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The History of England from the Accession of James II, Vol. 3 by Thomas Babington Macaulay

Part 10 out of 13

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said in his behalf by his friend and relation, Sir Henry Capel.
The other councillors stared, but remained silent. It was no
pleasant task to accuse the Queen's kinsman in the Queen's
presence. Mary had scarcely ever opened her lips at Council; but
now, being possessed of clear proofs of her uncle's treason in
his own handwriting, and knowing that respect for her prevented
her advisers from proposing what the public safety required, she
broke silence. "Sir Henry," she said, "I know, and every body
here knows as well as I, that there is too much against my Lord
Clarendon to leave him out." The warrant was drawn up; and Capel
signed it with the rest. "I am more sorry for Lord Clarendon,"
Mary wrote to her husband, "than, may be, will be believed." That
evening Clarendon and several other noted Jacobites were lodged
in the Tower.667

When the Privy Council had risen, the Queen and the interior
Council of Nine had to consider a question of the gravest
importance. What orders were to be sent to Torrington? The safety
of the State might depend on his judgment and presence of mind;
and some of Mary's advisers apprehended that he would not be
found equal to the occasion. Their anxiety increased when news
came that he had abandoned the coast of the Isle of Wight to the
French, and was retreating before them towards the Straits of
Dover. The sagacious Caermarthen and the enterprising Monmouth
agreed in blaming these cautious tactics. It was true that
Torrington had not so many vessels as Tourville; but Caermarthen
thought that, at such a time, it was advisable to fight, although
against odds; and Monmouth was, through life, for fighting at all
times and against all odds. Russell, who was indisputably one of
the best seamen of the age, held that the disparity of numbers
was not such as ought to cause any uneasiness to an officer who
commanded English and Dutch sailors. He therefore proposed to
send to the Admiral a reprimand couched in terms so severe that
the Queen did not like to sign it. The language was much
softened; but, in the main, Russell's advice was followed.
Torrington was positively ordered to retreat no further, and to
give battle immediately. Devonshire, however, was still
unsatisfied. "It is my duty, Madam," he said, to tell Your
Majesty exactly what I think on a matter of this importance; and
I think that my Lord Torrington is not a man to be trusted with
the fate of three kingdoms." Devonshire was right; but his
colleagues were unanimously of opinion that to supersede a
commander in sight of the enemy, and on the eve of a general
action, would be a course full of danger, and it is difficult to
say that they were wrong. "You must either," said Russell, "leave
him where he is, or send for him as a prisoner." Several
expedients were suggested. Caermarthen proposed that Russell
should be sent to assist Torrington. Monmouth passionately
implored permission to join the fleet in any capacity, as a
captain, or as a volunteer. "Only let me be once on board; and I
pledge my life that there shall be a battle." After much
discussion and hesitation, it was resolved that both Russell and
Monmouth should go down to the coast.668 They set out, but too
late. The despatch which ordered Torrington to fight had preceded
them. It reached him when he was off Beachy Head. He read it, and
was in a great strait. Not to give battle was to be guilty of
direct disobedience. To give battle was, in his judgment, to
incur serious risk of defeat. He probably suspected,--for he was
of a captious and jealous temper,--that the instructions which
placed him in so painful a dilemma had been framed by enemies and
rivals with a design unfriendly to his fortune and his fame. He
was exasperated by the thought that he was ordered about and
overruled by Russell, who, though his inferior in professional
rank, exercised, as one of the Council of Nine, a supreme control
over all the departments of the public service. There seems to be
no ground for charging Torrington with disaffection. Still less
can it be suspected that an officer, whose whole life had been
passed in confronting danger, and who had always borne himself
bravely, wanted the personal courage which hundreds of sailors on
board of every ship under his command possessed. But there is a
higher courage of which Torrington was wholly destitute. He
shrank from all responsibility, from the responsibility of
fighting, and from the responsibility of not fighting; and he
succeeded in finding out a middle way which united all the
inconveniences which he wished to avoid. He would conform to the
letter of his instructions; yet he would not put every thing to
hazard. Some of his ships should skirmish with the enemy; but the
great body of his fleet should not be risked. It was evident
that the vessels which engaged the French would be placed in a
most dangerous situation, and would suffer much loss; and there
is but too good reason to believe that Torrington was base enough
to lay his plans in such a manner that the danger and loss might
fall almost exclusively to the share of the Dutch. He bore them
no love; and in England they were so unpopular that the
destruction of their whole squadron was likely to cause fewer
murmurs than the capture of one of our own frigates.

It was on the twenty-ninth of June that the Admiral received the
order to fight. The next day, at four in the morning, he bore
down on the French fleet, and formed his vessels in order of
battle. He had not sixty sail of the line, and the French had at
least eighty; but his ships were more strongly manned than those
of the enemy. He placed the Dutch in the van and gave them the
signal to engage. That signal was promptly obeyed. Evertsen and
his countrymen fought with a courage to which both their English
allies and their French enemies, in spite of national prejudices,
did full justice. In none of Van Tromp's or De Ruyter's battles
had the honour of the Batavian flag been more gallantly upheld.
During many hours the van maintained the unequal contest with
very little assistance from any other part of the fleet. At
length the Dutch Admiral drew off, leaving one shattered and
dismasted hull to the enemy. His second in command and several
officers of high rank had fallen. To keep the sea against the
French after this disastrous and ignominious action was
impossible. The Dutch ships which had come out of the fight were
in lamentable condition. Torrington ordered some of them to be
destroyed: the rest he took in tow: he then fled along the coast
of Kent, and sought a refuge in the Thames. As soon as he was in
the river, he ordered all the buoys to be pulled up, and thus
made the navigation so dangerous, that the pursuers could not
venture to follow him.669

It was, however, thought by many, and especially by the French
ministers, that, if Tourville had been more enterprising, the
allied fleet might have been destroyed. He seems to have borne,
in one respect, too much resemblance to his vanquished opponent.
Though a brave man, he was a timid commander. His life he exposed
with careless gaiety; but it was said that he was nervously
anxious and pusillanimously cautious when his professional
reputation was in danger. He was so much annoyed by these
censures that he soon became, unfortunately for his country, bold
even to temerity.670

There has scarcely ever been so sad a day in London as that on
which the news of the Battle of Beachy Head arrived. The shame
was insupportable; the peril was imminent. What if the victorious
enemy should do what De Ruyter had done? What if the dockyards of
Chatham should again be destroyed? What if the Tower itself
should be bombarded? What if the vast wood of masts and yardarms
below London Bridge should be in ablaze? Nor was this all. Evil
tidings had just arrived from the Low Countries. The allied
forces under Waldeck had, in the neighbourhood of Fleurus,
encountered the French commanded by the Duke of Luxemburg. The
day had been long and fiercely disputed. At length the skill of
the French general and the impetuous valour of the French cavalry
had prevailed.671 Thus at the same moment the army of Lewis was
victorious in Flanders, and his navy was in undisputed possession
of the Channel. Marshal Humieres with a considerable force lay
not far from the Straits of Dover. It had been given out that he
was about to join Luxemburg. But the information which the
English government received from able military men in the
Netherlands and from spies who mixed with the Jacobites, and
which to so great a master of the art of war as Marlborough
seemed to deserve serious attention, was, that the army of
Humieres would instantly march to Dunkirk and would there be
taken on board of the fleet of Tourville.672 Between the coast of
Artois and the Nore not a single ship bearing the red cross of
Saint George could venture to show herself. The embarkation would
be the business of a few hours. A few hours more might suffice
for the voyage. At any moment London might be appalled by the
news that thirty thousand French veterans were in Kent, and that
the Jacobites of half the counties of the kingdom were in arms.
All the regular troops who could be assembled for the defence of
the island did not amount to more than ten thousand men. It may
be doubted whether our country has ever passed through a more
alarming crisis than that of the first week of July 1690.

But the evil brought with it its own remedy. Those little knew
England who imagined that she could be in danger at once of
rebellion and invasion; for in truth the danger of invasion was
the best security against the danger of rebellion. The cause of
James was the cause of France; and, though to superficial
observers the French alliance seemed to be his chief support, it
really was the obstacle which made his restoration impossible. In
the patriotism, the too often unamiable and unsocial patriotism
of our forefathers, lay the secret at once of William's weakness
and of his strength. They were jealous of his love for Holland;
but they cordially sympathized with his hatred of Lewis. To their
strong sentiment of nationality are to be ascribed almost all
those petty annoyances which made the throne of the Deliverer,
from his accession to his death, so uneasy a seat. But to the
same sentiment it is to be ascribed that his throne, constantly
menaced and frequently shaken, was never subverted. For, much as
his people detested his foreign favourites, they detested his
foreign adversaries still more. The Dutch were Protestants; the
French were Papists. The Dutch were regarded as selfseeking,
grasping overreaching allies; the French were mortal enemies. The
worst that could be apprehended from the Dutch was that they
might obtain too large a share of the patronage of the Crown,
that they might throw on us too large a part of the burdens of
the war, that they might obtain commercial advantages at our
expense. But the French would conquer us; the French would
enslave us; the French would inflict on us calamities such as
those which had turned the fair fields and cities of the
Palatinate into a desert. The hopgrounds of Kent would be as the
vineyards of the Neckar. The High Street of Oxford and the close
of Salisbury would be piled with ruins such as those which
covered the spots where the palaces and churches of Heidelberg
and Mannheim had once stood. The parsonage overshadowed by the old
steeple, the farmhouse peeping from among beehives and
appleblossoms, the manorial hall embosomed in elms, would be
given up to a soldiery which knew not what it was to pity old men
or delicate women or sticking children. The words, "The French
are coming," like a spell, quelled at once all murmur about taxes
and abuses, about William's ungracious manners and Portland's
lucrative places, and raised a spirit as high and unconquerable
as had pervaded, a hundred years before, the ranks which
Elizabeth reviewed at Tilbury. Had the army of Humieres landed,
it would assuredly have been withstood by almost every male
capable of bearing arms. Not only the muskets and pikes but the
scythes and pitchforks would have been too few for the hundreds
of thousands who, forgetting all distinction of sect or faction,
would have risen up like one man to defend the English soil.

The immediate effect therefore of the disasters in the Channel
and in Flanders was to unite for a moment the great body of the
people. The national antipathy to the Dutch seemed to be
suspended. Their gallant conduct in the fight off Beachy Head was
loudly applauded. The inaction of Torrington was loudly
condemned. London set the example of concert and of exertion.
The irritation produced by the late election at once subsided.
All distinctions of party disappeared. The Lord Mayor was
summoned to attend the Queen. She requested him to ascertain as
soon as possible what the capital would undertake to do if the
enemy should venture to make a descent. He called together the
representatives of the wards, conferred with them, and returned
to Whitehall to report that they had unanimously bound themselves to stand by
the government with life and fortune; that a
hundred thousand pounds were ready to be paid into the Exchequer;
that ten thousand Londoners, well armed and appointed, were
prepared to march at an hour's notice; and that an additional
force, consisting of six regiments of foot, a strong regiment of
horse, and a thousand dragoons, should be instantly raised
without costing the Crown a farthing. Of Her Majesty the City had
nothing to ask, but that she would be pleased to set over these
troops officers in whom she could confide. The same spirit was
shown in every part of the country. Though in the southern
counties the harvest was at hand, the rustics repaired with
unusual cheerfulness to the musters of the militia. The Jacobite
country gentlemen, who had, during several months, been making
preparations for the general rising which was to take place as
soon as William was gone and as help arrived from France, now
that William was gone, now that a French invasion was hourly
expected, burned their commissions signed by James, and hid their
arms behind wainscots or in haystacks. The Jacobites in the towns
were insulted wherever they appeared, and were forced to shut
themselves up in their houses from the exasperated populace.673

Nothing is more interesting to those who love to study the
intricacies of the human heart than the effect which the public
danger produced on Shrewsbury. For a moment he was again the
Shrewsbury of 1688. His nature, lamentably unstable, was not
ignoble; and the thought, that, by standing foremost in the
defence of his country at so perilous a crisis, he might repair
his great fault and regain his own esteem, gave new energy to his
body and his mind. He had retired to Epsom, in the hope that
quiet and pure air would produce a salutary effect on his
shattered frame and wounded spirit. But a few hours after the
news of the Battle of Beachy Head had arrived, he was at
Whitehall, and had offered his purse and sword to the Queen. It
had been in contemplation to put the fleet under the command of
some great nobleman with two experienced naval officers to advise
him. Shrewsbury begged that, if such an arrangement were made, he
might be appointed. It concerned, he said, the interest and the
honour of every man in the kingdom not to let the enemy ride
victorious in the Channel; and he would gladly risk his life to
retrieve the lost fame of the English flag.674

His offer was not accepted. Indeed, the plan of dividing the
naval command between a man of quality who did not know the
points of the compass, and two weatherbeaten old seamen who had
risen from being cabin boys to be Admirals, was very wisely laid
aside. Active exertions were made to prepare the allied squadrons
for service. Nothing was omitted which could assuage the natural
resentment of the Dutch. The Queen sent a Privy Councillor,
charged with a special mission to the States General. He was the
bearer of a letter to them in which she extolled the valour of
Evertsen's gallant squadron. She assured them that their ships
should be repaired in the English dockyards, and that the wounded
Dutchmen should be as carefully tended as wounded Englishmen. It
was announced that a strict inquiry would be instituted into the
causes of the late disaster; and Torrington, who indeed could not
at that moment have appeared in public without risk of being torn
in pieces, was sent to the Tower.675

During the three days which followed the arrival of the
disastrous tidings from Beachy Head the aspect of London was
gloomy and agitated. But on the fourth day all was changed. Bells
were pealing: flags were flying: candles were arranged in the
windows for an illumination; men were eagerly shaking hands with
each other in the streets. A courier had that morning arrived at
Whitehall with great news from Ireland.


