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

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purpose of being polished and shaped into a column. But the
intention was abandoned, and the rugged mass still lies, not many
yards from its original site, amidst the shades which surround a
pleasant country house named Boom Hall. Hard by is the well from
which the besiegers drank. A little further off is the burial
ground where they laid their slain, and where even in our own
time the spade of the gardener has struck upon many sculls and
thighbones at a short distance beneath the turf and flowers.

While these things were passing in the North, James was holding
his court at Dublin. On his return thither from Londonderry he
received intelligence that the French fleet, commanded by the
Count of Chateau Renaud, had anchored in Bantry Bay, and had put
on shore a large quantity of military stores and a supply of
money. Herbert, who had just been sent to those seas with an
English squadron for the purpose of intercepting the
communications between Britanny and Ireland, learned where the
enemy lay, and sailed into the bay with the intention of giving
battle. But the wind was unfavourable to him: his force was
greatly inferior to that which was opposed to him; and after some
firing, which caused no serious loss to either side, he thought
it prudent to stand out to sea, while the French retired into the
recesses of the harbour. He steered for Scilly, where he expected
to find reinforcements; and Chateau Renaud, content with the
credit which he had acquired, and afraid of losing it if he
staid, hastened back to Brest, though earnestly intreated by
James to come round to Dublin.

Both sides claimed the victory. The Commons at Westminster
absurdly passed a vote of thanks to Herbert. James, not less
absurdly, ordered bonfires to be lighted, and a Te Deum to be
sung. But these marks of joy by no means satisfied Avaux, whose
national vanity was too strong even for his characteristic
prudence and politeness. He complained that James was so unjust
and ungrateful as to attribute the result of the late action to
the reluctance with which the English seamen fought against their
rightful King and their old commander, and that his Majesty did
not seem to be well pleased by being told that they were flying
over the ocean pursued by the triumphant French. Dover, too, was
a bad Frenchman. He seemed to take no pleasure in the defeat of
his countrymen, and had been heard to say that the affair in
Bantry Bay did not deserve to be called a battle.212

On the day after the Te Deum had been sung at Dublin for this
indecisive skirmish, the Parliament convoked by James assembled.
The number of temporal peers of Ireland, when he arrived in that
kingdom, was about a hundred. Of these only fourteen obeyed his
summons. Of the fourteen, ten were Roman Catholics. By the
reversing of old attainders, and by new creations, seventeen more
Lords, all Roman Catholics, were introduced into the Upper House.
The Protestant Bishops of Meath, Ossory, Cork, and Limerick,
whether from a sincere conviction that they could not lawfully
withhold their obedience even from a tyrant, or from a vain hope
that the heart even of a tyrant might be softened by their
patience, made their appearance in the midst of their mortal

The House of Commons consisted almost exclusively of Irishmen and
Papists. With the writs the returning officers had received from
Tyrconnel letters naming the persons whom he wished to see
elected. The largest constituent bodies in the kingdom were at
this time very small. For scarcely any but Roman Catholics dared
to show their faces; and the Roman Catholic freeholders were then
very few, not more, it is said, in some counties, than ten or
twelve. Even in cities so considerable as Cork, Limerick, and
Galway, the number of persons who, under the new Charters, were
entitled to vote did not exceed twenty-four. About two hundred
and fifty members took their seats. Of these only six were
Protestants.213 The list of the names sufficiently indicates the
religious and political temper of the assembly. Alone among the
Irish parliaments of that age, this parliament was filled with
Dermots and Geohagans, O'Neils and O'Donovans, Macmahons,
Macnamaras, and Macgillicuddies. The lead was taken by a few men
whose abilities had been improved by the study of the law, or by
experience acquired in foreign countries. The Attorney General,
Sir Richard Nagle, who represented the county of Cork, was
allowed, even by Protestants, to be an acute and learned jurist.
Francis Plowden, the Commissioner of Revenue, who sate for
Bannow, and acted as chief minister of finance, was an
Englishman, and, as he had been a principal agent of the Order of
Jesuits in money matters, must be supposed to have been an
excellent man of business.214 Colonel Henry Luttrell, member for
the county of Carlow, had served long in France, and had brought
back to his native Ireland a sharpened intellect and polished
manners, a flattering tongue, some skill in war, and much more
skill in intrigue. His elder brother, Colonel Simon Luttrell, who
was member for the county of Dublin, and military governor of the
capital, had also resided in France, and, though inferior to
Henry in parts and activity, made a highly distinguished figure
among the adherents of James. The other member for the county of
Dublin was Colonel Patrick Sarsfield. This gallant officer was
regarded by the natives as one of themselves: for his ancestors
on the paternal side, though originally English, were among those
early colonists who were proverbially said to have become more
Irish than Irishmen. His mother was of noble Celtic blood; and he
was firmly attached to the old religion. He had inherited an
estate of about two thousand a year, and was therefore one of the
wealthiest Roman Catholics in the kingdom. His knowledge of
courts and camps was such as few of his countrymen possessed. He
had long borne a commission in the English Life Guards, had lived
much about Whitehall, and had fought bravely under Monmouth on
the Continent, and against Monmouth at Sedgemoor. He had, Avaux
wrote, more personal influence than any man in Ireland, and was
indeed a gentleman of eminent merit, brave, upright, honourable,
careful of his men in quarters, and certain to be always found at
their head in the day of battle. His intrepidity, his frankness,
his boundless good nature, his stature, which far exceeded that
of ordinary men, and the strength which he exerted in personal
conflict, gained for him the affectionate admiration of the
populace. It is remarkable that the Englishry generally respected
him as a valiant, skilful, and generous enemy, and that, even in
the most ribald farces which were performed by mountebanks in
Smithfield, he was always excepted from the disgraceful
imputations which it was then the fashion to throw on the Irish

But men like these were rare in the House of Commons which had
met at Dublin. It is no reproach to the Irish nation, a nation
which has since furnished its full proportion of eloquent and
accomplished senators, to say that, of all the parliaments which
have met in the British islands, Barebone's parliament not
excepted, the assembly convoked by James was the most deficient
in all the qualities which a legislature should possess. The
stern domination of a hostile caste had blighted the faculties of
the Irish gentleman. If he was so fortunate as to have lands, he
had generally passed his life on them, shooting, fishing,
carousing, and making love among his vassals. If his estate had
been confiscated, he had wandered about from bawn to bawn and
from cabin to cabin, levying small contributions, and living at
the expense of other men. He had never sate in the House of
Commons: he had never even taken an active part at an election:
he had never been a magistrate: scarcely ever had he been on a
grand jury. He had therefore absolutely no experience of public
affairs. The English squire of that age, though assuredly not a
very profound or enlightened politician, was a statesman and a
philosopher when compared with the Roman Catholic squire of
Munster or Connaught.

