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[FROM ANGLO-NORMAN INVASION
IRELAND

tumultuary host. Trained in foreign wars, Owen Roe O’Neill gradually formed a powerful army among the Ulster Irish, and showed many of the qualities of a skilful general. But like other O’Neills, he did little out of Ulster, and his great victory over Monro at Benburb on the Blackwater (June 5, 1646) had no lasting results. The English of the Pale were forced into rebellion, but could never get on with the native Irish, who hated them only less than the new colonists. Ormonde throughout maintained the position of a loyal subject, and, as the king’s representative, played a great but hopeless part. The Celts cared nothing for the king except as a weapon against the Protestants; the old Anglo-Irish Catholics cared much, but the nearer Charles approached them the more completely he alienated the Protestants. In 1645 Rinuccini reached Ireland as papal legate. He could never co-operate with the Roman Catholic confederacy at Kilkenny, which was under old English influence, and by throwing in his lot with the Celts only widened the gulf between the two sections. The state of parties at this period in Ireland has been graphically described by Carlyle. “There are,” he says, “Catholics of the Pale, demanding freedom of religion, under my lord this and my lord that. There are Old-Irish Catholics, under pope’s nuncios, under Abba O’Teague of the excommunications, and Owen Roe O’Neill, demanding not religious freedom only, but what we now call ‘repeal of the union,’ and unable to agree with Catholics of the English Pale. Then there are Ormonde Royalists, of the Episcopalian and mixed creeds, strong for king without covenant; Ulster and other Presbyterians strong for king and covenant; lastly, Michael Jones and the Commonwealth of England, who want neither king nor covenant.”

In all their negotiations with Ormonde and Glamorgan, Henrietta Maria and the earl of Bristol, the pope and Rinuccini stood out for an arrangement which would have destroyed the royal supremacy and established Romanism in Ireland, leaving to the Anglicans bare toleration, and to the Presbyterians not even that. Charles behaved with his usual weakness. Ormonde was forced to surrender Dublin to the Parliamentarians (July 1647), and the inextricable knot awaited Cromwell’s sword.

Cromwell’s campaign (1640-1650) showed how easily a good general with an efficient army might conquer Ireland. Resistance in the field was soon at an end; the starving-out policy of Carew and Mountjoy was employed Cromwell. against the guerrillas, and the soldiers were furnished with scythes to cut down the green corn. Bibles were also regularly served out to them. Oliver’s severe conduct at Drogheda and elsewhere is not morally defensible, but such methods were common in the wars of the period, and much may be urged in his favour. Strict discipline was maintained, soldiers being hanged for stealing chickens; faith was always kept; and short, sharp action was more merciful in the long run than a milder but less effective policy. Cromwell’s civil policy, to use Macaulay’s words, was “able, straightforward, and cruel.” He thinned the disaffected population by allowing foreign enlistment, and 40,000 are said to have been thus got rid of. Already Irish Catholics of good family had learned to offer their swords to foreign princes. In Spain, France and the Empire they often rose to the distinction which they were denied at home. About 9000 persons were sent to the West Indies, practically into slavery. Thus, and by the long war, the population was reduced to some 850,000, of whom 150,000 were English and Scots. Then came the transplantation beyond the Shannon. The Irish Catholic gentry were removed bodily with their servants and such tenants as consented to follow them, and with what remained of their cattle. They suffered dreadful hardships. To exclude foreign influences, a belt of 1 m. was reserved to soldiers on the coast from Sligo to the Shannon, but the idea was not fully carried out. The derelict property in the other provinces was divided between adventurers who had advanced money and soldiers who had fought in Ireland. Many of the latter sold their claims to officers or speculators, who were thus enabled to form estates. The majority of Irish labourers stayed to work under the settlers, and the country gradually became peaceful and prosperous. Some fighting Catholics haunted woods and hills under the name of tories, afterwards given in derision to a great party, and were hunted down with as little compunction as the wolves to which they were compared. Measures of great severity were taken against Roman Catholic priests; but it is said that Cromwell had great numbers in his pay, and that they kept him well informed. All classes of Protestants were tolerated, and Jeremy Taylor preached unmolested. Commercial equality being given to Ireland, the woollen trade at once revived, and a shipping interest sprang up. A legislative union was also effected, and Irish members attended at Westminster.

Charles II. was bound in honour to do something for such Irish Catholics as were innocent of the massacres of 1641, and the claims were not scrutinized too severely. It was found impossible to displace the Cromwellians, but Charles II. (1660-1685). they were shorn of about one-third of their lands. When the Caroline settlement was complete it was found that the great rebellion had resulted in reducing the Catholic share of the fertile parts of Ireland from two-thirds to one-third. Ormonde, whose wife had been allowed by Cromwell’s clemency to make him some remittances from the wreck of his estate, was largely and deservedly rewarded. A revenue of £30,000 was settled on the king, in consideration of which Ireland was in 1663 excluded from the benefit of the Navigation Act, and her nascent shipping interest ruined. In 1666 the importation of Irish cattle and horses into England was forbidden, the value of the former at once falling five-fold, of the latter twenty-fold. Dead meat, butter and cheese were also excluded, yet peace brought a certain prosperity. The woollen manufacture grew and flourished, and Macaulay is probably warranted in saying that under Charles II. Ireland was a pleasanter place of residence than it has been before or since. But it was pleasant only for those who conformed to the state religion. Roman Catholicism was tolerated, or rather connived at; but its professors were subject to frequent alarms, and to great severities during the ascendancy of Titus Oates. Bramhall became primate, and his hand was heavy against the Ulster Presbyterians. Jeremy Taylor began a persecution which stopped the influx of Scots into Ireland. Deprived of the means of teaching, the Independents and other sectaries soon disappeared. In a military colony women were scarce, and the “Ironsides” had married natives. Roman Catholicism held its own. The Quakers became numerous during this reign, and their peaceful industry was most useful. They venerate as their founder William Edmundson (1627-1712), a Westmorland man who had borne arms for the Parliament, and who settled in Antrim in 1652.

The duke of Ormonde was lord-lieutenant at the death of Charles II. At seventy-five his brain was as clear as ever, and James saw that he was no fit tool for his purpose. “See, gentlemen,” said the old chief, lifting his glass James II. (1685-1689). at a military dinner-party, “they say at court I am old and doting. But my hand is steady, nor doth my heart fail. . . . To the king’s health.” Calculating on his loyal subservience, James appointed his brother-in-law, Lord Clarendon, to succeed Ormonde. Monmouth’s enterprise made no stir, but gave an excuse for disarming the Protestant militia. The tories at once emerged from their hiding-places, and Clarendon found Ireland in a ferment. It was now the turn of the Protestants to feel persecution. Richard Talbot, one of the few survivors of Drogheda, governed the king’s Irish policy, while the lord-lieutenant was kept in the dark. Finally Talbot, created earl of Tyrconnel, himself received the sword of state. Protestants were weeded out of the army, Protestant officers in particular being superseded by idle Catholics of gentle blood, where they could be found, and in any case by Catholics. Bigotry rather than religion was Tyrconnel’s ruling passion, and he filled up offices with Catholics independently of character. Sir Alexander Fitton, a man convicted of forgery, became chancellor, and but three Protestant judges were left on the bench. The outlawries growing out of the affairs of 1641 were reversed as quickly as possible. Protestant corporations were dissolved by