Page images
PDF
EPUB

temporal, to assist the chief governor with their ad- xxvn" vice. The former were calculated to sanction the vY**> suspicions, which themselves had excited, of a misapplication of the public money; the latter to establish their own power in the civil administration. The marquis consented that all, who had received the public money, should be brought to a strict account; and that, since the nomination of a privy council was not in his power, a prerogative belonging solely to the king, he would qualify unexceptionable persons with sufficient powers for such particular a£ts of a privy council as they should specify to be necessary. Affecting to be satisfied, they published a declaration favourable to the marquis, which was privately so counteracted, that a catholic lord in his army was committed to prison for presuming, by his order, to quarter a few soldiers in the liberties of Limerick. He retired in disgust, from this and other insults, to Loughrea, where the prelates, who followed him thither, displayed fresh instances of illiberal artifice and duplicity, which influenced him to declare his resolution of retiring from the kingdom. The nobility and commissioners of trust were alarmed, solicited the marquis to stay, and promised their interposition with the citizens of Limerick. These became so far compliant as to consent to the admission of a garrison under certain restrictions, and to reject the proposals of Ireton, who offered them the full enjoyment of their civil, religious, and commercial rights, with exemption from the imposition of a garrison, on condition of their leave to

c 6 A*.bis army to march through their town into the

v.i^j» county of Clatfe,

Advancing near Limerick, witfh intention to enter it, by the invitation of its magistrates, Ormond received ioteliigence that Wolfe, a seditious friar, had raised a tumult in the city, and set a guard on the gates to prevent Ms entrance, while other lawless incendiaries rifled the magazines, disposing of the corn at their pleasure. As the bishops refused to excommunicate the authors of these outrages, and as $ie citikzeilsof Galway followed the example of those of Limerick, refasing to admit any garrison, except one appointed and commanded by their own magistrates, the marquis, unable to retain an army on either ;side of the Shannon, and fearing for his per-sdnai safety, resumed his purpose of retreating from Ireland. Tlie clergy who had formerly made him Jan insiduous offer of placing him on the throne of <$re]and, on condition of his uniting with the nuncio, and embracing the Romish religion, now pretended •to attribute'his intended abdication to a treacherous coalition with the republicans against the king, !dr -the confederates. An assembly of Romish prelates ;at Jamestown, required that his excellency should speedily repair to the king, leaving his authority " i*i -the hands of some person faithful to his Majesty and trusty to the nation, and such as the affections and .confidence of the people, would follow." To express his contempt of their proceedings, he now declared that he would not quit the kingdom until forced by ; inevitable necessity. But the prelates published ^a -declaration " against fee continuance of his Ma*

jesty'A jesty's authority in the marquis of Ormond," accus- c H A P. ing lata, amoag other articles, of his aversion to the v%ry-^ catholic religion; and enjoining the people to ebey no ©rders but those of the congregation of clergy, until a general assembly should be convened. This edict was accompanied by a sentence of excommunication against all who should adhere to the marquis, or pay him subsidy or obedience. With the utmost difficulty they were persuaded to suspend the sentence during the expedition of Ckmricarde for the relief of Athlone. They proceeded to levy troops by their own authority, which added a new enemy against Ormond, but an enemy easily discomfited.

The design of these prelates was assisted by a declaration made by the king to please the Scottish covenanters, in whose hands he then was, expressing his abhorrence of popish idolatry, and pronouncing the treaty of peace void, which had been concluded with the idolatrous rebels of Ireland. Apprized by a private letter from the king, that this declaration, the effect of compulsion, had no force in this kingdom, Ormond assured the commissioners of trust, that he would by all means possible maintain the freaty, until some unconstrained declaration of the royal pleasure should be obtained; provided that the acts of the congregation of prelates should be revoked or punished, as usurpations on the king's prerogative; that due obedience should be paid to himself as lord lieutenant; and that some honourable maintenance should be secured to him, as he was now deprived of his own estates. The commissioners were

B 3 much

much displeased at the extravagance of the clergy, and hoped that their insolence would be repressed by a general assembly. But when this assembly, accepting an equivocal apology from the prelates, declined to take decisive measures, the marquis could no longer be persuaded to remain ; yet, in compliance with a respectful request for the delegation of the royal authority to some proper person, he nominated Clanricarde his deputy, with directions that he should accept or decline the office, according to the encouragement or discouragement which he might receive by the proceedings of the assembly. pla"r»- Ormond sailed from Galway, and, after a dan

ministra- gerous voyage, arrived in France. That he had so long struggled to retain a command may seem surprizing, in such a state of things as might appear desperate for the royal cause, even in case of success against the republicans, when the influence of a fanatical clergy so powerfully predominated, that the poldiers of a whole regiment, sent on an expedition, threw down their arms, and dispersed to their several homes, at the requisition of a seditious friar, who seized the colours, and pronounced eternal perdition on those who should presume to march; but to protect as long as possible the remains of the king's faithful adherents in this kingdom, and to make a diversion in favour of the royalists in Britain by maintaining a war here under disadvantages howsoever great, was considered as an object of importance. On this principle Clanricarde assumed the government, though, by the opposition of the clergy, he was unable to obtain from the general assembly so precise and explicit an engagement of obedience to

his

bis authority as he required. The confederates had Chap. now a catholic chief governor, and an anuj wholly \^J^Jj catholic, as. the protestants, who had fought on the same side, had by repeated insults withdrawn either to the republicans or beyond sea: yet faction still prevented an effectual resistance to the arms of Ireton. By the movements of Clanricarde for the succour of Athlone, Coote had been disappointed in his attempt upon that post: yet when Ireton advanced to Limerick, and demanded admission for his troops, the citizens were in suspense until the arrival of Castlehaven, who prevailed on them to shut their gates against the enemy. Proposals made to the confederates, by the republican commander, to treat for terms of submission, were at first rejected, but afterward admitted, as a subject of negociation, by the influence of the clergy, particularly Nicholas French, Romish bishop of Ferns, a distinguished partizan of the nuncio, who clamoured for a negociation. Fired with indignation at this behaviour, Clanricarde, and several principal members of the general assembly, declared their determination to defend the royal cause to the last extremity, and to exclude, in case of submission to the republicans, the present opposers of the royal interests from the benefit of the treaty. The clergy were alarmed, concurred with these members, and even issued an excommunication againstall who should resort to the enemy's quarters or pay them contribution; yet they secretly practised against Clanricarde for the establishment of their own power by foreign aids; and, for this purpose they dispatched the bishop of Ferns to Brussels, their ambassador to the duke of Lorrain,

B! This

« PreviousContinue »