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In the fulness of his joy at finding himself safely seated on the throne of his fathers Charles II had expressed his desire to make his people as truly happy as he himself was. So far as Ireland was concerned, it was soon apparent that the attempt to make all happy was likely to end in gratifying nobody. There had been a rebellion in Ireland; the rebellion had been suppressed with the result that the greater part of the soil of the country had passed into the hands of those who had been instrumental in suppressing it. That the Irish had deserved their fate every Englishman was convinced. On the other hand the Irish were not slow to point out to Charles that the rebellion had been condoned by the treaties of 1646 and 1648-9, and that in sharing his exile with him they were entitled to share also his restoration. The argument, so long as no one enquired too closely into the premisses on which it was based, appeared plausible enough. But by accepting his restoration at the hands of the new settlers Charles had deprived himself of all choice in the matter. His decision to leave the decision of the question to Parliament was accepted as satisfactory by the Convention of Estates that met at Dublin in February, 1660. Being in possession, the colonists could afford to wait. But it was otherwise with the Irish, whose impatience to recover their forfeited properties led them in some isolated instances to attempt a forcible ejection of the new occupants. The latter did not fail to make the most of these disturbances, in order to impress upon their friends in England the danger of a fresh rebellion. Pressure was brought to bear on the King; and on June 1 strict orders were issued to suppress all such disorderly proceedings, and to confirm the adventurers and soldiers in the temporary possession of their estates. Still, there can be no question that Charles was seriously anxious to gratify, as far as he possibly could, all reasonable claims on the part of his quondam allies; and, being led to believe that a sufficient fund of lands existed to enable him to do so, without touching the interests of the adventurers and soldiers, he issued, on November 30, a Declaration for settling the affairs of Ireland.

The Declaration (afterwards embodied in the Act of Settlement) was admirably calculated to satisfy everybody, on the one condition that sufficient lands could be found for the purpose. The plan on which it was based had been suggested by the agents of the new settlers, in the belief that few Irish would be able to prove their innocency. To make sure of this point, they took care that in selecting the commission before which the Irish were to plead their claims, their own interests should be exclusively represented. But in this they overshot their mark. For, after wasting much time and displaying incredible partiality, the commission was dissolved. Checked in this direction, the new settlers (or, as they called themselves, “the English interest”) found themselves suddenly attacked by the old settlers (nicknamed “the Irish interest”), who pointed out that, if there was a deficiency of land to satisfy the Irish according to the King’s intentions, it could easily be made good by forcing the adventurers to disgorge the lands they had illegally acquired under the so-called Doubling Ordinance of 1643. The controversy waxed hot in the Parliament which met in May, 1661; and the new settlers, finding themselves likely to be outvoted if they tried to pass the Declaration as it stood; effected a compromise, by which it was agreed to refer the matter to the King in Council. Backed by English opinion, they hoped to recover in London what ground they had lost in Dublin. But as Ormond, whom Charles appointed Lord Lieutenant in November, clearly recognised, the question, though veiled as one between the old and new settlers, was in reality a contest between the latter and the Irish claiming restoration. The Irish, with the support of the old settlers, held a strong position. Unfortunately, by disclaiming the character of rebels and by insisting too strongly on the simple justice of their demands, they managed to put themselves in a false position. The production of the original instructions from the Supreme Council to their agents abroad, authorising them to dispose of the kingdom to any Catholic Prince who would take it under his protection, settled the matter against them. The debates in Council which had threatened to prove interminable found a sudden conclusion; and the Bill for the Settlement of Ireland, being returned to the Irish Parliament, passed in May, 1662, and received the royal assent in September.

As a concession to the Irish a commission, consisting of seven Englishmen nominally unconnected with any interest in Ireland, was appointed to decide the claims to innocence. The Commissioners opened their Court on September 20; but it was not till January 13, 1663, that they actually began their sittings. More than 4000 claims for restoration, it was said, had been entered. By the end of the month only twenty- seven cases had been decided; but, of these, twenty-one bad been admitted. The Cromwellians were alarmed. Complaints of partiality were raised against the Commissioners. A proposal to require proofs of innocency more stringent than those already exacted was not carried out; but the dissatisfaction caused by the proceedings of the Commissioners grew from day to day. A plot to overturn the Government was detected and several individuals implicated in it were executed. The incident exercised a sohering effect on all parties. Urged by their fears, the Cromwellians expressed a readiness to come to terms. Their offer to surrender one-third of the estates in their possession on May 7, 1659, was accepted; and on this basis a Bill for the Explanation of the Act of Settlement was drawn up and, after various interruptions, became law on December 23, 1665.

The end had come at last. Taking the total arable land of Ireland at Sir William Petty’s estimate of about seven and a half million plantation acres, and discriminating three sets of proprietors, viz. (1) the native interest, including families of Anglo-Norman descent; (2) the Irish interest, i.e. the planters introduced by Elizabeth and James I, including the Church of Ireland; (3) the English interest, i.e. the Cromwellian element, it would appear that by the operation of the Acts of Settlement and Explanation an equal portion of land (or about two and a half million acres) was definitely assigned to each class. Of the multitude, who could expect no hearing in the new Court of Claims that opened its sittings on January 4,1666, to administer the Acts, hundreds took to the congenial calling of Tories (outlaws).

The settlement had not come a minute too soon. The economic crisis through which England was at this time passing had led to a strong demand for protection against the introduction of Irish live-stock into the English market. An Act had accordingly been passed in 1663, limiting the importation of Irish cattle to the first six months of the year. The measure, though it pressed heavily on Ireland, only slowly recovering from the ravages of war, was not attended with the success that had been predicted for it; and in October, 1665, a Bill was intro­duced absolutely prohibiting the importation of all live-stock from Ireland. The Bill was opposed in the House of Lords; and, the prorogation of Parliament having put a temporary stop to proceedings, it was hoped that the generous contribution of 30,000 head of Irish cattle to­wards the relief of London, after the Great Fire, would incline the English Commons to a more liberal treatment of the Irish landowners. These hopes were disappointed. For no sooner had Parliament reassembled in the autumn of 1666, than the Commons promptly agreed to a Bill for the virtual exclusion of all great cattle, sheep, and swine as well as of all beef, pork and bacon, on the ground that such imports were destructive of the prosperity of the country and a “common nuisance.” On January 18,1667, the Bill, after a fierce contest in the House of Lords, received the royal assent. The consequences of the measure were soon apparent. From statistics taken at the time it appears that whereas in 1665 57,545 oxen and 99,564 sheep were exported from Ireland, in 1669 the number had fallen to 1454 oxen and 1120 sheep. On the other hand, barrelled beef, butter, tallow, hides, and above all wool, which rose from 181,013 stone to 254,760, showed a remarkable increase. These statistics are significant. By closing the English market against Irish live-stock, the Act practically killed the chief existing Irish industry. Unable to find a market for their lean cattle the Irish landowners turned their land into sheep-walks and took to fattening their own stock for the provision trade. Irish wool was of excellent quality; but its exportation (except to England) was severely restricted, and finding no legal outlet for it the Irish established a woollen industry of their own. Owing largely to Ormond’s encouragement the industry began to flourish. English capital found its way into the country; skilled labour was introduced; and, though debarred by the Act of Navigation from directly participating in the colonial trade, Ireland, owing to the cheapness of living and labour, was ere long able not merely to compete with England but even to undersell her in the European market. The linen manufacture revived. Other trades followed in the wake of the chief industries; and for twenty years Ireland enjoyed a period of unexampled commercial prosperity.