The Parliaments of Ireland had then no fixed place of assembling.
Indeed they met so seldom and broke up so speedily that it would
hardly have been worth while to build and furnish a palace for
their special use. It was not till the Hanoverian dynasty had
been long on the throne, that a senate house which sustains a
comparison with the finest compositions of Inigo Jones arose in
College Green. On the spot where the portico and dome of the Four
Courts now overlook the Liffey, stood, in the seventeenth
century, an ancient building which had once been a convent of
Dominican friars, but had since the Reformation been appropriated
to the use of the legal profession, and bore the name of the
King's Inns. There accommodation had been provided for the
parliament. On the seventh of May, James, dressed in royal robes
and wearing a crown, took his seat on the throne in the House of
Lords, and ordered the Commons to be summoned to the bar.216

He then expressed his gratitude to the natives of Ireland for
having adhered to his cause when the people of his other kingdoms
had deserted him. His resolution to abolish all religious
disabilities in all his dominions he declared to be unalterable.
He invited the houses to take the Act of Settlement into
consideration, and to redress the injuries of which the old
proprietors of the soil had reason to complain. He concluded by
acknowledging in warm terms his obligations to the King of

When the royal speech had been pronounced, the Chancellor
directed the Commons to repair to their chamber and to elect a
Speaker. They chose the Attorney General Nagle; and the choice
was approved by the King.218

The Commons next passed resolutions expressing warm gratitude
both to James and to Lewis. Indeed it was proposed to send a
deputation with an address to Avaux; but the Speaker pointed out
the gross impropriety of such a step; and, on this occasion, his
interference was successful.219 It was seldom however that the
House was disposed to listen to reason. The debates were all rant
and tumult. Judge Daly, a Roman Catholic, but an honest and able
man, could not refrain from lamenting the indecency and folly
with which the members of his Church carried on the work of
legislation. Those gentlemen, he said, were not a Parliament:
they were a mere rabble: they resembled nothing so much as the
mob of fishermen and market gardeners, who, at Naples, yelled and
threw up their caps in honour of Massaniello. It was painful to
hear member after member talking wild nonsense about his own
losses, and clamouring for an estate, when the lives of all and
the independence of their common country were in peril. These
words were spoken in private; but some talebearer repeated them
to the Commons. A violent storm broke forth. Daly was ordered to
attend at the bar; and there was little doubt that he would be
severely dealt with. But, just when he was at the door, one of
the members rushed in, shouting, "Good news: Londonderry is
taken." The whole House rose. All the hats were flung into the
air. Three loud huzzas were raised. Every heart was softened by
the happy tidings. Nobody would hear of punishment at such a
moment. The order for Daly's attendance was discharged amidst
cries of "No submission; no submission; we pardon him." In a few
hours it was known that Londonderry held out as obstinately as
ever. This transaction, in itself unimportant, deserves to be
recorded, as showing how destitute that House of Commons was of
the qualities which ought to be found in the great council of a
kingdom. And this assembly, without experience, without gravity,
and without temper, was now to legislate on questions which would have tasked to
the utmost the capacity of the greatest statesmen.220

One Act James induced them to pass which would have been most
honourable to him and to them, if there were not abundant proofs
that it was meant to be a dead letter. It was an Act purporting
to grant entire liberty of conscience to all Christian sects. On
this occasion a proclamation was put forth announcing in boastful
language to the English people that their rightful King had now
signally refuted those slanderers who had accused him of
affecting zeal for religious liberty merely in order to serve a
turn. If he were at heart inclined to persecution, would he not
have persecuted the Irish Protestants? He did not want power. He
did not want provocation. Yet at Dublin, where the members of his
Church were the majority, as at Westminister, where they were a
minority, he had firmly adhered to the principles laid down in
his much maligned Declaration of Indulgence.221 Unfortunately for
him, the same wind which carried his fair professions to England
carried thither also evidence that his professions were
insincere. A single law, worthy of Turgot or of Franklin, seemed
ludicrously out of place in the midst of a crowd of laws which
would have disgraced Gardiner or Alva.

A necessary preliminary to the vast work of spoliation and
slaughter on which the legislators of Dublin were bent, was an
Act annulling the authority which the English Parliament, both as
the supreme legislature and as the supreme Court of Appeal, had
hitherto exercised over Ireland.222 This Act was rapidly passed;
and then followed, in quick succession, confiscations and
proscriptions on a gigantic scale. The personal estates of
absentees above the age of seventeen years were transferred to
the King. When lay property was thus invaded, it was not likely
that the endowments which had been, in contravention of every
sound principle, lavished on the Church of the minority would be
spared. To reduce those endowments, without prejudice to existing
interests, would have been a reform worthy of a good prince and
of a good parliament. But no such reform would satisfy the
vindictive bigots who sate at the King's Inns. By one sweeping
Act, the greater part of the tithe was transferred from the
Protestant to the Roman Catholic clergy; and the existing
incumbents were left, without one farthing of compensation, to
die of hunger.223 A Bill repealing the Act of Settlement and
transferring many thousands of square miles from Saxon to Celtic
landlords was brought in and carried by acclamation.224

Of legislation such as this it is impossible to speak too
severely: but for the legislators there are excuses which it is
the duty of the historian to notice. They acted unmercifully,
unjustly, unwisely. But it would be absurd to expect mercy,
justice, or wisdom from a class of men first abased by many years
of oppression, and then maddened by the joy of a sudden
deliverance, and armed with irresistible power. The
representatives of the Irish nation were, with few exceptions,
rude and ignorant. They had lived in a state of constant
irritation. With aristocratical sentiments they had been in a
servile position. With the highest pride of blood, they had been
exposed to daily affronts, such as might well have roused the
choler of the humblest plebeian. In sight of the fields and
castles which they regarded as their own, they had been glad to
be invited by a peasant to partake of his whey and his potatoes.
Those violent emotions of hatred and cupidity which the situation
of the native gentleman could scarcely fail to call forth
appeared to him under the specious guise of patriotism and piety.
For his enemies were the enemies of his nation; and the same
tyranny which had robbed him of his patrimony had robbed his
Church of vast wealth bestowed on her by the devotion of an
earlier age. How was power likely to be used by an uneducated and
inexperienced man, agitated by strong desires and resentments
which he mistook for sacred duties? And, when two or three
hundred such men were brought together in one assembly, what was
to be expected but that the passions which each had long nursed
in silence would be at once matured into fearful vigour by the
influence of sympathy?

Between James and his parliament there was little in common,
except hatred of the Protestant religion. He was an Englishman.
Superstition had not utterly extinguished all national feeling in
his mind; and he could not but be displeased by the malevolence
with which his Celtic supporters regarded the race from which he
sprang. The range of his intellectual vision was small. Yet it
was impossible that, having reigned in England, and looking
constantly forward to the day when he should reign in England
once more, he should not take a wider view of politics than was
taken by men who had no objects out of Ireland. The few Irish
Protestants who still adhered to him, and the British nobles,
both Protestant and Roman Catholic, who had followed him into
exile, implored him to restrain the violence of the rapacious and
vindictive senate which he had convoked. They with peculiar
earnestness implored him not to consent to the repeal of the Act
of Settlement. On what security, they asked, could any man invest
his money or give a portion to his children, if he could not rely
on positive laws and on the uninterrupted possession of many
years? The military adventurers among whom Cromwell portioned out
the soil might perhaps be regarded as wrongdoers. But how large a
part of their estates had passed, by fair purchase, into other
hands! How much money had proprietors borrowed on mortgage, on
statute merchant, on statute staple! How many capitalists had,
trusting to legislative acts and to royal promises, come over
from England, and bought land in Ulster and Leinster, without the
least misgiving as to the title! What a sum had those capitalists
expended, during a quarter of a century, in building; draining,
inclosing, planting! The terms of the compromise which Charles
the Second had sanctioned might not be in all respects just. But
was one injustice to be redressed by committing another injustice
more monstrous still? And what effect was likely to be produced
in England by the cry of thousands of innocent English families
whom an English king had doomed to ruin? The complaints of such a
body of sufferers might delay, might prevent, the Restoration to
which all loyal subjects were eagerly looking forward; and, even
if his Majesty should, in spite of those complaints, be happily
restored, he would to the end of his life feel the pernicious
effects of the injustice which evil advisers were now urging him
to commit. He would find that, in trying to quiet one set of
malecontents, he had created another. As surely as he yielded to
the clamour raised at Dublin for a repeal of the Act of
Settlement, he would, from the day on which he returned to
Westminster, be assailed by as loud and pertinacious a clamour
for a repeal of that repeal. He could not but be aware that no
English Parliament, however loyal, would permit such laws as were
now passing through the Irish Parliament to stand. Had he made up
his mind to take the part of Ireland against the universal sense
of England? If so, to what could he look forward but another
banishment and another deposition? Or would he, when he had
recovered the greater kingdom, revoke the boors by which, in his
distress, he had purchased the help of the smaller? It might seem
an insult to him even to suggest that he could harbour the
thought of such unprincely, of such unmanly, perfidy. Yet what
other course would be left to him? And was it not better for him
to refuse unreasonable concessions now than to retract those
concessions hereafter in a manner which must bring on him
reproaches insupportable to a noble mind? His situation was
doubtless embarrassing. Yet in this case, as in other cases, it
would be found that the path of justice was the path of

