English Adventurers speculate on Irish Disaffection—Coote's
Cruelties—Meeting of Irish Noblemen and Gentlemen—Discontent of the
People—The Catholic Priests try to save Protestants from their fury—A
National Synod to deliberate on the State of Irish Affairs—The General
Assembly is convened at Kilkenny—A Mint is established—A
Printing-Press set up—Relations are entered into with Foreign States,
and a Method of Government is organized—Differences of Opinion between
the Old Irish and Anglo-Irish—A Year's Treaty is made—Arrival of
Rinuccini—He lands at Kenmare—His Account of the Irish People—His
Reception at Kilkenny—His Opinion of the State of Affairs—Divisions of
the Confederates—Ormonde's Intrigues—The Battle of Benburb—Divisions
and Discord in Camp and Senate—A Treaty signed and published by the
Representatives of the English King—Rinuccini returns to Italy.

[A.D. 1642-1649.]

'Neill now took the title of "Lord-General of the Catholic army in
Ulster." A proclamation was issued by the Irish Government, declaring he
had received no authority from the King; and the ruling powers were
often heard to say, "that the more were in rebellion, the more lands
should be forfeited to them."[474] A company of adventurers were already
formed in London on speculation, and a rich harvest was anticipated.
Several engagements took place, in which the insurgents were on the
whole successful. It was now confidently stated that a general massacre
of the Catholics was intended; and, indeed, the conduct of those engaged
in putting down the rising, was very suggestive of such a purpose. In
Wicklow, Sir Charles Coote put many innocent persons to the sword,
without distinction of age or sex. On one occasion, when he met a
soldier carrying an infant on the point of his pike, he was charged with
saying that "he liked such frolics."[475] Carte admits that his temper
was rather "sour;" but he relates incidents in his career which should
make one think "barbarous" would be the more appropriate term. The Lords
Justices approved of his proceedings; and Lord Castlehaven gives a
fearful account of the conduct of troops sent out by these gentlemen,
who "killed men, women, and children promiscuously; which procedure," he
says, "not only exasperated the rebels, and induced them to commit the
like cruelties upon the English
, but frightened the nobility and gentry
about; who, seeing the harmless country people, without respect of age
or sex, thus barbarously murdered, and themselves then openly threatened
as favourers of the rebellion, for paying the contributions they could
not possibly refuse, resolved to stand upon their guard."[476]

Before taking an open step, even in self-defence, the Irish noblemen and
gentlemen sent another address to the King; but their unfortunate
messenger, Sir John Read, was captured, and cruelly racked by the party
in power—their main object being to obtain something from his
confessions which should implicate the King and Queen. Patrick Barnwell,
an aged man, was also racked for a similar purpose. The Lords Justices
now endeavoured to get several gentlemen into their possession, on
pretence of holding a conference. Their design was suspected, and the
intended victims escaped; but they wrote a courteous letter, stating the
ground of their refusal. A meeting of the principal Irish noblemen and
gentlemen was now held on the Hill of Crofty, in Meath. Amongst those
present were the Earl of Fingall, Lords Gormanstown, Slane, Louth,
Dunsany, Trimbleston, and Netterville, Sir Patrick Barnwell and Sir
Christopher Bellew; and of the leading country gentlemen, Barnwell,
Darcy, Bath, Aylmer, Cusack, Malone, Segrave, &c. After they had been a
few hours on the ground, the leaders of the insurgent party came up, and
were accosted by Lord Gormanstown, who inquired why they came armed into
the Pale. O'More replied that they had "taken up arms for the freedom
and liberty of their consciences, the maintenance of his Majesty's
prerogative, in which they understood he was abridged, and the making
the subjects of this kingdom as free as those of England." Lord
Gormanstown answered: "Seeing these be your true ends, we will likewise
join with you therein."

On the 1st of January, 1642, Charles issued a proclamation against the
Irish rebels, and wished to take the command against them in person; but
his Parliament was his master, and the members were glad enough of the
excuse afforded by the troubles in Ireland to increase the army, and to
obtain a more direct personal control over its movements. They voted
away Irish estates, and uttered loud threats of exterminating Popery;
but they had a more important and interesting game in hand at home,
which occupied their attention, and made them comparatively indifferent
to Irish affairs.