As a result, religious discord lost much of its asperity. No doubt, the restoration of Episcopacy and the ejection of their ministers caused much bitter feeling among the Presbyterians of Ulster, especially where they constituted the bulk of the population. But such struggles as those which soured the existence and frustrated the labours of Jeremy Taylor in the diocese of Down and Connor were happily exceptional; and it may be said that throughout the whole reign the position of the Protestant nonconformists in Ireland contrasted favourably with that of their fellows in England and Scotland. Nor had the Roman Catholics much reason to complain. The policy inaugurated by the Commonwealth of excluding them from corporate towns was theoretically maintained; but there was no attempt made to interfere with individual liberty of conscience or to exclude them from the higher professions. Ormond, whose object was to stimulate a feeling of loyalty to the Crown by repressing the religious bigotry of both Protestants and Catholics, had, shortly after assuming the government, been much gratified by the presentation of an address by Peter Walsh, a Franciscan friar, on behalf of a number of Catholic clergy and gentry, protesting their unfeigned loyalty to the Crown and disclaiming all foreign power “ either papal or princely, spiritual or temporal.” The Loyal Remonstrance, as it was called, was greeted with contumely by the Ultramontanes; but it afforded Ormond the opportunity he wanted of drawing a distinction between loyal and disloyal Roman Catholicism. Whether his policy of playing one party off against the other, with the avowed object of ultimately weakening both, would have been followed by the success he expected may be doubted; but it was certainly attended by a more tolerant treatment of the Catholics generally.


1669-77] Ormond recalled.—Catholic intrigues. 3


Before, however, it had time to fully develop, Ormond was recalled. The real reason of his removal, though veiled by charges of issuing a commission of martial law in time of peace, and of misapplication of the revenue, is to be found in the intrigues which had led to the downfall of his friend the Earl of Clarendon. His successor, Lord Robartes, owed his appointment to the zeal with which he had advocated the claim of the Crown to exercise a dispensing power in the matter of religious tests; but, having during his six months of office managed to render himself personally objectionable to all classes of the community, except to the more rigid Presbyterians, with whose tenets he sympathised, he retired in a huff in May, 1670. He was followed by John Lord Berkeley of Stratton. Berkeley’s appointment, though apparently devoid of political significance, was like that of Robartes, a step carefully calculated in the spirit of the Treaty of Dover. Of a naturally indolent disposition, Berkeley, through his wife and his secretary, Sir Ellis Leighton, was entirely under Catholic influence.

With Leighton’s assistance Richard Talbot, better known by his subsequent title of Duke of Tyrconnel, and his brother Peter, the recently-appointed titular Archbishop of Dublin, speedily effected a radical change in the conduct of public affairs. Not only was the favour that had hitherto been shown to the Remonstrants withdrawn and a systematic attempt made to prosecute them out of existence; but, under colour of carrying out the King’s intentions, a number of Catholics were placed on the Commission of the Peace, and a proclamation was issued in March, 1672, dispensing with the Oath of Supremacy as a condition of their admission to the Corporations. Moreover, at Talbot’s instigation, the King consented to the appointment of a committee to consider the desirability of instituting an “impartial” enquiry into the execution of the Acts of Settlement. The indignation of the Protestants was unmistakable; and, foreseeing a storm in Parliament, Charles prudently transferred the government to Arthur Capel, Earl of Essex, a zealous Protestant. As he had anticipated, the English Parliament had no sooner met than a vigorous address was presented to him in March, 1673, insisting on the maintenance of the Acts of Settlement, the revocation of the Commission of Enquiry, and the removal of Talbot from his counsels. Charles yielded. All the same, he had no intention of surrendering the advantage he had gained. Essex gradually began to perceive which way the wind was blowing. For himself he was willing enough to pursue a neutral policy; but, to his credit, he was too honest to become a mere tool for the subversion of the Protestant interest and for exploiting the country in the interests of the harpies that battened on the extravagance of the King. When he refused to carry on the government without being allowed to exercise any control over the revenue, he was recalled (1677).

The unexpected reappointment of Ormond was hailed with satisfaction by the Irish Protestants. Recent events had not tended to inspire them with confidence in the Government. The finances of the country were in disorder; and, though Ormond had obtained Charles’ consent to a more rigorous control of the revenue, the only radical remedy for the situation lay, as he clearly saw, in summoning a Parliament. Before, however, anything could be done in this direction, the Government was distracted by the news of the discovery of a popish plot in England, with ramifications extending, it was alleged, to Ireland. Uncertain at first what credit to give to Oates’ revelations, Ormond thought it prudent to arrest one or two suspicious individuals, and to issue orders for disarming the Catholics. His moderation, however, gave great offence to Shaftesbury and his allies, and knowing, as he said, that his position was a slippery one, he saw himself constrained to issue a proclamation to encourage persons to come forward to make discoveries of the plot. The proclamation, though it did not fail to bring forth a host of informers and to lead in the end to the judicial murder of Oliver Plunkett, Catholic Archbishop of Armagh, failed to answer the expectations of the managers of the agitation. When the reaction came, Ormond’s difficulties wore off; but only, as it proved, to be followed, after a short pause, by others of an even more serious nature.

The opportunity, for which Charles had long been waiting, to free himself from the control of the Protestant party in Ireland, seemed to have arrived at last. By the advice of the Duke of York and Talbot he resolved to recall Ormond, to divide the civil from the military authority, and, by placing the latter in the hands of a trusty Catholic, to remodel the army on a Catholic basis. At the same time a commission was to be issued for the establishment of a Court of Grace, nominally to enable the new settlers to strengthen their defeasible titles, really as a means of clipping their properties in the interest of the Irish. It is hard to say to what lengths Charles was willing to go; but before matters could be arranged he died. His death did not materially affect the situation. Ormond, having proclaimed James II, retired from the government. Pending the appointment of his successor the government was placed in commission, and in the interval advantage was taken of Monmouth’s rebellion to effect a partial disarmament of the Protestants. In January, 1686, the Earl of Clarendon was sworn Lord Lieutenant; but the real director of Irish affairs was Talbot, whom James shortly after his accession had created Earl of Tyrconnel, and whom he now appointed commander-in-chief of the army. In pursuance of the plan already agreed upon, Tyrconnel set to work at once to remodel the army on a Catholic basis. His proceedings did not fail to alarm the Protestants; and, as Clarendon, whose pride was hurt at the daily insults offered to his authority, failed to prove as subservient an instrument as James had expected to find in him, he was recalled and the government transferred to Tyrconnel (January, 1687).


