The Irish transported as Slaves to Barbadoes—The Three Beasts who were
to be hunted: the Wolf, the Priest, and the Tory—Origin and Causes of
Agrarian Outrages—Cases of Individual Wrongs—Lord Roche—Mr. Luttrel
Accession of Charles II.—His Base Conduct towards the Irish
Loyalists—Gross Injustice towards the Irish Catholic Landowners—The
Remonstrance opposed by the Clergy—A Quarrel in the House of Lords The
Popish Plot—Ormonde's Difficulties—Seizure and Imprisonment of the
Archbishop of Dublin—Imprisonment and Execution of the Most Rev. Dr.
Plunkett, Archbishop of Armagh.


any of the Irish soldiers who had entered into the service of foreign
princes, were obliged to leave their wives and families behind. When we
recall the number of those who were thus expatriated, it will not seem
surprising that thousands of young children were left utterly destitute.
These boys and girls, however, were easily disposed of by the
Government; and Sir William Petty states, that 6,000 were sent out as
slaves to the West Indies. The Bristol sugar merchants traded in these
human lives, as if they had been so much merchandize; and merchandize,
in truth, they were, for they could be had for a trifle, and they
fetched a high price in the slave-market. Even girls of noble birth were
subjected to this cruel fate. Morison mentions an instance of this kind
which came to his own knowledge. He was present when Daniel Connery, a
gentleman of Clare, was sentenced to banishment, by Colonel Ingoldsby,
for harbouring a priest. Mrs. Connery died of destitution, and three of
his daughters, young and beautiful girls, were transported as slaves to

A court was established for the punishment of "rebels and malignants;"

the former consisting of persons who refused to surrender their houses
and lands, and the latter being those who would not act contrary to
their conscientious convictions in religious matters. These courts were
called "Cromwell's Slaughter-houses." Donnellan, who had acted as
solicitor to the regicides, at the trial of Charles I., held the first
court at Kilkenny, October 4, 1652. Lord Louther held a court in Dublin,
in February, 1653, for the special purpose of trying "all massacres and
murders committed since the 1st day of October, 1641." The inquiries,
however, were solely confined to the accused Catholics; and the result
proved the falsehood of all the idle tales which had been circulated of
their having intended a great massacre of Protestants, for convictions
could only be obtained against 200 persons, and even these were
supported by forged and corrupt evidence.[499] Sir Phelim O'Neill was
the only person convicted in Ulster, and he was offered his life again
and again, and even on the very steps of the scaffold, if he would
consent to criminate Charles I.

As the majority of the nation had now been disposed of, either by
banishment, transportation, or hanging, the Government had time to turn
their attention to other affairs. The desolation of the country was
such, that the smoke of a fire, or the sign of a habitation, was
considered a rare phenomenon. In consequence of this depopulation, wild
beasts had multiplied on the lands, and three "beasts" were especially
noted for destruction. In the Parliament held at Westminster in 1657,
Major Morgan, member for the county Wicklow, enumerated these beasts
thus: "We have three beasts to destroy that lay burdens upon us. The
first is the wolf, on whom we lay £5 a head if a dog, and £10 if a
bitch. The second beast is a priest, on whose head we lay £10; if he be
eminent, more. The third beast is a Tory, on whose head, if he be a
public Tory, we lay £20; and forty shillings on a private Tory."[500]

Wolves had increased so rapidly, that the officers who left Ireland for
Spain, in 1652, were forbidden to take their dogs with them, and were
thus deprived of the pleasure and the pride (for Irish dogs were famous)
of this consolation in their exile. Public hunts were ordered, and every
effort made to keep down beasts of prey. But the whole blame was thrown
on the second beast. It was declared solemnly that if there had been no
priests there would have been no wolves.[501] The syllogism ran somewhat
in this fashion:—

The Popish priests are the cause of every misery in Ireland;

The wolves are a misery:

Therefore the priests are to blame for the existence of the wolves.

"By a similar process of reasoning," observes Mr. Prendergast, "it is
proved that the Irish have caused the ruin, the plundering, and the
desolation of the country, from the first invasion, for so many ages."

