C. P. (Charles Patrick) Meehan.

The confederation of Kilkenny online

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■^•A.% to usurp the prerogatives of the crown ; and the im-
pression does not appear to have been wholly efiaced,
notwithstanding his solemn declaration that the pope

* Tho author of the Vindicto Hibemonun.

t Onn. i. 558.

i She hod bee^ /crc»d to €iy oat of Eaglaud some time


was actuated by no other motives than hi,v ardent desiivj
of protecting the Catholic religion, and furnishing hi«
majesty with those aids which he required to sustain him
against the faction which had vowed the destruction of

A prey to grief and despair, the queen retired from
Paris to St, Germains, where the disastrous intelligence
of the king's defeat at Naseby was brought her ; and
changing her opinion of the confederate Catholics, whom
she hitherto designated with the ftdse epithet of " rebels,"
she determined, if possible, to conclude a peace, which
would leave them free to send troops into England.
She sent to inform the nuncio that she regretted that she
could not receive him without the king's consent, and
earnestly desired that he would exert himself to conclude
a peace which would serve to release her royal consort
from the dangers which were impending. Sir Dudley
Wyat was the person selected to carry on this indirect
negotiation. He insisted, on the part of the queen, that
the peace should be concluded at Paris, and asserted that
she was ready to procure its confirmation on the part of
her husband, provided the nuncio sent to Ireland to have
it ratified by the supreme council.

Wyat insisted on the necessity of speedily coming to
an arrangement. He argued that the king's condition
was desperate, and that if he were obliged to make
terms with the parliamentary faction, the ruin of Ire-
land would be inevitable, as it was utterly hopeless to
think of resisting the combined powers of England and

To these entreaties on the part of the queen the nuncio
replied that he had nothing so much at heart as the con-
clusion of a peace which would secure to the Catholics of
Ireland the free and uncontrolled exercise of their reli-
gion, and the imme Uate removal of all the penal laws
by which tliey had been so long and so grievously af-
flicted ; and that nothing could give more heartfelt sati.^
fection to the pope than to learn he had witnessed the
conclusion of a peace which would allow him to proceed
to Ireland to employ himself with the ecclesiastical con-
cern§ of the kingdom, exclusive of all political interfer-"
ence ; but he clearly saw that nothing really beneficiaJ
could result from sucli indirect negotiation, and he be-


^n to think that the promises of the queen were delu-
jive, and only meant to retard his departure.

It had been hinted that it was the object of the queen's
adherents to obtain from liim the supplies of arms and
money which were destined for Ireland, and have them
transported for the king's service into England ; and
Mazarin suggested to him the possibility of such an event,
at the same time that he deprecated the fruitless expen-
diture of those large sums which had been sent from
France for the support of the royal cause.

He was, moreover, strictly forbidden by Cardinal
Paufilio to consent to a private interview with Henrietta
Maria, on the groimd that he could not uncover his head
to a queen ; * and on being informed that she could not
receive him without this mark of respect to royalty, he
was driven to the alternative of employing Sir Dudley
Wyat and her majesty's chaplain to open this indirect
communication with her. There can be no doubt that
the queen was determinedly opposed to Einuccini's land-
ing in Ireland, for he informs us that when be sent one
of his retinue, Dominick Spinola, a Genoese of noble
birth, to present her with the pope's brief, she asserted
with considerable vehemence that the Irish in general,
and the secretary. Belling, in particular, were anxious
to renounce their allegiance to the king, on plea of their
devotion to the Catholic religion ; nay, more, that Har-
tegan, the agent of the confederates at Paris, had been
heard to boast that the Irish were determined to prose-
cute the war to the last extremity, if the terms on which
they insisted were not fully confirmed. In a spirit of
bitterness, which may readily be excused, when we re-
flect on the difficulties which then beset the king, she
deprecated the conduct of the Irish, "who," she eaid,
" seemed to rejoice at the reverses of her consort, when
they placed him in such a position as would make him
yield to their demands, on threat of their assistance be-
ing withheld." This, however, was but the passion of
the moment, for, from the correspondence which de-
scribes this ebullition of the queen's feelings, we learn
that, in a subsequent interview with Spinola, she ex

• Card. Paufllio'8 letter is Kmncd&i'a Correq?^, 450.



pressed her entire confidence in the iirmness and pnfc
dcDce of the nuncio, and his devotion to tlie royal cause.

