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at once obeyed the summons, reaching the camp before Drogheda apparently about 10 Jan. 1642; ‘and the lords,’ says Bellings, ‘to endear Sir Phelim O'Neill by the highest marks of their confidence in him, not only offered to receive him as general of all the forces which were designed for the siege, but by an instrument in form of a commission entrusted him with the government of the county of Meath during that service.’

Finding after a brief experience that the resources at his command were inadequate to the reduction of the place, Sir Phelim determined to renew his attempt to subjugate the Scots in Down and Antrim; but not succeeding in this, he returned to Drogheda about 10 Feb. Two days previously (8 Feb.) he had been proclaimed a traitor, and a reward of 1,000l. placed on his head by the government at Dublin. About the same time there appeared in London ‘The Petition of Sir Phelomy Oneale, Knight … Presented to the Right Honourable the Lords and Commons now assembled in the High Court of Parliament in England.’ The thing was a hoax; but Ormonde's name having been appended as a petitioner, it was ordered, on 8 March, that some speedy course be taken to repair his honour, and ‘for the corporal punishment of the printer and contriver.’ Several such pamphlets were in circulation calculated to inflame the public mind against Sir Phelim. A more specious but equally spurious one was that entitled ‘The True Demands of the Rebells in Ireland. Declaring the Cause of their taking up Armes. Sent into England by Sir Phelom O'Neale … Vlster. February 10, 1641. Published for preventing false copies already extant or that may be hereafter printed.’

After several months had been spent in a fruitless attempt to reduce Drogheda, Sir Phelim was compelled in April, by the approach of Ormonde, to raise the siege. In one of the numerous sallies made by the garrison at this time, he narrowly escaped capture by creeping into a fir bush. Retiring to Armagh, he was about the beginning of May forced by Monro to set fire to the place, and to beat a hasty retreat to Charlemont, while the greater part of his troops betook themselves to the fastnesses of the bogs and mountains of Tyrone. About this time, according to the author of the ‘Aphorismical Discovery,’ Sir Phelim, ‘inflated with some odd conceits of his own actions,’ assumed the title of Earl of Tyrone, but was immediately prevailed upon by Daniel O'Cahan to drop it. Sir Phelim himself denied that he ever subscribed himself as such in any official document. He was greatly crippled in his operations by want of powder, and though he made every effort to improve his position in the north-west, he was unable to prevent the recapture of Strabane by Sir William Stewart. He was joined by Alexander MacDonald (d. 1674) [q. v.], but on 16 June the allies were defeated at Glenmaquin, near Raphoe, after the sharpest encounter that had taken place in Ulster. Returning to Charlemont, he was confronted with a new danger. On 20 June Lord Montgomery, with a small force, having managed to capture Kinard, including Sir Phelim's own house, was preparing to attack Charlemont itself. Somewhere near the place made famous by Tyrone's victory over Sir Henry Bagenal, Sir Phelim contested the passage of the Blackwater with him, but was defeated, and narrowly escaped being captured. The same day Dungannon was surprised by Sir William Brownlow; but after a vain attempt to terrify the garrison of Charlemont into surrender, Lord Montgomery was compelled, by lack of ammunition, to raise the siege. Hitherto the possession of Fort Mountjoy had enabled Sir Phelim to command Lough Neagh, but on 26 June the fort was captured without a blow by Colonel James Clotworthy. Sir Phelim was obliged to retire into Charlemont Castle; his resources were exhausted; his followers, having lost all confidence in him, obeyed or disobeyed him as they liked; ‘one day he had two or three thousand, the next day but five hundred.’

Such was the situation when the news that Owen Roe O'Neill (d. 1649) [q. v.] had arrived with supplies at Doe Castle revived the drooping spirits of the Irish. Hastening to meet Owen Roe, Sir Phelim escorted him in safety by way of Ballyshannon to Charlemont. He at once yielded to the superior claims of Owen O'Neill to command the northern forces; but though it was endeavoured to render his resignation as palatable as possible by making him general of the horse, it was almost inevitable that jealousies should arise between the two kinsmen. Feeling himself eclipsed, Sir Phelim gradually drew to the side of the confederation. The exertions of Scarampi, and subsequently of Rinuccini, produced a temporary reconciliation; but, according to Bellings, ‘their differences were never entirely appeased, and each of them endeavoured upon all occasions to strengthen his faction … wherein Sir Phelim O'Neill thought he had outstripped the other by the alliance he had contracted with General Preston, whose daughter he took to wife.’ He was elected a representative of Ulster on the supreme council of the confederation, and on 1 Nov. 1642 was appointed one of the