Irish Race in the Past and the Present
Aug. J. Thebaud

Part 8 out of 14

satisfied with and convinced of their own perfection; and, as
from the first they acted coolly and systematically, their self-
equanimity is never disturbed, they continue unshaken in the
calm conviction that they have always been in the right,
whatever may have been the consequences of the initiative
movement and its steady continuance.

But we repeat advisedly--the Irish nature is opposed to rapacity
and wanton shedding of blood, and this formed another strong
reason for their opposition to the religious revolution which
immersed them in so bloody a baptism.

5. Yet perhaps the most radical and real cause of their
persistent refusal to embrace Protestantism lies in their
traditional spirit, of which we have previously spoken. There is
no rationalistic tendency in their character.

And all the points well considered, which, after all, is the
better, the simply traditional or strictly rationalistic nature?
What has been the result of those philosophical speculations
from which Protestantism sprang? Whither are men tending to-day
in consequence of it? Would it not have been better for mankind
to have stood by the time-honored traditions of former ages,
independently of the strong and convincing claims which
Catholicity offers to all? This is said without in the least
attributing the fault to sound philosophy, without casting the
slightest slur on those truly great and illustrious men who have
widened the limits of the human intellect, and deserved well of
mankind by the solid truths they have opened up in their works
for the benefit and instruction of minds less gifted than their



Upon the death of Elizabeth, in 1603, the son of the unfortunate
Mary Stuart was called to the throne of England, and for the
first time in their history the Irish people accepted English
rule, gave their willing submission to an English dynasty, and
afterward displayed as great devotedness in supporting the
falling cause of their new monarchs, as in defending their
religion and nationality.

This feeling of allegiance, born so suddenly and strangely in
the Irish breast, cherished so ardently and at the price of so
many sacrifices, finally raising the nation to the highest pitch
of heroism, is worth studying and investigating its true cause.

What ought to have been the natural effect produced on the Irish
people by the arrival of the news that James of Scotland had
succeeded to Elizabeth? The first feeling must have been one of
deep relief that the hateful tyranny of the Tudors had passed
away, to be supplanted by the rule of their kinsmen the Stuarts--
kinsmen, because the Scottish line of kings was directly
descended from that Dal Riada colony which Ireland had sent so
long ago to the shores of Albania, to a branch of which
Columbkill belonged.

For those who were not sufficiently versed in antiquarian
genealogy to trace his descent so far back, the thought that
James was the son of Mary Stuart was sufficient. If any people
could sympathize with the ill-starred Queen of Scots, that
people was the Irish. It could not enter into their ideas that
the son of the murdered Catholic queen, should have feelings
uncongenial to their own. It is easy, then, to understand how,
when the news of Elizabeth's death and of the accession of James
arrived, the sanguine Irish heart leaped with a new hope and
joyful expectation.

As for the real disposition of that strangest of monarchs, James
I,, writers are at variance. Matthew O'Connor, the elder, who
had in his hands the books and manuscripts of Charles O'Connor
of Bellingary, is very positive in his assertions on his side of
the question:

"James was a determined and implacable enemy to the Catholic
religion; he alienated his professors from all attachment to his
government by the virulence of his antipathy. One of his first
gracious proclamations imported a general jail-delivery, except
for 'murderers and papists.' By another proclamation he pledged
himself 'never to grant any toleration to the Catholics,' and
entailed a curse on his posterity if they granted any."

Turning now to Dr. Madden's "History of the Penal Laws," we
shall feel disposed to modify so positive an opinion. There we

"It is very evident that his zeal for the Protestant Church had
more to do with a hatred of the Puritans than of popery, and
that he had a hankering, after all, for the old religion which
his mother belonged to, and for which she had been persecuted by
the fanatics of Scotland."

Hume seems to support this judgment of Dr. Madden when he says
that "the principles of James would have led him to earnestly
desire a unity of faith of the Churches which had been separated."

Both opinions, however, agree in the long-run, since Dr. Madden
is obliged to confess that "new measures of severity, as the
bigotry of the times became urgent, were wrung from the timid
king. He had neither moral nor political courage."

Still, on the day of his coronation, the Irish could little
imagine what was in store for them at the hands of the son of
Mary Stuart; hence their great rejoicing, till the first stroke
of bitter disappointment came to open their eyes, and awaken
them to the hard reality. This was the flight of Tyrone and
Tyrconnell, which had been brought about by treachery and low
cunning. These chieftains were, as they deserved to be, the
idols of the nation. They were compelled to fly because, as Dr.
Anderson, a Protestant minister, says, "artful Cecil had
employed one St. Lawrence to entrap the Earls of Tyrone and
Tyrconnell, the Lord of Devlin, and other Irish chiefs, into a
sham plot which had no evidence but his."

The real cause of their flight was that adventurers and
"undertakers" desired to "plant" Ulster, though the final treaty
with Mountjoy had left both earls in possession of their lands.
That treaty yielded not an acre of plunder, and was consequently
in English eyes a failure. The long, bloody, and promising wars
of Elizabeth's reign had ended, after all, in forcing coronets on
the brows of O'Neill and O'Donnell, with a royal deed added, securing
to them their lands, and freedom of worship to all the north.

James was met by the importunate demand for land. O'Neill,
O'Donnell, and several other Irish chieftains, were sacrificed
to meet this demand; they were compelled to fly; and they had
scarcely gone when millions of acres in Ulster were declared to
be forfeited to the crown, and thrown open for "planting."

And here a new feature in confiscation presents itself, which
was introduced by the first of the Stuart dynasty, and proved
far more galling to Irishmen than any thing they had yet
encountered in this shape.

In the invasion led by Strongbow, in the absorption of the
Kildare estates by Henry VIII., in the annexation of King's and
Queen's Counties under Philip and Mary, even in the last
"plantation" of Munster by Elizabeth's myrmidons at the end of
the Desmond war, the land had been immediately distributed among
the chief officers of the victorious armies. The conquered knew
that such would be the law of war; the great generals and
courtiers who came into possession scarcely disturbed the
tenants. A few of the great native and Anglo-Irish families
suffered sorely from the spoliation; the people at large
scarcely felt it, except by the destruction of clanship and the
introduction of feudal grievances. Moreover, the new proprietors
were interested in making their tenants happy, and not
unfrequently identified themselves with the people--becoming in
course of time true Irishmen.

But, with the accession of the first of the Stuarts to the
English throne, a great alteration took place in the disposal of
the land throughout Ireland.

The Tyrone war had ended five years before, and those who had
taken part in the conflict had already received their portion;
the vanquished, of misfortune--the conquerors, of gain. James
brought in with him from Scotland a host of greedy followers;
and all, from first to last, expected to rise with their king
into wealth and honor. England was not wide enough to hold them,
nor rich enough to satiate their appetites. The puzzled but
crafty king saw a way out of his difficulties in Ireland. He no
longer limited the distribution of land in that country to
soldiers and officers of rank chiefly. He gave it to Scotch
adventurers, to London trades companies. He settled it on
Protestant colonies whose first use of their power was to evict
the former tenants or clansmen, and thus effect a complete
change in the social aspect of the north.

Well did they accomplish the task assigned them. Ulster became a
Protestant colony, and the soil of that province has ever since
remained in the hands of a people alien to the country.

Yet the Ulstermen had been led to believe that James purposed
securing them in their possessions; for, according to Mr.
Prendergast, in his Introduction to the "Cromwellian settlement:"

"On the 17th of July, 1607, Sir Arthur Chichester, Lord Deputy,
accompanied by Sir John Davies and other commissioners,
proceeded to Ulster, with powers to inquire what land each man
held. There appeared before them, in each county they visited,
the chief lords and Irish gentlemen, the heads of creaghts, and
the common people, the Brehons and Shanachies, who knew all the
septs and families, and took upon themselves to tell what
quantity of land every man ought to have. They thus ascertained
and booked their several lands, and the Lord-Deputy promised
them estates in them. 'He thus,' says Sir John Davies, 'made it
a year of jubilee to the poor inhabitants, because every man was
to return to his own house, and be restored to his ancient
possessions, and they all went home rejoicing.'

"Notwithstanding these promises, the king, in the following year,
issued his scheme for the plantation of Ulster, urged to it, it
would seem, by Sir Arthur Chichester, who so largely profited by
it. . . . It could not be said that the flight of the earls gave
occasion for this change, inasmuch as the king, immediately
after, issued a proclamation--which he renewed on taking
possession of both earls' territories--assuring the inhabitants
that they should be protected and preserved in their estates."

It looks, indeed, as though the whole transaction, including the
promises and the call for ascertaining the quantity of land
occupied by each inhabitant, as also the sham plot into which
the earls were inveigled, was but a cunning device to bring
about the plantation, in which manors of one thousand, fifteen
hundred, and three thousand acres, were offered to such English
and Scotch as should undertake to plant their lots with British
Protestants, and engage that no Irish should dwell upon them.
Meanwhile, all who had been in arms during Tyrone's war were to
be transplanted with their families, cattle, and followers, to
waste places in Munster and Connaught, and there set down at a
distance from one another.

Over and above this, the Irish were indebted to James for a new
project--a most ingenious invention for successful plunder. He
was the real author of the celebrated "Commission for the
investigation of defective titles."

It would seem that the province of Ulster was too small for the
rapacity of those who were constantly urging upon the king a
greater thoroughness in his plans. It was clear, moreover, that
the English occupation of the other three provinces had hitherto
proved a failure. The island had failed to become Anglicised,
and it was necessary to begin the work anew.

The new commission was presented to the Irish people in a most
alluring guise. That political hypocrisy, which to-day stands
for statesmanship, is not a growth of our own times. The
intention of James confined itself to putting an end to all
uncertainty on the subject of titles, and bestowing on each land-
owner one which, for the future, should be unimpeachable. But
the result went beyond his intention. This measure became, in
fact, an engine of universal spoliation. It failed to secure
even those who succeeded in retaining a portion of their former
estates in possession, as Strafford made manifest, who, despite
all the unimpeachable titles conferred by James, managed to
confiscate to his own profit the greater part of the province of

It is fitting to give a few details of this new measure of James,
in order to show the gratitude which the Irish owed the Stuarts,
if on that account only. In "Ireland under English Rule," the
Rev. A. Perraud justly remarks: "Most Irish families held
possession of their lands but by tradition, and their rights
could not be proved by regular title-deeds. By royal command, a
general inquiry was instituted, and whoever could not prove his
right to the seat of his ancestors, by authentic documents, was
mercilessly but juridically despoiled of it; the pen of the lawyer
thus making as many conquests as the blade of the mercenary."

