with the remnant of his army, and was engaged for the rest of the year in disputes with the nuncio's party there. Preston, who was next year at the head of about three thousand men, formed an odd combination with Taafe and Inchiquin in the royalist interest, against O'Neill and the nuncio. The latter fulminated ‘the strictest form of excommunication’ against Preston; but the general had grown less sensitive, and the jesuits, who were supported by David Rothe [q. v.], bishop of Ossory, and other dignitaries, declared the sentence irregular and of no effect. When Ormonde returned to Ireland to take command of the moderate catholic and royalist forces, Preston wrote (12 Oct.) that he had kept the Leinster army together with great trouble and with no selfish aims, but for the king and for miserable, distracted Ireland, ‘which must derive its happiness from your lordship's resuming the management thereof, to which no man shall more readily submit than I’ (Confederation and War, vi. 286). On 28 Dec. Ormonde promised Preston, on the king's behalf, a peerage and an estate to support it out of lands forfeited by those who ‘oppose his authority and the peace of the kingdom’ (ib. vii. 171).
In June 1649, Preston, apparently jealous of the favour bestowed by Ormonde on Taafe, corresponded with Jones, the parliamentary general, but this came to nothing, unless it served to increase the general distrust of the royalist chiefs in one another. Preston was at the council of war held before Dublin on 27 July (ib.); the struggle with the parliamentary troops, which grew fiercer on Cromwell's landing in August, but Preston took little prominent part in it until the spring of 1650, when he was at Carlow. Thence he was sent by Ormonde to Waterford, to fill the place of governor. When Sir Hardress Waller took Carlow for the parliament, he allowed Preston's servant to follow his master with money, papers, and personal effects. Preston has been blamed for not making some effort to relieve Clonmel in March, but he was probably quite powerless to do so. He defended Waterford well against Ireton, and obtained honourable terms when he surrendered on 10 Aug. to famine as much as to arms. The city had been blockaded since the beginning of June.
Preston was created Viscount Tara by a patent dated at Ennis 2 July 1650. After leaving Waterford he was engaged in some trifling and hopeless operations in King's County, and he withdrew beyond the Shannon early in the following year. Ormonde had then left Ireland for the second time, and Clanricarde was appointed his deputy. In May 1651 Preston erected a last fortress for the falling confederacy in the island of Innisbofin off Connemara, and immediately afterwards became governor of Galway (Contemporary History, iii. 240). Preston steadily supported Clanricarde in opposition to the extreme clerical party, and discountenanced the projects of Charles IV, the feather-headed Duke of Lorraine, who had got rid of his own duchy and dreamed of a new one in Ireland. The Irish bishops, who were at their wits' ends, snatched even at this straw, but got only a small sum of money, some arms, and some very bad powder. On 22 Dec. an Irish priest wrote from Brussels to the secretary of propaganda that he had seen the Duke of Lorraine there, and that ‘his highness at once fell to abuse [convicia] of the Irish, and especially of Clanricarde, Preston, Taafe, &c., calling them rogues, traitors, and heretics’ (Spicilegium Ossoriense, i. 386). In 1652 Charles II stood sponsor to Preston's grandson Thomas, who was born in Paris. The royal godfather scarcely brought prosperity, for it is noted in the register of the Scots College at Douay in 1670 that this boy was hopelessly in debt to the college (Hist. MSS. Comm. 5th Rep. App. p. 654).
After taking Limerick in October 1651, Ireton was unable to attempt Galway, but he wrote on 7 Nov. from Clare Castle to the citizens, urging them to accept the terms which he had originally offered to Limerick, and to save themselves from the horrors of a siege by turning out Preston and his men. To Preston he also wrote ‘for the good men's sake of the city, who perhaps may not be so angry in the notion of a soldier's honour as to understand the quibbles of it … though men of your unhappy breeding think such glorious trifles worth the sacrificing or venturing of other men's lives and interests for … the frivolous impertinence of a soldier's honour or humour rather’ (Hardiman, p. 129). Five days later the mayor and his council answered that they meant to stand together with the garrison, and Preston wrote angrily that the heads of Ireton's followers were ‘as unsettled on their shoulders as any he knew in that town’ (ib.) Ireton died shortly afterwards, and Coote offered the same conditions, but they were again declined. In March 1651–2 Clanricarde proposed a pacification, but Ludlow said that the English parliament had to be obeyed, and that no one else could grant conditions (Ludlow, i. 343). Preston, finding the situation hopeless, slipped away to the continent, and on 5 April the townsmen surrendered on terms as good as those Ireton had offered.