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came forward, were pronounced innocent; in the CHAP. XXVIII, first month of trials thirty-eight out of forty-five; in the fecond fifty-three out of fixty; in the third feventy-feven out of eighty-two. As thefe innocents were to be immediately restored to their lands, without provision for the reprisal of the prelent poffeffors, and as the fund for future reprisals was known to be small, the adventurers and foldiers were mightily alarmed at the numbers acquitted, without confidering that thofe, who were most confident of being able to prove their innocence, would be the foremost to apply for trial. The house of commons, taking advantage of the claufe in the act of fettlement, which empowered the lord lieutenant and council to give farther directions to the commiffioners, waited in a body on Ormond with a petition, recommending fuch directions as tended to involve the whole Irish party in condemnation inevitable; and their speaker, Sir Audley Mervyn, in a long speech, pronounced a folemn comment on every article of the addrefs. As their application was received with only cold civility, the commons appealed to the public, and printed the speech of Mervyn. Findtheir advice neglected, they voted a resolution, that they would use their utmost endeavours to prevent the great and manifold injuries arifing to the proteftants of Ireland by the proceedings of the commiffioners for executing the act of fettlement. The king was displeased with their violence, and profecutions were commenced both in London and Dublin against the printers of Mervyn's fpeech. Ormond,
CAHP. mond, in a letter to the commons, reprefented the bad confequences of their proceedings, which had raised alarms, as if the proteftant religion was in danger, and given encouragement to the forming of confpiracies against government. They retracted their vote, and declared their abhorrence of these confpiracies; yet they fhrunk not from their dignity, and foon after voted an addrefs, reprefenting the danger of an increased influence of popery, and recommending the banishment of all popifh ecclefiaftics.
The foldiers and adventurers, imagining private inftructions given to the commiffioners by the king in favour of the catholics, and fearing the lofs of their properties, expreffed fo general a difafection, as to embolden the more violent, who were alfo encouraged by agents from the mal-contents in England, to enter into fchemes to maintain their poffeffions by force. A plan of general infurrection, formed by fome officers who had ferved in Crom, wel's army, had been betrayed to Ormond by a member of the committee to whofe management it had been entrusted; and a separate confpiracy for the feizure of the caftle of Dublin had also been difcovered and fruftrated; yet the confpirators perfevered, and plans for a general rising and seizure of the caftle were renewed. Sir Theophilus Jones, to whom the confpirators, expecting to gain him to their party, communicated rafhly the plot, gave immediate information to the lord lieutenant; fo that on the eve of the day appointed for the furprizal of the
the castle, and the publishing of their declaration, CHAP. twenty-five of the principals were feized, and a reward XXVIII, advertised for the apprehenfion of the reft; while in Ulfter Sir Arthur Forbes, by boldly feizing one of the chief confpirators in the midft of his friends, had fo intimidated his accomplices, that they fled into Scotland. Pardons were granted to all, except a few who were executed, as their caufe was popular, and the government weak; the king, from the difcontents of the English parliament, and his own profufion, being unable to make fuch remittances to Ireland as the support of a military force, and the fecurity of his government required.
Bill of exThe bill of explanation for the act of fettlement, planation, prepared by the Irish commons, was rejected in 1665. England, whence orders came from the king to the lord lieutenant and council to frame a bill entirely new. Agents from the feveral parties attended the English council to plead their caufes in the difcuffion of this bill, and Ormond was called from Ireland to affift in this perplexing bufinefs. To fecure tranquility during his abfence, money was remitted for the payment of the troops; a thousand of the most difaffected foldiery, replaced by others from England, were fent into the fervice of Portugal; and the earl of Offory was vested in the mean time with the temporary government and the title of lorddeputy. Ormond, on his arrival in London, found all parties willing to relax in their pretenfions, wearied by expense and the tedium of delay. The adventurers of London propofed to refign their lands
CHAP. to the king, and to account for the mefne profits, on condition of being reimburfed their principal, with intereft upon intereft, at the rate of three per cent. the foldiers and adventurers in Ireland to exclude all adventurers who had iffued their money after the rupture between the late king and parliament; the forty-nine officers to accept ten fillings in the pound for their compofition. Sir William Domville, attorney-general of Ireland. had by diligent fcrutiny discovered, that one entire moiety of the adventurers' money had been subscribed andpaid fubfequently to the doubling ordinance, and that confequently one-half of the lands allotted to them ought to be retrenched. Great abufes were detected in the manner of diftribution, in which the proceedings were irregular and confused, leaving fuch room for correction in admeasurements, returns of unprofitable lands, and other particulars, as to augment confiderably the probable stock of reprisals, and to dispose the feveral parties to reasonable conceffions.
By order of the English council, the lord lieute. nant, affifted by fuch Irish privy counsellors as happened to be in London, the commiffioners of claims, and the folicitor-general, Sir Heneage Finch, reviewed what had already been deliberated, and fuggefted farther expedients for the fettlement of Ireland. After almoft ten months of difcuffion, a propofal from the catholics was accepted, that, for the fatisfaction of their interefts, the adventurers and foldiers fhould refign one-third of the lands refpec
tively enjoyed by them on the feventh of May 1659. CHAP. A third of the king's grants, with fome exceptions, was retrenched; and, with confent of all the agents, the bill of explanation was at length prefented to the privy council. Twenty catholics, left entirely to the choice of Ormond, were particularly mentioned in the bill as added to the lift of nominees, perfons nominated, as objects of royal favour, to be reftored to their eftates without a trial. Great were the difcontents of the catholics, fince the new bill declared that the proteftants were in the first place, and especially, to be fettled; that any ambiguity, which might occur, fhould be interpreted in the fenfe most favourable to their interefts; and that no catholic, who, by the qualifications of the former act, had not been adjudged innocent, fhould at any future time be entitled to claim lands or fettlements on a plea of innocence. The authority of the court of claims had expired, when hardly more than fix hundred, out of four thousand claims of innocency, had been decided, and of the rest of the claimants, excluded from all chance of a fair trial of their conduct, only twenty were to be restored by especial grace. Such ruin, befide the unutterable calamities of fo many years war, had been brought on the catholics of Ireland, by the bigotry of thofe, who firft planned and excited the rebellion for the exclufive eftablishment of the Romish religion! The task of nomination, imposed on Ormond, was invidious. His twenty nominees were allowed to be innocent; but others, equally