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Ireland

Before plunging into the troubled torrent of the revolution of 1688, let us cast a glance back on the century, and consider the state of learning and religion during those three generations.

If we divide the Irish literature of this century by subjects, we shall find extant a respectable body, both in quantity and quality, of theology, history, law, politics, and poetry. If we divide it by the languages in which that literature was written, we may consider it as Latin, Gaelic, and English.

England was engaged in two great wars during the period of Flood's supremacy in the Irish Parliament - the seven years' war, concluded by the peace of Paris in 1763, and the American war, concluded by the treaty of Versailles, in 1783. To each of these wars Ireland was the second largest contributor both as to men and money; and by both she was the severest sufferer, in her manufactures, her provision trade, and her general prosperity.

During the five years in which Lord Hardwicke was Viceroy of Ireland, the habeas corpus remained suspended, and the Insurrection Act continued in force.

James the Sixth of Scotland was in his 37th year when he ascended the throne under the title of "James the First, King of Great Britain and Ireland." His accession naturally excited the most hopeful expectations of good government in the breasts of the Irish Catholics. He was son of Mary Queen of Scots, whom they looked upon as a martyr to her religion, and grandson of that gallant King James who styled himself "Defender of the Faith," and "Dominus Hiberniae" in introducing the first Jesuits to the Ulster Princes.

From the accession of King James till his final flight from Ireland, in July, 1690, there elapsed an interval of five years and five months; a period fraught with consequences of the highest interest to this history. The new King was, on his accession, in his fifty-second year; he had served, as Duke of York, with credit both by land and sea, was an avowed Catholic, and married to a Catholic princess, the beautiful and unfortunate Mary of Modena.

The revolt of the American colonies against the oppressive legislation of the British Parliament, was the next circumstance that deeply affected the constitutional struggle, in which the Irish Parliament had so long been engaged. The similarity in the grievances of Ireland and the colonies, the close ties of kindred established between them, the extent of colonial commerce involved in the result, contributed to give the American Declaration of Independence more importance in men's eyes at Dublin, than anywhere else out of the colonies, except, perhaps, London.

Charles, fourth Duke of Richmond, succeeded the Duke of Bedford, as Viceroy, in April, 1807, with Lord Manners as Lord Chancellor, John Foster, Chancellor of the Exchequer - for the separate exchequer of Ireland continued to exist till 1820 - and Sir Arthur Wellesley as Chief Secretary. Of these names, the two last were already familiar to their countrymen, in connection with the history of their own Parliament; but the new Chief Secretary had lately returned home covered with Indian laurels, and full of the promise of other honours and victories to come.

From the dissolution of James's only Irish Parliament in October, 1615, until the tenth of Charles I. - an interval of twenty years - the government of the country was again exclusively regulated by arbitrary proclamations and orders in Council. Chichester, after the unusually long term of eleven years, had leave to retire in 1816; he was succeeded by the Lord Grandison, who held the office of Lord Deputy for six years, and he, in turn, by Henry Carey, Viscount Falkland, who governed from 1622 till 1629 - seven years.

A few days after his arrival in France, James despatched a messenger to Tyrconnell, with instructions expressing great anxiety as to the state of affairs in Ireland. "I am sure," wrote the fugitive monarch, "you will hold out to the utmost of your power, and I hope this king will so press the Hollanders, that the Prince of Orange will not have men to spare to attack you." All the aid he could obtain from Louis at the moment was 7,000 or 8,000 muskets, which were sent accordingly.

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