Page images

now, my lord, as I am a dead man to this world, and as I hope for mercy in the other world, I was never

guilty of any of the treasons laid to my charge, as you 6 will hear in time; and my character you may receive " from my lord chancellor of Ireland, my Lord Berkeley, my Lord Essex, and my Lord Ormond.”

Prepared for death by Father Corker, one of his fellowprisoners, he went cheerfully to execution, on the 1st of July, 1681, and was beheaded, embowelled, and quartered “ according to law," on Tyburn green. Some relics of this holy martyr are now preserved at the Sienna convent, in Drogheda. His betrayers, one after another perished miserably.*

About the time of the primate's execution, one whose life was often attempted in vain, by the same suborned set who brought Dr. Plunkett to the block, perished by a treacherous device of the lord lieutenant. The duke, having by some means got into the secret of this gentleman's private affairs, employed one William Lucas, “ to whom he gave such private instructions” as procured him an interview with his victim on the 25th of April, 1681. Lucas, seizing the opportunity, shot him through the heart.

Redmond O'Hanlon, or Count O'Hanlon, (such was the title of the murdered man,) was the representative of a noble Irish family. Educated abroad, he was a soldier by disposition and training, an accomplished musician, and a poet. From his camp, amid the Mourne Mountains, be governed Louth and Down, and commanded the passes from Dublin to the north. His passport was better obeyed than a royal writ, and his laws were more respected than the acts of the Parliament. He is remembered still, in the traditions of Ulster, as the Cromwellians' scourge, the protector of the poor, and a gallant, finished gentleman. His assassination is the last consummate


* See his Life, by Rev. Dr. Croly of Maynooth, Dublin, published by James Duffy. Dr. Plunkett is stated by his biographer and by Bishop Challoner to be the last martyr who publicly suffered for the faith in Great Britain. This is incorrect. Father Maloney, or Father Nicholas Sheehy, of Clonmel, was, probably, the last.

crime that we shall have to record against the memory of Ormond.*

Other men and other councils, were to prevail for a season in both kingdoms, and this old but not venerable viceroy was to drain beside his grave, the bitter cup of exile, administered so often by his hand to other and better men.




King Charles, died and was succeeded by his brother, James, in 1685. Unlike the rest of his house, James had given hostages to the Catholics. To be their friend he had forfeited the confidence of a powerful party in England, and his constancy to principle during the last stormy years of his brother's reign had deservedly earned him their confidence and gratitude.

Though secretly a Catholic, the king was compelled by the circumstances of his country to moderate his zeal. From the beginning, his reign is remarkable for a divided policy. In a speech to the privy council, after his coronation, he declared his confidence in the loyalty of the established church. Soon after, he avowed to Louis and the Pope his design speedily to restore the Catholic religion. He sent the younger Clarendon,

Attempts have been made under English influences to degrade the historical character of Count O'Hanlon. In such accounts he is repre'sented as an earlier Rob Roy, or Freney. No lie could be much farther from the truth than this. He was, of course, adjudged an "outlaw" by English tribunals, but was so in the sense that partisan chiefs, like Zamalacaraguia and Cabrera, were "outlawed” by the ruling power in Spain. Hereward le Wake, William Wallace, and the American General Marion, were just such outlaws as Redmond O'Hanlon.

brother of his first wife, as viceroy to Dublin, and appointed Richard Talbot, agent of the Irish Catholics twenty years before, commander of the forces in Ireland. These half measures abated the confidence of the pope, of France, and the Irish Catholics. At the same time they revived a Protestant party, and kept it alive. His first course was to temporize; but neither friends nor enemies could permit this Committed by his own agents, encouraged by Louis, and drawn on by the

opposition, he was soon obliged to adopt more decided measures, and to face the armed apprehensions he had prematurely aroused. His coronation, with its first flush of popularity, was hardly over, when he came to sterner

In 1686, Clarendon was recalled, and with his elder brother, Rochester, dismissed the privy council. Lords Dover, Belayses, Arundel, and Powis, all Catholics, were appointed to the first offices in England, and Richard Talbot, created Earl of Tyrconnel, was appointed lord deputy of Ireland.

