THE REBELLION OF 1641.
The Rebellion of 1641—generally called a ’massacre’—was undoubtedly a struggle on the part of the exiled nobles and clergy and the evicted peasants to get possession of their estates and farms, which had been occupied by the British settlers for nearly a generation. They might probably have continued to occupy them in peace, but for the fanaticism of the lords justices, Sir John Parsons and Sir John Borlace. It was reported and believed that, at a public entertainment in Dublin, Parsons declared that in twelve months no more Catholics should be seen in that country. The English Puritans and Scottish Covenanters were determined never to lay down their arms till they had made an end of Popery. Pym, the celebrated Puritan leader, avowed that the policy of his party was not to leave a priest alive in the land. Meantime, the Irish chiefs were busy intriguing at Rome, Madrid, Paris, and other continental capitals, clamouring for an invasion of Ireland, to restore monarchy and Catholicity—to expel the English planters from the forfeited lands. Philip III. of Spain encouraged these aspirations. He had an Irish legion under the command of Henry O’Neill, son of the fugitive Earl of Tyrone. It was reported that, in 1630 there were in the service of the Archduchess, in the Spanish Netherlands alone, 100 Irish officers able to command companies, and 20 fit to be colonels. There were many others at Lisbon, Florence, Milan, and Naples. They had in readiness 5,000 or 6,000 stand of arms laid up at Antwerp, bought out of the deduction of their monthly pay. The banished ecclesiastics formed at every court a most efficient diplomatic corps, the chief of these intriguers being the celebrated Luke Wadding. Religious wars were popular in those times, and the invasion of Ireland would be like a crusade against heresy. But with the Irish chiefs the ruling passion was to get possession of their homes and their lands. The most active spirit among these was Roger, or Rory O’Moore, a man of high character, great ability, handsome person, and fascinating manners. With him were associated Conor Maguire, Costelloe M’Mahon, and Thorlough O’Neill, Sir Phelim O’Neill, Sir Con Magennis, Colonel Hugh M’Mahon, and the Rev. Dr. Heber M’Mahon. O’Moore visited the country, went through the several provinces, and, by communicating with the chiefs personally, organised the conspiracy to expel the British and recover the kingdom for Charles II. and the Pope.