1687-9] Tyrconnel Viceroy.—Revolt of Derry.


This appointment, while it inspired the Protestants with the gravest apprehensions, so that thousands of them, it was said, disposed of their property and fled the country, afforded the liveliest satisfaction to the natives, who, in the expectation of a speedy reversal of the Acts of Settlement, were already in imagination revelling in the recovery of their forfeited estates. The fears and hopes of both alike were well founded. Towards the end of August Tyrconnel was granted an interview with James at Chester, who approved his proceedings and, it is asserted on credible authority, arranged with him a plan whereby, in the event of his policy in England miscarrying and the succession falling to a Protestant, Ireland was to be put in a position to maintain itself as an independent kingdom.

Events moved faster than either expected. With the cheers of his own army ringing in his ears at the acquittal of the Bishops, James turned for assistance to Tyrconnel, as his father had to Strafford, and, despite the warning voice of Sunderland, 3000 Irish troops were transported to England during the autumn of 1688. The assistance, purchased at the price of exasperating public opinion in England, proved of no use to James, while by compelling Tyrconnel to denude Derry of its garrison the opportunity was given for a revolt which was destined to upset all his plans. Recognising his mistake, he ordered the Earl of Antrim to proceed with his regiment to Derry. But the tinder had already taken fire. Alarmed at the menacing attitude of the natives and by rumours of an intended repetition of the horrors of 1641, the citizens of Derry, actuated by one of those sudden impulses of self-preservation that override all habits of obedience to authority, gave the signal for rebellion by closing the gates of the city in the face of the royal army. Enniskillen followed suit, and every­where the Protestant colonists drew together for safety and formed military associations for their defence. Taken by surprise, Tyrconnel seemed to hesitate. Thinking he might be won over, William sent Richard Hamilton over to negotiate terms with him. Hamilton be­trayed his trust; and, after Tyrconnel had thus learnt the real state of affairs in England, his hesitation, real or affected, quickly passed away. By the end of January, 1689, he had got together an army of 36,000 men; and, though they were badly officered and but partly armed, the prospect according to Pointis, whom Louis had sent over to report on the situation, was encouraging.

Meanwhile a strong force under Hamilton was despatched into the north, to put an end to the resistance there. At Dromore he came up with the bulk of the Protestants under Sir Arthur Rawdon and Major Baker. Seeing themselves overmatched, they broke and fled, some to Coleraine, others to Derry and Enniskillen, breaking down the bridges in their rear, and destroying everything they could not carry away with them. On March 12—two days before the “Break of Dromore”— James, accompanied by the Count d’Avaux as Louis’ plenipotentiary and a number of French officers who were to assist him in organising his forces, landed at Kinsale with a small army of about 1200 men, for the most part his own subjects. On landing, he was heartily welcomed by the Catholics of the district; and a promise on his part to take the Protestants under his protection went some way to disarm opposition on their part. At Cork he was met by Tyrconnel, who escorted him in triumph to Dublin.

All the same, James’ heart was not in the enterprise. He had hoped with Louis’ assistance to have made a direct descent on England. But Louis was anxious at almost any price to avoid an open breach with England. By assisting James to establish himself firmly in Ireland he hoped, at a moderate cost to himself, to prevent William from interfering actively on the Continent. It is doubtful whether James saw through Louis’ scheme; but it was not long before Tyrconnel recognised James’ perfect indifference to Ireland, and perceived, from his endeavour to reconcile the Protestants, that his thoughts were all the time concentrated on England. For such a plan, however, Tyrconnel was not to be had. First and foremost, he was an Irishman. His object, to put it plainly, was to sever the connection with Great Britain. If James was willing to be King of Ireland, well and good; if not, then Tyrconnel was ready to offer the crown to Louis. But in this he reckoned without Louis himself, who no sooner heard of the intention than he clearly indicated his dislike to the proposal. In the background stood d’Avaux, cynically urging the extirpation of the Protestants as the only rational solution of the situation.

On March 24 James made his public entry into Dublin. Next day he published a batch of proclamations, commanding all his subjects who had fled the kingdom to return to their allegiance, under a general promise of taking the Protestants into his protection; forbidding robberies; ordering a market to be opened for the provisioning of the army; raising the nominal value of the currency, and convoking a Parliament to meet at Dublin on May 7. At the same time, he created Tyrconnel a Duke, and admitted d’Avaux to a seat at the Privy Council. This done, he announced his intention of proceeding in person to Derry. Once in possession of that city, there was nothing to prevent him from crossing with his army into Scotland. Tyrconnel and d’Avaux did their utmost to dissuade him; but, supported by Melfort and the English Jacobites, he held to his purpose, and shortly afterwards set out for the north.


1689] James before Derry.—“ No Surrender.”


Since their rout at Dromore the Protestants of Ulster found themselves in a precarious position. Driven northwards by Hamilton’s advancing forces, as many as were able to do so took shipping and fled to England; a few accepted protection from the Irish general; others found a refuge in Enniskillen and Derry, the rest ensconced themselves in Coleraine, whence they appealed to Robert Lundy at Derry for help. Lundy’s position was a peculiar one. He was a Protestant, and had been appointed military governor of Derry at the instance of one of the most trusted leaders of the party, William Stewart, Viscount Mountjoy. Yet he had from the first failed to give entire satisfaction to the more resolutely-minded citizens, who suspected him, perhaps not altogether without reason, of being secretly a Jacobite; and it must be admitted that, whether he was a traitor at heart or not, his conduct had the effect of nearly wrecking the Protestant cause. Sligo in particular, with almost as good a chance of holding out as Enniskillen, was lost by his contradictory orders. On the other hand, his advice to evacuate Coleraine appears to have been founded on sound military reasons; and he cannot be held responsible for the panic-stricken flight that followed its rejection. Owing to bad weather, the almost impassable condition of the roads, and the difficulty of finding provisions in a country almost devoid of inhabitants, James’ army advancing in two divisions—the one under Hamilton against Derry, the other under Galmoy against Enniskillen—made slow progress. On April 13 the former came up with Lundy’s outposts at Cladyford, about three miles above Strabane on the Finn, and, after some sharp fighting, succeeded two days later in forcing a passage at Castlefinn. Finding their flank turned and their retreat menaced, Lundy’s raw levies broke and fled in wild confusion to Derry, closely followed for some miles by Hamilton’s cavalry. The bulk of them got safely into the city, but a number of isolated parties were wiped out.