The advisers of James--those who aided him in this scheme --were
fully alive to its efficiency in serving their ends. A few years
previously, Arthur Chichester and Sir John Davies had only to
consult the Brehon lawyers and the chroniclers of the tribes,
whose duty it was to become thoroughly acquainted with the
limits of the various territories, and keep the records in their
memory, in order to procure from the Ulster men the proofs of
their rights to property. Up to that time the word of those who
were authorized, by custom, to pronounce on such subjects, was
law to every Irishman. And, indeed, the verdict of these was all-
sufficient, inasmuch as the task was not overtaxing to the
memory of even an ordinary man, since it consisted in
remembering, not the landed property of each individual, but the
limits of the territory of each clan.

The clan territories were as precisely marked off as in any
European state to-day; and, if any change in frontier occurred,
it was the result of war between the neighboring clans, and
therefore known to all. To suppose, then, under such a state of
land tenure, that the territory of the Maguire clan, for
instance, belonged exclusively to Maguire, and that he could
prove his title to the property by legal documents, was
erroneous--in fact, such a thing was impossible. Yet, such was
the ground on which the king based his establishment of the
odious commission.

The measure meant nothing less than the simple spoliation of all
those who came under its provisions at the time. Matthew
O'Connor has furnished some instances of its workings, which may
bring into stronger light the enormity of such an attempt.

"The immense possessions of Bryan na Murtha O'Rourke had been
granted to his son Teige, by patent; in the first year of the
king's reign, and to the heirs male of his body. Teige died,
leaving several sons; their titles were clear; no plots or
conspiracies could be urged to invalidate them. By the medium of
those inquisitions, they were found, one and all, to be bastards.
The eldest son, Bryan O'Rourke, vas put off with a miserable
pension, and detained in England lest he should claim his
inheritance. Yet, in this case, the title was actually in existence.

"In the county of Longford, three-fourths of nine hundred and
ninety-nine cartrons, the property of the O'Farrells, were
granted to adventurers, to the undoing and beggary of that
princely family. Twenty-five of the septs were dispossessed of
their all, and to the other septs were assigned mountainous and
barren tracts about one-fourth of their former possessions.

"The O'Byrnes, of Wicklow, were robbed of their property by a
conspiracy unparalleled even in the annals of those times;
fabricated charges of treason, perjury, and even legal murder,
were employed; and, though the innocence of those victims of
rapacious oppression was established, yet they were never restored."

With regard to the Anglo-Irish, and even such of the natives as
had consented to accept titles from the English kings, those
titles, some of which went back as far as Strongbow's invasion,
were brought under the "inquiry" of the new commission--with
what result may be imagined. An astute legist can discover flaws
in the best-drawn legal papers. In the eye of the law, the
neglect of recording is fatal; and it was proved that many
proprietors, whose titles had been bestowed by Henry VIII. and
Elizabeth, were not recorded, simply by bribing the clerks who
were charged with the office of recording them.

This portion of our subject must present strange features to
readers acquainted with the laws concerning property which
obtain among civilized nations. In making the necessary studies
for this most imperfect sketch, the writer has been surprised at
finding that not one of the authors whom he has consulted has
spoken of any thing beyond the cruelty of compelling Irish
landowners to exhibit title-deeds, which it was known they did
not and could not possess. Not a single one has ever said a word
of "prescription;" yet, this alone was enough to arrest the
proceedings of any English court, if it followed the rules of
law which govern civilized communities.

Most of the estates, then declared to be escheated to the king,
had been in possession of the families to which the holders
belonged, for centuries; we may go so far, in the case of some
Irish families and tribes, as to say for thousands of years. But,
to disturb property which has been held for even less than a
century, would convulse any nation subjected to such a revolutionary
process. No country in the world could stand such a test; it would
loosen in a day all the bonds that hold society together.

If the commission set on foot by James did not go to the extreme
lengths to which it was carried by those who came after him, he
it was who established what bore the semblance of a legal
precedent for the excesses of Strafford, under Charles I., which
reached their utmost limits in the hands of Cromwell's
parliamentary commissioners. James set the engine of destruction
in action: they worked it to its end. The Irish might justly lay
at his door all the woes which ensued to them from the
principles emanating from him. Even during his reign they saw,
with instinctive horror, the abyss which he had opened up to
swallow all their inheritance. The first commission of James
commenced its operations by reporting three hundred and eighty-
five thousand acres in Leinster alone as "discovered," inasmuch
as the titles "were not such as ought " (in their judgment) "to
stand in the way of his-Majesty's designs."

Hence, long before the death of James, all the hopes which his
accession had raised in the minds of the Irish had vanished; yet,
strange to say, they were not cured of their love for the
Stuart dynasty. They hailed the coming of Charles, the husband
of a Catholic princess, with joy. His marriage took place a year
previous to the death of his father; and, to know that Henrietta
of France was to be their queen, was enough to assure the Irish
that, henceforth, they would enjoy the freedom of their religion.
The same motive always awakes in them hope and joy. Men may
smile at such an idea, but it is with a profound respect for the
Irish character that such a sentence is written. Hope of
religious freedom is the noblest sentiment which can move the
breast of man; and if there be reason for admiration in the
motive which urges men to fight and die for their firesides and
families, how much more so in that which causes them to set
above all their altars and their God!

This time their hope seemed well-founded; for the treaty
concluded between England and France conferred the right on the
Catholic princess of educating her children by this marriage
till the age of thirteen. And, in addition, conditions favorable
to the English Catholics were inserted in the same treaty.

But people were not then aware of the reason for the insertion
of those conditions. Hume, later on, being better acquainted
with what at the time was a secret, states in his history that
"the court of England always pretended, even in the memorials to
the French court, that all the conditions favorable to the
English Catholics were inserted in the marriage treaty merely to
please the Pope, and that their strict execution was, by an
agreement with France, secretly dispensed with."

The Irish rejoiced, however; and Charles and his ministers
encouraged their expectations. Lord Falkland, in the name of the
king, promised that, if the Catholic lords should present
Charles, who needed money, with a voluntary tribute, he would in
return grant them certain immunities and protections, which
acquired later on a great celebrity under the name of "graces."

The chief of these were--to allow "recusants" to practise in the
courts of law, and to sue out the livery of their land, merely
on taking an act of civil allegiance instead of the oath of
supremacy; that the claims of the crown should be limited to the
last sixty years--a period long enough in all conscience; and
that the inhabitants of Connaught should be allowed to make a
new enrolment of their estates, to be accepted by the king. A
Parliament was promised to sit in a short time, in order to
confirm all these "graces."

The subsidy promised by the Irish lords amounted to the then
enormous sum of forty thousand pounds sterling, to be paid
annually for three years. Two-thirds of it was paid, according
to Matthew O'Connor, but no one of the "graces" was forthcoming,
the king finding he had promised more than he could perform.

Instead of enabling the land-owners of Connaught to obtain a new
title by a new enrolment, Strafford, with the connivance of
Charles, devised a project which would have enabled the king to
dispose of the whole province to the enriching of his exchequer.
This project consisted in throwing open the whole territory to
the court of "defective titles." To legalize this spoliation,
the parchment grant, five hundred years old, given to Roderic
O'Connor and Richard de Burgo, by Henry II., was set up as
rendering invalid the claims of immemorial possession by the
Irish, although confirmed by recent compositions.

In the counties of Roscommon, Mayo, and Sligo, juries were found
for the crown. The honesty and courageous resistance of a Galway
jury prevented the carrying out of the measure in that county.
Strafford resented this rebuff deeply; and the brave Galway
jurors were punished without mercy for their "contumacy," for
they had been told openly to find for the king. Compelled to
appear in the Castle chamber, they were each fined four thousand
pounds, their estates seized, and themselves imprisoned until
their fines should be paid; while the sheriff, who was also
fined to the same amount, not being able to pay, died in prison.
Such were a few of the "graces" granted the Irish on the
accession of Charles I.

Meanwhile, the king's difficulties with his English subjects
drove him to turn for hope to the Scotch, upon whom he had
attempted to force Episcopalianism. The resistance of the Scotch,
and the celebrated Covenant by which they bound themselves, are
well known. Charles, finally, granted the Covenanters not only
liberty of conscience, but even the religious supremacy of
Presbyterianism, paying their army, moreover, for a portion of
the time it passed under service in the rebellion against

The example of the Scotch was certainly calculated to inflame
the Irish with ardor, and drive them likewise into rebellion.
What was the oppression of Scotland compared to that under which
Ireland had so long groaned? Surely the final attempt of the
chief minister of Charles to rob them of the one province which
had hitherto escaped, was enough to open their eyes, and convert
their faith in the Stuart dynasty into hatred and determined
opposition. Yet were they on the eve of carrying their devotion
to this faithless and worthless line to the height of heroism.
The generosity of the nature which is in them could find an
excuse for Charles. "He would have done us right," they thought,
"had he been left free." From the rebellion of his subjects, in
England and Scotland, they could only draw one conclusion--that
he was the victim of Puritanism, for which they could entertain
no feeling but one of horror; and it is a telling fact that
their attachment to their religion kept them faithful to the
sovereign to whom they had sworn their allegiance, however
unworthy he might be.

Thus in the famous rising of 1641, when in one night Ireland,
with the exception of a few cities, freed herself from the
oppressor (the failure of the plan in Dublin being the only
thing which prevented a complete success; the English of the
Pale still refusing to combine with the Irish), the native Irish
alone, left to their own resources, proclaimed emphatically in
explicit terms their loyalty to the king, whom they credited
with a just and tolerant disposition, if freed from the
restraints imposed upon him by the Puritanical faction. A
further fact stranger still, and still more calculated to shake
their confidence in the monarch, occurred shortly after, which
indeed raises the loyalty of the nation to a height
inconceivable and impossible to any people, unless one whose
conscience is swayed by the sense of stern duty.

When the Scottish Covenanters, whose rebellion had secured them
in possession of all they demanded, heard of the Irish movement,
they were at once seized with a fanatical zeal urging them to
stamp out the Irish "Popish rebellion." King Charles, who was
then in Edinburgh, expressed his gratification at their proposal,
and no time was lost in shipping a force of two thousand Scots
across the Channel. They landed at Antrim, when they began those
frightful massacres which opened by driving into the sea three
thousand Irish inhabitants of the island Magee.

When, according to M. O'Connor's "Irish Catholics," "letters
conveying the news of the intended invasion of the Scots were
intercepted; when the speeches of leading members in the English
Commons, the declaration of the Irish Lord-Justices, and of the
principal members of the Dublin Council, countenanced those
rumors; when Mr. Pym gave out that he would not leave a Papist
in Ireland; when Sir Parsons declared that within a twelvemonth
not a Catholic should be seen in the whole country; when Sir
John Clotworthy affirmed that the conversion of the Papists was
to be effected with the Bible in one hand and the sword in the
other," and the King all the while seemed to allow and consent
to it, the Irish were not in the least dismayed by those rumors,
but set about establishing in the convulsed island a sort of
order in the name of God and the king!

