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Ireland

The mention of the Scottish insurrection of 1745 brings naturally with it another reference to the history of the Irish soldiers in the military service of France. This year was in truth the most eventful in the annals of that celebrated legion, for while it was the year of Fontenoy and victory on the one hand, it was on the other the year of Culloden and defeat.

The days of Queen Elizabeth were now literally numbered. The death of Essex, the intrigues of the King of Scotland, and the successes of Tyrone, preyed upon her spirits. The Irish chief was seldom out of her mind, and, as she often predicted, she was not to live to receive his submission. She was accustomed to send for her godson, Harrington, who had served in Ireland, to ask him questions concerning Tyrone; the French ambassador considered Tyrone's war one of the causes that totally destroyed her peace of mind in her latter days.

Hope is dear to the heart of man, and of all her votaries none have been more constant than the Irish. Half a century of the Stuarts had not extinguished their blind partiality for the descendants of the old Scoto-Irish kings. The restoration of that royal house was, therefore, an event which penetrated to the remotest wilds of Connaught, lighting up with cheering expectation the most desolate hovels of the proscribed.

The Earl of Harrington, afterwards Duke of Devonshire, succeeded Lord Chesterfield in the government, in 1746. He was provided with a prime minister in the person of the new Archbishop of Armagh, Dr. George Stone, whose character, if he was not exceedingly calumniated by his cotemporaries, might be compared to that of the worst politicians of the worst ages of Europe. Originally, the son of the jailer of Winchester, he had risen by dint of talents, and audacity, to receive from the hands of his sovereign, the illustrious dignity of Primate of Ireland.

The plan of this brief compendium of Irish history obliges us to sketch for some years farther on, the political and religious annals of the Irish people. Having described in what manner their distinctive political nationality was at length lost, it only remains to show how their religious liberties were finally recovered.

During the greater part of the reign of Elizabeth, the means relied upon for the propagation of the reformed doctrines were more exclusively those of force and coercion than even in the time of Edward VI. Thus, when Sir William Drury was Deputy, in 1578, he bound several citizens of Kilkenny, under a penalty of 40 pounds each, to attend the English Church service, and authorized the Anglican Bishop "to make a rate for the repair of the Church, and to distrain for the payment of it" - the first mention of Church rates we remember to have met with.

For the third time, the aged Ormond, now arrived at the period usually allotted to the life of man, returned to Ireland, with the rank of Viceroy. During the ensuing seven years, he clung to power with all the tenacity of his youth, and all the policy of his prime; they were seven years of extraordinary sectarian panic and excitement - the years of the Cabal, the Popish plot, and the Exclusion Bill, in England - and of fanatical conspiracies and explosions almost as dangerous in Ireland.

George III., grandson of the late king, commenced, in October, 1760, at the age of two and twenty, the longest reign in British history. Including the period of the regency, he reigned over his empire nearly sixty years - an extraordinary term of royal power, and quite as extraordinary for its events as for its extreme length.

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