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The English Rulers

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         I I

           The English Rulers 

Knowing that the most violent and destructive changes in Irish political and economic life were directly caused and perpetuated by English rulers of the 16th, 17th and 18th centuries, a story of the life of an Irishman born during this period would not be complete without a brief story of the lives and records of the English rulers responsible for such incredible and oppressive action. Most of the trouble caused by the rulers arose out of religious conflicts and greed for power and land. The rulers were extremely religious, although immoral and dishonest in their behavior. The inhabitants of Ireland were the victims of their unreasonable and immoral inhumanity and devilish harrassment for several centuries. The only ones who fully escaped were the ones who emigrated to America. From these emigrants came the majority of the soldiers who comprised Washington's army of the Revolutionary War. This record of the English rulers begins with Henry VIII in 1509, and concludes with George III, in 1760.

HOUSE OF TUDOR 1485 - 1603
Reigned 1509 - 1547

Serious trouble for the Irish Catholics of Northern Ireland actually began during the reign of Henry VIII. Henry became King at the age of 18. During his reign, Henry broke with the Pope. The Protestant Episcopal Church of England was established, and Henry was its supreme head. This abo-

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lition of Papal jurisdiction was effected in 1533 due to the refusal of the Pope to recognize Henry's divorce from his first wife, Catherine of Aragon. He had married Catherine in 1509 at the beginning of his reign. The marriage had been arranged by English diplomats and the King of Spain. Henry had defended the Papacy against Luther in 1521. He tried for a divorce in 1523, but failed to obtain approval of the Pope. Catherine had failed to produce a male heir. Henry divorced Catherine in 1533 and again tried to obtain approval of the Pope. The refusal of Papal approval turned Henry against the Pope and caused him to influence Parliament to pass Acts of Supremacy which caused the separation of England from the Pope and the Catholic religion. All the enormous wealth of the Catholic Church in England was transferred to the King. The abolition of papal jurisdiction removed all obstacles to the legalization of Henry's marriage to Anne Boleyn in 1533. Anne also failed to produce a male heir to the throne. She was charged with adultery and beheaded in 1536. Henry then married Jane Seymour who died shortly after giving birth to Edward VI. The fourth wife, Anne of Cleaves, was divorced in 1540. Catherine Howard became Henry's fifth wife. She was beheaded in 1542 on a charge of misconduct. Catherine Parr then became Henry's sixth wife. She survived Henry and lived to the age of thirty-six. During Henry's reign he could divorce wives and behead ministers with impunity.

Henry started the movement to destroy the Catholic religion in Ireland in 1535 when he sent his agent to Ireland to subdue the Irish and apply English law. "From the beginning of his reign, Henry VIII undertook to destroy the basis of Irish resistance. With this object in view he issued 'most secret' instructions to his officials to capture our (Irish) trade and commerce, by every subtle device. All the laws against Irish civilisation, against marriage, fosterage and gossipred, against the use of native literature and its language, against every phase and aspect of National life, were re-enacted. By a Parliament (May 1536) composed of English colonists only, and convened by fraud, corruption, and terror, Henry was acknowledged as Head of Church and State; and the Catholic religion, with its ritual and teachings, declared null and void, 'corrupt for ever.' Five years later the same body proclaimed Henry' King of Ireland' ."1

Ulster, the most northern province of Ireland, was

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composed of nine counties: Antrim, Armagh, Cavan, Donegal, Down, Fermanagh, Londonderry, Monaghan and Tyrone. Some Irish clans went along with the new decree and turned their backs upon the old Irish customs, laws and religion. Before long those who had traded their Irish heritage realized their mistake. The King's appointed Marshall soon began confiscation of their lands and proceeded to eliminate every living creature from those lands. Henry intended to bleed Ireland of her finances, but his greedy officials beat him to the wealth. The young sons of Irish noblemen were taken from their homes. The children were raised in England where they were not only brainwashed of their heritage, but indoctrinated to hate everything Irish. Such outrages only served to draw Irishmen closer together. They took up the standards of their chieftians as their fathers before them had done for many centuries past. According to Irish custom, the clan, and not the chieftian owned the clan lands. The chief did not have authority to give away or sell the clan lands. Henry commented that "politic practices would serve till such time as the strength of the Irish should be diminished, their leaders taken away from them, and division put among themselves so that they join not together.

