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clause in the Act of Settlement. The course of his long and eventful history bad measured the space in Irish history between the age of Elizabeth and Cromwell, and must have been fraught with chequered recollections. The series of wars and of revolutions in which he had played an important part had as thoroughly changed the Ireland of his youth as an earthquake changes the face of a landscape. His infancy had been nursed with tales of the state held by his chieftain fathers, when they dealt with the House of Tudor as equals, and awed the Pale with their Celtic armies. In boyhood he had seen the wave of conquest sweep over the Ireland of Norman and Celt, and overwhelm in its resistless course long-settled races, customs, and institutions. Instead of bringing with it the elements of a healthy national life and civilisation, he had seen in manhood how conquest in Ireland had led to a war of sect and race, and how the subjection of a nation to a colony had been the unhappy issue of the contest. And now, in his age, all around appeared the marks of the great Cromwellian struggle—the land torn by repeated confiscations, and knowing no more its ancient owners,—an old aristocracy laid in the dust, supplanted by an aristocracy of religion — the influences of Law and Government, unable to soothe the hatreds of civil warfare-and a future of evil omen opening on the vanquished people of Catholic Ireland. Though fortune, in her insolent play, had been profuse of her favours to him, we may well conceive what the old confederate must have felt when dwelling on these reminiscences.
The settlement in the reign of Charles II. secured the ascendancy of Protestant Ireland, and reduced her Catholic races to vassalage. This state of things lasted down to the time when James II. abandoning England, appealed to Catholic Ireland for aid, and set up his short-lived government in Dublin. How the grandsons of the former confederates obeyed too eagerly the second appeal which the House of Stuart had made to Irishmen; how the wild assembly at St. Mary's Abbey proscribed the lives and fortunes of the caste which had long been the mark of their hatred; how the whole polity and law of Ireland were overthrown by the knot of anarchists who then rose to momentary importance; how the island became again divided into two camps of furious enemies inflamed against each other by the fiercest passions ; how the strength of England was again put forth in aid of her struggling Protestant colony; how Catholic Ireland, backed by France, resisted this formidable league for a time, but at length was forced to give up the contest; and how, after a long series of deeds of civil and military oppression, the reign of Protestant ascendancy was re-established, and Catholic Ireland restored to bondage, bas been made familiar to this generation by the most brilliant of English historians, In this dark hour of Ireland's destiny, religious difference, as might have been expected, decided the fortunes of the O'Briens. Lord Thomond took the Protestant side; and his son served under Marlborough in the campaign which ended in the fall of Cork and Kinsale. Having been attainted by James's Parliament, they were soon restored to their honours and lands; and from this time forward the House of Thomond became settled on English soil, and flourished in a line of Hanoverian noblemen. The House of Inchiquin was also proscribed, and shared also in the triumph of the Revolution-the grandson of the first earl having been a distinguished soldier of William; and during the course of the eighteenth century, it remained a prop of Protestant ascendancy. The fate of the Clare O'Briens was different, and in our settled and tolerant age may well claim sympathy and interest. When James had joined with Catholic Ireland, in a contest equally ruinous to both, the grandson of the first Viscount Daniel made haste to pledge bis sword and fortune to the cause, as he thought, of loyalty and religion. He was sworn on the Catholic Privy Council, became James's governor of Munster, and having equipped the famous regiments which were soon to bear his name over Europe, he led them in person to the Boyne, where Clare's dragoons, as their foes admitted, for a moment changed the aspect of the contest, and nobly redeemed the national honour. At the close of the war, with his two sons, and the faithful band which shared bis fortunes, he followed his discrowned master to France; and an act of attainder and confiscation soon afterwards severed the only link which bound him to his unhappy country. His estates, which amounted to thirty thousand acres, were sold at the close of the seventeenth century; and yet so strong in Ireland are the ties of long hereditary and religious association, that they are still known to the Celtic peasantry 'as the territory of the Clare O'Briens.'
The life of Lord Clare in exile was short, but his two sons, Daniel and Charles, commanded the regiments called by his name, and died like soldiers on the field of battle. The Clare dragoons were honourably eminent among that celebrated band of warriors who, under the flag of the French monarchy, attested Irish valour and misfortune on many a day of triumph or disaster. At first composed, except in cavalry, of the raw levies of Celtic Kerne, who had risen at the call of their priests and landlords, to fly in ignominious rout at the Boyne, the Irish brigade became at length a formidable stay of the French army, and gathered in its ranks those ardent spirits whom the Penal Code in the last century would have doomed to a life of humiliation in Ireland. Without a country, except the camp, and inspired with hatred of the English name, the Irish exiles were the forlorn hope of many a desperate siege and encounter; and the exclamation of George II., 'A curse on the laws ' which deprive me of such subjects,' explains their history and points its moral. At Landen they headed the onset of Luxemburg; at Blenheim they checked the advance of Marlborough; they saved the honour of France at Cremona, and joined in the shout of triumph at Almanza; and the one great victory of the last century which France won from an English army, was gained by the men whom a policy of justice would perhaps have made good soldiers of England. Through the various fortunes of the Irish brigade, the heirs of Lord Clare succeeded to the command of the gallant regiments raised by their ancestor; and Charles O'Brien, the hero of Fontenoy, rose to high distinction in the French service. This nobleman was a nephew of the illustrious Berwick, and during the peaceful period of the Regency he visited England and was well received at the tolerant court of the House of Hanover. It is not improbable at this juncture, that, but for the harsh and iniquitous laws, which disabled a Roman Catholic from holding land, he would have become a British subject; for his cousin, Lord Thomond, being childless, was anxious to leave his estates to him; but the Penal Code prohibited the gift, and secured a formidable enemy to England. The Nemesis of persecution, at the appointed time, exacted a just but mournful retribution on the memorable day when the Clare dragoons pierced through the staggering column of grenadiers which had hitherto crushed its bravest adversaries. It is pleasing to think that the residue of the debt has long ago been redeemed by England; that the descendants of the victors and vanquished at Fontenoy have mingled their blood in a common cause on many a splendid field of fame, and that the Irish brigade of the present daythe feeble puppet of England's enemies — is as justly an object of general contempt as its prototype is of historical admiration.
