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ceased soliciting the king till he agreed to break it: nor would they consent to any proposal for augmenting the standing army to five thousand men; a number which the king deemed necessary for retaining Ireland in obedience.
Charles, thinking it dangerous that eight thousand men accustomed to idleness, and trained to the use of arms, should be dispersed among a nation so turbulent and unsettled, agreed with the Spanish ambassador to have them transported into Flanders, and enlisted in his master's service. The English commons, pretending apprehensions, lest regular bodies of troops, disciplined in the-Low Countries, should prove still more dangerous, showed some aversion to this expedient; and the king reduced his allowance to four thousand men. But when the Spaniards had hired ships for transporting these troops, and the men were ready to embark, the commons, willing to show their power, and not displeased with an opportunity of curbing and affronting the king, prohibited every one from furnishing vessels for that service. And thus the project formed by Charles, of freeing the country from these men, was unfortunately disappointed.
The old Irish remarked all these false steps of the English and resolved to take advantage of them. Though their animosity against that nation, for want of an occasion to exert itself, seemed to be extinguished, it was only composed into a temporary and deceitful tranquillity.t Their interests, both with regard to property and religion, secretly stimulated them to a revolt
. No individual of any sept, according to the an cient customs, had the property of any particular estate ; but as the whole sept had a title to a whole territory, they igno. rantly preferred this barbarous community before the more secure and narrower possessions assigned them by the Eng. lish. An indulgence, amounting almost to a toleration, had been given to the Catholic religion : but so long as the churches and the ecclesiastical revenues were kept from the priests, and they were obliged to endure the neighborhood of profane heretics, being themselves discontented, they continually endeavored to retard any cordial reconciliation between the English and the Irish nations.
There was a gentleman called Roger More, who, though of
* Clarendon, vol. i. p. 281. Rush. vol. y. p. 381. Dugdale, p. 75 May, book ü. p. 3.
+ Temple, p. 14.
a narrow fortune, was descended from an ancient Irish fainily, and was much celebrated among his countrymen for valor and capacity. This man first formed the project of expelling the English, and asserting the independency of his native country.* He secretly went from chieftain to chieftain, and roused up every latent principle of discontent. He maintained a close correspondence with Lord Maguire and Sir Phelim O'Neale, the most powerful of the old Irish. By conversation by letters, by his emissaries, he represented to his country men the motives of a revolt. He observed to them, that, by the rebellion of the Scots, and factions of the English, the king's authority in Britain was reduced to so low a condition, that he never could exert himself with any vigor in maintaining the English dominion over Ireland : that the Catholics in the Irish house of commons, assisted by the Protestants, had so diminished the royal prerogative and the power of the lieutenant, as would much facilitate the conducting to its desired effect any conspiracy or combination which could be formed that the Scots, having so successfully thrown off dependence on the crown of England, and assumed the government into their own hands, had set an example to the Irish, who had so much greater oppressions to complain of: that the English planters, who had expelled them their possessions, suppressed their religion, and bereaved them of their liberties, were but a handful in comparison of the natives : that they "lived in the most supine security, interspersed with their numerous enemies, trusting to the protection of a small army, which was itself scattered in inconsiderable divisions throughout the whole kingdom : that a great body of men, disciplined by the government, were now thrown loose, and were ready for any daring or desperate enterprise : that though the Catholics had hitherto enjoyed, in some tolerable measure, the exercise of their religion, from the moderation of their indulgent prince, they must henceforth expect that the government will be conducted by other maxims and other principles : that the Puritanical parliament, having at length subdued their sovereign, would no doubt, as soon as they had consolidated their authority, extend their ambitious enterprises to Ireland, and make the Catholics in that kingdom feel the same furious persecution to which their brethren in England were at present exposed: and that a revolt in the Irish, tending only to
* Nalson, vol. iii. p. 543.
vindicate their native liberty against the violence of foreign invaders, could never at any time be deemed rebellion; much less during the present confusions, when their prince was in a manner a prisoner, and obedience must be paid, not to him, but to those who had traitorously usurped his lawful authority.
By these considerations, More engaged all the heads of the native Irish into the conspiracy. The English of the pale, as they were called, or the old English planters, being all Catholics, it was hoped would afterwards join the party which restored their religion to its ancient splendor and authority. The intention was, that Sir Phelim O'Neale and the other conspirators should begin an insurrection on one day throughout the provinces, and should attack all the English settlemènts; and that, on the same day, Lord Maguire and Roger More should surprise the Castle of Dublin. The commencement of the revolt was fixed on the approach of winter, that there might be more difficulty in transporting forces from England. Succors to themselves and supplies of arms they expected from France, in consequence of a promise made them by Cardinal Richelieu." And many Irish officers, who served in the Spanish troops, had engaged to join them, as soon as they saw an insurrection entered upon by their Catholic, brethren. News, which every day arrived from England, of the fury expressed by the commons against all Papists, struck fresh terror into the Irish nation, and both stimulated the conspirators to execute their fatal purpose, and gave them assured hopes of the concurrence of all their countrymen.