Talbot, a titular Catholic of ancient family, was not deficient in talents. He had been a hard liver in his youth, and had seen many changes of fortune. In a proverbially corrupt court, he had lived in intrigue, and had earned an evil notoriety. He brought to the government of Ireland the swaggering hardihood of the Cavaliers, an exhausted constitution, a diplomatic intellect, and a hearty detestation of the Puritans.

The experience of nearly half a century had convinced him that the only hope of the king and the Catholics was in a remodelled army, and a determined policy. If James bad been as resolute a king as Tyrconnel was a viceroy, the revolution would have begun with very different odds, if it ever did begin.

James, as an Englishman, was doubtful of the native Irish; and as a Stuart, he was mortally afraid of a Parliament. Without Tyrconnel's inbred audacity, he agreed with all his arguments, but adopted not one of his conclusions. In this way, by hesitation and timidity, he defeated the most zealous, and, up to a certain point, the most useful of his ministers.

It has been a traditional policy at Dublin Castle to make the Irish viceroyalty a fulcrum of operations in British politics. This policy was tried in the wars of the Roses, by Richard, duke of York, and by Margaret of Burgundy; it was imitated by Strafford, and by Cromwell, and was now taken up by King James. The present object was to raise in Ireland the standing army, which England jealously resisted, and to send the companies, as they were drilled, across the Channel. Accordingly, Tyrconnel, in 1685, commenced remodelling the army, filling the ranks, and giving commissions to Irish officers. A thousand Puritan families, taking alarm at this prospect, fled from Dublin; but the older Protestants remained undisturbed, and the panic of the Cromwellians was found to be entirely groundless. The Irish Catholics were not less tolerant in the reign of James with the accumulated wrongs of a century to avenge - - than they had been in the reign of Philip and Mary. The voluminous memoirs of those times do not record a single outrage upon Protestant life or property during the time the king, the viceroy, and the army were Catholic.

On one point alone was there any ground for Protestant apprehension — a repeal of the act of settlement of 1660. A majority of those plundered under this law, and of those who received the spoils, were still alive. The wrong was not beyond remedy, and many entertained hopes of recovering part, or all, their ancient possessions. When Tyrconnel first arrived, he declared the settlement unalterable; but as the party breach grew wider between the king's friends and enemies, he began to hint at inquiry and restoration. No such intention was really cherished by James : like all his family, he preferred English to Irish interests, and the English Roman Catholics, in his ministry, “were unanimous in favor of the act of settlement." * In this state of agitation were both parties kept, during Monmouth's invasion and the subsequent years, until the Irish Catholic

• Macaulay's History of England, vol. ii. p. 113, (Boston edition.)

[ocr errors]

Parliament of 1689 finally disposed of the question by rejecting a proposal to amend or alter the act of settlement.

In the battle of Sedgemoor, in 1685, Patrick Sarsfield, a gallant cavalry officer, and others of his countrymen, appeared on the king's side, and aided in the suppression of Monmouth's insurrection. From that period forth, Irish recruits were sought after to fill vacancies in the English ranks. The political events of 1686 and 1687, urged the king to still further military preparations. In the latter year, he ordered entire Irish companies to be landed at Chester and Bristol, and quartered in different garrison towns. This measure alarmed all the worst passions of the English. The vilest lies of 1641 were reprinted from the Puritan broadsheets, and scattered through London and the country. The doggerel lines, known as 66 Lillibulero!” whieh attributed all manner of vices to the Irish character, were sung in all directions. British officers made the most offensive distinctions between the soldiers of the different nations, and, when called to account for their conduct, openly or secretly sold themselves to William, Prince of Orange.

This prince, married to Mary, James's daughter, inherited the ability of an able house, with an accumulation of its unscrupulous ambition. At the age of manhood he was distinguished as a captain and statesman. Not only had he preserved Holland against all the power of Louis XIV., but he cherished a far weightier design — the conquest of England. His court was, for many years, the refuge of all the malecontents of his father-in-law's government. Monmouth, Argyle, Burnet, and Sunderland successively found patronage and protection at the Hague. His passive wife, an accomplice to the dishonor of her own bed, allowed her name to be freely used in promoting the interests of her husband, even to the ruin of her father. In 1688, when the scheme of the Dutch invasion was ripe, William was in his thirty-eighth year, and one of the most famous public characters in Europe.

In October of that year he sailed from Helvoetsluys, and on the 5th of November, landed at Torbay, with a


« PreviousContinue »