Though James had, in his speech at the opening of the session,
declared against the Act of Settlement, he felt that these
arguments were unanswerable. He held several conferences with the
leading members of the House of Commons, and earnestly
recommended moderation. But his exhortations irritated the
passions which he wished to allay. Many of the native gentry held
high and violent language. It was impudent, they said, to talk
about the rights of purchasers. How could right spring out of
wrong? People who chose to buy property acquired by injustice
must take the consequences of their folly and cupidity. It was
clear that the Lower House was altogether impracticable. James
had, four years before, refused to make the smallest concession
to the most obsequious parliament that has ever sat in England;
and it might have been expected that the obstinacy, which he had
never wanted when it was a vice, would not have failed him now
when it would have been a virtue. During a short time he seemed
determined to act justly. He even talked of dissolving the
parliament. The chiefs of the old Celtic families, on the other
hand, said publicly that, if he did not give them back their
inheritance, they would not fight for his. His very soldiers
railed on him in the streets of Dublin. At length he determined
to go down himself to the House of Peers, not in his robes and
crown, but in the garb in which he had been used to attend
debates at Westminster, and personally to solicit the Lords to
put some check on the violence of the Commons. But just as he was
getting into his coach for this purpose he was stopped by Avaux.
Avaux was as zealous as any Irishman for the bills which the
Commons were urging forward. It was enough for him that those
bills seemed likely to make the enmity between England and
Ireland irreconcileable. His remonstrances induced James to
abstain from openly opposing the repeal of the Act of Settlement.
Still the unfortunate prince continued to cherish some faint hope
that the law for which the Commons were so zealous would be
rejected, or at least modified, by the Peers. Lord Granard, one
of the few Protestant noblemen who sate in that parliament,
exerted himself strenuously on the side of public faith and sound
policy. The King sent him a message of thanks. "We Protestants,"
said Granard to Powis who brought the message, "are few in
number. We can do little. His Majesty should try his influence
with the Roman Catholics." "His Majesty," answered Powis with an
oath, "dares not say what he thinks." A few days later James met
Granard riding towards the parliament house. "Where are you
going, my Lord?" said the King. "To enter my protest, Sir,"
answered Granard, "against the repeal of the Act of Settlement."
"You are right," said the King: "but I am fallen into the hands
of people who will ram that and much more down my throat."226

James yielded to the will of the Commons; but the unfavourable
impression which his short and feeble resistance had made upon
them was not to be removed by his submission. They regarded him
with profound distrust; they considered him as at heart an
Englishman; and not a day passed without some indication of this
feeling. They were in no haste to grant him a supply. One party
among them planned an address urging him to dismiss Melfort as an
enemy of their nation. Another party drew up a bill for deposing
all the Protestant Bishops, even the four who were then actually
sitting in Parliament. It was not without difficulty that Avaux
and Tyrconnel, whose influence in the Lower House far exceeded
the King's, could restrain the zeal of the majority.227

It is remarkable that, while the King was losing the confidence
and good will of the Irish Commons by faintly defending against
them, in one quarter, the institution of property, he was
himself, in another quarter, attacking that institution with a
violence, if possible, more reckless than theirs. He soon found
that no money came into his Exchequer. The cause was sufficiently
obvious. Trade was at an end. Floating capital had been withdrawn
in great masses from the island. Of the fixed capital much had
been destroyed, and the rest was lying idle. Thousands of those
Protestants who were the most industrious and intelligent part of
the population had emigrated to England. Thousands had taken
refuge in the places which still held out for William and Mary.
Of the Roman Catholic peasantry who were in the vigour of life
the majority had enlisted in the army or had joined gangs of
plunderers. The poverty of the treasury was the necessary effect
of the poverty of the country: public prosperity could be
restored only by the restoration of private prosperity; and
private prosperity could be restored only by years of peace and
security. James was absurd enough to imagine that there was a
more speedy and efficacious remedy. He could, he conceived, at
once extricate himself from his financial difficulties by the
simple process of calling a farthing a shilling. The right of
coining was undoubtedly a flower of the prerogative; and, in his
view, the right of coining included the right of debasing the
coin. Pots, pans, knockers of doors, pieces of ordnance which had
long been past use, were carried to the mint. In a short time
lumps of base metal, nominally worth near a million sterling,
intrinsically worth about a sixtieth part of that sum, were in
circulation. A royal edict declared these pieces to be legal
tender in all cases whatever. A mortgage for a thousand pounds
was cleared off by a bag of counters made out of old kettles. The
creditors who complained to the Court of Chancery were told by
Fitton to take their money and be gone. But of all classes the
tradesmen of Dublin, who were generally Protestants, were the
greatest losers. At first, of course, they raised their demands:
but the magistrates of the city took on themselves to meet this
heretical machination by putting forth a tariff regulating
prices. Any man who belonged to the caste now dominant might walk
into a shop, lay on the counter a bit of brass worth threepence,
and carry off goods to the value of half a guinea. Legal redress
was out of the question. Indeed the sufferers thought themselves
happy if, by the sacrifice of their stock in trade, they could
redeem their limbs and their lives. There was not a baker's shop
in the city round which twenty or thirty soldiers were not
constantly prowling. Some persons who refused the base money were
arrested by troopers and carried before the Provost Marshal, who
cursed them, swore at them, locked them up in dark cells, and, by
threatening to hang them at their own doors, soon overcame their
resistance. Of all the plagues of that time none made a deeper or
a more lasting impression on the minds of the Protestants of
Dublin than the plague of the brass money.228 To the recollection
of the confusion and misery which had been produced by James's
coin must be in part ascribed the strenuous opposition which,
thirty-five years later, large classes, firmly attached to the
House of Hanover, offered to the government of George the First
in the affair of Wood's patent.