Sir Phelim O'Neill was not succeeding in the north. He had been obliged
to raise the siege of Drogheda, and the English had obtained possession
of Dundalk. £1,000 was offered for his head, and £600 for the heads of
some of his associates. Ormonde and Tichburne were in command of the
Government forces, but Ormonde was considered to be too lenient; and two
priests, Father Higgins and Father White, were executed by Coote, the
one without trial, and the other without even the forms of justice,
although they were under the Earl's protection. Carte says that Father
Higgins' case excited special interest, for he had saved many
Protestants from the fury of the Irish, and afforded them relief and
protection afterwards. Indeed, at this period, the Catholic clergy were
unwearied in their efforts to protect the Protestants. They must have
been actuated by the purest motives of religion, which were none the
less sacred to them because they could neither be understood nor
appreciated by those whose whole conduct had been so different. Father
Saul, a Jesuit, sheltered Dr. Pullen, the Protestant Dean of Clonfert,
and his family; Father Everard and Father English, Franciscan friars,
concealed many Protestants in their chapels, and even under their
altars. Many similar instances are on record in the depositions
concerning the murders and massacres of the times, at present in Trinity
College, Dublin; though those depositions were taken with the avowed
object of making out a case against the Catholics of having intended a
general massacre. In Galway the Jesuits were especially active in
charity to their enemies, and went through the town exhorting the
people, for Christ's sake, our Lady's and St. Patrick's, to shed no
blood. But although the Catholic hierarchy were most anxious to prevent
outrages against humanity, they were by no means insensible to the
outrages against justice, from which the Irish nation had so long
suffered. They were far from preaching passive submission to tyranny, or
passive acceptance of heresy. The Church had long since not only
sanctioned, but even warmly encouraged, a crusade against the infidels,
and the deliverance, by force of arms, of the holy places from
desecration; it had also granted[477] similar encouragements and similar
indulgences to all who should fight for "liberties and rights" in
Ireland, and had "exhorted, urged, and solicited" the people to do so
with "all possible affection." The Irish clergy could have no doubt that
the Holy See would sanction a national effort for national liberty. The
Archbishop of Armagh, therefore, convened a provincial synod, which was
held at Kells, on the 22nd of March, 1641, which pronounced the war
undertaken by the Catholics of Ireland lawful and pious, but denounced
murders and usurpations, and took steps for assembling a national synod
at Kilkenny during the following year.

The Catholic cause, meanwhile, was not advancing through the country.
The Irish were defeated in nearly every engagement with the English
troops. The want of a competent leader and of unanimity of purpose was
felt again, as it had so often been felt before; but the Church
attempted to supply the deficiency, and, if it did not altogether
succeed, it was at least a national credit to have done something in the
cause of freedom.

The synod met at Kilkenny, on the 10th of May, 1642. It was attended by
the Archbishops of Armagh, Cashel, and Tuam, and the Bishops of Ossory,
Elphin, Waterford and Lismore, Kildare Clonfert, and Down and Connor.
Proctors attended for the Archbishop of Dublin, and for the Bishops of
Limerick, Emly, and Killaloe. There were present, also, sixteen other
dignitaries and heads of religious orders. They issued a manifesto
explaining their conduct and, forming a Provisional Government,
concluded their labours, after three days spent in careful deliberation.

Owen Roe O'Neill and Colonel Preston arrived in Ireland in July, 1642,
accompanied by a hundred officers, and well supplied with arms and
ammunition. Sir Phelim O'Neill went at once to meet O'Neill, and
resigned the command of the army; and all promised fairly for the
national cause. The Scots, who had kept up a war of their own for some
time, against both the King and the Catholics, were wasting Down and
Antrim; and O'Neill was likely to need all his military skill and all
his political wisdom in the position in which he was placed.

Preston had landed in Wexford, and brought a still larger force; while
all the brave expatriated Irishmen in foreign service, hastened home the
moment there appeared a hope that they could strike a blow with some
effect for the freedom of their native land.

The General Assembly projected by the national synod in Kilkenny, held
its first meeting on October 14, 1642,—eleven spiritual and fourteen
temporal peers, with 226 commoners, representing the Catholic population
of Ireland. It was, in truth, a proud and glorious day for the nation.
For once, at least, she could speak through channels chosen by her own
free will; and for once there dawned a hope of legislative freedom of
action for the long-enslaved people. The old house is still shown where
that Assembly deliberated—a Parliament all but in name. The table then
used, and the chair occupied by the Speaker, are still preserved, as sad
mementos of freedom's blighted cause.[478] The house used was in the
market-place, The peers and commoners sat together; but a private room
was allotted for the lords to consult in. Dr. Patrick Darcy, an eminent
lawyer, represented the Chancellor and the judges. Mr. Nicholas Plunket
was chosen as Speaker; the Rev. Thomas O'Quirk, a learned Dominican
friar, was appointed Chaplain to both houses.