William lands at Carrickfergus, and proceeds to Belfast--State of
Dublin; William's military Arrangements--William marches
southward--The Irish Army retreats--The Irish make a Stand at the
Boyne--The Army of James--The Army of William--Walker, now Bishop
of Derry, accompanies the Army--William reconnoitres the Irish
Position; William is wounded--Battle of the Boyne--Flight of
James--Loss of the two Armies--Fall of Drogheda; State of Dublin-
-James flies to France; Dublin evacuated by the French and Irish
Troops--Entry of William into Dublin--Effect produced in France
by the News from Ireland--Effect produced at Rome by the News
from Ireland--Effect produced in London by the News from Ireland-
-James arrives in France; his Reception there--Tourville attempts
a Descent on England--Teignmouth destroyed--Excitement of the
English Nation against the French--The Jacobite Press--The
Jacobite Form of Prayer and Humiliation--Clamour against the
nonjuring Bishops--Military Operations in Ireland; Waterford
taken--The Irish Army collected at Limerick; Lauzun pronounces
that the Place cannot be defended--The Irish insist on defending
Limerick--Tyrconnel is against defending Limerick; Limerick
defended by the Irish alone--Sarsfield surprises the English
Artillery--Arrival of Baldearg O'Donnel at Limerick--The
Besiegers suffer from the Rains--Unsuccessful Assault on
Limerick; The Siege raised--Tyrconnel and Lauzun go to France;
William returns to England; Reception of William in England--
Expedition to the South of Ireland--Marlborough takes Cork--
Marlborough takes Kinsale--Affairs of Scotland; Intrigues of
Montgomery with the Jacobites--War in the Highlands--Fort William
built; Meeting of the Scottish Parliament--Melville Lord High
Commissioner; the Government obtains a Majority--Ecclesiastical
Legislation--The Coalition between the Club and the Jacobites
dissolved--The Chiefs of the Club betray each other--General
Acquiescence in the new Ecclesiastical Polity--Complaints of the
Episcopalians--The Presbyterian Conjurors--William dissatisfied
with the Ecclesiastical Arrangements in Scotland--Meeting of the
General Assembly of the Church of Scotland--State of Affairs on
the Continent--The Duke of Savoy joins the Coalition--Supplies
voted; Ways and Means--Proceedings against Torrington--
Torrington's Trial and Acquittal--Animosity of the Whigs against
Caermarthen--Jacobite Plot--Meeting of the leading Conspirators--
The Conspirators determine to send Preston to Saint Germains--
Papers entrusted to Preston--Information of the Plot given to
Caermarthen--Arrest of Preston and his Companions

WILLIAM had been, during the whole spring, impatiently expected
in Ulster. The Protestant settlements along the coast of that
province had, in the course of the month of May, been repeatedly
agitated by false reports of his arrival. It was not, however,
till the afternoon of the fourteenth of June that he landed at
Carrickfergus. The inhabitants of the town crowded the main
street and greeted him with loud acclamations: but they caught
only a glimpse of him. As soon as he was on dry ground he mounted
and set off for Belfast. On the road he was met by Schomberg. The
meeting took place close to a white house, the only human
dwelling then visible, in the space of many miles, on the dreary
strand of the estuary of the Laggan. A village and a cotton mill
now rise where the white house then stood alone; and all the
shore is adorned by a gay succession of country houses,
shrubberies and flower beds. Belfast has become one of the
greatest and most flourishing seats of industry in the British
isles. A busy population of eighty thousand souls is collected
there. The duties annually paid at the Custom House exceed the
duties annually paid at the Custom House of London in the most
prosperous years of the reign of Charles the Second. Other Irish
towns may present more picturesque forms to the eye. But Belfast
is the only large Irish town in which the traveller is not
disgusted by the loathsome aspect and odour of long lines of
human dens far inferior in comfort and cleanliness to the
dwellings which, in happier countries, are provided for cattle.
No other large Irish town is so well cleaned, so well paved, so
brilliantly lighted. The place of domes and spires is supplied by
edifices, less pleasing to the taste, but not less indicative of
prosperity, huge factories, towering many stories above the
chimneys of the houses, and resounding with the roar of
machinery. The Belfast which William entered was a small English
settlement of about three hundred houses, commanded by a stately
castle which has long disappeared, the seat of the noble family
of Chichester. In this mansion, which is said to have borne some
resemblance to the palace of Whitehall, and which was celebrated
for its terraces and orchards stretching down to the river side,
preparations had been made for the King's reception. He was
welcomed at the Northern Gate by the magistrates and burgesses in
their robes of office. The multitude pressed on his carriage with
shouts of "God save the Protestant King." For the town was one of
the strongholds of the Reformed Faith, and, when, two generations
later, the inhabitants were, for the first time, numbered, it was
found that the Roman Catholics were not more than one in

The night came; but the Protestant counties were awake and up. A
royal salute had been fired from the castle of Belfast. It had
been echoed and reechoed by guns which Schomberg had placed at
wide intervals for the purpose of conveying signals from post to
post. Wherever the peal was heard, it was known that King William
was come. Before midnight all the heights of Antrim and Down were
blazing with bonfires. The light was seen across the bays of
Carlingford and Dundalk, and gave notice to the outposts of the
enemy that the decisive hour was at hand. Within forty-eight
hours after William had landed, James set out from Dublin for the
Irish camp, which was pitched near the northern frontier of

In Dublin the agitation was fearful. None could doubt that the
decisive crisis was approaching; and the agony of suspense
stimulated to the highest point the passions of both the hostile
castes. The majority could easily detect, in the looks and tones
of the oppressed minority, signs which indicated the hope of a
speedy deliverance and of a terrible revenge. Simon Luttrell, to
whom the care of the capital was entrusted, hastened to take such
precautions as fear and hatred dictated. A proclamation
appeared, enjoining all Protestants to remain in their houses
from nightfall to dawn, and prohibiting them, on pain of death,
from assembling in any place or for any purpose to the number of
more than five. No indulgence was granted even to those divines
of the Established Church who had never ceased to teach the
doctrine of non resistance. Doctor William King, who had, after
long holding out, lately begun to waver in his political creed,
was committed to custody. There was no gaol large enough to hold
one half of those whom the governor suspected of evil designs.
The College and several parish churches were used as prisons; and
into those buildings men accused of no crime but their religion
were crowded in such numbers that they could hardly breathe.678

The two rival princes meanwhile were busied in collecting their
forces. Loughbrickland was the place appointed by William for the
rendezvous of the scattered divisions of his army. While his
troops were assembling, he exerted himself indefatigably to
improve their discipline and to provide for their subsistence. He
had brought from England two hundred thousand pounds in money and
a great quantity of ammunition and provisions. Pillaging was
prohibited under severe penalties. At the same time supplies were
liberally dispensed; and all the paymasters of regiments were
directed to send in their accounts without delay, in order that
there might be no arrears.679 Thomas Coningsby, Member of
Parliament for Leominster, a busy and unscrupulous Whig,
accompanied the King, and acted as Paymaster General. It deserves
to be mentioned that William, at this time, authorised the
Collector of Customs at Belfast to pay every year twelve hundred
pounds into the hands of some of the principal dissenting
ministers of Down and Antrim, who were to be trustees for their
brethren. The King declared that he bestowed this sum on the
nonconformist divines, partly as a reward for their eminent
loyalty to him, and partly as a compensation for their recent
losses. Such was the origin of that donation which is still
annually bestowed by the government on the Presbyterian clergy of

William was all himself again. His spirits, depressed by eighteen
months passed in dull state, amidst factions and intrigues which
he but half understood, rose high as soon as he was surrounded by
tents and standards.681 It was strange to see how rapidly this
man, so unpopular at Westminster, obtained a complete mastery
over the hearts of his brethren in arms. They observed with
delight that, infirm as he was, he took his share of every
hardship which they underwent; that he thought more of their
comfort than of his own, that he sharply reprimanded some
officers, who were so anxious to procure luxuries for his table
as to forget the wants of the common soldiers; that he never
once, from the day on which he took the field, lodged in a house,
but, even in the neighbourhood of cities and palaces, slept in
his small moveable hut of wood; that no solicitations could
induce him, on a hot day and in a high wind, to move out of the
choking cloud of dust, which overhung the line of march, and
which severely tried lungs less delicate than his. Every man
under his command became familiar with his looks and with his
voice; for there was not a regiment which he did not inspect with
minute attention. His pleasant looks and sayings were long
remembered. One brave soldier has recorded in his journal the
kind and courteous manner in which a basket of the first cherries
of the year was accepted from him by the King, and the
sprightliness with which His Majesty conversed at supper with
those who stood round the table.682

On the twenty-fourth of June, the tenth day after William's
landing, he marched southward from Loughbrickland with all his
forces. He was fully determined to take the first opportunity of
fighting. Schomberg and some other officers recommended caution
and delay. But the King answered that he had not come to Ireland
to let the grass grow under his feet. The event seems to prove
that he judged rightly as a general. That he judged rightly as a
statesman cannot be doubted. He knew that the English nation was
discontented with the way in which the war had hitherto been
conducted; that nothing but rapid and splendid success could
revive the enthusiasm of his friends and quell the spirit of his
enemies; and that a defeat could scarcely be more injurious to
his fame and to his interests than a languid and indecisive

The country through which he advanced had, during eighteen
months, been fearfully wasted both by soldiers and by Rapparees.
The cattle had been slaughtered: the plantations had been cut
down: the fences and houses were in ruins. Not a human being was
to be found near the road, except a few naked and meagre wretches
who had no food but the husks of oats, and who were seen picking
those husks, like chickens, from amidst dust and cinders.683 Yet,
even under such disadvantages, the natural fertility of the
country, the rich green of the earth, the bays and rivers so
admirably fitted for trade, could not but strike the King's
observant eye. Perhaps he thought how different an aspect that
unhappy region would have presented if it had been blessed with
such a government and such a religion as had made his native
Holland the wonder of the world; how endless a succession of
pleasure houses, tulip gardens and dairy farms would have lined
the road from Lisburn to Belfast; how many hundreds of barges
would have been constantly passing up and down the Laggan; what a
forest of masts would have bristled in the desolate port of
Newry; and what vast warehouses and stately mansions would have
covered the space occupied by the noisome alleys of Dundalk. "The
country," he was heard to say, "is worth fighting for."