And this is undoubtedly true; for if there had been no Irish, no Irish
could have been plundered; and if there had been no plunder, there could
not have been the misery of the plundered. The number of wolves to be
destroyed may be estimated from the fact, that some lands valued at a
high rate were let for a stipulated number of wolves' heads in lieu of
rent. But the wolves were more easily got rid of than the priests. The
priests were accustomed to be persecuted, and accustomed to be hunted.
They came to Ireland, as a general rule, with the full knowledge that
this would be their fate, and that if they ended their lives, after a
few years' ministration, by hanging, without any extra torture, it was
the best they could hope for, as far as this world was concerned. Some,
however, would have preferred the torture, expecting an additional
recompense for it in the next. But there were parts of the country where
it was incomparably more difficult to hunt out a priest than a wolf; so
the Government gave notice, on the 6th of January, 1653, that all
priests and friars who were willing to transport themselves, should have
liberty to do so for twenty days. But the priests and friars had no idea
of leaving the country. They had gone abroad, at the risk of their
lives, to fit themselves in some of the splendid continental colleges
for their duties, and to obtain authority to administer the sacraments;
they returned, at the risk of their lives, to fulfil their mission; and
they remained, at the risk of their lives, to devote them to their own
people, for whose sakes they had renounced, not only earthly pleasures
and joys, but even that quiet and peaceful life, which, as Christian
priests, they might have had in foreign lands. The people for whom they
suffered were not ungrateful. Poor as they were, none could be found to
take the proffered bribe. Long lists may be found of priests who were
captured and executed, and of the men who received the rewards for their
capture; but you will not see a real Irish name amongst them; you will
perceive that the priest-catchers were principally English soldiers; and
you will remark that the man in whose house the priest was discovered
generally shared his fate. But it was useless. They were hung, they were
tortured, they were transported to Barbadoes, and, finally, such numbers
were captured, that it was feared they would contaminate the very
slaves, and they were confined on the island of Innisboffin, off the
coast of Connemara. Yet more priests came to take the place of those who
were thus removed, and the "hunt" was still continued.

The number of secular priests who were victims to this persecution
cannot be correctly estimated. The religious orders, who were in the
habit of keeping an accurate chronicle of the entrance and decease of
each member, furnish fuller details. An official record, drawn up in
1656, gives the names of thirty Franciscans who had suffered for the
faith; and this was before the more severe search had commenced. The
martyrdom of a similar number of Dominicans is recorded almost under the
same date; and Dr. Burgat[502] states that more than three hundred of
the clergy were put to death by the sword or on the scaffold, while more
than 1,000 were sent into exile.

The third "beast" was the Tory. The Tory was the originator of agrarian
outrages in Ireland, or we should rather say, the English planters were
the originators, and the Tories the first perpetrators of the crime. The
Irish could scarcely be expected to have very exalted ideas of the
sanctity and inviolable rights of property, from the way in which they
saw it treated. The English made their will law, and force their
title-deed. The Anglo-Normans dispossessed the native Irish, the
followers of the Tudors dispossessed the Anglo-Normans, and the men of
the Commonwealth dispossessed them all. Still the Celt, peculiarly
tenacious of his traditions, had a very clear memory of his ancient
rights, and could tell you the family who even then represented the
original proprietor, though that proprietor had been dispossessed five
or six hundred years. The ejectments from family holdings had been
carried out on so large a scale, that it can scarcely be a matter of
surprise if some of the ejected resented this treatment. There were
young men who preferred starving in the woods to starving in Connaught;
and after a time they formed into bands in those vast tracts of land
which had been wholly depopulated. The men were desperate. It is
difficult to see how they could have been anything else, when driven to
desperation. They were called robbers; but there was a general confusion
about meum and tuum which they could not understand. Strangers had
taken possession of their cattle, and they did not comprehend why they
should not try to obtain it again in any possible way. Young men, whose
fathers had landed estates of £2,000 a-year, which were quietly divided
amongst Cromwell's Life-Guards, while the proprietor was sent out to
beg, and his daughters compelled to take in washing or do needlework,
could scarcely be expected to take such a change in their circumstances
very calmly. A man who had been transplanted from an estate worth £2,500
a year near Dublin, which his family had owned for four hundred years,
and whose daughters were given the munificent gratuity of £10 a-piece by
the Council Board, and forbidden for the future to ask for any further
assistance, might certainly plead extenuating circumstances[503] if he
took to highway robbery. Such circumstances as these were common at this
period; and it should be borne in mind that the man whose holding was
worth but £40 a-year felt the injustice, and resented the inhumanity of
his expulsion, quite as much as the nobleman with £4,000. So the Tories
plundered their own property; and, if they could be captured, paid the
penalty with their lives; but, when they were not caught, the whole
district suffered, and some one was made a scapegoat for their crime,
though it did not seem much to matter whether the victim could be
charged with complicity or not. After some years, when even the sons of
the proprietors had become old inhabitants, and the dispossessed
generation had passed away, their children were still called Tories.
They wandered from village to village, or rather from hovel to hovel,
and received hospitality and respect from the descendants of those who
had been tenants on the estates of their forefathers, and who still
called them gentlemen and treated them as such, though they possessed
nothing but the native dignity, which could not be thrown off, and the
old title-deeds, which were utterly worthless, yet not the less
carefully treasured. Yet, these men were condemned by their oppressors
because they did not work for their living, and because they still
remembered their ancient dignity, and resented their ancient wrongs. To
have worked and to have forgotten might have been wiser; but those who
are accustomed to ease are slow to learn labour, even with the best
intentions; and those who had inflicted the wrongs were scarcely the
persons who should have taunted the sufferers with the miseries they had