Anticipating the application which would be mad©
en him for the monies which lie had brought from
Eome, the nuncio stated, that seeing the straits to
■wliich the king had been reduced, the sums he had in
bis possession could be of little use, and as to any
agreement between the king and the parliament, Ireland
had little to fear from their combined eiForts, as she had
carried on a war against Elizabeth, in the time of Hugh
O'Neill,* for sixteen years, independent of thesyrapathy
Hith which she was now regarded by the pope and the
Catholic powers. It would appear, moreover, that he
was in concert with the English Catholics, who, declar-
ing their inability to be of any use to his majesty,
pointed to the effective aid of the Irish Catholics, who,
if seconded in their demand, would be ready at the
shortest notice to turn all their energies against the
parliament. Meantime letters from Eome chided him
for his delay in the French capital, and Scarampi had
written from Ireland to urge his departure. The
nuncio, for the last time, sent Spinola to wait on the
queen to renew his avowals of attachment to her cause,
and that of her consort, and with this mutual inter-
change of compliments terminated their negotiations.

The instructions which he had received on leaving
Eome urged him to proceed to Ireland with all possible
expedition, and strictly forbade him to hold any unne-
cessary intercourse with the English Catholics at the
queen's court, who, far from sympathising with the
Irish were more inclined to lament any triumph to
their arms, as they were afraid that they would, in
consequence, be deprived of those places of dignity and
emolument in that kingdom, which were the natural
accompaniment of superiority and command.

Cardinal Mazarinf was most anxious to detain him,

* See hfs life by Mitchel, one of the most bea^itifxJ pieces of biogra-
phy -wliich we possess.

t Jlazaiin commenced his career as a soldier, and commanded in the
Yalteline for the Pope. His character is variously estimated. Th«
Spaniards hated him, and Comeille immortalized him. He waa a
'.jberal patron of the arts, and introdiced tlie opera in Fraaice. U»
wofi made CardiDul in IC^S.

corfedehation of Kilkenny. 105

and it vtm not till after repeated commands that the
nuncio resolved to leave Paris, after having been there
fully three months. He had not been long in France
when he received a prom-ise from the Duke de Ventadour
of 100,000 dollars for the purposes of the war in
Ireland, but the news of the king's reverses changed
his intention. Having got from Mazarin the sum of
25,000 livres, that is to say, 5,000 for the purchase of
some vessels, and 20,000 as a present, he left Paris for
liochelle, where he arrived about the beginning of Octo-
ber. On his arrival at Rochelle he was met by Galfrid
Earon, who brought him letters from the Earl of Glamor-
gan informinghim tfeat the confederates anxiously awaited
his arrival, as they stood in need of the military stores
which he was to bring them. This determined him
to make all the necessary arrangements for the voyage.
There seems to have been some misunderstanding as to the
means of transport into Ireland, for, Hartegan informed
the nuncio that Cardinal Mazarin had promised to
place four ships at his disposal to serve as a convoy for
himself and the supplies; whereas, when application
was made, he learned to his mortification, that there
was but one ship in the harbour, which would
require at least 1,000 dollars and six weeks to make
her ready fot sea.

To suppose that Cardinal Mazarin was not influenced
by some sinister motive on this occasion, would be to
differ presumptuously from those who have written
concerning the character of this remarkable man. He
must evidently have looked with, a jealous eye on any
enterprise which tended to involve the affairs of
Charles I., whose queen had all the sympathy of the
Prench court. It is likely, too, that he had formed a
hasty notion of the confederates, and apprehended that
they meant, to throw off their allegiance to the crown
of England. The man "who could listen to the murmurs
of the people, as one listens on the shore to the
noise of the waves of tlie sea,"' was not much
affected by the progress of events in Ireland ; it
afforded too small a field for the finesse of the great
Koinieter, who, whether riding in the trenches of

• "^'esiflsat Ksffisalt.


OvVsal' with bullets whistling about him, or returning
to power, after having had a price set on his head,
proved himself to be the greatest politician of the day.
One thing, however, is certain, that Richlieu would
have taken a livelier interest in the affairs of Ireland.

