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The History of Ulster
Close of the Cromwellian Campaign


Ulster being subdued, Coote marches South - The Siege of Limerick - Hugh Duv O'Neill surrenders - Is twice sentenced to Death, but is acquitted - Death of Ireton - O'Neill sent to the Tower - Is released and sails for Spain - Coote repairs to Galway - Clanrickard summons O'Reilly from Ulster - Clanrickard surrenders - Various Submissions - Fleetwood lands - Ludlow superseded - The Last Stand of Ulster - Castleoughter surrenders - O'Reilly of Ulster submits - Sir Phelim O'Neill captured near Charlemont - He is tried in Dublin and hanged - The Rebellion and War in Ireland proclaimed to be at an End.

The Parliament had as yet no footing on the Clare side of the Shannon, and as the English army, to some extent rehabilitated, and having recruited during the winter, was ready for an early campaign, Ireton determined on the reduction of Limerick, and began his operations although provisions and clothes were scarce. To invest the city on all sides it was necessary to march into Connaught and to capture Athlone. As Leinster and Ulster were now considered safe, Sir Charles Coote, with the forces under his command in Ulster, was directed to cross the Erne near its mouth, and to turn the line of the Shannon. With 2000 horse and nearly the same number of foot Coote marched against Sligo; but when the whole attention of the Irish of Connaught was occupied with the threatened danger to Sligo, he suddenly drew off his army, and forcing his passage through the Curlieu mountains, " by strange and unexpected ways undiscovered", presented himself before Athlone. Clanrickard, in the midst of faction and discontent, saw the importance of this place, and made an attempt to relieve it, but too late, for it surrendered on i8th June, before he could collect his forces, and Coote marched towards Galway.

Ireton appeared before Limerick on the 3rd of June on the Clare side of the Shannon, and proceeded to lay siege to the city. Limerick, owing to the strange infatuation of Hugh Duv O'Neill, who had been for some time its Governor, persisted to the last in its foolhardy opposition to the wishes of Ormonde and Clanrickard to garrison it. When the Lord Deputy, aware that all the hopes of his party depended on the preservation of Limerick, offered to enter it with an army and share the fate of the citizens, his proposal was rejected by the surly old Spanish soldier, who was confident in his ability to defend the city single-handed. His authority, however, was, when the sufferings of the inhabitants became more acute during the siege, rendered nugatory by the corporation and magistrates, and at length negotiations were commenced for a capitulation. Finally, on the 27th of October, Colonel Fennell and others were sent to seize St. John's Gate and the adjoining tower. O'Neill remonstrated, but Fennell said he had orders from the mayor and chief citizens, and, having the keys, he admitted 200 of Ireton's men, and the articles of capitulation were signed.

It being no part of our province to dwell on this siege, it may here be dismissed, save in so far as it concerns Hugh Duv O'Neill. He was one of the last of that great Ulster clan who had played an important part in Irish history, and he proved himself worthy of the name he bore. He rode out of the plague-stricken city alone and delivered up his sword to Ireton himself, ignoring, as he mounted his horse, the attitude of Fennell, who threatened him with a pistol. Ireton treated him personally with courtesy, but he had, by his defence of Clonmel and his prolongation of the siege of Limerick, provoked the Lord-Lieutenant too much to expect mercy. He was tried, and defended himself with ability and acumen. He was sentenced to death, but as he had always shown himself to be a brave soldier and an honourable foe, many of the officers, including Ludlow, expostulated; whereupon Ireton, "who was now entirely freed from his former manner of adhering to his own opinion", consented to a second trial, when the life of the gallant O'Neill was saved by a single vote. He was acquitted and sent to the Tower, where he was well treated. Ireton died of the Plague at Limerick on the 26th of November, and, by a strange coincidence, his remains, which had been embalmed, were placed on board the same vessel as that which bore O'Neill to England. The Spanish Ambassador, having represented that O'Neill was a subject of the King of Spain, Hugh Duv was discharged from the Tower on the ist of April, 1652, and ended his days in Spain as commander of Irish soldiers recruited for the Spanish service. A short time before he died he wrote, after the Restoration, to Charles II, drawing His Majesty's attention to the fact that the death of John O'Neill, his cousin, made him Earl of Tyrone, and begging the King to acknowledge his claim to the title. This, of course, Charles could not do, and the title was not revived until twenty years later. Cromwell is said to have specially recommended Hugh Duv O'Neill as a good soldier to King Philip IV.

