« PreviousContinue »
mentary governor of Dublin, had sent a large detachment of cavalry to Drogheda, sent lord Inchiquin after them. Inchiquin took first an entire troop by surprise; and soon after coming up with colonel Chidley Coote at the head of three hundred horse, he gave them a bloody overthrow: killing a great number, and compelling those who escaped, to scatter in every direction.* Encouraged by this success, and not unjustly reckoning upon the impression of terror it would create among the parliamentarians in that quarter, Inchiquin sent messengers to the marquess with intelligence of his success, and proposing to besiege Drogheda. The marquess assented, and forthwith detached to his aid, two regiments of foot, two cannon, with a sufficient supply of ammunition. With this reinforcement he proceeded to lay siege to Drogheda, which capitulated within a week, having made a very gallant resistance. The garrison, to the amount of six hundred good soldiers, entered into the ranks of the victorious regiments, by which lord Inchiquin was considerably strengthened for further exertion.
A little before this Owen O'Neile had joined the parliamentary side, and Inchiquin now received information that Monk, who governed in Dundalk, had orders to supply this new ally with ammunition, and that a strong party, under the command of general Farrel, had been sent by O'Neile to receive this important aid. Determining to interrupt this proceeding, Inchiquin marched towards Dundalk. Within a few miles of that city he met Farrel, who was on his departure with the supplies he had acquired; and attacking his forces vigorously, he destroyed nearly the entire party, routing the cavalry, and killing or taking the whole of five hundred foot. The supplies designed for Owen O'Neile thus fell into his hands. Advancing to Dundalk, he invested it, and in two days, contrived so much to dishearten the garrison, that they compelled Monk to surrender. This was an acquisition of exceeding importance: the military stores were richly supplied, and the whole garrison, officers, and soldiers, joined him freely. Monk departed alone for England.
But in the mean time the parliamentarians having at length prevailed in England, had their hands set free, and their attention disengaged from a conflict for existence. They now began to turn their attention to the settlement of affairs in Ireland, which they had hitherto regarded only as subsidiary or adverse to their struggles with the royalists. Cromwell was preparing to come over, and there was diffused a very general impression, that the war would on his arrival, assume a widely different character, and suffer a change of fortune unfavourable to the royal party. Under such a sense, the minds of many began to fall away, and many to undergo a prudent change. Lord Inchiquin's troops, of whom the greater part had been parliamentary, and all ready to join the most solvent employers, deserted—so that by the end of the same year in which his successes had appeared to promise a different issue, be was left without a man, and compelled to take refuge in France.
In France he was advanced by the French king to a command with the rank of lieutenant-general. And on the conquest of Catalonia
appointed viceroy there. He afterwards continued for many years in the French service in Spain and the Netherlands. On one occasion he was with his family taken prisoner by the Algerine corsairs; but redeemed himself and them. During his captivity, count Schomberg had been sent to take his command in Portugal, where he had been sent to assist the Portuguese in the revolt against Spain. Lord Inchiquin returned therefore to France, where he lived privately till the restoration. He then came to England, and was by the act of settlement restored to his estate, and had £8000 granted to him as a compensation out of the treasury, on account of his losses.
His lordship died 9th September, 1674. He had married a daughter of Sir W» St Leger, and left three sons and four daughters.
5ir ®l>m\t8 <Eoott> lEarl JWotmtrat&.
DIED A. D. 1661.
Sir Charles Coote, son of the first baronet of that name, who fell in 1642, when making a gallant and successful resistance against the rebels in their attack on Trim, succeeded his father as provost-marshall of Connaught, and inherited both his loyalty and heroism. He early distinguished himself in arms, and was returned a member for the county of Leitrim when he could have been little more than of age On the rebellion breaking out in 1641, he was besieged in CastleCoote, by 1200 Irish, under Con O'Rourke, and made so good a defence that they raised the siege in less than a week. He shortly after defeated Hugh O'Conor, son of O'Conor (Dun) of Ballintobber, and in a subsequent encounter, took his former assailant O'Rourke, and most of his party prisoners. He also made a successful sally from Castle-Coote upon the camp of the rebels at Creggs, and possessed himself of their baggage and provisions. From similar successes in the neighbourhood of Ballinasloe and the surrounding districts, he was enabled to supply Athlone with provisions and other necessaries, of which they stood much in need. In May, 1642, he took Galway, and advanced to the very borders of Mayo. He and his brother Richard, were jointly appointed to the office of collector and receiver-general of the king's composition money, rents and arrears, in Connaught and Clare, which office was to last during their lives.