"But the whole scheme was rooted and grounded in falsehood, and Ireland had yet to learn how far sufferings by the quibble and devices of law might exceed the disasters of open war. Chiefs could be ensnared one by one in misleading contracts, practically void. A false claimant could be put on a territory and supported by English soldiers in a civil war, till the actual chief was exiled or yielded the land to the King's ownership. No chief, true or false, had power to give away the people's land, and the king was face to face with an indignant people, who refused to admit an illegal bargain. Then came a march of soldiers over the district, hanging, burning, shooting, 'the rebels,' casting the peasants out on the hillsides. There was also the way of conquest.' The whole of the inhabitants were to be exiled, and their countries made vacant and waste for English peopling. . .

"The introduction of the Protestant Reformation principles added sources of fresh outrages, new oppressions. In Ireland, Protestantism was not given a chance to appeal to the people by any ethical, religious, or political ideals. The licentious unpaid English soldiery who had to maintain them-

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selves by plunder and rapine, were accompanied by incendiaries who left not a homestead, not a blade of corn, standing; these apostles were followed by ministers of the Gospel, with hangmen and escheators in their train. So, amidst an orgy of slaughters and executions, in which neither age nor sex, neither the infirm nor the strong were spared, and of burnings ... The destruction of monasteries, churches and schools, became a passion. Even the possession of a manuscript on any subject whatever incurred the death penalty. Poets and historians were put to the sword, and their books and genealogies burned, so that no man 'might know his own grandfather.'  All Irishmen, Old and New, were to be confounded in the same ignorance and abasement, all glories gone and all rights lost. The great object of the English government was to purge the land of Ireland of its rightful sons, to destroy the National tradition, to wipe out Gaelic memories, and to begin a new English life."2

With the destruction of her churches, Irishmen turned more fervently to the Catholic religion. For many years following Henry's reign, conflict prevailed between Catholics and Protestants for control of the British monarchy which had been Protestant during the last fourteen years of Henry's reign. Control passed from one faith to the other several times until it finally became permanently Protestant. Discrimination, oppression and persecution of Catholics continued after Henry's reign for over three hundred years with varied force and intensity. Today, in Northern Ireland, discrimination against Catholics in some respects is still practiced which results in much unrest and dissatisfaction.

Reigned   1547 - 1553

Edward VI was a son of Henry VIII. Edward was a Protestant and accomplished very little during his short reign.

Reigned   1533 - 1558

Mary was a daughter of Henry VIII, and a sister of Edward VI. She was a Catholic, but her Irish rule was no less merciless than that of her predecessors. Mary de-

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termined from the first to restore Catholicism but had to go slowly. In October, 1554, Parliament repealed all anti-papal legislation. Reconciliation with Rome was effected. From February, 1555 thru November, 1558 over three hundred Protestants were burned at the stake. After this slaughter people turned against Mary, her Church and her creed. Loyalty turned to hatred. Mary died November 17, 1558, broken hearted over her failure to win English hearts back to Rome.

Reigned   1558 - 1603

 Elizabeth was also a daughter of Henry VIII, and a sister of Edward and Mary. Elizabeth was a Protestant, so the church was once more Protestant. Papal control of its ecclesiastical policy ceased. Elizabeth reclaimed all the power which Henry had exercised as supreme head of the church. In Ireland the English policy was to remain, and the Protestant religion was forced upon the Irish people. Much persecution of the Irish Catholics followed. The conquest of Ireland had been going on for four centuries. The immemorial laws of Ireland, called the Brehon Laws, was the obstacle against which every attempt to complete this conquest was broken. The Brehon laws had been the custom from the Gaelic past. They decreed equal rights, and especially stressed that the land was owned by the clan. England had tried for many years to abolish those laws which made confiscation of the lands difficult. Elizabeth now ordered that the Protestant religion must be enforced in Ireland and the clan owned lands must belong to the Crown. Mass was abolished. Priests were hanged. The English authorities failed to surpress the Catholics and except in the larger towns, it became impossible to enforce the Protestant religion. Elizabeth instigated the Munster Plantation. Half a million acres of Ireland's fertile land was seized. The inhabitants were either evicted or killed. The lands were parcelled out to the English. The Munster Plantation failed largely because the English were afraid to risk their lives and fortunes in a new country where the elusive native Irish cunningly found means to hinder the confiscation.

