brother, Sir James, hardly yet of man's age. Drs. Saunders and
Allen, with several Spanish officers, accompanied this devoted but
undisciplined multitude, sharing all the hardships of the men, and the
counsels of the chiefs. Their first camp, and, so to speak, the nursery
of their army, was among the inaccessible mountains of Slievelogher in
Kerry, where the rudiments of discipline were daily inculcated. When
they considered the time ripe for action, they removed their camp to
the great wood of Kilmore, near Charleville, from which they might
safely assail the line of communication between Cork and Limerick, the
main depots of Elizabeth's southern army. Nearly half-way between these
cities, and within a few miles of their new encampment, stood the
strong town of Kilmallock on the little river Lubach. This famous old
Geraldine borough, the focus of several roads, was the habitual
stopping place of the Deputies in their progress, as well as of English
soldiers on their march. The ancient fortifications, almost obliterated
by Fitzmaurice eleven years before, had been replaced by strong walls,
lined with earthworks, and crowned by towers. Here Sir William Drury
fixed his head-quarters in the spring of 1579, summoning to his aid all
the Queen's lieges in Munster. With a force of not less than 1,000
English regulars under his own command, and perhaps twice that number
under the banner of the Munster "Undertakers" and others, who obeyed
the summons, he made an unsuccessful attempt to beat up the Geraldine
quarters at Kilmore. One division of his force, consisting of 300 men
by the Irish, and 200 by the English account, was cut to pieces, with
their captains, Herbert, Price, and Eustace. The remainder retreated in
disorder to their camp at Athneasy, a ford on the Morning Star River,
four miles east of Kilmallock. For nine weeks Drury continued in the
field, without gaining any advantage, yet so harassed day and night by
his assailants that his health gave way under his anxieties. Despairing
of recovery, he was removed by slow stages to Waterford—which would
seem to indicate that his communications both with Cork and Limerick
were impracticable—but died before reaching the first mentioned city.
The chief command in Munster now devolved upon Sir Nicholas Malby, an
officer who had seen much foreign service, while the temporary vacancy
in the government was filled by the Council at Dublin, whose choice
fell on Sir William Pelham, another distinguished military man, lately
arrived from England.

Throughout the summer and autumn months the war was maintained, with
varying fortune on either side. In the combats of Gortnatibrid and
Enagbeg, in Limerick, the final success, according to Irish accounts,
was with the Geraldines, though they had the misfortune to lose
Cardinal Allen, Sir Thomas Fitzgerald and Sir Thomas Browne. Retiring
into winter quarters at Aharlow, they had a third engagement with the
garrison of Kilmallock, which attempted, without success, to intercept
their march. The campaign of 1580 was, however, destined to be
decisive. Sir John of Desmond, being invited to an amicable conference
by the Lord Barry, was entrapped by an English force under Captain
Zouch, in the woods surrounding Castle Lyons, and put to death on the
spot. The young Sir James had previously been captured on a foray into
Muskerry, and executed at Cork, so that of the brothers there now
remained but Earl Gerald, the next victim of the machinations which had
already proved so fatal to his family. Perceiving at length the true
designs cherished against him, the Earl took the field in the spring of
1580, and obtained two considerable advantages, one at Pea-field,
against the English under Roberts, and a second at Knockgraffon against
the Anglo-Irish, under the brothers of the Earl of Ormond, the recusant
members of the original league. Both these actions were fought in
Tipperary, and raised anew the hopes of the Munster Catholics. An
unsuccessful attempt on Adare was the only other military event in
which the Earl bore a part; he wintered in Aharlow, where his Christmas
was rather that of an outlaw than of the Lord Palatine of Desmond. In
Aharlow he had the misfortune to lose the gifted and heroic Nuncio, Dr.
Saunders, whose great services, at that period, taken together with
those of Cardinal Allen, long endeared the faithful English to the
faithful Irish Catholics.

The sequel of the second Geraldine League may be rapidly narrated. In
September, 1580, the fort at Smerwick, where Fitzmaurice had landed
from Galicia, received a garrison of 800 men, chiefly Spaniards and
Italians, under Don Stephen San Joseph. The place was instantly
invested by sea and land, under the joint command of the new
Lieutenant, Lord Grey de Wilton, and the Earl of Ormond. Among the
officers of the besieging force were three especially notable men—Sir
Walter Raleigh, the poet Spenser, and Hugh O'Neil, afterwards Earl of
Tyrone, but at this time commanding a squadron of cavalry for her
Majesty Queen Elizabeth. San Joseph surrendered the place on
conditions; that savage outrage ensued, which is known in Irish history
as "the massacre of Smerwick." Raleigh and Wingfield appear to have
directed the operations by which 800 prisoners of war were cruelly
butchered and flung over the rocks. The sea upon that coast is deep and
the tides swift; but it has not proved deep enough to hide that horrid
crime, or to wash the stains of such wanton bloodshed from the memory
of its authors!

For four years longer the Geraldine League flickered in the South.
Proclamations offering pardon to all concerned, except Earl Gerald and
a few of his most devoted adherents, had their effect. Deserted at
home, and cut off from foreign assistance, the condition of Desmond
grew more and more intolerable. On one occasion he narrowly escaped
capture by rushing with his Countess into a river, and remaining
concealed up to the chin in water. His dangers can hardly be paralleled
by those of Bruce after the battle of Falkirk, or by the more familiar
adventures of Charles Edward. At length, on the night of the 11th of
November, 1584, he was surprised with only two followers in a lonesome
valley about five miles distant from Tralee, among the mountains of
Kerry. The spot is still remembered, and the name of "the Earl's road"
transports the fancy of the traveller to that tragical scene. Cowering
over the embers of a half-extinct fire in a miserable hovel, the lord
of a country, which in time of peace had yielded an annual rental of
"40,000 golden pieces," was despatched by the hands of common soldiers,
without pity, or time, or hesitation. A few followers watching their
_creaghts_ or herds, farther up the valley, found his bleeding trunk
flung out upon the highway; the head was transported over seas, to rot
upon the spikes of London Tower.

The extirpation of the Munster Geraldines, in the right line, according
to the theory of the "Undertakers" and the Court of England in general,
vested in the Queen the 570,000 acres belonging to the late Earl.
Proclamation was accordingly made throughout England, inviting "younger
brothers of good families" to undertake the plantation of Desmond—each
planter to obtain a certain scope of land, on condition of settling
thereupon so many families—"none of the native Irish to be admitted."
Under these conditions, Sir Christopher Hatton took up 10,000 acres in
Waterford; Sir Walter Raleigh 12,000 acres, partly in Waterford and
partly in Cork; Sir William Harbart, or Herbert, 13,000 acres in Kerry;
Sir Edward Denny 6,000 in the same county; Sir Warham, St. Leger, and
Sir Thomas Norris, 6,000 acres each in Cork; Sir William Courtney
10,000 acres in Limerick; Sir Edward Fitton 11,500 acres in Tipperary
and Waterford, and Edmund Spenser a modest 3,000 acres in Cork, on the
beautiful Blackwater. The other notable Undertakers were the Hides,
Butchers, Wirths, Berklys, Trenchards, Thorntons, Bourchers,
Billingsleys, &c., &c. Some of these grants, especially Raleigh's, fell
in the next reign into the ravening maw of Richard Boyle, the so-called
"_great_ Earl of Cork"—probably the most pious hypocrite to be found in
the long roll of the "Munster Undertakers."

Before closing the present chapter, we must present to the reader, in a
formal manner, the personage whose career is to occupy the chief
remaining part of the present Book—Hugh O'Neil, best known by the title
of Earl of Tyrone. We have seen him in the camp of the enemies of his
country, learning the art of war on the shores of Dingle Bay—a witness
to the horrors perpetrated at Smerwick. We may find him later in the
same war—in 1584—serving under Perrott and Norris, along the Foyle and
the Bann, for the expulsion of the Antrim Scots. The following year,
for these and other good services, he received the patent of the
Earldom originally conferred on his grandfather, Con O'Neil, but
suffered to sink into abeyance by the less politic "John the Proud," in
the days when he made his peace with the Queen. The next year he
obtained from his clansmen the still higher title of O'Neil, and thus
he contrived to combine, in his own person, every principle of
authority likely to ensure him following and obedience, whether among
the clansmen of Tyrone, or the townsmen upon its borders.

O'Neil's last official act of co-operation with the Dublin government
may be considered his participation in the Parliament convoked by Sir
John Perrott in 1585, and prorogued till the following year. It is
remarkable of this Parliament, the third and last of Elizabeth's long
reign, that it was utterly barren of ecclesiastical legislation, if we
except "an act against sorcery and witchcraft" from that category. The
attainder of the late Earl of Desmond, and the living Viscount of
Baltinglass, in arms with the O'Byrnes in Glenmalure, are the only
measures of consequence to be found among the Irish statutes of the
27th and 28th of Elizabeth. But though not remarkable for its
legislation, the Parliament of 1585 is conspicuously so for its
composition. Within its walls with the peers, knights, and burgesses of
the anglicized counties, sat almost all the native chiefs of Ulster,
Connaught, and Munster. The Leinster chiefs recently in arms, in
alliance with the Earl of Desmond, generally absented themselves, with
the exception of Feagh, son of Hugh, the senior of the O'Byrnes, and
one of the noblest spirits of his race and age. He appears not to have
had a seat in either House; but attended, on his own business, under
the protection of his powerful friends and sureties.


In pursuing to its close the war in Munster, we were obliged to omit
the mention of an affair of considerable importance, which somewhat
consoled the Catholics for the massacre at Smerwick and the defeat of
the Desmonds. We have already observed that what Aharlow was to the
southern insurgents, the deep, secluded valley of Glenmalure was to the
oppressed of Leinster. It afforded, at this period, refuge to a
nobleman whose memory has been most improperly allowed to fall into
oblivion. This was James Eustace, Viscount Baltinglass, who had
suffered imprisonment in the Castle for refusing to pay an illegal tax
of a few pounds, who was afterwards made the object of a special,
vindictive enactment, known as "the Statute of Baltinglass," and was in
the summer of 1580, on his keeping, surrounded by armed friends and
retainers. His friend, Sir Walter Fitzgerald, son-in-law to the chief
of Glenmalure, and many of the clansmen of Leix, Offally and Idrone,
repaired to him at Slieveroe, near the modern village of Blessington,
from which they proceeded to form a junction with the followers of the
dauntless Feagh McHugh O'Byrne of Ballincor. Lord Grey, of Wilton, on
reaching Dublin in August of that year, obtained information of this
gathering, and determined to strike a decisive blow in Wicklow, before
proceeding to the South. All the chief captains in the Queen's
service—the Malbys, Dudleys, Cosbys, Carews, Moors—had repaired to meet
him at Dublin, and now marched, under his command, into the
neighbouring highlands. The Catholics, they knew, were concentrated in
the valley, on one of the slopes of which Lord Grey constructed a
strong camp, and then, having selected the fittest troops for the
service, gave orders to attack the Irish camp. Sir William Stanley, one
of the officers in command, well describes the upshot, in a letter to
Secretary Walshingham: "When we entered the glen," he writes, "we were
forced to slide, sometimes three or four fathoms, ere we could stay our
feet; it was in depth, where we entered, at least a mile, full of
stones, rocks, logs and wood; in the bottom thereof a river full of
loose stones, which we were driven to Cross divers times * * * * before
we were half through the glen, which is four miles in length, the enemy
charged us very hotly * * * * it was the hottest piece of service that
ever I saw, for the time, in any place." As might have been expected,
the assailants were repulsed with heavy loss; among the slain were Sir
Peter Carew, Colonel Francis Cosby of Mullaghmast memory, Colonel Moor,
and other distinguished officers. The full extent of the defeat was
concealed from Elizabeth, as well as it could be, in the official
despatches; but before the end of August private letters, such as we
have quoted, conveyed the painful intelligence to the court. The action
was fought on the 25th day of August.

Lord Grey's deputyship, though it lasted only two years, included the
three decisive campaigns in the South, already described. At the period
of his recall—or leave of absence—the summer of 1582, that "most
populous and plentiful country," to use the forcible language of his
eloquent Secretary, Edmund Spenser, was reduced to "a heap of carcasses
and ashes." The war had been truly a war of extermination; nor did
Munster recover her due proportion of the population of the island for
nearly two centuries afterwards.

The appointment of Sir John Perrott dates from 1583, though he did not
enter on the duties of Lord Deputy till the following year. Like most
of the public men of that age, he was both soldier and statesman. In
temper he resembled his reputed father, Henry VIII.; for he was
impatient of contradiction and control; fond of expense and
magnificence, with a high opinion of his own abilities for diplomacy
and legislation. The Parliament of 1585-6, as it was attended by almost
every notable man in the kingdom, was one of his boasts, though no one
seems to have benefited by it much, except Hugh O'Neil, whose title of
Earl of Tyrone was then formally recognized. Subordinate to Perrott,
the office of Governor of Connaught was held by Sir Richard
Bingham—founder of the fortunes of the present Earls of Lucan—and that
of President of Munster, by Sir Thomas Norris, one of four brothers,
all employed in the Queen's service, and all destined to lose their
lives in that employment.

The most important events which marked the four years' administration
of Perrott were the pacification of Thomond and Connaught, the capture
of Hugh Roe O'Donnell, and the wreck of a large part of the Spanish
Armada, on the northern and western coasts. The royal commission issued
for the first-mentioned purpose exemplifies, in a striking manner, the
exigencies of Elizabeth's policy at that moment. The persons entrusted
with its execution were Sir Richard Bingham, the Earls of Thomond and
Clanrickarde; Sir Turlogh O'Brien, Sir Richard Bourke (the McWilliam),
O'Conor Sligo, Sir Brian O'Ruarc, and Sir Murrogh O'Flaherty. The chief
duties of this singular commission were, to fix a money rental for all
lands, free and unfree, in Clare and Connaught; to assess the taxation
fairly due to the crown also in money; and to substitute generally the
English law of succession for the ancient customs of Tanistry and
gavelkind. In Clare, from fortuitous causes, the settlement they
arrived at was never wholly reversed; in Connaught, the inhuman
severity of Bingham rendered it odious from the first, and the
successes of Hugh Roe O'Donnell, a few years later, were hailed by the
people of that province as a heaven-sent deliverance.

The treacherous capture of this youthful chieftain was one of the
skilful devices on which Sir John Perrott most prided himself. Although
a mere lad, the mysterious language of ancient prophecy, which seemed
to point him out for greatness, give him consequence in the eyes of
both friends and foes. Through his heroic mother, a daughter of the
Lord of the Isles, he would naturally find allies in that warlike race.
His precocious prowess and talents began to be noised abroad, and
stimulated Perrott to the employment of an elaborate artifice, which,
however, proved quite successful. A ship, commanded by one Bermingham,
was sent round to Donegal, under pretence of being direct from Spain.
She carried some casks of Spanish wine, and had a crew of 50 armed men.
This ship dropped anchor off Rathmullen Castle on Lough Swilly, in
which neighbourhood the young O'Donnell—then barely fifteen—was staying
with his foster-father, McSweeny, and several companions of his own
age. The unsuspecting youths were courteously invited on board the
pretended Spanish ship, where, while they were being entertained in the
cabin, the hatches were fastened down, the cable slipped, the sails
spread to the wind, and the vessel put to sea. The threats and promises
of the astonished clansmen as they gathered to the shore were answered
by the mockery of the crew, who safely delivered their prize in Dublin,
to the great delight of the Lord Deputy and his Council. Five weary
years of fetters and privation the young captives were doomed to pass
in the dungeons of the Castle before they breathed again the air of
their native North.

But now every ship that reached the English or Irish ports brought
tidings more and more positive of the immense armada which King Philip
was preparing to launch from the Tagus against England. The piratical
exploits of Hawkins and Drake against the Spanish settlements in
America, the barbarous execution of Mary, Queen of Scots, and the open
alliance of Elizabeth with the Dutch insurgents, all acted as
stimulants to the habitual slowness of the Spanish sovereign. Another
event, though of minor importance, added intensity to the national
quarrel. Sir William Stanley, whose account of the battle of Glenmalure
we lately quoted, went over to Philip with 1,300 English troops, whom
he commanded as Governor of Daventer, and was taken into the counsels
of the Spanish sovereign. The fleet for the invasion of England was on
a scale commensurate with the design. One hundred and thirty-five
vessels of war, manned by 8,000 sailors, and carrying 19,000 soldiers,
sailed from the Tagus, and after encountering a severe storm off Cape
Finesterre, re-assembled at Corunna. The flower of Spanish bravery
embarked in this fleet, named somewhat presumptuously "the invincible
armada." The sons of Sir James Fitzmaurice, educated at Alcala, Thomas,
son of Sir John of Desmond, with several other Irish exiles, laymen,
and ecclesiastics, were also on board. The fate of the expedition is
well known. A series of disasters befell it on the coasts of France and
Belgium, and finally, towards the middle of August, a terrific storm
swept the Spaniards northward through the British channel, scattering
ships and men helpless and lifeless on the coasts of Scotland, and even
as far north as Norway. On the Irish shore nineteen great vessels were
sunk or stranded. In Lough Foyle, one galleon, manned by 1,100 men,
came ashore, and some of the survivors, it is alleged, were given up by
O'Donnell to the Lord Deputy, in the vain hope of obtaining in return
the liberation of his son. Sir John O'Doherty in Innishowen, Sir Brian
O'Ruarc at Dromahaire, and Hugh O'Neil at Dungannon, hospitably
entertained and protected several hundreds who had escaped with their
lives. On the iron-bound coast of Connaught, over 2,000 men perished.
In Galway harbour, 70 prisoners were taken by the Queen's garrison, and
executed on St. Augustine's hill. In the Shannon, the crew of a
disabled vessel set her on fire, and escaped to another in the offing.
On the coasts of Cork and Kerry nearly one thousand men were lost or
cast away. In all, according to a state paper of the time, above 6,000
of the Spaniards were either drowned, killed, or captured, on the
north, west, and southern coasts. A more calamitous reverse could not
have befallen Spain or Ireland in the era of the Reformation.

It is worthy of remark that at the very moment the fear of the armada
was most intensely felt in England—the beginning of July—Sir John
Perrott was recalled from the government. His high and imperious
temper, not less than his reliance on the native chiefs, rather than on
the courtiers of Dublin Castle, had made him many enemies. He was
succeeded by a Lord Deputy of a different character—Sir William
Fitzwilliam—who had filled the same office, for a short period,
seventeen years before. The administration of this nobleman was
protracted till the year 1594, and is chiefly memorable in connection
with the formation of the Ulster Confederacy, under the leadership of
O'Neil and O'Donnell.

Fitzwilliam, whose master passion was avarice, had no sooner been sworn
into the government than he issued a commission to search for treasure,
which the shipwrecked Spaniards were supposed to have saved. "In hopes
to finger some of it," he at once marched into the territory of O'Ruarc
and O'Doherty; O'Ruarc fled to Scotland, was given up by order of James
VI., and subsequently executed at London; O'Doherty and Sir John
O'Gallagher, "two of the most loyal subjects in Ulster," were seized
and confined in the Castle. An outrage of a still more monstrous kind
was perpetrated soon after on the newly elected chieftain of Oriel,
Hugh McMahon. Though he had engaged Fitzwilliam by a bribe of 600 cows
to recognize his succession, he was seized by order of the Deputy,
tried by a jury of common soldiers, on a trumped up charge of
"treason," and executed at his own door. Sir Harry Bagnal who, as
Marshal of Ireland, had his head-quarters at Newry, next to Fitzwilliam
himself, profited most by the consequent partition and settlement of
McMahon's vast estates. Emboldened by the impunity which attended such
high-handed proceedings, and instigated by the Marshal, Fitzwilliam
began to practise, against the ablest as well as the most powerful of
all the Northern chiefs, who had hitherto been known only as a courtier
and soldier of the Queen. This was Hugh O'Neil, Earl of Tyrone, another
of Sir Henry Sidney's "strong men," with the additional advantage of
being familiar from his youth with the character of the men he was now
to encounter.

O'Neil, in the full prime of life, really desired to live in peace with
Elizabeth, provided he might be allowed to govern Ulster with all the
authority attached to his name. Bred up in England, he well knew the
immense resources of that kingdom, and the indomitable character of its
queen. A patriot of Ulster rather than of Ireland, he had served
against the Desmonds, and had been a looker on at Smerwick. To suppress
rivals of his own clan, to check O'Donnell's encroachments, and to
preserve an interest at the English Court, were the objects of his
earlier ambition. In pursuing these objects he did not hesitate to
employ English troops in Ulster, nor to accompany the Queen and her
Deputy to the service of the Church of England. If, however, he really
believed that he could long continue to play the Celtic Prince north of
the Boyne, and the English Earl at Dublin or London, he was soon
undeceived when the fear of the Spanish Armada ceased to weigh on the
Councils of Elizabeth.

A natural son of John the Proud, called from the circumstances of his
birth "Hugh of the fetters," communicated to Fitzwilliam the fact of
Tyrone having sheltered the shipwrecked Spaniards, and employed them in
opening up a correspondence with King Philip. This so exasperated the
Earl, that, having seized the unfortunate Hugh of the fetters, he
caused him to be hanged as a common felon—a high-handed proceeding
which his enemies were expert in turning to account. To protect himself
from the consequent danger, he went to England in May, 1590, without
obtaining the license of the Lord Deputy, as by law required. On
arriving in London he was imprisoned, but, in the course of a month,
obtained his liberty, after signing articles, in which he agreed to
drop the Celtic title of O'Neil; to allow the erection of gaols in his
country; that he should execute no man without a commission from the
Lord Deputy, except in cases of martial law; that he should keep his
troop of horsemen in the Queen's pay, ready for the Queen's service,
and that Tyrone should be regularly reduced to shire-ground. For the
performance of these articles, which he confirmed on reaching Dublin,
he was to place sureties in the hands of certain merchants of that
city, or gentlemen of the Pale, enjoying the confidence of the Crown.
On such hard conditions his earldom was confirmed to him, and he was
apparently taken into all his former favour. But we may date the
conception of his latter and more national policy from the period of
this journey, and the brief imprisonment he had undergone in London.

The "profound dissembling mind" which English historians, his
cotemporaries, attribute to O'Neil, was now brought into daily
exercise. When he discovered money to be the master passion of the Lord
Deputy, he procured his connivance at the escape of Hugh Roe O'Donnell
from Dublin Castle. On a dark night in the depth of winter the youthful
chief, with several of his companions, succeeded in escaping to the
hills in the neighbourhood of Powerscourt; but, exhausted and
bewildered, they were again taken, and returned to their dungeons. Two
years later, the heir of Tyrconnell was more fortunate. In Christmas
week, 1592, he again escaped, through a sewer of the Castle, with Henry
and Art O'Neil, sons of John the Proud. In the street they found
O'Hagan, the confidential agent of Tyrone, waiting to guide them to the
fastness of Glenmalure. Through the deep snows of the Dublin and
Wicklow highlands the prisoners and their guide plodded their way.
After a weary tramp they at length sunk down overwhelmed with fatigue.
In this condition they were found insensible by a party despatched by
Feagh O'Byrne; Art O'Neil, on being raised up, fell backward and
expired; O'Donnell was so severely frost-bitten that he did not recover
for many months the free use of his limbs. With his remaining companion
he was nursed in the recesses of Glenmalure, until he became able to
sit a horse, when he set out for home. Although the utmost vigilance
was exercised by all the warders of the Pale, he crossed the Liffey and
the Boyne undiscovered, rode boldly through the streets of Dundalk, and
found an enthusiastic welcome, first from Tyrone in Dungannon, and soon
after from the aged chief, his father, in the Castle of Ballyshannon.
Early in the following year, the elder O'Donnell resigned the
chieftaincy in favour of his popular son, who was, on the 3rd of May,
duly proclaimed the O'Donnell, from the ancient mound of Kilmacrenan.

The Ulster Confederacy, of which, for ten years, O'Neil and O'Donnell
were the joint and inseparable leaders, was now imminent. Tyrone, by
carrying off, the year previous to O'Donnell's escape, the beautiful
sister of Marshal Bagnal, whom he married, had still further inflamed
the hatred borne to him by that officer. Bagnal complained bitterly of
the abduction to the Queen, charging, among other things, that O'Neil
had a divorced wife still alive. A challenge was in consequence sent
him by his new brother-in-law, but the cartel was not accepted. Every
day's events were hastening a general alliance between the secondary
chieftains of the Province and the two leading spirits. The O'Ruarc and
Maguire were attacked by Bingham, and successfully defended themselves
until the Lord Deputy and the Marshal also marched against them,
summoning O'Neil to their aid. The latter, feeling that the time was
not yet ripe, temporized with Fitzwilliam during the campaign of 1593,
and though in the field at the head of his horsemen, nominally for the
Queen, he seems to have rather employed his opportunities to promote
that Northern Union which he had so much at heart.


In the summer of 1594 the cruel and mercenary Fitzwilliam was succeeded
by Sir William Russell, who had served the Queen, both in Ireland "and
in divers other places beyond sea, in martial affairs." In lieu of the
arbitrary exaction of county cess—so grossly abused by his
predecessor—the shires of the Pale were to pay for the future into the
Treasury of Dublin a composition of 2,100 pounds per annum, out of
which the fixed sum of 1,000 pounds was allowed as the Deputy's wages.
Russell's administration lasted till May, 1597. In that month he was
succeeded by Thomas, Lord Borough, who died in August following of the
wounds received in an expedition against Tyrone; after which the
administration remained in the hands of the Justices till the
appointment of the Earl of Essex.

On the arrival of Russell, Tyrone for the last time ventured to appear
within the walls of Dublin. His influence in the city, and even at the
Council table, must have been considerable to enable him to enter the
gates of the Castle with so much confidence. He came to explain his
wrongs against the previous Deputy, to defend himself against Bagnal's
charges, and to discover, if possible, the instructions of Russell. If
in one respect he was gratified by a personal triumph over his
brother-in-law, in another he had cause for serious alarm, on learning
that Sir John Norris, brother of the President of Munster, a commander
of the highest reputation, was to be sent over under the title of Lord
General, with 2,000 veterans who served in Brittany, and 1,000 of a new
levy. He further learned that his own arrest had been discussed at the
Council, and, leaving Dublin precipitately, he hastened to his home at
Dungannon. All men's minds were now naturally filled with wars and
rumours of wars.

The first blow was struck at "the firebrand of the mountains," as he
was called at Court, Feagh Mac Hugh O'Byrne. The truce made with him
expired in 1594, and his application for his renewal was not honoured
with an answer. On the contrary, his sureties at Dublin, Geoffrey, son
of Hugh, and his own son, James, were committed to close custody in the
Castle. His son-in-law, Sir Walter Fitzgerald, had been driven by
ill-usage, and his friendship for Lord Baltinglass, to the shelter of
Glenmalure, and this was, of course, made a ground of charge against
its chief. During the last months of 1594, Mynce, Sheriff of Carlow,
informed the Lord Deputy of warlike preparations in the Glen, and that
Brian Oge O'Rourke had actually passed to and fro through Dublin city
and county, as confidential agent between Feagh Mac Hugh and Tyrone. In
January following, under cover of a hunting party among the hills, the
Deputy, by a night march on Glenmalure, succeeded in surprising
O'Byrne's house at Ballincor, and had almost taken the aged chieftain
prisoner. In the flight, Rose O'Toole, his wife, was wounded in the
breast, and a priest detected hiding in a thicket was shot dead. Feagh
retired to Dromceat, or the Cat's-back Mountain—one of the best
positions in the Glen—while a strong force was quartered in his former
mansion to observe his movements. In April, his son-in-law, Fitzgerald,
was taken prisoner, near Baltinglass, in a retreat where he was laid up
severely wounded; in May, a party under the Deputy's command scoured
the mountains and seized the Lady Rose, who was attainted of treason,
and, like Fitzgerald, barbarously given up to the halter and the
quartering knife. Two foster-brothers of the chief were, at the same
time and in the same manner, put to death, and a large reward was
offered for his own apprehension, alive or dead.

Hugh O'Neil announced his resort to arms by a vigorous protest against
the onslaught made on his friend O'Byrne. Without waiting for, or
expecting any answer, he surprised the fort erected on the Blackwater
which commanded the highway into his own territory. This fort, which
was situated between Armagh and Dungannon, about five miles distant
from either, served, before the fortification of Charlemont, as the
main English stronghold in that part of Ulster. The river Blackwater on
which it stood, from its source on the borders of Monaghan to its
outlet in Lough Neagh, watered a fertile valley, which now became the
principal theatre of war; for Hugh O'Neil, and afterwards for his
celebrated nephew, it proved to be a theatre of victory. General
Norris, on reaching Ireland, at once marched northward to recover the
fort lately taken. O'Neil, having demolished the works, retreated
before him; considering Dungannon also unfit to stand a regular siege,
he dismantled the town, burnt his own castle to the ground, having
first secured every portable article of value. Norris contented himself
with reconnoitring the Earl's entrenched camp at some distance from
Dungannon, and returned to Newry, where he established his

The campaign in another quarter was attended with even better success
for the Confederates. Hugh Roe O'Donnell, no longer withheld by the
more politic O'Neil, displayed in action all the fiery energy of his
nature. Under his banner he united almost all the tribes of Ulster not
enlisted with O'Neil; while six hundred Scots, led by MacLeod of Ara,
obeyed his commands. He first descended on the plains of
Annally-O'Farrell (the present county of Longford), driving the English
settlers before him: he next visited the undertaker's tenants in
Connaught, ejecting them from Boyle and Ballymoate, and pursuing them
to the gates of Tuam. On his return, the important town and castle of
Sligo, the property of O'Conor, then in England, submitted to him. Sir
Richard Bingham endeavoured to recover it, but was beaten off with
loss. O'Donnell, finding it cheaper to demolish than defend it, broke
down the castle and returned in triumph across the Erne.

General Norris, having arranged his plan of campaign at Newry,
attempted to victual Armagh, besieged by O'Neil, but was repulsed by
that leader after a severe struggle. He, however, succeeded in throwing
supplies into Monaghan, where a strong garrison was quartered, and to
which O'Neil and O'Donnell proceeded to lay siege. While lying before
Monaghan they received overtures of peace from the Lord Deputy, who
continually disagreed with Sir John Norris as to the conduct of the
war, and lost no opportunity of thwarting his plans. He did not now
blush to address, as Earl of Tyrone, the man he had lately proclaimed a
traitor at Dublin, by the title of the son of a blacksmith. The Irish
leaders at the outset refused to meet the Commissioners—Chief Justice
Gardiner and Sir Henry Wallop, Treasurer-at-War—in Dundalk, so the
latter were compelled to wait on them in the camp before Monaghan. The
terms demanded by O'Neil and O'Donnell, including entire freedom of
religious worship, were reserved by the Commissioners for the
consideration of the Council, with whose sanction, a few weeks
afterwards, all the Ulster chiefs, except "the Queen's O'Reilly," were
formally tried before a jury at Dublin, and condemned as traitors.

Monaghan was thrice taken and retaken in this campaign. It was on the
second return of General Norris from that town he found himself
unexpectedly in presence of O'Neil's army, advantageously posted on the
left bank of the little stream which waters the village of Clontibret.
Norris made two attempts to force the passage, but without success. Sir
Thomas Norris, and the general himself, were wounded; Seagrave, a
gigantic Meathian cavalry officer, was slain in a hand to hand
encounter with O'Neil; the English retreated hastily on Newry, and
Monaghan was again surrendered to the Irish. This brilliant combat at
Clontibret closed the campaign of 1595. General Norris, who, like Sir
John Moore, two centuries later, commanded the respect, and frankly
acknowledged the wrongs of the people against whom he fought, employed
the winter months in endeavouring to effect a reconciliation between
O'Neil and the Queen's Government. He had conceived a warm and
chivalrous regard for his opponent; for he could not deny that he had
been driven to take up arms in self-defence. At his instance a royal
commission to treat with the Earl was issued, and the latter cheerfully
gave them a meeting in an open field without the walls of Dundalk. The
same terms which he had proposed before Monaghan were repeated in his
_ultimatum_, and the Commissioners agreed to give him a positive answer
by the 2nd day of April. On that day they attended at Dundalk, but
O'Neil did not appear. The Commissioners delayed an entire fortnight,
addressing him in the interim an urgent remonstrance to come in and
conclude their negotiation. On the 17th of the month they received his
reasons for breaking off the treaty—the principal of which was, that
the truce had been repeatedly broken through by the English
garrisons—and so the campaign of 1596 was to be fought with renewed
animosity on both sides.

Early in May the Lord Deputy made another descent on Ballincor, which
Feagh Mac Hugh had recovered in the autumn to lose again in the spring.
Though worn with years and infirm of body, the Wicklow chieftain held
his devoted bands well together, and kept the garrison of Dublin
constantly on the defensive. In the new chieftain of the O'Moores he
found at this moment a young and active coadjutor. In an affair at
Stradbally Bridge, O'Moore obtained a considerable victory, leaving
among the slain Alexander and Francis Cosby, grandsons of the commander
in the massacre at Mullaghmast.

The arrival of three Spanish frigates with arms and ammunition in
Donegal Bay was welcome news to the Northern Catholics. They were
delivered to O'Donnell, who was incessantly in the field, while O'Neil
was again undergoing the forms of diplomacy with a new royal commission
at Dundalk. He himself disclaimed any correspondence with the King of
Spain, but did not deny that such negotiations might be maintained by
others. It is alleged that, while many of the chiefs had signed a
formal invitation to the Spanish King to assume their crown, O'Neil had
not gone beyond verbal assurances of co-operation with them. However
this may be, he resolved that the entire season should not be wasted in
words, so he attacked the strong garrison left in Armagh, and recovered
the primatial city. According to the Irish practice, he dismantled the
fortress, which, however, was again reconstructed by the English before
the end of the war. Some other skirmishes, of which we have no very
clear account, and which we may set down as of no decisive character,
terminated the campaign.

In May, 1597, Lord Borough, who had distinguished himself in the
Netherlands, replaced Russell as Lord Deputy, and assumed the
command-in-chief, in place of Sir John Norris. Simultaneously with his
arrival Feagh Mac Hugh O'Byrne, was surprised in Glenmalure by a
detachment from Dublin, and slain; he died as he had lived, a hero and
a free man. O'Neil, who was warmly attached to the Wicklow chief,
immediately despatched such succour as he could spare to Feagh's sons,
and promised to continue to them the friendship he had always
entertained for their father. Against Tyrone the new Lord Deputy now
endeavoured to combine all the military resources at his disposal.
Towards the end of July, Sir Conyers Clifford was ordered to muster the
available force of Connaught at Boyle, and to march into Sligo and
Donegal. A thousand men of the Anglo-Irish were assembled at Mullingar,
under the command of young Barnewell of Trimbleston, who was instructed
to effect a junction with the main force upon the borders of Ulster.
The Lord Deputy, marching in force from Drogheda, penetrated,
unopposed, the valley of the Blackwater, and entered Armagh. From
Armagh he moved to the relief of the Blackwater fort, besieged by
O'Neil. At a place called Drumfliuch, where Battleford Bridge now
stands, Tyrone contrived to draw his enemies into an engagement on very
disadvantageous ground. The result was a severe defeat to the new
Deputy, who, a few days afterwards, died of his wounds at Newry, as his
second in command, the Earl of Kildare, did at Drogheda. Sir Francis
Vaughan, Sir Thomas Waller, and other distinguished officers, fell in
the same action, but the fort, the main prize of the combatants,
remained in English hands till the following year. O'Donnell, with
equal success, held Ballyshannon, compelled Sir Conyers Clifford to
raise the siege with the loss of the Earl of Thomond, and a large part
of his following. Simultaneously, Captain Richard Tyrrell of
West-Meath—one of O'Neil's favourite officers—having laid an ambuscade
for young Barnewell at the pass in West-Meath which now bears his name,
the Meathian regiment were sabred to a man. Mullingar and Maryborough
were taken and sacked, and in the North, Sir John Chichester, Governor
of Carrickfergus, was cut off with his troop by MacDonald of the Glens.

These successes synchronize exactly with the expectation of a second
Spanish Armada, which filled Elizabeth with her old apprehensions.
Philip was persuaded again to tempt the fortune of the seas, and
towards the end of October his fleet, under the Adelantado of Castille,
appeared off the Scilly Islands, with a view to secure the Isle of
Wight, or some other station, from which to operate an invasion the
ensuing spring. Extraordinary means were taken for defence; the English
troops in France were recalled, new levies raised, and the Queen's
favourite, the young Earl of Essex, appointed to command the fleet,
with Raleigh and Lord Thomas Howard as Vice-Admirals. But the elements
again fought for the northern island; a storm, which swept the channel
for weeks, drove the English ships into their ports, but scattered
those of Spain over the Bay of Biscay. In this second expedition sailed
Florence Conroy, and other Irish exiles, who had maintained for years a
close correspondence with the Catholic leaders. Their presence in the
fleet, the existence of the correspondence, and the progress of the
revolt itself, will sufficiently account for the apparent vacillations
of English policy in Ulster in the last months of 1597. Shortly before
Christmas, Ormond, now Lord Lieutenant, accompanied by the Earl of
Thomond, attended only by their personal followers, visited Dungannon,
and remained three days in conference with O'Neil and O'Donnell. The
Irish chiefs reiterated their old demands: freedom of worship, and the
retention of the substantial power attached to their ancient rank. They
would admit Sheriffs, if they were chosen from among natives of their
counties, but they declined to give hostages out of their own families.
These terms were referred to the Queen's consideration, who, after much
protocoling to and fro, finally ratified them the following April, and
affixed the great seal to O'Neil's pardon. But Tyrone, guided by
intelligence received from Spain or England, or both, evaded the royal
messenger charged to deliver him that instrument, and as the late truce
expired the first week of June, devoted himself anew to military

In the month of June, 1598, the Council at Dublin were in a state of
fearful perplexity. O'Neil, two days after the expiration of the truce,
invested the fort on the Blackwater, and seemed resolved to reduce it,
if not by force, by famine. O'Donnell, as usual, was operating on the
side of Connaught, where he had brought back O'Ruarc, O'Conor Sligo,
and McDermot, to the Confederacy, from which they had been for a season
estranged. Tyrrell and O'Moore, leading spirits in the midland counties
were ravaging Ormond's palatinate of Tipperary almost without
opposition. An English reinforcement, debarked at Dungarvan, was
attacked on its march towards Dublin, and lost 400 men. In this
emergency, before which even the iron nerve of Ormond quailed, the
Council took the resolution of ordering one moiety of the Queen's
troops under Ormond to march south against Tyrrell and O'Moore; the
other under Marshal Bagnal, to proceed northward to the relief of the
Blackwater fort. Ormond's campaign was brief and inglorious. After
suffering a severe check in Leix, he shut himself up in Kilkenny, where
he heard of the disastrous fate of Bagnal's expedition.

On Sunday, the 13th of August, the Marshal reached Newry with some
trifling loss from skirmishes on the route. He had with him, by the
best accounts, six regiments of infantry, numbering in all about 4,000
men and 350 horse. After resting a day, his whole force marched out of
the city in three divisions; the first under the command of the Marshal
and Colonel Percy, the cavalry under Sir Calisthenes Brooke and
Captains Montague and Fleming; the rear guard under Sir Thomas
Wingfield and Colonel Cosby. The Irish, whose numbers, both mounted and
afoot, somewhat exceeded the Marshal's force, but who were not so well
armed, had taken up a strong position at Ballinaboy ("the Yellow
ford"), about two miles north of Armagh. With O'Neil were O'Donnell,
Maguire, and McDonnell of Antrim—all approved leaders beloved by their
men. O'Neil had neglected no auxiliary means of strengthening the
position. In front of his lines he dug deep trenches, covered over with
green sods, supported by twigs and branches. The pass leading into this
plain was lined by 500 kerne, whose Parthian warfare was proverbial. He
had reckoned on the headlong and boastful disposition of his opponent,
and the result showed his accurate knowledge of character. Bagnal's
first division, veterans from Brittany and Flanders, including 600
curassiers in complete armour, armed with lances nine feet long, dashed
into the pass before the second and third divisions had time to come
up. The kerne poured in their rapid volleys; many of the English fell;
the pass was yielded, and the whole power of Bagnal debouched into the
plain. His artillery now thundered upon O'Neil's trenches, and the
cavalry, with the plain before them, were ordered to charge; but they
soon came upon the concealed pitfalls, horses fell, riders were thrown,
and confusion spread among the squadron. Then it was O'Neil in turn
gave the signal to charge; himself led on the centre, O'Donnell the
left, and Maguire, famous for horsemanship, the Irish horse. The
overthrow of the English was complete, and the victory most eventful.
The Marshal, 23 superior officers, with about 1,700 of the rank and
file fell on the field, while all the artillery baggage and 12 stand of
colours were taken: the Irish loss in killed and wounded did not exceed
800 men. "It was a glorious victory for the rebels," says the
cotemporary English historian, Camden, "and of special advantage: for
hereby they got arms and provisions, and Tyrone's name was cried up all
over Ireland as the author of their liberty." It may also be added that
it attracted renewed attention to the Irish war at Paris, Madrid, and
Rome, where the names of O'Neil and O'Donnell were spoken of by all
zealous Catholics with enthusiastic admiration.

The battle was over by noon of the 15th of August; and the only effort
to arrest the flight of the survivors was made by "the Queen's
O'Reilly," who was slain in the attempt. By one o'clock the remnant of
the cavalry under Montague were in full career for Dundalk, closely
pressed by the mounted men of O'Hanlon. During the ensuing week the
Blackwater fort capitulated; the Protestant garrison of Armagh
surrendered; and were allowed to march south, leaving their arms and
ammunition behind. The panic spread far and wide; the citizens of
Dublin were enrolled to defend their walls; Lord Ormond continued shut
up in Kilkenny; O'Moore and Tyrrell, who entered Munster by O'Neil's
order, to kindle the elements of resistance, compelled the Lord
President to retire from Kilmallock to Cork. O'Donnell established his
head-quarters at Ballymoate, a dozen miles south of Sligo, which he had
purchased from the chieftain of Corran for 400 pounds and 300 cows. The
castle had served for thirteen years as an English stronghold, and was
found staunch enough fifty years later to withstand the siege trains of
Coote and Ludlow. From this point the Donegal chieftain was enabled to
stretch his arm in every direction over lower Connaught. The result
was, that before the end of the year 1598, nearly all the inhabitants
of Clanrickarde and the surrounding districts were induced, either from
policy or conviction, to give in their adhesion to the Northern


The last favourite of the many who enjoyed the foolish, if not guilty,
favours of Elizabeth was Robert Devereux, Earl of Essex, son of that
unfortunate nobleman spoken of in a previous chapter as the
"undertaker" of Farney and Clandeboy. Born in 1567, the Earl had barely
reached the age of manhood when he won the heart of his royal mistress,
already verging on threescore. Gifted by nature with a handsome person,
undoubted courage, and many generous qualities, he exhibited, in the
most important transactions of life, the recklessness of a madman and
the levity of a spoiled child; it was apparent to the world that
nothing short of the personal fascination which he exercised over the
Queen could so long have preserved him from the consequences of his
continual caprices and quarrels. Such was the character of the young
nobleman, who, as was afterwards said, at the instigation of his
enemies, was sent over to restore the ascendancy of the English arms in
the revolted provinces. His appointment was to last during the Queen's
pleasure; he was provided with an army of 20,000 foot and 2,000 horse;
three-fourths of the ordinary annual revenue of England (340,000 pounds
out of 450,000 pounds) was placed at his disposal, and the largest
administrative powers, civil and military, were conferred on him. A new
plan of campaign in Ulster was decided upon at the royal council table,
and Sir Samuel Bagnal, brother of the late Marshal, and other
experienced officers, were to precede or accompany him to carry it into
execution. The main feature of this plan was to get possession by sea
and strongly fortify Ballyshannon, Donegal, Derry, and the entrance to
the Foyle, so as to operate at once in the rear of the northern chiefs,
as well as along the old familiar base of Newry, Monaghan, and Armagh.

Essex, on being sworn into office at Dublin, on the 15th of April,
1599, immediately issued a proclamation offering pardon and restoration
of property to such of the Irish as would lay down their arms by a
given day, but very few persons responded to this invitation. He next
despatched reinforcements to the garrisons of Wicklow and Naas, menaced
by the O'Moores and O'Byrnes, and to those of Drogheda, Dundalk, Newry,
and Carrickfergus, the only northern strongholds remaining in
possession of the Queen. The principal operations, it had been agreed
before he left England, were to be directed against Ulster, but with
the waywardness which always accompanied him, he disregarded that
arrangement, and set forth, at the head of 7,000 men, for the opposite
quarter. He was accompanied in this march by the Earls of Clanrickarde
and Thomond, Sir Conyers Clifford, Governor of Connaught, and O'Conor
of Sligo, the only native chief who remained in the English ranks. In
Ormond he received the submission of Lord Mountgarrett, son-in-law to
Tyrone, and took the strong castle of Cahir from another of the
insurgent Butlers. After a halt at Limerick, he set out against the
Geraldines, who the previous year had joined the Northern league, at
the instance of Tyrrell and O'Moore. Although the only heir of the Earl
of Desmond was a prisoner, or ward of Elizabeth in England, James
Fitzgerald, son of Thomas Roe, son of the fifteenth Earl by that
marriage which had been pronounced invalid, assumed the title at the
suggestion of O'Neil, and was recognized as the Desmond by the greater
portion of the relatives of that family. Fitzmaurice, Lord of Lixnaw,
the Knight of Glynn, the White Knight, the Lord Roche, Pierce Lacy of
Buree and Bruff, the last descendant of Hugh de Lacy and the daughter
of Roderick O'Conor, with the McCarthys, O'Donohoes, O'Sullivans,
Condons, and other powerful tribes, were all astir to the number, as
Carew supposes, of 8,000 men, all emulous of their compatriots in the
North. Issuing from Limerick, Essex marched southward to strengthen the
stronghold of Askeaton, into which he succeeded, after a severe
skirmish by the way, in throwing supplies. Proceeding to victual Adare,
he experienced a similar check, losing among others Sir Henry Norris,
the third of those brave brothers who had fallen a victim to these
Irish wars. In returning to Dublin, by way of Waterford and Kildare, he
was assailed by O'Moore at a difficult defile, which, to this day, is
known in Irish as "the pass of the plumes" or feathers. The Earl forced
a passage with the loss of 500 lives, and so returned with little glory
to Dublin.

The next military incident of the year transpired in the West. We have
spoken of O'Conor Sligo as the only native chief who followed Essex to
the South. He had been lately at the English Court, where he was
treated with the highest distinction, in order that he might be used to
impede O'Donnell's growing power in lower Connaught. On returning home
he was promptly besieged by the Donegal chief in his remaining castle
at Colooney, within five miles of Sligo. Essex, on learning this fact,
ordered Sir Conyers Clifford to march to the relief of O'Conor with all
the power he could muster. Clifford despatched from Galway, by sea,
stores and materials for the refortification of Sligo town, and set out
himself at the head of 2,100 men, drafted from both sides of the
Shannon, under twenty-five ensigns. He had under him Sir Alexander
Radcliffe, Sir Griffin Markham, and other experienced officers. Their
rendezvous, as usual, was the old monastic town of Boyle, about a day's
march to the south of Sligo. From Boyle, the highway led into the
Curlieu mountains, which divide Sligo on the south-east from Roscommon.
Here, in the strong pass of Ballaghboy, O'Donnell with the main body of
his followers awaited their approach. He had left the remainder, under
his cousin and brother-in-law, Nial Garve (or the _rough_), to maintain
the siege of Colooney Castle. O'Ruarc and the men of Breffni joined him
during the battle, but their entire force is nowhere stated. It was the
eve of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin, and the first anniversary
of the great victory of the Yellow Ford. The night was spent by the
Irish in fasting and prayer, the early morning in hearing Mass, and
receiving the Holy Communion. The day was far advanced when the head of
Clifford's column appeared in the defile, driving in a barricade
erected at its entrance. The defenders, according to orders, discharged
their javelins and muskets, and fell back farther into the gorge. The
English advanced twelve abreast, through a piece of woodland, after
which the road crossed a patch of bog. Here the thick of the battle was
fought. Sir Alexander Radcliffe, who led the vanguard, fell early in
the action, and his division falling back on the centre threw them all
into confusion. O'Ruarc arriving with his men at the critical moment
completed the rout, and pursued the fugitives to the gates of Boyle.
The gallant Clifford, scorning to fly, was found among the slain, and
honourably interred by his generous enemies in the monastery of Lough
Key. On his head being shown to O'Conor at Colooney, he at once
surrendered to O'Donnell, and entered into the Northern Confederacy.
Theobald Burke, the commander of the vessels sent round from Galway to
fortify Sligo, also submitted to O'Donnell, and was permitted to return
to the port from which he had lately sailed, with very different

Essex, whose mind was a prey to apprehension from his enemies in
England had demanded reinforcements before he could undertake anything
against Ulster. It seems hardly credible that the 15,000 regular troops
in the country at his coming should be mostly taken up with garrison
duty, yet we cannot otherwise account for their disappearance from the
field. He asked for 2,000 fresh troops, and while awaiting their
arrival, sent a detachment of 600 men into Wicklow, who were repulsed
with loss by Phelim, son of Feagh, the new Chief of the O'Byrnes. Essex
was thrown into transports of rage at this new loss. The officers who
retreated were tried by court-martial, and, contrary to his usually
generous temper, the surviving men were inhumanly decimated.

Early in September, the reinforcement he had asked for arrived with a
bitterly reproachful letter from the Queen. He now hastened to make a
demonstration against Tyrone, although, from some cause unexplained, he
does not seem to have drawn out the whole force at his disposal. From
Newry he proceeded northward towards Carrickfergus, with only 1,300
foot and 300 horse. On the high ground to the north of the river Lagan,
overlooking Anaghclart Bridge, he found the host of O'Neil encamped,
and received a courteous message from their leader, soliciting a
personal interview. Essex at first declined, but afterwards accepted
the invitation, and at an appointed hour the two commanders rode down
to the opposite banks of the river, wholly unattended, the advanced
guard of each looking curiously on from the uplands. O'Neil spurred his
horse into the stream up to the saddle girth, and thus for an hour,
exposed to the generous but impulsive Englishman, the grievances of
himself and his compatriots. With all the art, for which he was
distinguished, he played upon his knowledge of the Earl's character: he
named those enemies of his own whom he also knew to be hostile to
Essex, he showed his provocations in the strongest light, and declared
his readiness to submit to her Majesty, on condition of obtaining
complete liberty of conscience, an act of indemnity to include his
allies in all the four Provinces; that the principal officers of state,
the judges, and one half the army should in future be Irish by birth.
This was, in effect, a demand for national independence, though the
Lord Lieutenant may not have seen it in that light. He promised,
however, to transmit the propositions to England, and within presence
of six principal officers of each side, agreed to a truce till the 1st
of May following. Another upbraiding letter from Elizabeth, which
awaited him on his return to Dublin, drove Essex to the desperate
resolution of presenting himself before her, without permission. The
short remainder of his troubled career, his execution in the Tower in
February, 1601, and Elizabeth's frantic lamentations, are familiar to
readers of English history.

In presenting so comprehensive an ultimatum to Essex, O'Neil was
emboldened by the latest intelligence received from Spain. Philip II.,
the life-long friend of the Catholics, had, indeed, died the previous
September, but one of the first acts of his successor, Philip III., was
to send envoys into Ireland, assuring its chiefs that he would continue
to them the friendship and alliance of his father. Shortly before the
conference at Anaghclart, a third Armada, under the Adelantado of
Castile, was awaiting orders in the port of Corunna, and England, for
the third time in ten years, was placed in a posture of defence. The
Spaniards sailed, but soon divided into two squadrons, one of which
passed down the British Channel unobserved, and anchored in the waters
of the Sluys, while the other sailed for the Canaries to intercept the
Hollanders. At the same time, however, most positive assurances were
renewed that an auxiliary force might shortly be expected to land in
Ireland in aid of the Catholics. The non-arrival of this force during
the fortunate campaign of 1599 was not much felt by the Catholics; and
was satisfactorily explained by Philip's envoys—but the mere fact of
the existence of the Spanish alliance gave additional confidence and
influence to the confederates. That fact was placed beyond all question
by the arrival of two Spanish ships laden with stores for O'Neil,
immediately after the interview with Essex. In the summer or autumn
ensuing, Mathew of Oviedo, a Spaniard, consecrated at Rome, Archbishop
of Dublin, brought over 22,000 crowns towards the pay of the Irish
troops, and a year afterwards, Don Martin de la Cerda was sent to
reside as envoy with Tyrone.

The year 1600 was employed by Hugh O'Neil, after the manner of his
ancestors, who were candidates for the Kingship of Tara, in a
visitation of the Provinces. Having first planted strong garrisons on
the southern passes leading into Ulster, he marched at the head of
3,000 men into West-Meath, where he obliged Lord Delvin and Sir
Theobald Dillon to join the Confederation. From Meath he marched to
Ely, whose chief he punished for a late act of treachery to some Ulster
soldiers invited to his assistance. From Ely he turned aside to
venerate the relic of the Holy Cross, at Thurles, and being there he
granted his protection to the great Monastery built by Donald More
O'Brien. At Cashel he was joined by the Geraldine, whom he caused to be
recognized as Earl of Desmond. Desmond and his supporters accompanied
him through Limerick into Cork, quartering their retainers on the lands
of their enemies, but sparing their friends; the Earl of Ormond with a
corps of observation moving on a parallel line of march, but carefully
avoiding a collision. In the beginning of March the Catholic army
halted at Inniscarra, upon the river Lee, about five miles west of
Cork. Here O'Neil remained three weeks in camp consolidating the
Catholic party in South Munster. During that time he was visited by the
chiefs of the ancient Eugenian clans—O'Donohoe, O'Donovan, and
O'Mahoney: thither also came two of the most remarkable men of the
southern Province, Florence McCarthy, Lord of Carberry, and Donald
O'Sullivan, Lord of Bearehaven. McCarthy "like Saul, higher by the head
and shoulders than any of his house," had brain in proportion to his
brawn; O'Sullivan, as was afterwards shown, was possessed of military
virtues of a high order. Florence was inaugurated with O'Neil's
sanction as McCarthy More, and although the rival house of Muskerry
fiercely resisted his claim to superiority at first, a wiser choice
could not have been made had the times tended to confirm it.

While at Inniscarra, O'Neil lost in single combat one of his most
accomplished officers, the chief of Fermanagh. Maguire, accompanied
only by a Priest and two horsemen, was making observations nearer to
the city than the camp, when Sir Warham St. Leger, Marshal of Munster,
issued out of Cork with a company of soldiers, probably on a similar
mission. Both were in advance of their attendants when they came
unexpectedly face to face. Both were famous as horsemen and for the use
of their weapons, and neither would retrace his steps. The Irish chief,
poising his spear, dashed forward against his opponent, but received a
pistol shot which proved mortal the same day. He, however, had strength
enough left to drive his spear through the neck of St. Leger, and to
effect his escape from the English cavalry. Saint Leger was carried
back to Cork where he expired; Maguire, on reaching the camp, had
barely time left to make his last confession, when he breathed his
last. This untoward event, the necessity of preventing possible
dissensions in Fermanagh, and still more, the menacing movements of the
new Deputy, lately sworn in at Dublin, obliged O'Neil to return home
earlier than he intended. Soon after reaching Dungannon he had the
gratification of receiving a most gracious letter from Pope Clement
VIII., together with a crown of phoenix feathers, symbolical of the
consideration with which he was regarded by the Sovereign Pontiff.

A new Deputy had landed at Howth on the 24th of February, 1600, and was
sworn in at Dublin the day following. This was Charles Blount, Lord
Mountjoy, afterwards Earl of Devonshire, a nobleman now in his 37th
year. He had been the rival, the enemy, and the devoted friend of the
unfortunate Essex, whom he equalled in personal gifts, in courage, and
in gallantry, but far exceeded in judgment, firmness, and foresight. He
was one of a class of soldier-statesmen, peculiar to the second half of
Elizabeth's reign, who affected authorship and the patronage of letters
as a necessary complement to the manners of a courtier and commander.
On the 2nd of April, Mountjoy, still at Dublin, wrote to her Majesty
that the army had taken heart since his arrival, that he had no fear of
the loss of the country, but was more anxious for Connaught than any
other Province. He deplored the capture of Lord Ormond by the O'Moores,
but hoped, if God prospered her arms during the summer, either "to bow
or to break the crooked humours of these people." The three succeeding
years of peace granted to England—interrupted only by the mad _emeute_
of Essex, and the silly intrigues of the King of Scotland—enabled
Elizabeth to direct all the energies of the State, which had so
immensely increased in wealth during her reign, for the subjugation of
the Irish revolt.

The capture of Ormond by the O'Moores took place in the month of April,
at a place called Corroneduff, in an interview between the Earl, the
President of Munster, and Lord Thomond, on the one part, and the
Leinster Chief on the other. Ormond, who stood out from his party, had
asked to see the famous Jesuit, Father Archer, then with O'Moore. The
Priest advanced leaning on his staff, which, in the heat of a
discussion that arose, he raised once or twice in the air. The
clansmen, suspecting danger to the Jesuit, rushed forward and dragged
the Earl from his horse. Lord Thomond and the President, taking the
alarm, plied their spurs, and were but too glad to escape. Ormond
remained a prisoner from April to June, during which interval he was
received by Archer into the Church, to which he firmly adhered till the
day of his death. On his liberation he entered into bonds for 3,000
pounds not to make reprisals, but Mountjoy took vengeance for him. The
fair, well-fenced, and well-cultivated land of Leix was cruelly ravaged
immediately after Ormond's release—the common soldiers cut down with
their swords "corn to the value of 10,000 pounds and upwards," and the
brave chief, Owny, son of Rory, having incautiously exposed himself in
an attack on Maryborough, was, on the 17th of August, killed by a
musket shot.


The twofold operations against Ulster, neglected by Essex, were
vigorously pressed forward by the energetic Mountjoy. On the 16th of
May, a fleet arrived in Lough Foyle, having on board 4,000 foot and 200
horse, under the command of Sir Henry Dowcra, with abundance of stores,
building materials, and ordnance. At the same moment, the Deputy forced
the Moira pass, and made a feigned demonstration against Armagh, to
draw attention from the fleet in the Foyle. This feint served its
purpose; Dowcra was enabled to land and throw up defensive works at
Derry, which he made his head-quarters, to fortify Culmore at the
entrance to the harbour, where he placed 600 men, under the command of
Captain Atford, and to seize the ancient fort of Aileach, at the head
of Lough Swilly, where Captain Ellis Flood was stationed with 150 men.
The attempt against Ballyshannon was, on a nearer view, found
impracticable, and deferred; the Deputy, satisfied that the lodgment
had been made upon Lough Foyle, retired to Dublin, after increasing the
garrisons at Newry, Carlingford, and Dundalk. The Catholic chieftains
immediately turned their attention to the new fort at Derry, appeared
suddenly before it with 5,000 men, but failing to draw out its
defenders, and being wholly unprovided with a siege train and
implements—as they appear to have been throughout—they withdrew the
second day, O'Donnell leaving a party in hopes to starve out the
foreigners. This party were under the command of O'Doherty, of
Innishowen, and Nial Garve O'Donnell, the most distinguished soldier of
his name, after his illustrious cousin and chief. On the 28th of June,
a party of the besieged, headed by Sir John Chamberlaine, made a sally
from the works, but were driven in with loss, and Chamberlaine killed.
On the 29th of July, O'Donnell, who had returned from his annual
incursion into Connaught and Thomond, seized the English cavalry
horses, and defeated the main force of the besieged, who had issued out
to their rescue. From this affair Dowcra was carried back wounded into

But treason was busy in the Irish camp and country among the
discontented members of the neighbouring clans. The election of chiefs
for life, always a fruitful source of bickering and envy, supplied the
very material upon which "the princely policie" of division,
recommended by Bacon to Essex, might be exercised. Dowcra succeeded in
the summer in winning over Art O'Neil, son of Turlogh, the early
adversary of the great Hugh; before the year was over, by bribes and
promises, he seduced Nial Garve, in the absence of his chief in
Connaught, and Nial, having once entered on the career of treason,
pursued it with all the dogged courage of his disposition. Though his
wife, sister to Red Hugh, forsook him, though his name was execrated
throughout the Province, except by his blindly devoted personal
followers, he served the English during the remainder of the war with a
zeal and ability to which they acknowledged themselves deeply indebted.
By a rapid march, at the head of 1,000 men, supplied by Dowcra, he
surprised the town of Lifford, which his new allies promptly fortified
with walls of stone, and entrusted to him to defend. Red Hugh, on
learning this alarming incident, hastened from the West to invest the
place. After sitting before it an entire month, with no other advantage
than a sally repulsed, he concluded to go into winter quarters. Arthur
O'Neil and Nial Garve had the dignity of knighthood conferred upon
them, and were, besides, recognized for the day by the English
officials as the future O'Neil and O'Donnell. In like manner, "a
Queen's Maguire" had been raised up in Fermanagh, "a Queen's O'Reilly"
in Cavan, and other chiefs of smaller districts were provided with
occupation enough at their own doors by the "princely policie" of Lord

The English interest in Munster during the first year of Mountjoy's
administration had recovered much of its lost predominance. The new
President, Sir George Carew, afterwards Earl of Totness, was brother to
that knightly "undertaker" who claimed the moiety of Desmond, and met
his death at Glenmalure. He was a soldier of the new school, who prided
himself especially on his "wit and cunning," in the composition of
"sham and counterfeit letters." He had an early experience in the Irish
wars, first as Governor of Askeaton Castle, and afterwards as
Lieutenant General of the Ordnance. Subsequently he was employed in
putting England in a state of defence against the Spaniards, and had
just returned from an embassy to Poland, when he was ordered to join
Mountjoy with the rank of Lord President. He has left us a memoir of
his administration, civil and military, edited by his natural son and
Secretary, Thomas Stafford—exceedingly interesting to read both as to
matter and manner, but the documents embodied in which are about as
reliable as the speeches which are read in Livy. Some of them are
admitted forgeries; others are at least of doubtful authenticity. After
escaping with Lord Thomond from the scene of Ormond's capture, his
first act on reaching Cork was to conclude a month's truce with
Florence McCarthy. This he did, in order to gain time to perfect a plot
for the destruction of O'Neil's other friend, called in derision, by
the Anglo-Irish of Munster, the _sugane_ (or straw-rope) Earl of

This plot, so characteristic of Carew and of the turn which English
history was about to take in the next reign, deserves to be
particularly mentioned. There was, in the service of the Earl, one
Dermid O'Conor, captain of 1,400 hired troops, who was married to lady
Margaret Fitzgerald, daughter to the late, and niece to the new-made
Earl of Desmond. This lady, naturally interested in the restoration of
her young brother, then the Queen's ward or prisoner at London, to the
title and estates, was easily drawn into the scheme of seducing her
husband from his patron. To justify and cloak the treachery a letter
was written by Carew to the _sugane_ Earl reminding him of _his_
engagement to deliver up O'Conor; this _letter_, as pre-arranged, was
intercepted by the latter, who, watching his opportunity, rushed with
it open into the Earl's presence, and arrested him, in the name of
O'Neil, as a traitor to the Catholic cause! Anxious to finger his
reward—1,000 pounds and a royal commission for himself—before giving up
his capture, O'Conor imprisoned the Earl in the keep of Castle-Ishin,
but the White Knight, the Knight of Glynn, Fitzmaurice of Kerry, and
Pierce Lacy, levying rapidly 2,000 men, speedily delivered him from
confinement, while his baffled betrayer, crest-fallen and dishonoured,
was compelled to quit the Province. The year following he was attacked
while marching through Galway, and remorselessly put to death by
Theobald Burke, usually called Theobald of the ships.

Another device employed to destroy the influence of O'Neil's Desmond
was the liberation of the young son of the late Earl from the Tower and
placing him at the disposal of Carew. The young nobleman, attended by a
Captain Price, who was to watch all his movements, landed at Youghal,
where he was received by the Lord President, the Clerk of the Council,
Mr. Boyle, afterwards Earl of Cork, and Miler Magrath, an apostate
ecclesiastic, who had been the Queen's Archbishop of Cashel. By his
influence with the warders, Castlemaine, in Kerry, surrendered to the
President. On reaching Kilmallock, he was received with such enthusiasm
that it required the effort of a guard of soldiers to make way for him
through the crowd. According to their custom the people showered down
upon him from the windows handfuls of wheat and salt—emblems of plenty
and of safety—but the next day, being Sunday, turned all this joy into
mourning, not unmingled with anger and shame. The young lord, who had
been bred up a Protestant by his keepers, directed his steps to the
English Church, to the consternation of the devoted adherents of his
house. They clung round him in the street and endeavoured to dissuade
him from proceeding, but he continued his course, and on his return was
met with hootings and reproaches by those who had hailed him with
acclamations the day before. Deserted by the people, and no longer
useful to the President, he was recalled to London, where he resumed
his quarters in the Tower, and shortly afterwards died. The capture of
the strong castle of Glynn from the knight of that name, and the
surrender of Carrigafoyle by O'Conor of Kerry, were the other English
successes which marked the campaign of 1600 in Munster. On the other
hand, O'Donnell had twice exercised his severe supremacy over southern
Connaught, burning the Earl of Thomond's new town of Ennis, and
sweeping the vales and plains of Clare, and of Clanrickarde, of the
animal wealth of their recreant Earls, now actively enlisted against
the national confederacy.

The eventful campaign of 1601 was fought out in almost every quarter of
the kingdom. To hold the coast line, and prevent the advantages being
obtained, which the possession of Derry, and other harbours on Lough
Foyle gave them, were the tasks of O'Donnell; while to defend the
southern frontier was the peculiar charge of O'Neil. They thus fought,
as it were, back to back against the opposite lines of attack. The
death of O'Doherty, early in this year, threw the succession to
Innishowen into confusion, and while O'Donnell was personally
endeavouring to settle conflicting claims, Nial Garve seized on the
famous Franciscan monastery which stood at the head of the bay, within
sight of the towers of Donegal Castle. Hugh Roe immediately invested
the place, which his relative as stoutly defended. Three months, from
the end of June till the end of September, the siege was strictly
maintained, the garrison being regularly supplied with stores and
ammunition from sea. On the night of the 29th of September an explosion
of gunpowder occurred, and soon the monastery was wrapped in flames.
This was the moment chosen for the final attack. The glare of the
burning Abbey reflected over the beautiful bay, the darkness of night
all round, the shouts of the assailants, and the shrieks of the
fugitives driven by the flames upon the spears of their enemies, must
have formed a scene of horrors such as even war rarely combines.
Hundreds of the besieged were slain, but Nial Garve himself, with the
remainder, covered by the fire of an English ship in the harbour,
escaped along the strand to the neighbouring monastery of Magherabeg,
which he quickly put into a state of defence. All that was left to
O'Donnell of that monastery, the burial place of his ancestors, and the
chief school of his kinsmen, was a skeleton of stone, standing amid
rubbish and ashes. It was never re-inhabited by the Franciscans. A
group of huts upon the shore served them for shelter, and the ruined
chapel for a place of worship, while they were still left in the land.

While Hugh Roe was investing Donegal Abbey the war had not paused on
the southern frontier. We have said that Mountjoy had made a second and
a third demonstration against Armagh the previous year; in one of these
journeys he raised a strong fort at the northern outlet of the Moira
pass, which he called Mount Norris, in honour of his late master in the
art of war. This work, strongly built and manned, gave him the free
_entree_ of the field of battle whenever he chose to take it. In June
of this year he was in the valley of the Blackwater, menaced O'Neil's
castle of Benburb, and left Sir Charles Danvers with 750 foot and 100
horse in possession of Armagh. He further proclaimed a reward of 2,000
pounds for the capture of Tyrone alive, or 1,000 pounds for his head.
But no Irishman was found to entertain the thought of that bribe. An
English assassin was furnished with passports by Danvers, and actually
drew his sword on the Earl in his own tent, but he was seized,
disarmed, and on the ground of insanity was permitted to escape. Later
in the summer Mountjoy was again on the Blackwater, where he laid the
foundation of Charlemont, called after himself, and placed 350 men in
the works under the command of Captain Williams, the brave defender of
the old fort in the same neighbourhood. There were thus quartered in
Ulster at this period the 4,000 foot and 400 horse under Dowcra,
chiefly on the Foyle, with whatever companies of Kerne adhered to
Arthur O'Neil and Nial Garve; with Chichester in Carrickfergus there
were 850 foot and 150 horse; with Danvers in Armagh, 750 foot and 100
horse; in Mount Norris, under Sir Samuel Bagnal, 600 foot and 50 horse;
in and about Downpatrick, lately taken by the Deputy, under Moryson,
300 foot; in Newry, under Stafford, 400 foot and 50 horse; in
Charlemont, with Williams, 300 foot and 50 horse; or, in all, of
English regulars in Ulster alone, 7,000 foot and 800 horse. The
position of the garrisons on the map will show how firm a grasp
Mountjoy had taken of the Northern Province.

The last scene of this great struggle was now about to shift to the
opposite quarter of the kingdom. The long-looked for Spanish fleet was
known to have left the Tagus—had been seen off the Scilly Islands. On
the 23rd of September the Council, presided over by Mountjoy, was
assembled in Kilkenny Castle: there were present Carew, Ormond, Sir
Richard Wingfield, Marshal of the Queen's troops, uncle to Carew, and
founder of the family of Powerscourt; also Chief Justice Gardiner, and
other members less known. While they were still sitting a message
arrived from Cork that the Spanish fleet was off that harbour, and soon
another that they had anchored in Kinsale, and taken possession of the
town without opposition. The course of the Council was promptly taken.
Couriers were at once despatched to call in the garrisons far and near
which could possibly be dispensed with for service in Munster. Letters
were despatched to England for reinforcements, and a winter campaign in
the South was decided on.

The Spanish auxiliary force, when it sailed from the Tagus, consisted
originally of 6,000 men in fifteen armed vessels and thirty transports.
When they reached Kinsale, after suffering severely at sea, and parting
company with several of their comrades, the soldiers were reduced to
3,400 men—a number inferior to Dowcra's force on the Foyle. The
General, Don Jaun del Aguila, was a brave, but testy, passionate and
suspicious officer. He has been severely censured by some Irish writers
for landing in the extreme South, within fourteen miles of the English
arsenal and head-quarters at Cork, and for his general conduct as a
commander. However vulnerable he may be on the general charge, he does
not seem fairly to blame for the choice of the point of debarkation. He
landed in the old Geraldine country, unaware, of course, of the events
of the last few weeks, in which the _sugane_ Earl, and Florence
McCarthy, had been entrapped by Carew's "wit and cunning," and shipped
for London, from which they never returned. Even the northern chiefs,
up to this period, evidently thought their cause much stronger in the
South, and Munster much farther restored to vigour and courage than it
really was. To the bitter disappointment and disgust of the Spaniards,
only O'Sullivan Beare, O'Driscoll, and O'Conor of Kerry, declared
openly for them; while they could hear daily of chiefs they had been
taught to count as friends, either as prisoners or allies of the
English. On the 17th of October—three weeks from their first
arrival—they were arrested in Kinsale by a mixed army of English and
Anglo-Irish, 15,000 strong, under the command of the Deputy and
President, of whom above 5,000 had freshly arrived at Cork from
England. With Mountjoy were the Earls of Thomond and Clanrickarde, more
zealous than the English themselves for the triumph of England. The
harbour was blockaded by ten ships of war, under Sir Richard Leviston,
and the forts at the entrance, Rincorran and Castlenepark, being taken
by cannonade, the investment on all sides was complete. Don Juan's
messengers found O'Neil and O'Donnell busily engaged on their own
frontiers, but both instantly resolved to muster all their strength for
a winter campaign in Munster. O'Donnell _rendezvoused_ at Ballymote,
from which he set out, at the head of 2,500 men, of Tyrconnell and
Connaught, on the 2nd day of November. O'Neil, with McDonnell of
Antrim, McGennis of Down, McMahon of Monaghan, and others, his
suffragans, marched at the head of between 3,000 and 4,000 men, through
West-Meath towards Ormond. Holy Cross was their appointed place of
meeting, where they expected to be joined by such of the neighbouring
Catholics as were eager to strike a blow for liberty of worship.
O'Donnell reached the neighbourhood first, and encamped in a strongly
defensible position, "plashed on every quarter" for greater security.
Mountjoy, anxious to engage him before O'Neil should come up, detached
a numerically superior force, under Carew, for that purpose: but
O'Donnell, evacuating his quarters by night, marched over the mountain
of Slieve Felim, casting away much of his heavy baggage, and before
calling halt was 32 _Irish_ miles distant from his late encampment.
After this extraordinary mountain march, equal to 40 of our present
miles, he made a detour to the westward, descended on Castlehaven, in
Cork, and formed a junction with 700 Spaniards, who had just arrived to
join Del Aguila. A portion of these veterans were detailed to the forts
of Castlehaven, Baltimore, and Dunboy, commanding three of the best
havens in Munster; the remainder joined O'Donnell's division.

During the whole of November the siege of Kinsale was pressed with the
utmost vigour by Mountjoy. The place mounted but three or four
effective guns, while 20 great pieces of ordnance were continually
playing on the walls. On the 1st of December a breach was found
practicable, and an assault made by a party of 2,000 English was
bravely repulsed by the Spaniards. The English fleet, ordered round to
Castlehaven on the 3rd, were becalmed, and suffered some damage from a
battery, manned by Spanish gunners, on the shore. The lines were
advanced closer towards the town, and the bombardment became more
effective. But the English ranks were considerably thinned by disease
and desertion, so that on the last day of December, when the united
Irish force took up their position at Belgoley, a mile to the north of
their lines, the Lord Deputy's effective force did not, it is thought,
exceed 10,000 men. The Catholic army has generally been estimated at
6,000 native foot and 500 horse; to these are to be added 300
Spaniards, under Don Alphonso Ocampo, who joined O'Donnell at

The prospect for the besiegers was becoming exceedingly critical, but
the Spaniards in Kinsale were far from being satisfied with their
position. They had been fully three months within walls, in a region
wholly unknown to them before their allies appeared. They neither
understood nor made allowance for the immense difficulties of a winter
campaign in a country trenched with innumerable swollen streams, thick
with woods, which, at that season, gave no shelter, and where camping
out at nights was enough to chill the hottest blood. They only felt
their own inconveniences: they were cut off from escape by sea by a
powerful English fleet, and Carew was already practising indirectly on
their commander his "wit and cunning," in the fabrication of rumours,
and the forging of letters. Don Juan wrote urgent appeals to the
northern chiefs to attack the English lines without another day's
delay, and a council of war, the third day after their arrival at
Belgoley, decided that the attack should be made on the morrow. This
decision was come to on the motion of O'Donnell, contrary to the
judgment of the more circumspect and far-seeing O'Neil. Overruled, the
latter acquiesced in the decision, and cheerfully prepared to discharge
his duty.

A story is told by Carew that information was obtained of the intended
attack from McMahon, in return for a bottle of _aquavitae_ presented to
him by the President. This tale is wholly unworthy of belief, told of a
chief of the first rank, encamped in the midst of a friendly country.
It is also said—and it seems credible enough—that an intercepted letter
of Don Juan's gave the English in good time this valuable piece of
information. On the night of the 2nd of January, new style (24th of
December, O.S.—in use among the English), the Irish army left their
camp in three divisions, the vanguard led by Tyrrell, the centre by
O'Neil, and the rear by O'Donnell. The night was stormy and dark, with
continuous peals and flashes of thunder and lightning. The guides lost
their way, and the march, which, even by the most circuitous route,
ought not to have exceeded four or five miles, was protracted through
the entire night. At dawn of day, O'Neil, with whom were O'Sullivan and
Ocampo, came in sight of the English lines, and, to his infinite
surprise, found the men under arms, the cavalry in troop posted in
advance of their quarters. O'Donnell's division was still to come up,
and the veteran Earl now found himself in the same dilemma into which
Bagnal had fallen at the Yellow Ford. His embarrassment was perceived
from the English camp; the cavalry were at once ordered to advance. For
an hour O'Neil maintained his ground alone; at the end of that time he
was forced to retire. Of Ocampo's 300 Spaniards, 40 survivors were,
with their gallant leader, taken prisoners; O'Donnell at length
arrived, and drove back a wing of the English cavalry; Tyrrell's
horsemen also held their ground tenaciously. But the rout of the centre
proved irremediable. Fully 1,200 of the Irish were left dead on the
field, and every prisoner taken was instantly executed. On the English
side fell Sir Richard Graeme; Captains Danvers and Godolphin, with
several others, were wounded; their total loss they stated at 200, and
the Anglo-Irish, of whom they seldom made count in their reports, must
have lost in proportion. The Earls of Thomond and Clanrickarde were
actively engaged with their followers, and their loss could hardly have
been less than that of the English regulars. On the night following
their defeat, the Irish leaders held council together at Innishanon, on
the river Bandon, where it was agreed that O'Donnell should instantly
take shipping for Spain to lay the true state of the contest before
Philip III.; that O'Sullivan should endeavour to hold the Castle of
Dunboy, as commanding a most important harbour; that Rory O'Donnell,
second brother of Hugh Roe, should act as Chieftain of Tyrconnell, and
that O'Neil should return into Ulster to make the best defence in his
power. The loss in men was not irreparable; the loss in arms, colours,
and reputation, was more painful to bear, and far more difficult to

On the 12th of January, nine days after the battle, Don Juan
surrendered the town, and agreed to give up at the same time Dunboy,
Baltimore, and Castlehaven. He had lost 1,000 men out of his 3,000
during a ten weeks' siege, and was heartily sick of Irish warfare. On
his return to Spain he was degraded from his rank, for his too great
intimacy with Carew, and confined a prisoner in his own house. He is
said to have died of a broken heart occasioned by these indignities.

O'Donnell sailed from Castlehaven in a Spanish ship, on the 6th of
January, three clays after the battle, and arrived at Corunna on the
14th. He was received with all the honours due to a crown prince by the
Conde de Caracena, Governor of Galicia. Among other objects, he visited
the remains of the tower of Betanzos, from which, according to Bardic
legends, the sons of Milesius had sailed to seek for the Isle of
Destiny among the waves of the west. On the 27th he set out for the
Court, accompanied as far as Santa Lucia by the governor, who presented
him with 1,000 ducats towards his expenses. At Compostella the
Archbishop offered him his own palace, which O'Donnell respectfully
declined: he afterwards celebrated a Solemn High Mass for the Irish
chief's intention, entertained him magnificently at dinner, and
presented him, as the governor had done, with 1,000 ducats. At Zamora
he received from Philip III. a most cordial reception, and was assured
that in a very short time a more powerful armament than Don Juan's
should sail with him from Corunna. He returned to that port, from which
he could every day look out across the western waves that lay between
him and home, and where he could be kept constantly informed of what
was passing in Ireland. Spring was over and gone, and summer, too, had
passed away, but still the exigencies of Spanish policy delayed the
promised expedition. At length O'Donnell set out on a second visit to
the Spanish Court, then at Valladolid, but he reached no further than
Simancas, when, fevered in mind and body, he expired on the 10th of
September, 1602, in the 29th year of his age. He was attended in his
last moments by two Franciscan Fathers who accompanied him, Florence,
afterwards Archbishop of Tuam, and Maurice Donlevy, of his own Abbey of
Donegal. His body was interred with regal honours in the Cathedral of
Valladolid, where a monument was erected to his memory by the King of

Thus closed the career of one of the brightest and purest characters in
any history. His youth, his early captivity, his princely generosity,
his daring courage, his sincere piety won the hearts of all who came in
contact with him. He was the sword as O'Neil was the brain of the
Ulster Confederacy; the Ulysses and Achilles of the war, they fought
side by side, without jealousy or envy, for almost as long a period as
their prototypes had spent in besieging Troy.


The days of Queen Elizabeth were now literally numbered. The death of
Essex, the intrigues of the King of Scotland, and the successes of
Tyrone, preyed upon her spirits. The Irish chief was seldom out of her
mind, and, as she often predicted, she was not to live to receive his
submission. She was accustomed to send for her godson, Harrington, who
had served in Ireland, to ask him questions concerning Tyrone; the
French ambassador considered Tyrone's war one of the causes that
totally destroyed her peace of mind in her latter days. She received
the news of the victory of Kinsale with pleasure, but, even then, she
was not destined to receive the submission of Tyrone.

The events of the year, so inauspiciously begun for the Irish arms,
continued of the same disastrous character. Castlehaven was surrendered
by its Spanish guard, according to Del Aguila's agreement. Baltimore,
after a momentary resistance, was also given up, but O'Sullivan, who
considered the Spanish capitulation nothing short of treason, threw a
body of native troops, probably drawn from Tyrrell's men, into Dunboy,
under Captain Richard Mageoghegan, and Taylor, an Englishman, connected
by marriage with Tyrrell. Another party of the same troops took
possession of Clear Island, but were obliged to abandon it as
untenable. The entire strength of the Dunboy garrison amounted to 143
men; towards the end of April—the last of the Spaniards having sailed
in March—Carew left Cork at the head of 3,000 men to besiege Dunboy.
Sir Charles Wilmot moved on the same point from Kerry, with a force of
1,000 men, to join Carew. In the pass near Mangerton Wilmot was
encountered by Donald O'Sullivan and Tyrrell, at the head of then
remaining followers, but forced a passage and united with his superior
on the shores of Berehaven. On the 1st of June the English landed on
Bear Island, and on the 6th opened their cannonade. They were 4,000
men, with every military equipment necessary, against 143. After eleven
days' bombardment the place was shattered to pieces; the garrison
offered to surrender, if allowed to retain their arms, but their
messenger was hanged, and an instant assault ordered. Over fifty of
this band of Christian Spartans had fallen in the defence, thirty
attempted to escape in boats, or by swimming, but were killed to a man
while in the water. The remainder retreated with Mageoghegan, who was
severely wounded, to a cellar approached by a narrow stair, where the
command was assumed by Taylor. All day the assault had been carried on
till night closed upon the scene of carnage. Placing a strong guard on
the approach to the crypt, Carew returned to the charge with the
returning light. Cannon were first discharged into the narrow chamber
which held the last defenders of Dunboy, and then a body of the
assailants rushing in, despatched the wounded Mageoghegan with their
swords, having found him, candle in hand, dragging himself towards the
gunpowder. Taylor and fifty-seven others were led out to execution; of
all the heroic band, not a soul escaped alive.

The remaining fragments of Dunboy were blown into the air by Carew on
the 22nd of June. Dursey Castle, another island fortress of
O'Sullivan's, had fallen even earlier; so that no roof remained to the
lord of Berehaven. Still he held his men well together in the glens of
Kerry, during the months of Summer, but the ill-news from Spain in
September threw a gloom over those mountains deeper than was ever cast
by equinoctial storm. Tyrrell was obliged to separate from him in the
Autumn, probably from the difficulty of providing for so many mouths,
and O'Sullivan himself prepared to bid a sad farewell to the land of
his inheritance. On the last day of December he left Glengariffe, with
400 fighting men, and 600 women, children, and servants, to seek a
refuge in the distant north. After a retreat almost unparalleled, the
survivors of this exodus succeeded in reaching the friendly roof of
O'Ruarc, at Dromahaire, not far from Sligo. Their entire march, from
the extreme south to the almost extreme north-west of the island, a
distance, as they travelled it, of not less than 200 miles, was one
scene of warfare and suffering. They were compelled to kill their
horses, on reaching the Shannon, in order to make boats of the hides,
to ferry them to the western bank. At Aughrim they were attacked by a
superior force under Lord Clanrickarde's brother, and Captain Henry
Malby, but they fought with the courage of despair, routed the enemy,
slaying Malby, and other officers. Of the ten hundred who left the
shores of Glengariffe, but 35 souls reached the Leitrim chieftain's
mansion. Among these were the chief himself, with Dermid, father of the
historian, who at the date of this march had reached the age of
seventy. The conquest of Munster, at least, was now complete. In the
ensuing January, Owen McEgan, Bishop of Ross, was slain in the midst of
a guerilla party, in the mountains of Carberry, and his chaplain, being
taken, was hanged with the other prisoners. The policy of extermination
recommended by Carew was zealously carried out by strong detachments
under Wilmot, Harvey, and Flower; Mr. Boyle and the other "Undertakers"
zealously assisting as volunteers.

Mountjoy, after transacting some civil business at Dublin, proceeded in
person to the north, while Dowcra, marching out of Derry, pressed
O'Neil from the north and north-east. In June, Mountjoy was at
Charlemont, which he placed under the custody of Captain Toby Caufield,
the founder of an illustrious title taken from that fort. He advanced
on Dungannon, but discovered it from the distance, as Norris had once
before done, in flames, kindled by the hand of its straitened
proprietor. On Lough Neagh he erected a new fort called Mountjoy, so
that his communications on the south now stretched from that great lake
round to Omagh, while those of Dowcra, at Augher, Donegal, and Lifford,
nearly completed the circle. Almost the only outlet from this chain of
posts was into the mountains of O'Cane's country, the north-east angle
of the present county of Derry. The extensive tract so enclosed and
guarded had still some natural advantages for carrying on a defensive
war. The primitive woods were standing in masses at no great distance
from each other; the nearly parallel vales of Faughan, Moyala, and the
river Roe, with the intermediate leagues of moor and mountain, were
favourable to the movements of native forces familiar with every ford
and footpath. There was also, while this central tract was held, a
possibility of communication with other unbroken tribes, such as those
of Clandeboy and the Antrim glens on the east, and Breffni O'Ruarc on
the west. Never did the genius of Hugh O'Neil shine out brighter than
in these last defensive operations. In July, Mountjoy writes
apologetically to the Council, that "notwithstanding her Majesty's
great forces, O'Neil doth still live." He bitterly complains of his
consummate caution, his "pestilent judgment to spread and to nourish
his own infection," and of the reverence entertained for his person by
the native population. Early in August, Mountjoy had arranged what he
hoped might prove the finishing stroke in the struggle. Dowcra from
Derry, Chichester from Carrickfergus, Danvers from Armagh, and all who
could be spared from Mountjoy, Charlemont, and Mount Norris, were
gathered under his command, to the number of 8,000 men, for a foray
into the interior of Tyrone. Inisloghlin, on the borders of Down and
Antrim, which contained a great quantity of valuables, belonging to
O'Neil, was captured. Magherlowney and Tulloghoge were next taken. At
the latter place stood the ancient stone chair on which the O'Neils
were inaugurated time out of mind; it was now broken into atoms by
Mountjoy's orders. But the most effective warfare was made on the
growing crops. The 8,000 men spread themselves over the fertile fields
along the valleys of the Bann and the Roe, destroying the standing
grain with fire, where it would burn, or with the _praca_, a peculiar
kind of harrow, tearing it up by the roots. The horsemen trampled crops
into the earth which had generously nourished them; the infantry shore
them down with their sabres, and the sword, though in a very different
sense from that of Holy Scripture, was, indeed, converted into a
sickle. The harvest month never shone upon such fields in any Christian
land. In September, Mountjoy reported to Cecil, "that between
Tulloghoge and Toome there lay unburied a thousand dead," and that
since his arrival on the Blackwater—a period of a couple of
months—"there were about 3,000 starved in Tyrone." In O'Cane's country,
the misery of his clansmen drove the chief to surrender to Dowcra, and
the news of Hugh Roe's death having reached Donegal, his brother
repaired to Athlone, and made his submission to Mountjoy, early in
December. O'Neil, unable to maintain himself on the river, Roe, retired
with 600 foot and 60 horse, to Glencancean, near Lough Neagh, the most
secure of his fastnesses. His brother Cormac McMahon, and Art O'Neil,
of Clandeboy, shared with him the wintry hardships of that last asylum,
while Tyrone, Clandeboy, and Monaghan, were given up to horrors,
surpassing any that had been known or dreamt of in former wars.
Moryson, secretary to Mountjoy, in his account of this campaign,
observes, "that no spectacle was more frequent in the ditches of towns,
and especially in wasted countries, than to see multitudes of these
poor people dead, with their mouths all coloured green, by eating
nettles, docks, and all things they could rend above ground."

The new year, opening without hope, it began to be rumoured that O'Neil
was disposed to surrender on honourable terms. Mountjoy and the English
Council long urged the aged Queen to grant such terms, but without
effect. Her pride as a sovereign had been too deeply wounded by the
revolted Earl to allow her easily to forgive or forget his offences.
Her advisers urged that Spain had followed her own course towards the
Netherlands, in Ireland; that the war consumed three-fourths of her
annual revenue, and had obliged her to keep up an Irish army of 20,000
men for several years past. At length she yielded her reluctant
consent, and Mountjoy was authorized to treat with the arch-rebel upon
honourable terms. The agents employed by the Lord Deputy in this
negotiation were Sir William Godolphin and Sir Garrett Moore, of
Mellifont, ancestor of the Marquis of Drogheda—the latter, a warm
personal friend, though no partizan of O'Neil's. They found him in his
retreat near Lough Neagh early in March, and obtained his promise to
give the Deputy an early meeting at Mellifont. Elizabeth's serious
illness, concealed from O'Neil, though well known to Mountjoy, hastened
the negotiations. On the 27th of March he had intelligence of her
decease at London on the 24th, but carefully concealed it till the 5th
of April following. On the 31st of March, he received Tyrone's
submission at Moore's residence, the ancient Cistercian Abbey, and not
until a week later did O'Neil learn that he had made his peace with a
dead sovereign.