The Assembly at once declared that they met as a provisional government,
and not as a parliament. The preliminary arrangements occupied them
until the 1st of November. From the 1st until the 4th, the committee was
engaged in drawing up a form for the Confederate Government; on the 4th
it was sanctioned by the two houses. Magna Charta, and the common and
statute law of England, in all points not contrary to the Catholic
religion, or inconsistent with the liberty of Ireland, were made the
basis of the new Government. The administrative authority was vested in
a Supreme Council, which was then chosen, and of which Lord Mountgarret
was elected President.



There were six members elected for each province. For Leinster, the
Archbishop of Dublin, Lords Gormanstown and Mountgarret, Nicholas
Plunket, Richard Belling, and James Cusack. For Ulster, the Archbishop
of Armagh, the Bishop of Down, Philip O'Reilly, Colonel MacMahon, Heber
Magennis, and Turlough O'Neill. For Munster, Viscount Roche, Sir Daniel
O'Brien, Edmund FitzMaurice, Dr. Fennell, Robert Lambert, and George
Comyn. For Connaught, the Archbishop of Tuam, Viscount Mayo, the Bishop
of Clonfert, Sir Lucas Dillon, Geoffrey Browne, and Patrick Darcy. The
Earl of Castlehaven, who had just escaped from his imprisonment in
Dublin, was added as a twenty-fifth member. Generals were appointed to
take the command of the forces—Owen Roe O'Neill, for Ulster; Preston,
for Leinster; Barry, for Munster; and Burke, for Connaught. A seal was
made, a printing-press set up, and a mint established. Money was coined
and levied for the necessary expenses; and a levy of 31,700 men was
prepared to be drilled by the new officers. Envoys were sent to solicit
assistance from the Catholic courts of Europe; and the famous and
learned Franciscan, Father Luke Wadding, applied himself to the cause
with unremitting earnestness. Father John Talbot was employed in a
similar manner in Spain.

The Assembly broke up on the 9th of January, 1643, after sending a
remonstrance to the King, declaring their loyalty, and explaining their
grievances. The complicated state of English politics proved the ruin of
this noble undertaking, so auspiciously commenced. Charles was anxious
to make terms with men whom he knew would probably be the only subjects
on whose loyalty he could thoroughly depend. His enemies—and the most
cursory glance at English history during this period proves how many and
how powerful they were—desired to keep open the rupture, and, if
possible, to bring it down, from the high stand of dignified
remonstrance, to the more perilous and lower position of a general and
ill-organized insurrection. The Lords Justices Borlase and Parsons were
on the look-out for plunder; but Charles had as yet sufficient power to
form a commission of his own, and he sent the Marquis of Ormonde and
some other noblemen to treat with the Confederates. Ormonde was a cold,
calculating, and, if we must judge him by his acts, a cruel man; for, to
give only one specimen of his dealings, immediately after his
appointment, he butchered the brave garrison of Timolin, who had
surrendered on promise of quarter.

The Confederates were even then divided into two parties. The section of
their body principally belonging to the old English settlers, were
willing to have peace on almost any terms; the ancient Irish had their
memories burdened with so many centuries of wrong, that they demanded
something like certainty of redress before they would yield. Ormonde was
well aware of the men with whom, and the opinions with which, he had to
deal, and he acted accordingly. In the various engagements which
occurred, the Irish were on the whole successful They had gained an
important victory near Fermoy, principally through the headlong valour
of a troop of mere boys who dashed down with wild impetuosity on the
English, and showed what mettle there was still left in the country.
Envoys were arriving from foreign courts, and Urban VIII. had sent
Father Scarampi with indulgences and a purse of 30,000 dollars,
collected by Father Wadding. It was, therefore, most important that the
movement should be checked in some way; and, as it could not be
suppressed by force, it was suppressed by diplomacy.

On the 15th of September, 1643, a cessation of arms for one year was
agreed upon; and the tide, which had set in so gloriously for Irish
independence, rolled back its sobbing waves slowly and sadly towards the
English coast, and never returned again with the same hopeful freedom
and overpowering strength.