During this and the following years, the vacillating conduct of the king, his unconstitutional concessions, and still more, the intrigues carried on by secret agents, under his sanction, served to diminish the zeal and confidence of many of his protestant adherents, and to detach them from his interests. The parliamentary army, bold and consistent in their conduct, and calculating in their policy, lost no opportunity of seducing to their ranks the valiant and the high-minded, and Sir Charles, amongst others, fell under their influence. In 1645, he had been made lord-president of Connaught, which office the parliament confirmed to him, with an allowance of £500 a year. They also recommended him strongly to Sir James Montgomery of the county of Down, to whose place he removed his wife, mother-in-law, and several of his children, where he left them, and proceeded with Sir James to visit Belfast and other northern towns of importance. He was supplied with a draught of fifty men out of each of the northern regiments for the defence of his province, besides provisions and ammunition, and these men were afterwards formed into a regiment, and placed under Sir Charles's command. In subsequent years he obtained from the parliament large portions of forfeited lands in various counties, and while president of Connaught, he purchased from transplanted Irish papists 4444 acres, which purchase was subsequently confirmed to him by Cromwell. After the restoration, several other grants of land also passed into his family under the act of settlement.*
With the forces committed to him, he secured the safety of the province, and in 1645, he was despatched by the parliamentary army to the British generals in the north, to entreat their assistance for the subjugation of the rebels in his government, and particularly to aid him in the reduction of Sligo. They granted him four thousand foot, and five hundred horse, and with these he quickly took Sligo, and desolated to a great extent the surrounding country. About this time the confederates of Kilkenny ordered Sir James Dillon to lead eight hundred men to the aid of the Roman catholic archbishop of Tuam. who undertook the recovery of Sligo. The archbishop had nearly effected his objeet, having penetrated into the town, when intelligence arrived of the approach of Sir Charles Coote with a large northern army, on which they precipitately retreated and relinquished all the advantages they had obtained. Sir Charles, not satisfied with the simple evacuation of the town, attacked the retreating army, and gained a decisive victory over the archbishop, who showed much bravery, but fell in the action. Some very important documents were found in the baggage of the archbishop, amongst others, an authentic copy of the private treaty between the king and the confederates, of which lord Glamorgan, a Roman catholic lord, and a particular favourite with Charles, had been the secret agent. This document was quickly published, and became a very effective weapon against the king, as, from its conveying the impression of double-dealing on his part, it not only justified in their own eyes those who fell from their loyalty, and sided with the parliament, but it perplexed and alarmed his most faithful adherents. Sir Charles now pursued a more reckless course, and with his parliamentary forces ravaged in the west of Ireland the property of all those who continued faithful to the king, or supported the confederates. These latter vehemently urged the marquess of Ormonde to proclaim him a traitor, and were supported in this petition by the marquess of Clanricarde, whose lands he had despoiled.
In 1649, Sir Charles maintained Derry for the parliament; but as the British forces in Ulster had strongly expressed their abhorrence of the king's death, the marquess of Ormonde hoped after that event, to induce him to make common cause against the regicides, and to declare for the young prince. From Sir Charles, however, he only received vague and general professions, although he had on former occasions expressed his determination never to support or join with
those who contemplated the slightest injury to the person or descendants of the king. In the year following he routed the Irish at the battle of Skirfola. He drove Sir George Monroe from the counties of Down -and Antrim, and possessed himself of that entire district with the exception of the castle of Carrickfergus. He subsequently extended his conquest;—Carrickfergus surrendered, and nearly the whole of the northern provinces fell into the hands of the republicans. Ireton and Coote advanced towards Athlone, but at that time failed to get it into their possession. In the following year however, Sir Charles made a sudden descent from the Curlew mountains and invested the town, and before Clanricarde could come to its relief, it was taken, and Sir Charles on his way to Galway.
He succeeded in gaining two good passages over the Shannon, to enable the parliamentary army to besiege Limerick, and after the surrender of that city Sir Charles again appeared before Galway, when the assembly there convened, prevailed on Clanricarde to send an offer of submission in the name of the nation to general Ludlow. No general treaty of submission would then however be accepted, and it remained with the parliament to make what distinctions it might hereafter think fit, according to the political conduct previously exemplified by the individuals. Few who could escape, cared to commit themselves to the tender mercies of the republicans. Preston the governor of Galway fled by sea, and the city contemning the authority of the marquess yielded itself almost without a struggle.
