Sivut kuvina

in triumph, had taken on himself the administration of the realm, and had issued letters summoning a Convention.

Those lords and gentlemen at whose wiiii«m request the Prince had assumed n?smu. the government, had earnestly Ttm."1"" entreated him to take the state co'nnei. of Ireland into his immediate consideration; and he had in reply assured them, that he would do his best to maintain the Protestant religion and the English interest in that kingdom. His enemies afterwards accused him of utterly disregarding this promise; nay, they alleged, that lie purposely suffered Ireland to sink deeper and deeper in calamity. Halifax, they said, had, with cruel and perfidious ingenuity, devised this mode of placing the Convention under a species of duress; and the trick had succeeded but too well. The vote which called William to the throne would not have passed so easily but for the extreme dangers which threatened the state; and it was in consequence of his own dishonest inactivity that those dangers had become extreme.* As this accusation rests on no proof, those who repeat it are at least bound to show that some course clearly better than the course which William took was open to him; and this they will find a difficult task. If indeed he could, within a few weeks after his arrival in London, have sent a great expedition to Ireland, that kingdom might perhaps, after a short struggle, or without a struggle, have submitted to his authority; and a long series of crimes and calamities might have been averted. But the factious orators and pamphleteers, who, much at their ease, reproached him for not sending such an expedition, would have been perplexed if they had been required to find the men, the ships, and the funds. The English army had lately been arrayed against him: part of it was still ill disposed towards him; and the whole was utterly disorganised. Of the army which he had brought from Holland not a regiment could be spared. He had found the treasury empty and

* Burnet, i. 807.; and the notes by Sivlft and Dartmouth. Tutchin, in the Observator, repeats this idle calumny.

the pay of the navy in arrear. He had no power to hypothecate any part of the public revenue. Those who lent him money lent it on no security but his bare word. It was only by the patriotic liberality of the merchants of London that he was enabled to defray the ordinary charges of government till the meeting of the Convention. It is surely unjust to bhime him for not instantly fitting out, in such circumstances, an armament sufficient to conquer a kingdom.

Perceiving that, till the government of England was settled, it would not be in his power to interfere effectually by arms in the affairs of Ireland, he determined to try what effect negotiation would produce. Those who judged after the event pronounced that he had not, on this occasion, shown his usual sagacity. He ought, they said, to have known that it was absurd to expect submission from Tyrconnel. Such however was not at the time the opinion of men who had the best means of information, and whose interest was a sufficient pledge for their sincerity. A great meeting of noblemen and gentlemen who had property in Ireland was held, during the interregnum, at the house of the Duke of Ormond in Saint James's Square. They advised the Prince to try whether the Lord Deputy might not be induced to capitulate on honourable and advantageous terms.* In truth there is strong reason to believe that Tyrconnel really wavered. For, fierce as were his passions, they never made him forgetful of his interest; and he might well doubt whether it were not for his interest, in declining years and health, to retire from business with full indemnity for all past offences, with high rank, and with an ample fortune, rather than to stake his life and property on the event of a war against the whole power of England. It is certain that he professed himself willing to yield. He opened a communication with the Prince of Orange, and affected to take counsel with Mountjoy, and with others who, though they had not thrown off their allegiance to James, were

* The Orange Gazette, Jan. 10.168|.

yet firmly attached to the Established

Church and to the English connection.

In one quarter, a quarter from which

William wasiustified in expeet

Thp Tern. . ,, .•. ,. . r ,

pie. con- ing the most judicious counsel, •nited. there was a strong conviction that the professions of Tyrconnel were sincere. No British statesman had then so high a reputation throughout Europe as Sir William Temple. His diplomatic skill had, twenty years before, arrested the progress of the French power. He had been a steady and an useful friend to the United Provinces and to the House of Nassau. He had long been on terms of friendly confidence with the Prince of Orange, and had negotiated that marriage to which England owed her recent deliverance. With the affairs of Ireland Temple was supposed to be peculiarly well acquainted. His family had considerable property there: he had himself resided there during several years: he had represented the county of Carlow in parliament; and a large part of his income was derived from a lucrative Irish office. There was no height of power, of rank, or of opulence, to which he might not have risen, if he would have consented to quit his retreat, and to lend his assistance and the weight of his name to the new government But power, rank, and opulence had less attraction for his Epicurean temper than ease and security. He rejected the most tempting invitations, and continued to amuse himself with his books, his tulips, and his pineapples, in rural seclusion. With some hesitation, however, he consented to let his eldest son John enter into the service of William. During the vacancy of the throne, John Temple was employed in business of high importance; and, on subjects connected with Ireland, his opinion, which might reasonably be supposed to agree with his father's, had great weight. The young politician flattered himself that he had secured the services of an agent eminently qualified to bring the negotiation with Tyrconnel to a prosperous issue.