The original intention of James seems to have been to try the
chances of a pitched field on the border between Leinster and
Ulster. But this design was abandoned, in consequence,
apparently, of the representations of Lauzun, who, though very
little disposed and very little qualified to conduct a campaign
on the Fabian system, had the admonitions of Louvois still in his
ears.684 James, though resolved not to give up Dublin without a
battle, consented to retreat till he should reach some spot where
he might have the vantage of ground. When therefore William's
advanced guard reached Dundalk, nothing was to be seen of the
Irish Army, except a great cloud of dust which was slowly rolling
southwards towards Ardee. The English halted one night near the
ground on which Schomberg's camp had been pitched in the
preceding year; and many sad recollections were awakened by the
sight of that dreary marsh, the sepulchre of thousands of brave

Still William continued to push forward, and still the Irish
receded before him, till, on the morning of Monday the thirtieth
of June, his army, marching in three columns, reached the summit
of a rising ground near the southern frontier of the county of
Louth. Beneath lay a valley, now so rich and so cheerful that the
Englishman who gazes on it may imagine himself to be in one of
the most highly favoured parts of his own highly favoured
country. Fields of wheat, woodlands, meadows bright with daisies
and clover, slope gently down to the edge of the Boyne. That
bright and tranquil stream, the boundary of Louth and Meath,
having flowed many miles between verdant banks crowned by modern
palaces, and by the ruined keeps of old Norman barons of the
pale, is here about to mingle with the sea. Five miles to the
west of the place from which William looked down on the river,
now stands, on a verdant bank, amidst noble woods, Slane Castle,
the mansion of the Marquess of Conyngham. Two miles to the east,
a cloud of smoke from factories and steam vessels overhangs the
busy town and port of Drogheda. On the Meath side of the Boyne,
the ground, still all corn, grass, flowers, and foliage, rises
with a gentle swell to an eminence surmounted by a conspicuous
tuft of ash trees which overshades the ruined church and desolate
graveyard of Donore.686

In the seventeenth century the landscape presented a very
different aspect. The traces of art and industry were few.
Scarcely a vessel was on the river except those rude coracles of
wickerwork covered with the skins of horses, in which the Celtic
peasantry fished for trout and salmon. Drogheda, now peopled by
twenty thousand industrious inhabitants, was a small knot of
narrow, crooked and filthy lanes, encircled by a ditch and a
mound. The houses were built of wood with high gables and
projecting upper stories. Without the walls of the town, scarcely
a dwelling was to be seen except at a place called Oldbridge. At
Oldbridge the river was fordable; and on the south of the ford
were a few mud cabins, and a single house built of more solid

When William caught sight of the valley of the Boyne, he could
not suppress an exclamation and a gesture of delight. He had been
apprehensive that the enemy would avoid a decisive action, and
would protract the war till the autumnal rains should return with
pestilence in their train. He was now at ease. It was plain that
the contest would be sharp and short. The pavilion of James was
pitched on the eminence of Donore. The flags of the House of
Stuart and of the House of Bourbon waved together in defiance on
the walls of Drogheda. All the southern bank of the river was
lined by the camp and batteries of the hostile army. Thousands of
armed men were moving about among the tents; and every one, horse
soldier or foot soldier, French or Irish, had a white badge in
his hat. That colour had been chosen in compliment to the House
of Bourbon. "I am glad to see you, gentlemen," said the King, as
his keen eye surveyed the Irish lines. "If you escape me now, the
fault will be mine."687

Each of the contending princes had some advantages over his
rival. James, standing on the defensive, behind entrenchments,
with a river before him, had the stronger position;688 but his
troops were inferior both in number and in quality to those which
were opposed to him. He probably had thirty thousand men. About a
third part of this force consisted of excellent French infantry
and excellent Irish cavalry. But the rest of his army was the
scoff of all Europe. The Irish dragoons were bad; the Irish
infantry worse. It was said that their ordinary way of fighting
was to discharge their pieces once, and then to run away bawling
"Quarter" and "Murder." Their inefficiency was, in that age,
commonly imputed, both by their enemies and by their allies, to
natural poltroonery. How little ground there was for such an
imputation has since been signally proved by many heroic
achievements in every part of the globe. It ought, indeed, even
in the seventeenth century, to have occurred to reasonable men,
that a race which furnished some of the best horse soldiers in
the world would certainly, with judicious training, furnish good
foot soldiers. But the Irish foot soldiers had not merely not
been well trained; they had been elaborately ill trained. The
greatest of our generals repeatedly and emphatically declared
that even the admirable army which fought its way, under his
command, from Torres Vedras to Toulouse, would, if he had
suffered it to contract habits of pillage, have become, in a few
weeks, unfit for all military purposes. What then was likely to
be the character of troops who, from the day on which they
enlisted, were not merely permitted, but invited, to supply the
deficiencies of pay by marauding? They were, as might have been
expected, a mere mob, furious indeed and clamorous in their zeal
for the cause which they had espoused, but incapable of opposing
a stedfast resistance to a well ordered force. In truth, all that
the discipline, if it is to be so called, of James's army had
done for the Celtic kerne had been to debase and enervate him.
After eighteen months of nominal soldiership, he was positively
farther from being a soldier than on the day on which he quilted
his hovel for the camp.

William had under his command near thirty-six thousand men, born
in many lands, and speaking many tongues. Scarcely one Protestant
Church, scarcely one Protestant nation, was unrepresented in the
army which a strange series of events had brought to fight for
the Protestant religion in the remotest island of the west. About
half the troops were natives of England. Ormond was there with
the Life Guards, and Oxford with the Blues. Sir John Lanier, an
officer who had acquired military experience on the Continent,
and whose prudence was held in high esteem, was at the head of
the Queen's regiment of horse, now the First Dragoon Guards.
There were Beaumont's foot, who had, in defiance of the mandate
of James, refused to admit Irish papists among them, and
Hastings's foot, who had, on the disastrous day of Killiecrankie,
maintained the military reputation of the Saxon race. There were
the two Tangier battalions, hitherto known only by deeds of
violence and rapine, but destined to begin on the following
morning a long career of glory. The Scotch Guards marched under
the command of their countryman James Douglas. Two fine British
regiments, which had been in the service of the States General,
and had often looked death in the face under William's leading,
followed him in this campaign, not only as their general, but as
their native King. They now rank as the fifth and sixth of the
line. The former was led by an officer who had no skill in the
higher parts of military science, but whom the whole army allowed
to be the bravest of all the brave, John Cutts. Conspicuous among
the Dutch troops were Portland's and Ginkell's Horse, and
Solmes's Blue regiment, consisting of two thousand of the finest
infantry in Europe. Germany had sent to the field some warriors,
sprung from her noblest houses. Prince George of Hesse Darmstadt,
a gallant youth who was serving his apprenticeship in the
military art, rode near the King. A strong brigade of Danish
mercenaries was commanded by Duke Charles Frederic of Wirtemberg,
a near kinsman of the head of his illustrious family. It was
reported that of all the soldiers of William these were most
dreaded by the Irish. For centuries of Saxon domination had not
effaced the recollection of the violence and cruelty of the
Scandinavian sea kings; and an ancient prophecy that the Danes
would one day destroy the children of the soil was still repeated
with superstitious horror.689 Among the foreign auxiliaries were
a Brandenburg regiment and a Finland regiment. But in that great
array, so variously composed, were two bodies of men animated by
a spirit peculiarly fierce and implacable, the Huguenots of
France thirsting for the blood of the French, and the Englishry
of Ireland impatient to trample down the Irish. The ranks of the
refugees had been effectually purged of spies and traitors, and
were made up of men such as had contended in the preceding
century against the power of the House of Valois and the genius
of the House of Lorraine. All the boldest spirits of the
unconquerable colony had repaired to William's camp. Mitchelburne
was there with the stubborn defenders of Londonderry, and
Wolseley with the warriors who had raised the unanimous shout of
"Advance" on the day of Newton Butler. Sir Albert Conyngham, the
ancestor of the noble family whose seat now overlooks the Boyne,
had brought from the neighbourhood of Lough Erne a gallant
regiment of dragoons which still glories in the name of
Enniskillen, and which has proved on the shores of the Euxine
that it has not degenerated since the day of the Boyne.690

Walker, notwithstanding his advanced age and his peaceful
profession, accompanied the men of Londonderry, and tried to
animate their zeal by exhortation and by example. He was now a
great prelate. Ezekiel Hopkins had taken refuge from Popish
persecutors and Presbyterian rebels in the city of London, had
brought himself to swear allegiance to the government, had
obtained a cure, and had died in the performance of the humble
duties of a parish priest.691 William, on his march through
Louth, learned that the rich see of Derry was at his disposal. He
instantly made choice of Walker to be the new Bishop. The brave
old man, during the few hours of life which remained to him, was
overwhelmed with salutations and congratulations. Unhappily he
had, during the siege in which he had so highly distinguished
himself, contracted a passion for war; and he easily persuaded
himself that, in indulging this passion, he was discharging a
duty to his country and his religion. He ought to have
remembered that the peculiar circumstances which had justified
him in becoming a combatant had ceased to exist, and that, in a
disciplined army led by generals of long experience and great
fame a fighting divine was likely to give less help than scandal.
The Bishop elect was determined to be wherever danger was; and
the way in which he exposed himself excited the extreme disgust
of his royal patron, who hated a meddler almost as much as a
coward. A soldier who ran away from a battle and a gownsman who
pushed himself into a battle were the two objects which most
strongly excited William's spleen.

It was still early in the day. The King rode slowly along the
northern bank of the river, and closely examined the position of
the Irish, from whom he was sometimes separated by an interval of
little more than two hundred feet. He was accompanied by
Schomberg, Ormond, Sidney, Solmes, Prince George of Hesse,
Coningsby, and others. "Their army is but small;" said one of the
Dutch officers. Indeed it did not appear to consist of more than
sixteen thousand men. But it was well known, from the reports
brought by deserters, that many regiments were concealed from
view by the undulations of the ground. "They may be stronger than
they look," said William; "but, weak or strong, I will soon know
all about them."692

At length he alighted at a spot nearly opposite to Oldbridge,
sate down on the turf to rest himself, and called for breakfast.
The sumpter horses were unloaded: the canteens were opened; and a
tablecloth was spread on the grass. The place is marked by an
obelisk, built while many veterans who could well remember the
events of that day were still living.

While William was at his repast, a group of horsemen appeared
close to the water on the opposite shore. Among them his
attendants could discern some who had once been conspicuous at
reviews in Hyde Park and at balls in the gallery of Whitehall,
the youthful Berwick, the small, fairhaired Lauzun, Tyrconnel,
once admired by maids of honour as the model of manly vigour and
beauty, but now bent down by years and crippled by gout, and,
overtopping all, the stately head of Sarsfield.

The chiefs of the Irish army soon discovered that the person who,
surrounded by a splendid circle, was breakfasting on the opposite
bank, was the Prince of Orange. They sent for artillery. Two
field pieces, screened from view by a troop of cavalry, were
brought down almost to the brink of the river, and placed behind
a hedge. William, who had just risen from his meal, and was again
in the saddle, was the mark of both guns. The first shot struck
one of the holsters of Prince George of Hesse, and brought his
horse to the ground. "Ah!" cried the King; "the poor Prince is
killed." As the words passed his lips, he was himself hit by a
second ball, a sixpounder. It merely tore his coat, grazed his
shoulder, and drew two or three ounces of blood. Both armies saw
that the shot had taken effect; for the King sank down for a
moment on his horse's neck. A yell of exultation rose from the
Irish camp. The English and their allies were in dismay. Solmes
flung himself prostrate on the earth, and burst into tears. But
William's deportment soon reassured his friends. "There is no
harm done," he said: "but the bullet came quite near enough."
Coningsby put his handkerchief to the wound: a surgeon was sent
for: a plaster was applied; and the King, as soon as the dressing
was finished, rode round all the posts of his army amidst loud
acclamations. Such was the energy of his spirit that, in spite of
his feeble health, in spite of his recent hurt, he was that day
nineteen hours on horseback.693

A cannonade was kept up on both sides till the evening. William
observed with especial attention the effect produced by the Irish
shots on the English regiments which had never been in action,
and declared himself satisfied with the result. "All is right,"
he said; "they stand fire well." Long after sunset he made a
final inspection of his forces by torchlight, and gave orders
that every thing should be ready for forcing a passage across the
river on the morrow. Every soldier was to put a green bough in
his hat. The baggage and great coats were to be left under a
guard. The word was Westminster.

