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The History of England from the Accession of James II
By Thomas Babington MacAulay
Chapter 4 Part 5


On the day on which Tyrconnel died, the advanced guard of the English army came within sight of Limerick. Ginkell encamped on the same ground which William had occupied twelve months before. The batteries, on which were planted guns and bombs, very different from those which William had been forced to use, played day and night; and soon roofs were blazing and walls crashing in every corner of the city. Whole streets were reduced to ashes. Meanwhile several English ships of war came up the Shannon and anchored about a mile below the city.

Still the place held out; the garrison was, in numerical strength, little inferior to the besieging army; and it seemed not impossible that the defence might be prolonged till the equinoctial rains should a second time compel the English to retire. Ginkell determined on striking a bold stroke. No point in the whole circle of the fortifications was more important, and no point seemed to be more secure, than the Thomond Bridge, which joined the city to the camp of the Irish horse on the Clare bank of the Shannon. The Dutch General's plan was to separate the infantry within the ramparts from the cavalry without; and this plan he executed with great skill, vigour and success. He laid a bridge of tin boats on the river, crossed it with a strong body of troops, drove before him in confusion fifteen hundred dragoons who made a faint show of resistance, and marched towards the quarters of the Irish horse. The Irish horse sustained but ill on this day the reputation which they had gained at the Boyne. Indeed, that reputation had been purchased by the almost entire destruction of the best regiments. Recruits had been without much difficulty found. But the loss of fifteen hundred excellent soldiers was not to be repaired. The camp was abandoned without a blow. Some of the cavalry fled into the city. The rest, driving before them as many cattle as could be collected in that moment of panic, retired to the hills. Much beef, brandy and harness was found in the magazines; and the marshy plain of the Shannon was covered with firelocks and grenades which the fugitives had thrown away.

The conquerors returned in triumph to their camp. But Ginkell was not content with the advantage which he had gained. He was bent on cutting off all communication between Limerick and the county of Clare. In a few days, therefore, he again crossed the river at the head of several regiments, and attacked the fort which protected the Thomond Bridge. In a short time the fort was stormed. The soldiers who had garrisoned it fled in confusion to the city. The Town Major, a French officer, who commanded at the Thomond Gate, afraid that the pursuers would enter with the fugitives, ordered that part of the bridge which was nearest to the city to be drawn up. Many of the Irish went headlong into the stream and perished there. Others cried for quarter, and held up handkerchiefs in token of submission. But the conquerors were mad with rage; their cruelty could not be immediately restrained; and no prisoners were made till the heaps of corpses rose above the parapets. The garrison of the fort had consisted of about eight hundred men. Of these only a hundred and twenty escaped into Limerick.

This disaster seemed likely to produce a general mutiny in the besieged city. The Irish clamoured for the blood of the Town Major who had ordered the bridge to be drawn up in the face of their flying countrymen. His superiors were forced to promise that he should be brought before a court martial. Happily for him, he had received a mortal wound, in the act of closing the Thomond Gate, and was saved by a soldier's death from the fury of the multitude.

The cry for capitulation became so loud and importunate that the generals could not resist it. D'Usson informed his government that the fight at the bridge had so effectually cowed the spirit of the garrison that it was impossible to continue the struggle. Some exception may perhaps be taken to the evidence of D'Usson; for undoubtedly he, like every Frenchman who had held any command in the Irish army, was weary of his banishment, and impatient to see Paris again. But it is certain that even Sarsfield had lost heart. Up to this time his voice had been for stubborn resistance. He was now not only willing, but impatient to treat. It seemed to him that the city was doomed. There was no hope of succour, domestic or foreign. In every part of Ireland the Saxons had set their feet on the necks of the natives. Sligo had fallen. Even those wild islands which intercept the huge waves of the Atlantic from the bay of Galway had acknowledged the authority of William. The men of Kerry, reputed the fiercest and most ungovernable part of the aboriginal population, had held out long, but had at length been routed, and chased to their woods and mountains.

