Page images

or long after, till the visit of George the Fourth. All that the taste and wealth of the age could devise of magnificent and gorgeous was lavished to swell the solemnity of the scene, and do honour to one who had deserved so much, and from whom so much was yet looked for. Sir Daniel Bellingham, the first lord mayor of Dublin,* exerted himself to give effect and direction to the zeal of every class. The particulars may interest many readers, we therefore add them here in the words of Carte: "When his Grace was advanced within six miles of the place, he was met by a gallant train of young gentlemen, well mounted, and alike richly attired; their habits of a kind of ash-colour, trimmed with scarlet and silver, all in white scarfs, and commanded by one Mr Corker, a deserving gentleman, employed in his majesty's revenue, with other officers to complete the troop, which marched in excellent order to the bounds of the city liberty, where they left his Grace to be received by the sheriffs of the city who were attended by the corporations in their stations; after the sheriffs had entertained his Grace with a short speech, the citizens marched next; and after the maiden troop, next to that his Grace's gentlemen; and then his kettle drums and trumpets; after them the sheriffs of the city, bareheaded, then the sergeants-at-arms and their pursuivants; and in the next place followed his Grace, accompanied by the nobility and privy councillors of the kingdom; after them the lifeguard of horse. Within St James's gate his Grace was entertained by the lord mayor, aldermen, and principal members of the city on the right hand, and on the left stood six gladiators, stript, and drawn; next them his Grace's guard of battle-axes; before them his Majesty's company of the royal regiment; the rest of the companies making a guard to the castle. The king's company marched next; after the citizens; then the battleaxes; and thus through a wonderful throng of people, till they came to the conduit in the corn market, whence wine ran in abundance. At the new hall was erected a scaffold, on which were placed half-adozen anticks; by the tollsel was erected another scaffold, whereupon was represented Ceres under a Canopy, attended by four virgins. At the end of Castle street a third scaffold was erected, on which stood Vulcan by his anvil, with four Cyclops asleep by it. And the lost scaffold was raised at the entrance into the castle gate, whereupon stood Bacchus, with four or five good fellows. In fine, the whole ceremony was performed, both upon the point of order and affection, to his Grace's exceeding satisfaction, who was at last welcomed in the castle with great and small shot; and so soon as the streets could be cleared of coaches, (which was a good while first, for they were very many,) the streets and the air were filled with fire-works, which were very well managed to complete the entertainment."

It will not be necessary to go at length into the means which were taken by the duke to carry the bill, against which there was entertained in parliament so much personal reluctance. To impress them with feelings of a more favourable kind, he first employed them for sixteen days in a most apprehensive investigation on the recent insurrection, in which several of their members had been implicated, and many could

'Carte, II. 313.

not avoid feeling the danger of being involved. The effect was salutary, and they soon began to manifest a tone of mind more submissive and favourable to that sacrifice of personal interests which the peace of the kingdom demanded. And thus by considerable address, and the seasonable interposition of topics, adapted to work on their fears, the bill was passed with little demur, and received the royal assent on December 23, 1665. Five commissioners were appointed to carry it into operation, with a constant appeal to the duke in cases of difficulty. The discharge of this important duty continued for many years to load him with embarrassments and vexations: and the more so as it was his continual duty to interfere for the purpose of preventing the alienation of the lands allotted for the purposes of the act, to influential parties who obtained private grants from the crown. Such grants he steadily set aside, and thus created for himself innumerable private enemies, dangerous from their influence and want of principle. In 1663, the country gentlemen of England had been distressed by a general fall in the price of cattle, and a consequent difficulty in obtaining their rents. This they attributed to the importation of Irish and Scotch cattle and sheep, which on inquiry was found to be very considerable: the average importation from Ireland alone having been for many years sixty-one thousand head of black cattle. The House of Commons had in consequence ordered a bill to prohibit this importation. This bill passed quickly through the Commons. The measure had been carried with an anxious eagerness through the Commons, and with a view to evade opposition, had in fact been smuggled through as a clause in an "act for the encouragement of trade;" so that the duke of Ormonde only received an intimation upon the subject while it was passing through the upper house, and sent over the earl of Anglesey to protest against it in his name, and that of the Irish council. The act passed, and the destructive consequences were soon felt in Ireland. The council of trade, formed by the duke in Ireland, met to remonstrate upon this grievance: it was composed of numerous gentlemen of fortune, and of the principal merchants; from this body a strong remonstrance was transmitted to England. They represented the disastrous consequences of such a prohibition to Irish property, of which it so entirely destroyed the value, that all the farmers would be under the necessity of throwing up their leases. They pointed out the destructive effects which must also be sustained by his majesty's customs, so that the expense of the Irish army and civil list would be necessarily either wanting, to the total ruin of the kingdom, or to be defrayed by large remittances from England. They also shewed the injury which would be inflicted upon London, by a law which would withdraw the whole Irish trade from that city; as the entire stock of wines, clothes, and mostly all manufactured goods, for the use of the Irish nobility and gentry, were purchased there on a half-yearly credit, maintained by the returns of the Irish produce sold in England. They showed the suffering and inconvenience likely to ensue among the trading towns in England, by the rise of the prices of beef and mutton, and the consequent rise of wages. And further pointed out the serious injury to be sustained by the shipping interests on the western coast, chiefly maintained by the cattle and coal trade between the two countries. Their remonstrance was transmitted bj the earl of Ossory and the Irish council, to the duke of Ormonde then in England on the business of the settlement. The duke enforced their arguments with others derived from a more enlarged view of the political state of Europe at the time. Having strongly dwelt upon the unreasonableness of such an act, at a moment when Ireland had recently emerged from ten years of destructive civil war which had almost annihilated all her vital powers, he showed that by some law, or by the operation of some circumstance, every other resource was either cut off or reduced to little more than nominal: with Holland there was war; with France war was impending; the act for the encouragement of'trade, shut them out from America; an English monopoly from the Canary Islands. lie also repeated with strong additional weight, the forcible and home argument of the great loss which the revenue must sustain. He showed that the English fattening lands, which were mostly stocked from Ireland, must thus become a monopoly to the breeders of cattle. He exposed the arguments on the opposite side, and asserted that the consequences of which they complained were not attributable to the importation of Irish cattle; he observed the manifest absurdity of attributing the loss of £200,000, said to be sustained by English landlords to the importation of cattle to the amount of £140,000 from Ireland. He said that the recent revival of Lent in England must have diminished the consumption; the drought of the last summers must have hurt the farmers, the drain of emigration, the ravage of the plague, the stoppage of trade by the war with Holland. To all these reasons he added, that no such complaints had been heard of till recently, though the Irish cattle trade had been of old standing and had been much more considerable before the civil wars. Finally he brought forward many reasons to show that the injury thus done to Ireland must be eventually hurtful to England.