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HOUSE OF STUART    1603 - 1649
Reigned   1603 - 1625

 James I was a Protestant. He was thirty-seven years of age at the start of his reign.  James was the first Stuart king and formerly had been King James VI of Scotland.

Hugh O'Neill, the Earl of Tyrone, became involved in a conspiracy against the King in 1607. The Earl and nearly a hundred others, also a party to the plot, fled Ireland, fearful of arrest by the English. Their flight became known as the "Flight of the Earls." The families of the Earls had been powerful in Ulster since the twelfth century. The Four Masters, at their monastery in Donegal, wrote of the flight, "It is certain that the sea has not borne nor the wind wafted from Ireland, a party in any one ship more eminent, illustrious and noble than they were. Woe to the heart that meditated, woe to the mind that planned, woe to the counsel that decided on the project of their setting out on that voyage." The historical writings by the Four Masters ended in 1645 with the death of the last of the four authors, O' Clery. About half a million acres of land belonging to the Earls and their followers were confiscated by the King, and became known as the Ulster Plantation. Those acres were parcelled out to the followers of King James from Scotland, and to the English favorites of the King. Along with the lands of the Earls, some two million acres had also been seized for this plantation, comprising the counties of Donegal (Tyrconnell), Tyrone, Fermanagh, Cavan, Armagh and Derry (Coleraine). The counties of Down and Antrim were not a part of the plantation. Those two counties already had a large Scotch population who had migrated during the previous century and spoke Gaelic and were of the Catholic faith. The Scots account for the prefix "Mac" which constituted so large a part of the Scotch-Irish race. Many of the names of the Scotch settlers are identical with those of the Valley of Virginia. Like other rulers before him, James abolished the Brehon laws and confiscated lands. Tanistry was declared illegal in the first year James ruled. Under the custom of tanistry a successor chief was appointed during the lifetime of the reigning chief. The successor was usually a male relative, not necessarily a son of the chief and was elected by the people on the

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basis of his worthiness and wisdom. With the confiscation of their lands, the Irish natives were again driven from their homes. Thousands died of starvation, other thousands fled to other lands. Many emigrated to America. Like the Munster Plantation, the Ulster Plantation failed to populate Ireland to the extent hoped for by the King.

Reigned   1625 - 1649

Charles I was the son of James I. At his accession he was twenty-five years old. Charles was deeply religious, a High Churchman who stressed Episcopacy (rule by the Bishops). His wife, Henrietta Maria from France, was a devout Roman Catholic and distressed over the status of the Catholics. There was peace in Ireland for a few short years at the beginning of Charles' reign. Charles then subjected Ireland to ruthless tyranny. Mercy was shown to no one, neither to the Anglo-Irish, the Catholic peasants, or Presbyterians. Ireland was milked of her revenue.  Her woolen manufacture was put to an end. Only woolens manufactured in England were allowed. The Irish Catholics finally rebelled in 1641. The rebellion turned into a religious war in which hundreds were killed. Charles was condemmed and executed January 30, 1649 for his part in the religious civil wars. Charles' death was followed by a temporary abolition of monarch. Substitution of executive power was vested in a council of state. The government was based upon the army.

1649 - 1660

Oliver Cromwell, as virtual head of the army, was responsible for the change from a monarchy to a Council of State in 1649. Cromwell was an earnest Puritan, an independent Protestant, and a leader of the anti-Presbyterian party. He had grown up with a demented hatred of Catholics, especially Irish Catholics. A Puritan was "a member of a group of 16th and 17th century Protestant Christians in England opposing the traditional and formal usages of the Church of England who during the Commonwealth period, 1649-59, became a powerful political party and who emigrated in large