Disgusted and dismayed at the conduct of his troops, Lundy saw no chance of holding out against the overwhelming force which, with King James at its head, was now rapidly approaching the city. At a council of war he gave his advice in favour of a capitulation. In the light of subsequent events his conduct may be regarded as an act of treachery; but it should be remembered that all competent military authorities agreed in believing that Derry was indefensible. Military opinion proved wrong; but, if the successful defence of Derry forms one of the most brilliant pages in Irish history, the odds were that, like that of Drogheda, it would prove one of the bloodiest. Informed of what had passed at the council, James appeared under the walls of the city on April 18, expecting an easy surrender. But both he and Lundy failed to reckon on the fierce spirit of racial hatred that burned in the breasts of the citizens. While negotiations for a surrender were proceeding, a cannon-ball, fired either by accident or of set purpose, came very near to cutting short James’ life, while at the same time it put an end to his hopes and Lundy’s authority. A feeble apology followed; but that same night Lundy slipped out of the city; the defence was reorganised, and next morning, with a defiant shout of “No surrender,” Derry entered on her memorable fifteen weeks’ siege.

The unexpected resistance with which he had met completely upset  James’ plans; and on April 29 he left the camp, to open the Parliament summoned by him to meet at Dublin on May 7. Considering the precautions taken by Tyrconnel to regulate the elections, it was only to be expected that the Parliament, which assembled on the day appointed; should have consisted almost exclusively of men who either in their own persons or in those of their fathers before them had suffered most severely by the plantations that had in large measure caused their rebellion, and by the confiscations that had followed on its suppression. They had now, as they thought, got the upper hand of their enemies—the colonists; they had got a King of their own religion; and it was only natural that they should have determined to-use their power to recover possession of those estates of which they had, in their opinion, been most unjustifiably robbed.

In his opening speech James, after gratefully acknowledging their loyalty, expressed his firm resolve to put an end to all calumnies against him, by granting full liberty of conscience to all his subjects, and to recognize no test or distinction between them but that of loyalty; as for those who had been injured by the late Acts of Settlement, he was ready to agree to any plan that might be found to relieve them “as far as might be consistent with reason, justice, and the public good of his people.” It was from his own point of view a politic speech; though to most of his hearers his reference to the necessity for a revision of the Acts of Settlement must have seemed rather lacking in warmth. Unfortunately the object he had before him of uniting Protestants and Catholics into a body of loyalists, quite apart from the fact that it suited nobody’s purpose but his own, was utterly impracticable. The protection of a King who could not protect himself was not likely to impress the Protestants; and, to gratify the Catholics, he was bound to upset the Act of Settlement. To do this, however, was equivalent to forfeiting all chance of recovering England. The question as to which course he would pursue was soon brought to a practical issue.

On May 12 a Bill was introduced into the House of Commons for repealing the Acts of Settlement and Explanation. In the preamble to it, in which the causes which gave rise to those measures are discussed, nothing is more remarkable than the intense hatred displayed against Ormond, who “by his interest and power cherished and supported a fanatical republican party … and to transfer the calamitous consequences of his fatal conduct from himself upon your trusty Roman Catholic subjects ..interposed betwixt them and his late Majesty’s general indulgence and pardon.” The absurdity of the charge is apparent on the face of it; but a scapegoat had to be found, and it would hardly have suited the purposes of those who were trying to procure its repeal to remember that the Act of Settlement was simply the price Charles had paid for his restoration. As James listened to the debates in the House of Lords, the hopelessness of his position began to dawn upon  him. Not he, but Tyrconnel, was master of the situation, and nothing would satisfy Tyrconnel but an absolute repeal. To his intimates James admitted that he had no other choice than to consent. The Irish, he said, were determined to “ram that and much more down his throat.”

When the session came to a close on July 20, he had given his assent to thirty-five Acts, some of them no doubt of great, others of questionable, utility. Taken together, they represent the political ideal of the party led by Tyrconnel—parliamentary independence, the restoration of the land to its original owners, and freedom of trade. Unfortunately, however legitimate they were in themselves, they were claims that could only be made good by the sword.

Meanwhile the situation in general had undergone little change. Though hard pressed and with a garrison sadly diminished by hunger and sickness, Derry still continued to bid defiance to her besiegers; but, as July drew to a close, her powers of resistance rapidly declined, and any day, any hour could see her forced to capitulate. The fate of Enniskillen hung in the same balance. Hitherto, by distracting the attention of James’ generals the Enniskilleners had rendered Derry excellent service. But even to their powers of resistance there was a limit; and, if Derry fell, they too were bound to succumb.

Absorbed in their own affairs, Englishmen had at first paid little attention to Ireland. After his flight there had been a natural revulsion of feeling in James’ favour; but this feeling had quickly given place to one of intense resentment, when the news arrived of his landing in Ireland. In its indignation, Parliament insisted on an instant declaration of war against France. Putting his own construction on the address, William thought that the hour had at last arrived for setting his scheme of the Grand Alliance in motion. Parliament thought otherwise. From being a subject of secondary importance, Ireland suddenly became the sole topic of interest. As time went on and Derry remained unrelieved, public opinion grew restless. In June, a committee of the Lords was appointed to enquire into the causes of the miscarriages in Ireland. Witnesses, including Archbishop King, were examined: the minute books of the Committee of Council for Irish affairs and the Admiralty books were called for and closely inspected. The evidence elicited was of a contradictory sort; but it was generally admitted that with a little foresight the rebellion might have been prevented Even after Tyrconnel had declared for James, the Protestants could, with a little help, easily have held their own; but no attention had been paid to their appeals for assistance; on the contrary, Sir William Harbord had been heard to say that “Ireland could wait: land there would be cheap enough shortly.”


Derry relieved.—Schomberg in Ireland.  [1689


The fact is the muddle was due to causes which in the circumstances were unavoidable. The Committee for Irish affairs had been active enough. Already on March 30 orders had been issued for an  army of over 22,000 men to be got ready to march on May 1; and on April 29, when it was evident that Derry, contrary to all expectation, was managing to hold out, instructions were sent to Major-General Kirke to sail with four regiments and what provisions he could collect to its relief. But weeks passed away; and it was only after receiving a second order that Kirke, “un homme capricieux,” as Schomberg called him, at last set sail. The middle of June had arrived before his fleet appeared in Lough Foyle. Even then he could not make up his mind to attack the boom which the besiegers had thrown across the river. At last a peremptory message from Schomberg, who had been appointed commander-in-chief of the forces for Ireland, compelled him to move. The task proved easier than had been expected, and on July 28 Derry was relieved.

His failure to capture Derry was a terrible disappointment to James; but the news of the complete defeat, on July 81, at Newtown Butler, of the army he had sent to reduce Enniskillen under Viscount Mountcashel, followed as it was by that of the loss of Sligo, was in the circumstances little less than a calamity. Dundee’s death (July 27) had put an end to his hopes of assistance from Scotland, and the question of how he was to maintain himself was becoming daily more difficult to solve. From raising the nominal value of the currency he had proceeded to the issue of a debased coinage, with the natural result of ruining what little commerce there was left to the country. Provisions for the army could only be obtained at the sword’s point; and, with bankruptcy staring him in the face, the temptation to follow d’Avaux’ advice and lay forcible hands on the Protestants became almost irresistible. In the midst of his troubles came the news that Schomberg, with an army which rumour placed at about 20,000 men, had landed in county Down. The feeling at Dublin was one of utter consternation. The advisability of retiring beyond the line of the Shannon was discussed; but neither James nor Tyrconnel would listen to the suggestion; and, when it was found that Dublin was not immediately menaced, the feeling of panic gradually yielded to bolder counsels.

