C. P. (Charles Patrick) Meehan.

The confederation of Kilkenny online

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i iioortcaiTet, who died In 1651 . Vide Ilib. Dcm



l78 CONFEDERATIOW OF KILKENNY.

Emly, in sight of the gibbet, pronouncing in the eare
of Ireton, the prophecy of his death by pestilence, are
facts which cannot be forgotten. Irish genius has yet
to make them glow on canvass in the temple of
nationality ; nor shall distinction of creed prevent us
doing honor to the men whose love of fatherland must
endear them to the recollection of all.

But the scene is changed, and the bishops, nobles, and
commons are assembled in the great gallery of Kilkenny
castle.

The nuncio was the first to address the assembly.
Adverting to the congregation of the prelates and clergy
at Waterford, he solemnly declared that necessity alone
had compelled him and the bishops to adopt that course,
which M'as indubitably agreeable to the people at large,
however otherwise it might have been to tlie adherents
of Lord Ormond. Much contrary to his own wish he
had been induced to take the conspicuous and onerous
part of president of the congregation, which he was now
ready to resign, in order to bring about an indissoluble
union of parties. In terms which were any thing but
flattering to the commissioners engaged in the late ne-
gotiations with Ormond, he repudiated the articles of the
peace which they had concluded. They had done this,
he affirmed, without the consent of the prelacy and peo-
ple of Ireland ; but as it was now evident that laity and
clergy longed for repose, he exhorted them to proceed to
the conclusion of an honorable peace, which fully guar-
anteed the independence of their religion. " Soanxious,"
he continued, " is Pope Innocent for the security of your
religion and country, that he has recently sent from
Eome the Dean of Fermo, with supplies of money and
paternal assurances of his good will towards you. The
benevolence of the holy father is only commensurate with
the joy he has experienced on receiving news of youi
victories ; and if proof be wanting, see it here in the re-
quest which I am commissioned to convey to you, that
■^u will send the standards* captured from your enemies,

* " These standards," -writes the nuncio to Cardinal Paufilio, "were
BO torn in the death-struggle at Beinburb and elsewhere, that he was
obIi|?ed to remove some of them from the staffs m order to forward thea
to Konie." — Rimwcini.



CONFEDERATION OF KILKKNNT.



173



that thej may be hung up in the basilicas of Rome, to
record your devotion to the holy see, and the indomita-
ble bravery of the Irish people."

He concluded his address by assuring them that hij
feelings were all opposed to any position which would
impose on him tne burden of temporal concerns, as his
solicitude was for the weal of that religion for which
they had taken up arms. Yet, if any thing in the history
of the events which had transpired remained to console
him, it was the timely victory won by the men of Ulster ;
"for," said he, with marked emphasis, "if heaven had not
fought on the side of O'Neill, on the memorable day of
Beinburb, tlie representatives ofthe Catholic confederates
would not be to-day assembled in this goodly city.
The churches must have been desecrated — the priesthooc'
scattered — and the peers temporal and spiritual who now
listen to my voice, either sacrificed by the swords of the
Puritans or languishing in prison."

The address concluded, and received with acclamation,
a most important point wa,s now to be discussed before
entering on the consideration of other matters. There
was, indeed, a unanimous desire amongst all parties ioi
the conclusion of peace ; but the condition** on "N'hich it
was to be drawn up constituted the str.mbinig-block be-
tween the clergy, and Muskerrj and Mountgarret, who
thought of notliing so much as catering to Ormond.

Smarting under the blow inflicted by the edict of Wa-
terford, which denounced them as perjurers, the com-
missioners now sought to justify their proceedings in the
matter of the treaty, and disprove the crime which tho
declaration of the prelates meant to attach. In this dis-
cussion three weeks were consumed, and the heat of the
■contending parties was near bringing about the most
disastrous consequences to the entire body. The demon
of discord was amongst them, and when it was moved by
the Bishop of Ferns that Preston should be impeached,
as conniving with the adherents of Ormond, swords and
daggers were near being drawn on both sides. * In this
matter it required the joint influence of the prelates, and
Plunket, the chairman, to suppress a most unseemly
tumult.



a PhEop. IraBO. 41.



l?,ij CONFEDEaA^TIOH OP KILKSNKT.

Day after day was the unhappy question of the Water«
ford declaration raised and discussed; — the commis-
sioners, on the one side, vindicating their conduct in the
■jansaction witli Ormond, and the prelates, on the other,
jefending tlie course they had adopted. In self-defence
t was argued by the commissioners that their consent to
the thirty articles was founded on the secret concessions
of Glamorgan, and therefore the charge of perjury was
not sustainable. This assertion was far from satisfactory
to the prelates, who maintained that when the commis-
sioners were subscribing the treaty tliey must have
known that Glamorgan had been disavowed. In order,
however, to terminate such rancorous recriminations,
the commissioners now agreed to condemn the peace ;
and, for that purpose, an instrument was drawn up
■which embraced both points — the evacuation of the
peace and the vindication of their own conduct. The
resolution, published tlie 2nd of February, set forth that
the commissioners had acted honestly, and pursuant to
their instructions, in making the peace, and that the
clergy had acted conscientiously in rejecting it. It is
hard to reconcile such contradiction, but as the commis-
sioners could not be induced to reject the peace on any
other terms, the resolution was agreed to. It was now
necessary that the assembly should advertise Ormond of
what they had done by a public manifesto, and on the
same day it was almost unanimously resolved, that " they
would not accept that peace, and therefore they pro-
tested against it as invalid and of no force, and that the
nation would accept of no peace not containing a suffi-
cient security for the religlwa, lives, and estates nf the
confederate Catholics."

This resolution was published t\rj or three days after
Lord TaafFe and Colonel Barry had got a safe conduct to
come into the confederate quarters. They brought a
letter from Ormond to the chairman of the assembly,
urging the necessitj^ of adhering to the peace concluded
in August, and asking £1,000 per month for the subsist-
ence of the king's troops ; but before the deputies were
granted an audience they learned that, out of three hun-
dred, twelve alone were for Ormond's peace, and they
f»oT»spo»'«'>'tiv declined pr«v«'en'^


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Online LibraryC. P. (Charles Patrick) MeehanThe confederation of Kilkenny → online text (page 17 of 22)