Then for the first time did native and Anglo-Irish Catholics
take common side in a common cause. This was the union which
Archbishop Browne had foreseen, which had shown itself in
symptoms from time to time, but which had oftener been broken by
the old animosity. But, at last, convinced that the only party
on which they could rely, and the party which truly supported
the reigning dynasty, was that of the Ulster chiefs, the
Catholic lords of the Pale threw themselves heart and soul into
it, and, under the guidance of the Catholic bishops who then
came forward, together they formed the celebrated "Confederation
of Kilkenny" in 1642.

Had Charles even then possessed the courage, honesty, or wisdom
to recognize and acknowledge his true friends, he might have
been spared the fate which overtook him; but all he did was
almost to break up the only coalition which stood up boldly in
his favor.

A circumstance not yet touched upon meets us here. Protestantism
was at this time effecting a complete change in the rules of
judgment and conduct which men had hitherto followed. In place
of the old principles of political morality which up to this
period had regulated the actions of Christians, notions of
independence, of subversion of existing governments, of
revolutions in Church and state, were for the first time in
Christian history scattered broadcast through the world, and
beginning that series of catastrophes which has made European
history since, and which is far from being exhausted yet. The
Irish stood firm by the old principles, and, though they became
victims to their fidelity, they never shrank from the
consequences of what they knew to be their duty, and to those
principles they remain faithful to-day.

To return from this short digression: The Irish hierarchy, the
native Irish and the Anglo-Irish lords of the Pale, had combined
together to form the "Confederation of Kilkenny," in which
confederation lay the germ of a truly great nation. Early in the
struggle the Catholic hierarchy saw that it was for them to take
the initiative in the movement, and they took it in right
earnest. They could not be impassive spectators when the
question at issue was the defence of the Catholic religion,
joined this time with the rights of their monarch. They met in
provincial synod at Kells, where, after mature deliberation, the
cause of the confederates, "God and the king," freedom of
worship and loyalty to the legitimate sovereign, was declared
just and holy, and, after lifting a warning voice against the
barbarities which had commenced on both sides, and ordaining the
abolition and oblivion of all distinctions between native Irish
and old English, they took measures for convoking a national
synod at Kilkenny.

It met on the 10th of May, 1643. An oath of association bound
all Catholics throughout the land. It was ordained that a
general assembly comprising all the lords spiritual and temporal
and the gentry should be held; that the assembly should select
members from its body to represent the different provinces and
principal cities, to be called the Supreme Council, which should
sit from day to day, dispense justice, appoint to offices, and
carry on the executive government of the country.

Meanwhile the Irish abroad, the exiles, had heard of the
movement, and several prominent chieftains came back to take
part in the struggle; while those who remained away helped the
cause by gaining the aid of the Catholic sovereigns, and sending
home all the funds and munitions of war they could procure.
Among these, one of the most conspicuous was the learned Luke
Wadding, then at Rome engaged in writing his celebrated works,
who dispatched money and arms contributed by the Holy Father.
John B. Rinuccini, Archbishop of Fermo, sent by the Pope as
Nuncio, sailed in the same ship which conveyed those
contributions to Ireland.

The Catholic prelates thus originated a free government with
nothing revolutionary in its character, but combining some of
the forms of the old Irish Feis with the chief features of
modern Parliamentary governments. Matthew O'Connor makes the
following just observations on this subject in his "Irish

"The duty of obedience to civil government was so deeply
impressed on the Catholic mind, at this period, in Ireland, that
it degenerated into passive submission. These impressions
originated in religious zeal, and were fostered by persecution.
The spiritual authority of the clergy was found requisite to
soften those notions, and temper them with ideas of the
constitutional, social, and Christian right of resistance in
self-defence. The nobility and gentry fully concurred in those
proceedings of the clergy, and the nation afterward ratified
them in a general convention held at Kilkenny, in the subsequent
month of October. The national union seemed to be at last
cemented by the wishes of all orders, and the interests of all

The fact is, the nation had been brought to life, and took its
stand on a new footing. When the general assembly met, in
October, eleven bishops and fourteen lay lords formed what may
be called the Irish peerage; two hundred and twenty-six
commoners represented the large majority of the Irish
constituencies; a great lawyer of the day, Patrick Darcy, was
elected chancellor; and a Supreme Council of six members from
each province constituted what may be called the Executive.

This government, which really ruled Ireland without any
interference until Ormond succeeded in breaking it up, was
obeyed and acknowledged throughout the land. It undertook and
carried out all the functions of its high office, such as the
coining of money, appointing circuit-judges, sending ambassadors
abroad, and commissioning officers to direct the operations of
the national army. Among these latter, one name is sufficient to
vouch for their efficiency: that of Owen Roe O'Neill, who had
returned, with many others, from the Continent, in the July of
that year, and formally, assumed the command of the army of

Owen Roe O'Neill was grand-nephew to Hugh of Tyrone. Unknown,
even now, to Europe, his name still lives in the memory of his
countrymen. "The head of the Hy-Niall race, the descendant of a
hundred kings, the inheritor of their virtues, without a taint
of their vices, he would have deserved a crown, and, on a larger
theatre, would have acquired the title of a hero."--(M. O'Connor.)

Had Charles recognized this government, which proclaimed him
king, discharged from office the traitors, Borlase and Parsons,
who plotted against him, and not surrendered his authority to
Ormond, Ireland would probably have been saved from the horrors
impending, and Charles himself from the scaffold. Whatever the
issue might have been, the fact remains that the Irish then
proved they could establish a solid government of their own, and
that it is an altogether erroneous idea to imagine them
incapable of governing themselves.

It is impossible to enter here upon the details of the intricate
complications which ensued--complications which were chiefly
owing to the plots of Ormond; but, it may be stated fearlessly
that, the more the history of those times is studied, the more
certainly is the "national" party, with the Nuncio Rinuccini for
head and director, recognized as the one which, better than any
other, could have saved Ireland. At least, no true Irishman will
now pretend that the "peace party," headed by Ormond, which was
pitted against the "Nuncionists," could bring good to the
country; on the contrary, its subsequent misfortunes are to be
ascribed directly to it.

To stigmatize it as it deserves, needs no more than to say that
among its chief leaders were Ormond, its head and projector, and
Murrough O'Brien, of Inchiquin, to this day justly known as
Murrough of the burnings. These two men were the product of the
"refined policy" of England to kill Catholicism in the higher
classes by the operation of one of the laws that governed the
oppressed nation--wardship.

Both Inchiquin and Ormond were born of Catholic fathers, and all
their relations, during their lives, remained Catholics. But,
their fathers dying during the minority of both, the law took
their education out of the hands of the nearest kin, to give it
to English Protestant wardens, in the name of the king, who was
supposed by the law to be their legitimate guardian. This was
one of the fruits of feudalism. They were duly brought up by
these wardens in the Protestant religion, and received a
Protestant education. They grew up, fully impressed with the
idea that the country which gave them birth was a barbarous
country; the parents to whom they owed their lives were
idolaters; and their fellow-countrymen a set of villains, only
fitted to become, and forever remain, paupers and slaves.

There is no exaggeration in these expressions, as anybody must
concede who has studied the opinions and prejudices entertained
by the English with regard to the Irish, from that period down
almost to our own days. At any rate, to one acquainted with the
workings of the "Court of Wards," there is nothing surprising in
the fact that Ormond, the descendant of so many illustrious men
of the great Butler family--a family at all times so attached to
the Catholic faith, and which afterward furnished so many
victims to the transplantation schemes of Cromwell--should
himself become an inveterate enemy to the religion of his own
parents, and to those who professed it; and that he should
employ the great gifts which God had granted him, solely to
scheme against this religion, and prevent his native countrymen
from receiving even the scanty advantages which Charles at one
time was willing to concede to them, through Lord Glanmorgan.

It was Ormond who prevented the execution of the treaty between
that lord and the confederates, the provisions of which were--

1. The Catholics of Ireland were to enjoy the free and public
exercise of their religion.

2. They were to hold, and have secure for their use, all the
Catholic churches not then in actual possession of Protestants.

3. They were to be exempt from the jurisdiction of the
Protestant clergy.

But, thanks to his education, such provisions were too much for
Ormond, the son of a Catholic father, and whose mother, at the
very time living a pious and excellent life, would have rejoiced
to see those advantages secured to her Church and herself, in
common with the rest of her countrymen and women.

In like manner, Murrough O'Brien, the Baron of Inchiquin, the
descendant of so many Catholic kings and saints, whose name was
a glory in itself, and so closely linked to the Catholic glories
of the island, was converted, by the education which he had
received, into a most cruel oppressor of the Church of his
baptism. His expeditions, through the same country which his
ancestors had ruled, were characterized by all the barbarities
practised at the time by Munro, Coote, and all the parliamentary
leaders of the Scotch Puritans, and would have fitted him as a
worthy compeer of Cromwell and Ireton, who were soon to follow.
The name of Cashel and its cathedral, where he murdered so many
priests, women, and children, around the altar adorned by the
great and good Cormac McCullinan, would alone suffice to hand
his name down to the execration of posterity.

Ormond and Murrough being the two chiefs of the "peace party,"
what wonder that the prelates, who had so earnestly labored at
the formation of the Kilkenny Confederation, and the Nuncio at
their head, refused to have aught to do with projects in which
such men were concerned, when it is borne in mind also that
several provisions of that "peace treaty" were directly opposed
to the oath taken by the Confederates? But, unfortunately,
Ormond was a skilful diplomat, had been dispatched by the king,
and was supposed to be carrying out the ideas suggested to him
by the unhappy monarch. His representations, therefore, could
not fail to carry weight, principally with the Anglo-Irish lords
of the Pale, many of whom, influenced by his courtly manners and
address, declared openly for the proposed peace.

Thus did the peace sow the germs of division and even war among
the Irish. The unity among the Catholics, so full of promise,
was soon broken up; and those who had met each other in such a
brotherly spirit in the day when the native chiefs and Anglo-
Irish lords assembled together at Tara, who swore then that the
division of centuries should exist no longer, began to look upon
each other again as enemies. Without going at length into the
vicissitudes of those various contentions, it is enough to say
that in the end war broke out between those who had so recently
taken the oath of confederation together. Owen Roe O'Neill, the
victor of Benburb, and the only man who could direct the Irish
armies, was attacked by Preston and other lords of the Pale, and
died, as some historians allege, of poison administered to him
by one of them.