As a matter of fact the situation was not nearly so critical as it had at first sight appeared to be. So far from being 20,000 men strong, Schomberg’s army, composed mainly of raw recruits, badly equipped and worse officered, was barely more than half that size. Belfast of course fell into his hands; but Carrickfergus had to be reduced by force. Having been joined by most of the Enniskillen horse Schomberg on September 2 moved southward by way of Lisburn and Newry to Dundalk. Here he was brought to a standstill by lack of provisions; and, recognizing the necessity of keeping open his connexion by sea, he entrenched himself on a little slip of land to the north of the town, where he was practically secure from attack, and where reinforcements could easily reach him. His action, unavoidable under the circumstances, revealed his weakness to the enemy. Enthusiasm took the place of despondency in the Irish ranks, and with an army over 20,000 strong James marched northward. On September 21 the two armies stood face to face at Dundalk, both eager for the fray, but neither willing to yield the other the advantage of an attack. Finding it impossible to draw Schomberg, James, after laying the country bare of provisions, retired with his army to Ardee, where, owing to the bad roads and broken-down bridges, he was as inaccessible to Schomberg as the latter was to him at Dundalk. The autumn was cold and wet, and both armies suffered severely from sickness; so that, when at the beginning of November James moved into winter-quarters, Schomberg promptly followed his example.

The campaign, which closed with the recovery of Sligo by Sarsfield, had ended better for James than could reasonably have been expected after his successive defeats. On the other hand, Schomberg’s management of the war caused great dissatisfaction in England, where it was generally felt—and the feeling was shared by William—that he might have risked a little more than he did. The feeling was excusable; but the real blame lay with the commissariat department; and the fact that the commis­sary-general, Henry Shales, was, or had been, a Papist, furnished the Whigs with an admirable opportunity of pointing their argument that nothing but mismanagement could be expected, so long as Tory influence was allowed to make itself felt in the King’s counsels. To William, however, it had become evident that the subjugation of Ireland was a matter of first necessity, if he was not to become a mere puppet in the hands of the Whigs. In this dilemma, he announced his intention of going himself to Ireland. The proposal was not agreeable to the Whigs, and even his own friends thought it a risky experiment; but it was received with applause by the country, and, taking advantage of the situation, he dissolved Parliament. The general elections answered his expectations; and on June 11, 1690, he set sail from Chester for Carrickfergus.

Meanwhile, in Ireland both sides had been busily occupied in recruiting their armies for the coming campaign. The priests worked hard for James, and many a man who came to mass found himself before the day closed enrolled in the army. Provisions seem to have been plentiful in the Irish camp; but there was a great dearth of money and war material. Schomberg’s difficulties, on the other hand, arose chiefly from scarcity of provisions and forage, in which respect the loss of Sligo, which was only partly made good by the capture of Belturbet by Colonel Wolseley in December, 1689, made itself severely felt. In January he was compelled to disband a number of regiments, and to send their officers to gather recruits in England. Suffering as he did from ill-health, it was with a feeling of intense relief that he heard of William’s determination to come to Ireland himself. From that moment things began perceptibly to improve. Under the management of Shales’ successor, Pereira, provisions became more plentiful; and at the beginning of March a stream of recruits set in, including nearly 7000 Danes under the personal conduct of Duke Ferdinand William of Wurttemberg. That nothing might be wanting when William arrived, stores were laid up, forage collected, roads and bridges on the proposed line of march repaired, and finally in May the fort of Charlemont was attacked and captured.


William and James. Battle of the Boyne. [1690


Nor had Louis been altogether wanting to his ally. At James’ request d’Avaux was recalled; and on March 14s the Due de Lauzun landed at Cork with 7000 veterans, a park of artillery, and considerable stores of arms and ammunition. Numerically both armies were about equal; but in general efficiency William’s was infinitely superior. So great, indeed, was the disorder in the Irish camp, that Lauzun at once recognised the hopelessness of a contest on equal terms, and, as d’Avaux had formerly urged, he too advised setting Dublin in flames and retreating behind the line of the Shannon. To his credit, James refused his consent to such a step. When the news of William’s landing reached him on June 16, he moved his army to Dundalk. The position was strategically a good one, though it had the disadvantage of exposing his base at Dublin to a flanking movement from the direction of Armagh. Urged by this consideration and by the importunate advice of Lauzun to avoid risking a battle, he fell back on Drogheda. If he meant to fight, the spot was, as Schomberg had long foreseen, the best he could have chosen. But from the fact that fully a third of his available force was scattered in garrisons, it can hardly have been his intention to risk a decisive battle.

William meanwhile was following closely on his heels. To those who urged precaution in the pursuit he replied that he had not come to Ireland to let the grass grow under his feet; and on June 30, sixteen days after his landing, both armies stood facing each other with only the Boyne between them. The odds against James were very great. Still, the advantage of position lay with him, and to the experienced eye of Schomberg the determination of William to force a passage on the following morning (July 1) seemed little short of folly. Unfortunately for himself, James could not make up his mind either to fight or retreat. His indecision lost him the battle. Forced by William’s impetuous attack to turn and defend himself when he was actually on the point of retiring, he was unable to bring half his army into action before his adversary had crossed the river at three different points. Taken more or less by surprise, the Irish and their allies, especially the cavalry, fought with a determination that fully justified Schomberg’s criticism of William’s tactics. Seeing the centre division falter in the attack, Schomberg himself plunged into the river, when he was surrounded by a body of hostile cavalry and killed. His death allowed the main body of the Irish to make good its retreat through the pass of Duleek, and, according to the Duke of Berwick, saved James’ army from destruc­tion. Among the earliest to quit the field was James. At Dublin he snatched a few hours’ rest; and, having laid his express commands on the mayor to prevent any attempt to pillage or fire the city, he hastened to Waterford, where he took ship for France.

To William as to Mary the flight of James was a great relief; and, in anticipation that, now that the chief actor was gone, resistance to his authority would cease, he allowed the fruits of his victory in large measure to slip from his grasp. The fact was he had yet to learn that the Irish had not taken up arms out of any feeling of loyalty to James, but solely and entirely in their own interests. They were acute enough to see that Tyrconnel’s attempt to restore things to the status quo ante October 23, 1641, had failed and they would have been glad to lay down their arms on terms of a general amnesty. For himself, William would readily have agreed to purchase peace on these terms. Unfortunately the desire for revenge on the part of the colonists rendered a policy of conciliation impossible. Baser motives cooperated. The Irish were still in possession of thousands of acres of fertile land, and the desire to get hold of them was as strong in the breasts of Englishmen as it had been in the days of Parsons and Borlase. So it came to pass that, instead of a general amnesty, which would in all likelihood have put a speedy end to the war, the proclamation of pardon published on July 7 to all who should lay down arms by August 1 was, as it had been in the days of Cromwell, confined to the tenant and landless man. The result might have been foreseen. With ruin staring them in the face, the Irish resolved to sell their lives as dearly as possible, and in the extremity of their position the landless man and the landowner awaited their fate shoulder to shoulder.

