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The History of England from the Accession of James II
By Thomas Babington MacAulay
Chapter 4 Part 3


Godolphin had not, and did not pretend to have, any cause of complaint against the government which he served. He was First Commissioner of the Treasury. He had been protected, trusted, caressed. Indeed the favour shown to him had excited many murmurs. Was it fitting, the Whigs had indignantly asked, that a man who had been high in office through the whole of the late reign, who had promised to vote for the Indulgence, who had sate in the Privy Council with a Jesuit, who had sate at the Board of Treasury with two Papists, who had attended an idolatress to her altar, should be among the chief ministers of a Prince whose title to the throne was derived from the Declaration of Rights? But on William this clamour had produced no effect; and none of his English servants seems to have had at this time a larger share of his confidence than Godolphin.

Nevertheless, the Jacobites did not despair. One of the most zealous among them, a gentleman named Bulkeley, who had formerly been on terms of intimacy with Godolphin, undertook to see what could be done. He called at the Treasury, and tried to draw the First Lord into political talk. This was no easy matter; for Godolphin was not a man to put himself lightly into the power of others. His reserve was proverbial; and he was especially renowned for the dexterity with which he, through life, turned conversation away from matters of state to a main of cocks or the pedigree of a racehorse. The visit ended without his uttering a word indicating that he remembered the existence of King James. Bulkeley, however, was not to be so repulsed. He came again, and introduced the subject which was nearest his heart. Godolphin then asked after his old master and mistress in the mournful tone of a man who despaired of ever being reconciled to them. Bulkeley assured him that King James was ready to forgive all the past. "May I tell His Majesty that you will try to deserve his favour?" At this Godolphin rose, said something about the trammels of office and his wish to be released from them, and put an end to the interview.

Bulkeley soon made a third attempt. By this time Godolphin had learned some things which shook his confidence in the stability of the government which he served. He began to think, as he would himself have expressed it, that he had betted too deep on the Revolution, and that it was time to hedge. Evasions would no longer serve his turn. It was necessary to speak out. He spoke out, and declared himself a devoted servant of King James. "I shall take an early opportunity of resigning my place. But, till then, I am under a tie. I must not betray my trust." To enhance the value of the sacrifice which he proposed to make, he produced a most friendly and confidential letter which he had lately received from William. "You see how entirely the Prince of Orange trusts me. He tells me that he cannot do without me, and that there is no Englishman for whom he has so great a kindness; but all this weighs nothing with me in comparison of my duty to my lawful King."

If the First Lord of the Treasury really had scruples about betraying his trust, those scruples were soon so effectually removed that he very complacently continued, during six years, to eat the bread of one master, while secretly sending professions of attachment and promises of service to another. The truth is that Godolphin was under the influence of a mind far more powerful and far more depraved than his own. His perplexities had been imparted to Marlborough, to whom he had long been bound by such friendship as two very unprincipled men are capable of feeling for each other, and to whom he was afterwards bound by close domestic ties.

Marlborough was in a very different situation from that of William's other servants. Lloyd might make overtures to Russell, and Bulkeley to Godolphin. But all the agents of the banished Court stood aloof from the traitor of Salisbury. That shameful night seemed to have for ever separated the perjured deserter from the Prince whom he had ruined. James had, even in the last extremity, when his army was in full retreat, when his whole kingdom had risen against him, declared that he would never pardon Churchill, never, never. By all the Jacobites the name of Churchill was held in peculiar abhorrence; and, in the prose and verse which came forth daily from their secret presses, a precedence in infamy, among all the many traitors of the age, was assigned to him. In the order of things which had sprung from the Revolution, he was one of the great men of England, high in the state, high in the army. He had been created an Earl. He had a large share in the military administration. The emoluments, direct and indirect, of the places and commands which he held under the Crown were believed at the Dutch Embassy to amount to twelve thousand pounds a year. In the event of a counterrevolution it seemed that he had nothing in prospect but a garret in Holland, or a scaffold on Tower Hill. It might therefore have been expected that he would serve his new master with fidelity, not indeed with the fidelity of Nottingham, which was the fidelity of conscientiousness, not with the fidelity of Portland, which was the fidelity of affection, but with the not less stubborn fidelity of despair. Those who thought thus knew but little of Marlborough. Confident in his own powers of deception, he resolved, since the Jacobite agents would not seek him, to seek them. He therefore sent to beg an interview with Colonel Edward Sackville.