This was the result of the intrigues of Ormond; nevertheless,
Charles continued to place confidence in him, and though he had
been twice obliged to resign his lieutenancy, and once to fly
the country, the infatuated sovereign sent him back once more.

If was only at the end of the struggle, when the ill-fated king
was at length in the hands of his enemies, that Ormond could be
brought to consent to conditions acceptable to the national
party. But then it was too late; the parliamentary forces had
carried every thing before them in England; England was already
republican to the core; and the armies which had been employed
against the Cavaliers, once the efforts of the latter had ceased
with the death of the king, were at liberty to leave the country,
now submissive to parliamentary rule, and cross over to Ireland,
with Cromwell at their head, to crush out the nation almost,
and concentrate on that fated soil, within the short space of
nine months, all the horrors of past centuries.

By the death of Owen Roe O'Neill just at that time, Ireland was
left without a leader fit to cope with the great republican
general. The country had already been devastated by Coote, Munro,
St. Leger, and other Scotch and English Puritans; but the
massacres which, until the coming of Cromwell, had been, at
least, only local and checked by the troops of Owen Roe, soon
extended throughout the island, unarrested by any forces in the
field. The Cromwellian soldiers, not content with the character
of warriors, came as "avengers of the Lord," to destroy an
"idolatrous people."

That their real design was to exterminate the nation, and use
the opportunity which then presented itself for that purpose,
there can by no doubt. It was only after a fair trial that the
project was found to be impossible, and that other expedients
were devised. Coote had previously acted with this design in
view, as is now an ascertained fact, and had been encouraged in
the course he pursued by the Dublin government. 1 (1 See Matthew
O'Connor's "Irish Catholics.") The same might be shown of St.
Leger, in Munster, toward the beginning of the insurrection. At
all events, all doubt in the matter, if any existed, ceased with
the landing of Cromwell in 1649, when the real object of the war
at once showed itself everywhere.

The result of this man's policy has been painted by Villemain,
in his "Histoire de Cromwell," in a sentence: "Ireland became a
desert which the few remaining inhabitants described by the
mournful saying, 'There was not water enough to drown a man, not
wood enough to hang him, not earth enough to bury him.'"

The French writer attributes to the whole island what was said
of only a part of it. To this day, the name of Cromwell is
justly execrated in Ireland, and "the curse of Cromwell " is one
of the bitterest which can be invoked upon a person's head. But,
at present, the fidelity of the Irish to the Stuarts concerns us,
and a few reflections will put it in a strong but true light
before us.

Ever since the restoration of Charles II., many Englishmen have
professed great reverence for the memory of the "martyr-king."
Even the subsequent Revolution of 1658 left the monument erected
to him untouched. Many British families continued steady in
their devotion to the Scotch line, and the name of Jacobite was
for them a title of honor. Yet what were their sufferings for
the cause of the king during his struggle with the Parliament,
and after his execution? A few noblemen lost their lives and
estates; some went into exile and followed the fortunes of the
Pretenders who tried to gain possession of the throne. But the
bulk of the nation--England--may be said to have suffered
nothing by the great revolution which led to the Commonwealth.
On the contrary, it is acknowledged that the administration of
Cromwell at least brought peace to the country, and raised the
power of Great Britain to a higher eminence in Europe than it
had ever known before. As usual, the English made great
profession of loyalty, but, as a rule, were particularly careful
that no great inconvenience should come to them from it.

Treated with contempt and distrust by Charles and his advisers,
so insulted in every thing that was dear to her that it is still
a question for historians if, in many instances, the king and
the royalists did not betray her, Ireland alone, after having
taken her stand for a whole decade of years for God and the king,
resolved to face destruction unflinchingly in support of what
she imagined to be a noble cause.

After the landing of Cromwell, when to any sensible man there no
longer remained hope of serving the cause of the king, when the
desire which is natural to every human heart, of saving what can
be saved, might, not only without dishonor, but with justice and
right, have dictated the necessity of coming to terms with the
parliamentarians, and of abandoning a cause which was hopeless,
"on the 4th of December, 1649, Eber McMahon, Bishop of Clogher,
a mere Irishman by name, by descent, by enthusiastic attachment
to his country, exerted his great abilities to rouse his
countrymen to a persevering resistance to Cromwell, and to unite
all hearts and hands in the support of Ormond's administration. .
. . All the bishops concurred in his views, and subscribed a
solemn declaration that they would, to the utmost of their power,
forward his Majesty's rights, and the good of the nation. . . .
Ormond, at last, either sensible that no reliance could be
placed on them, or that the treachery of Inchiquin's troops was,
at least, on the part of the Irish, a fair ground of distrust
and suspicion of the remainder, consented to their removal."--
("Irish Catholics.")

"At last!" will be the reader's exclamation, while he wonders if
another people could be found forbearing enough to wait eight
years for the adoption of such a necessary measure.

And the only reward for their fidelity to King Charles I. could
under the circumstances be destruction. They waited with
resignation for the impending gloom to overshadow them. Terrible
moment for a nation, when despair itself fails to nerve it for
further resistance and possible success! Such was the position
of the Irish at the death of Charles.

Who shall describe that loyalty? After Ormond had met with the
defeat he deserved in the field; after the cities had fallen one
after another into the hands of the destroyer, who seldom
thought himself bound to observe the conditions of surrender;
after the chiefs, who might have protracted the struggle, had
disappeared either by death or exile, the doom of the nation was
sealed; yet it shrank not from the consequences.

The barbarities of Cromwell and his soldiers had depopulated
large tracts of territory to such an extent that the troops
marching through them were compelled to carry provisions as
through a desert. The cattle, the only resource of an
agricultural country, had been all consumed in a ten years' war.
It was reported that, after every successful engagement, the
republican general ordered all the men from the age of sixteen
to sixty to be slaughtered without mercy, all the boys from six
to sixteen to be deprived of sight, and the women to have a red-
hot iron thrust through their breasts. Rumors such as these,
exaggerated though they may be, testify at least to the terror
which Cromwell inspired. As for the captured cities, there can
be no doubt of the wholesale massacres carried out therein by
his orders. Of the entire population of Tredagh only thirty
persons survived, and they were condemned to the labor of slaves.
Hugh Peters, the chaplain of Fairfax, wrote after this
barbarous execution: "We are masters of Tredagh; no enemy was
spared; I just come from the church where I had gone to thank
the Lord."

The same fate awaited Wexford, and, later on, Drogheda. Cromwell,
when narrating those bloody massacres, concluded by saying,
"People blame me, but it was the will of God."

The Bible, the holy word of God, misread and misunderstood by
those fanatics, persuaded them that it would be a crime not to
exterminate the Irish, as the Lord punished Saul for having
spared Agag and the chief of the Amalekites. Whoever wishes for
further details of these sickening atrocities, committed in the
name of God, may find them in a multitude of histories of the
time, but chiefly in the "Threnodia" of Friar Morrison.

Certain modern Irish historians would seem not to understand the
heroism of their own countrymen. "Bitterly," says A. M.
O'Sullivan, "did the Irish people pay for their loyalty to an
English sovereign. Unhappily for their worldly fortunes, if not
for their fame, they were high-spirited and unfearing, where
pusillanimity would certainly have been safety, and might have
been only prudence."

But the verdict of posterity, always a just one, calls such a
high-spirited and unfearing attitude true heroism, and spurns
pusillanimity even when it insures safety and may be called
prudence, if its result is the surrender of holy faith and
Christian truth. Safety and prudence characterized the conduct
of the English nation under the iron rule of Cromwell, as under
the tyranny of the Tudors. Can the reader of history admire the
nation on that account? Who shall affirm that the result of the
craven spirit of the English was the prosperity which ensued,
and that of Irish heroism destruction and gloom? The history of
either nation is far from ended yet; and bold would be the man
who dare assert that the prosperity of England is everlasting,
and the humiliation of Ireland never to know an end.

However that may be, this at least is undeniable: the opinion
current of the Irish character is demonstrated to be altogether
an erroneous one by the incontrovertible facts cursorily
narrated above. Determination of purpose, adherence to
conscience and principle, consistency of conduct, are terms all
too weak to convey an idea of the magnanimity displayed by the
people, and of their heroic bearing throughout those stirring

At last, after a bloody struggle with Cromwell and Ireton, on
May 12, 1652, "the Leinster army of the Irish surrendered at
Kilkenny on terms which were successively adopted by the other
principal bodies of troops, between that time and the September
following, when the Ulster forces came to composition." Then
began the real woes of Ireland. Never was the ingenuity of man
so taxed to destroy a whole nation as in the measures adopted by
the Protector for that purpose. It is necessary to present a
brief sketch of them, since all that the Irish suffered was
designed to punish them for their attachment to their religion,
and, be it borne in mind, their devotion to the lawful dynasty
of the Stuarts.

First, then, to render easy of execution the stern and cruel
resolve of the new government, the defenders of the nation were
not only to be disarmed, but put out of the way. Hence Cromwell
was gracious enough to consent that they be permitted to leave
the country and take service in the armies of the foreign powers
then at peace with the Commonwealth. Forty thousand men,
officers and soldiers, adopted this desperate resolution.

"Soon agents from the King of Spain, the King of Poland, and the
Prince de Conde, were contending for the service of the Irish
troops. Don Ricardo White, in May, 1672, shipped seven thousand
in batches from Waterford, Kinsale, Galway, Limerick, and Bantry,
for the King of Spain. Colonel Christopher Mayo got liberty in
September to beat his drums, to raise three thousand more for
the same destination. Lord Muskerry took with him five thousand
to the King of Poland. In July, 1654, three thousand five
hundred went to serve the Prince de Conde. Sir Walter Dungan and
others got liberty to beat their drums in different garrisons
for various destinations."--(Prendergast.)

To prove that the desperate resolution of leaving their country
did not originate with the Irish, notwithstanding what some have
written to the contrary, it is enough to remark that their
expatriation was made a necessary condition of their surrender
by the new government. For instance, Lord Clanrickard, according
to Matthew O'Connor, "deserted and surrounded, could obtain no
terms for the nation, nor indeed for himself and his troops,
except with the sad liberty of transportation to any other
country in amity with the Commonwealth."

To prove, if necessary, still further that the expatriation of
the Irish troops was part of a scheme already resolved upon, it
is enough to remember the indisputable fact that from the
surrender at Kilkenny in 1652, until the open announcement in
the September of 1653, that the Parliament had assigned
Connaught for the dwelling-place of the Irish nation, whither
they were to be "transplanted" before the 1st of May, 1654, the
various garrisons and small armies which had fought so gallantly
for Ireland and the Stuarts were successively urged (and urged
by Cromwell meant compelled) to leave the country; and it was
only when the last of the Irish regiments had departed that the
doom of the nation was boldly and clearly announced.