A French fleet, if a French fleet were now to arrive on the coast of Munster, would find the mouth of the Shannon guarded by English men of war. The stock of provisions within Limerick was already running low. If the siege were prolonged, the town would, in all human probability, be reduced either by force or by blockade. And, if Ginkell should enter through the breach, or should be implored by a multitude perishing with hunger to dictate his own terms, what could be expected but a tyranny more inexorably severe than that of Cromwell? Would it not then be wise to try what conditions could be obtained while the victors had still something to fear from the rage and despair of the vanquished; while the last Irish army could still make some show of resistance behind the walls of the last Irish fortress? On the evening of the day which followed the fight at the Thomond Gate, the drums of Limerick beat a parley; and Wauchop, from one of the towers, hailed the besiegers, and requested Ruvigny to grant Sarsfield an interview. The brave Frenchman who was an exile on account of his attachment to one religion, and the brave Irishman who was about to become an exile on account of his attachment to another, met and conferred, doubtless with mutual sympathy and respect.

Ginkell, to whom Ruvigny reported what had passed, willingly consented to an armistice. For, constant as his success had been, it had not made him secure. The chances were greatly on his side. Yet it was possible that an attempt to storm the city might fail, as a similar attempt had failed twelve months before. If the siege should be turned into a blockade, it was probable that the pestilence which had been fatal to the army of Schomberg, which had compelled William to retreat, and which had all but prevailed even against the genius and energy of Marlborough, might soon avenge the carnage of Aghrim. The rains had lately been heavy. The whole plain might shortly be an immense pool of stagnant water. It might be necessary to move the troops to a healthier situation than the bank of the Shannon, and to provide for them a warmer shelter than that of tents. The enemy would be safe till the spring. In the spring a French army might land in Ireland; the natives might again rise in arms from Donegal to Kerry; and the war, which was now all but extinguished, might blaze forth fiercer than ever.

A negotiation was therefore opened with a sincere desire on both sides to put an end to the contest. The chiefs of the Irish army held several consultations at which some Roman Catholic prelates and some eminent lawyers were invited to assist. A preliminary question, which perplexed tender consciences, was submitted by the Bishops. The late Lord Lieutenant had persuaded the officers of the garrison to swear that they would not surrender Limerick till they should receive an answer to the letter in which their situation had been explained to James. The Bishops thought that the oath was no longer binding. It had been taken at a time when the communications with France were open, and in the full belief that the answer of James would arrive within three weeks. More than twice that time had elapsed. Every avenue leading to the city was strictly guarded by the enemy. His Majesty's faithful subjects, by holding out till it had become impossible for him to signify his pleasure to them, had acted up to the spirit of their promise.

The next question was what terms should be demanded. A paper, containing propositions which statesmen of our age will think reasonable, but which to the most humane and liberal English Protestants of the seventeenth century appeared extravagant, was sent to the camp of the besiegers. What was asked was that all offences should be covered with oblivion, that perfect freedom of worship should be allowed to the native population, that every parish should have its priest, and that Irish Roman Catholics should be capable of holding all offices, civil and military, and of enjoying all municipal privileges.

