C. P. (Charles Patrick) Meehan.

The confederation of Kilkenny online

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provided they were not butchered by legal enactment!


against their persons and creed. Alas! how sadly did
they contrast with the "old Irish," who, scorning to
live as aliens in their native land, had determined to
perish in the assertion of their just rights.

Tired of delay, the nuncio wrote to Rome in the
middle of June, declaring that, as Sir Kenelm Digby
had not come with the articles of the pontifical treaty,*
his means of preventing the publication of the peace
with Ormond were utterly exhausted. He clearly
told the cardinal secretary of state that a foreign
protectorate Avas desired by many amongst the Irish,
and that O'Neill and Preston had offered to march on
Dublin, and take possession of the city, as it was easy
to foresee that, in case of pressure from without, Or-
mond would surrender it to the parliament. He, at the
saine time, wrote to Henrietta Maria and Cardinal
Mazarin, imploring them to expedite the treaty, and
thus prevent the disruption of parties and the total loss
of the country.

But Sir Kenelm never came. Some imprudent ex-
pressions in Rinuccini's letters, betrayed by the nuncio
at the French court to the English queen, awakened
her suspicion ; and it would appear that she had deter-
mined to abandon any further negotfation with Sir
Kenelm Digby and the court of Rome.

Yet, strange to say, even in his captivity the unfor-
tunate Charles did not abandon hope of succour fron:
Ireland. With that systematic duplicity which charac
terized his actions, he wrote to Glamorgan, telling hia
to raise money by pawning his kingdoms, which h(
would repay if ever be won them back. " And tell thf
nuncio," said he, " that if I once come into his and your
hands, which ought to be wished for by you, both foj
the sake of England as Ireland, since all the rest despise
me, I will do it ; and if I do not say this from my heart,
may God never restore me to my kingdoms in this
world, nor give me eternal happiness in the next." This
letter he sent to Glamorgan. At the same moment h$
wrote to Ormond, through Lord Digby, that "he should

• It is now notorious that the heads of this treaty were already
drawn up. Those who assert that there was no such treaty mat
find it either in Kinuccinia Nuiiziatura or in the TraQsactiOOa *


not proceed any further in the treaty of peace with the

Ormond was fully satisfied in his own mind that the
king was desirous of peace on any terms ; but- well
knowing that the council in Dublin was averse to any
overture which might assist the monarch, he catered to
their feelings, and contented himself v'7th saying, that
he would carry out to the very letter ihe instructions
he had received from the king at Newcastle.

Mr. Brown had not reached Limerick when George,
Lord Digby, arrived in Dublin on the 4tM of July. He
affected "surprise on learning that the articles of peace
had not been perfected, as his majesty, " cince his being
at Newcastle, had redoubled his positive orders to the
lord lieutenant for the speedy conclusion of the peace,
upon dispensation with the condition of the confederate
Catholics of Ireland sending the men undertaken for

Digby immediately wrote to Ormond that the Scots
had violated all their promises to the king-, depriving
him of liberty, and banishing from him all who were in
his confidence. He then proceeded to show that the let-
ter dated Newcastle was either surreptitiously obtained
or a manifest forgery, but in every respect most con-
trary to what he knew to be his majesty's fre« resolu-
tion and uncontrolled will." He concluded by declaring
that, if the peace were any longer interrupted, " the
hinderers of it would be the occasion of subverting the
main foundation resolved and laid by his majesty for
the recovery of his crown and posterity's rights, whe-
ther by way of accommodation or war."

On 'the '28th of the same month, Digby drew up and
signed a declaration, wherein he offered himself to be
detained a prisoner until such time as his majesty shouli.
be at liberty to express freely his unconstrained will ; ani
then, says the declaration, " if his majesty shall not jus-
tify me to have declared it faithfully, I submit myself to
Buffer death; and I desire that this declaration be en-
tered in the council-book, that I have discharged my
duty, in case the mischiefs herfe set down shall be occ?^
sioned by deferiing the peace of this kingdom upon the
aforesaid letter of the 11th of June." The council at
Dublin seemed to attach little importance to Digby


nor were their objections removed, till Ormond entered
another declfiration on the council-bbok, stating "that
he was satisfied that he had full authority to coiiclude
the peace upon the articles deposited with the Marquess
of Clanricarde," and took upon himself to be sole judge
thereof, expecting only their assistance for causing it to
be duly observed.

