Catholic Confederate Divisions

Margaret Anne Cusack
start of chapter | Chapter XXIX

The Confederates now began to be distinguished into two parties, as Nuncionists and Ormondists. Two sets of negotiations were carried on, openly with Ormonde, and secretly with Glamorgan. The Nuncio, from the first, apprehended the treachery of Charles, and events proved the correctness of his forebodings. Glamorgan produced his credentials, dated April 30th, 1645, in which the King promised to ratify whatever terms he might make; and he further promised, that the Irish soldiers, whose assistance he demanded, should be brought back to their own shores, if these arrangements were not complied with by his master. Meanwhile a copy of this secret treaty was discovered on the Archbishop of Tuam, who had been killed at Sligo. It was used as an accusation against the King. Glamorgan was arrested in Dublin, and the whole scheme was defeated.

The General Assembly met in Kilkenny, in January, 1646, and demanded the release of Glamorgan. He was bailed out; but the King disowned the commission, as Rinuccini had expected, and proved himself thereby equally a traitor to his Catholic and Protestant subjects. Ormonde took care to foment the division between the Confederate party, and succeeded so well that a middle party was formed, who signed a treaty consisting of thirty articles. This document only provided for the religious part of the question, that Roman Catholics should not be bound to take the oath of supremacy. An Act of oblivion was passed, and the Catholics were to continue to hold their possessions until a settlement could be made by Act of Parliament. Even in a political point of view, this treaty was a failure; and one should have thought that Irish chieftains and Anglo-Irish nobles had known enough of Acts of Parliament to have prevented them from confiding their hopes to such an uncertain future.

The division of the command in the Confederate army had been productive of most disastrous consequences. The rivalry between O'Neill, Preston, and Owen Roe, increased the complication; but the Nuncio managed to reconcile the two O'Neills, and active preparations were made by Owen Roe for his famous northern campaign. The Irish troops intended for Charles had remained in their own country; the unfortunate monarch had committed his last fatal error by confiding himself to his Scotch subjects, who sold him to his own people for £400,000. Ormonde now refused to publish the treaty which had been just concluded, or even to enforce its observance by Monroe, although the Confederates had given him £3,000 to get up an expedition for that purpose.