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The Court of Claims.
as an indemnity for the forfeitures thus relinquished by Charles II."
The Court of Claims here mentioned was first proposed and afterwards modelled' by Ormond, who appointed the first members of it, whose corrupt and venal conduct was so notorious, that he was compelled to dismiss them, and substitute others in their stead of somewhat greater respectability. This system, which was avowedly designed to favour the protestant intruders and to oppress the suffering catholics, could not fail to meet with great opposition. But such was the ascendancy acquired by Ormond over the mind of Charles that whatever he proposed was adopted, and whatever he approved of was persevered in. Notwithstanding, therefore, the unpopularity of the measure, he was appointed lord-lieutenant for the purpose of carrying it through, and the Irish parliament voted him the sum of 30,000l. as a reward for his services. The commissioners, who were appointed to execute these acts of settlement, were not much regulated in their decisions by any maxims of justice or humanity. The innocency and the nocency of the claimants was still made a matter of examination, and both the one and the other were determined in the most arbitrary manner, They who had not taken up arms, but who merely resided in a district occupied by the insurgents, were judged nocent, and they who had been compelled to take up arms by Cromwell and his adherents under the penalty of immediate death
214 The catholics broken down by persecution. were considered in the same light, while those who had voluntarily fought as rebellious regicides. against the royal authority, were confirmed in the possessions given to them as the reward of their disloyalty by the usurper. Such was the equity of the proceedings of these commissioners. The time limited for holding this court was a twelvemonth, and of those twelve months only six werę actually occupied in listening to claimants, At the expiration of that time they broke up, having decided upon only 600 out of 4000 claims, leaving the remaining number exposed to all the severities that could have been inflicted on them had they been bona fide found nocent. "They were left," says Carte, "to be ruined merely for the want of that common justice of being heard, which is by all nations allowed to the worst of malefactors."
When a law in itself iniquitous was further aggravated by a most iniquitous execution of it, what could be expected but a general hatred and detestation of its authors and abettors? Ormond, however, was resolved to secure a true protestant English interest at whatever expence it might be obtained, and he took care that the council, the parliament, the army, the magistracy, and the bench, should be composed of persons devoted to the accomplishment of this project. The catholics, broken down. and dispirited, submitted to their rigorous destiny; not, indeed, without complaint, for their sufferings were too great, but
Death of Charles.
without any attempt to redress their grievances by force of arms. They were the victims of unceasing persecution during the whole of the reign of Charles II. The old farce of plots and conspiracies was resorted to, and under its mask dreadful enormities were committed. Carte allows that there were too many protestants in Ireland (1680) who wanted another rebellion, that they might increase their estates by new forfeitures. One melancholy consequence of these vile practices, of these hired perjuries, was the trial and execution of Plunkett, the Roman catholic archbishop of Armagh, to whose worth even Burnet bears testimony. In 1681 Ormond was succeeded in his government by Lord Roberts, and atterwards by the Earl of Essex. It may be mentioned, that it was during Ormond's administration of the government that the hateful and oppressive hearth-tax was first imposed. Nothing else very memorable occurred during the reign of Charles II. who died on the 6th of February, 1685, and we hasten therefore to the more important and momentous though brief reign of his
Accession of Jameş II.
Accession of James II.-Hopes of the catholics and alarm of the protestants-James visits Ireland-Reccived with enthusiasm by his catholic subjects there Battle of the Boyne-Flight of James to France-King William returns to England-Taking of Athlone and GalwayThe Earl of Marlborough takes Cork and Kinsale-Siege of Limerick-Articles of Limerick -Reflections-the Irish character delineated.
may naturally be supposed, that the catholics of Ireland would look with a degree of confidence and expectation to the succession of a popish prince to the throne of England. What they had hitherto endeavoured to obtain by supplication as matter of indulgence, or by force as matter of right, they now hoped to receive as a spontaneous gift emanating from the pious and and orthodox faith of their sovereign. They looked with anxious solicitude to the first measures of his government, and they found in them the operation of principles which raised them from despondency to hope. They knew he was a catholic, and the doctrines of their religion taught them how to discover his motives rather in his faith than in his actions. Almost the first thing
Lord Clarendon appointed lord-lieutenant. 217 he did was to remove Ormond from the government of Ireland, and to place it in the hands of of Boyle, the lord primate and chancellor, and the Earl of Granard, appointing them lords justices. Boyle was a protestant, but a high churchman, with such zealous fervour that he was generally thought to have at least as much popery as protestantism in his character; but the disturbed state of the country was such that these noblemen soon grew heartily tired of their new dignities, and solicited to be recalled, which, after some hesitation, was done by James, who appointed as their successor the Earl of Clarendon, whose sister the king had married. He, however, was too firm a protestant to promote all the views of his master in the country which he governed. James's intentions evidently were to occupy all the great offices in Ireland with catholics. Instructions to this effect were given to the Earl of Clarendon, and though they were contrary to the act of Elizabeth, which expressly declares, that all civil and temporal officers, as well as ecclesiastical, should take the oath of supremacy, yet that nobleman undertook to carry the king's wishes into effect. The consequence immediately was, that catholic judges, magistrates, and sheriffs were nominated, and the army was commanded by catholic officers. The Earl of Tyrconnel, a catholic nobleman, was appointed cominander in chief of the army, with a power which made him independent of the lord-lieutenant,