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visions amongst them, by dividing the clergy upon a punctilious form of oath, by which it was then in contemplation to allow the catholics to express their allegiance to their sovereign. Not contented with the indignant rejection of the clergy's remonstrances, he ordered them to disperse, and soon after banished them out of the nation : and so rigorously was this effected, that when Ormond quitted the government there were only three catholic bishops remaining in the kingdom: two of them were bed-ridden, and the third kept himself in concealment.
So far was Ormond from having suffered by these rebellious insurrections or civil wars in Ireland, that we learn from a letter written by his intimate and particular friend, the earl of Anglesey, and published during the life of the duke, that his grace and his family, by the forfeitures and punishment of the Irish, were the greatest gainers of the kingdom; and had added to their inheritance vast scopes of land, and a revenue three times greater than what his paternal estate was before the rebellion, and that most of his increase was out of their estates who adhered to the peaces of 1646 and 1648, or served under his majesty's ensign abroad.” During the remainder of the reign of Charles II. many malicious attempts were made to stigmatize the Irish with fresh rebellions, which always served as a pretext for enforcing the execution of the penal laws against the catholics. The duke of Ormond, of whose conduct both to the king and his countrymen such opposite opinions have been formed, and whose government we have traced to the present period, was now daily declining in power and influence, through the intrigues of the duke of Buckingham and the 2 E 3
earl of Orrery: he was first succeeded in the government of Ireland by lord Robarts, and afterwards by the earl of Essex. He was however again taken into favour and restored to the situation of lord lieutenant, which he retained till the death of Charles II., though that king, a very short time before that event, had intimated to the duke of Ormond his intention of sending over the earl of Rochester to assume the government in his stead: his grace's removal was however so far determined upon by the ruling interest of the empire at that period, that it constituted one of the earliest acts of James II.
Reign of James II.
HE short reign of this unfortunate monarch
was pregnant with events of the deepest im. portance to the Irish nation. That the joy of the Irish catholics at the accession of a prince to the throne who was universally known to be a ca. tholic, should be excessive, and even intemperate, is by no means surprising. The turn of the state of politics in this kingdom was rapid and complete.
The earl of Clarendon succeeded Ormond, but he was probably too firmly attached to the protestant interest to give as largely into James's measures as the court wished. His instructions clearly bespoke the king's intention of introducing catholics into corporations, and investing them with magistracies and judicial offices; and being called upon by his instructions to give his opinion on the legality of the measure, he expressed his readiness to comply with his majesty's commands, although contrary to the act of Elizabeth. The army was however soon filled with catholic officers, the bench with catholic judges, except three who retained their seats; the corporations with catholic members, and the counties with catholic sheriff's and magistrates. The earl of Tyrconnel was appointed commander in chief of the army, and made independent of the lord lieutenant. On t'ie very rumour of these proceedings alarm and consternation seized the protestant part of the
kingdom : kingdom: and most of the traders and others whose fortunes were transferable fled from a country in which they expected a speedy establishment of popery, and general transmutation of property. The catholics now feeling themselves secure at least in their religion, induced Tyrconnel to go to England in order to prevail upon the king to accede to their favourite measure of breaking through the act of settlement. The king however saw more inconvenience in throwing the whole national property into a new state of disorder and confusion than these did, who had been suffering during twenty years from the deprivation of their birth-right. Tyrconnel was himself a great enemy to the act of settlement, and he so worked upon the king as to dispose him to consent to the repeal of that act, and he soon returned to Ireland as lord deputy. Tyrconnel was personally obnoxious to the protestants, he was impetuous, resolute, and imperious: he possessed an unbounded influence over the king; and having in his youth been a witness to the bloody carnage at Drogheda, he had ever retained an abhorrence of fanaticism, with the spirit of which he considered all protestants more or less infected. Nothing more was wanting to alienate the affections of the protestants from James and his government; and ere this unfortunate monarch, by the advice of imprudent and insidious counsellors, had been brought to abdicate the crown of England, the whole protestant interest of Ireland had already ! associated against him.
Long before king James left England, the protestants in the north of Ireland were generally in arms, training and disciplining themselves to opnose by force the measures of his government.
This formidable armed force of the northern protestants had been gaining strength several months before the landing of William prince of Orange in Torbay; and they continued daily in an improving state of organization and regular warfare against the existing government of the country; for it must be recollected that James II. continued to be king of Ireland, notwithstanding his abdication of the throne of England; since by the constitution of Ireland, neither the people of England nor the parliament of England could dissolve or transfer the allegiance of the people of Ireland; which long had been, then was, and continued till the Union to be an independent kingdom. This singular epoch, therefore, cf the Irish history furnishes the most simple demonstration of the necessity of an incorporate union, and exposes the monstrous anomaly of several independent kingdoms under one sovereign.
Ireland now again exhibited a gloomy scene of oppression, dejection, insolence and despair ; of power exercised without decency, and injuries sustained without redress. That English interest, which princes and statesmen had laboured to establish in this country, was discouraged, depressed, and threatened with final extirpation.
The enterprise of the prince of Orange against England was yet a secret to James when Tyrconnel received intelligence of his design from Amsterdam, and conveyed it to the king, who received it with derision. The Irish catholics, conceiving them. selves subjects of king James, at first affected to despise the prince of Orange and his attempts; but they soon learned the rapidity of his successes in England, that king James was deserted by his subjects, and that the revolution every day gained new