This agent was one of a remarkable family which had sprung from a noble Scottish stock, but which had long been settled in Ireland, and which pro

fessed the Roman Catholic religion. In the gay crowd which thronged Hm,^ Whitehall, during those scan- JJJJJJ?" dalous years of Jubilee which iroiacdoo immediately followed the Be- p"° storation, the Hamiltons were preeminently conspicuous. The long fair ringlets, the radiant bloom, and the languishing blue eyes of the lovely Elizabeth still charm us on the canvass of Lely. She had the glory of achieving no vulgar conquest. It was reserved for her voluptuous beanty and for her flippant wit to overcome the aversion which the coldhearted and scoffing Grammont felt fop the indissoluble tie. One of her brothers, Anthony, became the chronicler of that brilliant and dissolute society of which he had been not the least brilliant nor the least dissolute member, He deserves the high praise of having, though not a Frenchman, written the book which is, of all books, the most exquisitely French, both in spirit and in manner. Another brother, named Richard, had, in foreign service, gained some military experience. His wit and politeness had distinguished him even in the splendid circle of Versailles. It was whispered that he had dared to lift his eyes to an exalted lady, the natural daughter of the Great King, the wife of a legitimate prince of the House of Bourbon, and that she had not seemed to be displeased by the attentions of her presumptuous admirer.* Richard had subsequently returned to his native country, had been appointed Brigadier General in the Irish army, and had been sworn of the Irish Privy Council. When the Dutch invasion was expected, he came across Saint George's Channel with the troops which Tyrconnel sent to reinforce the royal army. After the flight of James, those troops submitted to the Prince of Orange. Richard Hamilton not only made his own peace with what was now the ruling power, but declared himself confident that, if he were sent to Dublin, he could conduct the negotiation which had been opened there to a happy close. H ho

* Jlemoires de Madame de la Payette.

failed, he pledged his 'word to return to London in three weeks. Hie influence in Ireland was known to be great: his honour had never been questioned; and he was highly esteemed by John Temple. The young statesman declared that he would answer for his friend Richard as for himself. This guarantee was thought sufficient; and Hamilton set out for Ireland, proclaiming everywhere that he should soon bring Tyrconnel to reason. The offers which he was authorised to make to the Roman Catholics and personally to the Lord Deputy were most liberal. *

It is not impossible that Hamilton Tyrcotmei may have really meant to keep ■enj. h{s promise. But when he arami Rico rived at Dublin, he found that 10 Ftlmce- he had undertaken a task which he could not perform. The hesitation of Tyrconnel, whether genuine or feigned, was at an end. He had found that he had no longer a choice. He had with little difficulty stimulated the ignorant and susceptible Irish to fury. To calm them was beyond his skill. Rumours were abroad that the Viceroy was corresponding with the English; and those rumours had set the nation on fire. The cry of the common people was that, if he dared to sell them for wealth and honours, they would burn th« Castle and him in it, and would put themselves under the protection of France, f It was necessary for him to protest, truly or falsely, that he had never harboured any thought of submission, and that he had pretended to negotiate only for the purpose of gaining time. Yet, before he openly declared against the English settlers, and against England herself, what must be a war to the death, he wished to rid himself of Mountjoy, who had hitherto been true to the cause of James, but who, it was well known, would never consent to be a party to the spoliation and oppression of the colonists. Hypocritical professions of friendship and of pacific intentions were not spared. It was a

* Burnet, i. 808.; Life of James, ii. 320.; Commons' Journals, July 29. 1689. i • Mar. 25. . „„„

t Avaux to Lewis, Aprilt, 16S9.