Sackville was astonished and not much pleased by the message. He was a sturdy Cavalier of the old school. He had been persecuted in the days of the Popish plot for manfully saying what he thought, and what every body now thinks, about Oates and Bedloe.64 Since the Revolution he had put his neck in peril for King James, had been chased by officers with warrants, and had been designated as a traitor in a proclamation to which Marlborough himself had been a party. It was not without reluctance that the stanch royalist crossed the hated threshold of the deserter. He was repaid for his effort by the edifying spectacle of such an agony of repentance as he had never before seen. "Will you," said Marlborough, "be my intercessor with the King? Will you tell him what I suffer? My crimes now appear to me in their true light; and I shrink with horror from the contemplation. The thought of them is with me day and night. I sit down to table; but I cannot eat. I throw myself on my bed; but I cannot sleep. I am ready to sacrifice every thing, to brave every thing, to bring utter ruin on my fortunes, if only I may be free from the misery of a wounded spirit." If appearances could be trusted, this great offender was as true a penitent as David or as Peter. Sackville reported to his friends what had passed. They could not but acknowledge that, if the arch traitor, who had hitherto opposed to conscience and to public opinion the same cool and placid hardihood which distinguished him on fields of battle, had really begun to feel remorse, it would be absurd to reject, on account of his unworthiness, the inestimable services which it was in his power to render to the good cause. He sate in the interior council; he held high command in the army; he had been recently entrusted, and would doubtless again be entrusted, with the direction of important military operations. It was true that no man had incurred equal guilt; but it was true also that no man had it in his power to make equal reparation. If he was sincere, he might doubtless earn the pardon which he so much desired. But was he sincere? Had he not been just as loud in professions of loyalty on the very eve of his crime? It was necessary to put him to the test. Several tests were applied by Sackville and Lloyd. Marlborough was required to furnish full information touching the strength and the distribution of all the divisions of the English army; and he complied. He was required to disclose the whole plan of the approaching campaign; and he did so. The Jacobite leaders watched carefully for inaccuracies in his reports, but could find none. It was thought a still stronger proof of his fidelity that he gave valuable intelligence about what was doing in the office of the Secretary of State. A deposition had been sworn against one zealous royalist. A warrant was preparing against another. These intimations saved several of the malecontents from imprisonment, if not from the gallows; and it was impossible for them not to feel some relenting towards the awakened sinner to whom they owed so much.

He however, in his secret conversations with his new allies, laid no claim to merit. He did not, he said, ask for confidence. How could he, after the villanies which he had committed against the best of Kings, hope ever to be trusted again? It was enough for a wretch like him to be permitted to make, at the cost of his life, some poor atonement to the gracious master, whom he had indeed basely injured, but whom he had never ceased to love. It was not improbable that, in the summer, he might command the English forces in Flanders. Was it wished that he should bring them over in a body to the French camp? If such were the royal pleasure, he would undertake that the thing should be done. But on the whole he thought that it would be better to wait till the next session of Parliament. And then he hinted at a plan which he afterwards more fully matured, for expelling the usurper by means of the English legislature and the English army. In the meantime he hoped that James would command Godolphin not to quit the Treasury. A private man could do little for the good cause. One who was the director of the national finances, and the depository of the gravest secrets of state, might render inestimable services.

Marlborough's pretended repentance imposed so completely on those who managed the affairs of James in London that they sent Lloyd to France, with the cheering intelligence that the most depraved of all rebels had been wonderfully transformed into a loyal subject. The tidings filled James with delight and hope. Had he been wise, they would have excited in him only aversion and distrust. It was absurd to imagine that a man really heartbroken by remorse and shame for one act of perfidy would determine to lighten his conscience by committing a second act of perfidy as odious and as disgraceful as the first. The promised atonement was so wicked and base that it never could be made by any man sincerely desirous to atone for past wickedness and baseness. The truth was that, when Marlborough told the Jacobites that his sense of guilt prevented him from swallowing his food by day and taking his rest at night, he was laughing at them. The loss of half a guinea would have done more to spoil his appetite and to disturb his slumbers than all the terrors of an evil conscience.