Such propensity to a revolt was discovered in all the Irish, that it was deemed unnecessary, as it was dangerous, to intrust the secret to many hands; and the appointed day drew nigh, nor had any discovery been yet made to the government. The king, indeed, had received information from his ambassadors, that something was in agitation among the Irish in foreign parts; but though he gave warning to the administration in Ireland, the intelligence was entirely neglected. Secret rumors likewise were heard of some approaching conspiracy; but no attention was paid to them. The earl of Leicester,
* Temple, p. 72, 73, 78. Dugdale, p. 73,
Dugdale, p. 74.
whom the king had appointed lieutenant, remained in Londor.. The two justices, Sir William Parsons and Sir John Borlace, were men of small abilities; and, by an inconvenience com. mon to all factious times, owed their advancement to nothing but their zeal for the party by whom every thing was now governed. Tranquil from their ignorance and inexperience, these men indulged themselves in the most profound repose, on the very brink of destruction.
But they were awakened from their security on the very day before that which was appointed for the commencement of hostilities. The Castle of Dublin, by which the capital was commanded, contained arms for ten thousand men, with thirty-five pieces of cannon, and a proportionable quantity of ammunition; yet was this important place guarded, and that too without any care, by no greater force than fifty men. Maguire and More were already in town with a numerous band of their partisans; others were expected that night; and next morning they were to enter upon what they esteemed the easiest of all enterprises, the surprisal of the castle. O'Conolly, an Irishman, but a Protestant, betrayed the conspiracy to Parsons. The justices and council fled immediately for safety into the castle, and reënforced the guards. The alarm was conveyed to the city, and all the Protestants prepared for defence. More escaped ; Maguire was taken ; and Mahone, one of the conspirators, being likewise seized, first discovered to the justices the project of a general insurrection, and redoubled the apprehensions which already were universally diffused throughout Dublin.t
But though O'Conolly's discovery saved the castle from a surprise, the confession extorted from Mahone came too late to prevent the intended insurrection. O'Neale and his confederates had already taken arms in Ulster. The Irish, every where intermingled with the English, needed but a hint from their leaders and priests to begin hostilities against a people whom they hated on account of their religion, and envied for their riches and prosperity. I The houses, cattle, goods, of the unwary English were first seized. Those who heard of the commotions in their neighborhood, instead of deserting their habitations, and assembling for mutual protection,
* Rush, vol. v. p. 399. Nalson, vol. ii. p. 520. May, look ü. p. 6, + Temple, p. 17, 18, 19, 20. Rush. vol. V. p. 400. * Temple, p. 39, 40, 79.
remained at home in hopes of defending their property, and fell thus separately into the hands of their enemies.* pacity had fully exerted itself, cruelty, and the most barbarous that ever in any nation was known or heard of, began its operations. A universal massacre commenced of the English, now defenceless, and passively resigned to their inhuman foes. No age, no sex, no condition was spared. The wife weeping for her butchered husband, and embracing her helpless children, was pierced with them, and perished by the same stroke. The old, the young, the vigorous, the infirm, underwent a like fate, and were confounded in one common ruin. In vain did fight save from the first assault : destruc. tion was every where let loose, and met the hunted victims at every turn. In vain was recourse had to relations, to companions, to friends: all connections were dissolved, and death was dealt by that hand from which protection was implored and expected. Without provocation, without opposition, the astonished English, living in profound peace and full security, were massacred by their nearest neighbors, with whom they had long upheld a continued intercourse of kindness and good offices. I
But death was the lightest punishment inflicted by those rebels. . All the tortures which wanton cruelty could devise, all the lingering pains of body, the anguish of mind, the agonies of despair, could not satiate revenge excited without injury, and cruelty derived from no cause. To enter into particulars would shock the least delicate humanity. Such enormities, though attested by undoubted evidence, appear almost incredible. Depraved nature, even perverted religion, encouraged by the utmost license, reach not to such a pitch of ferocity, unless the pity inherent in human breasts be destroyed by that contagion of example which transports men beyond all the usual motives of conduct and behavior.
The weaker sex themselves, naturally tender to their own sufferings, and compassionate to those of others, here emulated their more robust companions in the practice of every cruelty. Even children, taught by the example and encouraged by the exhortation of their parents, essayed their feeble blows on the dead carcasses or defenceless children of the English.|| The very avarice of the Irish was not a sufficient restraint to their
* Temple, p. 42. + Temple, p. 40. * Temple, p. 39, 40 § Temple, p. 96, 101. Rush. vol. v. p. 415. V Temple, p. 100