There can be no question that James, in thus altering, by his own
authority, the terms of all the contracts in the kingdom, assumed
a power which belonged only to the whole legislature. Yet the
Commons did not remonstrate. There was no power, however
unconstitutional, which they were not willing to concede to him,
as long as he used it to crush and plunder the English
population. On the other hand, they respected no prerogative,
however ancient, however legitimate, however salutary, if they
apprehended that he might use it to protect the race which they
abhorred. They were not satisfied till they had extorted his
reluctant consent to a portentous law, a law without a parallel
in the history of civilised countries, the great Act of

A list was framed containing between two and three thousand
names. At the top was half the peerage of Ireland. Then came
baronets, knights, clergymen, squires, merchants, yeomen,
artisans, women, children. No investigation was made. Any member
who wished to rid himself of a creditor, a rival, a private
enemy, gave in the name to the clerk at the table, and it was
generally inserted without discussion. The only debate of which
any account has come down to us related to the Earl of Strafford.
He had friends in the House who ventured to offer something in
his favour. But a few words from Simon Luttrell settled the
question. "I have," he said, "heard the King say some hard things
of that lord." This was thought sufficient, and the name of
Strafford stands fifth in the long table of the proscribed.229

Days were fixed before which those whose names were on the list
were required to surrender themselves to such justice as was then
administered to English Protestants in Dublin. If a proscribed
person was in Ireland, he must surrender himself by the tenth of
August. If he had left Ireland since the fifth of November 1688,
he must surrender himself by the first of September. If he had
left Ireland before the fifth of November 1688, he must surrender
himself by the first of October. If he failed to appear by the
appointed day, he was to be hanged, drawn, and quartered without
a trial, and his property was to be confiscated. It might be
physically impossible for him to deliver himself up within the
time fixed by the Act. He might be bedridden. He might be in the
West Indies. He might be in prison. Indeed there notoriously were
such cases. Among the attainted Lords was Mountjoy. He had been
induced by the villany of Tyrconnel to trust himself at Saint
Germains: he had been thrown into the Bastile: he was still lying
there; and the Irish parliament was not ashamed to enact that,
unless he could, within a few weeks, make his escape from his
cell, and present himself at Dublin, he should be put to

As it was not even pretended that there had been any inquiry into
the guilt of those who were thus proscribed, as not a single one
among them had been heard in his own defence, and as it was
certain that it would be physically impossible for many of them
to surrender themselves in time, it was clear that nothing but a
large exercise of the royal prerogative of mercy could prevent
the perpetration of iniquities so horrible that no precedent
could be found for them even in the lamentable history of the
troubles of Ireland. The Commons therefore determined that the
royal prerogative of mercy should be limited. Several regulations
were devised for the purpose of making the passing of pardons
difficult and costly: and finally it was enacted that every
pardon granted by his Majesty, after the end of November 1689, to
any of the many hundreds of persons who had been sentenced to
death without a trial, should be absolutely void and of none
effect. Sir Richard Nagle came in state to the bar of the Lords
and presented the bill with a speech worthy of the occasion.
"Many of the persons here attainted," said he, "have been proved
traitors by such evidence as satisfies us. As to the rest we have
followed common fame."231

With such reckless barbarity was the list framed that fanatical
royalists, who were, at that very time, hazarding their property,
their liberty, their lives, in the cause of James, were not
secure from proscription. The most learned man of whom the
Jacobite party could boast was Henry Dodwell, Camdenian Professor
in the University of Oxford. In the cause of hereditary monarchy
he shrank from no sacrifice and from no danger. It was about him
that William uttered those memorable words: "He has set his heart
on being a martyr; and I have set my mind on disappointing him."
But James was more cruel to friends than William to foes. Dodwell
was a Protestant: he had some property in Connaught: these crimes
were sufficient; and he was set down in the long roll of those
who were doomed to the gallows and the quartering block.232

That James would give his assent to a bill which took from him
the power of pardoning, seemed to many persons impossible. He
had, four years before, quarrelled with the most loyal of
parliaments rather than cede a prerogative which did not belong
to him. It might, therefore, well be expected that he would now
have struggled hard to retain a precious prerogative which had
been enjoyed by his predecessors ever since the origin of the
monarchy, and which had never been questioned by the Whigs. The
stern look and raised voice with which he had reprimanded the
Tory gentlemen, who, in the language of profound reverence and
fervent affection, implored him not to dispense with the laws,
would now have been in place. He might also have seen that the
right course was the wise course. Had he, on this great occasion,
had the spirit to declare that he would not shed the blood of the
innocent, and that, even as respected the guilty, he would not
divest himself of the power of tempering judgment with mercy, he
would have regained more hearts in England than he would have
lost in Ireland. But it was ever his fate to resist where he
should have yielded, and to yield where he should have resisted.
The most wicked of all laws received his sanction; and it is but
a very small extenuation of his guilt that his sanction was
somewhat reluctantly given.

That nothing might be wanting to the completeness of this great
crime, extreme care was taken to prevent the persons who were
attainted from knowing that they were attainted, till the day of
grace fixed in the Act was passed. The roll of names was not
published, but kept carefully locked up in Fitton's closet. Some
Protestants, who still adhered to the cause of James, but who
were anxious to know whether any of their friends or relations
had been proscribed, tried hard to obtain a sight of the list;
but solicitation, remonstrance, even bribery, proved vain. Not a
single copy got abroad till it was too late for any of the
thousands who had been condemned without a trial to obtain a

Towards the close of July James prorogued the Houses. They had
sate more than ten weeks; and in that space of time they had
proved most fully that, great as have been the evils which
Protestant ascendency has produced in Ireland, the evils produced
by Popish ascendancy would have been greater still. That the
colonists, when they had won the victory, grossly abused it, that
their legislation was, during many years, unjust and tyrannical,
is most true. But it is not less true that they never quite came
up to the atrocious example set by their vanquished enemy during
his short tenure of power.

Indeed, while James was loudly boasting that he had passed an Act
granting entire liberty of conscience to all sects, a persecution
as cruel as that of Languedoc was raging through all the
provinces which owned his authority. It was said by those who
wished to find an excuse for him that almost all the Protestants
who still remained in Munster, Connaught, and Leinster were his
enemies, and that it was not as schismatics, but as rebels in
heart, who wanted only opportunity to become rebels in act, that
he gave them up to be oppressed and despoiled; and to this excuse
some weight might have been allowed if he had strenuously exerted
himself to protect those few colonists, who, though firmly
attached to the reformed religion, were still true to the
doctrines of nonresistance and of indefeasible hereditary right.
But even these devoted royalists found that their heresy was in
his view a crime for which no services or sacrifices would atone.
Three or four noblemen, members of the Anglican Church, who had
welcomed him to Ireland, and had sate in his Parliament,
represented to him that, if the rule which forbade any Protestant
to possess any weapon were strictly enforced, their country
houses would be at the mercy of the Rapparees, and obtained from
him permission to keep arms sufficient for a few servants. But
Avaux remonstrated. The indulgence, he said, was grossly abused:
these Protestant lords were not to be trusted: they were turning
their houses into fortresses: his Majesty would soon have reason
to repent his goodness. These representations prevailed; and
Roman Catholic troops were quartered in the suspected

Still harder was the lot of those Protestant clergymen who
continued to cling, with desperate fidelity, to the cause of the
Lord's Anointed. Of all the Anglican divines the one who had the
largest share of James's good graces seems to have been
Cartwright. Whether Cartwright could long have continued to be a
favourite without being an apostate may be doubted. He died a few
weeks after his arrival in Ireland; and thenceforward his church
had no one to plead her cause. Nevertheless a few of her prelates
and priests continued for a time to teach what they had taught in
the days of the Exclusion Bill. But it was at the peril of life
or limb that they exercised their functions. Every wearer of a
cassock was a mark for the insults and outrages of soldiers and
Rapparees. In the country his house was robbed, and he was
fortunate if it was not burned over his head. He was hunted
through the streets of Dublin with cries of "There goes the devil
of a heretic." Sometimes he was knocked down: sometimes he was
cudgelled.235 The rulers of the University of Dublin, trained in
the Anglican doctrine of passive obedience, had greeted James on
his first arrival at the Castle, and had been assured by him that
he would protect them in the enjoyment of their property and
their privileges. They were now, without any trial, without any
accusation, thrust out of their house. The communion plate of the
chapel, the books in the library, the very chairs and beds of the
collegians were seized. Part of the building was turned into a
magazine, part into a barrack, part into a prison. Simon
Luttrell, who was Governor of the capital, was, with great
difficulty and by powerful intercession, induced to let the
ejected fellows and scholars depart in safety. He at length
permitted them to remain at large, with this condition, that, on
pain of death, no three of them should meet together.236 No
Protestant divine suffered more hardships than Doctor William
King, Dean of Saint Patrick's. He had been long distinguished by
the fervour with which he had inculcated the duty of passively
obeying even the worst rulers. At a later period, when he had
published a defence of the Revolution, and had accepted a mitre
from the new government, he was reminded that he had invoked the
divine vengeance on the usurpers, and had declared himself
willing to die a hundred deaths rather than desert the cause of
hereditary right. He had said that the true religion had often
been strengthened by persecution, but could never be strengthened
by rebellion; that it would be a glorious day for the Church of
England when a whole cartload of her ministers should go to the
gallows for the doctrine of nonresistance; and that his highest
ambition was to be one of such a company.237 It is not improbable
that, when he spoke thus, he felt as he spoke. But his
principles, though they might perhaps have held out against the
severities and the promises of William, were not proof against
the ingratitude of James. Human nature at last asserted its
rights. After King had been repeatedly imprisoned by the
government to which he was devotedly attached, after he had been
insulted and threatened in his own choir by the soldiers, after
he had been interdicted from burying in his own churchyard, and
from preaching in his own pulpit, after he had narrowly escaped
with life from a musketshot fired at him in the street, he began
to think the Whig theory of government less unreasonable and
unchristian than it had once appeared to him, and persuaded
himself that the oppressed Church might lawfully accept
deliverance, if God should be pleased, by whatever means, to send
it to her.

