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The History of Ulster
Charles
II repudiates the Peace


Charlemont the Last Stronghold of the Irish in Ulster - Is besieged by Coote and Venables - After a Desperate Defence it surrenders - The Dunfermline Declaration of Charles II - The King's Defence of the Declaration - He repudiates "the Irish Rebels" - Ormonde excommunicated - He applies to the Commissioners of Trust - The Roman Catholic Clergy accept Clanrickard as Lord Deputy - Ormonde leaves Ireland - Negotiations with the Duke of Lorraine - Agreements signed, but come to naught.

The strong fort of Charlemont was now all that remained in the hands of the Irish in Ulster. The fort had been taken in a most treacherous manner on the 23rd of October, 1641, by Sir Phelim O'Neill, who approached the fortress in a friendly fashion with a large retinue, for whose presence he apologized. Being welcomed by the governor, young Lord Caulfeild, and by his recently widowed mother, Sir Phelim invited himself to dinner. At the conclusion of a hospitable entertainment Sir Phelim's followers, at a preconcerted signal from their chief, seized and bound Lord and Lady Caulfeild, and surprised and disarmed the unsuspecting garrison. Lady Caulfeild and her children were removed as prisoners to O'Neill's house at Kinard, and later were " kept at a stone house near Braintree woods", from which they were rescued by Captain Rawdon during the following summer, when O'Neill's house was attacked during his absence and burnt to the ground. Lord Caulfeild was kept a close prisoner at Charlemont until the I4th of January, 1642, when Sir Phelim ordered him to be removed to the Castle of Cloughoughter in Cavan. The first halting -place of the escort was at Sir Phelim's house at Caledon, where it was proposed to stay the night, and as Lord Caulfeild was entering the gate he was shot in the back "with a brace of bullets" by Edmund O'Hugh, a foster-brother of Sir Phelim, under whose directions some dozen of Caulfeild's English and Scottish followers were also slaughtered. Sir Phelim O'Neill was said to be in Kilkenny at the time of this murder, and to have been sorely distressed at it. A contemporary writer states that "Sir Phelim O'Neale, at his return, caused his foster-brother and two or three villains more to be hanged who were conspirators in the death of the Lord Caulfeild", but later evidence seems to show that the assassin was allowed to escape.

After the defeat of the Irish under Ever MacMahon, Sir Charles Coote determined to take Charlemont, and early in July, 1650, having been joined by Venables, he proceeded to besiege this the last stronghold of the Irish in Ulster. The defence was desperate, even the women taking part, and in the frenzy of their efforts acting more " like fighting Amazons than civilized Christians". While the walls of the beleaguered fort were subjected to a constant cannonade in the hope of effecting a breach, the assailants were, whenever they attempted an escalade, greeted, in addition to a hail of bullets, with an irruption of glowing embers or a cataract of scalding water. Even when a breach was effected, red-hot ashes and boiling water proved to be powerful weapons in the hands of infuriated women, and the storming-party were beaten back after several hours' severe fighting. Coote, with characteristic sang-froid, contented himself, as Commander-in-Chief, by directing operations without taking part in them, and finally, being satisfied with the progress made, sat placidly in his saddle "smoking of tobacco at distance". Here he was approached by Sir Phelim O'Neill, who, finding his ammunition running short, and having only thirty men left fit to continue the fight, deemed it wiser to come to terms. The

siege had now lasted over a month, Coote had lost at least 500 men, and he was therefore glad to comply with any reason- able request. Terms accordingly were arrived at whereby the dogged defenders of Charlemont were allowed to march out of the fort with their arms and baggage and Sir Phelim himself permitted to depart on condition that he left Ireland. Thus on August the i4th, 1650, Ulster passed completely into the hands of the Parliament.

If anything further were needed to eradicate all Royalist proclivities in the province that additional stroke came two days later, when on the i6th the King, at Dunfermline, signed a declaration pronouncing the Ormonde Peace to be null and void, stating that he was conscientiously convinced of the " exceeding great sinfulness and unlawfulness" of it, and of allowing the Irish the liberty of the Popish religion; for which he did from his heart desire to be "deeply humbled and affected in spirit before God". He deplored "the idolatry of his mother, the toleration whereof in the King's house, as it was matter of great stumbling to all the Protestant churches, so could it not but be a high provocation against Him who is a jealous God, visiting the sins of the father upon the children". Finally he repudiated "the bloody Irish rebels, who treacherously shed the blood of so many of his faithful and loyal subjects in Ireland".

There is only one satisfactory solution of the problem presented by Charles's conduct: he was the son of his father. In addition to his being a striking illustration of

How heredity enslaves,
With ghostly hands that reach from graves,

he exhibited in a superlative degree the results of his tutelage in turpitude. Not naturally depraved, he was nevertheless not rigidly righteous, and being morally colour-blind he failed to recognize the lines of demarcation between right and wrong, and all his life he cultivated alike with careless indifference "the lilies and languors of virtue, and the roses and rapture of vice".

With the terms of the peace which he repudiated at Dunfermline the King was perfectly familiar, he having written, when they were submitted to him, to the effect that he was "extremely well satisfied" with them. Now, when approached on the subject by an emissary from Ormonde, he endeavoured to palliate his procedure by blaming the Covenanters. "The Scots", he said, "have dealt very ill with me, very ill. ... I much fear that I have been forced to do some things which may much prejudice [my Lord of Ormonde]. You have heard how a declaration was extorted from me, and how I should have been dealt withal, if I had not signed it. Yet what concerns Ireland is no ways binding, for I can do nothing in the affairs of that kingdom without the advice of my council there; nor hath that kingdom any dependence upon this, so that what I have done is nothing."

