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The affairs of Ireland brought before the English
Council. ABOUT this time, a warm dispute was carrying on at London, between the agents for the late confederate catholics, and the commissioners from the council and the two houses of the Irish parliament, in several memorials presented by them to the king, in justification of their respective claims, and pretensions.
" But' the Irish agents pleaded their cause under great disadvantages. The commissioners from the council and parliament differed a little among themselves, about their private and personal interests; but they were all united in one unhappy extreme, that is, (says Lord Clarendon, who was present in council during these dispụtes) in their implacable malice to the Irish ; insomuch, that they concurred in their desire, that they might gain nothing by the king's return; but be kept with the same rigour, and under the same incapacity to do hurt, which they were then under. " And though eradication was too foul a word to be uttered in the hearing of a christian prince, yet it was little less, or better, that they proposed, in other words, and hoped to obtain. Whereas the king thought that miserable people to be as worthy of his favour, as most of the other party, and that his honour, justice, and policy, as far as they were unrestrained by laws and contracts, obliged him more to preserve them, at least as much as he could. And yet it can hardly be believed, how few men, in all other points very reasonable, and who were far from cruelty in their nature, cherished that inclination in the king ; but thought it in him, and more in his brother, to proceed from other reasons than they published. Whilst others, who pretended to be only moved by christian charity and compassion, were more cruel towards them, and made them more miserable by extorting great engagements from them for their
protection i Cart. Orm. vol. ii. · Clarend. Life, vol. ii. f. 129.
protection and intercession ; which being performed, would leave them in as forlorn a condition as they were found.
Besides these impediments to their success, from the malice of their enemies, the ignorance and prejudice of some about the king, and the fraud and cruelty of others, these agents from the confederate catholics had another obstacle in their way, which was still more insurmountable; and that was the great poverty of those who 'sent them. " The new earls of Orrery and Montrath had taken care to raise · privately among the adventurers and soldiers twenty or thirty thousand pounds, to be disposed of properly, without any ac
3 Cart. Orm. vol. ii. p. 200.
* And as much more publicly. For “ the Irish commons, on the 4th of March, 1661, ordered, nem. con. thirty thousand pounds English to be raised throughout the kingdom, and presented to his grace the Duke of Ormond, with a clause, that they intended not that present of theirs should be interpreted as an exclusion of his grace from any other just favour his majesty might think fit to confer on him or his.” Com. Jour. vol. i.
This order was procured by his grace's friend, the Earl of Orrery, then one of the lords justices; for thus that earl wrote to his grace the day after it was passed. “ Yesterday the parliament met in this city ; I had engaged the speaker, and much the most, if not all the members, that their motion for their humble present for your grace might be the very first business gone upon. It paffed without one negative.” Orrery's State Lett, vol. i. p. 99.
The bill for granting thirty thousand pound to the Duke of Ormond, was read thrice in one day and paffed. See Com. Jour. vol. ii. f. 8.
The same Orrery having acquainted Ormond, that the first act of settlement was sent to England, adds, “ all this kingdom looks upon your grace as their great patron, to whom they in a high degree owe those hopes, which his majesty's gracious declaration has given them.” State Lett. p. 37. This declaration was the basis and ground-work of the acts of settlement. Again, he tells him, your lordship’s favour to this poor kingdom in hastening the bill of settlement, is fo signal and great, that I know not one man concerned in the good settlement of this kingdom but must, and does own himself your grace's servant, for your eminent pains and care in that desired work." Ib. p. 90.
count, by way of recompence to such as should be serviceable to what was called the English interest. The Irish had no such sums to command; few friends about the court, and no means of procuring any. Those of the English council, before whom they were to plead their cause, were highly prejudiced and incensed against the whole nation, knew little of the conduct of particular persons, who deserved favour; but were willing to involve every body, in the general guilt of the massacre, as well as the rebellion.
The sufferings of the Irish set forth by their agents
before the king and council. In vain did the Irish agents urge," “ the great and long sufferings of their countrymen; the loss of their estates, for five or fix and twenty years, the wasting and spending of the whole nation in battles, and tranfportation of men into the parts beyond seas ; whereof many had the honour to testify their fidelity to the king by real services ; many of them returned into England with him, and were still in his service; the great numbers of men, women, and children, that had been massacred, or executed in cold blood after the king's government had been driven from them; the multitudes that had been destroyed by famine, and the plague, these two heavy judgments having raged
· Clarend. Life.