But these forced exiles were not restricted to the warrior class.
"The Lord Protector," says Prendergast, "applied to the Lord
Henry Cromwell, then major-general of the forces of Ireland, to
engage soldiers . . . . and to secure a thousand young Irish
girls to be shipped to Jamaica. Henry Cromwell answered that
there would be no difficulty, only that force must be used in
taking them; and he suggested the addition of fifteen hundred or
two thousand boys of from twelve to fourteen years of age. . . .
The numbers finally fixed were one thousand boys and one
thousand girls."

The total number of children disposed of in the same way, from
1652 to 1655, has been variously estimated at from twenty
thousand to one hundred thousand. The British Government at last
was compelled to interfere and put a stop to the infamous
traffic, when, the mere Irish proving too scarce, the agents
were not sufficiently discriminating in their choice, but
shipped off English children also to the Tobacco Islands.

At last the island was left utterly without defenders, and
sufficiently depopulated. It is calculated that, when the last
great measure was announced and put into execution, only half a
million of Irish people remained in the country, the rest of the
resident population being composed of the Scotch and English,
introduced by James I., and the soldiers and adventurers let in
by Cromwell.

The main features of the celebrated "act of settlement" are
known to all. It was an act intended to dispose quietly of half
a million human beings, destined certainly in the minds of its
projectors to disappear in due time, without any great violence--
to die off --and leave the whole island in the possession of
the "godly."

Connaught is famed as being the wildest and most barren province
of Ireland. At the best, it can support but a scanty population.
At this time it had been completely devastated by a ten years'
war and by the excesses of the parliamentary forces. This
province then was mercifully granted to the unhappy Irish race;
it was set apart as a paradise for the wretched remnant to dwell
in all Connaught, except a strip four miles wide along the sea,
and a like strip along the right bank of the Shannon. This
latter judicious provision was undoubtedly intended to prevent
them from dwelling by the ocean, whence they might derive
subsistence or assistance, or means of escape in the event of
their ever rising again; and, on the other hand, from crossing
the Shannon, on the east side of which their homes might still
be seen. This cordon of four miles' width was drawn all around
what was the Irish nation, and filled with the fiercest zealots
of the "army of the Lord" to keep guard over the devoted victims.

Surely the doom of the race was at last sealed!

But let all justice be done to the Protector. The act was to the
effect that, on the first day of May, 1654, all who, throughout
the war, had not displayed a constant good affection to the
Parliament of England in opposition to Charles I., were to be
removed with their families and servants to the wilds of a poor
and desolated province, where certain lands were to be given
them in return for their own estates. But, who of the Irish
could prove that they had displayed a "constant good affection"
to the English Parliament during a ten years' war? The act was
nothing less than a proscription of the whole nation. The
English of the Pale were included among the old natives, and
even a few Protestant royalists, who had taken of the cause of
the fallen Stuarts. The only exception made was in favor of
"husbandmen, ploughmen, laborers, artificers, and others of the
inferior sort." The English and Scotch--constituted by this act
of settlement lords and masters of the three richest provinces
of Ireland-- could not condescend to till the soil with their
own hands and attend to the mechanical arts required in civil
society. Those duties were reserved for the Irish poor. It was
hoped that, deprived of their nobility and clergy, they might be
turned to any account by their new masters, and either become
good Protestants or perish as slaves. Herein mentita est
iniquitas sibi.

The heart-rending details of this outrage on humanity may be
seen in Mr. Prendergast's "Cromwellian Settlement." There all
who read may form some idea of the extent of Ireland's

It is a wonder which cannot fail to strike the reader, how,
after so many precautions had been taken, not only against the
further increase of the race, but for its speedy demolition, how,
reduced to a bare half million, penned off on a barren tract of
land, left utterly at the mercy of its persecutors, without
priests, without organization of any kind, it not only failed to
perish, but, from that time, has gone on, steadily increasing,
until to-day it spreads out wide and far, not only on the island
of its birth, but on the broad face of two vast continents.

In the space at our disposal, it is impossible to satisfy the
curiosity of the reader on this very curious and interesting
topic. A few remarks, however, may serve to broadly indicate the
chief causes of this astonishing fact, taken apart from the
miraculous intervention of God in their favor.

First, then, Connaught became more Irish than ever, and a
powerful instrument, later on, to assist in the resurrection of
the nation. In fact, as will soon be seen, it preserved life to
it. Again, the outcasts, who were allowed to remain in the other
three provinces as servants, or slaves, rather, were not found
manageable on the score of religion; and, although new acts of
Parliament forbade any bishop or priest to remain in the island,
many did remain, some of them coming back from the Continent,
whither they had been exported, to aid their unfortunate
countrymen in this their direst calamity.

As Matthew O'Connor rightly says : "The ardent zeal, the
fortitude and calm resignation of the Catholic clergy during
this direful persecution, might stand a comparison with the
constancy of Christians during the first ages of the Church. In
the season of prosperity they may have pushed their pretensions
too far"--this is M. O'Connor's private opinion of the
Confederation of Kilkenny-- "but, in the hour of trial, they
rose superior to human infirmities. . . . Sooner than abandon
their flocks altogether, they fled from the communion of men,
concealed themselves in woods and caverns, from whence they
issued, whenever the pursuit of their enemies abated, to preach
to the people, to comfort them in their afflictions, to
encourage them in their trials;. . . their haunts were objects
of indefatigable search; bloodhounds, the last device of human
cruelty, were employed for the purpose, and the same price was
set on the head of a priest as on that of a wolf."--(Irish

But, the expectation that the Irish of the lower classes, bereft
of their pastors as well as of the guidance of their chieftains,
would fall a prey to proselytizing ministers, and lose at once
their nationality and their religion, was doomed to meet with

Perhaps the cause more effective than all others in preserving
the Irish nation from disappearing totally, came from a quarter
least expected, or rather the most improbable and wonderful.

No device seemed better calculated to succeed in Protestantizing
Ireland than the decree of Parliament which set forth that not
only the officers, but even the common soldiers of the
parliamentary army should be paid for their services, not in
money, but in land; and that the estates of the old owners
should be parcelled out and distributed among them in payment,
as well as among those who, in England, had furnished funds for
the prosecution of the war. Although many soldiers objected to
this mode of compensation, some selling for a trifle the land
allotted to them and returning to their own country, the great
majority was compelled to rest satisfied with the government
offer, and so resolved to settle down in Ireland and turn
farmers. But a serious difficulty met them: women could not be
induced to abandon their own country and go to dwell in the
sister isle, while the Irish girls, being all Catholics, a
decree of Parliament forbade the soldiers to marry them, unless
they first succeeded in converting them to Protestantism. After
many vain attempts, doubtless, the Cromwellian soldiers soon
found the impossibility of bringing the "refractory" daughters
of Erin to their way of thinking, and could find only one mode
of bridging over the difficulty--to marry them first, without
requiring then to apostatize; and secure their prize after by
swearing that their wives were the most excellent of Protestants.
Thus while perjury became an every-day occurrence, the
victorious army began to be itself vanquished by a powerful
enemy which it had scarcely calculated upon, and was utterly
unprepared to meet, and finally resting from its labors, enjoyed
the sweets of peace and the fat of the land.

But woman, once she feels her power, is exacting, and in course
of time the Cromwellian soldiers found that further sacrifices
still were required of them, which they had never counted upon.
Their wives could, by no persuasion, be induced to speak English,
so that, however it might go against the grain, the husbands
were compelled to learn Irish and speak it habitually as best
they might. Their difficulties began to multiply with their
children, when they found them learning Irish in the cradle,
irresistible in their Irish wit and humor, and lisping the
prayers and reverencing the faith they had learned at their
mothers' knees. So that, from that time to this, the posterity
of Cromwell's "Ironsides," of such of them at least as remained
in Ireland, have been devoted Catholics and ardent Irishmen.

The case was otherwise with the chief officers of the
parliamentary army, who had received large estates and could
easily obtain wives from England. They remained stanch
Protestants, and their children have continued in the religion
received with the estates which came to them from this wholesale
confiscation. But the bulk of the army, instead of helping to
form a Protestant middle class and a Protestant yeomanry, has
really helped to perpetuate the sway of the Catholic religion in
Ireland, and the feeling of nationality so marked to-day. This
very remarkable fact has been well established and very plainly
set forth, a few years ago, by eminent English reviewers.

Meanwhile, Ireland was a prey to all the evils which can afflict
a nation. Pestilence was added to the ravages of war and the
woes of transplantation, and it raged alike among the conquerors
and the conquered. Friar Morrisson's "Threnodia" reads to-day
like an exaggerated lament, the burden of which was drawn from a
vivid imagination. Yet can there be little doubt that it
scarcely presented the whole truth; an exact reproduction of all
the heart-rending scenes then daily enacted in the unfortunate
island would prove a tale as moving as ever harrowed the pitying
heart of a reader.

And all this suffering was the direct consequence of two things--
the attachment of the Irish to the Catholic religion, and their
devotion to the Stuart dynasty. Modern historians, in
considering all the circumstances, express themselves unable to
understand the constancy of this people's affection for a line
of kings from whom they had invariably experienced, not only
neglect, but positive opposition, if not treachery. In their
opinion, only the strangest obliquity of judgment can explain
such infatuation. Some call it stupidity; but the Irish people
have never been taxed with that. Even in the humblest ranks of
life among them, there exists, not only humor, but a keenness of
perception, and at times an extraordinary good sense, which is
quick to detect motives, and find out what is uppermost in the
minds of others.

There is but one reading of the riddle, consistent with the
whole character of the people: they clung to the Stuarts because
they were obedient to the precepts and duties of religion, and
labored under the belief, however mistaken, that from the
Stuarts alone could they hope for any thing like freedom. Their
spiritual rulers had insisted on the duty of sustaining at all
hazard the legitimate authority of the king, and they were
firmly convinced that they could expect from no other a
relaxation of the religious penal statutes imposed on them by
their enemies. The more frequent grew their disappointments in
the measures adopted by the sovereigns on whom they had set
their hopes, the more firmly were they convinced that their
intentions were good, but rendered futile by the men who
surrounded and coerced them.

Religion can alone explain this singular affection of the Irish
people for a race which, in reality, has caused the greatest of
their misfortunes.

The subsequent events of this strange history are in perfect
keeping with those preceding. A few words will suffice to sketch

On the death of Oliver Cromwell, his son Richard, being unable
and indeed unwilling to remain at the head of the English state,
the nation, tired of the iron rule of the Protector, fearful
certainly of anarchy, and preferring the conservative measures
of monarchy to the ever-changing revolutions of a commonwealth,
recalled the son of Charles I. to the throne.