The French admiral, the Duke de Brcze, then in the
harbour was applied to for a ship, but as he had no
orders to furnish one, it was not till considerable time
had elapsed that Rinuccini succeeded in purchasing the
San Pietro, a frigate of twenty-six guns. His retinue
consisted of twenty-six Italians together with a number
of Irish officers, and the secretary BelUng. On board

fthe frigate he embarked the following supplies : — 2,000
muskets, 2,000 cartouch belts, 4,000 swords, 2,000
pike-heads, 400 brace of pistols, 20,000 lbs of powder,
M'ith match, shot, &,c. &c.f

The money, which was considerable, he took with him
in Spanish gold. Wadding's generosity had not
abated, and he furnished 36,000 dollars, in addition to
Nthe sum contributed by Pope Innocent X. He weighed
anchor about the middle of October, and sailed from
St. Martin, in the Isle de Rhe. The two first days of
the voyage were prosperous, for they met no interruption,
but on the third they were alarmed by the appearance
of a flotilla, which was evidently in pursuit. The ex-
perienced eyes of the sailors pronounced them to be
the parliament's ships, under the command of one
Plunket, whom Belling calls "a noted scourge. "J Two
of the squadron soon made sail in the wake of the San
Pietro, whereon the Irishmen cast loose the guns and
cleared the deck for action ; having sent the non-com-
batants out of the way into the forepart of the ship. The
nuncio meanwhile was sick in his berth when word was
brought him that one of the pursuing vessels had dropped

* Bussy Memoirs.

t During his sojourn at Paris the nuncio was alloAved by the Pope
S,000 dollars for the maintenance of liimself and suite. On his an-iral
in Ireland, 200 dollars a month were assigned him, but he expended
during his stay l/).800 dollars, of his own private income. His biogra-
pher (Aiazzi) remai'ks that this was a great outlay considering the
low rate at which all tlie necessaries of life were then to be bad in
Ireland; a fact which is made still more clear by the letter of the
Cnncio's confessor, Arcamonl, i/i the Appendix to this voL

J KaiTatire of the W ar.


astern ; but to his horror, they informed hira that the
larger vessel of the two was still making all sail on his
fVipate. The chase continued for more tlian a hundred
miles, and an hour before sunset tlie SanPielro lost sight
of her pursuer. In a transport of jubilee, the Italians
sang a hymn of thanksgiving, and the nuncio expressed
his joy that none had suffered, as he sickened at the
thought of seeing the blood of his Irish sailors staining
his decks. He attributed his delivery from Plunket to
a manifest interposition of Divine Pi'ovidence, and pro-
nounced it miraculous ; but he must have subsequently
iearned that the escape of liis pursuer was still far more »
v/onderful, for Plunket's cooking-room had caught tire, j
and being alarmed for his magazine, he was obliged to /
shorten sail, and thus suffer the San Pietro to distance /
him. On that night, owing to the darkness of the
weather they did not know their bearings, tliough
they had passed Cape Clear, but on the following day
they "wei'e visited by birds which gave them notice of
their approach to the coast ; and when the haze which
concealed the land from their view had disappeared,
they found themselves in the Bay of Kenmare, where
they dropped anchor on the 21st of October. Next
day the nuncio came on shore, and his first abode on
the Irish soil was in the hut of a shepherd, where he
celebrated mass on the feast of St. Mabilia, surrounded
by the peasantr\% whom the unusual sight of a dignitary
from the Vatican, and his Italian retinue, had brought
down from the fastnesses of the mountains.*

Having rested for some time, and taken ashore all
the arms and equipments at Ardtulh% he proceeded on
a rude litter towards Macroom, the frigate having
been sent round to Dnncannon. The supreme council
on intelligence of his arrival, despatched some troops of
cavalry to escort him through Inchiquin's quarters ; and
at Dromsecane,t on the Blackwater, he was joined by
Richard Butler, a Catholic, though brother to the
IMarquess of Ormond, Lord Netterville, and others.
From Dromsecaue they continued their route through

• Aiazzi. Nunziatara in Irlanda. Vide Appendix.
t A strong castle of the O'Keeffs'ft, ubout fourteen miles frixu


Kilmallock to Limerick. Here, in the cathedral, he
celebrated the obsequies of Malachy, arclibisliop of
Tuam, and was received with generous hospitality by
tlie municipal authorities. At the door of the cathedral
the bishop of Limerick presented him with the mitre,
saying: — " Ab Ecclesia apostolica haec recepi, nunc
jidem ecclesisB prompte restituo," His instructions
charged him to proceed to Kilkenny without delay, and
/laving congratulated the people of Limerick on their
recent acknowledgment of the confederate government,
he journeyed slowly to his destination, and on the 12th
of November rested at a village, distant three miles
from Kilkenny.