The King's resolution to attack the Irish was not approved by all
his lieutenants. Schomberg, in particular, pronounced the
experiment too hazardous, and, when his opinion was overruled,
retired to his tent in no very good humour. When the order of
battle was delivered to him, he muttered that he had been more
used to give such orders than to receive them. For this little
fit of sullenness, very pardonable in a general who had won great
victories when his master was still a child, the brave veteran
made, on the following morning, a noble atonement.

The first of July dawned, a day which has never since returned
without exciting strong emotions of very different kinds in the
two populations which divide Ireland. The sun rose bright and
cloudless. Soon after four both armies were in motion. William
ordered his right wing, under the command of Meinhart Schomberg,
one of the Duke's sons, to march to the bridge of Slane, some
miles up the river, to cross there, and to turn the left flank of
the Irish army. Meinhart Schomberg was assisted by Portland and
Douglas. James, anticipating some such design, had already sent
to the bridge a regiment of dragoons, commanded by Sir Neil
O'Neil. O'Neil behaved himself like a brave gentleman: but he
soon received a mortal wound; his men fled; and the English right
wing passed the river.

This move made Lauzun uneasy. What if the English right wing
should get into the rear of the army of James? About four miles
south of the Boyne was a place called Duleek, where the road to
Dublin was so narrow, that two cars could not pass each other,
and where on both sides of the road lay a morass which afforded
no firm footing. If Meinhart Schomberg should occupy this spot,
it would be impossible for the Irish to retreat. They must either
conquer, or be cut off to a man. Disturbed by this apprehension,
the French general marched with his countrymen and with
Sarsfield's horse in the direction of Slane Bridge. Thus the
fords near Oldbridge were left to be defended by the Irish alone.

It was now near ten o'clock. William put himself at the head of
his left wing, which was composed exclusively of cavalry, and
prepared to pass the river not far above Drogheda. The centre of
his army, which consisted almost exclusively of foot, was
entrusted to the command of Schomberg, and was marshalled
opposite to Oldbridge. At Oldbridge the whole Irish infantry had
been collected. The Meath bank bristled with pikes and bayonets.
A fortification had been made by French engineers out of the
hedges and buildings; and a breastwork had been thrown up close
to the water side.694 Tyrconnel was there; and under him were
Richard Hamilton and Antrim.

Schomberg gave the word. Solmes's Blues were the first to move.
They marched gallantly, with drums beating, to the brink of the
Boyne. Then the drums stopped; and the men, ten abreast,
descended into the water. Next plunged Londonderry and
Enniskillen. A little to the left of Londonderry and Enniskillen,
Caillemot crossed, at the head of a long column of French
refugees. A little to the left of Caillemot and his refugees, the
main body of the English infantry struggled through the river, up
to their armpits in water. Still further down the stream the
Danes found another ford. In a few minutes the Boyne, for a
quarter of a mile, was alive with muskets and green boughs.

It was not till the assailants had reached the middle of the
channel that they became aware of the whole difficulty and danger
of the service in which they were engaged. They had as yet seen
little more than half the hostile army. Now whole regiments of
foot and horse seemed to start out of the earth. A wild shout of
defiance rose from the whole shore: during one moment the event
seemed doubtful: but the Protestants pressed resolutely forward;
and in another moment the whole Irish line gave way. Tyrconnel
looked on in helpless despair. He did not want personal courage;
but his military skill was so small that he hardly ever reviewed
his regiment in the Phoenix Park without committing some blunder;
and to rally the ranks which were breaking all round him was no
task for a general who had survived the energy of his body and of
his mind, and yet had still the rudiments of his profession to
learn. Several of his best officers fell while vainly
endeavouring to prevail on their soldiers to look the Dutch Blues
in the face. Richard Hamilton ordered a body of foot to fall on
the French refugees, who were still deep in water. He led the
way, and, accompanied by several courageous gentlemen, advanced,
sword in hand, into the river. But neither his commands nor his
example could infuse courage into that mob of cowstealers. He was
left almost alone, and retired from the bank in despair. Further
down the river Antrim's division ran like sheep at the approach
of the English column. Whole regiments flung away arms, colours
and cloaks, and scampered off to the hills without striking a
blow or firing a shot.695

It required many years and many heroic exploits to take away the
reproach which that ignominious rout left on the Irish name. Yet,
even before the day closed, it was abundantly proved that the
reproach was unjust. Richard Hamilton put himself at the head of
the cavalry, and, under his command, they made a gallant, though
an unsuccessful attempt to retrieve the day. They maintained a
desperate fight in the bed of the river with Sulmes's Blues. They
drove the Danish brigade back into the stream. They fell
impetuously on the Huguenot regiments, which, not being provided
with pikes, then ordinarily used by foot to repel horse, began to
give ground. Caillemot, while encouraging his fellow exiles,
received a mortal wound in the thigh. Four of his men carried him
back across the ford to his tent. As he passed, he continued to
urge forward the rear ranks which were still up to the breast in
the water. "On; on; my lads: to glory; to glory." Schomberg, who
had remained on the northern bank, and who had thence watched the
progress of his troops with the eye of a general, now thought
that the emergency required from him the personal exertion of a
soldier. Those who stood about him besought him in vain to put on
his cuirass. Without defensive armour he rode through the river,
and rallied the refugees whom the fall of Caillemot had dismayed.
"Come on," he cried in French, pointing to the Popish squadrons;
"come on, gentlemen; there are your persecutors." Those were his
last words. As he spoke, a band of Irish horsemen rushed upon him
and encircled him for a moment. When they retired, he was on the
ground. His friends raised him; but he was already a corpse. Two
sabre wounds were on his head; and a bullet from a carbine was
lodged in his neck. Almost at the same moment Walker, while
exhorting the colonists of Ulster to play the men, was shot dead.
During near half an hour the battle continued to rage along the
southern shore of the river. All was smoke, dust and din. Old
soldiers were heard to say that they had seldom seen sharper work
in the Low Countries. But, just at this conjuncture, William came
up with the left wing. He had found much difficulty in crossing.
The tide was running fast. His charger had been forced to swim,
and had been almost lost in the mud. As soon as the King was on
firm ground he took his sword in his left hand,--for his right
arm was stiff with his wound and his bandage,--and led his men to
the place where the fight was the hottest. His arrival decided
the fate of the day. Yet the Irish horse retired fighting
obstinately. It was long remembered among the Protestants of
Ulster that, in the midst of the tumult, William rode to the head
of the Enniskilleners. "What will you do for me?" he cried. He
was not immediately recognised; and one trooper, taking him for
an enemy, was about to fire. William gently put aside the
carbine. "What," said he, "do you not know your friends?" "It is
His Majesty;" said the Colonel. The ranks of sturdy Protestant
yeomen set up a shout of joy. "Gentlemen," said William, "you
shall be my guards to day. I have heard much of you. Let me see
something of you." One of the most remarkable peculiarities of
this man, ordinarily so saturnine and reserved, was that danger
acted on him like wine, opened his heart, loosened his tongue,
and took away all appearance of constraint from his manner. On
this memorable day he was seen wherever the peril was greatest.
One ball struck the cap of his pistol: another carried off the
heel of his jackboot: but his lieutenants in vain implored him to
retire to some station from which he could give his orders
without exposing a life so valuable to Europe. His troops,
animated by his example, gained ground fast. The Irish cavalry
made their last stand at a house called Plottin Castle, about a
mile and a half south of Oldbridge. There the Enniskilleners were
repelled with the loss of fifty men, and were hotly pursued, till
William rallied them and turned the chase back. In this encounter
Richard Hamilton, who had done all that could be done by valour
to retrieve a reputation forfeited by perfidy696, was severely
wounded, taken prisoner, and instantly brought, through the smoke
and over the carnage, before the prince whom he had foully
wronged. On no occasion did the character of William show itself
in a more striking manner. "Is this business over?" he said; "or
will your horse make more fight?" "On my honour, Sir," answered
Hamilton, "I believe that they will." "Your honour I" muttered
William; "your honour I" That half suppressed exclamation was the
only revenge which he condescended to take for an injury for
which many sovereigns, far more affable and gracious in their
ordinary deportment, would have exacted a terrible retribution.
Then, restraining himself, he ordered his own surgeon to look to
the hurts of the captive.697

And now the battle was over. Hamilton was mistaken in thinking
that his horse would continue to fight. Whole troops had been cut
to pieces. One fine regiment had only thirty unwounded men left.
It was enough that these gallant soldiers had disputed the field
till they were left without support, or hope, or guidance, till
their bravest leader was a captive, and till their King had fled.

Whether James had owed his early reputation for valour to
accident and flattery, or whether, as he advanced in life, his
character underwent a change, may be doubted. But it is certain
that, in his youth, he was generally believed to possess, not
merely that average measure of fortitude which qualifies a
soldier to go through a campaign without disgrace, but that high
and serene intrepidity which is the virtue of great
commanders.698 It is equally certain that, in his later years, he
repeatedly, at conjunctures such as have often inspired timorous
and delicate women with heroic courage, showed a pusillanimous
anxiety about his personal safety. Of the most powerful motives
which can induce human beings to encounter peril none was wanting
to him on the day of the Boyne. The eyes of his contemporaries
and of posterity, of friends devoted to his cause and of enemies
eager to witness his humiliation, were fixed upon him. He had, in
his own opinion, sacred rights to maintain and cruel wrongs to
revenge. He was a King come to fight for three kingdoms. He was a
father come to fight for the birthright of his child. He was a
zealous Roman Catholic, come to fight in the holiest of crusades.
If all this was not enough, he saw, from the secure position
which he occupied on the height of Donore, a sight which, it
might have been thought, would have roused the most torpid of
mankind to emulation. He saw his rival, weak, sickly, wounded,
swimming the river, struggling through the mud, leading the
charge, stopping the flight, grasping the sword with the left
hand, managing the bridle with a bandaged arm. But none of these
things moved that sluggish and ignoble nature. He watched, from a
safe distance, the beginning of the battle on which his fate and
the fate of his race depended. When it became clear that the day
was going against Ireland, he was seized with an apprehension
that his flight might be intercepted, and galloped towards
Dublin. He was escorted by a bodyguard under the command of
Sarsfield, who had, on that day, had no opportunity of displaying
the skill and courage which his enemies allowed that he
possessed.699 The French auxiliaries, who had been employed the
whole morning in keeping William's right wing in check, covered
the flight of the beaten army. They were indeed in some danger of
being broken and swept away by the torrent of runaways, all
pressing to get first to the pass of Duleek, and were forced to
fire repeatedly on these despicable allies.700 The retreat was,
however, effected with less loss than might have been expected.
For even the admirers of William owned that he did not show in
the pursuit the energy which even his detractors acknowledged
that he had shown in the battle. Perhaps his physical
infirmities, his hurt, and the fatigue which he had undergone,
had made him incapable of bodily or mental exertion. Of the last
forty hours he had passed thirty-five on horseback. Schomberg,
who might have supplied his place, was no more. It was said in
the camp that the King could not do every thing, and that what
was not done by him was not done at all.

The slaughter had been less than on any battle field of equal
importance and celebrity. Of the Irish only about fifteen hundred
had fallen; but they were almost all cavalry, the flower of the
army, brave and well disciplined men, whose place could not
easily be supplied. William gave strict orders that there should
be no unnecessary bloodshed, and enforced those orders by an act
of laudable severity. One of his soldiers, after the fight was
over, butchered three defenceless Irishmen who asked for quarter.
The King ordered the murderer to be hanged on the spot.701

The loss of the conquerors did not exceed five hundred men but
among them was the first captain in Europe. To his corpse every
honour was paid. The only cemetery in which so illustrious a
warrior, slain in arms for the liberties and religion of
England, could properly be laid was that venerable Abbey,
hallowed by the dust of many generations of princes, heroes and
poets. It was announced that the brave veteran should have a
public funeral at Westminster. In the mean time his corpse was
embalmed with such skill as could be found in the camp, and was
deposited in a leaden coffin.702

Walker was treated less respectfully. William thought him a
busybody who had been properly punished for running into danger
without any call of duty, and expressed that feeling, with
characteristic bluntness, on the field of battle. "Sir," said an
attendant, the Bishop of Derry has been killed by a shot at the
ford." "What took him there?" growled the King.

