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O'More
O'More
177

was his son-in-law's house in Armagh county, Sir Phelim O'Neill [q. v.] and Lord Maguire being present there with him. But it is hard to be hidden in the country, and Sir William Cole, in a letter dated 11 Oct., warned the lords justices that there was mischief brewing (Nalson, Collections, ii. 519). He did not name O'More, and nothing really was known until the evening of 22 Oct., when Owen O'Connolly made his statement to Lord-justice Parsons. Late that night O'More went to Lord Maguire and told him that the cause was lost. It is from Maguire's often printed narrative that we know most of the details. O'More, with Plunkett and Hugh O'Byrne, escaped over the river, and was perhaps not at first suspected, for O'Connolly did not mention him, nor does his name occur in the first statement made by MacMahon, or in the letter of the Irish government to Lord Leicester. His brother-in-law, Lord Kingsland, was one of those on whom the Irish government at first relied for the preservation of peace.

The plot to seize Dublin Castle totally failed, but the Ulster rebellion broke out as arranged, and O'More almost at once appears in the field as colonel with a large, but only partially armed, force under him. His brother Lewis had the rank at first of captain, and afterwards of colonel. O'More fought victoriously at Julianstown, in Meath, on 29 Nov., and acted as spokesman for the Ulster Irish at the conference held a few days later on the hill of Crofty, between their chiefs and the gentry of the Pale. The substance of his speech, which had been carefully prepared, is preserved by Sellings (Gilbert, Hist. of Confederation and War, i. 36). In the proclamation of the lords justices, dated 8 Feb. 1641-2, a price was put upon his head—400l. for its actual production, and 300l. for satisfactory evidence of having slain him. He was present when Ormonde defeated the Irish at Kilrush on 15 April 1642. Carte says he went to Flanders about this time; and, if so, he probably returned with Owen Roe O'Neill, who reached Ireland in July. He was serving in the King's County at the end of that month, the title of general being accorded to him by the Irish thereabouts. On the formation of the supreme council of the confederate catholics at Kilkenny in October he was appointed to command in the King's County and half the Queen's County, and was present at the taking of Birr in January 1642-3 (Hist. MSS. Comm. 2nd Rep. p. 218).

In spite of his many connections, O'More was not thoroughly trusted by the Anglo-Irish; he was a Celt, and towards the Celtic party he drifted more and more. The gentry of the Pale were soon sorry for the war, which ruined most of them; and when O'More confessed to his brother-in-law Fleming that he was the real originator of it, the latter answered that he found himself mistaken, for he thought the devil had begun it (Carte). In 1644 O'More's name appears in a list of Owen Roe's followers, his title in the Irish cipher being ‘the shoemaker’ (Contemp. Hist. i. 605). In the same year he offered himself for service in Antrim's Scottish expedition [see Macdonnell, Randal, 1609-1683], with a half-armed regiment of fifteen hundred men (ib. i. 652). In 1648 he was living at Ballinskill, in the district where his clan once ruled (ib. i. 229). In the same year he was in arms against the Kilkenny confederation, and was employed by Owen Roe in abortive negotiations with Inchiquin (ib. i. 747, 751). Early in the following year the author of the ‘Aphorismical Discovery,’ who regarded him as a mere temporiser, says he was one of O'Neill's cabinet council, and that he tried to bring about an understanding between his leader and Ormonde, but only succeeded in offending both (ib. ii. 21). After the declaration of Jamestown on 12 Aug. 1650 O'More and his brother Lewis both took arms, and he commanded some foot in Connaught in the following year (ib. ii. 114, 158). He had Clanricarde's commission as commander in Leinster, with full civil and military authority (ib. iii. 1, 15). But the cause was quite lost by this time, and O'More was driven into the remote island of Bofin. The author of the ‘Aphorismical Discovery’ says that he was basely deserted there by Bishop Lynch and others in December 1652; that he escaped to the Ulster coast, and lived there for a time disguised as a fisherman; and that he was reported to have escaped to Scotland (ib. iii. 143). It seems quite as likely that he perished obscurely in Ireland. Both brothers were excepted from pardon forlife or estate in the Cromwellian Act of Settlement 12 Aug. 1652, and Lewis was soon afterwards hanged as guilty of murder (Ludlow, Memoirs, ii. 8).

O'More was an accomplished man, and could speak well both in English and Irish. He was undoubtedly the main contriver of the rebellion; but he was not a professional soldier, and played no great part in the war. He was distantly connected by marriage with Ormonde, and Carte gives him credit for doing his best to check the barbarities of which Sir Phelim O'Neill's followers were guilty. That he was considered reasonable and humane by the protestants may be inferred from the fact that Lady Anne Parsons applied to him for protection. His answer