The honourable terms on which this memorable religious war was
concluded were these: O'Neil abjured all foreign allegiance, especially
that of the King of Spain; renounced the title of O'Neil; agreed to
give up his correspondence with the Spaniards, and to recall his son,
Henry, who was a page at the Spanish Court, and to live in peace with
the sons of John the Proud. Mountjoy granted him an amnesty for himself
and his allies; agreed that he should be restored to his estates as he
had held them before the war, and that the Catholics should have the
free exercise of their religion. That the restoration of his ordinary
chieftain rights, which did not conflict with the royal prerogative,
was also included, we have the best possible evidence: Sir Henry Dowcra
having complained to Lord Mountjoy that O'Neil quartered men on O'Cane,
who had surrendered to himself, Mountjoy made answer—"My Lord of Tyrone
is taken in with promise to be restored, as well to all his lands as to
his honour and dignity, and O'Cane's country is his, and must be
obedient to his commands." That the article concerning religion was
understood by the Catholics to concede full freedom of worship, is
evident from subsequent events. In Dublin, sixteen of the principal
citizens suffered fine and imprisonment for refusing to comply with the
act of uniformity; in Kilkenny the Catholics took possession of the
Black Abbey, which had been converted into a lay fee; in Waterford they
did the same by St. Patrick's Church, where a Dominican preacher was
reported to have said, among other imprudent things, that "Jesabel was
dead"—alluding to the late Queen. In Cork, Limerick, and Cashel, the
cross was carried publicly in procession, the old Churches restored to
their ancient rites, and enthusiastic proclamation made of the public
restoration of religion. These events having obliged the Lord Deputy to
make a progress through the towns and cities, he was met at Waterford
by a vast procession, headed by religious in the habits of their order,
who boldly declared to him "that the citizens of Waterford could not,
in conscience, obey any prince that persecuted the Catholic religion."
When such was the spirit of the town populations, we are not surprised
to learn that, in the rural districts, almost exclusively Catholic, the
people entered upon the use of many of their old Churches, and repaired
several Abbeys—among the number, Buttevant, Kilcrea, and Timoleague in
Cork; Quin Abbey in Clare; Kilconnell in Galway; Rosnariell in Mayo,
and Multifarnham in West-Meath. So confident were they that the days of
persecution were past, that King James prefaces his proclamation of
July, 1605, with the statement—"Whereas we have been informed that our
subjects in the kingdom of Ireland, since the death of our beloved
sister, have been deceived by a false rumour, to wit, that we would
allow them liberty of conscience," and so forth. How cruelly they were
then undeceived belongs to the history of the next reign; here we need
only remark that the Articles of Limerick were not more shamefully
violated by the statute 6th and 7th, William III., than the Articles of
Mellifont were violated by this Proclamation of the third year of James


During the greater part of the reign of Elizabeth, the means relied
upon for the propagation of the reformed doctrines were more
exclusively those of force and coercion than even in the time of Edward
VI. Thus, when Sir William Drury was Deputy, in 1578, he bound several
citizens of Kilkenny, under a penalty of 40 pounds each, to attend the
English Church service, and authorized the Anglican Bishop "to make a
rate for the repair of the Church, and to distrain for the payment of
it"—the first mention of Church rates we remember to have met with.
Drury's method of proceeding may be further inferred from the fact,
that of the thirty-six executions ordered by him in the same city, "one
was a blackamoor and two were witches, who were condemned by the law of
nature, for there was no positive law against witchcraft [in Ireland]
in those days." That defect was soon supplied, however, by the statute
27th of Elizabeth, "against witchcraft and sorcery." Sir John Perrott,
successor to Drury, trod in the same path, as we judge from the charge
of severity against recusants, upon which, among other articles, he was
recalled from the government. Towards the end of the sixteenth century,
however, it began to be discovered by the wisest observers that violent
methods were worse than useless with the Irish. Edmund Spenser urged
that "religion should not be forcibly impressed into them with terror
and sharp penalties, as now is the manner, but rather delivered and
intimated with mildness and gentleness." Lord Bacon, in his
"Considerations touching the Queen's Service in Ireland," addressed to
Secretary Cecil, recommends "the recovery of the hearts of the people,"
as the first step towards their conversion. With this view he suggested
"a toleration of religion (for a time not definite), except it be in
some principal towns and cities," as a measure "warrantable in
religion, and in policy of absolute necessity." The philosophic
Chancellor farther suggested, as a means to this desired end, the
preparation of "versions of Bibles and Catechisms, and other works of
instruction in the Irish language." In accordance with these views of
conversion, the University of Trinity College was established by a
royal charter, in the month of January, 1593. The Mayor and Corporation
of Dublin had granted the ancient monastery of All Hallows as a site
for the buildings; some contributions were received from the Protestant
gentry, large grants of confiscated Abbey and other lands, which
afterwards yielded a princely revenue, were bestowed upon it, and the
Lord Treasurer Burleigh graciously accepted the office of its
Chancellor. The first Provost was Archbishop Loftus, and of the first
three students entered, one was the afterwards illustrious James Usher.
The commanders and officers engaged at Kinsale presented it with the
sum of 1,800 pounds for the purchase of a library; and at the
subsequent confiscations in Munster and Ulster, the College came in for
a large portion of the forfeited lands.

Although the Council in England generally recommended the adoption of
persuasive arts and a limited toleration, those who bore the sword
usually took care that they should not bear it in vain. A High
Commission Court, armed with ample powers to enforce the Act of
Uniformity, had been established at Dublin in 1593; but its members
were ordered to proceed cautiously after the Ulster Confederacy became
formidable, and their powers lay dormant in the last two or three years
of the century. Essex and Mountjoy were both fully convinced of the
wisdom of Bacon's views; the former showed a partial toleration,
connived at the celebration of the Holy Sacrifice, even in the capital,
and liberated some priests from prison. Mountjoy, in answer to the
command of the English Council "to deal moderately in the great matter
of religion," replied by letter that he had already advised "such as
dealt in it for a time to hold a restrained hand therein." "The other
course," he adds, "might have overthrown the means of our own end of a
reformation of religion." This conditional toleration—such as it
was—excited the indignation of the more zealous Reformers, whose
favourite preacher, the youthful Usher, did not hesitate to denounce it
from the pulpit of Christ Church, as an unhallowed compromise with
antichrist. In 1601, Usher, then but 21 years of age, preached his
well-known sermon from the text of the forty days, in which Ezekiel
"was to bear the iniquity of the house of Judah—a day for a year."
"From this year," cried the youthful zealot, "will I reckon the sin of
Ireland, that those whom you now embrace shall be your ruin, and you
shall bear their iniquity." When the northern insurrection of 1641 took
place, this rhetorical menace was exalted, after the fact, into the
dignity of a prophecy fulfilled. After the victory of Kinsale, however,
the Ultra Protestant party had less cause to complain of the
temporizing of the civil power; the pecuniary mulct of twelve pence for
each absence from the English service was again enforced at least in
Dublin, and several priests, then in prison, were, on various
pretences, put to death. Among those who suffered in the capital was
the learned Jesuit, Henry Fitzsimons, son of a Mayor of the city, the
author of _Brittanomachia_, with whom, while in the Castle, Usher
commenced a controversy, which was never finished. But the terms agreed
upon at Mellifont, between Mountjoy and Tyrone, again suspended for a
short interval the sword of persecution.

Notwithstanding its manifold losses by exile and the scaffold, the
ancient Church was enabled, through the abundance of vocations, and the
zeal of the ordained, to keep up a still powerful organization. Philip
O'Sullivan states, under the next reign that the government had
ascertained through its spies, the names of 1,160 priests, secular and
regular, still in the country. There must have been between 300 and 400
others detained abroad, either as Professors in the Irish Colleges in
Spain, France, and Flanders, or as ecclesiastics, awaiting major
orders. Of the regulars at home, 120 were Franciscans, and about 50
Jesuits. There are said to have been but four Fathers of the Order of
St. Dominick remaining at the time of Elizabeth's death. The reproach
of Cambrensis had long been taken away, since every Diocese might now
point to its martyrs. Of these we recall among the Hierarchy the names
of O'Hely, Bishop of Killala, executed at Kilmallock in 1578; O'Hurley,
Archbishop of Cashel, burned at the stake in Dublin in 1582; Creagh,
Archbishop of Armagh, who died a prisoner in the Tower in 1585;
Archbishop McGauran, his successor, slain in the act of ministering to
the wounded in the engagement at Tulsk, in Roscommon, in 1593; McEgan,
Bishop of Ross, who met his death under precisely similar circumstances
in Carberry in 1603. Yet through all these losses the episcopal
succession was maintained unbroken. In the early part of the next reign
O'Sullivan gives the names of the four Archbishops, Peter Lombard of
Armagh, Edward McGauran of Dublin, David O'Carny of Cashel, and
Florence Conroy of Tuam. On the other hand, the last trying half
century had furnished, so far as we can learn, no instance of apostacy
among the Bishops, and but half a dozen at most from all orders of the
clergy. We read that Owen O'Conor, an apostate, was advanced by letters
patent to Killala in 1591; that Maurice O'Brien of Ara was, in 1570, by
the same authority, elevated to the See of Killaloe, which he resigned
in 1612; that Miler Magrath, in early life a Franciscan friar, was
promoted by the Queen to the Sees of Clogher, Killala, Anchory and
Lismore successively. He finally settled in the See of Cashel, in which
he died, having secretly returned to the religion of his ancestors. For
the rest, "the Queen's Bishops" were chiefly chosen out of England,
though some few natives of the Pale, or of the walled towns, educated
at Oxford, may be found in the list.

Of the state of learning in those troubled times the brief story is
easily told. The Bardic Order still flourished and was held in honour
by all ranks of the native population. The national adversity brought
out in them, as in others, many noble traits of character. The Harper,
O'Dugan, was the last companion that clung to the last of the Desmonds;
the Bard of Tyrconnell, Owen Ward, accompanied the Ulster chiefs in
their exile, and poured out his Gaelic dirge above their Roman graves.
Although the Bardic compositions continued to be chiefly personal,
relating to the inauguration, journeys, exploits, or death of some
favourite chief, a large number of devotional poems on the passion of
our Lord and the glories of the Blessed Virgin are known to be of this
age. The first forerunners of what was destined to be a numerous
progeny, the controversial ode or ballad, appeared in Elizabeth's
reign, in the form of comparisons between the old and new religions,
lamentations over the ruin of religious houses, and the apostacy of
such persons as Miler Magrath and the son of the Earl of Desmond. The
talents of many of the authors are admitted by Spenser, a competent
judge, but the tendency of their writings, he complains, was to foster
the love of lawlessness and rebellion rather than of virtue and
loyalty. He recommended them for correction to the mercies of the
Provost Marshal, whom he would have "to walk the country with half a
dozen or half a score of horsemen," in quest of the treasonable poets.

As this was the age of the general diffusion of printing, we may
observe that the casting of Irish type for the use of Trinity College,
by order of Queen Elizabeth, is commonly dated from the year 1591; but
as the College was not opened for two years later, the true date must
be anticipated. John Kearney, Treasurer of St. Patrick's Church, who
died about the year 1600, published a Protestant Catechism from the
College Press, which, says O'Reilly, "was the first book ever printed
in Irish types." In the year 1593, Florence Conroy translated from the
Spanish into Irish a catechism entitled "Christian Instruction," which,
he states in the preface, he had no opportunity of sending into Ireland
"until the year of the age of our Lord 1598." Whether it was then
printed we are not informed, but there does not seem to have been any
Irish type in Catholic hands before the foundation of the Irish College
at Louvain in 1616.

The merit of first giving to the press, in the native language of the
country, a version of the Sacred Scriptures, belongs clearly to Trinity
College. Nicholas Walsh, Bishop of Ossory, who died in 1585, had
commenced, with the assistance of John Kearney, to translate the Greek
Testament into Gaelic. He had also the assistance of Dr. Nehemiah
Donnellan, and Dr. William Daniel, or O'Daniel, both of whom
subsequently filled the See of Tuam. This translation, dedicated to
King James, and published by O'Daniel in 1603, is still reprinted by
the Bible Societies. The first Protestant translation of the Old
Testament, made under Bishop Bedel's eye, and with such revision of
particular passages as his imperfect knowledge of the language enabled
him to suggest, though completed in the reign of Charles I., was not
published before the year 1680. It was Bedel, also, who caused the
English liturgy to be recited in Irish, in his Cathedral, as early as

Ireland and her affairs naturally attracted, during Elizabeth's reign,
the attention of English writers. Of these it is enough to mention the
Poet Spenser, Secretary to Lord Grey de Wilton, Fynes Moryson,
Secretary to Lord Mountjoy, and the Jesuit Father, Campian. Campian,
early distinguished at Oxford, was employed as Cambrensis had been four
centuries earlier, and as Plowden was two centuries later, to write
down everything Irish. He crossed the Channel in 1570, and composed two
books rapidly, without accurate or full information as to the condition
or history of the country. The nearer view of Catholic suffering and
Catholic constancy exercised a powerful influence on this accomplished
scholar; he became a convert and a Jesuit. For members of that order
there was but one exit out of life, under the law of England: he
suffered death at Tyburn in 1581. Richard Stanihurst, son of the
Recorder of Dublin, and uncle of Archbishop Usher, went through
precisely the same experiences as his friend Campian, except that he
died, a quarter of a century later, Chaplain to the Archdukes at
Brussels, instead of expiring at the stake. His English hexameters are
among the curiosities of literature, but his contributions to the
history of his country, especially his allusions to events and
characters in and about his own time, are not without their use.
Stanihurst wrote his historical tracts, as did Lombard the Catholic and
Usher the Protestant Primate, O'Sullivan, White, O'Meara, and almost
all the Irish writers of that age, without exception, in the Latin
language. The first Latin book printed in Ireland is thought to be
O'Meara's poem in praise of Thomas, Earl of Ormond and Ossory,
published in 1615. The earliest English books printed in Ireland are
unknown to me; the collection of Anglo-Irish statutes, ordered to be
published while Sir Henry Sidney was Deputy, was the most important
undertaking of that class in the reign of Elizabeth.

As to institutions of learning, if we except Trinity College, which
increased rapidly in numbers and reputation under the patronage of the
Crown, and the College of Saint Nicholas, at Galway—protected by its
remote situation on the brink of the Atlantic—there was no famous seat
of learning left in the island. In the next reign 1,300 scholars are
stated to have attended that western "school of humanity," when the
Ecclesiastical Commissioners despotically ordered it to be closed,
because the learned Principal, John Lynch, "would not confirm to the
religion established." But the greater number of the children of
Catholics, who still retained property enough to educate them, were
sent beyond seas, a fact with which King James, soon after his
accession, reproached the deputation of that body. A proclamation
issued by Lord Deputy Chichester, in 1610, alludes to the same custom,
and commands all noblemen, merchants, and others, whose children are
abroad for educational purposes, to recall them within one year from
the date thereof; and in case they refuse to return, all parents,
friends, &c., sending them money, directly or indirectly, will be
punished as severely as the law permits. It was mainly to guard against
this danger that "the School of Wards" was established by Elizabeth,
and enlarged by James I., in which the great Duke of Ormond, Sir Phelim
O'Neil, Murrogh, Lord Inchiquin, and other sons of noble families, were
educated for the next generation. Early in the reign of James there
were not less than 300 of these Irish children in the Tower, or at the
Lambeth School,—and it is humiliating to find the great name of Sir
Edward Coke among those who gloried in the success of this unnatural
substitution of the State for the Parent in the work of education.



James the Sixth of Scotland was in his 37th year when he ascended the
throne under the title of "James the First, King of Great Britain and
Ireland." His accession naturally excited the most hopeful expectations
of good government in the breasts of the Irish Catholics. He was son of
Mary Queen of Scots, whom they looked upon as a martyr to her religion,
and grandson of that gallant King James who styled himself "Defender of
the Faith," and "_Dominus Hiberniae_" in introducing the first Jesuits
to the Ulster Princes. His ancestors had always been in alliance with
the Irish, and the antiquaries of that nation loved to trace their
descent from the Scoto-Irish chiefs who first colonized Argyle, and
were for ages crowned at Scone. He himself was known to have assisted
the late Catholic struggle as effectually, though less openly than the
King of Spain, and it is certain that he had employed Catholic agents,
like Lord Home and Sir James Lindsay, to excite an interest in his
succession among the Catholics, both in the British Islands and on the

The first acts of the new sovereign were calculated to confirm the
expectations of Catholic liberty thus entertained. He was anxious to
make an immediate and lasting peace with Spain; refused to receive a
special embassy from the Hollanders; his ambassador at Paris was known
to be on terms of intimacy with the Pope's Nuncio; and although
personally he assumed the tone of an Anglican Churchman, on crossing
the border he had invited leading Catholics to his Court, and conferred
the honour of Knighthood on some of their number. The imprudent
demonstrations in the Irish towns were easily quieted, and no immediate
notice was taken of their leaders. In May, 1603, Mountjoy, on whom
James had conferred the higher rank of Lord Lieutenant, leaving Carew
as Lord Deputy, proceeded to England, accompanied by O'Neil, Roderick
O'Donnell, Maguire, and other Irish gentlemen. The veteran Tyrone, now
past threescore, though hooted by the London rabble, was graciously
received in that court, with which he had been familiar forty years
before. He was at once confirmed in his title, the Earldom of
Tyrconnell was created for O'Donnell, and the Lordship of Enniskillen
for Maguire. Mountjoy, created Earl of Devonshire, retained the title
of Lord Lieutenant, with permission to reside in England, and was
rewarded by the appointment of Master of the Ordnance and Warden of the
New Forest, with an ample pension from the Crown to him and his heirs
for ever, the grant of the county of Lecale (Down), and the estate of
Kingston Hall, in Dorsetshire, He survived but three short years to
enjoy all these riches and honours; at the age of 44, wasted with
dissipation and domestic troubles, he passed to his final account.

The necessity of conciliating the Catholic party in England, of
maintaining peace in Ireland, and prosecuting the Spanish negotiations,
not less, perhaps, than his own original bias, led James to deal
favourably with the Catholics at first. But having attempted to enforce
the new Anglican Canons, adopted in 1604, against the Puritans, that
party retaliated by raising against him the cry of favouring the
Papists. This cry alarmed the King, who had always before his eyes the
fear of Presbyterianism, and he accordingly made a speech in the Star
Chamber, declaring his utter detestation of Popery, and published a
proclamation banishing all Catholic missionaries from the country. All
magistrates were instructed to enforce the penal laws with rigour, and
an elaborate spy system for the discovery of concealed recusants was
set on foot. This reign of treachery and terror drove a few desperate
men into the gunpowder plot of the following year, and rendered it
difficult, if not impossible, for the King to return to the policy of
toleration, with which, to do him justice, he seems to have set out
from Scotland.

Carew, President of Munster during the late war, became Deputy to
Mountjoy on his departure for England. He was succeeded in October,
1604, by Sir Arthur Chichester, who, with the exception of occasional
absences at Court, continued in office for a period of eleven years.
This nobleman, a native of England, furnishes, in many points, a
parallel to his cotemporary and friend, Robert Boyle, Earl of Cork. The
object of his life was to found and to endow the Donegal peerage out of
the spoils of Ulster, as richly as Boyle endowed his earldom out of the
confiscation of Munster. Both were Puritans rather than Churchmen, in
their religious opinions; Chichester, a pupil of the celebrated
Cartwright, and a favourer all his life of the congregational clergy in
Ulster. But they carried their repugnance to the interference of the
civil magistrate in matters of conscience so discreetly as to satisfy
the high church notions both of James and Elizabeth. For the violence
they were thus compelled to exercise against themselves, they seem to
have found relief in bitter and continuous persecution of others.
Boyle, as the leading spirit in the government of Munster, as Lord
Treasurer, and occasionally as Lord Justice, had ample opportunities,
during his long career of forty years, to indulge at once his avarice
and his bigotry; and no situation was ever more favourable than
Chichester's for a proconsul, eager to enrich himself at the expense of
a subjugated Province.

In the projected work of the reduction of the whole country to the laws
and customs of England, it is instructive to observe that a Parliament
was not called in the first place. The reformers proceeded by
proclamations, letters patent, and orders in council, not by
legislation. The whole island was divided into 32 counties and 6
judicial circuits, all of which were visited by Justices in the second
or third year of this reign, and afterwards semi-annually. On the
Northern Circuit Sir Edward Pelham and Sir John Davis were accompanied
by the Deputy in person, with a numerous retinue. In some places the
towns were so wasted by the late war, pestilence, and famine, that the
Viceregal party were obliged to camp out in the fields, and to carry
with them their own provisions. The Courts were held in ruined castles
and deserted monasteries; Irish interpreters were at every step found
necessary; sheriffs were installed in Tyrone and Tyrconnell for the
first time; all lawyers appearing in court and all justices of the
peace were tendered the oath of supremacy—the refusal of which
necessarily excluded Catholics both from the bench and the bar. An
enormous amount of litigation as to the law of real property was
created by a judgment of the Court of King's Bench at Dublin, in 1605,
by which the ancient Irish customs, of tanistry and gavelkind, were
declared null and void, and the entire Feudal system, with its rights
of primogeniture, hereditary succession, entail, and vassalage, was
held to exist in as full force in England. Very evidently this decision
was not less a violation of the articles of Mellifont than was the
King's proclamation against freedom of conscience issued about the same

Sir John Davis, who has left us two very interesting tracts on Irish
affairs, speaking of the new legal regulations of which he was one of
the principal superintendents, observes that the old-fashioned
allowances to be found so often in the Pipe-Rolls, _pro guidagio et
spiagio_, into the interior, may well be spared thereafter, since "the
under sheriffs and bailiffs errant are better guides and spies in time
of peace than they were found in time of war." He adds, what we may
very well believe, that the Earl of Tyrone complained he had so many
eyes upon him, that he could not drink a cup of sack without the
government being advertised of it within a few hours afterwards. This
system of social _espionage_, so repugnant to all the habits of the
Celtic family, was not the only mode of annoyance resorted to against
the veteran chief. Every former dependent who could be induced to
dispute his claims as a landlord, under the new relations established
by the late decision, was sure of a judgment in his favour. Disputes
about boundaries with O'Cane, about the commutation of chieftain-rents
into tenantry, about church lands claimed by Montgomery, Protestant
Bishop of Derry, were almost invariably decided against him. Harassed
by these proceedings, and all uncertain of the future, O'Neil listened
willingly to the treacherous suggestion of St. Lawrence and Lord Howth,
that the leading Catholics of the Pale, and those of Ulster, should
endeavour to form another confederation. The execution of Father
Garnet, Provincial of the Jesuits in England, the heavy fines inflicted
on Lords Stourton, Mordaunt, and Montague, and the new oath of
allegiance, framed by Archbishop Abbott, and sanctioned by the English
Parliament—all events of the year 1606—were calculated to inspire the
Irish Catholics with desperate councils. A dutiful remonstrance against
the Act of Uniformity the previous year had been signed by the
principal Anglo-Irish Catholics for transmission to the King, but their
delegates were seized and imprisoned in the Castle, while their
principal agent, Sir Patrick Barnwell, was sent to London and confined
in the Tower. A meeting, at Lord Howth's suggestion, was held about
Christmas, 1606, at the Castle of Maynooth, then in possession of the
dowager Countess of Kildare, one of whose daughters was married to
Christopher Nugent, Baron of Delvin, and her granddaughter to Rory,
Earl of Tyrconnell. There were present O'Neil, O'Donnell, and O'Cane,
on the one part, and Lords Delvin and Howth on the other. The precise
result of this conference, disguised under the pretext of a Christmas
party, was never made known, but the fact that it had been held, and
that the parties present had entertained the project of another
confederacy for the defence of the Catholic religion, was mysteriously
communicated in an anonymous letter, directed to Sir William Usher,
Clerk of the Council, which was dropped in the Council Chamber of
Dublin Castle, in March, 1607. This letter, it is now generally
believed, was written by Lord Howth, who was thought to have been
employed by Secretary Cecil, to entrap the northern Earls, in order to
betray them. In May, O'Neil and O'Donnell were cited to attend the Lord
Deputy in Dublin, but the charges were for the time kept in abeyance,
and they were ordered to appear in London before the feast of
Michaelmas. Early in September O'Neil was with Chichester at Slane, in
Meath, when he received a letter from Maguire, who had been out of the
country, conveying information on which he immediately acted. Taking
leave of the Lord Deputy as if to prepare for his journey to London, he
made some stay with his old friend, Sir Garrett Moore, at Mellifont, on
parting from whose family he tenderly bade farewell to the children and
even the servants, and was observed to shed tears. At Dungannon he
remained two days, and on the shore of Lough Swilly he joined O'Donnell
and others of his connexions. The French ship, in which Maguire had
returned, awaited them off Rathmullen, and there they took shipping for
France. With O'Neil, in that sorrowful company, were his last countess,
Catherine, daughter of Magenniss, his three sons, Hugh, John, and
Brian; his nephew, Art, son of Cormac, Rory O'Donnell, Caffar, his
brother, Nuala, his sister, who had forsaken her husband Nial _Garve_,
when he forsook his country; the lady Rose O'Doherty, wife of Caffar,
and afterwards of Owen Roe O'Neil; Maguire, Owen MacWard, chief bard of
Tyrconnell, and several others. "Woe to the heart that meditated, woe
to the mind that conceived, woe to the council that decided on the
project of that voyage!" exclaimed the Annalists of Donegal, in the
next age. Evidently it was the judgment of their immediate successors
that the flight of the Earls was a rash and irremediable step for them;
but the information on which they acted, if not long since destroyed,
has, as yet, never been made public. We can pronounce no judgment as to
the wisdom of their conduct, from the incomplete statements at present
in our possession.

There remained now few barriers to the wholesale confiscation of
Ulster, so long sought by "the Undertakers," and these were rapidly
removed. Sir Cahir O'Doherty, chief of Innishowen, although he had
earned his Knighthood while a mere lad, fighting by the side of Dowcra,
in an altercation with Sir George Paulett, Governor of Derry, was
taunted with conniving at the escape of the Earls, and Paulett in his
passion struck him in the face. The youthful chief—he was scarcely one
and twenty—was driven almost to madness by this outrage. On the night
of the 3rd of May, by a successful stratagem, he got possession of
Culmore fort, at the month of Lough Foyle, and before morning dawned
had surprised Derry; Paulett, his insulter, he slew with his own hand,
most of the garrison were slaughtered, and the town reduced to ashes.
Nial _Garve_ O'Donnell, who had been cast off by his old protectors,
was charged with sending him supplies and men, and for three months he
kept the field, hoping that every gale might bring him assistance from
abroad. But those same summer months and foreign climes had already
proved fatal to many of the exiles, whose co-operation he invoked. In
July, Rory O'Donnell expired at Rome, in August, Maguire died at Genoa,
on his way to Spain, and in September, Caffar O'Donnell was laid in the
same grave with his brother, on St. Peter's hill. O'Neil survived his
comrades, as he had done his fortunes, and like another Belisarius,
blind and old, and a pensioner on the bounty of strangers, he lived on,
eight weary years, in Rome. O'Doherty, enclosed in his native
peninsula, between the forces of the Marshal Wingfield and Sir Oliver
Lambert, Governor of Connaught, fell by a chance shot, at the rock of
Doon, in Kilmacrenan. The superfluous traitor, Nial Garve, was, with
his sons, sent to London, and imprisoned in the Tower for life. In
those dungeons, Cormac, brother of Hugh O'Neil, and O'Cane also
languished out their days, victims to the careless or vindictive temper
of King James. Sir Arthur Chichester received, soon after these events,
a grant of the entire barony of Innishowen, and subsequently a grant of
the borough of Dungannon, with 1,300 acres adjoining; Wingfield
obtained the district of Fercullan near Dublin, with the title of
Viscount Powerscourt; Lambert was soon after made Earl of Cavan, and
enriched with the lands of Carig, and other estates in that county.

To justify at once the measures he proposed, as well as to divert from
the exiles the sympathies of Europe, King James issued a proclamation
bearing date the 5th of November, 1608, giving to the world the English
version of the flight of the Earls. The whole of Ulster was then
surveyed in a cursory manner by a staff over which presided Sir William
Parsons as Surveyor-General. The surveys being completed early in 1609,
a royal commission was issued to Chichester, Lambert, St. John,
Ridgeway, Moore, Davis, and Parsons, with the Archbishop of Armagh, and
the Bishop of Derry, to inquire into the portions forfeited. Before
these Commissioners Juries were sworn on each particular case, and
these Juries duly found that, in consequence of "the rebellion" of
O'Neil, O'Donnell, and O'Doherty, the entire six counties of Ulster,
enumerated by baronies and parishes, were forfeited to the Crown. By
direction from England the Irish Privy Council submitted a scheme for
planting these counties "with colonies of civil men well affected in
religion," which scheme, with several modifications suggested by the
English Privy Council, was finally promulgated by the royal legislator
under the title of "Orders and Conditions for the Planters." According
to the division thus ordered, upwards of 43,000 acres were claimed and
conceded to the Primate and the Protestant Bishops of Ulster; in
Tyrone, Derry, and Armagh, Trinity College got 30,000 acres, with six
advowsons in each county. The various trading guilds of the city of
London—such as the drapers, vintners, cordwainers, drysalters—obtained
in the gross 209,800 acres, including the city of Derry, which they
rebuilt and fortified, adding _London_ to its ancient name. The grants
to individuals were divided into three classes—2,000, 1,500, and 1,000
acres each. Among the conditions on which these grants were given was
this—"that they should not suffer any labourer, that would not take the
oath of supremacy," to dwell upon their lands. But this despotic
condition—equivalent to sentence of death on tens of thousands of the
native peasantry—was fortunately found impracticable in the execution.
Land was little worth without hands to till it; labourers enough could
not be obtained from England and Scotland, and the Hamiltons, Stewarts,
Folliots, Chichesters, and Lamberts, having, from sheer necessity, to
choose between Irish cultivators and letting their new estates lie
waste and unprofitable, it is needless to say what choice they made.

The spirit of religious persecution was exhibited not only in the means
taken to exterminate the peasantry, to destroy the northern chiefs, and
to intimidate the Catholics of "the Pale" by abuse of law, but by many
cruel executions. The Prior of the famous retreat of Lough Derg was one
of the victims of this persecution; a Priest named O'Loughrane, who had
accidentally sailed in the same ship with the Earls to France, was
taken prisoner on his return, hanged and quartered. Conor O'Devany,
Bishop of Down and Conor, an octogenarian, suffered martyrdom with
heroic constancy at Dublin, in 1611. Two years before, John, Lord Burke
of Brittas, was executed in like manner on a charge of having
participated in the Catholic demonstrations which took place at
Limerick on the accession of King James. The edict of 1610 in relation
to Catholic children educated abroad has been quoted in a previous
chapter, _apropos_ of education, but the scheme submitted by Knox,
Bishop of Raphoe, to Chichester in 1611 went even beyond that edict. In
this project it was proposed that whoever should be found to harbour a
Priest should forfeit all his possessions to the Crown—that quarterly
returns should be made out by counties of all who refused to take the
oath of supremacy, or to attend the English Church service—that no
Papist should be permitted to exercise the function of a schoolmaster;
and, moreover, that all churches injured during the late war should be
repaired at the expense of the Papist inhabitants for the use of the
Anglican congregation.

Very unexpectedly to the nation at large, after a lapse of 27 years,
during which no Parliament had been held, writs were issued for the
attendance of both Houses, at Dublin, on the 18th of May, 1613. The
work of confiscation and plantation had gone on for several years
without the sanction of the legislature, and men were at a loss to
conceive for what purpose elections were now ordered, unless to invent
new penal laws, or to impose fresh burdens on the country. With all the
efforts which had been made to introduce civil men, well affected in
religion, it was certain that the Catholics would return a large
majority of the House of Commons, not only in the chief towns, but from
the fifteen old, and seventeen new counties, lately created. To
counterbalance this majority, over forty boroughs, returning two
members each, were created, by royal charter, in places thinly or not
at all inhabited, or where towns were merely projected on the estates
of leading "Undertakers." Against the issue of writs returnable by
these fictitious corporations, the Lords Gormanstown, Slane, Killeen,
Trimbleston, Dunsany, and Howth, signed an humble remonstrance to the
King, concluding with a prayer for the relaxation of the penal laws
affecting religion. The King, whose notions of prerogative were
extravagantly high, was highly incensed at this petition of the
Catholic peers of Leinster, and Chichester proceeded with his full
approbation to pack the Parliament. At the elections, however, many
"recusant lawyers" and other Catholic candidates were returned, so that
when the day of meeting arrived, 101 Catholic representatives assembled
at Dublin, some accompanied by bands of from 100 to 200 armed
followers. The supporters of the government claimed 125 votes, and six
were found to be absent, making the whole number of the House of
Commons 232. The Upper House consisted of 50 Peers, of whom there were
25 Protestant Bishops, so that the Deputy was certain of a majority in
that chamber, on all points of ecclesiastical legislation, at least.
Although, with the facts before us, we cannot agree with Sir John Davis
that King James I. gave Ireland her "first free Parliament," it is
impossible not to entertain a high sense of admiration for the
constitutional firmness of the recusant or Catholic party in that
assembly. At the very outset they successfully resisted the proposition
to meet in the Castle, surrounded by the Deputy's guards, as a silent
menace. They next contended that before proceeding to the election of
Speaker the Council should submit to the Judges the decision of the
alleged invalid elections. A tumultous and protracted debate was had on
this point. The Castle party argued that they should first elect a
Speaker and then proceed to try the elections; the Catholics contended
that there were persons present whose votes would determine the
Speakership, but who had no more title in law than the horseboys at the
door. This was the preliminary trial of strength. The candidate of the
Castle for the Speakership was Sir John Davis; of the Catholics, Sir
John Everard, who had resigned his seat on the bench rather than take
the oath of supremacy framed by Archbishop Abbott. The Castle party
having gone into the lobby to be counted, the Catholics placed Sir John
Everard in the Chair. On their return the government supporters placed
Sir John Davis in Everard's lap, and a scene of violent disorder
ensued. The House broke up in confusion; the recusants in a body
declared their intention not to be present at its deliberations, and
the Lord Deputy, finding them resolute, suddenly prorogued the session.
Both parties sent deputies to England to lay their complaints at the
foot of the throne. The Catholic spokesmen, Talbot and Lutrell, were
received with a storm of reproaches, and committed, the former to the
Tower, the other to the Fleet Prison. They were, however, released
after a brief confinement, and a Commission was issued to inquire into
the alleged electoral frauds. By the advice of Everard and others of
their leaders, a compromise was effected with the Castle party; members
returned for boroughs incorporated after the writs were issued were
declared excluded, the contestation of seats on other grounds of
irregularity were withdrawn, and the House accordingly proceeded to the
business for which they were called together. The chief acts of the
sessions of 1614, '15, and '16, beside the grant of four entire
subsidies to the Crown, were an act joyfully recognizing the King's
title; acts repealing statutes of Elizabeth and Henry VIII., as to
distinctions of race; an act repealing the 3 and 4 of Philip and Mary,
against "bringing Scots into Ireland," and the acts of attainder
against O'Neil, O'Donnell, and O'Doherty. The recusant minority have
been heavily censured by our recent historians for consenting to these
attainders. Though the censure may be in part deserved, it is,
nevertheless, clear that they had not the power to prevent their
passage, even if they had been unanimous in their opposition; but they
had influence enough, fortunately, to oblige the government to withdraw
a sweeping penal law which it was intended to propose. An Act of
oblivion and amnesty was also passed, which was of some advantage. On
the whole, both for the constitutional principles which they upheld,
and the religious proscription which they resisted, the recusant
minority in the Irish Parliament of James I. deserve to be held in
honour by all who value religious and civil liberty.


From the dissolution of James's only Irish Parliament in October, 1615,
until the tenth of Charles I.—an interval of twenty years—the
government of the country was again exclusively regulated by arbitrary
proclamations and orders in Council. Chichester, after the unusually
long term of eleven years, had leave to retire in 1616; he was
succeeded by the Lord Grandison, who held the office of Lord Deputy for
six years, and he, in turn, by Henry Carey, Viscount Falkland, who
governed from 1622 till 1629—seven years. Nothing could well be more
fluctuating than the policy pursued at different periods by these
Viceroys and their advisers; violent attempts at coercion alternated
with the meanest devices to extort money from the oppressed; general
declarations against recusants were repeated with increased vehemence,
while particular treaties for a local and conditional toleration were
notoriously progressing; in a word, the administration of affairs
exhibited all the worst vices and weaknesses of a despotism, without
any of the steadiness or magnanimity of a really paternal government.
Some of the edicts issued deserve particular notice, as characterizing
the administrations of Grandison and Falkland.

The municipal authorities of Waterford, having invariably refused to
take the oath of supremacy, were, by an order in Council, deprived of
their ancient charter, which was withheld from them for nine years. The
ten shilling tax on recusants for non-attendance at the Anglican
service was rigorously enforced in other cities, and was almost
invariably levied with costs, which not seldom swelled the ten
shillings to ten pounds. A new instrument of oppression was also, in
Lord Grandison's time, invented—"the Commission for the Discovery of
Defective Titles." At the head of this Commission was placed Sir
William Parsons, the Surveyor-General, who had come into the kingdom in
a menial situation, and had, through a long half century of guile and
cruelty, contributed as much to the destruction of its inhabitants, by
the perversion of law, as any armed conqueror could have done by the
edge of the sword. Ulster being already applotted, and Munster
undergoing the manipulation of the new Earl of Cork, there remained as
a field for the Parsons Commission only the Midland Counties and
Connaught. Of these they made the most in the shortest space of time. A
horde of clerkly spies were employed under the name of "Discoverers,"
to ransack old Irish tenures in the archives of Dublin and London, with
such good success, that in a very short time 66,000 acres in Wicklow,
and 385,000 acres in Leitrim, Longford, the Meaths, and King's and
Queen's Counties, were "found by inquisition to be vested in the
Crown." The means employed by the Commissioners, in some cases, to
elicit such evidence as they required, were of the most revolting
description. In the Wicklow case, courts-martial were held, before
which unwilling witnesses were tried on the charge of treason, and some
actually put to death. Archer, one of the number, had his flesh burned
with red hot iron, and was placed on a gridiron over a charcoal fire,
till he offered to testify anything that was necessary. Yet on evidence
so obtained whole baronies and counties were declared forfeited to the

The recusants, though suffering under every sort of injustice, and kept
in a state of continual apprehension—a condition worse even than the
actual horrors they endured—counted many educated and wealthy persons
in their ranks, besides mustering fully ninety per cent, of the whole
population. They were, therefore, far from being politically powerless.
The recall of Lord Grandison from the government was attributed to
their direct or indirect influence upon the King. When James Usher,
then Bishop of Meath, preached before his successor from the text "He
beareth not the sword in vain," they were sufficiently formidable to
compel him publicly to apologise for his violent allusions to their
body. Perhaps, however, we should mainly see in the comparative
toleration, extended by Lord Falkland, an effect of the diplomacy then
going on, for the marriage of Prince Charles to the Infanta of Spain.
When, in 1623, Pope Gregory XV. granted a dispensation for this
marriage, James solemnly swore to, a private article of the marriage
treaty, by which he bound himself to suspend the execution of the Penal
laws, to procure their repeal in Parliament, and to grant a toleration
of Catholic worship in private houses. But the Spanish match was
unexpectedly broken off, immediately after his decease (June, 1625),
whereupon Charles married Henrietta Maria, daughter of Henry IV. of

The new monarch inherited from his father three kingdoms heaving in the
throes of disaffection and rebellion. In England the most formidable of
the malcontents were the Puritans, who reckoned many of the first
nobility, and the ablest members of the House of Commons among their
chiefs; the restoration of episcopacy, and the declaration by the
subservient Parliament of Scotland, that no General Assembly should be
called without the King's sanction, had laid the sure foundations of a
religious insurrection in the North; while the events, which we have
already described, filled the minds of all orders of men in Ireland
with agitation and alarm. The marriage of Charles with Henrietta Maria
gave a ray of assurance to the co-religionists of the young Queen, for
they had not then discovered that it was ever the habit of the Stuarts
"to sacrifice their friends to the fear of their enemies." While he was
yet celebrating his nuptials at Whitehall, surrounded by Catholic
guests, the House of Commons presented Charles "a pious petition,"
praying him to put into force the laws against recusants; a prayer
which he was compelled by motives of policy to answer in the
affirmative. The magistrates of England received orders accordingly,
and when the King of France remonstrated against this flagrant breach
of one of the articles of the marriage treaty (the same included in the
terms of the Spanish match), Charles answered that he had never looked
on the promised toleration as anything but an artifice to secure the
Papal dispensation. But the King's compliance failed to satisfy the
Puritan party in the House of Commons, and that same year began their
contest with the Crown, which ended only on the scaffold before
Whitehall in 1648. Of their twenty-three years' struggle, except in so
far as it enters directly into our narrative, we shall have little to
say, beyond reminding the reader, from time to time, that though it
occasionally lulled down it was never wholly allayed on either side.

Irish affairs, in the long continued suspension of the functions of
Parliament, were administered in general by the Privy Council, and in
detail by three special courts, all established in defiance of ancient
constitutional usage. These were the Court of Castle Chamber, modelled
on the English Star Chamber, and the Ecclesiastical High Commissioners
Court, both dating from 1563; and the Court of Wards and Liveries,
originally founded by Henry VIII., but lately remodelled by James. The
Castle Chamber was composed of certain selected members of the Privy
Council acting in secret with absolute power; the High Commission Court
was constituted under James and Charles, of the principal Archbishops
and Bishops, with the Lord Deputy, Chancellor, Chief Justice, Master of
the Rolls, Master of the Wards, and some others, laymen and jurists.
They were armed with unlimited power "to visit, reform, redress, order,
correct and amend, all such errors, heresies, schisms, abuses,
offences, contempts and enormities," as came under the head of
spiritual or ecclesiastical jurisdiction. They were, in effect, the
Castle Chamber, acting as a spiritual tribunal of last resort; and were
provided with their own officers, Registers and Receivers of Fines,
Pursuivants, Criers and Gaolers. The Court of Wards exercised a
jurisdiction, if possible, more repugnant to our first notions of
liberty than that of the High Commission Court. It retained its
original power "to bargain and sell the custody, wardship and
marriage," of all the heirs of such persons of condition as died in the
King's homage; but their powers, by royal letters patent of the year
1617, were to be exercised by a Master of Wards, with an Attorney and
Surveyor, all nominated by the Crown. The Court was entitled to farm
all the property of its Wards during nonage, for the benefit of the
Crown, "taking one year's rent from heirs male, and two from heirs
female," for charges of stewardship. The first master, Sir William
Parsons, was appointed in 1622, and confirmed at the beginning of the
next reign, with a salary of 300 pounds per annum, and the right to
rank next to the Chief Justice of the King's Bench at the Privy
Council. By this appointment the minor heirs of all the Catholic
proprietors were placed, both as to person and property, at the
absolute disposal of one of the most intense anti-Catholic bigots that
ever appeared on the scene of Irish affairs.

In addition to these civil grievances an order had lately been issued
to increase the army in Ireland by 5,000 men, and means of subsistence
had to be found for that additional force, within the kingdom. In reply
to the murmurs of the inhabitants, they were assured by Lord Falkland
that the King was their friend, and that any just and temperate
representation of their grievances would secure his careful and instant
attention. So encouraged, the leading Catholics convoked a General
Assembly of their nobility and gentry, "with several Protestants of
rank," at Dublin, in the year 1628, in order to present a dutiful
statement of their complaints to the King. The minutes of this
important Assembly, it is to be feared, are for ever lost to us. We
only know that it included a large number of landed proprietors, of
whom the Catholics were still a very numerous section. "The entire
proceedings of this Assembly," says Dr. Taylor, "were marked by wisdom
and moderation. They drew up a number of articles, in the nature of a
Bill of Rights, to which they humbly solicited the royal assent, and
promised that, on their being granted, they would raise a voluntary
assessment of 100,000 pounds for the use of the Crown. The principal
articles in these 'graces,' as they were called, were provisions for
the security of property, the due administration of justice, the
prevention of military exactions, the freedom of trade, the better
regulation of the clergy, and the restraining of the tyranny of the
ecclesiastical courts. Finally, they provided that the Scots, who had
been planted in Ulster, should be seemed in their possessions, and a
general pardon granted for all offences." Agents were chosen to repair
to England with this petition, and the Assembly, hoping for the best
results, adjourned. But the ultra Protestant party had taken the alarm,
and convoked a Synod at Dublin to counteract the General Assembly. This
Synod vehemently protested against selling truth "as a slave," and
"establishing for a price idolatry in its stead." They laid it down as
a dogma of _their_ faith that "to grant Papists a toleration, or to
consent that they may freely exercise their religion and profess their
faith and doctrines, was a grievous sin;" wherefore they prayed God "to
make those in authority zealous, resolute, and courageous against all
Popery, superstition, and idolatry." This declaration of the extreme
Protestants, including not only Usher, and the principal Bishops, but
Chichester, Boyle, Parsons, and the most successful "Undertakers," all
deeply imbued with Puritan notions, naturally found among their English
brethren advocates and defenders. The King, who had lately, for the
third time, renewed with France the articles of his marriage treaty,
was placed in a most difficult position. He desired to save his own
honour, he sorely needed the money of the Catholics, but he trembled
before the compact, well organized fanaticism of the Puritans. In his
distress he had recourse to a councillor, who, since the assassination
of Buckingham, his first favourite, divided with Laud the royal
confidence. This was Thomas, Lord Wentworth, better known by his
subsequent title of Earl of Strafford, a statesman born to be the
wonder and the bane of three kingdoms. Strafford (for such for
clearness we must call him) boldly advised the King to grant "the
graces" as his own personal act, to pocket the proposed subsidy, but to
contrive that the promised concessions he was to make should never go
into effect. This infamous deception was effected in this wise: the
King signed, with his own hand, a schedule of fifty-one "graces," and
received from the Irish agents in London bonds for 120,000 pounds,
(equal to ten times the amount at present), to be paid in three annual
instalments of 40,000 pounds. He also agreed that Parliament should be
immediately called in Ireland, to confirm these concessions, while at
the same time he secretly instructed Lord Falkland to see that the
writs of election were informally prepared, so that no Parliament could
be held. This was accordingly done; the agents of the General Assembly
paid their first instalment; the subscribers held the King's autograph;
the writs were issued, but on being returned, were found to be
technically incorrect, and so the legal confirmation of the graces was
indefinitely postponed, under one pretext or another. As evidence of
the national demands at this period, we should add, that beside the
redress of minor grievances, the articles signed by the King provided
that the recusants should be allowed to practise in the courts of law;
to sue the livery of their lands out of the Court of Wards, on taking
an oath of civil allegiance in lieu of the oath of supremacy; that the
claims of the Crown to the forfeiture of estates, under the plea of
defects of title, should not be held to extend beyond sixty years
anterior to 1628; that the "Undertakers" should have time allowed them
to fulfil the conditions of their leases; that the proprietors of
Connaught should be allowed to make a new enrollment of their estates,
and that a Parliament should be held. A royal proclamation announced
these concessions, as existing in the royal intention, but, as we have
already related, such promises proved to be worth no more than the
paper on which they were written.

In 1629 Lord Falkland, to disarm the Puritan outcry against him, had
leave to withdraw, and for four years—an unusually long interregnum—the
government was left in the hands of Robert Boyle, now Earl of Cork, and
Adam Loftus, Viscount Ely, one of the well dowered offspring of Queen
Elizabeth's Archbishop of Dublin. Ely held the office of Lord
Chancellor, and Cork that of Lord High Treasurer; as Justices, they now
combined in their own persons almost all the power and patronage of the
kingdom. Both affected a Puritan austerity and enthusiasm, which barely
cloaked a rapacity and bigotry unequalled in any former administration.
In Dublin, on Saint Stephen's Day, 1629, the Protestant Archbishop,
Bulkley, and the Mayor of the city, entered the Carmelite Chapel, at
the head of a file of soldiers, dispersed the congregation, desecrated
the altar, and arrested the officiating friars. The persecution was
then taken up and repeated wherever the executive power was strong
enough to defy the popular indignation. A Catholic seminary lately
established in the capital was confiscated, and turned over to Trinity
College as a training school. Fifteen religious houses, chiefly
belonging to the Franciscan Order, which had hitherto escaped from the
remoteness of their situation, were, by an order of the English
Council, confiscated to the Crown, and their novices compelled to
emigrate in order to complete their studies abroad. A reprimand from
the King somewhat stayed the fury of the Justices, whose supreme power
ended with Stafford's appointment in 1633.

The advent of Stafford was characteristic of his whole course. The King
sent over another letter concerning recusants, declaring that the laws
against them, at the suggestion of the Lords Justices, should be put
strictly in force. The Justices proved unwilling to enter this letter
on the Council book, and it was accordingly withheld till Stafford's
arrival, but the threat had the desired effect of drawing "a voluntary
contribution" of 20,000 pounds out of the alarmed Catholics. Equipped
partly with this money Stafford arrived in Dublin in July, 1633, and
entered at once on the policy, which he himself designated by the one
emphatic word—"THOROUGH." He took up his abode in the Castle,
surrounded by a Body Guard, a force hitherto unknown at the Irish
Court; he summoned only a select number of the Privy Council, and,
having kept them waiting for hours, condescended to address them in a
speech full of arrogance and menace. He declared his intention of
maintaining and augmenting the army; advised them to amend their grants
forthwith; told them frankly he had called them to Council, more out of
courtesy than necessity, and ended by requiring from them a year's
subsidy in advance. As this last request was accompanied by a positive
promise to obtain the King's consent to the assembling of Parliament,
it was at once granted; and soon after writs were issued for the
meeting of both Houses in July following.

When this long-prayed-for Parliament at last met, the Lord Deputy took
good care that it should be little else than a tribunal to register his
edicts. A great many officers of the army had been chosen as Burgesses,
while the Sheriffs of counties were employed to secure the election of
members favourable to the demands of the Crown. In the Parliament of
1613 the recusants were, admitting all the returns to be correct,
nearly one-half; but in that of 1634 they could not have exceeded
one-third. The Lord Deputy nominated their Speaker, whom they did not
dare to reject, and treated them invariably with the supreme contempt
which no one knows so well how to exhibit towards a popular assembly as
an apostate liberal. "Surely," he said in his speech from the throne,
"so great a meanness cannot enter your hearts, as once to suspect his
Majesty's gracious regard of you, and performance with you, once you
affix yourselves upon his grace." His object in this appeal was the
sordid and commonplace one—to obtain more money without rendering value
for it. He accordingly carried through four whole subsidies of 50,000
pounds sterling each in the session of 1634; and two additional
subsidies of the same amount at the opening of the next session. The
Parliament, having thus answered his purpose, was summarily dissolved
in April, 1635, and for four years more no other was called. During
both sessions he had contrived, according to his agreement with the
King, to postpone indefinitely the act which was to have confirmed "the
graces," guaranteed in 1628. He even contrived to get a report of a
Committee of the House of Commons, and the opinions of some of the
Judges, against legislating on the subject at all, which report gave
King Charles "a great deal of contentment."

With sufficient funds in hand for the ordinary expenses of the
government, Strafford applied himself earnestly to the self-elected
task of making his royal master "as absolute as any King in
Christendom" on the Irish side of the channel. The plantation of
Connaught, delayed by the late King's death, and abandoned among the
new King's graces, was resumed as a main engine of obtaining more
money. The proprietary of that Province had, in the thirteenth year of
the late reign, paid 3,000 pounds into the Record Office at Dublin, for
the registration of their deeds, but the entries not being made by the
clerk employed, the title to every estate in the five western counties
was now called in question. The "Commissioners to Inquire into
Defective Titles" were let loose upon the devoted Province, with Sir
William Parsons at their head, and the King's title to the whole of
Mayo, Sligo and Roscommon, was found by packed, bribed, or intimidated
juries; the grand jury of Galway having refused to find a similar
verdict, were summoned to the Court of Castle Chamber, sentenced to pay
a fine of 4,000 pounds each to the Crown, and the Sheriff that
empanelled them, a fine of 1,000 pounds. The lawyers who pleaded for
the actual proprietors were stripped of their gowns, the sheriff died
in prison, and the work of spoliation proceeded. The young Earl of
Ormond was glad to compound for a portion of his estates; the Earl of
Kildare was committed to prison for refusing a similar composition; the
Earl of Cork was compelled to pay a heavy fine for his intrusion into
lands originally granted to the Church; the O'Byrnes of Wicklow
commuted for 15,000 pounds, and the London Companies, for their Derry
estates, paid no less than 70,000 pounds: a forced contribution for
which those frugal citizens never forgave the thorough-going Deputy. By
these means, and others less violent, such as bounties to the linen
trade, he raised the annual revenue of the kingdom to 80,000 pounds a
year, and was enabled to embody for the King's service an army of
10,000 foot and 1,000 horse.

These arbitrary measures were entirely in consonance with the wishes of
Charles. In a visit to England in 1636, the King assured Strafford
personally of his cordial approbation of all he had done, encouraged
him to proceed fearlessly in the same course, and conferred on him the
higher rank of Lord Lieutenant. Three years later, on the first rumour
of a Scottish invasion of England, Strafford was enabled to remit his
master 30,000 pounds from the Irish Treasury, and to tender the
services of the Anglo-Irish army, as he thought they could be safely
dispensed with by the country in which they had been thus far recruited
and maintained.


The tragic end of the despot, whose administration we have sketched,
was now rapidly approaching. When he deserted the popular ranks in the
English House of Commons for a Peerage and the government of Ireland,
the fearless Pym prophetically remarked, "Though you have left us, I
will not leave you while your head is on your shoulders." Yet, although
conscious of having left able and vigilant enemies behind him in
England, Strafford proceeded in his Irish administration as if he
scorned to conciliate the feelings or interests of any order of men. By
the highest nobility, as well as the humblest of the mechanic class,
his will was to be received as law; so that neither in Church, nor in
State, might any man express even the most guarded doubt as to its
infallibility. Lord Mountnorris, for example, having dropped a casual,
and altogether innocent remark at the Chancellor's table on the private
habits of the Deputy, was brought to trial by court martial on a charge
of mutiny, and sentenced to military execution. Though he was not
actually put to death, he underwent a long and rigorous imprisonment,
and at length was liberated without apology or satisfaction. If they
were not so fully authenticated, the particulars of this outrageous
case would hardly be credible.

The examples of resistance to arbitrary power, which for some years had
been shown by both England and Scotland, were not thrown away upon the
still worse used Irish. During the seven years of Strafford's iron
rule, Hampden had resisted the collection of ship money, Cromwell had
begun to figure in the House of Commons, the Solemn League and Covenant
was established in Scotland, and the Scots had twice entered England in
arms to seal with their blood, if need were, their opposition to an
episcopal establishment of religion. It was in 1640, upon the occasion
of their second invasion, that Strafford was recalled from Ireland to
assume command of the royal forces in the North of England. After a
single indecisive campaign, the King entertained the overtures of the
Covenanters, and the memorable Long Parliament having met in November,
one of its first acts was the impeachment of Strafford for high crimes
and misdemeanors. The chief articles against him related to his
administration of Irish affairs, and were sustained by delegates from
the Irish House of Commons, sent over for that purpose: the whole of
the trial deserves to be closely examined by every one interested in
the constitutional history of England and Ireland.

A third Parliament, known as the 14th, 15th and 16th Charles I., met at
Dublin on the 20th March, 1639, was prorogued till June, and adjourned
till October. Yielding the point so successfully resisted in 1613, its
sittings were held in the Castle, surrounded by the viceregal guard.
With one exception, the acts passed in its first session were of little
importance, relating only to the allotment of glebe lands and the
payment of twentieths. The exception, which followed the voting of four
entire subsidies to the King, was an Act ordaining "that this
Parliament shall not determine by his Majesty's assent to this and
other Bills." A similar statute had been passed in 1635, but was wholly
disregarded by Strafford, who no doubt meant to take precisely the same
course in the present instance. The members of this Assembly have been
severely condemned by modern writers for passing a high eulogium upon
Strafford in their first session and reversing it after his fall. But
this censure is not well founded. The eulogium was introduced by the
Castle party in the Lords, as part of the preamble to the Supply Bill,
which, on being returned to the Commons, could only be rejected _in
toto_, not amended—a proceeding in the last degree revolutionary. But
those who dissented from that ingenious device, at the next session of
the House, took care to have their protest entered on the journals and
a copy of it despatched to the King. This second proceeding took place
in February, 1640, and as the Lord Lieutenant was not arraigned till
the month of November following, the usual denunciations of the Irish
members are altogether undeserved. At no period of his fortune was the
Earl more formidable as an enemy than at the very moment the Protest
against "his manner of government" was ordered "to be entered among the
Ordinances" of the Commons of Ireland. Nor did this Parliament confine
itself to mere protestations against the abuses of executive power. At
the very opening of the second session, on the 20th of January, they
appointed a committee to wait on the King in England, with instructions
to solicit a bill in explanation of Poyning's law, another enabling
them to originate bills in Committee of their own House, a right taken
away by that law, and to ask the King's consent to the regulation of
the courts of law, the collecting of the revenue, and the quartering of
soldiers by statute instead of by Orders in Council. On the 16th of
February the House submitted a set of queries to the Judges, the nature
of which may be inferred from the first question, viz.: "Whether the
subjects of this Kingdom be a free people, and to be governed only by
the common law of England, and statutes passed in this Kingdom ?" When
the answers received were deemed insufficient, the House itself,
turning the queries into the form of resolutions, proceeded to vote on
them, one by one, affirming in every point the rights, the liberties,
and the privileges of their constituents.

The impeachment and attainder of Strafford occupied the great part of
March and April, 1641, and throughout those months the delegates from
Ireland assisted at the pleadings in Westminster Hall and the debates
in the English Parliament. The Houses at Dublin were themselves
occupied in a similar manner. Towards the end of February articles of
impeachment were drawn up against the Lord Chancellor, Bolton, Dr.
Bramhall, Bishop of Derry, Chief-Justice Lowther, and Sir George
Radcliffe, for conspiring with Strafford to subvert the constitution,
and laws, and to introduce an arbitrary and tyrannical government. In
March, the King's letter for the continuance of Parliament was laid
before the Commons, and on the 3rd of April, his further letter,
declaring that all his Majesty's subjects of Ireland "shall, from
henceforth, enjoy the benefit of the said graces [of 1628] according to
the true intent thereof." By the end of May the Judges, not under
impeachment, sent in their answers to the Queries of the Commons, which
answers were voted insufficient, and Mr. Patrick Darcy, Member for
Navan, was appointed to serve as Proculator at a Conference with the
Lords, held on the 9th of June, "in the dining-room of the Castle," in
order to set forth the insufficiency of such replies. The learned and
elaborate argument of Darcy was ordered to be printed by the House; and
on the 26th day of July, previous to their prorogation, they resolved
unanimously, that the subjects of Ireland "were a free people, to be
governed only by the common law of England, and statutes made and
established in the kingdom of Ireland, and according to the lawful
custom used in the same." This was the last act of this memorable
session; the great northern insurrection in October having, of course,
prevented subsequent sessions from being held. Constitutional agitators
in modern times have been apt to select their examples of a wise and
patriotic parliamentary conduct from the opposition to the Act of Union
and the famous struggles of the last century; but whoever has looked
into such records as remain to us of the 15th and 16th of Charles
First, and the debates on the impeachment of Lord Chancellor Bolton,
will, in my opinion, be prepared to admit, that at no period whatever
was constitutional law more ably expounded in Ireland than in the
sessions of 1640 and 1641; and that not only the principles of Swift
and of Molyneux had a triumph in 1782, but the older doctrines also of
Sir Ralph Kelly, Audley Mervin, and Patrick Darcy.

Strafford's Deputy, Sir Christopher Wandesford, having died before the
close of 1640, the King appointed Robert, Lord Dillon, a liberal
Protestant, and Sir William Parsons, Lords Justices. But the pressure
of Puritan influence in England compelled him in a short time to remove
Dillon and substitute Sir John Borlace, Master of the Ordnance—a mere
soldier—in point of fanaticism a fitting colleague for Parsons. The
prorogation of Parliament soon gave these administrators opportunities
to exhibit the spirit in which they proposed to carry on the
government. When at a public entertainment in the capital, Parsons
openly declared that in twelve months more no Catholics should be seen
in Ireland, it was naturally inferred that the Lord Justice spoke not
merely for himself but for the growing party of the English Puritans
and Scottish Covenanters. The latter had repeatedly avowed that they
never would lay down their arms until they had wrought the extirpation
of Popery, and Mr. Pym, the Puritan leader in England, had openly
declared that his party intended not to leave a priest in Ireland. The
infatuation of the unfortunate Charles in entrusting at such a moment
the supreme power, civil and military, to two of the devoted partizans
of his deadliest enemies, could not fail to arouse the fears of all who
felt themselves obnoxious to the fanatical party, either by race or by

The aspirations of the chief men among the old Irish for entire freedom
of worship, their hopes of recovering at least a portion of their
estates, the example of the Scots, who had successfully upheld both
their Church and nation against all attempts at English supremacy, the
dangers that pressed, and the fears that overhung them, drove many of
the very first abilities and noblest characters into the conspiracy
which exploded with such terrific energy on the 23rd of October, 1641.
The project, though matured on Irish soil, was first conceived among
the exiled Catholics, who were to be found at that day in all the
schools and camps of Spain, Italy, France and the Netherlands. Philip
III. had an Irish legion, under the command of Henry O'Neil, son of
Tyrone, which, after his death was transferred to his brother John. In
this legion, Owen Roe O'Neil, nephew of Tyrone, learned the art of war,
and rose to the rank of Lieutenant-Colonel. The number of Irish serving
abroad had steadily increased after 1628, when a license of enlistment
was granted by King James. An English emissary, evidently
well-informed, was enabled to report, about the year 1630, that there
were in the service of the Archduchess Isabella, in the Spanish
Netherlands alone, "100 Irish officers able to command companies, and
20 fit to be colonels." The names of many others are given as men of
noted courage, good engineers, and "well-beloved" captains, both
Milesians and Anglo-Irish, residing at Lisbon, Florence, Milan and
Naples. The emissary adds that they had long been providing arms for an
attempt upon Ireland, "and had in readiness 5,000 or 6,000 arms laid up
in Antwerp for that purpose, _bought out of the deduction of their
monthly pay_." After the death of the Archduchess, in 1633, an attempt
was made by the Franco-Dutch, under Prince Maurice and Marshal
Chatillon, to separate the Belgian Provinces from Spain. In the
sanguinary battle at Avien victory declared for the French, and on
their junction with Prince Maurice, town after town surrendered to
their arms. The first successful stand against them was made at
Louvain, defended by 4,000 Belgians, Walloons, Spaniards and Irish; the
Irish, 1,000 strong, under the command of Colonel Preston, of the
Gormanstown family, greatly distinguished themselves. The siege was
raised on the 4th of July, 1635, and Belgium was saved for that time to
Philip IV. At the capture of Breda, in 1637, the Irish were again
honourably conspicuous, and yet more so in the successful defence of
Arras, the capital of Artois, three years later. Not yet strengthened
by the citadel of Vauban, this ancient Burgundian city, famous for its
cathedral and its manufactures, dear to the Spaniards as one of the
conquests of Charles V., was a vital point in the campaign of 1640.
Besieged by the French, under Marshal Millerie, it held out for several
weeks under the command of Colonel Owen Roe O'Neil. The King of France
lying at Amiens, within convenient distance, took care that the
besiegers wanted for nothing; while the Prince-Cardinal, Ferdinand, the
successor of the Archduchess in the government, marched to its relief
at the head of his main force with the Imperialists, under Launboy, and
the troops of the Duke of Lorrain, commanded by that Prince in person.
In an attack on the French lines the Allies were beaten off with loss,
and the brave commander was left again unsuccoured in the face of his
powerful assailant. Subsequently Don Philip de Silva, General of the
Horse to the Prince Cardinal, was despatched to its relief, but failed
to effect anything; a failure for which he was court-martialed, but
acquitted. The defenders, after exhausting every resource, finally
surrendered the place on honourable terms, and marched out covered with
glory. These stirring events, chronicled in prose and verse at home,
rekindled the martial ardour which had slumbered since the disastrous
day of Kinsale.

In the ecclesiastics who shared their banishment, the military exiles
had a voluntary diplomatic _corps_ who lost no opportunity of advancing
the common cause. At Rome, their chief agent was Father Luke Wadding,
founder of Saint Isidore's, one of the most eminent theologians and
scholars of his age. Through the friendship of Gregory XV. and Urban
VIII., many Catholic princes became deeply interested in the religious
wars which the Irish of the previous ages had so bravely waged, and
which their descendants were now so anxious to renew. Cardinal
Richelieu—who wielded a power greater than that of Kings—had favourably
entertained a project of invasion submitted to him by the son of Hugh
O'Neil, a chief who, while living, was naturally regarded by the exiles
as their future leader.

To prepare the country for such an invasion (if the return of men to
their own country can be called by that name), it was necessary to find
an agent with talents for organization, and an undoubted title to
credibility and confidence. This agent was fortunately found in the
person of Rory or Roger O'Moore, the representative of the ancient
chiefs of Leix, who had grown up at the Spanish Court as the friend and
companion of the O'Neils. O'Moore was then in the prime of life, of
handsome person, and most seductive manners; his knowledge of character
was profound; his zeal for the Catholic cause, intense; his personal
probity, honour, and courage, undoubted. The precise date of O'Moore's
arrival in Ireland is not given in any of the cotemporary accounts, but
he seems to have been resident in the country some time previous to his
appearance in public life, as he is familiarly spoken of by his English
cotemporaries as "Mr. Roger Moore of Ballynagh." During the
Parliamentary session of 1640, he took lodgings in Dublin, where he
succeeded in enlisting in his plans Conor Maguire, Lord Enniskillen,
Philip O'Reilly, one of the members for the county of Cavan, Costelloe
McMahon, and Thorlogh O'Neil, all persons of great influence in Ulster.
During the ensuing assizes in the Northern Province he visited several
country towns, where in the crowd of suitors and defendants he could,
without attracting special notice, meet and converse with those he
desired to gain over. On this tour he received the important accession
of Sir Phelim O'Neil of Kinnaird, in Tyrone, Sir Con Magennis of Down,
Colonel Hugh McMahon of Monaghan, and Dr. Heber McMahon, Administrator
of Clogher. Sir Phelim O'Neil, the most considerable man of his name
tolerated in Ulster, was looked upon as the greatest acquisition, and
at his castle of Kinnaird his associates from the neighbouring
counties, under a variety of pretexts, contrived frequently to meet.
From Ulster, the indefatigable O'Moore carried the threads of the
conspiracy into Connaught with equal success, finding both among the
nobility and clergy many adherents. In Leinster, among the Anglo-Irish,
he experienced the greatest timidity and indifference, but an
unforeseen circumstance threw into his hands a powerful lever, to move
that province. This was the permission granted by the King to the
native regiments, embodied by Strafford, to enter into the Spanish
service, if they so desired. His English Parliament made no demur to
the arrangement, which would rid the island of some thousands of
disciplined Catholics, but several of their officers, under the
inspiration of O'Moore, kept their companies together, delaying their
departure from month to month. Among these were Sir James Dillon,
Colonel Plunkett, Colonel Byrne, and Captain Fox, who, with O'Moore,
formed the first directing body of the Confederates in Leinster.

In May, 1641, Captain Neil O'Neil arrived from the Netherlands with an
urgent request from John, Earl of Tyrone, to all his clansmen to
prepare for a general insurrection. He also brought them the cheering
news that Cardinal Richelieu—then at the summit of his greatness—had
promised the exiles arms, money, and means of transport. He was sent
back, almost immediately, with the reply of Sir Phelim, O'Moore and
their friends, that they would be prepared to take the field a few days
before or after the festival of All Hallows—the 1st of November. The
death of Earl John, the last surviving son of the illustrious Tyrone,
shortly afterwards, though it grieved the Confederates, wrought no
change in their plans. In his cousin-germain, the distinguished
defender of Arras, they reposed equal confidence, and their confidence
could not have been more worthily bestowed.


The plan agreed upon by the Confederates included four main features.
I. A rising after the harvest was gathered in, and a campaign during
the winter months, when supplies from England were most difficult to be
obtained by their enemies. II. A simultaneous attack on one and the
same day or night on all the fortresses within reach of their friends.
III. To surprise the Castle of Dublin, which was said to contain arms
for 12,000 men. IV. Aid in officers, munitions, and money from abroad.
All the details of this project were carried successfully into effect,
except the seizure of Dublin Castle—the most difficult as it would have
been the most decisive blow to strike.

Towards the end of August, a meeting of those who could most
conveniently attend was held in Dublin. There were present O'Moore and
Maguire, of the civilians, and Colonels Plunkett, Byrne, and McMahon of
the army. At this meeting the last week of October, or first of
November, was fixed upon as the time to rise; subsequently Saturday,
the 23rd of the first named month, a market day in the capital was
selected. The northern movements were to be arranged with Sir Phelim
O'Neil, while McMahon, Plunkett, and Byrne, with 200 picked men, were
to surprise the Castle guard—consisting of only a few pensioners and 40
halbediers—turn the guns upon the city to intimidate the Puritan party,
and thus make sure of Dublin; O'Moore, Lord Maguire, and other
civilians, were to be in town, in order to direct the next steps to be
taken. As the day approached, the arrangements went on with perfect
secrecy but with perfect success. On the 22nd of October half the
chosen band were in waiting, and the remainder were expected in during
the night. Some hundreds of persons, in and about Dublin, and many
thousands throughout the country, must have been in possession of that
momentous secret, yet it was by the mere accident of trusting a drunken
dependent out of sight, that the first knowledge of the plot was
conveyed to the Lords Justices on the very eve of its execution.

Owen O'Connolly, the informant on this occasion, was one of those
ruffling squires or henchmen, who accompanied gentlemen of fortune in
that age, to take part in their quarrels, and carry their confidential
messages. That he was not an ordinary domestic servant, we may learn
from the fact of his carrying a sword, after the custom of the class to
which we have assigned him. At this period he was in the service of Sir
John Clotworthy, one of the most violent of the Puritan Undertakers,
and had conformed to the established religion. Through what
recklessness, or ignorance of his true character, he came to be invited
by Colonel Hugh McMahon to his lodgings, and there, on the evening of
the 22nd, entrusted with a knowledge of next day's plans, we have now
no means of deciding. O'Connolly's information, as tendered to the
Justices, states that on hearing of the proposed attack on the Castle,
he pretended an occasion to withdraw, leaving his sword in McMahon's
room to avoid suspicion, and that after jumping over fences and
palings, he made his way from the north side of the city to Sir William
Parsons at the Castle. Parsons at first discredited the tale, which
O'Connolly (who was in liquor) told in a confused and rambling manner,
but he finally decided to consult his colleague, Borlase, by whom some
of the Council were summoned, the witness's deposition taken down,
orders issued to double the guard, and officers despatched, who
arrested McMahon at his lodgings. When McMahon came to be examined
before the Council, it was already the morning of the 23rd; he boldly
avowed his own part in the plot, and declared that what was that day to
be done was now beyond the power of man to prevent. He was committed
close prisoner to the Castle where he had hoped to command, and search
was made for the other leaders in town. Maguire was captured the next
morning, and shared McMahon's captivity; but O'Moore, Plunkett, and
Byrne succeeded in escaping out of the city. O'Connolly was amply
rewarded in lands and money; and we hear of him once afterwards, with
the title of Colonel, in the Parliamentary army.

As McMahon had declared to the Justices, the rising was now beyond the
power of man to prevent. In Ulster, by stratagem, surprise, or force,
the forts of Charlemont and Mountjoy, and the town of Dungannon, were
seized on the night of the 22nd by Sir Phelim O'Neil or his
lieutenants; on the next day Sir Conor Magennis took the town of Newry,
the McMahons possessed themselves of Carrickmacross and Castleblaney,
the O'Hanlons Tandragee, while Philip O'Reilly and Roger Maguire razed
Cavan and Fermanagh. A proclamation of the northern leaders appeared
the same day, dated from Dungannon, setting forth their "true intent
and meaning" to be, not hostility to his Majesty the King, "nor to any
of his subjects, neither English nor Scotch; but only for the defence
and liberty of ourselves and the Irish natives of this kingdom." A more
elaborate manifesto appeared shortly afterwards from the pen of Rory
O'Moore, in which the oppressions of the Catholics for conscience' sake
were detailed, the King's intended "graces" acknowledged, and their
frustration by the malice of the Puritan party exhibited: it also
endeavoured to show that a common danger threatened the Protestants of
the Episcopal Church with Roman Catholics, and asserted in the
strongest terms the devotion of the Catholics to the Crown. In the same
politic and tolerant spirit, Sir Conor Magennis wrote from Newry on the
25th to the officers commanding at Down. "We are," he wrote, "for our
lives and liberties. We desire no blood to be shed, but if you mean to
shed our blood, be sure we shall be as ready as you for that purpose."
This threat of retaliation, so customary in all wars, was made on the
third day of the rising, and refers wholly to future contingencies; the
monstrous fictions which were afterwards circulated of a wholesale
massacre committed on the 23rd were not as yet invented, nor does any
public document or private letter, written in Ireland in the last week
of October, or during the first days of November, so much as allude to
those tales of blood and horror, afterwards so industriously
circulated, and so greedily swallowed.

Fully aroused from their lethargy by McMahon's declaration, the Lords
Justices acted with considerable vigour. Dublin was declared to be in a
state of siege; courts martial were established; arms were distributed
to the Protestant citizens, and some Catholics; and all strangers were
ordered to quit the city under pain of death. Sir Francis Willoughby,
Governor of Galway, who arrived on the night of the 22nd, was entrusted
with the command of the Castle, Sir Charles Coote was appointed
Military Governor of the city, and the Earl, afterwards Duke of Ormond,
was summoned from Carrick-on-Suir to take command of the army. As Coote
played a very conspicuous part in the opening scenes of this war, and
Ormond till its close, it may be well to describe them both, more
particularly, to the reader.

Sir Charles Coote, one of the first Baronets of Ireland, like Parsons,
Boyle, Chichester, and other Englishmen, had come over to Ireland
during the war against Tyrone, in quest of fortune. His first
employments were in Connaught, where he filled the offices of
Provost-Marshal and Vice-Governor in the reign of James I. His success
as an Undertaker entitles him to rank with the fortunate adventurers we
have mentioned; in Roscommon, Sligo, Leitrim, Queen's, and other
counties, his possessions and privileges raised him to the rank of the
richest subjects of his time. In 1640 he was a colonel of foot, with
the estates of a Prince and the habits of a Provost-Marshal. His
reputation for ferocious cruelty has survived the remembrance even of
his successful plunder of other people's property; before the campaigns
of Cromwell there was no better synonym for wanton cruelty than the
name of Sir Charles Coote.

James Butler, Earl, Marquis, and Duke of Ormond deservedly ranks
amongst the principal statesmen of his time. During a public career of
more than half a century his conduct in many eminent offices of trust
was distinguished by supreme ability, life-long firmness and
consistency. As a courtier of the House of Stuart, it was impossible
that he should have served and satisfied both Charleses without
participating in many indefensible acts of government, and originating
some of them. Yet judged, not from the Irish but the Imperial point of
view, not by an abstract standard but by the public morality of his
age, he will be found fairly deserving of the title of "the great Duke"
bestowed on him during his lifetime. When summoned by the Lords
Justices to their assistance in 1641, he was in the thirty-first year
of his age, and had so far only distinguished himself in political life
as the friend of the late Lord Strafford. He had, however, the good
fortune to restore in his own person the estates of his family,
notwithstanding that they were granted in great part to others by King
James; his attachment to the cause of King Charles was very naturally
augmented by the fact that the partiality of that Prince and his
ill-fated favourite had enabled him to retrieve both the hereditary
wealth and the high political influence which formerly belonged to the
Ormond Butlers. Such an ally was indispensable to the Lords Justices in
the first panic of the insurrection; but it was evident to near
observers that Ormond, a loyalist and a churchman, could not long act
in concert with such devoted Puritans as Parsons, Borlase, and Coote.

The military position of the several parties—there were at least
three—when Ormond arrived at Dublin, in the first week of November, may
be thus stated: I. In Munster and Connaught there was but a single
troop of royal horse, each, left as a guard with the respective
Presidents, St. Leger and Willoughby; in Kilkenny, Dublin, and other of
the midland counties, the gentry, Protestant and Catholic, were relied
on to raise volunteers for their own defence; in Dublin there had been
got together 1,500 old troops; six new regiments of foot were embodied;
and thirteen volunteer companies of 100 each. In the Castle were arms
and ammunition for 12,000 men, with a fine train of field artillery,
provided by Stafford for his campaign in the north of England. Ormond,
as Lieutenant-General, had thus at his disposal, in one fortnight after
the insurrection broke out, from 8,000 to 10,000 well appointed men;
his advice was to take the field at once against the northern leaders
before the other Provinces became equally inflamed. But his judgment
was overruled by the Justices, who would only consent, while awaiting
their cue from the Long Parliament, to throw reinforcements into
Drogheda, which thus became their outpost towards the north. II. In
Ulster there still remained in the possession of "the Undertakers"
Enniskillen, Derry, the Castles of Killeagh and Crohan in Cavan,
Lisburn, Belfast, and the stronghold of Carrickfergus, garrisoned by
the regiments of Colonel Chichester and Lord Conway. King Charles, who
was at Edinburgh endeavouring to conciliate the Scottish Parliament
when news of the Irish rising reached him, procured the instant
despatch of 1,500 men to Ulster, and authorized Lords Chichester, Ardes
and Clandeboy, to raise new regiments from among their own tenants. The
force thus embodied—which may be called from its prevailing element the
_Scottish_ army—cannot have numbered less than 5,000 foot, and the
proportionate number of horse. III. The Irish in the field by the first
of November are stated in round numbers at 30,000 men in the northern
counties alone; but the whole number supplied with arms and ammunition
could not have reached one-third of that nominal total. Before the
surprise of Charlemont and Mountjoy forts, Sir Phelim O'Neil had but a
barrel or two of gunpowder; the stores of those forts, with 70 barrels
taken at Newry by Magennis, and all the arms captured in the
simultaneous attack, which at the outside could not well exceed 4,000
or 5,000 stand—constituted their entire equipment. One of Ormond's
chief reasons for an immediate campaign in the North was to prevent
them having time to get "pikes made"—which shows their deficiency even
in that weapon. Besides this defect there was one, if possible, still
more serious. Sir Phelim was a civilian, bred to the profession of the
law; Rory O'Moore, also, had never seen service; and although Colonel
Owen O'Neil and others had promised to join them "at fourteen days'
notice," a variety of accidents prevented the arrival of any officer of
distinction during the brief remainder of that year. Sir Phelim,
however, boldly assumed the title of "Lord General of the Catholic Army
in Ulster," and the still more popular title with the Gaelic speaking
population of "The O'Neil."

The projected winter campaign, after the first week's successes, did
not turn out favourably for the northern Insurgents. The beginning of
November was marked by the barbarous slaughter committed by the
Scottish garrison of Carrickfergus in the Island Magee. Three thousand
persons are said to have been driven into the fathomless north sea,
over the cliffs of that island, or to have perished by the sword. The
ordinary inhabitants could not have exceeded one-tenth as many, but the
presence of so large a number may be accounted for by the supposition
that they had fled from the mainland across the peninsula, which is
left dry at low water, and were pursued to their last refuge by the
infuriated Covenanters. From this date forward until the accession of
Owen Roe O'Neil to the command, the northern war assumed a ferocity of
character foreign to the nature of O'Moore, O'Reilly and Magennis. That
Sir Phelim permitted, if he did not sometimes in his gusts of stormy
passion instigate, those acts of cruelty, which have stained his
otherwise honourable conduct, is too true; but he stood alone among his
confederates in that crime, and that crime stands alone in his
character. Brave to rashness and disinterested to excess, few rebel
chiefs ever made a more heroic end out of a more deplorable beginning.

The Irish Parliament, which was to have met on the 16th of November,
was indefinitely prorogued by the Lords Justices, who preferred to act
only with their chosen quorum of Privy Counsellors. The Catholic Lords
of the Pale, who at first had arms granted for their retainers out of
the public stores, were now summoned to surrender them by a given day;
an insult not to be forgiven. Lords Dillon and Taafe, then deputies to
the King, were seized at Ware by the English Puritans, their papers
taken from them, and themselves imprisoned. O'Moore, whose clansmen had
recovered Dunamase and other strongholds in his ancient patrimony, was
still indefatigable in his propaganda among the Anglo-Irish. By his
advice Sir Phelim marched to besiege Drogheda, at the head of his
tumultuous bands. On the way southward he made an unsuccessful attack
upon Lisburn, where he lost heavily; on the 24th of November he took
possession of Mellifont Abbey, from whose gate the aged Tyrone had
departed in tears, twenty-five years before. From Mellifont he
proceeded to invest Drogheda; Colonel Plunkett, with the title of
General, being the sole experienced officer as yet engaged in his
ranks. A strongly walled town as Drogheda was, well manned, and easily
accessible from the sea, cannot be carried without guns and engineers
by any amount of physical courage. Whenever the Catholics were fairly
matched in the open field, they were generally successful, as at
Julianstown, during this siege, where one of their detachments cut off
five out of six companies marching from Dublin to reinforce the town;
but though the investment was complete, the vigilant governor, Sir
Henry Tichburne, successfully repulsed the assailants. O'Moore, who lay
between Ardee and Dundalk with a reserve of 2,000 men, found time
during the siege to continue his natural career, that of a diplomatist.
The Puritan party, from the Lord Justice downwards, were, indeed, every
day hastening that union of Catholics of all origins which the founder
of the Confederacy so ardently desired to bring about. Their avowed
maxim was that the more men rebelled, the more estates there would be
to confiscate. In Munster, their chief instruments were the aged Earl
of Cork, still insatiable as ever for other men's possessions, and the
President St. Leger; in Leinster, Sir Charles Coote. Lord Cork prepared
1,100 indictments against men of property in his Province, which he
sent to the Speaker of the Long Parliament, with an urgent request that
they might be returned to him, with authority to proceed against the
parties named, as outlaws. In Leinster, 4,000 similar indictments were
found in the course of two days by the free use of the rack with
witnesses. Sir John Read, an officer of the King's Bedchamber, and Mr.
Barnwall, of Kilbrue, a gentleman of threescore and six, were among
those who underwent the torture. When these were the proceedings of the
tribunals in peaceable cities, we may imagine what must have been the
excesses of the soldiery in the open county. In the South, Sir William
St. Leger directed a series of murderous raids upon the peasantry of
Cork, which at length produced their natural effect. Lord Muskerry and
other leading recusants, who had offered their services to maintain the
peace of the Province, were driven by an insulting refusal to combine
for their own protection. The 1,100 indictments of Lord Cork soon
swelled their ranks, and the capture of the ancient city of Cashel by
Philip O'Dwyer announced the insurrection of the South. Waterford soon
after opened its gates to Colonel Edmund Butler; Wexford declared for
the Catholic cause, and Kilkenny surrendered to Lord Mountgarret. In
Wicklow, Coote's troopers committed murders such as had not been
equalled since the days of the Pagan Northmen. Little children were
carried aloft writhing on the pikes of these barbarians, whose worthy
commander confessed that "he liked such frolics." Neither age nor sex
was spared, and an ecclesiastic was especially certain of instant
death. Fathers Higgins and White of Naas, in Kildare, were given up by
Coote to these "lambs," though each had been granted a safe conduct by
his superior officer, Lord Ormond. And these murders were taking place
at the very time when the Franciscans and Jesuits of Cashel were
protecting Dr. Pullen, the Protestant Chancellor of that Cathedral and
other Protestant prisoners; while also the Castle of Cloughouter, in
Cavan, the residence of Bishop Bedell, was crowded with Protestant
fugitives, all of whom were carefully guarded by the chivalrous Philip

At length the Catholic Lords of the Pale began to feel the general glow
of an outraged people, too long submissive under every species of
provocation. The Lords Justices having summoned them to attend in
Dublin on the 8th of December, they met at Swords, at the safe distance
of seven miles, and sent by letter their reasons for not trusting
themselves in the capital. To the allegations in this letter the
Justices replied by proclamation, denying most of them, and repeating
their summons to Lords Fingal, Gormanstown, Slane, Dunsany,
Netterville, Louth, and Trimleston, to attend in Dublin on the 17th.
But before the 17th came, as if to ensure the defeat of their own
summons, Coote was let loose upon the flourishing villages of Fingal,
and the flames kindled by his men might easily be discovered from the
round tower of Swords. On the 17th, the summoned Lords, with several of
the neighbouring gentry, met by appointment on the hill of Crofty, in
the neighbouring county of Meath; while they were engaged in discussing
the best course to be taken, a party of armed men on horseback,
accompanied by a guard of musketeers, was seen approaching. They proved
to be O'Moore, O'Reilly, Costelloe McMahon, brother of the prisoner,
Colonel Byrne, and Captain Fox. Lord Gormanstown, advancing in front of
his friends, demanded of the new-comers "why they came armed into the
Pale?" To which O'Moore made answer "that the ground of their coming
thither was for the freedom and liberty of their consciences, the
maintenance of his Majesty's prerogative, in which they understood he
was abridged, and the making the subjects of this kingdom as free as
those of England." Lord Gormanstown, after consulting a few moments
with his friends, replied: "Seeing these be your true ends, we will
likewise join with you." The leaders then embraced, amid the
acclamations of their followers, and the general conditions of their
union having been unanimously agreed upon, a warrant was drawn out
authorizing the Sheriff of Meath to summon the gentry of the county to
a final meeting at the Hill of Tara on the 24th of December.


How a tumultuous insurrection grew into a national organization, with a
senate, executive, treasury, army, ships, and diplomacy, we are now to
describe. It may, however, be assumed throughout the narrative, that
the success of the new Confederacy was quite as much to be attributed
to the perverse policy of its enemies as to the counsels of its best
leaders. The rising in the midland and Munster counties, and the formal
adhesion of the Lords of the Pale, were two of the principal steps
towards the end. A third was taken by the Bishops of the Province of
Armagh, assembled in Provincial Synod at Kells, on the 22nd of March,
1642, where, with the exception of Dease of Meath, they unanimously
pronounced "the war just and lawful." After solemnly condemning all
acts of private vengeance, and all those who usurped other men's
estates, this provincial meeting invited a national synod to meet at
Kilkenny on the 10th day of May following. On that day accordingly, all
the Prelates then in the country, with the exception of Bishop Dease,
met at Kilkenny. There were present O'Reilly, Archbishop of Armagh;
Butler, Archbishop of Cashel; O'Kealy, Archbishop of Tuam; David Rothe,
the venerable Bishop of Ossory; the Bishops of Clonfert, Elphin,
Waterford, Lismore, Kildare, and Down and Conor; the proctors of
Dublin, Limerick, and Killaloe, with sixteen other dignitaries and
heads of religious orders—in all, twenty-nine prelates and superiors,
or their representatives. The most remarkable attendants were,
considering the circumstances of their Province, the prelates of
Connaught. Strafford's reign of terror was still painfully remembered
west of the Shannon, and the immense family influence of Ulick Burke,
then Earl, and afterwards Marquis of Clanrickarde, was exerted to
prevent the adhesion of the western population to the Confederacy. But
the zeal of the Archbishop of Tuam, and the violence of the Governor of
Galway, Sir Francis Willoughby, proved more than a counterpoise for the
authority of Clanrickarde and the recollection of Strafford: Connaught,
though the last to come into the Confederation, was also the last to
abandon it.

The Synod of Kilkenny proceeded with the utmost solemnity and anxiety
to consider the circumstances of their own and the neighbouring
kingdoms. No equal number of men could have been found in Ireland, at
that day, with an equal amount of knowledge of foreign and domestic
politics. Many of them had spent years upon the Continent, while the
French Huguenots held their one hundred "cautionary towns," and
"leagues" and "associations" were the ordinary instruments of popular
resistance in the Netherlands and Germany. Nor were the events
transpiring in the neighbouring island unknown or unweighed by that
grave assembly. The true meaning and intent of the Scottish and English
insurrections were by this time apparent to every one. The previous
months had been especially fertile in events, calculated to rouse their
most serious apprehensions. In March, the King fled from London to
York; in April, the gates of Hull were shut in his face by Hotham, its
governor; and in May, the Long Parliament voted a levy of 16,000
without the royal authority. The Earl of Warwick had been appointed the
Parliamentary commander of the fleet, and the Earl of Essex, their Lord
General, with Cromwell as one of his captains. From that hour it was
evident the sword alone could decide between Charles and his subjects.
In Scotland, too, events were occurring in which Irish Catholics were
vitally interested. The contest for the leadership of the Scottish
royalists between the Marquises of Hamilton and Montrose had occupied
the early months of the year, and given their enemies of the Kirk and
the Assembly full time to carry on their correspondence with the
English Puritans. In April, all parties in Scotland agreed in
despatching a force of 2,500 men, under "the memorable Major Monroe,"
for the protection of the Scottish settlers in Ulster. On the 15th of
that month this officer landed at Carrickfergus, which was "given up to
him by agreement," with the royalist Colonel Chichester; the fortress,
which was by much the strongest in that quarter, continued for six
years the head-quarters of the Scottish general, with whom we shall
have occasion to meet again.

The state of Anglo-Irish affairs was for some months one of
disorganization and confusion. In January and February the King had
been frequently induced to denounce by proclamation his "Irish rebels."
He had offered the Parliament to lead their reinforcements in person,
had urged the sending of arms and men, and had repeatedly declared that
he would never consent to tolerate Popery in that country. He had
failed to satisfy his enemies, by these profuse professions had
dishonoured himself, and disgusted many who were far from being hostile
to his person or family. Parsons and Borlase were still continued in
the government, and Coote was entrusted by them, on all possible
occasions, with a command distinct from that of Ormond. Having
proclaimed the Lords of the Pale rebels for refusing to trust their
persons within the walls of Dublin, Coote was employed during January
to destroy Swords, their place of rendezvous, and to ravage the estates
of their adherents in that neighbourhood. In the same month 1,100
veterans arrived at Dublin under Sir Simon Harcourt; early in February
arrived Sir Richard Grenville with 400 horse, and soon after
Lieutenant-Colonel George Monk, afterwards Duke of Albemarle, with Lord
Leicester's regiment, 1,500 strong. Up to this period Ormond had been
restrained by the Justices, who were as timid as they were cruel, to
operations within an easy march of Dublin. He had driven the O'Moores
and their Allies out of Naas; had reinforced some garrisons in Kildare;
he had broken up, though not without much loss, an entrenched camp of
the O'Byrnes at Kilsalgen wood, on the borders of Dublin; at last the
Justices felt secure enough, at the beginning of March, to allow him to
march to the relief of Drogheda. Sir Phelim O'Neil had invested the
place for more than three months, had been twice repulsed from its
walls, made a last desperate attempt, towards the end of February, but
with no better success. After many lives were lost the impetuous
lawyer-soldier was obliged to retire, and on the 8th of March, hearing
of Ormond's approach at the head of 4,000 fresh troops, he hastily
retreated northward. On receiving this report, the Justices recalled
Ormond to the capital; Sir Henry Tichburne and Lord Moore were
despatched with a strong force, on the rear of the Ulster forces, and
drove them out of Ardee and Dundalk—the latter after a sharp action.
The march of Ormond into Meath had, however, been productive of offers
of submission from many of the gentry of the Pale, who attended the
meetings at Crofty and Tara. Lord Dunsany and Sir John Netterville
actually surrendered on the Earl's guarantee, and were sent to Dublin;
Lords Gormanstown, Netterville, and Slane, offered by letter to follow
their example; but the two former were, on reaching the city, thrust
into the dungeons of the Castle, by order of the Justices; and the
proposals of the latter were rejected with contumely. About the same
time the Long Parliament passed an act declaring 2,500,000 acres of the
property of Irish recusants forfeited to the State, and guaranteeing to
all English "adventurers" contributing to the expenses of the war, and
all soldiers serving in it, grants of land in proportion to their
service and contribution. This act, and a letter from Lord Essex, the
Parliamentarian Commander-in-Chief, recommending the transportation of
captured recusants to the West Indian Colonies, effectually put a stop
to these negotiations. In Ulster, by the end of April, there were
19,000 troops, regulars and volunteers, in the garrison or in the
field. Newry was taken by Monroe and Chichester, where 80 men and women
and 2 priests were put to death. Magennis was obliged to abandon Down,
and McMahon Monaghan; Sir Philem was driven to burn Armagh and
Dungannon, and to take his last stand at Charlemont. In a severe action
with Sir Robert and Sir William Stewart, he had displayed his usual
courage with better than his usual fortune, which, perhaps, we may
attribute to the presence with him of Sir Alexander McDonnell, brother
to Lord Antrim, the famous _Colkitto_ of the Irish and Scottish wars.
But the severest defeat which the Confederates had was in the heart of
Leinster, at the hamlet of Kilrush, within four miles of Athy. Lord
Ormond, returning from a second reinforcement of Naas and other Kildare
forts, at the head, by English account, of 4,000 men, found on the 13th
of April the Catholics of the midland counties, under Lords
Mountgarrett, Ikerrin, and Dunboyne, Sir Morgan Cavenagh, Rory O'Moore,
and Hugh O'Byrne, drawn up, by his report, 8,000 strong, to dispute his
passage. With Ormond were the Lord Dillon, Lord Brabazon, Sir Richard
Grenville, Sir Charles Coote, and Sir T. Lucas. The combat was short
but murderous. The Confederates left 700 men, including Sir Morgan
Cavenagh, and some other officers, dead on the field; the remainder
retreated in disorder, and Ormond, with an inconsiderable diminution of
numbers, returned in triumph to Dublin. For this victory the Long
Parliament, in a moment of enthusiasm, voted the Lieutenant-General a
jewel worth 500 pounds. If any satisfaction could be derived from such
an incident, the violent death of their most ruthless enemy, Sir
Charles Coote, might have afforded the Catholics some consolation. That
merciless saberer, after the combat at Kilrush, had been employed in
reinforcing Birr, and relieving the Castle of Geashill, which the Lady
Letitia of Offally held against the neighbouring tribe of O'Dempsey. On
his return from this service he made a foray against a Catholic force,
which had mustered in the neighbourhood of Trim; here, on the night of
the 7th of May, heading a sally of his troop, he fell by a musket
shot—not without suspicion of being fired from his own ranks. His son
and namesake, who imitated him in all things, was ennobled at the
restoration by the title of the Earl of Mountrath. In Munster the
President St. Leger, though lately reinforced by 1,000 men from
England, did not consider himself strong enough for other than
occasional forays into the neighbouring county, and little was effected
in that Province.