The line of the Viscounts Clare terminated with the life of the son of Charles O'Brien. Meantime the Houses of the elder O'Briens, reposing upon their ancestral honours, gave no remarkable names to the state; and in our day their titles have been extinguished. The earldom of Thomond with the family estates, instead of passing to the heirs of Lord Clare, devolved on the son of Sir William Wyndham, as nephew of Henry the last Earl, who, as we have seen, had no issue. Through him, the lands, but without the honours, have become vested in Lord Leconfield, the present representative of the Earls of Egremont. The change from Irish to English ownership has probably, at least in this generation, been a blessing to these magnificent estates, Lord Leconfield being a model for landowners; and the Celtic peasantry on the O'Brien domains are perhaps more attached to their Saxon lord than they ever were to their ancient chieftains. As for the earldom of Inchiquin, at the opening of this century, it became merged in the Marquisate of Thomond; and this honour expired in 1855 upon the death of the last Marquis. Since then, the process of the Encumbered Estates Court has divided the Inchiquin Estates among a number of new proprietors; and Cork merchants and Clare shopkeepers, with not a few of the farmers upon it, are now the owners of Earl Morrogh's heritage. A peaceful confiscation has done what Cromwell and Ireton failed to accomplish, nor is it likely that these fertile lands will ever revert to the name of O'Brien.
But although the stem of the elder O'Briens has thus become decayed and extinct, a younger branch in the last century put forward one remarkable scion. From the son of Morrogh the tanist, Donogh, whose violent death we have already referred to, descended the Dromoland O'Briens; and the life of Sir Lucius O'Brien of Dromoland, requires a passing notice from us.
The career of this eminent man embraces a chequered period in Irish history. The sixty years which followed the Revolution, reduced Ireland to a state of abasement such as seldom has fallen to the lot of a nation. A series of fresh attainders and confiscations effaced any remaining distinction between the Norman and Celtic Catholics, and the sons of the Plunketts and the sons of the O'Neills were placed on an equal level of degradation. Then had come a cruel and fatal attempt to make that degradation perpetual, and to take an assurance from legalised wrong that Catholic Ireland should never emancipate herself. Against public faith and justice, and in spite of a strong opposition from England, the representatives of Protestant Ireland deprived three-fourths of the Irish people of the commonest rights of security and property. The faith of the Irish Catholics was proscribed and its celebration made highly penal. The learned professions were closed against them; they were interdicted the use of arms; and along the whole range of civil einployments they were shut out from the chance of admission. Even the right of acquiring lands was denied them; and a series of cruel and ingenious devices which split up Catholic property into fragments, and sowed the seeds of family disunion between Catholic parents and children,
precluded them from enjoying any lands which confiscation may have left to them. The results were such as generally arise when the natural laws of society are violated. Expelled like outlaws from their native land, the more energetic of the Irish Catholics became the inveterate enemies of England in every army upon the Continent, and their plots against the Protestant colony in Ireland were a source of perpetual fear and annoy
But the great mass of the Catholic nation, excluded formally from the state, exposed to the numerous social wrongs which are not perhaps the least galling result of the domination of race and sect, forbidden industry, deprived of property, and even debarred from hope itself, sate down in listless penury on the land which had once been their fathers' inheritance, to become a people of outcasts and slaves, the scorn, and yet the reproach of the empire.
The settlement of Ireland which followed the Revolution had been also injurious to the Protestant colony. Confiscation, indeed, had augmented their numbers; and in the middle of the eighteenth century it was supposed that nineteen-twentieths of the soil had become vested in a Protestant squirearchy. They had also by law the right of domineering over all that remained of the Catholic nation, and monopolised the local administration of the country with the social position attached to it. But the degradation and poverty of the people had not failed to react disastrously on themselves, and they formed a weak and embarrassed oligarchy, estranged from the nation that should have supported them, abandoned generally to the pursuits which characterise an irresponsible caste, and wanting the weight and independence which belong to a real and strong aristocracy.
The mother country, profiting by their weakness, kept them bound in the strictest colonial subjection, and made their legislative and commercial dependence the price of their right to tyranny in Ireland. The constitution of Protestant Ireland in the first half of the last century was only a decent name to conceal the nearly absolute government of England. The statutes and judgments made at Westminster controlled Ireland and the Irish tribunals; and the Privy Councils of Harley and Walpole initiated the legislation of the Irish Parliament. That body was merely a registry of the Castle, being composed of English officials and placemen, with the nominees of a few great landlords; and it was utterly impervious to popular influences since it lasted as long as the life of the sovereign. Add to this, that the Mutiny Acts were perpetual; that the power of the Irish Commons over the supplies was even in theory ill-defined, and was scarcely ever in fact exercised; that the judges in