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numbers to New England."3

Cromwell commanded the army of 17,000 that subdued Ireland and Scotland before the end of 1652. During his inhumane sieges of Drogheda and Wexford in the late summer of 1649, in less than one month, over 6,000 people - men, women, children, priests, nuns and laymen were massacred under the    direction of Cromwell himself.  Cromwell was destined to leave behind him in Ireland for all time, a name synonymous with ruthless butchery. The other northern strongholds were reduced in quick succession before the horrible war was over. The war was the most dreadful ever fought in Ireland. After Ireland capitulated, all the Irish still alive in Ulster, Leinster and Munster were ordered to move to Connacht, a desolate county. This was to make way for the great Cromwellian Settlement. This Act of Settlement went far beyond the earlier confiscations carried out under Elizabeth and James. The Munster Plantation had involved half a million acres. The Ulster Plantation had involved about two and a half million acres. The Cromwellian Settlement now confiscated nearly eight million acres, more than half of the cultivatable land. The war had nearly depleted the number of young men. Most of the few young men left were sold into slavery, along with women between the ages of twelve to forty. The number sent into slavery varies from thirty to eighty thousand. The Irish historian, John P. Prendergast, gives this description of the terrible condition of Ireland at that time: "Ireland, in the language of Scripture, lay void as a wilderness. Five-sixths of her people had perished. Women and children were found daily perishing in ditches, starved. The bodies of many wandering orphans, whose fathers had been killed or exiled, and whose mothers had died of famine, were preyed upon by wolves. In the years 1652 and 1653 the plague, following the desolating wars, had swept away whole counties, so that one might travel twenty or thirty miles and not see a living creature..."4  The conquered lands were given to the soldiers who supported Cromwell in lieu of payment for their services. Many of the soldiers were reluctant to leave their homes and sold their newly acquired lands to English land speculators.

"The Protectorship of Oliver Cromwell, from 1654 to 1658, is the one break in the regality of English government. There have been revolutions and coup d'etats in plenty

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but always by members of the royal house or men claiming to be so; Cromwell is the only 'civilian' - if we except modern prime ministers - who was raised to supreme power, and indeed at his height he wielded a greater authority than most English kings.

"Until the twentieth century, English reaction was somewhat mixed, but his stature has never been in serious doubt. To the royalists he was evil incarnate, but even the Earl of Clarendon saw in him elements of greatness, and his portrait is akin to Milton's Satan:

Without doubt, no man with more wickedness ever attempted anything, or brought to pass what he desired more wickedly, more in the face and contempt of religion and moral honesty; yet wickedness as great as his could never have accomplished those trophies without the assistance of a great spirit, an admirable circumspection and sagacity, and a most magnanimous resolution.

          "To the republicans he was equally odious, as the betrayer of the 'Good Old Cause,' the seventeenth-century Stalin:

that grand imposter, that lothesome hypocrite, that detestable traitor, that prodigy of nature, that opprobrium of mankind, that landscape of iniquity, that sink of sin, and that compendium of baseness, who now calls himself the Lord Protector.

" . . . It is significant that he never publicly enrolled in any particular creed, and when he came to supreme power as Lord Protector he envisaged a new state Church, non-episcopalian, but hierarchial in its implications nonetheless... his refusal to believe that Divine-Truth was the sole prerogative of any individual sect or communion led to an insistence on religious freedom... His enormous prestige in Europe eased 'the transition from divine right of monarchy to the divine right of the nation.' ... As Hill says:

The new English patriotism was closely associated with religion, with liberty and with the rise of the middle class. Its symbol in the eighteenth century was to be the unattractive figure of John Bull - Oliver Cromwell minus ideology."

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Reigned   1660 - 1685

Charles II was the son of Charles I. He was recalled from exile and proclaimed King of England and Ireland in May, 1660. Scotland again became an independent kingdom. Charles declared in favor of Prelacy (rule by the Bishops). He refused toleration to non-conformists and named Bishops for all the dioceses in Ireland. Charles' mother had been Catholic and he turned to that faith before he died. Charles placed restrictions upon the export to England of Irish livestock. The newer owners of Irish lands were dismayed because they had turned to the raising of livestock and allowed the fertile fields to return to pasturelands, due to lack of farm labor since the Cromwellian transplant. The landowners now shifted to sheep, thinking to stimulate the wool industry. Two political parties arose during this reign known as Whigs and Tories. 

Reigned   1685 - 1688

 James II was the son of Charles I, and a brother of Charles II. James had adopted the Catholic religion. He appointed a Catholic deputy to look after his interests in Ireland. Many favors were bestowed upon the Roman Catholics out of proportion to their number. James was very popular in Ireland because of his religion, but very unpopular in England for the same reason. Discontent soon followed among the Presbyterians and Episcopalians now united together in a common cause. A newly formed organization urged James' son-in-law, William of Orange, then in Holland, to invade England with an armed force and take over the government. James fled to France when William and his army invaded England.