What his offers really proved was that his former crime had sprung, not from an ill regulated zeal for the interests of his country and his religion, but from a deep and incurable moral disease which had infected the whole man. James, however, partly from dulness and partly from selfishness, could never see any immorality in any action by which he was benefited. To conspire against him, to betray him, to break an oath of allegiance sworn to him, were crimes for which no punishment here or hereafter could be too severe. But to murder his enemies, to break faith with his enemies was not only innocent but laudable. The desertion at Salisbury had been the worst of crimes; for it had ruined him. A similar desertion in Flanders would be an honourable exploit; for it might restore him.

The penitent was informed by his Jacobite friends that he was forgiven. The news was most welcome; but something more was necessary to restore his lost peace of mind. Might he hope to have, in the royal handwriting, two lines containing a promise of pardon? It was not, of course, for his own sake that he asked this. But he was confident that, with such a document in his hands, he could bring back to the right path some persons of great note who adhered to the usurper, only because they imagined that they had no mercy to expect from the legitimate King. They would return to their duty as soon as they saw that even the worst of all criminals had, on his repentance, been generously forgiven. The promise was written, sent, and carefully treasured up. Marlborough had now attained one object, an object which was common to him with Russell and Godolphin. But he had other objects which neither Russell nor Godolphin had ever contemplated. There is, as we shall hereafter see, strong reason to believe that this wise, brave, wicked man, was meditating a plan worthy of his fertile intellect and daring spirit, and not less worthy of his deeply corrupted heart, a plan which, if it had not been frustrated by strange means, would have ruined William without benefiting James, and would have made the successful traitor master of England and arbiter of Europe.

Thus things stood, when, in May 1691, William, after a short and busy sojourn in England, set out again for the Continent, where the regular campaign was about to open. He took with him Marlborough, whose abilities he justly appreciated, and of whose recent negotiations with Saint Germains he had not the faintest suspicion. At the Hague several important military and political consultations were held; and, on every occasion, the superiority of the accomplished Englishman was felt by the most distinguished soldiers and statesmen of the United Provinces. Heinsius, long after, used to relate a conversation which took place at this time between William and the Prince of Vaudemont, one of the ablest commanders in the Dutch service. Vaudemont spoke well of several English officers, and among them of Talmash and Mackay, but pronounced Marlborough superior beyond comparison to the rest. "He has every quality of a general. His very look shows it. He cannot fail to achieve something great." "I really believe, cousin," answered the King, "that my Lord will make good every thing that you have said of him."

There was still a short interval before the commencement of military operations. William passed that interval in his beloved park at Loo. Marlborough spent two or three days there, and was then despatched to Flanders with orders to collect all the English forces, to form a camp in the neighbourhood of Brussels, and to have every thing in readiness for the King's arrival. And now Marlborough had an opportunity of proving the sincerity of those professions by which he had obtained from a heart, well described by himself as harder than a marble chimneypiece, the pardon of an offence such as might have moved even a gentle nature to deadly resentment. He received from Saint Germains a message claiming the instant performance of his promise to desert at the head of his troops. He was told that this was the greatest service which he could render to the Crown. His word was pledged; and the gracious master who had forgiven all past errors confidently expected that it would be redeemed. The hypocrite evaded the demand with characteristic dexterity. In the most respectful and affectionate language he excused himself for not immediately obeying the royal commands. The promise which he was required to fulfil had not been quite correctly understood. There had been some misapprehension on the part of the messengers. To carry over a regiment or two would do more harm than good. To carry over a whole army was a business which would require much time and management. While James was murmuring over these apologies, and wishing that he had not been quite so placable, William arrived at the head quarters of the allied forces, and took the chief command.