sacred duty, Tyrconnel said, to avert the calamities which seemed to be impending. King James himself, if he understood the whole case, would not wish his Irish friends to engage at that moment in an enterprise which must be fatal to them and useless to him. He would permit them, he would command them, to submit to necessity, and to reserve themselves for better times. If any man of weight, any man loyal, able, and well-informed, would repair to Saint Germains and explain the state of things, His Majesty would easily be convinced. Would Mountjoy undertake this most honourable and important mission? Mountjoy hesitated, and suggested that some person more likely to be acceptable to the King should be the messenger. Tyrconnel swore, ranted, declared that, unless King James were well advised, Ireland would sink to the pit of hell, and insisted that Mountjoy should go as the representative of the loyal members of the Established Church, and should be accompanied by Chief Baron Rice, a Roman Catholic high in the royal favour. Mountjoy yielded. The two ambassadors departed together, but with very different commissions. Rice was charged to tell James that Mountjoy was a traitor at heart, and had been sent to France only that the Protestants of Ireland might be deprived of a favourite leader. The King was to be assured that he was impatiently expected in Ireland, and that, if he would show himself there with a French force, he might speedily retrieve his fallen fortunes. * The Chief Baron carried with him other instructions which were probably kept secret even from the Court of Saint Germains. If James should be unwilling to put himself at the head of the native population of Ireland, Rice was directed to request a private audience of Lewis, and to offer to make the island a province of France; f

* Clarke's Life of James, ii. 331.; Mountjoy's Circular Letter, dated Jan. 10. 168|; King, iv. 8. In " Light to the Blind" Tyrconnel's " wise dissimulation " is commended.

t Avaux to Lewis, April £§. 1689.

As soon as the two envoys had Tmonnei departed, Tyrconnel set him"iih"" se^ *° PreParer *ne conflict i^opie to which had become inevitable; ""*■ and he was strenuously assisted by the faithless Hamilton. The Irish nation was called to arms; and the call was obeyed with strange promptitude and enthusiasm. The flag on the Castle of Dublin was embroidered ■with the words, "Now or never! Now and for ever!" Those words resounded through the whole island.* Never in modern Europe has there been such a rising up of a whole people. The habits of the Celtic peasant were such that he made no sacrifice in quitting his potatoe ground for the camp. He loved excitement and adventure. He feared work far more than danger. His national and religious feelings had, during three years, been exasperated by the constant application of stimulants. At every fair and market he had heard that a good time was at hand, that the tyrants who spoke Saxon and lived in slated houses were about to be swept away, and that the land would again belong to its own children. By the peat fires of a hundred thousand cabins had nightly been sung rude ballads which predicted the deliverance of the oppressed race. The priests, most of whom belonged to those old families which the Act of Settlement had ruined, but which were still revered by the native population, had, from a thousand altars, charged every Catholic to show his zeal for the true Church by providing weapons against the day when it might be necessary to try the chances of battle in her cause. The army, which, under Ormond, had consisted of only eight regiments, was now increased to forty eight: and the ranks were soon full to overflowing. It was impossible to find at short notice one tenth of the number of good officers which was required. Commissions were scattered profusely among idle cosherers who claimed to be descended from good Irish families. Yet even thus the supply of captains and lieutenants fell short of the de

* Printed Letter from Dublin, Feb. 25. 1689; Mephibosheth and Ziba, 1689.

mand; and many companies were commanded by cobblers, tailors, and footmen. *

The pay of the soldiers was very small. The private had no ni|1[|| more than three pence a day. «oo a a* One half only of this pittance C°°°°J' was ever given him in money; and that half was often in arrear. But a far more seductive bait than his miserable stipend was the prospect of boundless license. If the government allowed him less than sufficed for his wants, it was not extreme to mark the means by which he supplied the deficiency. Though four fifths of the population of Ireland were Celtic and Roman Catholic, more than four fifths of the property of Ireland belonged to the Protestant Englishry. The garner?, the cellars, above all the flocks and herds of the minority, were abandoned to the majority. Whatever the regular troops spared was devoured by bands of marauders who overran almost every barony in the island. For the arming was now universal. No man dared to present himself at mass without some weapon, a pike, a long knife called a skean, or, at the very least, a strong ashen stake, pointed and hardened in the fire. The very women were exhorted by their spiritual directors to carry skeans. Every smith, every carpenter, every cutler, was at constant work on guns and blades. It was scarcely possible to get a horse shod. If any Protestant artisan refused to assist in the manufacture of implements which were to be used against his nation and his religion, he was flung into prison. It seems probable that, at the end of February, at least a hundred thousand Irishmen were in arms. Near fifty thousand of them were soldiers. The rest were banditti, whose violence and licentiousness the Govern

