C. P. (Charles Patrick) Meehan.

The confederation of Kilkenny online

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f to raise 3,000 men to assist Montrose in Scotland, and
they agreed to furnish him with 2,000 muskets, 2,400
pounds of powder, and 200 barrels of oatmeal, which
were to be ready by the 1st of May following, and
shipped to Scotland by Mr. Archer, a merchant of Kil-
kenny — an instance of fatuity which was quite in keep-
ing with the voluntary offering of £30,000, which was

' not, in the strict sense, what its advocates pretended, in-
asmuch as it Avas to be levied on a people who had been
basely plundered by the ministers of the crown.

Another disadvantage which this cessation brought on
the Irish, was the departure from their coasts of most ol

♦ the shijis which had been chartered by the supreme

• Legend of Montrose.

t Corn, lyiaguire ( Lord Enniskillen) was esecuted at Tyburn on the
20tb of February, l(i44. Ko martyr at the stake ever died more trne
to God and his faith. His trial is to be found at the eud of TeraHe't
Hist., and also in the State Trials. See Dub, Keview, March, 1845, whftre
there is a letter concerning him


coTincils in the earlier time of the war. Every creeh
and harbour suddenly became infested with the parlia-
mentary cruisers, so much so, that it was difficult to
Bend men or money out of Ireland. The orders is-
sued by the parliament to their partisans, on the land,
were only equalled by the Algerine ferocity of their
cruisers on the seas. Out of 150 men, who about this
time sailed for Bristol, and who were taken by one
Swanly at sea, seventy, besides two women, were
thrown over board because they were supposed to be
Irish.* Nor did the Irish retaliate; for, soon afterwards
falling in with a ship which had on board fifty kirk
ministers deputed to preach up and administer the co-
venant in Ulster, they contented themselves Avith
making them prisoners. This fatal truce was the source
of all these miseries, and the coast which hitherto liad
been so watchfully guarded, Avas now swarming with
rebel ships, "whose commanders sliowed no mercy to
such as had the misfortune to fall into their hands. "f

When the news of the cessation had reached Oxford,
the king determined to appoint the Marquess of Ormond
lord lieutenant of Ireland ; but, on account of the tem-
pestuous state of the Aveather, and the difficulty in ad-
justing the form of procuring the Earl of Leicester's
resignation, the commission was not issued till the mid-
dle of January, 1644. On the 21st of that month he
was sworn in with all proper forms and ceremonies. J
We have now arrived at the beginning of a year which
witnessed many sorroAvs and reverses in Ireland, and it is
necessary that Ave pass them rapidly in revicAv before us.

Ormond's elevation to the viceroyalty Avas calculated
to raise the hopes of that portion of the confederates who
placed all confidence in him, and naturally gave him a
fairer opportunity of deluding and deceiving them. The
"old Irish," on the other hand, did not reckon on any ad-
vantage to be derived from his administration. He had
no real sympathy Avith them, and they deeply deplored
the conclusion of the treaty, which was likely to giA'e
Jinother direction to the popular mind. Some Avere of
opinion that the truce tended to abate that martial ar-

» Ormond's Let. Collect, of his papers, vol. i. p. 48.
t Cartes Orm. vol. iil. p. 246. J Carte, i. 47S.


dour which characterised the people since the rising of
1641 ; and others, like Father OTerrall,* bitterly re-
gretted that the lords and gentry of the Pale had ever

, been "trusted in so holy a league." That such should have
been the sentiments of the "old Irish" is only natural,
when we find it admitted, on the authority of Carte, that
they had nothing to get by a cessation, and " were only
fit to be sent to Scotland to deliver his majesty out of
his troubles." f In fact, such was the dislike entertained
by them for the entire proceeding, that De la Monarie,
the envoy from the French court, and Francisco deFos-
set, the envoy from Spain, had no difiiculty in getting

^ men to embark in the service of their respective crowns,

" wl)ile the greatest reluctance prevailed against going into
England ; in truth, the continental courts had strong
claims on the affections of the Irish, for even a short time
before Ormond's inauguration his Catholic majesty had
forwarded 20,000 dollars to the confederates. This sum
was expended on arms and ammunition. Their agents,
too, were kindly received in the foreign capitals, and
were willingly aided by the nobility and gentry, who re-
garded them as engaged in a holy crusade. But the
lord lieutenant well knew that the treaty itself would
furnish ample material for dispute and bloodshed, and
he calculated wisely. The question of boundaries, which
was not well defined, was of itself fashioned to engender
broils between the parties ; but what cared he if the Ca-
tholics became broken up and disorganised ? Division
was his object, and he had copiously sowed its seeds. He
only looked to the dissohition of that union which was
once so formidable, and diplomacy like his was capable
of eflTecting it.