: « About the year 1652 and 1653, (says an eye-witness) the plague and famine had so swept away whole countries, that a man might travel twenty or thirty miles, and not see a living creature, either man, beast or bird, they being all dead, or had quitted these desolate places. Our soldiers (Cromwell's) would tell stories of the places where they saw a smoak, it was so rare to see either smoak by day, or fire or candle by night and when we did meet with two or three poor
over the kingdom for two or three years; and at last, as a perfecution unheard of, the transplanting of the small remainder of the nation into a corner of the province of Connaught, where yet much of the lands were taken from them, which had been assigned with all those formalities of law, which were in use and practice under that government."
“ In vain did they claim the benefit of the two treaties of peace, the one in (1646) the late king's time, and confirmed by him ; the other (in 1648) confirmed by his majesty, who was present;? by both which they alleged, they stood indemnified for all acts done previously by them in the rebellion, and insisted upon their innocence since that time, and that they had paid fo entire an obedience to his majesty's commands while he was beyond the seas, that they betook themselves to, and withdrew themselves from, the service of France or Spain, in such manner as his pleasure was they should do.”
It was deemed strange indiscretion and folly in them, even by some of the least prejudiced of their judges, to mention in that conjuncture, " the unworthiness
cabins, none but very aged men and women and children (and those with the prophet might have complained, " we are become as a bottle in the smoak, our |
skin is black like an oven, because of the terrible famine,") were found in them. I have seen those : miserable creatures plucking stinking carrion out of a ditch, black and rotten; and have been credibly informed, that 'they digged corpses out of the grave to eat.
But the most tragical story I ever heard, was from an officer commanding a party of horse, who, hunting for tories (Irish) in a dark night, discovered a light, which they supposed to be a fire which the tories usually made in these waste countries to dress their provisions and warm themselves ; but drawing near, they found it á ruined cabin, and besetting it round, some did alight and peep in at the window, where they saw a great fire of wood, and a company of miserable old women and children fitting round about it, and betwixt them and the fire a dead corpse lay broiling, which as the fire roasted they cut off collops and eat." Colonel Laurence's Interest of Ireland, 2d part, p. 86, 87.
and incapacity of those, who for so many years had pofsefsed themselves of their estates, and sought then a confirmation of their rebellious title from his majesty; or to insinuate, that their rebellion had been more infamous, and of greater magnitude than that of the Irish, who had risen in arms to free themselves from the rigour and severity that was exercised upon them, by some of the king's ministers, and for the liberty of their consciences, without having the least intention or thought of withdrawing themselves from his majesty's obedience, or declining his government;' whereas the others had carried on an odious rebellion
b Lord Clarendon's Life and Memoirs, from which these passages are cited, is a posthumous work, written by himself, but not published till within these few years past. In this place he seems to exhibit some symptoms of remorse for that Machiavelian advice, which the Irish, ever accused him of having given the king, while the settlement of Ireland was under confideration, viz. “ to provide for his enemies, who might otherwise be troublesome, and to overlook his friends, who would always stick to him ;” and this advice they ever considered, as one of the principal causes of their ruin. That his lordship did give his majesty fome such counsel, on that occafion, and that, after his disgrace, he was heartily sorry for it, appears from the following certificate, which was lately printed in one of the public papers. Memorandum: “ The Rev. Mr.' Cock of Durham, being at his kinsman's, Sir Ralph Cole, at Banspeth-castle, about the time that Lord Chancellor Clarendon was disgraced, Sir Henry Brabant of Newcastle came thither, in his way from London, and told Sir Ralph and him this passage. That'he, Sir Henry Brabant, having been to wait on Lord Clarendon just after his disgrace, his lordship, after telling him how kindly he took that piece of friendthip, expressed himself to this effect : ' That there were grievous things laid to his charge ; but that he could bear up against all the rest, if his majesty would forgive him but one thing, which was, that he was the person who advised him 'to prefer his enemies, and neglect his friends; since the principles of the latter would secure them to him ;' adding, ' that he took that for the cause of his own ruin, and wished it might not occasion that of many others, and at last the king's.” This is testified by H. Bedford, who had it from the above Mr. Cock. London Chronicle, Decem. 2d, 1773.