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O'Neill
O'Neill
203

siderable part of the lands which had been confiscated at the time of the plantation (Daniel O'Neill to Roscommon, 1 Sept., Grievances of the Ulster Party, 3 Sept., in Gilbert, i. 701, 702). The revolution, in short, was religious and political at Kilkenny, but religious and agrarian in Ulster.

By this time the situation was complicated by the rejection of the peace by Rinuccini and by most of the towns in the south of Ireland. Before the end of September the supreme council had been replaced by one entirely at Rinuccini's devotion. In the campaign of 1647 an attempt was made to combine the whole Irish force against Ormonde in Dublin, but there was rivalry between O'Neill and Preston, and the former withdrew to Connaught. In August, Preston having been defeated by Jones [see JONES, MICHAEL], who had been appointed governor of Dublin by the English parliament when Ormonde left Ireland, at Dungan Hill, the supreme council summoned O'Neill to its aid. He soon established himself in Leinster, and skilfully kept Jones in check, but his plunderings roused the southern Irish against him, and Jones and Inchiquin, who were now in arms for the English parliament, proved too strong to be resisted. By May 1648 the supreme council had revolted against the ascendency of Rinuccini, and on 20 May a cessation of arms was signed between it and Inchiquin [see O'Brien, Murrough, first Earl of Inchiquin], with the object of forming a combination against Jones and the parliamentarians (Vindiciarum Catholicorum Hiberniæ libri duo, p. 88). This proceeding having been violently condemned by Rinuccini, O'Neill sided with the latter, and the disputes which arose prevented the Irish enemies of the parliament from taking the opportunity afforded by the absorption of the parliamentary army in England in the second civil war. On 17 June O'Neill and his commanders issued a declaration that they were still loyal to the king and to the Irish confederacy, but that they abhorred the authors of the cessation as virtually subordinating themselves to Ormonde, who had been guilty of surrendering Dublin and other garrisons in his power to the English parliament (Declaration in Gilbert, i. 741). On 30 Sept. the general assembly of the confederates replied by declaring O'Neill an enemy and a traitor (ib. p. 749). Yet on 13 Oct. O'Neill, hearing that Ormonde had returned to Ireland as the king's lord-lieutenant, sent him a congratulatory letter (ib.)

It is unlikely that there was any genuine feeling behind these congratulations. O'Neill's real thoughts were expressed in a letter to Ormonde of 6 Dec. ‘The distance,’ he wrote, ‘your Excellency finds me at with the rest of the confederates is occasioned by my obligation to defend his Holyness's Nuncio and the rest of the clergy that adhered to him, and myself too, from the violence and indiscretion of some of the council that were at Kilkenny. … As for the treaty which your Excellency hath begun with the Assembly, if it end with the satisfaction of the clergy in point of religion, and of the rest of the Assembly in what concerns the common interest of the nation and the safety and advantage of the poor provinces which entrusted me with their army, I shall with much joy and gladness submit to the conclusion of it, for these are the ends which made me quit the good condition I was in abroad, and with a great deal of trouble to myself and expense of my fortune, stay here’ (O'Neill to Ormonde, 6 Dec., ib. p. 754).

Everything was against the realisation of O'Neill's ideal of an Ireland strongly organised under the Roman catholic clergy, and practically independent with the English king as a figure-head. Rinuccini, vanquished by the alliance between Ormonde, Inchiquin, and the supreme council, left Ireland in February 1649, and the English Commonwealth was by that time preparing an attack in force on both Irish parties. All that O'Neill could do was to keep aloof as much as possible from the parliamentarians and from the supreme council. In a letter written to the Cardinal de la Cueva on 18 May 1649, he denounced vigorously the members of the latter body who ‘iniquâ collegatione se conjunxerint hæreticis et ecclesiæ inimicis, imo ejusdem perfidiæ caput et gubernatorem instituerint regni Marchionem Ormoniæ’ (Gilbert, ii. 435). Isolated as he was, it was difficult for him to make his weight felt, and his weakness was the greater because he was in great want of ammunition and provisions. During the spring of 1649 he negotiated with one or other of the parties which he detested, merely, it would seem, with the object of keeping his army on foot till he received the supplies which Rinuccini had promised to send him from the continent. He had for some time been in communication with Jones, but, finding nothing was to be gained in that quarter, he asked Ormonde in February to send commissioners to treat for an alliance. We have but little information on the course of this negotiation, but in the beginning of April it had practically broken down. O'Neill then turned to Monck, who commanded the parliamentary forces in the neighbourhood of Dundalk and Belfast, and was being attacked by the Scots for his refusal to renew the