The Irish, even those whose wisdom or whose ardour made them most
dissatisfied with the treaty, observed it honorably. The Puritan party
professed to regard the cessation as a crime, and therefore did not
consider themselves bound to observe it. As they were in fact the ruling
powers, the unfortunate Irish were, as usual, the victims. The troops,
who had been trained and collected for the defence of their native land,
were now sent to Scotland, to shed their blood in the royal cause. As
honorable men, having undertaken the duty, they fulfilled it gloriously,
and won the admiration even of their enemies by their undaunted valour.

The unhappy English monarch was now besieged by petitions and
counter-petitions. The Confederates asked for liberty of conscience; the
Puritans demanded a stern enforcement of the penal laws. Complaints were
made on both sides of the infringement of the cessation; but Munroe was
the chief offender; and Owen O'Neill was summoned to consult with the
Supreme Council in Kilkenny. Lord Castlehaven, who was utterly
incompetent for such an appointment, was given the command of the army;
and O'Neill, though he felt hurt at the unjust preference, submitted

In August, 1644, the cessation was again renewed by the General Assembly
until December, and subsequently for a longer period. Thus precious
time, and what was still more precious, the fresh energies and interests
of the Confederates, were hopelessly lost. The King's generals, or
rather it should be said the Parliamentary officers, observed or held
these engagements at their convenience, and made treaties of their
own—Inchiquin and Purcell making a truce between themselves in the
south. As the King's affairs became daily more complicated, and his
position more perilous, he saw the necessity for peace with his Irish
subjects, and for allying himself with them, if possible. Had he treated
them with more consideration, or rather with common justice and
humanity, at the commencement of his reign, England might have been
saved the guilt of regicide and Cromwell's iron rule. Ormonde had
received ample powers from Charles to grant the Catholics every justice
now; but Ormonde could not resist the inclination to practise a little
subtle diplomacy, even at the risk of his master's kingdom and his
master's head. The Confederate commissioners rejected his temporizing
measures with contempt, though a few of their members, anxious for
peace, were inclined to yield.

When Inchiquin set out to destroy the growing crops early in summer,
Castlehaven was sent against him, and obliged him to retire into Cork.
At the same time Coote was overrunning Connaught and took possession of
Sligo. The Irish forces again recovered the town; but, in the attempt,
the Archbishop and two friars fell into the hands of the enemy, and were
cruelly murdered. Charles now made another attempt to obtain the
assistance of the Catholic party, and sent over Lord Herbert to Ireland
on a secret mission for that purpose. This nobleman and his
father-in-law, the Earl of Thomond, were almost romantically attached to
the King, and had already advanced £200,000 for the support of the royal
cause. He proceeded to Kilkenny, after a brief interview with Ormonde.
England's difficulty proved Ireland's opportunity. Everything that could
be desired was granted; and all that was asked was the liberty to
worship God according to each man's conscience, and the liberty of
action and employment, which is the right of every member of civil
society who has not violated the rules of moral conduct which governors
are bound to enforce. In return for the promise that they should enjoy
the rights of subjects, the Irish Confederates promised to do the duty
of subjects. They had already assisted more than one English King to
rule his Scotch dominions; they were now to assist Charles to rule his
English subjects; and they promised to send him 10,000 armed men, under
the command of Lord Herbert. It was a great risk to trust a Stuart; and
he made it a condition that the agreement should remain secret until the
troops had landed in England.

In the meantime Belling, the Secretary of the Supreme Council, was sent
to Rome and presented to Innocent X., by Father Wadding, as the envoy of
the Confederate Catholics, in February, 1645. On hearing his report, the
Pope sent John Baptist Rinuccini[479], Archbishop of Fermo, to Ireland,
as Nuncio-Extraordinary. This prelate set out immediately; and, after
some detention at St. Germains, for the purpose of conferring with the
English Queen, who had taken refuge there, he purchased the frigate San
at Rochelle, stored it with arms and ammunition; and, after some
escapes from the Parliamentary cruisers, landed safely in Kenmare Bay,
on the 21st of October, 1645. He was soon surrounded and welcomed by the
peasantry; and after celebrating Mass in a poor hut,[480] he at once
proceeded to Limerick. Here he celebrated the obsequies of the
Archbishop of Tuam, and then passed on to Kilkenny. He entered the old
city in state, attended by the clergy. At the entrance to the Cathedral
he was met by the Bishop of Ossory, who was unable to walk in the
procession. When the Te Deum had been sung, he was received in the
Castle by the General Assembly, and addressed them in Latin. After this
he returned to the residence prepared for him.

