Page images
PDF
EPUB

best and greatest names in Ireland were compelled to abandon their old possessions, to seek a home in Connaught or in some happier land beyond the sea. A very large proportion of them had committed no crime whatever, and it is probable that not a sword would have been drawn in Ireland in rebellion if those who ruled it had suffered the natives to enjoy their lands and their religion in peace.1

In September 1658 Cromwell died, and in May 1660 the monarchy was re-established, and Charles II. became king (1660-1685).

1 Lecky.

1

[ocr errors][merged small][merged small]

HE Irish looked with hope to

Charles, but they looked in vain. The landowners, who had been dispossessed by Cromwell, believed that they would now be restored. But the Cromwellian settlement was, in its main

features confirmed, and the bulk of the old proprietors were for ever deprived of their inheritance. The upshot of the Cromwellian settlement, as confirmed, at the Restoration, was, according to Petty, this: whereas, prior to 1641, two-thirds of the good land of Ireland belonged to Catholics-old Irish and old English-after 1665 two-thirds of the good land remained in the hands of Protestants and new English. Though laws were passed in restraint of Irish commerce, laws prohibiting the exportation of Irish cattle to England, and excluding Irish ships from the trading privileges enjoyed by English ships, yet the government of Charles II. compared favourably with the government of his predecessors. The Catholics were treated with toleration, and the country enjoyed a brief period of repose.

[graphic]

In 1685 Charles II. died, and James ascended the throne (1685-1689).

James was a Catholic, and was disposed to do justice to the Catholics of Ireland, but the English people who were incensed at his anti-Protestant feeling, revolted against his rule, and in June 1688 invited William, Prince of Orange, who had married James's daughter, Mary, to become king. Responding to this invitation, William arrived in England in November 1688; in December James was forced to fly the kingdom, and in February 1689, William and Mary were proclaimed king and queen (1689-1694). James now flung himself upon the protection of the Irish, and in March 1689 landed in Kinsale. Richard Talbot, Earl of Tyrconnel, was lord-lieutenant.

a partisan of James, and wished to rule Ireland in English Jacobite interests.

He was

a bigoted Catholic, and desired to oppress his Pro

, testant fellow-countrymen. He was wanting in true national feeling, and at every stage proved himself unpatriotic and incompetent.

He was

1689]

IRISH PARLIAMENT 1689

149

was

summon

were

The first step taken by James and Tyrconnel to

a parliament in Dublin. This parliament met on the 7th May, and it sat until the 20th July. It was composed almost exclusively of Catholics. During its short existence it passed some measures which

just and politic; it passed others which were extreme and revolutionary. It passed more which were unfair and irrational. I. It provided for complete religious freedom ; took measures for promoting trade and commerce, and repealed Poynings' law, thus re-asserting the legislative independence of the country. II. It passed an act overthrowing the Cromwellian settlement, and restoring the forfeited estates to the descendants of those who had then been plundered. III. It attainted for high treason 2000 persons who were hostile to James, and confiscated their property.

Of the first measure there can be nothing but praise; the second was harsh but natural; the third was harsh and tyrannical. But none of these measures ever took effect. The war which ended in the third conquest of Ireland had already commenced, and the sounds of battle called James and Tyrconnel to the field. Two towns in Ulster, held by English Protestant settlers, had declared for William-Enniskillen and Londonderry. Both towns besieged by forces which Tyrconnel had raised and set against them, and both were offering a gallant resistance. Of these towns the most important was Londonderry, and

were

now

its siege is one of the most famous in history. In December 1688, Tyrconnel had sent Lord Antrim to seize the town for James. But while the principal citizens were hesitating between the rival kings, the apprentices of Derry shut the gates against the forces of James, and Antrim retired to Coleraine. Later on, however, a force sent by Tyrconnel under Mountjoy was admitted by the citizens, and Colonel Lundy was made governor of the town. But Lundy was subsequently obliged to declare for William and Mary, who confirmed him in his position of governor.

In these circumstances, Tyrconnel resolved to take vigorous measures for the reduction of the place, and in April 1689 the famous siege began.

On April 13, James himself hastened from Dublin to witness the operations. Lundy, the governor, though he had declared for William and Mary, was decidedly favourable to the Jacobite cause. He made no attempt to check the advance of the Jacobite army, detained on board ship in the harbour two regiments which had been sent from England to reinforce the garrison, and summoned a council of war to discuss terms of capitulation. The council, which was composed of the officers of the English regiments in the harbour, and of the principal civic authorities, decided that the town—fortified only by a weak wall, manned by a few old guns—could not stand a siege, and it was resolved that the new regiments should be sent back to England, and that the citizens

« PreviousContinue »