It was at tliis period that the supreme council com-
missioned Edmund O'DwyerJ to proceed to Home, and

, present to Pope Urban a memorial, signed and sealed by

* He was a Capuchin fiiar, and wrote a book with the following
title— " Modus Eversionis Cath. Religionis in Hibemia." Lynch, the
author of " Cambrensis Eversus," published a reply under the name of
" Eudoxus Alithinoloffus." It is quoted by Walsh in the Hist, of the
Rem., p. 740.

t Carte's Orm., 1. 477.

J He was afterwards Bishop of Limerick, and signalised himself when
Ireton besieged the city.



them, praying his holiness to promote Wadding to the
college of cardinals. *

But that portion of it which must interest us most is
their report on the state of Catholicity in Ireland at tliis
period of the confederacy. It was thus described :

" It is now manifest to the whole Christian world with what fidelity
the Catholics of Ireland have cluns to their ancient faith, and how
tliey braved death, and exile, and the confiscation of their substance,
rather than renounce the religion of their ancestors. To you, most
holy father, it is particularly known how heroically the Irish people,
without arms or munitions of war, have struggled against the phalanxes
of those who, sworn enemies of the holy see, had vowed and sworn to
pluck up our religion by the very roots. Our holy war has had a glo-
rious result. The Lord God is now publicly worshipped in our temples,
after the manner of our fathers; most of the cathedrals have been re-
stored to our bishops; the relijxious orders possess the monasteries, and
seminaries have been opened for the education of our youth. This
great work has been accomplished through the goodness of God and
the many favors bestowed on us by you; verily, in future times the
brightest page in the history of your pontificate shall be, that you found
the Catholic religion despised and prostrate in our island, and ere that
pontificate closed beheld it raised up in splendoui-, and magnificently
attired, even as a bride for her spouse." t

During these transactions the supreme council held its
sittings at Waterford, and a question was raised as to the
prudence of pawning that portion of the kingdom then
in their possession to some foreign court, in order to raise
money. Owen Hoe was summoned to give his opinion,
when he repudiated the idea of giving any foreign power
•^ " an interest in Ireland." He then proceeded to Cliar-
lemont, where he remained some time with Theobald
Magauly, tlie governor of the fort, and finally fixed his
head-quarters at Belturbet. Lulled into false security by
the cessation, the supreme council proceeded to Galway,
and some of the other towns, to hear cases touching usur-
pations of property, and adjudicate on civil concerns
whicli, in the din of arms, could not have been properly
attended to.

Having returned to Kilkenny, a very considerable pe-
riod seems to have been wasted in collecting those sup-
plies which it was their intention to have transmitted to
England. It was agreed that the sum of £30,800 should
be paid by instalments of money and "beeves;" but it

* In the Writers of the Seventeenth Centur}- Mr. M'Gee haa beautl-
' folly ti-eated this subject.

t Vide Ilib. I.'ora., in Append, p. 87G


would appear that "lere was great difficulty in procuring
advances of kind and coin. Charges were made almost
daily of a violation of the articles of cessation by both
parties : and Ormond did not conceal his displeasure at
the slowness with which the confederates sent the beeves
' to Dublin. One of the strangest of the charges advanced
against the supreme council at this moment was, that
they forwarded cattle of a very inferior description, and
took away 369 head of the choicest English cows and

* bullocks from the suburbs of Dublin, thus exposing the
inhabitants to the very danger from wliich it was the ob-
ject of the cessation to protect them. Tliis charge is made
upon dubious authority, for it is certain that the conre-
derates had the best intentions, however short-sighted

t their policy may have been. Perhaps no fact is more
calculated to vindicate tliem from such aspersions than
the conduct which Ormond was forced to adopt regard-
ing the forces which he sent to the king's aid in England.
When the cessation was concluded, several regiments,
drawn from the garrisons in and about Dublin, got orders
to proceed to Chester; " but such was the reluctancy of
the common soldiers, that the sharpest proclamations