In a Catholic country, and with a Catholic people, the influence of a
Papal Nuncio was necessarily preponderant, and he appears to have seen
at a glance the difficulties and advantages of the position of Irish
affairs and the Confederate movement. "He had set his mind," says the
author of the Confederation of Kilkenny, "on one grand object—the
freedom of the Church, in possession of all her rights and dignities,
and the emancipation of the Catholic people from the degradation to
which English imperialism had condemned them. The churches which the
piety of Catholic lords and chieftains had erected, he determined to
secure to the rightful inheritors. His mind and feelings recoiled from
the idea of worshipping in crypts and catacombs; he abhorred the notion
of a priest or bishop performing a sacred rite as though it were a
felony; and despite the wily artifices of Ormonde and his faction, he
resolved to teach the people of Ireland that they were not to remain
mere dependents on English bounty, when a stern resolve might win for
them the privileges of freemen."[481]

The following extract from Rinuccini's own report, will show how
thoroughly he was master of the situation in a diplomatic point of view:
"From time immemorial two adverse parties have always existed among the
Catholics of Ireland. The first are called the 'old Irish.' They are
most numerous in Ulster, where they seem to have their head-quarters;
for even the Earl of Tyrone placed himself at their head, and maintained
a protracted war against Elizabeth. The second may be called the 'old
English,'—a race introduced into Ireland in the reign of Henry II., the
fifth king in succession from William the Conqueror; so called to
distinguish them from the 'new English,' who have come into the kingdom
along with the modern heresy. These parties are opposed to each other
principally on the following grounds: the old Irish, entertaining a
great aversion for heresy, are also averse to the dominion of England,
and have Biased, generally speaking, to accept the investiture of Church
property offered to them since the apostacy of the Kings of England from
the Church. The others, on the contrary, enriched with the spoils of the
monasteries, and thus bound to the King by obligation, no less than by
interest, neither seek nor desire anything but the exaltation of the
crown, esteem no laws but those of the realm, are thoroughly English in
their feelings, and, from their constant familiarity with heretics, are
less jealous of differences of religion."

The Nuncio then goes on to state how even the military command was
divided between these two parties,—O'Neill belonging to the old Irish
interest, and Preston to the new. He also mentions the manner in which
this difference of feeling extended to the lower classes, and
particularly to those who served in the army.[482]

I have given this lengthened extract from Rinuccini's report, because,
with all the advantages of looking back upon the times and events, it
would be impossible to explain more clearly the position of the
different parties. It remains only to show how these unfortunate
differences led to the ruin of the common cause.

The Confederates now began to be distinguished into two parties, as
Nuncionists and Ormondists. Two sets of negotiations were carried on,
openly with Ormonde, and secretly with Glamorgan. The Nuncio, from the
first, apprehended the treachery of Charles, and events proved the
correctness of his forebodings. Glamorgan produced his credentials,
dated April 30th, 1645, in which the King promised to ratify whatever
terms he might make; and he further promised, that the Irish soldiers,
whose assistance he demanded, should be brought back to their own
shores, if these arrangements were not complied with by his master.
Meanwhile a copy of this secret treaty was discovered on the Archbishop
of Tuam, who had been killed at Sligo. It was used as an accusation
against the King. Glamorgan was arrested in Dublin, and the whole scheme
was defeated.

The General Assembly met in Kilkenny, in January, 1646, and demanded the
release of Glamorgan. He was bailed out; but the King disowned the
commission, as Rinuccini had expected, and proved himself thereby
equally a traitor to his Catholic and Protestant subjects. Ormonde took
care to foment the division between the Confederate party, and succeeded
so well that a middle party was formed, who signed a treaty consisting
of thirty articles. This document only provided for the religious part
of the question, that Roman Catholics should not be bound to take the
oath of supremacy. An Act of oblivion was passed, and the Catholics were
to continue to hold their possessions until a settlement could be made
by Act of Parliament. Even in a political point of view, this treaty was
a failure; and one should have thought that Irish chieftains and
Anglo-Irish nobles had known enough of Acts of Parliament to have
prevented them from confiding their hopes to such an uncertain future.

