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Mission of Rinuccini as Papal Nuncio.


by the preference of French to Spanish interests, which so long characterised their order. The regulars were still more unwilling than the older bishops to restore the splendour of the Catholic ceremonies; and it was long before the nuncio could introduce the custom of bringing the consecrated elements in procession from the churches to the beds of the sick; for even the common people preferred the ease and privacy of the spiritual consolations to which they were accustomed. The nation, he complains, is the idlest and most careless in Europe, partly from the coldness of the climate, and partly from its long subjection to England: whence it comes that being accustomed to content themselves with a mass celebrated in their cabins, and to live on what the soil produces without labour or exertion, they have imbibed a coldness of spirit, and accommodated themselves contentedly to the conditions of the time.' Nevertheless the great majority of the clergy were on the side of religion and war, and for the present the delegated majesty of Rome overawed the dissatisfied portion of their body.


One further source of dissension remained in the reciprocal jealousy of the four provinces, and the determination of each to serve only under its own independent commander. In Connaught Thomas Bourke had been appointed to act as lieutenant-general, in the hope that the head of his name, Clanricarde, would soon consent to assume the command. The earl had recently combined his forces with an expedition sent by Ormond to drive the Scotch out of the west, and although he still held himself apart from the confederates, he was virtually the head of the Catholic army of the province. In Munster the Earl of Castlehaven commanded for the council, but cultivated the most friendly relations with Ormond, whose brother, Richard Butler, a Catholic, and a member of the assembly, had married his sister. An experienced officer and a gallant soldier, he had done good service to the cause of the confederates, though the siege of Youghal* had lately miscarried from the jealousy which had arisen between himself and the general of Leinster, Thomas Preston, brother to Lord Gormanston, the most powerful of the nobility of the Pale. After thirty

The Archbishop of Fermo may be pardoned for writing the name of this town Jochel, but in general he displays a true Roman contempt for tramontane orthography, which sometimes makes it difficult to understand him. Minteros, for instance, is his equivalent for Montrose, and Plemusk is substituted for Plymouth. The familiar patronymic of Jones appears in the disguise of Gioun, a name which suggests thoughts rather of a courtier of Haroun Al Raschid, than of an officer of Cromwell. The apology of his editor, who very properly abstains from correcting his errors, is amusingly untranslateable. Sapendo bene gli esperti, che nelle vecchie scritture anche di dottissimi uomini, è raro che non ti occorrano storpiature nei nomi forestieri, dei quali anzi si compiacevano talvolta addolcir l'asprezza italianizzandoli.'

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years' service under the Spanish government, Preston had been invited to Ireland early in the war to assume the command, to which his experience and connexions so strongly recommended him. The result was not fortunate. In 1642 he had been defeated under circumstances little creditable to his skill by Ormond at Kilrush, and the loss of the battle of Trim at a later period than that of which we are speaking inflicted a heavy blow on the Catholic cause. He seems to have had an indecisive character, and he was alternately swayed by his inclination to Ormond, combined with the loyalty natural to an old family of the Pale, and by the reverence for the clergy and for Rome, which he had perhaps learned in the service of Spain. The motive which could most safely be calculated upon as influencing his actions was jealousy against his abler rival, the general of the Irish of Ulster.

