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the gates of the city to Jones, and left Ireland. Jones did not let the grass grow under his feet. In August he sallied forth from the city, marched against Preston (who was separated from O'Neil), attacked him at his head-quarters near Trim, and utterly routed his army. And now the general confusion became worse confounded. Lord Inchiquin, who had at first sided with the Parliament, suddenly through some real or imaginary slight, combined with Preston against Jones. In 1648 Ormond returned to Ireland and rallied the lay party in the Confederation (who had really become English Royalists) around him. The Nuncio denounced Ormond and his friends, and wiping the dust of the Confederation from his feet, joined O'Neil's army at Maryborough. The Confederation then proclaimed O'Neil a rebel, and the Nuncio excommunicated the Confederation. In February 1649, Rinuccini left Ireland in despair, promising to send foreign succour to O'Neil. O Neil held his little army together, sometimes treating with the forces of the Parliament, sometimes treating with the Confederation, being all the while bent on gaining time until the promised help arrived, when he could march against Parliament and the Confederation, and crush both."

1 An admirable little book has recently been written on this period by Mr Taylor, Q.C.-The Life of Owen Roe O'Neil (New Irish Library).

CHAPTER XV

OLIVER CROMWELL

a

was

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VENTS were now rapidly

approaching crisis. On January 30, 1649, Charles had been executed.

On May 19, England

declared Commonwealth [1649-1660).

[ On August 12, Jones defeated

Ormond at Rathmines. On August 15, Cromwell landed in Dublin with a force of gooo infantry and 4000 horse. O'Neil saw at a glance that the foe who had now to be faced was not Ormond, but Cromwell; and though broken in health, indeed dying of an incurable malady, from which he had long suffered, at once offered to join his forces with the Royalist leader, and to help in uniting all Ireland against the common enemy.

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was

Our

Oliver gave no time for these or for any negotiations to mature. Early in September he appeared before the town of Drogheda, which

held by the Royalist forces under Sir Arthur Aston.

What then happened Oliver himself tells us in brief and pithy language.

*After battery, we stormed it. The enemy were about 3000 strong in the town. They made a stout resistance, and near

1000 of men being entered, the enemy forced them out again. But God, giving new courage to our men, they attempted again, and entered, beating the enemy from their defences. Be ing thus entered, we refused them (quarter), having the day before summoned the town. I believe we put to the sword the whole number of the defendants. I do not think thirty of the whole number escaped with their lives. Those that did are in safe custody for the Barbadoes.'

Among Cromwell's soldiers was an officer named Wood, the brother of Anthony Wood, the Oxford historian. From Anthony Wood we learn his brother's experiences of the siege ; how he would tell them of the most terrible assaulting and storming of Tredagh, where he himself had been engaged. He told them that 3000 at least, besides some women and children, were afterwards put to the sword, on September IIth and 12th, 1649, at which time Sir Arthur Aston, the governor, had his brains beat out and his body hacked to pieces. He told them that when they were to make their way up to the lofts and galleries of the

1649]

DROGHEDA-WEXFORD

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church, and up to the tower, where the enemy had fled, each of the assailants would take up a child and use it as a buckler of defence when they ascended the steps, to keep themselves from being shot or brained. After they had killed all in the church, they went into the vaults underneath, where all the flower and choicest of the women and ladies had hid themselves. One of these, a most handsome virgin, arraid in costly and gorgeous apparel, kneeled down to Thomas Wood, with tears and prayers, to life, and being stricken with a profound pitie, he took her under his arm, went with her out of the church, with intention to put her over the works to shift for herself, but a soldier, perceiving his intentions, he ran his sword through her . . . whereupon Mr Wood, seeing her gasping, took away her money, jewels, etc., and flung her down over the works.'

Finally we learn from Ormond that “The cruelties exercised there for five days after the town was taken would

make as many pictures of inhumanity as are to be found in the Book of Martyrs, or in the relation of Amboyna.' From Drogheda, Cromwell proceeded to Wexford. What happened there he also tells us in brief but sufficient language. “Upon Monday, 1st October, we came before Wex

on Thursday, 11th inst., our batteries began to play, then our men ran violently upon the town with their ladders and stormed it. And when they were

come into the

ford ...

market place, the enemy making a stiff resistance, our forces brake them and then put all to the sword that came in their way Two boatfuls of the enemy attempted to escape'; being overprest with numbers, sank, whereby were drowned near 300 of them. I believe, in all, there was lost of the enemy not many less than 2000; and I believe not twenty of yours from first to last of the siege.' The town was then pillaged, so that “Of the former inhabitants, scarce

one in twenty could challenge any property in their houses for which, as for all, we pray God may have all the glory.'

Ormond now took up his position at Kilkenny, whither Owen Roe O'Neil, carried in a horse-litter, set out to join him, but falling hopelessly ill on the way, died at Cloughouter Castle, in the County Cavan, November 6th, 1649. Town after town now surrendered to Cromwell, and he marched triumphantly throughout the country. Towards the end of the year he went for a short time into winter quarters, but in February 1650 he was again in the field. In March he attacked Kilkenny, which surrendered after a gallant defence of eight days. He then moved against Clonmel, which was held by the veterans of Owen Roe O'Neil's army,

commanded by his nephew, Hugh O'Neil.

He had fortified the place strongly, and behind the fortifications were 2000 men, who had never turned their backs upon

foe. On 9th May Cromwell opened fire on the defences, but

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