Ginkell knew little of the laws and feelings of the English; but he had about him persons who were competent to direct him. They had a week before prevented him from breaking a Rapparee on the wheel; and they now suggested an answer to the propositions of the enemy. "I am a stranger here," said Ginkell; "I am ignorant of the constitution of these kingdoms; but I am assured that what you ask is inconsistent with that constitution; and therefore I cannot with honour consent." He immediately ordered a new battery to be thrown up, and guns and mortars to be planted on it. But his preparations were speedily interrupted by another message from the city. The Irish begged that, since he could not grant what they had demanded, he would tell them what he was willing to grant. He called his advisers round him, and, after some consultation, sent back a paper containing the heads of a treaty, such as he had reason to believe that the government which he served would approve. What he offered was indeed much less than what the Irish desired, but was quite as much as, when they considered their situation and the temper of the English nation, they could expect. They speedily notified their assent. It was agreed that there should be a cessation of arms, not only by land, but in the ports and bays of Munster, and that a fleet of French transports should be suffered to come up the Shannon in peace and to depart in peace. The signing of the treaty was deferred till the Lords justices, who represented William at Dublin, should arrive at Ginkell's quarters. But there was during some days a relaxation of military vigilance on both sides. Prisoners were set at liberty. The outposts of the two armies chatted and messed together. The English officers rambled into the town. The Irish officers dined in the camp. Anecdotes of what passed at the friendly meetings of these men, who had so lately been mortal enemies, were widely circulated. One story, in particular, was repeated in every part of Europe. "Has not this last campaign," said Sarsfield to some English officers, "raised your opinion of Irish soldiers?" "To tell you the truth," answered an Englishman, we think of them much as we always did." "However meanly you may think of us," replied Sarsfield, "change Kings with us, and we will willingly try our luck with you again." He was doubtless thinking of the day on which he had seen the two Sovereigns at the head of two great armies, William foremost in the charge, and James foremost in the flight.

On the first of October, Coningsby and Porter arrived at the English headquarters. On the second the articles of capitulation were discussed at great length and definitely settled. On the third they were signed. They were divided into two parts, a military treaty and a civil treaty. The former was subscribed only by the generals on both sides. The Lords justices set their names to the latter.

By the military treaty it was agreed that such Irish officers and soldiers as should declare that they wished to go to France should be conveyed thither, and should, in the meantime, remain under the command of their own generals. Ginkell undertook to furnish a considerable number of transports. French vessels were also to be permitted to pass and repass freely between Britanny and Munster. Part of Limerick was to be immediately delivered up to the English. But the island on which the Cathedral and the Castle stand was to remain, for the present, in the keeping of the Irish.

The terms of the civil treaty were very different from those which Ginkell had sternly refused to grant. It was not stipulated that the Roman Catholics of Ireland should be competent to hold any political or military office, or that they should be admitted into any corporation. But they obtained a promise that they should enjoy such privileges in the exercise of their religion as were consistent with the law, or as they had enjoyed in the reign of Charles the Second.

To all inhabitants of Limerick, and to all officers and soldiers in the Jacobite army, who should submit to the government and notify their submission by taking the oath of allegiance, an entire amnesty was promised. They were to retain their property; they were to be allowed to exercise any profession which they had exercised before the troubles; they were not to be punished for any treason, felony, or misdemeanour committed since the accession of the late King; nay, they were not to be sued for damages on account of any act of spoliation or outrage which they might have committed during the three years of confusion. This was more than the Lords justices were constitutionally competent to grant. It was therefore added that the government would use its utmost endeavours to obtain a Parliamentary ratification of the treaty.

As soon as the two instruments had been signed, the English entered the city, and occupied one quarter of it. A narrow, but deep branch of the Shannon separated them from the quarter which was still in the possession of the Irish.

In a few hours a dispute arose which seemed likely to produce a renewal of hostilities. Sarsfield had resolved to seek his fortune in the service of France, and was naturally desirous to carry with him to the Continent such a body of troops as would be an important addition to the army of Lewis. Ginkell was as naturally unwilling to send thousands of men to swell the forces of the enemy. Both generals appealed to the treaty. Each construed it as suited his purpose, and each complained that the other had violated it. Sarsfield was accused of putting one of his officers under arrest for refusing to go to the Continent. Ginkell, greatly excited, declared that he would teach the Irish to play tricks with him, and began to make preparations for a cannonade. Sarsfield came to the English camp, and tried to justify what he had done. The altercation was sharp. "I submit," said Sarsfield, at last: "I am in your power." "Not at all in my power," said Ginkell, "go back and do your worst." The imprisoned officer was liberated; a sanguinary contest was averted; and the two commanders contented themselves with a war of words.