The victorious army advanced that day to Duleek, and passed the
warm summer night there under the open sky. The tents and the
baggage waggons were still on the north of the river. William's
coach had been brought over; and he slept in it surrounded by his
soldiers. On the following day, Drogheda surrendered without a
blow, and the garrison, thirteen hundred strong, marched out

Meanwhile Dublin had been in violent commotion. On the thirtieth
of June it was known that the armies were face to face with the
Boyne between them, and that a battle was almost inevitable. The
news that William had been wounded came that evening. The first
report was that the wound was mortal. It was believed, and
confidently repeated, that the usurper was no more; and couriers
started bearing the glad tidings of his death to the French ships
which lay in the ports of Munster. From daybreak on the first of
July the streets of Dublin were filled with persons eagerly
asking and telling news. A thousand wild rumours wandered to and
fro among the crowd. A fleet of men of war under the white flag
had been seen from the hill of Howth. An army commanded by a
Marshal of France had landed in Kent. There had been hard
fighting at the Boyne; but the Irish had won the day; the English
right wing had been routed; the Prince of Orange was a prisoner.
While the Roman Catholics heard and repeated these stories in all
the places of public resort, the few Protestants who were still
out of prison, afraid of being torn to pieces, shut themselves up
in their inner chambers. But, towards five in the afternoon, a
few runaways on tired horses came straggling in with evil
tidings. By six it was known that all was lost. Soon after
sunset, James, escorted by two hundred cavalry, rode into the
Castle. At the threshold he was met by the wife of Tyrconnel,
once the gay and beautiful Fanny Jennings, the loveliest coquette
in the brilliant Whitehall of the Restoration. To her the
vanquished King had to announce the ruin of her fortunes and of
his own. And now the tide of fugitives came in fast. Till
midnight all the northern avenues of the capital were choked by
trains of cars and by bands of dragoons, spent with running and
riding, and begrimed with dust. Some had lost their fire arms,
and some their swords. Some were disfigured by recent wounds. At
two in the morning Dublin was still: but, before the early dawn
of midsummer, the sleepers were roused by the peal of trumpets;
and the horse, who had, on the preceding day, so well supported
the honour of their country, came pouring through the streets,
with ranks fearfully thinned, yet preserving, even in that
extremity, some show of military order. Two hours later Lauzun's
drums were heard; and the French regiments, in unbroken array,
marched into the city.704 Many thought that, with such a force, a
stand might still be made. But, before six o'clock, the Lord
Mayor and some of the principal Roman Catholic citizens were
summoned in haste to the Castle. James took leave of them with a
speech which did him little honour. He had often, he said, been
warned that Irishmen, however well they might look, would never
acquit themselves well on a field of battle; and he had now found
that the warning was but too true. He had been so unfortunate as
to see himself in less than two years abandoned by two armies.
His English troops had not wanted courage; but they had wanted
loyalty. His Irish troops were, no doubt, attached to his cause,
which was their own. But as soon as they were brought front to
front with an enemy, they ran away. The loss indeed had been
little. More shame for those who had fled with so little loss. "I
will never command an Irish army again. I must shift for myself;
and so must you." After thus reviling his soldiers for being the
rabble which his own mismanagement had made them, and for
following the example of cowardice which he had himself set them,
he uttered a few words more worthy of a King. He knew, he said,
that some of his adherents had declared that they would burn
Dublin down rather than suffer it to fall into the hands of the
English. Such an act would disgrace him in the eyes of all
mankind: for nobody would believe that his friends would venture
so far without his sanction. Such an act would also draw on those
who committed it severities which otherwise they had no cause to
apprehend: for inhumanity to vanquished enemies was not among the
faults of the Prince of Orange. For these reasons James charged
his hearers on their allegiance neither to sack nor to destroy
the city.705 He then took his departure, crossed the Wicklow
hills with all speed, and never stopped till he was fifty miles
from Dublin. Scarcely had he alighted to take some refreshment
when he was scared by an absurd report that the pursuers were
close upon him. He started again, rode hard all night, and gave
orders that the bridges should be pulled down behind him. At
sunrise on the third of July he reached the harbour of Waterford.
Thence he went by sea to Kinsale, where he embarked on board of a
French frigate, and sailed for Brest.706

After his departure the confusion in Dublin increased hourly.
During the whole of the day which followed the battle, flying
foot soldiers, weary and soiled with travel, were constantly
coming in. Roman Catholic citizens, with their wives, their
families and their household stuff, were constantly going out. In
some parts of the capital there was still an appearance of
martial order and preparedness. Guards were posted at the gates:
the Castle was occupied by a strong body of troops; and it was
generally supposed that the enemy would not be admitted without a
struggle. Indeed some swaggerers, who had, a few hours before,
run from the breastwork at Oldbridge without drawing a trigger,
now swore that they would lay the town in ashes rather than leave
it to the Prince of Orange. But towards the evening Tyrconnel and
Lauzun collected all their forces, and marched out of the city by
the road leading to that vast sheepwalk which extends over the
table land of Kildare. Instantly the face of things in Dublin was
changed. The Protestants every where came forth from their hiding
places. Some of them entered the houses of their persecutors and
demanded arms. The doors of the prisons were opened. The Bishops
of Meath and Limerick, Doctor King, and others, who had long held
the doctrine of passive obedience, but who had at length been
converted by oppression into moderate Whigs, formed themselves
into a provisional government, and sent a messenger to William's
camp, with the news that Dublin was prepared to welcome him. At
eight that evening a troop of English dragoons arrived. They were
met by the whole Protestant population on College Green, where
the statue of the deliverer now stands. Hundreds embraced the
soldiers, hung fondly about the necks of the horses, and ran
wildly about, shaking hands with each other. On the morrow a
large body of cavalry arrived; and soon from every side came news
of the effects which the victory of the Boyne had produced. James
had quitted the island. Wexford had declared for William. Within
twenty-five miles of the capital there was not a Papist in arms.
Almost all the baggage and stores of the defeated army had been
seized by the conquerors. The Enniskilleners had taken not less
than three hundred cars, and had found among the booty ten
thousand pounds in money, much plate, many valuable trinkets, and
all the rich camp equipage of Tyrconnel and Lauzun.707

William fixed his head quarters at Ferns, about two miles from
Dublin. Thence, on the morning of Sunday, the sixth of July, he
rode in great state to the cathedral, and there, with the crown
on his head, returned public thanks to God in the choir which is
now hung with the banners of the Knights of Saint Patrick. King
preached, with all the fervour of a neophyte, on the great
deliverance which God had wrought for the Church. The Protestant
magistrates of the city appeared again, after a long interval, in
the pomp of office. William could not be persuaded to repose
himself at the Castle, but in the evening returned to his camp,
and slept there in his wooden cabin.708

The fame of these great events flew fast, and excited strong
emotions all over Europe. The news of William's wound every where
preceded by a few hours the news of his victory. Paris was roused
at dead of night by the arrival of a courier who brought the
joyful intelligence that the heretic, the parricide, the mortal
enemy of the greatness of France, had been struck dead by a
cannon ball in the sight of the two armies. The commissaries of
police ran about the city, knocked at the doors, and called the
people up to illuminate. In an hour streets, quays and bridges
were in a blaze: drums were beating and trumpets sounding: the
bells of Notre Dame were ringing; peals of cannon were resounding
from the batteries of the Bastile. Tables were set out in the
streets; and wine was served to all who passed. A Prince of
Orange, made of straw, was trailed through the mud, and at last
committed to the flames. He was attended by a hideous effigy of
the devil, carrying a scroll, on which was written, "I have been
waiting for thee these two years." The shops of several
Huguenots who had been dragooned into calling themselves
Catholics, but were suspected of being still heretics at heart,
were sacked by the rabble. It was hardly safe to question the truth
of the report which had been so eagerly welcomed by the
multitude. Soon, however, some coolheaded people ventured to
remark that the fact of the tyrant's death was not quite so
certain as might be wished. Then arose a vehement controversy
about the effect of such wounds; for the vulgar notion was that
no person struck by a cannon ball on the shoulder could recover.
The disputants appealed to medical authority; and the doors of
the great surgeons and physicians were thronged, it was jocosely
said, as if there had been a pestilence in Paris. The question
was soon settled by a letter from James, which announced his
defeat and his arrival at Brest.709

At Rome the news from Ireland produced a sensation of a very
different kind. There too the report of William's death was,
during a short time, credited. At the French embassy all was joy
and triumph: but the Ambassadors of the House of Austria were in
despair; and the aspect of the Pontifical Court by no means
indicated exultation.710 Melfort, in a transport of joy, sate
down to write a letter of congratulation to Mary of Modena. That
letter is still extant, and would alone suffice to explain why he
was the favourite of James. Herod,--so William was designated,
was gone. There must be a restoration; and that restoration ought
to be followed by a terrible revenge and by the establishment of
despotism. The power of the purse must be taken away from the
Commons. Political offenders must be tried, not by juries, but by
judges on whom the Crown could depend. The Habeas Corpus Act must
be rescinded. The authors of the Revolution must be punished with
merciless severity. "If," the cruel apostate wrote, "if the King
is forced to pardon, let it be as few rogues as he can."711 After
the lapse of some anxious hours, a messenger bearing later and
more authentic intelligence alighted at the palace occupied by
the representative of the Catholic King. In a moment all was
changed. The enemies of France,--and all the population, except
Frenchmen and British Jacobites, were her enemies, eagerly
felicitated one another. All the clerks of the Spanish legation
were too few to make transcripts of the despatches for the
Cardinals and Bishops who were impatient to know the details of
the victory. The first copy was sent to the Pope, and was
doubtless welcome to him.712

The good news from Ireland reached London at a moment when good
news was needed. The English flag had been disgraced in the
English seas. A foreign enemy threatened the coast. Traitors were
at work within the realm. Mary had exerted herself beyond her
strength. Her gentle nature was unequal to the cruel anxieties of
her position; and she complained that she could scarcely snatch
a moment from business to calm herself by prayer. Her distress
rose to the highest point when she learned that the camps of her
father and her husband were pitched near to each other, and that
tidings of a battle might be hourly expected. She stole time for
a visit to Kensington, and had three hours of quiet in the
garden, then a rural solitude.713 But the recollection of days
passed there with him whom she might never see again overpowered
her. "The place," she wrote to him, "made me think how happy I
was there when I had your dear company. But now I will say no
more; for I shall hurt my own eyes, which I want now more than
ever. Adieu. Think of me, and love me as much as I shall you,
whom I love more than my life."714

Early on the morning after these tender lines had been
despatched, Whitehall was roused by the arrival of a post from
Ireland. Nottingham was called out of bed. The Queen, who was
just going to the chapel where she daily attended divine service,
was informed that William had been wounded. She had wept much;
but till that moment she had wept alone, and had constrained
herself to show a cheerful countenance to her Court and Council.
But when Nottingham put her husband's letter into her hands, she
burst into tears. She was still trembling with the violence of
her emotions, and had scarcely finished a letter to William in
which she poured out her love, her fears and her thankfulness,
with the sweet natural eloquence of her sex, when another
messenger arrived with the news that the English army had forced
a passage across the Boyne, that the Irish were flying in
confusion, and that the King was well. Yet she was visibly uneasy
till Nottingham had assured her that James was safe. The grave
Secretary, who seems to have really esteemed and loved her,
afterwards described with much feeling that struggle of filial
duty with conjugal affection. On the same day she wrote to adjure
her husband to see that no harm befell her father. "I know," she
said, "I need not beg you to let him be taken care of; for I am
confident you will for your own sake; yet add that to all your
kindness; and, for my sake, let people know you would have no
hurt happen to his person."715 This solicitude, though amiable,
was superfluous. Her father was perfectly competent to take care
of himself. He had never, during the battle, run the smallest
risk of hurt; and, while his daughter was shuddering at the
dangers to which she fancied that he was exposed in Ireland, he
was half way on his voyage to France.