The articles were finally delivered by both par-
ties on the 29th of July : those of the confederates by
Lord Muskerry, Sir Kobert Talbot, John Dillon, Patrick
B'Arcy, and Geoffry Brown, in the presence of Lords
Clanricarde, Digby and Taafie, Daniel O'Neill, and De
Moulin, the French envoy. The council, on the same
day, ordered a proclamation to be issued ratifying the
articles of peace, and enjoining all persons to pay due
obedience to the same.

Thus did Ormond triumph. The confederation was
virtually dissolved. The grand object for which the Ca-
tholics had taken up arms was referred to the ulterior
decision of the king. The only concession in the treaty
touching the vital question of religion released the Irish
Catholics from taking the oath of supremacy. No pro-
vision was made for the plundered inhabitants of the
north, who had been ruined by the Scotch and English
undertakers ; and as if to cap the climax of their folly,
it was agreed by the Lords Mountgarret and Muskerry,
that the "confederate Catholics should be commanded
by his majestj'^'s chief governor until settlement by act
of parliament." It was a base desertion of principle,
this surrender of their rights ; but, in this betrayal of
trust, do we not see something typical of that parricida*
act by which, in after times, a corrupt and venal senate
sacrificed the country to the imperialism of England ?

On the 1st of August the peace was solemnly pro-
claimed in Dublin, although the Protestants showed the
greatest aversion to it.* On the 6th the Marquess of
Ormond sent Dr. Roberts, Ulster-king-at-arms, to pro-
claim it at Waterford and Kilkenny. He executed his
office at Kilkenny, Fethard, Callan, and Cashel ; but
was absolutely hunted from the towns of Waterford and

•OniLTol. tl.p. 10.



On the 20th the Ulster-king-at-arms amved in Lime-
rick, and, attended by the mayor in his regalia, pro-
ceeded to publish the peace. But so indignant Avere the
people that they assembled at the market-cross, headed
by Alderman Fanning, and Lynch the warden of Gal-
way, and prevented the proclamation. Such was tlie
popular feeling that they removed the mayor from office
and elected Fanning in his stead.*

It would be idle to imagine that this peace gave satis-
faction to tlie people of Ireland. On the contrary, it
was soon ascertained that it gave them no guarantee
for these rights which aroused them to take up arms
and maintain a war of five years* duration. It was
indignantly rejected by the whole province of Ulster, the
cities of Waterford, Limerick, Clonmel, and Dungarvan.
Twenty of the great Irish families in the province of
Munster, signed a protest against it. Galway, with
twelve noblemen and gentlemen, refused to receive it
and in the province of Leinster it was treated with con-
tempt by all the heads of the " old Irish, "f It was a
fearful moment for Ireland. The wily policy of Oranond
lud accomplished his designs. Divisons reigned in the
council of the confederates ; and the bishops and
clergy, headed by the nuncio, determined to convoke a
By nod at Waterford, to submit the treaty, clause by
clause, to their consideration. O'Neill, at the head of
his victorious army, was pursuing the Scots when the
intelligence of the peace reached him at Tanderagee.
Preston was at Birr; and, concluding that the treaty
had the approbation of all parties, caused rejoicings to
be made in his camp.

But he soon found his mistake, Avhen he learned that
O'Neill's troops were marching in haste to the borders
of Leinster, and thereon sent to express his regrets for
the misunderstanding.

It has been constantly argued that Owen Roe was
lolicited by the nuncio to relinquish the prosecution of
his victory after the battle of Beinburb, and move his
army to protect the assembly at Waterford, and silence

* Fanning perished heroically, being taken by Ireton after the alege
of Limerick, and hung for his intrepidity against the CromweUimis.
t VideEib. Dom. ad Sapp. 1. S7S.


all opposition to their resolutions. This, howerer, in
not substantially true, for O'Neill, without the order of
the confederate council, had increased his forces to
10,000 men, with more than 1000 horse, and desired
nothing so much as an opportunity of taking signal
vengeance on the adherents of Ormond, by Avhom he
supposed he had been excluded from the possession of
his estates in Ulster. Actuated by such feelings, })e
did not await any summons from the nuncio, but
marched at the moment when he heard of the peace,
well knowing that the bishops and clergy would not
respect it. His intention was to sack Kilkenny, and he
would, doubtless, have carried his design into effect,
had he not been dissuaded by Rinuccini from shedding
innocent blood.* His troops, however, were now self-
styled " The Catholic Army," and Owen Roe proclaimed
himself the right arm of the clergy.