When the signing of the declaration at Dunfermline became known in Ireland, the clergy talked openly of withdraw- ing their allegiance from the King and forming a fresh confederation. Ormonde, who had, under circumstances into which we need not enter, been excommunicated, and had therefore been repudiated by the clerical party, at once addressed himself to the Commissioners of Trust, and summoned a general assembly, which met at Loughrea on the 1 5th of November, while he himself remained about ten miles distant, at Kilcolgan. To the Commissioners he explained in writing that the Dunfermline declaration must have been "by some undue means obtained from His Majesty", and stated that he was resolved, notwithstanding, "to insist upon and assert the lawfulness of the conclusion of the peace by virtue of the aforesaid authorities, and that the said peace is still valid, of force, and binding to His Majesty and all his subjects. And herein we are resolved, by the help of God, to persist, until that we and such as shall in that behalf be entrusted and authorized by the nation shall have free and safe access to His Majesty, and until upon mature and unrestrained consideration of what may on all sides be said, he have declared his royal pleasure upon the aforesaid affronts put upon his authority."

In reply to his communication the Commissioners expressed their readiness to concur with Ormonde's wishes, their disapproval of the conduct of the clergy, and their willingness to proceed to Galway to expostulate with them. They accordingly sent their representatives to the bishops at Galway, who, on the 5th of November, returned an answer exhibiting all the fierce spirit which they had displayed when the Papal Nuncio was in the height of his power. They declared their intention, as Charles had " thrown away the nation from his protection as rebels", to pay no further obedience to the King's authority, and to return to the Confederacy. They refused to annul the excommunication of Ormonde, but agreed to accept Clanrickard as his deputy.

The General Assembly met at the time appointed, but it was evident that the clergy, who now led the people, had finally broken with Ormonde, and he therefore determined to leave Ireland; and having applied to the Duke of York, in Jersey, for means to do so, was supplied with a vessel of twenty-four tons and four guns. On December the 7th a declaration was sent to the royalist Lord-Lieutenant in which "the archbishops and bishops" stated that "by their excommunication . . . they had no other aim than the preservation of the Catholic religion and people, and did not propose to make any usurpation on His Majesty's authority", for they conceived "that there is no better foundation and ground for our union, than the holding to and obeying His Majesty's authority, to which we owe and ought to pay all dutiful obedience". Finally they begged the Lord-Lieutenant "to leave that authority with us in some person faithful to His Majesty and acceptable to the nation", and Ormonde, as requested, appointed Clanrickard his Lord Deputy, expressing at the same time a hope that their professed allegiance to the Crown implied full obedience to the Deputy. This done, Ormonde, accompanied by Inchiquin, Bellings, Daniel O'Neill, Colonels Vaughan, Wogan, and Warren, and other officers, set sail for France on the nth of December, 1650. Commissioners soon after were deputed by Parliament to treat with the Assembly of Bishops for a final submission of the nation, on favourable terms; but the extreme Royalists would not agree to such an arrangement, although the Irish decidedly sacrificed their interests in rejecting it.

Ulster now being entirely under the iron hand of the Parliament, any activity exhibited by the country was almost exclusively confined to the south. In the new year a project was started to mortgage Galway, Limerick, Athenry, and Athlone to the Duke of Lorraine, who in 1646 had proposed to send 10,000 men to England to help Charles I, and whose assistance had been requested by the Irish clergy in 1649, when Duncannon Fort had been offered as security for a loan of ,24,000. The negotiations hung fire until Duncannon fell into Ireton's hands, when they naturally came to an abrupt termination. The Duke was next approached in November, 1650, by Taafe, acting under instructions from Ormonde. Meanwhile, as an envoy from the Duke, the Abbot of St. Catherine's arrived in Galway about the end of February, 1651; but Clanrickard thought his demands exorbitant, and Sir Nicholas Plunket and Geoffrey Browne were sent to Flanders to treat with the Duke himself. The Bishop of Ferns, representing the clerical element, went on the same errand, and prevailed on Plunket and Browne to "go on cheerfully in the contract", with the result that, disregarding the instructions they had received from Clanrickard, they signed, in the name of " the kingdom and people of Ireland", an agreement with the Duke of Lorraine, according to which he was to be invested with royal powers under the title of Protector of Ireland, he on his part undertaking to prosecute the King's enemies, and to restore the kingdom and the Roman Catholic religion to their pristine power and state. This agreement was signed without Clanrickard's consent or cognizance, and no reference was made in the document to the Lord Deputy, who on his part covenanted with the Duke's agent, the Abbot of St. Catherine's, that the Duke should give ^25,000 on the security of Limerick and Galway, and of the whole nation generally, but without binding any person's separate estate. It was also provided that u in case of pressing necessity for the public service of the kingdom, the Lord Deputy may make use of his power as hitherto accustomed". Notwithstanding all these agreements and arrangements little or nothing was done save that the Duke of Lorraine did actually give 20,000 for Ireland ; but, as in all such transactions, there was a great deal of waste, and in the end "the sheer money came far short of the first mouth- ful . The Abbot "returned in the same ship that brought him, and gave the Duke such an account of his voyage and people that put an end to that negociation, which had been entered into and prosecuted with less wanness, circumspection, and good husbandry, than that prince was accustomed to use". The affairs of Charles II were reduced to an almost hopeless state after the battle of Worcester (3rd September, 1651). The towns in Ireland offered as security soon fell under the power of the Parliament, and the Duke of Lorraine, contenting himself by vigorous abuse of Clanrickard, left Ireland to her fate.


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