Reigned   1689 - 1694 

William of Orange was crowned William III. His wife, Mary, was a daughter of James II. William and Mary

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ruled until 1694 as joint soverigns. The Williamite Wars against Ireland fought during their reign failed to surpress the Irish. The English and Scottish settlers in Ireland declared for William. The Irish declared for James II. James went to Ireland and set about raising an army, but arms were deficient. Within two months thousands of Irish Catholics enlisted in James' new army. Many were barefoot. They were ragged and some were half naked. Their fathers had been robbed of their homelands and they just barely managed to exist. James had landed in Ireland March 19, 1689. He spent over a year raising his army, had an unsuccessful siege with the Protestants, then prepared to meet William of Orange on the banks of the Boyne river. William landed at Belfast in June, 1690. William had a well-trained army of 36,000 made up of English, Dutch, Danes, French Huguenots and Orangemen. Besides that number, William's army was supplemented with several thousand English and Scottish settlers living in Ireland. James had only been successful in raising some 25,000 for his army. They were not well-trained, nor were they well-armed. On July 1, 1690 the unequal Battle of the Boyne was fought all day long. Fearful of being captured by William, James deserted his army. The ragged little army fought on without James for two weeks before they were forced to surrender at Limerick. Under the terms of the treaty, the Irish Catholics were granted their liberties and the right to exercise their religion, but the remainder of the ragged little army was given the choice of defecting to William, or being shipped to France. Most of the army chose France even though they were forced to leave their families behind. William became the acknowledged King of Ireland, but he did not live up to the terms of the treaty and Ireland came under Protestant rule. 

Reigned   1694 - 1702

William of Orange became sole King and exclusive sovern in 1694. The British settlers in Ireland did not want the Irish to have their liberties and set about sending petitions to Parliament. William then invented the Penal Laws

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as a means of eradicating the race. Among other things, the Penal Laws ordered that:

The Irish Catholic was forbidden the exercise of his religion.
He was forbidden to receive education.
He was forbidden to enter a profession.
He was forbidden to hold public office.
He was forbidden to engage in trade or commerce.
He was forbidden to live in a corporate town or within five miles thereof.
He was forbidden to own a horse of greater value than five pounds.
He was forbidden to purchase land.
He was forbidden to lease land.
He was forbidden to accept a mortgage on land in security for a loan.
He was forbidden to vote.
He was forbidden to keep any arms for his protection.
He was forbidden to hold a life annuity.
He was forbidden to buy land from a Protestant.
He was forbidden to receive a gift of land from a Protestant.
He was forbidden to inherit land from a Protestant.
He was forbidden to inherit anything from a Protestant.
He was forbidden to rent any land that was worth more than thirty shillings a year.
He was forbidden to reap from his land any profit exceeding a third of the rent.
He could not be guardian to a child.
He could not, when dying, leave his infant children under Catholic guardianship.
He could not attend Catholic worship.
He was compelled by the law to attend Protestant worship.
He could not himself educate his child.
He could not send his child to a Catholic teacher.

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He could not employ a Catholic teacher to come to his child.
He could not send his child abroad to receive education.

"The priest was banned and hunted with bloodhounds. The schoolmaster was banned and hunted with bloodhounds... The law soon came to recognise an Irishman in Ireland only for the purpose of repressing him." 6  Throughout those dark days the hunted schoolmaster was hidden from house to house with a price upon his head. In the summertime he gathered his little class, hungering for knowledge, behind a hedge in a remote mountain. Each child took a turn at keeping watch from the hilltop for British soldiers, while the schoolmaster taught his pupils. The Penal Laws remained until the end of the eighteenth century. William systematically clamped down on the export and import laws of Ireland. In 1695 it became illegal to import sugar, cotton and tobacco from the British West Indies and Jamaica. In 1698 the duties on export of Irish wool were raised to an unreasonable price. The same kind of a duty was put on Irish manufactured linen goods in 1699. Thousands emigrated to America as a result of the imposition of those restrictions.