The confederates had resolved to receive him with every
demonstration of respect, and deputed four gentlemen, ac-
companied by the secretary Belling, to bid him welcome.
Next morning, having ascended his litter, surrounded
by thousands of the gentry and peasantry, together
with a vast concourse from the neighbouring counties,
he set out for the city. Conspicuous amongst this vast
assemblage was a troop of fifty students on horseback,
irmed with pistols, the leader of whom, in a dis-
inguished costume, and wearing a crown of laurel,
ecited some Latin verses, and conveyed to him the
tompliments and congratulations of his companions.

At a short distance from the gate he descended from
the litter, and having put on the cape and pontifical
hat, the insignia o^ his office, he mounted a horse
>aparisoned for the occasion. The secular and regular
clergy had assembled in the church of St. Patrick,*
tlose by the gate, and when it was announced that the
nuncio was in readiness, they advanced into the city
In processional array, preceded by the standard-bearers
of their respective orders. f »

* Tlie site of this church mny still be traced in the graveyard adjoin-
ing tlie modern pai-ochial church of St. Patrick, outside the city wall.

f That Ireland was rich in ecclesiastical furniture is quite evident
ft'om the splendid collection in tlie Royal Irish Academy. Pugin, in
♦is grand work on Ecclesiastical Ornament and Costume, p. 77, S] eaks
■•of a cope (i cloth of gold of the fifteenth centuiy, with excellent
jrphreys, and hood of needle-work," which was discovered not long
go in the cathedral of Waterford. It is now in England. One of
Jie banners probably carried in the procession, has beeQ preserved by
fc -o^njQerable gentleman in Kilkenny, who is as learned in the antiqai*
V Af hia native city, as be is affable and kind.— I uttm Mjr. B. Scot*^


\ Under the old arch, called St, Patrick's gate, he was
met by the vicar-general of the diocese of Ossory and
the magistrates of the city and county, who joined in
the procession. A canopy was held over him by some
citizens, who remained bare-headed, although the rain
descended in torrents. The streets were lined by
regiments of infantry, and the bells of the Black Abbey
and the church of St. Francis pealed a gladsome

In the heart of the city, and nearly opposite to the
ancient residence of the Roth family, there stood across*
of beautiful workmanship and great antiquity. Here
the nuncio halted, while a young student pronounced an

y appropriate oration in the Latin tongue. The procession
then moved on till it ascended the gentle eminence on
which the splendid old fane, sacred to St. Canice, is
erected. At the grand entrance he was received by the
venerable Bishop of Ossory, whose feebleness prevented
him walking in the procession. After mutual saluta-
tions, the bishop handed him the aspersorium and incense,
and then both entered the cathedral, which, even in the
palmiest days of Catholicity, had never held within its
precincts a more solemn or gorgeous assemblage. The
nuncio ascended the steps of the grand altar, intonated
the " Te Deum," which was caught up by a thousand
voices, till crypt and chancel resounded with the psal-
mody, and when it ceased he pronounced a blessing on
the immense multitude which crowded the aisles and
nave. Three years before the occurrences here narrated,
David, Bishop of Ossory, had erected a monument to
commemorate the restoration of St. Canice's cathedral
to the ancient worship, and it needs no flight of fancy to
suppose that on this memorable occasion he may have
eclioed the \wrds of the canticle, " Now dismiss thy ser-
vant, because my eyes have seen thy salvation, and th«j
glory of thy people, Israel." These ceremonies con-
cluded, he retired for awhile to the residence prepared
for him in the city, and shortly afterwards was waited

• on by General Preston and Lord IMuskerry. He then
proceeded on foot to visit Lord Mountgarret, the presi-

• This cross was barbarously throAvn down in the year 1771. Itboi«
dAltt MCCC. Its site ia now occo^ed \>y d piuup !