The synod of the bishops and clergy met at Water-
ford, on the 6th of August. It was composed of three
archbishops, ten bishops, five abbots, two vicars
apostolic, fourteen representatives of the religious
orders, and the provincial of the Jesuits. f They were
all unanimous in their abhorrence of the peace, and on
the 12th of the same month, ihey issued the following
decree " from the congregation of the secular and regular
clergy convened at Waterford on the 6th of August :"

"As to the question between us moved, and for many
days discussed, whether such as would accept of that
peace contained in the tliirty articles remitted unto us
from the supreme council, are to be declared perjurious,
and consequently, whether as perjurious, they are to be
excommunicated ; we having given ear to each one's
opinion and sentiment on this matter, as also having
read the writings of some doctors of divinity, it is
decreed, and by each one's vote in particular, (none
contradicting), that all and every one of the confederate
Catholics that will adhere to such a peace, and consent
to the furtherers thereof, or in any other manner or
way will embrace the same, shall be absolutely as per-

•Rionccni, p. 224.

f Tbo Archbishop of Cashel seems to >'ave doubted the expwliejiej
of htnuccini's measures, but finally acqtuesced, saying, — "lnverb«
too lazabo rete."


jurious esteemed, chiefly inasmuch a? there is no rEl.i^
tiou made in the thirty articles, nor promise for the
Catholic religion or safety thereof, nor any resi)ect had
for the preservation of the kingdoms privileges as were
promised in the oath of association, but on the con-
trary, all remitted to the king's will and pleasure,
(from whom as the case stands at present with his
majesty) no certainty of benefits can be had or expected ;
yet, in the mean time, all the arms, armies, fortifica-
tions, even the very supreme council of the Catholic
confederates are to be subjected to the authority and
rule of his majesty's council of state, from whom that
we might be secure we have taken that oath.

** Out of which, and several other reasons, we (moved
thereunto by conscience) would have it known, to all
and each person, as well the Irish natives as the foreign
nations, that we gave no consent, nor never will, to any
such peace, if they will not grant us further, surer, and
safer conditions for our religion, our king, and country,
according to our oath of association.

" And to the end, our flocks and lAl the confederate
Catholics, who in their general assemblies required our
sentence in this spiritual matter appertaining to our-
selves as ecclesiastical judges, may know for certain
what is by us determined herein, and as godly and
faithful Catholics, obeying their pastors, may concur
with us, we have ordered this decree to be written, and
published everywhere in the English and Irish tongue.
Given under our hand and seal,Waterford, this 12th day
of August, 1646, Nicholas J'rench, Chancellor."*

The result of this decree may readily be imagined ;
never was there a more decided reaction. The people
unanimously rejected the peace ; nothing could have
given more pleasure to the general of the Ulster forces
than this declaration of the bishops ; and Preston, who
had been vacillating hitherto, fearing the censures and
hating the secretary, Belling, at once declared for tho
nuncio and the clergy.

Shut up in Kilkenny, whither they had gone after
the publication, Muskerry and Mountgarret, with the

• I have given this ft-om the " Unkind Deserter," as it i> probably tho
tranacript of the onginaj. j



other councillors, prepared an appeal from the censures,
and sent to Waterford to persuade the clergy to adopt
some other course less objectionable to their patron
Ormond. But, in this instance, they discovered their
own weakness, and found out, when too late, that the
power which tliey possessed when leagued with the
hierarchy, had forsaken them. The contederate soldiers
positively refused to obey them ; and when the deputies
returned from Waterford with word that Rinuccini and
the bishops insisted on the appointment of Preston as
general of the horse, and O'Neill as major- general of
the army, they sent for Ormond to come to Kilkenny, in
the hope that his presence might create a diversion ia
their favour.*

Ormond eagerly embraced the proposal, and sent
some persons to treat with O'Neill, and, if possible,
gain him over to the peace. But the Ulster general
spurned the overtures of the lord lieutenant, and sent
him back an indignant refusal. The nuncio had for-
warded him at this time a sum of about £9,000 which
nad been borrowed from Diego della Torre, the Spanish