In no long time it appeared that James would have done well to
hearken to those counsellors who had told him that the acts by
which he was trying to make himself popular in one of his three
kingdoms, would make him odious in the others. It was in some
sense fortunate for England that, after he had ceased to reign
here, he continued during more than a year to reign in Ireland.
The Revolution had been followed by a reaction of public feeling
in his favour. That reaction, if it had been suffered to proceed
uninterrupted, might perhaps not have ceased till he was again
King: but it was violently interrupted by himself. He would not
suffer his people to forget: he would not suffer them to hope:
while they were trying to find excuses for his past errors, and
to persuade themselves that he would not repeat these errors, he
forced upon them, in their own despite, the conviction that he
was incorrigible, that the sharpest discipline of adversity had
taught him nothing, and that, if they were weak enough to recall
him, they would soon have to depose him again. It was in vain
that the Jacobites put forth pamphlets about the cruelty with
which he had been treated by those who were nearest to him in
blood, about the imperious temper and uncourteous manners of
William, about the favour shown to the Dutch, about the heavy
taxes, about the suspension of the Habeas Corpus Act, about the
dangers which threatened the Church from the enmity of Puritans
and Latitudinarians. James refuted these pamphlets far more
effectually than all the ablest and most eloquent Whig writers
united could have done. Every week came the news that he had
passed some new Act for robbing or murdering Protestants. Every
colonist who succeeded in stealing across the sea from Leinster
to Holyhead or Bristol, brought fearful reports of the tyranny
under which his brethren groaned. What impression these reports
made on the Protestants of our island may be easily inferred from
the fact that they moved the indignation of Ronquillo, a Spaniard
and a bigoted member of the Church of Rome. He informed his Court
that, though the English laws against Popery might seem severe,
they were so much mitigated by the prudence and humanity of the
Government, that they caused no annoyance to quiet people; and he
took upon himself to assure the Holy See that what a Roman
Catholic suffered in London was nothing when compared with what a
Protestant suffered in Ireland.238

The fugitive Englishry found in England warm sympathy and
munificent relief. Many were received into the houses of friends
and kinsmen. Many were indebted for the means of subsistence to
the liberality of strangers. Among those who bore a part in this
work of mercy, none contributed more largely or less
ostentatiously than the Queen. The House of Commons placed at the
King's disposal fifteen thousand pounds for the relief of those
refugees whose wants were most pressing, and requested him to
give commissions in the army to those who were qualified for
military employment.239 An Act was also passed enabling beneficed
clergymen who had fled from Ireland to hold preferment in
England.240 Yet the interest which the nation felt in these
unfortunate guests was languid when compared with the interest
excited by that portion of the Saxon colony which still
maintained in Ulster a desperate conflict against overwhelming
odds. On this subject scarcely one dissentient voice was to be
heard in our island. Whigs, Tories, nay even those Jacobites in
whom Jacobitism had not extinguished every patriotic sentiment,
gloried in the glory of Enniskillen and Londonderry. The House of
Commons was all of one mind. "This is no time to be counting
cost," said honest Birch, who well remembered the way in which
Oliver had made war on the Irish. "Are those brave fellows in
Londonderry to be deserted? If we lose them will not all the
world cry shame upon us? A boom across the river! Why have we not
cut the boom in pieces? Are our brethren to perish almost in
sight of England, within a few hours' voyage of our shores?"241
Howe, the most vehement man of one party, declared that the
hearts of the people were set on Ireland. Seymour, the leader of
the other party, declared that, though he had not taken part in
setting up the new government, he should cordially support it in
all that might be necessary for the preservation of Ireland.242
The Commons appointed a committee to enquire into the cause of
the delays and miscarriages which had been all but fatal to the
Englishry of Ulster. The officers to whose treachery or cowardice
the public ascribed the calamities of Londonderry were put under
arrest. Lundy was sent to the Tower, Cunningham to the Gate
House. The agitation of the public mind was in some degree calmed
by the announcement that, before the end of the summer, an army
powerful enough to reestablish the English ascendency in Ireland
would be sent across Saint George's Channel, and that Schomberg
would be the General. In the meantime an expedition which was
thought to be sufficient for the relief of Londonderry was
despatched from Liverpool under the command of Kirke. The dogged
obstinacy with which this man had, in spite of royal
solicitations, adhered to his religion, and the part which he had
taken in the Revolution, had perhaps entitled him to an amnesty
for past crimes. But it is difficult to understand why the
Government should have selected for a post of the highest
importance an officer who was generally and justly hated, who had
never shown eminent talents for war, and who, both in Africa and
in England, had notoriously tolerated among his soldiers a
licentiousness, not only shocking to humanity, but also
incompatible with discipline.

On the sixteenth of May, Kirke's troops embarked: on the twenty-
second they sailed: but contrary winds made the passage slow, and
forced the armament to stop long at the Isle of Man. Meanwhile
the Protestants of Ulster were defending themselves with
stubborn courage against a great superiority of force. The
Enniskilleners had never ceased to wage a vigorous partisan war
against the native population. Early in May they marched to
encounter a large body of troops from Connaught, who had made an
inroad into Donegal. The Irish were speedily routed, and fled to
Sligo with the loss of a hundred and twenty men killed and sixty
taken. Two small pieces of artillery and several horses fell into
the hands of the conquerors. Elated by this success, the
Enniskilleners soon invaded the county of Cavan, drove before
them fifteen hundred of James's troops, took and destroyed the
castle of Ballincarrig, reputed the strongest in that part of the
kingdom, and carried off the pikes and muskets of the garrison.
The next incursion was into Meath. Three thousand oxen and two
thousand sheep were swept away and brought safe to the little
island in Lough Erne. These daring exploits spread terror even to
the gates of Dublin. Colonel Hugh Sutherland was ordered to march
against Enniskillen with a regiment of dragoons and two regiments
of foot. He carried with him arms for the native peasantry; and
many repaired to his standard. The Enniskilleners did not wait
till he came into their neighbourhood, but advanced to encounter
him. He declined an action, and retreated, leaving his stores at
Belturbet under the care of a detachment of three hundred
soldiers. The Protestants attacked Belturbet with vigour, made
their way into a lofty house which overlooked the town, and
thence opened such a fire that in two hours the garrison
surrendered. Seven hundred muskets, a great quantity of powder,
many horses, many sacks of biscuits, many barrels of meal, were
taken, and were sent to Enniskillen. The boats which brought
these precious spoils were joyfully welcomed. The fear of hunger
was removed. While the aboriginal population had, in many
counties, altogether neglected the cultivation of the earth, in
the expectation, it should seem, that marauding would prove an
inexhaustible resource, the colonists, true to the provident and
industrious character of their race, had, in the midst of war,
not omitted carefully to till the soil in the neighbourhood of
their strongholds. The harvest was now not far remote; and, till
the harvest, the food taken from the enemy would be amply