It chanced that the glad tidings arrived at Whitehall on the day
to which the Parliament stood prorogued. The Speaker and several
members of the House of Commons who were in London met, according
to form, at ten in the morning, and were summoned by Black Rod to
the bar of the Peers. The Parliament was then again prorogued by
commission. As soon as this ceremony had been performed, the
Chancellor of the Exchequer put into the hands of the Clerk the
despatch which had just arrived from Ireland, and the Clerk read
it with a loud voice to the lords and gentlemen present.716 The
good news spread rapidly from Westminster Hall to all the
coffeehouses, and was received with transports of joy. For those
Englishmen who wished to see an English army beaten and an
English colony extirpated by the French and Irish were a minority
even of the Jacobite party.

On the ninth day after the battle of the Boyne James landed at
Brest, with an excellent appetite, in high spirits, and in a
talkative humour. He told the history of his defeat to everybody
who would listen to him. But French officers who understood war,
and who compared his story with other accounts, pronounced that,
though His Majesty had witnessed the battle, he knew nothing
about it, except that his army had been routed.717 From Brest he
proceeded to Saint Germains, where, a few hours after his
arrival, he was visited by Lewis. The French King had too much
delicacy and generosity to utter a word which could sound like
reproach. Nothing, he declared, that could conduce to the comfort
of the royal family of England should be wanting, as far as his
power extended. But he was by no means disposed to listen to the
political and military projects of his unlucky guest. James
recommended an immediate descent on England. That kingdom, he
said, had been drained of troops by the demands of Ireland. The
seven or eight thousand regular soldiers who were left would be
unable to withstand a great French army. The people were ashamed
of their error and impatient to repair it. As soon as their
rightful King showed himself, they would rally round him in
multitudes.718 Lewis was too polite and goodnatured to express
what he must have felt. He contented himself with answering
coldly that he could not decide upon any plan about the British
islands till he had heard from his generals in Ireland. James was
importunate, and seemed to think himself ill used, because, a
fortnight after he had run away from one army, he was not
entrusted with another. Lewis was not to be provoked into
uttering an unkind or uncourteous word: but he was resolute
and, in order to avoid solicitation which gave him pain, he
pretended to be unwell. During some time, whenever James came to
Versailles, he was respectfully informed that His Most Christian
Majesty was not equal to the transaction of business. The
highspirited and quickwitted nobles who daily crowded the
antechambers could not help sneering while they bowed low to the
royal visitor, whose poltroonery and stupidity had a second time
made him an exile and a mendicant. They even whispered their
sarcasms loud enough to call up the haughty blood of the Guelphs
in the cheeks of Mary of Modena. But the insensibility of James
was of no common kind. It had long been found proof against
reason and against pity. It now sustained a still harder trial,
and was found proof even against contempt.719

While he was enduring with ignominious fortitude the polite scorn
of the French aristocracy, and doing his best to weary out his
benefactor's patience and good breeding by repeating that this
was the very moment for an invasion of England, and that the
whole island was impatiently expecting its foreign deliverers,
events were passing which signally proved how little the banished
oppressor understood the character of his countrymen.

Tourville had, since the battle of Beachy Head, ranged the
Channel unopposed. On the twenty-first of July his masts were
seen from the rocks of Portland. On the twenty-second he anchored
in the harbour of Torbay, under the same heights which had, not
many months before, sheltered the armament of William. The French
fleet, which now had a considerable number of troops on board,
consisted of a hundred and eleven sail. The galleys, which formed
a large part of this force, resembled rather those ships with
which Alcibiades and Lysander disputed the sovereignty of the
Aegean than those which contended at the Nile and at Trafalgar.
The galley was very long and very narrow, the deck not more than
two feet from the water edge. Each galley was propelled by fifty
or sixty huge oars, and each oar was tugged by five or six
slaves. The full complement of slaves to a vessel was three
hundred and thirty-six; the full complement of officers and
soldiers a hundred and fifty. Of the unhappy rowers some were
criminals who had been justly condemned to a life of hardship and
danger; a few had been guilty only of adhering obstinately to the
Huguenot worship; the great majority were purchased bondsmen,
generally Turks and Moors. They were of course always forming
plans for massacring their tyrants and escaping from servitude,
and could be kept in order only by constant stripes and by the
frequent infliction of death in horrible forms. An Englishman,
who happened to fall in with about twelve hundred of these most
miserable and most desperate of human beings on their road from
Marseilles to join Tourville's squadron, heard them vowing that,
if they came near a man of war bearing the cross of Saint George,
they would never again see a French dockyard.720

In the Mediterranean galleys were in ordinary use: but none had
ever before been seen on the stormy ocean which roars round our
island. The flatterers of Lewis said that the appearance of such
a squadron on the Atlantic was one of those wonders which were
reserved for his reign; and a medal was struck at Paris to
commemorate this bold experiment in maritime war.721 English
sailors, with more reason, predicted that the first gale would
send the whole of this fairweather armament to the bottom of the
Channel. Indeed the galley, like the ancient trireme, generally
kept close to the shore, and ventured out of sight of land only
when the water was unruffled and the sky serene. But the
qualities which made this sort of ship unfit to brave tempests
and billows made it peculiarly fit for the purpose of landing
soldiers. Tourville determined to try what effect would be
produced by a disembarkation. The English Jacobites who had taken
refuge in France were all confident that the whole population of
the island was ready to rally round an invading army; and he
probably gave them credit for understanding the temper of their

Never was there a greater error. Indeed the French admiral is
said by tradition to have received, while he was still out at
sea, a lesson which might have taught him not to rely on the
assurances of exiles. He picked up a fishing boat, and
interrogated the owner, a plain Sussex man, about the sentiments
of the nation. "Are you," he said, "for King James?" "I do not
know much about such matters," answered the fisherman. "I have
nothing to say against King James. He is a very worthy gentleman,
I believe. God bless him!" "A good fellow!" said Tourville: "then
I am sure you will have no objection to take service with us."
"What!" cried the prisoner; "I go with the French to fight
against the English! Your honour must excuse me; I could not do
it to save my life."722 This poor fisherman, whether he was a
real or an imaginary person, spoke the sense of the nation. The
beacon on the ridge overlooking Teignmouth was kindled; the High
Tor and Causland made answer; and soon all the hill tops of the
West were on re, Messengers were riding hard all night from
Deputy Lieutenant to Deputy Lieutenant. Early the next morning,
without chief, without summons, five hundred gentlemen and
yeomen, armed and mounted, had assembled on the summit of Haldon
Hill. In twenty-four hours all Devonshire was up. Every road in
the county from sea to sea was covered by multitudes of fighting
men, all with their faces set towards Torbay. The lords of a
hundred manors, proud of their long pedigrees and old coats of
arms, took the field at the head of their tenantry, Drakes,
Prideauxes and Rolles, Fowell of Fowelscombe and Fulford of
Fulford, Sir Bourchier Wray of Tawstock Park and Sir William
Courtenay of Powderham Castle. Letters written by several of the
Deputy Lieutenants who were most active during this anxious week
are still preserved. All these letters agree in extolling the
courage and enthusiasm of the people. But all agree also in
expressing the most painful solicitude as to the result of an
encounter between a raw militia and veterans who had served under
Turenne and Luxemburg; and all call for the help of regular
troops, in language very unlike that which, when the pressure of
danger was not felt, country gentlemen were then in the habit of
using about standing armies.

Tourville, finding that the whole population was united as one
man against him, contented himself with sending his galleys to
ravage Teignmouth, now a gay watering place consisting of twelve
hundred houses, then an obscure village of about forty
cottages. The inhabitants had fled. Their dwellings were burned;
the venerable parish church was sacked, the pulpit and the
communion table demolished, the Bibles and Prayer Books torn and
scattered about the roads; the cattle and pigs were slaughtered;
and a few small vessels which were employed in fishing or in the
coasting trade, were destroyed. By this time sixteen or seventeen
thousand Devonshire men had encamped close to the shore; and all
the neighbouring counties had risen. The tin mines of Cornwall
had sent forth a great multitude of rude and hardy men mortally
hostile to Popery. Ten thousand of them had just signed an
address to the Queen, in which they had promised to stand by her
against every enemy; and they now kept their word.723 In truth,
the whole nation was stirred. Two and twenty troops of cavalry,
furnished by Suffolk, Essex, Hertfordshire and Buckinghamshire, were reviewed by
Mary at Hounslow, and were complimented by
Marlborough on their martial appearance. The militia of Kent and
Surrey encamped on Blackheath.724 Van Citters informed the States
General that all England was up in arms, on foot or on horseback,
that the disastrous event of the battle of Beachy Head had not
cowed, but exasperated the people, and that every company of
soldiers which he passed on the road was shouting with one voice,
"God bless King William and Queen Mary."725

Charles Granville, Lord Lansdowne, eldest son of the Earl of
Bath, came with some troops from the garrison of Plymouth to
take the command of the tumultuary army which had assembled round
the basin of Torbay. Lansdowne was no novice. He had served
several hard campaigns against the common enemy of Christendom,
and had been created a Count of the Roman Empire in reward of the
valour which he had displayed on that memorable day, sung by
Filicaja and by Waller, when the infidels retired from the walls
of Vienna. He made preparations for action; but the French did
not choose to attack him, and were indeed impatient to depart.
They found some difficulty in getting away. One day the wind was
adverse to the sailing vessels. Another day the water was too
rough for the galleys. At length the fleet stood out to sea. As
the line of ships turned the lofty cape which overlooks Torquay,
an incident happened which, though slight in itself, greatly
interested the thousands who lined the coast. Two wretched slaves
disengaged themselves from an oar, and sprang overboard. One of
them perished. The other, after struggling more than an hour in
the water, came safe to English ground, and was cordially
welcomed by a population to which the discipline of the galleys
was a thing strange and shocking. He proved to be a Turk, and was
humanely sent back to his own country.

A pompous description of the expedition appeared in the Paris
Gazette. But in truth Tourville's exploits had been inglorious,
and yet less inglorious than impolitic. The injury which he had
done bore no proportion to the resentment which he had roused.
Hitherto the Jacobites had tried to persuade the nation that the
French would come as friends and deliverers, would observe strict
discipline, would respect the temples and the ceremonies of the
established religion, and would depart as soon as the Dutch
oppressors had been expelled and the ancient constitution of the
realm restored. The short visit of Tourville to our coast had
shown how little reason there was to expect such moderation from
the soldiers of Lewis. They had been in our island only a few
hours, and had occupied only a few acres. But within a few hours
and a few acres had been exhibited in miniature the devastation
of the Palatinate. What had happened was communicated to the
whole kingdom far more rapidly than by gazettes or news letters.
A brief for the relief of the people of Teignmouth was read in
all the ten thousand parish churches of the land. No congregation
could hear without emotion that the Popish marauders had made
desolate the habitations of quiet and humble peasants, had
outraged the altars of God, had torn to pieces the Gospels and
the Communion service. A street, built out of the contributions
of the charitable, on the site of the dwellings which the
invaders had destroyed, still retains the name of French

The outcry against those who were, with good reason, suspected of
having invited the enemy to make a descent on our shores was
vehement and general, and was swollen by many voices which had
recently been loud in clamour against the government of William.
The question had ceased to be a question between two dynasties,
and had become a question between England and France. So strong
was the national sentiment that nonjurors and Papists shared or
affected to share it. Dryden, not long after the burning of
Teignmouth, laid a play at the feet of Halifax, with a dedication
eminently ingenious, artful, and eloquent. The dramatist
congratulated his patron on having taken shelter in a calm haven
from the storms of public life, and, with great force and beauty
of diction, magnified the felicity of the statesman who exchanges
the bustle of office and the fame of oratory for philosophic
studies and domestic endearments. England could not complain that
she was defrauded of the service to which she had a right. Even
the severe discipline of ancient Rome permitted a soldier,
after many campaigns, to claim his dismission; and Halifax had
surely done enough for his country to be entitled to the same
privilege. But the poet added that there was one case in which
the Roman veteran, even after his discharge, was required to
resume his shield and his pilum; and that one case was an
invasion of the Gauls. That a writer who had purchased the smiles
of James by apostasy, who had been driven in disgrace from the
court of William, and who had a deeper interest in the
restoration of the exiled House than any man who made letters his
calling, should have used, whether sincerely or insincerely, such
language as this, is a fact which may convince us that the
determination never to be subjugated by foreigners was fixed in
the hearts of the people.727