After the loss of much precious time William, on July 9, despatched Lieutenant-General Douglas with a considerable force to take Athlone, while he himself with the bulk of the army set out two days later in the direction of Limerick, whither Tyrconnel had withdrawn with the bulk of his forces. Wexford, Waterford, Duncannon, Clonmel, and other places fell into his hands. At Carrick-on-Suir he received intelligence of the battle off Beachy Head, and, thinking his presence required in England, he handed over the command of the army to Count Solms and returned to Dublin. There he was met with more reassuring news, and in the belief that the war would be over in a fortnight he returned to the camp. On August 8 he was joined by Douglas, who had failed to capture Athlone, and the next day he sat down before Limerick.


Siege raised.—Marlborough.—St Ruth. [1690-1


The situation within the city was strange. Tyrconnel, who had James’ authority to come to terms with William or to continue the war as he thought most conducive to his interests, was inclined to treat. He was convinced that the city could not hold out against a regular siege, and his opinion was shared by Lauzun. On the other hand the Irish, animated by Sarsfield and with the example of Derry before them, insisted on defending the place. Finding it impossible to convince them of the futility of their resolution, Tyrconnel withdrew with Lauzun and the French regiments to Galway, leaving Major-Generals Boisselot and Sarsfield with about 6000 men to conduct the defence of the city. The summons to surrender had hardly been rejected, when information reached the besieged that William’s heavy siege-guns were approaching. Acting on the spur of the moment, Sarsfield, having collected about 500 horse, crossed the Shannon at Killaloe, and surprising the escort at Ballyneety within seven miles of Limerick, blew up the entire train. The loss of his artillery delayed William’s operations; and, after several desperate efforts to storm the place, seeing the rainy season approaching, he raised the siege on August 81, and sailed for England on September 5.

His failure to capture Limerick was a surprise to everybody, and not least of all to Louis, who, after James’ sudden reappearance at Versailles full of complaints against the Irish, had issued orders recalling all his troops from Ireland in the belief that “the game there was lost.” In obedience to his commands. Lauzun was busily attending to their embarcation at Galway, when the news that the siege had been raised caused him to delay their departure in the expectation of fresh orders; but, more than a week having elapsed and no orders arriving, he and the French brigade sailed from Galway on September 12. With him went Tyrconnel, moved to this step partly in order to explain his conduct, partly to solicit fresh assistance.

Hardly had the French withdrawn when an English fleet, with about 5000 men under the command of the Earl of Marlborough, appeared before Cork. Landing hard by the city on September 22, and being joined by the Duke of Wurtemberg with 4000 foot and 1500 horse, he forced the place to surrender within a week and at once proceeded to attack Kinsale, which, after a vigorous but short defence, capitulated on October 15. Though compelled to abandon the greater part of Munster, the possession of the line of the Shannon enabled the Irish during the winter to carry on an exasperating guerilla warfare, with which Ginkel, who had succeeded to the command of the army, found it almost impossible to cope, even with the help of a strong militia force which he had raised.

In January, 1691, Tyrconnel returned from France with an assurance of further assistance from Louis. But month after month passed away, and the hope of assistance had almost died out, when, early in May, St Ruth, accompanied by d’Usson and a number of French officers, arrived at Limerick with large supplies of ammunition and other pro­visions, and with a commission rendering him practically independent of Tyrconnel in the command of the army. St Ruth’s arrival scattered the gloom that had begun to settle down on the Irish; and, encouraged by his presence and energetic measures, they quickly recovered confidence in themselves and their cause.

Meanwhile, Ginkel on his side had been busily engaged in preparing for the coming campaign; and, on taking the field towards the end of May, he found himself at the head of 20,000 well equipped troops with a train of artillery such as Ireland had never seen. Concentrating his army at Mullingar, he set out for Athlone on June 6. Ballymore, which the Irish had occupied with a small garrison, was easily captured; but at this point he lost more than a week waiting for his pontoons, and it was not until the 19th that he arrived before Athlone.

The town lying partly on the Leinster, partly on the Connaught side of the Shannon, and connected only by a bridge, occupied a strong strategical position. To St Ruth it seemed absolutely impossible for Ginkel to capture it by a direct attack; and, in the belief that his real object was to attempt a turning movement from the direction of Banagher several miles lower down the river, he had concentrated his main force somewhat to the south of the town, leaving the direction of the defence to d’Usson. On the 22nd, Ginkel opened a heavy fire upon the enemy’s entrenchments on the opposite side of the river. Day and night for days together the cannonade continued. But every attempt to cross the river failed, and as forage began to grow scarce Ginkel’s position became very critical. At a council of war on the 50th the advisability of raising the siege was discussed; but in the end it was decided to make one more effort. The defence had somewhat slackened; and, encouraged by the unusual lowness of the Shannon, a picked body of men succeeded early next morning in fording the river a few yards below the bridge. Others followed, and, before the Irish had time to recover from their surprise, Athlone was captured. St Ruth, who could hardly believe his ears when the news reached him, made a desperate effort to recover the position, of which his negligence more than anything else had deprived him; but, failing in this, he withdrew his army in the direction of Galway.

The success was one for which William had been anxiously waiting. A year had passed since the battle of the Boyne and Ireland was apparently as far as ever from being reduced. He had missed one opportunity, and, in the determination not to miss another, he had given his sanction to a proclamation (to be issued at the first moment of success) offering a free pardon with the recovery of their estates and liberty of religion to all who should lay down their arms within a limited time, or by their action be instrumental in bringing the war to a close. The proclamation, published on July 7, though it failed to exercise any immediate effect, undoubtedly prepared the way for the surrender of Galway and Limerick. The terms offered by it being calculated to give great offence both in England and Ireland to those who hoped to see the Irish, according to Lord Justice Porter’s expression, “quite beggared,” it was kept as secret as such a thing could be.

Having crossed the Shannon and reorganised his army with as little loss of time as possible, Ginkel set out in pursuit of St Ruth. On July 12 he came up with him near Aughrim, half-way between Athlone and Galway. St Ruth had made up his mind to fight. His army, though weaker in cavalry, was, so far as numbers went, equal to Ginkel’s; and he had the advantage of occupying a strong position. For two hours the issue of the battle hung in the balance. The Irish fought with unexampled bravery; and, seeing the enemy waver, St Ruth was already counting the day his own, when a cannon-ball put an end to his life. His death decided the battle. Deprived of their commander and ignorant of his plans, the Irish continued fighting desperately for some time longer. Then they broke and fled. No quarter was given, and night alone put an end to the slaughter.