But a kind of bargain had been struck by him with those who
disposed of the crown; and he undertook and promised to disturb
as little as possible the vested interests created by the
revolution, that is to say, he pledged himself to let the
settlement of property remain as he found it. In England that
promise was productive of little mischief to the nation at large,
though fatal to the not very numerous families who had been
deprived of their estates by the Parliament. But, in Ireland, it
was a very different matter; for there the interests of the
whole nation were ousted to make room for these "vested
interests" of proprietors of scarcely ten years' standing.

The Irish nobility and gentry, at first unaware of the existence
of this bargain, were in joyful expectation that right would at
last be done them, as it was for loyalty to the father of the
new king that they had been robbed of all their possessions.
They were soon undeceived. To their surprise, they learned that
the speculators, army-officers, and soldiers already in
possession of their estates, were not to be disturbed, short as
the possession had been; and that only such lands as were yet
unappropriated should be returned to their rightful owners,
provided only they were not papists, or could prove that they
had been "innocent papists."

The consequences of this bargain are clear. The Irish of the old
native race who had been, as now appeared, so foolishly ardent
in their loyalty to the throne, were to be abandoned to the fate
to which Cromwell had consigned them, and could expect to
recover nothing of what they had so nobly lost. So flagrantly
unjust was the whole proceeding, that after a time many
Englishmen even saw the injustice of the decision, and lifted up
their voices in defence of the Irish Catholics who alone could
hope for nothing from the restoration of royalty. To put a stop
to this, the infamous "Oates" fabrication was brought forward,
which destroyed a number of English Catholic families and
stifled the voice of humanity in its efforts to befriend the
Irish race; and so sudden, universal, and lasting, was the
effect of this plot in closing the eyes of all to the claims of
the Irish, that when its chief promoter, Shaftesbury, was
dragged to the Tower and there imprisoned as a miscreant, and
Oates himself suffered a punishment too mild for his villany,
nevertheless no one thought of again taking up the cause of the
Irish natives.

It is almost impossible in these days to realize what has
occupied our attention in this chapter. The unparalleled act of
spoliation by which four-fifths of the Irish nation were
deprived of their property by Cromwell because of their devotion
to Charles I., for the alleged reason that they could not prove
a constant good affection for the English regicide Parliament,
that spoliation was ratified by the son of Charles within a few
years after the rightful owners, who had sacrificed their
property for the sake of his father, had been dispossessed,
while the parliamentarians, who by force of arms had broken down
the power of Charles and enabled the members of the Long
Parliament to try their king and bring him to the block, those
very soldiers and officers were left in possession of their ill-
gotten plunder, at a time when many of the owners were only a
few miles away in Connaught, or even inhabiting the out-houses
of their own mansions, and tilling the soil as menial servants
of Cromwell's troopers.

The case, apparently similar, which occurred in after-years, of
the French emigrant nobility, cannot be compared with the result
of this strange concession of Charles II. In fact, it may be
said that the spoliations of 1792-'93 in France would probably
never have taken place but for the successful example held up to
the eyes of the legislators of the French Republic by the
English Revolution.

As for the share which Charles II. himself bore in the measure,
it is best told by the fact that the work of spoliation was
carried on so vigorously during the reign of the "merry monarch,"
that when a few years later William of Orange came to the
throne there was no land left for him to dispose of among his
followers save the last million of acres. All the rest had been
portioned off. Well might Dr. Madden say: "The whole of Ireland
has been so thoroughly confiscated that the only exception was
that of five or six families of English blood, some of whom had
been attainted in the reign of Henry VIII., but recovered
flourished ever since. Yet did they not refuse the accessory
with the principal. Deluded men they may be called by many; but
people cannot ordinarily understand the high motives which move
men swayed only by the twofold feeling of religion and nationality.

Nothing in our opinion could better prove that the Irish were
really a nation, at the time we speak of, than the remarks just
set forth. When all minds are so unanimous, the wills so ready,
the arms so strong and well prepared to strike together, it must
be admitted that in the whole exists a common feeling, a
national will. Self-government may be wanting; it may have been
suppressed by sheer force and kept under by the most unfavorable
state of affairs, but the nation subsists and cannot fail
ultimately to rise.

In those eventful times shone forth too that characteristic
which has already been remarked upon of a true conservative
spirit and instinctive hatred for every principle which in our
days is called radical and revolutionary. Had there existed in
the Irish disposition the least inclination toward those social
and moral aberrations, productive to-day of so many and such
widespread evils, surely the period of the English Revolution
was the fitting time to call them forth, and turn them from
their steady adherence to right and order into the new channels,
toward which nations were being then hurried, and which would
really have favored for the time being their own efforts for
independence. Then would the Irish have presented to future
historians as stirring an episode of excitement and activity as
was furnished by the English and Scotch at that time, by the
French later on, and which to-day most European nations offer.

The temptation was indeed great. They saw with what success
rebellion was rewarded among the English and Scotch. They
themselves were sure to be stamped as rebels whichever side they
took; and, as was seen, Charles II. allowed his commissioners in
his act of settlement so to style them, and punish them for it--
for supporting the cause of his father against the Parliament.

Would it not have been better for them to have become once, at
least, rebels in true earnest, and reap the same advantage from
rebellion which all around them reaped? Yet did they stand proof
against the demoralizing doctrines of Scotch Covenanter and
English republican. Hume, who was openly adverse to every thing
Irish, is compelled to describe this Catholic people as "loyal
from principle, attached to regal power from religious education,
uniformly opposing popular frenzy, and zealous vindicators of
royal prerogatives."

All this was in perfect accord with their traditional spirit and
historical recollections. Revolutionary doctrines have always
been antagonistic to the Irish mind and heart. This will appear
more fully when recent times come under notice, and it may be a
surprise to some to find that, with the exception of a few
individuals, who in nowise represent the nation, the latest and
favorite theories of the world, not only on religion, science,
and philosophy, but likewise on government and the social state,
have never found open advocates among them. They, so far,
constitute the only nation untouched, as yet, by the blight
which is passing over and withering the life of modern society.
Thus, it may be said that the exiled nobility still rules in
Ireland by the recollection of the past, though there can no
longer exist a hope of reconstructing an ancient order which has
passed away forever. The prerogatives once granted to the
aristocratic classes are now disowned and repudiated on all
sides; in Ireland they would be submitted to with joy tomorrow,
could the actual descendants of the old families only make good
their claims. It must not be forgotten that the Irish nobility,
as a class, deserved well of their country, sacrificed
themselves for it when the time of sacrifice came, and therefore
it is fitting that they should live in the memory of the people
that sees their traces but finds them not. The dream of finding
rulers for the nation from among those who claim to be the
descendants of the old chieftains, is a dream and nothing more;
but, even still to many Irishmen, it is within the compass of
reality, so deeply ingrained is their conservative spirit, and
so completely, in this instance, at least, are they free from
the influx of modern ideas.

The Stuarts, then, were supported by the Irish, not merely from
religious, but also from national motives, inasmuch as that
family was descended from the line of Gaelic kings, and, however
unworthy they themselves may have been, their rights were upheld
and acknowledged against all comers. But, the Stuarts gone,
allegiance was flung to the winds.

The success of Cromwell and his republic was the doom of all
prospects of the reunion of the two islands; and the subsequent
Revolution of 1688, which commenced so soon after the death of
the Protector, left the Irish in the state in which the
struggles of four hundred years with the Plantagenets and Tudors
had placed and left them in relation to their connection with
England--a state of antagonism and mutual repulsion, wherein the
Irish nation, the victim of might, was slowly educated by
misfortune until the time should come for the open
acknowledgment of right.



William III., of Orange, was inclined to observe, in good faith,
the articles agreed upon at the surrender of Limerick, namely,
to allow the conquered liberty of worship, citizen rights, so
much as remained to them of their property, and the means for
personal safety recognized before the departure of Sarsfield and
his men.

The lords justices even issued a proclamation commanding "all
officers and soldiers of the army and militia, and all other
persons whatsoever, to forbear to do any wrong or injury, or to
use unlawful violence to any of his Majesty's subjects, whether
of the British or Irish nation, without distinction, and that
all persons taking the oath of allegiance, and behaving
themselves according to law, should be deemed subjects under
their Majesties' protection, and be equally entitled to the
benefit of the law."--(Harris, "Life of William.")

This first proclamation not having been generally obeyed,
another was published denouncing "the utmost vengeance of the
law against the offenders;" and the author above quoted adds
that "the satisfaction given to the Irish was a source of
lasting gratitude to the person and government of William."

It is even asserted that, not only did the new monarch thus
ratify the treaty of Limerick, but that "he inserted in the
ratification a clause of the last importance to the Irish, which
had been omitted in the draught signed by the lords justices and
Sarsfield. That clause extended the benefits of the capitulation
to "all such as were under the protection of the Irish army in
the counties of Limerick, Clare, Kerry, Cork, and Mayo. A great
quantity of Catholic property depended on the insertion of this
clause in the ratification, and the English Privy Council
hesitated whether to take advantage of the omission. The honesty
of the king declared it to be a part of the articles."

The final confirmation was issued from Westminster on February
24, 1692, in the name of William and Mary.

But the party which had overcome the honest leanings of James I.,
if he ever had any, and of his son and grandson, was at this
time more powerful than ever, and could not consent to extend
the claims of justice and right to the conquered. This party was
the Ulster colony, which Cromwell's settlement had spread to the
two other provinces of Leinster and Munster, and which was
confirmed in its usurpation by the weakness of the second
Charles. The motives for the bitter animosity which caused it to
set its face against every measure involving the scantiest
justice toward its fellow-countrymen may be summed up in two
words--greed and fanaticism.

Until the time when the first of the Stuarts ascended the
English throne, all the successive spoliations of Ireland, even
the last under Elizabeth, at the end of the Geraldine war, were
made to the advantage of the English nobility. Even the younger
sons of families from Lancashire, Cheshire, and Dorsetshire, who
"planted" Munster after the ruin of the Desmonds, had noble
blood in their veins, and were consequently subject more or less
to the ordinary prejudices of feudal lords. The life of the
agriculturist and grazier was too low down in the social scale
to catch their supercilious glance. The consequence of which was,
that the Catholic tenants of Munster were left undisturbed in
their holdings. Instead of the "dues" exacted by their former
chieftains, they now paid rent to their new lords.