The division of the command in the Confederate army had been productive
of most disastrous consequences. The rivalry between O'Neill, Preston,
and Owen Roe, increased the complication; but the Nuncio managed to
reconcile the two O'Neills, and active preparations were made by Owen
Roe for his famous northern campaign. The Irish troops intended for
Charles had remained in their own country; the unfortunate monarch had
committed his last fatal error by confiding himself to his Scotch
subjects, who sold him to his own people for £400,000. Ormonde now
refused to publish the treaty which had been just concluded, or even to
enforce its observance by Monroe, although the Confederates had given
him £3,000 to get up an expedition for that purpose.

In the beginning of June, A.D. 1646, Owen Roe O'Neill marched against
Monroe, with 5,000 foot and 500 horse. Monroe received notice of his
approach; and although his force was far superior to O'Neill's, he sent
for reinforcements of cavalry from his brother, Colonel George Monroe,
who was stationed at Coleraine. But the Irish forces advanced more
quickly than he expected; and on the 4th of June they had crossed the
Blackwater, and encamped at Benburb. O'Neill selected his position
admirably. He encamped between two small hills, with a wood in his rear.
The river Blackwater protected him on the right, and an impassable bog
on the left. Some brushwood in the front enabled him to conceal a party
of musketeers; he was also well-informed of Monroe's movements, and took
precautions to prevent the advance of his brother's forces. Monroe
crossed the river at Kinard, at a considerable distance in the rear of
his opponent, and then advanced, by a circuitous march, from the east
and north. The approach was anticipated; and, on in the 5th of June,
1646, the most magnificent victory ever recorded in the annals of Irish
history was won. The Irish army prepared for the great day with solemn
religious observances. The whole army approached the sacraments of
penance and holy communion, and thus were prepared alike for death or
victory. The chaplain deputed by the Nuncio addressed them briefly, and
appealed to their religious feelings; their General, Owen Roe, appealed
to their nationality. How deeply outraged they had been, both in their
religion and in their national feelings, has been already mentioned; how
they fought for their altars and their domestic hearths will now be
recorded. O'Neill's skill as a military tactician, is beyond all praise.
For four long hours he engaged the attention of the enemy, until the
glare of the burning summer sun had passed away, and until he had
intercepted the reinforcements which Monroe expected. At last the
decisive moment had arrived. Monroe thought he saw his brother's
contingent in the distance; O'Neill knew that they were some of his own
men who had beaten that very contingent. When the Scotch general was
undeceived, he resolved to retire. O'Neill saw his advantage, and gave
the command to charge. With one loud cry of vengeance for desecrated
altars and desolated homes, the Irish soldiers dashed to the charge, and
Monroe's ranks were broken, and his men driven to flight. Even the
General himself fled so precipitately, that he left his hat, sword, and
cloak after him, and never halted until he reached Lisburn. Lord
Montgomery was taken prisoner, and 3,000 of the Scotch were left on the
field. Of the Irish only seventy men were killed, and 200 wounded. It
was a great victory; and it was something more—it was a glorious
victory; although Ireland remained, both as to political and religious
freedom, much as it had been before. The standards captured on that
bloody field were sent to the Nuncio at Limerick, and carried in
procession to the Cathedral, where a solemn Te Deum was chanted—and
that was all the result that came of it. Confusion thrice confounded
followed in the rear. The King issued orders, under the compulsion of
the Scotch, which Lord Digby declared to be just the contrary of what he
really wished; and Ormonde proclaimed and ratified the treaty he had
formerly declined to fulfil, while the "old Irish" everywhere
indignantly rejected it. In Waterford, Clonmel, and Limerick, the people
would not permit it even to be proclaimed. The Nuncio summoned a
national synod in Waterford, at which it was condemned; and a decree was
issued, on the 12th of August, declaring that all who adhered to such
terms should be declared perjurers. Even Preston declared for the
Nuncio; and the clergy and the nobles who led the unpopular cause, were
obliged to ask Ormonde's assistance to help them out of their
difficulty. The Earl arrived at Kilkenny with an armed force; but fled
precipitately when he heard that O'Neill and Preston were advancing
towards him.

Rinuccini now took a high hand. He entered Kilkenny in state, on the
18th of September, and committed the members of the Supreme Council as
prisoners to the Castle, except Darcy and Plunket. A new Council was
appointed, or self-appointed, on the 20th, of which the Nuncio was
chosen President. The imprisonment of the old Council was undoubtedly a
harsh and unwise proceeding, which can scarcely be justified; but the
times were such that prompt action was demanded, and the result alone,
which could not be foreseen, could justify or condemn it.

