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catholics out of the act of oblivion and general pardon, the convention at Dublin put in execution all the severe laws and ordinances made by the usurpers, by which the catholics were prevented from going from one province to another to transact their business, such as had the more considerable estates were imprisoned, and all their letters to and from the capital were intercepted: the gentry were forbidden to meet, and were thereby deprived of the means of agreeing upon agents to take care of their interests, and of an opportunity to represent their grievances at the foot of the throne. The reports of popish plots and conspiracies were resorted to for the purpose of alarming the English parliament into the measure of excluding the Irish catholics from the general pardon, and quieting possessions in Ireland. Charles published a proclamation for apprehending and prosecuting all srish rebels (a term then used as synonymous with Irish catholics,) and commanding that adventurers, soldiers, and others, who were possessed of any lands, should not be disturbed in their possessions until legally evicted, or his majesty by advice of parliament should take further order therein.
All historians agree, that the most extravagant, and unfounded reports against the Irish were brought to England, and there received with avidity, and circulated with every accumulation of inventive malice by incredible numbers of projectors, suitors, sufferers, claimants, solicitors, pretenders, and petitioners, who thronged the court, and looked to the Irish forfeitures as the sure fund for realising their various speculations. Such, however, was the effect of these maneuvres and other means, that when the state commissioners from Ireland petitioned the parliament of England to exclude the Irish catholics from the general indemnity, the duke of Ormond opposed it, alleging 6 that his majesty reserved the cognizance of that matter to 6 himself;" though it was notorious that the king had some days before in his speech informed the parliament, that he expected in relation to the Irish, that they would have a care of his honour, and of the promise he had made them. This promise, received from Breda through the marquis of Ormond, stated explicitly, that he would perform all grants and concessions, which he had either made them or promised them by
that peace ; and which, as he had new instances of their loyalty and affection to him, he should study rather to enlarge than diminish or infringe in the least degree. Nevertheless the Irish catholics were excluded from the general indemnity, to their ruin, the exultation and triumph of their enemies, and the astonishment of all impartial men.
Ormond was now reinstated in the government of Ireland, and by him were framed and settled the king's declaration, the acts of settlement and explanation: by him were made out the lists of persons excepted by name, amounting to about five hundred, after the ruinous effects of the act of settlement. By him was recommended the court of claims, and under his influence were appointed the first members of it, whose interested partiality and corruption became too rank even for their patron to countenance. He then substituted men of real respectability to fill their places, but so stinted them in their time for investigating the claims of the dispossessed proprietors, that they were compelled to apply for further time to go through several thousand unheard claims, which Ormond opposed, and rejected a clause in the bill for the relief of these unheard claimants.
When the sympathy and justice of his royal master balanced between the claims of the English protestants and the Irish catholics, Ormond's efforts to bias the king in favour of the former could not fail to be successful. Conscious as he was of that monarch’s disposition and secret wishes to favour the catholics, he did all he could to raise divisions amongst them, by dividing the clergy upon a punctilious form of oath, by which it was then in contemplation to allow the catholics to express their allegiance to their sovereign. Not contented with the indignant rejection of the clergy's remonstrances, he ordered them to disperse, and soon after banished them out of the nation: and so rigorously was this effected, that when Ormond quitted the government there were only three catholic bishops remaining in the kingdom: two of them were bed ridden, and the third kept himself in concealinent.
So far, was Ormond from having suffered by these rebellious insurrections or civil wars in Ireland, that we learn from a letter written by his intimate and particular friend, the earl of Anglesey, and published during the life of the duke, “ that his
“ grace and his family, by the forfeitures and punishment of 6 the Irish, were the greatest gainers of the kingdom; and “had added to their inheritance vast scopes of land, and a “ revenue three times greater than what his paternal estate “ was before the rebellion, and that most of his increase was tout of their estates who adhered to the peaces of sixteen 6 hundred and forty-six and sixteen hundred and forty-eight, “ er served under his majesty's ensign abroad.” During the remainder of the reign of Charles II. many malicious attempts were made to stigmatize the Irish with fresh rebellions, which always served as a pretext of enforcing the execution of the penal laws against the catholics. The duke of Ormond, of whose conduct both to the king and his countrymen such opposite opinions have been formed, and whose government we have traced to the present period, was now daily declining in power and influence, through the intrigues of the duke of Buckingham and the earl of Orrery: he was first succeeded in the government of Ireland by lord Robarts, and afterwards by the earl of Essex. He was again however taken into favour and restored to the situation of lord lieutenant, which he retained till the death of Charles II., though that king, a very short time before that event, had intimated to the duke of Ormond his intention of sending over the earl of Rochester to assume the government in his stead : his grace's removal was however so far determined upon by the ruling interest of the empire at that period, that it constituted one of the earliest acts of James II.
THE short reign of the unfortunate James II. who succeeded his brother Charles in the dominion of the British empire, was pregnant with events of the deepest importance to the Irish nation. That the joy of the Irish catholics at the accession of a prince to the throne who was universally known to be a catholic, should be excessive, and even intemperate, is by no means surprising. The turn of the state of politics in this kingdom was rapid and complete. · The earl of Clarendon succeeded Ormond, but he was probably too firmly attached to the protestant interests to give as largely into James's measures as the court wished. His instructions clearly bespoke the king's intention of introducing catholics into corporations, and investing them with magistracies and judicial offices; and being called upon by his instructions to give his opinion on the legality of the measure, he expressed his readiness to comply with his majesty's commands, although contrary to the act of Elizabeth. The army was however soon filled with catholic officers, the bench with catholic fudges, except three who retained their seats; the corporations with catholic members and the counties with catholic sheriffs and magistrates. The earl of Tyrconnel was appointed commander in chief of the army, and made independent of the lord lieutenant. On the very rumour of these proceedings alarm and consternation seized the protestant part of the kingdom: and most of
the traders and others whose fortunes were transferable fled from a country in which they expected a speedy establishment of popery, and general transmutation of property. The catholics now feeling themselves secure at least in their religion, induced Tyrconnel to go to England in order to prevail upon the king to accede to their favourite measure of breaking through the act of settlement. The king however saw more inconvenience in throwing the whole national property into a new state of disorder and confusion than these did, who had been suffering during twenty years from the deprivation of their birth-right. Tyrconnel was himself a great enemy to the act of settlement, and he so worked upon the king as to dispose him to consent to the repeal of that act, and he soon returned to Ireland as lord deputy. Tyrconnel was personally obnoxious to the protestants, he was impetuous, resolute, and imperious : he possessed an unbounded influence over the king; and having in his youth been a witness to that bloody carnage at Drogheda, he had ever retained an abhorrence of fanaticism, with the spirit of which he considered all protestants more or less infected. Nothing more was wanting to alienate the affections of the protestants from James and his government; and ere this unfortunate monarch, by the advice of imprudent and insidious counsellors, had been brought to abdicate the crown of England, the whole protestant interest of Ireland had already associated against him. .' Long before king James left England, the protestants in the north of Ireland were generally in arms, training and disciplining themselves to oppose by force the measures of his government. This formidable armed force of the northern protestants had been gaining strength several months before the land of William prince of Orange in Torbay; and they continued daily in an improving state of organization and regular warfare against the existing government of the country : for it must be recollected that James II. continued to be king of Ireland, notwithstanding his abdication of the throne of England ; since by the constitution of Ireland, neither the people of England nor the parliament of England could dissolve or transfer the. allegiance of the people of Ireland ; which long had been, then