Ginkell put forth proclamations assuring the Irish that, if they would live quietly in their own land, they should be protected and favoured, and that if they preferred a military life, they should be admitted into the service of King William. It was added that no man, who chose to reject this gracious invitation and to become a soldier of Lewis, must expect ever again to set foot on the island. Sarsfield and Wauchop exerted their eloquence on the other side. The present aspect of affairs, they said, was doubtless gloomy; but there was bright sky beyond the cloud. The banishment would be short. The return would be triumphant. Within a year the French would invade England. In such an invasion the Irish troops, if only they remained unbroken, would assuredly bear a chief part. In the meantime it was far better for them to live in a neighbouring and friendly country, under the parental care of their own rightful King, than to trust the Prince of Orange, who would probably send them to the other end of the world to fight for his ally the Emperor against the Janissaries. The help of the Roman Catholic clergy was called in. On the day on which those who had made up their minds to go to France were required to announce their determination, the priests were indefatigable in exhorting.

At the head of every regiment a sermon was preached on the duty of adhering to the cause of the Church, and on the sin and danger of consorting with unbelievers. Whoever, it was said, should enter the service of the usurpers would do so at the peril of his soul. The heretics affirmed that, after the peroration, a plentiful allowance of brandy was served out to the audience, and that, when the brandy had been swallowed, a Bishop pronounced a benediction. Thus duly prepared by physical and moral stimulants, the garrison, consisting of about fourteen thousand infantry, was drawn up in the vast meadow which lay on the Clare bank of the Shannon. Here copies of Ginkell's proclamation were profusely scattered about; and English officers went through the ranks imploring the men not to ruin themselves, and explaining to them the advantages which the soldiers of King William enjoyed. At length the decisive moment came. The troops were ordered to pass in review. Those who wished to remain in Ireland were directed to file off at a particular spot. All who passed that spot were to be considered as having made their choice for France. Sarsfield and Wauchop on one side, Porter, Coningsby and Ginkell on the other, looked on with painful anxiety. D'Usson and his countrymen, though not uninterested in the spectacle, found it hard to preserve their gravity. The confusion, the clamour, the grotesque appearance of an army in which there could scarcely be seen a shirt or a pair of pantaloons, a shoe or a stocking, presented so ludicrous a contrast to the orderly and brilliant appearance of their master's troops, that they amused themselves by wondering what the Parisians would say to see such a force mustered on the plain of Grenelle.

First marched what was called the Royal regiment, fourteen hundred strong. All but seven went beyond the fatal point. Ginkell's countenance showed that he was deeply mortified. He was consoled, however, by seeing the next regiment, which consisted of natives of Ulster, turn off to a man. There had arisen, notwithstanding the community of blood, language and religion, an antipathy between the Celts of Ulster and those of the other three provinces; nor is it improbable that the example and influence of Baldearg O'Donnel may have had some effect on the people of the land which his forefathers had ruled. In most of the regiments there was a division of opinion; but a great majority declared for France. Henry Luttrell was one of those who turned off. He was rewarded for his desertion, and perhaps for other services, with a grant of the large estate of his elder brother Simon, who firmly adhered to the cause of James, with a pension of five hundred pounds a year from the Crown, and with the abhorrence of the Roman Catholic population. After living in wealth, luxury and infamy, during a quarter of a century, Henry Luttrell was murdered while going through Dublin in his sedan chair; and the Irish House of Commons declared that there was reason to suspect that he had fallen by the revenge of the Papists.

Eighty years after his death his grave near Luttrellstown was violated by the descendants of those whom he had betrayed, and his skull was broken to pieces with a pickaxe. The deadly hatred of which he was the object descended to his son and to his grandson; and, unhappily, nothing in the character either of his son or of his grandson tended to mitigate the feeling which the name of Luttrell excited.