• hardly restrained them from flying their colours, both
before and after their arrival in England." ' Indeed, to
such a state of insubordination and disaffection had they
been brought, that Ormond was forced to administer an
oath obliging his mercenaries to remain firm in tlieir al-
legiance to the king. Not so, however, with such of the
Catholics as could cross the sea, and stand by his majesty
in his struggle against the parliament. Their fidelity was
only equalled by their valour and chivalrous conduct
against the overwhelming forces under the command of

But, as to the cessation, the only towns which can be
said to have obsei'ved it were Newry, Dundalk, and

, Drogheda. Munroe was encouraged by the parliament,
as we have already seen, to disregard it ; and, if he re-
quired any further stimulant, he had already got it in a
commission, under the parliament's broad seal, to com-

^ mand in chief all the English as well as Scotch forces in
Ulster. On receipt of tlie commission lie commenced a


• Borlase'a Hist, of the Irish Insur.. p. 135.


campaign against the Catholics, who religiously obeyed
the orders of tlie supreme council, which, on the intel-
ligence of his perfidy, wrote to Ormond that these Cove-
nanters "were diverting them from assisting his majesty,
and eating further into the bowels of the country."*
This was obviously meant to induce Ormond to declare
' Munroe and his followers rebels to the crown. But th«
Jrily lord lieutenant did not find it his interest to take
such a step.

A subject of the most momentous importance was
now mooted by the supreme council, regarding pro-
positions to be submitted to the king ; and in order to
take their attention from mere matters of war, Ormond
encouraged them to proceed to Oxford, and lay their
case before his majesty. At the very same time a cabal
in Dublin was maturing a scheme to counteract any ad-
vantage which the Catholics were likely to derive from
an interview with the king. Muskerry, MacDonnell,
^Plunket, Sir Robert Talbot, Dermid O'Brien, Richard
' Martin, and Severinus Browne, formed the deputation,
which Reached England about the beginning of April,
and, having arrived at Oxford, presented a statement oi
grievances, and earnestly prayed for the repeal of all
the penal restrictions, which not only disqualified them
from holding civil offices in the state, but weighed most
heavily on their religion and the practices it inculcated.

To all their demands the king gave willing ear, and
flattering assurances ; but one grand subject, which had
^ been warmly debated by the council at Waterford, pre-
vious to the departure of the delegates, was regarded by
his majesty as little less than scandalous. This was the
secure possession of the churches then in their hands ;
, and the king declared that he would reserve it for his
future consideration. An earldom was offered to
Muskerry, which he declined, and the commissioners re-
tired from the royal presence with an abundance of soft
* words, but witliout a single practical result.

It is hard to imagine any state of greater difficulty
than that of the king at this moment ; for the confede-
rate commissioners had not left England, when Sir
, Cliarles Coote and others, deputed by the Protestants of

• Korlas*.


jreland, presented propositions asking, amongst otbef
concessions, tliat " the king would abate his quit-vt.Ms,
and encourage and enable Protestants to replant the
kingdom, and cause a good walled town to be built in
every county for their security, no Papist being allowed
to dwell therein." The second demand was not less
extravagant. They prayed his majesty " to continue the
penal laws, and to dissolve forthwith the assumed
power of the confederates, and banish all Popish priests
out of Ireland, and that ncv Popish recusant should be
allowed to sit or vote in parliament." The king was
amazed at the peremptory manner in which these
propositions were enforced ; but it was conjectured that
they were concocted in London, with a view to obstruct
any accommodation with the Irish, and, in all pro.
bability, to induce them to a violation of the truce..
But commissioners soon after came from the council
in Dublin, at the head of whom was Archbishop
Usher, who condemned Coote's extravagance, and
requested him to withdraw these revolting demands.

But, though Ai-chbishop Usher inveighed' against
the proposals of tliese fanatics, the propositions which
he submitted to Charles I. were not far removed from
the intolerant spirit of Coote. On the part of the
Irish Protestants, he desired: — "That all the penal
laws should be enforced, and all Papists disarmed."
The king clearly pointed out the impracticability of such
measures, at a moment when the confederate Catholics
possessed more than three parts of the kingdom. The
queen, too, influenced "the royal M'ill on this occasion,
and sought to impress on the mind of her consort,
that the Catholics were well worthy of his confidence.
Indeed, it is more than likely that whatever kindness
fee had shown the confederate commissioners, was the
result of her majesty's interference. And, before we
close this brief glance at this portion of our subject,
we may sum up in a few words the amount of his
good intenticiis towards the Irish Catholics. He waa
willing to pass h.a aH for removing from them any
iucapacvtv to purchase lands or offices, and had no
objection to allowing *' recusants their seminaries of
education." He wa^ content to call a new parliament
ill Jreland, but, without the suspension of Poyning'a


law. In all matters regarding penal enactments, hg
stated that these statutes were too odious to be en
forced, and that his recusant subjects, on returning tr»
their duty, should liave no reason to complain. He then
dismissed them with a pathetic admonition to considef
his circumstances as their own.

