While O’Cahan was in prison, commissioners sat in his mansion at Limavaddy, including the Primate Usher, Bishop Montgomery of Derry, and Sir John Davis. They decided that by the statute of 11 Elizabeth, which it was supposed had been cancelled by the king’s pardon, all his territory had been granted to the Earl of Tyrone, and forfeited by his flight. It was, therefore, confiscated. Although sundry royal and viceregal proclamations had assured the tenants that they would not be disturbed in their possessions, on account of the offences of their chiefs, it was now declared that all O’Cahan’s country belonged to the crown, and that neither he nor those who lived under him had any estate whatever in the lands. Certain portions of the territory were set apart for the Church, and handed over to Bishop Montgomery. ’Of all the fair territory which once was his, Donald Balagh had not now as much as would afford him a last resting-place near the sculptured tomb of Cooey-na-gall. O’Cahan got no sympathy, and he deserved none; for he might have foreseen that the Government to which he sold himself would cast him off as an outworn tool, when he could no longer subserve their wicked purposes.’ ’Thus were the O’Cahans dispossessed by the colonists of Derry, to whom their broad lands and teeming rivers were passed, mayhap for ever. Towards the close of the Cromwellian war in Ireland, the Duchess of Buckingham, passing through Limavaddy, visited its ancient castle, then sadly dilapidated, and, entering one of the apartments, saw an aged woman wrapped in a blanket, and crouching over a peat fire, which filled the room with reeking smoke. After gazing at this pitiful spectacle, the duchess asked the miserable individual her name; when the latter, rising and drawing herself up to her full height, replied, “I am the wife of the O’Cahan."’[Father Meehan dedicates his valuable work to the lord chancellor of Ireland, the Right Hon. Thomas O’Hagan,—the first Catholic chancellor since the Revolution. Descended from the O’Hagans, who were hereditary justiciaries and secretaries to the O’Neill, he is, by universal consent, one of the ablest and most accomplished judges that ever adorned the Irish Bench. His ancestors were involved in the fortunes of Tyrone. How strange that the representative of the judicial and literary clan of ancient Ulster should now be the head of the Irish magistracy!]
[Footnote 1: Meehan, p.317.]
THE PLANTATION OF ULSTER.
In the account which the lord deputy gave of the flight of Tyrone and Tyrconnel, he referred to the mistake that had been committed in making these men proprietary lords of so large a territory, ’without regard to the poor freeholders’ rights, or of his majesty’s service, or the commonwealths, that are so much interested in the honest liberty of that sort of men.’ And he considered it a providential circumstance that