Such was the condition of affairs at home and abroad when the National
Synod assembled at Kilkenny. As the most popular tribunal invested with
the highest moral power in the kingdom, it was their arduous task to
establish order and authority among the chaotic elements of the
revolution. By the admission of those most opposed to them they
conducted their deliberations for nearly three weeks with equal
prudence and energy. They first, on the motion of the venerable Bishop
Rothe, framed an oath of association to be publicly taken by all their
adherents, by the first part of which they were bound to bear "true
faith and allegiance" to King Charles and his lawful successors, "to
maintain the fundamental laws of Ireland, the free exercise of the
Roman Catholic faith and religion." By the second part of this oath all
Confederate Catholics—for so they were to be called—as solemnly bound
themselves never to accept or submit to any peace "without the consent
and approbation of the general assembly of the said Confederate
Catholics." They then proceeded to make certain constitutions,
declaring the war just and lawful; condemning emulations and
distinctions founded on distinctions of race, such as "new" and "old
Irish;" ordaining an elective council for each Province; and a Supreme
or National Council for the whole kingdom; condemning as excommunicate
all who should, having taken the oath, violate it, or who should be
guilty of murder, violence to persons, or plunder under pretence of the
war. Although the attendance of the lay leaders of the movement at
Kilkenny was far from general, the exigencies of the case compelled
them, to nominate, with the concurrence of the Bishops, the first
Supreme Council of which Lord Mountgarrett was chosen President, and
Mr. Richard Belling, an accomplished writer and lawyer, Secretary. By
this body a General Assembly of the entire Nation was summoned to meet
at the same city, on the 23rd of October following—the anniversary of
the Ulster rising, commonly called by the English party "Lord Maguire's
day." The choice of such an occasion by men of Mountgarrett's and
Selling's moderation and judgment, six months after the date of the
alleged "massacre," would form another proof, if any were now needed,
that none of the alleged atrocities were yet associated with the memory
of that particular day.

The events of the five months, which intervened between the adjournment
of the National Synod at the end of May, and the meeting of the General
Assembly on the 23rd of October, may best be summed up under the head
of the respective provinces. I. The oath of Confederation was taken
with enthusiasm in Munster, a Provincial Council elected, and General
Barry chosen Commander-in-Chief. Barry made an attempt upon Cork, which
was repulsed, but a few days later the not less important city of
Limerick opened its gates to the Confederates, and on the 21st of June
the citadel was breached and surrendered by Courtenay, the Governor. On
the 2nd of July St. Leger died at Cork (it was said of vexation for the
loss of Limerick), and the command devolved on his son-in-law, Lord
Inchiquin, a pupil of the school of Wards, and a soldier of the school
of Sir Charles Coote. With Inchiquin was associated the Earl of
Barrymore for the civil administration, but on Barrymore's death in
September both powers remained for twelve months in the hands of the
survivor. The gain of Limerick was followed by the taking of Loughgar
and Askeaton, but was counterbalanced by the defeat of Liscarroll, when
the Irish loss was 800 men, with several colours; Inchiquin reported
only 20 killed, including the young lord Kinalmeaky, one of the five
sons whom the Earl of Cork gave to this war. II. In Connaught, Lord
Clanrickarde was still enabled to avert a general outbreak. In vain the
western Prelates besought him in a pathetic remonstrance to place
himself at the head of its injured inhabitants, and take the command of
the Province. He continued to play a middle part between the President,
Lord Ranelagh, Sir Charles Coote the younger, and Willoughby, Governor
of Galway, until the popular impatience burst all control. The chief of
the O'Flahertys seized Clanrickarde's castle, of Aughrenure, and the
young men of Galway, with a skill and decision quite equal to that of
the Derry apprentices of an after day, seized an English ship
containing arms and supplies, lying in the bay, marched to the Church
of Saint Nicholas, took the Confederate oath, and shut Willoughby up in
the citadel. Clanrickarde hastened to extinguish this spark of
resistance, and induced the townsmen to capitulate on his personal
guarantee. But Willoughby, on the arrival of reinforcements, under the
fanatical Lord Forbes, at once set the truce made by Clanrickarde at
defiance, burned the suburbs, sacked the Churches, and during August
and September, exercised a reign of terror in the town. About the same
time local risings took place in Sligo, Mayo, and Roscommon, at first
with such success that the President of the Province, Lord Ranelagh,
shut himself up in the castle of Athlone, where he was closely
besieged. III. In Leinster, no military movement of much importance was
made, in consequence of the jealousy the Justices entertained of
Ormond, and the emptiness of the treasury. In June, the Long Parliament
remitted over the paltry sum of 11,500 pounds to the Justices, and
2,000 of the troops, which had all but mutinied for their pay, were
despatched under Ormond to the relief of Athlone. Commissioners arrived
during the summer, appointed by the Parliament to report on the affairs
of Ireland, to whom the Justices submitted a penal code worthy of the
brain of Draco or Domitian; Ormond was raised to the rank of Marquis,
by the King; while the army he commanded grew more and more divided, by
intrigues emanating from the castle and beyond the channel. Before the
month of October, James Touchet, Earl of Castlehaven, an adventurous
nobleman, possessed of large estates both in Ireland and England,
effected his escape from Dublin Castle, where he had been imprisoned on
suspicion by Parsons and Borlase, and joined the Confederation at
Kilkenny. In September, Colonel Thomas Preston, the brave defender of
Louvain, uncle to Lord Gormanstown, landed at Wexford, with three
frigates and several transports, containing a few siege guns, field
pieces, and other stores, 500 officers, and a number of engineers. IV.
In Ulster, where the first blow was struck, and the first hopes were
excited, the prospect had become suddenly overclouded. Monroe took
Dunluce from Lord Antrim by the same stratagem by which Sir Phelim took
Charlemont—inviting himself as a guest, and arresting his host at his
own table. A want of cordial co-operation between the Scotch commander
and "the Undertakers" alone prevented them extinguishing, in one
vigorous campaign, the northern insurrection. So weak and disorganized
were now the thousands who had risen at a bound one short year before,
that the garrisons of Enniskillen, Derry, Newry, and Drogheda, scoured
almost unopposed the neighbouring counties. The troops of Cole,
Hamilton, the Stewarts, Chichesters, and Conways, found little
opposition, and gave no quarter. Sir William Cole, among his claims of
service rendered to the State, enumerated "7,000 of the rebels famished
to death," within a circuit of a few miles from Enniskillen. The
disheartened and disorganized natives were seriously deliberating a
wholesale emigration to the Scottish highlands, when a word of magic
effect was whispered from the sea coast to the interior. On the 6th of
July, Colonel Owen Roe O'Neil arrived off Donegal with a single ship, a
single company of veterans, 100 officers, and a considerable quantity
of ammunition. He landed at Doe Castle, and was escorted by his
kinsman, Sir Phelim, to the fort of Charlemont. A general meeting of
the northern clans was quickly called at Clones, in Monaghan, and
there, on an early day after his arrival, Owen O'Neil was elected
"General-in-Chief of the Catholic Army" of the North, Sir Phelim
resigning in his favour, and taking instead the barren title of
"President of Ulster." At the same moment Lord Lieven arrived from
Scotland with the remainder of the 10,000 voted by the Parliament of
that kingdom. He had known O'Neil abroad, had a high opinion of his
abilities, and wrote to express his surprise "that a man of his
reputation should be engaged in so bad a cause;" to which O'Neil
replied that "he had a better right to come to the relief of his own
country than his lordship had to march into England against his lawful
King." Lieven, before returning home, urged Monroe to act with
promptitude, for that he might expect a severe lesson if the new
commander once succeeded in collecting an army. But Monroe proved deaf
to this advice, and while the Scottish and English forces in the
Province would have amounted, if united, to 20,000 foot and 1,000
horse, they gave O'Neil time enough to embody, officer, drill, and arm
(at least provisionally), a force not to be despised by even twice
their numbers.


The city of Kilkenny, which had become the capital of the Confederacy,
was favourably placed for the direction of the war in Leinster and
Munster. Nearly equidistant from Dublin, Cork, and Limerick, a meeting
place for most of the southern and south-western roads, important in
itself both as a place of trade, and as the residence of the Duke of
Ormond and the Bishop of Ossory, a better choice could not, perhaps,
have been made, so far as regarded the ancient southern "Half-Kingdom."
But it seems rather surprising that the difficulty of directing the war
in the North and North-West, from a point so far south, did not occur
to the statesmen of the Confederacy. In the defective communications of
those days, especially during a war, partaking even partially of the
character of civil strife, it was hard, if not impossible to expect,
that a supervision could be exercised over a general or an army on the
Erne or the Bann, which might be quite possible and proper on the Suir
or the Shannon. A similar necessity in England necessitated the
creation of the Presidency of the North, with its council and
head-quarters in the city of York; nor need we be surprised to find
that, from the first, the Confederate movements combined themselves
into two groups—the northern and the southern—those which revolved
round the centre of Kilkenny, and those which took their law from the
head-quarters of Owen O'Neil, at Belturbet, or wherever else his camp
happened to be situated.

The General Assembly met, according to agreement, on the 23rd of
October, 1642, at Kilkenny. Eleven bishops and fourteen lay lords
represented the Irish peerage; two hundred and twenty-six commoners,
the large majority of the constituencies. Both bodies sat in the same
chamber, divided only by a raised dais. The celebrated lawyer, Patrick
Darcy, a member of the Commons' House, was chosen as chancellor, and
everything was conducted with the gravity and deliberation befitting so
venerable an Assembly, and so great an occasion. The business most
pressing, and most delicate, was felt to be the consideration of a form
of supreme executive government. The committee on this subject, who
reported after the interval of a week, was composed of Lords
Gormanstown and Castlehaven, Sir Phelim O'Neil, Sir Richard Belling,
and Mr. Darcy. A "Supreme Council" of six members for each province was
recommended, approved, and elected. The Archbishops of Armagh, Dublin,
and Tuam, the Bishops of Down and of Clonfert, the Lords Gormanstown,
Mountgarrett, Roche, and Mayo, with fifteen of the most eminent
commoners, composed this council. It was provided that the vote of
two-thirds should be necessary to any act affecting the basis of the
Confederacy, but a quorum of nine was sufficient for the transaction of
ordinary business. A guard of honour of 500 foot and 200 horse was
allowed for their greater security. The venerable Mountgarrett, the
head of the Catholic Butlers, (son-in-law of the illustrious Tyrone,
who, in the last years of Elizabeth, had devoted his youthful sword to
the same good cause,) was elected president of this council; and Sir
Richard Belling, a lawyer, and a man of letters, the continuator of Sir
Philip Sydney's _Arcadia_, was appointed secretary.

The first act of this Supreme Council was to appoint General O'Neil as
Commander-in-Chief in Ulster; General Preston, in Leinster; General
Barry, in Munster; and Sir John Burke as Lieutenant-General in
Connaught; the supreme command in the West being held over for
Clanrickarde, who, it was still hoped, might be led or driven into the
Confederacy. We shall endeavour to indicate in turn the operations of
these commanders, thus chosen or confirmed; leaving the civil and
diplomatic business transacted by the General Assembly, or delegated to
the Supreme Council, for future mention.

Contrary to the custom of that age, the Confederate troops were not
withdrawn into winter quarters. In November, General Preston, at the
head of 6,000 foot and 600 horse, encountered Monk at Tymahoe and
Ballinakil, with some loss; but before the close of December he had
reduced Birr, Banagher, Burris, and Fort Falkland, and found himself
master of King's county, from the Shannon to the Barrow. In February,
however, he sustained a serious check at Rathconnell, in endeavouring
to intercept the retreat of the English troops from Connaught, under
the command of Lord Ranelagh, and the younger Coote; and in March,
equal ill success attended his attempt to intercept Ormond, in his
retreat from the unsuccessful siege of the town of Ross. Lord
Castlehaven, who was Preston's second in command, attributes both these
reverses to the impetuosity of the general, whose imprudence seems to
have been almost as great as his activity was conspicuous. In April and
May, Preston and Castlehaven took several strongholds in Carlow,
Kildare, and West-Meath, and the General Assembly, which met for its
second session, on the 20th of May, 1643, at Kilkenny, had, on the
whole, good grounds to be satisfied with the success of the war in

In the Southern Province, considerable military successes might also be
claimed by the Confederates. The Munster troops, under Purcell, the
second in command, a capable soldier, who had learned the art of war in
the armies of the German Empire, relieved Ross, when besieged by
Ormond; General Barry had successfully repulsed an attack on his
head-quarters, the famous old Desmond town of Killmallock. In June,
Barry, Purcell, and Castlehaven drove the enemy before them across the
Funcheon, and at Kilworth brought their main body, under Sir Charles
Vavasour, to action. Vavasour's force was badly beaten, himself
captured, with his cannon and colours, and many of his officers and
men. Inchiquin, who had endeavoured to form a junction with Vavasour,
escaped to one of the few remaining garrisons open to him—probably

In Connaught, the surrender of Galway, on the 20th of June, eclipsed
all the previous successes, and they were not a few, of
Lieutenant-General Burke. From the day Lord Ranelagh and the younger
Coote deserted the Western province, the Confederate cause had rapidly
advanced. The surrender of "the second fort in the Kingdom"—a sea-port
in that age, not unworthy to be ranked with Cadiz and Bristol, for its
commercial wealth and reputation—was a military event of the first
importance. An English fleet appeared three days after the surrender of
Willoughby, in Galway harbour; but nine long years elapsed before the
Confederate colours were lowered from the towers of the Connaught

In the North, O'Neil, who, without injustice to any of his
contemporaries, may certainly be said to have made, during his seven
years' command, the highest European reputation among the Confederate
generals, gathered his recruits into a rugged district, which forms a
sort of natural camp in the north-west corner of the island. The
mountain plateau of Leitrim, which sends its spurs downwards to the
Atlantic, towards Lough Erne, and into Longford, accessible only by
four or five lines of road, leading over narrow bridges and through
deep defiles, was the nursery selected by this cautious leader, in
which to collect and organize his forces. In the beginning of May—seven
months after the date of his commission, and ten from his solitary
landing at Doe Castle—we find him a long march from his mountain
fortress in Leitrim, at Charlemont, which he had strengthened and
garrisoned, and now saved from a surprise attempted by Monroe, from
Carrickfergus. Having effected that immediate object, he again retired
towards the Leitrim highlands, fighting by the way a smart cavalry
action at Clonish, with a superior force, under Colonels Stewart,
Balfour, and Mervyn. In this affair O'Neil was only too happy to have
carried off his troop with credit; but a fortnight brought him
consolation for Clonish in the brilliant affair of Portlester. He had
descended in force from his hills and taken possession of the greater
part of the ancient Meath. General Monk and Lord Moore were despatched
against him, but reinforced by a considerable body of Meathian
Confederates, under Sir James Dillon, he resolved to risk his first
regular engagement in the field. Taking advantage of the situation of
the ground, about five miles from Trim, he threw up some field works,
placed sixty men in Portlester mill, and patiently awaited the advance
of the enemy. Their assault was overconfident, their rout complete.
Lord Moore, and a large portion of the assailants were slain, and Monk
fled back to Dublin. O'Neil, gathering fresh strength from these
movements, abandoned his mountain stronghold, and established his
head-quarters on the river Erne between Lough Oughter (memorable in his
life and death) and the upper waters of Lough Erne. At this point stood
the town of Belturbet, which, in "the Plantation" of James I., had been
turned over exclusively to British settlers, whose "cagework" houses,
and four acres of garden ground each, had elicited the approval of the
surveyor Pynnar, twenty years before. The surrounding country was
covered with the fortified castles and loop-holed lawns of the chief
_Undertakers_—but few were found of sufficient strength to resist the
arms of O'Neil. At Belturbet, he was within a few days' march of the
vital points of four other counties, and in case of the worst, within
the same distance of his protective fastness. Here, towards the end of
September, busied with present duties and future projects, he heard,
for the first time, with astonishment and grief, that the requisite
majority of "the Supreme Council" had concluded, on the 13th of that
month, a twelve-months' truce with Ormond, thus putting in peril all
the advantages already acquired by the bravery of the Confederate
troops, and the skill of their generals.

The war had lasted nearly two years, and this was the first time the
Catholics had consented to negotiate. The moment chosen was a critical
one for all the three Kingdoms, and the interests involved were
complicated in the extreme. The Anglo-Irish, who formed the majority of
the Supreme Council, connected by blood and language with England, had
entered into the war, purely as one of religious liberty. Nationally,
they had, apart from the civil disabilities imposed on religious
grounds, no antipathy, no interest, hostile to the general body of
English loyalists, represented in Ireland by the King's lieutenant,
Ormond. On his side, that nobleman gave all his thoughts to, and
governed all his actions by the exigencies of the royal cause,
throughout the three Kingdoms. When Charles seemed strong in England,
Ormond rated the Catholics at a low figure; but when reverses increased
he estimated their alliance more highly. After the drawn battle of
Edgehill, fought on the very day of the first meeting of the General
Assembly at Kilkenny, the King had established his head-quarters at
Oxford, in the heart of four or five of the most loyal counties in
England. Here he at first negotiated with the Parliament, but finally
the sword was again invoked, and while the King proclaimed the
Parliament rebels, "the solemn league and covenant" was entered into,
at first separately, and afterwards jointly, by the Puritans of England
and Presbyterians of Scotland. The military events during that year,
and in the first half of the next, were upon the whole not unfavourable
to the royal cause. The great battle of Marston Moor, (July 2nd, 1644,)
which "extinguished the hopes of the Royalists in the Northern
counties," was the first Parliamentary victory of national importance.
It was won mainly by the energy and obstinacy of Lieutenant-General
Cromwell, from that day forth the foremost English figure in the Civil
War. From his court at Oxford, where he had seen the utter failure of
endeavouring to conciliate his English and Scottish enemies, the King
had instructed Ormond—lately created a Marquis—to treat with the Irish
Catholics, and to obtain from them men and money. The overtures thus
made were brought to maturity in September; the Cessation was to last
twelve months; each party was to remain in possession of its own
quarters, as they were held at the date of the treaty; the forces of
each were to unite to punish any infraction of the terms agreed on; the
agents of the Confederates, during the cessation, were to have free
access and safe conduct to the King; and for these advantages, the
Supreme Council were to present his Majesty immediately with 15,000
pounds in money, and provisions to the value of 15,000 pounds more.

Such was "the truce of Castlemartin," condemned by O'Neil, by the Papal
Nuncio, Scarampi, and by the great majority of the old Irish, lay and
clerical; still more violently denounced by the Puritan Parliament as
favouring Popery, and negotiated by Popish agents; beneficial to Ormond
and the Undertakers, as relieving Dublin, freeing the channel from
Irish privateers, and securing them in the garrisons throughout the
Kingdom which they still held; in one sense advantageous to Charles,
from the immediate supplies it afforded, and the favourable impression
it created of his liberality, at the courts of his Catholic allies; but
on the other hand disadvantageous to him in England and Scotland, from
the pretexts it furnished his enemies, of renewing the cry of his
connivance with Popery, a cry neither easily answered, nor, of itself,
liable quickly to wear out.


While the Confederate delegates, reverently uncovered, and Ormond, in
hat and plume, as representing royalty, were signing "the cessation" at
Castlemartin, the memorable Monroe, with all his men, were taking the
covenant, on their knees, in the church of Carrickfergus, at the hands
of the informer O'Connolly, now a colonel in the Parliamentary army,
and high in the confidence of its chiefs. Soon after this ceremony,
Monroe, appointed by the English Parliament Commander-in-Chief of all
their forces in Ulster, united under his immediate leadership, of
Scots, English, and Undertakers, not less than 10,000 men. With this
force he marched southward as far as Newry, which he found an easy
prey, and where he put to the sword, after surrender, sixty men,
eighteen women, and two ecclesiastics. In vain the Confederates
entreated Ormond to lead them against the common enemy in the North;
pursuing always a line of policy of his own, in which their interest
had a very slender part, that astute politician neither took the field,
nor consented that they should do so of themselves. But the Supreme
Council, roused by the remonstrances of the clergy, ordered Lord
Castlehaven, with the title of Commander-in-Chief, to march against
Monroe. This was virtually superseding O'Neil in his own province, and
that it was so felt, even by its authors, is plain from their giving
him simultaneously the command in Connaught. O'Neil, never greater than
in acts of self-denial and self-sacrifice, stifled his profound
chagrin, and cheerfully offered to serve under the English Earl, placed
over his head. But the northern movements were, for many months,
languid and uneventful; both parties seemed uncertain of their true
policy; both, from day to day, awaited breathlessly for tidings from
Kilkenny, Dublin, London, Oxford, or Edinburgh, to learn what new forms
the general contest was to take, in order to guide their own conduct by
the shifting phases of that intricate diplomacy.

Among the first consequences of the cessation were the debarkation at
Mostyn, in Scotland, of 3,000 well provided Irish troops, under
_Colkitto_ (the left-handed,) Alexander McDonnell, brother of Lord
Antrim. Following the banner of Montrose, these regiments performed
great things at Saint Johnstown, at Aberdeen, at Inverlochy, all which
have been eloquently recorded by the historians of that period. "Their
reputation," says a cautious writer, "more than their number, unnerved
the prowess of their enemies. No force ventured to oppose them in the
field; and as they advanced, every fort was abandoned or surrendered."
A less agreeable result of "the cessation," for the court at Oxford,
was the retirement from the royal army of the Earl of Newcastle, and
most of his officers, on learning that such favourable conditions had
been made with Irish Papists. To others of his supporters—as the Earl
of Shrewsbury—Charles was forced to assume a tone of apology for that
truce, pleading the hard necessities which compelled him: the truth
seems to be, that there were not a few then at Oxford, who, like Lord
Spencer, would gladly have been on the other side—or at all events in a
position of neutrality—provided they could have found "a salve for
their honour," as gentlemen and cavaliers.

The year 1644 opened for the Irish with two events of great
significance—the appointment of Ormond as Viceroy, in January, and the
execution at Tyburn, by order of the English Parliament, of Lord
Maguire, a prisoner in the Tower since October, 1641. Maguire died with
a courage and composure worthy of his illustrious name, and his
profoundly religious character. His long absence had not effaced his
memory from the hearts of his devoted clansmen of Fermanagh, and many a
prayer was breathed, and many a vow of vengeance muttered among them,
for what they must naturally have regarded as the cold-blooded judicial
murder of their chief.

Two Irish deputations—one Catholic, the other Protestant—proceeded this
year to the King, at Oxford, with the approval of Ormond, who took care
to be represented by confidential agents of his own. The Catholics
found a zealous auxiliary in the queen, Henrietta Maria, who, as a
co-religionist, felt with them, and, as a Frenchwoman, was free from
insular prejudices against them. The Irish Protestants found a scarcely
less influential advocate in the venerable Archbishop Usher, whose
presence and countenance, as the most puritanical of his prelates, was
most essential to the policy of Charles. The King heard both parties
graciously—censured some of the demands of both as extravagant, and
beyond his power to concede—admitted others to be reasonable and worthy
of consideration—refused to confirm the churches they had seized to the
Catholics—but was willing to allow them their "seminaries of
education"—would not consent to enforce the penal laws on the demand of
the Protestants—but declared that neither should the Undertakers be
disturbed in their possessions or offices. In short, he pathetically
exhorted both parties to consider his case as well as their own;
promised them to call together the Irish Parliament at the earliest
possible period; and so got rid of both deputations, leaving Ormond
master of the position for some time longer.

The agents and friends of the Irish Catholics on the Continent were
greatly embarrassed, and not a little disheartened by the cessation. At
Paris, at Brussels, at Madrid, but above all at Rome, it was regretted,
blamed, or denounced, according to the temper or the insight of the
discontented. His Catholic Majesty had some time before remitted a
contribution of 20,000 dollars to the Confederate Treasury; one of
Richelieu's last acts was to invite Con, son of Hugh O'Neil, to the
French Court, and to permit the shipment of some pieces of ordnance to
Ireland; from Rome, the celebrated Franciscan, Father Luke Wadding, had
remitted 26,000 dollars, and the Nuncio Scarampi had brought further
donations. The facility, therefore, with which the cessation had been
agreed upon, against the views of the agents of the Catholic powers at
Kilkenny, without any apparently sufficient cause, had certainly a
tendency to check and chill the enthusiasm of those Catholic Princes
who had been taught to look on the insurrection of the Irish as a
species of Crusade. Remonstrances, warm, eloquent, and passionate, were
poured in upon the most influential members of the Supreme Council,
from those who had either by delegation, or from their own free will,
befriended them abroad. These remonstrances reached that powerful body
at Waterford, at Limerick, or at Galway, whither they had gone on an
official visitation, to hear complaints, settle controversies, and
provide for the better collection of the assessments imposed on each

An incident which occurred in Ulster, soon startled the Supreme Council
from their pacific occupations. General Monroe, having proclaimed that
all Protestants within his command should take "the solemn league and
covenant," three thousand of that religion, still loyalists, met at
Belfast, to deliberate on their answer. Monroe, however, apprised of
their intentions, marched rapidly from Carrickfergus, entered the town
under cover of night, and drove out the loyal Protestants at the point
of the sword. The fugitives threw themselves into Lisburn, and Monroe
appointed Colonel Hume as Governor of Belfast, for the Parliaments of
Scotland and England. Castlehaven, with O'Neil still second in command,
was now despatched northward against the army of the Covenant. Monroe,
who had advanced to the borders of Meath as if to meet them, contented
himself with gathering in great herds of cattle; as they advanced, he
slowly fell back before them through Louth and Armagh, to his original
head-quarters; Castlehaven then returned with the main body of the
Confederate troops to Kilkenny, and O'Neil, depressed, but not
dismayed, carried his contingent to their former position at Belturbet.

In Munster, a new Parliamentary party had time to form its combinations
under the shelter of the cessation. The Earl of Inchiquin, who had
lately failed to obtain the Presidency of Munster from the King at
Oxford, and the Lord Broghill, son of the great Southern Undertaker—the
first Earl of Cork,—were at the head of this movement. Under pretence
that the quarters allotted them by the cessation had been violated,
they contrived to seize upon Cork, Youghal, and Kinsale. At Cork, they
publicly executed Father Mathews, a Friar, and proceeding from violence
to violence, they drove from the three places all the Catholic
inhabitants. They then forwarded a petition to the King, beseeching him
to declare the Catholics "rebels," and declaring their own
determination to "die a thousand deaths sooner than condescend to any
peace with them." At the same time they entered into or avowed their
correspondence with the English Parliament, which naturally enough
encouraged and assisted them. The Supreme Council met these
demonstrations with more stringent instructions to General Purcell, now
their chief in command, (Barry having retired on account of advanced
age,) to observe the cessation, and to punish severely every infraction
of it. At the same time they permitted or directed Purcell to enter
into a trace with Inchiquin till the following April; and then they
rested on their arms, in religious fidelity to the engagements they had
signed at Castlemartin.

The twelve-months' truce was fast drawing to a close, when the battle
of Marston Moor stimulated Ormond to effect a renewal of the treaty.
Accordingly, at his request, Lord Muskerry, and five other
commissioners, left Kilkenny on the last day of August for Dublin.
Between them and the Viceroy, the cessation was prolonged till the
first of December following; and when that day came, it was further
protracted, as would appear, for three months, by which time, (March,
1645,) Ormond informed them that he had powers from the King to treat
for a permanent settlement.

During the six months that the original cessation was thus protracted
by the policy of Ormond, the Supreme Council sent abroad new agents,
"to know what they had to trust to, and what succours they might really
depend on from abroad." Father Hugh Bourke was sent to Spain, and Sir
Richard Belling to Rome, where Innocent X, had recently succeeded to
that generous friend of the Catholic Irish. Urban VIII. The voyage of
these agents was not free from hazard, for, whereas, before the
cessation, the privateers commissioned by the Council, sheltered and
supplied in the Irish harbours, had kept the southern coast clear of
hostile shipping, now that they had been withdrawn under the truce, the
parliamentary cruisers had the channel all to themselves. Waterford and
Wexford—the two chief Catholic ports in that quarter—instead of seeing
their waters crowded with prizes, now began to tremble for their own
safety. The strong fort of Duncannon, on the Wexford side of Waterford
harbour, was corruptly surrendered by Lord Esmond, to Inchiquin and the
Puritans. After a ten-weeks' siege, however, and the expenditure of
19,000 pounds of powder, the Confederates retook the fort, in spite of
all the efforts made for its relief. Esmond, old and blind, escaped by
a timely death the penalty due to his treason. Following up this
success, Castlehaven rapidly invested other southern strongholds in
possession of the same party, Cappoquin, Lismore, Mallow, Mitchelstown,
Doneraile and Liscarroll surrendered on articles; Rostellan, commanded
by Inchiquin's brother, was stormed and taken; Boghill was closely
besieged in Youghal, but, being relieved from sea, successfully
defended himself. In another quarter, the Parliament was equally
active. To compensate for the loss of Galway, they had instructed the
younger Coote, on whom they had conferred the Presidency of Connaught,
to withdraw the regiment of Sir Frederick Hamilton, and 400 other
troops, from the command of Monroe, and with these, Sir Robert
Stewart's forces, and such others as he could himself raise, to invest
Sligo. Against the force thus collected, Sligo could not hope to
contend, and soon, from that town, as from a rallying and resting
place, 2,000 horsemen were daily launched upon the adjoining country.
Lord Clanrickarde, the royal president of the province, as unpopular as
trimmers usually are in times of crisis, was unable to make head
against this new danger. But the Confederates, under Sir James Dillon,
and Dr. O'Kelly, the heroic Archbishop of Tuam, moved by the pitiful
appeals of the Sligo people, boldly endeavoured to recover the town.
They succeeded in entering the walls, but were subsequently repulsed
and routed. The Archbishop was captured and tortured to death; some of
the noblest families of the province and of Meath had also to mourn
their chiefs; and several valuable papers, found or pretended to be
found in the Archbishop's carriage, were eagerly given to the press of
London by the Parliament of England. This tragedy at Sligo occurred on
Sunday, October 26th, 1645.


Ormond had amused the Confederates with negotiations for a permanent
peace and settlement, from spring till midsummer, when Charles,
dissatisfied with these endless delays, despatched to Ireland a more
hopeful ambassador. This was Herbert, Earl of Glamorgan, one of the few
Catholics remaining among the English nobility; son and heir to the
Marquis of Worcester, and son-in-law to Henry O'Brien, Earl of Thomond.
Of a family devoutly attached to the royal cause, to which it is said
they had contributed not less than 200,000 pounds, Glamorgan's
religion, his rank, his Irish connections, the intimate confidence of
the King which he was known to possess, all marked out his embassy as
one of the utmost importance.

The story of this mission has been perplexed and darkened by many
controversies. But the general verdict of historians seems now to be,
that Charles I., whose many good qualities as a man and a ruler are
cheerfully admitted on all hands, was yet utterly deficient in
downright good faith; that duplicity was his besetting sin; and that
Glamorgan's embassy is one, but only one, of the strongest evidences of
that ingrained duplicity.

It may help to the clearer understanding of the negotiations conducted
by Glamorgan in Ireland, if we give in the first place the exact dates
of the first transactions. The Earl arrived at Dublin about the 1st of
August, and, after an interview with Ormond, proceeded to Kilkenny. On
the 28th of that month, preliminary articles were agreed to and signed
by the Earl on behalf of the King, and by Lords Mountgarrett and
Muskerry on behalf of the Confederates. It was necessary, it seems, to
get the concurrence of the Viceroy to these terms, and accordingly the
negotiators on both sides repaired to Dublin. Here, Ormond contrived to
detain them ten long weeks in discussions on the articles relating to
religion; it was the 12th of November when they returned to Kilkenny,
with a much modified treaty. On the next day, the 13th, the new Papal
Nuncio, a prelate who, by his rank, his eloquence, and his imprudence,
was destined to exercise a powerful influence on the Catholic councils,
made his public entry into that city.

This personage was John Baptist Rinuccini, Archbishop of Fermo, in the
Marches of Ancona, which see he had preferred to the more exalted
dignity of Florence. By birth a Tuscan, the new Nuncio had
distinguished himself from boyhood by his passionate attachment to his
studies. At Bologna, at Perugia, and at Rome, his intense application
brought him early honours, and early physical debility. His health,
partially restored in the seclusion of his native valley of the Arno,
enabled him to return again to Rome. Enjoying the confidence of Gregory
XV. and Uban VIII., he was named successively, Clerk of the Chamber,
Secretary of the Congregation of Rites, and Archbishop of Fermo. This
was the prelate chosen by the new Pope, Innocent X., for the nunciature
in Ireland: a man of noble birth, in the fifty-third year of his age,
of uncertain bodily health, of great learning, especially as a
canonist, of a fiery Italian temperament,—"regular and even austere in
his life, and far from any taint of avarice or corruption,"—such was
the admission of his enemies.

Leaving Italy in May, accompanied by the Dean of Fermo, who has left us
a valuable record of the embassy, his other household officers, several
Italian noblemen, and Sir Richard Belling, the special agent at Rome,
the Nuncio, by way of Genoa and Marseilles, reached Paris. In France he
was detained nearly five months, in a fruitless attempt to come to some
definite arrangement as to the conduct of the Catholic war, through
Queen Henrietta Maria, then resident with the young Prince of
Wales—afterwards Charles II.—at the French court. The Queen, like most
persons of her rank, overwhelmed with adversity, was often unreasonably
suspicious and exacting. Her sharp woman's tongue did not spare those
on whom her anger fell, and there were not wanting those, who,
apprehensive of the effect in England of her negotiating directly with
a papal minister, did their utmost to delay or to break off their
correspondence. A nice point of court etiquette further embarrassed the
business. The Nuncio could not uncover his head before the Queen, and
Henrietta would not receive him otherwise than uncovered. After three
months lost in Paris, he was obliged to proceed on his journey,
contenting himself with an exchange of complimentary messages with the
Queen, whom even the crushing blow of Naseby could not induce to waive
a point of etiquette with a Priest.

On reaching Rochelle, where he intended to take shipping, a further
delay of six weeks took place, as was supposed by the machinations of
Cardinal Mazarin. Finally, the Nuncio succeeded in purchasing a frigate
of 26 guns, the _San Pietro_, on which he embarked with all his Italian
suite, Sir Richard Belling, and several Franco-Irish officers. He had
also on board a considerable sum in Spanish gold, (including another
contribution of 36,000 dollars from Father Wadding,) 2,000 muskets,
2,000 cartouch belts, 4,000 swords, 2,000 pike heads, 400 brace of
pistols, 20,000 pounds of powder, with match, shot, and other stores.
Weighing from St. Martin's in the Isle of Rhe, the _San Pietro_ doubled
the Land's End, and stood over towards the Irish coast. The third day
out they were chased for several hours by two Parliamentary cruisers,
but escaped under cover of the night; on the fourth morning, being the
21st of October, they found themselves safely embayed in the waters of
Kenmare, on the coast of Kerry.

The first intelligence which reached the Nuncio on landing, was the
negotiation of Glamorgan, of which he had already heard, while waiting
a ship at Rochelle. The next was the surrender by the Earl of Thomond,
of his noble old castle of Bunratty, commanding the Shannon within six
miles of Limerick, to the Puritans. This surrender had, however,
determined the resolution of the city of Limerick, which hitherto had
taken no part in the war, to open its gates to the Confederates. The
loss of Bunratty was more than compensated by the gaining of one of the
finest and strongest towns in Munster, and to Limerick accordingly the
Nuncio paid the compliment of his first visit. Here he received the
mitre of the diocese in dutiful submission from the hands of the
Bishop, on entering the Cathedral; and here he celebrated a solemn
requiem mass for the repose of the soul of the Archbishop of Tuam,
lately slain before Sligo. From Limerick, borne along on his litter,
such was the feebleness of his health, he advanced by slow stages to
Kilkenny, escorted by a guard of honour, despatched on that duty, by
the Supreme Council.

The pomp and splendour of his public entry into the Catholic capital
was a striking spectacle. The previous night he slept at a village
three miles from the city, for which he set out early on the morning of
the 13th of November, escorted by his guard, and a vast multitude of
the people. Five delegates from the Supreme Council accompanied him. A
band of fifty students mounted on horseback met him on the way, and
their leader, crowned with laurel, recited some congratulatory Latin
verses. At the city gate he left the litter and mounted a horse richly
housed; here the procession of the clergy and the city guilds awaited
him; at the Market Cross, a Latin oration was delivered in his honour,
to which he graciously replied in the same language. From the Cross he
was escorted to the Cathedral, at the door of which he was received by
the aged Bishop, Dr. David Rothe. At the high altar he intonated the
_Te Deum_, and gave the multitude the apostolic benediction. Then he
was conducted to his lodgings, where he was soon waited upon by Lord
Muskerry and General Preston, who brought him to Kilkenny Castle,
where, in the great gallery, which elicited even a Florentine's
admiration, he was received in stately formality by the President of
the Council—Lord Mountgarrett. Another Latin oration on the nature of
his embassy was delivered by the Nuncio, responded to by Heber, Bishop
of Clogher, and so the ceremony of reception ended.

The Nuncio brought from Paris a new subject of difficulty, in the form
of a memorial from the English Catholics at Rome, praying that they
might be included in the terms of any peace which might be made by
their Irish co-religionists with the King. Nothing could be more
natural than that the members of the same persecuted church should make
common cause, but nothing could be more impolitic than some of the
demands made in the English memorial. They wished it to be stipulated
with Charles, that he would allow a distinct military organization to
the English and Irish Catholics in his service, under Catholic general
officers, subject only to the King's commands, meaning thereby, if they
meant what they said, independence of all parliamentary and ministerial
control. Yet several of the stipulations of this memorial were, after
many modifications and discussions, adopted by Glamorgan into his
original articles, and under the treaty thus ratified, the Confederates
bound themselves to despatch 10,000 men, fully armed and equipped, to
the relief of Chester and the general succour of the King in England.
Towards the close of December, the English Earl, with two Commissioners
from the Supreme Council, set forth for Dublin, to obtain the Viceroy's
sanction to the amended treaty. But in Dublin a singular counterplot in
this perplexed drama awaited them. On St. Stephen's day, while at
dinner, Glamorgan was arrested by Ormond, on a charge of having
exceeded his instructions, and confined a close prisoner in the castle.
The gates of the city were closed, and every means taken to give
_éclat_ to this extraordinary proceeding. The Confederate Commissioners
were carried to the castle, and told they might congratulate themselves
on not sharing the cell prepared for Glamorgan. "Go back," they were
told, "to Kilkenny and tell the President of the Council, that the
Protestants of England would fling the King's person out at his window,
_if they believed it possible_ that he lent himself to such an
undertaking." The Commissioners accordingly went back and delivered
their errand, with a full account of all the circumstances.
Fortunately, the General Assembly had been called for an early day in
January, 1646, at Kilkenny. When, therefore, they met, their first
resolution was to despatch Sir Robert Talbot to the Viceroy, with a
letter suspending all negotiations till the Earl of Glamorgan was set
at liberty. By the end of January, on the joint bail, for 40,000
pounds, of the Earls of Clanrickarde and Kildare, the English envoy was
enlarged, and, to the still further amazement of the simple-minded
Catholics, on his arrival at Kilkenny, he justified rather than
censured the action of Ormond. To most observers it appeared that these
noblemen understood each other only too well.

From January till June, Kilkenny was delivered over to cabals,
intrigues, and recriminations. There was an "old Irish party," to which
the Nuncio inclined, and an "Anglo-Irish party," headed by Mountgarrett
and the majority of the Council. The former stigmatized the latter as
Ormondists, and the latter retorted on them with the name of the
Nuncio's party. In February came news of a foreign treaty made at Rome
between Sir Kenelm Digby and the Pope's Ministers, most favourable to
the English and Irish Catholics. On the 28th of March, a final
modification of Glamorgan's articles, reduced to thirty in number, was
signed by Ormond for the King, and Lord Muskerry and the other
Commissioners for the Confederates. These thirty articles conceded, in
fact, all the most essential claims of the Irish; they secured them
equal rights as to property, in the Army, in the Universities, and at
the Bar; they gave them seats in both Houses and on the Bench; they
authorized a special commission of Oyer and Terminer, composed wholly
of Confederates; they declared that "the independency of the Parliament
of Ireland on that of England," should be decided by declaration of
both Houses "agreeably to the laws of the Kingdom of Ireland." In
short, this final form of Glamorgan's treaty gave the Irish Catholics,
in 1646, all that was subsequently obtained either for the church or
the country, in 1782, 1793, or 1829. Though some conditions were
omitted, to which Rinuccini and a majority of the Prelates attached
importance, Glamorgan's treaty was, upon the whole, a charter upon
which a free church and a free people might well have stood, as the
fundamental law of their religious and civil liberties.

The treaty, thus concluded at the end of March, was to lie as an
_escroll_ in the hands of the Marquis of Clanrickarde till the 1st of
May, awaiting Sir Kenelm Digby with the Roman protocol. And then, not
withstanding the dissuasions of Rinuccini to the contrary, it was to be
kept secret from the world, though some of its obligations were
expected to be at once fulfilled, on their side, by the Catholics. The
Supreme Council, ever eager to exhibit their loyalty, gathered together
6,000 troops for the relief of Chester and the service of the King in
England, so soon as both treaties—the Irish and the Roman—should be
signed by Charles. While so waiting, they besieged and took Bunratty
castle—already referred to—but Sir Kenelm Digby did not arrive with
May, and they now learned, to their renewed amazement, that Glamorgan's
whole negotiation was disclaimed by the King in England. In the same
interval Chester fell, and the King was obliged to throw himself into
the hands of the Scottish Parliament, who surrendered him for a price
to their English coadjutors. These tidings reached Ireland during May,
and, varied with the capture of an occasional fortress, lost or won,
occupied all men's minds. But the first days of June were destined to
bring with them a victory of national—of European importance—won by
Owen O'Neil, in the immediate vicinity of his grand-uncle's famous
battle-field of the Yellow Ford.

During these three years of intrigue and negotiation, the position of
General O'Neil was hazardous and difficult in the extreme. One campaign
he had served under a stranger, as second on his own soil. In the other
two he was fettered by the terms of "cessation" to his own quarters;
and to add to his embarrassments, his impetuous kinsman Sir Phelim,
brave, rash, and ambitious, recently married to a daughter of his
ungenerous rival, General Preston, was incited to thwart and obstruct
him amongst their mutual clansmen and connections. The only recompense
which seems to have been awarded to him, was the confidence of the
Nuncio, who, either from that knowledge of character in which the
Italians excel, or from bias received from some other source, at once
singled him out as the man of his people. What portion of the Nuncio's
supplies reached the Northern General we know not, but in the beginning
of June, he felt himself in a position to bring on an engagement with
Monroe, who, lately reinforced by both Parliaments, had marched out of
Carrickfergus into Tyrone, with a view of penetrating as far south as
Kilkenny. On the 4th day of June, the two armies encountered at
Benburb, on the little river Blackwater, about six miles north of
Armagh, and the most signal victory of the war came to recompense the
long-enduring patience of O'Neil.

The battle of Benburb has been often and well described. In a naturally
strong position—with this leader the choice of ground seems to have
been a first consideration—the Irish, for four hours, received and
repulsed the various charges of the Puritan horse. Then as the sun
began to descend, pouring its rays upon the opposing force, O'Neil led
his whole force—five thousand men against eight—to the attack. One
terrible onset swept away every trace of resistance. There were counted
on the field, 3,243 of the Covenanters, and of the Catholics, but 70
killed and 100 wounded. Lord Ardes, and 21 Scottish officers, 32
standards, 1,500 draught horses, and all the guns and tents, were
captured. Monroe fled in panic to Lisburn, and thence to Carrickfergus,
where he shut himself up, till he could obtain reinforcements. O'Neil
forwarded the captured colours to the Nuncio, at Limerick, by whom they
were solemnly placed in the choir of St. Mary's Cathedral, and
afterwards, at the request of Pope Innocent, sent to Rome. _Te Deum_
was chanted in the Confederate Capital; penitential psalms were sung in
the Northern fortress. "The Lord of Hosts," wrote Monroe, "had rubbed
shame on our faces, till once we are humbled;" O'Neil emblazoned the
cross and keys on his banner with the Red Hand of Ulster, and openly
resumed the title originally chosen by his adherents at Clones, "the
Catholic Army."


The Nuncio, elated by the great victory of O'Neil, to which he felt he
had personally contributed by his seasonable supplies, provoked and
irritated by Ormond's intrigues and the King's insincerity, rushed with
all the ardour of his character into making the war an uncompromising
Catholic crusade. In this line of conduct, he was supported by the
Archbishops of Dublin and Cashel, by ten of the Bishops, including the
eminent Prelates of Limerick, Killalla, Ferns, and Clogher; the
Procurator of Armagh; nine Vicars-general, and the Superiors of the
Jesuits, Dominicans, Franciscans, and Augustinians. The peace party, on
the other hand, were not without clerical adherents, but they were
inconsiderable, as to influence and numbers. They were now become as
anxious to publish the Thirty Articles agreed upon at the end of March,
as they then were to keep them secret. Accordingly, with Ormond's
consent, copies of the treaty were sent early in August to the sheriffs
of counties, mayors of cities, and other leading persons, with
instructions to proclaim it publicly in due form; upon hearing which,
the Nuncio and his supporters of the clergy, secular and regular,
assembled in council at Waterford, on the 12th of August, solemnly
declared that they gave no consent, and would not, "to any peace," that
did not grant "further, surer, and safer considerations for their
religion, king, and country," according to the original oath of the

The rupture between the clergy and the laymen of the Council was now
complete. The prelates who signed the decree of Waterford, of course,
thereby withdrew from the body whose action they condemned. In vain the
learned Darcy and the eloquent Plunkett went to and fro between the two
bodies: concord and confidence were at an end. The synod decided to
address Lord Mountgarrett in future as President of "the _late_ Supreme
Council." The heralds who attempted to publish the Thirty Articles in
Clonmel and Waterford were hooted or stoned; while in Limerick the
mayor, endeavouring to protect them, shared this rough usage. Ormond,
who was at Kilkenny at the critical moment of the breach, did his
utmost to sustain the resolution of those who were stigmatized by his
name; while the Nuncio, suspicious of Preston, wrote urgently to O'Neil
to lead his army into Leinster, and remove the remnant of the late
council from Kilkenny. All that those who held a middle course between
the extremes could do, was to advocate an early meeting of the General
Assembly; but various exigencies delayed this much-desired meeting,
till the 10th day of January, 1647.

The five intervening months were months of triumph for Rinuccini. Lord
Digby appeared at Dublin as a special agent from the King, to declare
his consent to Glamorgan's original terms; but Ormond still insisted
that he had no authority to go beyond the Thirty Articles. Charles
himself wrote privately to Rinuccini, promising to confirm everything
which Glamorgan had proposed, as soon as he should come into "the
Nuncio's hands." Ormond, after a fruitless attempt to convert O'Neil to
his views, had marched southward with a guard of 1,500 foot, and 500
horse, to endeavour to conciliate the towns, and to win over the Earl
of Inchiquin. In both these objects he failed. He found O'Neil before
him in his county palatinate of Tipperary, and the Mayor of Cashel
informed him that he dared not allow him into that city, for fear of
displeasing the northern general. Finding himself thus unexpectedly
within a few miles of "the Catholic Army," 10,000 strong, the Viceroy
retreated precipitately through Kilkenny, Carlow, and Kildare, to
Dublin. Lord Digby, who had accompanied him, after an unsuccessful
attempt to cajole the Synod of Waterford, made the best of his way back
to France; the Marquis of Clanrickarde, who had also been of the
expedition, shared the flight of Ormond. Towards the middle of
September, O'Neil's army, after capturing Roscrea Castle, marched to
Kilkenny, and encamped near that city. His forces had now augmented to
12,000 foot, and 1,500 horse; on the 18th of the month, he escorted the
Nuncio in triumph into Kilkenny, where the Ormondist members of the old
council were committed to close custody in the castle. A new council,
of four bishops and eight laymen, was established on the 26th, with the
Nuncio as president; Glamorgan succeeded Castlehaven, who had gone over
to Ormond, as commander in Munster; while O'Neil and Preston were
ordered to unite their forces for the siege of Dublin. The sanguine
Italian dreamt of nothing less, for the moment, than the creation of
Viceroys, the deliverance of the King, and the complete restoration of
the ancient religion.

O'Neil and Preston, by different routes, on which they were delayed in
taking several garrisoned posts, united at Lucan in the valley of the
Liffey, seven miles west of Dublin, on the 9th of November. Their joint
forces are represented at 16,000 foot, and 1,600 horse—of which Preston
had about one-third, and O'Neil the remainder. Preston's head-quarters
were fixed at Leixlip, and O'Neil's at Newcastle—points equi-distant,
and each within two hours' march of the capital. Within the walls of
that city there reigned the utmost consternation. Many of the
inhabitants fled beyond seas, terrified by the fancied cruelty of the
Ulstermen. But Ormond retained all his presence of mind, and readiness
of resources. He entered, at first covertly, into arrangements with the
Parliamentarians, who sent him a supply of powder; he wrote urgently to
Monroe to make a diversion in his favour; he demolished the mills and
suburbs which might cover the approaches of the enemy; he employed
soldiers, civilians, and even women, upon the fortifications,—Lady
Ormond setting an example to her sex, in rendering her feeble
assistance. Clanrickarde, in Preston's tent, was doing the work of
stimulating the old antipathy of that general towards O'Neil, which led
to conflicting advices in Council, and some irritating personal
altercations. To add to the Confederate embarrassment, the winter was
the most severe known for many years; from twenty to thirty sentinels
being frozen at night at their posts. On the 13th of November, while
the plan of the Confederate attack was still undecided, commissioners
of the Parliament arrived, with ample stores, in Dublin Bay. On the
next day they landed at Ringsend, and entered into negotiations with
Ormond; on the 16th the siege was raised, and on the 23rd Ormond broke
off the treaty, having unconsciously saved Dublin from the
Confederates, by the incorrect reports of supplies being received,
which were finally carried northward to Monroe.

The month of January brought the meeting of the General Assembly. The
attendance in the great gallery of Ormond Castle was as large, and the
circumstances upon the whole as auspicious as could be desired, in the
seventh year of such a struggle. The members of the old council,
liberated from arrest, were in their places. O'Neil and Preston,
publicly reconciled, had signed a solemn engagement to assist and
sustain each other. The Nuncio, the Primate of Ireland, and eleven
bishops took their seats; the peers of oldest title in the kingdom were
present; two hundred and twenty-four members represented the Commons of
Ireland, and among the spectators sat the ambassadors of France and
Spain, and of King Charles. The main subject of discussion was the
sufficiency of the Thirty Articles, and the propriety of the
ecclesiastical censure promulgated against those who had signed them.
The debate embraced all that may be said on the question of clerical
interference in political affairs, on conditional and unconditional
allegiance, on the power of the Pontiff speaking _ex cathedra_, and the
prerogatives of the temporal sovereign. It was protracted through an
entire month, and ended with a compromise, which declared that the
Commissioners had acted in good faith in signing the articles, while it
justified the Synod of Waterford for having, as judges of the nature
and intent of the oath of Confederation, declared them insufficient and
unacceptable. A new oath of Confederacy, solemnly binding the
associates not to lay down their arms till they had established the
free and public exercise of religion as it had existed in the reign of
Henry VII., was framed and taken by the entire General Assembly; the
Thirty Articles were declared insufficient and unacceptable by all but
a minority of twelve votes; a new Supreme Council of twenty-four was
chosen, in whom there were not known to be above four or five partisans
of Ormond's policy. The church plate throughout the kingdom was ordered
to be coined into money, and a formal proposal to co-operate with the
Viceroy on the basis of the new oath was made, but instantly rejected;
among other grounds, on this, that the Marquis had, at that moment, his
son and and other sureties with the Puritans who, in the last resort,
he infinitely preferred to the Roman Catholics.

The military events of the year 1647 were much more decisive than its
politics. Glamorgan still commanded in Munster, Preston in Leinster,
and O'Neil in both Ulster and Connaught. The first was confronted by
Inchiquin, at the head of a corps of 5,000 foot and 1,500 horse,
equipped and supplied by the English Puritans; the second saw the
garrisons of Dundalk, Drogheda, and Dublin, reinforced by fresh
regiments of Covenanters, and fed by Parliamentary supplies from the
sea; the latter was in the heart of Connaught, organizing and
recruiting and attempting all things within his reach, but hampered for
money, clothing and ammunition. In Connaught, O'Neil was soon joined by
the Nuncio, who, as difficulties thickened, began to lean more and more
on the strong arm of the victor of Benburb; in Munster, the army
refused to follow the lead of Glamorgan, and clamoured for their old
chief, Lord Muskerry; finally, that division of the national troops was
committed by the Council to Lord Taafe, a politician of the school of
Ormond and Clanrickarde, wholly destitute of military experience. The
vigorous Inchiquin had little difficulty in dealing with such an
antagonist; Cashel was taken without a blow in its defence, and a
slaughter unparalleled till the days of Drogheda and Wexford, deluged
its streets and churches. At Knocknos, later in the autumn (Nov. 12th),
Taafe was utterly routed; the gallant _Colkitto_, serving under him,
lamentably sacrificed after surrendering his sword; and Inchiquin
enabled to dictate a cessation covering Munster—far less favourable to
Catholics than the truce of Castlemartin—to the Supreme Council. This
truce was signed at Dungarvan, on the 20th of May, 1648, and on the
27th the Nuncio published his solemn decree of excommunication against
all its aiders and abettors, and himself made the best of his way from
Kilkenny to Maryboro', where O'Neil then lay.

The military and political situation of O'Neil, during the latter
months of 1647 and the whole of 1648, was one of the most extraordinary
in which any general had ever been placed. His late sworn colleague,
Preston, was now combined with Inchiquin against him; the royalist
Clanrickarde, in the western counties, pressed upon his rear, and
captured his garrison in Athlone; the Parliamentary general, Michael
Jones, to whom Ormond had finally surrendered Dublin, observed rather
than impeded his movements in Leinster; the lay majority of the Supreme
Council proclaimed him a traitor—a compliment which he fully returned;
the Nuncio threw himself wholly into his hands; finally, at the close
of '48, Ormond, returning from France to Ireland, concluded, on the
17th of January, a formal alliance with the lay members, under the
title of "Commissioners of Trust," for the King and Kingdom; and
Rinuccini, despairing, perhaps, of a cause so distracted, sailed in his
own frigate, from Galway, on the 23rd of February. Thus did the actors
change their parts, alternately triumphing and fleeing for safety. The
verdict of history may condemn the Nuncio, of whom we have now seen the
last, for his imperious self-will, and his too ready recourse to
ecclesiastical censures; but of his zeal, his probity, and his
disinterestedness, there can be, we think, no second opinion.

Under the treaty of 1649—which conceded full civil and religious
equality to the Roman Catholics—Ormond was once more placed at the head
of the government and in command of the royal troops. A few days after
the signing of that treaty, news of the execution of Charles I. having
reached Ireland, the Viceroy proclaimed the Prince of Wales by the
title of Charles II., at Cork and Youghal. Prince Rupert, whose fleet
had entered Kinsale, caused the same ceremony to be gone through in
that ancient borough. With Ormond were now cordially united Preston,
Inchiquin, Clanrickarde, and Muskerry, on whom the lead of the Supreme
Council devolved, in consequence of the advanced age of Lord
Mountgarrett, and the remainder of the twelve Commissioners of Trust.
The cause of the young Prince, an exile, the son of that Catholic queen
from whom they had expected so much, was far from unpopular in the
southern half of the island. The Anglican interest was strong and
widely diffused through both Leinster and Munster; and, except a
resolute prelate, like Dr. French, Bishop of Ferns, or a brave band of
townsmen like those of Waterford, Limerick, and Galway, or some remnant
of mountain tribes, in Wicklow and Tipperary, the national, or "old
Irish policy," had decidedly lost ground from the hour of the Nuncio's

Owen O'Neil and the Bishops still adhered to that national policy. The
former made a three-months' truce with General Monck, who had succeeded
Monroe in the command of all the Parliamentary troops in his province.
The singular spectacle was even exhibited of Monck forwarding supplies
to O'Neil, to be used against Inchiquin and Ormond, and O'Neil coining
to the rescue of Coote, and raising for him the siege of Londonderry.
Inchiquin, in rapid succession, took Drogheda, Trim, Dundalk, Newry,
and then rapidly countermarched to join Ormond in besieging Dublin. At
Rathmines, near the city, both generals were surprised and defeated by
the Parliamentarians under Michael Jones. Between desertions, and
killed and wounded, they lost, by their own account, nearly 3,000, and
by the Puritan accounts, above 5,000 men. This action was the virtual
close of Ormond's military career; he never after made head against the
Parliamentary forces in open field. The Catholic cities of Limerick and
Galway refused to admit his garrisons; a synod of the Bishops,
assembled at Jamestown (in Roscommon), strongly recommended his
withdrawal from the kingdom; and Cromwell had arrived, resolved to
finish the war in a single campaign. Ormond sailed again for France,
before the end of 1649, to return no more until the restoration of the
monarchy, on the death of the great Protector.


An actor was now to descend upon the scene, whose character has excited
more controversy than that of any other personage of those times.
Honoured as a saint, or reprobated as a hypocrite, worshipped for his
extraordinary successes, or anathematized for the unworthy artifices by
which he rose—who shall deal out, with equal hand, praise and blame to
Oliver Cromwell? Not for the popular writer of Irish history, is that
difficult judicial task. Not for us to re-echo cries of hatred which
convince not the indifferent, nor correct the errors of the educated or
cultivated: the simple, and, as far as possible, the unimpassioned
narrative of facts, will constitute the whole of our duty towards the
Protector's campaign in Ireland.

Cromwell left London in great state, early in July, "in a coach drawn
by six gallant Flanders mares," and made a sort of royal procession
across the country to Bristol. From that famous port, where Strongbow
confederated with Dermid McMurrogh, and from which Dublin drew its
first Anglo-Norman colony, he went on to Milford Haven, at which he
embarked, arriving in Dublin on the 15th of August. He entered the city
in procession, and addressed the townsfolk from "a convenient place."
He had with him two hundred thousand pounds in money, eight regiments
of foot, six of horse, and some troops of dragoons; besides the
divisions of Jones and Monck, already in the country, and subject to
his command. Among the officers were names of memorable interest—Henry
Cromwell, second son of the Protector, and future Lord Deputy; Monck,
Blake, Jones, Ireton, Ludlow, Hardress Waller, Sankey, and others
equally prominent in accomplishing the King's death, or in raising up
the English commonwealth.

Cromwell's command in Ireland extends from the middle of August, 1649,
to the end of May, 1650, about nine months in all, and is remarkable
for the number of sieges of walled towns crowded into that brief
period. There was, during the whole time, no great action in the field,
like Marston Moor, or Benburb, or Dunbar; it was a campaign of
seventeenth century cannon against mediaeval masonry; what else was
done, was the supplemental work of mutual bravery on both sides.
Drogheda, Dundalk, Newry, and Carlingford fell in September; Arklow,
Enniscorthy, and Wexford in October; Ross, one of the first seaports in
point of commerce, surrendered the same month; Waterford was attempted
and abandoned in November; Dungarvan, Kinsale, Bandon, and Cork were
won over by Lord Broghill in December; Fethard, Callan, and Cashel in
January and February; Carrick and Kilkenny in March; and Clonmel, early
in May. Immediately after this last capitulation, Cromwell was recalled
to lead the armies of the Parliament into Scotland: during the nine
months he had commanded in Ireland, he had captured five or six county
capitals, and a great number of less considerable places. The terror of
his siege-trains and Ironsides was spread over the greater part of
three Provinces, and his well-reported successes had proved so many
steps to the assumption of that sovereign power at which he already

Of the spirit in which these several sieges were conducted, it is
impossible to speak without a shudder. It was, in truth, a spirit of
hatred and fanaticism, altogether beyond the control of the
revolutionary leader. At Drogheda, the work of slaughter occupied five
entire days. Of the brave garrison of 3,000 men, not thirty were
spared, and these, "were in hands for the Barbadoes;" old men, women,
children and priests, were unsparingly put to the sword. Wexford was
basely betrayed by Captain James Stafford, commander of the castle,
whose midnight interview with Cromwell, at a petty rivulet without the
walls, tradition still recounts with horror and detestation. This port
was particularly obnoxious to the Parliament, as from its advantageous
position on the Bristol channel, its cruisers greatly annoyed and
embarrassed their commerce. "There are," Cromwell writes to Speaker
Lenthall, "great quantities of iron, hides, tallow, salt, pipe and
barrel staves, which are under commissioners' hands to be secured. We
believe there are near a hundred cannon in the fort and elsewhere in
and about the town. Here is likewise some very good shipping; here are
three vessels, one of them of thirty-four guns, which a week's time
would fit for sea; there is another of about twenty guns, very nearly
ready likewise." He also reports two other frigates, one on the stocks,
which "for her handsomeness' sake" he intended to have finished for the
Parliament, and another "most excellent vessel for sailing," taken
within the fort, at the harbour's mouth. By the treachery of Captain
Stafford, this strong and wealthy town was at the mercy of those
"soldiers of the Lord and of Gideon," who had followed Oliver to his
Irish wars. The consequences were the same as at Drogheda—merciless
execution on the garrison and the inhabitants.

In the third month of Cromwell's campaign, the report of Owen O'Neil's
death went abroad, palsying the Catholic arms. By common consent of
friend and foe, he was considered the ablest civil and military leader
that had appeared in Ireland during the reigns of the Stuart kings.
Whether in native ability he was capable of coping with Cromwell, was
for a long time a subject of discussion; but the consciousness of
irreparable national loss, perhaps, never struck deeper than amid the
crash of that irresistible cannonade of the walled towns and cities of
Leinster and Munster. O'Neil had lately, despairing of binding the
Scots or the English, distrustful alike of Coote and of Monck, been
reconciled to Ormond, and was marching southward to his aid at the head
of 6,000 chosen men. Lord Chancellor Clarendon assures us that Ormond
had the highest hopes from this junction, and the utmost confidence in
O'Neil's abilities. But at a ball at Derry, towards the end of August,
he received his death, it is said, in a pair of poisoned russet leather
slippers presented to him by one Plunkett; marching southward, borne in
a litter, he expired at Clough Oughter Castle, near his old Belturbet
camp, on the 6th of November, 1649. His last act was to order one of
his nephews—Hugh O'Neil—to form a junction with Ormond in Munster
without delay. In the chancel of the Franciscan Abbey of Cavan, now
grass-grown and trodden by the hoofs of cattle, his body was interred;
his nephew and successor did honour to his memory at Clonmel and
Limerick. It was now remembered, even by his enemies, with astonishment
and admiration, how for seven long years he had subsisted and kept
together an army, the creature of his genius; without a government at
his back, without regular supplies, enforcing obedience, establishing
discipline, winning great victories, maintaining, even at the worst, a
native power in the heart of the kingdom. When the archives of those
years are recovered (if they ever are), no name more illustrious for
the combination of great qualities will be found preserved there than
the name of this last national leader of the illustrious lineage of

The unexpected death of the Ulster general favoured still farther
Cromwell's southern movements. The gallant, but impetuous Bishop of
Clogher, Heber McMahon, was the only northern leader who could command
confidence enough to keep O'Neil's force together, and on him,
therefore, the command devolved. O'Ferrall, one of Owen's favourite
officers, was despatched to Waterford, and mainly contributed to
Cromwell's repulse before that city; Hugh O'Neil covered himself with
glory at Clonmel and Limerick; Daniel O'Neil, another nephew of Owen,
remained attached to Ormond, and accompanied him to France; but within
six months from the loss of their Fabian chief, who knew as well when
to strike as to delay, the brave Bishop of Clogher sacrificed the
remnant of "the Catholic Army" at the pass of Scariffhollis, in
Donegal, and, two days after, his own life by a martyr's death, at
Omagh. At the date of Cromwell's departure—when Ireton took command of
the southern army—there remained to the Confederates only some remote
glens and highlands of the North and West, the cities of Limerick and
Galway, with the county of Clare, and some detached districts of the
province of Connaught.

The last act of Cromwell's proper campaign was the siege of Clonmel,
where he met the stoutest resistance he had anywhere encountered. The
Puritans, after effecting a breach, made an attempt to enter, chanting
one of their scriptural battle-songs. They were, by their own account,
"obliged to give back a while," and finally night settled down upon the
scene. The following day, finding the place no longer tenable, the
garrison silently withdrew to Waterford, and subsequently to Limerick.
The inhabitants demanded a parley, which was granted; and Cromwell
takes credit, and deserves it, when we consider the men he had to
humour, for having kept conditions with them.

From before Clonmel he returned at once to England, where he was
received with royal honours. All London turned out to meet the
Conqueror who had wiped out the humiliation of Benburb, and humbled the
pride of the detested Papists. He was lodged in the palace of the king,
and chosen "Captain-general of all the forces raised, or to be raised,
by the authority of the Parliament of England."


The tenth year of the contest of which we have endeavoured to follow
the most important events, opened upon the remaining Catholic leaders,
greatly reduced in numbers and resources, but firm and undismayed. Two
chief seaports, and some of the western counties still remained to
them; and accordingly we find meetings of the Bishops and other
notables during this year (1650), at Limerick, at Loughrea, and finally
at Jamestown, in the neighbourhood of Owen O'Neil's nursery of the
first "Catholic Army."

The Puritan commander was now Henry Ireton, son-in-law of Cromwell, by
a marriage contracted about two years before. The completion of the
Protector's policy could have devolved upon few persons more capable of
understanding, or more fearless in executing it; and in two eventful
campaigns he proved himself the able successor of the Protector. In
August following Cromwell's departure, Waterford and Duncannon were
taken by Ireton; and there only remained to the Confederates the
fortresses of Sligo, Athlone, Limerick, and Galway, with the country
included within the irregular quadrangle they describe. The younger
Coote making a feint against Sligo, which Clanrickarde hastened to
defend, turned suddenly on his steps, and surprised Athlone. Sligo,
naturally a place of no great strength after the invention of
artillery, soon after fell, so that Galway and Limerick alone were
left, at the beginning of 1651, to bear all the brunt of Puritan

Political events of great interest happened during the two short years
of Ireton's command. The Assembly, which met at Jamestown in August,
and again at Loughrea in November, 1650, made the retirement of Ormond
from the Government a condition of all future efforts in the royal
cause, and that nobleman, deeply wounded by this condition, had finally
sailed from Galway, in December, leaving to Clanrickarde the title of
Lord Deputy, and to Castlehaven the command of the forces which still
kept the field. The news from Scotland of the young king's subscription
to the covenant, and denunciation of all terms with Irish Papists, came
to aid the councils of those, who, like the eloquent French, Bishop of
Ferns, demanded a national policy, irrespective of the exigencies of
the Stuart family. An embassy was accordingly despatched to Brussels,
to offer the title of King-Protector to the Duke of Lorraine, or
failing with him, to treat with any "other Catholic prince, state,
republic, or person, as they might deem expedient for the preservation
of the Catholic religion and nation." A wide latitude, dictated by
desperate circumstances. The ambassadors were Bishop French and Hugh
Rochfort; the embassy one of the most curious and instructive in our

The Duke expressed himself willing to undertake an expedition to
Ireland—to supply arms and money to the Confederates—on the condition
of receiving Athlone, Limerick, Athenry and Galway into his custody,
with the title of Protector. A considerable sum of money (20,000
pounds) was forwarded at once; four Belgian frigates laden with stores
were made ready for sea; the Canon De Henin was sent as envoy to the
Confederates, and this last venture looked most promising of success,
had not Clanrickarde in Galway, and Charles and Ormond in Paris, taking
alarm at the new dignity conferred upon the Duke, countermined the
Bishop of Ferns and Mr. Rochfort, and defeated by intrigue and
correspondence their hopeful enterprise.

The decisive battle of Worcester, fought on the 3rd of September, 1651,
drove Charles II. into that nine years' exile, from which he only
returned on the death of Cromwell. It may be considered the last
military event of importance in the English civil war. In Ireland the
contest was destined to drag out another campaign, before the walls of
the two gallant cities, Galway and Limerick.

Limerick was the first object of attack. Ireton, leaving Sankey to
administer martial law in Tipperary, struck the Shannon opposite
Killaloe, driving Castlehaven before him. Joined by Coote and Reynolds,
fresh from the sieges of Athenry and Athlone, he moved upon Limerick by
the Connaught bank of the river, while Castlehaven fled to Clanrickarde
in Galway, with a guard of forty horse, all that remained intact of the
4,000 men bequeathed him by Ormond. From the side of Munster, Lord
Muskerry attempted a diversion in favour of Limerick, but was repulsed
at Castleishen, by "the flying camp" of Lord Broghill. The besiegers
were thus not only delivered of a danger, but reinforced by native
troops—if the "Undertakers" could be properly called so—which made them
the most formidable army that had ever surrounded an Irish city. From
early summer till the last week of October, the main force of the
English and Anglo-Irish, supplied with every species of arm then
invented, assailed the walls of Limerick. The plague, which during
these months swept with such fearful mortality over the whole kingdom,
struck down its defenders, and filled all its streets with desolation
and grief. The heroic bishops, O'Brien of Emly, and O'Dwyer of
Limerick, exerted themselves to uphold, by religious exhortations, the
confidence of the besieged; while Hugh O'Neil and General Purcell
maintained the courage of their men. Clanrickarde had offered to charge
himself with the command, but the citizens preferred to trust in the
skill and determination of the defender of Clonmel, whose very name was
a talisman among them. The municipal government, however, composed of
the men of property in the city, men whose trade was not war, whose
religion was not enthusiastic, formed a third party,—a party in favour
of peace at any price. With the Mayor at their head, they openly
encouraged the surrender of one of the outworks to the besiegers, and
this betrayal, on the 27th of October, compelled the surrender of the
entire works. Thus Limerick fell, divided within itself by military,
clerical, and municipal factions; thus glory and misfortune combined to
consecrate its name in the national veneration, and the general memory
of mankind. The Bishop of Emly and General Purcell were executed as
traitors; the Bishop of Limerick escaped in the disguise of a common
soldier, and died at Brussels; O'Neil's life was saved by a single
vote; Sir Geoffrey Gabney, Aldermen Stritch and Fanning, and other
leading Confederates, expiated their devotion upon the scaffold.

On the 12th of May following—seven months after the capture of
Limerick, Galway fell. Ireton, who survived the former siege but a few
days, was succeeded by Ludlow, a sincere republican of the school of
Pym and Hampden—if that school can be called, in our modern sense,
republican. It was the sad privilege of General Preston, whose name is
associated with so many of the darkest, and with some of the brightest
incidents of this war, to order the surrender of Galway, as he had two
years previously given up Waterford. Thus the last open port, the last
considerable town held by the Confederates, yielded to the overwhelming
power of numbers and munitions, in the twelfth year of that illustrious
war which Ireland waged for her religious and civil liberties, against
the forces of the two adjoining kingdoms, sometimes estranged from one
another, but always hostile alike to the religious belief and the
political independence of the Irish people.

With the fall of Galway, the Confederate war drew rapidly to a close.
Colonels Fitzpatrick, O'Dwyer, Grace, and Thorlogh O'Neil, surrendered
their posts; Lords Enniskillen and West-Meath followed their example;
Lord Muskerry yielded Ross Castle, on Killarney, in June; Clanrickarde
laid down his arms at Carrick, in October. The usual terms granted were
liberty to transport themselves and followers to the service of any
foreign state or prince at peace with the commonwealth; a favoured few
were permitted to live and die in peace on their own estates, under the
watchful eye of some neighbouring garrison.

The chief actors in the Confederate war not already accounted for,
terminated their days under many different circumstances. Mountgarrett
and Bishop Rothe died before Galway fell, and were buried in the
capital of the Confederacy; Bishop McMahon of Clogher, surrendered to
Sir Charles Coote, and was executed like a felon by one he had saved
from destruction a year before at Derry; Coote, after the Restoration,
became Earl of Mountrath, and Broghill, Earl of Orrery; Clanrickarde
died unnoticed on his English estate, under the Protectorate;
Inchiquin, after many adventures in foreign lands, turned Catholic in
his old age, and this burner of churches bequeathed an annual alms for
masses for his soul; Jones, Corbet, Cook, and the fanatical preacher,
Hugh Peters, perished on the scaffold with the other regicides executed
by order of the English Parliament; Ormond having shared the evils of
exile with the King, shared also the splendour of his restoration,
became a Duke, and took his place, as if by common consent, at the head
of the peerage of the empire; his Irish rental, which before the war
was but 7,000 pounds a year, swelled suddenly on the Restoration to
80,000 pounds; Nicholas French, after some sojourn in Spain, where he
was coadjutor to the Archbishop of Saint James, returned to Louvain,
where he made his first studies, and there spent the evening of his
days in the composition of those powerful pamphlets which kept alive
the Irish cause at home and on the continent; a Roman patrician did the
honours of sepulture to Luke Wadding, and Cromwell interred James Usher
in Westminster Abbey; the heroic defender of Clonmel and Limerick, and
the gallant, though vacillating Preston, were cordially received in
France; while the consistent republican, Ludlow, took refuge as a
fugitive in Switzerland.

Sir Phelim O'Neil, the first author of the war, was among the last to
suffer the penalties of defeat. For a moment, towards the end, he
renewed his sway over the remnant of Owen's soldiers, took
Ballyshannon, and two or three other places. Compelled at last to
surrender, he was carried to Dublin, and tried on a charge of treason,
a committee closeted behind the bench dictating the interrogatories to
his judges, and receiving his answers in reply. Condemned to death, as
was expected, he was offered his life by the Puritan colonel, Hewson,
on the very steps of the scaffold, if he would inculpate the late King
Charles in the rising of 1641. This he "stoutly refused to do," and the
execution proceeded with all its atrocious details. Whatever may have
been the excesses committed under his command by a plundered people, at
their first insurrection—and we know that they have been exaggerated
beyond all bounds—it must be admitted he died the death of a Christian,
a soldier, and a gentleman.


The English republic rose from the scaffold of the King, in 1649; its
first government was a "Council of State" of forty-one members; under
this council, Cromwell held at first the title of Lord General; but, on
the 16th December, 1653, he was solemnly installed, in Westminster
Hall, as "Lord Protector of the Commonwealth of England, Scotland, and
Ireland." He was then in his fifty-fourth year; his reign—if such it
may be called—lasted less than five years.

The policy of the Protector towards Ireland is even less defensible
than his military severities. For the barbarities of war there may be
some apology, the poor one at least that such outrages are inseparable
from war itself; but for the cold-blooded, deliberate atrocities of
peace, no such defence can be permitted before the tribunal of a free

The Long Parliament, still dragging out its date, under the shadow of
Cromwell's great name, declared in its session of 1652, the rebellion
in Ireland "subdued and ended," and proceeded to legislate for that
kingdom as a conquered country. On the 12th of August, they passed
their Act of Settlement, the authorship of which was attributed to Lord
Orrery, in this respect the worthy son of the first Earl of Cork. Under
this Act, there were four chief descriptions of persons whose status
was thus settled: 1st. All ecclesiastics and royalist proprietors were
exempted from pardon of life or estate. 2nd. All royalist commissioned
officers were condemned to banishment, and the forfeit of two-thirds of
their property, one-third being retained for the support of their wives
and children. 3rd. Those who had not been in arms, but could be shown,
by a Parliamentary commission, to have manifested "a constant, good
affection" to the war, were to forfeit one-third of their estates, and
receive "an equivalent" for the remaining two-thirds west of the
Shannon. 4th. All husbandmen and others of the inferior sort, "not
possessed of lands or goods exceeding the value of 10 pounds," were to
have a free pardon, on condition also of transporting themselves across
the Shannon.

This last condition of the Cromwellian settlement distinguished it, in
our annals, from every other proscription of the native population
formerly attempted. The great river of Ireland, rising in the mountains
of Leitrim, nearly severs the five western counties from the rest of
the kingdom. The province thus set apart, though one of the largest in
superficial extent, had also the largest proportion of waste and water,
mountain and moorland. The new inhabitants were there to congregate
from all the other provinces before the 1st day of May, 1654, under
penalty of outlawry and all its consequences; and when there, they were
not to appear within two miles of the Shannon or four miles of the sea.
A rigorous passport system, to evade which was death without form of
trial, completed this settlement, the design of which was to shut up
the remaining Catholic inhabitants from all intercourse with mankind,
and all communion with the other inhabitants of their own country.

A new survey of the whole kingdom was also ordered, under the direction
of Dr. William Petty, the fortunate economist, who founded the house of
Lansdowne. By him the surface of the kingdom was estimated at ten
millions and a half plantation acres, three of which were deducted for
waste and water. Of the remainder, above 5,000,000 were in Catholic
hands in 1641; 300,000 were church and college lands; and 2,000,000
were in possession of the Protestant settlers of the reigns of James
and Elizabeth. Under the Protectorate, 5,000,000 acres were confiscate;
this enormous spoil, two-thirds of the whole island, went to the
soldiers and adventurers who had served against the Irish, or had
contributed to the military chest, since 1641—except 700,000 acres
given in "exchange" to the banished in Clare and Connaught; and
1,200,000 confirmed to "innocent Papists." Such was the complete
uprooting of the ancient tenantry or clansmen, from their original
holdings, that during the survey, orders of Parliament were issued to
bring back individuals from Connaught to point out the boundaries of
parishes in Munster. It cannot be imputed among the sins so freely laid
to the historical account of the native legislature, that an Irish
parliament had any share in sanctioning this universal spoliation.
Cromwell anticipated the union of the kingdoms by a hundred and fifty
years, when he summoned, in 1653, that assembly over which "Praise-God
Barebones" presided; members for Ireland and Scotland sat on the same
benches with the commons of England. Oliver's first deputy in the
government of Ireland was his son-in-law, Fleetwood, who had married
the widow of Ireton; but his real representative was his fourth son,
Henry Cromwell, Commander-in-Chief of the army. In 1657, the title of
Lord Deputy was transferred from Fleetwood to Henry, who united the
supreme civil and military authority in his own person, until the eve
of the restoration, of which he became an active partisan. We may thus
properly embrace the five years of the Protectorate as the period of
Henry Cromwell's administration.

In the absence of a Parliament, the government of Ireland was vested in
the Deputy, the Commander-in-Chief, and four commissioners, Ludlow,
Corbett, Jones, and Weaver. There was, moreover, a High Court of
Justice, which perambulated the kingdom, and exercised an absolute
authority over life and property, greater than even Strafford's Court
of Castle Chamber had pretended to. Over this court presided Lord
Lowther, assisted by Mr. Justice Donnellan, by Cooke, solicitor to the
Parliament on the trial of King Charles, and the regicide, Reynolds. By
this court, Sir Phelim O'Neil, Viscount Mayo, and Colonels O'Toole and
Bagnall, were condemned and executed; by them the mother of Colonel
Fitzpatrick was burnt at the stake; and Lords Muskerry and Clanmaliere
set at liberty, through some secret influence. The commissioners were
not behind the High Court of Justice in executive offices of severity.
Children under age, of both sexes, were captured by thousands, and sold
as slaves to the tobacco planters of Virginia and the West Indies.
Secretary Thurloe informs Henry Cromwell that "the Committee of the
Council have authorized 1,000 girls and as many youths, to be taken up
for that purpose." Sir William Petty mentions 6,000 Irish boys and
girls shipped to the West Indies. Some cotemporary accounts make the
total number of children and adults so transported 100,000 souls. To
this decimation, we may add 34,000 men of fighting age, who had
permission to enter the armies of foreign powers, at peace with the
commonwealth. The chief commissioners, sitting at Dublin, had their
deputies in a commission of delinquencies, sitting at Athlone, and
another of transportation, sitting at Loughrea. Under their
superintendence, the distribution made of the soil among the Puritans
"was nearly as complete as that of Canaan by the Israelites." Whenever
native labourers were found absolutely necessary for the cultivation of
the estates of their new masters, they were barely tolerated "as the
Gibeonites had been by Joshua." Such Irish gentlemen as had obtained
pardons, were obliged to wear a distinctive mark on their dress under
pain of death; those of inferior rank were obliged to wear a round
black spot on the right cheek under pain of the branding iron and the
gallows; if a Puritan lost his life in any district inhabited by
Catholics, the whole population were held subject to military
execution. For the rest, whenever "Tory" or recusant fell into the
hands of these military colonists, or the garrisons which knitted them
together, they were assailed with the war cry of the Jews—"That thy
feet may be dipped in the blood of thine enemies, and that the tongues
of thy dogs may be red with the same." Thus penned in between "the mile
line" of the Shannon, and "the four mile-line" of the sea, the remnant
of the Irish nation passed seven years of a bondage unequalled in
severity by anything which can be found in the annals of Christendom.

The conquest was not only a military but a religious subjugation. The
27th of Elizabeth—the old act of uniformity—was rigorously enforced.
The Catholic lawyers were disbarred and silenced; the Catholic
schoolmasters were forbidden to teach, under pain of felony. Recusants,
surrounded in glens and caves, offering up the holy sacrifice through
the ministry of some daring priest, were shot down or smoked out like
vermin. The ecclesiastics never, in any instance, were allowed to
escape. Among those who suffered death during the short space of the
Protectorate, are counted "three bishops and three hundred
ecclesiastics." The surviving prelates were in exile, except the
bedridden Bishop of Kilmore, who for years had been unable to
officiate. So that, now, that ancient hierarchy which in the worst
Danish wars had still recruited its ranks as fast as they were broken,
seemed on the very eve of extinction. Throughout all the island no
episcopal hand remained to bless altars, to ordain priests, or to
confirm the faithful. The Irish church as well as the Irish state,
touched its lowest point of suffering and endurance in the decade which
intervened between the death of Charles I. and the death of Cromwell.

The new population imposed upon the kingdom, soon split up into a
multitude of sects. Some of them became Quakers: many adhered to the
Anabaptists; others, after the Restoration, conformed to the
established church. That deeper tincture of Puritanism which may be
traced in the Irish, as compared with the English establishment, took
its origin even more from the Cromwellian settlement than from the
Calvinistic teachings of Archbishop Usher.

Oliver died in 1658, on his "fortunate day," the 3rd of September,
leaving England to experience twenty months of republican intrigue and
anarchy. Richard Cromwell—Lambert—Ludlow—Monck—each played his part in
this stormy interval, till, the time being ripe for a restoration,
Charles II. landed at Dover on the 23rd of May, 1660 and was carried in
triumph to London.



Hope is dear to the heart of man, and of all her votaries none have
been more constant than the Irish. Half a century of the Stuarts had
not extinguished their blind partiality for the descendants of the old
Scoto-Irish kings. The restoration of that royal house was, therefore,
an event which penetrated to the remotest wilds of Connaught, lighting
up with cheering expectation the most desolate hovels of the
proscribed. To the Puritans settled in Ireland, most of whom, from the
mean condition of menial servants, common soldiers and subaltern
officers, had become rich proprietors, the same tidings brought
apprehension and alarm. But their leaders, the Protestant gentry of an
earlier date, wealthy, astute and energetic, uniting all their
influence for the common protection, turned this event, which seemed at
one time to threaten their ruin, to their advantage and greater
security. The chief of these greater leaders was the accomplished Lord
Broghill, whom we are to know during this reign under his more famous
title of Earl of Orrery.

The position of the Irish as compared with the English Puritans, was
essentially different in the eyes of Ormond, Clarendon, and the other
counsellors of the king. Though the former represented dissent as
against the church, they also represented the English as against the
Irish interest, in Ireland. As dissenters they were disliked and
ridiculed, but as colonists they could not be disturbed. When national
antipathy was placed in one scale and religious animosity in the other,
the intensely national feeling of England for the Cromwellians, as
Englishmen settled in a hostile country, prevailed over every other
consideration. In this, as in all other conjunctures, it has been the
singular infelicity of the one island to be subjected to a policy
directly opposite to that pursued in the other. While in England it was
considered wise and just to break down the Puritans as a party—through
the court, the pulpit, and the press; to drive the violent into exile,
and to win the lukewarm to conformity; in Ireland it was decided to
confirm them in their possessions, to leave the government of the
kingdom in their hands, and to strengthen their position by the Acts of
Settlement and Explanation. These acts were hailed as "the Magna Charta
of Irish Protestantism," but so far as the vast majority of the people
were concerned, they were as cruelly unjust as the revocation of the
Edict of Nantes, or the edicts which banished the Moors and Jews from
the Spanish peninsula.

The struggle for possession of the soil inaugurated by the
confiscations of Elizabeth and James was continued against great odds
by the Catholic Irish throughout this reign. Though the royal
declaration of Breda, which preceded the restoration, had not mentioned
them expressly, they still claimed under it not only the "liberty to
tender consciences," but that "just satisfaction" to those unfairly
deprived of their estates, promised in that declaration. Accordingly,
several of the old gentry returned from Connaught, or places abroad,
took possession of their old homes, or made their way at once to Dublin
or London, to urge their claims to their former estates. To their
dismay, they found in Dublin, Coote and Broghill established as Lords
Justices, and the new Parliament—the first that sat for twenty
years—composed of an overwhelming majority of Undertakers, adventurers,
and Puritan representatives of boroughs, from which all the Catholic
electors had been long excluded. The Protestant interest, or
"ascendancy party," as it now began to be commonly called, counted in
the Commons 198 members to 64 Catholics; in the House of Lords, 72
Protestant to 21 Catholic peers. The former elected Sir Audley Mervyn
their Speaker, and the able but curiously intricate and quaint
discourses of the ancient colleague of Kelly and Darcy in the assertion
of Irish legislative independence, shows how different was the spirit
of Irish Protestantism in 1661 as compared with 1641. The Lords chose
Bramhall, the long-exiled Bishop of Derry, now Archbishop of Armagh, as
their Speaker, and attempted to compel their members "to take the
sacrament" according to the Anglican ritual. The majority of both
Houses, to secure the good-will of Ormond, voted him the sum of 30,000
pounds, and then proceeded to consider "the Bill of Settlement," in
relation to landed property. The Catholic bar, which had been
apparently restored to its freedom, presented a striking array of
talent, from which their co-religionists selected those by whom they
desired to be heard at the bar of the House. The venerable Darcy and
the accomplished Belling were no longer their oracles of the law; but
they had the services of Sir Nicholas Plunkett, an old confederate, of
Sir Richard Nagle, author of the famous "Coventry Letter," of Nugent,
afterwards Lord Riverston, and other able men. In the House of Lords
they had an intrepid ally in the Earl of Kildare, and in England an
agent equally intrepid, in Colonel Richard Talbot, afterwards Earl of
Tyrconnell. The diplomatic and parliamentary struggle between the two
interests, the disinherited and the new proprietory, was too
protracted, and the details are too involved for elucidation in every
part; but the result tells its own story. In 1675—in the fifteenth year
of the restoration—the new settlers possessed above 4,500,000 acres, to
about 2,250,000 still retained by the old owners. These relative
proportions were exactly the reverse of those existing before the
Cromwellian settlement; a single generation had seen this great
revolution accomplished in landed property.

The Irish Parliament having sent over to England the heads of their
bill, according to the constitutional rule established by Poyning's
Act, the Irish Catholics sent over Sir Nicholas Plunkett to obtain
modifications of its provisions. But Plunkett was met in England with
such an outcry from the mob and the press as to the alleged atrocities
of the Confederate war, and his own former negotiations on the
continent, that he was unable to effect anything; while Colonel Talbot,
for his too warm expostulations with Ormond, was sent to the Tower. An
order of Council, forbidding Plunkett the presence, and declaring that
"no petition or further address be made from the Roman Catholics of
Ireland, as to the Bill of Settlement," closed the controversy, and the
Act soon after received the royal assent.

Under this act, a court was established at Dublin, to try the claims of
"nocent" and "innocent." Notwithstanding every influence which could be
brought to bear on them, the judges, who were Englishmen, declared in
their first session, one hundred and sixty-eight innocent to nineteen
nocent. Proceeding in this spirit "to the great loss and
dissatisfaction of the Protestants," the latter, greatly alarmed,
procured the interference of Ormond, now Lord Lieutenant (1662), in
effecting a modification of the commission, appointing the court, by
which its duration was limited to an early day. The consequence was,
that while less than 800 claims were decided on when the fatal day
arrived, over 3,000 were left unheard, at least a third of whom were
admitted even by their enemies to be innocent. About 500 others had
been restored by name in the Act of Settlement itself; but, by the Act
of Explanation (1665), "no Papist who had not been adjudged innocent"
under the former act could be so adjudged thereafter, "or entitled to
claim any lands or settlements." Thus, even the inheritance of hope,
and the reversion of expectation, were extinguished for ever for the
sons and daughters of the ancient gentry of the kingdom.

The religious liberties of this people, so crippled in property and
political power, were equally at the mercy of the mob and of the
monarch. To combat the war of calumny waged against them by the Puritan
press and pulpit, the leading Catholics resolved to join in an official
and authentic declaration of their true principles, as to the spiritual
power of the Pope, their allegiance to the prince, and their relations
to their fellow subjects of other denominations. With this intention a
meeting was held at the house of the Marquis of Clanrickarde, in
Dublin, at which Lords Clancarty, Carlingford, Fingal, Castlehaven, and
Inchiquin, and the leading commoners of their faith, were present. At
this meeting, Father Peter Walsh, a Franciscan, and an old courtier of
Ormond's, as "Procurator of all the Clergy of Ireland," secular and
regular, produced credentials signed by the surviving bishops or their
vicars—including the Primate O'Reilly, the Bishops of Meath, Ardagh,
Kilmore, and Ferns. Richard Belling, the secretary to the first
Confederate Council, and Envoy to Rome, submitted the celebrated
document known as "The Remonstrance," deeply imbued with the spirit of
the Gallican church of that day. It was signed by about seventy
Catholic peers and commoners, by the Bishop of Kilmore, by Procurator
Walsh, and by the townsmen of Wexford—almost the only urban community
of Catholics remaining in the country. But the propositions it
contained as to the total independency of the temporal on the spiritual
power, and the ecclesiastical patronage of princes, were condemned at
the Sorbonne, at Louvain, and at Rome. The regular orders, by their
several superiors, utterly rejected it; the exiled bishops withdrew
their proxies from Father Walsh, and disclaimed his conduct; the
Internuncio at Brussels, charged with the affairs of the British Isles,
denounced it as contrary to the canons; and the elated Procurator found
himself involved in a controversy from which he never afterwards
escaped, and with which his memory is still angrily associated.

