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the ancient Irish tribes—the O'Neils, the O'Byrnes, the O'Reillys, the O'Hanlons, the O'Farrells, the M‘Mahons, the Maguires-all who had rights to claim, and wrongs to avenge-flocked to his standard.
Ulster and Leinster were to rise in arms in October 1641. The English settlers were to be expelled, and the confiscated lands restored to their rightful owners; the Catholic religion was to be established, and the independence of the Irish parliament recognised by the repeal of Poynings' law, and the withdrawal of English control. The plans of the Irish were well made, and the secret was well kept up to the last moment. Then, on the very eve of the rising, the news, like a bolt from the blue, burst on the authorities at Dublin Castle.
Prompt measures were taken. The city gates were closed.
The troops were called to arms. Two of the insurgent leaders- M‘Mahon and Maguire-were arrested, and three othersO’Moore, O'Byrne and Plunket-barely escaped with their lives. The rising in Leinster was for a time checked, but in Ulster the insurrection broke out with savage ferocity. It was the rebellion of an untrained peasantry. There was no capable leader, no organisation, no discipline, no army.
There were horrible wrongs to be avenged, and they were avenged horrbily. The Irish of the province rushed like a mob on the English settlers, drove them from their homes—which had so recently been the homes of Irish-and swept them into the high
THE REBELLION OF 1641
ways, there to die of cold and hunger, or to be brutally murdered by a maddened peasantry. For four months almost the whole of the province was in the hands of the insurgents, who spared not their foes.
“The pent-up fury of a people,' says Mr Lecky, 'brutalised by long oppression, broke out at last. They fought as men will fight who had been despoiled of their property, whose religion was under the ban of the law, who expected no quarter from their adversaries, whose parents had been hunted down like wild beasts.' The number of English who perished in this outbreak has been tremendously exaggerated; but, reduced within reasonable limits, it is still sufficiently appalling. Probably 4000 were actually killed, while some 8000 perished from want and ill-usage. This dark picture is relieved by some gleams of light wherever the rebels were held in military discipline.
In Cavna, where O'Reilly, a chief of some ability, commanded, the fury of the insurgents was checked and controlled. Castles and towns surrendered to O'Reilly on conditions which were scrupulously kept. English settlers threw themselves on his protection, and were guarded with care. Bedell, the Protestant bishop of Kilmore, fell into his hands and was treated with kindness and humanity. Bedell's family, with 1200 English besides, were escorted by 2000 rebels to the English garrison at Drogheda. •The rebels,' says Bedell's friend and biographer, Clogy, "offered us no violence [during a march of seven days) save in the night,
weary with continual watching—they would steal away a good horse, and run off, but were very civil to us all the way, and many of them wept at our parting from them, that had lived so long and peacefully amongst them as if we had been one people with them.' Bedell died in the hands of the rebels, and was buried with every mark of respect and honour.
Clogy describes the scene,- - The chiefs of the Irish rebels gathered their forces together and accompanied the corpse from Mr Sheriden's house to the churchyard of Kilmore in a great solemnity, and desired Alexander Clogy [himself), the minister of Cavan, to perform the office for the dead (according to our manner in former times), and promised not to interrupt in the least. But we, being surrounded with armed men, esteemed it more prudent to bury him as all the patriarchs, prophets, Christ and His apostles, and all the saints and martyrs in former ages were [buried), than attempt such a hazardous office (and sacrifice for the dead as they call it), and needless at such a time in the
presence of those Egyptians. But instead thereof, they gave him a volley of shot, and said with loud voices “ Requiescat in pace ultimus Anglorum.")
The rebellion quickly spread to the south, and Leinster and Munster were soon aflame. But the English now rallied; troops were poured into the country, and, to
use the language of Mr Lecky, the worst crimes of Mountjoy and Carew were rivalled by the
SIR CHARLES COOTE
soldiers of Sir Charles Coote, of St Leger, and of Sir Frederick Hamilton.' Coote took Wicklow, and, says Leland, '[committed) such unprovoked, such ruthless and such indiscriminate slaughter, as rivalled the utmost extravagances of the northerns.' Another general, we read, killed in one day 700 country people — men, women and children —who were driving away their cattle, near the town of Newry. In the island of Magee, thirty families were butchered in one night by the English garrison at Carrickfergus. So great was the slaughter of the Irish after the defeat of the rebels at Dundalk, that, we learn from Carte, 'there was neither man nor beast to be found in sixteen miles between the two towns of Drogheda and Dundalk; nor, on the other side of Dundalk, in the County Monaghan, nearer than Carrickmacrossma strong pile twelve miles distant.'
Fire and sword were carried throughout the country;
whole districts were laid waste; guilty and innocent were involved in common ruin.
• We can hardly,' says Mr Lecky, ‘have a shorter or more graphic picture of the manner in which the war was conducted than is furnished by one of the items of Sir William Cole's own catalogue of the services performed by his regiment in Ulster G Starved and famished of the vulgar sort whose goods were seized on by his regiment, 7000.
Amid this scene of carnage-carnage by the rebels, carnage by the government-a man of genius and humanity at length appeared. This was Owen Roe O'Neil.
Owen Roe O'Neil, the nephew of Hugh O'Neil, was born about 1582. He fled with his uncle to the Continent in 1607, was educated in a Franciscan monastery at Louvain, and finally entered the Spanish army, where he soon won his way to rank and distinction. In 1640, with a force of 2000 men (chiefly Irish), he defended Arras against an army of 25,000 French veterans. After a brilliant defence, the town was ultimately forced to capitulate, but the skill and prowess shown by O'Neil was recognised by the enemy, who permitted him to march out with all the honours of war. In 1642 the rebels of Ulster besought his help, and, flinging up his command in the Spanish service, he sped to Ireland, landing at Donegal in the end of July. A month later war was openly declared between Charles I. and the Parliament, and thus both countries were at once in a blaze.
In Ireland there were now practically four parties
There were the rebels of Ulster (representing the old Celtic population) who desired complete separation from England.
There were the rebels of the south (representing the old English colonists) who were loyal to the English connection, but who demanded religious liberty and local self-government. There was the party of the king (represented by the Marquis of Ormond); and there was the party of the parliament, represented by