A week later Ginkel appeared before Galway. He was anxious to finish the war as soon as possible, and at once offered the benefit of the recent proclamation, if the city would submit “without further trouble.” D’Usson, who commanded the garrison, at first refused; but in the end, “considering the ill-will of the citizens,” he consented to capitulate. Articles based on the proclamation of July 7, securing the inhabitants in the possession of their properties and the private exercise of their religion, were drawn up; and, having signed them on the 21st, d’Usson surrendered the city and withdrew with the garrison to Limerick. Thither also Ginkel prepared to march. But bad weather, and the necessity under which he lay of recruiting his army and providing horses to drag his siege-artillery from Athlone, greatly delayed his progress. August was drawing to a close before he reached Limerick. It was too late in the year to begin regular siege operations; and his hope of forcing a surrender rested mainly on the effect which a heavy bombardment was likely to produce on the already depressed spirits of the garrison.

As in the previous year, opinion in the city was divided, as to whether it should be defended or not. Mindful of the mistake he had formerly made, Tyrconnel now insisted on carrying on the defence to the uttermost. Of the ability of the city to hold out there could be no question. But the situation was no longer the same. On August 14 Tyrconnel died. His death deepened the present feeling of despondency, and even Sarsfield began to waver. The summons to surrender was, however, rejected, and on August 30 Ginkel opened up a heavy fire on the city; but the distance was too great to do much damage, and it was soon evident that so long as the Irish continued in unmolested possession of county Clare, the mere battering of the walls was of little use. The pontoons were accordingly got ready; and, advantage being taken of a particularly dark night, a landing was effected on the opposite side, before the Irish, who were looking rather to see the siege raised than for any such assault, had recovered from their surprise. Their camp fell into Ginkel’s hands; but otherwise he reaped no advantage from his success.


Limerick capitulates.—Articles. 


A week elapsed, and, seeing no sign of surrender, Ginkel recrossed the river on September 22 with fully half his army, for the purpose of destroying the works that commanded the bridge on the other side. Had the Irish been properly commanded, the experiment might have cost him dear. As it was, the works were rushed, and the defenders driven helter-skelter back over the bridge. Fearing for the city, the officer in charge of the gate raised the drawbridge, and in an instant what had been a mere rout was turned into a bloody disaster. Terrified at what had happened the garrison broke from control and called wildly to surrender. Twenty-four hours later a truce was concluded.

The moment for which Ginkel had been waiting had at last arrived, and, rather than lose the chance thus offered him to end the war, he resolved to grant all that his instructions allowed him to concede. On their side, the Irish, naturally anxious to make as good a bargain as possible, submitted as conditions of surrender seven articles, which, besides indemnifying them for their rebellion, would have secured them in the possession of their estates and the public exercise of their religion, and would practically have placed them on a position of equality with the Protestants. Knowing nothing of their legal disabilities, Ginkel would have conceded even these terms; but, at the instigation of those about him, he returned them as incompatible with the laws of the realm, and formulated his own demands in twelve articles. These twelve articles provided the basis for the civil and military treaties of Limerick signed on October 3. By the military treaty it was agreed, that all persons of whatever quality or condition who desired to leave the country should have liberty to depart with their families and portable goods, and that Ginkel should provide the necessary shipping for them. By the civil treaty, it was conceded that the Irish Catholics should enjoy all those religious rights which they possessed in the reign of Charles II, with such further privileges as their Majesties (William and Mary) might with the consent of Parliament in the future procure for them, and that they and all Irish still in arms, who should immediately submit and take the oath of allegiance, should be secured in the free and undisputed possession of their estates as they possessed them according to the Act of Settlement. In other words, the price of the surrender of Limerick was to be a general indemnity and a return to the state of affairs that had existed in the reign of Charles II. In the full belief that the debt would be loyally discharged, Limerick was forthwith surrendered to Ginkel. By the middle of December, the last of the 12,000 men who elected to seek their fortunes abroad had quitted Ireland; and three months later a royal proclamation declared the war at an end.

Ireland was once more at peace; but the peace was one that brought no satisfaction with it. The conquerors, angry at seeing their prey escape them, sulkily protested against being held to an agreement which furnished no guarantee against a fresh rebellion. The feeling that they had been betrayed found open expression in a sermon preached by Dopping, Bishop of Meath, before the Lords Justices Coningsby and Porter in Christ Church, Dublin, on the Sunday after the signature of the treaty. A preacher more agreeable to Government was found in the person of Moreton, Bishop of Kildare, who argued eloquently on keeping faith with the Irish; but Dopping’s view of the situation was that generally taken, and his words found an echo in England.


 Legislative independence of Ireland. [1691-3


For the English Parliament had no sooner met on October 22, than it passed an Act rendering it compulsory on all members of the Irish Parliament to take the Oath of Supremacy and to subscribe the Declaration against Transubstantiation. This Act was not only a flagrant breach of the spirit of the Treaty of Limerick, but a direct attack on the independence of the Irish Parliament. It, however, so entirely harmonised with the sentiment prevailing in Ireland among the colonists that no exception was taken to it; and the Parliament convened on October 5, 1692, under Lord Sidney, who had succeeded Coningsby and Porter in the government, “paid” as Molyneux admits “an entire obedience to it.” But that in doing so the colonists had no intention of recognising the subordination of the Irish Parliament to that of England, soon became apparent. The Parliament had been called for the double purpose of confirming the Treaty of Limerick and settling a revenue. Bills to these ends had been transmitted from England, with an intimation that, so far as the treaty was concerned, it had been sufficiently discussed in England, and nothing further was required beyond a simple confirmation. The Commons took offence at the message. They were willing enough to admit that the Crown of Ireland was inherent in that of England; but Ireland was a kingdom and not a colony, and in their legislative capacity they were independent of England. The treaty as it stood was, they asserted, too dangerous to be allowed to pass; and, though they were ready, under the peculiar circumstances, to consent to the taxes demanded, they were compelled to assert that they and they alone had the right to originate money-bills.

The Lord Lieutenant was in a difficult position; but there can be no question that, in causing a protest to be entered on the Journals of the House against their claim to originate money-bills as a breach of Poynings’ Law, he acted entirely in accordance with public opinion in England. All the same, the quarrel afforded a very welcome opportunity to the English Parliament for attacking William on his Irish policy. In its zeal the House of Commons even proposed to enquire into the grounds of Sidney’s protest; but, on second thoughts, the point was quietly dropped, and in addressing the King the House contented itself with complaining of the encouragement shown to Irish Papists, and the misapplication of the forfeited estates. In his answer the King pro­mised to remedy what was found amiss; but, to put an end to the discussion, he prorogued Parliament. Sidney, however, was recalled, and the administration placed in the hands of Lords Justices, in one of whom, Lord Capel, the colonists found a man of their own way of thinking.


Anti-Catholic legislation.—Tory opposition.