Charles II. commenced his reign de facto in 1660, under the most
favourable auspices. People were weary of a Commonwealth which had
promised so much and performed so little; of the name of liberty without
the reality; of the exercise of kingly power without the appurtenances
or right of majesty. But the new monarch had been educated in a bad
school. Surrounded with all the prestige of royalty without its
responsibilities, and courted most ardently by followers whose only
object was their own future advancement, which they hoped to secure by
present flattery, it is scarcely a matter of surprise that Charles
should have disappointed the hopes of the nation. In England public
affairs were easily settled. Those who had been expelled from their
estates by the Cromwellian faction, drove out[504] by the new
proprietors; but in Ireland the case was very different. Even the
faithful loyalists, who had sacrificed everything for the King, and had
so freely assisted his necessities out of their poverty, were now
treated with contempt, and their claims silenced by proclamation; while
the men who had been most opposed to the royal interest, and most cruel
in their oppression of the natives, were rewarded and admitted into
favour. Coote and Broghill were of this class. Each tried to lessen the
other in opinion of their royal master as they ran the race for favour,
and each boasted of services never accomplished, and of loyalty which
never existed. The two enemies of each other and of the nation were now
appointed Lord Justices of Ireland; and a Parliament was assembled on
the 8th of May, 1661, the first meeting of the kind which had been held
for twenty years.

The Catholic, or national interest, was certainly not represented; for
there were present seventy-two Protestant peers, and only twenty-one
Catholics; while the House of Commons comprised two hundred and sixty
members, all of whom were burgesses except sixty-four, and the towns had
been so entirely peopled by Cromwell's Puritan followers, that there
could be no doubt what course they would pursue. An attempt was now made
to expel the few Catholics who were present, by requiring them to take
the oath of supremacy. The obsequious Parliament voted £30,000 to the
Duke of Ormonde, whose career of duplicity was crowned with success. It
is almost amusing to read his biographer's account[505] of the favours
bestowed on him, and the laudations he bestows on his master for his
condescension in accepting them. Carte would have us believe that
Ormonde was a victim to his king and his country, and that the immense
sums of money he received did not nearly compensate him for his outlays.
Posterity will scarcely confirm the partiality of the biographer.

The Bill of Settlement was opposed by the Irish Catholics through their
counsel, but their claims were rejected and treated with contempt.
Charles had told his Parliament, on his restoration, that he expected
they would have a care of his honour and of the promise he had made.
This promise had been explicitly renewed by Ormonde for the King, before
he left for Breda; but the most solemn engagements were so regularly
violated when Irish affairs were concerned, that nothing else could have
been expected. A Court of Claims was at length established, to try the
cases of ejectment which had occurred during the Commonwealth; but this excited so much indignation and alarm amongst the Protestants, that all
hope of justice was quickly at an end, and the time-serving Ormonde
closed the court. The grand occupation of each new reign, for the last
few centuries, appears to have been to undo what had been done in the
preceding reigns. An Act of Explanation was now passed, and a Protestant
militia raised, to satisfy that party. It was provided by the new Act
that the Protestants were, in the first place, and especially, to be
settled; that any doubt which arose should be decided in their favour;
and that no Papist, who, by the qualifications of the former Act, had
not been adjudged innocent should at any future time be reputed
innocent, or entitled to claim any lands or settlements. It will be
remembered that Ormonde had cut short the sittings of the court to
satisfy Protestant clamour; in consequence of this, more than 8,000
Catholic claimants were condemned to forfeit their estates, without even
the shadow of an inquiry, but with the pretence of having justice done
to them, or, as Leland has expressed it, "without the justice granted to
the vilest criminal—that of a fair and equal trial."[506]