There was indeed a Jacobite literature in which no trace of this
patriotic spirit can be detected, a literature the remains of
which prove that there were Englishmen perfectly willing to see
the English flag dishonoured, the English soil invaded, the
English capital sacked, the English crown worn by a vassal of
Lewis, if only they might avenge themselves on their enemies, and
especially on William, whom they hated with a hatred half
frightful half ludicrous. But this literature was altogether a
work of darkness. The law by which the Parliament of James had
subjected the press to the control of censors was still in force;
and, though the officers whose business it was to prevent the
infraction of that law were not extreme to mark every
irregularity committed by a bookseller who understood the art of
conveying a guinea in a squeeze of the hand, they could not wink
at the open vending of unlicensed pamphlets filled with ribald
insults to the Sovereign, and with direct instigations to
rebellion. But there had long lurked in the garrets of London a
class of printers who worked steadily at their calling with
precautions resembling those employed by coiners and forgers.
Women were on the watch to give the alarm by their screams if an
officer appeared near the workshop. The press was immediately
pushed into a closet behind the bed; the types were flung into
the coalhole, and covered with cinders: the compositor
disappeared through a trapdoor in the roof, and made off over
the tiles of the neighbouring houses. In these dens were
manufactured treasonable works of all classes and sizes, from
halfpenny broadsides of doggrel verse up to massy quartos filled
with Hebrew quotations. It was not safe to exhibit such
publications openly on a counter. They were sold only by trusty
agents, and in secret places. Some tracts which were thought
likely to produce a great effect were given away in immense
numbers at the expense of wealthy Jacobites. Sometimes a paper
was thrust under a door, sometimes dropped on the table of a
coffeehouse. One day a thousand copies of a scurrilous pamphlet
went out by the postbags. On another day, when the shopkeepers
rose early to take down their shutters, they found the whole of
Fleet Street and the Strand white with seditious handbills.728

Of the numerous performances which were ushered into the world by
such shifts as these, none produced a greater sensation than a
little book which purported to be a form of prayer and
humiliation for the use of the persecuted Church. It was
impossible to doubt that a considerable sum had been expended on
this work. Ten thousand copies were, by various means, scattered
over the kingdom. No more mendacious, more malignant or more
impious lampoon was ever penned. Though the government had as yet
treated its enemies with a lenity unprecedented in the history of
our country, though not a single person had, since the
Revolution, suffered death for any political offence, the authors
of this liturgy were not ashamed to pray that God would assuage
their enemy's insatiable thirst for blood, or would, if any more
of them were to be brought through the Red Sea to the Land of
Promise, prepare them for the passage.729 They complained that
the Church of England, once the perfection of beauty, had become
a scorn and derision, a heap of ruins, a vineyard of wild grapes;
that her services had ceased to deserve the name of public
worship; that the bread and wine which she dispensed had no
longer any sacramental virtue; that her priests, in the act of
swearing fealty to the usurper, had lost the sacred character
which had been conferred on them by their ordination.730 James
was profanely described as the stone which foolish builders had
rejected; and a fervent petition was put up that Providence would
again make him the head of the corner. The blessings which were
called down on our country were of a singular description. There
was something very like a prayer for another Bloody Circuit;
"Give the King the necks of his enemies;" there was something very
like a prayer for a French invasion; "Raise him up friends abroad;"
and there was a more mysterious prayer, the best comment on
which was afterwards furnished by the Assassination Plot; "Do
some great thing for him; which we in particular know not how to
pray for."731

This liturgy was composed, circulated, and read, it is said, in
some congregations of Jacobite schismatics, before William set
out for Ireland, but did not attract general notice till the
appearance of a foreign armament on our coast had roused the
national spirit. Then rose a roar of indignation against the
Englishmen who had dared, under the hypocritical pretence of
devotion, to imprecate curses on England. The deprived Prelates
were suspected, and not without some show of reason. For the
nonjurors were, to a man, zealous Episcopalians. Their doctrine
was that, in ecclesiastical matters of grave moment, nothing
could be well done without the sanction of the Bishop. And could
it be believed that any who held this doctrine would compose a
service, print it, circulate it, and actually use it in public
worship, without the approbation of Sancroft, whom the whole
party revered, not only as the true Primate of all England, but
also as a Saint and a Confessor? It was known that the Prelates
who had refused the oaths had lately held several consultations
at Lambeth. The subject of those consultations, it was now said,
might easily be guessed. The holy fathers had been engaged in
framing prayers for the destruction of the Protestant colony in
Ireland, for the defeat of the English fleet in the Channel, and
for the speedy arrival of a French army in Kent. The extreme
section of the Whig party pressed this accusation with vindictive
eagerness. This then, said those implacable politicians, was the
fruit of King William's merciful policy. Never had he committed a
greater error than when he had conceived the hope that the hearts
of the clergy were to be won by clemency and moderation. He had
not chosen to give credit to men who had learned by a long and
bitter experience that no kindness will tame the sullen ferocity
of a priesthood. He had stroked and pampered when he should have
tried the effect of chains and hunger. He had hazarded the good
will of his best friends by protecting his worst enemies. Those
Bishops who had publicly refused to acknowledge him as their
Sovereign, and who, by that refusal, had forfeited their
dignities and revenues, still continued to live unmolested in
palaces which ought to be occupied by better men: and for this
indulgence, an indulgence unexampled in the history of
revolutions, what return had been made to him? Even this, that
the men whom he had, with so much tenderness, screened from just
punishment, had the insolence to describe him in their prayers as
a persecutor defiled with the blood of the righteous; they asked
for grace to endure with fortitude his sanguinary tyranny; they
cried to heaven for a foreign fleet and army to deliver them from
his yoke; nay, they hinted at a wish so odious that even they had
not the front to speak it plainly. One writer, in a pamphlet
which produced a great sensation, expressed his wonder that the
people had not, when Tourville was riding victorious in the
Channel, bewitted the nonjuring Prelates. Excited as the public
mind then was, there was some danger that this suggestion might
bring a furious mob to Lambeth. At Norwich indeed the people
actually rose, attacked the palace which the Bishop was still
suffered to occupy, and would have pulled it down but for the
timely arrival of the trainbands.732 The government very properly
instituted criminal proceedings against the publisher of the work
which had produced this alarming breach of the peace.733 The
deprived Prelates meanwhile put forth a defence of their conduct.
In this document they declared, with all solemnity, and as in the
presence of God, that they had no hand in the new liturgy, that
they knew not who had framed it, that they had never used it,
that they had never held any correspondence directly or
indirectly with the French court, that they were engaged in no
plot against the existing government, and that they would
willingly shed their blood rather than see England subjugated by
a foreign prince, who had, in his own kingdom, cruelly persecuted
their Protestant brethren. As to the write who had marked them
out to the public vengeance by a fearful word, but too well
understood, they commended him to the Divine mercy, and heartily
prayed that his great sin might be forgiven him. Most of those
who signed this paper did so doubtless with perfect sincerity:
but it soon appeared that one at least of the subscribers had
added to the crime of betraying his country the crime of calling
God to witness a falsehood.734

The events which were passing in the Channel and on the Continent
compelled William to make repeated changes in his plans. During
the week which followed his triumphal entry into Dublin,
messengers charged with evil tidings arrived from England in
rapid succession. First came the account of Waldeck's defeat at
Fleurus. The King was much disturbed. All the pleasure, he said,
which his own victory had given him was at an end. Yet, with that
generosity which was hidden under his austere aspect, he sate
down, even in the moment of his first vexation, to write a kind
and encouraging letter to the unfortunate general.735 Three days
later came intelligence more alarming still. The allied fleet had
been ignominiously beaten. The sea from the Downs to the Land's
End was in possession of the enemy. The next post might bring
news that Kent was invaded. A French squadron might appear in
Saint George's Channel, and might without difficulty burn all the
transports which were anchored in the Bay of Dublin. William
determined to return to England; but he wished to obtain, before
he went, the command of a safe haven on the eastern coast of
Ireland. Waterford was the place best suited to his purpose; and
towards Waterford he immediately proceeded. Clonmel and Kilkenny
were abandoned by the Irish troops as soon as it was known that
he was approaching. At Kilkenny he was entertained, on the
nineteenth of July, by the Duke of Ormond in the ancient castle
of the Butlers, which had not long before been occupied by
Lauzun, and which therefore, in the midst of the general
devastation, still had tables and chairs, hangings on the walls,
and claret in the cellars. On the twenty-first two regiments
which garrisoned Waterford consented to march out after a faint
show of resistance; a few hours later, the fort of Duncannon,
which, towering on a rocky promontory,
commanded the entrance of the harbour, was surrendered; and
William was master of the whole of that secure and spacious basin
which is formed by the united waters of the Suir, the Nore and
the Barrow. He then announced his intention of instantly
returning to England, and, having declared Count Solmes Commander
in Chief of the army of Ireland, set out for Dublin.736

But good news met him on the road. Tourville had appeared on the
coast of Devonshire, had put some troops on shore, and had sacked
Teignmouth; but the only effect of this insult had been to raise
the whole population of the western counties in arms against the
invaders. The enemy had departed, after doing just mischief
enough to make the cause of James as odious for a time to Tories
as to Whigs. William therefore again changed his plans, and
hastened back to his army, which, during his absence, had moved
westward, and which he rejoined in the neighbourhood of

About this time he received from Mary a letter requesting him to
decide an important question on which the Council of Nine was
divided. Marlborough was of opinion that all danger of invasion
was over for that year. The sea, he said, was open; for the
French ships had returned into port, and were refitting. Now was
the time to send an English fleet, with five thousand troops on
board, to the southern extremity of Ireland. Such a force might
easily reduce Cork and Kinsale, two of the most important
strongholds still occupied by the forces of James. Marlborough
was strenuously supported by Nottingham, and as strenuously
opposed by the other members of the interior council with
Caermarthen at their head. The Queen referred the matter to her
husband. He highly approved of the plan, and gave orders that it
should be executed by the General who had formed it. Caermarthen
submitted, though with a bad grace, and with some murmurs at the
extraordinary partiality of His Majesty for Marlborough.738

William meanwhile was advancing towards Limerick. In that city
the army which he had put to rout at the Boyne had taken refuge,
discomfited, indeed, and disgraced, but very little diminished.
He would not have had the trouble of besieging the place, if the
advice of Lauzun and of Lauzun's countrymen had been followed.
They laughed at the thought of defending such fortifications, and
indeed would not admit that the name of fortifications could
properly be given to heaps of dirt, which certainly bore little
resemblance to the works of Valenciennes and Philipsburg. "It is
unnecessary," said Lauzun, with an oath, "for the English to
bring cannon against such a place as this. What you call your
ramparts might be battered down with roasted apples." He
therefore gave his voice for evacuating Limerick, and declared
that, at all events, he was determined not to throw away in a
hopeless resistance the lives of the brave men who had been
entrusted to his care by his master.739 The truth is, that the
judgment of the brilliant and adventurous Frenchman was biassed
by his inclinations. He and his companions were sick of Ireland.
They were ready to face death with courage, nay, with gaiety, on
a field of battle. But the dull, squalid, barbarous life, which
they had now been leading during several months, was more than
they could bear. They were as much out of the pale of the
civilised world as if they had been banished to Dahomey or
Spitzbergen. The climate affected their health and spirits. In
that unhappy country, wasted by years of predatory war,
hospitality could offer little more than a couch of straw, a
trencher of meat half raw and half burned, and a draught of sour
milk. A crust of bread, a pint of wine, could hardly be purchased
for money. A year of such hardships seemed a century to men who
had always been accustomed to carry with them to the camp the
luxuries of Paris, soft bedding, rich tapestry, sideboards of
plate, hampers of Champagne, opera dancers, cooks and musicians.
Better to be a prisoner in the Bastille, better to be a recluse
at La Trappe, than to be generalissimo of the half naked savages
who burrowed in the dreary swamps of Munster. Any plea was
welcome which would serve as an excuse for returning from that
miserable exile to the land of cornfields and vineyards, of
gilded coaches and laced cravats, of ballrooms and theatres.740

Very different was the feeling of the children of the soil. The
island, which to French courtiers was a disconsolate place of
banishment, was the Irishman's home. There were collected all the
objects of his love and of his ambition; and there he hoped that
his dust would one day mingle with the dust of his fathers. To
him even the heaven dark with the vapours of the ocean, the
wildernesses of black rushes and stagnant water, the mud cabins
where the peasants and the swine shared their meal of roots, had
a charm which was wanting to the sunny skies, the cultured fields
and the stately mansions of the Seine. He could imagine no fairer
spot than his country, if only his country could be freed from
the tyranny of the Saxons; and all hope that his country would
be freed from the tyranny of the Saxons must be abandoned if
Limerick were surrendered.