But the rabble let loose on the island by James I. was afflicted
with no such dainty notions as these. To supercilious glances
were substituted eyes keen as the Israelites', for the "main
chance." The new planters, intent only on profit and gain,
thought with the French peasant of an after-date, that, for
landed estate to produce its full value, "there is nothing like
the eye of a master." The Irish peasant was therefore removed
from at least one-half the farms of Ulster, and driven to live
as best he might among the Protestant lords of Munster. And in
order to have an entirely Protestant "plantation," it became
incumbent on the new owners so to frame the legislation as to
deprive the Irish Catholics of any possibility of recovering
their former possessions. Thus, laws were passed declaring null
and void all purchases made by "Irish papists."

Who has not witnessed, at some period in his life, the effect
produced on the people in his neighborhood by one avaricious but
wealthy man, intent only on increasing his property, and
profiting by the slavish labor of the poor under his control?
Who has not detested, in his inmost soul, the grinding tyranny
of the miser gloating over the hard wealth which he has wrung
from the misery and tears of all around him, and who boasts of
the cunning shrewdness, the success of which is only too visible
in the desolation that encircles him? Imagine such scenes
enacted throughout a large territory, beginning with Ulster,
spreading thence to Munster and Connaught, and finally through
the whole island, and we have an exact picture of the effects of
the Protestant "plantation." Each year, almost, of the
seventeenth century witnessed fresh swarms of these foreign
adventurers settling on the island, interrupted in their
operations only by the Confederation of Kilkenny, but
multiplying faster and faster after the destruction of that
truly national government, until at the time now under our
consideration, "Scotch thrift," as it is called, had become the
chief virtue of most of the owners of land--Scotch thrift, which
is but another name for greed.

It were easy to show, by long details, that this great
characteristic of the new "plantation" would suffice to explain
that general and terrible pauperism which has since become the
striking feature of once-happy Ireland. But only a few words can
be allowed.

It is the fanaticism of the new "planters" which will chiefly
occupy our attention. These were composed, first, of the Scotch
Presbyterians of Knox, whom James I. had dispatched, and
afterward of the ranting soldiers and officers of Cromwell's
army, more Jew than Christian, since their mouths were ever
filled with Bible texts of that particular character wherein the
wrath of God is denounced against the impious and cruel tribes
of Palestine. It is doubtful whether the ideas of God and man,
promulgated and spread among the people by Calvin and Knox, have
ever been equalled in evil consequences by the most
superstitious beliefs of ancient pagans. Let us look well at
those teachings. According to them, God is the author of evil:
he issues forth his decrees of election or reprobation,
irrespective of merit or demerit; inflicting eternal torments on
innumerable souls which never could have been saved, and for
whom the Son of God did not die. What any rational being must
consider as the most revolting cruelty and injustice, these men
called acts of pure justice executed by the hand of God. God
saves blindly those whom he saves, and takes them home to his
bosom, though reeking with the unrepented and unexpiated crimes
of their lives--unexpiable, in fact, on the part of man--merely
because they persuade themselves that they are of "the elect."

In that system, man is a mere machine, unendowed with the
slightest symptom of free-will, but inflated with the most
overbearing pride; deeming all others but those of his sect the
necessary objects of the blind wrath of God, cast off and
reprobate from all eternity in the designs of Providence; for
whom "the elect" can feel no more pity or affection than
redeemed men can for the arch-fiend himself, both being alike
redeemless and unredeemed.

No system of pretended religion, invented by the perverted mind
of man, under the inspiration of the Evil One, could go further
in atrocity than this.

Yet such was the pure, undiluted essence of Calvinism in its
beginning. In our times its doctrines have been radically
modified, as its adherents could not escape the soothing
operations of time and calm reason. But, at the period of which
we speak, its absurd and revolting tenets were fresh, and taken
religiously to the letter.

The new colonists, therefore, believed, and acted on the belief,
that all men outside of their own body were the enemies of God
and had God for their enemy. What a convenient doctrine for men
of an "itching palm! " The papists, in particular, were worse
than idolaters, and to "root them out" was only to render a
service to God. In the event of this holy desire not being
altogether possible of execution, the nearest approach to the
goodly work was to strip them of all rights, and render the life
of such reprobates more miserable than the death which was to
condemn them to the eternal torments planned out for them in the
eternal decrees, and so give them a foretaste here of the life
destined for them hereafter.

The reader, then, may understand how the Scotch Presbyterians of
the time, overflowing as they were with free and republican
ideas as far as regarded their own welfare, when it came to a
question of extending the same to their Catholic fellow-men, if
they would have admitted the term, scouted such a preposterous
and ungodly idea. These latter were unworthy the enjoyment of
such benefit. And thus the hoot of Protestant ascendancy,
"Protestant liberty and right! " came up as war-cries to stifle
out all efforts tending to extend even the most ordinary
privileges of the liberty which is man's by nature, to any but
Protestants of the same class as themselves.

Here a curious reflection, full of meaning, and causing the mind
almost to mock at the type of a free constitution, presents
itself. The eighteenth century witnessed the development of the
British Constitution as now known. It embraced in its bosom all
British citizens, raising up the nation to the pinnacle of
material prosperity, while at the same time and all through it,
whole classes of citizens of the British Empire, both in Great
Britain and Ireland, were openly, unblushingly, legally, without
a thought of mercy or pity--not to mention such an ugly word as
logic--denied the protection of the common charter and the
common rights.

Under Cromwell the doctrines of Calvin and Knox did not show
themselves quite so obtrusively. The officers and soldiers of
his armies, in common with their general, thought the
Presbyterian Kirk too aristocratic and unbending. They formed a
new sect of Independents, now called Congregationalists. But the
chief feature of the new religious system became as productive
of evil to Ireland as the stern dogmas of Calvin ever could be.
The principle that the Scriptures constituted the only rule of
faith was beginning to bear its fruits. It is needless to remark
that Holy Scripture, when abandoned to the free interpretation
of all, becomes the source of many errors, as it may be the
source of many crimes. The historian and novelist even have ere
now frequently told us to what purpose the "Word of God " was
manipulated by Scottish Covenanter and Cromwellian freebooter.

The Covenanter, or freebooter, saw in the antagonists of his
"real rebellion" and opposers of the designs of his dark policy,
only the enemies of God and the adversaries of his Providence.
He believed himself divinely commissioned to destroy Catholics
and butcher innocent women and children, as the armies of Joshua
were authorized to fight against Amalek, and possess themselves
of a country occupied by a people whose cruel idolatry was
ineradicable, and rendered them absolutely irreconcilable. Thus
to the stern and odious tenets of Calvinism the new invaders
joined the fanaticism of self-deluded Jews, never having
received any commission from the God whom they blasphemed, yet
bearing themselves with all the solemnity of his instruments.

There is consequently nothing to surprise us in the atrocities
committed by the Scotch troops in 1641, when they first invaded
the island from the north, as little as there is in the numerous
massacres which first attended the march of the troops of
Cromwell, Ireton, and other leaders, and which were only
discontinued when the voice of Europe rose up in revolt at the
recital, and they themselves became thoroughly convinced that
the complete destruction of the people was impossible, and the
only next best thing to be done was to export as many as could
be exported and reduce the rest to slavery.

Thus did the new colony commence its workings, and it is easy to
comprehend how such intensely Protestant doctrines, remaining
implanted in the breasts of the people who came to make Ireland
their home, could not fail to oppose an insurmountable barrier
to the fusion of the new and the old inhabitants, and impart a
fearful reality to the theory of "Protestant ascendancy" and
"Protestant liberty and right "--the liberty and right to
oppress those of another creed.

These watchwords form the key to the understanding of all the
miseries and woes of Irishmen during the whole of the eighteenth
century. We now turn to contemplate the commencement of the
workings of this fanatic intolerance which ushered in the
century of gloom.

The lords justices had just returned, after concluding the
treaty of peace with Sarsfield, when the first mutterings of the
thunder were heard that presaged the coming storm. Dr. Dopping,
the Protestant Bishop of Meath, while preaching before them on
the Sunday following their return to Dublin, reproached them
openly in Christ Church for their indulgence to the Irish, and
urged that no faith was to be kept with such a cruel and
perfidious race. This sort of doctrine has been heard before,
and from men of the stamp of Dr. Dopping; it is still heard
every day, but it is generally thrown into the teeth of
Catholics and saddled on them as their doctrine, however
frequently refuted.

The doctor stated broadly that with such people no treaties were
binding, and that therefore the articles of Limerick were not to
be observed.

William and his Irish government endeavored to check this
intemperance; but the feelings of the sectarians were too ardent
to be thus easily smothered, and the greater the opposition they
encountered, the more they insisted on proclaiming their views,
to which naturally they gained many adherents among the
colonists of the Protestant plantation.

The Irish Parliament soon assembled in Dublin. The majority,
imbued with the gloomy Calvinism of the times, and fearing to
face the opposition of the respectable minority of Catholic
members, who had come to take their seats, passed an act
imposing a new oath, in contradiction to one of the articles of
the treaty. That oath included an abjuration of James's right de
jure, a renunciation of the spiritual authority of the Pope, and
(as though that were not enough to exclude Catholics) a
declaration against the doctrine of transubstantiation and other
fundamental tenets of their creed. Persons who refused to take
this oath were debarred from all offices and emoluments, as well
as from both Houses of the Irish Parliament.

The Catholic members were compelled to withdraw at once; and no
Catholic ever took part in the legislation of his own country
from that day until the Emancipation in 1829.

After this withdrawal, which in the times of the French
Convention would have been called an epuration, the Irish
Parliament became the bane of the country. In fact, it only
represented parliamentary England, and subjected Ireland to
every measure required by English ultraists for the attainment
of their selfish purposes. Possessed by a gloomy fanaticism, its
main object was to root out of the island every vestige that
remained of the religion which had once flourished there. All
its legislative spirit was concentrated in the two questions:
Are the laws already in existence against the further growth of
Popery rigidly enforced? and, cannot some new law be introduced
to further the same object.?

Many a time were these two questions put in the assembly called
the Irish Parliament, until near the end of the eighteenth
thunder were heard that presaged the coming storm. Dr. Dopping,
the Protestant Bishop of Meath, while preaching before them on
the Sunday following their return to Dublin, reproached them
openly in Christ Church for their indulgence to the Irish, and
urged that no faith was to be kept with such a cruel and
perfidious race. This sort of doctrine has been heard before,
and from men of the stamp of Dr. Dopping; it is still heard
every day, but it is generally thrown into the teeth of
Catholics and saddled on them as their doctrine, however
frequently refuted.

The doctor stated broadly that with such people no treaties were
binding, and that therefore the articles of Limerick were not to
be observed.

William and his Irish government endeavored to check this
intemperance; but the feelings of the sectarians were too ardent
to be thus easily smothered, and the greater the opposition they
encountered, the more they insisted on proclaiming their views,
to which naturally they gained many adherents among the
colonists of the Protestant plantation.

