Violation of Treaty

Margaret Anne Cusack
start of chapter | Chapter XXXIV

Two months had scarcely elapsed after the departure of the Irish troops, when an English historian was obliged to write thus of the open violation of the articles: "The justices of the peace, sheriffs, and other magistrates, presuming on their power in the country, dispossessed several of their Majesties' Catholic subjects, not only of their goods and chattels, but also of their lands and tenements, to the great reproach of their Majesties' Government."[7]

These complaints were so general, that the Lords Justices were at last obliged to issue a proclamation on the subject (November 19, 1691), in which they state that they had "received complaints from all parts of Ireland of the ill-treatment of the Irish who had submitted; and that they [the Irish] were so extremely terrified with apprehensions of the continuance of that usage, that some of those who had quitted the Irish army and went home, with the resolution not to go to France, were then come back again, and pressed earnestly to go thither, rather than stay in Ireland, where, contrary to the public faith, as well as law and justice, they were robbed in their persons and abused in their substance." Let it be remembered that this was an official document, and that it emanated from the last persons who were likely to listen to such complaints, or relieve them if they could possibly have been denied.

The men who had hoped for confiscations that they might share the plunder, now began to clamour loudly. It was necessary to get up a popular cry against Papists, as the surest means of attaining their end. Individuals who had as little personal hatred to the Pope as they had to the Grand Turk, and as little real knowledge of the Catholic Faith as of Mahometanism, uttered wild cries of "No Popery!" and "No Surrender!" William, whose morals, if not his professions, proclaimed that he was not troubled with any strong religious convictions, was obliged to yield to the faction who had set him on the throne. Probably, he yielded willingly; and was thus able, in some measure, to make a pretence of doing under pressure what he really wished to do of his own will.

On the 28th of October, 1692, the Parliament in Dublin rejected a Bill which had been sent from England, containing restrictions on certain duties, solely to proclaim their independence. A few days after they were taught a lesson of obedience. Lord Sidney came down to the House unexpectedly, and prorogued Parliament, with a severe rebuke, ordering the Clerk to enter his protest against the proceedings of the Commons on the journals of the House of Lords. The hopes of the English were raised, and the Parliament brought forward the subject of the Limerick articles, with torrents of complaints against the Irish in general, and the Irish Catholics in particular. William received their remonstrance coolly, and the matter was allowed to rest for a time.


[7] Government.—Harris' Life of William III. p. 357.