The conduct of Ormond in relation to this whole business of the
Remonstrance, was the least creditable part of his administration.
Writhing under the eloquent pamphlets of the exiled Bishop of Ferns,
keenly remembering his own personal wrongs against the former
generation of bishops, of whom but three or four were yet living, he
resolved "to work that division among the Romish clergy," which he had
long meditated. With this view, he connived at a meeting of the
surviving prelates and the superiors of regular orders, at Dublin, in
1666. To this synod safe conduct was permitted to the Primate O'Reilly,
banished to Belgium nine years before; to Peter Talbot, Archbishop of
Dublin, John Burke, Archbishop of Tuam, Patrick Plunkett, Bishop of
Ardagh, the vicars-general of other prelates, and the superiors of the
regulars. This venerable body deliberated anxiously for an entire week,
Father Walsh acting as ambassador between them and the Viceroy; at
length, in spite of all politic considerations, they unanimously
rejected the servile doctrine of the "Remonstrance," substituting
instead a declaration of their own dictation. Ormond now cast off all
affectation of liberality; Primate O'Reilly was sent back to his
banishment, the other prelates and clergy were driven back to their
hiding-places, or into exile abroad, and the wise, experienced,
high-spirited duke, did not hesitate to avail himself of "the Popish
plot" mania, which soon after broke out, to avenge himself upon an
order of men whom he could neither break nor bend to his purposes! Of
1,100 secular priests, and 750 regulars, still left, only sixty-nine
had signed the Clanrickarde House Remonstrance.

An incident of this same year—1666—illustrates more forcibly than
description could do, the malignant feeling which had been excited in
England against everything Irish. The importation of Irish cattle had
long been considered an English grievance, it was now declared by law
"a nuisance." The occasion taken to pass this statute was as ungracious
as the act itself was despicable. In consequence of "the great fire,"
which still glows for us in the immortal verse of Dryden, the Irish had
sent over to the distressed, a contribution of 15,000 bullocks. This
was considered by the generous recipients a mere pretence to preserve
the trade in cattle between the two kingdoms, and accordingly both
Houses, after some sharp resistance in the Lords', gravely enacted that
the importation of Irish beef into England was "a nuisance," to be
abated. From this period most probably dates the famous English sarcasm
against Irish bulls.

The act prohibiting the export of cattle from Ireland, and the equally
exclusive and unjust Navigation Act—originally devised by Cromwell—so
paralyzed every Irish industry, that the Puritan party became almost as
dissatisfied as the Catholics. They maintained a close correspondence
with their brethren in England, and began to speculate on the
possibilities of another revolution. Ormond, to satisfy their demands,
distributed 20,000 stand of arms among them, and reviewed the Leinster
Militia, on the Curragh, in 1667. The next year he was recalled, and
Lords Robarts, Berkely, and Essex, successively appointed to the
government. The first, a Puritan, and almost a regicide, held office
but a few months; the second, a cavalier and a friend of toleration,
for two years; while Essex, one of those fair-minded but yielding
characters, known in the next reign as "Trimmers," petitioned for his
own recall and Ormond's restoration, in 1676. The only events which
marked these last nine years—from Ormond's removal till his
reappointment—were the surprise of Carrickfergus by a party of unpaid
soldiers, and their desperate defence of that ancient stronghold; the
embassies to and from the Irish Catholics and the court, of Colonel
Richard Talbot; and the establishment of extensive woollen
manufactories at Thomastown, Callan, and Kilkenny, under the patronage
of Ormond.


For the third time, the aged Ormond, now arrived at the period usually
allotted to the life of man, returned to Ireland, with the rank of
Viceroy. During the ensuing seven years, he clung to power with all the
tenacity of his youth, and all the policy of his prime; they were seven
years of extraordinary sectarian panic and excitement—the years of the
Cabal, the Popish plot, and the Exclusion Bill, in England—and of
fanatical conspiracies and explosions almost as dangerous in Ireland.

The Popish plot mania held possession of the English people much longer
than any other moral epidemic of equal virulence. In the month of
October, 1678, its alleged existence in Ireland was communicated to
Ormond; in July, 1681, its most illustrious victim, Archbishop
Plunkett, perished on the scaffold at Tyburn. Within these two points
of time what a chronicle of madness, folly, perjury, and cruelty, might
be written?

Ormond, too old in statecraft to believe in the existence of these
incredible plots, was also too well aware of the dangerous element of
fanaticism represented by Titus Oates, and his imitators, to subject
himself to suspicion. On the first intelligence of the plot, he
instantly issued his proclamation for the arrest of Archbishop Talbot,
of Dublin, who had been permitted to return from exile under the rule
of Lord Berkely, and had since resided with his brother, Colonel
Talbot, at Cartown, near Maynooth. This prelate was of Ormond's own
age, and of a family as ancient; while his learning, courage, and
morality, made him an ornament to his order. He was seized in his sick
bed at Cartown, carried to Dublin in a chair, and confined a close
prisoner in the castle, where he died two years later. He was the last
distinguished captive destined to end his days in that celebrated state
prison, which has since been generally dedicated to the peaceful
purposes of reflected royalty.

Colonel Talbot was at the same time arrested, but allowed to retire
beyond seas; Lord Mountgarrett, an octogenarian, and in his dotage, was
seized, but nothing could be made out against him; a Colonel Peppard
was also denounced from England, but no such person was found to exist.
So far the first year of the plot had passed over, and proved nothing
against the Catholic Irish. But the example of successful villainy in
England, of Oates idolized, pensioned, and all-powerful, extended to
the sister kingdom, and brought an illustrious victim to the scaffold.
This was Oliver Plunkett, a scion of the noble family of Fingal, who
had been Archbishop of Armagh, since the death of Dr. O'Reilly, in
exile, in 1669. Such had been the prudence and circumspection of Dr.
Plunkett, during his perilous administration, that the agents of Lord
Shaftesbury, sent over to concoct evidence for the occasion, were
afraid to bring him to trial in the vicinage of his arrest, or in his
own country. Accordingly, they caused him to be removed from Dublin to
London, contrary to the laws and customs of both Kingdoms, which had
first been violated towards state prisoners in the case of Lord
Maguire, forty years before.

Dr. Plunkett, after ten months' confinement without trial in Ireland,
was removed, 1680, and arraigned at London, on the 8th of June, 1681,
without having had permission to communicate with his friends or to
send for witnesses. The prosecution was conducted by Maynard and
Jeffries, in violation of every form of law, and every consideration of
justice. A "crown agent," whose name is given as Gorman, was introduced
by "a stranger" in court, and volunteered testimony in his favour. The
Earl of Essex interceded with the King on his behalf, but Charles
answered, almost in the words of Pilate—"I cannot pardon him, because I
dare not. His blood be upon your conscience; you could have saved him
if you pleased." The Jury, after a quarter of an hour's deliberation,
brought in their verdict of guilty, and the brutal Chief-Justice
condemned him to be hung, emboweled, and quartered on the 1st day of
July, 1681. The venerable martyr, for such he may well be called, bowed
his head to the bench, and exclaimed: _Deo gratias!_ Eight years from
the very day of his execution, on the banks of that river beside which
he had been seized and dragged from his retreat, the last of the Stuart
kings was stricken from his throne, and his dynasty stricken from
history! Does not the blood of the innocent cry to Heaven for

The charges against Dr. Plunkett were, that he maintained treasonable
correspondence with France and Rome, and the Irish on the continent;
that he had organised an insurrection in Louth, Monaghan, Cavan, and
Armagh; that he made preparations for the landing of a French force at
Carlingford; and that he had held several meetings to raise men for
these purposes. Utterly absurd and false as these charges were, they
still indicate the troubled apprehensions which filled the dreams of
the ascendency party. The fear of French invasion, of new
insurrections, of the resumption of estates, haunted them by night and
day. Every sign was to them significant of danger, and every rumour of
conspiracy was taken for fact. The report of a strange fleet off the
Southern coast, which turned out to be English, threw them all into
panic; and the Corpus Christi crosses which the peasantry affixed to
their doors, were nothing but signs for the Papist destroyer to pass
by, and to spare his fellows in the general massacre of Protestants.

Under the pressure of these panics, real or pretended, proclamation
after proclamation issued from the Castle. By one of these instruments,
Ormond prohibited Catholics from entering the Castle of Dublin, or any
other fortress; from holding fairs or markets within the walls of
corporate towns, and from carrying arms to such resorts. By another, he
declared all relatives of known _Tories_—a Gaelic term for a driver of
prey—to be arrested, and banished the kingdom, within fourteen days,
unless such Tories were killed, or surrendered, within that time. Where
this device failed to reach the destined victims—as in the celebrated
case of Count Redmond O'Hanlon—it is to be feared that he did not
hesitate to whet the dagger of the assassin, which was still sometimes
employed, even in the British Islands, to remove a dangerous
antagonist. Count O'Hanlon, a gentleman of ancient lineage, as
accomplished as Orrery, or Ossory, was indeed an outlaw to the code
then in force; but the stain of his cowardly assassination must for
ever blot and rot the princely escutcheon of James, Duke of Ormond.

The violence of religious and social persecution began to subside
during the last two or three years of Charles II. Monmouth's
banishment, Shaftesbury's imprisonment, the execution of Russell and
Sidney on the scaffold, marked the return of the English public mind to
political pursuits and objects. Early in 1685, the king was taken
mortally ill. In his last moments he received the rites of the Catholic
church, from the hands of Father Huddleston, who was said to have saved
his life at the battle of Worcester, and who was now even more anxious
to save his soul.

This event took place on the 16th of February. King James was
immediately proclaimed successor to his brother. One of his first acts
was to recall Ormond from Ireland and to appoint in his place the Earl
of Clarendon, son of the historian and statesman of the Restoration.
Ormond obeyed, not without regret; he survived his fall about three
years. He was interred in Westminster in 1688, three months before the
landing of William, and the second banishment of the Stuarts.


Before plunging into the troubled torrent of the revolution of 1688,
let us cast a glance back on the century, and consider the state of
learning and religion during those three generations.

If we divide the Irish literature of this century by subjects, we shall
find extant a respectable body, both in quantity and quality, of
theology, history, law, politics, and poetry. If we divide it by the
languages in which that literature was written, we may consider it as
Latin, Gaelic, and English.

I. Latin continued throughout Europe, even till this late day, the
language of the learned, but especially of theologians, jurists, and
historians. In Latin, the great tomes of O'Sullivan, Usher, Colgan,
Wadding, and White, were written—volumes which remain as so many
monuments of the learning and industry of that age. The chief objects
of these illustrious writers were, to restore the ancient
ecclesiastical history of Ireland, to rescue the memory of her saints
and doctors from oblivion, and to introduce the native annals of the
kingdom to the attention of Europe. Though Usher differed in religion,
and in his theory of the early connection of the Irish with the Roman
Church, from all the rest, yet he stands pre-eminent among them for
labour and research. The Waterford Franciscan, Wadding, can only be
named with him for inexhaustible patience, various learning, and
untiring zeal. Both were honoured of princes and parliaments. The
Confederates would have made Wadding a cardinal; King James made Usher
an archbishop; one instructed the Westminster Assembly; the other was
sent by the King of Spain to maintain the thesis of the Immaculate
Conception at Rome, and subsequently was entrusted by the Pope to
report upon the propositions of Jansenius. O'Sullivan, Conde de
Berehaven, in Spain, and Peter White, have left us each two or three
Latin volumes on the history of the country, highly prized by all
subsequent writers. But the most indispensable of the legacies left us
in this tongue, are Colgan's "Acta Sanctorum"—from January to March—and
Dr. John Lynch's "Cambrensis Eversus." Many other works and authors
might be mentioned, but these are the great Latinists to whom we are
indebted for the most important services rendered to our national

II. In the Gaelic literature of the country we count Geoffrey Keating,
Duald McFirbis, and "the Four Masters" of Donegal. Few writers have
been more rashly judged than Keating. A poet, as well as a historian,
he gave a prominence in the early chapters of his history to bardic
tales, which English critics have seized upon to damage his reputation
for truthfulness and good sense. But these tales he gives as tales—as
curious and illustrative—rather than as credible and unquestionable.
The purity of his style is greatly extolled by Gaelic critics; and the
interest of his narrative, even in a translation, is undoubted.
McFirbis, an annalist and genealogist by inheritance, is known to us
not only for his profound native lore, and tragic death, but also for
the assistance he rendered Sir James Ware, Dr. Lynch, and Roderick
O'Flaherty. The master-piece, however, of our Gaelic literature of this
age, is the work now called "The Annals of the Four Masters." In the
reign of James I., a few Franciscan friars, living partly in Donegal
Abbey and partly in St. Anthony's College, at Louvain, undertook to
collect and collate all the manuscript remains of Irish antiquity they
could gather or borrow, or be allowed to copy. Father Hugh Ward was the
head of this group, and by him the lay brother Michael O'Clery, one of
the greatest benefactors his country ever saw, was sent from Belgium to
Ireland. From 1620 to 1630, O'Clery travelled through the kingdom,
buying or transcribing everything he could find relating to the lives
of the Irish saints, which he sent to Louvain, where Ward and Colgan
undertook to edit and illustrate them. Father Ward died in the early
part of the undertaking, but Father Colgan spent twenty years in
prosecuting the original design, so far as concerned our ecclesiastical

After collecting these materials, Father O'Clery waited, as he tells
us, on "the noble Fergall O'Gara," one of the two knights elected to
represent the county of Sligo in the Parliament of 1634, and perceiving
the anxiety of O'Gara, "from the cloud which at present hangs over our
ancient Milesian race," he proposed to collect the civil and military
annals of Erin into one large digest. O'Gara, struck with this
proposal, freely supplied the means, and O'Clery and his coadjutors set
to work in the Franciscan Convent of Donegal, which still stood, not
more than half in ruins.

On the 22nd of January, 1632, they commenced this digest, and on the
10th of August, 1636, it was finished—having occupied them four years,
seven months and nineteen days. The MS., dedicated to O'Gara, is
authenticated by the superiors of the convent; from that original two
editions have recently been printed in both languages.

These annals extend to the year 1616, the time of the compilers.
Originally they bore the title of "Annals of the Kingdom of Ireland,"
but Colgan having quoted them as "The Annals of the Four Masters," that
name remains ever since. The "Four Masters" were Brother Michael
O'Clery, Conary and Peregrine O'Clery, his brothers, both laymen and
natives of Donegal, and Florence Conroy of Roscommon, another
hereditary antiquary.

The first edition of the New Testament, in the Gaelic tongue, so far as
we are aware, appeared at Dublin, in 1603, in quarto. The translation
was the work of a native scholar, O'Cionga (Anglicized King). It was
made at the expense and under the supervision of Dr. William O'Donnell,
one of the first fellows of Trinity, and published at the cost of the
people of Connaught. Dr. O'Donnell, an amiable man, and an enemy of
persecution, became subsequently Archbishop of Tuam, in which dignity
he died, in 1628. A translation of the Book of Common Prayer, by
O'Donnell, appeared early in the century, and towards its close (1685),
a translation of the Old Testament, made for Bishop Bedell by the
Gaelic scholars of Meath and Cavan, was published at the expense of the
famous Robert Boyle. Bedell had also caused to be published Gaelic
translations of certain homilies of Saint Leo and Saint John
Chrysostom, on the importance of studying the holy Scriptures. The only
other Gaelic publications of this period were issued from the Irish
colleges at Louvain and Rome. Thence issued the devotional tracts of
Conroy, of Gernon, and O'Molloy, and the Irish grammars of O'Clery and
Stapleton. The devotional tracts, with their fanciful titles, of
"Lamps," and "Mirrors," were smuggled across from Ostend and Dunkirk
with other articles of contraband, and did much to keep alive the flame
of faith and hope in the hearts of the Gaelic-speaking population.

The bardic order also, though shorn of much of their ancient splendour,
and under the Puritan _regime_ persecuted as vagrants, still flourished
as an estate of the realm. The national tendency to poetic writing was
not confined to the hereditary verse-makers, but was illustrated by
such men as the martyred Plunkett, and the Bishops of Meath and
Kerry—Dr. Thomas Dease, and Dr. John O'Connell. But the great body of
Gaelic verse of the first half of this century is known under the name
of "The Contentions of the Bards," the subject being the relative
dignity, power, and prowess of the North and South. The gauntlet in
this poetic warfare, was thrown down by McDaire, the Bard of Donogh
O'Brien, fourth Earl of Thomond, and taken up on the part of Ulster by
Lewy O'Clery. Reply led to rejoinder, and one epistle to another, until
all the chief bards of the four provinces had taken sides. Half a dozen
writers, _pro_ and _con_, were particularly distinguished; McDaire
himself, Turlogh O'Brien, and Art Oge O'Keefe on behalf of the
Southerners; O'Clery, O'Donnell, the two McEgans, and Robert McArthur
on the side of the North.

An immense mass of devotional Gaelic poetry may be traced to this
period. The religious wars, the calamities of the church and of the
people, inspired many a priest and layman to seize the harp of David,
and pour forth his hopes and griefs in sacred song. The lament of Mac
Ward over the Ulster princes buried at Rome, the odes of Dermod Conroy
and Flan McNamee, in honour of our Blessed Lady, are of this class.
Thus it happened that the bardic order, which in ancient times was the
formidable enemy of Christianity, became, through adversity and
affliction, its greatest supporter.

III. Our Hiberno-English literature is almost entirely the creation of
this century. Except some few remarkable state papers, we have no
English writings of any reputation of an earlier period. Now, however,
when the language of the empire, formed and enriched by the great minds
of Elizabeth's era, began to extend its influence at home and abroad, a
school of Hiberno-English writers appeared, both numerous and
distinguished. This school was as yet composed mainly of two
classes—the dramatic poets, and the pamphleteers. Of the latter were
Bishop French, Sir Richard Nagle, Sir Richard Belling, Lord Orrery,
Father Peter Walsh, and William Molyneux; of the former, Ludowick
Barry, Sir John Denham, the Earl of Roscommon, and Richard
Flecknoe,—the Mac Flecknoe of Dryden. It is true there appeared as yet
no supreme name like Swift's; but as indicating the gradual extension
of the English language into Ireland, the popular pamphlets and pieces
written for the stage, are illustrations of our mental life not to be

Of the ancient schools of the island, after the final suppression of
the college at Galway in 1652, not one remained. A diocesan college at
Kilkenny, and the Dublin University, were alone open to the youth of
the country. But the University remained exclusively in possession of
the Protestant interest, nor did it give to the world during the
century, except Usher, Ware and Orrery, any graduate of national, not
to say, European reputation. In the bye-ways of the South and West, in
the Irish colleges on the continent of Europe—at Paris, Louvain, Lisle,
Salamanca, Lisbon, or Rome—the children of the proscribed majority
could alone acquire a degree in learning, human or divine. It was as
impossible two centuries ago, to speak of Trinity College with respect,
as it is in our time, remembering all it has since done, to speak of it
without veneration.

Though the Established Church had now completed its century and a half
of existence, it was as far from the hearts of the Irish as ever.
Though the amiable Bedell and the learned O'Donnell had caused the
sacred Scriptures to be translated into the Gaelic tongue, few converts
had been made from the Catholic ranks, while the spirit of animosity
was inflamed by a sense of the cruel and undeserved disabilities
inflicted in the name of religion. The manifold sects introduced under
Cromwell gave a keener edge to Catholic contempt for the doctrines of
the reformation; and although the restoration of the monarchy threw the
extreme sectaries into the shade, it added nothing to the influence of
the church, except the fatal gift of political patronage. For the first
time, the high dignity of Archbishop of Armagh began to be regarded as
the inheritance of the leader of the House of Lords; then Brahmall and
Boyle laid the foundation of that primatial power which Boulter and
Stone upheld under another dynasty, but which vanished before the first
dawn of Parliamentary independence.

In the quarter of a century which elapsed from the restoration to the
revolution, the condition of the Catholic clergy and laity was such as
we have already described. In 1662, an historian of the Jesuit
missionaries in Ireland described the sufferings of ecclesiastics as
deplorable; they were forced to fly to the herds of cattle in remote
places, to seek a refuge in barns and stables, or to sleep at night in
the porticoes of temples, lest they should endanger the safety of the
laity. In that same year, Orrery advised Ormond to purge the walled
towns of Papists, who were still "three to one Protestant;" in 1672,
Sir William Petty computed them at "eight to one" of the entire

 "So captive Israel multiplied in chains."

The martyrdom of the Archbishop of Dublin, in 1680, and of the
Archbishop of Armagh in 1681, were, however, the last of a series of
executions for conscience' sake, from the relation of which the
historian might well have been excused, if it was not necessary to
remind our emancipated posterity at what a price they have been


From the accession of King James till his final flight from Ireland, in
July, 1690, there elapsed an interval of five years and five months; a
period fraught with consequences of the highest interest to this
history. The new King was, on his accession, in his fifty-second year;
he had served, as Duke of York, with credit both by land and sea, was
an avowed Catholic, and married to a Catholic princess, the beautiful
and unfortunate Mary of Modena.

Within a month from the proclamation of the King, Ormond quitted the
government for the last time, leaving Primate Boyle, and Lord Granard,
as Justices. In January, 1686, Lord Clarendon, son of the historian,
assumed the government, in which he continued, till the 16th of March,
1687. The day following the national anniversary, Colonel Richard
Talbot, Earl of Tyrconnell, a Catholic, and the former agent for the
Catholics, was installed as Lord Deputy. Other events, connecting these
with each other, had filled with astonishment and apprehension the
ascendancy party.

James proceeded openly with what he hoped to make a counter-reformation
of England, and to accomplish which he relied on France on the one
hand, and Ireland on the other. In both cases he alarmed the fears and
wounded the pride of England; but when he proceeded from one illegality
to another, when he began to exercise a dispensing power above the
laws—to instruct the judges, to menace the parliament, and imprison the
bishops—the nobility, the commons, and the army gradually combined
against him, and at last invited over the Prince of Orange, as the most
capable vindicator of their outraged constitution.

The headlong King had a representative equally rash, in Tyrconnell. He
was a man old enough to remember well the uprising of 1641, had lived
in intimacy with James as Duke of York, was personally brave, well
skilled in intrigue, but vain, loud-spoken, confident, and incapable of
a high command in military affairs. The colonelcy of an Irish regiment,
the earldom of Tyrconnell, and a seat in the secret council or cabinet
of the King, were honours conferred on him during the year of James's
accession. When Clarendon was named Lord-Lieutenant at the beginning of
1686, Tyrconnell was sent over with him as Lieutenant-General of the
army. At his instigation, a proclamation was issued, that "all classes"
of his Majesty's subjects might be allowed to serve in the army; and
another, that all arms hitherto given out should be deposited, for
greater security, at one of the King's stores provided for the purpose
in each town or county. Thus that exclusively Protestant militia, which
for twenty years had executed the Act of Settlement and the Act of
Uniformity in every quarter of the kingdom, found themselves suddenly
disarmed, and a new Catholic army rising on their ruins. The numbers
disbanded are nowhere stated; they probably amounted to 10,000 or
15,000 men and very naturally they became warm partisans of the
Williamite revolution. The recriminations which arose between the new
and the old militia were not confined to the nicknames, Whig and Tory,
or to the bandying of sarcasms on each others' origin; swords were not
unfrequently drawn, and muskets discharged, even in the streets of
Dublin, under the very walls of the Castle.

Through Tyrconnell's influence, a similar revolution had been wrought
in the exclusive character of the courts of justice, and the
corporations of towns, to that which remodelled the militia. Rice,
Daly, and Nugent, were elevated to the bench during Lord Clarendon's
time; the Corporation of Dublin having refused to surrender their
exclusive charter, were summarily rejected by a _quo warranto_, issued
in the exchequer; other towns were similarly treated, or induced to
make surrender, and a new series of charters at once granted by James,
entitling Catholics to the freedom of the boroughs, and the highest
municipal offices. And now, for the first time in that generation,
Catholic mayors and sheriffs, escorted by Catholic troops as guards of
honour, were seen marching in open day to their own places of worship,
to the dismay and astonishment of the ascendancy party. Not that all
Protestants were excluded either from town councils, the militia, or
the bench, but those only were elected or appointed who concurred in
the new arrangements, and were, therefore, pretty certain to forfeit
the confidence of their co-religionists in proportion as they deserved
that of the Deputy. Topham and Coghill, Masters in Chancery, were
deprived of their offices, and the Protestant Chancellor was
arbitrarily removed to make way for Baron Rice, a Catholic. The
exclusive character of Trinity College was next assailed, and though
James did not venture to revoke the charter of Elizabeth, establishing
communion with the Church of England as the test of fellowship, the
internal administration was in several particulars interfered with, its
plate was seized in the King's name under plea of being public
property, and the annual parliamentary grant of 388 pounds was
discontinued. These arbitrary acts filled the more judicious Catholics
with apprehension, but gained the loud applause of the unreasoning
multitude. Dr. Macguire, the successor of the martyred Plunkett, who
felt in Ulster the rising tide of resistance, was among the signers of
a memorial to the King, dutifully remonstrating against the violent
proceedings of his Deputy. From Rome also, disapprobation was more than
once expressed, but all without avail; neither James nor Talbot could
be brought to reason. The Protestants of the eastern and southern towns
and counties who could contrive to quit their homes, did so; hundreds
fled to Holland to return in the ranks of the Prince of Orange;
thousands fled to England, bringing with them their tale of oppression,
embellished with all the bitter exaggeration of exiles; ten thousand
removed from Leinster into Ulster, soon to recross the Boyne, under
very different auspices. Very soon a close correspondence was
established between the fugitives in Holland, England, and Ulster, and
a powerful lever was thus placed in the hands of the Prince of Orange,
to work the downfall of his uncle and father-in-law. But the best
allies of William were, after all, the folly and fatuity of James. The
importation of Irish troops, by entire battalions, gave the last and
sorest wound to the national pride of England, and still further
exasperated the hatred and contempt which his majesty's English
regiments had begun to feel for their royal master.

Tyrconnell, during the eventful summer months when the revolution was
ripening both in Holland and England, had taken, unknown even to James,
a step of the gravest importance. To him the first intelligence of the
preparations of William were carried by a ship from Amsterdam, and by
him they were communicated to the infatuated King, who had laughed at
them as too absurd for serious consideration. But the Irish ruler,
fully believing his informants, and never deficient in audacity, had at
once entered into a secret treaty with Louis XIV. to put Ireland under
the protection of France, in the event of the Prince of Orange
succeeding to the British throne. No proposition could more entirely
suit the exigencies of Louis, of whom William was by far the ablest and
most relentless enemy. The correspondence which has come to light in
recent times, shows the importance which he attached to Tyrconnell's
proposition—an importance still further enhanced by the direct but
unsuccessful overture made to the earl by William himself, on landing
in England, and before embarking in the actual invasion of Ireland.

William Henry, Prince of Orange, now about to enter on the scene, was
in 1688 in the thirty-seventh year of his age. Fearless of danger,
patient, silent, impervious to his enemies, rather a soldier than a
statesman, indifferent in religion, and personally adverse to
persecution for conscience' sake, his great and almost his only public
passion was the humiliation of France through the instrumentality of a
European coalition. As an anti-Gallican, as the representative of the
most illustrious Protestant family in Europe, as allied by blood and
marriage to their kings, he was a very fit and proper chief for the
English revolutionists; but for the two former of these reasons he was
just as naturally antipathetic to the Catholic and Celtic majority of
the Irish. His designs had been long gradually maturing, when James's
incredible imprudence hastened his movements. Twenty-four ships of war
were assembled at Helvoetsluys; 7,000 sailors were put on board; all
the veterans of the Netherlands were encamped at Nimeguen, where 6,000
recruits were added to their numbers. On the 5th of November, the
anniversary of the gunpowder plot, "the Deliverer," as he was fondly
called in England, landed at Torbay; on the 25th of December, James,
deserted by his nobles, his army, and even his own unnatural children,
arrived, a fugitive and a suppliant, at the court of France.

A few Irish incidents of this critical moment deserve mention. The
mania against everything Irish took in England forms the most ludicrous
and absurd. Wharton's doggerel refrain of Lillibullero, was heard in
every circle outside the court; all London, lighted with torches, and
marshalled under arms, awaited during the memorable "Irish night" the
advent of the terrible and detested regiments brought over by
Tyrconnell; some companies of these troops quartered in the country
were fallen upon by ten times their numbers, and cut to pieces. Others,
fighting and inquiring their way, forced a passage to Chester or
Bristol, and obtained a passage home. They passed at sea, or
encountered on the landing-places, multitudes of the Protestant Irish,
men, women and children, flying in exactly the opposite direction.
Tyrconnell was known to meditate the repeal of the Act of Settlement;
the general rumour of a Protestant massacre fixed for the 9th of
December, originated no one knew how, was spread about no one knew by
whom. In vain the Lord Deputy tried to stay the panic—his assurance of
protection, and the still better evidence of their own experience,
which proved the Irish Catholics incapable of such a project, could not
allay their terrors. They rushed into England by every port, and
inflamed still more the hostility which already prevailed against King

In Ulster, David Cairnes of Knockmany, the Rev. John Kelso of
Enniskillen, a Presbyterian, and Rev. George Walker of Donaghmore, an
Anglican minister, were active instruments of the Prince of Orange. On
the 7th of December the gates of Derry were shut by "the youthhood"
against the Earl of Antrim and his Highlanders. Enniskillen was seized
by a similar impulse of the popular will, and an association was
quickly formed throughout Ulster in imitation of the English
association which had invited over William, under the auspices of Lord
Blaney, Sir Arthur Rawdon, Sir Clotworthy Skeffington, and others, "for
the maintenance of the Protestant religion and the dependency of
Ireland upon England." By these associates, Sligo, Coleraine, and the
fort of Culmore, at the mouth of the Foyle, were seized for King
William; while the Town Council of Derry, in order to gain time,
despatched one ambassador with one set of instructions to Tyrconnell,
and another, with a very different set, to "the Committee for Irish
Affairs," which sat at Whitehall, under the presidency of the Earl of


A few days after his arrival in France, James despatched a messenger to
Tyrconnell, with instructions expressing great anxiety as to the state
of affairs in Ireland. "I am sure," wrote the fugitive monarch, "you
will hold out to the utmost of your power, and I hope this king will so
press the Hollanders, that the Prince of Orange will not have men to
spare to attack you." All the aid he could obtain from Louis at the
moment was 7,000 or 8,000 muskets, which were sent accordingly.

Events succeeded each other during the first half of the year 1689 with
revolutionary rapidity. The conventions of England and Scotland, though
far from being unanimous, declared by immense majorities, that James
had abdicated, and that William and Mary should be offered the crowns
of both kingdoms. In February, they were proclaimed as king and queen
of "England, France, and Ireland," and in May, the Scottish
commissioners brought them the tender of the crown of Scotland. The
double heritage of the Stuart kings was thus, after nearly a century of
possession, transferred by election to a kindred prince, to the
exclusion of the direct descendants of the great champion of "the right
divine," who first united under his sceptre the three kingdoms.

James, at the Court of France, was duly informed of all that passed at
London and Edinburgh. He knew that he had powerful partizans in both
conventions. The first fever of popular excitement once allayed, he
marked with exultation the symptoms of reaction. There was much in the
circumstances attending his flight to awaken popular sympathy, and to
cast a veil over his errors. The pathetic picture drawn of parental
suffering by the great dramatist in the character of King _Lear_,
seemed realized to the life in the person of King James. Message
followed message from the three kingdoms, urging him to return and
place himself at the head of his faithful subjects in a war against the
usurper. The French king approved of these recommendations, for in
fighting James's battle he was fighting his own, and a squadron was
prepared at Brest to carry the fugitive back to his dominions.
Accompanied by his natural sons, the Duke of Berwick and the Grand
Prior Fitzjames, by Lieutenant-Generals de Rosen and de Maumont,
Majors-General de Pusignan and de Lery (or Geraldine), about a hundred
officers of all ranks, and 1,200 veterans, James sailed from Brest,
with a fleet of 33 vessels, and landed at Kinsale on the 12th day of
March (_old style_). His reception by the Southern population was
enthusiastic in the extreme. From Kinsale to Cork, from Cork to Dublin,
his progress was accompanied by Gaelic songs and dances, by Latin
orations, loyal addresses, and all the decorations with which a popular
favourite can be welcomed. Nothing was remembered by that easily
pacified people but his great misfortunes and his steady fidelity to
his and their religion. Fifteen chaplains, nearly all Irish,
accompanied him, and added to the delight of the populace; while many a
long-absent soldier, now came back in the following of the king, to
bless the sight of some aged parent or faithful lover. The royal entry
into Dublin was the crowning pageant of this delusive restoration. With
the tact and taste for such demonstrations hereditary in the citizens,
the trades and arts were marshalled before him. Two venerable harpers
played on their national instruments near the gate by which he entered;
a number of religious in their robes, with a huge cross at their head,
chanted as they went; forty young girls, dressed in white, danced the
ancient _Rinka_, scattering flowers as they danced. The Earl of
Tyrconnell, lately raised to a dukedom, the judges, the mayor and
corporation, completed the procession, which marched over newly sanded
streets, beneath arches of evergreens and windows hung with "tapestry
and cloth of Arras." Arrived at the castle the sword of state was
presented to him by the deputy, and the keys of the city by the
recorder. At the inner entrance, the primate, Dr. Dominick Macguire,
waited in his robes to conduct him to the chapel, lately erected by
Tyrconnell, where _Te Deum_ was solemnly sung. But of all the incidents
of that striking ceremonial, nothing more powerfully impressed the
popular imagination than the green flag floating from the main tower of
the castle, bearing the significant inscription—"_Now or Never—Now and

A fortnight was devoted by James in Dublin to daily and nightly
councils and receptions. The chief advisers who formed his court were
the Count d'Avaux, Ambassador of France, the Earl of Melfort, principal
Secretary of State, the Duke of Tyrconnell, Lieutenant-General Lord
Mountcashel, Chief Justice Nugent, and the superior officers of the
army, French and Irish. One of the first things resolved upon at Dublin
was the appointment of the gallant Viscount Dundee as
Lieutenant-General in Scotland—and the despatch to his assistance of an
Irish auxiliary force, which served under that renowned chief with as
much honour as their predecessors had served under Montrose.
Communications were also opened through the Bishop of Chester with the
west of England Jacobites, always numerous in Cheshire, Shropshire, and
other counties nearest to Ireland. Certain changes were then made in
the Privy Council; Chief Justice Keating's attendance was dispensed
with as one opposed to the new policy, but his judicial functions were
left untouched. Dr. Cartwright, Bishop of Chester, and the French
Ambassador were sworn in, and writs were issued convoking the Irish
Parliament for the 7th day of May following.

Intermitting, for the present, the military events which marked the
early months of the year, we will follow the acts and deliberations of
King James's Parliament of 1689. The Houses met, according to summons,
at the appointed time, in the building known as "the Inns of Court,"
within a stone's throw of the castle. There were present 228 Commoners,
and 46 members of the Upper House. In the Lords several Protestant
noblemen and prelates took their seats, and some Catholic peers of
ancient date, whose attainders had been reversed, were seen for the
first time in that generation in the front rank of their order. In the
Lower House the University and a few other constituencies were
represented by Protestants, but the overwhelming majority were
Catholics, either of Norman or Milesian origin. The King made a
judicious opening speech, declaring his intention to uphold the rights
of property, and to establish liberty of conscience alike for
Protestant and Catholic. He referred to the distressed state of trade
and manufactures, and recommended to the attention of the Houses, those
who had been unjustly deprived of their estates under the "Act of

Three measures passed by this Parliament entitle its members to be
enrolled among the chief assertors of civil and religious liberty. One
was the "Act for establishing Liberty of Conscience," followed by the
supplemental act that all persons should pay tithes only to the clergy
of their own communion. An act abolishing writs of error and appeal
into England, established the judicial independence of Ireland; but a
still more necessary measure repealing Poyning's Law, was defeated
through the personal hostility of the King. An act repealing the Act of
Settlement was also passed, under protest from the Protestant Lords,
and received the royal sanction. A bill to establish Inns of Court, for
the education of Irish law students, was, however, rejected by the
King, and lost; an "Act of Attainder," against persons in arms against
the Sovereign, whose estates lay in Ireland, was adopted. Whatever may
be the bias of historians, it cannot be denied that this Parliament
showed a spirit worthy of the representatives of a free people. "Though
Papists," says Mr. Grattan, our highest parliamentary authority, "they
were not slaves; they wrung a constitution from King James before they
accompanied him to the field."

The King, unfortunately, had not abandoned the arbitrary principles of
his family, even in his worst adversity. His interference with the
discussions on Poyning's Law, and the Inns of Court bill, had shocked
some of his most devoted adherents. But he proceeded from obstructive
to active despotism. He doubled, by his mere proclamation, the enormous
subsidy of 20,000 pounds monthly voted him by the Houses. He
established, by the same authority, a bank, and decreed in his own name
a bank restriction act. He debased the coinage, and established a fixed
scale of prices to be observed by all merchants and traders. In one
respect—but in one only—he grossly violated his own professed purpose
of establishing liberty of conscience, by endeavouring to force fellows
and scholars on the University of Dublin contrary to its statutes. He
even went so far as to appoint a provost and librarian without consent
of the senate. However we may condemn the exclusiveness of the College,
this was not the way to correct it; bigotry on the one hand, will not
justify despotism on the other.

More justifiable was the interference of the King for the restoration
of rural schools and churches, and the decent maintenance of the clergy
and bishops. His appointments to the bench were also, with one or two
exceptions, men of the very highest character. "The administration of
justice during this brief period," says Dr. Cooke Taylor, "deserves the
highest praise. With the exception of Nugent and Fritton, the Irish
judges would have been an honour to any bench."


When Tyrconnell met the King at Cork, he gave his Majesty a plain
account of the posture of military affairs. In Ulster,
Lieutenant-General Richard Hamilton, at the head of 2,500 regular
troops, was holding the rebels in check, from Charlemont to Coleraine;
in Munster, Lieutenant-General Justin McCarthy, Lord Mountcashel, had
taken Bandon and Castlemartyr; throughout the four provinces, the
Catholics, to the number of fifty regiments (probably 30,000 men), had
volunteered their services; but for all these volunteers he had only
20,000 old arms of all kinds, not over 1,000 of which were found really
valuable. There were besides these, regiments of horse, Tyrconnell's,
Russell's, and Galmony's, and one of dragoons, eight small pieces of
artillery, but neither stores in the magazines, nor cash in the chest.
While at Cork, Tyrconnell, in return for his great exertions, was
created a Duke, and General-in-Chief, with De Rosen as second in

A week before James reached Dublin, Hamilton had beaten the rebels at
Dromore, and driven them in on Coleraine, from before which he wrote
urgently for reinforcements. On receipt of this communication, the
Council exhibited, for the first time, those radical differences of
opinion, amounting almost to factious opposition, which crippled all
King James's movements at this period. One party strenuously urged that
the King himself should march northward with such troops as could be
spared; that his personal appearance before Derry, would immediately
occasion the surrender of that city, and that he might in a few weeks,
finish in person the campaign of Ulster. Another, at whose head was
Tyrconnell, endeavoured to dissuade his Majesty from this course, but
he at length decided in favour of the plan of Melfort and his friends.
Accordingly, he marched out of Dublin, amid torrents of April rain, on
the eighth of that month, intending to form a junction with Hamilton,
at Strabane, and thence to advance to Derry. The march was a weary one
through a country stripped bare of every sign of life, and desolate
beyond description. A week was spent between Dublin and Omagh; at Omagh
news of an English fleet on the Foyle caused the King to retrace his
steps hastily to Charlemont. At Charlemont, however, intelligence of
fresh successes gained by Hamilton and De Rosen, at Cladyford and
Strabane, came to restore his confidence; he instantly set forward,
despite the tempestuous weather, and the almost impassable roads, and
on the eighteenth reached the Irish camp at Johnstown, within four or
five miles of Derry.

It was now four months since "the youthhood" of Derry had shut the
Watergate against Lord Antrim's regiment, and established within their
walls a strange sort of government, including eighteen clergymen and
the town democracy. The military command remained with
Lieutenant-Colonel Lundy, of Mountjoy's regiment, but the actual
government of the town was vested, first, in "Governor" Baker, and
afterwards in the Reverend George Walker, rector of Donaghmore, best
known to us as _Governor_ Walker. The Town Council had despatched Mr.
Cairnes, and subsequently Captain Hamilton, founder of the Abercorn
peerage, to England for succour, and had openly proclaimed William and
Mary as King and Queen. Defensive works were added, where necessary,
and on the very day of the affair of Cladyford, 480 barrels of
gunpowder were landed from English ships and conveyed within the walls.

As the Royalist forces concentrated towards Derry, the chiefs of the
Protestant Association fell back before them, each bringing to its
garrison the contribution of his own followers. From the valley of the
Bann, over the rugged summits of Carntogher, from the glens of Donegal,
and the western sea coast round to Mayo, troops of the fugitives
hurried to the strong town of the London traders, as to a city of
refuge. Enniskillen alone, resolute in its insular situation, and in a
courage akin to that which actuated the defenders of Derry, stood as an
outpost of the main object of attack, and delayed the junction of the
Royalists under Mountcashel with those under Hamilton and De Rosen.
Coleraine was abandoned. Captain Murray, the commander of Culmore,
forced his way at the head of 1,500 men into Derry, contrary to the
wishes of the vacillating and suspected Lundy, and, from the moment of
his arrival, infused his own determined spirit into all ranks of the

Those who had advised King James to present himself in person before
the Protestant stronghold, had not acted altogether, upon presumption.
It is certain that there were Jacobites, even in Derry. Lundy, the
governor, either despairing of its defence, or undecided in his
allegiance between James and William, had opened a correspondence with
Hamilton and De Rosen. But the true answer of the brave townsmen, when
the King advanced too near their walls, was a cannon shot which killed
one of his staff, and the cry of "No Surrender" thundered from the
walls. James, awakened from his self-complacent dream by this
unexpected reception, returned to Dublin, to open his Parliament,
leaving General Hamilton to continue the siege. Colonel Lundy,
distrusted, overruled, and menaced, escaped over the walls by night,
disguised as a common labourer, and the party of Murray, Baker, Walker,
and Cairnes, reigned supreme.

The story of the siege of Derry—of the heroic constancy of its
defenders—of the atrocities of De Rosen and Galmoy—the clemency of
Maumont—the forbearance of Hamilton—the struggles for supremacy among
its magnates—the turbulence of the townsfolk—the joyful raising of the
siege—all these have worthily employed some of the most eloquent pens
in our language. The relief came by the breaking of the boom across the
harbour's mouth on the last day of July; the bombardment had commenced
on the 21st of April; the gates had been shut on the 7th of December.
The actual siege had lasted above three months, and the blockade about
three weeks. The destruction of life on both sides has never been
definitely stated. The besieged admit a loss of 4,000 men; the
besiegers of 6,000. The want of siege guns in the Jacobite camp is
admitted by both parties, but, nevertheless, the defence of the place
well deserves to be celebrated, as it has been by an imperial
historian, "as the most memorable in British annals."

Scarcely inferior in interest and importance to the siege of Derry, was
the spirited defence of Enniskillen. That fine old town, once the seat
of the noble family of Maguire, is naturally dyked and moated round
about, by the waters of Lough Erne. In December, '88, it had closed its
gates, and barricaded its causeways to keep out a Jacobite garrison. In
March, on Lord Galmoy's approach, all the outlying garrisons, in
Fermanagh and Cavan, had destroyed their posts, and gathered into
Enniskillen. The cruel and faithless Galmoy, instead of inspiring
terror into the united garrison, only increased their determination to
die in the breach. So strong in position and numbers did they find
themselves, with the absolute command of the lower Lough Erne to bring
in their supplies, that in April they sent off a detachment to the
relief of Derry, and in the months of May and June, made several
successful forays to Ballincarrig, Omagh, and Belturbet. In July,
provided with a fresh supply of ammunition from the fleet intended for
the relief of Derry, they beat up the Duke of Berwick's quarters at
Trellick, but were repulsed with some loss. The Duke being soon after
recalled to join De Rosen, the siege of Enniskillen was committed to
Lord Mountcashel, under whom, as commander of the cavalry, served Count
Anthony Hamilton, author of the witty but licentious "Memoirs of
Grammont," and other distinguished officers. Mountcashel's whole force
consisted of three regiments of foot, two of dragoons, and some horse;
but he expected to be joined by Colonel Sarsfield from Sligo, and
Berwick from Derry. The besieged had drawn four regiments of foot from
Cavan alone, and were probably twice that number in all; and they had,
in Colonels Wolseley and Berry, able and energetic officers. The
Enniskilleners did not await the attack within their fortress. At
Lisnaskea, under Berry, they repulsed the advanced guard of the
Jacobites under Anthony Hamilton; and the same day—the day of the
relief of Derry—their whole force were brought into action with
Mountcashel's at Newtown-Butler. To the cry of "No Popery," Wolseley
led them into an action, the most considerable yet fought. The raw
southern levies on the Royalist side, were routed by the hardy
Enniskilleners long familiar with the use of arms, and well acquainted
with every inch of the ground; 2,000 of them were left on the field;
400 prisoners were taken, among them dangerously, but not mortally
wounded, was the Lieutenant-General himself.

The month of August was a month of general rejoicing for the
Williamites of Ulster, De Rosen and Berwick had retreated from Derry;
Sarsfield, on his way to join Mountcashel, fell back to Sligo on
hearing of his defeat at Newtown-Butler; Culmore, Coleraine, and
Ballyshannon, were retaken and well supplied; fugitives returned
triumphantly to their homes, in Cavan, Fermanagh, Tyrone, and Armagh. A
panic created by false reports spread among his troops at Sligo,
compelled Sarsfield to fall still further back to Athlone. Six months
after his arrival, with the exception of the forts of Charlemont and
Carrickfergus, King James no longer possessed a garrison in that
province, which had been bestowed by his grandfather upon the ancestors
of those who now unanimously rejected and resisted him.

The fall of the gallant Dundee in the battle of Killicrankie, five days
before the relief of Derry, freed King William from immediate anxiety
on the side of Scotland, and enabled him to concentrate his whole
disposable force on Ireland. On the 13th of August, an army of eighteen
regiments of foot, and four or five of horse, under the Marshal Duke de
Schomberg, with Count Solmes as second in command, sailed into Belfast
Lough, and took possession of the town. On the 20th, the Marshal opened
a fierce cannonade on Carrickfergus, defended by Colonels McCarthy More
and Cormac O'Neil, while the fleet bombarded it from sea. After eight
days' incessant cannonade, the garrison surrendered on honourable
terms, and Schomberg faced southward towards Dublin. Brave, and long
experienced, the aged Duke moved according to the cautious maxims of
the military school in which he had been educated. Had he advanced
rapidly on the capital, James must have fallen back, as De Rosen
advised, on the line of the Shannon; but O'Regan, at Charlemont, and
Berwick, at Newry, seemed to him obstacles so serious, that nearly a
month was wasted in advancing from Belfast to Dundalk, where he
entrenched himself in September, and went into winter quarters. Here a
terrible dysentery broke out among his troops, said to have been
introduced by some soldiers from Derry, and so destructive were its
ravages, that there were hardly left healthy men enough to bury the
dead. Several of the French Catholics under his command, also, deserted
to James, who, from his head-quarters at Drogheda, offered every
inducement to the deserters. Others discovered in the attempt were
tried and hanged, and others, still suspected of similar designs, were
marched down to Carlingford, and shipped for England. In November,
James returned from Drogheda to Dublin, much elated that Duke
Schomberg, whose fatal camp at Dundalk he had in vain attempted to
raise, had shrunk from meeting him in the field.


The armies now destined to combat for two kings on Irish soil were
strongly marked by those distinctions of race and religion which add
bitterness to struggles for power, while they present striking
contrasts to the eye of the painter of military life and manners. King
James's troops were chiefly Celtic and Catholic. There were four
regiments commanded by O'Neils, two by O'Briens, two by O'Kellys, one
each by McCarthy More, Maguire, O'More, O'Donnell, McMahon, and
Magennis, principally recruited among their own clansmen. There were
also the regiments of Sarsfield, Nugent, De Courcy, Fitzgerald, Grace,
and Burke, chiefly Celts, in the rank and file. On the other hand,
Schomberg led into the field the famous blue Dutch and white Dutch
regiments; the Huguenot regiments of Schomberg, La Millinier, Du
Cambon, and La Callimotte; the English regiments of Lords Devonshire,
Delamere, Lovelace, Sir John Lanier, Colonels Langston, Villiers, and
others; the Anglo-Irish regiments of Lords Meath, Roscommon, Kingston,
and Drogheda; with the Ulstermen, under Brigadier Wolseley, Colonels
Gustavus Hamilton, Mitchelburne, Loyd, White, St. Johns, and Tiffany.
Some important changes had taken place on both sides during the winter
months. D'Avaux and De Rosen had been recalled at James's request;
Mountcashel, at the head of the first Franco-Irish brigade, had been
exchanged for 6,000 French, under De Lauzan, who arrived the following
March in the double character of general and ambassador. The report
that William was to command in person in the next campaign, was, of
itself, an indication pregnant with other changes to the minds of his

Their abundant supplies of military stores from England, wafted from
every port upon the channel, where James had not a keel afloat, enabled
the Williamite army to take the initiative in the campaign of 1690. At
Cavan, Brigadier Wolseley repulsed the Duke of Berwick, with the loss
of 200 men and some valuable officers. But the chief incident preceding
William's arrival was the siege of Charlemont. This siege, which
commenced apparently in the previous autumn, had continued during
several months, till the garrison were literally starved out, in May.
The famished survivors were kindly treated, by order of Schomberg, and
their gallant and eccentric chief, O'Regan, was knighted by the King,
for his persistent resistance. A month from the day on which Charlemont
fell, (June 14th), William landed at Carrickfergus, accompanied by
Prince George of Denmark, the Duke of Wurtemburg, the Prince of
Hesse-Darmstadt, the second and last Duke of Ormond, Major-General
Mackay, the Earls of Oxford, Portland, Scarborough, and Manchester,
General Douglas, and other distinguished British and foreign officers.
At Belfast, his first head-quarters, he ascertained the forces at his
disposal to be upwards of 40,000 men, composed of "a strange medley of
all nations"—Scandinavians, Swiss, Dutch, Prussians, Huguenot-French,
English, Scotch, "Scotch-Irish," and Anglo-Irish. Perhaps the most
extraordinary element in that strange medley was the Danish contingent
of horse and foot. Irish tradition and Irish prophecy still teemed with
tales of terror and predictions of evil at the hands of the Danes,
while these hardy mercenaries observed, with grim satisfaction, that
the memory of their fierce ancestors had not become extinct after the
lapse of twenty generations. At the Boyne, and at Limerick, they could
not conceal their exultation as they encamped on some of the very
earthworks raised by men of their race seven centuries before, and it
must be admitted they vindicated their descent, both by their courage
and their cruelty.

On the 16th of June, James, informed of William's arrival, marched
northward at the head of 20,000 men, French and Irish, to meet him. On
the 22nd, James was at Dundalk and William at Newry; as the latter
advanced, the Jacobites retired, and finally chose their ground at the
Boyne, resolved to hazard a battle, for the preservation of Dublin, and
the safety of the province of Leinster.

On the last day of June, the hostile forces confronted each other at
the Boyne. The gentle, legendary river, wreathed in all the glory of
its abundant foliage, was startled with the cannonade from the northern
bank, which continued through the long summer's evening, and woke the
early echoes of the morrow. William, strong in his veteran ranks,
welcomed the battle; James, strong in his defensive position, and the
goodness of his cause, awaited it with confidence. On the northern bank
near to the ford of Oldbridge, William, with his chief officers,
breakfasting on the turf, nearly lost his life from a sudden discharge
of cannon; but he was quickly in the saddle, at all points reviewing
his army. James, on the hill of Donore, looked down on his devoted
defenders, through whose ranks rode Tyrconnell, lame and ill, the
youthful Berwick, the adventurous Lauzan, and the beloved
Sarsfield—everywhere received with cordial acclamations. The battle
commenced at the ford of Oldbridge, between Sir Neil O'Neil, and the
younger Schomberg; O'Neil fell mortally wounded, and the ford was
forced. By this ford, William ordered his centre to advance under the
elder Schomberg, as the hour of noon approached, while he himself moved
with the left across the river, nearer to Drogheda. Lauzan, with
Sarsfield's horse, dreading to be outflanked, had galloped to guard the
bridge of Slane, five miles higher up the stream, where alone a flank
movement was possible. The battle was now transferred from the gunners
to the swordsmen and pikemen—from the banks to the fords and borders of
the river, William, on the extreme left, swam his horse across, in
imminent danger; Schomberg and Callimotte fell in the centre, mortally
wounded. News was brought to William, that Dr. Walker—recently
appointed to the See of Derry—had also fallen, "What brought him
there?" was the natural comment of the soldier-prince. After seven
hours' fighting the Irish fell back on Duleek, in good order. The
assailants admitted five hundred killed, and as many wounded; the
defenders were said to have lost from one thousand to fifteen hundred
men—less than at Newtown-Butler. The carnage, compared with some great
battles of that age, was inconsiderable, but the political consequences
were momentous. The next day, the garrison of Drogheda, one thousand
three hundred strong, surrendered; in another week, William was in
Dublin, and James, terrified by the reports which had reached him, was
_en route_ for France. It is hardly an exaggeration to say, that the
fate of Europe was decided by the result of the battle of the Boyne. At
Paris, at the Hague, at Vienna, at Rome, at Madrid, nothing was talked
of but the great victory of the Prince of Orange over Louis and James.
It is one of the strangest complications of history that the vanquished
Irish Catholics seem to have been never once thought of by Spain,
Austria, or the Pope. In the greater issues of the European coalition
against France, their interests, and their very existence, were for the
moment forgotten.

The defeat at the Boyne, and the surrender of Dublin, uncovered the
entire province of Leinster, Kilkenny, Wexford, Waterford, Duncannon,
Clonmel, and other places of less importance, surrendered within six
weeks. The line of the Shannon was fallen back upon by the Irish, and
the points of attack and defence were now shifted to Athlone and
Limerick. What Enniskillen and Derry had been, in the previous year, to
the Williamite party in the north, cities of refuge, and strongholds of
hope, these two towns upon the Shannon had now become, by the fortune
of war, to King James's adherents.

On the 17th of July, General Douglas appeared before Athlone, and
summoned it to surrender. The veteran commandant, Colonel Richard
Grace, a Confederate of 1641, having destroyed the bridge, and the
suburbs on the Leinster side of the Shannon, replied by discharging his
pistol over the head of the drummer who delivered the message. Douglas
attempted to cross the river at Lanesborough, but found the ford
strongly guarded by one of Grace's outposts; after a week's ineffectual
bombardment, he withdrew from before Athlone, and proceeded to
Limerick, ravaging and slaying as he went.

Limerick had at first been abandoned by the French under Lauzan, as
utterly indefensible. That gay intriguer desired nothing so much as to
follow the King to France, while Tyrconnell, broken down with physical
suffering and mental anxiety, feebly concurred in his opinion. They
accordingly departed for Galway, leaving the city to its fate, and,
happily for the national reputation, to bolder counsels than their own.
De Boisseleau did not underrate the character of the Irish levies, who
had retreated before twice their numbers at the Boyne; he declared
himself willing to remain, and, sustained by Sarsfield, he was chosen
as commandant. More than ten thousand foot had gathered "as if by
instinct" to that city, and on the Clare side Sarsfield still kept
together his cavalry, at whose head he rode to Galway and brought back
Tyrconnell. On the 9th of August, William, confident of an easy
victory, appeared before the town, but more than twelve months were to
elapse before all his power could reduce those mouldering walls, which
the fugitive French ambassador had declared "might be taken with
roasted apples."

An exploit, planned and executed by Sarsfield the day succeeding
William's arrival, saved the city for another year, and raised that
officer to the highest pitch of popularity. Along the Clare side of the
Shannon, under cover of the night, he galloped as fast as horse could
carry him, at the head of his dragoons, and crossed the river at
Killaloe. One Manus O'Brien, a Protestant of Clare, who had encountered
the flying horsemen, and learned enough to suspect their design,
hastened to William's camp with the news, but he was at first laughed
at for his pains. William, however, never despising any precaution in
war, despatched Sir John Lanier with 500 horse to protect his
siege-train, then seven miles in the rear, on the road between Limerick
and Cashel. Sarsfield, however, was too quick for Sir John. The day
after he had crossed at Killaloe he kept his men _perdu_ in the hilly
country, and the next night swooped down upon the convoy in charge of
the siege-train, who were quietly sleeping round the ruined church of
Ballanedy. The sentinels were sabred at their posts, the guards,
half-dressed, fled in terror or were speedily killed. The gun-carriages
were quickly yoked, and drawn together to a convenient place, where,
planted in pits with ammunition, they were, with two exceptions,
successfully blown to atoms. Lanier arrived within view of the terrific
scene in time to feel its stunning effects. The ground for miles round
shook as from an earthquake; the glare and roar of the explosion were
felt in William's camp, and through the beleaguered city. On the
morrow, all was known. Sarsfield was safely back in his old encampment,
without the loss of a single man; Limerick was in an uproar of delight,
while William's army, to the lowest rank, felt the depression of so
unexpected a blow. A week later, however, the provident prince had a
new siege-train of thirty-six guns and four mortars brought up from
Waterford, pouring red-hot shot on the devoted city. Another week—on
the 27th of August—a gap having been made in the walls near Saint
John's gate, a storming party of the English guards, the Anglo-Irish,
Prussians, and Danes, was launched into the breach. After an action of
uncommon fierceness and determination on both sides, the besiegers
retired with the loss of 30 officers, and 800 men killed, and 1,200
wounded. The besieged admitted 400 killed—their wounded were not
counted. Four days later, William abandoned the siege, retreated to
Waterford, and embarked for England, with Prince George of Denmark, the
Dukes of Wurtemburg and Ormond, and others of his principal adherents.
Tyrconnell, labouring with the illness of which he soon after died,
took advantage of the honourable pause thus obtained, to proceed on his
interrupted voyage to France, accompanied by the ambassador. Before
leaving, however, the young Duke of Berwick was named in his stead as
Commander-in-Chief; Fitton, Nagle, and Plowden, as Lords Justices;
sixteen "senators" were to form a sort of Cabinet, and Sarsfield to be
second in military command. His enemies declared that Tyrconnell
retired from the contest because his early spirit and courage had
failed him; he himself asserted that his object was to procure
sufficient succours from King Louis, to give a decisive issue to the
war. His subsequent negotiations at Paris proved that though his bodily
health might be wretched, his ingenuity and readiness of resource had
not deserted him. He justified himself both with James and Louis,
outwitted Lauzan, propitiated Louvois, disarmed the prejudices of the
English Jacobites, and, in short, placed the military relations of
France and Ireland on a footing they had never hitherto sustained. The
expedition of the following spring, under command of Marshal Saint
Ruth, was mainly procured by his able diplomacy, and though he returned
to Ireland to survive but a few weeks the disastrous day of Aughrim, it
is impossible from the Irish point of view, not to recall with
admiration, mixed indeed with alloy, but still with largely prevailing
admiration, the extraordinary energy, buoyancy and talents of Richard,
Duke of Tyrconnell.

THE WINTER OF 1690-91.

The Jacobite party in England were not slow to exaggerate the extent of
William's losses before Athlone and Limerick. The national
susceptibility was consoled by the ready reflection, that if the beaten
troops were partly English, the commanders were mainly foreigners. A
native hero was needed, and was found in the person of Marlborough, a
captain, whose name was destined to eclipse every other English
reputation of that age. At his suggestion an expedition was fitted out
against Cork, Kinsale, and other ports of the south of Ireland, and the
command, though not without some secret unwillingness on William's
part, committed to him. On the 23rd of September, at the head of 8,000
fresh troops, amply supplied with all necessary munitions, Marlborough
assaulted Cork. After five days' bombardment, in which the Duke of
Grafton, and other officers and men were slain, the Governor, McEligot,
capitulated on conditions, which, in spite of all Marlborough's
exertions, were flagrantly violated. The old town of Kinsale was at
once abandoned as untenable the same day, and the new fort, at the
entrance to the harbour, was surrendered after a fortnight's cannonade.
Covered with glory from a five weeks' campaign, Marlborough returned to
England to receive the acclamations of the people and the most gracious
compliments of the prince.

Berwick and Sarsfield on the one side and Ginkle and Lanier on the
other, kept up the winter campaign till an advanced period, on both
banks of the Shannon. About the middle of September, the former made a
dash over the bridge of Banagher, against Birr, or Parsonstown, the
family borough of the famous _Undertaker_. The English, in great force,
under Lanier, Kirke, and Douglas, hastened to its relief, and the Irish
fell back to Banagher. To destroy "that convenient pass" became now the
object of one party, to protect it, of the other. After some
skirmishing and manoeuvring on both sides, the disputed bridge was left
in Irish possession, and the English fell back to the borough and
castle of Sir Lawrence Parsons. During the siege of the new fort at
Kinsale, Berwick and Sarsfield advanced as far as Kilmallock to its
relief, but finding themselves so inferior in numbers to Marlborough,
they were unwillingly compelled to leave its brave defenders to their

Although the Duke of Berwick was the nominal Commander-in-Chief, his
youth, and the distractions incident to youth, left the more mature and
popular Sarsfield the possession of real power, both civil and
military. Every fortunate accident had combined to elevate that gallant
cavalry officer into the position of national leadership.

He was the son of a member of the Irish Commons, proscribed for his
patriotism and religion in 1641, by Anna O'Moore, daughter of the
organizer of the Catholic Confederation. He was a Catholic in religion,
spoke Gaelic as easily as English, was brave, impulsive; handsome, and
generous to a fault, like the men he led. In Tyrconnell's absence every
sincere lover of the country came to him with intelligence, and looked
to him for direction. Early in November he learned through his
patriotic spies the intention of the Williamites to force the passage
of the Shannon in the depth of winter. On the last day of December,
accordingly, they marched in great force under Kirke and Lanier to
Jonesboro', and under Douglas to Jamestown. At both points they found
the indefatigable Sarsfield fully prepared for them, and after a
fortnight's intense suffering from exposure to the weather, were glad
to get back again to their snug quarters at Parsonstown.

Early in February Tyrconnell landed at Limerick with a French fleet,
escorted by three vessels of war, and laden with provisions, but
bringing few arms and no reinforcements. He had brought over, however,
14,000 golden louis, which were found of the utmost service in
re-clothing the army, besides 10,000 more which he had deposited at
Brest to purchase oatmeal for subsequent shipment. He also brought
promises of military assistance on a scale far beyond anything France
had yet afforded. It is almost needless to say he was received at
Galway and Limerick with an enthusiasm which silenced, if it did not
confute, his political enemies, both in Ireland and France.

During his absence intrigues and factions had been rifer than ever in
the Jacobite ranks. Sarsfield had discovered that the English movement
on the Shannon in December was partly hastened by foolish or
treacherous correspondence among his own associates. Lord Riverston and
his brother were removed from the Senate, or Council of Sixteen—four
from each province—and Judge Daly, ancestor of the Dunsandle family,
was placed under arrest at Galway. The youthful Berwick sometimes
complained that he was tutored and overruled by Sarsfield; but though
the impetuous soldier may occasionally have forgotten the lessons
learned in courts, his activity seems to have been the greatest, his
information the best, his advice the most disinterested, and his
fortitude the highest of any member of the council. By the time of
Tyrconnell's return he had grown to a height of popularity and power,
which could not well brook a superior either in the cabinet or the

On the arrival of the Lord Lieutenant, who was also Commander-in-Chief,
the ambition of Sarsfield was gratified by the rank of Earl of Lucan, a
title drawn from that pleasant hamlet, in the valley of the Liffey,
where he had learned to lisp the catechism of a patriot at the knee of
Anna O'Moore. But his real power was much diminished. Tyrconnell,
Berwick, Sir Richard Nagle, who had succeeded the Earl of Melfort as
chief secretary for King James, all ranked before him at the board, and
when Saint Ruth arrived to take command-in-chief, he might fairly have
complained that he was deprived of the chief reward to which he had
looked forward.

The weary winter and the drenching spring months wore away, and the
Williamite troops, sorely afflicted by disease, hugged their tents and
huts. Some relief was sent by sea to the Jacobite garrison of Sligo,
commanded by the stout old Sir Teague O'Regan, the former defender of
Charlemont. Athlone, too, received some succours, and the line of the
Shannon was still unbroken from Slieve-an-iron to the sea. But still
the promised French assistance was delayed. Men were beginning to doubt
both King Louis and King James, when, at length at the beginning of
May, the French ships were signalled from the cliffs of Kerry. On the
8th, the Sieur de Saint Ruth, with Generals D'Usson and De Tesse,
landed at Limerick, and assisted at a solemn _Te Deum_ in St. Mary's
Cathedral. They brought considerable supplies of clothes, provisions,
and ammunitions, but neither veterans to swell the ranks, nor money to
replenish the chest. Saint Ruth entered eagerly upon the discharge of
his duties as generalissimo, while Sarsfield continued the nominal
second in command.


Saint Ruth, with absolute powers, found himself placed at the head of
from 20,000 to 25,000 men, in the field or in garrison, regular or
irregular, but all, with hardly an exception, Irish. His and
Tyrconnell's recent supplies had sufficed to renew the clothing and
equipment of the greater part of the number, but the whole contents of
the army chest, the golden hinge on which war moves, was estimated in
the beginning of May to afford to each soldier only "a penny a day for
three weeks." He had under him some of the best officers that France
could spare, or Ireland produce, and he had with him the hearts of
nine-tenths of the natives of the country.

A singular illustration of the popular feeling occurred the previous
August. The Milesian Irish had cherished the belief ever since the
disastrous day of Kinsale, that an O'Donnell from Spain, having on his
shoulder a red mark (_ball derg_), would return to free them from the
English yoke, in a great battle near Limerick. Accordingly, when a
representative of the Spanish O'Donnells actually appeared at Limerick,
bearing as we know many of his family have done, even to our day, the
unmistakable red mark of the ancient Tyrconnell line, immense numbers
of the country people who had held aloof from the Jacobite cause,
obeyed the voice of prophecy, and flocked round the Celtic deliverer.
From 7,000 to 8,000 recruits were soon at his disposal, and it was not
without bitter indignation that the chief, so enthusiastically
received, saw regiment after regiment drafted from among his followers,
and transferred to other commanders. Bred up a Spanish subject—the
third in descent from an Irish prince—it is not to be wondered at that
he regarded the _Irish_ cause as all in all, and the interests of King
James as entirely secondary. He could hardly consider himself as bound
in allegiance to that king; he was in no way indebted to him or his
family, and if we learn that when the war grew desperate, but before it
was ended, he had entered into a separate treaty for himself and his
adherents, with William's generals, we must remember, before we condemn
him, that we are speaking of an Hiberno-Spaniard, to whom the house of
Stuart was no more sacred than the house of Orange.

The Williamite army rendezvoused at Mullingar towards the end of May,
under Generals De Ginkle, Talmash and Mackay. On the 7th of June, they
moved in the direction of Athlone, 18,000 strong, "the ranks one blaze
of scarlet, and the artillery such as had never before been seen in
Ireland." The capture of Ballymore Castle, in West-Meath, detained them
ten days; on the 19th, joined by the Duke of Wurtemburg, the Prince of
Hesse and the Count of Nassau, with 7,000 foreign mercenaries, the
whole sat down before the English town of Athlone, which Saint Ruth,
contrary to his Irish advisers, resolved to defend. In twenty-four
hours those exposed outworks abandoned by the veteran Grace the
previous year, fell, and the bombardment of the Irish town on the
opposite or Connaught bank, commenced. For ten days—from the 20th to
the 30th of June—that fearful cannonade continued. Storey, the
Williamite chaplain, to whom we are indebted for many valuable
particulars of this war, states that the besiegers fired above 12,000
cannon shot, 600 shells and many tons of stone, into the place. Fifty
tons of powder were burned in the bombardment. The castle, an imposing
but lofty and antique structure, windowed as much for a residence as a
fortress, tumbled into ruins; the bridge was broken down and
impassable; the town a heap of rubbish, where two men could no longer
walk abreast. But the Shannon had diminished in volume as the summer
advanced, and three Danes employed for that purpose found a ford above
the bridge, and at six o'clock on the evening of the last day of June,
2,000 picked men, headed by Gustavus Hamilton's grenadiers, dashed into
the ford at the stroke of a bell. At the same instant all the English
batteries on the Leinster side opened on the Irish town, wrapping the
river in smoke, and distracting the attention of the besiegers. Saint
Ruth was, at this critical moment, at his camp two miles off, and
D'Usson, the commandant, was also absent from his post. In half an hour
the Williamites were masters of the heap of rubbish which had once been
Athlone, with a loss of less than fifty men killed and wounded. For
this bold and successful movement De Ginkle was created Earl of
Athlone, and his chief officers were justly ennobled. Saint Ruth,
over-confident, in a strange country, withdrew to Ballinasloe, behind
the river Suck, and prepared to risk everything on the hazard of a
pitched battle.

De Ginkle moved slowly from Athlone in pursuit of his enemy. On the
morning of the 11th of July, as the early haze lifted itself in wreaths
from the landscape, he found himself within range of the Irish, drawn
up, north and south, on the upland of Kilcommodan hill, with a morass
on either flank, through which ran two narrow causeways—on the right,
"the pass of Urrachree," on the left, the causeway leading to the
little village of Aughrim. Saint Ruth's force must have numbered from
15,000 to 20,000 men, with nine field-pieces; De Ginkle commanded from
25,000 to 30,000, with four batteries—two of which mounted six guns
each. During the entire day, attack after attack, in the direction of
Urrachree or of Aughrim was repulsed, and the assailants were about to
retire in despair. As the sun sank low, a last desperate attempt was
made with equal ill success. "Now, my children," cried the elated Saint
Ruth, "the day is ours! Now I shall drive them back to the walls of
Dublin!" At that moment he fell by a cannon shot to the earth, and
stayed the advancing tide of victory. The enemy marked the check,
halted, rallied and returned. Sarsfield, who had not been entrusted
with his leader's plan of action, was unable to remedy the mischief
which ensued. Victory arrested was converted into defeat. The sun went
down on Aughrim, and the last great Irish battle between the Reformed
and Roman religions. Four thousand of the Catholics were killed and
wounded, and three thousand of the Protestants littered the field.
Above five hundred prisoners, with thirty-two pairs of colours, eleven
standards, and a large quantity of small arms, fell into the hands of
the victors. One portion of the fugitive survivors fled to Galway, the
larger part, including all the cavalry, to Limerick.

This double blow at Athlone and Aughrim shook to pieces the remaining
Catholic power in Connaught. Galway surrendered ten days after the
battle; Balldearg O'Donnell, after a vain attempt to throw himself into
it in time, made terms with De Ginkle, and carried his two regiments
into Flanders to fight on the side Spain and Rome had chosen to take in
the European coalition. Sligo, the last western garrison, succumbed,
and the brave Sir Teague O'Regan marched his 600 men, survivors,
southward to Limerick.

Thus once more all eyes and all hearts in the British Islands were
turned towards the well-known city of the lower Shannon. There, on the
14th of August, Tyrconnell expired, stricken down by apoplexy. On the
25th, De Ginkle, reinforced by all the troops he could gather in with
safety, had invested the place on three sides. Sixty guns, none of less
than 12 pounds calibre, opened their deadly fire against it. An English
fleet ascended the river, hurling its missiles right and left. On the
9th of September the garrison made an unsuccessful sally, with heavy
loss; on the 10th, a breach, forty yards wide, was made in the wall
overhanging the river; on the night of the 15th, through the treachery
or negligence of Brigadier Clifford, on guard at the Clare side of the
river, a pontoon bridge was laid, and a strong English division crossed
over in utter silence. The Irish horse, which had hitherto kept open
communications with the country on that side, fell back to Six Mile
Bridge. On the 24th, a truce of three days was agreed upon, and on the
3rd of October the memorable "Treaty of Limerick" was signed by the
Williamite and Jacobite commissioners.

The _civil_ articles of Limerick will be mentioned farther on; the
_military_ articles, twenty-nine in number, provided that all persons
willing to expatriate themselves, as well officers and soldiers as
rapparees and volunteers, should have free liberty to do so, to any
place beyond seas, except England and Scotland; that they might depart
in whole bodies, companies, or parties; that if plundered by the way,
William's government should make good their loss; that fifty ships of
200 tons each should be provided for their transportation, besides two
men-of-war for the principal officers; that the garrison of Limerick
might march out with all their arms, guns and baggage, "colours flying,
drums beating, and matches lighting!" It was also agreed, that those
who so wished might enter the service of William, retaining their rank
and pay; but though De Ginkle was most eager to secure for his master
some of those stalwart battalions, only 1,000 out of the 13,000 that
marched out of Limerick filed to the left at King's Island, Two
thousand others accepted passes and protections; 4,500 sailed with
Sarsfield from Cork, 4,700 with D'Usson and De Tesse, embarked in the
Shannon on board a French fleet which arrived a week too late to
prevent the capitulation; in English ships, 3,000 embarked with General
Wauchop; all which, added to Mountcashel's brigade, over 5,000 strong,
gave an Irish army of from 20,000 to 25,000 men to the service of King

As the ships from Ireland reached Brest and the ports of Brittany,
James himself came down from Saint Germain to receive them. They were
at once granted the rights of French citizenship without undergoing the
forms of naturalization. Many of them rose to eminent positions in war
and in diplomacy, became founders of distinguished families, or dying
childless, left their hard-won gold to endow free bourses at Douay and
Louvain, for poor Irish scholars destined for the service of the
church, for which they had fought the good fight, in another sense, on
the Shannon and the Boyne. The migration of ecclesiastics was almost as
extensive as that of the military. They were shipped by dozens and by
scores, from Dublin, Cork, and Galway. In seven years from the treaty,
there remained but 400 secular and 800 regular clergy in the country.
Nearly double that number, deported by threats or violence, were
scattered over Europe, pensioners on the princes and bishops of their
faith, or the institutions of their order. In Rome, 72,000 francs
annually were allotted for the maintenance of the fugitive Irish
clergy, and during the first three months of 1699, three remittances
from the Holy Father, amounting to 90,000 livres, were placed in the
hands of the Nuncio at Paris, for the temporary relief of the fugitives
in France and Flanders. It may also be added here, that till the end of
the eighteenth century, an annual charge of 1,000 Roman crowns was
borne by the Papal treasury for the encouragement of Catholic
Poor-schools in Ireland.

The revolutionary war, thus closed, had cost King William, or rather
the people of England, at least 10,000,000 of pounds sterling, and with
the other wars of that reign, laid the foundation of the English
national debt. As to the loss of life, the Williamite chaplain, Storey,
places it "at 100,000, young and old, besides treble the number that
are ruined and undone." The chief consolation of the vanquished in that
struggle was, that they had wrung even from their adversaries the
reputation of being "one of the most warlike of nations"—that they
"buried the synagogue with honour."


From the date of the treaty of Limerick, William was acknowledged by
all but the extreme Jacobites, at least _de facto_—King of Ireland. The
prevailing party in Ulster had long recognized him, and the only
expression of the national will then possible accepted his title, in
the treaty signed at Limerick on the 3rd of October, 1691. For three
years Ireland had resisted his power, for twelve years longer she was
to bear the yoke of his government.

Though the history of William's twelve years' reign in Ireland is a
history of proscription, the King himself is answerable only as a
consenting party to such proscription. He was neither by temper nor
policy a persecutor; his allies were Spain, Austria and Rome; he had
thousands of Catholics in his own army, and he gave his confidence as
freely to brave and capable men of one creed as of another. But the
oligarchy, calling itself the "Protestant Ascendancy," which had grown
so powerful under Cromwell and Charles II., backed as they once again
were by all the religious intolerance of England, proved too strong for
William's good intentions. He was, moreover, pre-occupied with the
grand plans of the European coalition, in which Ireland, without an
army, was no longer an element of calculation. He abandoned, therefore,
not without an occasional grumbling protest, the vanquished Catholics
to the mercy of that oligarchy, whose history, during the eighteenth
century, forms so prominent a feature of the history of the kingdom.

The civil articles of Limerick, which Sarsfield vainly hoped might
prove the _Magna Charta_ of his co-religionists, were thirteen in
number. Art. I. guaranteed to members of that denomination, remaining
in the kingdom, "such privileges in the exercise of their religion as
are consistent with the law of Ireland, or as they enjoyed in the reign
of King Charles II.;" this article further provided, that "their
majesties, as soon as their affairs will permit them to summon a
Parliament in this kingdom, will endeavour to procure the said Roman
Catholics such further security in that particular as may preserve them
from any disturbance on account of their said religion." Art. II.
guaranteed pardon and protection to all who had served King James, on
taking the oath of allegiance prescribed in Art. IX., as follows:

"I, A. B., do solemnly promise and swear that I will be faithful and
bear true allegiance to their majesties, King William and Queen Mary;
so help me God."

Arts. III., IV., V. and VI. extended the provisions of Arts. I. and II.
to merchants and other classes of men. Art. VII. permits "every
nobleman and gentleman compromised in the said articles" to carry side
arms and keep "a gun in their houses." Art. VIII. gives the right of
removing goods and chattels without search. Art. IX. is as follows:

"The oath to be administered to such Roman Catholics as submit to their
majesties' government _shall be the oath aforesaid, and no other_."

Art. X. guarantees that "no person or persons who shall at any time
hereafter break these articles, or any of them, shall thereby make or
cause any other person or persons to _forfeit or lose the benefit of
them_." Arts. XI. and XII. relate to the ratification of the articles
"within eight months or sooner." Art. XIII. refers to the debts of
"Colonel John Brown, commissary of the Irish army, to several
Protestants," and arranges for their satisfaction.

These articles were signed before Limerick, at the well known "Treaty
Stone," on the Clare side of the Shannon, by Lord Scravenmore, Generals
Mackay, Talmash, and De Ginkle, and the Lords Justices Porter and
Coningsby, for King William, and by Sarsfield, Earl of Lucan, Viscount
Galmoy, Sir Toby Butler, and Colonels Purcell, Cusack, Dillon, and
Brown, for the Irish. On the 24th of February following, royal letters
patent confirmatory of the treaty were issued from Westminster, in the
name of the King and Queen, whereby they declared, that "we do for us,
our heirs, and successors, as far as in us lies, ratify and confirm the
same and every clause, matter, and thing therein contained. And as to
such parts thereof, for which an act of Parliament shall be found to be
necessary, we shall recommend the same to be made good by Parliament,
and shall give our royal assent to any bill or bills that shall be
passed by our two Houses of Parliament to that purpose. And whereas it
appears unto us, that it was agreed between the parties to the said
articles, that after the words Limerick, Clare, Kerry, Cork, Mayo, or
any of them, in the second of the said articles; which words having
been casually omitted by the writer of the articles, the words
following, viz.: 'And all such as are under their protection in the
said counties' should be inserted, and be part of the said omission,
was not discovered till after the said articles were signed, but was
taken notice of before the second town was surrendered, and that our
said justices and generals, or one of them, did promise that the said
clause should be made good, it being within the intention of the
capitulation, and inserted in the foul draft thereof: Our further will
and pleasure is, and we do hereby ratify and confirm the said omitted
words, viz., 'And all such as are under their protection in the said
counties,' hereby for us, our heirs and successors, ordaining and
declaring that all and every person and persons therein concerned shall
and may have, receive, and enjoy the benefit thereof, in such and the
same manner as if the said words had been inserted in their proper
place in the said second article, any omission, defect, or mistake in
the said second article in any wise notwithstanding. Provided always,
and our will and pleasure is, that these our letters patent shall be
enrolled in our Court of Chancery, in our said kingdom of Ireland,
within the space of one year next ensuing."

But the Ascendancy party were not to be restrained by the faith of
treaties, or the obligations of the Sovereign. The Sunday following the
return of the Lords Justices from Limerick, Dopping, Bishop of Meath,
preached before them at Christ's church, on the crime of keeping faith
with Papists. The grand jury of Cork, urged on by Cox, the Recorder of
Kinsale, one of the historians of those times, returned in their
inquest that the restoration of the Earl of Clancarty's estates "would
be dangerous to the Protestant interest." Though both William and
George I., interested themselves warmly for that noble family, the
hatred of the new oligarchy proved too strong for the clemency of
kings, and the broad acres of the disinherited McCarthys, remained to
enrich an alien and bigoted aristocracy.

In 1692, when the Irish Parliament met, a few Catholic peers, and a
very few Catholic commoners took their seats. One of the first acts of
the victorious majority was to frame an oath in direct contravention to
the oath prescribed by the ninth civil article of the treaty, to be
taken by members of both Houses. This oath solemnly and explicitly
denied "that in the sacrament of the Lord's supper there is any
transubstantiation of the elements;" and as solemnly affirmed, "that
the invocation or adoration of the Virgin Mary, or any other saint, and
the sacrifice of the mass, as they are now used in the church of Rome,
are damnable and idolatrous." As a matter of course, the Catholic peers
and commoners retired from both Houses, rather than take any such oath,
and thus the Irish Parliament assumed, in 1692, that exclusively
Protestant character which it continued to maintain, till its
extinction in 1800. The Lord Justice Sydney, acting in the spirit of
his original instructions, made some show of resistance to the
proscriptive spirit thus exhibited. But to teach him how they regarded
his interference, a very small supply was voted, and the assertion of
the absolute control of the Commons over all supplies—a sound doctrine
when rightly interpreted—was vehemently asserted. Sydney had the
satisfaction of proroguing and lecturing the House, but they had the
satisfaction soon after of seeing him recalled through their influence
in England, and a more congenial Viceroy in the person of Lord Capel
sent over.

About the same time, that ancient engine of oppression, a Commission to
inquire into estates forfeited, was established, and, in a short time,
decreed that 1,060,792 acres were escheated to the crown. This was
almost the last fragment of the patrimony of the Catholic inhabitants.
When King William died, there did not remain in Catholic hands
"one-sixth part" of what their grandfathers held, even after the
passage of the Act of Settlement.

In 1695, Lord Capel opened the second Irish Parliament, summoned by
King William, in a speech in which he assured his delighted auditors
that the King was intent upon a firm settlement of Ireland upon a
Protestant interest. Large supplies were at once voted to his majesty,
and the House of Commons then proceeded to the appointment of a
committee to consider what penal laws were already in force against the
Catholics, not for the purpose of repealing them, but in order to add
to their number. The principal penal laws then in existence were:

1. An act, subjecting all who upheld the jurisdiction of the See of
Rome, to the penalties of a _premunire_; and ordering the oath of
supremacy to be a qualification for office of every kind, for holy
orders, and for a degree in the university.

2. An act for the uniformity of Common Prayer, imposing a fine of a
shilling on all who should absent themselves from places of worship of
the Established Church on Sundays.

3. An act, allowing the Chancellor to name a guardian to the child of a

4. An act to prevent Catholics from becoming private tutors in
families, without license from the ordinaries of their several
parishes, and taking the oath of supremacy.

To these, the new Parliament added, 1. An act to deprive Catholics of
the means of educating their children at home or abroad, and to render
them incapable of being guardians of their own or any other person's
children; 2. An act to disarm the Catholics; and, 3. Another to banish
all the Catholic priests and prelates. Having thus violated the treaty,
they gravely brought in a bill "to confirm the Articles of Limerick."
"The very title of the bill," says Dr. Cooke Taylor, "contains evidence
of its injustice." It is styled "A Bill for the Confirmation of
Articles (not _the_ articles) made at the Surrender of Limerick." And
the preamble shows that the little word _the_ was not accidentally
omitted. It runs thus:—"That the said articles, or _so much of them as
may consist with the safety and welfare of your majesty's subjects in
these kingdoms_, may be confirmed," &c. The parts that appeared to
these legislators inconsistent with "the safety and welfare of his
majesty's subjects," were the first article, which provided for the
security of the Catholics from all disturbances on account of their
religion; those parts of the second article which confirmed the
Catholic gentry of Limerick, Clare, Cork, Kerry, and Mayo, in the
possession of their estates, and allowed all Catholics to exercise
their trades and professions without obstruction; the fourth article,
which extended the benefit of the peace to certain Irish officers then
abroad; the seventh article, which allowed the Catholic gentry to ride
armed; the ninth article, which provides that the oath of allegiance
shall be the only oath required from Catholics; and one or two others
of minor importance. All of these are omitted in the bill for "The
confirmation of Articles made at the Surrender of Limerick."

The Commons passed the bill without much difficulty. The House of
Lords, however, contained some few of the ancient nobility, and some
prelates, who refused to acknowledge the dogma, "that no faith should
be kept with Papists," as an article of their creed. The bill was
strenuously resisted, and when it was at length carried, a strong
protest against it was signed by Lords Londonderry, Tyrone, and
Duncannon, the Barons of Ossory, Limerick, Killaloe, Kerry, Howth,
Kingston, and Strabane, and, to their eternal honour be it said, the
Protestant bishops of Kildare, Elphin, Derry, Clonfert, and Killala!

The only other political incidents of this reign, important to Ireland,
were the speech from the throne in answer to an address of the English
Houses, in which William promised to discourage the woollen and
encourage the linen manufacture in Ireland, and the publication of the
famous argument for legislative independence, "The Case of Ireland
Stated." The author of this tract, the bright precursor of the glorious
succession of men, who, often defeated or abandoned by their
colleagues, finally triumphed in 1782, was William Molyneux, member for
the University of Dublin. Molyneux's book appeared in 1698, with a
short, respectful, but manly dedication to King William. Speaking of
his own motives in writing it, he says, "I am not at all concerned in
wool or the wool trade. I am no ways interested in forfeitures or
grants. I am not at all concerned whether the bishop or the society of
Derry recover the lands they contest about." Such were the domestic
politics of Ireland at that day; but Molyneux raised other and nobler
issues when he advanced these six propositions, which lie supported
with incontestible ability.

"1. How Ireland became a kingdom _annexed_ to the crown of England. And
here we shall at large give a faithful narrative of the first
expedition of the Britons into this country, and King Henry II.'s
arrival here, such as our best historians give us.

"2. We shall inquire whether this expedition and the English settlement
that afterwards followed thereon, can properly be called a _conquest_;
or whether any victories obtained by the English in any succeeding ages
in this kingdom, upon any rebellion, may be called a _conquest_

"3. Granting that it were a _conquest_, we shall inquire what _title_ a
conquest gives.

"4. We shall inquire what _concessions_ have been from time to time
made to Ireland, to take off what even the most rigorous asserters of a
conqueror's title do pretend to. And herein we shall show by what
degrees the English form of government, and the English statute laws,
came to be received among us; and this shall appear to be wholly by the
_consent_ of the people and the Parliament of Ireland.

"5. We shall inquire into the precedents and opinions of the learned in
the laws relating to this matter, with observations thereon.

"6. We shall consider the reasons and arguments that may be further
offered on one side and t'other; and we shall draw some general
conclusions from the whole."

The English Parliament took alarm at these bold doctrines, seldom heard
across the channel since the days of Patrick Darcy and the Catholic
Confederacy. They ordered the book to be burned by the hands of the
common hangman, as of "dangerous tendency to the crown and people of
England, by denying the power of the King and Parliament of England to
bind the kingdom and people of Ireland, and the subordination and
dependence that Ireland had, and ought to have, upon England, as being
united and annexed to the imperial crown of England." They voted an
address to the King in the same tone, and received an answer from his
majesty, assuring them that he would enforce the laws securing the
dependence of Ireland on the imperial crown of Great Britain.

But William's days were already numbered. On the 8th of March, 1702,
when little more than fifty years of age, he died from the effects of a
fall from his horse. His reign over Ireland is synonymous to the minds
of that people of disaster, proscription and spoliation; of violated
faith and broken compacts; but these wrongs were done in his name
rather than by his orders; often without his knowledge, and sometimes
against his will. Rigid as that will was, it was forced to bend to the
anti-Popery storm which swept over the British Islands after the
abdication of King James; but the vices and follies of his times ought
no more be laid to the personal account of William than of James or
Louis, against whom he fought.


The reign of Queen Anne occupies twelve years (1702 to 1714. The new
sovereign, daughter of James by his first marriage, inherited the
legacy of William's wars, arising out of the European coalition. Her
diplomatists, and her troops, under the leadership of Marlborough,
continued throughout her reign to combat against France, in Spain,
Germany, and the Netherlands; the treaty of Utrecht being signed only
the year before her majesty's decease. In domestic politics, the main
occurrences were the struggle of the Whigs and Tories, immortalized for
us in the pages of Swift, Steele, Addison, and Bolingbroke; the
limitation of the succession to the descendants of the Electress
Sophia, in the line of Hanover; and the abortive Jacobite movement on
the Queen's death which drove Ormond and Atterbury into exile.

In Ireland, this is the reign, _par excellence_, of the penal code.
From the very beginning of the Queen's reign, an insatiate spirit of
proscription dictated the councils of the Irish oligarchy. On the
arrival of the second and last Duke of Ormond, in 1703, as
Lord-Lieutenant, the Commons waited on him in a body, with a bill "for
discouraging the further growth of Popery," to which the duke having
signified his entire concurrence, it was accordingly introduced, and
became law. The following are among the most remarkable clauses of this
act: The third clause provides, that if the son of an estated Papist
shall conform to the established religion, the father shall be
incapacitated from selling or mortgaging his estate, or disposing of
any portion of it by will. The fourth clause prohibits a Papist from
being the guardian of his own child; and orders, that if at any time
the child, though ever so young, pretends to be a Protestant, it shall
be taken from its own father, and placed under the guardianship of the
nearest Protestant relation. The sixth clause renders Papists incapable
of purchasing any manors, tenements, hereditaments, or any rents or
profits arising out of the same, or of holding any lease of lives, or
other lease whatever, for any term exceeding thirty-one years. And with
respect even to such limited leases, it further enacts, that if a
Papist should hold a farm producing a profit greater than one-third of
the amount of the rent, his right to such should immediately cease, and
pass over entirely to the first Protestant who should discover the rate
of profit. The seventh clause prohibits Papists from succeeding to the
properties or estates of their Protestant relations. By the tenth
clause, the estate of a Papist, not having a Protestant heir, is
ordered to be gavelled, or divided in equal shares between all his
children. The sixteenth and twenty-fourth clauses impose the oath of
abjuration, and the sacramental test, as a qualification for office,
and for voting at elections. The twenty-third clause deprives the
Catholics of Limerick and Galway of the protection secured to them by
the articles of the treaty of Limerick. The twenty-fifth clause vests
in her majesty all advowsons possessed by Papists.

Certain Catholic barristers, living under protection, not yet excluded
from the practice of their profession, petitioned to be heard at the
bar of the House of Commons. Accordingly, Mr. Malone, the ancestor of
three generations of scholars and orators, Sir Stephen Rice, one of the
most spotless characters of the age, formerly chief-justice under King
James, and Sir Theobald Butler, were heard against the bill. The
argument of Butler, who stood at the very head of his profession,
remains to us almost in its entirety, and commands our admiration by
its solidity and dignity. Never was national cause more worthily
pleaded; never was the folly of religious persecution more forcibly
exhibited. Alluding to the monstrous fourth clause of the bill, the
great advocate exclaimed:—

"It is natural for the father to love the child; but we all know that
children are but too apt and subject, without any such liberty as this
bill gives, to slight and neglect their duty to their parents; and
surely such an act as this will not be an instrument of restraint, but
rather encourage them more to it.

"It is but too common with the son, who has a prospect of an estate,
when once he arrives at the age of one and twenty, to think the old
father too long in the way between him and it; and how much more will
he be subject to it, when, by this act, he shall have liberty, before
he comes to that age, to compel and force my estate from me, without
asking my leave, or being liable to account with me for it, or out of
his share thereof, to a moiety of the debts, portions, or other
encumbrances, with which the estate might have been charged before the
passing of this act!

"Is not this against the laws of God and man? Against the rules of
reason and justice, by which all men ought to be governed? Is not this
the only way in the world to make children become undutiful? and to
bring the grey head of the parent to the grave with grief and tears?

"It would be hard from any man; but from a son, a child, the fruit of
my body, whom I have nursed in my bosom, and tendered more dearly than
my own life, to become my plunderer, to rob me of my estate, to cut my
throat, and to take away my bread, is much more grievous than from any
other, and enough to make the most flinty hearts to bleed to think on
it. And yet this will be the case if this bill pass into a law; which I
hope this honourable assembly will not think of, when they shall more
seriously consider, and have weighed these matters.