The military operations in Flanders recommenced early in June and terminated at the close of September. No important action took place. The two armies marched and countermarched, drew near and receded. During some time they confronted each other with less than a league between them. But neither William nor Luxemburg would fight except at an advantage; and neither gave the other any advantage. Languid as the campaign was, it is on one account remarkable. During more than a century our country had sent no great force to make war by land out of the British isles. Our aristocracy had therefore long ceased to be a military class. The nobles of France, of Germany, of Holland, were generally soldiers. It would probably have been difficult to find in the brilliant circle which surrounded Lewis at Versailles a single Marquess or Viscount of forty who had not been at some battle or siege. But the immense majority of our peers, baronets and opulent esquires had never served except in the trainbands, and had never borne a part in any military exploit more serious than that of putting down a riot or of keeping a street clear for a procession. The generation which had fought at Edgehill and Lansdowne had nearly passed away. The wars of Charles the Second had been almost entirely maritime. During his reign therefore the sea service had been decidedly more the mode than the land service; and, repeatedly, when our fleet sailed to encounter the Dutch, such multitudes of men of fashion had gone on board that the parks and the theatres had been left desolate. In 1691 at length, for the first time since Henry the Eighth laid siege to Boulogne, an English army appeared on the Continent under the command of an English king. A camp, which was also a court, was irresistibly attractive to many young patricians full of atural intrepidity, and ambitious of the favour which men of distinguished bravery have always found in the eyes of women. To volunteer for Flanders became the rage among the fine gentlemen who combed their flowing wigs and exchanged their richly perfumed snuffs at the Saint James's Coffeehouse. William's headquarters were enlivened by a crowd of splendid equipages and by a rapid succession of sumptuous banquets. For among the high born and high spirited youths who repaired to his standard were some who, though quite willing to face a battery, were not at all disposed to deny themselves the luxuries with which they had been surrounded in Soho Square. In a few months Shadwell brought these valiant fops and epicures on the stage. The town was made merry with the character of a courageous but prodigal and effeminate coxcomb, who is impatient to cross swords with the best men in the French household troops, but who is much dejected by learning that he may find it difficult to have his champagne iced daily during the summer. He carries with him cooks, confectioners and laundresses, a waggonload of plate, a wardrobe of laced and embroidered suits, and much rich tent furniture, of which the patterns have been chosen by a committee of fine ladies. While the hostile armies watched each other in Flanders, hostilities were carried on with somewhat more vigour in other parts of Europe. The French gained some advantages in Catalonia and in Piedmont. Their Turkish allies, who in the east menaced the dominions of the Emperor, were defeated by Lewis of Baden in a great battle. But nowhere were the events of the summer so important as in Ireland.

From October 1690 till May 1691, no military operation on a large scale was attempted in that kingdom. The area of the island was, during the winter and spring, not unequally divided between the contending races. The whole of Ulster, the greater part of Leinster and about one third of Munster had submitted to the English. The whole of Connaught, the greater part of Munster, and two or three counties of Leinster were held by the Irish. The tortuous boundary formed by William's garrisons ran in a north eastern direction from the bay of Castlehaven to Mallow, and then, inclining still further eastward, proceeded to Cashel. From Cashel the line went to Mullingar, from Mullingar to Longford, and from Longford to Cavan, skirted Lough Erne on the west, and met the ocean again at Ballyshannon.

On the English side of this pale there was a rude and imperfect order. Two Lords Justices, Coningsby and Porter, assisted by a Privy Council, represented King William at Dublin Castle. Judges, Sheriffs and Justices of the Peace had been appointed; and assizes were, after a long interval, held in several county towns. The colonists had meanwhile been formed into a strong militia, under the command of officers who had commissions from the Crown. The trainbands of the capital consisted of two thousand five hundred foot, two troops of horse and two troops of dragoons, all Protestants and all well armed and clad. On the fourth of November, the anniversary of William's birth, and on the fifth, the anniversary of his landing at Torbay, the whole of this force appeared in all the pomp of war. The vanquished and disarmed natives assisted, with suppressed grief and anger, at the triumph of the caste which they had, five months before, oppressed and plundered with impunity. The Lords Justices went in state to Saint Patrick's Cathedral; bells were rung; bonfires were lighted; hogsheads of ale and claret were set abroach in the streets; fireworks were exhibited on College Green; a great company of nobles and public functionaries feasted at the Castle; and, as the second course came up, the trumpets sounded, and Ulster King at Arms proclaimed, in Latin, French and English, William and Mary, by the grace of God, King and Queen of Great Britain, France, and Ireland.