When the long procession had closed, it was found that about a thousand men had agreed to enter into William's service. About two thousand accepted passes from Ginkell, and went quietly home. About eleven thousand returned with Sarsfield to the city. A few hours after the garrison had passed in review, the horse, who were encamped some miles from the town, were required to make their choice; and most of them volunteered for France.

Sarsfield considered the troops who remained with him as under an irrevocable obligation to go abroad; and, lest they should be tempted to retract their consent, he confined them within the ramparts, and ordered the gates to be shut and strongly guarded. Ginkell, though in his vexation he muttered some threats, seems to have felt that he could not justifiably interfere. But the precautions of the Irish general were far from being completely successful. It was by no means strange that a superstitious and excitable kerne, with a sermon and a dram in his head, should be ready to promise whatever his priests required; neither was it strange that, when he had slept off his liquor, and when anathemas were no longer ringing in his ears, he should feel painful misgivings. He had bound himself to go into exile, perhaps for life, beyond that dreary expanse of waters which impressed his rude mind with mysterious terror. His thoughts ran on all that he was to leave, on the well known peat stack and potatoe ground, and on the mud cabin, which, humble as it was, was still his home. He was never again to see the familiar faces round the turf fire, or to hear the familiar notes of the old Celtic songs. The ocean was to roll between him and the dwelling of his greyheaded parents and his blooming sweetheart. Here were some who, unable to bear the misery of such a separation, and, finding it impossible to pass the sentinels who watched the gates, sprang into the river and gained the opposite bank. The number of these daring swimmers, however, was not great; and the army would probably have been transported almost entire if it had remained at Limerick till the day of embarkation. But many of the vessels in which the voyage was to be performed lay at Cork; and it was necessary that Sarsfield should proceed thither with some of his best regiments. It was a march of not less than four days through a wild country. To prevent agile youths, familiar with all the shifts of a vagrant and predatory life, from stealing off to the bogs, and woods under cover of the night, was impossible.

Indeed, many soldiers had the audacity to run away by broad daylight before they were out of sight of Limerick Cathedral. The Royal regiment, which had, on the day of the review, set so striking an example of fidelity to the cause of James, dwindled from fourteen hundred men to five hundred. Before the last ships departed, news came that those who had sailed by the first ships had been ungraciously received at Brest. They had been scantily fed; they had been able to obtain neither pay nor clothing; though winter was setting in, they slept in the fields with no covering but the hedges. Many had been heard to say that it would have been far better to die in old Ireland than to live in the inhospitable country to which they had been banished. The effect of those reports was that hundreds, who had long persisted in their intention of emigrating, refused at the last moment to go on board, threw down their arms, and returned to their native villages.

Sarsfield perceived that one chief cause of the desertion which was thinning his army was the natural unwillingness of the men to leave their families in a state of destitution. Cork and its neighbourhood were filled with the kindred of those who were going abroad. Great numbers of women, many of them leading, carrying, suckling their infants, covered all the roads which led to the place of embarkation. The Irish general, apprehensive of the effect which the entreaties and lamentations of these poor creatures could not fail to produce, put forth a proclamation, in which he assured his soldiers that they should be permitted to carry their wives and families to France. It would be injurious to the memory of so brave and loyal a gentleman to suppose that when he made this promise he meant to break it. It is much more probable that he had formed an erroneous estimate of the number of those who would demand a passage, and that he found himself, when it was too late to alter his arrangements, unable to keep his word. After the soldiers had embarked, room was found for the families of many. But still there remained on the water side a great multitude clamouring piteously to be taken on board. As the last boats put off there was a rush into the surf. Some women caught hold of the ropes, were dragged out of their depth, clung till their fingers were cut through, and perished in the waves. The ships began to move. A wild and terrible wail rose from the shore, and excited unwonted compassion in hearts steeled by hatred of the Irish race and of the Romish faith. Even the stern Cromwellian, now at length, after a desperate struggle of three years, left the undisputed lord of the bloodstained and devastated island, could not hear unmoved that bitter cry, in which was poured forth all the rage and all the sorrow of a conquered nation.