Although it would seem to the ordinary observer that the Catholics had
been dealt with severely, the dominant faction were still dissatisfied;
and Ormonde was obliged to threaten a dissolution, and to expel some
members for complicity in a plot to overthrow the English Government,
which had just been discovered, and of which the ringleader was a man
named Blood. It was now ascertained that the Cromwellian distribution of
lands had been carried out with the most shameful injustice towards the
very Government which had sanctioned it; and that the soldiers, who went
with texts of Scripture on their lips, and swords in their hands, to
destroy Popery, had cheated[507] their officers and self-elected rulers
with shameless audacity.

The famous Remonstrance was drawn up about this time. It was prepared by
Peter Walsh, a Franciscan friar, who was a protégé of Ormonde's, and who
devoted more attention to politics than to his religious duties. The
Remonstrance contained expressions which were by no means consonant with
that pure Catholic feeling for which the Irish had been always
remarkable; but it suited the Duke's purpose all the better, and he
induced a considerable number of the nobility, and some of the clergy,
to affix their signatures to it. They were little aware, in giving
expression to the loyalty they so sincerely felt, that they were
supposed to countenance disrespect to the Church which they so deeply
revered. A synod of the Irish bishops and clergy was therefore held in
Dublin, to consider the document, June 11th, 1666. Although
ecclesiastics were then under the penal laws, and liable to suffer at
any moment, Ormonde connived at the meeting, hoping that his ends would
be thereby attained. He has himself left his object on record. It was to
"sow divisions among the clergy;" and Lord Orrery had written to him,
being well aware of his plans, suggesting that this was a fitting time
for their accomplishment. But the clergy were not so easily deceived;
and even the miserable friar has left it on record, that out of 1,850
ecclesiastics, regular and secular, only sixty-nine signed the
Remonstrance. The synod now prepared another document; and if the
expression of loyalty was all that Ormonde required, he should have been
fully satisfied; but, unfortunately, this was not the case, and he bided
his time to avenge himself bitterly on the men who refused to sacrifice
their conscience to his will.

During the same year (1660), the Irish sent over a contribution of
15,000 bullocks, to relieve the distress which occurred in London after
the Great Fire. In return for their charity, they were assured that this
was a mere pretence to keep up the cattle trade with England; and
accordingly an Act was passed in which the importation of Irish cattle
was forbidden, and termed a "nuisance," and language was used which, in
the present day, would be considered something like a breach of
privilege. The Duke of Buckingham, whose farming interests were in
England, declared "that none could oppose the Bill, except such as had
Irish estates or Irish understandings." Lord Ossory protested that "such
virulence became none but one of Cromwell's counsellors;" and he being
the eldest of the Duke of Ormonde, and having Irish interests, opposed
it. Several noble lords attempted to draw their swords. Ossory
challenged Buckingham; Buckingham declined the challenge. Ossory was
sent to the Tower; the word "nuisance" remained; some members of the
"Cabal" said it should have been "felony;" and the Irish trade was
crushed. Even the Puritan settlers in Ireland began to rebel at this,
for they, too, had begun to have "Irish interests," and could not quite
see matters relative to that country in the same light as they had done
when at the other side of the Channel. At last they became openly
rebellious. Some soldiers mutinied for arrears of pay, and seized
Carrickfergus Castle—ten of them were executed, and peace was restored;
but the old Cromwellians, both in England and Ireland, gave considerable
anxiety to the Government; and, indeed, it seems marvellous that they
should not have revolted more openly and in greater force.