The king was convinced by these arguments, with many others which we have not noticed here: but he was himself dependent upon his commons, and had not the virtue or the firmness to oppose their narrow and selfish policy. The bill met with considerable opposition in the lords, where views of general policy were better understood, and considerations of national justice had more weight. There the earl of Castlehaven made a vigorous stand, and represented the great benefit which the commerce of Ireland had received under the sagacious and energetic care of the duke of Ormonde, "greater (he justly observed,) than it had experienced even from the earl of Strafford." His exposition converted many; but nothing better than delay was obtained. For the following three years the act continued to be the subject of the most violent party opposition and court manoeuvre, and after being strenuously combated by the duke and his friends at every stage, and on every discussion, and feebly discountenanced by the king, it was at last when the house of lords showed the strongest inclination to throw it out, carried through by the influence of the court and the interest of the duke of York. The effects were such as had been predicted by the duke of Ormonde and the friends of Ireland, but eventually turned out to the advantage of Ireland by turning the wealth and industry of the country into other channels, as we shall have to show further on.

During these proceedings, many troubles had occurred in Ireland, to engage the anxious attention of the duke. A party of forty plunderers, under the leaders Costello and Nangle, gave much trouble during the summer of 1666, but were in the end routed, and Nangle killed; after which Costello fled into Connaught, where, at the head of half-a-dozen desperadoes, he committed frightful havoc and plunder among the farm-houses. and villages. At last lord Dillon, on whose estate he had committed the greatest depredations, sent out some armed parties of his own tenantry. Costello attacked one of these in the night, which he thought to surprise: he was however shot dead, and the whole of his gang cut to pieces. Thus ended an affair which but a few years before would have been a wide wasting insurrection. It clearly indicates the sense of the people, at this time pretty well experienced as to the real fruits of civil war.

Far more serious was a mutiny among the troops, of whom a large part were ill-disposed to the government, and all discontented at the irregularity of their pay, and the insufficiency of their maintenance. The duke received intelligence of a conspiracy, headed by colonel Phaire, captain Walcot, and other officers, to raise a general insurrection; and having sent full information to lord Orrery, who commanded in Munster, lord Orrery soon found means to seize a person from whom he learned that the conspiracy extended to England and Scotland, and that it was planned " to rise at once in all the three kingdoms; to set up the long parliament, of which above forty members were engaged; that measures had been taken to gather together the disbanded soldiers of the old army, and Ludlow was to be general-in-chief; that they were to be assisted with forces, arms, and money, by the Dutch; and were to rise all in one night, and spare none that would not join in the design—which was to pull down the king with the house of lords, and instead of the bishops to set up a sober and painful ministry; that collections had been made of money to work upon the necessities of the soldiery, and they had already bought several men in different garrisons, and that particularly they had given large sums to soldiers (some of which he named,) that were upon the guard in the castles of Dublin and Limerick, for the seizing of those places, whenever they were ready to declare, which would be in a few weeks; that each officer engaged in the design had his particular province assigned him, and answered for a particular number of men, which he was to bring into the field."

The earl of Orrery, with the promptness which was natural to his active and energetic character, took the most effectual means to suppress so dangerous a spirit within his own jurisdiction. He communicated with all the officers, and established a strict system of vigilant observation over the actions and conversation of the soldiers. He proposed also to empower the officers to arrest all suspicious persons, and to seize their arms and horses; but to this the duke objected. "I confess," he writes to lord Orrery, " I am not willing to trust inferior officers, civil or military, with judging who are danger

[ocr errors][graphic][graphic][ocr errors]
« PreviousContinue »