The sails disappeared. The emaciated and brokenhearted crowd of those whom a stroke more cruel than that of death had made widows and orphans dispersed, to beg their way home through a wasted land, or to lie down and die by the roadside of grief and hunger. The exiles departed, to learn in foreign camps that discipline without which natural courage is of small avail, and to retrieve on distant fields of battle the honour which had been lost by a long series of defeats at home. In Ireland there was peace. The domination of the colonists was absolute. The native population was tranquil with the ghastly tranquillity of exhaustion and of despair. There were indeed outrages, robberies, fireraisings, assassinations. But more than a century passed away without one general insurrection. During that century, two rebellions were raised in Great Britain by the adherents of the House of Stuart. But neither when the elder Pretender was crowned at Scone, nor when the younger held his court at Holyrood, was the standard of that House set up in Connaught or Munster.

In 1745, indeed, when the Highlanders were marching towards London, the Roman Catholics of Ireland were so quiet that the Lord Lieutenant could, without the smallest risk, send several regiments across Saint George's Channel to recruit the army of the Duke of Cumberland. Nor was this submission the effect of content, but of mere stupefaction and brokenness of heart. The iron had entered into the soul. The memory of past defeats, the habit of daily enduring insult and oppression, had cowed the spirit of the unhappy nation. There were indeed Irish Roman Catholics of great ability, energy and ambition; but they were to be found every where except in Ireland, at Versailles and at Saint Ildefonso, in the armies of Frederic and in the armies of Maria Theresa. One exile became a Marshal of France. Another became Prime Minister of Spain. If he had staid in his native land he would have been regarded as an inferior by all the ignorant and worthless squireens who drank the glorious and immortal memory. In his palace at Madrid he had the pleasure of being assiduously courted by the ambassador of George the Second, and of bidding defiance in high terms to the ambassador of George the Third. Scattered over all Europe were to be found brave Irish generals, dexterous Irish diplomatists, Irish Counts, Irish Barons, Irish Knights of Saint Lewis and of Saint Leopold, of the White Eagle and of the Golden Fleece, who, if they had remained in the house of bondage, could not have been ensigns of marching regiments or freemen of petty corporations. These men, the natural chiefs of their race, having been withdrawn, what remained was utterly helpless and passive. A rising of the Irishry against the Englishry was no more to be apprehended than a rising of the women and children against the men.

There were indeed, in those days, fierce disputes between the mother country and the colony; but in those disputes the aboriginal population had no more interest than the Red Indians in the dispute between Old England and New England about the Stamp Act. The ruling few, even when in mutiny against the government, had no mercy for any thing that looked like mutiny on the part of the subject many. None of those Roman patriots, who poniarded Julius Caesar for aspiring to be a king, would have had the smallest scruple about crucifying a whole school of gladiators for attempting to escape from the most odious and degrading of all kinds of servitude. None of those Virginian patriots, who vindicated their separation from the British empire by proclaiming it to be a selfevident truth that all men were endowed by the Creator with an unalienable right to liberty, would have had the smallest scruple about shooting any negro slave who had laid claim to that unalienable right.

And, in the same manner, the Protestant masters of Ireland, while ostentatiously professing the political doctrines of Locke and Sidney, held that a people who spoke the Celtic tongue and heard mass could have no concern in those doctrines. Molyneux questioned the supremacy of the English legislature. Swift assailed, with the keenest ridicule and invective, every part of the system of government. Lucas disquieted the administration of Lord Harrington. Boyle overthrew the administration of the Duke of Dorset. But neither Molyneux nor Swift, neither Lucas nor Boyle, ever thought of appealing to the native population. They would as soon have thought of appealing to the swine.