So many complaints were made of Ormonde's administration, that he was
now removed for a time. He was succeeded by Lord Berkeley, in May, 1670,
a nobleman whose honest and impartial government earned him the respect
of all who were not interested in upholding a contrary line of conduct.
The Catholics offered him an address, which was signed by two prelates,
who held a prominent position, not only in their Church, but also in the
history of the period; these were Dr. Plunkett, Archbishop of Armagh,
and Dr. Talbot, Archbishop of Dublin. Colonel Richard Talbot, who was
afterwards created Earl of Tyrconnel by James II., had been, for some
time, the accredited agent of the Irish Catholics at the English court;
he now (A.D. 1671) attempted to obtain some examination into the claims
of those who had been ejected from their estates during the
Commonwealth. After some delay and much opposition, a commission was
appointed; but although the "Popish Plot" had not yet made its
appearance, a wild "no Popery" cry was raised, and the King was obliged
to recall Lord Berkeley, and substitute the Earl of Essex. Even this did
not quiet the storm. On the 9th of March, 1673, an address was presented
to the King by the Commons in England, demanding the persecution of
Papists in Ireland; and the weak monarch, all the more afraid of
appearing to show partiality, because of his apprehension that Popery
might be the true religion, and his still more serious apprehensions
that his people might find out his opinion, at once complied, and even
recalled the Commission of Enquiry.

In 1677 Ormonde was again appointed Viceroy, and he held the office
during the ensuing seven years, at an advanced age, and a period of
extraordinary political excitement. The "Popish treason" was the first
and the most fearful of these panics. Ormonde was at Kilkenny when he
received the first intimation of the conspiracy, October 3, 1678; but he
had too much knowledge of the world to credit it for a moment. Like
other politicians of that, and indeed of other ages, he was obliged to
keep up his reputation by appearing to believe it in public, while in
private[508] he treated the whole affair with the contempt it merited.
It was soon reported that the plot had extended to Ireland, and
Archbishop Talbot was selected as the first victim. The prelate then
resided with his brother, Colonel Talbot, at Carton, near Maynooth. He
was in a dying state; but although his enemies might well have waited
for his end, he was taken out of his bed, carried to Dublin, and
confined a prisoner in the Castle. He died two years later. "He was the
last distinguished captive destined to end his days in that celebrated
state prison, which has since been generally dedicated to the peaceful
purposes of a reflected royalty."[509] His brother was arrested, but
allowed to go beyond the seas; and a Colonel Peppard was denounced in
England as one of the leading Irish traitors. But the Colonel was quite
as imaginary as the plot. No such person existed, and a non est
was all the return that could be made to the most active
inquiries. There was one illustrious victim, however, who was found, who
was executed, and who was not guilty, even in thought, of the crime of
which he was accused.

Oliver Plunkett had been Archbishop of Armagh since the death of Dr.
O'Reilly, in 1669. He belonged to the noble family of Fingall; but he
was more respected for his virtues and his office than even for his
rank. He was now accused of being in correspondence with the French; it
was a favourite charge against Catholics at that time, and one which
could be easily brought forward by men who did not mind swearing to a
lie, and not easily disproved by men who could only assert their
innocence. Lord Shaftesbury was the great patron of Titus Oates, the
concocter of the plot, and the perjured murderer of scores of innocent
men. It was a serious disappointment to find that no evidence of a
conspiracy could be found in Ireland. Carte, who certainly cannot be
suspected of the faintest shadow of preference for an Irishman or a
Catholic, says that every effort was made to drive the people into
rebellion. He gives the reason for this, which, from former experience,
one fears must be true. "There were," he says, "too many Protestants in
Ireland who wanted another rebellion, that they might increase their
estates by new forfeitures." "It was proposed to introduce the Test Act
and all the English penal laws into Ireland; and that a proclamation
should be forthwith issued for encouraging all persons that could make
any further discoveries of the horrid Popish plot, to come in and
declare the same."