"For God's sake, gentlemen, will you consider whether this is according
to the golden rule, to do as you would be done unto? And if not, surely
you will not, nay, you cannot, without being liable to be charged with
the most manifest injustice imaginable, take from us our birthrights,
and invest them in others, before our faces."

When Butler and Malone had closed, Sir Stephen Rice was heard, not in
his character of council, but as one of the petitioners affected by the
act. But neither the affecting position of that great jurist, who, from
the rank of chief baron had descended to the outer bar, nor the purity
of his life, nor the strength of his argument, had any effect upon the
oligarchy who heard him. He was answered by quibbles and cavils,
unworthy of record, and was finally informed that any rights which
Papists "pretended to be taken from them by the Bill, was in their own
power to remedy, by conforming, which in prudence they ought to do; and
that they had none to blame but themselves." Next day the bill passed
into law.

The remnant of the clergy were next attacked. On the 17th of March,
1705, the Irish Commons resolved, that "informing against Papists was
an honourable service to the government," and that all magistrates and
others who failed to put the penal laws into execution, "were betrayers
of the liberties of the kingdom." But even these resolutions, rewards,
and inducements were insufficient to satisfy the spirit of persecution.

A further act was passed, in 1709, imposing additional penalties. The
first clause declares, that no Papist shall be capable of holding an
annuity for life. The third provides, that the child of a Papist, on
conforming, shall at once receive an annuity from his father; and that
the Chancellor shall compel the father to discover, upon oath, the full
value of his estate, real and personal, and thereupon make an order for
the support of such conforming child or children, and for securing such
a share of the property, after the father's death, as the court shall
think fit. The fourteenth and fifteenth clauses secure jointures to
Popish wives who shall conform. The sixteenth prohibits a Papist from
teaching, even as assistant to a Protestant master. The eighteenth
gives a salary of 30 pounds per annum to Popish priests who shall
conform. The twentieth provides rewards for the discovery of Popish
prelates, priests, and teachers, according to the following whimsical
scale:—For discovering an archbishop, bishop, vicar-general, or other
person, exercising any foreign ecclesiastical jurisdiction, 50 pounds;
for discovering each regular clergyman, and each secular clergyman, not
registered, 20 pounds; and for discovering each Popish schoolmaster or
usher, 10 pounds. The twenty-first clause empowers two justices to
summon before them any Papist over eighteen years of age, and
interrogate him when and where he last heard mass said, and the names
of the persons present, and likewise touching the residence of any
Popish priest or schoolmaster; and if he refuse to give testimony,
subjects him to a fine of 20 pounds, or imprisonment for twelve months.

Several other penal laws were enacted by the same Parliament, of which
we can only notice one; it excluded Catholics from the office of
sheriff, and from grand juries, and enacts, that, in trials upon any
statute for strengthening the Protestant interest, the plaintiff might
challenge a juror for being a Papist, which challenge the judge was to

By a royal proclamation of the same year, "all registered priests" were
to take "the oath of abjuration before the 25th of March, 1710," under
penalty of _premunire_. Under this proclamation and the tariff of
rewards just cited, there grew up a class of men, infamous and
detestable, known by the nickname of "priest hunters." One of the most
successful of these traffickers in blood was a Portuguese Jew, named
Garcia, settled at Dublin. He was very skilful at disguises. "He
sometimes put on the mien of a priest, for he affected to be one, and
thus worming himself into the good graces of some confiding Catholic
got a clue to the whereabouts of the clergy." In 1718, Garcia succeeded
in arresting seven unregistered priests, for whose detection he had a
sum equal to two or three thousand dollars of American money. To such
an excess was this trade carried, that a reaction set in, and a
Catholic bishop of Ossory, who lived at the time these acts were still
in force, records that "the priest-catchers' occupation became
exceedingly odious both to Protestants and Catholics," and that himself
had seen "ruffians of this calling assailed with a shower of stones,
flung by both Catholics and Protestants." But this creditable reaction
only became general under George II., twenty years after the passage of
the act of Queen Anne.

We shall have to mention some monstrous additions made to the code
during the first George's reign, and some attempts to repair and
perfect its diabolical machinery, even so late as George III.; but the
great body of the penal law received its chief accessions from the
oligarchical Irish Parliament, under Queen Anne. Hitherto, we have
often had to point out, how with all its constitutional defects—with
the law of Poynings, obliging heads of bills to be first sent to
England—fettering its freedom of initiative;—how, notwithstanding all
defects, the Irish Parliament had asserted, at many critical periods,
its own and the people's rights, with an energy worthy of admiration.
But the collective bigots of this reign were wholly unworthy of the
name of a parliament. They permitted the woollen trade to be sacrificed
without a struggle,—they allowed the bold propositions of Molyneux, one
of their own number, to be condemned and reprobated without a protest.
The knotted lash of Jonathan Swift was never more worthily applied,
than to "the Legion Club," which he has consigned to such an unenviable
immortality. Swift's inspiration may have been mingled with bitter
disappointment and personal revenge; but, whatever motives animated
him, his fearless use of his great abilities must always make him the
first political, as he was certainly the first literary character of
Ireland at that day. In a country so bare and naked as he found it;
with a bigotry so rampant and united before him; it needed no ordinary
courage and capacity to evoke anything like public opinion or public
spirit. Let us be just to that most unhappy man of genius; let us
proclaim that Irish nationality, bleeding at every pore, and in danger
of perishing by the wayside, found shelter on the breast of Swift, and
took new heart from the example of that bold churchman, before whom the
Parliament, the bench of Bishops, and the Viceroy, trembled.


The close of the second reign from the siege of Limerick imposes the
duty of casting our eyes over the map of Europe, in quest of those
gallant exiles whom we have seen, in tens of thousands, submitting to
the hard necessity of expatriation.

Many of the Meath and Leinster Irish, under their native commanders,
the Kavanaghs and Nugents, carried their swords into the service of
William's ally, the Emperor of Austria, and distinguished themselves in
all the campaigns of Prince Eugene. Spain attracted to her standard the
Irish of the north-west, the O'Donnells, the O'Reillys, and O'Garas,
whose regiments, during more than one reign, continued to be known by
flames of Ulster origin. In 1707, the great battle of Almanza, which
decided the Spanish succession, was determined by O'Mahony's foot and
Fitzjames's Irish horse. The next year Spain had five Irish regiments
in her regular army, three of foot and two of dragoons, under the
command of Lacy, Lawless, Wogan, O'Reilly, and O'Gara. But it was in
France that the Irish served in the greatest number, and made the most
impressive history for themselves and their descendants.

The recruiting agents of France had long been in the habit of crossing
the narrow seas, and bringing back the stalwart sons of the western
Island to serve their ambitious kings, in every corner of the
continent. An Irish troop of horse served, in 1652, under Turenne,
against the great Conde. In the campaigns of 1673, 1674 and 1675, under
Turenne, two or three Irish regiments were in every engagement along
the Rhine. At Altenheim, their commander, Count Hamilton, was created a
major-general of France. In 1690, these old regiments, with the six new
ones sent over by James, were formed into a brigade, and from 1690 to
1693, they went through the campaigns of Savoy and Italy, under Marshal
Catinat, against Prince Eugene. Justin McCarthy, Lord Mountcashel, who
commanded them, died at Bareges of wounds received at Staffardo. At
Marsiglia, they routed, in 1693, the allies, killing Duke Schomberg,
son to the Huguenot general who fell at the Boyne.

The "New" or Sarsfield's brigade was employed under Luxembourg, against
King William, in Flanders, in 1692 and 1693. At Namur and Enghien, they
were greatly distinguished, and William more than once sustained heavy
loss at their hands. Sarsfield, their brigadier, for these services,
was made mareschal-de-camp. At Landen, on the 29th of July, '93, France
again triumphed to the cry, "Remember Limerick!" Sarsfield, leading on
the fierce pursuers, fell, mortally wounded. Pressing his hand upon the
wound, he took it away dripping with blood, and only said, "Oh, that
this was for Ireland!"

In the war of the Spanish succession, the remnants of both brigades,
consolidated into one, served under their favourite leader, the Marshal
Duke of Berwick, through nearly all his campaigns in Belgium, Spain and
Germany. The third Lord Clare, afterwards Field-Marshal Count Thomond,
was by the Duke's side at Phillipsburg, in 1733, when he received his
death-wound from the explosion of a mine. These exiled Clare O'Briens
commanded for three generations their famous family regiment of
dragoons. The first who followed King James abroad died of wounds
received at the battle of Ramillies; the third, with better fortune,
outlived for nearly thirty years the glorious day of Fontenoy. The
Irish cavalry regiments in the service of France were Sheldon's,
Galmoy's, Clare's, and Killmallock's; the infantry were known as the
regiments of Dublin, Charlemont, Limerick, and Athlone. There were two
other infantry regiments, known as Luttrel's and Dorrington's—and a
regiment of Irish marines, of which the Grand Prior, Fitzjames, was
colonel. During the latter years of Louis XIV., there could not have
been less, at any one time, than from 20,000 to 30,000 Irish in his
armies, and during the succeeding century, authentic documents exist to
prove that 450,000 natives of Ireland died in the military service of

In the dreary reigns of William, Anne, and the two first Georges, the
pride and courage of the disarmed and disinherited population abiding
at home, drew new life and vigour from the exploits of their exiled
brethren. The channel smuggler and the vagrant ballad-singer kept alive
their fame for the lower class of the population, while the memoirs of
Marlborough and Eugene, issuing from the Dublin press, communicated
authentic accounts of their actions, to the more prejudiced, or better
educated. The blows they struck at Landen, at Cremona, and at Almanza,
were sensibly felt by every British statesman; when, in the bitterness
of defeat, an English King cursed "the laws that deprived him of such
subjects," the doom of the penal code was pronounced.

The high character of the famous captains of these brigades was not
confined to the field of battle. At Paris, Vienna, and Madrid, their
wit and courtesy raised them to the favour of princes, over the
jealousy of all their rivals. Important civil and diplomatic offices
were entrusted to them—embassies of peace and war—the government of
provinces, and the highest administrative offices of the state. While
their kinsmen in Ireland were declared incapable of filling the
humblest public employments, or of exercising the commonest franchise,
they met British ambassadors abroad as equals, and checked or
countermined the imperial policy of Great Britain. It was impossible
that such a contrast of situations should not attract the attention of
all thinking men! It was impossible that such reputations should shine
before all Europe without reacting powerfully on the fallen fortunes of



The last years of Queen Anne had been years of intrigue and preparation
with the Jacobite leaders throughout the three kingdoms. At their head
stood Ormond, the second and last _Duke_ of his name, and with him were
associated at one stage or another of his design, Bolingbroke, Orrery,
Bishop Atterbury, and other influential persons. It was thought that
had this party acted promptly on the death of the Queen, and proclaimed
James III. (or "the Pretender," as he was called by the partisans of
the new dynasty), the Act of Succession might have remained a dead
letter, and the Stuarts recovered their ancient sovereignty. But the
partisans of the elector were the first in the field, and King George
was accordingly proclaimed, on the 1st of August, at London, and on the
6th of August, at Dublin.

In Dublin, where serious apprehensions of a Jacobite rising were
entertained, the proclamation was made by the glare of torches at the
extraordinary hour of midnight. Two or three arrests of insignificant
persons were made, and letters to Swift being found on one of them, the
Dean was thought by his friends to be in some danger. But it was not
correct to say, as many writers have done, that he found it necessary
to retire from Dublin. The only inconvenience he suffered was from the
hootings and revilings of the Protestant rabble in the street, and a
brutal threat of personal violence from a young nobleman, upon whom he
revenged himself in a characteristic petition to the House of Lords
"for protection against the said lord." Pretending not to be quite sure
of his assailant, he proceeds to explain: "Your petitioner is informed
that the person who spoke the words above mentioned is of your
Lordships' House, under the style and title of Lord Blaney; whom your
petitioner remembers to have introduced to Mr. Secretary Addison, in
the Earl of Wharton's government, and to have done him other good
offices at that time, because he was represented as a young man of some
hopes and a broken fortune." The entire document is a curious picture
of the insolence of the ascendancy party of that day, even towards
dignitaries of their own church who refused to go all lengths in the
only politics they permitted or tolerated.

It was while smarting under these public indignities, and excluded from
the society of the highest class in his own country, with two or three
exceptions, that Swift laid the foundations of his own and his
country's patriotism, among the educated middle class of the Irish
capital. From the college and the clergy he drew Dr. Sheridan—ancestor
of six generations of men and women of genius! Doctors Delaney,
Jackson, Helsham, Walmsley, Stopford (afterwards Bishop of Cloyne), and
the three reverend brothers Grattan. In the city he selected as his
friends and companions four other Grattans, one of whom was Lord-Mayor,
another physician to the castle, one a schoolmaster, the other a
merchant. "Do you know the Grattans?" he wrote to the Lord-Lieutenant,
Lord Carteret; "then pray obtain their acquaintance. The Grattans, my
lord, can raise 10,000 men." Among the class represented by this
admirable family of seven brothers, and in that of the tradesmen
immediately below them, of which we may take his printers, Waters and
Faulkner for types, Swift's haughty and indignant denunciations of the
oligarchy of the hour produced striking effects. The humblest of the
community began to raise their heads, and to fix their eyes steadily on
public affairs and public characters. Questions of currency, of trade,
of the administration of justice and of patronage, were earnestly
discussed in the press and in society, and thus by slow but gradually
ascending steps, a spirit of independence was promoted where hitherto
only servility had reigned.

The obligations of his cotemporaries to Swift are not to be counted
simply by what he was able to originate or to advocate in their
behalf—for not much could be done in that way, in such times, and in
such a position as his—but rather in regard to the enemies and
maligners of that people, whom he exposed and punished. To understand
the value of his example and inspiration, we must read over again his
castigations of Wharton, of Burnet, of Boulter, of Whitshed, of Allan,
and all the leaders of the oligarchy, in the Irish Parliament. When we
have done so, we shall see at once how his imperial reputation, his
personal position, and every faculty of his powerful mind were employed
alike to combat injustice and proscription, to promote freedom of
opinion and of trade, to punish the abuses of judicial power, and to
cultivate and foster a spirit of self reliance and economy among all
classes—especially the humblest. In his times, and in his position,
with a cassock "entangling his course," what more could have been
expected of him?

The Irish Parliament met in 1715—elected, according to the then usage,
for the lifetime of the King—commenced its career by an act of
attainder against the Pretender, accompanied by a reward of 50,000
pounds for his apprehension. The Lords-Justices, the Duke of Grafton
and the Earl of Galway, recommended in their speech to the Houses, that
they should cultivate such unanimity among themselves as "at once to
put an end to all other distinctions in Ireland, but that of Protestant
and Papist." In the same speech, and in all the debates of that reign,
the Catholics were spoken of as "the common enemy," and all who
sympathized with them, as "enemies of the constitution." But far as
this Parliament was from all our ideas of what a national legislature
ought to be, it was precisely at this period, when the administration
could not be worse, that the foundation was laid of the great contest
for legislative independence, which was to continue through three
generations, and to constitute the main staple of the Irish history of
this century.

In the year 1717, the English House of Lords entertained and decided,
as a court of last resort, an appeal from the Irish courts, already
passed on by the Irish Lords, in the famous real-estate case of
Annesley _versus_ Sherlock. The proceeding was novel, and was protested
against in the English House at the time by the Duke of Leeds, and in
the Irish, by the majority of the whole House. But the British
Parliament, not content with claiming the power, proceeded to establish
the principle, by the declaratory act—6th George I.—for securing the
dependence of Ireland on the crown of Great Britain. This statute, even
more objectionable than the law of Poynings, continued unrepealed till
1782, notwithstanding all the arguments and all the protests of the
Irish patriot party. The Lords of Ireland, unsupported by the bigoted
and unprincipled oligarchy in the Commons, were shorn of their
appellate jurisdiction, and their journals for many years contain few
entries of business done, beyond servile addresses to successive
Viceroys, and motions of adjournment.

In their session of 1723, the ascendancy party in the Commons proceeded
to their last extreme of violence against the prostrate Catholics. An
act was introduced founded on eight resolutions, "further to prevent
the growth of Popery." One of these resolutions, regularly transmitted
to England by the Viceroy-proposed that every priest, arrested within
the realm, should suffer the penalty of _castration_! For the first
time, a penal law was rejected with horror and indignation by the
English Privy Council, and the whole elaborate edifice, overweighted
with these last propositions, trembled to its base. But though badly
shaken, it was yet far from coming down.

"Do not the corruptions and villainies of men," said Swift to his
friend Delaney, "eat your flesh and exhaust your spirits?" They
certainly gnawed at the heart of the courageous Dean, but at the same
time, they excited rather than exhausted his spirits. In 1720 he
resumed his pen, as a political writer, in his famous proposal "for the
universal use of Irish manufactures." Waters, the printer of this
piece, was indicted for a seditious libel, before Chief-Justice
Whitshed, the immortal "_coram nobis_" of the Dean's political ballads.
The jury were detained eleven hours, and sent out nine times, to compel
them to agree on a verdict. They at length finally declared they could
not agree, and a _nol. pros_. was soon after entered by the crown. This
trial of Swift's printer in 1720, is the first of a long series of
duels with the crown lawyers, which the Irish press has since
maintained with as much firmness and self-sacrifice as any press ever
exhibited. And it may be said that never, not even under martial law,
was a conspicuous example of civic courage more necessary, or more
dangerous. Browne, Bishop of Cork, had been in danger of deprivation
for preaching a sermon against the well-known toast to the memory of
King William; Swift was threatened, as we see, a few years earlier,
with personal violence by a Whig lord, and pelted by a Protestant
rabble, for his supposed Jacobitism; his friend, Dr. Sheridan, lost his
Munster living for having accidentally chosen as his text, on the
anniversary of King George's coronation, "sufficient for the day is the
evil thereof." Such was the intolerance of the oligarchy towards their
own clergy. What must it have been to others!

The attempt to establish a National Bank, and the introduction of a
debased copper coinage, for which a patent had been, granted to one
William Wood, next employed the untiring pen of Swift. The halfpenny
controversy, was not, as is often said, a small matter; it was nearly
as important as the bank project itself. Of the 100,000 pounds worth
coined, the intrinsic value was shown to be not more than 6,000 pounds.
Such was the storm excited against the patentee, that his Dublin agents
were obliged to resign their connection with him, and the royal
letters-patent were unwillingly cancelled. The bank project was also
rejected by Parliament, adding another to the triumphs of the
invincible Dean.

During the last years of this reign, Swift was the most powerful and
popular person in Ireland, and perhaps in the empire. The freedom with
which he advised Carteret the Viceroy, and remonstrated with Walpole,
the Premier, on the misrule of his country, was worthy of the
ascendancy of his genius. No man of letters, no churchman, no statesman
of any country in any age, ever showed himself more thoroughly
independent, in his intercourse with men of office, than Swift. The
vice of Ireland was exactly the other way, so that in this respect
also, the patriot was the liberator.

Rising with the rise of public spirit, the great churchman, in his
fourth letter, in the assumed character of _M. B. Drapier_, confronted
the question of legislative independence. Alluding to the pamphlet of
Molyneux, published thirty years before, he pronounced its arguments
invincible, and the contrary system "the very definition of slavery."
"The remedy," he concludes, addressing the Irish people, "is wholly in
your own hands, and therefore I have digressed a little, in order to
refresh and continue that spirit so seasonably raised among you, and to
let you see, that, by the laws of God, of nature, of nations, and of
your country, _you are, and ought to be, as free a people as your
brethren in England_." For this letter also, the printer, Harding, was
indicted, but the Dublin grand jury, infected with the spirit of the
times, unanimously ignored the bill. A reward of 300 pounds was then
issued from the castle for the discovery of the author, but no informer
could be found base enough to betray him. For a time, however, to
escape the ovations he despised, and the excitement which tried his
health, Swift retired to his friend Sheridan's cottage on the banks of
Lough Ramor, in Cavan, and there recreated himself with long rides
about the country, and the composition of the Travels of the immortal

Sir Robert Walpole, alarmed at the exhibition of popular intelligence
and determination evoked by Swift, committed the government of Ireland
to his rival, Lord Carteret—whom he was besides not sorry to remove to
a distance—and appointed to the See of Armagh, which fell vacant about
the time of the currency dispute, Dr. Hugh Boulter, Bishop of Bristol,
one of his own creatures. This prelate, a politician by taste and
inclination, modelled his policy on his patron's, as far as his more
contracted sphere and inferior talents permitted. To buy members in
market overt, with peerages, or secret service money, was his chief
means of securing a Parliamentary majority. An Englishman by birth and
education; the head of the Protestant establishment in Ireland, it was
inevitable that his policy should be English and Protestant, in every
particular. To resist, depress, disunite, and defeat the believers in
the dangerous doctrines of Swift and Molyneux, was the sole rule of his
nearly twenty years' political supremacy in Irish affairs. (1724-1742.)
The master of a princely income, endowed with strong passions,
unlimited patronage, and great activity, he may be said to have reigned
rather than led, even when the nominal viceroyalty was in the hands of
such able and accomplished men as Lords Carteret, Dorset and
Devonshire. His failure in his first state trial, against Harding the
printer, nothing discouraged him; he had come into Ireland to secure
the English interest, by uprooting the last vestiges of Popery and
independence, and he devoted himself to those objects with persevering
determination. In 1727—the year of George the First's decease—he
obtained the disfranchisement of Catholic electors by a clause quietly
inserted without notice in a Bill regulating elections; and soon after
he laid the foundations of those nurseries of proselytism, "the Charter


The accession of King George II. in 1727, led to no considerable
changes, either in England or Ireland. Sir Robert Walpole continued
supreme in the one country, and Primate Boulter in the other. The
Jacobites, disheartened by their ill success in 1715, and repelled
rather than attracted by the austere character of him they called King
James III., made no sign. The new King's first act was to make public
the declaration he had addressed to the Privy Council, of his firm
resolution to uphold the existing constitution "in church and state."

The Catholic population, beginning once more to raise their heads,
thought this a suitable occasion to present a humble and loyal address
of congratulation to the Lords Justices, in the absence of the Viceroy.
Lord Delvin and several of their number accordingly appeared at the
Castle, and delivered their address, which they begged might be
forwarded to the foot of the throne. No notice whatever was taken of
this document, either at Dublin or London, nor were the class who
signed it permitted by law to "testify their allegiance" to the
sovereign, for fifty years later—down to 1778.

The Duke of Dorset, who succeeded Lord Carteret as Viceroy in 1731,
unlike his immediate predecessor, refrained from suggesting additional
severities against the Catholics. His first term of office—two
years—was almost entirely occupied with the fiercest controversy which
had ever waged in Ireland between the Established Church and the
Protestant Dissenters. The ground of the dispute was the sacramental
test, imposed by law upon the members of both Houses, and all burgesses
and councillors of corporate towns. By the operations of this law, when
rigidly enforced, Presbyterians and other dissenters were as
effectually excluded from political and municipal offices as Catholics
themselves. Against this exclusion it was natural that a body so
numerous, and possessed of so much property, especially in Ulster,
should make a vigorous resistance. Relying on the great share they had
in the revolution, they endeavoured, though ineffectually, to obtain
under King William the repeal of the Test Act of King Charles II. Under
Queen Anne they were equally unsuccessful, as we may still read with
interest in the pages of Swift, De Foe, Tennison, Boyse, and King.
Swift, especially, brought to the controversy not only the zeal of a
churchman, but the prejudices of an Anglo-Irishman, against the
new-comers in the north. He upbraids them in 1708, as glad to leave
their barren hills of Lochaber for the fruitful vales of Down and
Antrim, for their parsimony and their clannishness. He denied to them,
with bitter scorn, the title they had assumed of "Brother Protestants,"
and as to the Papists, whom they affected to despise, they were, in his
opinion, as much superior to the Dissenters, as a lion, though chained
and clipped of its claws, is a stronger and nobler animal than an angry
cat, at liberty to fly at the throats of true churchmen. The language
of the Presbyterian champions was equally bold, denunciatory, and
explicit. They broadly intimated, in a memorial to Parliament, that
under the operation of the test, they would be unable to take up arms
again, as they had done in 1688, for the maintenance of the Protestant
succession; a covert menace of insurrection, which Swift and their
other opponents did not fail to make the most of. Still farther to
embarrass them, Swift got up a paper making out a much stronger case in
favour of the Catholics than of "their brethren, the Dissenters," and
the controversy closed, for that age, in the complete triumph of the
established clergy.

This iniquitous deprivation of equal civil rights, accompanied with the
onerous burthen of tithes falling heaviest on the cultivators of the
soil, produced the first great Irish exodus to the North American
colonies. The tithe of agistment or pasturage, lately abolished, had
made the tithe of tillage more unjust and unequal. Outraged in their
dearest civil and religious rights, thousands of the Scoto-Irish of
Ulster, and the Milesian and Anglo-Irish of the other provinces,
preferred to encounter the perils of an Atlantic flitting rather than
abide under the yoke and lash of such an oligarchy. In the year 1729,
five thousand six hundred Irish landed at the single port of
Philadelphia; in the next ten years they furnished to the Carolinas and
Georgia the majority of their immigrants; before the end of this reign,
several thousands of heads of families, all bred and married in
Ireland, were rearing up a free posterity along the slopes of the Blue
Ridge in Virginia and Maryland, and even as far north as the valleys of
the Hudson and the Merrimac. In the ranks of the thirteen United
Colonies, the descendants of those Nonconformists were to repeat, for
the benefit of George III., the lesson and example their ancestors had
taught to James II. at Enniskillen and at Derry.

Swift, with all his services to his own order, disliked, and was
disliked by them. Of the bishops he has recorded his utter contempt in
some of the most cutting couplets that even he ever wrote. Boulter he
detested; Narcissus Marsh he despised; with Dr. King of Dublin, Dr.
Bolton of Cashel, and Dr. Horte of Tuam, he barely kept up appearances.
Except Sterne, Bishop of Clogher, Berkely, Bishop of Cloyne, and
Stopford, his successor, he entertained neither friendship nor respect
for one of that order. And on their part, the right reverend prelates
cordially reciprocated his antipathy. They resisted his being made a
member of the Linen Board, a Justice of the Peace, or a Visitor of
Trinity College. Had he appeared amongst them in Parliament as their
peer, they would have been compelled to accept him as a master, or
combine against him as an enemy. No wonder, then, that successive
Viceroys shrank from nominating him to any of the mitres which death
had emptied; "the original sin of his birth" was aggravated in their
eyes by the actual sin of his patriotism. No wonder the sheets of paper
that littered his desk, before he sunk into his last sad scene of
dotage, were found scribbled all over with his favourite lines—

"Better we all were in our graves,
Than live in slavery to slaves."

But the seeds of manly thought he had so broadly sown, though for a
season hidden even from the sight of the sower, were not dead, nor
undergoing decay. With something of the prudence of the founder, "the
Patriot party," as the opposition to the Castle party began to be
called, occupied themselves at first with questions of taxation and
expenditure. In 1729, the Castle attempted to make it appear that there
was a deficit—that in short "the country owed the government"—the large
sum of 274,000 pounds! The Patriots met this claim, by a motion for
reducing the cost of all public establishments. This was the chosen
ground of both parties, and a more popularly intelligible ground could
not be taken. Between retrenchment and extravagance, between high taxes
and low, even the least educated of the people could easily decide; and
thenceforward for upwards of twenty years, no session was held without
a spirited debate on the supplies, and the whole subject of the public

The Duke of Devonshire, who succeeded the Duke of Dorset as Viceroy in
1737, contributed by his private munificence and lavish hospitalities
to throw a factitious popularity round his administration. No Dublin
tradesman could find it in his heart to vote against the nominee of so
liberal a nobleman, and the public opinion of Dublin was as yet the
public opinion of Ireland. But the Patriot party, though unable to stem
successfully the tide of corruption and seduction thus let loose, held
their difficult position in the legislature with great gallantry and
ability. New men had arisen during the dotage of Swift, who revered his
maxims, and imitated his prudence. Henry Boyle, speaker of the House of
Commons, afterwards Earl of Shannon; Anthony Malone—son of the
_confrere_ of Sir Toby Butler, and afterwards Chancellor of the
Exchequer, Sir Edward O'Brien, member for Clare, and his son, Sir
Lucius, member for Ennis, were the pillars of the party. Out of doors,
the most active spirit among the Patriots was Charles Lucas, a native
of Clare, who, from his apothecary's shop in Dublin, attempted, not
without both talents, zeal and energy, to play the part of Swift, at
the press and among the people. His public writings, commenced in 1741,
brought him at first persecution and exile, but they afterwards
conducted him to the representation of the capital, and an honourable
niche in his country's history.

The great event which may be said to divide into two epochs the reign
of George II. was the daring invasion of Scotland in 1745, by "the
young Pretender"—Charles Edward. This brave and unfortunate Prince,
whose adventures will live for ever in Scottish song and romance, was
accompanied from France by Sir Thomas Sheridan, Colonel O'Sullivan, and
other Irish refugees, still fondly attached to the house of Stuart. It
is not to be supposed that these gentlemen would be without
correspondents in Ireland, nor that the state of that country could be
a matter of indifference to the astute advisers of King George. In
reality, Ireland was almost as much their difficulty as Scotland, and
their choice of a Viceroy, at this critical moment, showed at once
their estimate of the importance of the position, and the talents of
the man.

Philip Dormer Stanhope, Earl of Chesterfield, a great name in the world
of fashion, in letters, and in diplomacy, is especially memorable to us
for his eight months' viceroyalty over Ireland. That office had been
long the object of his ambition, and he could hardly have attained it
at a time better calculated to draw out his eminent administrative
abilities. By temper and conviction opposed to persecution, he connived
at Catholic worship under the very walls of the Castle. The sour and
jaundiced bigotry of the local oligarchy he encountered with _bon mots_
and raillery. The only "dangerous Papist" he had seen in Ireland, he
declared to the King on his return, was a celebrated beauty of that
religion—Miss Palmer. Relying on the magical effect of doing justice to
all classes, and seeing justice done, he was enabled to spare four
regiments of troops for the war in Scotland, instead of demanding
additions to the Irish garrisons. But whether to diminish the influence
which his brilliant administration had created in England, or through
the machinations of the oligarchy, still powerful at Dublin, within ten
days from the decisive battle of Culloden, he was recalled. The fruits
of his policy might be already observed, as he walked on foot, his
countess on his arm, to the place of embarkation, amid the acclamations
of all ranks and classes of the people, and their affectionate prayers
for his speedy return.


The mention of the Scottish insurrection of 1745 brings naturally with
it another reference to the history of the Irish soldiers in the
military service of France. This year was in truth the most eventful in
the annals of that celebrated legion, for while it was the year of
Fontenoy and victory on the one hand, it was on the other the year of
Culloden and defeat.

The decisive battle of Fontenoy, in which the Franco-Irish troops bore
so decisive a part, was fought on the 11th of May, 1745. The French
army, commanded by Saxe, and accompanied by King Louis, leaving 18,000
men to besiege Namur, and 6,000 to guard the Scheldt, took a position
between that river and the allies, having their centre at the village
of Fontenoy. The British and Dutch, under the King's favourite son, the
Duke of Cumberland, were 55,000 strong; the French 45,000. After a hard
day's fighting, victory seemed to declare so clearly against France,
that King Louis, who was present, prepared for flight. At this moment
Marshal Saxe ordered a final charge by the seven Irish regiments under
Counts Dillon and Thomond. The tide was turned, beyond expectation, to
the cry of "Remember Limerick!" France was delivered, England checked,
and Holland reduced from a first to a second-rate power upon that
memorable day. But the victory was dearly bought. One-fourth of all the
Irish officers, including Count Dillon, were killed, and one-third of
all the men. The whole number slain on the side of France was set down
at 7,000 by English accounts, while they admitted for themselves alone,
4,000 British and 3,300 Hanoverians and Dutch. "Foremost of all," says
the just-minded Lord Mahon, "were the gallant brigade of Irish exiles."
It was this defeat of his favourite son which wrung from King George
II. the oft-quoted malediction on the laws which deprived him of such

The expedition of Prince Charles Edward was undertaken and conducted by
Irish aid, quite as much as by French or Scottish. The chief parties to
it, besides the old Marquis of Tullibardine and the young Duke of
Perth, were the Waterses, father and son, Irish bankers at Paris, who
advanced one hundred and eighty thousand livres between them; Walsh, an
Irish merchant at Nantz, who put a privateer of eighteen guns into the
venture; Sir Thomas Geraldine, the Pretender's agent at Paris; Sir
Thomas Sheridan, the prince's preceptor, who, with Colonels O'Sullivan
and Lynch, Captain O'Neil, and other officers of the brigade, formed
the staff, on which Sir John McDonald, a Scottish officer in the
Spanish service, was also placed. Fathers Kelly and O'Brien volunteered
in the expedition. On the 22nd of June, 1745, with seven friends, the
prince embarked in Walsh's vessel, the Doutelle, at St. Nazaire, on the
Loire, and on the 19th of July, landed on the northern coast of
Scotland, near Moidart. The Scottish chiefs, little consulted or
considered beforehand, came slowly and dubiously to the landing-place.
Under their patriarchal control there were still in the kingdom about a
hundred thousand men, and about one-twelfth of the Scottish population.
Clanronald, Cameron of Lochiel, the Laird of McLeod, and a few others,
having arrived, the royal standard was unfurled on the 19th of August
at Glenfinin, where that evening twelve hundred men—the entire army so
far—were formed into camp, under the orders of O'Sullivan. From that
day until the day of Culloden, O'Sullivan seems to have manoeuvred the
prince's forces. At Perth, at Edinburgh, at Preston, at Manchester, at
Culloden, he took command in the field, or in garrison; and even after
the sad result, he adhered to his sovereign's son with an honourable
fidelity which defied despair.

Charles, on his part, placed full confidence in his Irish officers. In
his proclamation after the battle of Preston, he declared it was not
his intention to enforce on the people of England, Scotland, or
Ireland, "a religion they disliked." In a subsequent paper, he asks,
"Have you found reason to love and cherish your governors as the
fathers of the people of Great Britain and Ireland? Has a family upon
whom a faction unlawfully bestowed the diadem of a rightful prince,
retained a due sense of so great a trust and favour?" These and his
other proclamations betrayed an Irish pen; probably Sir Thomas
Sheridan's. One of Charles's English adherents, Lord Elcho, who kept a
journal of the campaign, notes, complainingly, the Irish influence
under which he acted. "The prince and his old governor, Sir Thomas
Sheridan," are especially objected to, and the "Irish favourites" are
censured in a body. While at Edinburgh, a French ship, containing some
arms, supplies, and "Irish officers," arrived; at the same time efforts
were made to recruit for the prince in Ireland; but the agents being
taken in some cases, the channel narrowly watched, and the people not
very eager to join the service, few recruits were obtained.

The Irish in France, as if to cover the inaction of their countrymen at
home, strained every nerve. The Waterses and O'Brien of Paris were
liberal bankers to the expedition. Into their hands James "exhausted
his treasury" to support his gallant son. At Fontainebleau, on the 23rd
of October, Colonel O'Brien, on the part of the prince, and the Marquis
D'Argeusson for Louis XV., formed a treaty of "friendship and
alliance," one of the clauses of which was, that certain Irish
regiments, and other French troops, should be sent to sustain the
expedition. Under Lord John Drummond a thousand men were shipped from
Dunkirk, and arrived at Montrose in the Highlands about the time
Charles had penetrated as far south as Manchester. The officers, with
the prince, here refused to advance on London with so small a force; a
retreat was decided on; the sturdy defence of Carlisle, and victory of
Falkirk, checked the pursuit; but the overwhelming force of the Duke of
Cumberland compelled them to evacuate Edinburgh, Perth, and
Glasgow—operations which consumed February, March, and the first half
of April, 1746.

The next plan of operations seems to have been to concentrate in the
western Highlands, with Inverness for head-quarters. The town Charles
easily got, but Fort-George, a powerful fortress, built upon the site
of the castle where Macbeth was said to have murdered Duncan, commanded
the Loch. Stapleton and his Irish, captured it, however, as well as the
neighbouring Fort-Augustus. Joined by some Highlanders, they next
attempted Fort-William, the last fortress of King George in the north,
but on the 3rd of April were recalled to the main body.

To cover Inverness, his head-quarters, Charles resolved to give battle.
The ground chosen, flanked by the river Nairn, was spotted with marsh
and very irregular; it was called Culloden, and was selected by
O'Sullivan. Brigadier Stapleton and Colonel Kerr reported against it as
a field of battle; but Charles adopted O'Sullivan's opinion of its
fitness for Highland warfare. When the preparations for battle began,
"many voices exclaimed, 'We'll give Cumberland another Fontenoy!'" The
Jacobites were placed in position by O'Sullivan, "at once their
adjutant and quarter-master-general," and, as the burghers of Preston
thought, "a very likely fellow." He formed two lines, the great clans
being in the first, the Ogilvies, Gordons, and Murrays; the French and
Irish in the second. Four pieces of cannon flanked each wing, and four
occupied the centre. Lord George Murray commanded the right wing, Lord
John Drummond the left, and Brigadier Stapleton the reserve. They
mustered in all less than five thousand men. The British formed in
three lines, ten thousand strong, with two guns between every second
regiment of the first and second line. The action commenced about noon
of April 16th, and before evening half the troops of Prince Charles lay
dead on the field, and the rest were hopelessly broken. The retreat was
pell-mell, except where "a troop of the Irish pickets, by a spirited
fire, checked the pursuit, which a body of dragoons commenced after the
Macdonalds, and Lord Lewis Gordon's regiments did similar service."
Stapleton conducted the French and Irish remnant to Inverness, and
obtained for them by capitulation "fair quarter and honourable

The unhappy prince remained on the field almost to the last. "It
required," says Mr. Chambers, "all the eloquence, and, indeed, all the
active exertion, of O'Sullivan to make Charles quit the field. A cornet
in his service, when questioned on this subject at the point of death,
declared he saw O'Sullivan, after using entreaties in vain, turn the
head of the prince's horse and drag him away."

From that night forth, O'Sullivan, O'Neil, and a poor sedan carrier of
Edinburgh, called Burke, accompanied him in all his wanderings and
adventures among the Scottish islands. At Long Island they were obliged
to part company, the prince proceeding alone with Miss Flora McDonald.
He had not long left, when a French cutter hove in sight and took off
O'Sullivan, intending to touch at another point, and take in the prince
and O'Neil. The same night she was blown off the coast, and the prince,
after many other adventures, was finally taken off at Badenoch, on the
15th of September, 1746, by the L'Heureux, a French armed vessel, in
which Captain Sheridan (son of Sir Thomas), Mr. O'Beirne, a lieutenant
in the French army, "and two other gentlemen," had adventured in search
of him. Poor O'Neil, in seeking to rejoin his master, was taken
prisoner, carried to London, and is lost from the record. O'Sullivan
reached France safely, where, with Stapleton, Lynch, and the Irish and
Scotch officers, he was welcomed and honoured of all brave men.

Such was the last struggle of the Stuarts. For years after, the popular
imagination in both countries clung fondly to Prince Charles. But the
cause was dead. As if to bury it for ever, Charles, in despair, grew
dissipated and desponding. In 1755, "the British Jacobites" sent
Colonel McNamara, as their agent, to induce him to put away his
mistress, Miss Walsingham, a demand with which he haughtily refused to
comply. In 1766, when James III. died at Avignon, the French king and
the Pope refused to acknowledge the prince by the title of Charles III.
When the latter died, in 1788, at Rome, Cardinal York contented himself
with having a medal struck, with the inscription "Henricus IX., Anglae
Rex." He was the last of the Stuarts.

Notwithstanding the utter defeat of the Scottish expedition, and the
scatterment of the surviving companies of the brigade on all sorts of
service from Canada to India, there were many of the exiled Irish in
France, who did not yet despair of a national insurrection against the
house of Hanover. In the year 1759, an imposing expedition was fitted
out at Brest under Admiral Conflaus, and another at Dunkirk, under
Commodore Thurot, whose real name was O'Farrell. The former, soon after
putting to sea, was encountered at Quiberon by the English under Hawke,
and completely defeated; but the latter entered the British channel
unopposed, and proceeded to the appointed _rendezvous_. While cruising
in search of Conflaus, the autumnal equinox drove the intrepid Thurot
into the Northern ocean, and compelled him to winter among the frozen
friths of Norway and the Orkneys. One of his five frigates returned to
France, another was never heard of, but with the remaining three he
emerged from the Scottish Islands, and entered Lough Foyle early in
1760. He did not, however, attempt a landing at Derry, but appeared
suddenly before Carrickfergus, on the 21st of February, and demanded
its surrender. Placing himself at the head of his marines and sailors,
he attacked the town, which, after a brave resistance by the
commandant, Colonel Jennings, he took by assault. Here, for the first
time, this earlier Paul Jones heard of the defeat of his admiral; after
levying contributions on the rich burgesses and proprietors of
Carrickfergus and Belfast, he again put to sea. His ships, battered by
the wintry storms which they had undergone in northern latitudes, fell
in near the Isle of Man with three English frigates, just out of port,
under Commodore Elliott. A gallant action ensued, in which Thurot, or
O'Farrell, and three hundred of his men were killed. The survivors
struck to the victors, and the French ships were towed in a sinking
state, into the port of Ramsey.

The life thus lost in the joint service of France and Ireland, was a
life illustrative of the Irish refugee class among whom he became a
leader. Left an orphan in childhood, O'Farrell, though of a good
family, had been bred in France in so menial a condition that he first
visited England as a domestic servant. From that condition he rose to
be a dexterous and successful captain in the contraband trade, so
extensive in those times. In this capacity he visited almost every port
of either channel, acquiring that accurate knowledge which, added to
his admitted bravery and capacity, placed him at length at the head of
a French squadron. "Throughout the expedition," says Lord Mahon, "the
honour and humanity of this brave adventurer are warmly acknowledged by
his enemies." "He fought his ship," according to the same author,
"until the hold was almost filled with water, and the deck covered with
dead bodies."


The Earl of Harrington, afterwards Duke of Devonshire, succeeded Lord
Chesterfield in the government, in 1746. He was provided with a prime
minister in the person of the new Archbishop of Armagh, Dr. George
Stone, whose character, if he was not exceedingly calumniated by his
cotemporaries, might be compared to that of the worst politicians of
the worst ages of Europe. Originally, the son of the jailer of
Winchester, he had risen by dint of talents, and audacity, to receive
from the hands of his sovereign, the illustrious dignity of Primate of
Ireland. But even in this exalted office, the abominable vices of his
youth accompanied him. His house at Leixlip, was at once a tavern and a
brothel, and crimes, which are nameless, were said to be habitual under
his roof. "May the importation of Ganymedes into Ireland, be soon
discontinued," was the public toast, which disguised under the
transparent gauze of a mythological allusion, the infamies of which he
was believed to be the patron. The prurient page of Churchill was not
quite so scrupulous, and the readers of the satire entitled "The
Times," will need no further key to the horrible charges commonly
received on both sides of the channel, against Primate Stone.

The viceroyalty of Ireland, which had become an object of ambition to
the first men in the empire, was warmly contested by the Earl of
Harrington and the Duke of Dorset. The former, through his Stanhope
influence and connections, prevailed over his rival, and arrived in
Ireland, warmly recommended by the popular Chesterfield. During his
administration, Primate Stone, proceeding from one extreme to another,
first put forward the dangerous theory, that all surplus revenue
belonged of right to the crown, and might be paid over by the
Vice-Treasurers, to his majesty's order, without authority of
Parliament. At this period, notwithstanding the vicious system of her
land tenures, and her recent losses by emigration, Ireland found
herself in possession of a considerable surplus revenue.

Like wounds and bruises in a healthy body, the sufferings and
deprivations of the population rapidly disappeared under the appearance
even of improvement in the government. The observant Chesterfield, who
continued through life warmly attached to the country in which his name
was remembered with so much affection, expresses to his friend,
Chevenix, Bishop of Waterford, in 1751, his satisfaction at hearing
"that Ireland improves daily, and that a spirit of industry spreads
itself, to the great increase of trade and manufactures." This new-born
prosperity the Primate and politicians of his school would have met by
an annual depletion of the treasury, instead of assisting its march by
the reduction of taxes, and the promotion of necessary public works.
The surplus was naturally regarded, by the Patriot party, in the light
of so much national capital; they looked upon it as an improvement
fund, for the construction of canals, highways, and breakwaters, for
the encouragement of the linen and other manufactures, and for the
adornment of the capital with edifices worthy of the chief city of a
flourishing kingdom.

The leader of the Patriot party, Anthony Malone, was compared at this
period, by an excellent authority, to "a great sea in a calm." He was
considered, even by the fastidious Lord Shelburne, the equal, in
oratory, of Chatham and Mansfield. He seems to have at all times,
however, sunk the mere orator in the statesman, and to have used his
great powers of argument even more in Council than in the arena. His
position at the bar, as Prime Sergeant, by which he took precedence
even of the Attorney-General, gave great weight to his opinions on all
questions of constitutional law. The roystering country gentlemen, who
troubled their heads but little with anything besides dogs and horses,
pistols and claret, felt secure in their new-fledged patriotism, under
the broad aegis of the law extended over them by the most eminent
lawyer of his age. The Speaker of the Commons, Henry Boyle, aided and
assisted Malone, and when left free to combat on the floor, his high
spirit and great fortune gave additional force to his example and
confidence to his followers. Both were men too cautious to allow their
adversaries any parliamentary advantage over them, but not so their
intrepid coadjutor out of doors, Apothecary Lucas. He, like Swift,
rising from local and municipal grievances to questions affecting the
constitution of Parliament itself, was in 1749, against all the efforts
of his friends in the House of Commons, declared by the majority of
that House to be "an enemy to his country," and a reward was
accordingly issued for his apprehension. For a time he was compelled to
retire to England; but he returned, to celebrate in his Freeman's
Journal the humiliation of the primate, and the defeat of the policy
both of Lord Harrington, and his successor, the Duke of Dorset.

This nobleman, resolved to cast his predecessor into the shade by the
brilliancy of his success, proceeded to take vigorous measures against
the patriots. In his first speech to Parliament in 1751, he informed
them his Majesty "consented" to the appropriation of the surplus
revenue, by the House of Commons, and a clause was added to the annual
supply bill in the English Council, containing the same obnoxious word,
"consent." On this occasion, not feeling themselves strong enough to
throw out the bill, and there being no alternative but rejection or
acceptance, the Patriots permitted it to pass under protest. But the
next session, when a similar addition was made, the Commons rejected
the supply bill altogether, by a majority of 122 to 117. This was a
measure of almost revolutionary consequence, since it left every branch
of the public service unprovided for, for the ensuing twelve months.

Both the advisers of the King in England, and the Viceroy in Ireland,
seemed by their insane conduct as if they desired to provoke such a
collision. Malone's patent of precedence as Prime Sergeant was
cancelled; the speaker was dismissed from the Privy Council, and the
surplus revenue was withdrawn from the Vice-Treasurer, by a King's
letter. The indignation of the Dubliners at these outrages rose to the
utmost pitch. Stone, Healy, Hutchinson, and others of the Castle party,
were waylaid and menaced in the streets, and the Viceroy himself hooted
wherever he appeared. Had the popular leaders been men less cautious,
or less influential, the year 1753 might have witnessed a violent
revolutionary movement. But they planted themselves on the authority of
the constitution, they united boldness with prudence, and they
triumphed. The Primate and his creatures raised against them in vain
the cuckoo cry of disloyalty, both in Dublin and London. The English
Whigs, long engaged themselves in a similar struggle with the overgrown
power of the crown, sympathized with the Irish opposition, and defended
their motives both in society and in Parliament. The enemies of the
Dorset family as naturally took their part, and the duke himself was
obliged to go over to protect his interest at court, leaving the odious
Primate as one of the Lords-Justices. At his departure his guards were
hardly able to protect him from the fury of the populace, to that
waterside to which Chesterfield had walked on foot, seven years before,
amid the benedictions of the same people.

The Patriots had at this crisis a great addition to their strength, in
the accession of James, the twentieth Earl of Kildare, successively
Marquis and Duke of Leinster. This nobleman, in the prime of life,
married to the beautiful Emily Lennox, daughter of the Duke of
Richmond, followed Dorset to England, and presented to the King, with
his own hand, one of the boldest memorials ever addressed to a
sovereign by a subject. After reciting the past services of his family
in maintaining the imperial connection, he declared himself the organ
of several thousands of his Majesty's liege subjects, "as well the
nobles as the clergy, the gentry, and the commonalty of the kingdom."
He dwells on the peculation and extravagance of the administration,
under "the Duumvirate" of the Viceroy and the Primate, which he
compares with the league of Strafford and Laud. He denounces more
especially Lord George Sackville, son to Dorset, for his intermeddling
in every branch of administration. He speaks of Dr. Stone as "a greedy
churchman, who affects to be a second Wolsey in the senate." This
high-toned memorial struck with astonishment the English ministers, who
did not hesitate to hint, that, in a reign less merciful, it would not
have passed with impunity. In Ireland it raised the hardy earl to the
pinnacle of popular favour. A medal was struck in his honour,
representing him guarding a heap of treasure with a drawn sword, and
the motto—"Touch not, says Kildare." At the opening of the next
Parliament, he was a full hour making his way among the enthusiastic
crowd, from his house in Kildare street to College Green. In little
more than a year, the Duke of Dorset, whom English ministers had in
vain endeavoured to sustain, was removed, and the Primate, by his
Majesty's orders, was struck from the list of privy counsellors.

Lord Harrington, now Duke of Devonshire, replaced the disgraced and
defeated Dorset, and at once surrounded himself with advisers from the
ranks of the opposition. The Earl of Kildare was his personal and
political friend, and his first visit, on arriving, was paid at Carton.
The Speaker, Mr. Boyle, the Earl of Bessborough, head of the popular
family of the Ponsonbys, and Mr. Malone, were called to the Privy
Council. Lucas, exalted rather than injured by years of exile, was
elected one of the members for the city of Dublin, and the whole face
of affairs promised a complete and salutary change of administration.

After a year in office, Devonshire returned to England in ill-health,
leaving Lord Kildare as one of the Justices, an office which he
continued to fill, till the arrival in September, 1756, of John, fourth
Duke of Bedford, as Lord-Lieutenant, with Mr. Rigby, "a good four
bottle man," as chief secretary.

The instructions of the Duke of Bedford, dictated by the genius and
wisdom of Chatham, were, to employ "all softening and healing arts of
government." His own desire, as a Whig, at the head of the Whig
families of England, was to unite and consolidate the same party in
Ireland, so as to make them a powerful auxiliary force to the English
Whigs. Consistently with this design, he wished well to the country he
was sent to rule, and was sincerely desirous of promoting measures of
toleration. But he found the Patriots distracted by success, and
disorganized by the possession of power. The Speaker, who had struggled
so successfully against his predecessors, was in the Upper House as
Earl of Shannon, and the chair of the Commons was filled by John
Ponsonby, of the Bessborough family. The Ponsonby following, and the
Earl of Kildare's friends were at this period almost as much divided
from each other in their views of public policy, as either were from
the party of the Primate. The Ponsonby party, still directed by Malone,
wished to follow up the recent victory on the money bills, by a measure
of Catholic relief, a tax upon absentees, and a reduction of the
pension list, shamelessly burthened beyond all former proportion. Lord
Kildare and his friends were not then prepared to go such lengths,
though that high spirited nobleman afterwards came into most of these
measures. After endeavouring in vain to unite, these two interests, the
Duke of Bedford found, or fancied himself compelled, in order to secure
a parliamentary majority, to listen to the overtures of the, obsequious
Primate, to restore him to the Council, and to leave him, together with
his old enemy, Lord Shannon, in the situation of joint administrators,
during his journey to England, in 1758. The Earl of Kildare, it should
be remarked, firmly refused to be associated with Stone, on any terms,
or for any time, long or short.

The closing of this important reign is notable for the first Catholic
meeting held since the reign of Queen Anne. In the spring of 1757, four
hundred respectable gentlemen attended by mutual agreement, at Dublin,
among whom were Lords Devlin, Taafe, and Fingal, the antiquary, Charles
O'Conor, of Balanagar, the historian of the _Civil Wars_, Dr. Curry,
and Mr. Wyse, a merchant of Waterford, the ancestor of a still better
known labourer in the same cause. The then recent persecution of Mr.
Saul, a Dublin merchant, of their faith, for having harboured a young
lady whose friends wished to coerce her into a change of religion, gave
particular significance to this assembly. It is true the proceedings
were characterized by caution amounting almost to timidity, but the
unanimous declaration of their loyal attachment to the throne, at a
moment when French invasion was imminent, produced the best effect, and
greatly strengthened the hands of the Clanbrassils, Ponsonbys, Malones,
Dalys, and other advocates of an enlarged toleration in both Houses. It
is true no immediate legislation followed, but the way was prepared for
future ameliorations by the discretion and tact of the Catholic
delegates of 1757. They were thenceforth allowed at least the right of
meeting and petitioning, of which they had long been deprived, and the
restoration of which marks the first step in their gradual recovery of
their civil liberties.

In 1759 a rumour broke out in Dublin that a legislative union was in
contemplation by the Primate and his faction. On the 3rd of December,
the citizens rose _en masse_, and surrounded the Houses of Parliament.
They stopped the carriages of members, and obliged them to swear
opposition to such a measure. Some of the Protestant bishops, and the
Lord Chancellor were roughly handled; a privy counsellor was thrown
into the river; the Attorney General was wounded and obliged to take
refuge in the college; Lord Inchiquin was abused till he said his name
was O'Brien, when the rage of the people "was turned into
acclamations." The Speaker, Mr. Ponsonby, and the Chief Secretary, Mr.
Rigby, had to appear in the porch of the House of Commons, solemnly to
assure the citizens that no union was dreamed of, and if it was
proposed, that they would be the first to resist it. Public spirit had
evidently grown bold and confident, and we can well believe Secretary
Rigby when he writes to the elder Pitt, that "the mob" declared, "since
they have no chance of numbers in the House, they must have recourse to
numbers out of doors."


George III., grandson of the late king, commenced, in October, 1760, at
the age of two and twenty, the longest reign in British history.
Including the period of the regency, he reigned over his empire nearly
sixty years—an extraordinary term of royal power, and quite as
extraordinary for its events as for its extreme length.

The great movement of the Irish mind, at the beginning of this reign,
was the limitation of the duration of Parliament, hitherto elected for
the King's life. This reform, long advocated out of doors, and by the
more progressive members within the House, was reserved for the new
Parliament under the new reign. To this Parliament were returned
several men of great promise, men of a new generation, nurtured in the
school of Swift and Malone, but going even beyond their masters in
their determination to liberate the legislature of their country from
the undue influence of the crown and the castle. Among those new
members were three destined to national celebrity, Dr. Lucas, Mr.
Hussey Burgh, and Mr. Dennis Bowes Daly; and one destined to universal
reputation—Henry Flood. This gentleman, the son of a former Chief
Justice, intermarried into the powerful oligarchical family of the
Beresfords, was only in his 28th year when first elected member for
Kilkenny; but, in point of genius and acquirements, he was even then
the first man in Ireland, and one of the first in the empire. For a
session or two he silently observed the forms of the House, preparing
himself for the great contest to come; but when at last he obtained the
ear of his party he was heard to some purpose. Though far from
advocating extreme measures, he had abundant boldness; he was not open
to the objection levelled against the leader of the past generation,
Mr. Malone, of whom Grattan said, "he was a colony-bred man, and he
feared to bring down England upon Ireland."

The Duke of Bedford vacated the viceroyalty in 1761, and Lord Halifax
took his place. In the first parliamentary session, Dr. Lucas
introduced his resolutions limiting the duration of Parliament to seven
years, a project which Flood afterwards adopted and mainly contributed
to carry. The heads of the bill embodying these resolutions were
transmitted to London by the Lord-Lieutenant, but never returned. In
1763, under the government of the Marquis of Hertford, similar
resolutions were introduced and carried, but a similar fate awaited
them. Again they were passed, and again rejected, the popular
dissatisfaction rising higher and higher with every delay of the
reform. At length, in the session of 1767, "the Septennial Bill," as it
was called, was returned from England, changed to octennial, and with
this alteration it passed into law, in February, 1768. A new Parliament
the same year was elected under the new act, to which all the friends
of the measure were triumphantly returned. The faithful Lucas, however,
survived his success little better than two years; he died amid the
very sincere regrets of all men who were not enemies of their country.
At his funeral the pall was borne by the Marquis of Kildare, Lord
Charlemont, Mr. Flood, Mr. Hussey Burgh, Sir Lucius O'Brien, and Mr.

Lord Halifax, and his chief secretary, Mr. Hamilton (known to us as
"the single-speech Hamilton," of literary history), received very
graciously the loyal addresses presented by the Catholics, soon after
his Majesty's accession. In a speech from the throne, the Viceroy
proposed, but was obliged to abandon the proposition, to raise six
regiments of Catholics, under their own officers, to be taken into the
service of Portugal, the ally of Great Britain. His administration was
otherwise remarkable neither for its length nor its importance; nor is
there anything else of consequence to be mentioned of his lordship,
except that his nephew, and chief secretary, had the honour to have
Edmund Burke for his private secretary, and the misfortune to offend

During the government of the Marquis of Hertford, and his successor,
Lord Townsend (appointed in 1768), the Patriot party contended on the
ground of rendering the judges independent, diminishing the pension
list, and modifying the law of Poynings, requiring heads of bills to be
sent into England, and certified by both Privy Councils, before they
could be passed upon by the legislature. The question of supply, and
that of the duration of Parliament, being settled, these reforms were
the next objects of exertion. When we know that the late King's
mistresses, the Queen Dowager of Prussia, Prince Ferdinand, and other
connections of the royal family, equally alien to the country, were
pensioners to the amount of thousands of pounds annually on the Irish
establishment, we can understand more clearly the bitterness of the
battle Mr. Flood and his colleagues were called upon to fight in
assailing the old system. But they fought it resolutely and
perseveringly. Death had removed their most unscrupulous enemy, Primate
Stone, during the Hertford administration, and the improved tone and
temper of public opinion would not tolerate any attempt to raise up a
successor of similar character. Lord Townsend, an old campaigner and
_bon vivant_, was expressly chosen as most capable of restoring the old
system of government by closeting and corruption, but he found the
Ireland of his day very materially altered from the defenceless
province, which Stone and Dorset had attempted to cajole or to coerce,
twenty years before.

The Parliament of 1769—the first limited Parliament which Ireland had
seen since the revolution—proved, in most respects, worthy of the
expectations formed of it. John Ponsonby was chosen Speaker, and Flood
regarded, around him, well-filled benches and cheering countenances.
The usual supply bill was passed and sent up to the castle, but on its
return from England was found to be altered—15,000 men, among other
changes, being charged to the Irish military establishment, instead of
12,000, as formerly. The Commons, resolute to assert their rights,
threw out the bill, as had been done in 1753, and the Lord Lieutenant,
protesting in the House of Lords against their conduct, ordered them to
be prorogued. Prorogation followed prorogation, till February, 1771,
the interval being occupied in closeting and coquetting with members of
the opposition, in the creation of new places, and the disposal of them
to the relatives of those capable of being bought. No one was
surprised, when the Houses reassembled, to find that a bare majority of
the Commons voted a fulsome address of confidence to the Lord
Lieutenant. But this address, Speaker Ponsonby indignantly refused to
present. He preferred resignation to disgrace, and great was the
amazement and indignation when his friend, Mr. Perry, elected by a bare
majority, consented to take the post—no longer a post of honour. In
justice to Mr, Perry, however, it must be added, that in the chair as
on the floor of Parliament, he still continued the patriot—that if he
advanced his own fortunes, it was not at the expense of the
country—that some of the best measures passed by this and the
subsequent Parliament, owed their final success, if not their first
suggestion, to his far-seeing sagacity.

The methods taken by Lord Townsend to effect his ends, not less than
those ends themselves, aroused the spirit and combined the ranks of the
Irish opposition. The press of Dublin teemed with philippics and
satires, upon his creatures and himself. The wit, the scholarship, the
elegant fancy, the irresistible torrent of eloquence, as well as the
popular enthusiasm, were against him, and in 1772, borne down by these
combined forces, he confessed his failure by resigning the sword of
state into the hands of Lord Harcourt.

The new Viceroy, according to custom, began his reign by taking an
exactly opposite course to his predecessor, and ended it by falling
into nearly the same errors and abuses. He suggested an Absentee-tax,
which was introduced by Flood, but rejected through the preponderating
influence of the landed aristocracy. In preparing the tables of
expenditure, he had caused arrears amounting to 265,000 pounds, and an
annual increase of 100,000 pounds, to be added to the estimates.
Moreover, his supply bill was discovered, at the second reading, to
extend over _two years_ instead of one—a discovery which occasioned the
greatest indignation. Flood raised his powerful voice in warning, not
unmingled with menace; Burgh declared, that if any member should again
bring in such a bill, he would himself move his expulsion from the
House; while George Ogle, member for Wexford, proposed that the bill
itself should be burned before the porch, by the common hangman. He was
reminded that the instrument bore the great seal; to which he boldly
answered, that the seal would help to make it burn the better. It was
not thought politic to take notice of this revolutionary retort.


England was engaged in two great wars during the period of Flood's
supremacy in the Irish Parliament—the seven years' war, concluded by
the peace of Paris in 1763, and the American war, concluded by the
treaty of Versailles, in 1783. To each of these wars Ireland was the
second largest contributor both as to men and money; and by both she
was the severest sufferer, in her manufactures, her provision trade,
and her general prosperity. While army contracts, and all sorts of
military and naval expenditure in a variety of ways returned to the
people of England the produce of their taxes, the Irish had no such
compensation for the burdens imposed on their more limited resources.
The natural result was, that that incipient prosperity which
Chesterfield hailed with pleasure in 1751, was arrested in its growth,
and fears began to be seriously entertained that the country would be
driven back to the lamentable condition from which it had slowly and
laboriously emerged during the reign of George II.

The absence of employment in the towns threw the labouring classes more
and more upon the soil for sustenance, while the landlord legislation
of the period threw them as helplessly back upon other pursuits than
agriculture. Agrarian injustice was encountered by conspiracy, and for
the first time in these pages, we have to record the introduction of
the diabolical machinery of secret oath-bound associations among the
Irish peasantry. Of the first of these combinations in the southern
counties, a cotemporary writer gives the following account: "Some
landlords in Munster," he says, "have let their lands to cotters far
above their value, and, to lighten their burden, allowed commonange to
their tenants by way of recompense: afterwards, in despite of all
equity, contrary to all compacts, the landlords enclosed these commons,
and precluded their unhappy tenants from the only means of making their
bargains tolerable." The peasantry of Waterford, Cork, and other
southern counties met in tumultuous crowds, and demolished the new
enclosures. The oligarchical majority took their usual cue on such
occasions: they pronounced, at once, that the cause of the riots was
"treason against the state;" they even obtained a select committee to
"inquire into the cause and progress of the Popish insurrection in
Munster." Although the London Gazette, on the authority of royal
commissioners, declared that the rioters "consisted indiscriminately of
persons of different persuasions," the Castle party would have it
"another Popish plot." Even Dr. Lucas was carried away by the passions
of the hour, and declaimed against all lenity, as cowardly and

A large military force, under the Marquis of Drogheda, was accordingly
despatched to the south. The Marquis fixed his head-quarters at
Clogheen, in Tipperary, the parish priest of which was the Rev.
Nicholas Sheehy. The magistracy of the county, especially Sir Thomas
Maude, William Bagnel, John Bagwell, Daniel Toler, and Parson Hewitson,
were among the chief maintainers of the existence of a Popish plot, to
bring in the French and the Pretender. Father Sheehy had long been
fixed upon as their victim: largely connected with the minor gentry,
educated in France, young, popular, eloquent and energetic, a stern
denouncer of the licentious lives of the squires, and of the exacting
tithes of the parsons, he was particularly obnoxious. In 1763 he was
arrested on a charge of high treason, for drilling and enrolling
Whiteboys, but was acquitted. Towards the close of that year, Bridge,
one of the late witnesses against him, suddenly disappeared. A charge
of murder was then laid against the priest of Clogheen, and a
prostitute named Dunlea, a vagrant lad named Lonergan, and a convicted
horse stealer called Toohey, were produced in evidence against him,
after he had lain nearly a year in prison, heavily fettered. On the
12th of March, 1765, he was tried at Clonmel, on this evidence; and
notwithstanding an _alibi_ was proved, he was condemned, and beheaded
on the third day afterwards. Beside the old ruined church of
Shandraghan, his well-worn tomb remains till this day. He died in his
thirty-eighth year. Two months later, Edward Sheehy, his cousin, and
two respectable young farmers, named Buxton and Farrell, were executed
under a similar charge, and upon the same testimony. All died with
religious firmness and composure. The fate of their enemies is
notorious; with a single exception, they met deaths violent, loathsome,
and terrible. Maude died insane, Bagwell in idiocy, one of the jury
committed suicide, another was found dead in a privy, a third was
killed by his horse, a fourth was drowned, a fifth shot, and so through
the entire list. Toohey was hanged for felony, the prostitute Dunlea
fell into a cellar and was killed, and the lad Lonergan, after
enlisting as a soldier, died of a loathsome disease in a Dublin

In 1767, an attempt to revive the plot was made by the Munster
oligarchy, without success. Dr. McKenna, Bishop of Cloyne, was arrested
but enlarged; Mr. Nagle, of Garnavilla (a relative of Edmund Burke),
Mr. Robert Keating, and several respectable Catholic gentlemen, were
also arrested. It appears that Edmund Burke was charged by the
ascendancy party with having "sent his brother Richard, recorder of
Bristol, and Mr. Nagle, a relation, on a mission to Munster, to levy
money on the Popish body for the use of the Whiteboys, who were
exclusively Papists." The fact was, that Burke did originate a
subscription for the defence of the second batch of victims, who,
through his and other exertions, were fortunately saved from the fate
of their predecessors.

Contemporaneous with the Whiteboys were the northern agrarians, called
"Hearts of Steel," formed among the absentee Lord Downshire's tenants,
in 1762; the "Oak Boys," so called from wearing oak leaves in their
hats; and the "Peep o' Day Boys," the precursors of the Orange
Association. The infection of conspiracy ran through all Ireland, and
the disorder was neither short-lived nor trivial. Right-boys,
Defenders, and a dozen other denominations descended from the same evil
genius, whoever he was, that first introduced the system of signs, and
passwords, and midnight meetings, among the peasantry of Ireland. The
celebrated society of United Irishmen was the highest form which that
principle, in our politics, ever reached. In its origin, it was mainly
a Protestant organization.

From the first, the Catholic bishops and clergy strenuously opposed
these secret societies. The Bishop of Cloyne issued a reprobatory
pastoral; Father Arthur O'Leary employed his facile pen against them;
the Bishop of Ossory anathematized them in his diocese. Priests in
Kildare, Kilkenny, and Munster, were often in personal danger from
these midnight legislators; their chapels had been frequently nailed
up, and their bishops had been often obliged to remove them from one
neighbourhood to another to prevent worse consequences. The infatuation
was not to be stayed; the evil was engrafted on society, and many a
long year, and woeful scene, and blighted life, and broken heart, was
to signalize the perpetuation of secret societies among the population.

These startling symptoms of insubordination and lawlessness, while they
furnished plausible pretexts to the advocates of repression, still
further confirmed the Patriot party in their belief, that, nothing
short of a free trade in exports and imports, and a thorough system of
retrenchment in every branch of the public service, could save the
nation from bankruptcy and ruin. This was Flood's opinion, and he had
been long recognized as the leading spirit of the party. The aged
Malone, true to his principles of conciliation and constitutionalism to
the last, passed away from the scene, in the midst of the exciting
events of 1776. For some years before his death, his former place had
been filled by the younger and more vigorous member for Kilkenny, who,
however, did not fail to consult him with all the deference due to his
age, his services, and his wisdom. One of his last official acts was
presiding over the committee of the whole House, which voted the
American contingent, but rejected the admission of German troops to
supply their place.


The revolt of the American colonies against the oppressive legislation
of the British Parliament, was the next circumstance that deeply
affected the constitutional struggle, in which the Irish Parliament had
so long been engaged. The similarity in the grievances of Ireland and
the colonies, the close ties of kindred established between them, the
extent of colonial commerce involved in the result, contributed to give
the American Declaration of Independence more importance in men's eyes
at Dublin, than anywhere else out of the colonies, except, perhaps,

The first mention made of American affairs to the Irish legislature,
was in Lord Townsend's message in 1775, calling for the despatch of
4,000 men from the Irish establishment, to America, and offering to
supply their place by as many foreign Protestant (German) troops. The
demand was warmly debated. The proposition to receive the proffered
foreign troops was rejected by a majority of thirty-eight, and the
contingent for America passed on a division, upon Flood's plea that
they would go out merely as "4,000 armed negotiators." This expression
of the great parliamentary leader was often afterwards quoted to his
prejudice, but we must remember, that, at the time it was employed, no
one on either side of the contest had abandoned all hopes of
accommodation, and that the significance of the phrase was rather
pointed against Lord North than against the colonies. The 4,000 men
went out, among them Lord Rawdon (afterwards Lord Moira), Lord Edward
Fitzgerald, and many others, both officers and men, who were certainly
no enemies of liberty, or the colonies.

Some slight relaxation of the commercial restrictions which operated so
severely against Irish industry were made during the same year, but
these were more than counterbalanced by the embargo on the export of
provisions to America, imposed in February, 1776. This arbitrary
measure—imposed by order in Council—was so near being censured by the
Parliament then sitting, that the House was dissolved a month
afterwards, and a new election ordered. To meet the new Parliament it
was thought advisable to send over a new Viceroy, and accordingly Lord
Buckinghamshire entered into office, with Sir Richard Heron as chief

In the last session of the late Parliament, a young _protege_ of Lord
Charlemont—he was only in his twenty-ninth year—had taken his seat for
the borough of Charlemont. This was Henry Grattan, son of the Recorder
of Dublin, and grandson of one of those Grattans who, according to Dean
Swift, "could raise 10,000 men." The youth of Grattan had been neither
joyous nor robust; in early manhood he had offended his father's
conservatism; the profession of the law, to which he was bred, he found
irksome and unsuited to his tastes; society, as then constituted, was
repulsive to his over-sensitive spirit and high Spartan ideal of manly
duty; no letters are sadder to read than the early correspondence of
Grattan, till he had fairly found his inspiration in listening
enraptured to the eloquent utterances of Chatham, or comparing
political opinions with such a friend as Flood. At length he found a
seat in the House of Commons, where, during his first session, he spoke
on three or four occasions, briefly, modestly, and with good effect;
there had been no sitting during 1776, nor before October of the
following year; it was, therefore, in the sessions from '78 to '82
inclusive, that this young member raised himself to the head of the
most eloquent men, in one of the most eloquent assemblies the world has
ever seen.

The fact of Mr. Flood, after fourteen years of opposition, having
accepted office under Lord Harcourt's administration, and defended the
American expedition and the embargo, had greatly lessened the
popularity of that eminent man. There was indeed, no lack of ability
still left in the ranks of the opposition—for Burgh, Daly, and
Yelverton were there; but for a supreme spirit like Grattan—whose
burning tongue was ever fed from his heart of fire—there is always room
in a free senate, how many soever able and accomplished men may
surround him.

The fall of 1777 brought vital intelligence from America. General
Burgoyne had surrendered at Saratoga, and France had decided to ally
herself with the Americans. The effect in England and in Ireland was
immense. When the Irish Houses met, Mr. Grattan moved an address to the
King in favour of retrenchment, and against the pension list, and Mr.
Daly moved and carried an address deploring the continuance of the
American war, with a governmental amendment assuring his Majesty that
he might still rely on the services of his faithful Commons. The second
Catholic relief bill, authorizing Papists to loan money on mortgage, to
lease lands for any period not exceeding 999 years—to inherit and
bequeath real property, so limited, passed, not without some
difficulty, into law. The debate had been protracted, by adjournment
after adjournment, over the greatest part of three months; the main
motion had been further complicated by an amendment repealing the Test
Act in favour of Dissenters, which was, fortunately, engrafted on the
measure. The vote in the Commons, in favour of the bill so amended, was
127 _yeas_ to 89 _nays_, and in the Lords, 44 _Contents_ to 28

In the English House of Commons, Lord Nugent moved, in April, a series
of resolutions raising the embargo on the Irish provision trade;
abolishing, so far as Ireland was concerned, the most restrictive
clauses of the Navigation Act, both as to exports and imports, with the
exception of the article of tobacco. Upon this the manufacturing and
shipping interest of England, taking the alarm, raised such a storm in
the towns and cities that the ministry of the day were compelled to
resist the proposed changes, with a few trifling exceptions. But
Grattan had caught up, in the other island, the cry of "free trade,"
and the people echoed it after their orator, until the whole empire
shook with the popular demand.

But what gave pith and power to the Irish demands was the enrolment and
arming of a numerous volunteer force, rendered absolutely necessary by
the defenceless state of the kingdom. Mr. Flood had long before
proposed a national militia, but being in opposition and in the
minority, he had failed. To him and to Mr. Perry, as much as to Lord
Charlemont and Mr. Grattan, the militia bill of 1778, and the noble
army of volunteers equipped under its provisions, owed their origin.
Whether this force was to be a regular militia, subject to martial law,
or composed of independent companies, was for some months a subject of
great anxiety at the castle; but necessity at length precipitated a
decision in favour of volunteer companies, to be supplied with arms by
the state, but drilled and clothed at their own expense, with power to
elect their own officers. The official announcement of this decision
once made, the organization spread rapidly over the whole kingdom. The
Ulster corps, first organized, chose as their commander the Earl of
Charlemont, while those of Leinster elected the Duke of Leinster.
Simultaneously, resolutions against the purchase of English goods and
wares were passed at public meetings, and by several of the corporate
bodies. Lists of the importers of such goods were obtained at the
custom houses, and printed in handbills, to the alarm of the importers.
Swift's sardonic maxim, "to burn everything coming from England,
_except the coals_," began to circulate as a toast in all societies,
and the consternation of the Castle, at this resurrection of the
redoubtable Dean, was almost equal to the apprehension entertained of
him while living.

While the Castle was temporizing with both the military and the
manufacture movement, in a vague expectation to defeat both, the press,
as is usual in such national crises, teemed with publications of great
fervour and ability. Dr. Jebb, Mr. (afterwards Judge) Johnson, Mr.
Pollock, Mr. Charles Sheridan, Father Arthur O'Leary, and Mr. Dobbs,
M.P., were the chief workers in this department of patriotic duty.
Cheered, instructed, restrained within due bounds by these writings and
the reported debates of Parliament, the independent companies proceeded
with their organization. In July, 1779, after all the resources of
prevarication had been exhausted, arms were issued to the several
recognized corps, and the Irish volunteers became in reality a national
army for domestic protection and defence.

When this point was reached, Mr. Grattan and his friends took anxious
council as to their future movements. Parliament was to meet on the
12th of October, and in that sweet autumnal month, Grattan, Burgh, and
Daly, met upon the sea-shore, near Bray, in view of one of the
loveliest landscapes on earth, to form their plan for the session. They
agreed on an amendment to the address in answer to the royal speech,
demanding in explicit terms "free export and import" for Irish
commerce. When Parliament met, and the address and amendment were
moved, it was found that Flood, Burgh, Hutchinson, and Gardiner, though
all holding offices of honour and emolument under government, would
vote for it. Flood suggested to substitute the simple term "free
trade," and with this and one other verbal alteration suggested by
Burgh, the amendment passed with a single dissenting voice.

The next day the Speaker, Mr. Perry, who was all along in the
confidence of the movers of the amendment, Daly, Grattan, Burgh, Flood,
Hutchinson, Ponsonby, Gardiner, and the whole House, went up with the
amended address to the castle. The streets were lined with volunteers,
commanded in person by the Duke of Leinster, who presented arms to the
patriotic Commons as they passed. Most of the leading members wore the
uniform of one or other of the national companies, and the people saw
themselves at the same moment under the protection of a patriotic
majority in the legislature, and a patriotic force in the field. No
wonder their enthusiastic cheers rang through the corridors of the
castle with a strangely jubilant and defiant emphasis. It was not
simply the spectacle of a nation recovering its spirit, but recovering
it with all military _éclat_ and pageantry. It was the disarmed armed
and triumphant—a revolution not only in national feeling, but in the
external manifestation of that feeling. A change so profound stirred
sentiments and purposes even deeper than itself, and suggested to the
ardent imagination of Grattan the establishment of entire national
independence, saving always the rights of the crown.

The next day, the Houses, not to be outdone in courtesy, voted their
thanks to the volunteers for "their just and necessary exertions in
defence of their country!"


The task which Mr. Grattan felt called upon to undertake, was not
_revolutionary_, in the usually accepted sense of the term. He was a
Monarchist and a Whig in general politics; but he was an Irishman,
proud and fond of his country, and a sincere lover of the largest
religious liberty. With the independence of the judiciary and the
legislature, with freedom of commerce and of conscience, he would be
well content to stand by the British connection. "The sea," he said, in
his lofty figurative language, "protests against union—the ocean
against separation." But still, within certain legal limits, his task
_was_ revolutionary, and was undertaken under all the discouragements
incident to the early stages of great constitutional reforms.

Without awaiting the action of the English Parliament, in relation to
free trade, a public-spirited citizen of Dublin, Alderman James Horan,
demanded an entry at the custom house, for some parcels of Irish
woollens, which he proposed exporting to Rotterdam, contrary to the
prohibitory enactment, the 10th and 11th of William III. The
commissioners of customs applied for instructions to the Castle, and
the Castle to the Secretary of State, Franklin's friend, Lord
Hillsborough. For the moment a collision similar to that which had
taken place at Boston, on a not dissimilar issue, seemed imminent. A
frigate was stationed off Howth, with instructions, it was said, to
intercept the prohibited woollens, but Alderman Horan, by the advice of
his friends, allowed his application to remain on the custom house
files. It had served its purpose of bringing home practically to the
people, the value of the principle involved in the demand for freedom
of exports and imports. At the same time that this practical argument
was discussed in every circle, Mr. Grattan moved in the House of
Commons, in amendment to the supply bill, that, "At this time it is
inexpedient to grant new taxes." The government divided the House, but
to their mortification found only 47 supporters; for Grattan's
amendment there were 170. A subsequent amendment against granting
duties for the support of the loan fund, was also carried by 138 to

These adverse votes were communicated with great trepidation, by the
Lord Lieutenant, to the British administration. At length Lord North
thought it essential to make some concessions, and with this view he
brought in resolutions, declaring the trade with the British colonies
in America and Africa, and the free export of glass and woollens, open
to the Irish merchant. A week later, similar resolutions were passed in
the Irish Commons, and in February, 1780, "a free trade" in the sense
in which it had been demanded, was established by law, placing Ireland
in most respects, as to foreign and colonial commerce, on an equality
with England.

In February, the Viceroy again alarmed the British administration, with
the reported movement for the repeal of "Poyning's law,"—the statute
which required heads of bills to be transmitted to, and approved in
England, before they could be legislated upon. He received in reply,
the royal commands to resist by every means in his power, any attempted
"change in the constitution," and he succeeded in eliciting from the
House of Lords, an address, strongly condemnatory of "the misguided
men," who sought to raise such "groundless jealousies," between the two
kingdoms. But the Patriot Commoners were not to be so deterred. They
declared the repeal of Poyning's act, and the 6th of George I., to be
their ultimatum, and notices of motion to that effect were immediately
placed on the journals of the House of Commons.

In the early days of April, Grattan, who, more than any of our orators,
except perhaps Burke, was sensitive to the aspects of external nature,
and imbued with the poetry of her works, retired from the city, to his
uncle Dean Marlay's house, Cellbridge Abbey, formerly the residence of
Swift's ill-fated Vannessa. "Along the banks of that river," he said,
many years afterwards, "amid the groves and bowers of Swift and
Vannessa, I grew convinced that I was right; arguments, unanswerable,
came to my mind, and what I then presaged, confirmed me in my
determination to persevere." With an enthusiasm intensified and
restrained—but wonderful in the fire and grandeur of its utterance—he
rose in his place, on the 19th of the month, to move that "the King,
Lords, and Commons of Ireland, are the only power competent to enact
laws to bind Ireland." He was supported by Hussey Burgh, Yelverton, and
Forbes; Flood favoured postponement, and laid the foundation of his
future estrangement from Grattan; Daly was also for delay; Fitzgibbon,
afterwards Lord Clare, Provost Hutchinson, and John Foster, afterwards
Lord Oriel, resisted the motion. The Castle party moved in amendment
that "there being an equivalent resolution already on the journals of
the House"—alluding to one of the resolutions against Stafford's
tyranny in 1641—a new resolution was unnecessary. This amendment was
carried by 136 to 79, thus affirming the formula of independence
adopted in 1641, but depriving Grattan of the honour of putting it, in
his own words, on the record. The substantial result, however, was the
same; the 19th of April was truly what Grattan described it, "a great
day for Ireland." "It is with the utmost concern," writes the Viceroy
next day to Lord Hillsborough, "I must acquaint your Lordship that
although so many gentlemen expressed their concern that the subject had
been introduced, the sense of the House _against_ the obligation of
_any statutes_ of the Parliament of Great Britain, within this kingdom,
is represented to me to have been almost unanimous."

Ten days later, a motion of Mr. Yelverton's to repeal Poyning's law, as
far as related to the Irish privy council's supervision of heads of
bills, was negatived by 130 to 105.

During the remainder of the session the battle of independence was
fought on the Mutiny Bill. The Viceroy and the Chief Secretary, playing
the game of power, were resolved that the influence of the crown should
not be diminished, so far as the military establishments were
concerned. Two justices of the peace in Sligo and Mayo, having issued
writs of _habeas corpus_ in favour of deserters from the army, on the
ground that neither the British Mutiny Act, nor any other British
statute, was binding on Ireland, unless confirmed by an act of its own
legislature, brought up anew the whole question. Lord North, who, with
all his proverbial tact and good humour, in the House of Commons,
always pursued the most arbitrary policy throughout the empire,
proposed a perpetual Mutiny Bill for Ireland, instead of the Annual
Bill, in force in England. It was introduced in the Irish House of
Commons by Mr. Gervase Parker Bushe, and, by a vote of two to one,
postponed for a fortnight. During the interval, the British authorities
remained obdurate to argument and remonstrance. In vain, the majority
of the Irish privy counsellors advised concession; in vain, Flood, who
was consulted, pointed out the futility of attempting to force such a
measure; it was forced, and, under the cry of loyalty, a draft bill was
carried through both Houses, and remitted to England in June. Early in
August it was returned; on the 12th it was read a first time; on the
16th, a second; and it was carried through Committee by 114 to 62. It
was at this emergency the Volunteers performed the second act of their
great drama of Ireland's liberation. A series of reviews were held, and
significant addresses presented to Lord Camden (then on a visit to the
country), Lord Charlemont, Mr. Flood, and Mr. Grattan. On the
re-assembling of Parliament in August, when the bill was referred to,
Mr. Grattan declared that he would resist it to the last; that if
passed into law, he and his friends would _secede_, and would appeal to
the people in "a formal instrument." A new series of corporation and
county meetings was convened by the Patriot party, which warmly
condemned the Perpetual Mutiny Act, and as warmly approved the repeal
of Poyning's Act, and the 6th of George I.: questions which were all
conceived to be intermixed together, and to flow from the assertion of
a common principle. Parliament being prorogued in September, only threw
the whole controversy back again into the furnace of popular agitation.
The British Government tried a lavish distribution of titles and a
change of Viceroys,—Lord Carlisle being substituted in December for
Lord Buckingham—but the spirit abroad was too general and too earnest,
to be quelled by the desertion of individuals, however numerous or
influential. With Lord Carlisle, came, as Chief Secretary, Mr. Eden,
afterwards Lord Auckland; he had been, with his chief, a peace
commissioner to America, two years before, and had failed; he was an
intriguing and accomplished man, but he proved himself as unequal as
Heron or Rigby to combat the movement for Irish independence.

Parliament was not again called together till the month of October,
1781; the interval being busily occupied on both sides with endeavours
to create and sustain a party. Soon after the meeting, Mr. Grattan,
seconded by Mr. Flood, moved for a limitation of the Mutiny Bill, which
was lost; a little later, Mr. Flood himself introduced a somewhat
similar motion, which was also outvoted two to one; and again, during
the session, Mr. Yelverton, having abandoned his promised motion
against Poyning's law, on news of Lord Cornwallis's surrender reaching
Dublin, Flood took it up, moved it, and was defeated. A further measure
of relief for Roman Catholics, introduced by Mr. Gardiner, author of
the act of 1778, and warmly supported by Grattan, was resisted by Flood
in the one House, and Lord Charlemont in the other. It miscarried, and
left another deposit of disagreement between the actual and the former
leader of the Patriot party.

Still no open rupture had taken place between the two Patriot orators.
When the convention of the volunteers was called at Dungannon for the
15th of February, 1782, they consulted at Charlemont House as to the
resolutions to be passed. They were agreed on the constitutional
question; Grattan, of his own generous free will, added the resolution
in favour of emancipation. Two hundred and forty-two delegates,
representing 143 corps, unanimously adopted the resolutions so drafted,
as their own, and, from the old head-quarters of Hugh O'Neil, sent
forth anew an unequivocal demand for civil and religious liberty. The
example of Ulster soon spread through Ireland. A meeting of the
Leinster volunteers, Mr. Flood in the chair, echoed it from Dublin; the
Munster corps endorsed it unanimously at Cork; Lord Clanrickarde
summoned together those of the western counties at Portumna—an historic
spot, suggestive of striking associations. Strengthened by these
demonstrations of public opinion, Mr. Grattan brought forward, on the
22nd of February, his motion declaratory of the rights of Ireland. An
amendment in favour of a six months' postponement of the question was
carried; but on the 16th of April, just two years from his first effort
on the subject (the administration of Lord North having fallen in the
meantime), the orator had the satisfaction of carrying his address
declaratory of Irish legislative independence. It was on this occasion
that he exclaimed: "I found Ireland on her knees; I watched over her
with a paternal solicitude; I have traced her progress from injury to
arms, and from arms to liberty. Spirit of Swift! Spirit of Molyneux!
your genius has prevailed! Ireland is now a nation! in that new
character I hail her! and bowing to her august presence, I say, _Esto

Never was a new nation more nobly heralded into existence! Never was an
old nation more reverently and tenderly lifted up and restored! The
Houses adjourned to give England time to consider Ireland's
_ultimatum_. Within a month it was accepted by the new British
administration, and on the 27th of May, the new Whig Viceroy, the Duke
of Portland, was authorized to announce from the throne the
establishment of the judicial and legislative independence of Ireland.


The accession of the Rockingham administration to power, in 1782, was
followed by the recall of Lord Carlisle, and the substitution, as
Viceroy, of one of the leading Lords of the Whig party. The nobleman
selected to this office was William Henry, third Duke of Portland,
afterwards twice prime minister; then in the prime of life, possessed
of a very ample fortune, and uniting in his own person the two great
Whig families of Bentinck and Cavendish. The policy he was sent to
represent at Dublin was undoubtedly an imperial policy; a policy which
looked as anxiously to the integrity of the empire as any Tory cabinet
could have desired; but it was, in most other respects, a policy of
conciliation and concession, dictated by the enlarged wisdom of Burke,
and adopted by the magnanimous candour of Fox. Yet by a generous
people, who always find it more difficult to resist a liberal than an
illiberal administration, it was, in reality, a policy more to be
feared than welcomed; for its almost certain effects were to divide
their ranks into two sections—a moderate and an extreme party—between
whom the national cause, only half established, might run great danger
of being lost, almost as soon as it was won.

With the Duke of Portland was associated, as Chief Secretary, Colonel
Fitzpatrick, of the old Ossory family, one of those Irish wits and men
of fashion, who form so striking a group in the middle and later years
of King George III. As the personal and political friend of Flood,
Charlemont, and Grattan, and the first Irish secretary for several
administrations, he shared the brilliant ovation with which the Duke of
Portland was received, on his arrival at Dublin; but for the reason
already mentioned, the imperial, in so far as opposed to the national
policy, found an additional advantage in the social successes and great
personal popularity of the new secretary.

The critical months which decided the contest for independence—April
and May—passed over fortunately for Ireland. The firmness of the
leaders in both Houses, the energy especially of Grattan, whose cry was
"No time, no time!" and the imposing attitude of the volunteers,
carried the question. Lord Rockingham and Mr. Fox by letter, the new
Viceroy and Secretary in person, had urged every argument for
adjournment and delay, but Grattan's _ultimatum_ was sent over to
England, and finally and formally accepted. The demands were _five_. I.
The repeal of the 6th of George I. II. The repeal of the Perpetual
Mutiny Act. III. An Act to abolish the alteration or suppression of
Bills. IV. An Act to establish the final jurisdiction of the Irish
Courts and the Irish House of Lords. V. The repeal of Poyning's Law.
This was the constitutional charter of 1782, which restored Ireland,
for the first time in that century, to the rank and dignity of a free

Concession once determined on, the necessary bills were introduced in
both Parliaments simultaneously, and carried promptly into law. On the
27th of May, the Irish Houses were enabled to congratulate the Viceroy
that "no constitutional question any longer existed between the two
countries." In England it was proclaimed no less explicitly by Fox and
his friends, that the independency of the two legislatures "was fixed
and ascertained for ever." But there was, unfortunately, one ground for
dispute still left, and on that ground Henry Flood and Henry Grattan
parted, never to be reconciled.

The elder Patriot, whose conduct from the moment of his retirement from
office, in consequence of his Free Trade vote and speech in '79, had
been, with occasional exceptions, arising mostly from bodily infirmity,
as energetic and consistent as that of Grattan himself, saw no
sufficient constitutional guarantee in mere acts of Parliament
repealing other acts. He demanded "express renunciation" of legislative
supremacy on the part of England; while Grattan maintained the
sufficiency of "simple repeal." It is possible even in such noble
natures as these men had—so strangely are we constituted—that there was
a latent sense of personal rivalry, which prompted them to grasp, each,
at the larger share of patriotic honour. It is possible that there were
other, and inferior men, who exasperated this latent personal rivalry.
Flood had once reigned supreme, until Grattan eclipsed him in the
sudden splendour of his career. In scholarship and in genius the elder
Patriot was, taken all in all, the full peer of his successor; but
Grattan had the national temperament, and he found his way more readily
into the core of the national heart; he was the man of the later, the
bolder, and the more liberal school; and such was the rapidity of his
movements, that even Flood, from '79 to '82, seemed to be his follower,
rather than his coadjutor. In the hopeful crisis of the struggle, the
slower and more experienced statesman was for the moment lost sight of.
The leading motions were all placed or left in the hands of Grattan by
the consent of their leading friends; the bills repealing the Mutiny
Act, the 6th George I., and Poyning's law, were entrusted to Burgh,
Yelverton, and Forbes; the thanks of the House were voted to Grattan
alone after the victory, with the substantial addition of 50,000 pounds
to purchase for him an estate, which should become an enduring monument
of the national gratitude.