Sir Charles Coote had in the meantime obtained some successes over the Irish, and he now marched into County Clare to join Ireton, who, having appointed Sir Hardress Waller governor of Limerick, left that city on the 4th of November to proceed against Gal way. Here Ireton contracted the Plague, of which he died, as already stated, at Limerick. Galway, which was on the point of capitulating, on learning of the death of Ireton gained fresh courage, and applied for assistance to Clanrickard, who immediately repaired to it. Ludlow, who had been appointed to the chief command by the Commissioners of Parliament in Dublin, was joined by Coote, and proceeded early in February, 1652, against Galway, which on the I2th of May surrendered almost at the first summons. Clanrickard had summoned forces from Ulster to his aid, but the summons was for the most part disregarded.

Clanrickard now burned his boats by sending away Castlehaven in his only frigate, thus leaving himself no means of escape. He summoned Lord Westmeath and O'Farrell from Leinster, Muskerry from Munster, and O'Reilly from Ulster, to join him in Sligo or Leitrim, and "unite in one clear score for God, our King and country". The King had given Clanrickard permission to leave Ireland when he thought fit to do so, but at the same time added significantly that "the keeping up of the war there in any kind, either offensive or defensive, is of the highest importance to us and our service that can be performed ; as the contrary would be of the greatest prejudice to all our designs". Venables, receiving "one clear call" from Coote, came up from Down to join him. They took Sligo and retook Ballyshannon and Donegal, which had been taken by Clanrickard, who struggled to the last; and by the end of June, finding himself surrounded by the enemy in the island of Carrick, he accepted a pass from the Parliament with leave to transport himself and 3000 of his followers for foreign service. Thus was the last vestige of royal authority withdrawn from Ireland. The few detached garrisons which the Irish still held were reduced in succession, and the isolated leaders who continued under arms made terms for themselves and their followers. Colonel John Fitzpatrick was the first to lay down his arms in this way; Colonel Edmund O'Dwyer and Turlogh O'Neill followed, and the Earl of Westmeath and Lord Enniskillen acted in a similar manner. One of the last to submit was Colonel Richard Grace, with whom 1250 men laid down their arms. Lord Muskerry surrendered the strong castle of Ross, near Killarney, to Ludlow on the 22nd of June, when 960 able men marched out of the castle.

Early in August Ludlow marched into Ulster and garrisoned Carrickmacross. Near Dundalk, he tells us, he discovered a cave in which a number of the Irish had taken refuge. They refused to surrender, and an attempt was made to smoke them out; but when the soldiers entered, deeming them to be dead, their leader was shot by one of the refugees. Careful inspection of the surrounding district proved that the cave was ventilated by a hole at a distance. The hole being stopped up by Ludlow's orders, "another smother was made'*, and the fumigation was continued for a time; after which, "the passage being cleared, the soldiers entered, and, having put about fifteen to the sword, brought four or five out alive, with the priest's robes, a crucifix, chalice, and other furniture of that kind. Those within pre- served themselves by laying their heads close to water that ran through the rock. We found two rooms in the place, one of which was large enough to turn a pike." To prevent the cave being again used as a domicile, Ludlow had the entrance filled with rocks. Posts were established at Agher and Castle Blayney, Lisnaskea was fortified, and Belturbet, in which a few Irish still held out, was taken.

Fleetwood, who had been appointed Commander-in-Chief in Ireland on July the 10th, landed at Waterford early in September, being joined in the civil administration by four commissioners Ludlow, Miles Corbet, John Jones, and John Weaver, the member for Stamford, Ludlow stating that he was glad to be superseded, his administration having been "recompensed only with envy and hatred".