The Irish Parliament soon assembled in Dublin. The majority,
imbued with the gloomy Calvinism of the times, and fearing to
face the opposition of the respectable minority of Catholic
members, who had come to take their seats, passed an act
imposing a new oath, in contradiction to one of the articles of
the treaty. That oath included an abjuration of James's right de
jure, a renunciation of the spiritual authority of the Pope, and
(as though that were not enough to exclude Catholics) a
declaration against the doctrine of transubstantiation and other
fundamental tenets of their creed. Persons who refused to take
this oath were debarred from all offices and emoluments, as well
as from both Houses of the Irish Parliament.

The Catholic members were compelled to withdraw at once; and no
Catholic ever took part in the legislation of his own country
from that day until the Emancipation in 1829.

After this withdrawal, which in the times of the French
Convention would have been called an epuration, the Irish
Parliament became the bane of the country. In fact, it only
represented parliamentary England, and subjected Ireland to
every measure required by English ultraists for the attainment
of their selfish purposes. Possessed by a gloomy fanaticism, its
main object was to root out of the island every vestige that
remained of the religion which had once flourished there. All
its legislative spirit was concentrated in the two questions:
Are the laws already in existence against the further growth of
Popery rigidly enforced? and, cannot some new law be introduced
to further the same object.?

Many a time were these two questions put in the assembly called
the Irish Parliament, until near the end of the eighteenth
Popery, and, in the next place, it makes evident the necessity
there is of cultivating and preserving a good understanding
among all Protestants in this kingdom."'

Let the reader bear in mind that language such as this, and its
result in the shape of atrocious legislation, continued
throughout the whole of the eighteenth century in Ireland, and
he will find no difficulty in understanding the meaning of
Edmund Burke's words when he said : "The code against the
Catholics was a machine of wise and elaborate contrivance; and
as well fitted for the oppression, impoverishment, and
degradation of a people, and the debasement in them of human
nature itself, as ever proceeded from the perverted ingenuity of
man." And, elsewhere: "To render men patient under the
deprivation of all the rights of human nature, every thing which
could give them a knowledge and feeling of those rights was
rationally forbidden. To render humanity fit to be insulted, it
was fit that it should be degraded."

But it is very pertinent to our purpose to give a sketch of
those good laws, as Wharton calls them, before seeing how the
Irish preferred to submit to them rather than lose their faith
by "conforming." The subject has been already investigated by
many writers, and of late far more completely than formerly. But
the authors never presented the laws as a whole, contenting
themselves, for the most part, by transcribing them in the
chronological order in which they were enacted, or, if
occasionally they endeavored to combine and thus present a more
striking idea of the effect which such laws must have produced
on the people, they were never, as far as is known to the writer,
reduced to a plan, and consequently fail to bring forth the
effect intended to be produced by them.

It is impossible here to give the text of those various laws--
impossible even to give a fairly accurate idea of the whole.
They shall be classified, however, to the best of our ability,
and as fully as circumstances permit.

Mr. Prendergast seems to consider their ultimate object always
to have been the robbing of the Irish of their lands, or
securing the plunder if already in possession. That this was one
of the great objects always kept in view in their enactment, we
do not feel inclined to contest; but that it was their only or
even chief cause, we may be allowed to question, with the
greatest deference to the opinion of the celebrated author of
the often-quoted "Cromwellian Settlement."

We believe those laws to have been produced chiefly by sectarian
fanaticism; or, if some of their framers, such as Lord Wharton,
possessed no religious feelings of any kind, and could not be
called fanatics, their intent was to pander to the real
fanaticism of the English people, as it existed at the time, and
particularly of the colony planted in Ireland, which hated
Popery to the death, and would have given all its possessions
and lands for the destruction of the Scarlet Woman.

In order to attain the great result proposed, the aim of the
"penal statute" was one in its very complexity. For it had to
deal with complex rights, which it took away one after another
until the unity of the system was completed by the suppression
of them all.

We classify these under the heads of political, civil, and human
rights. The result of the whole policy was to degrade the Irish
to the level of the wretched helots under Sparta, with this
difference: while the slaves of the Lacedaemonians numbered but
a few thousands, the Irish were counted by millions.

The system, as a whole, was the work of time, and, under William
of Orange--even under Queen Anne--it had not yet attained its
maturity, though the principal and the severest measures were
carried and put in force from the very beginning. The ingenious
little devices regarding short and small leases, the possession
of valuable horses, etc., were mere fanciful adjuncts which the
witty and inventive legislators of the Hanoverian dynasty were
happy enough to find unrecorded in the statute-books, and which
they had the honor of setting there, and thus adding a new
piquancy and vigorous flavor to the whole dish.

Toward the middle of the eighteenth century, the system may be
said to have reached its perfection. After that time it would,
in all likelihood, have been impossible to improve further, and
render the yoke of slavery heavier and more galling to the Irish.
The beauty and simplicity of the whole consisted in the fact
that the great majority of these measures were not decreed in so
many positive and express terms against Catholics in the form of
open and persecuting statutes. It was merely mentioned in the
laws that, to enjoy such and such a particular right, it was
necessary that every subject of the crown should take such and
such an oath, which no Catholic could take. Thus, the entire
Irish population was set between their religion and their rights,
and at any moment, by merely taking the oath, they were at
liberty to enjoy all the privileges which rendered the colonists
living in their midst so happy and contented, and so proud of
their "Protestant ascendency."

It was hoped, no doubt, that, if at first and for a certain time,
the faith of the Irish would stand proof and prompt them to
sacrifice every thing held dear in life, rather than surrender
that faith, nevertheless, worn out at length, and disheartened
by wretchedness, unable longer to sustain their heavy burden,
they would finally succumb, and, by the mere action of such an
easy thing as recording an oath in accordance with the law,
though against their conscience, become men and citizens. It was
what the French Conventionalists of 1793 called "desoler la
patience" of their victims.

This unholy hope was disappointed; and, with the exception of a
comparatively few weak Christians among their number, the nation
stood firm and preferred the "ignominy of the cross of Christ"
to the enjoyments of this perishable life.

Their political rights were, as was seen, the first to be taken
away. The Parliament of 1691 required of its members the oath
referred to, and for the repudiation of which, all the Catholic
members were compelled at once to withdraw. But the contrivance
of swearing being found such an excellent instrument to use
against men possessed of a conscience, the ruling body--now
reduced to the former Protestant majority--required that the
same oath be taken by all electors, magistrates, and officers of
whatever grade, from the highest to the lowest in the land.

The oath itself was an elastic formula, capable of being
stretched or contracted, according to circumstances, so that, by
the addition of an incidental phrase or two, it might be framed
to meet new exigencies, and give expression to the lively
imagination of ingenious members of Parliament. It would be
curious to collect an account of the variety of shapes it
assumed, and to comment on the different occasions which gave
rise to these different developments. A long history of
persecuting frenzy might thus be condensed into a commentary of
a comparatively few pages. Even at the so-called Catholic
Emancipation it was not abolished; on the contrary, it was
sacredly preserved, and two new formulas drawn up, the one for
the Protestant and the other for the Catholic members of the
legislature, Lords and Commons, and so it remains, to this day,
except that the most offensive clauses of the last century have

Imagine, then, the spectacle offered by the island whenever an
election for representatives, magistrates, or petty officers,
took place; whenever those entitled to select holders of offices
which were not subject to election, made known the persons of
their choice. This vast array of aristocratic masters was chosen
from the ranks of the English colonists, and had for its avowed
object to preserve the Protestant ascendency, and consequently
grind under the heel of the most abject oppression the whole
mass of the population of the island. There was no other meaning
in all these political combinations and changes, recurring
periodically, and heralded forth by the voice of the press and
the thunder of the hustings. Politics in Ireland was nothing
else than the expression given to the despotism of an
insignificant minority over almost the entire body of the people.
For, despite all their repressive measures, the enemies of the
Catholic faith could never pretend even to a semblance in point
of numbers, much less to a majority, over the children of the
creed taught by Patrick. Ireland remained Catholic throughout;
and its oppressors could not fail to feel the bitter humiliation
of their constant numerical inferiority. Hence the words quoted
in the speech of Wharton, the lord-lieutenant.

This has always been the case, in spite of the combination of a
multitude of circumstances adverse to the spread of the Catholic
population. It may not be amiss to give room for the statistics
and remarks of Abbe Perraud on this most interesting subject,
contained in his book on "Ireland under British rule."

"In 1672, the total population of Ireland was 1,100,000 (it is
to be remembered that this was after the massacres and
transportations of Cromwell's period). Of that number

800,000 were Catholics.
50,000 " Dissenters.
150,000 " Church-of-Ireland men.

"In 1727, the Anglican Primate of Ireland, Boulter, Archbishop
of Armagh, wrote to his English colleague, the Archbishop of
Canterbury, that 'we have, in all probability, in this kingdom,
at least five Papists for every Protestant.' Those proportions
are confirmed by official statistics under Queen Anne.

"In 1740, according to a kind of official census, confirmed by
Wakefield, the number of Protestant heads of families did not
exceed 96,067.

"Twenty-six years later, the Dublin House of Lords caused a
comparative table of Protestant and Catholic families to be
drawn up for each county. The result was the following:

Protestant families . . 130,263
Catholic families . . 305,680

"In 1834, exact statistical returns being made of the members of
each communion, the following was the result: The total
population being estimated at 7,943,940, the Church-of-Ireland
members amounted only to the number of 852,064. The remaining 7,
091,876 were thus divided:

Presbyterians . . . . . . 642,350
Other Dissenters . . . . 21,808
Catholics . . . . . . . 6,427,718

"The censuses of 1841 and 1851 contained no information upon
this important question. Thirty years had therefore elapsed
since official figures had given the exact proportions of each

"This silence of the Blue Books had given rise, among the
Protestant press of England and Ireland, to the opinion, too
hastily adopted on the Continent by publicists of great weight,
that emigration and famine had resulted in the equalization of
the numbers of Protestants and Catholics in Ireland. The evident
conclusion joyfully drawn from this supposed fact by the
defenders of the Anglican Church was, that the scandal of a
Protestant establishment in the midst and at the expense of a
Catholic people was gradually dying away.

"The forlorn hope of the Tory and Orange press went still
further. They boldly disputed Ireland's right to the title of
Catholic. So, although, ten years and twenty years before, these
same journals furiously opposed the admission of religious
denominations into the statistics of the census, yet, when the
census of 1861 drew near, they quite as loudly demanded its
insertion. They made it a matter of challenge to the Catholics.

"The ultramontane journals accepted the challenge. The Catholics
unanimously demanded a denominational census. The results were


Back to Full Books