The Generals were again at variance; and although the new Council had
decided on attacking Dublin, their plans could not be carried out.
Preston was unquestionably playing fast and loose; and when the
Confederate troops did march towards Dublin, his duplicity ruined the
cause which might even then have been gained. A disgraceful retreat was
the result. An Assembly was again convened at Kilkenny; the old Council
was released; the Generals promised to forget their animosities: but
three weeks had been lost in angry discussion; and although the
Confederates bound themselves by oath not to lay down their arms until
their demands were granted, their position was weakened to a degree
which the selfishness of the contending parties made them quite
incapable of estimating.

The fact was, the Puritan faction in England was every day gaining an
increase of power; while every hour that the Confederate Catholics
wasted in discussion or division, was weakening their moral strength.
Even Ormonde found himself a victim to the party who had long made him
their tool, and was ordered out of Dublin unceremoniously, and obliged
eventually to take refuge in France. Colonel Jones took possession of
Dublin Castle for the rebel forces and defeated Preston in a serious
engagement at Dungan Hill soon after his arrival in Ireland. O'Neill now
came to the rescue; and even the Ormondists, having lost their leader,
admitted that he was their only resource. His admirable knowledge of
military tactics enabled him to drive Jones into Dublin Castle, and keep
him there for a time almost in a state of siege.

In the mean time Inchiquin was distinguishing himself by his cruel
victories in the south of Ireland. The massacre of Cashel followed. When
the walls were battered down, the hapless garrison surrendered without
resistance, and were butchered without mercy. The people fled to the
Cathedral, hoping there, at least, to escape; but the savage General
poured volleys of musket-balls through the doors and windows, and his
soldiers rushing in afterwards, piked those who were not yet dead.
Twenty priests were dragged out as objects of special vengeance; and the
total number of those were thus massacred amounted to 3,000.

An engagement took place in November between Inchiquin and Lord Taaffe,
in which the Confederates were again beaten and cruelly massacred. Thus
two of their generals had lost both their men and their prestige, and
O'Neill alone remained as the prop of a falling cause. The Irish now
looked for help from foreign sources, and despatched Plunket and French
to Rome, and Muskerry and Browne to France; but Ormonde had already
commenced negotiations on his own account, and he alone was accredited
at the court of St. Germains. Even at this moment Inchiquin had been
treating with the Supreme Council for a truce; but Rinuccini, who
detested his duplicity, could never be induced to listen to his
proposals. A man who had so mercilessly massacred his own countrymen,
could scarcely be trusted by them on so sudden a conversion to their
cause; but, unhappily, there were individuals who, in the uncertain
state of public affairs, were anxious to steer their barks free of the
thousand breakers ahead, and in their eagerness forgot that, when the
whole coast-line was deluged with storms, their best chance of escape
was the bold resolution of true moral courage. The cautious politicians,
therefore, made a treaty with Inchiquin, which was signed at Dungarvan,
on the 20th of May. On the 27th of that month the Nuncio promulgated a
sentence of excommunication against all cities and villages where it
should be received, and, at the same time, he withdrew to the camp of
Owen Roe O'Neill, against whom Inchiquin and Preston were prepared to
march. It was a last and desperate resource, and, as might be expected,
it failed signally of its intended effects. Various attempts to obtain a
settlement of the question at issue by force of arms, were made by the
contending parties; but O'Neill baffled his enemies, and the Nuncio
withdrew to Galway.

Ormonde arrived in Ireland soon after, and was received at Cork, on the
27th of September, 1648, by Inchiquin. He then proceeded to Kilkenny,
where he was received in great state by the Confederates. On the 17th of
January, 1649, he signed a treaty of peace, which concluded the seven
years' war. This treaty afforded the most ample indulgences to the
Catholics, and guaranteed fairly that civil and religious liberty for
which alone they had contended; but the ink upon the deed was scarcely
dry, ere the execution of Charles I., on the 30th of January, washed out
its enactments in royal blood; and civil war, with more than ordinary
complications, was added to the many miseries of our unfortunate

Rinuccini embarked in the San Pietro once more, and returned to Italy,
February 23, 1649. Had his counsels been followed, the result might have
justified him, even in his severest measures; as it is we read only
failure in his career; but it should be remembered, that there are
circumstances under which failure is more noble than success.