The conduct of the Irish during the last two months had sunk
their military reputation to the lowest point. They had, with the
exception of some gallant regiments of cavalry, fled
disgracefully at the Boyne, and had thus incurred the bitter
contempt both of their enemies and of their allies. The English
who were at Saint Germains never spoke of the Irish but as a
people of dastards and traitors.741 The French were so much
exasperated against the unfortunate nation, that Irish merchants,
who had been many years settled at Paris, durst not walk the
streets for fear of being insulted by the populace.742 So strong
was the prejudice, that absurd stories were invented to explain
the intrepidity with which the horse had fought. It was said that
the troopers were not men of Celtic blood, but descendants of the
old English of the pale.743 It was also said that they had been
intoxicated with brandy just before the battle.744 Yet nothing
can be more certain than that they must have been generally of
Irish race; nor did the steady valour which they displayed in a
long and almost hopeless conflict against great odds bear any
resemblance to the fury of a coward maddened by strong drink into
momentary hardihood. Even in the infantry, undisciplined and
disorganized as it was, there was much spirit, though little
firmness. Fits of enthusiasm and fits of faintheartedness
succeeded each other. The same battalion, which at one time threw
away its arms in a panic and shrieked for quarter, would on
another occasion fight valiantly. On the day of the Boyne the
courage of the ill trained and ill commanded kernes had ebbed to
the lowest point. When they had rallied at Limerick, their blood
was up. Patriotism, fanaticism, shame, revenge, despair, had
raised them above themselves. With one voice officers and men
insisted that the city should be defended to the last. At the
head of those who were for resisting was the brave Sarsfield; and
his exhortations diffused through all ranks a spirit resembling
his own. To save his country was beyond his power. All that he
could do was to prolong her last agony through one bloody and
disastrous year.745

Tyrconnel was altogether incompetent to decide the question on
which the French and the Irish differed. The only military
qualities that he had ever possessed were personal bravery and
skill in the use of the sword. These qualities had once enabled
him to frighten away rivals from the doors of his mistresses, and
to play the Hector at cockpits and hazard tables. But more was
necessary to enable him to form an opinion as to the possibility
of defending Limerick. He would probably, had his temper been as
hot as in the days when he diced with Grammont and threatened to
cut the old Duke of Ormond's throat, have voted for running any
risk however desperate. But age, pain and sickness had left
little of the canting, bullying, fighting Dick Talbot of the
Restoration. He had sunk into deep despondency. He was incapable
of strenuous exertion. The French officers pronounced him utterly
ignorant of the art of war. They had observed that at the Boyne
he had seemed to be stupified, unable to give directions himself,
unable even to make up his mind about the suggestions which were
offered by others.746 The disasters which had since followed one
another in rapid succession were not likely to restore the tone
of a mind so pitiably unnerved. His wife was already in France
with the little which remained of his once ample fortune: his own
wish was to follow her thither: his voice was therefore given for
abandoning the city.

At last a compromise was made. Lauzun and Tyrconnel, with the
French troops, retired to Galway. The great body of the native
army, about twenty thousand strong, remained at Limerick. The
chief command there was entrusted to Boisseleau, who understood
the character of the Irish better, and consequently, judged them
more favourably, than any of his countrymen. In general, the
French captains spoke of their unfortunate allies with boundless
contempt and abhorrence, and thus made themselves as hateful as
the English.747

Lauzun and Tyrconnel had scarcely departed when the advanced
guard of William's army came in sight. Soon the King himself,
accompanied by Auverquerque and Ginkell, and escorted by three
hundred horse, rode forward to examine the fortifications. The
city, then the second in Ireland, though less altered since that
time than most large cities in the British isles, has undergone a
great change. The new town did not then exist. The ground now
covered by those smooth and broad pavements, those neat gardens,
those stately shops flaming with red brick, and gay with shawls
and china, was then an open meadow lying without the walls. The
city consisted of two parts, which had been designated during
several centuries as the English and the Irish town. The English
town stands on an island surrounded by the Shannon, and consists
of a knot of antique houses with gable ends, crowding thick round
a venerable cathedral. The aspect of the streets is such that a
traveller who wanders through them may easily fancy himself in
Normandy or Flanders. Not far from the cathedral, an ancient
castle overgrown with weeds and ivy looks down on the river. A
narrow and rapid stream, over which, in 1690, there was only a
single bridge, divides the English town from the quarter
anciently occupied by the hovels of the native population. The
view from the top of the cathedral now extends many miles over a
level expanse of rich mould, through which the greatest of Irish
rivers winds between artificial banks. But in the seventeenth
century those banks had not been constructed; and that wide
plain, of which the grass, verdant even beyond the verdure of
Munster, now feeds some of the finest cattle in Europe, was then
almost always a marsh and often a lake.748

When it was known that the French troops had quitted Limerick,
and that the Irish only remained, the general expectation in the
English camp was that the city would be an easy conquest.749 Nor
was that expectation unreasonable; for even Sarsfield desponded.
One chance, in his opinion, there still was. William had brought
with him none but small guns. Several large pieces of ordnance, a
great quantity of provisions and ammunition, and a bridge of tin
boats, which in the watery plain of the Shannon was frequently
needed, were slowly following from Cashel. If the guns and
gunpowder could be intercepted and destroyed, there might be some
hope. If not, all was lost; and the best thing that a brave and
high spirited Irish gentleman could do was to forget the country
which he had in vain tried to defend, and to seek in some foreign
land a home or a grave.

A few hours, therefore, after the English tents had been pitched
before Limerick, Sarsfield set forth, under cover of the night,
with a strong body of horse and dragoons. He took the road to
Killaloe, and crossed the Shannon there. During the day he lurked
with his band in a wild mountain tract named from the silver
mines which it contains. Those mines had many years before been
worked by English proprietors, with the help of engineers and
labourers imported from the Continent. But, in the rebellion of
1641, the aboriginal population had destroyed the works and
massacred the workmen; nor had the devastation then committed
been since repaired. In this desolate region Sarsfield found no
lack of scouts or of guides; for all the peasantry of Munster
were zealous on his side. He learned in the evening that the
detachment which guarded the English artillery had halted for the
night about seven miles from William's camp, on a pleasant carpet
of green turf under the ruined walls of an old castle that
officers and men seemed to think themselves perfectly secure;
that the beasts had been turned loose to graze, and that even the
sentinels were dozing. When it was dark the Irish horsemen
quitted their hiding place, and were conducted by the people of
the country to the place where the escort lay sleeping round the
guns. The surprise was complete. Some of the English sprang to
their arms and made an attempt to resist, but in vain. About
sixty fell. One only was taken alive. The rest fled. The
victorious Irish made a huge pile of waggons and pieces of
cannon. Every gun was stuffed with powder, and fixed with its
mouth in the ground; and the whole mass was blown up. The
solitary prisoner, a lieutenant, was treated with great civility
by Sarsfield. "If I had failed in this attempt," said the gallant
Irishman, "I should have been off to France."750

Intelligence had been carried to William's head quarters that
Sarsfield had stolen out of Limerick and was ranging the country.
The King guessed the design of his brave enemy, and sent five
hundred horse to protect the guns. Unhappily there was some
delay, which the English, always disposed to believe the worst of
the Dutch courtiers, attributed to the negligence or perverseness
of Portland. At one in the morning the detachment set out, but
had scarcely left the camp when a blaze like lightning and a
crash like thunder announced to the wide plain of the Shannon
that all was over.751

Sarsfield had long been the favourite of his countrymen; and this
most seasonable exploit, judiciously planned and vigorously
executed, raised him still higher in their estimation. Their
spirits rose; and the besiegers began to lose heart. William did
his best to repair his loss. Two of the guns which had been blown
up were found to be still serviceable. Two more were sent for
from Waterford. Batteries were constructed of small field pieces,
which, though they might have been useless against one of the
fortresses of Hainault or Brabant, made some impression on the
feeble defences of Limerick. Several outworks were carried by
storm; and a breach in the rampart of the city began to appear.

During these operations, the English army was astonished and
amused by an incident, which produced indeed no very important
consequences, but which illustrates in the most striking manner
the real nature of Irish Jacobitism. In the first rank of those
great Celtic houses, which, down to the close of the reign of
Elizabeth, bore rule in Ulster, were the O'Donnels. The head of
that house had yielded to the skill and energy of Mountjoy, had
kissed the hand of James the First, and had consented to exchange
the rude independence of a petty prince for an eminently
honourable place among British subjects. During a short time the
vanquished chief held the rank of an Earl, and was the landlord
of an immense domain of which he had once been the sovereign. But
soon he began to suspect the government of plotting against him,
and, in revenge or in selfdefence, plotted against the
government. His schemes failed; he fled to the continent; his
title and his estates were forfeited; and an Anglosaxon colony
was planted in the territory which he had governed. He meanwhile
took refuge at the court of Spain. Between that court and the
aboriginal Irish there had, during the long contest between
Philip and Elizabeth, been a close connection. The exiled
chieftain was welcomed at Madrid as a good Catholic flying from
heretical persecutors. His illustrious descent and princely
dignity, which to the English were subjects of ridicule, secured
to him the respect of the Castilian grandees. His honours were
inherited by a succession of banished men who lived and died far
from the land where the memory of their family was fondly
cherished by a rude peasantry, and was kept fresh by the songs of
minstrels and the tales of begging friars. At length, in the
eighty-third year of the exile of this ancient dynasty, it was
known over all Europe that the Irish were again in arms for their
independence. Baldearg O'Donnel, who called himself the O'Donnel,
a title far prouder, in the estimation of his race, than any
marquisate or dukedom, had been bred in Spain, and was in the
service of the Spanish government. He requested the permission of
that government to repair to Ireland. But the House of Austria
was now closely leagued with England; and the permission was
refused. The O'Donnel made his escape, and by a circuitous route,
in the course of which he visited Turkey, arrived at Kinsale a
few days after James had sailed thence for France. The effect
produced on the native population by the arrival of this solitary
wanderer was marvellous. Since Ulster had been reconquered by the
Englishry, great multitudes of the Irish inhabitants of that
province had migrated southward, and were now leading a vagrant
life in Connaught and Munster. These men, accustomed from their
infancy to hear of the good old times, when the O'Donnel,
solemnly inaugurated on the rock of Kilmacrenan by the successor
of Saint Columb, governed the mountains of Donegal in defiance of
the strangers of the pale, flocked to the standard of the
restored exile. He was soon at the head of seven or eight
thousand Rapparees, or, to use the name peculiar to Ulster,
Creaghts; and his followers adhered to him with a loyalty very
different from the languid sentiment which the Saxon James had
been able to inspire. Priests and even Bishops swelled the train
of the adventurer. He was so much elated by his reception that
he sent agents to France, who assured the ministers of Lewis
that the O'Donnel would, if furnished with arms and ammunition,
bring into the field thirty thousand Celts from Ulster, and that
the Celts of Ulster would be found far superior in every military
quality to those of Leinster, Munster and Connaught. No
expression used by Baldearg indicated that he considered himself
as a subject. His notion evidently was that the House of O'Donnel
was as truly and as indefeasibly royal as the House of Stuart;

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