The celebrated Owen O'Nial had, like Preston, learned the art of war in the service of Spain and Austria. On his arrival from Flanders, in 1642, he had easily superseded his kinsman, Sir Phelim O'Nial, in the command of the Irish of the north, and he was never afterwards shaken in his power. It was to him that the discontinuance of the more barbarous cruelties of the earlier insurrection was chiefly owing; but the nature of his forces made him a formidable and unwelcome guest, when he lay near Kilkenny to intimidate the opponents of the nuncio in the council, or when he sought to extend his quarters in Leinster, where he had influence through a marriage connexion with the family of Fitzgerald. His wild army of creaghts and wood-kerns had the strength and weakness of half-disciplined savages. They would serve without pay, and live on the most meagre food; but when opportunity offered they compensated themselves with plunder, and dispersed, like the Scotch Highlanders, after a victory to enjoy the spoils in their homes. Their commander, the most skilful officer then engaged in Ireland, had at the same time the art of securing the affection of his rude followers. He preferred attaining his object by manoeuvres to fighting, and he is called by Rinuccini the Fabius of Ireland: perhaps a modern writer might add that he possessed something of Souvaroff's genius for command. The general of Ulster was the right arm of the party of the clergy, but his own first object was the restitution of the forfeited lands in the north. Though not the lineal heir of Tyrone, his followers looked upon him as the true representative of the chief family of the O'Ñials; nor was their enthusiasm ever raised to a higher pitch than when the sword of the banished Earl of Tyrone was sent to him from Rome with the blessing of the pope.

The nuncio had no hesitation as to the object which he was to pursue; he determined to prevent the peace or to break it by

Mission of Rinuccini as Papal Nuncio.


every method of power or influence which he could derive from his temporal or spiritual resources. He saw, as he afterwards declared, that in the solemnity of his first entrance into Kilkenny, the applause of the old Irish was given to the minister of God, of the old English to the treasurer of a prince. He wished to give the whole of the supplies which he brought with him to the army of O'Nial, and when he was compelled by the general feeling of the council to allot a share to Preston, he was urgent that the commanders should unite their forces and proceed at once to the siege of Dublin. He argued that it would be easy, when the Protestants* were disposed of, to drive the Puritans out of Ireland with their concentrated forces, and that then, under a Catholic viceroy, the Irish might send supplies which would turn the scale of war in England and Scotland in favour of the king. With Glamorgan, who presented him with autograph letters from the king to himself and to the pope, which evidently were intended to lead to a hope of the royal conversion, the nuncio, justly appreciating their sincerity, used such arguments of spiritual persuasion, and offered such hopes of advantage of the cause of the king, that that feeble diplomatist was from this time but half in earnest in the advancement of the secret treaty. One of the main arguments used against the peace with Ormond, was a negotiation which Sir Kenelm Digby was carrying on at Rome on behalf of the Queen of England. The nuncio urged upon the council the necessity of waiting for the terms to which the pope himself should have consented, and the impropriety of concluding a treaty which might be found incompatible with the decision of the head of the church. The majority of the confederates however were well aware of the futility of negotiations conducted by a secret agent of a queenconsort, herself unauthorised to treat, and some of them even suspected that the very existence of the negotiation was a fiction invented by Rinuccini. The correspondence now published shows that on this, as well as on other occasions, the nuncio was unjustly suspected of disobedience, and that the court of Rome received credit for liberality, which it in no way deserved. The treaty was actually drawn up, and it is constantly spoken of in the despatches from Rome.

At the commencement of the year 1646, the arguments against the peace received an unexpected accession of strength. Lord Digby, or Digby Eretico, as Rinuccini politely calls him, in distinction from Digby Cattolico, the queen's agent at Rome, having become acquainted with Glamorgan's treaty in consequence of the

* The name of Protestants was then exclusively applied in Ireland to the members of the Anglican church.

