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lively enjoyed by them on the seventh of May 1659. Ch Vp. A third of the king's grants, with some exceptions, ^' was retrenched; and, with consent of all the agents, the bill of explanation was at length presented to the privy council. Twenty catholics, left entirely to the choice of Ormond, were particularly mentioned in the bill as added to the lift of nominees, persons nominated, as objects of royal favour, to be restored to their estates without a trial. Great were the discontents of the catholics, since the new bill declared that the protestants were in the sirst place, and especially, to be settled; that any ambiguity, which might occur, should be interpreted in the sense most favourable to their interests; and that no catholic, who, by the qualisications of the former act, had not been adjudged innocent, should at iny future time be entitled to claim lands or settlements on a plea of innocence. The authority of the court of claims had expired, when hardly more than six hundred, out of four thousand claims of innocency, had been decided, and of the rest of the claimants, excluded from all chance of a fair trial of their conduct, only twenty were to be restored by especial grace. Such ruin, beside' the unutterable calamities of so many years war, had been brought on the catholics of Ireland, by the bigotry of those, who sirst planned and excited the rebellion for the exclusive establishment of the Romish religion! The task of nomination, imposed on Ormond, was invidious. His twenty nominees were allowed to be innocent; but others,
Chap. equally worthy of favour, could impute their disCX\ 111- appointment only to his partiality. Yet his conduct was so disinterested, that he had relinquished his own rights to forward a general accommodation, by paying the debts and mortgages on his estute, which had been contracted in the public service, and which, as forfeitures to the king, had been granted to the duke by the act of settles ment.
Notwithstanding its partiality to the protestants, the bill of explanation was so far from being satisfactory to the Irish commons, that Ormond ventured not to lay it before their house, until, by silling the vacancies with members friendly to government, and alarming them with fears of a dissolution, he had rendered them more compliant. When, on the sirst day of their fesiion, a letter from the king to the lord lieutenant was communicated to them, condemning their former proceedings and votes relative to the commissioners of claims, they made humble submission, retracted their votes, inveighed against the conspiracy, and suspended seven of their members, accused as accomplices, from sitting in their house. Though these members pleaded his Majesty's pardon, they were, after an examination of the evidence against them, expelled, and declare ed incapable of sitting in the present or any future parliament; nor, in their present rage of loyalty, could the commons be satissied, till they had prepared a bill to disqualify these obnoxious men for the holding of any office, military, civil, or ecclesiastical. siastical. Having laid their doubts and objections Chav before Ormond in a petition concerning the bill of 1 • settlement, and having received an assurance from him that every thing mould be explained and amended according to their wishes, by the discretionary power entrusted to the chief governor and council, or by new acts if necessary, they at length, without one dissenting voice, passed this famous act, by which an invariable rule was sinally sixed for the settlement of the kingdom, and the general regulation of the rights claimed by the several interests of its occupants.
Great obstacles had arisen to the arrangements necessary for this general settlement from various causes, especially the diminution of the fund for reprisals by profuse grants of the king, particularly to his brother, the duke of York, on whom he had conferred all the estates of the regicides. Of a similar nature were some provisos in the act of explanation, particularly one by which the marquis of Antrim was reinstated in his property, by special favour of the king, through the interest of the queen mother, after a full conviction of his treasonable practices against his Majesty, and his own acknowledgment of his guilt, with a petition to the royal mercy. After the completion of the act, many evasions were attempted in its execution by the procuring of grants and letters from the king, which, with a multitude of perplexed cafes, gave perpetual employment
Chap. ployment for many years to Ormond, to whom, as lor^ lieutenant, assisted by the privy council, the sive commissioners, appointed to execute the statute, were ordered to resort for advice in all affairs of doubt and difficulty.
Ail prohibiting the importation of Irish cattle ints
England—Discontents Subscription of beeves—
Commercial affairs Intrigues againji Ormond—
Change of politics—Berkley—Theological question—
Remonstrance—Anti-remonstrants Alarms of the
protestants Catholic petition Address of the
English parliament—Administration of Essex
Conduct of Ormond—Attempt of Blood—Restoration
of Ormond to the lord lieutenancy Popish plot
Defective evidences Oliver Plunket
Steadiness and caution of Ormond—Death of OJfory Change of measures—Fluctuation—Death of Charles thesecond.
W HEN, by the acts of settlement and explana- ^HKf tion, tranquility seemed established, and a sirm XXIX. foundation laid for prosperity in future, the new ^"^^ English colony of Ireland felt immediately the bad £°r"tion effects of national jealousy, narrow, impolitic, and 1 <><><>. absurd, so often displayed by the English parliament, and soon afterward the still more baleful consequences of plans formed by unprincipled statesmen for the establishment of despotism on the basis of popery. From several causes obviously observable,