Reigned   1702 - 1714

Anne succeeded to the throne upon the death of William. The Declaration of Rights which had been converted into the Bill of Rights by Parliament, gave the succession to Anne in default of issue of William and Mary. Anne was a daughter of James II, and a granddaughter of Charles. She was a zealous churchwoman and "immediately placed herself under the guidance of the High Church Tories, and from the beginning of her reign the series of anti-popery laws began, which have been the cause of so much misery to Ireland. The Sacramental Test Act was now enacted, by which all Nonconformists, Protestants and Catholics were excluded from public offices. . . In addition to the oppressions on account of their religion, the industry and commerce of the people of Ulster were systematically repressed by the English government. Twenty thousand people (had) left Ulster on the destruction of their woolen trade in 1698." 7

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The heavy duties on the export of woolen and linen goods which had been imposed in 1698 and 1699, causing so many people to leave Ireland, became worse during Anne's reign. "In 1705 it was enacted that only the coarsest kinds of undyed Irish linen should be admitted to the British Colonies. Checked, striped and dyed Irish linens were excluded. Besides, no Colonial goods could be brought in return. And Irish linens of every kind were forbidden to be exported to all other countries with the exception of Britain... And, to the British linen manufacturers a bounty was granted on all linen exports!... 'The result is the ruin of Ulster and the flight of the Protestant population to America.' So, it was the ruin of the linen trade by England... which helped to give to America her so-called Scotch-Irish population." 8

HOUSE OF HANOVER   1714 - 1901

This period of British history produced unity alike in politics, thought, economics and social development which previously had not been experienced. 

Reigned  1714 - 1727

 George I was the first of the Hanoverian dynasty. He succeeded Anne pursuant to the statutory definition of succession, laid down in the Act of Settlement which was passed after the death of Anne's last child, giving succession to the next Protestant heir.        George was a German and spoke only the German language. The momentum of the High Church party was somewhat slowed down and some favors shown to the Irish Presbyterians. The King was also more favorable to the people of Ulster. The English House of Parliament passed the Declaratory Act in 1719 which declared that "the King, with the advice of the Lords and Commons of England, hath had of right and aught to have full power and authority to make laws and statutes of sufficient force and validity to bind the people of the Kingdom of Ireland." 9

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Reigned   1727 - 1760

 George II became King after the death of his father, George I. England became alarmed by the numbers of Protestants leaving northern Ireland. Most of the linen manufacture was located there and was being severely affected. There had been three successive crop failures. The people had become discouraged and were emigrating to America. "In 1728, nearly 6,000 Irish, nearly all Presbyterians, came to America, landing in Philadelphia. Before the middle of the century nearly 12,000 arrived annually for several years. Almost all who came to America were Presbyterians. Protestant Episcopalians did not have the same motive for emigration, and the tide of Catholic emigration from Ireland did not set in till after the American Revolution. . . In the fall of 1739, many of the more industrious and enterprising inhabitants fled from scarcity and oppression in Ireland and came to America, landing on the Delaware river in Pennsylvania. Many of these soon found their way into the wilderness of Augusta County." 10  Michael O'Hair was an exception. He was a  Catholic and emigrated to America in 1761, before the Revolution.

Most of the fertile land of Ireland had been put into pasture land.  As the population increased during those years, agriculture land decreased. The main diet of the poorer people consisted of potatoes. Years of crop failure also brought famine. There were two more years of crop failures in 1740 and 1741. The number of people who starved was estimated to have been 400,000. That was the worst year of starvation for the Irish for nearly a century until the 'Great Potato Famine.' The greatest portion of the emigration of Irish Catholics into America took place after the 'Great Potato Famine' in 1845, 1846 and 1847. 

Reigned   1760 - 1820

 George III was a grandson of George II. He succeeded to the throne when he was twenty-two years old. George III ruled for sixty of the most momentous years in British history. Although his ability was mediocre and sur-

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prisingly limited in range and vision, he had solid qualities of character. The first two Georges were German Princes reigning in a British kingdom which they did not understand. George III had been born in England. He was British by birth, training and temperament. Conditions for the people in Ulster did not improve and emigration to America continued. A great many of the soldiers who fought under Washington were of Scotch-Irish descent. The historian, Bancroft, declared that the first dissention with Britain did not come from the Puritans of New England, the Dutch of New York, but from the Scotch-Irish Presbyterians. Lord North was the Prime Minister from 1770 thru 1782 which included the period of the Revolutionary War.