Ormond, however, set out from Dublin on the 28th of
August, with 1,500 foot and 500 horse. He arrived
at Kilkenny on the 31st of the same month, and was
joyfully received by his adherents ; but great was his
mortification on learning that the troops which were
drawn into the city after the siege of Bunratty, had gone
over to the party of the nuncio and clergy at Waterford.
From Kilkenny the lord lieutenant, accompanied by
Clanricarde and Lord Digby, proceeded into Munster,
foolishly thinking that he might conciliate Inchiquin,
and prevail on him to join his forces with those of his
own party against the troops of O'Neill; but in his
progress through the country Ormond had ample evi-
dence of the popular disinclination to submit to him
on the terms of the Dublin treaty. Many of the towns
shut their gates at his approach, and the mayor of
Casliel sent to implore that he would not enter that city,
18 Owen O'Neill, who had encamped on the 9th of
September at lioscrea, had sent to inform the magis*

• Carte. 1. 679



trates, that if they received the lord lieutenant lie would
storm the place. Digby's overtures were rejected by
Inchiquin, who, in answer to a letter forwarded to him,
replied, "that the peace now concluded by his majesty's
authv/rity, to the utter ruin of all that profess the
Protestant religion, or submitted thereto, had to all the
world evidenced the just grounds of his separation from
what he (Digby) was pleased to call his duty."*

To add to Ormond's disappointment he had now
learned that Piers Fitzgerald, alias Mac Thomas, Avho
formerly served under Castleliaven, had collected a
strong body of cavalry and declared for the Waterford
resolutions. Indeed, the Marquess's expedition into
Munster was far from successful, and on the 11th of
September he was informed by Sir Richard Talbot, that
he sliould take precautions to secure the ford of Moygany,
the only place Avhere he could cross the Barrow without
marching through the counties of Carlow and Kildare
to Munstereven. O'Neill's emissaries were already in
the county of Wicklow raising the O'Byrnes and
O'Tooles, and it was likely that they had been in-
structed to intercept him if he returned by their country
to Dublin.

Ormond was now apprehensive that O'Neill meditated
some design against his person, and determined to
return to the metropolis. He, therefore, sent Sir Luke
Dillon and Dr. Fennell to the prelates at Waterford,
to state "that he considered his commission for con-
cluding a peace was determined by that which he had
already made, and that if it did not take place, there
was no possibility of renewing a treaty for another,
and was apprehensive that his return to Dublin should
put a stop to all further negotiations."

Having sent this message to Waterford, Castlehaven
came to inform him that he had not a moment to lose,
as Preston and O'Neill were rapidly advancing to cut
him off. Ormond fled to his troops, stationed at Callan.
where they were faced by 400 horse under Mac Thomas.
Thence he dispatched orders to Sir Francis Willoughby,
who was at Gowran, to march with all possible speed
ftad secure Leighlin Bridge. When the major-general

• Irish Tracts. R.D.S. Thorpe Pajjers.


jame within tliree miles of the place he was tohl thai
Sir Walter Bagnall, with a l)undred men, held the fort
•' at the bridge ej-.d," and he thereon sent to know if he
might find that officer a friend or enemy, and received
an answer, that the pass lay open to him. He crossed
the bridge and left a detachment of las men to await
Ormond on the Carlow side. Two hours before day the
marquess, having joined these troops, fled to Kilcullen.
thence to Ballymore-Eustace, and on the 13th entered
Dublin, to the surprise of the citizens, who verily
believed that he had been made prisoner by O'Neill and
Preston. He had reason to be grateful to Bagnall, for
if he held the bridge against him for half-an-hour longer
he must have fallen into the hands of Owen Roe.

When Ormond was about to return to Dublin, he left
Digby at Kilkenny, to learn the result of his negotia-
tion with the bishops at Waterford ; and, presuming on
his powers, the latter made a proposition that, if the
nuncio and three or four of the bishops would consent to
the peace, and cause it to be observed by all over whom
they had power, and join, under the lord lieutenant,
against the common enemy, if they might privately receive
a firm assurance of the repeal of the penal laws, and that
the Catholic clergy should not be put out and molested
in their ecclesiastical possessions before a new parliament
was called, the said assurance should be procured them
collaterally, severed from the articles of the peace, to
which the lord lieutenant had no power to add. But this
proposition was rejected, and expediency abandoned.
The bishops had no guarantee for the fulfilment of the
conditions offered, even were they inclined to receive
them ; and they feared that in the present, as well as in
a former instance, Digby and Ormond could find a
" starting hole" whereby the king might escape any ob-
ligation, as in the treaty with Glamorgan. When Digby
received the refusal, he did not think it safe to remain
any longer, and set out for France to solicit arms and
monies to crush the men who were now bent on main-
taining the independence of Ireland.

