At home, there were few words spoken after Zephaniah had gone out. Hannah had thrown her arms round her husband’s neck, and had said:
“I thank God for your words, Jabez. Now I am proud of you, as I have never been proud before, that you have boldly spoken out for liberty of conscience. I feel like one who has for many years been a slave, but who is, at last, free.”
Jabez kissed her, but was silent. To him, it had been a great trial to rebel. He knew that he was right, and would have done it again, if necessary; but it was a terrible thing to him to have openly withstood the father to whom he had, from childhood, rendered almost implicit obedience.
On his return, Zephaniah did not renew the subject; but from that time, there was a great change in the moral atmosphere of the house. Zephaniah was still master in all matters of daily work; but in other respects, Jabez had completely emancipated himself.
Chapter 6: Dundalk.
After the failure before Derry, the utmost confusion prevailed in the military councils, arising chiefly from the jealousies and conflicting authorities of the French and Irish commanders. James was entirely under the control of the French ambassador, who, together with all his countrymen in Ireland, affected to despise the Irish as a rude and uncivilized people; while the Irish, in turn, hated the French for their arrogance and insolence. Many of the Irish gentlemen, who had raised regiments at their private expense, were superseded to make room for Frenchmen, appointed by the influence of the French ambassador. These gentlemen returned home in disgust, and were soon followed by their men, who were equally discontented at being handed over to the command of foreigners, instead of their native leaders.
Every day, the breach widened between the French and Irish, and the discontent caused by the king’s exactions was wide and general; and if William, at this time, had offered favourable terms to the Catholics, it is probable that an arrangement could have been arrived at.
But William was busily at work, preparing an army for the conquest of the country. Had Ireland stood alone, it is probable that England would, at any rate for a time, have suffered it to go its own way; but its close alliance with France, and the fact that French influence was all powerful with James, rendered it impossible for England to submit to the establishment of what would be a foreign and hostile power, so close to her shores. Besides, if Ireland remained under the dominion of James, the power of William on the throne of England could never have been consolidated.
Although he had met with no resistance on his assumption of the throne, he had the hearty support of but a mere fraction of the English people, and his accession was the work of a few great Whig families, only. His rule was by no means popular, and his Dutch favourites were as much disliked, in England, as were James’ French adherents in Ireland.