The open rupture between the two great orators followed fast on the
triumph of their common efforts. It was still the first month—the very
honeymoon of independence. On the 13th of June, Mr. Grattan took
occasion to notice in his place, that a late British act relating to
the importation of sugars, was so generally worded as apparently to
include Ireland; but this was explained to be a mere error of the
clerk, the result of haste, and one which would be promptly corrected.
Upon this Mr. Flood first took occasion to moot the insufficiency of
"simple repeal," and the necessity of "express renunciation," on the
part of England. On the 19th, he moved a formal resolution on the
subject, which was superseded by the order of the day; but on the 19th
of July, he again moved, at great length, and with great power of
logical and historical argument, for leave to bring in an Irish Bill of
Rights, declaring "the sole and exclusive right of the Irish Parliament
to make laws in all cases whatsoever, _external and internal_." He was
supported by Sir Simon Bradstreet, Mr. English, and Mr. Walshe, and
opposed by Grattan, who, in one of his finest efforts, proposed a
counter resolution, "that the legislature of Ireland is independent;
and that any person who shall, by writing or otherwise, maintain that a
right in any other country, to make laws for Ireland, _internally_ or
_externally_, exists or can be revived, _is inimical to the peace of
both kingdoms_." This extreme proposition—pointing out all who differed
from himself as public enemies—the mover, however, withdrew, and
substituted in its stead the milder formula, that leave was refused to
bring in the bill, because the sole and exclusive right of legislation
in the Irish Parliament in all cases, whether externally or internally,
hath been already asserted by Ireland, and fully, finally, and
irrevocably acknowledged by the British Parliament. Upon this motion
Flood did not think it advisable to divide the House, so it passed
without a division.

But the moot point thus voted down in Parliament disquieted and alarmed
the minds of many out of doors. The volunteers as generally sided with
Flood as the Parliament had sided with Grattan. The lawyer corps of the
city of Dublin, containing all the great names of the legal profession,
endorsed the constitutional law of the member for Kilkenny; the Belfast
volunteers did likewise; and Grattan's own corps, in a respectful
address, urged him to give his adherence to the views of "the best
informed body of men in the kingdom,"—the lawyers' corps. Just at that
moment Lord Abingdon, in the English House of Lords, gave notice of a
mischievous motion to assert the external supremacy of the English
Parliament; and Lord Mansfield, in the King's Bench, decided an Irish
appeal case, notwithstanding the recent statute establishing the
judicial independence of the Irish courts. It is true the case had been
appealed before the statute was passed; and that Lord Abingdon withdrew
his motion for want of a seconder; but the alarm was given, and the
popular mind in Ireland, jealously watchful of its new-born liberties,
saw in these attempts renewed cause for apprehension. In opposition to
all this suddenly awakened suspicion and jealousy, Grattan, who
naturally enough assumed his own interest in preserving the new
constitution to be quite equal to those who cast doubts on its
security, invariably held one language. The settlement already made,
according to his view, was final; it was an international treaty; its
maintenance must depend on the ability and disposition of the parties
to uphold it, rather than on the multiplication of declaratory acts.
Ireland had gone to England with a charter, not for a charter, and the
nation which would insist upon the humiliation of another, was a
foolish nation. This was the lofty light in which he viewed the whole
transaction, and in this light, it must be added, he continued to view
it till the last. Many of the chief English and Irish jurists of his
time, Lord Camden, Lord Kenyon, Lord Erskine, Lord Kilwarden, Judges
Chamberlain, Smith, and Kelly, Sir Samuel Rommilly, Sir Arthur Pigott,
and several others, agreed fully in Grattan's doctrine, that the
settlement of '82 was final and absolute, and "terminated all British
jurisdiction over Ireland." But although these are all great names, the
instinct of national self-preservation may be considered in such
critical moments more than a counterpoise to the most matured opinions
of the oracles of the law. Such must have been the conviction also of
the English Parliament, for, immediately on their meeting in January,
1783, they passed the _Act of Renunciation_ (23rd George III.),
expressly declaring their admission of the "exclusive rights of the
Parliament and Courts of Ireland in matters of legislature and
judicature." This was Flood's greatest triumph. Six months before his
doctrine obtained but three supporters in the Irish Commons; now, at
his suggestion, and on his grounds, he saw it unanimously affirmed by
the British Parliament.

On two other questions of the utmost importance these leading spirits
also widely differed. Grattan was in favour of, and Flood opposed to,
Catholic emancipation; while Flood was in favour of, and Grattan, at
that moment, opposed to, a complete reform of parliamentary
representation. The Catholic question had its next great triumph after
Flood's death, as will be mentioned further on; but the history of the
Irish reform movement of 1783, '84, and '85, may best be disposed of

The Reformers were a new party rising naturally out of the popular
success of 1782. They were composed of all but a few of the more
aristocratic corps of the volunteers, of the townsmen, especially in
the seaports and manufacturing towns, of the admirers of American
example, of the Catholics who had lately acquired property and
recognition, but not the elective franchise, of the gentry of the
second and third degree of wealth, overruled and overshadowed by the
greater lords of the soil. The substantial grievance of which they
complained was, that of the 300 members of the House of Commons, only
72 were returned by the people; 53 Peers having the power to nominate
123 and secure the election of 10 others; while 52 Commoners nominated
91 and controlled the choice of 4 others. The constitution of what
ought to have been the people's house was, therefore, substantially in
the hands of an oligarchy of about a hundred great proprietors, bound
together by the spirit of their class, by intermarriage, and by the
hereditary possession of power. To reduce this exorbitant influence
within reasonable bounds, was the just and wise design to which Flood
dedicated all his energies, after the passage of the _Act of
Renunciation_, and the success of which would certainly have restored
him to complete equality with Grattan.

In the beginning of 1783, the famous coalition ministry of Lord North
and Mr. Fox was formed in England. They were at first represented at
Dublin Castle, for a few months, by Lord Temple, who succeeded the Duke
of Portland, and established the order of _Knights of Saint Patrick_;
then by Lord Northington, who dissolved Parliament early in July. A
general election followed, and the reform party made their influence
felt in all directions. County meetings were held; conventions by
districts and by provinces were called by the reforming Volunteers, in
July, August, and September. The new Parliament was to be opened on the
14th of October, and the Volunteers resolved to call a convention of
their whole body at Dublin, for the 10th of November.

The Parliament met according to summons, but though searching
retrenchment was spoken of, no promise was held out of a constitutional
reform; the limitation of the regular troops to a fixed number was
declared advisable, and a vote of thanks to the Volunteers was passed
without demur. But the proceedings of the Houses were soon eclipsed by
the portentous presence of the Volunteer Convention. One hundred and
sixty delegates of corps attended on the appointed day. The Royal
Exchange was too small to accommodate them, so they adjourned to the
Rotunda, accompanied by mounted guards of honour. The splendid and
eccentric Bishop of Derry (Earl of Bristol), had his dragoon guards;
the courtly but anxious Charlemont had his troop of horse; Flood, tall,
emaciated, and solemn to sadness, was hailed with popular acclamations;
there also marched the popular Mr. Day, afterwards Judge; Robert
Stewart, father of Lord Castlereagh; Sir Richard Musgrave, a reformer
also, in his youth, who lived to confound reform with rebellion in his
old age. The Earl of Charlemont was elected president of this imposing
body, and for an entire month Dublin was divided between the
extraordinary spectacle of two legislatures—one sitting at the Rotunda,
and the other at College Green, many members of each being members of
the other; the uniform of the volunteer sparkling in the Houses, and
the familiar voices of both Houses being heard deliberating and
debating among the Volunteers.

At length, on the 29th of November, after three weeks' laborious
gestation, Flood brought before Parliament the plan of reform agreed to
by the Convention. It proposed to extend the franchise to every
_Protestant_ freeholder possessed of a lease worth forty shillings
yearly; to extend restricted borough constituencies by annexing to them
neighbouring populous parishes; that the voting should be held on one
and the same day; that pensioners of the crown should be incapable of
election; that members accepting office should be subject to
re-election; that a stringent bribery oath should be administered to
candidates returned; and, finally, that the duration of Parliament
should be limited to three years. It was, indeed, an excellent
Protestant Reform Bill, for though the Convention had received Father
Arthur O'Leary with military honours, and contained many warm friends
of Catholic rights, the majority were still intolerant of _religious_
freedom. In this majority it is painful to have to record the names of
Flood and Charlemont.

The debate which followed the introduction of this proposed change in
the constitution was stormy beyond all precedent. Grattan, who just one
month before (Oct. 28th) had that fierce vituperative contest with
Flood familiar to every school-boy, in its worst and most exaggerated
form, supported the proposal. The law officers of the crown,
Fitzgibbon, Yelverton, Scott, denounced it as an audacious attempt of
armed men to dictate to the House its own constitution. The cry of
privilege and prerogative was raised, and the measure was rejected by
157 to 77. Flood, weary in mind and body, retired to his home; the
Convention, which outsat the House, adjourned, amid the bitter
indignation of some, and the scarcely concealed relief of others. Two
days later they met and adopted a striking address to the throne, and
adjourned _sine die_. This was, in fact, the last important day of the
Volunteers as a political institution. An attempt a month later to
re-assemble the Convention was dexterously defeated by the President,
Lord Charlemont. The regular army was next session increased to 15,000
men; 20,000 pounds were voted to clothe and equip a rival force—"the
Militia"—and the Parliament, which had three times voted them its
thanks, now began to look with satisfaction on their rapid
disorganization and disbandment.

This, perhaps, is the fittest place to notice the few remaining years
of the public life of Henry Flood. After the session of 1785, in which
he had been outvoted on every motion he proposed, he retired from the
Irish Parliament, and allowed himself to be persuaded, at the age of
fifty-three, to enter the English. He was elected for Winchester, and
made his first essay on the new scene, on his favourite subject of
representative reform. But his health was undermined; he failed, except
on one or two occasions, to catch the ear of that fastidious assembly,
and the figure he made there somewhat disappointed his friends. He
returned to Kilkenny to die in 1791, bequeathing a large portion of his
fortune to Trinity College, to enrich its MS. library, and to found a
permanent professorship of the Irish language. "He was an oak of the
forest," said Grattan, "too old to be transplanted at fifty." "He was a
man," said one who also knew him well, Sir Jonah Barrington, "of
profound abilities, high manners, and great experience in the affairs
of Ireland. He had deep information, an extensive capacity, and a solid
judgment." In his own magnificent "Ode to Fame," he has pictured his
ideal of the Patriot-orator, who finds some consolation amid the
unequal struggle with the enemies of his country, foreign and domestic,
in a prophetic vision of his own renown. Unhappily, the works of this
great man come down to us in as fragmentary a state as those of
Chatham; but enough remains to enable us to class him amongst the
greatest masters of our speech, and, as far as the drawbacks allowed,
among the foremost statesmen of his country.

It is painful to be left in doubt, as we are, whether he was ever
reconciled to Grattan. The presumption, from the silence of their
cotemporaries, is, that they never met again as friends. But it is
consoling to remember that in his grave, the survivor rendered him that
tribute of justice which almost takes the undying sting out of the
philippic of 1783; it is well to know, also, that one of Grattan's
latest wishes, thirty years after the death of Flood, when he felt his
own last hours approaching, was, that it should be known that he "did
not speak the vile abuse reported in the Debates" in relation to his
illustrious rival. The best proof that what he did say was undeserved,
is that that rival's reputation for integrity and public spirit has
survived even his terrible onslaught.


The second period of the era of independence may be said to embrace the
nine years extending from the dissolution of the last Volunteer
Convention, at the end of 1784, to the passage of the Catholic Relief
Bill of 1793. They were years of continued interest and excitement,
both in the popular and parliamentary affairs of the country; but the
events are, with the exception of the last named, of a more secondary
order than those of the previous period.

The session of 1785 was first occupied with debates relating to what
might be called the cross-channel trade between England and Ireland.
The question of trade brought with it, necessarily, the question of
revenue; of the duties levied in both kingdoms; of the conflict of
their commercial laws, and the necessity of their assimilation; of the
appropriations to be borne by each, to the general expense of the army
and navy; of the exclusive right of the English East India Company to
the Indian trade;—in short, the whole of the fiscal and commercial
relations of the two countries were now to be examined and adjusted, as
their constitutional relations had been in previous years.

The first plan came from the Castle, through Mr. Thomas Orde, then
Chief Secretary, afterwards Lord Bolton. It consisted of eleven
propositions, embracing every division of the subject. They had been
arrived at by consultation with Mr. Joshua Pim, a most worthy Quaker
merchant, the founder of an equally worthy family; Mr. Grattan, Mr.
Foster, and others. They were passed as resolutions in Ireland, and
sent by Mr. Orde to England to see whether they would be adopted there
also, the second Pitt, then Chancellor of the Exchequer, gave his
concurrence, but when he introduced to the English Parliament _his_
resolutions—twenty in number—it was found that in several important
respects they differed from the Irish propositions. On being taken up
and presented to the Irish Parliament, in August, the administration
found they could command, in a full House, only a majority of sixteen
for their introduction, and so the whole arrangement was abandoned. No
definite commercial treaty between the two kingdoms was entered into
until the Union, and there can be little doubt that the miscarriage of
the Convention of 1785 was one of the determining causes of that Union.

The next session was chiefly remarkable for an unsuccessful attempt to
reduce the Pension List. In this debate, Curran, who had entered the
House in 1783, particularly distinguished himself. A fierce exchange of
personalities with Mr. Fitzgibbon led to a duel between them, in which,
fortunately, neither was wounded, but their public hostility was
transferred to the arena of the courts, where some of the choicest
_morceaux_ of genuine Irish wit were uttered by Curran, at the expense
of his rival, first as Attorney-General, and subsequently as

The session of 1787 was introduced by a speech from the throne, in
which the usual paragraph in favour of the Protestant Charter Schools
was followed by another advising the establishment of a general system
of schools. This raised the entire question of education, one of the
most difficult to deal with in the whole range of Irish politics. On
the 10th of April, Mr. Orde—destined to be the author of just, but
short-lived projects—introduced his plan of what might be called
national education. He proposed to establish four great provincial
academies, a second university in some north-western county, to reform
the twenty-two diocesan schools, so richly endowed under the 28th Henry
VIII., and to affiliate on Trinity College two principal preparatory
schools, north and south. In 1784, and again in this very year, the
humane John Howard had reported of the Irish Charter Schools, then half
a century established, that they were "a disgrace to all society." Sir
J. Fitzpatrick, the Inspector of Prisons, confirmed the general
impression of Howard: he found the children in these schools "puny,
filthy, ill clothed, without linen, indecent to look upon." A series of
resolutions was introduced by Mr. Orde, as the basis of better
legislation in the next session; but it is to be regretted that the
proposed reform never went farther than the introduction and adoption
of these resolutions.

The session of 1788 was signalized by a great domestic and a great
imperial discussion—the Tithe question, and the Regency question.

The Tithe question had slumbered within the walls of Parliament since
the days of Swift, though not in the lonely lodges of the secret
agrarian societies. Very recent outbreaks of the old agrarian
combinations against both excessive rents and excessive tithes, in the
Leinster as well as in southern counties, had called general attention
to the subject, when Grattan, in 1787, moved that, if it should appear,
by the commencement of the following session, that tranquillity had
been restored in the disturbed districts, the House would take into
consideration the subject of tithes. Accordingly, very early in the
next ensuing session, he moved for a committee on the subject, in a
three hours' speech, which ranks among the very highest efforts of his
own or any other age. He was seconded by Lord Kingsborough, one of the
most liberal men of his order, and sustained by Curran and Brownlow; he
was opposed by Attorney-General Fitzgibbon, and by Messrs. Hobart,
Browne, and Parsons. The vote was, _for_ the Committee of Inquiry, 49;
_against_ it, 121. A second attempt, a little later in the session, was
equally unsuccessful, except for the moral effect produced out of doors
by another of those speeches, which it is impossible to read even at
this day, without falling into the attitude, and assuming the
intonation, and feeling the heartfelt inspiration of the orator.

The Regency question was precipitated upon both Parliaments by the
mental disorder, which, for the second or third time, attacked George
III., in 1788. The question was, whether the Prince of Wales should
reign with as full powers as if his father were actually deceased;
whether there should be restrictions or no restrictions. Mr. Pitt and
his colleagues contended successfully for restrictions in England,
while Mr. Fox and the opposition took the contrary position. The
English Houses and people went with Pitt, but the Irish Parliament went
for an unconditional regency. They resolved to offer the crown of
Ireland to him they considered _de_ facto their Sovereign, as freely as
they had rendered their allegiance to the incapable king; but the Lord
Lieutenant—the Marquis of Buckingham—declined to transmit their
over-zealous address, and by the time their joint delegation of both
Houses reached London, George III. had recovered! They received the
most gracious reception at Carlton House, but they incurred the
implacable enmity of William Pitt, and created a second determining
cause in his mind in favour of an early legislative union.

The prospect of the accession of the Prince to power, wrought a
wonderful and a salutary change, though temporary, in the Irish
Commons. In the session of 1789, Mr Grattan carried, by 105 to 85, a
two months', in amendment to a twelve-months' supply bill. Before the
two months expired he brought in his police bill, his pension bill, and
his bill to prevent officers of the revenue from voting at elections,
but ere these reforms could be passed into law, the old King recovered,
the necessary majority was reversed, and the measures, of course,
defeated or delayed till better times. The triumph of the oligarchy was
in proportion to their fright. The House having passed a vote of
censure on Lord Buckingham, the Viceroy, for refusing to transmit their
address to the Regent, a threat was now held out that every one who had
voted for the censure, holding an office of honour or emolument in
Ireland, would be made "the victim of his vote." In reply to this
threat, a "Round Robin" was signed by the Duke of Leinster, the
Archbishop of Tuam, eighteen peers, all the leading Whig commoners—the
Ponsonbys, Langrishes, Grattan, Connolly, Curran, O'Neil, Day, Charles
Francis Sheridan, Bowes Daly, George Ogle, etc., etc.—declaring that
they would regard any such proscription as an attack on the
independence of Parliament, and would jointly oppose any administration
who should resort to such proscription. But the bold and domineering
spirit of Fitzgibbon—the leader of the Castle party, then, and long
afterwards—did not shrink before even so formidable a phalanx. The Duke
of Leinster was dismissed from the honorary office of Master of the
Rolls; the Earl of Shannon, from the Vice-Treasurership; William
Ponsonby from the office of Postmaster-General; Charles Francis
Sheridan, from that of Secretary at War, and ten or twelve other
prominent members of the _Irish_ administration lost places and
pensions to the value of 20,000 pounds a year, for their over-zeal for
the Prince of Wales. At the same time, Mr. Fitzgibbon was appointed
Lord Chancellor, a vacancy having opportunely occurred, by the death of
Lord Lifford, in the very midst of the prescriptive crisis. This
elevation transferred him to the Upper House, where, for the remaining
years of the Parliament, he continued to dogmatize and domineer, as he
had done in the Commons, often rebuked, but never abashed. Indeed, the
milder manners of the patrician body were ill suited to resist this
ermined demagogue, whose motto through life was _audacity, again
audacity, and always audacity_. The names of Wolfe, Toler, Corry,
Coote, Beresford, and Cooke, are also found among the promotions to
legal and administrative office; names familiar to the last generation
as the pillars of the oligarchical faction, before and after the Union.
To swamp the opposition peers, the Earls of Antrim, Tyrone, and
Hillsborough were made Marquises of Antrim, Waterford, and Downshire;
the Viscounts Glenawley, Enniskillen, Erne, and Carysfort, were created
Earls of Annesley, Enniskillen, Erne, and Carysfort. Then Judge Scott
became Viscount Clonmel; then the Lordships of Loftus, Londonderry,
Kilmaine, Cloncurry, Mountjoy, Glentworth, and Caledon, were founded
for as many convenient Commoners, who either paid for their patents, in
boroughs, or in hard cash. It was the very reign and carnival of
corruption, over which presided the invulnerable Chancellor—a true
"King of Misrule." In reference to this appalling spectacle, well might
Grattan exclaim—"In a free country the path of public treachery leads
to the block; but in a nation governed like a province, to the helm!"
But the thunders of the orator fell, and were quenched in the wide
spreading waters of corruption.

The Whig Club—an out-of-door auxiliary of the opposition—was a creation
of this year. It numbered the chief signers of the "Round Robin," and
gained many adherents. It exercised very considerable influence in the
general election of 1790, and for the few following years, until it
fell to pieces in the presence of the more ardent politics which
preceded the storm of 1798.

Backed though he was by Mr. Pitt, both as his relative and principal,
the Marquis of Buckingham was compelled to resign the government, and
to steal away from Dublin, under cover of night, like an absconding
debtor. The Chancellor and the Speaker—Fitzgibbon and Foster, Irishmen
at least by birth and name—were sworn in as Justices, until the arrival
of the Earl of Westmoreland, in the ensuing January.

The last two Viceroys of the decade thus closed, form a marked contrast
worthy of particular portraiture. The Duke of Rutland, a dashing
profligate, was sent over, it was thought, to ruin public liberty by
undermining private virtue, a task in which he found a willing helpmate
in his beautiful but dissipated Duchess. During his three years' reign
were sown the seeds of that reckless private expenditure, and general
corruption of manners, which drove so many bankrupt lords and gentlemen
into the market overt, where Lord Castlereagh and Secretary Cooke, a
dozen years later, priced the value of their parliamentary cattle. Lord
Rutland died of dissipation at little over thirty, and was succeeded by
the Marquis of Buckingham (formerly Lord Temple), the founder of the
Irish Order of Chivalry, a person of the greatest pretensions, as a
reformer of abuses and an enemy of government by corruption. Yet with
all his affected superiority to the base arts of his predecessor, the
Marquis's system was still more opposite to every idea of just
government than the Duke's. The one outraged public morals, the other
pensioned and ennobled the betrayers of public trusts; the one
naturalized the gaming-table and the keeping of mistresses as customs
of Irish society; the other sold or allowed the highest offices and
honours of the state—from a weighership in the butter market to an
earl's coronet—to be put up at auction, and knocked down to the highest
bidder. How cheering in contrast with the shameful honours, flaunted
abroad in those shameful days, are even the negative virtues of the
Whig patricians, and how splendid the heroic constancy of Charlemont,
Grattan, Curran, and their devoted minority of honest legislators!

With Lord Westmoreland was associated, as Chief Secretary, Mr. Hobart,
formerly in the army, a man of gay, convivial habits, very
accomplished, and, politically, very unprincipled. These gentlemen,
both favourites of Pitt, adopted the counsellors, and continued the
policy of the late Viceroy. In pursuance of this policy, a dissolution
took place, and the general election of 1790 was ordered. We have
already exhibited the influences which controlled the choice of members
of the House of Commons. Of the one hundred and five great proprietors,
who owned two-thirds of the seats, perhaps a fourth might be found in
the ranks of the Whig club. The only other hope for the national party
was in the boroughs, which possessed a class of freemen, engaged in
trade, too numerous to be bought, or too public spirited to be dictated
to. Both influences combined might hope to return a powerful minority,
and, on this occasion (1790) they certainly did so. Grattan and Lord
Henry Fitzgerald were elected for Dublin, over the Lord Mayor and one
of the Aldermen, backed by the whole power of the Castle; Curran,
Ponsonby, Brownlow, Forbes, and nearly all "the victims of their vote"
were re-elected. To these old familiar names were now added others
destined to equal, if not still wider fame—Arthur Wellesley, member for
Trim; Arthur O'Conor, member for Phillipstown; Jonah Barrington, member
for Tuam; and Robert Stewart, one of the members for the County Down,
then only in his twenty-second year, and, next to Lord Edward
Fitzgerald, lately elected for Athy, the most extreme reformer among
the new members. Arthur O'Conor, on the other hand, commenced his
career with the Court by moving the address in answer to the speech
from the throne!

The new Parliament, which met in July, 1790, unanimously re-elected Mr.
Foster, Speaker; passed a very loyal address, and, after a fortnight's
sitting, was prorogued till the following January. The session of '91
was marked by no event of importance, the highest opposition vote seems
to have been from 80 to 90, and the ministerial majority never less
than 50. The sale of Peerages, the East India trade, the Responsibility
(for money warrants) Bill, the Barren Lands Bill, and the Pension Bill,
were the chief topics. A committee to inquire into the best means of
encouraging breweries, and discouraging the use of spirituous liquors,
was also granted, and some curious facts elicited. Nothing memorable
was done, but much that was memorable was said—for the great orator had
still a free press, and a home audience to instruct and elevate. The
truth is, the barrenness of these two sessions was due to the general
prosperity of the country, more even than to the dexterous management
of Major Hobart and the Cabinet balls of Lord Westmoreland. There was,
moreover, hanging over the minds of men the electric pressure of the
wonderful events with which France shook the Continent, and made the
Islands tremble. There was hasty hope, or idle exultation, or pious
fear, or panic terror, in the hearts of the leading spectators of that
awful drama, according to the prejudices or principles they maintained.
Over all the three kingdoms there was a preternatural calm, resembling
that physical stillness which in other latitude precedes the eruption
of volcanoes.


Before relating the consequences which attended the spread of French
revolutionary opinions in Ireland, it is necessary to exhibit the new
and very important position assumed by the Roman Catholic population at
that period.

The relief bills in 1774 and 1778, by throwing open to Catholics the
ordinary means of acquiring property, whether moveable or immoveable,
had enabled many of them to acquire fortunes, both in land and in
trade. Of this class were the most efficient leaders in the formation
of the Catholic Committee of 1790—John Keogh, Edward Byrne, and Richard
McCormick. They were all men who had acquired fortunes, and who felt
and cherished the independence of self-made men. They were not simply
Catholic agitators claiming an equality of civil and religious rights
with their Protestant fellow-countrymen; they were nationalists, in the
broadest and most generous meaning of the term. They had contributed to
the ranks and expenses of the Volunteers; they had swelled the chorus
of Grattan's triumph, and borne their share of the cost in many a
popular contest. The new generation of Protestant patriots—such men as
the Hon. Simon Butler, Wolfe Tone, and Thomas Addis Emmet, were their
intimate associates, shared their opinions, and regarded their
exclusion from the pale of the constitution as a public calamity.

There was another and a smaller, but not less important class—the
remnant of the ancient Catholic peerage and landed gentry, who, through
four generations, had preferred civil death to religious apostasy. It
was impossible not to revere the heroic constancy of that class, and
the personal virtues of many among them. But they were, perhaps,
constitutionally, too timid and too punctilious to conduct a popular
movement to a successful issue. They had, after much persuasion, lent
their presence to the Committee, but on some alarm, which at that time
seems to have been premature, of the introduction of French
revolutionary principles among their associates, they seceded in a
mass. A formal remonstrance against what remained, pretending to act
for the Catholic body, was signed by Lord Kenmare and sixty-seven
others, who withdrew. As a corrective, it was inadequate; as a
preventive, useless. It no doubt hastened in the end the evil it
deprecated in the beginning; it separated the Catholic gentry from the
Catholic democracy, and thrust the latter more and more towards those
liberal Protestants, mainly men of the middle class like themselves,
who began about this time to club together at Belfast and Dublin, under
the attractive title of "United Irishmen." Whatever they were
individually, the union of so many hereditary Catholic names had been
of very great service to the committee. So long as they stood aloof,
the committee could not venture to speak for _all_ the Catholics; it
could only speak for a part, though that part might be nine-tenths of
the whole: this gave for a time a doubtful and hesitating appearance to
their proceedings. So low was their political influence, in 1791, that
they could not get a single member of Parliament to present their
annual petition. When at last it was presented, it was laid on the
table and never noticed afterwards. To their further embarrassment, Mr.
McKenna and some others formed "the Catholic Society," with the nominal
object of spreading a knowledge of Catholic principles, through the
press, but covertly, to raise up a rival organization, under the
control of the seceders. At this period John Keogh's talents for
negotiation and diplomacy saved the Catholic body from another term of
anarchical imbecility.

A deputation of twelve having waited this year on the Chief Secretary
with a list of the existing penal laws, found no intention, at the
Castle, of further concession. They were "dismissed without an answer."
Under these circumstances, the Committee met at Allen's Court. "It was
their determination," says Keogh, "to give up the cause as desperate,
lest a perseverance in what they considered an idle pursuit might not
only prove ineffectual, but draw down a train of persecution on the
body." Keogh endeavoured to rally them; proposed a delegation to
London, to be sent at the expense of the Committee; offered, at last,
to go at his own charge, if they authorized him. This proposal was
accepted, and Keogh went. "I arrived in London," he adds, "without any
introduction from this country, without any support, any assistance,
any instructions." He remained three months, converted Mr. Dundas,
brought back with him the son of Burke as Secretary, and a promise of
four concessions: 1st. The magistracy. 2nd. The grand juries. 3rd. The
sheriffs of counties. 4th. The bar. It was in this interview that
Keogh, after obtaining Mr. Dundas's express permission and promise not
to be offended, said to him, according to Charles Butler's account,
"Since you give me this permission, and your deliberate promise not to
be offended, I beg leave to repeat, that there _is_ one thing which you
ought to know, but which you don't suspect: you, Mr. Dundas, know
nothing of Ireland." Mr. Dundas, as may be supposed, was greatly
surprised; but, with perfect good humour, told Mr. Keogh that he
believed this was not the case; it was true that he never had been in
Ireland, but he had conversed with many Irishmen. "I have drunk," he
said, "many a good bottle of wine with Lord Hillsborough, Lord Clare,
and the Beresfords." "Yes, sir," said Mr. Keogh, "I believe you have;
and that you drank many a good bottle of wine with them before you went
to war with America."

On the return of Keogh to Dublin, a numerous meeting was held to hear
his report. At this meeting, the fair promises of the English ministers
were contrasted with the hostility of the Castle. The necessity of a
strong organization, to overcome the one and hasten the other, was felt
by all: it was then decided to form the Committee into a Convention. By
this plan, the Catholics in each county and borough were called on to
choose, in a private manner, certain electors, who were to elect two or
more delegates, to represent the town or county in the general meeting
at Dublin, on the 3rd day of December following. A circular, signed by
Edward Byrne, Chairman, and Richard McCormick, Secretary, explaining
the plan and the mode of election, was issued on the 14th of January,
and the Catholics everywhere prepared to obey it.

The corporations of Dublin and other cities, the grand juries of Derry,
Donegal, Leitrim, Roscommon, Limerick, Cork, and other counties, at
once pronounced most strongly against the proposed Convention. They
declared it "unconstitutional," "alarming," "most dangerous;" they
denounced it as a copy of the National Assembly of France; they
declared that they would "resist it to the utmost of their power;" they
pledged "their lives and fortunes" to suppress it. The only answer of
the Catholics was the legal opinion of Butler and Burton, two eminent
lawyers, Protestants and King's counsellors, that the measure was
entirely legal. They proceeded with their selection of delegates, and
on the appointed day the Convention met. From the place of meeting,
this Convention was popularly called "the Back Lane Parliament." Above
200 members were present.

The Convention proceeded (Mr. Byrne in the chair) to declare itself the
only body competent to speak for the Catholics of Ireland. They next
discussed the substance of the proposed petition to the King. The
debate on this subject, full of life and colour, has been preserved for
us in the memoirs of Tone, who, although a Protestant, had been elected
Secretary to the Catholic Committee. Great firmness was exhibited by
Teeling of Antrim, Bellew of Galway, McDermott of Sligo, Devereux of
Wexford, Sir Thomas French, and John Keogh. These gentlemen contended,
and finally carried, without a division, though not without a two-days'
debate, a petition, asking complete and unrestricted emancipation. With
the addition of the Chairman and Secretary, they were appointed as
deputies to proceed to London, there to place the Catholic ultimatum in
the hands of King George.

The deputies, whether by design or accident, took Belfast on their way
to England. This great manufacturing town, at the head of the staple
industry of the north, had been in succession the head-quarters of the
Volunteers, the Northern Whigs, and the United Irishmen. Belfast had
demanded in vain, for nearly a generation, that its 20,000 inhabitants
should no longer be disfranchised, while a dozen burgesses—creatures of
Lord Donegal—controlled the representation. Community of
disfranchisement had made the Belfastians liberal; the Catholic
deputies were publicly received with bonfires and ringing of bells,
their expenses were paid by the citizens, and their carriage drawn
along in triumph, on the road to Port-Patrick.

Arrived at London, after much negotiation and delay with ministers, a
day was fixed for their introduction to the King. It was Wednesday, the
2nd of January, 1793; they were presented by Edmund Burke and the Home
Secretary to George III., who "received them very graciously;" they
placed in his hands the petition of their co-religionists, and, after
some compliments, withdrew. In a few days, they were assured their case
would be recommended to the attention of Parliament in the next royal
speech, and so, leaving one of their number behind as "charge
d'affaires," they returned to Dublin highly elated.

The Viceroy, on their return, was all attention to the Catholics; the
Secretary, who, a year before, would not listen to a petition, now
laboured to fix a limit to concession. The demand of complete
emancipation, was not maintained in this negotiation as firmly as in
the December debates of "the Back Lane Parliament." The shock of the
execution of the King of France; the efforts of the secret committee of
the House of Lords to inculpate certain Catholic leaders in the
United-Irish system, and as patrons of the Defenders; the telling
argument, that to press all was to risk all,—these causes combined to
induce the sub-committee to consent to less than the Convention had
decided to insist upon. Negotiation was the strong ground of the
government, and they kept it. Finally, the bill was introduced by the
Chief Secretary, and warmly supported by Grattan, Curran, Ponsonby,
Forbes, and Hutchinson, Provost of Trinity College. It was resisted in
the Lower House by Mr. Speaker Foster, Mr. Ogle, and Dr. Duigenan, an
apostate, who exhibited all the bitterness of his class; and in the
Upper House, by the Chancellor, the son of an apostate, and the
majority of the lords spiritual. On the 9th day of April, 1793, it
became the law of Ireland. "By one comprehensive clause," says Tone,
"all penalties, forfeitures, disabilities, and incapacities are
removed; the property of the Catholic is completely discharged from the
restraints and limitations of the penal laws, and their liberty, in a
great measure, restored, by the restoration of the right of elective
franchise, so long withheld, so ardently pursued. The right of
self-defence is established by the restoration of the privilege to
carry arms, subject to a restraint, which does not seem unreasonable,
as excluding none but the very lowest orders. The unjust and
unreasonable distinctions affecting Catholics, as to service on grand
and petty juries, are done away; the army, navy, and all other offices
and places of trust are opened to them, subject to exceptions hereafter
mentioned. Catholics may be masters or fellows of any college hereafter
to be founded, subject to two conditions, that such college be a member
of the University, and that it be not founded exclusively for the
education of Catholics. They may be members of any lay body corporate,
except Trinity College, any law, statute, or bye-law of such
corporation to the contrary notwithstanding. They may obtain degrees in
the University of Dublin. These, and some lesser immunities and
privileges, constitute the grant of the bill, the value of which will
be best ascertained by referring to the petition."

It is true, Catholics were still excluded from the high offices of Lord
Lieutenant, Lord Deputy, and Lord Chancellor. What was much more
important, they were excluded from sitting in Parliament—from
exercising legislative and judicial functions, Still the franchise, the
juries, the professions, and the University, were important
concessions. Their first fruits were Daniel O'Connell and Thomas Moore!

The Committee having met to return thanks to the parliamentary
supporters of the bill, their own future operations came also under
debate. Some members advised that they should add reform to their
programme, as the remnant of the penal laws were not sufficient to
interest and attract the people. Some would have gone much further than
reform; some were well content to rest on their laurels. There were
ultras, moderate men, and conservatives, even in the twelve. The latter
were more numerous than Wolfe Tone liked or expected. That ardent
revolutionist had, indeed, at bottom, a strong dislike of the Catholic
religion; he united himself with that body because he needed a party;
he remained with them because it gave him importance; but he chiefly
valued the position as it enabled him to further an ulterior design—an
Irish revolution and a republic on the French plan. The example of
France had, however, grown by this time rather a terror than an
attraction to more cautious men than Tone. Edward Byrne, Sir Thomas
French, and other leading Catholics, were openly hostile to any
imitation of it, and the dinner at Daly's, to celebrate the passage of
the act, was strongly anti-Gallican in spirit and sentiment. Keogh,
McCormick, and McNevin, however, joined the United Irishmen, and the
two latter were placed on the Directory. Keogh withdrew, when, in 1795,
that organization became a secret society.

The Bishops, who had cheered on, rather than participated in the late
struggle, were well satisfied with the new measure. They were, by
education and conviction, conservatives. Dr. Plunkett of Meath, Dr.
Egan of Waterford, Dr. Troy of Dublin, and Dr. Moylan of Cork, were the
most remarkable for influence and ability at this period. Dr. Butler of
Cashel, and his opponent, Dr. Burke of Ossory, the head of the resolute
old ultramontane minority, were both recently deceased. With the
exception of Dr. James Butler, Bishop of Cloyne and Ross, who deserted
his faith and order on becoming unexpectedly heir to an earldom, the
Irish prelates of the reign of George III. were a most zealous and
devoted body. Lord Dunboyne's fall was the only cause of a reproach
within their own ranks. That unhappy prelate made, many years
afterwards, a death-bed repentance, was reconciled to his church, and
bequeathed a large part of his inherited wealth to sustain the new
national college, the founding of which, ever since the outbreak of the
French revolution, the far-seeing Burke was urging upon Pitt and all
his Irish correspondents.

In 1794, the Irish Bishops, having applied for a "royal license" to
establish academies and seminaries, were graciously received, and Lord
Fitzwilliam's government the next session brought in the Act of
Incorporation. It became law on the 5th of June, 1795, and the college
was opened the following October with fifty students. Dr Hussey,
afterwards Bishop of Waterford, the friend of Burke, who stood by his
deathbed, was first President; some refugee French divines were
appointed to professorships; and the Irish Parliament voted the very
handsome sum of 8,000 pounds a year to the new foundation. Maynooth,
whatever its after lot, was the creation in the first instance of the
Irish Parliament. We have thus, in the third century after the
reformation, after three great religious wars, after four
confiscations, after the most ingenious, cruel, and unchristian methods
of oppression and proselytism, had been tried and had failed, the grand
spectacle of the Catholics of Ireland restored, if not fully, yet to
the most precious of the civil and religious liberties of a people! So
powerless against conscience is and ever must be coercion!


The era of independence which we have desired to mark distinctly to the
reader's mind, may be said to terminate in 1797, with the hopeless
secession of Grattan and his friends from Parliament. Did the events
within and without the House justify that extreme measure? We shall
proceed to describe them as they arose, leaving the decision of the
question to the judgment of the reader.

The session of 1793, which extended into July, was, besides the
Catholic Relief Bill, productive of other important results. Under the
plea of the spread of French principles, and the widespread
organization of seditious associations—a plea not wanting in
evidence—an Arms Act was introduced and carried, prohibiting the
importation of arms and gunpowder, and authorizing domiciliary visits,
at any hour of the night or day, in search of such arms. Within a month
from the passage of this bill, bravely but vainly opposed by Lord
Edward Fitzgerald, and the opposition generally, the surviving
Volunteer corps, in Dublin and its vicinity, were disbanded, their
arms, artillery, and ammunition taken possession of either by force or
negotiation, and the very wreck of that once powerful patriot army
swept away. In its stead, by nearly the same majority, the militia were
increased to 16,000 men, and the regulars from 12,000 to 17,000—thus
placing at the absolute control of the Commander-in-Chief, and the
chiefs of the oligarchy, a standing army of 33,000 men. At the same
period, Lord Clare (he had been made an earl in 1792), introduced his
Convention Act, against the assemblage in convention of delegates
purporting to represent the people. With Grattan only 27 of the Commons
divided against this measure, well characterized as "the boldest step
that ever yet was made to introduce military government." "If this bill
had been law," Grattan added, "the independence of the Irish
Parliament, the emancipation of the Catholics, and even the English
revolution of 1688, could never have taken place!" The teller in favour
of the Convention Act was Major Wellesley, member for Trim, twenty
years later—Duke of Wellington! It became and still remains the law of

Against this reactionary legislation we must credit the session of '93,
besides the Catholic Relief Bill and the East India Trade Bill, with
Mr. Grattan's Barren Lands Bill, exempting all newly reclaimed lands
from the payment of tithes for a period of seven years; Mr. Forbes's
Pension Bill, limiting the pension list to 80,000 pounds sterling per
annum, and fixing the permanent civil list at 250,000 pounds per annum;
and the excellent measure of the same invaluable member, excluding from
Parliament all persons holding offices of profit under the crown,
except the usual ministerial officers, and those employed in the
_revenue service_. This last salvo was forced into the bill by the
oligarchical faction, for whose junior branches the revenue had long
been a fruitful source of provision.

Parliament met next, on the 21st of January, '94, and held a short
two-months' session. The most remarkable incidents of these two months
were the rejection of Mr. George Ponsonby's annual motion for
parliamentary reform, and the striking position taken by Grattan,
Curran, and all but seven or eight of their friends, in favour of the
war against the French republic. Mr. Ponsonby proposed, in the spirit
of Flood's plan ten years earlier, to unite to the boroughs four miles
square of the adjoining country, thus creating a counterpoise to the
territorial aristocracy on the one hand, and the patrons of boroughs on
the other; he also proposed to extend the suffrage to every tradesman
who had served five years' apprenticeship, and gave each county _three_
instead of two members, leaving intact, of course, the forty-shilling
freehold franchise. Not more than 44 members, however, divided in
favour of the new project, while 142 voted against it! Had it passed,
the parliamentary history of the next six years could never have been

It was on this Reform bill, and on the debate on the address, that
Grattan took occasion to declare his settled and unalterable hostility
to those "French principles," then so fashionable with all who called
themselves friends of freedom, in the three kingdoms. In the great
social schism which had taken place in Europe, in consequence of the
French revolution of 1789-'91, those kingdoms, the favourite seat of
free inquiry and free discussion, could not hope to escape. The effects
were visible in every circle, among every order of men; in all the
churches, workshops, saloons, professions, into which men were divided.
Among publicists, most of all, the shock was most severely felt; in
England it separated Burke and Windham from Fox, Erskine, Sheridan, and
Grey; in Ireland it separated Grattan and Curran from Lord Edward
Fitzgerald, Arthur O'Conor, Addis Emmet, Wolfe Tone, and all those
ardent, able, and honest men, who hailed the French, as the forerunner
of a complete series of European republics, in which Ireland should
shine out, among the brightest and the best.

Grattan, who agreed with and revered Burke, looked upon the
"anti-Jacobin war," as a just and necessary war. It was not in his
nature to do anything by halves, and he therefore cordially supported
the paragraph in the address pledging Ireland's support to that war. He
was a constitutionalist of the British, not of the French type. In the
subsequent Reform debate he declared that he would always and ever
resist those who sought to remodel the Irish constitution on a French
original. He asserted, moreover, that great mischief had been already
done by the advocates of such a design, "It"—this design—"has thrown
back for the present the chance of any rational improvement in the
representation of the people," he cried, "and has betrayed a good
reform _to the hopes of a shabby insurrection_." Proceeding in his own
condensed, crystalline antithesis, he thus enlarged on his own
opinions: "There are two characters equally enemies to the reform of
Parliament, and equally enemies to the government—the leveller of the
constitution, and the friend of its abuses; they take different roads
to arrive at the same end. The levellers propose to subvert the King
and parliamentary constitution by a rank and unqualified democracy—the
friends of its abuses propose to support the King and buy the
Parliament, and in the end to overset both, by a rank and avowed
corruption. They are both incendiaries; the one would destroy
government to pay his court to liberty; the other would destroy liberty
to pay his court to government; but the liberty of the one would be
confusion, and the government of the other would be pollution."

We can well understand that this language pleased as little the United
Irishmen as the Castle. It was known that in private he was accustomed
to say, that, "the wonder was not that Mr. Sheares should die on the
scaffold, but that Lord Clare was not there beside him." He stood in
the midst of the ways, crying aloud, with the wisdom of his age and his
genius, but there were few to heed his warnings. The sanguine innovator
sneered or pitied; the truculent despot scowled or menaced; to the one
his authority was an impediment, to the other his reputation was a
reproach. It was a public situation as full of conflict as man ever
occupied, and we are not astonished, on a nearer view, that it led,
after three years hoping against hope, to the despairing secession of

A bright gleam of better things shot for an instant across the gloomy
prospect, with which the year '94 closed for the country. Lord
Westmoreland was recalled, and Lord Fitzwilliam, largely connected with
Ireland by property, and one of the most just and liberal men in
England, was to be his successor. The highest expectations were
excited; the best men congratulated each other on the certain promise
of better times close at hand; and the nation, ever ready to believe
whatever it wished to believe, saw in prospect, the oligarchy
restrained, the patriots triumphant, and the unfinished fabric of
independence completed, and crowned with honour.

This new reign, though one of the shortest, was one of the most
important Ireland ever saw. Lord Fitzwilliam, the nephew of Lord
Rockingham, the first to acknowledge the constitution of 1782, had
married a Ponsonby; he was a Burke whig—one of those who, with the Duke
of Portland, Earl Spencer, and Mr. Windham, had followed the "great
Edmund," in his secession from the Fox-and-Sheridan majority of that
party, in 1791. Pitt, anxious to conciliate these new allies, had
brought them all into office in 1794—Earl Fitzwilliam being placed in
the dignified position of President of the Council. When spoken of for
the Viceroyalty he wrote to Grattan, bespeaking his support, and that
of "his friends, the Ponsonbys;" this letter and some others brought
Grattan to London, where he had two or three interviews with Pitt, the
Duke of Portland, and Lord Fitzwilliam. Better still, he made a
pilgrimage to Beaconsfield, and had the benefit of the last advice of
the aged Burke. With Pitt he was disappointed and dissatisfied, but he
still hoped and expected great good from the appointment of Lord
Fitzwilliam to the office of Viceroy. It seems to have been fully
understood that the new Lord Lieutenant would have very full powers to
complete the gracious work of Catholic emancipation: with this express
understanding, Mr. Grattan was pressed to accept the Chancellorship of
the Exchequer, but steadily declined; he upheld in that position Sir
Henry Parnell, an old personal, rather than political friend, one of a
family of whom Ireland has reason to retain a grateful recollection. He
was, however, with Ponsonby, Curran, and others of his friends in both
Houses, added to the Privy Council, where they were free to shape the
measures of the new administration. At the King's levee, on the 10th of
December, when Lord Fitzwilliam was sworn in, the aged Burke, in deep
mourning for his idolized son, attended; Grattan was so much spoken to
by the King as to draw towards him particular attention; Mr. Pitt, the
Duke of Portland, and other ministers, were present. All took and held
the tone that complete emancipation was a thing settled: Burke
congratulated Grattan on the event, and the new Viceroy was as jubilant
and as confident as anybody, that the great controversy was at length
to be finally closed under his auspices.

On the 4th of January, Lord Fitzwilliam reached Dublin; and on the 25th
of March he was recalled. The history of these three months—of this
short-lived attempt to govern Ireland on the advice of Grattan—is full
of instruction. The Viceroy had not for a moment concealed his
intention of thoroughly reforming the Irish administration. On his
arrival at the Castle, Mr. Cooke was removed from the Secretaryship,
and Mr. Beresford from the Revenue Board. Great was the consternation,
and unscrupulous the intrigues of the dismissed. When the Parliament
met at the end of January, Grattan assumed the leadership of the House
of Commons, and moved the address in answer to the speech from the
throne. No opposition was offered—and it passed without a division.
Immediately, a bill granting the Catholics complete
emancipation—rendering them eligible even to the office of Chancellor,
withheld in 1829—was introduced by Grattan. Then the oligarchy found
their voices. The old cry of "the Church in danger" was raised,
delegations proceeded to London, and every agency of influence was
brought to bear on the King and the English cabinet. From the tenor of
his letters, Lord Fitzwilliam felt compelled in honour to tell Mr.
Pitt, that he might choose between him and the Beresfords. He did
choose—but not till the Irish Parliament, in the exuberance of its
confidence and gratitude, had voted the extraordinary subsidy of 20,000
men for the navy, and _a million, eight hundred thousand pounds,
towards the expenses of the war with France!_ Then, the popular Viceroy
was recalled amid the universal regrets of the people. The day of his
departure from Dublin was a day of general mourning, except with the
oligarchical clique, whose leaders he had so resolutely thrust aside.
To them it was a day of insolent and unconcealed rejoicing; and, what
is not at all uncommon under such circumstances, the infatuated
partisans of the French revolution, rejoiced hardly less than the
extremest Tories, at the sudden collapse of a government equally
opposed to the politics of both. Grattan, than whom no public man was
ever more free from unjust suspicion of others, always remained under
the conviction that Pitt had made merely a temporary use of Lord
Fitzwilliam's popularity, in order to cheat the Irish out of the
immense supplies they had voted; and all the documents of the day,
which have since seen the light, accord well with that view of the
transaction. Lord Fitzwilliam was immediately replaced by Lord Camden,
whose Viceroyalty extended into the middle of the year 1798: a reign
which embraced all that remains to us to narrate, of the Parliamentary
politics of the era of Independence.

The sittings of Parliament were resumed during April, May, and June,
but the complete emancipation bill was rejected three to one—155 to 55;
the debates were now marked, on the part of Toler, Duigenan, Johnson,
and others, with the most violent anti-Catholic spirit. All this tended
to inflame still more the exasperated feeling which already prevailed
in the country between Orangemen and Defenders. Thus it came, that the
High Court of Parliament, which ought to have been the chief school of
public wisdom—the calm correcting tribunal of public opinion—was made a
principal engine in the dissemination of those prejudices and passions,
which drove honest men to despair of constitutional redress, and
swelled the ranks of the secret political societies, till they became
co-extensive with the population.

The session of 1796 was even more hopeless than the immediately
preceding one. A trade motion of Grattan's on the address commanded
only 14 votes out of 140; in the next session his motion in favour of
equal rights to persons of all religious creeds, obtained but 12 votes
out of 160! From these figures it is clear that above a third of the
members of the House no longer attended; that of those who did attend,
the overwhelming and invariable majority—ten to one—were for all the
measures of repression and coercion which marked these two sessions.
The Insurrection Act, giving power to the magistrates of any county to
proclaim martial law; the Indemnity Act, protecting magistrates from
the consequences of exercising "a vigour beyond the law;" the Riot Act,
giving authority to disperse any number of persons by force of arms
without notice; the Suspension of the _habeas corpus_ (against which
only 7 members out of a House of 164 voted)—all were evidences to
Grattan, that the usefulness of the House of Commons, as then
constituted, was, for the tune, lost or destroyed. It is quite clear
that he came to this conviction slowly and reluctantly; that he
struggled against it with manly fortitude through three sessions; that
he yielded to it at length, when there was no longer a possibility of
resistance,—when to move or to divide the House, had become a wretched
farce, humiliating to the country, and unworthy of his own earnest and
enthusiastic patriotism.

Under these circumstances, the powerless leader and his devoted staff
resolved to withdraw, formally and openly, from further attendance on
the House of Commons. The deplorable state of the country, delivered
over to an irresponsible magistracy and all the horrors of martial law;
the spread among the patriotic rising generation of French principles;
the scarcely concealed design of the Castle to goad the people into
insurrection, in order to deprive them of their liberties; all
admonished the faithful few that the walls of Parliament were no longer
their sphere of usefulness. One last trial was, however, made in May,
1797, for a reform of Parliament. Mr. George Ponsonby moved his usual
motion, and Curran, Hardy, Sir Lawrence Parsons, Charles Kendall Bushe,
and others, ably supported him. The division was 30 to 117. It was on
this debate, that Grattan, whose mournful manner contrasted so strongly
with his usual enthusiasm, concluded a solemn exposition of the evils
the administration were bringing on the country, by these affecting
words:—"We have offered you our measure—you will reject it; we
deprecate yours—you will persevere; having no hopes left to persuade or
to dissuade, and having discharged our duty, we shall trouble you no
more, _and after this day shall not attend the House of Commons_." The
secession thus announced was accomplished; at the general election, two
months later, Grattan and his colleague, Lord Henry Fitzgerald, refused
to stand again for Dublin; Curran, Lord Edward Fitzgerald, Arthur
O'Conor, and others, followed his example. A few patriots, hoping
against hope, were, however, returned, a sort of forlorn hope, to man
the last redoubt of the Constitution. Of these was William Conyngham
Plunkett, member for Charlemont, Grattan's old borough, a
constitutionalist of the school of Edmund Burke, worthy to be named
among the most illustrious of his disciples.

In the same July, on the 7th of the month, on which the Irish elections
were held, that celebrated Anglo-Irish statesman expired at
Beaconsfield, in the sixty-seventh year of his age. His last
thoughts—his last wishes, like his first—were with his native land. His
regards continued fixed on the state of Ireland, while vision and
faculty remained. His last efforts in writing and conversation were to
plead for toleration, concession and conciliation towards Ireland. The
magisterial gravity of Burke was not calculated to permit him to be
generally popular with an impulsive people, but as years roll on, and
education extends its dominion, his reputation rises and brightens
above every other reputation of his age, British or Irish. Of him no
less truly than powerfully did Grattan say in the Imperial Parliament,
in 1815: "He read everything, he saw everything, he foresaw everything.
His knowledge of history amounted to a power of foretelling; and when
he perceived the wild work that was doing in France, that great
political physician, intelligent of symptoms, distinguished between the
access of fever and the force of health; and what other men conceived
to be the vigour of her constitution, he knew to be no more than the
paroxysm of her madness; and then, prophet-like, he denounced the
destinies of France, and in his prophetic fury, admonished nations."


Half measures of justice may satisfy the generation which achieves
them, but their successors will look with other eyes, as well on what
has been won as on that which is withheld. The part in possession will
appear to their youthful sense of abstract right and wrong far less
precious than the part in expectancy, for it is in the nature of the
young to look forward, as it is of the old to turn their regards to the
past. The very recollection of their fathers will stimulate the new
generation to emulate their example, and will render them averse to
being bound by former compromises. So necessary is it for statesmen,
when they yield to a just demand long withheld, to yield gracefully and
to yield all that is fairly due.

The celebrated group known to us as "the United Irishmen," were the
birth of a new generation, entering together on the public stage. With
few exceptions, the leading characters were all born within a few years
of each other: Neilson in 1761, Tone, Arthur O'Conor and Lord Edward
Fitzgerald in '62, McNevin in '63, Sampson and Thomas Addis Emmet in
'64, and Russell in '67. They had emerged into manhood while the drums
of the Volunteers were beating victorious marches, when the public
hopes ran high, and the language of patriotism was the familiar speech
of every-day life.

In a settled state of society it would have been natural for the first
minds of the new generation to carry their talents, gratefully and
dutifully, into the service of the first reputations of the old; but
Irish society, in the last years of the last century, was not in a
settled condition; the fascination of French example, and the goading
sense of national wrongs only half-righted, inflamed the younger
generation with a passionate thirst for speedy and summary justice on
their oppressors. We must not look, therefore, to see the Tones and
Emmets continuing in the constitutional line of public conduct marked
out by Burke in the one kingdom, and Grattan in the other. The new age
was revolutionary, and the new men were filled with the spirit of the
age. Their actions stand apart; they form an episode in the history of
the century to which there may be parallels, but a chapter in the
history of their own country original and alone.

The United Irish Society sprung up at Belfast in October, 1791. In that
month, Theobold Wolf Tone, then in his 28th year, a native of Kildare,
a member of the bar, and an excellent popular pamphleteer, on a visit
to his friend Thomas Russell, in the northern capital, was introduced
to Samuel Neilson, proprietor of the _Northern Star_ newspaper, and
several other kindred spirits, all staunch reformers, or "something
more." Twenty of these gentlemen meeting together, adopted a programme
prepared by Tone, which contained these three simple propositions: that
"English influence" was the great danger of Irish liberty; that a
reform of Parliament could alone create a counterpoise to that
influence; and that such a reform to be just should include Irishmen of
all religious denominations. On Tone's return to Dublin, early in
November, a branch society was formed on the Belfast basis. The Hon.
Simon Butler, a leading barrister, was chosen Chairman, and Mr. Napper
Tandy, an active middle-aged merchant, with strong republican
principles, was Secretary. The solemn declaration or oath, binding
every member "to forward a brotherhood of affection, an identity of
interests, a communion of rights, and a union of power among Irishmen
of all religious persuasions," was drawn up by the Dublin club, and
became the universal bond of organization. Though the Belfast leaders
had been long in the habit of meeting in "secret committee," to direct
and control the popular movements in their vicinage, the new society
was not, in its inception, nor for three years afterwards, a secret
society. When that radical change was proposed, we find it resisted by
a considerable minority, who felt themselves at length compelled to
retire from an association, the proceedings of which they could no
longer approve. In justice to those who remained, adopting secrecy as
their only shield, it must be said, that the freedom of the press and
of public discussion had been repeatedly and frequently violated before
they abandoned the original maxims and tactics of their body, which
were all open, and above-board.

In 1792, Simon Butler, and Oliver Bond—a prosperous Dublin merchant of
northern origin—was summoned to the bar of the House of Lords,
condemned to six months' imprisonment, and a fine of 500 pounds each,
for having acted as Chairman and Secretary of one of the meetings, at
which an address to the people, strongly reflecting on the corrupt
constitution of Parliament, was adopted. In '94, Archibald Hamilton
Rowan, one of the purest and most chivalrous characters of any age, was
convicted, by a packed jury, of circulating the famous "Universal
Emancipation" address of his friend, Dr. William Drennan, the
poet-politician of the party. He was defended by Curran, in the still
more famous speech in which occurs his apostrophe to "the genius of
Universal Emancipation;" but he atoned in the cells of Newgate, for
circulating the dangerous doctrine which Drennan had broached, and
Curran had immortalized.

The regular place of meeting of the Dublin society was the Tailors'
Hall, in Back Lane, a spacious building, called, from the number of
great popular gatherings held in it, "the Back Lane Parliament." Here
Tandy, in the uniform of his new National Guard, whose standard bore
the harp without the crown, addressed his passionate harangues to the
applauding multitude; here Tone, whose _forte_, however, was not
oratory, constantly attended; here, also, the leading Catholics, Keogh
and McCormack, the "Gog" and "Magog," of Tone's extraordinary
_Memoirs_, were occasionally present. And here, on the night of the 4th
of May, 1794, the Dublin society found themselves suddenly assailed by
the police, their papers seized, their officers who were present
arrested, and their meeting dispersed. From that moment we may date the
new and _secret_ organization of the brotherhood, though it was not in
general operation till the middle of the following year.

This new organization, besides its secrecy, had other revolutionary
characteristics. For "reform of Parliament" was substituted in the
test, or oath, representation "of all the people of Ireland," and for
petitions and publications, the enrolment of men, by baronies and
counties, and the appointment of officers, from the least to the
highest in rank, as in a regular army. The unit was a lodge of twelve
members, with a chairman and secretary, who were also their corporal
and sergeant; five of these lodges formed a company, and the officers
of five such companies a baronial committee, from which again, in like
manner, the county committees were formed. Each of the provinces had
its Directory, while in Dublin the supreme authority was established,
in an "Executive Directory" of five members. The orders of the
Executive were communicated to not more than one of the Provincial
Directors, and by him to one of each County Committee, and so in a
descending scale, till the rank and file were reached; an elaborate
contrivance, but one which proved wholly insufficient to protect the
secrets of the organization from the ubiquitous espionage of the

In May, 1795, the new organization lost the services of Wolfe Tone, who
was compromised by a strange incident, to a very serious extent. The
incident was the arrest and trial of the Rev. William Jackson, an
Anglican clergyman, who had imbibed the opinions of Price and
Priestley, and had been sent to Ireland by the French Republic, on a
secret embassy. Betrayed by a friend and countryman, named Cockayne,
the unhappy Jackson took poison in prison, and expired in the dock.
Tone had been seen with Jackson, and through the influence of his
friends, was alone protected from arrest. He was compelled, however, to
quit the country, in order to preserve his personal liberty. He
proceeded with his family to Belfast, where, before taking shipping for
America, he renewed with his first associates, their vows and projects,
on the summit of "the Cave Hill," which looks down upon the rich valley
of the Laggan, and the noble town and port at its outlet. Before
quitting Dublin, he had solemnly promised Emmet and Russell, in the
first instance, as he did his Belfast friends in the second, that he
would make the United States his _route_ to France, where he would
negotiate a formidable national alliance, for "the United Irishmen."

In the year in which Tone left the country, Lord Edward Fitzgerald,
brother of the Duke of Leinster, and formerly a Major in the British
Army, joined the society; in the next year—near its close—Thomas Addis
Emmet, who had long been in the confidence of the promoters, joined, as
did, about the same time, Arthur O'Conor, nephew of Lord Longueville,
and ex-member for Phillipstown, and Dr. William James McNevin, a
Connaught Catholic, educated in Austria, then practising his profession
with eminent success in Dublin. These were felt to be important
accessions, and all four were called upon to act on "the Executive
Directory," from time to time, during 1796 and 1797.

The coercive legislation carried through Parliament, session after
session—the Orange persecutions in Armagh and elsewhere—the domiciliary
visits—the military outrages in town and country—the free quarters,
whipping and tortures—the total suppression of the public press—the
bitter disappointment of Lord Fitzwilliam's recall—the annual failure
of Ponsonby's motion for reform—finally, the despairing secession of
Grattan and his friends from Parliament—had all tended to expand the
system, which six years before was confined to a few dozen enthusiasts
of Belfast and Dublin, into the dimensions of a national confederacy.
By the close of this year, 500,000 men had taken the test, in every
part of the country, and nearly 300,000 were reported as armed, either
with firelocks or pikes. Of this total, 110,000 alone were returned for
Ulster; about 60,000 for Leinster, and the remainder from Connaught and
Munster. A fund, ludicrously small, 1,400 pounds sterling, remained in
the hands of the Executive, after all the outlay which had taken place,
in procuring arms, in extending the union, and in defending prisoners
arrested as members of the society. Lord Edward Fitzgerald was chosen
Commander-in-Chief; but the main reliance, for munitions, artillery,
and officers, was placed upon the French Republic.


The close of the year 1795 saw France under the government of the
Directory, with Carnot in the cabinet, and Pichegru, Jourdain, Moreau,
Hoche, and Buonaparte at the head of its armies. This government, with
some change of persons, lasted from October, 1795, to November, '99,
when it was supplanted by the Consular Revolution. Within the compass
of those four years lie the negotiations which were carried on and the
three great expeditions which were fitted out by France and Holland, at
the instance of the United Irishmen.

On the 1st of February, 1796, Tone, who had sailed from Belfast the
previous June, arrived at Havre from New York, possessed of a hundred
guineas and some useful letters of introduction. One of these letters,
written in cipher, was from the French Minister at Philadelphia to the
Minister of Foreign Affairs, Charles Lacroix; another was to the
American Minister in France, Mr. Monroe, afterwards President of the
United States, by whom he was most kindly received, and wisely advised,
on reaching Paris. Lacroix received him courteously, and referred him
to a subordinate called Madgett, but after nearly three months wasted
in interviews and explanations, Tone, by the advice of Monroe,
presented himself at the Luxembourg Palace, and demanded audience of
the "Organizer of Victory." Carnot also listened to him attentively,
asked and obtained his true name, and gave him another _rendezvous_. He
was next introduced to Clarke (afterwards Duc de Feltre), Secretary at
War, the son of an Irishman, whom he found wholly ignorant of Ireland;
and finally, on the 12th of July, General Hoche, in the most frank and
winning manner, introduced himself. At first the Directory proposed
sending to Ireland no more than 5,000 men, while Tone pleaded for
20,000; but when Hoche accepted the command, he assured Tone he would
go "in sufficient force." The "pacificator of La Vendee," as the young
general was called—he was only thirty-two,—won at once the heart of the
enthusiastic founder of the United Irishmen, and the latter seems to
have made an equally favourable impression. He was at once presented
with the commission of a _chef de brigade_ of infantry—a rank answering
to that of colonel with us—and was placed as adjutant on the general's
staff. Hoche was all ardour and anxiety; Carnot cheered him on by
expressing his belief that it would be "a most brilliant operation;"
and certainly Tone was not the man to damp such expectations, or allow
them to evaporate in mere complimentary assurances.

During the autumn months the expedition was busily being fitted out at
Brest, and the general head-quarters were at Rennes. The Directory, to
satisfy themselves that all was as represented by Tone, had sent an
agent of their own to Ireland, by whom a meeting was arranged on the
Swiss frontier between Lord Edward Fitzgerald, Arthur O'Conor, Dr.
McNevin, and Hoche. From this meeting—the secret of which he kept to
himself—the young general returned in the highest spirits, and was
kinder than ever to his adjutant. At length, early in December, all was
ready, and on the 16th the Brest fleet stood out to sea; 17 sail of the
line, 13 frigates, and 13 smaller ships, carrying 15,000 picked troops,
the _élite_ of "the Army of the Ocean," and abundance of artillery and
munitions of war. Tone was in the _Indomptable_, 80 guns, commanded by
a Canadian, named Bedout; Hoche and the Admiral in the frigate
_Fraternité_; Grouchy, so memorable for the part he played then and
afterwards, was second in command. On the third morning, after groping
about and losing each other in Atlantic fog, one-half the fleet (with
the fatal exception of the _Fraternité_) found themselves close in with
the coast of Kerry. They entered Bantry Bay, and came to anchor, ten
ships of war, and "a long line of dark hulls resting on the green
water." Three or four days they lay dormant and idle, waiting for the
General and Admiral; Bouvet, the Vice-Admiral, was opposed to moving in
the absence of his chief; Grouchy was irresolute and nervous; but at
length, on Christmas day, the council of war decided in favour of
debarkation. The landing was to take place next morning; 6,500 veterans
were prepared to step ashore at daylight, but without their artillery,
their military chest, and their general. Two hours beyond midnight Tone
was roused from sleep by the wind, which he found blowing half a gale.
Pacing the gallery of the _Indomptable_ till day dawned, he felt it
rising louder and angrier, every hour. The next day it was almost a
hurricane, and the Vice-Admiral's frigate, running under the quarter of
the great 80-gun ship, ordered them to slip anchor and stand out to
sea. The whole fleet was soon driven off the Irish coast; that part of
it, in which Grouchy and Tone were embarked, made its entrance into
Brest on New Year's day; the ship which carried Hoche and the Admiral,
only arrived at La Rochelle on the 15th. The Directory and the General,
so far from being discouraged by this failure, consoled themselves by
the demonstration they had made, of the possibility of a great fleet
passing to and fro, in British waters, for nearly a month, without
encountering a single British vessel of war. Not so the Irish
negotiator; on him, light-hearted and daring as he was, the
disappointment fell with crushing weight; but he magnanimously carried
Grouchy's report to Paris, and did his utmost to defend the unlucky
general from a cabal which had been formed against him.

While Tone was reluctantly following his new chief to the Meuse and the
Rhine—with a promise that the Irish expedition was delayed, not
abandoned—another, and no less fortunate negotiator, was raising up a
new ally for the same cause, in an unexpected quarter. The Batavian
republic, which had risen in the steps of Pichegru's victorious army,
in 1794, was now eager to imitate the example of France. With a
powerful fleet, and an unemployed army, its chiefs were quite ready to
listen to any proposal which would restore the maritime ascendancy of
Holland, and bring back to the recollection of Europe the memory of the
puissant Dutch republic. In this state of affairs, the new agent of the
Irish Directory, Edward John Lewines, a Dublin attorney, a man of great
ability and energy, addressed himself to the Batavian government. He
had been sent abroad with very general powers, to treat with Holland,
Spain, France, or any other government at war with England, for a loan
of half a million sterling, and a sufficient auxiliary force to aid the
insurrection. During two months' stay at Hamburg, the habitual route in
those days from the British ports to the continent, he had placed
himself in communication with the Spanish agent there, and had, in
forty days, received an encouraging answer from Madrid. On his way,
probably to Spain, to follow up that fair prospect, he reached the
Netherlands, and rapidly discovering the state of feeling in the Dutch,
or as it was then called, the _Batavian_ republic, he addressed himself
to the Directors, who consulted Hoche, by whom in turn Tone was
consulted. Tone had a high opinion of Lewines, and at once proceeded
with him to the Hague, where they were joined, according to agreement,
by Hoche. The Dutch Committee of Foreign Affairs, the
Commander-in-Chief, General Dandaels, and the Admiral, De Winter,
entered heartily into the project. There were in the Texel 16 ships of
the line and 10 frigates, victualled for three months, with 15,000 men
and 80 field guns on board. The only serious difficulty in the way was
removed by the disinterestedness of Hoche; the French Foreign Minister
having demanded that 5,000 French troops should be of the expedition,
and that Hoche should command in chief; the latter, to conciliate
Dandaels and the Dutch, undertook to withdraw the proposal, and
gracefully yielded his own pretensions. All then was settled: Tone was
to accompany Dandaels with the same rank he had in the Brest
expedition, and Lewines to return, and remain, as "Minister-resident"
at Paris. On the 8th of July, Tone was on board the flagship, the
_Vryheid_, 74 guns, in the Texel, and "only waiting for a wind," to
lead another navy to the aid of his compatriots.

But the winds, "the only unsubsidized allies of England," were
strangely adverse. A week, two, three, four, five, passed heavily away,
without affording a single day in which that mighty fleet could make an
offing. Sometimes for an hour or two it shifted to the desired point,
the sails were unclewed and the anchors shortened, but then, as if to
torture the impatient exiles on board, it veered back again and settled
steadily in the fatal south-west. At length, at the end of August, the
provisions being nearly consumed, and the weather still unfavourable,
the Dutch Directory resolved to land the troops and postpone the
expedition. De Winter, as is known, subsequently found an opportunity
to work out, and attack Lord Duncan, by whom he was badly beaten. Thus
ended Irish hopes of aid from Holland. The indomitable Tone rejoined
his chief on the Rhine, where, to his infinite regret, Hoche died the
following month—September 18th, 1797—of a rapid consumption,
accelerated by cold and carelessness. "Hoche," said Napoleon to Barry
O'Meara at Saint Helena, "was one of the first generals France ever
produced. He was brave, intelligent, abounding in talent, decisive and
penetrating. Had he landed in Ireland, he would have succeeded. He was
accustomed to civil war, had pacified La Vendee, and was well adapted
for Ireland. He had a fine, handsome figure, a good address, was
prepossessing and intriguing." The loss of such a patron, who felt
himself, according to Tone's account, especially bound to follow up the
object of separating Ireland from England, was a calamity greater and
more irreparable than the detention of one fleet or the dispersion of
the other.

The third expedition, in promoting which Tone and Lewines bore the
principal part, was decided upon by the French Directory, immediately
after the conclusion of peace with Austria, in October, 1797. The
decree for the formation of "the Army of England," named Buonaparte
Commander-in-Chief, with Desaix as his second. Buonaparte consulted
Clarke as to who he most confided in among the numerous Irish refugees
then in Paris—there were some twenty or thirty, all more or less known,
and more or less in communication with the Directory—and Clarke
answered at once, "Tone, of course." Tone, with Lewines, the one in a
military, the other in an ambassadorial capacity, had frequent
interviews with the young conqueror of Italy, whom they usually found
silent and absorbed, always attentive, sometimes asking sudden
questions betraying great want of knowledge of the British Islands, and
occasionally, though rarely, breaking out into irresistible invectives
against Jacobinism and the English system, both of which he so
cordially detested. Every assurance was given by the General, by the
Directors, by Merlin du Douai, Barras, and Talleyrand especially, that
the expedition against England would never be abandoned. Tone, in high
spirits as usual, joined the division under the command of his
countryman, General Kilmaine, and took up his quarters at Havre, where
he had landed without knowing a soul in France two years before.

The winter wore away in busy preparations at Havre, at Brest, and at La
Rochelle,—and, which seemed mysterious to the Irish exiles—at Toulon.
All the resources of France, now without an enemy on the Continent,
were put forth in these preparations. But it soon appeared they were
not put forth for Ireland. On the 20th of May, 1798—within three days
of the outbreak in Dublin, Wexford, and Kildare—Buonaparte sailed with
the _elite_ of all that expedition for Alexandria, and "the Army of
England" became, in reality, "the Army of Egypt."

The bitterness, the despondency, and desperation which seized on the
Irish leaders in France, and on the rank and file of the United
Irishmen at home, on receiving this intelligence are sufficiently
illustrated in the subsequent attempts under Humbert and Bompart, and
the partial, ineffectual risings in Leinster, Ulster, and Connaught,
during the summer and autumn of 1798. After all their high hopes from
France and her allies, this was what it had come to at last! A few
frigates, with three or four thousand men, were all that could be
spared for the succour of a kingdom more populous than Egypt and Syria
combined; the granary of England, and the key of her Atlantic position.
It might have been some comfort to the family of Tone to have read,
thirty years afterwards, in their American asylum, or for the aged
Lewines to have read in the Parisian retreat in which he died, the
memorable confession of Napoleon at Saint Helena: "If instead of the
expedition to Egypt, I had undertaken that to Ireland, what," he asked,
"could England do now? On such chances," he mournfully added, "depend
the destinies of empires!"


It is no longer matter of assertion merely, but simple matter of fact,
that the English and Irish ministers of George III. regarded the
insurrectionary movement of the United Irishmen as at once a pretext
and a means for effecting a legislative union between the two
countries. Lord Camden, the Viceroy who succeeded Lord Fitzwilliam in
March, '95—with Mr. Pelham as his Chief Secretary, in a letter to his
relative, the Hon. Robert Stewart, afterwards Lord Castlereagh,
announced this policy, in unmistakable terms, so early as 1793; and all
the official correspondence published of late years, concerning that
period of British and Irish history, establishes the fact beyond the
possibility of denial.

Such being the design, it was neither the wish nor the interest of the
Government, that the insurrection should be suppressed, unless the
Irish constitution could be extinguished with it. To that end they
proceeded in the coercive legislation described in a previous chapter;
to that end they armed with irresponsible power the military officers
and the oligarchical magistracy; with that view they quartered those
yeomanry regiments, which were known to be composed of Orangemen, on
the wretched peasantry of the most Catholic counties, while the corps
in which Catholics or United Irishmen were most numerous, were sent
over to England, in exchange for Scotch fencibles and Welsh cavalry.
The outrages committed by all these volunteer troops, but above all by
the Orange yeomanry of the country, were so monstrous, that the gallant
and humane Sir John Moore exclaimed, "If I were an Irishman, I would be
a rebel!"

It was, indeed, impossible for any man, however obscure, or however
eminent, to live longer in the country, without taking sides. Yet the
choice was at best a hard and unhappy one. On the one side was the
Castle, hardly concealing its intention of goading on the people, in
order to rob them of their Parliament; on the other was the injured
multitude, bound together by a secret system which proved in reality no
safeguard against traitors in their own ranks, and which had been
placed by its Protestant chiefs under the auspices of an infidel
republic. Between the two courses men made election according to their
bias or their necessities, or as they took local or general, political
or theological views of the situation. Both Houses of the legislature
unanimously sustained the government against the insurrection; as did
the judges, the bar, and the Anglican clergy and bishops. The
Presbyterian body were in the beginning all but unanimous for a
republican revolution and the French alliance; the great majority of
the Catholic peasantry were, as the crisis increased, driven into the
same position, while all their bishops and a majority of the Catholic
aristocracy, adhered to that which they, with the natural tendency of
their respective orders, considered the side of religion and authority.
Thus was the nation sub-divided within itself; Protestant civilian from
Protestant ecclesiastic, Catholic layman from Catholic priest, tenant
from lord, neighbour from neighbour, father from son, and friend from

During the whole of '97, the opposing parties were in a ferment of
movement and apprehension. As the year wore on, the administration,
both English and Irish, began to feel that the danger was more
formidable than they had foreseen. The timely storm which had blown
Grouchy out of Bantry Bay, the previous Christmas, could hardly be
reckoned on again, though the settled hostility of the French
government knew no change. Thoroughly well informed by their legion of
spies both on the Continent and in Ireland, every possible military
precaution was taken. The Lord Lieutenant's proclamation for disarming
the people, issued in May, was rigorously enforced by General Johnstone
in the South, General Hutchinson in the West, and Lord Lake in the
North. Two hundred thousand pikes and pike-heads were said to have been
discovered or surrendered during the year, and several thousand
firelocks. The yeomanry, and English and Scotch corps amounted to
35,000 men, while the regular troops were increased to 50,000 and
subsequently to 80,000, including three regiments of the Guards. The
defensive works at Cork, and other vulnerable points were strengthened
at an immense cost; the "Pigeon House" fort, near Dublin, was enlarged,
for the city itself was pronounced by General Vallancy, Colonel
Packenham, and other engineer authorities dangerously weak, if not
wholly untenable. A system of telegraphic signals was established from
all points of the coast with the Capital, and every precaution taken
against the surprise of another French invasion.

During the summer assize, almost every considerable town and circuit
had its state trial. The sheriffs had been carefully selected
beforehand by the Castle, and the juries were certain to be of "the
right sort," under the auspices of such sheriffs. Immense sums in the
aggregate were contributed by the United Irish for the defence of their
associates; at the Down assizes alone, not less than seven hundred or
eight hundred guineas were spent in fees and retainers; but at the
close of the term, Mr. Beresford was able to boast to his friend Lord
Auckland, that but one of all the accused had escaped the penalty of
death or banishment! The military tribunals, however, did not wait for
the idle formalities of the civil courts. Soldiers and civilians,
yeomen and townsmen, against whom the informer pointed his finger, were
taken out, and summarily executed. Ghastly forms hung upon the
thick-set gibbets, not only in the market places of country towns, and
before the public prisons, but on all the bridges of the metropolis.
Many of the soldiers, in every military district were shot weekly and
almost daily for real or alleged complicity with the rebels. The horrid
torture of picketing, and the blood-stained lash, were constantly
resorted to, to extort accusations or confessions. Over all these
atrocities the furious and implacable spirit of Lord Clare presided in
Council, and the equally furious and implacable Luttrel, Lord
Carhampton, as Commander-in-Chief. All moderate councils were denounced
as nothing short of treason, and even the elder Beresford, the Privy
Counsellor, was compelled to complain of the violence of his noble
associates, and his inability to restrain the ferocity of his own
nearest relatives—meaning probably his son John Claudius, and his
son-in-law, Sir George Hill.

It was while this spirit was abroad, a spirit as destructive as ever
animated the Councils of Sylla or Marius in Old Rome, or prompted the
decrees of Robespierre or Marat in France, that the genius and courage
of one man redeemed the lost reputation of the law, and upheld against
all odds the sacred claims of personal liberty. This man was John
Philpot Curran, the most dauntless of advocates, one of the truest and
bravest of his race. Although a politician of the school of Grattan,
and wholly untainted with French principles, he identified himself
absolutely with his unhappy clients, "predoomed to death." The genius
of patriotic resistance which seemed to have withdrawn from the Island
with Grattan's secession from Parliament, now re-appeared in the last
place where it might have been expected—in those courts of death,
rather than of justice—before those predetermined juries, besides the
hopeless inmates of the crowded dock, personified in the person of
Curran. Often at midnight, amid the clash of arms, his wonderful
pleadings were delivered; sometimes, as in Dublin, where the court
rooms adjoined the prisons, the condemned, or the confined, could hear,
in their cells, his piercing accents breaking the stillness of the
early morning, pleading for justice and mercy—pleading always with
superhuman perseverance, but almost always in vain. Neither menaces of
arrest, nor threats of assassination, had power to intimidate that
all-daring spirit; nor, it may be safely said, can the whole library of
human history present us a form of heroism superior in kind or degree
to that which this illustrious advocate exhibited during nearly two
years, when he went forth daily, with his life in his hand, in the holy
hope to snatch some human victim from the clutch of the destroyer
thirsting for his blood.

In November, '97, some said from fear of personal consequences, some
from official pressure in a high quarter, Lord Carhampton resigned the
command of the forces, and Sir Ralph Abercromby was appointed in his
stead. There could not be a more striking illustration of the system of
terror patronized by government than was furnished in the case of Sir
Ralph as Commander-in-Chief. That distinguished soldier, with his half
century of services at his back, had not been a week in Dublin before
he discovered the weakness of the Viceroy, and the violence of his
principal advisers, the Chancellor, the Speaker, Lord Castlereagh and
the Beresfords. Writing in confidence to his son, he says, "The abuses
of all kinds I found here can scarcely be believed or enumerated." The
instances he cites of such abuses are sufficiently horrible to justify
the strong language which brought down on his head so much hostility,
when he declared in his proclamation of February '98, that the Irish
army was "formidable to every one but the enemy." These well-known
opinions were so repugnant to the Castle policy, that that party held a
caucus in the Speaker's Chambers, at which it was proposed to pass a
vote of censure in Parliament on the General, whom they denounced as "a
sulky mule," "a Scotch beast," and by other similar names. Though the
Parliamentary censure dropped, they actually compelled Lord Camden to
call on him to retract his magnanimous order. To this humiliation the
veteran stooped "for the sake of the King's service," but at the same
time he proffered his resignation. After two months' correspondence, it
was finally accepted, and the soldier who was found too jealous of the
rights of the people to be a fit instrument of their destruction,
escaped from his high position, not without a profound sentiment of
relief. His verdict upon the barbarous policy pursued in his time was
always expressed, frankly and decisively. His entire correspondence,
private and public, bears one and the same burthen—the violence,
cruelty, and tyranny of Lord Camden's chief advisers, and the pitiful
weakness of the Viceroy himself. Against the infamous plan of letting
loose a lustful and brutal soldiery to live at "free quarters" on a
defenceless and disarmed people—an outrage against which Englishmen had
taken perpetual security at _their_ revolution, as may be seen in "the
Bill of Rights," he struggled during his six months' command, but with
no great success. The plan, with all its horrors, was upheld by the
Lord-Lieutenant, and more than any other cause, precipitated the
rebellion which exploded at last, just as Sir Ralph was allowed to
retire from the country. His temporary successor, Lord Lake, was
troubled with no such scruples as the gallant old Scotsman.

Events followed each other in the first months of 1798, fast and
furiously. Towards the end of February, Arthur O'Conor, Father James
Quigley, the brothers John and Benjamin Binns, were arrested at Margate
on their way to France; on the 6th of March, the _Press_ newspaper, the
Dublin organ of the party, as the _Star_ had been the Ulster organ, was
seized by Government, Lord Edward Fitzgerald and William Sampson being
at the time in the office. On the 12th of March, on the information of
the traitor, Thomas Reynolds, the Leinster delegates were seized in
conclave, with all their papers, at the house of Oliver Bond, in Bridge
Street, Dublin. On the same information. Addis Emmet and Dr. McNevin
were taken in their own houses, and Sampson in the north of England: of
all the executive, Lord Edward alone escaping those sent in search of
him. This was, as Tone notes in his journal, on the ill news reaching
France, "a terrible blow." O'Conor's arrest in Kent, Sampson's in
Carlisle, and the other arrests in Belfast and Dublin, proved too truly
that treason was at work, and that the much-prized oath of secrecy was
no protection whatever against the devices of the Castle and the
depravity of its secret agents. The extent to which that treason
extended, the number of associates who were in the pay of their deadly
enemies, was never known to the United Irish leaders; time has,
however, long since "revealed the secrets of the prison-house," and we
know now, that men they trusted with all their plans and hopes, such as
McNally and McGucken, were quite as deep in the conspiracy to destroy
them as Mr. Reynolds and Captain Armstrong.

The most influential members of the Dublin Society remaining at large
contrived to correspond with each other, or to meet by stealth after
the arrest at Bond's. The vacancies in the Executive were filled up by
the brothers John and Henry Sheares, both barristers, sons of a wealthy
Cork banker, and former member of Parliament, and by Mr. Lawless, a
surgeon. For two months longer these gentlemen continued to act in
concert with Lord Edward, who remained undetected, notwithstanding all
the efforts of Government, from the 12th of March till the 19th of May
following. During those two months the new directors devoted themselves
with the utmost energy to hurrying on the armament of the people, and
especially to making proselytes among the militia, where the gain of
one man armed and disciplined was justly accounted equal to the
enlistment of three or four ordinary adherents. This part of their plan
brought the brothers Sheares into contact, among others, with Captain
John Warneford Armstrong, of the Queen's County Yeomanry, whom they
supposed they had won over, but who was, in reality, a better-class
spy, acting under Lord Castlereagh's instructions. Armstrong cultivated
them sedulously, dined at their table, echoed their opinions, and led
the credulous brothers on to their destruction. All at last was
determined on; the day of the rising was fixed—the 23rd day of May—and
the signal was to be the simultaneous stoppage of the mail coaches,
which started nightly from the Dublin post-office, to every quarter of
the kingdom. But the counterplot anticipated the plot. Lord Edward,
betrayed by a person called Higgins, proprietor of the _Freeman's
Journal_, was taken on the 19th of May, after a desperate struggle with
Majors Swan and Sirr, and Captain Ryan, in his hiding-place in Thomas
Street; the brothers Sheares were arrested in their own house on the
morning of the 21st, while Surgeon Lawless escaped from the city, and
finally from the country, to France. Thus, for the second time, was the
insurrection left without a head; but the organization had proceeded
too far to be any longer restrained, and the Castle, moreover, to use
the expression of Lord Castlereagh, "took means to make it explode."

The first intelligence of the rebellion was received in Dublin on the
morning of the 24th of May. At Rathfarnham, within three miles of the
city, 500 insurgents attacked Lord Ely's yeomanry corps with some
success, till Lord Roden's dragoons, hastily despatched from the city,
compelled them to retreat, with the loss of some prisoners and two men
killed, whom Mr. Beresford saw the next day, literally "_cut to
pieces_—a horrid sight." At Dunboyne the insurgents piked an escort of
the Reay Fencibles (Scotch) passing through their village, and carried
off their baggage. At Naas, a large popular force attacked the
garrison, consisting of regulars, Ancient Britons (Welsh), part of a
regiment of dragoons, and the Armagh Militia; the attack was renewed
three times with great bravery, but finally, discipline, as it always
will, prevailed over mere numbers, and the assailants were repulsed
with the loss of 140 of their comrades. At Prosperous, where they cut
off to a man a strong garrison composed of North Cork Militia, under
Captain Swayne, the rising was more successful. The commander in this
exploit was Dr. Esmonde, brother of the Wexford baronet, who, being
betrayed by one of his own subalterns, was the next morning arrested at
breakfast in the neighbourhood, and suffered death at Dublin on the
14th of the following month.

There could hardly be found a more unfavourable field for a peasant war
than the generally level and easily accessible county of Kildare, every
parish of which is within a day's march of Dublin. From having been the
residence of Lord Edward, it was, perhaps, one of the most highly
organized parts of Leinster, but as it had the misfortune to be
represented by Thomas Reynolds, as county delegate, it laboured under
the disadvantage of having its organization better known to the
government than any other. We need hardly be surprised, therefore, to
find that the military operations in this county were all over in ten
days or a fortnight; when those who had neither surrendered nor fallen,
fell back into Meath or Connaught, or effected a junction with the
Wicklow rebels in their mountain fastnesses. Their struggle, though so
brief, had been creditable for personal bravery. Attacked by a numerous
cavalry and militia under General Wilford, by 2,500 men, chiefly
regulars, under General Dundas, and by 800 regulars brought up by
forced marches from Limerick, under Sir James Duff, they showed
qualities, which, if well directed, would have established for their
possessors a high military reputation. At Monastereven they were
repulsed with loss, the defenders of the town being in part Catholic
loyalists, under Captain Cassidy; at Rathangan, they were more
successful, taking and holding the town for several days; at Clane, the
captors of Prosperous were repulsed; while at Old Killcullen, their
associates drove back General Dundas' advance, with the loss of 22
regulars and Captain Erskine killed. Sir James Duff's wanton cruelty in
sabring and shooting down an unarmed multitude on the Curragh, won him
the warm approval of the extermination party in the Capital, while
Generals Wilford and Dundas narrowly escaped being reprimanded for
granting a truce to the insurgents under Aylmer, and accepting of the
surrender of that leader and his companions. By the beginning of June
the six Kildare encampments of insurgents were totally dispersed, and
their most active officers in prison or fugitives west or south.

By a preconcerted arrangement, the local chiefs of the insurrection in
Dublin and Meath, gathered with their men on the third day after the
outbreak, at the historic hill of Tara. Here they expected to be joined
by the men of Cavan, Longford, Louth and Monaghan; but before the
northerners reached the trysting place, three companies of the Reay
Fencibles, under Captain McClean, the Kells and Navan Yeomanry, under
Captain Preston, (afterwards Lord Tara,) and a troop of cavalry under
Lord Fingal, surrounded the royal hill. The insurgents, commanded by
Gilshine and other leaders, intrenched themselves in the graveyard
which occupies the summit of Tara, and stoutly defended their position.
Twenty-six of the Highlanders and six of the Yeomanry fell in the
assault, but the bullet reached farther than the pike, and the
defenders were driven, after a sharp action, over the brow of the
eminence, and many of them shot or sabred down as they fled.

Southward from the Capital the long pent-up flame of disaffection broke
out on the same memorable day, May 23rd. At Dunlavin, an abortive
attempt on the barrack revealed the fact that many of the Yeomanry were
thoroughly with the insurgents. Hardly had the danger from without
passed over, when a military inquiry was improvised. By this tribunal,
nineteen Wexford, and nine Kildare Yeomanry, were ordered to be shot,
and the execution of the sentence followed immediately on its rending.
At Blessington, the town was seized, but a nocturnal attack on Carlow
was repulsed with great loss. In this last affair, the rebels had
_rendezvoused_ in the domain of Sir Edward Crosbie, within two miles of
the town. Here arms were distributed and orders given by their leader,
named Roche. Silently and quickly they reached the town they hoped to
surprise. But the regular troops, of which the garrison was chiefly
composed, were on the alert, though their preparations were made full
as silently. When the peasantry emerged from Tullow Street, into an
exposed space, a deadly fire was opened upon them from the houses on
all sides. The regulars, in perfect security themselves, and abundantly
supplied with ammunition, shot them down with deadly unerring aim. The
people soon found there was nothing for it but retreat, and carrying
off as best they could their killed and wounded, they retired sorely
discomfited. For alleged complicity in this attack, Sir Edward Crosbie
was shortly afterward arrested, tried and executed. There was not a
shadow of proof against him; but he was known to sympathize with the
sufferings of his countrymen, to have condemned in strong language the
policy of provocation, and that was sufficient. He paid with the
penalty of his head for the kindness and generosity of his heart.


The most formidable insurrection, indeed the only really formidable
one, broke out in the county of Wexford, a county in which it was
stated there were not 200 sworn United Irishmen, and which Lord Edward
Fitzgerald had altogether omitted from his official list of counties
organized in the month of February. In that brief interval, the
Government policy of provocation had the desired effect, though the
explosion was of a nature to startle those who occasioned it.

Wexford, geographically, is a peculiar county, and its people are a
peculiar people. The county fills up the south-eastern corner of the
island, with the sea south-east, the river Barrow to the west, and the
woods and mountains of Carlow and Wicklow to the north. It is about
forty miles long by twenty-four broad; the surface undulating and
rising into numerous groups of detached hills, two or more of which are
generally visible from each conspicuous summit. Almost in the midst
flows the river Slaney, springing from a lofty Wicklow peak, which
sends down on its northern slope the better known river Liffey. On the
estuary of the Slaney, some seventy miles south of Dublin, stands the
county town, the traveller journeying to which by the usual route then
taken, passed in succession through Arklow, Gorey, Ferns, Enniscorthy,
and other places of less consequence, though familiar enough in the
fiery records of 1798. North-westward, the only road in those days from
Carlow and Kilkenny, crossed the Blackstairs at Scollagh-gap, entering
the county at Newtownbarry, the ancient Bunclody; westward, some twenty
miles, on the river Barrow, stands New Ross, often mentioned in this
history, the road from which to the county town passes through
Scullabogue and Taghmon (_Ta'mun_), the former at the foot of
Carrickbyrne rock, the latter at the base of what is rather
hyperbolically called "the _mountain_ of Forth." South and west of the
town, towards the estuary of Waterford, lie the baronies of Forth and
Bargy, a great part of the population of which, even within our own
time, spoke the language Chaucer and Spenser wrote, and retained many
of the characteristics of their Saxon, Flemish, and Cambrian ancestors.
Through this singular district lay the road towards Duncannon fort, on
Waterford harbour, with branches running off to Bannow, Ballyhack, and
Dunbrody. We shall, therefore, speak of all the localities we may have
occasion to mention as on or near one of the four main roads of the
county, the Dublin, Carlow, Boss, and Waterford roads.

