Hardiman's History of Galway

Chapter 6: From 1660 to the surrender of Galway to King William's forces, 1691

Treatment of the Roman Catholics

Chapter 6

From 1660 to the surrender of Galway to King William's forces, 1691

Return to table of contents
Old map of Galway

Henceforth the affairs of the town will be found to present a very different appearance from that which they held for many years before. For some time before and during the siege, it was agitated by three distinct parties; first, those who were inclined for moderate proceedings; next, the more violent, who adopted the measures of Sarsfield and Tyrconnell; and lastly, the French who generally favoured the latter. These were succeeded after the surrender by two parties, the Protestants and Catholics, whose opposition to each other became so violent, that the governor, at first, found it extremely difficult to regulate matters between them. The Catholics, by the articles of capitulation, were entitled to carry arms, and their number, which was considerable, exciting the suspicion of the governor and the fears of the Protestants, he was persuaded to apply for an order to hold courts-martial for inflicting summary punishment on such as should disturb the peace of the town. The inclinations and disposition of the governor soon became manifest. On the 1st August, he informed general Ginckle, by letter, that he kept "a watchful eye on the Papists." [hh] On that day a new mayor was to be elected: the Catholics, under the articles, insisted on the right, the Protestants resolved to oppose them: each party separately proceeded to election, and both, after much tumult and confusion, made choice of the governor, who immediately appointed Revett (the last acting Protestant mayor in 1685,) his deputy; and then described "the Papists in these parts" as "the most dangerous fellows in the world." [ii] They were soon after deprived of all influence in the in the corporation; and the mayor, availing himself of a pretext for the purpose, disarmed every individual of the persuasion within the town. [kk] As an instance of his intentions towards these people, he recommendeed an order to issue, that some merchants, who were robbed near Athenry, should be remunerated by the Catholic inhabitants, and quoted the good effects of a similar measure in the town the preceding winter. They, however, relying upon their articles, appealed from his proceedings, and he was himself obliged, as governor, to transmit their petition for redress to the general. This had the desired effect and obtained for them a temporary respite from the persecutions which they were afterwards doomed to experience.

Next: Fortifications built, to secure the conquest of the town and Islands

Online edition of Hardiman's History of Galway, © 1995-2001 World Wide Web Marketing Ltd. This is still a work in progress.