The destinies of the country were at this moment in
the liands of the clergy and Owen O'Neill. The nuncio,
elated with his temporary triumph, sent his dean to
Home, to convey to Poise Innocent the re.iutionof aiFaira



and procure aids for the prosecution of what he regarded
a glorious crusade against the Puritans. To give greater
stability to the new confederation, he determined to pro-
ceed to Kilkenny, and establish his head-quarters there.
The way was open for him. Owen Roe lay encamped
within three miles of the city ; his army consisted of
12,(XK) foot, and 1,500 horse ; his troops were refreshing
themselves, after storming Koscrea Castle, oa the 17th
of September.

On his approach to the city Rinuccini was joinod by
Preston and Diego della Torre, at the head of tlie gentry.
He did not now enter as a messenger of peace ; on this
occasion he appeared as a triumphant general, surrounded
by the military, and hailed by the acclamations of the
soldiers. " The victor of Beinburb" on one side and
Preston on the other, he had reason to feel proud of his
escort. But his first act was one of harshness and im-
prudence. He no longer tliought of conciliation ; and
yielding to the suggestions of Preston, who had a per-
sonal dislike to many of the old council, he caused them
to be committed to tne castle of Kilkenny, on the 18th,
the day cf his entry.

Colonel Bagnal, who had connived at the escape of
Ormond, and Sir Robert Talbot, were likewise impri-
soned ; and of the old council, D'Arcy and Plunket were
the only exceptions to this impolitic proceeding.

The nuncio and clergy now assumed the government
to themselves, and on the 26th, by a solemn decree, ap-
pointed a new council, consisting of four bishops and
eight laymen, ordering all the generals to be subject to
their orders, and investing them with the same powers
as the former council. The unanimous voices of those
who signed the decree at Waterford appointed Rinuccini
to the presidency, intending thus to do greater honor to
the court of Rome, on whose sympathies they were now
to place all reliance. Never did any event give greater
cause for joy to the chieftains and people of the "old
jrish" than this change of the confederate government.
The grand object which engrossed their cares for so many
years, they fancied was now achieved. He who was now
the head of the government could not feel less interest
for the cause of religious independence than themselves.
Unbending and uncompromising as they knew the nuncio


to be, they no longer feared the craft and fatal influence
of Ormond. Religious as the character of the war had
been, it was now to be doubly more so ; — the moderator
of the council was a minister of the Vatican, and the ge-
neral of the army was the champion of the church.

The enthusiastic devotion Avith which the Jews honored
Iheir leader, Maccabeus, was not more intense than that
with which the '* old Irish" now regarded " Owen Roe."
He it was whose right hand was to restore the temple,
and avert the captivity of the people who had been dis-
persed. Heaven, they believed, had nerved the arms of
his soldiers on the day of Beinburb ; but now, when they
paw the cross and the keys interwoven on the banners of
the red-hand, they looked on him with a feeling of vene-

'• This age," wrote the nuncio to Pope Innocent X.,
** has never seen so unexpected a change. I should com-
pare it to the most famous successes in Europe. The
clergy of Ireland, so much despised by the Ormondists,
were, in the twinkling of an eye, masters of the king-
dom. Generals, officers, and soldiers, strove who should
fight for them ; and, at last, the supreme council, de-
prived of all power, was confounded with amazement to
«ee all authority devolve on the clergy/' *

Muskerry being now removed from the command of
the confederate troops in Munster, Glamorgan was ap-
pointed in his stead, and the nuncio wrote to Rome in-
timating that as soon as Ormond was driven out of
Dublin it was the intention of the new council to create
the former lord lieutenant. The reasons assigned for the
appointment of Glamorgan were the high consideration
in which he was held by the Catholics, and his unflinch-
ing fidelity to Rinuccini's views ; moreover, the nuncio
never relinquished his design of sending troops to Eng-
land, and he thought that he could not commit the

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Online LibraryC. P. (Charles Patrick) MeehanThe confederation of Kilkenny → online text (page 15 of 22)