Unfortunately for the credit of our common humanity, persons can always
be found who are ready to denounce their fellow-creatures, even when
guiltless, from mere malice. When, to the pleasure of gratifying a
passion, there is added the prospect of a reward, the temptation becomes
irresistible; and if the desire of revenge for an injury, real or
imaginary, be superadded, the temptation becomes overwhelming. In order
to satisfy the clamours of the "no Popery" faction, an order had been
issued, on the 16th of October, 1677, for the expulsion of all
ecclesiastics from Ireland; and a further proclamation was made,
forbidding Papists to enter into the Castle of Dublin, or any fort or
citadel; and so far, indeed, did this childish panic exceed others of
its kind, that orders were sent to the great market-towns, commanding
the markets to be held outside the walls, to prevent the obnoxious
Catholics from entering into the interior. Rewards were offered of £10
for an officer, £5 for a trooper, and £4 for a soldier, if it could be
proved that he attended Mass; and how many were sworn away by this
bribery it would be difficult to estimate. On the 2nd of December, a
strict search was ordered for the Catholic ecclesiastics who had not yet
transported themselves. Dr. Plunkett had not left the country. At the
first notice of the storm he withdrew, according to the apostolic
example, to a retired situation, where he remained concealed, more in
hope of martyrdom than in fear of apprehension.

The prelate had never relaxed in his duties towards his flock, and he
continued to fulfil those duties now with equal vigilance. One of the
most important functions of a chief shepherd is to oversee the conduct
of those who govern the flock of Christ under him. There was a Judas in
the college of the Apostles, and many Judases have been found since
then. The Archbishop had been obliged to excommunicate two of his
priests and two friars, who had been denounced by their superiors for
their unworthy lives. The unhappy men resented the degradation, without
repenting of the crimes which had brought it upon them. They were ready
for perjury, for they had renounced truth; and the gratification of
their malice was probably a far stronger motive than the bribe for the
capture of a bishop. The holy prelate was seized on the 6th December,
1679. Even Ormonde wished to have spared him, so inoffensive and
peaceful had been his life. He was arraigned at the Dundalk assizes; but
although every man on the grand jury was a Protestant, from whom, at
least, less partiality might be expected towards him than from members
of his own Church, the perjured witnesses refused to come forward.
Indeed, the prelate himself had such confidence in his innocence, and in
the honorable dealing of his Protestant fellow-countrymen, when their
better judgment was not bewildered by fanaticism, that he declared in
London he would put himself on trial in Ireland before any Protestant
jury who knew him, and who knew the men who swore against him, without
the slightest doubt of the result.

Jones, the Protestant Bishop of Meath, was, unfortunately for himself,
influenced by fanaticism. He had served in Cromwell's army,[510] and had
all that rancorous hatred of the Catholic Church so characteristic of
the low class from whom the Puritan soldiery were drawn. He was
determined that the Archbishop should be condemned; and as men could not
be found to condemn him in Ireland, he induced Lord Shaftesbury to have
him taken to London. The Archbishop was removed to Newgate, about the
close of October, 1680, and so closely confined, that none of his
friends could have access to him. He spent his time in prayer, and his
gaolers were amazed at his cheerfulness and resignation. His trial took
place on the 8th of June, 1681; but he was not allowed time to procure
the necessary witnesses, and the court would not allow certain records
to be put in, which would have proved the character of his accusers. Six
of the most eminent English lawyers were arrayed against him. The legal
arrangements of the times deprived him of the assistance of counsel, but
they did not require the judges to help out the men who swore against
him: this, however, they did do.

The prelate was condemned to die. The speech of the judge who pronounced
sentence was not distinguished by any very special forensic acumen. Dr.
Plunkett had been charged by the witnesses with political crimes; the
judge sentenced[511] him for his religious convictions; and, by a
process of reasoning not altogether peculiar to himself, insisted that
his supposed treason was a necessary result of the faith he professed.
The Archbishop suffered at Tyburn, on Friday, July 11, 1681. He went to
his death rejoicing, as men go to a bridal. His dying declaration
convinced his hearers of his innocence; and, perhaps, the deep regret
for his martyrdom, which was felt by all but the wretches who had
procured his doom, tended to still the wild storm of religious
persecution, or, at least, to make men see that where conscience was
dearer than life, conscientious convictions should be respected. It is
at least certain, that his name was the last on the long roll of
sufferers who had been executed at Tyburn for the faith. Blood was no
longer exacted there as the price which men should pay for liberty of
belief. It were well had that liberty been allowed by men to their
fellow-men in after years, without fines or confiscations—without those
social penalties, which, to a refined and sensitive mind, have in them
the bitterness of death, without the consolations of martyrdom.