The population of this territory was variously estimated in 1798, at
150,000, 180,000, and 200,000. They were, generally speaking, a
comfortable and contented peasantry, for the Wexford landlords were
seldom absentees, and the farmers held under them by long leases and
reasonable rents. There were in the country few great lords, but there
was little poverty and no pauperism. In such a soil, the secret
societies were almost certain to fail, and if it had not been for the
diabolical experiments of Lord Kingsborough's North Cork Militia, it is
very probable that that orderly and thrifty population would have seen
the eventful year we are describing pass over their homes without
experiencing any of the terrible trials which accompanied it. But it
was impossible for human nature to endure the provocations inflicted
upon this patient and prosperous people. The pitch-cap and the triangle
were resorted to on the slightest and most frivolous pretexts. "A
sergeant of the North Cork Militia," says Mr. Hay, the county
historian, "nicknamed, _Tom the Devil_, was most ingenious in devising
new modes of torture. Moistened gunpowder was frequently rubbed into
the hair cut close and then set on fire; some, while shearing for this
purpose, had the tips of their ears snipt off; sometimes an entire ear,
and often both ears were completely cut off; and many lost part of
their noses during the like preparation. But, strange to tell," adds
Mr. Hay, "these atrocities were publicly practised without the least
reserve in open day, and no magistrate or officer ever interfered, but
shamefully connived at this extraordinary mode of quieting the people!
Some of the miserable sufferers on these shocking occasions, or some of
their relations or friends, actuated by a principle of retaliation, if
not of revenge, cut short the hair of several persons whom they either
considered as enemies or suspected of having pointed them out as
objects for such desperate treatment. This was done with a view that
those active citizens should fall in for a little experience of the
like discipline, or to make the fashion of short hair so general that
it might no longer be a mark of party distinction." This was the origin
of the nickname "Croppy," by which, during the remainder of the
insurrection, it was customary to designate all who were suspected or
proved to be hostile to, the government.

Among the magistracy of the county were several persons who, whatever
might have been their conduct in ordinary times, now showed themselves
utterly unfit to be entrusted with those large discretionary powers
which Parliament had recently conferred upon all justices of the peace.
One of these magistrates, surrounded by his troops, perambulated the
county with an executioner, armed with all the equipments of his
office; another carried away the lopped hands and fingers of his
victims, with which he stirred his punch in the carousals that followed
every expedition. At Carnew, midway between the Dublin and Carlow
roads, on the second day of the insurrection, twenty-eight prisoners
were brought out to be shot at as targets in the public ball alley; on
the same day Enniscorthy witnessed its first execution for treason, and
the neighbourhood of Ballaghkeen was harried by Mr. Jacob, one of the
magistrates whose method of preserving the peace of the county has been
just referred to. The majority of the bench, either weakly or
willingly, sanctioned these atrocities, but some others, among them a
few of the first men in the county, did not hesitate to resist and
condemn them. Among these were Mr. Beauchamp Bagenal Harvey of Bargy
Castle, Mr. Fitzgerald of Newpark, and Mr. John Henry Colclough of
Tintern Abbey; but all these gentlemen were arrested on Saturday, the
26th of May—the same day, or more strictly speaking, the eve of the day
on which the Wexford outbreak occurred.

On the day succeeding these arrests, being Whitsunday, Father John
Murphy, parish priest of Kilcormick, the son of a small farmer of the
neighbourhood, educated in Spain, on coming to his little wayside
chapel, found it laid in ashes. To his flock, as they surrounded him in
the open air, he boldly preached that it would be much better for them
to die in a fair field than to await the tortures inflicted by such
magistrates as Archibald Jacob, Hunter Gowan, and Hawtrey White. He
declared his readiness to share their fate, whatever it might be, and
in response, about 2,000 of the country people gathered in a few hours
upon Oulart Hill, situated about half-way between Enniscorthy and the
sea, and eleven miles north of Wexford. Here they were attacked on the
afternoon of the same day by the North Cork Militia, Colonel Foote, the
Shilmalier Yeoman cavalry, Colonel Le Hunte, and the Wexford cavalry.
The rebels, strong in their position, and more generally accustomed to
the use of arms than persons in their condition in other parts of the
country, made a brave and successful stand. Major Lambert, the Hon.
Captain De Courcy (brother of Lord Kinsale), and some other officers,
fell before the long-shore guns of the Shilmalier fowlers; of the North
Cork detachment, only the colonel, a sergeant, and two or three
privates escaped; the cavalry, at the top of their speed, galloped back
to the county town.

The people were soon thoroughly aroused. Another popular priest of the
diocese, Michael Murphy, on reaching Gorey, finding his chapel also
rifled, and the altar desecrated, turned his horse's head and joined
the insurgents, who had gathered on Kilthomas hill, near Carnew. Signal
fires burned that night on all the eminences of the county, which
seemed as if they had been designed for so many watch-towers; horns
resounded; horsemen galloped far and near; on the morrow of Whitsunday
all Wexford arose, animated with the passions and purposes of civil

On the 28th, Ferns, Camolin, and Enniscorthy were taken by the
insurgents; the latter, after an action of four hours, in which a
captain, two lieutenants, and eighty of the local yeomanry fell. The
survivors fled to Wexford, which was as rapidly as possible placed in a
state of defence. The old walls and gates were still in good repair,
and 300 North Cork, 200 Donegal, and 700 local militia ought to have
formed a strong garrison within such ramparts, against a mere
tumultuous peasantry. The yeomen, however, thought otherwise, and two
of the three imprisoned popular magistrates were sent to Enniscorthy to
exhort and endeavour to disperse the insurgents. One of them only
returned, the other, Mr. Fitzgerald, joined the rebels, who, continuing
their march, were allowed to take possession of the county town without
striking a blow. Mr. Bagenal Harvey, the magistrate still in prison,
they insisted on making their Commander-in-Chief; a gentleman of
considerable property, by no means destitute of courage, but in every
other respect quite unequal to the task imposed upon him. After a trial
of his generalship at the battle of Ross, he was transferred to the
more pacific office of President of the Council, which continued to sit
and direct operations from Wexford, with the co-operation of a
sub-committee at Enniscorthy. Captain Matthew Keogh, a retired officer
of the regular army, aged but active, was made governor of the town, in
which a couple of hundred armed men were left as his guards. An attempt
to relieve the place from Duncannon had utterly failed. General
Fawcett, commanding that important fortress, set out on his march with
this object on the 30th of May—his advanced guard of 70 Meathian
yeomanry, having in charge three howitzers, whose slower movements it
was expected the main force would overtake long before reaching the
neighbourhood of danger. At Taghmon this force was joined by Captain
Adams with his command, and thus reinforced they continued their march
to Wexford. Within three miles of the town the road wound round the
base of the "three rock" mountain; evening fell as the royalists
approached this neighbourhood, where the victors of Oulart,
Enniscorthy, and Wexford had just improvised a new camp. A sharp volley
from the long-shore-men's guns, and a furious onslaught of pikes threw
the royal detachment into the utmost disorder. Three officers of the
Meathian cavalry, and nearly one hundred men were placed _hors de
combat_; the three howitzers, eleven gunners, and several prisoners
taken; making the third considerable success of the insurgents within a

Wexford county now became the theatre of operations, on which all eyes
were fixed. The populace gathered as if by instinct into three great
encampments, on Vinegar Hill, above Enniscorthy; on Carrickbyrne, on
the road leading to Ross, and on the hill of Corrigrua, seven miles
from Gorey. The principal leaders of the first division were Fathers
Kearns and Clinch, and Messrs. Fitzgerald, Doyle, and Redmond; of the
second, Bagenal Harvey, and Father Philip Roche; of the last, Anthony
Perry of Inch, Esmond Kyan, and the two Fathers Murphy, Michael, and
John. The general plan of operations was that the third division should
move by way of Arklow and Wicklow on the Capital; the second to open
communication with Carlow, Kilkenny, and Kildare by Newtownbarry and
Scollagh-gap; while the first was to attack New Ross, and endeavour to
hasten the rising in Munster.

On the 1st of June, the advance of the northern division marching upon
Gorey, then occupied in force by General Loftus, were encountered four
miles from the town, and driven back with the loss of about a hundred
killed and wounded. On the 4th of June, Loftus, at the instance of
Colonel Walpole, aid-de-camp to the Lord Lieutenant, who had lately
joined him with considerable reinforcements, resolved to beat up the
rebel quarters at Corrigrua. It was to be a combined movement; Lord
Ancram, posted with his militia and dragoons at the bridge of
Scaramalsh, where the poetic Banna joins the Slaney, was to prevent the
arrival of succours from Vinegar Hill; Captain McManus, with a couple
of companies of yeomanry, stationed at another exposed point from which
intelligence could be obtained and communicated; while the General and
Colonel Walpole, marched to the attack by roads some distance apart,
which ran into one within two miles of Corrigrua camp. The main body of
the King's troops were committed to the lead of Walpole, who had also
two six-pounders and a howitzer. After an hour-and-a-half's march he
found the country changed its character near the village of Clogh
(_clo'_), where the road descending from the level arable land, dips
suddenly into the narrow and winding pass of Tubberneering. The sides
of the pass were lined with a bushy shrubbery, and the roadway at the
bottom embanked with ditch and dike. On came the confident Walpole,
never dreaming that these silent thickets were so soon to re-echo the
cries of the onslaught. The 4th dragoon guards, the Ancient Britons,
under Sir Watkyn Wynne, the Antrim militia, under Colonel Cope, had all
entered the defile before the ambuscade was discovered. Then, at the
first volley, Walpole fell, with several of those immediately about his
person; out from the shrubbery rushed the pikemen, clearing ditch and
dike at a bound; dragoons and fencibles went down like the sward before
the scythe of the mower; the three guns were captured, and turned on
the flying survivors; the regimental flags taken, with all the other
spoils pertaining to such a retreat. It was, in truth, an immense
victory for a mob of peasants, marshalled by men who that day saw their
first, or, at most, their second action. Before forty-eight hours they
were masters of Gorey, and talked of nothing less than the capture of
Dublin within another week or fortnight!

From Vinegar Hill the concerted movement was made against Newtonbarry,
on the 2nd of June, the rebels advancing by both banks of the Slaney,
under cover of a six-pounder—the only gun they had with them. The
detachment in command of the beautiful little town, half hidden in its
leafy valley, was from 600 to 800 strong, with a troop of dragoons, and
two battalion guns, under command of Colonel L'Estrange; these, after a
sharp fusilade on both sides, were driven out, but the assailants,
instead of following up the blow, dispersed for plunder or refreshment,
were attacked in turn, and compelled to retreat, with a reported loss
of 400 killed. Three days later, however, a still more important
action, and a yet more disastrous repulse from the self-same cause,
took place at New Ross, on the Barrow.

The garrison of Ross, on the morning of the 5th of June, when General
Harvey appeared before it, consisted of 1,400 men—Dublin, Meath,
Donegal, and Clare militia, Mid-Lothian fencibles, and English
artillery. General Johnson, a veteran soldier, was in command, and the
place, strong in its well preserved old walls, had not heard a shot
fired in anger since the time of Cromwell. Harvey was reported to have
with him 20,000 men; but if we allow for the exaggeration of numbers
common to all such movements, we may, perhaps, deduct one-half, and
still leave him at the head of a formidable force—10,000 men, with
three field-pieces. Mr. Furlong, a favourite officer, being sent
forward to summon the town, was shot down by a sentinel, and the attack
began. The main point of assault was the gate known as "three bullet
gate," and the hour, five o'clock of the lovely summer's morning. The
obstinacy with which the town was contested, may be judged from the
fact, that the fighting continued for nearly ten hours, with the
interruption of an hour or two at noon. This was the fatal interruption
for the rebels. They had, at a heavy cost, driven out the royalists,
with the loss of a colonel (Lord Mountjoy), three captains, and above
200 men killed: but of their friends and comrades treble the number had
fallen. Still the town, an object of the first importance, was theirs,
when worn out with heat, fatigue, and fasting since sunrise, they
indulged themselves in the luxury of a deep unmeasured carouse. The
fugitive garrison finding themselves unpursued, halted to breathe on
the Kilkenny bank of the river, were rallied by the veteran Johnson,
and led back again across the bridge, taking the surprised revellers
completely unprepared. A cry was raised that this was a fresh force
from Waterford; the disorganised multitude endeavoured to rally in
turn, but before the leaders could collect their men, the town was once
more in possession of the Bang's troops. The rebels, in their turn,
unpursued by their exhausted enemies, fell back upon their camping
ground of the night before, at Corbet hill and Slieve-kielter. At the
latter, Father Philip Roche, dissatisfied with Harvey's management,
established a separate command, which he transferred to a layman of his
own name, Edward Roche, with whom he continued to act and advise during
the remainder of this memorable month.

The summer of 1798 was, for an Irish summer, remarkably dry and warm.
The heavy Atlantic rains which at all seasons are poured out upon that
soil, seemed suspended in favour of the insurgent multitudes, amounting
to 30,000, or 40,000 at the highest, who, on the different hill
summits, posted their nightly sentinels, and threw themselves down on
turf and heather to snatch a short repose. The kindling of a beacon,
the lowing of cattle, or the hurried arrival of scout or messenger,
hardly interfered with slumbers which the fatigues of the day, and,
unhappily also, the potations of the night rendered doubly deep. An
early morning mass mustered all the Catholics, unless the very
depraved, to the chaplain's tent—for several of the officers, and the
chaplains always were supplied with tents; and then a hasty meal was
snatched before the sun was fairly above the horizon, and the day's
work commenced. The endurance exhibited by the rebels, their personal
strength, swiftness and agility; their tenacity of life, and the ease
with which their worst wounds were healed, excited the astonishment of
the surgeons and officers of the regular army. The truth is, that the
virtuous lives led by that peaceful peasantry before the outbreak,
enabled them to withstand privations and hardships under which the
better fed and better clad Irish yeomen and English guardsmen would
have sunk prostrate in a week.

Several signs now marked the turning of the tide against the men of
Wexford. Waterford did not rise after the battle of Ross; while
Munster, generally, was left to undecided councils, or held back in
hopes of another French expedition. The first week of June had passed
over, and neither northward nor westward was there any movement
formidable enough to draw off from the devoted county the combined
armies which were now directed against its camps. A gunboat fleet lined
the coast from Bannow round to Wicklow, which soon after appeared off
Wexford bar, and forced an entrance into the harbour. A few days
earlier, General Needham marched from Dublin, and took up his position
at Arklow, at the head of a force variously stated at 1,500 to 2,000
men, composed of 120 cavalry under Sir Watkyn Wynne, two brigades of
militia under Colonels Cope and Maxwell, and a brigade of English and
Scotch fencibles under Colonel Skerrett. There were also at Arklow
about 300 of the Wexford and Wicklow mounted yeomanry raised by Lord
Wicklow, Lord Mountnorris, and other gentlemen of the neighbourhood.
Early on the morning of the 9th of June the northern division of the
rebels left Gorey in two columns, in order if possible to drive this
force from Arklow. One body proceeding by the coast road hoped to turn
the English position by way of the strand, the other taking the inner
line of the Dublin road, was to assail the town at its upper or inland
suburb. But General Needham had made the most of his two days'
possession; barricades were erected across the road, and at the
entrance to the main street; the graveyard and bridge commanding the
approach by the shore road were mounted with ordnance; the cavalry were
posted where they could best operate, near the strand; the barrack wall
was lined with a _banquette_ or stage, from which the musketeers could
pour their fire with the greatest advantage, and every other precaution
taken to give the rebels a warm reception. The action commenced early
in the afternoon, and lasted till eight in the evening—five or six
hours. The inland column suffered most severely from the marksmen on
the _banquette_, and the gallant Father Michael Murphy, whom his
followers believed to be invulnerable, fell leading them on to the
charge for the third time. On the side of the sea, Esmond Kyan was
badly wounded in the arm, which he was subsequently obliged to have
amputated, and though the fearless Shilmaliers drove the cavalry into
and over the Avoca, discipline and ordnance prevailed once again over
numbers and courage. As night fell, the assailants retired slowly
towards Coolgreney, carrying off nine carloads of their wounded, and
leaving, perhaps, as many more on the field; their loss was variously
reported from 700 to 1,000, and even 1,500. The opposite force returned
less than 100 killed, including Captain Knox, and about as many
wounded. The repulse was even more than that at Ross, dispiriting to
the rebels, who, as a last resort, now decided to concentrate all their
strength on the favourite position at Vinegar Hill.

Against this encampment, therefore, the entire available force of
regulars and militia within fifty miles of the spot were concentrated
by orders of Lord Lake, the Commander-in-Chief. General Dundas from
Wicklow was to join General Loftus at Carnew on the 18th; General
Needham was to advance simultaneously to Gorey; General Sir Henry
Johnson to unite at Old Ross with Sir James Duff from Carlow; Sir
Charles Asgill was to occupy Gore's bridge and Borris; Sir John Moore
was to land at Ballyhack ferry, march to Foulke's Mill, and united with
Johnson and Duff, to assail the rebel camp on Carrickbyrne. These
various movements ordered on the 16th, were to be completed by the
20th, on which day, from their various new positions, the entire force,
led by these six general officers, was to surround Vinegar Hill, and
make a simultaneous attack upon the last stronghold of the Wexford

This elaborate plan failed of complete execution in two points.
_First_, the camp on Carrickbyrne, instead of waiting the attack, sent
down its fighting men to Foulke's Mill, where, in the afternoon of the
20th they beat up Sir John Moore's quarters, and maintained from 3
o'clock till dark, what that officer calls "a pretty sharp action."
Several times they were repulsed and again formed behind the ditches
and renewed the conflict; but the arrival of two fresh regiments, under
Lord Dalhousie, taught them that there was no farther chance of
victory. By this affair, however, though at a heavy cost, they had
prevented the junction of all the troops, and, not without
satisfaction, they now followed the two Roches, the priest and the
layman, to the original position of the mountain of Forth; Sir John
Moore, on his part, taking the same direction, until he halted within
sight of the walls of Wexford. The other departure from Lord Lake's
plan was on the side of General Needham, who was ordered to approach
the point of attack by the circuitous route of Oulart, but who did not
come up in time to complete the investment of the hill.

On the morning of the appointed day, about 13,000 royal troops were in
movement against the 20,000 rebels whom they intended to dislodge. Sir
James Duff obtained possession of an eminence which commanded the lower
line of the rebel encampment, and from this point a brisk cannonade was
opened against the opposite force; at the same time the columns of
Lake, Wilford, Dundas, and Johnson, pushed up the south-eastern,
northern and western sides of the eminence, partially covered by the
fire of these guns, so advantageously placed. After an hour and a
half's desperate fighting, the rebels broke and fled by the unguarded
side of the hill. Their rout was complete, and many were cut down by
the cavalry, as they pressed in dense masses on each other, over the
level fields and out on the open highways. Still this action was far
from being one of the most fatal as to loss of life, fought in that
county; the rebel dead were numbered only at 400, and the royalists
killed and wounded at less than half that number.

It was the last considerable action of the Wexford rising, and all the
consequences which followed being attributed arbitrarily to this cause,
helped to invest it with a disproportionate importance. The only leader
lost on the rebel side was Father Clinch of Enniscorthy, who
encountered Lord Roden hand to hand in the retreat, but who, while
engaged with his lordship whom he wounded, was shot down by a trooper.
The disorganization, however, which followed on the dispersion, was
irreparable. One column had taken the road by Gorey to the mountains of
Wicklow—another to Wexford, where they split into two parts, a portion
crossing the Slaney into the sea-coast parishes, and facing northward
by the shore road, the other falling back on "the three rocks"
encampment, where the Messrs. Roche held together a fragment of their
former command. Wexford town, on the 22nd, was abandoned to Lord Lake,
who established himself in the house of Governor Keogh, the owner being
lodged in the common jail. Within the week, Bagenal Harvey, Father
Philip Roche, and Kelly of Killane, had surrendered in despair, while
Messrs. Grogan and Colclough, who had secreted themselves in a cave in
the great Saltee Island, were discovered, and conducted to the same
prison. Notwithstanding the capitulation agreed to by Lord
Kingsborough, the execution and decapitation of all these gentlemen
speedily followed, and their ghastly faces looked down for many a day
from the iron spikes above the entrance of Wexford Court House. Mr.
Esmond Kyan, the popular hero of the district, as merciful as brave,
was discovered some time subsequently paying a stealthy visit to his
family; he was put to death on the spot, and his body, weighted with
heavy stones, thrown into the harbour. A few mornings afterwards the
incoming tide deposited it close by the dwelling of his father-in-law,
and the rites of Christian burial, so dear to all his race, were
hurriedly rendered to the beloved remains.

The insurrection in this county, while it abounded in instances of
individual and general heroism, was stained also, on both sides, by
many acts of diabolical cruelty. The aggressors, both in time and in
crime were the yeomanry and military; but the popular movement dragged
wretches to the surface who delighted in repaying torture with torture,
and death with death. The butcheries of Dunlavin and Carnew were repaid
by the massacres at Scullabogue and Wexford bridge, in the former of
which 110, and in the latter 35 or 40 persons were put to death in cold
blood, by the monsters who absented themselves from the battles of Ross
and Vinegar Hill. The executions at Wexford bridge would probably have
been swelled to double the number, had not Father Corrin, one of the
priests of the town, rushing in between his Protestant neighbours and
the ferocious Captain Dixon, and summoning all present to pray, invoked
the Almighty "to show them the same mercy" they showed their prisoners.
This awful supplication calmed even that savage rabble, and no further
execution took place. Nearly forty years afterwards, Captain Kellet, of
Clonard, ancestor of the Arctic discoverer, and others whom he had
rescued from the very grasp of the executioner, followed to the grave
that revered and devoted minister of mercy!

It would be a profitless task to draw out a parallel of the crimes
committed on both sides. Two facts only need be recorded: that although
from 1798 to 1800, not less than _sixty-five_ places of Catholic
worship were demolished or burned in Leinster, (twenty-two of which
were in Wexford county), only _one_ Protestant Church, that of Old
Ross, was destroyed in retaliation; and that although towards men,
especially men in arms, the rebels acted on the fierce Mosaic maxim of
"an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth," no outrage upon women is
laid to their charge, even by their most exasperated enemies.


On the 21st of June, the Marquis Cornwallis, whose name is so familiar
in American and East Indian history, arrived in Dublin, to assume the
supreme power, both civil and military. As his Chief Secretary, he
recommended Lord Castlereagh, who had acted in that capacity during the
latter part of Lord Camden's administration in consequence of Mr
Pelham's illness; and the Pitt-Portland administration appointed his
lordship accordingly, because, among other good and sufficient reasons,
"he was so unlike an Irishman."

While the new Viceroy came to Ireland still more resolute than his
predecessor to bring about the long-desired legislative union, it is
but justice to his memory to say, that he as resolutely resisted the
policy of torture and provocation pursued under Lord Camden. That
policy had, indeed, served its pernicious purpose, and it was now
possible for a new ruler to turn a new leaf; this Lord Cornwallis did
from the hour of his arrival, not without incurring the ill-concealed
displeasures of the Castle cabal. But his position gave him means of
protection which Sir Ralph Abercromby had not; he was known to enjoy
the personal confidence of the King; and those who did not hesitate
three months before to assail by every abusive epithet the humane
Scottish Baronet, hesitated long before criticising with equal freedom
the all-powerful Viceroy.

The sequel of the insurrection may be briefly related: next to Wexford,
the adjoining county of Wicklow, famous throughout the world for its
lakes and glens, maintained the chief brunt of the Leinster battle. The
brothers Byrne, of Ballymanus, with Holt, Hackett, and other local
leaders, were for months, from the difficult nature of the country,
enabled to defy those combined movements by which, as in a huge net,
Lord Lake had swept up the camps of Wexford. At Hacketstown, on the
25th of June, the Byrnes were repulsed with considerable loss, but at
Ballyellis, on the 30th, fortune and skill gave them and their Wexford
comrades a victory, resembling in many respects that of Clough. General
Needham, who had again established his head-quarters at Gorey, detached
Colonel Preston, with some troops of Ancient Britons, the 4th and 5th
dragoons, and three yeomanry corps, to attack the insurgents who were
observed in force in the neighbourhood of Monaseed. Aware of this
movement, the Byrnes prepared in the ravine of Ballyellis a well-laid
ambuscade, barricading with carts and trees the farther end of the
pass. Attacked by the royalists they retreated towards this pass, were
hotly pursued, and then turned on their pursuers. Two officers and
sixty men were killed in the trap, while the terrified rear-rank fled
for their lives to the shelter of their head-quarters. At Ballyraheene,
on the 2nd of July, the King's troops sustained another check in which
they lost two officers and ten men, but at Ballygullen, on the 4th, the
insurgents were surrounded between the forces of General Needham, Sir
James Duff, and the Marquis of Huntley. This was the last considerable
action in which the Wicklow and Wexford men were unitedly engaged. In
the dispersion which followed, "Billy Byrne of Ballymanus," the hero of
his county, paid the forfeit of his life; while his brother, Garrett,
subsequently surrendered, and was included in the Banishment Act.

Anthony Perry of Inch, and Father Kearns, leading a much diminished
band into Kildare, formed a junction with Aylmer and Reynolds of that
county, and marched into Meath, with a view of reaching and surprising
Athlone. The plan was boldly and well conceived, but their means of
execution were deplorably deficient. At Clonard they were repulsed by a
handful of troops well armed and posted; a combined movement always
possible in Meath, drove them from side to side during the midweek of
July, until at length, hunted down as they were, they broke up in twos
and threes to seek any means of escape. Father Kearns and Mr. Perry
were, however, arrested, and executed by martial law at Edenderry. Both
died bravely; the priest sustaining and exhorting his companion to the

Still another band of the Wexford men, under Father John Murphy and
Walter Devereux, crossed the Barrow at Gore's bridge, and marched upon
Kilkenny. At Lowgrange they surprised an outpost; at Castlecomer, after
a sharp action, they took the town, which Sir Charles Asgill
endeavoured, but without success, to relieve. Thence they continued
their march towards Athy in Kildare, but being caught between two or
rather three fires, that of Major Mathews, from Maryboro', General
Dunne, from Athy, and Sir Charles Asgill, they retreated on old
Leighlin, as if seeking the shelter of the Carlow mountains. At
Killcomney Hill, however, they were forced into action under most
unfavourable circumstances, and utterly routed. One, Father Murphy,
fell in the engagement, the other, the precursor of the insurrection,
was captured three days afterward, and conveyed a prisoner to General
Duff's headquarters at Tullow. Here he was put on his trial before a
Military Commission composed of Sir James Duff, Lord Roden, Colonels
Eden and Foster, and Major Hall. Hall had the meanness to put to him,
prisoner as he was, several insulting questions, which at length the
high-spirited rebel answered with a blow. The Commission thought him
highly dangerous, and instantly ordered him to execution. His body was
burned, his head spiked on the market-house of Tullow, and his memory
gibbeted in all the loyal publications of the period. On his person,
before execution, were found a crucifix, a pix, and letters from many
Protestants, asking his protection; as to his reputation, the priest
who girded on the sword only when he found his altar overthrown and his
flock devoured by wolves, need not fear to look posterity in the face.

Of the other Leinster leaders, Walter Devereux, the last colleague of
Father Murphy, was arrested at Cork, on the eve of sailing for America,
tried and executed; Fitzgerald and Aylmer were spared on condition of
expatriation; months afterwards, Holt surrendered, was transported, and
returned after several years, to end his days where he began his
career; Dwyer alone maintained the life of a Rapparee for five long
years among the hills of Wicklow, where his adventures were often of
such a nature as to throw all fictitious conceptions of an outlaw's
life into commonplace by comparison. Except in the fastnesses
frequented by this extraordinary man, and in the wood of Killaughram,
in Wexford, where the outlaws, with the last stroke of national humour,
assumed the name of _The Babes in the Wood_, the Leinster insurrection
was utterly trodden out within two months from its first beginning, on
the 23rd of May. So weak against discipline, arms, munitions and money,
are all that mere naked valour and devotion can accomplish!

In Ulster, on the organization of which so much time and labour had
been expended for four or five years preceding, the rising was not more
general than in Leinster, and the actual struggle lasted only a week.
The two counties which moved _en masse_ were Down and Antrim, the
original chiefs of which, such as Thomas Russell and Samuel Neilson,
were unfortunately in prison. The next leader on whom the men of Antrim
relied, resigned his command on the very eve of the appointed day; this
disappointment and the arrest of the Rev. Steele Dickson in Down,
compelled a full fortnight's delay. On the 7th of June, however, the
more determined spirits resolved on action, and the first movement was
to seize the town of Antrim, which, if they could have held it, would
have given them command of the communications with Donegal and Down,
from both of which they might have expected important additions to
their ranks. The leader of this enterprise was Henry John McCracken, a
cotton manufacturer of Belfast, thirty two years of age, well educated,
accomplished and resolute, with whom was associated a brother of
William Orr, the proto-martyr of the Ulster Union. The town of Antrim
was occupied by the 22nd light dragoons, Colonel Lumley, and the local
yeomanry under Lord O'Neil. In the first assault the insurgents were
successful, Lord O'Neil, five officers, forty-seven rank and file
having fallen, and two guns being captured; but Lumley's dragoons had
hardly vanished out of sight, when a strong reinforcement from Blaris
camp arrived and renewed the action, changing premature exultation into
panic and confusion. Between two and three hundred of the rebels fell,
and McCracken and his staff, deserted by their hasty levies, were
arrested, wearied and hopeless, about a month later, wandering among
the Antrim hills. The leaders were tried at Belfast and executed.

In Down two actions were fought, one at Saintfield on the 7th of June,
under Dr. Jackson—where Colonel Stapleton was severely handled—and
another and more important one at Ballynahinch, under Henry Munro, on
the 13th, where Nugent, the district General, commanded in person.
Here, after a gallant defence, the men of Down were utterly routed;
their leader, alone and on foot, was captured some five or six miles
from the field, and executed two days afterwards before his own door at
Lisburn. He died with the utmost composure; his wife and mother looking
down, on the awful scene from the windows of his own house.

In Munster, with the exception of a trifling skirmish between the
West-Meath yeomanry under Sir Hugh O'Reilly, with whom were the
Caithness legion, under Major Innes, and a body of 300 or 400 ill-armed
peasants, who attacked them on the 19th of June, on the road from
Clonakilty to Bandon, there was no notable attempt at insurrection. But
in Connaught, very unexpectedly, as late as the end of August, the
flame extinguished in blood in Leinster and Ulster, again blazed up for
some days with portentous brightness. The counties of Mayo, Sligo,
Roscommon and Galway had been partially organized by those fugitives
from Orange oppression in the North, who, in the years '95, '96, and
'97, had been compelled to flee for their lives into Connaught, to the
number of several thousands. They brought with the tale of their
sufferings the secret of Defenderism; they first taught the peasantry
of the West, who, safe in their isolated situation and their
overwhelming numbers, were more familiar with poverty than with
persecution, what manner of men then held sway over all the rest of the
country, and how easily it would be for Irishmen once united and backed
by France, to establish under their own green flag, both religious and
civil liberty.

When, therefore, three French frigates cast anchor in Killalla Bay, on
the 22nd of August, they did not find the country wholly unprepared,
though far from being as ripe for revolt as they expected. These ships
had on board 1,000 men, with arms for 1,000 more, under command of
General Humbert, who had taken on himself, in the state of anarchy
which then prevailed in France, to sail from La Rochelle with this
handful of men, in aid of the insurrection. With Humbert were Mathew
Tone and Bartholomew Teeling; and immediately on his arrival he was
joined by Messrs. McDonnell, Moore, Bellew, Barrett, O'Dowd, and
O'Donnell of Mayo, Blake of Galway, Plunkett of Roscommon, and a few
other influential gentlemen of that Province—almost all Catholics.
Three days were spent at Killalla, which was easily taken, in landing
stores, enrolling recruits, and sending out parties of observation. On
the 4th, (Sunday,) Humbert entered Ballina without resistance, and on
the same night set out for Castlebar, the county town. By this time
intelligence of his landing was spread over the whole country, and both
Lord Lake and General Hutchinson had advanced to Castlebar, where they
had from 2,000 to 3,000 men under their command. The place could be
reached only by two routes from the north-west, by the Foxford road, or
a long deserted mountain road which led over the pass of Barnagee,
within sight of the town. Humbert, accustomed to the long marches and
difficult country of La Vendee, chose the unfrequented and therefore
unguarded route, and, to the consternation of the British generals,
descended through the pass of Barnagee, soon after sunrise, on the
morning of Monday, August 27th. His force consisted of 900 French
bayonets, and between 2,000 and 3,000 new recruits. The action, which
commenced at 7 o'clock, was short, sharp, and decisive; the yeomanry
and regulars broke and fled, some of them never drawing rein till they
reached Tuam, while others carried their fears and their falsehoods as
far inland as Athlone—more than sixty miles from the scene of action.
In this engagement, still remembered as "the races," the royalists
confessed to the loss, killed, wounded, or prisoners, of 18 officers,
and about 350 men, while the French commander estimated the killed
alone at 600. Fourteen British guns and five stand of colours were also
taken. A hot pursuit was continued for some distance by the native
troops under Mathew Tone, Teeling, and the Mayo officers; but Lord
Roden's famous corps of "Fox hunters" covered the retreat and checked
the pursuers at French Hill. Immediately after the battle a Provisional
Government was established at Castlebar, with Mr. Moore of Moore Hall,
as President; proclamations addressed to the inhabitants at large,
commissions to raise men, and _assignats_ payable by the future Irish
Republic, were issued in its name.

Meanwhile the whole of the royalist forces were now in movement toward
the capital of Mayo, as they had been toward Vinegar Hill two months
before. Sir John Moore and General Hunter marched from Wexford toward
the Shannon. General Taylor, with 2,500 men, advanced from Sligo
towards Castlebar; Colonel Maxwell was ordered from Enniskillen to
assume command at Sligo; General Nugent from Lisburn occupied
Enniskillen, and the Viceroy, leaving Dublin in person, advanced
rapidly through the midland counties to Kilbeggan, and ordered Lord
Lake and General Hutchinson, with such of their command as could be
depended on, to assume the aggressive from the direction of Tuam. Thus
Humbert and his allies found themselves surrounded on all sides—their
retreat cut off by sea, for their frigates had returned to France
immediately on their landing; three thousand men against not less than
thirty thousand, with at least as many more in reserve, ready to be
called into action at a day's notice.

The French general determined if possible to reach the mountains of
Leitrim, and open communications with Ulster, and the northern coast,
upon which he hoped soon to see succour arrive from France. With this
object he marched from Castlebar to Cooloney (35 miles), in one day;
here he sustained a check from Colonel Vereker's militia, which
necessitated a change of route; turning aside, he passed rapidly
through Dromahaine, Manor-Hamilton, and Ballintra, making for Granard,
from which accounts of a formidable popular outbreak had just reached
him. In three days and a half he had marched 110 miles, flinging half
his guns into the rivers that he crossed, lest they should fall into
the hands of his pursuers. At Ballinamuck, county Longford, on the
borders of Leitrim, he found himself fairly surrounded, on the morning
of the 8th of September; and here he prepared to make a last desperate
stand. The end could not be doubtful, the numbers against him being ten
to one; after an action of half an hour's duration, two hundred of the
French having thrown down their arms, the remainder surrendered, as
prisoners of war. For the rebels no terms were thought of, and the full
vengeance of the victors was reserved for them. Mr. Blake, who had
formerly been a British officer, was executed on the field; Mathew Tone
and Teeling were executed within the week in Dublin; Mr. Moore,
President of the Provisional Government, was sentenced to banishment by
the clemency of Lord Cornwallis, but died on shipboard; ninety of the
Longford and Kilkenny militia who had joined the French were hanged,
and the country generally given up to pillage and massacre. As an
evidence of the excessive thirst for blood, it may be mentioned that at
the re-capture of Killalla a few days later, four hundred persons were
killed, of whom fully one-half were non-combatants.

The disorganization of all government in France in the latter half of
'98, was illustrated not only by Humbert's unauthorized adventure, but
by a still weaker demonstration under General Reay and Napper Tandy,
about the same time. With a single armed brig these daring allies made
a descent, on the 17th of September, on Rathlin Island, well equipped
with eloquent proclamations, bearing the date "first year of Irish
liberty." From the postmaster of the island they ascertained Humbert's
fate, and immediately turned the prow of their solitary ship in the
opposite direction; Reay, to rise in after times to honour and power;
Tandy, to continue in old age the dashing career of his manhood, and to
expiate in exile the crime of preferring the country of his birth to
the general centralizing policy of the empire with which he was united.
Twelve days after the combat at Ballinamuck, while Humbert and his men
were on their way through England to France, a new French fleet, under
Admiral Bompart, consisting of one 74-gun ship, "the Hoche," eight
frigates, and two smaller vessels, sailed from Brest. On board this
fleet were embarked 3,000 men under General Hardi, the remnant of the
army once menacing England. In this fleet sailed Theobold Wolfe Tone,
true to his motto, _nil desperandum_, with two or three other refugees
of less celebrity. The troops of General Hardi, however, were destined
never to land. On the 12th of October, after tossing about for nearly a
month in the German ocean and the North Atlantic, they appeared off the
coast of Donegal, and stood in for Lough Swilly. But another fleet also
was on the horizon. Admiral Sir John Borlase Warren, with an equal
number of ships, but a much heavier armament, had been cruising on the
track of the French during the whole time they were at sea. After many
disappointments, the flag-ship and three of the frigates were at last
within range and the action began. Six hours' fighting laid the Hoche a
helpless log upon the water; nothing was left her but surrender; two of
the frigates shared the same fate on the same day; another was captured
on the 14th, and yet another on the 17th. The remainder of the fleet
escaped back to France.

The French officers landed in Donegal were received with courtesy by
the neighbouring gentry, among whom was the Earl of Cavan, who
entertained them at dinner. Here it was that Sir George Hill,
son-in-law to Commissioner Beresford, an old college friend of Tone's,
identified the founder of the United Irishmen under the uniform of a
French Adjutant-General. Stepping up to his old schoolmate he addressed
him by name, which Tone instantly acknowledged, inquiring politely for
Lady Hill, and other members of Sir George's family. He was instantly
arrested, ironed, and conveyed to Dublin under a strong guard. On the
10th of November he was tried by court-martial and sentenced to be
hanged: he begged only for a soldier's death—"to be shot by a platoon
of grenadiers." This favour was denied him, and the next morning he
attempted to commit suicide. The attempt did not immediately succeed;
but one week later—on the 19th of November—he died from the results of
his self-inflicted wound, with a compliment to the attendant physician
upon his lips. Truth compels us to say he died the death of a Pagan;
but it was a Pagan of the noblest and freest type of Grecian and Roman
times. Had it occurred in ancient days, beyond the Christian era, it
would have been a death every way admirable; as it was, that fatal
final act must always stand between Wolfe Tone and the Christian people
for whom he suffered, sternly forbidding them to invoke him in their
prayers, or to uphold him as an example to the young men of their
country. So closed the memorable year 1798, on the baffled and
dispersed United Irishmen. Of the chiefs imprisoned in March and May,
Lord Edward had died of his wounds and vexation; Oliver Bond of
apoplexy; the brothers Sheares, Father Quigley, and William Michael
Byrne on the gibbet. In July, on Samuel Nelson's motion, the remaining
prisoners in Newgate, Bridewell, and Kilmainham, agreed, in order to
stop the effusion of blood, to expatriate themselves to any country not
at war with England, and to reveal the general secrets of their system,
without inculpating individuals. These terms were accepted, as the
Castle party needed their evidence to enable them to promote the
cherished scheme of legislative Union. But that evidence delivered
before the Committees of Parliament by Emmet, McNevin, and O'Conor, did
not altogether serve the purposes of government. The patriotic
prisoners made it at once a protest against, and an exposition of, the
despotic policy under which their country had been goaded into
rebellion. For their firmness they were punished by three years'
confinement in Fort George, in the Scottish Highlands, where, however,
a gallant old soldier, Colonel Stuart, endeavoured to soften the hard
realities of a prison by all the kind attentions his instructions
permitted him to show these unfortunate gentlemen. At the peace of
Amiens, (1802), they were at last allowed the melancholy privilege of
expatriation. Russell and Dowdall were permitted to return to Ireland,
where they shared the fate of Robert Emmet in 1803; O'Conor, Corbet,
Allen, Ware, and others, cast their lot in France, where they all rose
to distinction; Emmet, McNevin, Sampson, and the family of Tone were
reunited in New York, where the many changes and distractions of a
great metropolitan community have not even yet obliterated the memories
of their virtues, their talents, and their accomplishments.

It is impossible to dismiss this celebrated group of men, whose
principles and conduct so greatly influenced their country's destiny,
without bearing explicit testimony to their heroic qualities as a
class. If ever a body of public men deserved the character of a
brotherhood of heroes, so far as disinterestedness, courage,
self-denial, truthfulness and glowing love of country constitute
heroism, these men deserved that character. The wisdom of their
conduct, and the intrinsic merit of their plans, are other questions.
As between their political system and that of Burke, Grattan and
O'Connell, there always will be, probably, among their countrymen, very
decided differences of opinion. That is but natural: but as to the
personal and political virtues of the United Irishmen there can be no
difference; the world has never seen a more sincere or more
self-sacrificing generation.


"Nothing strengthens a dynasty," said the first Napoleon, "more than an
unsuccessful rebellion." The partial uprising; of the Irish people in
1798 was a rebellion of this class, and the use of such a failure to an
able and unscrupulous administration, was illustrated in the extinction
of the ancient legislature of the kingdom, before the recurrence of the
third anniversary of the insurrection.

This project, the favourite and long-cherished design of Mr. Pitt, was
cordially approved by his principal colleagues, the Duke of Portland,
Lord Grenville, and Mr. Dundas; indeed, it may be questioned whether it
was not as much Lord Grenville's design as Pitt's, and as much George
the Third's personal project as that of any of his ministers. The old
King's Irish policy was always of the most narrow and illiberal
description. In his memorandum on the recall of Lord Fitzwilliam, he
explains his views with the business-like brevity which characterized
all his communications with his ministers while he retained possession
of his faculties; he was totally opposed to Lord Fitzwilliam's
emancipation policy, which he thought adopted "in implicit obedience to
the heated imagination of Mr. Burke." To Lord Camden his instructions
were, "to support the old English interest as well as the Protestant
religion," and to Lord Cornwallis, that no further "indulgence could be
granted to Catholics," but that he should steadily pursue the object of
effecting the union of Ireland and England.

The new Viceroy entered heartily into the views of his Sovereign.
Though unwilling to exchange his English position as a Cabinet Minister
and Master-General of Ordnance for the troubled life of a
Lord-Lieutenant of Ireland, he at length allowed himself to be
persuaded into the acceptance of that office, with a view mainly to
carrying the Union. He was ambitious to connect his name with that
great imperial measure, so often projected, but never formally
proposed. If he could only succeed in incorporating the Irish with the
British legislature, he declared he would feel satisfied to retire from
all other public employments; that he would look on his day as
finished, and his evening of ease and dignity fully earned. He was not
wholly unacquainted with the kingdom against which he cherished these
ulterior views; for he had been, nearly thirty years before, when he
fell under the lash of _Junius_, one of the Vice-Treasurers of Ireland.
For the rest he was a man of great information, tact, and firmness;
indefatigable in business; tolerant by temperament and conviction; but
both as a general and a politician it was his lot to be identified in
India and in Ireland with successes which might better have been
failures, and in America, with failures which were much more beneficial
to mankind than his successes.

In his new sphere of action his two principal agents were Lord Clare
and Lord Castlereagh, both Irishmen; the Chancellor, the son of what in
that country is called a "spoiled priest," and the Secretary, the son
of an ex-volunteer, and member of Flood's Reform Convention. It is not
possible to regard the conduct of these high officials in undermining
and destroying the ancient national legislature of their own country,
in the same light as that of Lord Cornwallis, or Mr. Pitt, or Lord
Grenville. It was but natural, that as Englishmen, these ministers
should consider the empire in the first place; that they should desire
to centralize all the resources and all the authority of both Islands
in London; that to them the existence of an independent Parliament at
Dublin, with its ample control over the courts, the revenues, the
defences, and the trade of that kingdom, should appear an obstacle and
a hindrance to the unity of the imperial system. From their point of
view they were quite right, and had they pursued their end, complete
centralization, by honourable means, no stigma could attach to them
even in the eyes of Irishmen; but with Lords Clare and Castlereagh the
case was wholly different. Born in the land, deriving income as well as
existence from the soil, elected to its Parliament by the confidence of
their countrymen, attaining to posts of honour in consequence of such
election, that they should voluntarily offer their services to
establish an alien and a hostile policy on the ruins of their own
national constitution, which, with all its defects, was national, and
was corrigible; this betrayal of their own, at the dictate of another
State, will always place the names of Clare and Castlereagh on the
detested list of public traitors. Yet though in such treason, united
and identified, no two men could be more unlike in all other respects.
Lord Clare was fiery, dogmatic, and uncompromising to the last degree;
while Lord Castlereagh was stealthy, imperturbable, insidious, bland,
and adroit. The Chancellor endeavoured to carry everything with a high
hand, with a bold, defiant, confident swagger; the Secretary, on the
contrary, trusted to management, expediency, and silent tenacity of
purpose. The one had faith in violence, the other in corruption; they
were no inapt personifications of the two chief agencies by which the
union was effected—Force and Fraud.

The Irish Parliament, which had been of necessity adjourned during the
greater part of the time the insurrection lasted, assembled within a
week of Lord Cornwallis' arrival. Both Houses voted highly loyal
addresses to the King and Lord-Lieutenant, the latter seconded in the
Commons by Charles Kendal Bushe, the college companion of Wolfe Tone! A
vote of 100,000 pounds to indemnify those who had suffered from the
rebels—subsequently increased to above 1,000,000 pounds—was passed _una
voce_; another, placing on the Irish establishment certain English
militia regiments, passed with equal promptitude. In July, five
consecutive acts—a complete code of penalties and proscription—were
introduced, and, after various debates and delays, received the royal
sanction on the 6th of October, the last day of the session of 1798.
These acts were: 1. The Amnesty Act, the exceptions to which were so
numerous "that few of those who took any active part in the rebellion,"
were, according to the Cornwallis' correspondence, "benefited by it."
2. An Act of Indemnity, by which all magistrates who had "exercised a
vigour beyond the law" against the rebels, were protected from the
legal consequences of such acts. 3. An act for attainting Lord Edward
Fitzgerald, Mr. Harvey, and Mr. Grogan, against which Curran, taking
"his instructions from the grave," pleaded at the bar of the House of
Lords, but pleaded in vain. (This act was finally reversed by the
Imperial Parliament in 1819.) 4. An act forbidding communication
between persons in Ireland and those enumerated in the Banishment Act,
and making the return to Ireland, after sentence of banishment by a
court-martial, a transportable felony. 5. An act to compel fifty-one
persons therein named to surrender before 1st of December, 1798, under
pain of high treason. Among the fifty-one were the principal refugees
at Paris and Hamburg: Tone, Lewines, Tandy, Deane Swift, Major
Plunkett, Anthony McCann, Harvey Morres, etc. On the same day in which
the session terminated, and the royal sanction was given to these acts,
the name of Henry Grattan was, a significant coincidence, formally
struck, by the King's commands, from the roll of the Irish Privy

This legislation of the session of 1798, was fatal to the Irish
Parliament. The partisans of the Union, who had used the rebellion to
discredit the constitution, now used the Parliament to discredit
itself. Under the influence of a fierce reactionary spirit, when all
merciful and moderate councils were denounced as treasonable, it was
not difficult to procure the passage of sweeping measures of
proscription. But with their passage vanished the former popularity of
the domestic legislature. And what followed? The constitution of '82
could only be upheld in the hearts of the people; and, with all its
defects, it had been popular before the sudden spread of French
revolutionary notions distracted and dissipated the public opinion
which had grown up within the era of independence. To make the once
cherished authority, which liberated trade in '79, and half emancipated
the Catholics in '93, the last executioner of the vengeance of the
Castle against the people, was to place a gulf between it and the
affections of that people in the day of trial. To make the
anti-unionists in Parliament, such as the Speaker, Sir Lawrence
Parsons, Plunkett, Ponsonby and Bushe, personally responsible for this
vindictive code, was to disarm them of the power, and almost of the
right, to call on the people whom they turned over, bound hand and
foot, to the mercy of the minister in '98, to aid them against the
machinations of that same minister in '99. The last months of the year
were marked besides by events already referred to, and by negotiations
incessantly carried on, both in England and Ireland, in favour of the
Union. Members of both Houses were personally courted and canvassed by
the Prime Minister, the Secretaries of State, the Viceroy and the Irish
Secretary. Titles, pensions and offices were freely promised. Vast sums
of secret service money, afterwards added as a charge to the public
debt of Ireland, were remitted from Whitehall. An army of pamphleteers,
marshalled by Under-Secretary Cooke, and confidentially directed by the
able but anti-national Bishop of Meath, (Dr. O'Beirne,) and by Lord
Castlereagh personally, plied their pens in favour of "the
consolidation of the empire." The Lord Chancellor, the Chief Secretary
and Mr. Beresford, made journeys to England, to assist the Prime
Minister with their local information, and to receive his imperial
confidence in return. The Orangemen were neutralized by securing a
majority of their leaders; the Catholics, by the establishment of
familiar communication with the bishops. The Viceroy complimented Dr.
Troy at Dublin; the Duke of Portland lavished personal attentions on
Dr. Moylan, in England. The Protestant clergy were satisfied with the
assurance that the maintenance of their establishment would be made a
fundamental article of the Union, while the Catholic bishops were given
to understand that complete Emancipation would be one of the first
measures submitted to the Imperial Parliament. The oligarchy were to be
indemnified for their boroughs, while the advocates of Reform were
shown how hopeless it was to expect a House constituted of _their_
nominees, ever to enlarge or amend its own exclusive constitution. Thus
for every description of people a particular set of appeals and
arguments was found, and for those who discarded the affectation of
reasoning on the surrender of their national existence, there were the
more convincing arguments of titles, employments, and direct pecuniary
purchase. At the close of the year of the rebellion, Lord Cornwallis
was able to report to Mr. Pitt that the prospects of carrying the
measure were better than could have been expected, and on this report
he was authorized to open the matter formally to Parliament in his
speech at the opening of the following session.

On the 22nd of January, 1799, the Irish legislature met under
circumstances of great interest and excitement. The city of Dublin,
always keenly alive to its metropolitan interests, sent its eager
thousands by every avenue towards College Green. The Viceroy went down
to the Houses with a more than ordinary guard, and being seated on the
throne in the House of Lords, the Commons were summoned to the bar. The
House was considered a full one, 217 members being present. The
viceregal speech congratulated both Houses on the suppression of the
late rebellion, on the defeat of Bompart's squadron, and the recent
French victories of Lord Nelson; then came, amid profound expectation,
this concluding sentence:—"The unremitting industry," said the Viceroy,
"with which our enemies persevere in their avowed design of
endeavouring to effect a separation of this kingdom from Great Britain,
must have engaged your attention, and his Majesty commands me to
express his anxious hope that this consideration, joined to the
sentiment of mutual affection and common interest, may dispose the
Parliaments in both kingdoms to provide the most effectual means of
maintaining and improving a connection essential to their common
security, and of consolidating, as far as possible, into one firm and
lasting fabric, the strength, the power, and the resources of the
British empire." On the paragraph of the address, re-echoing this
sentiment, which was carried by a large majority in the Lords, a debate
ensued in the Commons, which lasted till one o'clock of the following
day, above twenty consecutive hours. Against the suggestion of a Union
spoke Ponsonby, Parsons, Fitzgerald, Barrington, Plunkett, Lee,
O'Donnell and Bushe; in its favour, Lord Castlereagh, the Knight of
Kerry, Corry, Fox, Osborne, Duigenan, and some other members little
known. The galleries and lobbies were crowded all night by the first
people of the city, of both sexes, and when the division was being
taken, the most intense anxiety was manifested, within doors and
without. At length the tellers made their report to the Speaker,
himself an ardent anti-Unionist, and it was announced that the numbers
were—"for the address 105, for the amendment 106," so the paragraph in
favour of "consolidating the empire" was lost by one vote! The
remainder of the address, tainted with the association of the expunged
paragraph, was barely carried by 107 to 105. Mr. Ponsonby had attempted
to follow his victory by a solemn pledge binding the majority never
again to entertain the question, but to this several members objected,
and the motion was withdrawn. The ministry found some consolation in
this withdrawal, which they characterized as "a retreat after a
victory," but to the public at large, unused to place much stress on
the minor tactics of debate, nothing appeared but the broad, general
fact, that the first overture for a Union had been rejected. It was a
day of immense rejoicing in Dublin; the leading anti-Unionists were
escorted in triumph to their homes, while the Unionists were protected
by strong military escorts from the popular indignation. At night the
city was illuminated, and the patrols were doubled as a protection to
the obnoxious minority.

Mr. Ponsonby's amendment, affirmed by the House of Commons, was in
these words:—"That the House would be ready to enter into any measure
short of surrendering their free, resident and independent legislature
as established in 1782." This was the _ultimatum_ of the great party
which rallied in January, 1799, to the defence of the established
constitution of their country. The arguments with which they sustained
their position were few, bold, and intelligible to every capacity.
There was the argument from Ireland's geographical situation, and the
policy incident to it; the historical argument; the argument for a
resident gentry occupied and retained in the country by their public
duties; the commercial argument; the revenue argument; but above all,
the argument of the incompetency of Parliament to put an end to its own
existence. "Yourselves," exclaimed the eloquent Plunkett, "you may
extinguish, but Parliament you cannot extinguish. It is enthroned in
the hearts of the people—it is enshrined in the sanctuary of the
constitution—it is as immortal as the island that protects it. As well
might the frantic suicide imagine that the act which destroys his
miserable body should also extinguish his eternal soul. Again,
therefore, I warn you. Do not dare to lay your hands on the
Constitution—it is above your powers!"

These arguments were combated on the grounds that the islands were
already united under one crown—that that species of union was uncertain
and precarious—that the Irish Parliament was never in reality a
national legislature; that it existed only as an instrument of class
legislation; that the Union would benefit Ireland materially as it had
benefited Scotland; that she would come in for a full share of imperial
honours, expenditure and trade; that such a Union would discourage all
future hostile attempts by France or any other foreign power against
the connection, and other similar arguments. But the division which
followed the first introduction of the subject showed clearly to the
Unionists that they could not hope to succeed with the House of Commons
as then constituted; that more time and more preparation were
necessary. Accordingly, Lord Castlereagh was authorized in March, to
state formally in his place, that it was not the intention of the
government to bring up the question again during that session; an
announcement which was hailed with a new outburst of rejoicing in the

But those who imagined the measure was abandoned were sadly deceived.
Steps were immediately taken by the Castle to deplete the House of its
majority, and to supply their places before another session with forty
or fifty new members, who would be entirely at the beck of the Chief
Secretary. With this view, thirty-two new county judgeships were
created; a great number of additional inspectorships and commissioners
were also placed at the Minister's disposal; thirteen members had
peerages for themselves or for their wives, with remainder to their
children, and nineteen others were presented to various lucrative
offices. The "Escheatorship of Munster"—a sort of Chiltern Hundreds
office—was accepted by those who agreed to withdraw from opposition,
for such considerations, but who could not be got to reverse their
votes. By these means, and a lavish expenditure of secret service
money, it was hoped that Mr. Pitt's stipulated majority of "not less
than fifty" could be secured during the year.

The other events of the session of '99, though interesting in
themselves, are of little importance compared to the union debates. In
the English Parliament, which met on the same day as the Irish, a
paragraph identical with that employed by Lord Cornwallis in
introducing the subject of the Union, was inserted in the King's
speech. To this paragraph, repeated in the address, an amendment was
moved by the celebrated Richard Brinsley Sheridan, and resisted with an
eloquence scarcely inferior to his own, by his former _protege_ and
countryman, George Canning. Canning, like Sheridan, had sprung from a
line of Irish literateurs and actors; he had much of the wit and genius
of his illustrious friend, with more worldly wisdom, and a higher
sentiment of personal pride. In very early life, distinguished by great
oratorical talents, he had deliberately attached himself to Mr. Pitt,
while Sheridan remained steadfast to the last, in the ranks of the Whig
or liberal party. For the land of their ancestors both had, at bottom,
very warm, good wishes; but Canning looked down upon her politics from
the heights of empire, while Sheridan felt for her honour and her
interests with the affection of an expatriated son. We can well credit
his statement to Grattan, years afterwards, when referring to his
persistent opposition to the Union, he said, he would "have waded in
blood to his knees," to preserve the Constitution of Ireland. In taking
this course he had with him a few eminent friends: General Fitzpatrick,
the former Irish Secretary, Mr. Tierney, Mr. Hobhouse, Dr. Lawrence,
the executor of Edmund Burke, and Mr., afterwards Earl Grey. Throughout
the entire discussion these just minded Englishmen stood boldly forward
for the rights of Ireland, and this highly honourable conduct was long
remembered as one of Ireland's real obligations to the Whig party.

The resolutions intended to serve as "the basis of union," were
introduced by Mr. Pitt, on the 21st of January, and after another
powerful speech in opposition, from Mr. Grey, who was ably sustained by
Mr. Sheridan, Dr. Lawrence, and some twenty others, were put and
carried. The following are the resolutions:—

1st. "In order to promote and secure the essential interests of Great
Britain and Ireland, and to consolidate the strength, power, and
resources of the British empire, it will be advisable to concur in such
measures as may tend to unite the two kingdoms of Great Britain and
Ireland into one kingdom, in such manner, and in such terms and
conditions as may be established by acts of the respective Parliaments
of his Majesty's said kingdoms.

2nd. "It would be fit to propose as the first article, to serve as a
basis of the said union, that the said kingdoms of Great Britain and
Ireland shall, on a day to be agreed upon, be united into one kingdom,
by the name of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland.

3rd. "For the same purpose it would be fit to propose, that the
succession to the monarchy and the imperial crown of the said United
Kingdom, shall continue limited and settled, in the same manner as the
imperial crown of the said Great Britain and Ireland now stands limited
and settled, according to the existing law, and to the terms of the
union between England and Scotland.

4th. "For the same purpose it would be fit to propose that the said
United Kingdom be represented in one and the same Parliament, to be
styled the Parliament of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and
Ireland; and that such a number of Lords, spiritual and temporal, and
such a number of members of the House of Commons, as shall be hereafter
agreed upon by the acts of the respective Parliaments as aforesaid,
shall sit and vote in the said Parliament on the part of Ireland, and
shall be summoned, chosen, and returned, in such manner as shall be
fixed by an act of the Parliament of Ireland previous to the said
union; and that every member hereafter to sit and vote in the said
Parliament of the United Kingdom shall, until the said Parliament shall
otherwise provide, take, and subscribe the said oaths, and make the
same declarations as are required by law to be taken, subscribed, and
made by the members of the Parliaments of Great Britain and Ireland.

5th. "For the same purpose it would be fit to propose, that the
Churches of England and Ireland, and the doctrine, worship, discipline,
and government thereof, shall be preserved as now by law established.

6th. "For the same purpose it would be fit to propose, that his
Majesty's subjects in Ireland shall at all times be entitled to the
same privileges, and be on the same footing in respect of trade and
navigation in all ports and places belonging to Great Britain, and in
all cases with respect to which treaties shall be made by his Majesty,
his heirs, or successors, with any foreign power, as his Majesty's
subjects in Great Britain; that no duty shall be imposed on the import
or export between Great Britain and Ireland, of any articles now duty
free, and that on other articles there shall be established, for a time
to be limited, such a moderate rate of equal duties as shall, previous
to the Union, be agreed upon and approved by the respective
Parliaments, subject, after the expiration of such limited time, to be
diminished equally with respect to both kingdoms, but in no case to be
increased; that all articles which may at any time hereafter be
imported into Great Britain from foreign parts shall be importable
through either kingdom into the other, subject to the like duties and
regulations, as if the same were imported directly from foreign parts:
that where any articles, the growth, produce, or manufacture of either
kingdom, are subject to an internal duty in one kingdom, such
counter-vailing duties (over and above any duties on import to be fixed
as aforesaid) shall be imposed as shall be necessary to prevent any
inequality in that respect; and that all matters of trade and commerce,
other than the foregoing, and than such others as may before the Union
be specially agreed upon for the due encouragement of the agriculture
and manufactures of the respective kingdoms, shall remain to be
regulated from time to time by the United Parliament.

7th. "For the like purpose it would be fit to propose, that the charge
arising from the payment of the interests or sinking fund for the
reduction of the principal of the debt incurred in either kingdom
before the Union, shall continue to be separately defrayed by Great
Britain and Ireland respectively; that, for a number of years to be
limited, the future ordinary expenses of the United Kingdom, in peace
or war, shall be defrayed by Great Britain and Ireland jointly,
according to such proportions as shall be established by the respective
Parliaments previous to the Union; and that, after the expiration of
the time to be so limited, the proportion shall not be liable to be
varied, except according to such rates and principles, as shall be in
like manner agreed upon previous to the Union.

8th. "For the like purpose, that all laws in force at the time of the
Union, and all the courts of civil or ecclesiastical jurisdiction
within the respective kingdoms, shall remain as now by law established
within the same, subject only to such alterations or regulations as may
from time to time as circumstances may appear to the Parliament of the
United Kingdom to require."

Mr. Pitt, on the passage of these resolutions, proposed an address
stating that the Commons had proceeded with the utmost attention to the
consideration of the important objects recommended in the royal
message, that they entertained a firm persuasion of the probable
benefits of a complete and entire Union between Great Britain and
Ireland, founded on equal and liberal principles; that they were
therefore induced to lay before his Majesty such propositions as
appeared to them to be best calculated to form the basis of such a
settlement, leaving it to his wisdom in due time and in proper manner,
to communicate them to the Lords and Commons of Ireland, with whom they
would be at all times ready to concur in all such measures as might be
found most conducive to the accomplishment of that great and salutary

On the 19th of March, Lord Grenville introduced the same resolutions in
the Lords, where they were passed after a spirited opposition speech
from Lord Holland, and the basis, so far as the King, Lords, and
Commons of England were concerned, was laid. In proroguing the Irish
Houses on the 1st of June, Lord Cornwallis alluded to these
resolutions, and the anxiety of the King, as the common father of his
people, to see both kingdoms united in the enjoyment of the blessings
of a free constitution.

This prorogation was originally till August, but in August it was
extended till January, 1800. In this long interval of eight months, the
two great parties, the Unionists and the anti-Unionists were
incessantly employed, through the press, in social intercourse, in the
grand jury room, in county and city meetings, by correspondence,
petitions, addresses, each pushing forward its own views with all the
zeal and warmth of men who felt that on one side they were labouring
for the country, on the other for the empire. Two incidents of this
interval were deeply felt in the patriot ranks, the death at an
advanced age of the venerable Charlemont, the best member of his order
Ireland had ever known, and the return to the kingdom and to public
life of Lord Charlemont's early friend and _protege_, Henry Grattan. He
had spent above a year in England, chiefly in Wales and the Isle of
Wight. His health all this time had been wretched; his spirits low and
despondent, and serious fears were at some moments entertained for his
life. He had been forbidden to read or write, or to hear the exciting
news of the day. Soothed and cheered by that admirable woman, whom
Providence had given him, he passed the crisis, but he returned to
breathe his native air, greatly enfeebled in body, and sorely afflicted
in mind. The charge of theatrical affectation of illness has been
brought against Grattan by the Unionists,—against Grattan who, as to
his personal habits, was simplicity itself! It is a charge undeserving
of serious contradiction.


When the Irish Parliament met for the last time, on the 15th of
January, 1800, the position of the Union question stood thus: 27 new
Peers had been added to the House of Lords, where the Castle might
therefore reckon with safety on a majority of three to one. Of the
Lords spiritual, only Dr. Marlay of Waterford, and Dr. Dixon of Down
and Conor, had the courage to side with their country against their
order. In the Commons there was an infusion of some 50 new borough
members, many of them general officers, such as Needham, and Pakenham,
all of them nominees of the Castle, except Mr. Saurin, returned for
Blessington, and Mr. Grattan, at the last moment, for Wicklow. The
great constitutional body of the bar had, at a general meeting, the
previous December, declared against the measure by 162 to 33. Another
powerful body, the bankers, had petitioned against it, in the interest
of the public credit. The Catholic bishops, in their annual meeting,
had taken up a position of neutrality as a body, but under the artful
management of Lord Castlereagh, the Archbishops of Dublin and Tuam,
with the Bishop of Cork, and some others, were actively employed in
counteracting anti-Union movements among the people. Although the vast
majority of that people had too much reason to be disgusted and
discontented with the legislation of the previous three years, above
700,000 of them petitioned against the measure, while all the
signatures which could be obtained in its favour, by the use of every
means at the command of the Castle, did not much exceed 7,000.

The Houses were opened on the 15th of January. The Viceroy not going
down, his message was read in the Lords, by the Chancellor, and in the
Commons, by the Chief Secretary. It did not directly refer to the basis
laid down in England, nor to the subject matter itself; but the leaders
of the Castle party in both Houses, took care to supply the deficiency.
In the Lords, proxies included, Lord Clare had 75 to 26 for his Union
address: in the Commons, Lord Castlereagh congratulated the country on
the improvement which had taken place in public opinion, since the
former session. He briefly sketched his plan of Union, which, while
embracing the main propositions of Mr. Pitt, secured the Church
establishment, bid high for the commercial interests, hinted darkly of
emancipation to the Catholics, and gave the proprietors of boroughs to
understand that their interest in those convenient constituencies would
be capitalized, and a good round sum given to buy out their perpetual
patronage. In amendment to the address, Sir Lawrence Parsons moved,
seconded by Mr. Savage of Down, that the House would maintain _intact_
the Constitution of '82, and the debate proceeded on this motion.
Ponsonby replied to Castlereagh; Plunkett and Bushe were answered by
the future judges, St. George Daly and Luke Fox; Toler contributed his
farce, and Dr. Duigenan his fanaticism. Through the long hours of the
winter's night the eloquent war was vigorously maintained. One who was
himself a distinguished actor in the struggle, (Sir Jonah Barrington,)
has thus described it: "Every mind," he says, "was at its stretch,
every talent was in its vigour: it was a momentous trial; and never was
so general and so deep a sensation felt in any country. Numerous
British noblemen and commoners were present at that and the succeeding
debate, and they expressed opinions of Irish eloquence which they had
never before conceived, nor ever after had an opportunity of
appreciating. Every man on that night seemed to be inspired by the
subject. Speeches more replete with talent and energy, on both sides,
never were heard in the Irish Senate; it was a vital subject. The
sublime, the eloquent, the figurative orator, the plain, the connected,
the metaphysical reasoner, the classical, the learned, and the solemn
declaimer, in a succession of speeches so full of energy and
enthusiasm, so interesting in their nature, so important in their
consequence, created a variety of sensations even in the bosom of a
stranger, and could scarcely fail of exciting some sympathy with a
nation which was doomed to close for ever that school of eloquence
which had so long given character and celebrity to Irish talent."

At the early dawn, a special messenger from Wicklow, just arrived in
town, roused Henry Grattan from his bed. He had been elected the
previous night for the borough of Wicklow, (which cost him 2,400 pounds
sterling), and this was the bearer of the returning officer's
certificate. His friends, weak and feeble as he was, wished him to go
down to the House, and his heroic wife seconded their appeals. It was
seven o'clock in the morning of the 16th when he reached College Green,
the scene of his first triumphs twenty years before. Mr. Egan, one of
the staunchest anti-Unionists, was at the moment, on some rumour,
probably, of his approach, apostrophising warmly the father of the
Constitution of '82, when that striking apparition appeared at the bar.
Worn and emaciated beyond description, he appeared leaning on two of
his friends, Arthur Moore and W. B. Ponsonby. He wore his volunteer
uniform, blue with red facings, and advanced to the table, where he
removed his cocked hat, bowed to the Speaker, and took the oaths. After
Mr. Egan had concluded, he begged permission from his seat beside
Plunkett, to address the House sitting, which was granted, and then in
a discourse of two hours' duration, full of his ancient fire and
vigour, he asserted once again, by the divine right of intellect, his
title to be considered the first Commoner of Ireland. Gifted men were
not rare in that assembly; but the inspiration of the heart, the
uncontrollable utterance of a supreme spirit, not less than the
extraordinary faculty of condensation, in which, perhaps, he has never
had a superior in our language, gave the Grattan of 1800 the same
pre-eminence among his cotemporaries, that was conceded to the Grattan
of 1782. After eighteen hours' discussion the division was taken, when
the result of the long recess was clearly seen; for the amendment there
appeared 96, for the address 138 members. The Union majority,
therefore, was 42. It was apparent from that moment that the
representation of the people in Parliament had been effectually
corrupted; that that assembly was no longer the safeguard of the
liberties of the people. Other ministerial majorities confirmed this
impression. A measure to enable 10,000 of the Irish militia to enter
the regular army, and to substitute English militia in their stead,
followed; an inquiry into outrages committed by the sheriff and
military in King's county, was voted down; a similar motion somewhat
later, in relation to officials in Tipperary met the same fate. On the
5th of February, a formal message proposing a basis of Union was
received from his Excellency, and debated for twenty consecutive
hours—from 4 o'clock of one day, till 12 of the next. Grattan,
Plunkett, Parnell, Ponsonby, Saurin, were, as always, eloquent and
able, but again the division told for the minister, 160 to 117—majority
43. On the 17th of February, the House went into Committee on the
proposed articles of Union, and the Speaker (John Foster) being now on
the floor, addressed the House with great ability in review of Mr.
Pitt's recent Union speech, which he designated "a paltry production."
But again, a majority mustered, at the nod of the minister, 161 to
140—a few not fully committed showing some last faint spark of
independence. It was on this occasion that Mr. Corry, Chancellor of the
Exchequer, member for Newry, made for the third or fourth time that
session, an attack on Grattan, which brought out, on the instant, that
famous "philippic against Corry," unequalled in our language, for its
well-suppressed passion, and finely condensed denunciation. A duel
followed, as soon as there was sufficient light; the Chancellor was
wounded, after which the Castlereagh tactics of "fighting down the
opposition," received an immediate and lasting check.

Throughout the months of February and March, with an occasional
adjournment, the Constitutional battle was fought on every point
permitted by the forms of the House. On the 25th of March, the
Committee, after another powerful speech from the Speaker, finally
reported the resolutions which were passed by 154 to 107—a majority of
47. The Houses then adjourned for six weeks, to allow time for
corresponding action to be taken in England. There was little
difficulty in carrying the measure. In the Upper House, Lords Derby,
Holland, and King only opposed it; in the Lower, Sheridan, Tierney,
Grey, and Lawrence mustered on a division, 30 votes against Pitt's 206.
On the 21st of May, in the Irish Commons, Lord Castlereagh obtained
leave to bring in the Union Bill by 160 to 100; on the 7th of June the
final passage of the measure was effected. That closing scene has been
often described, but never so graphically, as by the diamond pen of
Jonah Barrington.

"The galleries were full, but the change was lamentable. They were no
longer crowded with those who had been accustomed to witness the
eloquence and to animate the debates of that devoted assembly. A
monotonous and melancholy murmur ran through the benches; scarcely a
word was exchanged amongst the members; nobody seemed at ease; no
cheerfulness was apparent; and the ordinary business, for a short time,
proceeded in the usual manner.

"At length, the expected moment arrived: the order of the day for the
third reading of the bill for a 'legislative union between Great
Britain and Ireland' was moved by Lord Castlereagh. Unvaried, tame,
cold-blooded, the words seemed frozen as they issued from his lips;
and, as if a simple citizen of the world, he seemed to have no
sensation on the subject.

"At that moment he had no country, no God, but his ambition. He made
his motion, and resumed his seat, with the utmost composure and

"Confused murmurs again ran through the House. It was visibly affected.
Every character, in a moment, seemed involuntarily rushing to its
index—some pale, some flushed, some agitated—there were few
countenances to which the heart did not despatch some messenger.
Several members withdrew before the question could be repeated, and an
awful, momentary silence succeeded their departure. The Speaker rose
slowly from that chair which had been the proud source of his honours
and of his high character. For a moment he resumed his seat, but the
strength of his mind sustained him in his duty, though his struggle was
apparent. With that dignity which never failed to signalize his
official actions, he held up the bill for a moment in silence. He
looked steadily around him on the last agony of the expiring
Parliament. He at length repeated, in an emphatic tone, 'As many as are
of opinion that THIS BILL do pass, say _ay_! The affirmative was
languid, but indisputable. Another momentary pause ensued. Again his
lips seemed to decline their office. At length, with an eye averted
from the object he hated, he proclaimed, with a subdued voice, '_The,
AYES have it_.' The fatal sentence was now pronounced. For an instant
he stood statue-like; then indignantly, and with disgust, flung the
bill upon the table, and sank into his chair with an exhausted spirit.
An independent country was thus degraded into a province. Ireland, as a
nation, was extinguished."

The final division in the Commons was 153 to 88, nearly 60 members
absenting themselves, and in the Lords, 76 to 17. In England all the
stages were passed in July, and on the 2nd of August, the anniversary
of the King's accession, the royal assent was given to the twofold
legislation, which declared the kingdoms of Great Britain and Ireland
one and inseparable!

By the provisions of this statute, compact, or treaty, the Sovereignty
of the United Kingdom was to follow the order of the Act of Succession;
the Irish peerage was to be reduced by the filling of one vacancy for
every three deaths, to the number of one hundred; from among these,
twenty-eight representative Peers were to be elected for life, and four
spiritual Lords to sit in succession. The number of Irish
representatives in the Imperial Parliament was fixed at one hundred
(increased to one hundred and five); the churches of England and
Ireland were united like the kingdoms, and declared to be one in
doctrine and discipline. The debt of Ireland, which was less than
4,000,000 pounds in 1797, increased to 14,000,000 pounds in '99, and
had risen to nearly 17,000,000 pounds in 1801, was to be alone
chargeable to Ireland, whose proportionate share of general taxation
was then estimated at 2-17ths of that of the United Kingdom. The Courts
of Law, the Privy Council, and the Viceroyalty, were to remain at
Dublin, the cenotaph and the shadows of departed nationality.

On the 1st day of January, 1801, in accordance with this great
Constitutional change, a new imperial standard was run up on London
Tower, Edinburgh Castle, and Dublin Castle. It was formed of the three
crosses of St. Patrick, Saint Andrew, and Saint George, and is that
popularly known to us as "the Union Jack." The _fleur de lis_, and the
word "France," were struck from the royal title, which was settled, by
proclamation, to consist henceforth of the words _Dei Gratia,
Britanniarum Rex, Fidei Defensor_.

The foul means by which this counter revolution was accomplished, have,
perhaps, been already sufficiently indicated. It may be necessary,
however, in order to account for the continued hostility of the Irish
people to the measure, after more than sixty years' experience of its
results, to recapitulate them very briefly. Of all who voted for the
Union, in both Houses, it was said that only six or seven were known to
have done so on conviction. Great borough proprietors, like Lord Ely
and Lord Shannon, received as much as 45,000 pounds sterling in
"compensation" for their loss of patronage; while proprietors of single
seats received 15,000 pounds. That the majority was avowedly purchased,
in both Houses, is no longer matter of inference, nay, that some of
them were purchased twice over is now well known. Lord Carysfort, an
active partisan of the measure, writing in February, 1800, to his
friend the Marquis of Buckingham, frankly says: "The majority, which
has been bought at an enormous price, must be bought over again,
perhaps more than once, before all the details can be gone through."
His lordship himself, and the order to which he belonged, and those who
aspired to enter it, were, it must be added, among the most insatiable
of these purchased supporters. The Dublin _Gazette_ for July, 1800,
announced not less than sixteen new peerages, and the same publication
for the last week of the year, contained a fresh list of twenty-six
others. Forty-two creations in six months was a stretch of prerogative
far beyond the most arbitrary of the Stuarts or Tudors, and forms one,
not of the least unanswerable evidences, of the utterly corrupt
considerations which secured the support of the Irish majority in both

It was impossible that a people like the Irish, disinterested and
unselfish to a fault, should ever come to respect a compact brought
about by such means and influences as these. Had, however, the Union,
vile as were the means by which it was accomplished, proved to the real
benefit of the country—had equal civil and religious rights been freely
and at once extended to the people of the lesser kingdom—there is no
reason to doubt that the measure would have become popular in time, and
the vices of the old system be better remembered than its benefits,
real or imaginary. But the Union was never utilized for Ireland; it
proved in reality what Samuel Johnson had predicted, when spoken of in
his day: "Do not unite with us, sir," said the gruff old moralist to an
Irish acquaintance; "it would be the union of the shark with his prey;
we should unite with you only to destroy you."

In glancing backward over the long political connexion of Ireland and
England, we mark four great epochs. The Anglo-Norman invasion in 1169;
the statute of Kilkenny decreeing eternal separation between the races,
"the English pale" and "the Irish enemy," 1367; the Union of the
Crowns, in 1541, and the Legislative Union, in 1801. One more cardinal
event remains to be recorded—the Emancipation of the Catholics, in



The plan of this brief compendium of Irish history obliges us to sketch
for some years farther on, the political and religious annals of the
Irish people. Having described in what manner their distinctive
political nationality was at length lost, it only remains to show how
their religious liberties were finally recovered.

The first striking effect of the Union was to introduce Catholic
Emancipation into the category of imperial difficulties, and to assign
it the very first place on the list. By a singular retribution, the
Pitt administration with its 200 of a House of Commons majority, its
absolute control of the Lords, and its seventeen years' prescription in
its favour, fell upon this very question, after they had used it to
carry the Union, within a few weeks of the consummation of that Union.
The cause of this crisis was the invincible obstinacy of the King, who
had taken into his head, at the time of Lord Fitzwilliam's recall from
Ireland, that his coronation oath bound him in conscience to resist the
Catholic claims. The suggestion of this obstacle was originally Lord
Clare's; and though Lord Kenyon and Lord Stowell had declared it
unfounded in law, Lord Loughborough and Lord Eldon were unfortunately
of a different opinion. With George III. the idea became a monomaniac
certainty, and there is no reason to doubt that he would have preferred
abdication to its abandonment.

The King was not for several months aware how far his Prime Minister
had gone on the Catholic question in Ireland. But those who were weary
of Pitt's ascendancy, were, of course, interested in giving him this
important information. The minister himself, wrapped in his austere
self-reliance, did not volunteer explanations even to his Sovereign,
and the King broke silence very unexpectedly, a few days after the
first meeting of the Imperial Parliament (January 22nd, 1801). Stepping
up to Mr. Dundas at the levee, he began in his usual manner, "What's
this? what's this? this, that this young Lord (Castlereagh) has brought
over from Ireland to throw at my head? The most Jacobinical thing I
ever heard of! Any man who proposes such a thing is my personal enemy."
Mr. Dundas replied respectfully but firmly, and immediately
communicated the conversation to Mr. Pitt. The King's remarks had been
overheard by the bystanders, so that either the minister or the
Sovereign had now to give way. Pitt, at first, was resolute; the King
then offered to impose silence on himself as regarded the whole
subject, provided Mr. Pitt would agree to do likewise, but the haughty
minister refused, and tendered his resignation. On the 5th of February,
within five weeks of the consummation of the Union, this tender was
most reluctantly and regretfully accepted. Lord Grenville, Mr. Dundas,
and others of his principal colleagues went out of office with him;
Lord Cornwallis and Lord Castlereagh following their example. Of the
new Cabinet, Addington, the Speaker, was Premier, with Lord Hardwicke
as Lord-Lieutenant of Ireland. By the enemies of Pitt this was looked
upon as a mere administration _ad interim_; as a concerted arrangement
to enable him to evade an unfavourable peace—that of Amiens—which he
saw coming; but it is only fair to say, that the private letters of the
period, since published, do not sanction any such imputation. It is,
however, to be observed, _per contra_, that three weeks after his
formal resignation, he had no hesitation in assuring the King, who had
just recovered from one of his attacks brought on by this crisis, that
he would never again urge the Catholic claims on his Majesty's notice.
On this understanding he returned to office in the spring of 1804; to
this compact he adhered till his death, in January, 1806.

In Ireland, the events immediately consequent upon the Union, were such
as might have been expected. Many of those who had been instrumental in
carrying it, were disappointed and discontented with their new
situation in the empire. Of these, the most conspicuous and the least
to be pitied, was Lord Clare. That haughty, domineering spirit,
accustomed to dictate with almost absolute power to the Privy
Counsellors and peerage of Ireland, experienced nothing but
mortification in the Imperial House of Lords. The part he hoped to play
on that wider stage he found impossible to assume; he confronted there
in the aged Thurlow and the astute Loughborough, law lords as absolute
as himself, who soon made him conscious that, though a main agent of
the Union, he was only a stranger in the united legislature. The Duke
of Bedford reminded him that "the Union had not transferred his
dictatorial powers to the Imperial Parliament;" other noble Lords were
hardly less severe. Pitt was cold, and Grenville ceremonious; and in
the arrangements of the Addington ministry he was not even consulted.
He returned to Ireland before the first year of the Union closed, in a
state of mind and temper which preyed upon his health. Before the
second session of the Imperial Parliament assembled, he had been borne
to the grave amid the revilings and hootings of the multitude. Dublin,
true to its ancient disposition, which led the townsfolk of the twelfth
century to bury the ancestor of Dermid McMurrogh with the carcass of a
dog, filled the grave of the once splendid Lord Chancellor with every
description of garbage.

On the other hand, Lord Castlereagh, younger, suppler, and more
accommodating to English prejudices, rose from one Cabinet office to
another, until at length, in fifteen years from the Union, he directed
the destinies of the Empire, as absolutely, as he had moulded the fate
of Ireland. To Castlereagh and the Wellesley family, the Union was in
truth, an era of honour and advancement. The sons of the spendthrift
amateur, Lord Mornington, were reserved to rule India, and lead the
armies of Europe; while the son of Flood's colleague in the Reform
convention of 1783, was destined to give law to Christendom, at the
Congress of Vienna.

A career very different in all respects from those just mentioned,
closed in the second year of Dublin's widowhood as a metropolis. It was
the career of a young man of four-and-twenty, who snatched at immortal
fame and obtained it, in the very agony of a public, but not for him, a
shameful death. This was Robert, youngest brother of Thomas Addis
Emmet, whose _emeute_ of 1803 would long since have sunk to the level
of other city riots, but for the matchless dying speech of which it was
the prelude and the occasion. This young gentleman was in his 20th year
when expelled with nineteen others from Trinity College, in 1798, by
order of the visitors, Lord Clare and Dr. Duigenan. His reputation as a
scholar and debater was already established within the college walls,
and the highest expectations were naturally entertained of him, by his
friends. One of his early college companions—Thomas Moore—who lived to
know all the leading men of his age, declares that of all he had ever
known, he would place among "the highest of the few" who combined in
"the greatest degree pure moral worth with intellectual power"—Robert
Emmet. After the expatriation of his brother, young Emmet visited him
at Fort-George, and proceeded from thence to the Continent. During the
year the Union was consummated he visited Spain, and travelled through
Holland, France, and Switzerland, till the peace of Amiens.
Subsequently he joined his brother's family in Paris, and was taken
into the full confidence of the exiles, then in direct communication
with Buonaparte and Talleyrand. It was not concealed from the Irish by
either the First Consul, or his minister, that the peace with England
was likely to have a speedy termination; and, accordingly, they were
not unprepared for the new declaration of war between the two
countries, which was officially made at London and Paris, in May,
1803—little more than twelve months after the proclamation of the peace
of Amiens.

It was in expectation of this rupture, and a consequent invasion of
Ireland, that Robert Emmet returned to Dublin, in October, 1802, to
endeavour to re-establish in some degree the old organization of the
United Irishmen. In the same expectation, McNevin, Corbet, and others
of the Irish in France, formed themselves, by permission of the First
Consul, into a legion, under command of Tone's trusty aid-de-camp,
McSheehey; while Thomas Addis Emmet and Arthur O'Conor remained at
Paris, the plenipotentiaries of their countrymen. On the rupture with
England Buonaparte took up the Irish negotiation with much earnestness;
he even suggested to the exiles the colours and the motto under which
they were to fight, when once landed on their own soil. The flag on a
tricolour ground, was to have a green centre, bearing the letters
_R.I.—Republique Irlandaise_. The legend at large was to be:
_L'independence de l'Irlande—Liberte de Conscience_; a motto which
certainly told the whole story. The First Consul also suggested the
formation of an Irish Committee at Paris, and the preparation of
statements of Irish grievances for the _Moniteur_, and the
semi-official papers.

Robert Emmet seems to have been confidently of opinion soon after his
return to Dublin, that nineteen out of the thirty-two counties would
rise; and, perhaps, if a sufficient French force had landed, his
opinion might have been justified by the fact. So did not think,
however, John Keogh, Valentine Lawless (Lord Cloncurry), and other
close observers of the state of the country. But Emmet was
enthusiastic, and he inspired his own spirit into many. Mr. Long, a
merchant, placed 1,400 pounds sterling at his disposal; he had himself,
in consequence of the recent death of his father, stock to the amount
of 1,500 pounds converted into cash, and with these funds he entered
actively on his preliminary preparations. His chief confidants and
assistants were Thomas Russell and Mathew Dowdall, formerly prisoners
at Fort-George, but now permitted to return; William Putnam McCabe, the
most adventurous of all the party, a perfect Proteus in disguise; Gray,
a Wexford attorney; Colonel Lumm of Kildare, an old friend of Lord
Edward Fitzgerald; Mr. Long, before mentioned; Hamilton, an Enniskillen
barrister, married to Russell's niece; James Hope of Templepatrick, and
Michael Dwyer, the Wicklow outlaw, who had remained since '98
uncaptured in the mountains.

In the month of March, when the renewal of hostilities with France was
decided on in England, the preparations of the conspirators were pushed
forward with redoubled energy. The still wilder conspiracy headed by
Colonel Despard in London, the previous winter, the secret and the fate
of which was well known to the Dublin leaders—Dowdall being Despard's
agent—did not in the least intimidate Emmet or his friends. Despard
suffered death in February, with nine of his followers, but his Irish
confederates only went on with their arrangements with a more reckless
resolution. Their plan was the plan of O'Moore and McGuire, to surprise
the Castle, seize the authorities and secure the capital; but the
Dublin of 1803 was in many respects very different from the Dublin of
1641. The discontent, however, arising from the recent loss of the
Parliament might have turned the city scale in Emmet's favour, had its
first stroke been successful. The emissaries at work in the Leinster
and Ulster counties gave besides sanguine reports of success, so that,
judging by the information in his possession, an older and cooler head
than Robert Emmet's might well have been misled into the expectation of
nineteen counties rising if the signal could only be given from Dublin
Castle. If the blow could be withheld till August, there was every
reason to expect a French invasion of England, which would drain away
all the regular army, and leave the people merely the militia and the
volunteers to contend against. But all the Dublin arrangements exploded
in the melancholy _emeute_ of the 23rd of July, 1803, in which the
Chief-Justice, Lord Kilwarden, passing through the disturbed quarter of
the city at the time, was cruelly murdered; for which, and for his
cause, Emmet suffered death on the same spot on the 20th of September
following. For the same cause, the equally pure-minded and chivalrous
Thomas Russell was executed at Downpatrick; Kearney, Roche, Redmond and
Howley also suffered death at Dublin; Allen, Putnam, McCabe, and
Dowdall escaped to France, where the former became an officer of rank
in the army of Napoleon; Michael Dwyer, who had surrendered on
condition of being allowed to emigrate to' North America, died in exile
in Australia, in 1825. Others of Emmet's known or suspected friends,
after undergoing two, three, and even four years' imprisonment, were
finally discharged without trial. Mr. Long, his generous banker, and
James Hope, his faithful emissary, were both permitted to end their
days in Ireland.

The trial of Robert Emmet, from the wonderful death-speech delivered at
it, is perfectly well known. But in justice to a man of genius equal if
not superior to his own—an Irishman, whose memory is national property,
as well as Emmet's, it must here be observed, that the latter never
delivered, and had no justification to deliver the vulgar diatribe
against Plunkett, his prosecutor, now constantly printed in the common
and incorrect versions of that speech. Plunkett, as Attorney-General,
in 1803, had no option but to prosecute for the crown; he was a
politician of a totally different school from that of Emmet; he shared
all Burke and Grattan's horror of French revolutionary principles. In
the fervour of his accusatory oration he may have gone too far; he may
have, and in reading it now, it is clear to us that he did press too
hard upon the prisoner in the dock. He might have performed his awful
office with more sorrow and less vehemence, for there was no doubt
about his jury. But withal, he gave no fair grounds for any such retort
as is falsely attributed to Emmet, the very style of which proves its
falsity. It is now well known that the apostrophe in the death-speech,
commencing "you viper," alleged to have been addressed to Plunkett, was
the interpolation many years afterwards of that literary
Ishmaelite—Walter Cox of the _Hibernian Magazine_,—who through such
base means endeavoured to aim a blow at Plunkett's reputation. The
personal reputation of the younger Emmet, the least known to his
countrymen of all the United Irish leaders, except by the crowning act
of his death, is safe beyond the reach of calumny, or party zeal, or
time's changes. It is embalmed in the verse of Moore and Southey, and
the precious prose of Washington Irvine. Men of genius in England and
America have done honour to his memory; in the annals of his own
country his name deserves to stand with those youthful chiefs, equally
renowned, and equally ready to seal their patriotism with their
blood—Sir Cahir O'Doherty and Hugh Roe O'Donnell.

BEDFORD (1806 TO 1808).

During the five years in which Lord Hardwicke was Viceroy of Ireland,
the _habeas corpus_ remained suspended, and the Insurrection Act
continued in force. These were the years in which the power of Napoleon
made the most astonishing strides; the years in which he remodelled the
German Empire, placed on his head the iron crown of Lombardy, on his
sister's that of Etruria, and on his brother's that of Holland; when
the Consulate gave place to the Empire, and Dukedoms and Principalities
were freely distributed among the marshals of the Grand Army. During
all these years, Napoleon harassed England with menaces of invasion,
and excited Ireland with corresponding hopes of intervention. The more
far-seeing United Irishmen, however, had so little faith in these
demonstrations that Emmet and McNevin emigrated to the United States,
leaving behind them in the ranks of the French Army, those of their
compatriots who, either from habit or preference, had become attached
to a military life. It must however be borne in mind, for it is
essential to the understanding of England's policy towards Ireland, in
the first twelve or fourteen years after the Union, that the wild hope
of a French invasion never forsook the hearts of a large portion of the
Irish people, so long as Napoleon Buonaparte continued at the head of
the government of France. During the whole of that period the British
government were kept in constant apprehension for Ireland; under this
feeling they kept up and increased the local militia; strengthened
garrisons, and replenished magazines; constructed a chain of Martello
towers round the entire coast, and maintained in full rigour the
Insurrection Act. They refused, indeed, to the Munster magistrates in
1803, and subsequently, the power of summary convictions which they
possessed in '98; but they sent special Commissions of their own into
the suspected counties, who sentenced to death with as little remorse
as if they had been so many hydrophobic dogs. Ten, twelve, and even
twenty capital executions was no uncommon result of a single sitting of
one of those murderous commissions, over which Lord Norbury presided;
but it must be added that there were other judges, who observed not
only the decencies of everyday life, but who interpreted the law in
mercy as well as in justice. They were a minority, it is true, but
there were some such, nevertheless.

