Hopes Disappointed

Justin McCarthy
Chapter VI | Start of Chapter

These gladdening hopes were doomed to complete disappointment. Charles II., the "Merry Monarch," was not disposed to sacrifice any of the time devoted to his merriment, or any of the personal advantages belonging to his monarchy, for the sake of doing justice to Ireland. The settlers from England and Scotland who had been made landholders during Cromwell's rule were only too willing to secure the continued ownership of their possessions by accepting the principles of the Restoration, and the Government of King Charles found the support of such men much more useful than any the dispossessed Irish nobles could have given if they were restored to their estates. Some of the appointments made to public office under Charles II. were deserving of sterner condemnation than any made during the Commonwealth. Freedom of religious worship was denied to the Irish Catholics just as effectively under the Restoration as under the Commonwealth. It is not likely that Charles II. himself had much sympathy with religious intolerance, or that he felt any strong desire for the conversion of Ireland to the Protestant faith. But at that time there was a wild alarm prevailing in England with regard to all manner of "Popish" plots against English monarchy, and the representatives of the Crown in Ireland as well as in England believed that they could not better show their loyalty than by putting in force every possible penalty against the religion to which the great majority of the Irish people were devoted.