dent of the assembly. The reception took place h\ the
?astle. At tlie foot of the grand staircase he Avas mettj
Thomas Fleming, Archbishop of Dublin, and Walsb,
Archbishop of Cashel. At the end of the great gallery*
Lord Mountgarret was seated, waiting his arrival, and
when the nuncio approached, he got up from his chair,
without moving a single inch in advance. The seat
designed for Riimccini was of damask and gold, with a
little more ornament than that occupied by the presi-
dent. He tells us that it was placed on the right of
Mountgarret's, but yet so situated that it looked rather
to the left, and thus made it a matter of doubt as to the
personage who held the most central position. The
nuncio immediately addressed the president in Latin,
and declared that the object of his mission was to sustain
the king, then so perilously circumstanced ; but, above
all, to rescue from pains and penalties the people of Ire-
land, and to assist them in securing the free and public
exercise of the Catholic religion, and the restoration of
the churches and church property, of which fraud and
violence had so long deprived their rightful inheritors.
He implored those who heard him to banish from their
minds the insinuations of some who were artfully endea-
vouring to misrepresent the motives of the pope in send-
ing him, and concluded his remarks by solemnly asseve-
rating! that, far from wishing to do injury to King
Charles, it was his earnest anxiety to prop up his tot-
tering throne. Heber MacMahon, Bishop of Clogher,
to whom Rinuccini had been specially confided by the
holy see, followed the nuncio in a spirited appeal, and
echoed the sentiments to which the papal minister had
given utterance. After mutual compliments, the assem-
bly broke up, and the nuncio retired to his residence,
accompanied by Preston, Muskerry, and the troops.
The cold formality of Mountgarret did not escape his
observation, for, in writing to his court, he nientions
that, as he retired from the gallery, the president never

• Little now remains of the castle as it was in Rinuccini's time, save
the towers at the grand entrance. The gallery must have been splendid
that elicited the praise of a man who had seen the Vatican and Medi-
cean palaces.

* " In verbo principis," says Callaghan, in Vlndic. Hib., won hie f»"
Torite expression.


moved an inch from his place. But tlie supreme council
goon after did not fail to impress on the pope's mind the
advantages the people of Ireland might derive from his
prudence and counsels. The following is their letter : —
" Most Holy Father — One of the first acts of your pon-
tificate has been to send to us a nuncio from your court,
in the person of John Baptist, Archbishop of Fermo, and
we hasten to return our acknowledgments of the pater-
nal solicitude thus shown us. If we have been unable to
receive so exalted a personage with that pomp and splen-
dour which the occasion called for, we humbly pray that
the joy and overflow of heart with whicli we have hailed
his advent, may make amends. Grateful for the supplies
which the nuncio has brought us from you, we earnestly
implore that your paternal bounty may not be withdrawn
till the most Holy Innocent sliall have beheld the Catho-
lic religion flourishing in our isiand, and the enemies of
our faith vanquished by the ;^otent arm of the God of

Now, it so happened that Muskerry, Plunket, and the
other commissioners did not return from Dublin till the
r2th of November, the day before Rinuccini's entry into
Kilkenny. That their chagrin must have been great, can-
not be questioned, for they learned from the events
which had transpired that the "old Irish" in the
assembly would be animated by more hostile feelings to
their projects by the interference and influence of the
nuncio. Muskerry, and those of his party, had toiled
with unwearied exertions all the summer to conclude the
peace, and were Avilling to sign it, without obliging Or-
mond to any concession of a religious nature, save such
as the king might be pleased to grant as a " grace" when
triumphant over his enemies. But, without pausing to
examine the prudence of this resolve, the "old Irish"
had begun to tire of begging favours and immunities,
when they felt themselves in a position to insist on them
as rights. Elated by the magnificent promises of the nun-
cio, they looked beyond the seas for sympathy and sup
port. The Head of the Church, it was expected, would
use all his influence to sustain them. The impassioned
oratory of the Italian conjured up prospects as bright ta

* Vidt Borlase's Dismal Effects of the Irish Insan-ect.. t>. J&4«


ever passed before the mental vision of Celtic bafd.
In the recesses of his domicile bishops listened to hid
plans ; and the enthusiastic Heber of Clogher already
fancied that he saw the " thieving Scot" driven out of
Ulidia, and the temples and possessions of the Catholics
restored to their rightful owners. It was no Avonder that
estrangement should soon have grown up between the
parties who, long before now, were mutually opposed. —
Those who adopted the nuncio's views bitterly regretted
that all that Rinuccini dreamed of had not been accom-
plished before his coming. Surely, thought they, if
craft and intrigue had not marred our progress, all might
have been realised. Fond enthusiasts ! brave hearts !
grand and simple souls I little did ye then think of the
storm which was soon to burst on the land and destroy

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Online LibraryC. P. (Charles Patrick) MeehanThe confederation of Kilkenny → online text (page 10 of 22)