Whilst the king was cajoling the commissioners
with these kind promises, on which they placed but
too much reliance, Munroe was carrying the orders of

* the parliament into execution. The general assembly,
alarmed by tlie imposing force of the Covenanters, sent
orders to Owen Roe to appear in Kilkenny on the 1st
of May. It was about this time that the Scotch
general had seized Belfast. O'Neill complained bitterly
of the distress of the men under his command, stating
that he would be obliged to quarter them on the oth-e?
provinces. He then made an offer to prosecute the
war against Munroe, if he was seconded by tlie supreme
council, for whom he promised to raise 4,000 foot and
400 horse out of his own province. The council ac-
cepted his offer, and agreed to give him 6,000 foot
and 600 horse. When the question of command was
raised, it was put to the vote, and Castlehaven was
declared by a majority commander-in-chief. O'Neill
took it seriously to heart, but subsequently went to
congratulate Castlehaven. But, even at this time, the
effects produced by the cessation were deplorably visible,
for the man who now was vested with the chief com
mand, declared that the troops who were to take part
in the approaching campaign, came to the rendezvous
"like new men half changed."*

Men and horses were untit for service ; and the accou-
trements were not in a better condition. With 2,000
men, Castlehaven marched rapidly into Connaught to

. enforce the orders of the supreme council, and soon
after detached some parties to reduce the Ormsbys, who
would not submit to the cessation. Owen Roe was en-
camped at Portlester about July, when Castleliaven
marched on Granard, in the county Longford, where
he was met by his main force, consisting of 3,000 horse

'wttd foot, with three field-pieces. He was soon informe/

T CasUeliaven's Men). ^47.


that Munroe, with an army 17,000 strong, was marching

' to meet him. Fearing to encomiter such superior num-
bers, he retired on Portlester. Munroe, having accom-
plished his object, which was to get preys of cattle,
marched back to tlie north, after having wasted the

country in his rear, and dealt death about him

Throughout these marchings and counter-marchings
there was a misunderstanding between the two com-
manders. In some skirmish with outposts, one Fennell,
who commanded under Castlehaven, stood passively by

^ while some of O'Neill's kinsmen were hacked to pieces
before his face. O'Neill, who had been sick during the
action, styled Castlehaven's officers cowards, and the
commander bitterly resented it, when O'Neill repeated
the charge, saying: " This Fennell, the cowardly cock
with the feather, had the craven-heartedness to look on
whilst my relatives were being slain, and moved not an
inch to their succour — to the supreme council, who em-
ployed us both, he shall answer for this."

Castlehaven, soon after this occurrence, called on
O'Neill for the supplies he had promised ; but the latter
excused himself, saying: "That as soon as they had

, entered Ulster he would make good his word." They
then united their forces, and proceeded to Tanderagee,
and erected a fort to protect their magazine. Nothing
of consequence transpired during their progress ; they
were, however, engaged in perpetual skirmishes with
outposts ; nor did Munroe dare to face them. He had
advanced as far as Armagh; but soon broke up his
camp. Castlehaven finally grew tired of a war, which

, he had not patience or military talent to appreciate, and
hastened back to Kilkenny, where he boasted that the
confederacy owed its preservation to his skill and perse-
verance. The army under his command now amounted
to 8,000 men ; and commissioners were appointed to sec
them quartered in different parts of Leinster, within the
confederate boundaries. O'Neill, disgusted Avith tlie

^ vapourings of the man wh had been preferred to him,
letired to the county Cav n, anxiously watching the
progress of events.

Scrupulously as the Irisli Catholics observed the ces-
■ation, it was treated with contempt by Inchiquiu and

f Lord Broghill in the south. Early ^n July they for-


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Online LibraryC. P. (Charles Patrick) MeehanThe confederation of Kilkenny → online text (page 8 of 22)