Two years elapsed. The country was rapidly recovering from the effects of the war; but great distress prevailed among the natives, and as a natural consequence the Tories were much in evidence. Under the pretext that fresh rebellion was hatching, a proclamation setting a price of £5 on the head of every Tory killed in action was published, and did something to abate the mischief, though, as a contemporary historian remarks,  “It is to be feared that many innocent persons fell a sacrifice to the temptation of the reward.” In their eagerness to keep down the Irish the colonists even yielded to Capel’s persuasion to waive their claim to originate money-bills, on being allowed a free hand to regulate matters as they wished between themselves and the Irish Catholics. An under­standing on these terms having been arrived at, Capel was appointed Lord Deputy, and a Parliament was summoned for August 27, 1695. Supplies to the amount of £163,325 having been voted, the Commons immediately turned to a consideration of the state of the nation. The causes of the recent calamities they traced chiefly to the long inter­mission of Parliaments, to the proclamation of March 8,1672, permitting Papists to reside in corporate towns, and in general to the favour shown them by Government since the Restoration. To remedy these evils the proclamation of March, 1672, was declared void, and Acts were passed prohibiting parents from sending their children abroad to be educated in any Catholic seminary; disqualifying Papists from teaching in schools at home; rendering it penal for any Catholic, except those privileged to do so by the Articles of Galway and Limerick, to carry arms, or to possess a horse worth more than £5 ; limiting the number of holydays to those marked as such in the liturgy of the Church of Ireland; and rendering all who refused to work on Catholic holydays liable to be fined or whipped. Finally, an Act was passed abrogating all Acts passed in James’ Parliament, and ordering the records relating to the same to be destroyed, which was accordingly done on October 2.

This outburst of fanatical legislation did not pass unchallenged. Among the members of both Houses there were some who, much as they disliked and feared the Catholics, felt even a greater dislike for the Puritan nonconformists. The spirit that had animated Bramhall and Jeremy Taylor reasserted itself; and, under the guidance of Lord Chancellor Porter, a party of opposition, to which the titles Tory, High Church, Jacobite were indifferently applied, came into existence, and proved strong enough to throw out a Toleration Bill, with which William had intended to reward the loyalty of the Presbyterians. Parliament was prorogued on December 14. In May, 1696, Capel died and Porter became Lord Justice; but he, too, dying in December, the government was placed in the hands of de Ruvigny, Earl of Galway, and the Marquis of Winchester.

Parliament, after several adjournments, reassembled on July 27,1697. The situation was practically unaltered; and, having voted a supply of £150,000, the Commons proceeded to gratify their craving for further protection against Roman Catholicism. But when a Bill limiting the reversal of the outlawries following on the Rebellion was submitted to them, they broke with Government in a way quite inexplicable to the Lords Justices. The question was one that, in their opinion, touched the disposal of the forfeited properties; and they were highly dissatisfied with the way in which William had disposed of them. Better, they insisted, that the properties should remain in the old families than be squandered in that fashion. Forced to withdraw the Bill for one of a less sweeping nature, and safeguarding the interests of a number of the old nobility and gentry, Government hoped that, in its new-found zeal to protect the victims of the Revolution, Parliament would at last consent to ratify the Articles of Limerick. But here the current of anti-Catholic feeling ran with irresistible violence ; and, instead of a full confirmation of the Articles, a Bill was passed (though it escaped rejection in the House of Lords by only a single vote) confirming, as the preamble to it expressly admits, only so much of them as consisted with the safety and welfare of his Majesty’s subjects in Ireland. Whether in doing as it did Parliament acted within its constitutional rights or not, is a moot point; but there can be no doubt that its repudiation of the treaty was as politically unwise as it was morally unjustifiable.

Meanwhile, a certain measure of commercial prosperity had returned to the country; and in 1698 Ireland possessed a quite flourishing woollen industry, a no less flourishing provision trade, besides a number of smaller industries, of which linen, glass, iron, fisheries were the most noticeable. But it was on the development of the woollen manufacture that the hopes of the commercial prosperity of the nation rested. Unfortunately, the success with which it had been attended had aroused the jealous fears of the English manufacturers, and there were not wanting warning voices to point out the political danger likely to accrue to England by allowing Ireland to attain a position of wealthy independence. Still, it was not an easy matter to invite the Irish to assist in the destruction of their own commercial prosperity; and, in preparing a Bill for laying additional duties on all woollen fabrics exported from Ireland* great care was taken to represent it as an encouragement of the linen industry. To the surprise of the Lords Justices, the Irish Parliament, on reassembling in the autumn of 1698, agreed without much discussion to a Bill placing duties of from 10 per cent, to 20 per cent, on all woollen goods (except friezes) exported from Ireland for a limited period of three years and three months, beginning on March 25, 1699. It is probable that these duties were regarded as countervailing and not prohibitive, and it is evident that in limiting the duration of the Act the Parliament only consented to an experiment. But, before it had time to test its working, the English Parliament clinched the matter by an Act expressly forbidding, under the severest possible penalties, the exportation from Ireland of all wool and woollen goods except to England, and even this only under duties which were intended to be absolutely prohibitive.

Having thus, as it supposed, sufficiently safeguarded English commercial interests by an unblushing infringement of the privileges of the Irish Parliament, the English House of Commons proceeded, with an equal disregard of the prerogative of the Crown, to call it to account for the way in which the Irish forfeitures had been disposed of. A commission of seven members was appointed to enquire into the matter; and, on the strength of a report signed by four out of the seven, it was unanimously resolved that a Bill should be brought in to apply all the forfeited lands in Ireland, and the grants thereof since February 13,1689, to the use of the public. A Bill for the resumption of all grants, and for vesting the disposal of the forfeited estates in the hands of thirteen trustees, with a clause protecting the interests of the Irish included in the Articles of Galway and Limerick, was accordingly passed; but, in the well-grounded apprehension that it would be rejected by the Lords, it was adroitly tacked to a Bill of Supply. The manoeuvre succeeded; but it led to a fierce passage of arms between the two Houses, and the measure was only allowed to pass on William’s intervention (April 10, 1700). It proved a failure. Instead of the £1,699,343, which it had been confidently asserted would accrue to the Crown after all legal obligations had been met, less than half (or £724,501) was recovered, and this only after compromising the public faith, insulting the sovereign, inflicting incalculable mischief, both of a public and private nature, and in the case of the Earl of Galway directly infringing an Act of the Irish Parliament, confirming the estate granted to him by William for his services during the war.

Historically, the Act of Resumption closes the chapter which opened with the Act for the plantation of Leix and Offaly. For nearly one hundred and fifty years the process of confiscation and colonization following on rebellion and conquest had continued with little intermission, till at last there was practically no more land to confiscate. The Ireland of the O’Neills and Fitzgeralds, of the wild Irish and the gentry of the Pale has passed away for ever. With the eighteenth century, we enter on a new and, to most of us, more familiar period of Irish history.