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Siege of Kilkenny.
203 Munster. In February next year they again took the field, and commenced the siege of Kilkenny, the garrison of which place, under the command of Sir Walter Butler, defended themselves with such bravery, though reduced by the plague to only 450 men, that the regicide general was about to retire from before it, when some secret advice from the mayor and citizens recommended Cromwell to persevere. He did so, and a surrender ensued upon honourable terms. After this Cromwell left the conduct of the war in Ireland, which had not succeeded to his expectations, to his generals, and he hastened to England to head the army against a threatened invasion by the Scots in favour of Charles II. IIe appointed Ireton his successor, who, after some successful efforts in Munster, died of the plague at Limerick on the 26th of November, 1651. Ormond finding that he could not oppose the power of the regicides in Ireland but by the help of the confederated catholics, he rather chose to give up the cause of his royal master altogether than employ their aid. Accordingly he surrendered his authority into the hands of the Earl of Clanricarde, whose loyalty and integrity were justly without suspicion. At this time all Ireland, except the province of Connaught, the county of Clare, the city of Limerick, and the town of Galway, was either in the actual possession or under the controul of the regicides. Connaught and Clare were, for the greater part, waste, and Clanri
The depopulation of Ireland.
carde, unable to support the troops which he commanded, threw himself into the town of Carrick, where," being encompassed," says Ludlow,
by our men on all sides, he submitted, and obtained liberty to transport himself with 8000 men to any foreign country in friendship with the commonwealth, within the space of three months." Clanricarde left Ireland in 1652, and within a twelvemonth afterwards Mortagh O'Bryen, the last of the Irish commanders, submitted to the parliament on the usual terms of transportation, by the favour of which 27,000 men had been that year sent away.
At the conclusion of this war of extermination, Ireland presented a melancholy and affecting picture of misery and wretchedness. The ravages of war had been heightened by their worst and most direful consequences, pestilence and famine. The country was little else than one vast desart. The cries of misery resounded from every quarter. Its flourishing population had been wasted by fire, by the sword, by want, by disease, and by transportation; and it was once the project of Cromwell to proceed in his sanguinary career till he had literally extirpated the natives from the face of their own country. But it was thought the plan had too much of undisguised horror and perfidy in it, and another was substituted, the villainy of which was a little masked. This was
called an act of grace. "The whole native population of Ireland," says Plowden, "that pro
The natives driven into Connaught and Clare. 205 fessed the religion of their ancestors, were driven in herds into Connaught and Clare, then a desolated waste, and a proclamation was published, that if, after the 1st of March, 1654, any Irish catholic, man, woman, or child, should be found in any other part of the kingdom, they might be killed by any person who should meet them, without charge or trial. Arbitrary allotments of these wasted lands were made, though some attention was pretended to be had to the proportion of the possessions of which individuals had been elsewhere divested; but the merciful donative was fettered with an insidious obligation of releasing and renouncing, for themselves and their representatives for ever, whatever estates and property they or their ancestors had possessed. Thus were these scanty wrecks of the native Irish made martyrs to royalty, and penned up like hunted beasts in the devastated wilds of Connaught, hardly exist. ing in the gregarious and promiscuous possession and cultivation of the soil, without the means of acquiring live or dead stock, and wanting even the necessary utensils of husbandry. This ty rannical appropriation of the soil of Connaught and Clare went to divest the possessors of their inheritances, as much as if their estates had been situated without the precincts of this proscription."
Detestable as this picture is, some of its shades have been darkened by time in the extraordinary sanction bestowed upon the cruel injustice which
206 Share which Ireland took in the Reformation. it exhibits by subsequent writers, historians, and
Cromwell assumed the protectorate in 1654, and Ludlow had the command in Ireland, between which period and the death of the usurper every species of tyranny and oppression was exercised upon the inhabitants of that devoted country. The only gleam of sunshine that illumines the dark and gloomy atmosphere of this period shone forth from the benevolence of the usurper's son Henry, who possessed the government for nearly four years, partly during the life of his father, and partly during that of his brother Richard. So pure was his administration of justice that when he departed for England he had not money enough to pay the expences of his journey. The death of the protector and the restoration of Charles shortly afterwards created a new era in the history of this country.
When the British empire had become sick of of civil wars and satiated with democracy, the first wish and project that actuated men's minds was to restore their legitimate sovereign. How that restoration was brought about belongs more properly to a history of England than of Ireland; but it may be observed, that when, from the progress of affairs in the former country and in Scotland, it became evident that such a design was entertained, Lord Broghill, president of Munster, and Sir Charles Coote, president of Connaught, both listened to the overtures of General Monk,
Ingratitude of Charles II.
207 and not only promised their assistance to him, but wrote to the king himself, who was then at Bruxelles, and reiterated their assurance of assisting in his restoration. Coote seized upon the castle of Dublin, but both he and Broghill did not make any very decisive efforts in the royal cause until they saw what was likely to be the issue of the undertaking in England. It may be supposed that the native Irish, (those who were cooped up in the province of Connaught and in the county of Clare,) who had fought so long, though so unsuccessfully, in behalf of the unfor tunate Charles, would hail with sincere congratu latrons the return of his son to the throne of his inheritance; and it may also be supposed that these suffering loyalists would experience largely the grateful benevolence of the restored monarch. It might have been expected that Charles would have recalled the banished catholics and loyal protestants from the waste and desart fields of Clare and Connaught, and returned to them their paternal possessions, of which they had been robbed and despoiled by Cromwell because they remained faithful to the cause of his family. He might have done this, even admitting the fallacious arguments of the late Earl of Clare in the following sentences from his speech recommending the Union, and which was delivered in the Irish house of peers on the 10th of February, 1800. "After a fierce and bloody contest for