The following summary of the Revolutionary War has been condensed from the Encyclopaedia Britannica:

The crisis would have arisen even if there had been no George III or Lord North. The American War of Independence, which followed the first blood shed at Lexington, Massachusetts, in April, 1775, and Bunker Hill in June, 1775, was a war of two radically different countries. It developed into a war of Great Britain against several countries - France, Spain, Holland, and soldiers of other neutral countries. The incompetence of Lord North's ministry to avert the war with the colonies, and to anticipate or prevent the intervention of France in the war led to England's defeat. The British army was quite inadequate for the tasks imposed upon it. The navy had been allowed to fall far below the strength required to assure command of the sea. It was the loss of the command of the sea which was responsible for Cornwallis' surrender at Yorktown in 1781. Lord North's ministry stands convicted of preventable blunders. At the commencement of the war, a majority of Great Britain supported the ministry against an eloquent and determined opposition of a large minority. The disasters, the corruption, and the lack of unity in policy and direction, slowly turned the minority into a majority, which by a vote of the House of Commons ended the ministry of Lord North in March, 1782.

The system of responsible parliamentary government, working through a cabinet representing the party which had or could retain a majority in the House of Commons and reduce the power and influence of the King, survived the American catastrophe. Had Lord North's ministry been competent,

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it could have crushed the armed resistance of British subjects in America before France had either the power or the will to intervene. Despite Washington's heroic efforts, the American rebels realized that without France, they would be beaten in the end. Burgoyne's disaster and defeat at Saratoga in October, 1777 was more persuasive at Paris than Franklin's diplomacy. 11

Daniel Morgan's regiment of riflemen performed a leading role, and perhaps the most decisive role, in victory at Saratoga, which is now considered as one of the world's all time most important battles. Michael O'Hair was actively engaged in this battle under the command of General Morgan. Morgan's strategy turned the tide of battle and contributed greatly to the defeat of the British General Burgoyne. Morgan stationed his sharpshooters up in trees with instructions to shoot only the British officers. The British lost so many officers that their army was deprived of sufficient leaders to fight effectively, and a leaderless army finally turned and fled from the field of battle.

French intervention in 1778 caused Great Britain to be placed in a position of disadvantage. The French provided troops and money for Washington's army, and a navy the equal of the British navy then stationed in American waters. Washington's troops had not been paid. Many were ready to desert at the time France provided the money to cover the back pay due them. Had there not been the decisive battle of Saratoga and the surrender of Burgoyne's army, there probably would not have been any French intervention, and probably no final American victory. Cornwallis' surrender at Yorktown convinced even the King that the war in North America must be abandoned. The treaty of September 3, 1783 with the American Colonies granted the independence proclaimed in 1776. The thirteen American Colonies passed from British control. Although angry memories of the war prevailed for over a century, Great Britain eventually turned to the descendants of her former subjects for help when she became involved in World War I.

The Irish Free State, with the status of a British dominion, came officially into being on January 15, 1922. After much fighting and bloodshed, the Catholics won back twenty-six of Ireland's counties in 1920. The peace agreement was signed in London on December 6, 1921 by the British and

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Irish delegations. The peace agreement was ratified by the British Parliament ten days later, and by a meeting of elected members of the Parliament of Southern Ireland, convened January 15, 1922. The new state was composed of twenty-six of the counties, and four of the county boroughs.

It is interesting to take a look at part of the new Irish Constitution enacted in 1938, in contrast to the way British kings and government delt with the Irish and imposed their will upon them. "The family is recognized as the natural unit of society and as a moral institution possessing imprescriptible rights. . . The Irish Constitution guarantees freedom of conscience and free profession and practice of religion. Free schools are built for Catholic, Protestant and Jews alike. These schools are staffed and maintained by the Government." 12

When Terence O'Neill became Prime Minister of Northern Ireland in 1963, he promised the Catholics a square deal in jobs, housing and public affairs. Protestants thought they would suffer for any Catholic gains. Quite a few rallied behind the Presbyterian minister, Rev. Ian Paisley, to defend their privileges with clubs and stones. Protestants hold thirty-seven of the fifty-two seats in the Northern Irish Parliament, and eleven of the twelve seats in the British Parliament in London. Irish Protestants are the staunchest of British Conservatives. A person's religion in Northern Ireland is very important. This has been true for over three hundred years. All of this conflict actually began during the reign of Henry VIII, and all because of the desire of the king to divorce his wife so he could take another wife which led to a disagreement with the Pope who would not approve of the divorce.