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1650]

SIEGE OF CLONMEL

141

were

on

this army

was never

O'Neil replied with vigour and effect. The calibre of the English guns told, however, in the long run, and a huge breach was made in the walls. Then Cromwell's Ironsides dashed into the breach, but stoutly met by the Ulstermen; a fierce death-wrestle of four hours ensued, but the Cromwellians were driven back with great slaughter. They found,' said an eye-witness the English side, 'the stoutest enemy

had ever met in Ireland; and there

seen so hot a storm of so long continuance, and so gallantly defended, either in England or Ireland.' But Hugh O'Neil felt that the town with its battered walls could not stand another siege, and his ammunition being exhausted, he resolved to retreat under the cover of the night, and to fall back on Limerick, which was still in the hands of the Irish. Evading the vigilance of the English general, he carried out this manæuvre with complete success. Next day the citizens sounded à parley, and sent a deputation to treat with the enemy. Cromwell, believing that the army of Hugh O'Neil still before him, granted honourable terms. His Ironsides then entered the town, but the Irish army was gone; only the inhabitants, old men, women and children, remained. Cromwell had been outwitted by the young Ulsterman ; nevertheless, he faithfully kept the terms he had made. There was no massacre in Clonmel :

Cromwell left Ireland on the 29th May 1650.

was

The war was then carried on by his lieutenants, Ireton and Ludlow. For two years longer the Irish, ill-led, ill-equipped, and torn by contending parties, maintained an unequal struggle against the veterans of the English common. wealth. But by the end of 1650 all their chief strongholds had fallen, except Limerick and Galway Early in 1651, Ireton attacked Limerick. It was gallantly defended by Hugh O'Neil; but, worn out by sickness and disease, distracted by internal dissensions, plaguestricken and starving, the town was ultimately forced to capitulate, 27th October 1651. Hugh O'Neil was tried by court-martial, and sentenced to death, but the gallantry of the young general had won the admiration of Ludlow, who, despite the efforts of Ireton, insisted on saving his life. He was, however, sent as a prisoner to the Tower of London, and there detained until July 1652, when, on the demand of the Spanish government, he was released. He died in Spain in 1660.

After the fall of Limerick, Galway alone remained, and Galway surrendered in May 1652.

The war was now over; and Ireland, beaten once more, lay panting and bleeding at the feet of the conqueror.

Terrible had been the struggle, and terrible was the vengeance wreaked upon the vanquished nation.

According to the calculation of Sir W. Petty, out of a population of 1,466,000, 616,000 had, in eleven years, perished by the sword, 1652-1654] 'FAMINE AND THE SWORD'

143

by plague, or by famine artificially produced. 504,000, according to this estimate, were Irish, 112,000 of English extraction. A third part of the population had been thus blotted out, and Petty tells us that, according to some calculations, the number of the victims was much greater.

Human food had been so successfully destroyed that Ireland, which had been one of the great pasture countries of Europe, was obliged to import cattle from Wales for consumption in Dublin. The stock which, at the begining of the war, was valued at four millions, had sunk to an eighth of that value, while the price of corn had risen from I 25. to 5os. a bushel. Famine and the sword had so done their work that in some districts the traveller rode twenty or thirty miles without seeing one trace of human life, and fierce wolves-rendered doubly savage by feeding on human flesh—multiplied with startling rapidity through the deserted land, and might be seen prowling in numbers within a few miles of Dublin. Liberty was given to able-bodied

to abandon the country and enlist in foreign service, and from 30,000 to 40,000 availed themselves of the permission. Slavedealers were let loose upon the land, and many hundreds of boys and of marriageable girls, guilty of no offence whatever, were torn away from their country, shipped to Barbadoes, and sold as slaves to the planters. Merchants from Bristol entered keenly into the traffic. The victims appear to have been for the most part the children or the young widows of

men

those who were killed or starved; but the dealers began at length to decoy even Englishmen to their ships, and the abuses became such that the Puritan government, which had for some time cordially supported the system, made vain efforts to stop it. How many of the unhappy captives became the prey of the sharks, how many became the victims of the planters' lust, it is impossible to say. The worship, which was that of almost the whole native population, was absolutely suppressed. Priests continued, it is true, with an admirable courage, to move, disguised, among the mud cottages of the poor, and to hold up the crucifix before their dying eyes; but a large reward was offered for their apprehension, and those who were taken were usually transported to Barbadoes or confined in one of the Arran Isles. Above all, the great end at which the English adventurers had been steadily aiming since the reign of Elizabeth, was accomplished. All, or almost all, the land of the Irish in the three largest and richest provinces was confiscated, and divided among those adventurers who had lent money to the Parliament, and among the Puritan soldiers, whose pay was greatly in arrear. The Irish who were considered least guilty were assigned land in Connaught, and that province, which rock and morass have doomed to a perpetual poverty, and which was at this time almost desolated by famine and by massacre, was assigned as the home of the Irish race. The confiscations were arranged under different categories,

1654)

CONFISCATION

145

could escape.

but they were of such a nature that scarcely any Catholic or even old Protestant landlord

All persons who had taken part in the rebellion before November roth 1642, all who had before that date assisted the rebels with food or in any other

way,

and also about one hundred specified persons, including Drmond, Bishop Bramhall and a great part of the aristocracy of Ireland, were condemned to death, and to the absolute forfeiture of their estates. All other landowners who had at any period borne arms against the Parliament, either for the rebels or for the king, were to be deprived of their estates, but were promised land of a third of the value in Connaught If, however, they had held a higher rank than major, they were to be banished from Ireland. Papists, who during the whole of the long war had never borne arms against the Parliament, but who had not manifested 'constant good affection' towards it, were to be deprived of their estates, but were to receive two-thirds of the value in Connaught. Under this head were included all who lived quietly in their houses in quarters occupied by the rebels or by the king's troops, who had paid taxes to the rebels or to the king after his rupture with the Parliament, who had abstained from actively supporting the cause of the Parliament. Such a confiscation was practically universal. The ploughmen and labourers who were necessary for the cultivation of the soil were suffered to remain, but all the old proprietors, all the

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