At a later period Henry Flood excited the dominant class to demand a Parliamentary reform, and to use even revolutionary means for the purpose of obtaining that reform. But neither he, nor those who looked up to him as their chief, and who went close to the verge of treason at his bidding, would consent to admit the subject class to the smallest share of political power. The virtuous and accomplished Charlemont, a Whig of the Whigs, passed a long life in contending for what he called the freedom of his country. But he voted against the law which gave the elective franchise to Roman Catholic freeholders; and he died fixed in the opinion that the Parliament House ought to be kept pure from Roman Catholic members. Indeed, during the century which followed the Revolution, the inclination of an English Protestant to trample on the Irishry was generally proportioned to the zeal which he professed for political liberty in the abstract. If he uttered any expression of compassion for the majority oppressed by the minority, he might be safely set down as a bigoted Tory and High Churchman.

All this time hatred, kept down by fear, festered in the hearts of the children of the soil. They were still the same people that had sprung to arms in 1641 at the call of O'Neill, and in 1689 at the call of Tyrconnel. To them every festival instituted by the State was a day of mourning, and every public trophy set up by the State was a memorial of shame. We have never known, and can but faintly conceive, the feelings of a nation doomed to see constantly in all its public places the monuments of its subjugation. Such monuments every where met the eye of the Irish Roman Catholics. In front of the Senate House of their country, they saw the statue of their conqueror. If they entered, they saw the walls tapestried with the defeats of their fathers. At length, after a hundred years of servitude, endured without one vigorous or combined struggle for emancipation, the French revolution awakened a wild hope in the bosoms of the oppressed. Men who had inherited all the pretensions and all the passions of the Parliament which James had held at the Kings Inns could not hear unmoved of the downfall of a wealthy established Church, of the flight of a splendid aristocracy, of the confiscation of an immense territory.

Old antipathies, which had never slumbered, were excited to new and terrible energy by the combination of stimulants which, in any other society, would have counteracted each other. The spirit of Popery and the spirit of Jacobinism, irreconcilable antagonists every where else, were for once mingled in an unnatural and portentous union. Their joint influence produced the third and last rising up of the aboriginal population against the colony. The greatgrandsons of the soldiers of Galmoy and Sarsfield were opposed to the greatgrandsons of the soldiers of Wolseley and Mitchelburn. The Celt again looked impatiently for the sails which were to bring succour from Brest; and the Saxon was again backed by the whole power of England. Again the victory remained with the well educated and well organized minority. But, happily, the vanquished people found protection in a quarter from which they would once have had to expect nothing but implacable severity. By this time the philosophy of the eighteenth century had purifed English Whiggism from that deep taint of intolerance which had been contracted during a long and close alliance with the Puritanism of the seventeenth century. Enlightened men had begun to feel that the arguments by which Milton and Locke, Tillotson and Burnet, had vindicated the rights of conscience might be urged with not less force in favour of the Roman Catholic than in favour of the Independent or the Baptist.

The great party which traces its descent through the Exclusionists up to the Roundheads continued during thirty years, in spite of royal frowns and popular clamours, to demand a share in all the benefits of our free constitution for those Irish Papists whom the Roundheads and the Exclusionists had considered merely as beasts of chase or as beasts of burden. But it will be for some other historian to relate the vicissitudes of that great conflict, and the late triumph of reason and humanity. Unhappily such a historian will have to relate that the triumph won by such exertions and by such sacrifices was immediately followed by disappointment; that it proved far less easy to eradicate evil passions than to repeal evil laws; and that, long after every trace of national and religious animosity had been obliterated from the Statute Book, national and religious animosities continued to rankle in the bosoms of millions. May he be able also to relate that wisdom, justice and time gradually did in Ireland what they had done in Scotland, and that all the races which inhabit the British isles were at length indissolubly blended into one people!


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