Yet, in the midst of success and plenty, the Enniskilleners were
tortured by a cruel anxiety for Londonderry. They were bound to
the defenders of that city, not only by religious and national
sympathy, but by common interest. For there could be no doubt
that, if Londonderry fell, the whole Irish army would instantly
march in irresistible force upon Lough Erne. Yet what could be
done? Some brave men were for making a desperate attempt to
relieve the besieged city; but the odds were too great.
Detachments however were sent which infested the rear of the
blockading army, cut off supplies, and, on one occasion, carried
away the horses of three entire troops of cavalry.244 Still the
line of posts which surrounded Londonderry by land remained
unbroken. The river was still strictly closed and guarded. Within
the walls the distress had become extreme. So early as the eighth
of June horseflesh was almost the only meat which could be
purchased; and of horseflesh the supply was scanty. It was
necessary to make up the deficiency with tallow; and even tallow
was doled out with a parsimonious hand.

On the fifteenth of June a gleam of hope appeared. The sentinels
on the top of the Cathedral saw sails nine miles off in the bay
of Lough Foyle. Thirty vessels of different sizes were counted.
Signals were made from the steeples and returned from the mast
heads, but were imperfectly understood on both sides. At last a
messenger from the fleet eluded the Irish sentinels, dived under
the boom, and informed the garrison that Kirke had arrived from
England with troops, arms, ammunition, and provisions, to relieve
the city.245

In Londonderry expectation was at the height: but a few hours of
feverish joy were followed by weeks of misery. Kirke thought it
unsafe to make any attempt, either by land or by water, on the
lines of the besiegers, and retired to the entrance of Lough
Foyle, where, during several weeks, he lay inactive.

And now the pressure of famine became every day more severe. A
strict search was made in all the recesses of all the houses of
the city; and some provisions, which had been concealed in
cellars by people who had since died or made their escape, were
discovered and carried to the magazines. The stock of cannon
balls was almost exhausted; and their place was supplied by
brickbats coated with lead. Pestilence began, as usual, to make
its appearance in the train of hunger. Fifteen officers died of
fever in one day. The Governor Baker was among those who sank
under the disease. His place was supplied by Colonel John

Meanwhile it was known at Dublin that Kirke and his squadron were
on the coast of Ulster. The alarm was great at the Castle. Even
before this news arrived, Avaux had given it as his opinion that
Richard Hamilton was unequal to the difficulties of the
situation. It had therefore been resolved that Rosen should take
the chief command. He was now sent down with all speed.247

On the nineteenth of June he arrived at the head quarter of the
besieging army. At first he attempted to undermine the walls; but
his plan was discovered; and he was compelled to abandon it after
a sharp fight, in which more than a hundred of his men were
slain. Then his fury rose to a strange pitch. He, an old soldier,
a Marshal of France in expectancy, trained in the school of the
greatest generals, accustomed, during many years, to scientific
war, to be baffled by a mob of country gentlemen, farmers,
shopkeepers, who were protected only by a wall which any good
engineer would at once have pronounced untenable! He raved, he
blasphemed, in a language of his own, made up of all the dialects
spoken from the Baltic to the Atlantic. He would raze the city to
the ground: he would spare no living thing; no, not the young
girls; not the babies at the breast. As to the leaders, death was
too light a punishment for them: he would rack them: he would
roast them alive. In his rage he ordered a shell to be flung into
the town with a letter containing a horrible menace. He would,
he said, gather into one body all the Protestants who had
remained at their homes between Charlemont and the sea, old men,
women, children, many of them near in blood and affection to the
defenders of Londonderry. No protection, whatever might be the
authority by which it had been given, should be respected. The
multitude thus brought together should be driven under the walls
of Londonderry, and should there be starved to death in the sight
of their countrymen, their friends, their kinsmen. This was no
idle threat. Parties were instantly sent out in all directions to
collect victims. At dawn, on the morning of the second of July,
hundreds of Protestants, who were charged with no crime, who were
incapable of bearing arms, and many of whom had protections
granted by James, were dragged to the gates of the city. It was
imagined that the piteous sight would quell the spirit of the
colonists. But the only effect was to rouse that spirit to still
greater energy. An order was immediately put forth that no man
should utter the word Surrender on pain of death; and no man
uttered that word. Several prisoners of high rank were in the
town. Hitherto they had been well treated, and had received as
good rations as were measured out to the garrison. They were now,
closely confined. A gallows was erected on one of the bastion;
and a message was conveyed to Rosen, requesting him to send a
confessor instantly to prepare his friends for death. The
prisoners in great dismay wrote to the savage Livonian, but
received no answer. They then addressed themselves to their
countryman, Richard Hamilton. They were willing, they said, to
shed their blood for their King; but they thought it hard to die
the ignominious death of thieves in consequence of the barbarity
of their own companions in arms. Hamilton, though a man of lax
principles, was not cruel. He had been disgusted by the
inhumanity of Rosen, but, being only second in command, could not
venture to express publicly all that he thought. He however
remonstrated strongly. Some Irish officers felt on this occasion
as it was natural that brave men should feel, and declared,
weeping with pity and indignation, that they should never cease
to have in their ears the cries of the poor women and children
who had been driven at the point of the pike to die of famine
between the camp and the city. Rosen persisted during forty-eight
hours. In that time many unhappy creatures perished: but
Londonderry held out as resolutely as ever; and he saw that his
crime was likely to produce nothing but hatred and obloquy. He at
length gave way, and suffered the survivors to withdraw. The
garrison then took down the gallows which had been erected on the

When the tidings of these events reached Dublin, James, though by
no means prone to compassion, was startled by an atrocity of
which the civil wars of England had furnished no example, and was
displeased by learning that protections, given by his authority,
and guaranteed by his honour, had been publicly declared to be
nullities. He complained to the French ambassador, and said, with
a warmth which the occasion fully justified, that Rosen was a
barbarous Muscovite. Melfort could not refrain from adding that,
if Rosen had been an Englishman, he would have been hanged. Avaux
was utterly unable to understand this effeminate sensibility. In
his opinion, nothing had been done that was at all reprehensible;
and he had some difficulty in commanding himself when he heard
the King and the secretary blame, in strong language, an act of
wholesome severity.249 In truth the French ambassador and the
French general were well paired. There was a great difference
doubtless, in appearance and manner, between the handsome,
graceful, and refined diplomatist, whose dexterity and suavity
had been renowned at the most polite courts of Europe, and the
military adventurer, whose look and voice reminded all who came
near him that he had been born in a half savage country, that he
had risen from the ranks, and that he had once been sentenced to
death for marauding. But the heart of the courtier was really
even more callous than that of the soldier.