Within the territory where the Saxon race was dominant, trade and industry had already begun to revive. The brazen counters which bore the image and superscription of James gave place to silver. The fugitives who had taken refuge in England came back in multitudes; and, by their intelligence, diligence and thrift, the devastation caused by two years of confusion and robbery was soon in part repaired. Merchantmen heavily laden were constantly passing and repassing Saint George's Channel. The receipts of the custom houses on the eastern coast, from Cork to Londonderry, amounted in six months to sixty-seven thousand five hundred pounds, a sum such as would have been thought extraordinary even in the most prosperous times.

The Irish who remained within the English pale were, one and all, hostile to the English domination. They were therefore subjected to a rigorous system of police, the natural though lamentable effect of extreme danger and extreme provocation. A Papist was not permitted to have a sword or a gun. He was not permitted to go more than three miles out of his parish except to the market town on the market day. Lest he should give information or assistance to his brethren who occupied the western half of the island, he was forbidden to live within ten miles of the frontier. Lest he should turn his house into a place of resort for malecontents, he was forbidden to sell liquor by retail. One proclamation announced that, if the property of any Protestant should be injured by marauders, his loss should be made good at the expense of his Popish neighbours. Another gave notice that, if any Papist who had not been at least three months domiciled in Dublin should be found there, he should be treated as a spy. Not more than five Papists were to assemble in the capital or its neighbourhood on any pretext. Without a protection from the government no member of the Church of Rome was safe; and the government would not grant a protection to any member of the Church of Rome who had a son in the Irish army.

In spite of all precautions and severities, however, the Celt found many opportunities of taking a sly revenge. Houses and barns were frequently burned; soldiers were frequently murdered; and it was scarcely possible to obtain evidence against the malefactors, who had with them the sympathies of the whole population. On such occasions the government sometimes ventured on acts which seemed better suited to a Turkish than to an English administration. One of these acts became a favourite theme of Jacobite pamphleteers, and was the subject of a serious parliamentary inquiry at Westminster. Six musketeers were found butchered only a few miles from Dublin. The inhabitants of the village where the crime had been committed, men, women, and children, were driven like sheep into the Castle, where the Privy Council was sitting. The heart of one of the assassins, named Gafney, failed him. He consented to be a witness, was examined by the Board, acknowledged his guilt, and named some of his accomplices. He was then removed in custody; but a priest obtained access to him during a few minutes. What passed during those few minutes appeared when he was a second time brought before the Council. He had the effrontery to deny that he had owned any thing or accused any body. His hearers, several of whom had taken down his confession in writing, were enraged at his impudence. The Lords justices broke out; "You are a rogue; You are a villain; You shall be hanged; Where is the Provost Marshal?" The Provost Marshal came. "Take that man," said Coningsby, pointing to Gafney; "take that man, and hang him." There was no gallows ready; but the carriage of a gun served the purpose; and the prisoner was instantly tied up without a trial, without even a written order for the execution; and this though the courts of law were sitting at the distance of only a few hundred yards. The English House of Commons, some years later, after a long discussion, resolved, without a division, that the order for the execution of Gafney was arbitrary and illegal, but that Coningsby's fault was so much extenuated by the circumstances in which he was placed that it was not a proper subject for impeachment.

It was not only by the implacable hostility of the Irish that the Saxon of the pale was at this time harassed. His allies caused him almost as much annoyance as his helots. The help of troops from abroad was indeed necessary to him; but it was dearly bought. Even William, in whom the whole civil and military authority was concentrated, had found it difficult to maintain discipline in an army collected from many lands, and composed in great part of mercenaries accustomed to live at free quarters. The powers which had been united in him were now divided and subdivided. The two Lords justices considered the civil administration as their province, and left the army to the management of Ginkell, who was General in Chief. Ginkell kept excellent order among the auxiliaries from Holland, who were under his more immediate command. But his authority over the English and the Danes was less entire; and unfortunately their pay was, during part of the winter, in arrear. They indemnified themselves by excesses and exactions for the want of that which was their due; and it was hardly possible to punish men with severity for not choosing to starve with arms in their hands. At length in the spring large supplies of money and stores arrived; arrears were paid up; rations were plentiful; and a more rigid discipline was enforced. But too many traces of the bad habits which the soldiers had contracted were discernible till the close of the war.