The session of the Imperial Parliament of 1803-'4, was chiefly
remarkable for its war speeches and war budget. In Ireland 50,000 men
of the regular militia were under arms and under pay; 70,000 volunteers
were enrolled, battalioned, and ready to be called out in case of
emergency, to which it was proposed to add 25,000 sea-fencibles.
General Fox, who it was alleged had neglected taking proper precaution
at the time of Robert Emmet's _emeute_, was replaced by Lord Cathcart,
as Commander-in-Chief. The _public_ reports at least of this officer,
were highly laudatory of the discipline and conduct of the Irish

In May, 1804, Mr. Pitt returned to power, as Chancellor of the
Exchequer and Prime Minister, when the whole Pitt policy towards
Ireland, France, and America, was of course resumed; a policy which
continued to be acted on during the short remainder of the life of its
celebrated author.

The year 1805 may be called the first year of the revival of public
spirit and public opinion after the Union. In that year Grattan had
allowed himself to be persuaded by Fox, into entering the Imperial
Parliament, and his old friend Lord Fitzwilliam found a constituency
for him, in his Yorkshire borough of Malton. About the same time, Pitt,
or his colleagues, induced Plunkett to enter the same great assembly,
providing him with a constituency at Midhurst, in Sussex. But they did
not succeed—if they ever attempted—to match Plunkett with Grattan.
Those great men were warm and close friends in the Imperial as they had
been in the Irish Parliament; very dissimilar in their genius, they
were both decided anti-Jacobins; both strenuous advocates of the
Catholic claims, and both proud and fond of their original country.
Grattan had more poetry, and Plunkett more science; but the heart of
the man of colder exterior opened and swelled out, in one of the
noblest tributes ever paid by one great orator to another, when
Plunkett introduced in 1821, in the Imperial Parliament, his allusion
to his illustrious friend, then recently deceased.

Preparatory to the meeting of Parliament in 1805, the members of the
old Catholic Committee, who had not met for any such purpose for
several years, assembled in Dublin, and prepared a petition which they
authorized their chairman, Lord Fingall, to place in such hands as he
might choose, for presentation in both Houses. His lordship on reaching
London waited on Mr. Pitt, and entreated him to take charge of the
petition; but he found that the Prime Minister had promised the King
one thing and the Catholics another, and, therefore, declined acceding
to his request. He then gave the petition into the charge of Lord
Grenville and Mr. Fox, and by them the subject was brought accordingly
before the Lords and Commons. This debate in the Commons was remarkable
in many respects, but most of all for Grattan's _debut_. A lively
curiosity to hear one of whom so much had been said in his own country,
pervaded the whole House, as Grattan rose. His grotesque little figure,
his eccentric action, and his strangely cadenced sentences rather
surprised than attracted attention, but as he warmed with the march of
ideas, men of both parties warmed to the genial and enlarged
philosophy, embodied in the interfused rhetoric and logic of the
orator; Pitt was seen to beat time with his hand to every curiously
proportioned period, and at length both sides of the House broke into
hearty acknowledgments of the genius of the new member for Malton. But
as yet their cheers were not followed by their votes; the division
against going into Committee was 336 to 124.

In sustaining Fox's motion, Sir John Cox Hippesley had suggested "the
Veto" as a safeguard against the encroachments of Rome, which the Irish
bishops would not be disposed to refuse. Archbishop Troy, and Dr.
Moylan, Bishop of Cork, gave considerable praise to this speech, and
partly at their request it was published in pamphlet form. This brought
up directly a discussion among the Catholics, which lasted until 1810,
was renewed in 1813, and not finally set at rest till the passage of
the bill of 1829, without any such safeguard. Sir John C. Hippesley had
modelled his proposal, he said, on the liberties of the Gallican
Church. "Her privileges," he added, "depended on two prominent maxims:
1st. That the Pope had no authority to order or interfere in anything
in which the civil rights of the kingdom were concerned. 2nd. That
notwithstanding the Pope's supremacy was acknowledged in cases purely
spiritual, yet, in other respects, his power was limited by the decrees
of the ancient councils of the realm." The Irish Church, therefore, was
to be similarly administered, to obviate the objections of the
opponents of complete civil emancipation.

In February, 1806, on the death of Pitt, Mr. Fox came into power, with
an uncertain majority and a powerful opposition. In April, the Duke of
Bedford arrived, as Viceroy, at Dublin, and the Catholics presented,
through Mr. Keogh, a mild address, expressive of their hopes that "the
glorious development" of their emancipation would be reserved for the
new government. The Duke returned an evasive answer in public, but
privately, both at Dublin and London, the Catholics were assured that,
as soon as the new Premier could convert the King—as soon as he was in
a position to act—he would make their cause his own. No doubt Fox, who
had great nobleness of soul, intended to do so; but on the 13th of
September of the same year, he followed his great rival, Pitt, to the
vaults of Westminster Abbey. A few months only had intervened between
the death of the rivals.

Lords Grey and Grenville, during the next recess, having formed a new
administration, instructed their Irish Secretary, Mr. Elliot, to put
himself in communication with the Catholics, in relation to a measure
making them eligible to naval and military offices. The Catholics
accepted this proposal with pleasure, but at the opening of the session
of 1807, in a deputation to the Irish government, again urged the
question of complete emancipation. The bill in relation to the army and
navy had, originally, the King's acquiescence; but early in March,
after it had passed the Commons, George III. changed his mind—if the
expression may be used of him—at that time. He declared he had not
considered it at first so important as he afterwards found it; he
intimated that it could not receive his sanction; he went farther—he
required a written pledge from Lords Grey and Grenville never again to
bring forward such a measure, "nor ever to propose anything connected
with the Catholic question." This unconstitutional pledge they refused
to give, hurried the bill into law, and resigned. Mr. Spencer Perceval
was then sent for, and what was called "the No-Popery Cabinet," in
which Mr. Canning and Lord Castlereagh were the principal Secretaries
of State, was formed. Thus, for the second time in six years, had the
Catholic question made and unmade cabinets.

The Catholics were a good deal dispirited in 1805, by the overwhelming
majority by which their petition of that year was refused to be
referred to a committee. In 1806, they contented themselves with simply
addressing the Duke of Bedford, on his arrival at Dublin. In 1807, the
"No-Popery Cabinet," by the result of the elections, was placed in
possession of an immense majority—a fact which excluded all prospects
of another change of government. But the Committee were too long
accustomed to disappointments to despair even under these reverses.
Early in the next session their petition was presented by Mr. Grattan
in the Commons, and Lord Donoughmore in the Lords. The majority against
going into committee was, in the Commons, 153; in the Lords, 87.
Similar motions in the session of 1808, made by the same parties, were
rejected by majorities somewhat reduced, and the question, on the
whole, might be said to have recovered some of its former vantage
ground, in despite of the bitter, pertinacious resistance of Mr.
Perceval, in the one House, and the Duke of Portland, in the other.

The short-lived administration of Mr. Fox, though it was said to
include "all the talents," had been full of nothing but disappointment
to his Irish supporters. The Duke of Bedford was, indeed, a great
improvement on Lord Hardwicke, and Mr. Ponsonby on Lord Redesdale, as
Chancellor, and the liberation of the political prisoners confined
since 1803 did honour to the new administration. But there the measures
of justice so credulously expected, both as to persons and interests,
ended. Curran, whose professional claims to advancement were far beyond
those of dozens of men who had been, during the past ten years, lifted
over his head, was neglected, and very naturally dissatisfied; Grattan,
never well adapted for a courtier, could not obtain even minor
appointments for his oldest and staunchest adherents; while the
Catholics found their Whig friends, now that they were in office, as
anxious to exact the hard conditions of the Veto as Castlereagh

In truth, the Catholic body at this period, and for a few years
subsequently, was deplorably disorganized. The young generation of
Catholic lawyers who had grown up since the Relief Act of '93 threw the
profession open to them, were men of another stamp from the old
generation of Catholic merchants, who had grown up under the Relief Act
of 1778. In the ten years before the Union, the Catholic middle class
was headed by men of business; in the period we have now reached, their
principal spokesmen came from "the Four Courts." John Keogh, the
ablest, wisest and firmest of the former generation, was now passing
into the decline of life, was frequently absent from the Committee, and
when present, frequently overruled by younger and more ardent men. In
1808, his absence, from illness, was regretted by Mr. O'Connell in an
eloquent speech addressed to the Committee on the necessity of united
action and incessant petitions. "Had he been present," said the young
barrister, "his powers of reasoning would have frightened away the
captious objections" to that course, "and the Catholics of Ireland
would again have to thank their old and useful servant for the
preservation of their honour and the support of their interests." It
was a strange anomaly, and one which continued for some years longer,
that the statesmen of the Catholic body should be all Protestants. A
more generous or tolerant spirit than Grattan's never existed; a
clearer or more fearless intellect than Plunkett's was not to be found;
nobler and more disinterested friends than Ponsonby, Curran, Burroughs
and Wallace, no people ever had; but still they were friends from
without; men of another religion, or of no particular religion,
advising and guiding an eminently religious people in their struggle
for religious liberty. This could not always last; it was not natural,
it was not desirable that it should last, though some years more were
to pass away before Catholic Emancipation was to be accomplished by the
union, the energy and the strategy of the Catholics themselves.


Charles, fourth Duke of Richmond, succeeded the Duke of Bedford, as
Viceroy, in April, 1807, with Lord Manners as Lord Chancellor, John
Foster, Chancellor of the Exchequer—for the separate exchequer of
Ireland continued to exist till 1820—and Sir Arthur Wellesley as Chief
Secretary. Of these names, the two last were already familiar to their
countrymen, in connection with the history of their own Parliament; but
the new Chief Secretary had lately returned home covered with Indian
laurels, and full of the promise of other honours and victories to

The spirit of this administration was repressive, anti-Catholic and
high Tory. To maintain and strengthen British power, to keep the
Catholics quiet, to get possession of the Irish representation and
convert it into a means of support for the Tory party in England, these
were the leading objects of the seven years' administration of the Duke
of Richmond. Long afterwards, when the Chief Secretary of 1807 had
become "the most high, mighty and noble prince," whom all England and
nearly all Europe delighted to honour, he defended the Irish
administration of which he had formed a part, for its habitual use of
corrupt means and influence, in arguments which do more credit to his
frankness than his morality. He had "to turn the moral weakness of
individuals to good account," such was his argument. He stoutly denied
that "the whole nation is, or ever was corrupt;" but as "almost every
man of mark has his price," the Chief Secretary was obliged to use
corrupt influences "to command a majority in favour of order;" however
the particular kinds of influence employed might go against his grain,
he had, as he contended, no other alternative but to employ them.

With the exception of a two months' campaign in Denmark—July to
September, 1807—Sir Arthur Wellesley continued to fill the office of
Chief Secretary, until his departure for the Peninsula, in July, 1808.
Even then he was expressly requested to retain the nominal office, with
power to appoint a deputy, and receive meanwhile the very handsome
salary of 8,000 pounds sterling a year. In the wonderful military
events, in which during the next seven years Sir Arthur was to play a
leading part, the comparatively unimportant particulars of his Irish
Secretariate have been long since forgotten. We have already described
the general spirit of that administration: it is only just to add, that
the dispassionate and resolute secretary, though he never shrank from
his share of the jobbery done daily at the Castle, repressed with as
much firmness the over-zeal of those he calls "red-hot Protestants," as
he showed in resisting, at that period, what he considered the
unconstitutional pretensions of the Catholics. An instance of the
impartiality to which he was capable of rising, when influenced by
partisans or religious prejudices, is afforded by his letter dissuading
the Wexford yeomanry from celebrating the anniversary of the battle of
Vinegar Hill. He regarded such a celebration as certain "to exasperate
party spirit," and "to hurt the feelings of others;" he, therefore, in
the name of the Lord-Lieutenant, strongly discouraged it, and the
intention was accordingly abandoned. It is to be regretted that the
same judicious rule was not at the same time enforced by government as
to the celebration of the much more obsolete and much more invidious
anniversaries of Aughrim and the Boyne.

The general election which followed the death of Fox, in November,
1806, was the first great trial of political strength under the Union.
As was right and proper, Mr. Grattan, no longer indebted for a seat to
an English patron, however liberal, was returned at the head of the
poll for the city of Dublin. His associate, however, the banker, La
Touche, was defeated; the second member elect being Mr. Robert Shaw,
the Orange candidate. The Catholic electors to a man, under the
vigorous prompting of John Keogh and his friends, polled their votes
for their Protestant advocate; they did more, they subscribed the sum
of 4,000 pounds sterling to pay the expenses of the contest, but this
sum Mrs. Grattan induced the treasurer to return to the subscribers.
Ever watchful for her husband's honour, that admirable woman, as ardent
a patriot as himself, refused the generous tender of the Catholics of
Dublin. Although his several elections had cost Mr. Grattan above
54,000 pounds—more than the whole national grant of 1782—she would not,
in this case, that any one else should bear the cost of his last
triumph in the widowed capital of his own country.

The great issue tried in this election of 1807, in those of 1812, 1818,
and 1826, was still the Catholic question. All other Irish, and most
other imperial domestic questions were subordinate to this. In one
shape or another, it came up in every session of Parliament. It entered
into the calculations of every statesman of every party; it continued
to make and unmake cabinets; in the press and in every society, it was
the principal topic of discussion. While tracing, therefore, its
progress, from year to year, we do but follow the main stream of
national history; all other branches come back again to this centre, or
exhaust themselves in secondary and forgotten results.

The Catholics themselves, deprived in Ireland of a Parliament on which
they could act directly, were driven more and more into permanent
association, as the only means of operating a change in the Imperial
legislature. The value of a legal, popular, systematic, and continuous
combination of "the people" acting within the law, by means of
meetings, resolutions, correspondence, and petitions, was not made
suddenly, nor by all the party interested, at one and the same time. On
the minds of the more sagacious, however, an impression, favourable to
such organized action, grew deeper year by year, and at last settled
into a certainty which was justified by success.

In May, 1809, the Catholic Committee had been reconstructed, and its
numbers enlarged. In a series of resolutions it was agreed that the
Catholic lords, the surviving delegates of 1793, the committee which
managed the petitions of 1805 and 1807, and such persons "as shall
distinctly appear to them to possess the confidence of the Catholic
body," do form henceforth the General Committee. It was proposed by
O'Connell, to avoid "the Convention Act," "that the noblemen and
gentlemen aforesaid are not representatives of the Catholic body, or
any portion thereof." The Committee were authorized to collect funds
for defraying expenses; a Treasurer was chosen, and a permanent
Secretary, Mr. Edward Hay, the historian of the Wexford rebellion—an
active and intelligent officer. The new Committee acted with great
judgment in 1810, but in 1811 Lord Fingal and his friends projected a
General Assembly of the leading Catholics, contrary to the Convention
Act, and to the resolution just cited. O'Connell was opposed to this
proposition; yet the assembly met, and were dispersed by the
authorities. The Chairman, Lord Fingal, and Drs. Sheridan and Kirwan,
Secretaries, were arrested. Lord Fingal, however, was not prosecuted,
but the Secretaries were, and one of them expiated by two years'
imprisonment his violation of the act. To get rid of the very pretext
of illegality, the Catholic Committee dissolved, but only to reappear
under a less vulnerable form, as "the Catholic Board."

It is from the year 1810 that we must date the rise, among the
Catholics themselves, of a distinctive line of policy, suited to the
circumstances of the present century, and the first appearance of a
group of public men, capable of maintaining and enforcing that policy.
Not that the ancient leaders of that body were found deficient, in
former times, either in foresight or determination; but new times
called for new men; the Irish Catholics were now to seek their
emancipation from the imperial government; new tactics and new
combinations were necessary to success; and, in brief, instead of being
liberated from their bonds at the good will and pleasure of benevolent
Protestants, it was now to be tested whether they were capable of
contributing to their own emancipation,—whether they were willing and
able to assist their friends and to punish their enemies.

Though the Irish Catholics could not legally meet in convention any
more than their Protestant fellow-countrymen, there was nothing to
prevent them assembling voluntarily, from every part of the kingdom,
without claim to delegation. With whom the happy idea of "the aggregate
meetings" originated is not certainly known, but to O'Connell and the
younger set of leading spirits this was a machinery capable of being
worked with good effect. No longer confined to a select Committee,
composed mainly of a few aged and cautious, though distinguished
persons, the fearless "agitators," as they now began to be called,
stood face to face with the body of the people themselves. The disused
theatre in Fishamble Street was their habitual place of meeting in
Dublin, and there, in 1811 and 1812, the orators met to criticise the
conduct of the Duke of Richmond—to denounce Mr. Wellesley Pole—to
attack Secretaries of State and Prime Ministers—to return thanks to
Lords Grey and Grenville for refusing to give the unconstitutional
anti-Catholic pledge required by the King, and to memorial the Prince
Regent. From those meetings, especially in the year 1812, the
leadership of O'Connell must be dated. After seven years of wearisome
probation, after enduring seven years the envy and the calumny of many
who, as they were his fellow-labourers, should have been his friends;
after demonstrating for seven years that his judgment and his courage
were equal to his eloquence, the successful Kerry barrister, then in
his thirty-seventh year, was at length generally recognized as "the
counsellor" of his co-religionists—as the veritable "Man of the
People." Dangers, delays and difficulties lay thick and dark in the
future, but from the year, when in Dublin, Cork and Limerick, the voice
of the famous advocate was recognized as the voice of the Catholics of
Ireland, their cause was taken out of the category of merely
ministerial measures, and exhibited in its true light as a great
national contest, entered into by the people themselves for complete
civil and religious freedom.

Sir Arthur Wellesley had been succeeded in 1810 in the Secretaryship by
his brother, Mr. Wellesley Pole, who chiefly signalized his
administration by a circular against conventions, and the prosecution
of Sheridan and Kirwan, in 1811. He was in turn succeeded by a much
more able and memorable person—_Mr_., afterwards Sir Robert Peel. The
names of Peel and Wellington come thus into juxtaposition in Irish
politics in 1812, as they will be found in juxtaposition on the same
subject twenty and thirty years later.

Early in the session of 1812, Mr. Perceval, the Premier, had been
assassinated in the lobby of the House of Commons, by Bellingham, and a
new political crisis was precipitated on the country. In the government
which followed, Lord Liverpool became the chief, with Castlereagh and
Canning as members of his administration. In the general election which
followed, Mr. Grattan was again returned for Dublin, and Mr. Plunkett
was elected for Trinity College, but Mr. Curran was defeated at Newry,
and Mr. Christopher Hely Hutchinson, the liberal candidate, at Cork.
Upon the whole, however, the result was favourable to the Catholic
cause, and the question was certain to have several additional Irish
supporters in the new House of Commons.

In the administrative changes that followed, Mr. Peel, though only in
his twenty-fourth year, was appointed to the important post of Chief
Secretary. The son of the first baronet of the name—this youthful
statesman had first been elected for Cashel, almost as soon as he came
of age, in 1809. He continued Chief Secretary for six years, from the
twenty-fourth to the thirtieth year of his age. He distinguished
himself in the House of Commons almost as soon as he entered it, and
the predictions of his future premiership were not, even then, confined
to members of his own family. No English statesman, since the death of
William Pitt, has wielded so great a power in Irish affairs as Sir
Robert Peel, and it is, therefore, important to consider, under what
influence, and by what maxims he regulated his public conduct during
the time he filled the most important administrative office in that

Sir Robert Peel brought to the Irish government, notwithstanding his
Oxford education and the advantages of foreign travel which he had
enjoyed, prejudices the most illiberal, on the subject of all others on
which a statesman should be most free from prejudice—religion. An
anti-Catholic of the school of Mr. Perceval and Lord Eldon, he at once
constituted himself the principal opponent of Grattan's annual motion
in favour of Catholic Emancipation. That older men, born in the evil
time, should be bigots and defenders of the Penal Code, was hardly
wonderful, but a young statesman, exhibiting at that late day, such
studied and active hostility to so large a body of his fellow subjects,
naturally drew upon his head the execrations of all those whose
enfranchisement he so stubbornly resisted. Even his great abilities
were most absurdly denied, under this passionate feeling of wrong and
injustice. His Constabulary and his Stipendiary Magistracy were
resisted, ridiculed, and denounced, as outrages on the liberty of the
subject, and assaults on the independence of the bench. The term
_Peeler_ became synonymous with spy, informer, and traitor, and the
Chief Secretary was detested not only for the illiberal sentiments he
had expressed, but for the machinery of order he had established. After
half a century's experience, we may safely say, that the Irish
Constabulary have shown themselves to be a most valuable police, and as
little deserving of popular ill-will as any such body can ever expect
to be, but they were judged very differently during the Secretaryship
of their founder; for, at that time, being new and intrusive, they may,
no doubt, have deserved many of the hard and bitter things which were
generally said of them.

The first session of the new Parliament in the year 1813—the last of
the Duke of Richmond's Viceroyalty—was remarkable for the most
important debate which had yet arisen on the Catholic question. In the
previous year, a motion of Canning's, in favour of "a final and
conciliatory adjustment," which was carried by an unexpected majority
of 235 to 106, encouraged Grattan to prepare a detailed Emancipation
Bill, instead of making his usual annual motion of referring the
Catholic petitions to the consideration of the Committee. This bill
recited the establishment of the Protestant succession to the crown,
and the establishment of the Protestant religion in the State. It then
proceeded to provide that Roman Catholics might sit and vote in
Parliament; might hold all offices, civil and military, except the
offices of Chancellor or Keeper of the Great Seal in England, or
Lord-Lieutenant, Lord Deputy, or Chancellor of Ireland; another section
threw open to Roman Catholics all lay corporations, while a proviso
excluded them either from holding or bestowing benefices in the
Established Church. Such was the Emancipation Act of 1813, proposed by
Grattan; an act far less comprehensive than that introduced by the same
statesman in 1795, into the Parliament of Ireland, but still, in many
of its provisions, a long stride in advance.

Restricted and conditioned as this measure was, it still did not meet
the objections of the opponents of the question, in giving the crown a
Veto in the appointment of the bishops. Sir John Hippesley's pernicious
suggestion—reviving a very old traditional policy—was embodied by
Canning in one set of amendments, and by Castlereagh in another.
Canning's amendments, as summarised by the eminent Catholic jurist,
Charles Butler, were to this effect:—

"He first appointed a certain number of Commissioners, who were to
profess the Catholic religion, and to be lay peers of Great Britain or
Scotland, possessing a freehold estate of one thousand pounds a year;
to be filled up, from time to time, by his Majesty, his heirs, or
successors. The Commissioners were to take an oath for the faithful
discharge of their office, and the observance of secrecy in all matters
not thereby required to be disclosed, with power to appoint a Secretary
with salary (proposed to be five hundred pounds a year), payable out of
the consolidated fund. The Secretary was to take an oath similar to
that of the Commissioners.

"It was then provided, that every person elected to the discharge of
Roman Catholic episcopal functions in Great Britain or Scotland should,
previously to the discharge of his office, notify his then election to
the Secretary; that the Secretary should notify it to the
Commissioners, and they to the Privy Council, with a certificate 'that
they did not know or believe anything of the person nominated, which
tended to impeach his loyalty or peaceable conduct;' unless they had
knowledge of the contrary, in which case they should refuse their
certificate. Persons obtaining such a certificate were rendered capable
of exercising episcopal functions within the United Kingdom; if they
exercised them without a certificate, they were to be considered guilty
of a misdemeanor, and liable to be sent out of the kingdom.

"Similar provisions respecting Ireland were then introduced."

"The second set of clauses," says Mr. Butler, "was suggested by Lord
Castlereagh, and provided that the Commissioners under the preceding
clauses—with the addition, as to Great Britain, of the Lord Chancellor,
or Lord Keeper, or first Commissioner of the Great Seal for the time
being, and of one of his Majesty's principal Secretaries of State,
being a Protestant, or such other Protestant member of his Privy
Council as his Majesty should appoint—and with a similar addition in
respect to Ireland—and with the further addition, as to Great Britain,
of the person then exercising episcopal functions among the Catholics
in London—and, in respect to Ireland, of the titular Roman Catholic
Archbishops of Armagh and Dublin,—should be Commissioners for the
purposes thereinafter mentioned.

"The Commissioners thus appointed were to take an oath for the
discharge of their office, and observance of secrecy, similar to the
former, and employ the same Secretary, and three of them were to form a

"The bill then provided, that subjects of his Majesty, receiving any
bull, dispensation, or other instrument, from the See of Rome, or any
person in foreign parts, acting under the authority of that See,
should, within six weeks, send a copy of it, signed with his name, to
the Secretary of the Commissioners, who should transmit the same to

"But with a proviso, that if the person receiving the same should
deliver to the Secretary of the Commission, within the time before
prescribed, a writing under his hand, certifying the fact of his having
received such a bull, dispensation, or other instrument, and
accompanying his certificate with an oath, declaring that 'it related,
wholly and exclusively, to spiritual concerns, and that it did not
contain, or refer to, any matter or thing which did or could, directly
or indirectly, affect or interfere with the duty and allegiance which
he owed to his Majesty's sacred person and government, or with the
temporal, civil, or social rights, properties, or duties of any other
of his Majesty's subjects, then the Commissioners were, in their
discretion, to receive such certificate and oath, in lieu of the copy
of the bull, dispensation, or other instrument.

"Persons conforming to these provisions were to be exempted from all
pains and penalties, to which they would be liable under the existing
statutes; otherwise, they were to be deemed guilty of a high
misdemeanor; and in lieu of the pains and penalties, under the former
statutes, be liable to be sent out of the kingdom.

"The third set of clauses provided that, within a time to be specified,
the Commissioners were to meet and appoint their Secretary, and give
notice of it to his Majesty's principal Secretaries of State in Great
Britain and Ireland; and the provisions of the act were to be in force
from that time."

On the second reading, in May, the Committee of Parliament, on motion
of the Speaker, then on the floor, struck out the clause enabling
Catholics "to sit and vote in either House of Parliament," by a
majority of four votes: 251 against 247. Mr. Ponsonby immediately rose,
and, observing that, as "the bill without the clause," was unworthy
both of the Catholics and its authors, he moved the chairman do leave
the chair. The committee rose, without a division, and the Emancipation
Bill of 1813 was abandoned.

Unhappily, the contest in relation to the Veto, which had originated in
the House of Commons, was extended to the Catholic body at large.
Several of the noblemen, members of the board, were not averse to
granting some such power as was claimed to the crown; some of the
professional class, more anxious to be emancipated than particular as
to the means, favoured the same view. The bishops at the time of the
Union, were known to have entertained the idea, and Sir John Hippesley
had published their letters, which certainly did not discourage his
proposal. But the second order of the clergy, the immense majority of
the laity, and all the new prelates, called to preside over vacant
sees, in the first decade of the century, were strongly opposed to any
such connexion with the head of the State. Of this party, Mr. O'Connell
was the uncompromising organ, and, perhaps, it was his course on this
very subject of the Veto, more than anything else, which established
his pretensions to be considered the leader of the Catholic body. Under
the prompting of the majority, the Catholic prelates met and passed a
resolution declaring that they could not accept the bill of 1813 as a
satisfactory settlement. This resolution they formally communicated to
the Catholic Board, who voted them, on O'Connell's motion, enthusiastic
thanks. The minority of the Board were silent rather than satisfied,
and their dissatisfaction was shown rather by their absence from the
Board meetings than by open opposition.

Mr. O'Connell's position, from this period forward, may be best
understood from the tone in which he was spoken of in the debates of
Parliament. At the beginning of the session of 1815, we find the Chief
Secretary (Mr. Peel) stating that he "possesses more influence than any
other person" with the Irish Catholics, and that no meeting of that
body was considered complete unless a vote of thanks to Mr. O'Connell
was among the resolutions.


While the Veto controversy was carried into the press and the
Parliamentary debates, the extraordinary events of the last years of
Napoleon's reign became of such extreme interest as to cast into the
shade all questions of domestic policy. The Parliamentary fortunes of
the Catholic question varied with the fortunes of the war, and the
remoteness of external danger. Thus, in 1815, Sir Henry Parnell's
motion for a committee was rejected by a majority of 228 to 147; in
1816, on Mr. Grattan's similar motion, the vote was 172 to 141; in
1817, Mr. Grattan was again defeated by 245 to 221; in this session an
act exempting officers in the army and navy from forswearing
Transubstantiation passed and became law. The internal condition of the
Catholic body, both in England and Ireland, during all those years, was
far from enviable. In England there were Cisalpine and Ultramontane
factions; in Ireland, Vetoists and anti-Vetoists. The learned and
amiable Charles Butler—among jurists, the ornament of his order, was
fiercely opposed to the no less learned Dr. Milner, author of "The End
of Controversy," and "Letters to a Prebendary." In Ireland, a very
young barrister, who had hardly seen the second anniversary of his
majority, electrified the aggregate meetings with a new Franco-Irish
order of eloquence, naturally enough employed in the maintenance of
Gallican ideas of church government. This was Richard Lalor Shiel, the
author of two or three successful tragedies, and the man, next to
O'Connell, who wielded the largest tribunitian power over the Irish
populace during the whole of the subsequent agitation. Educated at
Stoneyhurst, he imbibed from refugee professors French idioms and a
French standard of taste, while, strangely enough, O'Connell, to whom
he was at first opposed, and of whom he became afterwards the first
lieutenant, educated in France by British refugees, acquired the
cumbrous English style of the Douay Bible and the Rheims Testament. The
contrast between the two men was every way extreme; physically,
mentally, and politically; but it is pleasant to know that their
differences never degenerated into distrust, envy or malice; that, in
fact, Daniel O'Connell had throughout all his after life no more
steadfast personal friend than Richard Lalor Shiel.

In the progress of the Catholic agitation, the next memorable incident
was O'Connell's direct attack on the Prince Regent. That powerful
personage, the _de facto_ Sovereign of the realm, had long amused the
Irish Catholics with promises and pledges of being favourable to their
cause. At an aggregate meeting, in June, 1812, Mr. O'Connell maintained
that there were four distinct pledges of this description in existence:
1. One given in 1806, through the Duke of Bedford, then
Lord-Lieutenant, to induce the Catholics to withhold their petitions
for a time. 2. Another given the same year in the Prince's name by Mr.
Ponsonby, then Chancellor. 3. A pledge given to Lord Kenmare, _in
writing_, when at Cheltenham. 4. A verbal pledge given to Lord Fingal,
in the presence of Lords Clifford and Petre, and reduced to writing and
signed by these three noblemen, soon after quitting the Prince's
presence. Over the meeting at which this indictment was preferred, Lord
Fingal presided, and the celebrated "witchery" resolutions, referring
to the influence then exercised on the Prince by Lady Hertford, were
proposed by his lordship's son, Lord Killeen. It may, therefore, be
fairly assumed, that the existence of the fourth pledge was proved, the
first and second were never denied, and as to the third—that given to
Lord Kenmare—the only correction ever made was, that the Prince's
message was delivered verbally, by his Private Secretary, Colonel
McMahon, and not in writing. Lord Kenmare, who died in the autumn of
1812, could not be induced, from a motive of delicacy, to reduce his
recollection of this message to writing, but he never denied that he
had received it, and O'Connell, therefore, during the following years,
always held the Prince accountable for this, as for his other promises.
Much difference of opinion arose as to the wisdom of attacking a person
in the position of the Prince; but O'Connell, fully persuaded of the
utter worthlessness of the declarations made in that quarter, decided
for himself that the bold course was the wise course. The effect
already was various. The English Whigs, the Prince's early and constant
friends, who had followed him to lengths that honour could hardly
sanction, and who had experienced his hollow-heartedness when lately
called to govern during his father's illness; they, of course, were not
sorry to see him held up to odium in Ireland, as a dishonoured
gentleman and a false friend. The Irish Whigs, of whom Lord Moira and
Mr. Ponsonby were the leaders, and to whom Mr. Grattan might be said to
be attached rather than to belong, saw the rupture with regret, but
considered it inevitable. Among "the Prince's friends" the attacks upon
him in the Dublin meetings were regarded as little short of treason;
while by himself, it is well known the "witchery" resolutions of 1812
were neither forgotten nor forgiven.

The political position of the Holy See, at this period, was such as to
induce and enable an indirect English influence to be exercised,
through that channel, upon the Irish Catholic movement. Pope Pius VII.,
a prisoner in France, had delegated to several persons at Rome certain
vicarious powers, to be exercised in his name, in case of necessity; of
these, more than one had followed him into exile, so that the position
of his representative devolved at length upon Monsignor Quarrantotti,
who, early in 1814, addressed a rescript to Dr. Poynter,
vicar-apostolic of the London district, commendatory of the Bill of
1813, including the Veto, and the Ecclesiastical Commission proposed by
Canning and Castlereagh. Against these dangerous concessions, as they
considered them, the Irish Catholics despatched their remonstrances to
Rome, through the agency of the celebrated Wexford Franciscan, Father
Richard Hayes; but this clergyman, having spoken with too great
freedom, was arrested, and suffered several months' confinement in the
Eternal City. A subsequent embassy of Dr. Murray, coadjutor to the
Archbishop of Dublin, on behalf of his brother prelates, was attended
with no greater advantage, though the envoy himself was more properly
treated. On his return to Ireland, at a meeting held to hear his
report, several strong resolutions were unanimously adopted, of which
the spirit may be judged from the following—the concluding one of the
series—"Though we sincerely venerate the supreme Pontiff as visible
head of the Church, we do not conceive that our apprehensions for the
safety of the Roman Catholic Church in Ireland can or ought to be
removed by any determination of His Holiness, adopted or intended to be
adopted, not only without our concurrence, but in direct opposition to
our repeated resolutions and the very energetic memorial presented on
our behalf, and so ably supported by our Deputy, the Most Reverend Dr.
Murray; who, in that quality, was more competent to inform His Holiness
of the real state and interests of the Roman Catholic Church in Ireland
than any other with whom he is said to have consulted."

The resolutions were transmitted to Rome, signed by the two Archbishops
present, by Dr. Everard, the coadjutor of the Archbishop of Cashel, by
Dr. Murray, the coadjutor of the Archbishop of Dublin, by the Bishops
of Meath, Cloyne, Clonfert, Kerry, Waterford, Derry, Achonry, Killala,
Killaloe, Kilmore, Ferns, Limerick, Elphin, Cork, Down and Conor,
Ossory, Raphoe, Clogher, Dromore, Kildare and Leighlin, Ardagh, and the
Warden of Galway. Dr. Murray, and Dr. Murphy, Bishop of Cork, were
commissioned to carry this new remonstrance to Rome, and the greatest
anxiety was felt for the result of their mission.

A strange result of this new _embroglio_ in the Catholic cause was,
that it put the people on the defensive for their religious liberties,
not so much against England as against Rome. The unlucky Italian
Monsignor who had volunteered his sanction of the Veto, fared scarcely
better at the popular gatherings than Lord Castlereagh, or Mr. Peel.
"Monsieur Forty-eight," as he was nicknamed, in reference to some
strange story of his ancestor taking his name from a lucky lottery
ticket of that number, was declared to be no better than a common
Orangeman, and if the bitter denunciations uttered against him, on the
Liffey and the Shannon, had only been translated into Italian, the
courtly Prelate must have been exceedingly amazed at the democratic
fury of a Catholic population, as orthodox as himself, but much more
jealous of State interference with things spiritual. The second order
of the clergy were hardly behind the laity, in the fervour of their
opposition to the rescript of 1814. Their entire body, secular and
regular, residing in and about Dublin, published a very strong protest
against it, headed by Dr. Blake, afterwards Bishop of Dromore, in which
it was denounced as "pregnant with mischief" and entirely
"non-obligatory upon the Catholic Church in Ireland." The several
ecclesiastical provinces followed up these declarations with a
surprising unanimity, and although a Vetoistical address to His
Holiness was despatched by the Cisalpine club in England, the Irish
ideas of Church government triumphed at Rome. Drs. Murray and Milner
were received with his habitual kindness by Pius VII.; the illustrious
Cardinal Gonsalvi was appointed by the Pope to draw up an explanatory
rescript, and Monsignor Quarrantotti was removed from his official
position. The firmness manifested at that critical period by the Irish
church has since been acknowledged with many encomiums by all the
successors of Pope Pius VII.

The Irish government under the new Viceroy, Lord Whitworth (the former
ambassador to Napoleon), conceiving that the time had come, in the
summer of 1814, to suppress the Catholic Board, a proclamation
forbidding his Majesty's subjects to attend future meetings of that
body issued from Dublin Castle, on the 3rd of June. The leaders of the
body, after consultation at Mr. O'Connell's residence, decided to bow
to this proclamation and to meet no more as a Board; but this did not
prevent them, in the following winter, from holding a new series of
Aggregate meetings, far more formidable, in some respects, than the
deliberative meetings which had been suppressed. In the vigorous and
somewhat aggressive tone taken at these meetings, Lord Fingal, the
chief of the Catholic peerage, did not concur, and he accordingly
withdrew for some years from the agitation, Mr. Shiel, the Bellews, Mr.
Ball, Mr. Wyse of Waterford, and a few others, following his example.
With O'Connell remained the O'Conor Don, Messrs. Finlay and Lidwell
(Protestants), Purcell O'Gorman, and other popular persons. But the
cause sustained a heavy blow in the temporary retirement of Lord Fingal
and his friends, and an attempt to form a "Catholic Association," in
1815, without their co-operation, signally failed.

During the next five years, the fortunes of the great Irish question
fluctuated with the exigencies of Imperial parties. The second American
war had closed, if not gloriously, at least without considerable loss
to England; Napoleon had exchanged Elba for St. Helena: Wellington was
the Achilles of the Empire, and Castlereagh its Ulysses. Yet it was not
in the nature of those free Islanders, the danger and pressure of
foreign war removed, to remain always indifferent to the two great
questions of domestic policy—Catholic Emancipation and Parliamentary
Reform. In the session of 1816, a motion of Sir John Newport's to
inquire into the state of Ireland, was successfully resisted by Sir
Robert Peel, but the condition and state of public feeling in England
could not be as well ignored by a Parliament sitting in London. In
returning from the opening of the Houses in January, 1817, the Regent
was hooted in the street, and his carriage riddled with stones. A
reward of 1,000 pounds, issued for the apprehension of the ringleaders,
only gave additional _éclat_ to the fact, without leading to the
apprehension of the assailants.

The personal unpopularity of the Regent seems to have increased, in
proportion as death removed from him all those who stood nearest to the
throne. In November, 1817, his oldest child, the Princess Charlotte,
married to Leopold, since King of Belgium, died in childbed; in 1818,
the aged Queen Charlotte died; in January, 1820, the old King, in the
eighty-second year of his age, departed this life. Immediately
afterwards the former Princess of Wales, long separated from her
profligate husband, returned from the Continent to claim her rightful
position as Queen Consort. The disgraceful accusations brought against
her, the trial before the House of Lords which followed, the courage
and eloquence of her counsel, Brougham and Denman, the eagerness with
which the people made her cause their own, are all well remembered
events, and all beside the purpose of this history. The unfortunate
lady died after a short illness, on the 7th of August, 1821; the same
month in which Ms Majesty—George IV.—departed on that Irish journey, so
satirized in the undying verse of Moore and Byron.

Two other deaths, far more affecting than any among the mortalities of
royalty, marked the period at which we have arrived. These were the
death of Curran in 1817, and the death of Grattan, in 1820.

Curran, after his failure to be returned for Newry, in 1812, had never
again attempted public life. He remained in his office of Master of the
Rolls, but his health began to fail sensibly. During the summers of
1816 and '17, he sought for recreation in Scotland, England and France,
but the charm which travel could not give—the charm of a cheerful
spirit—was wanting. In October, 1817, his friend, Charles Phillips, was
suddenly called to his bed-side at Brompton, near London, and found him
with one side of his face and body paralyzed cold. "And this was all,"
says his friend, "that remained of Curran—the light of society—the
glory of the forum—the Fabricius of the senate—the idol of his
country." Yes! even to less than this, was he soon to sink. On the
evening of the 14th of October, he expired, in the 68th year of his
age, leaving a public reputation as free from blemish as ever did any
man who had acted a leading part, in times like those through which he
had passed. He was interred in London, but twenty years afterwards, the
committee of the Glasnevin Cemetery, near Dublin, obtained permission
of his representatives to remove his ashes to their grounds, where they
now finally repose. A tomb modelled from the tomb of Scipio covers the
grave, bearing the simple but sufficient inscription—CURRAN. Thus was
fulfilled the words he had uttered long before—"The last duties will be
paid by that country on which they are devolved; nor will it be for
charity that a little earth will be given to my bones. Tenderly will
those duties be paid, as the debt of well-earned affection, and of
gratitude not ashamed of her tears."

Grattan's last days were characteristic of his whole life. As the
session of 1820 progressed, though suffering from his last struggle
with disease, he was stirred by an irresistible desire to make his way
to London, and present once more the petition of the Catholics. Since
the defeat of his Relief Bill of 1813, there had been some estrangement
between him and the more advanced section of the agitators, headed by
O'Connell. This he was anxious, perhaps, to heal or to overcome. He
thought, moreover, that even if he should die in the effort, it would
be, as he said himself, "a good end." Amid—

"The trees which a nation had given, and which bowed
As if each brought a new civic crown to his head,"

he consulted with the Catholic delegates early in May. O'Connell was
the spokesman, and the scene may yet be rendered immortal by some great
national artist. All present felt that the aged patriot was dying, but
still he would go once more to London, to fall, as he said, "at his
post." In leaving Ireland he gave to his oldest friends directions for
his funeral—that he might be buried in the little churchyard of
Moyanna, on the estate the people gave him in 1782! He reached London,
by slow stages, at the end of May, and proposed to be in his place in
the House on the 4th of June. But this gratification was not permitted
him: on the morning of the 4th, at six o'clock, he called his son to
his bed-side, and ordered him to bring him a paper containing his last
political opinions. "Add to it," he said, with all his old love of
antithesis, "that I die with a love of liberty in my heart, and this
declaration in favour of my country, in my hand."

So worthily ended the mortal career of Henry Grattan. He was interred
by the side of his old friend, Charles James Fox, in Westminster Abbey;
the mourners included the highest imperial statesmen, and the Catholic
orphan children; his eulogium was pronounced in the House of Commons by
William Conyngham Plunkett, and in the Irish capital by Daniel


Before relating the decisive events in the contest for Catholic
Emancipation, which marked the reign of George IV. we may be permitted
to cast a glance backward over the religious and secular state of
Ireland, during the sixty years' reign of George III.

The relative position of the great religious denominations underwent a
slow but important revolution during this long reign. In the last days
of George II., a Chief-Justice was bold enough to declare that "the
laws did not presume a Papist to exist in the kingdom;" but under the
sway of his successor, though much against that successor's will, they
advanced from one constitutional victory to another, till they stood,
in the person of the Earl Marshal, on the very steps of the throne. In
the towns and cities, the Catholic laity, once admitted to commerce and
the professions, rose rapidly to wealth and honour. A Dublin Papist was
at the head of the wine trade; another was the wealthiest grazier in
the kingdom; a third, at Cork, was the largest provision merchant. With
wealth came social ambition, and the heirs of these enfranchised
merchants were by a natural consequence the judges and legislators of
the next generation.

The ecclesiastical organization of Ireland, as described in 1800 by the
bishops in answer to queries of the Chief Secretary, was simple and
inexpensive. The four archbishops and twenty bishops, were sustained by
having certain parishes attached to their cathedrals, _in commendam_:
other _Cathedraticum_ there seems to have been none. Armagh had then
350 parish priests, Tuam 206, Cashel 314, and Dublin 156: in all 1126.
The number of curates or coadjutors was at least equal to that of the
parish priests; while of regulars then returned the number did not
exceed 450. This large body of religious—24 prelates, nearly 3,000
clergy—exclusive of female religious—were then, and have ever since
been, sustained by the voluntary contributions of the laity, paid
chiefly at the two great festivals of Christmas and Easter, or by
customary offerings made at the close of the ceremonies of marriages,
baptisms, and death. Though the income of some of the churches was
considerable, in the great majority of cases the amount received barely
sufficed to fulfil the injunction of St. Patrick to his disciples, that
"the lamp should take but that wherewith it was fed."

The Presbyterian clergy, though in some respects more dependent on
their congregations than the Catholics were, did not always, nor in all
cases, depend on the voluntary principle for their maintenance. The
Irish Supply Bill contained an annual item before the Union of 7,700
pounds for the Antrim Synod, and some other dissenting bodies. The
_Regium Donum_ was not, indeed, general; but that it might be made so,
was one of the inducements held out to many of that clergy to secure
their countenance for the Legislative Union.

The Established Church continued, of course, to monopolize University
honours, and to enjoy its princely revenues and all political
advantages. Trinity College continued annually to farm its 200,000
acres at a rental averaging 100,000 pounds sterling. Its wealth, and
the uses to which it is put, are thus described by a recent writer:
"Some of Trinity's senior fellows enjoy higher incomes than Cabinet
ministers; many of her tutors have revenues above those of cardinals;
and junior fellows, of a few days' standing, frequently decline some of
her thirty-one church livings with benefices which would shame the
poverty of scores of continental, not to say Irish, Catholic
archbishops. Even eminent judges hold her professorships; some of her
chairs are vacated for the Episcopal bench only; and majors and field
officers would acquire increased pay by being promoted to the rank of
head porter, first menial, in Trinity College. Apart from her princely
fellowships and professorships, her seventy Foundation, and sixteen
non-Foundation Scholarships, her thirty Sizarships, and her fourteen
valuable Studentships, she has at her disposal an aggregate, by
bequests, benefactions, and various endowments, of 117 permanent
exhibitions, amounting to upwards of 2,000 pounds per annum." The
splendour of the highest Protestant dignitaries may be inferred from
what has been said formerly of the Bishop of Derry, of the Era of
Independence. The state maintained by the chief bishop—Primate
Robinson, who ruled Armagh from 1765 to 1795—is thus described by Mr.
Cumberland in his _Memoirs_. "I accompanied him," says Cumberland, "on
Sunday forenoon to his cathedral. We went in his chariot of six horses
attended by three footmen behind, whilst my wife and daughters, with
Sir William Robinson, the primate's elder brother, followed in my
father's coach, which he lent me for the journey. At our approach the
great western door was thrown open, and my friend (in person one of the
finest men that could be seen) entered, like another Archbishop Laud,
in high prelatical state, preceded by his officers and ministers of the
church, conducting him in files to the robing chamber, and back again
to the throne. It may well be conceived with what invidious eyes the
barely tolerated Papists of the city of Saint Patrick must have looked
on all this pageantry, and their feelings were no doubt those in some
degree of all their co-religionists throughout the kingdom."

The Irish Establishment, during the reign of George III., numbered
among its prelates and clergy many able and amiable men. At the period
of the Union, the two most distinguished were Dr. O'Beirne, Bishop of
Meath, an ex-priest, and Dr. Young, Bishop of Clonfert, a former fellow
of Trinity College. As a Bible scholar, Dr. Young ranked deservedly
high, but as a variously accomplished writer, Dr. O'Beirne was the
first man of his order. His political papers, though occasionally
disfigured with the bigotry natural to an apostate, are full of a
vigorous sagacity; his contributions to general literature, such as his
paper on _Tanistry_, in Vallency's _Collectanea_, show how much greater
things still he was capable of. It is not a little striking that the
most eminent bishop, as well as the most celebrated Anglican preacher
of that age, in Ireland (Dean Kirwan), should both have been ordained
as Catholic priests.

The national literature which we have noted a century earlier, as
changing gradually its tongue, was now mainly, indeed we might almost
say solely, expressed in English. It is true the songs of "Carolan the
Blind," were sung in Gaelic by the Longford firesides, where the author
of "the Deserted Village" listened to their exquisite melody, moulding
his young ear to a sense of harmony full as exquisite; but the glory of
the Gaelic muse was past. He, too, unpromising as was his exterior, was
to be one of the bright harbingers of another great era of
Hiberno-English literature. When, within two generations, out of the
same exceedingly restricted class of educated Irishmen and women, we
count the names of Goldsmith, Samuel Madden, Arthur Murphy, Henry
Brooke, Charles Macklin, Sheridan, Burke, Edmund Malone, Maria
Edgeworth, Lady Morgan, "Psyche" Tighe, and Thomas Moore, it is
impossible not to entertain a very high opinion of the mental resources
of that population, if only they were fairly wrought and kindly valued
by the world.

One memorable incident of literary history—the Ossianic outbreak of
1760—aided powerfully though indirectly in the revival of the study of
the ancient Celtic history of Scotland and Ireland. Something was done
then, by the Royal Irish Academy, to meet that storm of Anglo-Norman
incredulity and indignation; much more has been done since, to place
the original records of the Three Kingdoms on a sound critical basis.
The dogmatism of the unbelievers in the existence of a genuine body of
ancient Celtic literature has been rebuked; and the folly of the
theorists who, upon imaginary grounds, constructed pretentious systems,
has been exposed. The exact originals of MacPherson's odes have not
been found, after a century of research, and may be given up, as
non-existent; but the better opinion seems now to be, by those who have
studied the fragments of undoubted antiquity attributed to the son of
the warrior Fion, that whatever the modern translator may have
invented, he certainly did not invent Ossian.

To the stage, within the same range of time, Ireland gave some
celebrated names: Quinn, Barry, Sheridan, Mrs. Woffington, Mrs. Jordan,
and Miss O'Neill; and to painting, one pre-eminent name—the eccentric,
honest, and original, James Barry.

But of all the arts, that in which the Irish of the Georgian era won
the highest and most various triumphs was the art of Oratory, What is
now usually spoken of as "the Irish School of Eloquence," may be
considered to have taken its rise from the growth of the Patriot party
in Parliament, in the last years of George II. Every contemporary
account agrees in placing its first great name—Anthony Malone—on the
same level with Chatham and Mansfield. There were great men before
Malone, as before Agamemnon; such as Sir Toby Butler, Baron Rice, and
Patrick Darcy; but he was the first of our later succession of masters.
After him came Flood and John Hely Hutchinson; then Grattan and Curran;
then Plunkett and Bushe; then O'Connell and Shiel. In England, at the
same time, Burke, Barre, Sheridan, and Sir Phillip Francis, upheld the
reputation of Irish oratory; a reputation generously acknowledged by
all parties, as it was illustrated in the ranks of all. The Tories,
within our own recollection, applauded as heartily the Irish wit and
fervour of Canning, Croker, and North, as the Whigs did the exhibition
of similar qualities in their Emancipation allies.

Nothing can be less correct, than to pronounce judgment on the Irish
School, either of praise or blame, in sweeping general terms. Though a
certain family resemblance may be traced among its great masters, no
two of them will be found nearly alike. There are no echoes, no servile
imitators, among them. In vigorous argumentation and severe simplicity,
Plunkett resembled Flood, but the temperament of the two men—and
Oratory is nearly as much a matter of temperament as of intellect—was
widely different. Flood's movement was dramatic, while Plunkett's was
mathematical. In structural arrangement, Shiel, occasionally—very
occasionally—reminds us of Grattan; but if he has not the wonderful
condensation of thought, neither has he the frequent antithetical
abuses of that great orator. Burke and Sheridan are as distinguishable
as any other two of their contemporaries; Curran stands alone;
O'Connell never had a model, and never had an imitator who rose above
mimicry. Every combination of powers, every description of excellence,
and every variety of style and character, may be found among the
masterpieces of this great school. Of their works many will live for
ever. Most of Burke's, many of Grattan's, and one or two of Curran's
have reached us in such preservation as promises immortality.
Selections from Flood, Sheridan, Canning, Plunkett and O'Connell will
survive; Shiel will be more fortunate for he was more artistic, and
more watchful of his own fame. His exquisite finish will do, for him,
what the higher efforts of men, more indifferent to the audience of
posterity, will have forfeited for them.

It is to be observed, farther, that the inspiration of all these men
was drawn from the very hearts of the people among whom they grew. With
one or two exceptions, sons of humble peasants, of actors, of at most
middle class men, they were true, through every change of personal
position, to the general interests of the people—to the common weal.
From generous thoughts and a lofty scorn of falsehood, fanaticism and
tyranny, they took their inspiration; and as they were true to human
nature, so will mankind, through successive ages, dwell fondly on their
works and guard lovingly their tombs.


The fond tenacity with which the large numbers of the Irish people who
have established themselves in foreign states have always clung to
their native country; the active sympathy they have personally shown
for their relatives at home; the repeated efforts they have made to
assist the Irish in Ireland, in all their public undertakings, requires
that, as an element in O'Connell's final and successful struggle for
Catholic Emancipation, we should take a summary view of the position of
"the Irish abroad."

While the emigrants of that country to America naturally pursued the
paths of peace, those who, from choice or necessity, found their way to
the European Continent, were, with few exceptions, employed mainly in
two departments—war and diplomacy. An Irish Abbé, liked the celebrated
preacher, McCarthy—or an Irish merchant firm, such as the house of the
same name at Bordeaux, might be met with, but most of those who
attained any distinction did so by the sword or the pen, in the field
or the cabinet.

In France, under the revolutionary governments from '91 to '99, the
Irish were, with their old-world notions of God and the Devil, wholly
out of place; but under the Consulate and the Empire, they rose to many
employments of the second class, and a few of the very first. From the
ranks of the expatriated of '98, Buonaparte promoted Arthur O'Conor and
William Corbet to the rank of General; Ware, Allen, Byrne, the younger
Tone, and Keating, to that of Colonel. As individuals, the Emperor was
certainly a benefactor to many Irishmen; but, as a nation, it was one
of their most foolish delusions, to expect in him a deliverer. On the
restoration of the Bourbons, the Irish officers who had acquired
distinction under Napoleon adhered generally to his fortunes, and
tendered their resignations; in their place, a new group of
Franco-Irish descendants of the old Brigades-men, began to show
themselves in the _salons_ of Paris, and the Bureaus of the Ministers.
The last swords drawn for "the legitimate branch" in '91, was by Count
Dillon and his friend Count Wall; their last defender, in 1830, was
General Wall, of the same family.

Though the Irish in France, especially those resident at Paris,
exercised the greatest influence in favour of their original country—an
influence which met all travelled Englishmen, wherever the French
language was understood—their compatriots in Spain and Austria had also
contributed their share to range Continental opinion on the side of
Ireland. Three times, during the century, Spain was represented at
London by men of Irish birth, or Irish origin. The British merchant who
found Alexander O'Reilly Governor of Cadiz, or the diplomatist who met
him as Spanish ambassador, at the Court of Louis XVI., could hardly
look with uninstructed eyes, upon the lot of his humblest namesake in
Cavan. This family, indeed, produced a succession of eminent men, both
in Spain and Austria. "It is strange," observed Napoleon to those
around him, on his second entry into Vienna, in 1809, "that on each
occasion—in November, 1805, as this day—on arriving in the Austrian
capital, I find myself in treaty and in intercourse with the
respectable Count O'Reilly." Napoleon had other reasons for remembering
this officer; it was his dragoon regiment which saved the remnant of
the Austrians, at Austerlitz. In the Austrian army list at that period,
when she was the ally of England, there were above forty Irish names,
from the grading of Colonel up to that of Field-Marshal. In almost
every field of the Peninsula, Wellington and Anglesea learned the value
of George the Second's imprecation on the Penal Code, which deprived
him of such soldiers as conquered at Fontenoy. It cannot be doubted
that even the constant repetition of the names of the Blakes,
O'Donnells, and Sarsfields, in the bulletins sent home to England,
tended to enforce reflections of that description on the statesmen and
the nation, and to inspirit and sustain the struggling Catholics. A
powerful argument for throwing open the British army and navy to men of
all religions, was drawn from these foreign experiences; and, if such
men were worthy to hold military commissions, why not also to sit in
Parliament, and on the Bench?

The fortunes of the Irish in America, though less brilliant for the
few, were more advantageous as to the many. They were, during the war
of the revolution, and the war of 1812, a very considerable element in
the American republic. It was a violent exaggeration to say, as Lord
Mountjoy did in moving for the repeal of the Penal laws, "that England
lost America by Ireland;" but it is very certain that Washington placed
great weight on the active aid of the gallant Pennsylvania, Maryland,
and Southern Irish troops, and the sturdy Scotch-Irish of New
Hampshire. Franklin, in his visit to Ireland, before the rupture, and
Jefferson in his correspondence, always enumerates the Irish, as one
element of reliance, in the contest between the Colonies and the

In the immediate cause of the war of 1812, this people were peculiarly
interested. If the doctrines of "the right of search" and "once a
subject always a subject," were to prevail, no Irish emigrant could
hope to become—or having become, could hope to enjoy the protection
of—an American citizen. It was, therefore, natural that men of that
origin should take a deep interest in the war, and it seems something
more than a fortuitous circumstance, when we find in the chairman of
the Senatorial Committee of 1812, which authorized the President to
raise the necessary levies—an Irish emigrant, John Smilie, and in the
Secretary-at-war, who acted under the powers thus granted, the son of
an Irish emigrant, John Caldwell Calhoun. On the Canadian frontier,
during the war which followed, we find in posts of importance, Brady,
Mullany, McComb, Croghan and Reilly; on the lakes, Commodore McDonough,
and on the ocean, Commodores Shaw and Stewart—all Irish. On the
Mississippi, another son of Irish emigrant parents, with his favourite
lieutenants, Carroll, Coffee, and Butler, brought the war to a close by
their brilliant defence of New Orleans. The moral of that victory was
not lost upon England; the life of Andrew Jackson, with a dedication
"to the People of Ireland" was published at London and Dublin, by the
most generally popular writer of that day—William Cobbett.

In the cause of South American independence, the Irish under O'Higgins
and McKenna in Chili, and under Bolivar and San Martin in Colombia and
Peru, were largely engaged, and honourably distinguished. Colonel
O'Conor, nephew to Arthur, was San Martin's chief of the staff; General
Devereux, with his Irish legion, rendered distinguished services to
Bolivar and Don Bernardo. O'Higgins was hailed as the Liberator of
Chili. During that long ten years' struggle, which ended with the
evacuation of Carraccas in 1823, Irish names are conspicuous on almost
every field of action. Bolivar's generous heart was warmly attached to
persons of that nation. "The doctor who constantly attends him," says
the English General, Miller, "is Dr. Moore, an Irishman, who had
followed the Liberator from Venezuela to Peru. He is a man of great
skill in his profession, and devotedly attached to the person of the
Liberator. Bolivar's first aide-de-camp, Colonel O'Leary, is a nephew
of the celebrated Father O'Leary. In 1818, he embarked, at the age of
seventeen, in the cause of South American independence, in which he has
served with high distinction, having been present at almost every
general action fought in Colombia, and has received several wounds. He
has been often employed on diplomatic missions, and in charges of great
responsibility, in which he has always acquitted himself with great

That these achievements of the Irish abroad produced a favourable
influence on the situation of the Irish at home, we know from many
collateral sources; we know it also from the fact, that when O'Connell
succeeded in founding a really national organization, subscriptions and
words of encouragement poured in on him, not only from France, Spain,
and Austria, but from North and South America, not only from the Irish
residents in those countries, but from their native
inhabitants—soldiers and statesmen—of the first consideration. The
services and virtues of her distinguished children in foreign climes,
stood to the mother country instead of treaties and alliances.


At the beginning of the year 1821, O'Connell, during the intervals of
his laborious occupations in court and on circuit, addressed a series
of stirring letters to "the People of Ireland," remarkable as
containing some of the best and most trenchant of his political
writings. His object was to induce the postponement of the annual
petition for Emancipation, and the substitution instead of a general
agitation for Parliamentary reform, in conjunction with the English
reformers. Against this conclusion—which he ridiculed "as the fashion
for January, 1821"—Mr. Shiel published a bitter, clever, rhetorical
reply, to which O'Connell at once sent forth a severe and rather
contemptuous rejoinder. Shiel was quite content to have Mr. Plunkett
continue Grattan's annual motion, with all its "conditions" and
"securities." O'Connell declared he had no hope in petitions except
from a reformed Parliament, and he, therefore, was opposed to such
motions altogether, especially as put by Mr. Plunkett, and the other
advocates of a Veto. Another session was lost in this controversy, and
when Parliament rose, it was announced that George IV. was coming to
Ireland "on a mission of Conciliation."

On this announcement, Mr. O'Connell advised that the Catholics should
take advantage of his Majesty's presence to assemble and consider the
state of their affairs; but a protest against "connecting in any manner
the King's visit with Catholic affairs," was circulated by Lords
Fingal, Netterville, Gormanstown, and Killeen, Messrs. Baggott, Shiel,
Wyse, and other Commoners. O'Connell yielded, as he often did, for the
sake of unanimity. The King's visit led to many meetings and
arrangements, in some of which his advice was taken, while in others he
was outvoted or overruled. Nothing could exceed the patience he
exhibited at this period of his life, when his natural impetuous
temperament was still far from being subdued by the frosts of age.

Many liberal Protestants at this period—the King's brief visit—were so
moved with admiration of the judicious and proper conduct of the
Catholic leaders, that a new but short-lived organization, called "the
Conciliation Committee," was formed. The ultra Orange zealots, however,
were not to be restrained even by the presence of the Sovereign for
whom they professed so much devotion. In the midst of the preparations
for his landing, they celebrated, with all its offensive
accompaniments, the 12th of July, and at the Dublin dinner to the
King—though after he had left the room—they gave their charter toast of
"the glorious, pious, and immortal memory." The Committee of
Conciliation soon dwindled away, and, like the visit of George IV.,
left no good result behind.

The year 1822 was most remarkable, at its commencement, for the arrival
of the Marquis of Wellesley, as Lord-Lieutenant, and at its close, for
the assault committed on him in the theatre by the Dublin Orangemen.
Though the Marquis had declined to interfere in preventing the annual
Orange celebration, he was well known to be friendly to the Catholics;
their advocate, Mr. Plunkett, was his Attorney General; and many of
their leaders were cordially welcomed at the Castle. These proofs were
sufficient for the secret tribunals which sat upon his conduct, and
when his Lordship presented himself, on the night of the 14th of
December, at the theatre, he was assailed by an organized mob, one of
whom flung a heavy piece of wood, and another a quart bottle, towards
the state box. Three Orangemen, mechanics, were arrested and tried for
the offence, but acquitted on a technical defect of evidence; a general
feeling of indignation was excited among all classes in consequence,
and it is questionable if Orangeism, in Dublin, ever recovered the
disgust occasioned by that dastardly outrage.

The great and fortunate event, however, for the Catholics, was the
foundation of their new Association, which was finally resolved upon at
an Aggregate Meeting held in "Townsend Street Chapel," on the 10th of
May, 1823. This meeting had been called by an imposing requisition
signed with singular unanimity by all the principal Catholic gentlemen.
Lord Killeen presided. Mr. O'Connell moved the formation of the
Association; Sir Thomas Esmonde seconded the motion; Mr. Shiel—lately
and sincerely reconciled to O'Connell—sustained it. The plan was simple
and popular. The Association was to consist of members paying a guinea
a year, and associates paying a shilling; a standing committee was to
form the government; the regular meetings were to be weekly—every
Saturday; and the business to consist of organization, correspondence,
public discussions, and petitions. It was, in effect, to be a sort of
extern and unauthorized Parliament, acting always within the
Constitution, with a view to the modification of the existing laws, by
means not prohibited in those laws themselves. It was a design, subtle
in conception, but simple in form; a natural design for a
lawyer-liberator to form; and for a people strongly prepossessed in his
favour to adopt; but one, at the same time, which would require a rare
combination of circumstances to sustain for any great length of time,
under a leader less expert, inventive, and resolute.

The Parliamentary position of the Catholic question, at the moment of
the formation of the Association, had undergone another strange
alteration. Lord Castlereagh, having attained the highest honours of
the empire, died by his own hand the previous year. Lord Liverpool
remained Premier, Lord Eldon Chancellor, Mr. Canning became Foreign
Secretary, with Mr. Peel, Home Secretary, the Duke of Wellington
continuing Master-General of the Ordnance. To this cabinet, so largely
anti-Catholic, the chosen organ of the Irish Catholics, Mr. Plunkett,
was necessarily associated as Irish Attorney General. His situation,
therefore, was in the session of 1823 one of great difficulty; this Sir
Francis Burdett and the radical reformers at once perceived, and in the
debates which followed, pressed him unmercifully. They quoted against
him his own language denouncing cabinet compromises on so vital a
question, in 1813, and to show their indignation, when he rose to
reply, they left the House in a body. His speech, as always, was most
able, but the House, when he sat down, broke into an uproar of
confusion. Party spirit ran exceedingly high; the possibility of
advancing the question during the session was doubtful, and a motion to
adjourn prevailed. A fortnight later, at the first meeting of the
Catholic Association, a very cordial vote of thanks to Plunkett was
carried by acclamation.

The new Catholic organization was labouring hard to merit popular
favour. Within the year of its organization we find the Saturday
meetings engaged with such questions as church rates; secret societies;
correspondence with members of both Houses; voting public thanks to Mr.
Brougham; the penal laws relating to the rights of sepulture; the
purchase of a Catholic cemetery near Dublin; the commutation of tithes;
the admission of Catholic freemen into corporations; the extension of
the Association into every county in Ireland, and other more incidental
subjects. The business-like air of the weekly meetings, at this early
period, is remarkable: they were certainly anything but mere occasions
for rhetorical display. But though little could be objected against,
and so much might be said in favour of the labours of the Association,
it was not till nearly twelve months after its organization, when
O'Connell proposed and carried his system of monthly penny
subscriptions to the "Catholic Rent," that it took a firm and
far-reaching hold on the common people, and began to excite the serious
apprehensions of the oligarchical factions in Ireland and England.

This bold, and at this time much ridiculed step, infused new life and a
system hitherto unknown into the Catholic population. The parish
collectors, corresponding directly with Dublin, established a local
agency, co-extensive with the kingdom; the smallest contributor felt
himself personally embarked in the contest; and the movement became, in
consequence, what it had not been before, an eminently popular one.
During the next six months the receipts from penny subscriptions
exceeded 100 pounds sterling per month, representing 24,000
subscribers; during the next year they averaged above 500 pounds a
week, representing nearly half a million enrolled Associates!

With the additional means at the disposal of the Finance Committee of
the Association, its power rose rapidly. A morning and an evening
journal were at its command in Dublin; many thousands of pounds were
expended in defending the people in the courts, and prosecuting their
Orange and other enemies. Annual subsidies, of 5,000 pounds each, were
voted for the Catholic Poor schools, and the education of missionary
priests for America; the expenses of Parliamentary and electioneering
agents were also heavy. But for all these purposes "the Catholic Rent,"
of a penny per month from each associate, was found amply sufficient.

At the close of 1824, the government, really alarmed at the formidable
proportions assumed by the agitation, caused criminal informations to
be filed against Mr. O'Connell, for an alleged seditious allusion to
the example of Bolivar, the liberator of South America; but the Dublin
grand jury ignored the bills of indictment founded on these
informations. Early in the following session, however, a bill to
suppress "Unlawful Associations in Ireland," was introduced by Mr.
Goulburn, who had succeeded Sir Robert Peel as Chief Secretary, and was
supported by Plunkett—a confirmed enemy of all extra-legal
combinations. It was aimed directly at the Catholic Association, and
passed both Houses; but O'Connell found means "to drive," as he said,
"a coach and six through it." The existing Association dissolved on the
passage of the act; another, called "the _New_ Catholic Association,"
was formed for "charitable and other purposes," and the agitators
proceeded with their organization, with one word added to their title,
and immensely additional _éclat_ and success.

In Parliament, the measure thus defeated was followed by another, the
long-promised Relief Bill. It passed in the Commons in May, accompanied
by two clauses, or as they were called, "wings," most unsatisfactory to
the Catholic body. One clause disfranchised the whole class of electors
known as the "forty-shilling freeholders;" the other provided a scale
of state maintenance for the Catholic clergy. A bishop was to have
1,000 pounds per annum; a dean 300 pounds; a parish priest 200 pounds;
a curate 60 pounds. This measure was thrown out by the House of Lords,
greatly to the satisfaction, at least, of the Irish Catholics. It was
during this debate in the Upper House that the Duke of York,
presumptive heir to the throne, made what was called his "ether
speech"—from his habit of dosing himself with that stimulant on trying
occasions. In this speech he declared, that so "help him God," he would
never, never consent to acknowledge the claims put forward by the
Catholics. Before two years were over, death had removed him to the
presence of that Awful Being whose name he had so rashly invoked, and
his brother, the Duke of Clarence, assumed his position, as next in
succession to the throne.

The Catholic delegates, Lord Killeen, Sir Thomas Esmonde, Lawless, and
Shiel, were in London at the time the Duke of York made his memorable
declaration. If, on the one hand, they were regarded with dislike
amounting to hatred, on the other, they were welcomed with cordiality
by all the leaders of the liberal party. The venerable Earl Fitzwilliam
emerged from his retirement to do them honour; the gifted and energetic
Brougham entertained them with all hospitality; at Norfolk House they
were banqueted in the room in which George III. was born: the
millionaire-demagogue Burdett, the courtly, liberal Lord Grey, and the
flower of the Catholic nobility, were invited to meet them. The
delegates were naturally cheered and gratified; they felt, they must
have felt, that their cause had a grasp upon Imperial attention, which
nothing but concession could ever loosen.

Committees of both Houses, to inquire into the state of Ireland, had
sat during a great part of this Session, and among the witnesses were
the principal delegates, with Drs. Murray, Curtis, Kelly, and Doyle.
The evidence of the latter—the eminent Prelate of Kildare and
Leighlin—attracted most attention. His readiness of resource, clearness
of statement, and wide range of information, inspired many of his
questioners with a feeling of respect, such as they had never before
entertained for any of his order. His writings had already made him
honourably distinguished among literary men; his examination before the
Committees made him equally so among statesmen. From that period he
could reckon the Marquises of Anglesea and Wellesley, Lord Lansdowne
and Mr. Brougham, among his correspondents and friends, and, what he
valued even more, among the friends of his cause. Mr. O'Connell, on the
other hand, certainly lost ground in Ireland by his London journey. He
had, unquestionably, given his assent to both "wings," in 1825, as he
did to the remaining one in 1828, and thereby greatly injured his own
popularity. His frank and full recantation of his error, on his return,
soon restored him to the favour of the multitude, and enabled him to
employ, with the best effect, the enormous influence which he showed he
possessed at the general elections of 1826. By him mainly the
Beresfords were beaten in Waterford, the Fosters in Louth, and the
Leslies in Monaghan. The independence of Limerick city, of Tipperary,
Cork, Kilkenny, Longford, and other important constituencies, was
secured. The parish machinery of the Association was found invaluable
for the purpose of bringing up the electors, and the people's treasury
was fortunately able to protect to some extent the fearless voter, who,
in despite of his landlord, voted according to the dictates of his own

The effect of these elections on the empire at large was very great.
When, early in the following spring, Lord Liverpool, after fifteen
years' possession of power, died unexpectedly, George IV. sent for
Canning and gave him _carte blanche_ to form a cabinet without
excepting the question of Emancipation. That high spirited and really
liberal statesman associated with himself a ministry, three-fourths of
whom were in favour of granting the Catholic claims. This was in the
month of April; but to the consternation of those whose hopes were now
so justly raised, the gifted Premier held office only four months; his
lamented death causing another "crisis," and one more postponement of
"the Catholic question."


A very little reflection will enable us to judge, even at this day, the
magnitude of the contest in which O'Connell was the great popular
leader, during the reign of George IV. In Great Britain, a very
considerable section of the ancient peerage and gentry, with the Earl
Marshal at their head, were to be restored to political existence, by
the act of Emancipation; a missionary, and barely tolerated clergy were
to be clothed, in their own country, with the commonest rights of
British subjects—protection to life and property. In Ireland,
seven-eighths of the people, one-third of the gentry, the whole of the
Catholic clergy, the numerous and distinguished array of the Catholic
bar, and all the Catholic townsmen, taxed but unrepresented in the
corporate bodies, were to enter on a new civil and social condition, on
the passage of the act. In the colonies, except Canada, where that
church was protected by treaty, the change of Imperial policy towards
Catholics was to be felt in every relation of life, civil, military,
and ecclesiastical, by all persons professing that religion. Some years
ago, a bishop of Southern Africa declared, that, until O'Connell's
time, it was impossible for Catholics to obtain any consideration from
the officials at the Cape of Good Hope. Could there be a more striking
illustration of the magnitude of the movement, which, rising in the
latitude of Ireland, flung its outermost wave of influence on the
shores of the Indian ocean?

The adverse hosts to be encountered in this great contest, included a
large majority of the rank and wealth of both kingdoms. The King, who
had been a Whig in his youth, had grown into a Tory in his old age; the
House of Lords were strongly hostile to the measure, as were also the
universities, both in England and Ireland; the Tory party, in and out
of Parliament; the Orange organization in Ireland; the civil and
military authorities generally, with the great bulk of the rural
magistracy and the municipal authorities. The power to overcome this
power should be indeed formidable, well organized and wisely directed.

The Lord Lieutenant selected by Mr. Canning, was the Marquis of
Anglesea, a frank soldier, as little accustomed to play the politician
as any man of his order and distinction could be. He came to Ireland,
in many respects the very opposite of Lord Wellesley; no orator
certainly, and so far as he had spoken formerly, an enemy rather than a
friend to the Catholics. But he had not been three months in office
when he began to modify his views; he was the first to prohibit, in
Dublin, the annual Orange outrage on the 12th of July, and by
subsequent, though slow degrees, he became fully convinced that the
Catholic claims could be settled only by Concession. Lord Francis
Leveson Gower, afterwards Earl of Ellesmere, accompanied the Marquis as
Chief Secretary.

The accession to office of a prime minister friendly to the Catholics,
was the signal for a new attempt to raise that "No-Popery" cry which
had already given twenty years of political supremacy to Mr. Perceval
and Lord Liverpool. In Ireland, this feeling appeared under the guise
of what was called "the New Reformation," which, during the summer of
1827, raged with all the proverbial violence of the _odium theologicum_
from Cork to Derry. Priests and parsons, laymen and lawyers, took part
in this general politico-religious controversy, in which every possible
subject of difference between Catholic and Protestant was publicly
discussed. Archbishop Magee of Dublin, the Rev. Sir Harcourt Lees, son
of a former English placeman at the Castle, and the Rev. Mr. Pope, were
the clerical leaders in this crusade; Exeter-Hall sent over to assist
them the Honourable and Reverend Baptist Noel, Mr. Wolff, and Captain
Gordon, a descendant of the hero of the London riot of 1798. At Derry,
Dublin, Carlow, and Cork, the challenged agreed to defend their
doctrines. Father Maginn, Maguire, Maher, McSweeney, and some others
accepted these challenges; Messrs. O'Connell, Shiel, and other laymen,
assisted, and the oral discussion of theological and historical
questions became as common as town talk in every Irish community.
Whether, in any case, these debates conduced to conversion is doubtful;
but they certainly supplied the Catholic laity with a body of facts and
arguments very necessary at that time, and which hardly any other
occasion could have presented. The Right Rev. Dr. Doyle, however,
considered them far from beneficial to the cause of true religion; and
though he tolerated a first discussion in his diocese, he positively
forbade a second. The Archbishop of Armagh and other prelates issued
their mandates to the clergy to refrain from these oral disputes, and
the practice fell into disuse.

The notoriety of "the Second Reformation" was chiefly due to the
ostentatious patronage of it by the lay chiefs of the Irish oligarchy.
Mr. Synge, in Clare, Lord Lorton, and Mr. McClintock at Dundalk, were
indefatigable in their evangelizing exertions. The Earl of Roden—to
show his entire dependence on the translated Bible—threw all his other
books into a fish pond on his estate. Lord Farnham was even more
conspicuous in the revival; he spared neither patronage nor writs of
ejectment to convert his tenantry. The reports of conversions upon his
lordship's estates, and throughout his county, attracted so much
notice, that Drs. Curtis, Crolly, Magauran, O'Reilly, and McHale, met
on the 9th of December, 1826, at Cavan, to inquire into the facts. They
found, while there had been much exaggeration on the part of the
reformers, that some hundreds of the peasantry had, by various powerful
temptations, been led to change their former religion. The bishops
received back some of the converts, and a jubilee established among
them completed their reconversion. The Hon. Mr. Noel and Captain Gordon
posted to Cavan, with a challenge to discussion for their lordships; of
course, their challenge was not accepted. Thomas Moore's inimitable
satire was the most effective weapon against such fanatics.

The energetic literature of the Catholic agitation attracted much more
attention than its oral polemics. Joined to a bright army of Catholic
writers, including Dr. Doyle, Thomas Moore, Thomas Furlong, and Charles
Butler, there was the powerful phalanx of the _Edinburgh Review_ led by
Jeffrey and Sidney Smith, and the English liberal press, headed by
William Cobbett. Thomas Campbell, the Poet of Hope, always and
everywhere the friend of freedom, threw open his _New Monthly_, to
Shiel, and William Henry Curran, whose sketches of the Irish Bar and
Bench, of Dublin politics, and the county elections of 1826, will live
as long as any periodical papers of the day. The indefatigable Shiel,
writing French as fluently as English, contributed besides to the
_Gazette de France_ a series of papers, which were read with great
interest on the Continent. These articles were the precursors of many
others, which made the Catholic question at length an European
question. An incident quite unimportant in itself, gave additional zest
to these French articles. The Duke de Montebello, with two of his
friends, Messrs. Duvergier and Thayer, visited Ireland in 1826.
Duvergier wrote a series of very interesting letters on the "State of
Ireland," which, at the time, went through several editions. At a
Catholic meeting at Ballinasloe, the Duke had some compliments paid
him, which he gracefully acknowledged, expressing his wishes for the
success of their cause. This simple act excited a great deal of
criticism in England. The Paris press was roused in consequence, and
the French Catholics, becoming more and more interested, voted an
address and subscription to the Catholic Association. The Bavarian
Catholics followed their example, and similar communications were
received from Spain and Italy.

But the movement abroad did not end in Europe. An address from British
India contained a contribution of three thousand pounds sterling. From
the West Indies and Canada, generous assistance was rendered.

In the United States sympathetic feeling was most active. New York felt
almost as much interested in the cause as Dublin. In 1826 and 1827,
associations of "Friends of Ireland" were formed at New York, Boston,
Washington, Norfolk, Charleston, Augusta, Louisville, and Bardstown.
Addresses in English and French were prepared for these societies,
chiefly by Dr. McNevin, at New York, and Bishop England, at Charleston.
The American, like the French press, became interested in the subject,
and eloquent allusions were made to it in Congress. On the 20th of
January, 1828, the veteran McNevin wrote to Mr. O'Connell—"Public
opinion in America is deep, and strong, and universal, in your behalf.
This predilection prevails over the broad bosom of our extensive
continent. Associations similar to ours are everywhere starting into
existence—in our largest and wealthiest cities—in our hamlets and our
villages—in our most remote sections; and at this moment, the propriety
of convening, at Washington, delegates of the friends of Ireland, of
all the states, is under serious deliberation. A fund will erelong be
derived from American patriotism in the United States, which will
astonish your haughtiest opponents."

The Parliamentary fortunes of the great question were at the same time
brightening. The elections of 1826, had, upon the whole, given a large
increase of strength to its advocates. In England and Scotland, under
the influence of the "No-Popery" cry, they had lost some ground, but in
Ireland they had had an immense triumph. The death of the
generous-hearted Canning, hastened as it was by anti-Catholic
intrigues, gave a momentary check to the progress of liberal ideas; but
they were retarded only to acquire a fresh impulse destined to bear
them, in the next few years, farther than they had before advanced in
an entire century.

The _ad interim_ administration of Lord Goderich gave way, by its own
internal discords, in January, 1828, to the Wellington and Peel
administration. The Duke was Premier, the Baronet leader of the House
of Commons; with Mr. Huskisson, Lord Palmerston, in the cabinet; Lord
Anglesea remained as Lord Lieutenant. But this coalition with the
friends of Canning was not destined to outlive the session of 1828; the
lieutenants of the late Premier were doomed, for some time longer, to
suffer for their devotion to his principles.

This session of 1828, is—in the history of religious liberty—the most
important and interesting in the annals of the British Parliament.
Almost at its opening, the extraordinary spectacle was exhibited of a
petition signed by 800,000 Irish Catholics, praying for the repeal of
"the Corporation and Test Acts," enacted on the restoration of Charles
II., against the non-Conformists. Monster petitions, both for and
against the repeal of these acts, as well as for and against Catholic
emancipation, soon became of common occurrence. Protestants of all
sects petitioned for, but still more petitioned against equal rights
for Catholics; while Catholics petitioned for the rights of Protestant
dissenters. It is a spectacle to look back upon with admiration and
instruction; exhibiting as it does, so much of a truly tolerant spirit
in Christians of all creeds, worthy of all honour and imitation.

In April, "the Corporation and Test Acts" were repealed; in May, the
Canningites seceded from the Duke's government, and one of the
gentlemen brought in to fill a vacant seat in the Cabinet—Mr. Vesey
Fitzgerald, member for Clare—issued his address to his electors, asking
a renewal of their confidence. Out of this event grew another, which
finally and successfully brought to an issue the century-old Catholic

The Catholic Association, on the accession of the Wellington-Peel
Cabinet, had publicly pledged itself to oppose every man who would
accept office under these statesmen. The memory of both as
ex-secretaries—but especially Peel's—was odious in Ireland. When,
however, the Duke had sustained, and ensured thereby the passage of the
repeal of "the Corporation and Test Acts," Mr. O'Connell, at the
suggestion of Lord John Russell the mover of the repeal, endeavoured to
get his angry and uncompromising resolution against the Duke's
government rescinded. Powerful as he was, however, the Association
refused to go with him, and the resolution remained. So it happened
that when Mr. Fitzgerald presented himself to the electors of Clare, as
the colleague of Peel and Wellington, the Association at once
endeavoured to bring out an opposition candidate. They pitched with
this view on Major McNamara, a liberal Protestant of the county, at the
head of one of its oldest families, and personally popular; but this
gentleman, after keeping them several days in suspense, till the time
of nomination was close at hand, positively declined to stand against
his friend, Mr. Fitzgerald, to the great dismay of the associated

In their emergency, an idea, so bold and original, that it was at first
received with general incredulity by the external public, was started.
It was remembered by Sir David De Roose, a personal friend of
O'Connell's, that the late sagacious John Keogh had often declared the
Emancipation question would never be brought to an issue till some
Catholic member elect stood at the bar of the House of Commons
demanding his seat. A trusted few were at first consulted on the daring
proposition, that O'Connell himself, in despite of the legal exclusion
of all men of his religion, should come forward for Clare. Many were
the consultations, and diverse the judgments delivered on this
proposal, but at length, on the reception of information from the
county itself, which gave strong assurance of success, the hero of the
adventure decided for himself. The bold course was again selected as
the wise course, and the spirit-stirring address of "the arch-Agitator"
to the electors, was at once issued from Dublin. "Your county," he
began by saying, "wants a representative. I respectfully solicit your
suffrages, to raise me to that station.

"Of my qualification to fill that station, I leave you to judge. The
habits of public speaking, and many, many years of public business,
render me, perhaps, equally suited with most men to attend to the
interests of Ireland in Parliament.

"You will be told I am not qualified to be elected; the assertion, my
friends, is untrue. I am qualified to be elected, and to be your
representative. It is true that as a Catholic I cannot, and of course
never will, take the oaths at present prescribed to members of
Parliament; but the authority which created these oaths (the
Parliament), can abrogate them: and I entertain a confident hope that,
if you elect me, the most bigoted of our enemies will see the necessity
of removing from the chosen representative of the people an obstacle
which would prevent him from doing his duty to his king and to his

This address was followed instantly by the departure of all the most
effective agitators to the scene of the great contest. Shiel went down
as conducting agent for the candidate; Lawless left his Belfast
newspaper, and Father Maguire his Leitrim flock; Messrs. Steele and
O'Gorman Mahon, both proprietors in the county, were already in the
field, and O'Connell himself soon followed. On the other hand, the
leading county families, the O'Briens, McNamaras, Vandeleurs,
Fitzgeralds and others, declared for their old favourite, Mr.
Fitzgerald. He was personally much liked in the county; the son of a
venerable anti-Unionist, the well-remembered Prime Sergeant, and a man
besides of superior abilities. The county itself was no easy one to
contest; its immense constituency (the 40-shilling freeholders had not
yet been abolished), were scattered over a mountain and valley region,
more than fifty miles long by above thirty wide. They were almost
everywhere to be addressed in both languages—English and Irish—and when
the canvass was over, they were still to be brought under the very eyes
of the landlords, upon the breath of whose lips their subsistence
depended, to vote the overthrow and conquest of those absolute masters.
The little county town of Ennis, situated on the river Fergus, about
110 miles south-west of Dublin, was the centre of attraction or of
apprehension, and the hills that rise on either side of the little
prosaic river soon swarmed with an unwonted population, who had
resolved, subsist how they might, to see the election out. It is hardly
an exaggeration to say that the eyes of the empire were turned, during
those days of June, on the ancient patrimony of King Brian. "I fear the
Clare election will end ill," wrote the Viceroy to the leader of the
House of Commons. "This business," wrote the Lord Chancellor (Eldon),
"must bring the Roman Catholic question to a crisis and a conclusion."
"May the God of truth and justice protect and prosper you," was the
public invocation for O'Connell's success, by the bishop of Kildare and
Leighlin. "It was foreseen," said Sir Robert Peel, long afterwards,
"that the Clare election would be the turning point of the Catholic
question." In all its aspects, and to all sorts of men, this, then, was
no ordinary election, but a national event of the utmost religious and
political consequence. Thirty thousand people welcomed O'Connell into
Ennis, and universal sobriety and order characterized the proceedings.
The troops called out to overawe the peasantry, infected by the
prevailing good humour, joined in their cheers. The nomination, the
polling, and the declaration, have been described by the graphic pen of
Shiel. At the close of the poll the numbers were—O'Connell, 2,057;
Fitzgerald, 1,075; so Daniel O'Connell was declared duly elected,
amidst the most extraordinary manifestations of popular enthusiasm. Mr.
Fitzgerald, who gracefully bowed to the popular verdict, sat down, and
wrote his famous despatch to Sir Robert Peel: "All the great
interests," he said, "my dear Peel, broke down, and the desertion has
been universal. Such a scene as we have had! Such a tremendous prospect
as is open before us!"

This "tremendous prospect," disclosed at the hustings of Ennis, was
followed up by demonstrations which bore a strongly revolutionary
character. Mr. O'Connell, on his return to Dublin, was accompanied by a
_levee en masse_, all along the route, of a highly imposing
description. Mr. Lawless, on his return to Belfast, was escorted
through Meath and Monaghan by a multitude estimated at 100,000 men,
whom only the most powerful persuasions of the Catholic clergy, and the
appeals of the well-known liberal commander of the district, General
Thornton, induced to disperse. Troops from England were ordered over in
considerable numbers, but whole companies, composed of Irish Catholics,
signalized their landing at Waterford and Dublin by cheers for
O'Connell. Reports of the continued hostility of the government
suggested desperate councils. Mr. Ford, a Catholic solicitor, openly
proposed, in the Association, exclusive dealing and a run on the banks
for specie, while Mr. John Claudius Beresford, and other leading
Orangemen, publicly predicted a revival of the scenes and results of

The Clare election was, indeed, decisive; Lord Anglesea, who landed
fully resolved to make no terms with those he had regarded from a
distance as no better than rebels, became now one of their warmest
partisans. His favourite counsellor was Lord Cloncurry, the early
friend of Emmet and O'Conor; the true friend to the last of every
national interest. For a public letter to Bishop Curtis, towards the
close of 1828, in which he advises the Catholics to stand firm, he was
immediately recalled from the government; but his former and his actual
chief, within three months from the date of his recall, was equally
obliged to surrender to the Association. The great duke was, or
affected to be, really alarmed for the integrity of the empire, from
the menacing aspect of events in Ireland. A call of Parliament was
accordingly made for an early day, and, on the 5th of March, Mr. Peel
moved a committee of the whole House, to go into a "consideration of
the civil disabilities of his Majesty's Roman Catholic subjects." This
motion, after two days' debate, was carried by a majority of 188. On
the 10th of March the Relief Bill was read for the first time, and
passed without opposition, such being the arrangement entered into
while in committee. But in five days all the bigotry of the land had
been aroused; nine hundred and fifty-seven petitions had already been
presented against it; that from the city of London was signed by more
than "an hundred thousand freeholders." On the 17th of March it passed
to a second reading, and on the 30th to a third, with large majorities
in each stage of debate. Out of 320 members who voted on the final
reading, 178 were in its favour. On the 31st of March it was carried to
the Lords by Mr. Peel, and read a first time; two days later, on the
2nd of April, it was read a second time, on motion of the Duke of
Wellington; a bitterly contested debate of three days followed; on the
10th, it was read a third time, and passed by a majority of 104. Three
days later the bill received the royal assent, and became law.

The only drawbacks on this great measure of long-withheld justice,
were, that it disfranchised the "forty-shilling freeholders" throughout
Ireland, and condemned Mr. O'Connell, by the insertion of the single
word "hereafter," to go back to Clare for re-election. In this there
was little difficulty for him, but much petty spleen in the framers of
the measure.

While the Relief Bill was still under discussion, Mr. O'Connell
presented himself, with his counsel, at the bar of the House of
Commons, to claim his seat as member for Clare. The pleadings in the
case were adjourned from day to day, during the months of March, April,
and May. A committee of the House, of which Lord John Russell was
Chairman, having been appointed in the meantime to consider the
petition of Thomas Mahon and others, against the validity of the
election, reported that Mr. O'Connell had been duly elected. On the
15th of May, introduced by Lords Ebrington and Duncannon, the new
member entered the House, and advanced to the table to be sworn by the
Clerk. On the oath of abjuration being tendered to him, he read over
audibly these words—"that the sacrifice of the mass, and the invocation
of the blessed Virgin Mary, and other saints, as now practised in the
Church of Rome, are impious and idolatrous:" at the subsequent passage,
relative to the falsely imputed Catholic "doctrine of the dispensing
power" of the Pope, he again read aloud, and paused. Then slightly
raising his voice, he bowed, and added, "I decline, Mr. Clerk, to take
this oath. Part of it I know to be false; another part I do not believe
to be true."

He was subsequently heard at the bar, in his own person, in explanation
of his refusal to take the oath, and, according to custom, withdrew.
The House then entered into a very animated discussion on the Solicitor
General's motion "that Mr. O'Connell, having been returned a member of
this House before the passing of the Act for the Relief of the Roman
Catholics, he is not entitled to sit or vote in this House unless he
first takes the oath of supremacy." For this motion the vote on a
division was 190 against 116: majority, 74. So Mr. O'Connell had again
to seek the suffrages of the electors of Clare.

A strange, but well authenticated incident, struck with a somewhat
superstitious awe both Protestants and Catholics, in a corner of
Ireland the most remote from Clare, but not the least interested in the
result of its memorable election. A lofty column on the walls of Derry
bore the effigy of Bishop Walker, who fell at the Boyne, armed with a
sword, typical of his martial inclinations, rather than of his
religious calling. Many long years, by day and night, had his sword,
sacred to liberty or ascendancy, according to the eyes with which the
spectator regarded it, turned its steadfast point to the broad estuary
of Lough Foyle. Neither wintry storms nor summer rains had loosened it
in the grasp of the warlike churchman's effigy, until, on the 13th day
of April, 1829—the day the royal signature was given to the Act of
Emancipation—the sword of Walker fell with a prophetic crash upon the
ramparts of Derry, and was shattered to pieces. So, we may now say,
without bitterness and almost without reproach, so may fall and shiver
to pieces, every code, in every land beneath the sun, which impiously
attempts to shackle conscience, or endows an exclusive caste with the
rights and franchises which belong to an entire People!

End of Volume 2 of 2.

*** End of this LibraryBlog Digital Book "A Popular History of Ireland : from the Earliest Period to the Emancipation of the Catholics - Volume 2" ***

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