acquisition by the parliament of the papers found on the Archbishop of Tuam, accused him, with real or professed indignation, of high treason to the king, and persuaded Ormond to arrest him on occasion of a visit which he paid to Dublin. When it is considered that Charles about the same time found it necessary to disavow Glamorgan, that that nobleman was in possession of abundant powers in the handwriting of the king, and that he showed no alarm or embarrassment when arrested, it is impossible to doubt that the whole transaction was meant as a blind to the English Protestants. To complete the proof of collusion, Glamorgan was, a few days afterwards, liberated on bail, and allowed to return to the Catholic head-quarters at Kilkenny.* The leaders of the peace party were, no doubt, informed of the true circumstances of the case, and pursued their course with so little change of purpose, that on Lady-day a treaty with Ormond was signed, containing no provisions for the maintenance of the Catholic church; it being understood that Glamorgan's secret treaty supplied all the ecclesiastical securities which were necessary. As a concession to the nuncio, who still urged the disrespect which they were committing towards the apostolic see, it was agreed that the treaty with Ormond should not be published till the first of May, to allow additional time for the arrival of the promised treaty from Rome. The council was not aware that the nuncio had already, in February, induced a secret conclave of bishops to sign a protest against the treaty, which was to be kept in reserve, and afterwards used as occasion might require. It is unfairly urged against him by Clarendon, that he consented to the powers given to the Catholic commissioners to treat with Ormond; it seems, on the contrary, that he steadily opposed a peace, except on the terms that all the concessions he required, including the appointment of a Catholic viceroy, should be granted; or otherwise that Ormond should lay down his office, and make terms individually with the council, as a simple peer of the realm.

For the present the nuncio seems to have thought it useless to attempt more than a postponement of the publication of the treaty. He now turned his mind to the prosecution of the main war with the Parliament, and divided his money and arms between O'Nial, who undertook to act against the Scotch in the west of Ulster, while Ormond pressed them on the east, and Preston, who, in the absence of an enemy in his own province, consented to serve under Clanricarde in Connaught. Rinuccini himself joined the army under Lord Muskerry, the president of the council, a loyal sub

*The whole account of Glamorgan's transactions will be found in Leland's History of Ireland, or, with the additional advantage of dates, in Lingard's History of England, vol. x.

Mission of Rinuccini as Papal Nuncio.


ject and an adherent of Ormond's, though the head of an old Irish family, who was now besieging the castle of Burnatty on the Shannon, which had recently been given up to the Parliament by its owner, the Earl of Thomond, head of the O'Briens of Munster. The fortress was not taken till the middle of July, and the nuncio contrived further to delay the publication of the treaty till the 1st of August.

The present was the crisis of the cause of Ireland, and the conduct of Rinuccini determined its ruin. In the midst of the general satisfaction he retired from Kilkenny to Waterford, summoned a synod of the clergy, both secular and regular, and after a formal examination of the treaty clause by clause, declared with the consent of the bishops, and of every separate order except the Jesuits, who by their Provincial remained firm in their opposition, that the peace with Ormond was null, as containing no security for religion, and that all who had hitherto concurred in it, or should hereafter adhere to it, were ipso facto perjured and excommunicate. O'Nial hastened with his victorious army to Kilkenny to support the cause of religion; Preston, who had at first caused the peace to be proclaimed in his quarters with every demonstration of joy, allowed the influence of the nuncio and his own private enmity to Bellings to withdraw him from the cause of Ormond; the herald who proclaimed the peace in Waterford was insulted, his colleague at Limerick was slain; the lord-lieutenant himself, who came to Kilkenny by invitation of the council, was forced to fly with a scanty train to Dublin; and the Catholic congregation of the bishops assumed the government of Ireland under the presidency of the nuncio, and committed the members of the council who had chiefly promoted the peace to prison. In his memoir Rinuccini complains that they still defied his power, and when they received news of any disaster suffered by the congregation, drank to the losses of religion in great beakers of beerfacevano con bicchieroni di birra brindisi infausti alle perdite della religione.'

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In his memoir to the pope, Rinuccini seems to insinuate that he was taken by surprise when the treaty was published, although it is clear that he had known for many months that it was signed, and notwithstanding that he confesses in a despatch written in June, that his schemes for delaying the peace are exhausted, and that he has not ingenuity to contrive means of opposing it any longer. An accurate examination of the despatches will afford some clue to his moderation during the spring, and his violent proceedings in August. After repeatedly promising the council to produce the treaty concluded at Rome by Kenelm Digby, and showing them the heads of a supposed protocol, on which he as



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