In that part of Ireland, meanwhile, which still acknowledged James as King, there could hardly be said to be any law, any property, or any government. The Roman Catholics of Ulster and Leinster had fled westward by tens of thousands, driving before them a large part of the cattle which had escaped the havoc of two terrible years. The influx of food into the Celtic region, however, was far from keeping pace with the influx of consumers. The necessaries of life were scarce. Conveniences to which every plain farmer and burgess in England was accustomed could hardly be procured by nobles and generals. No coin was to be seen except lumps of base metal which were called crowns and shillings.

Nominal prices were enormously high. A quart of ale cost two and sixpence, a quart of brandy three pounds. The only towns of any note on the western coast were Limerick and Galway; and the oppression which the shopkeepers of those towns underwent was such that many of them stole away with the remains of their stocks to the English territory, where a Papist, though he had to endure much restraint and much humiliation, was allowed to put his own price on his goods, and received that price in silver. Those traders who remained within the unhappy region were ruined. Every warehouse that contained any valuable property was broken open by ruffians who pretended that they were commissioned to procure stores for the public service; and the owner received, in return for bales of cloth and hogsheads of sugar, some ragments of old kettles and saucepans, which would not in London or Paris have been taken by a beggar.

As soon as a merchant ship arrived in the bay of Galway or in the Shannon, she was boarded by these robbers. The cargo was carried away; and the proprietor was forced to content himself with such a quantity of cowhides, of wool and of tallow as the gang which had plundered him chose to give him. The consequence was that, while foreign commodities were pouring fast into the harbours of Londonderry, Carrickfergus, Dublin, Waterford and Cork, every mariner avoided Limerick and Galway as nests of pirates.75 The distinction between the Irish foot soldier and the Irish Rapparee had never been very strongly marked. It now disappeared. Great part of the army was turned loose to live by marauding. An incessant predatory war raged along the line which separated the domain of William from that of James. Every day companies of freebooters, sometimes wrapped in twisted straw which served the purpose of armour, stole into the English territory, burned, sacked, pillaged, and hastened back to their own ground. To guard against these incursions was not easy; for the peasantry of the plundered country had a strong fellow feeling with the plunderers. To empty the granary, to set fire to the dwelling, to drive away the cows, of a heretic was regarded by every squalid inhabitant of a mud cabin as a good work.

A troop engaged in such a work might confidently expect to fall in, notwithstanding all the proclamations of the Lords justices, with some friend who would indicate the richest booty, the shortest road, and the safest hiding place. The English complained that it was no easy matter to catch a Rapparee. Sometimes, when he saw danger approaching, he lay down in the long grass of the bog; and then it was as difficult to find him as to find a hare sitting. Sometimes he sprang into a stream, and lay there, like an otter, with only his mouth and nostrils above the water. Nay, a whole gang of banditti would, in the twinkling of an eye, transform itself into a crowd of harmless labourers. Every man took his gun to pieces, hid the lock in his clothes, stuck a cork in the muzzle, stopped the touch hole with a quill, and threw the weapon into the next pond. Nothing was to be seen but a train of poor rustics who had not so much as a cudgel among them, and whose humble look and crouching walk seemed to show that their spirit was thoroughly broken to slavery. When the peril was over, when the signal was given, every man flew to the place where he had hid his arms; and soon the robbers were in full march towards some Protestant mansion. One band penetrated to Clonmel, another to the vicinity of Maryborough; a third made its den in a woody islet of firm ground, surrounded by the vast bog of Allen, harried the county of Wicklow, and alarmed even the suburbs of Dublin. Such expeditions indeed were not always successful. Sometimes the plunderers fell in with parties of militia or with detachments from the English garrisons, in situations in which disguise, flight and resistance were alike impossible. When this happened every kerne who was taken was hanged, without any ceremony, on the nearest tree.

At the head quarters of the Irish army there was, during the winter, no authority capable of exacting obedience even within a circle of a mile. Tyrconnel was absent at the Court of France. He had left the supreme government in the hands of a Council of Regency composed of twelve persons. The nominal command of the army he had confided to Berwick; but Berwick, though, as was afterwards proved, a man of no common courage and capacity, was young and inexperienced. His powers were unsuspected by the world and by himself; and he submitted without reluctance to the tutelage of a Council of War nominated by the Lord Lieutenant. Neither the Council of Regency nor the Council of War was popular at Limerick. The Irish complained that men who were not Irish had been entrusted with a large share in the administration. The cry was loudest against an officer named Thomas Maxwell. For it was certain that he was a Scotchman; it was doubtful whether he was a Roman Catholic; and he had not concealed the dislike which he felt for that Celtic Parliament which had repealed the Act of Settlement and passed the Act of Attainder.