Rosen was recalled to Dublin; and Richard Hamilton was again left
in the chief command. He tried gentler means than those which had
brought so much reproach on his predecessor. No trick, no lie,
which was thought likely to discourage the starving garrison was
spared. One day a great shout was raised by the whole Irish camp.
The defenders of Londonderry were soon informed that the army of
James was rejoicing on account of the fall of Enniskillen. They
were told that they had now no chance of being relieved, and were
exhorted to save their lives by capitulating. They consented to
negotiate. But what they asked was, that they should be permitted
to depart armed and in military array, by land or by water at
their choice. They demanded hostages for the exact fulfilment of
these conditions, and insisted that the hostages should be sent
on board of the fleet which lay in Lough Foyle. Such terms
Hamilton durst not grant: the Governors would abate nothing: the
treaty was broken off; and the conflict recommenced.250

By this time July was far advanced; and the state of the city
was, hour by hour, becoming more frightful. The number of the
inhabitants had been thinned more by famine and disease than by
the fire of the enemy. Yet that fire was sharper and more
constant than ever. One of the gates was beaten in: one of the
bastions was laid in ruins; but the breaches made by day were
repaired by night with indefatigable activity. Every attack was
still repelled. But the fighting men of the garrison were so much
exhausted that they could scarcely keep their legs. Several of
them, in the act of striking at the enemy, fell down from mere
weakness. A very small quantity of grain remained, and was doled
out by mouthfuls. The stock of salted hides was considerable, and
by gnawing them the garrison appeased the rage of hunger. Dogs,
fattened on the blood of the slain who lay unburied round the
town, were luxuries which few could afford to purchase. The price
of a whelp's paw was five shillings and sixpence. Nine horses
were still alive, and but barely alive. They were so lean that
little meat was likely to be found upon them. It was, however,
determined to slaughter them for food. The people perished so
fast that it was impossible for the survivors to perform the
rites of sepulture. There was scarcely a cellar in which some
corpse was not decaying. Such was the extremity of distress, that
the rats who came to feast in those hideous dens were eagerly
hunted and greedily devoured. A small fish, caught in the river,
was not to be purchased with money. The only price for which such
a treasure could be obtained was some handfuls of oatmeal.
Leprosies, such as strange and unwholesome diet engenders, made
existence a constant torment. The whole city was poisoned by the
stench exhaled from the bodies of the dead and of the half dead.
That there should be fits of discontent and insubordination among
men enduring such misery was inevitable. At one moment it was
suspected that Walker had laid up somewhere a secret store of
food, and was revelling in private, while he exhorted others to
suffer resolutely for the good cause. His house was strictly
examined: his innocence was fully proved: he regained his
popularity; and the garrison, with death in near prospect,
thronged to the cathedral to hear him preach, drank in his
earnest eloquence with delight, and went forth from the house of
God with haggard faces and tottering steps, but with spirit still
unsubdued. There were, indeed, some secret plottings. A very few
obscure traitors opened communications with the enemy. But it was
necessary that all such dealings should be carefully concealed.
None dared to utter publicly any words save words of defiance and
stubborn resolution. Even in that extremity the general cry was
"No surrender." And there were not wanting voices which, in low
tones, added, "First the horses and hides; and then the
prisoners; and then each other." It was afterwards related, half
in jest, yet not without a horrible mixture of earnest, that a
corpulent citizen, whose bulk presented a strange contrast to the
skeletons which surrounded him, thought it expedient to conceal
himself from the numerous eyes which followed him with cannibal
looks whenever he appeared in the streets.251

It was no slight aggravation of the sufferings of the garrison
that all this tune the English ships were seen far off in Lough
Foyle. Communication between the fleet and the city was almost
impossible. One diver who had attempted to pass the boom was
drowned. Another was hanged. The language of signals was hardly
intelligible. On the thirteenth of July, however, a piece of
paper sewed up in a cloth button came to Walker's hands. It was a
letter from Kirke, and contained assurances of speedy relief. But
more than a fortnight of intense misery had since elapsed; and
the hearts of the most sanguine were sick with deferred hope. By
no art could the provisions which were left be made to hold out
two days more.252

Just at this time Kirke received a despatch from England, which
contained positive orders that Londonderry should be relieved. He
accordingly determined to make an attempt which, as far as
appears, he might have made, with at least an equally fair
prospect of success, six weeks earlier.253

Among the merchant ships which had come to Lough Foyle under his
convoy was one called the Mountjoy. The master, Micaiah Browning,
a native of Londonderry, had brought from England a large cargo
of provisions. He had, it is said, repeatedly remonstrated
against the inaction of the armament. He now eagerly volunteered
to take the first risk of succouring his fellow citizens; and his
offer was accepted. Andrew Douglas, master of the Phoenix, who
had on board a great quantity of meal from Scotland, was willing
to share the danger and the honour. The two merchantmen were to
be escorted by the Dartmouth frigate of thirty-six guns,
commanded by Captain John Leake, afterwards an admiral of great

It was the thirtieth of July. The sun had just set: the evening
sermon in the cathedral was over; and the heartbroken
congregation had separated, when the sentinels on the tower saw
the sails of three vessels coming up the Foyle. Soon there was a
stir in the Irish camp. The besiegers were on the alert for miles
along both shores. The ships were in extreme peril: for the river
was low; and the only navigable channel Tan very near to the left
bank, where the head quarters of the enemy had been fixed, and
where the batteries were most numerous. Leake performed his duty
with a skill and spirit worthy of his noble profession, exposed
his frigate to cover the merchantmen, and used his guns with
great effect. At length the little squadron came to the place of
peril. Then the Mountjoy took the lead, and went right at the
bottom. The huge barricade cracked and gave way: but the shock
was such that the Mountjoy rebounded, and stuck in the mud. A
yell of triumph rose from the banks: the Irish rushed to their
boats, and were preparing to board; but the Dartmouth poured on
them a well directed broadside, which threw them into disorder.
Just then the Phoenix dashed at the breach which the Mountjoy had
made, and was in a moment within the fence. Meantime the tide was
rising fast. The Mountjoy began to move, and soon passed safe
through the broken stakes and floating spars. But her brave
master was no more. A shot from one of the batteries had struck
him; and he died by the most enviable of all deaths, in sight of
the city which was his birthplace, which was his home, and which
had just been saved by his courage and self-devotion from the
most frightful form of destruction. The night had closed in
before the conflict at the boom began; but the flash of the guns
was seen, and the noise heard, by the lean and ghastly multitude
which covered the walls of the city. When the Mountjoy grounded,
and when the shout of triumph rose from the Irish on both sides
of the river, the hearts of the besieged died within them. One
who endured the unutterable anguish of that moment has told
that they looked fearfully livid in each other's eyes. Even after
the barricade had been passed, there was a terrible half hour of
suspense. It was ten o'clock before the ships arrived at the
quay. The whole population was there to welcome them. A screen
made of casks filled with earth was hastily thrown up to protect
the landing place from the batteries on the other side of the
river; and then the work of unloading began. First were rolled on
shore barrels containing six thousand bushels of meal. Then came
great cheeses, casks of beef, flitches of bacon, kegs of butter,
sacks of Pease and biscuit, ankers of brandy. Not many hours
before, half a pound of tallow and three quarters of a pound of
salted hide had been weighed out with niggardly care to every
fighting man. The ration which each now received was three pounds
of flour, two pounds of beef, and a pint of Pease. It is easy to
imagine with what tears grace was said over the suppers of that
evening. There was little sleep on either side of the wall. The
bonfires shone bright along the whole circuit of the ramparts.
The Irish guns continued to roar all night; and all night the
bells of the rescued city made answer to the Irish guns with a
peal of joyous defiance. Through the whole of the thirty-first of
July the batteries of the enemy continued to play. But, soon
after the sun had again gone down, flames were seen arising from
the camp; and, when the first of August dawned, a line of smoking
ruins marked the site lately occupied by the huts of the
besiegers; and the citizens saw far off the long column of pikes
and standards retreating up the left bank of the Foyle towards