The last stand made in Ulster by the Irish was in the island of Lough Oughter. The Castle of Cloughoughter, in which Bedell had died in the first year of the war, and in which Owen Roe O'Neill expired eight years later, surrendered on April the ayth, 1653, the articles being signed by Sir Theophilus Jones and by Philip O'Reilly on behalf of himself and the other Ulster chiefs still remaining under arms.

The Parliamentary Commissioners began their administration by erecting a High Court of Justice in Dublin under Chief-Justice Lowther, who issued commissions to find and examine witnesses in the country. The object was to try those who were accused of having taken part in the massacres of 1641. So many, however, of the perpetrators of the outrages had either perished in the course of the war or had fled the country, that it was found impossible to bring them to justice, and in consequence, in all Ireland, not more than a couple of hundred were found guilty. The investigations caused by this tribunal resulted in the capture of Sir Phelim O'Neill, who, instead of leaving Ireland as arranged after the surrender of Charlemont, had concealed himself in Tyrone. Early in 1653, in order to communicate with Lady O'Neill, who continued to reside at Charlemont, he established himself on an island in Roghan Lough, near Coalisland. Here he maintained himself in an old house, having with him Tirlogh Groom O'Quin and some twenty soldiers.

Lady O'Neill, a daughter of the first Marquis of Huntly, in sending supplies to Sir Phelim, employed a messenger from Charlemont, and thus attracted the attention of Lord Caulfeild, whose predecessor, it will be remembered, was murdered by Sir Phelim's foster-brother in 1642. Naturally desirous to bring O'Neill to justice, Caulfeild took steps to secure him, and, having surrounded the little lake with soldiers, he had boats launched upon it, the crews of which speedily captured Sir Phelim and his bodyguard and conveyed them to Carrickfergus. Here O'Neill was received by Venables, who treated him with courtesy while in his hands, sending him and his companions to be tried in Dublin.

On arrival at Dublin it was found unnecessary to detain any of Sir Phelim's followers save Turlogh O'Quin, and they were accordingly set at liberty. On February the 28th O'Neill was tried for high treason and murder. He was not accused of actual murder, but of being an accessary before the fact or of having given orders to the actual assassins. It had been said that he acted under a commission from Charles I, and that he had shown the commission to his followers.

Sir Phelim confessed to having made use of such a commission, but he asserted that it was forged by himself, and that he had never received any commission or order from the late King. He said that when he seized the fort of Charlemont he found in the muniment room there a patent with a broad seal attached to it, that he had caused the seal to be detached and affixed to a pretended commission which had been written to his dictation in the King's name, and he produced in court the person who had been employed to stitch on the cord of the seal.

The judges were still dissatisfied, and repeated attempts were made to induce O'Neill to confess further, in which hope a promise was made to him that he should be restored to liberty and to his estates if he produced sufficient proof that he had received such a commission from the late King; but he denied ever having received a royal commission. Michael Harrison, who saved his own life by acting for a time as secretary to Sir Phelim, confessed in open court that he attached the Great Seal to a sham commission. The same witness swore that in December, 1641, he heard O'Neill say, "with great ostentation, that he would never leave off the work he had begun until mass should be sung or said in every church in Ireland, and that a Protestant should not live in Ireland, be he of what nation he would ".

Sir Phelim O'Neill was condemned to death, and maintained on the scaffold the truth of his assertion regarding the bogus nature of the commission. In his last moments, when


SIR PHELIM O'NEILL
From a print in the British Museut

appealed to privately to confess the facts, he stood forward, and, raising his voice, said: "I thank the Lord-Lieutenant for his intended mercy; but I declare, good people, before God and His holy angels, and all you that hear me, I never had any commission from the King for levying or prosecuting this war".

O'Neill was the only one who suffered in Ulster. He was hanged, drawn, and quartered, one quarter being impaled at Lisburn, which he had burned; another at Dundalk, which he had taken; a third at Drogheda, which he had besieged in vain ; and the fourth, with his head, at Dublin, which he had plotted to surprise. O'Quin was executed later, and his head set upon the west gate of Carrickfergus.

On the 26th of September, 1653, it was publicly declared, in a proclamation by Fleetwood and his brother Commissioners, that the rebellion in Ireland was subdued and the war in Ireland ended.


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