The discontent, fomented by the arts of intriguers, among whom the cunning and unprincipled Henry Luttrell seems to have been the most active, soon broke forth into open rebellion. A great meeting was held. Many officers of the army, some peers, some lawyers of high note and some prelates of the Roman Catholic Church were present. It was resolved that the government set up by the Lord Lieutenant was unknown to the constitution. Ireland, it was said, could be legally governed, in the absence of the King, only by a Lord Lieutenant, by a Lord Deputy or by Lords Justices. The King was absent. The Lord Lieutenant was absent. There was no Lord Deputy. There were no Lords Justices. The Act by which Tyrconnel had delegated his authority to a junto composed of his creatures was a mere nullity. The nation was therefore left without any legitimate chief, and might, without violating the allegiance due to the Crown, make temporary provision for its own safety. A deputation was sent to inform Berwick that he had assumed a power to which he had no right, but that nevertheless the army and people of Ireland would willingly acknowledge him as their head if he would consent to govern by the advice of a council truly Irish. Berwick indignantly expressed his wonder that military men should presume to meet and deliberate without the permission of their general. They answered that there was no general, and that, if His Grace did not choose to undertake the administration on the terms proposed, another leader would easily be found. Berwick very reluctantly yielded, and continued to be a puppet in a new set of hands.

Those who had effected this revolution thought it prudent to send a deputation to France for the purpose of vindicating their proceedings. Of the deputation the Roman Catholic Bishop of Cork and the two Luttrells were members. In the ship which conveyed them from Limerick to Brest they found a fellow passenger whose presence was by no means agreeable to them, their enemy, Maxwell. They suspected, and not without reason, that he was going, like them, to Saint Germains, but on a very different errand. The truth was that Berwick had sent Maxwell to watch their motions and to traverse their designs. Henry Luttrell, the least scrupulous of men, proposed to settle the matter at once by tossing the Scotchman into the sea. But the Bishop, who was a man of conscience, and Simon Luttrell, who was a man of honour, objected to this expedient.

Meanwhile at Limerick the supreme power was in abeyance. Berwick, finding that he had no real authority, altogether neglected business, and gave himself up to such pleasures as that dreary place of banishment afforded. There was among the Irish chiefs no man of sufficient weight and ability to control the rest. Sarsfield for a time took the lead. But Sarsfield, though eminently brave and active in the field, was little skilled in the administration of war, and still less skilled in civil business. Those who were most desirous to support his authority were forced to own that his nature was too unsuspicious and indulgent for a post in which it was hardly possible to be too distrustful or too severe. He believed whatever was told him. He signed whatever was set before him. The commissaries, encouraged by his lenity, robbed and embezzled more shamelessly than ever. They sallied forth daily, guarded by pikes and firelocks, to seize, nominally for the public service, but really for themselves, wool, linen, leather, tallow, domestic utensils, instruments of husbandry, searched every pantry, every wardrobe, every cellar, and even laid sacrilegious hands on the property of priests and prelates.

Early in the spring the government, if it is to be so called, of which Berwick was the ostensible head, was dissolved by the return of Tyrconnel. The Luttrells had, in the name of their countrymen, implored James not to subject so loyal a people to so odious and incapable a viceroy. Tyrconnel, they said, was old; he was infirm; he needed much steep; he knew nothing of war; he was dilatory; he was partial; he was rapacious; he was distrusted and hated by the whole nation. The Irish, deserted by him, had made a gallant stand, and had compelled the victorious army of the Prince of Orange to retreat. They hoped soon to take the field again, thirty thousand strong; and they adjured their King to send them some captain worthy to command such a force. Tyrconnel and Maxwell, on the other hand, represented the delegates as mutineers, demagogues, traitors, and pressed James to send Henry Luttrell to keep Mountjoy company in the Bastille. James, bewildered by these criminations and recriminations, hesitated long, and at last, with characteristic wisdom, relieved himself from trouble by giving all the quarrellers fair words and by sending them all back to have their fight out in Ireland. Berwick was at the same time recalled to France.