On the death of Cromwell, his successor summoned the members for Ireland to his parliament, and Sir Charles brought back the. account of its dissensions, dissolution and the intrigues of Wallingford-house.
On the abdication of Richard Cromwell there was a general sensation in favour of the king, which was augmented by the jealousy and severity of the republican commissioners. They immediately dismissed those in power, who they thought had a leaning to the royal cause, and amongst others lord Broghill and Sir Charles Coote, and on the quarrel between the army and parliament they cashiered two hundred officers without any trial, or any crime being imputed to them that could tarnish their military honour.
Broghill disgusted at the anarchy which prevailed in England, and having a natural leaning to monarchy, strengthened both by education and experience, secretly determined to further and foster the re-action which pervaded the kingdom, and which he saw must ultimately lead to some decided result. He communicated his views on the subject to Sir Charles Coote, who had already shown symptoms of disaffection to the parliament, which he had originally joined not from principle but interest. This powerful guide now pointed in the opposite direction, and he readily followed the indication: conscious that his past political conduct required a zealous and energetic reparation, he determined to declare at once in favour of the king, and by a bold and decisive course to obliterate the past. The time was not however yet come for such a measure, and it, at all events but ill accorded with the prudent and cautious policy of his friend, who with difficulty restrained him from an untimely and fatal disclosure of their designs. Gradually however a large portion of the nobility and gentry secretly joined their ranks, and suddenly burst on the astonished republicans with a force not to be resisted. By a sudden and determined effort they seized on the Castle and made prisoners of Jones, Corbet, and Tomlinson. Sir Charles went over his old ground in the re-conquest of the town and fort of Galway, where he changed the governor, planted a new standard, and marched a large body of men (chiefly of old English) to the assault of Athlone, which he also took, and then led his victorious followers to Dublin; there he impeached Ludlow, and the commissioners of high treason, and he and Broghill invited Charles immediately to repair to Ireland, declaring their own devotion to his cause, and their abhorrence of the unholy proceedings in England, and of the murder of the king. Ludlow shortly after arrived in the port of Dublin, but they failed in making him a prisoner, as he would not venture to land, and was soon after recalled to England by the humbled parliament. He had however sent letters and emissaries to the garrisons to endeavour to revive their old republican spirit, and to exasperate them against the new party but in vain. Sir Hardress Waller, one of the late king's judges remained, and left no means untried to get the partisans of the royal cause into his power. He mixed himself in their councils, and when they were in the act of preparing a violent remonstrance to be forwarded to England, he suggested the adjournment of the council to the castle, of which he had taken steps to obtain the possession, when he would at once have seized their persons; failing in this plan he publicly denounced them, and declared his determination to bring them to immediate and condign punishment. Sir Charles with his usual energy instantly mounted his horse, and accompanied by Sir Theophilus Jones, rode through the streets loudly denouncing him in turn; and calling for a free parliament, succeeded in rousing the passions of a large concourse of people, with whom he invested the castle, and after about a week's resistance obliged him to surrender, when he was sent a prisoner to England.
Charles, glad of the accession to his party of so successful a general, and such a zealous partisan, wrote him the most flattering answer, accepting his services, offering him an earldom, with any command he might select, and promising to take his family under his especial protection. Sir Arthur Forbes (afterwards lord Granard), was the bearer of this communication, and Sir Charles, whose zeal was redoubled, exerted his energies and influence with such effect that crowds flocked with incredible rapidity to the royal standard. When it was debated at their councils whether they should stipulate for a confirmation of their estates previous to the restoration of the king, Sir Charles urged that they should intrust their interests wholly to him and leave him unshackled, and he at length prevailed over the more cautious policy of lord Broghill and others. This triumph however sowed the seeds of jealousy between these two candidates for the royal favour, which might have had very prejudicial effects on the cause they were both pledged to uphold.
After the restoration, Coote was appointed one of the commissioners for Ireland, in conjunction with major Bury, and in the absence of the lord-lieutenant, governed the kingdom. In 1660 he was again made .president of Connaught, keeper of the castle of Athlone, constable of