Page:History of England (Macaulay) Vol 4.djvu/200

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from which William had, in the preceding year, been forced to retreat. But many of the Irish chiefs loudly declared that it was time to think of capitulating. Henry Luttrell, always fond of dark and crooked politics, opened a secret negotiation with the English. One of his letters was intercepted; and he was put under arrest; but many who blamed his perfidy agreed with him in thinking that it was idle to prolong the contest. Tyrconnel himself was convinced that all was lost. His only hope was that he might be able to prolong the struggle till he could receive from Saint Germains permission to treat. He wrote to request that permission, and prevailed, with some difficulty, on his desponding countrymen to bind themselves by an oath not to capitulate till an answer from James should arrive.[1]

A few days after the oath had been administered, Tyrconnel was no more. On the eleventh of August he dined with D'Usson. The party was gay. The Lord Lieutenant seemed to have thrown off the load which had bowed down his body and mind; he drank; he jested; he was again the Dick Talbot who had diced and revelled with Grammont. Soon after he had risen from table, an apoplectic stroke deprived him of speech and sensation. On the fourteenth he breathed his last. The wasted remains of that form which had once been a model for statuaries were laid under the pavement of the Cathedral; but no inscription, no tradition, preserves the memory of the spot.[2]

As soon as the Lord Lieutenant was no more, Plowden, who had superintended the Irish finances while there were any Irish finances to superintend, produced a commission under the great seal of James. This commission appointed Plowden himself, Fitton, and Nagle, Lords Justices in the event of Tyrconnel's death. There was much murmuring when the names were made known. For both Plowden and Fitton were Saxons. The commission, however, proved to be a mere nullity. For it was accompanied by instructions which forbade the Lords Justices to interfere in the conduct of the war; and, within the narrow

  1. Macariæ Excidium; Life of James, ii. 461, 462.
  2. Macariæ Excidium; Life of James, ii. 459, 462; London Gazette, Aug. 31, 1691; Light to the Blind; D'Usson and Tessé to Barbesieux, Aug. 13/23.