Tyrconnel was received at Limerick, even by his enemies, with decent respect. Much as they hated him, they could not question the validity of his commission; and, though they still maintained that they had been perfectly justified in annulling, during his absence, the unconstitutional arrangements which he had made, they acknowledged that, when he was present, he was their lawful governor. He was not altogether unprovided with the means of conciliating them. He brought many gracious messages and promises, a patent of peerage for Sarsfield, some money which was not of brass, and some clothing, which was even more acceptable than money. The new garments were not indeed very fine. But even the generals had long been out at elbows; and there were few of the common men whose habiliments would have been thought sufficient to dress a scarecrow in a more prosperous country. Now, at length, for the first time in many months, every private soldier could boast of a pair of breeches and a pair of rogues. The Lord Lieutenant had also been authorised to announce that he should soon be followed by several ships, laden with provisions and military stores. This announcement was most welcome to the troops, who had long been without bread, and who had nothing stronger than water to drink.

During some weeks the supplies were impatiently expected. At last, Tyrconnel was forced to shut himself up; for, whenever he appeared in public, the soldiers ran after him clamouring for food. Even the beef and mutton, which, half raw, half burned, without vegetables, without salt, had hitherto supported the army, had become scarce; and the common men were on rations of horseflesh when the promised sails were seen in the mouth of the Shannon.

A distinguished French general, named Saint Ruth, was on board with his staff. He brought a commission which appointed him commander in chief of the Irish army. The commission did not expressly declare that he was to be independent of the viceregal authority; but he had been assured by James that Tyrconnel should have secret instructions not to intermeddle in the conduct of the war. Saint Ruth was assisted by another general officer named D'Usson. The French ships brought some arms, some ammunition, and a plentiful supply of corn and flour. The spirits of the Irish rose; and the Te Deum was chaunted with fervent devotion in the cathedral of Limerick.

Tyrconnel had made no preparations for the approaching campaign. But Saint Ruth, as soon as he had landed, exerted himself strenuously to redeem the time which had been lost. He was a man of courage, activity and resolution, but of a harsh and imperious nature. In his own country he was celebrated as the most merciless persecutor that had ever dragooned the Huguenots to mass. It was asserted by English Whigs that he was known in France by the nickname of the Hangman; that, at Rome, the very cardinals had shown their abhorrence of his cruelty; and that even Queen Christina, who had little right to be squeamish about bloodshed, had turned away from him with loathing. He had recently held a command in Savoy. The Irish regiments in the French service had formed part of his army, and had behaved extremely well. It was therefore supposed that he had a peculiar talent for managing Irish troops. But there was a wide difference between the well clad, well armed and well drilled Irish, with whom he was familiar, and the ragged marauders whom be found swarming in the alleys of Limerick. Accustomed to the splendour and the discipline of French camps and garrisons, he was disgusted by finding that, in the country to which he had been sent, a regiment of infantry meant a mob of people as naked, as dirty and as disorderly as the beggars, whom he had been accustomed to see on the Continent besieging the door of a monastery or pursuing a diligence up him. With ill concealed contempt, however, he addressed himself vigorously to the task of disciplining these strange soldiers, and was day and night in the saddle, galloping from post to post, from Limerick to Athlone, from Athlone to the northern extremity of Lough Rea, and from Lough Rea back to Limerick.

It was indeed necessary that he should bestir himself; for, a few days after his arrival, he learned that, on the other side of the Pale, all was ready for action. The greater part of the English force was collected, before the close of May, in the neighbourhood of Mullingar. Ginkell commanded in chief. He had under him the two best officers, after Marlborough, of whom our island could then boast, Talmash and Mackay. The Marquess of Ruvigny, the hereditary chief of the refugees, and elder brother of the brave Caillemot, who had fallen at the Boyne, had joined the army with the rank of major general. The Lord Justice Coningsby, though not by profession a soldier, came down from Dublin, to animate the zeal of the troops. The appearance of the camp showed that the money voted by the English Parliament had not been spared. The uniforms were new; the ranks were one blaze of scarlet; and the train of artillery was such as had never before been seen in Ireland.


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