Peace Treaty

Margaret Anne Cusack
start of chapter | Chapter XXIX. concluded

An engagement took place in November between Inchiquin and Lord Taaffe, in which the Confederates were again beaten and cruelly massacred. Thus two of their generals had lost both their men and their prestige, and O'Neill alone remained as the prop of a falling cause. The Irish now looked for help from foreign sources, and despatched Plunket and French to Rome, and Muskerry and Browne to France; but Ormonde had already commenced negotiations on his own account, and he alone was accredited at the court of St. Germains. Even at this moment Inchiquin had been treating with the Supreme Council for a truce; but Rinuccini, who detested his duplicity, could never be induced to listen to his proposals. A man who had so mercilessly massacred his own countrymen, could scarcely be trusted by them on so sudden a conversion to their cause; but, unhappily, there were individuals who, in the uncertain state of public affairs, were anxious to steer their barks free of the thousand breakers ahead, and in their eagerness forgot that, when the whole coast-line was deluged with storms,, their best chance of escape was the bold resolution of true moral courage. The cautious politicians, therefore, made a treaty with Inchiquin, which was signed at Dungarvan, on the 20th of May. On the 27th of that month the Nuncio promulgated a sentence of excommunication against all cities and villages where it should be received, and, at the same time, he withdrew to the camp of Owen Roe O'Neill, against whom Inchiquin and Preston were prepared to march. It was a last and desperate resource, and, as might be expected, it failed signally of its intended effects. Various attempts to obtain a settlement of the question at issue by force of arms, were made by the contending parties; but O'Neill baffled his enemies, and the Nuncio withdrew to Galway.

Ormonde arrived in Ireland soon after, and was received at Cork, on the 27th of September, 1648, by Inchiquin. He then proceeded to Kilkenny, where he was received in great state by the Confederates. On the 17th of January, 1649, he signed a treaty of peace, which concluded the seven years' war. This treaty afforded the most ample indulgences to the Catholics, and guaranteed fairly that civil and religious liberty for which alone they had contended; but the ink upon the deed was scarcely dry, ere the execution of Charles I., on the 30th of January, washed out its enactments in royal blood; and civil war, with more than ordinary complications, was added to the many miseries of our unfortunate country.

Rinuccini embarked in the San Pietro once more, and returned to Italy, February 23, 1649. Had his counsels been followed, the result might have justified him, even in his severest measures; as it is, we read only failure in his career; but it should be remembered, that there are circumstances under which failure is more noble than success.

Thomas Flemyng's Tomb, Collegiate Church, Youghal

Thomas Flemyng's Tomb, Collegiate Church, Youghal