Page:History of England (Macaulay) Vol 4.djvu/181

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search
This page needs to be proofread.

nullity. The nation was therefore left without any legitimate chief, and might, without violating the allegiance due to the Crown, make temporary provision for its own safety. A deputation was sent to inform Berwick that he had assumed a power to which he had no right, but that nevertheless the army and people of Ireland would willingly acknowledge him as their head if he would consent to govern by the advice of a council truly Irish. Berwick indignantly expressed his wonder that military men should presume to meet and deliberate without the permission of their general. They answered that there was no general, and that, if His Grace did not choose to undertake the administration on the terms proposed, another leader would easily be found. Berwick very reluctantly yielded, and continued to be a puppet in a new set of hands.[1]

Those who had effected this revolution thought it prudent to send a deputation to France for the purpose of vindicating their proceedings. Of the deputation the Roman Catholic Bishop of Cork and the two Luttrells were members. In the ship which conveyed them from Limerick to Brest they found a fellow passenger whose presence was by no means agreeable to them, their enemy, Maxwell. They suspected, and not without reason, that he was going, like them, to Saint Germains, but on a very different errand. The truth was that Berwick had sent Maxwell to watch their motions and to traverse their designs. Henry Luttrell, the least scrupulous of men, proposed to settle the matter at once by tossing the Scotchman into the sea. But the Bishop, who was a man of conscience, and Simon Luttrell, who was a man of honour, objected to this expedient.[2]

Meanwhile at Limerick the supreme power was in abeyance. Berwick, finding that he had no real authority, altogether neglected business, and gave himself up to such pleasures as that dreary place of banishment afforded. There was among the Irish chiefs no man of sufficient weight and ability to control the rest. Sarsfield for a time took the lead. But Sarsfield,

  1. Macariæ Excidium.
  2. Macariæ Excidium; Life of James, ii. 422; Memoirs of Berwick.