• The connection of the priests with the old Irish families is mentioned in Petty1* Political Anatomy of Ireland. See the Short View by a Clergyman lately escaped, 168$; Ireland's Lamentation, by an English Protestant that lately narrowly escaped with life from thence, 1689; A True Account of the State of Ireland, by a person who with grot difficulty left Dublin, 1689; King, ii. *. Avaux confirms all that these writers &j about the Irish officers.

merit affected to disapprove, but did not really exert itself to suppress. The Protestants not only were not protected, but were not suffered to protect themselves. It was determined that they should be left unarmed in the midst of an armed and hostile population. A day was fixed on which they were to bring all their swords and firelocks to the parish churches; and it was notified that every Protestant house in which, after that day, a weapon should be found should be given up to be sacked by the soldiers. Bitter complaints were made that any knave might, by hiding a spear head or an old gun barrel in a corner of a mansion, bring utter ruin on the owner.*

Chief Justice Keating, himself a Protestant, and almost the only Protestant who still held a great place in Ireland, struggled courageously in the cause of justice and order against the united strength of the government and the populace. At the Wicklow assizes of that spring, he, from the seat of judgment, set forth with great strength of language the miserable state of the country. Whole counties, he said, were devastated by a rabble resembling the vultures and ravens which follow the march of an army. Most of these wretches were not soldiers. They acted under no authority known to the law. Yet it was, he owned, but too evident that they were encouraged and screened by some who were in high command. How else could it be that a market overt for plunder should be held within a short distance of the capital? The stories which travellers told of the savage Hottentots near the

» At the French War Office is a report on the State of Ireland in February 1689. In that report it is said that the- Irish who had enlisted as soldiers were forty five thousand, and that the number would have been a hundred thousand if all who volunteered had been admitted*. See the Sad and Lamentable Condidition of the Protestants in Ireland, 1689; Hamilton's True Relation, 1690; The State of Papist and Protestant Properties in the Kingdom of Ireland, 1689; A true Representation to the King and People of England how Matters were carried on all along in Ireland, licensed Aug. 16. 1689; Letter from Dublin, 1689 ; Ireland's Lamentation, 1689 ; Compleat History of the Life and Military Actions of Richard, Earl of Tyrconnel, Generalissimo of all the Irish forces now in arms, 1689.

Cape of Good Hope were realised iu Leinster. Nothing was more common than for an honest man to lie down rich in flocks and herds acquired by the industry of a long life, and to wake a beggar. It was however to small purpose that Keating attempted, in the midst of that fearful anarchy, to uphold the supremacy of the law. Priests and military chiefs appeared on the bench for the purpose of overawing the judge and countenancing the robbers. One ruffian escaped because no prosecutor dared to appear. Another declared that he had armed himself in conformity to the orders of his spiritual guide, and to the example of many persons of higher station than himself, whom he saw at that moment in Court. Two only of the Merry Boys, as they were called, were convicted: the worst criminals escaped; and the Chief Justice indignantly told the jurymen that the guilt of the public ruin lay at their door.*

When such disorder prevailed in Wicklow, it is easy to imagine what must have been the state of districts more barbarous and more remote from the seat of government. Keating appears to have been the only magistrate who strenuously exerted himself to put the law in force. Indeed Nugent, the Chief Justice of the highest criminal court of the realm, declared on the bench at Cork that, without violence and spoliation, the intentions of the Government could not be carried into effect, and that robbery must at that conjuncture be tolerated as a necessary


The destruction of property which took place within a few weeks would be incredible, if it were not attested by witnesses unconnected with each other and attached to very different interests. There is a close, and sometimes almost a verbal, agreement between the descriptions given by Protestants, who, during that reign of terror, escaped, at the hazard of their lives, to England, and the descriptions given by the envoys, commissaries, and captains of Lewis. All agreed in

» See the proceedings in the State Trials. t King, iii. 10.

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