So ended this great siege, the most memorable in the annals of
the British isles. It had lasted a hundred and five days. The
garrison had been reduced from about seven thousand effective men
to about three thousand. The loss of the besiegers cannot be
precisely ascertained. Walker estimated it at eight thousand men.
It is certain from the despatches of Avaux that the regiments
which returned from the blockade had been so much thinned that
many of them were not more than two hundred strong. Of thirty-six
French gunners who had superintended the cannonading, thirty-one
had been killed or disabled.255 The means both of attack and of
defence had undoubtedly been such as would have moved the great
warriors of the Continent to laughter; and this is the very
circumstance which gives so peculiar an interest to the history
of the contest. It was a contest, not between engineers, but
between nations; and the victory remained with the nation which,
though inferior in number, was superior in civilisation, in
capacity for selfgovernment, and in stubbornness of

As soon as it was known that the Irish army had retired, a
deputation from the city hastened to Lough Foyle, and invited
Kirk to take the command. He came accompanied by a long train of
officers, and was received in state by the two Governors, who
delivered up to him the authority which, under the pressure of
necessity, they had assumed. He remained only a few days; but he
had time to show enough of the incurable vices of his character
to disgust a population distinguished by austere morals and
ardent public spirit. There was, however, no outbreak. The city
was in the highest good humour. Such quantities of provisions had
been landed from the fleet, that there was in every house a
plenty never before known. A few days earlier a man had been glad
to obtain for twenty pence a mouthful of carrion scraped from the
bones of a starved horse. A pound of good beef was now sold for
three halfpence. Meanwhile all hands were busied in removing
corpses which had been thinly covered with earth, in filling up
the holes which the shells had ploughed in the ground, and in
repairing the battered roofs of the houses. The recollection of
past dangers and privations, and the consciousness of having
deserved well of the English nation and of all Protestant
Churches, swelled the hearts of the townspeople with honest
pride. That pride grew stronger when they received from William a
letter acknowledging, in the most affectionate language, the debt
which he owed to the brave and trusty citizens of his good city.
The whole population crowded to the Diamond to hear the royal
epistle read. At the close all the guns on the ramparts sent
forth a voice of joy: all the ships in the river made answer:
barrels of ale were broken up; and the health of their Majesties
was drunk with shouts and volleys of musketry.

Five generations have since passed away; and still the wall of
Londonderry is to the Protestants of Ulster what the trophy of
Marathon was to the Athenians. A lofty pillar, rising from a
bastion which bore during many weeks the heaviest fire of the
enemy, is seen far up and far down the Foyle. On the summit is
the statue of Walker, such as when, in the last and most terrible
emergency, his eloquence roused the fainting courage of his
brethren. In one hand he grasps a Bible. The other, pointing down
the river, seems to direct the eyes of his famished audience to
the English topmasts in the distant bay. Such a monument was well
deserved: yet it was scarcely needed: for in truth the whole city
is to this day a monument of the great deliverance. The wall is
carefully preserved; nor would any plea of health or convenience
be held by the inhabitants sufficient to justify the demolition
of that sacred enclosure which, in the evil time, gave shelter to
their race and their religion.257 The summit of the ramparts
forms a pleasant walk. The bastions have been turned into little
gardens. Here and there, among the shrubs and flowers, may be
seen the old culverins which scattered bricks, cased with lead,
among the Irish ranks. One antique gun, the gift of the
Fishmongers of London, was distinguished, during the hundred and
five memorable days, by the loudness of its report, and still
bears the name of Roaring Meg. The cathedral is filled with
relics and trophies. In the vestibule is a huge shell, one of
many hundreds of shells which were thrown into the city. Over the
altar are still seen the French flagstaves, taken by the garrison
in a desperate sally. The white ensigns of the House of Bourbon
have long been dust: but their place has been supplied by new
banners, the work of the fairest hands of Ulster. The anniversary
of the day on which the gates were closed, and the anniversary of
the day on which the siege was raised, have been down to our own
time celebrated by salutes, processions, banquets, and sermons:
Lundy has been executed in effigy; and the sword, said by
tradition to be that of Maumont, has, on great occasions, been
carried in triumph. There is still a Walker Club and a Murray
Club. The humble tombs of the Protestant captains have been
carefully sought out, repaired, and embellished. It is
impossible not to respect the sentiment which indicates itself by
these tokens. It is a sentiment which belongs to the higher and
purer part of human nature, and which adds not a little to the
strength of states. A people which takes no pride in the noble
achievements of remote ancestors will never achieve any thing
worthy to be remembered with pride by remote descendants. Yet it
is impossible for the moralist or the statesman to look with
unmixed complacency on the solemnities with which Londonderry
commemorates her deliverance, and on the honours which she pays
to those who saved her. Unhappily the animosities of her brave
champions have descended with their glory. The faults which are
ordinarily found in dominant castes and dominant sects have not
seldom shown themselves without disguise at her festivities; and
even with the expressions of pious gratitude which have resounded
from her pulpits have too often been mingled words of wrath and

The Irish army which had retreated to Strabane remained there but
a very short time. The spirit of the troops had been depressed by
their recent failure, and was soon completely cowed by the news
of a great disaster in another quarter.

Three weeks before this time the Duke of Berwick had gained an
advantage over a detachment of the Enniskilleners, and had, by
their own confession, killed or taken more than fifty of them.
They were in hopes of obtaining some assistance from Kirke, to
whom they had sent a deputation; and they still persisted in
rejecting all terms offered by the enemy. It was therefore
determined at Dublin that an attack should be made upon them from
several quarters at once. Macarthy, who had been rewarded for his
services in Munster with the title of Viscount Mountcashel,
marched towards Lough Erne from the east with three regiments of
foot, two regiments of dragoons, and some troops of cavalry. A
considerable force, which lay encamped near the mouth of the
river Drowes, was at the same time to advance from the west. The
Duke of Berwick was to come from the north, with such horse and
dragoons as could be spared from the army which was besieging
Londonderry. The Enniskilleners were not fully apprised of the
whole plan which had been laid for their destruction; but they
knew that Macarthy was on the road with a force exceeding any
which they could bring into the field. Their anxiety was in some
degree relieved by the return of the deputation which they had
sent to Kirke. Kirke could spare no soldiers; but he had sent
some arms, some ammunition, and some experienced officers, of
whom the chief were Colonel Wolseley and Lieutenant Colonel
Berry. These officers had come by sea round the coast of Donegal,
and had run up the Line. On Sunday, the twenty-ninth of July, it
was known that their boat was approaching the island of
Enniskillen. The whole population, male and female, came to the
shore to greet them. It was with difficulty, that they made their
way to the Castle through the crowds which hung on them, blessing
God that dear old England had not quite forgotten the Englishmen
who upheld her cause against great odds in the heart of Ireland.

Wolseley seems to have been in every respect well qualified for
his post. He was a stanch Protestant, had distinguished himself
among the Yorkshiremen who rose up for the Prince of Orange and a
free Parliament, and had, if he is not belied, proved his zeal
for liberty and pure religion, by causing the Mayor of
Scarborough, who had made a speech in favour of King James, to be
brought into the market place and well tossed there in a
blanket.258 This vehement hatred of Popery was, in the estimation
of the men of Enniskillen, the first of all qualifications for
command: and Wolseley had other and more important
qualifications. Though himself regularly bred to war, he seems to
have had a peculiar aptitude for the management of irregular
troops. He had scarcely taken on himself the chief command when
he received notice that Mountcashel had laid siege to the Castle
of Crum. Crum was the frontier garrison of the Protestants of
Fermanagh. The ruins of the old fortifications are now among the
attractions of a beautiful pleasureground, situated on a woody
promontory which overlooks Lough Erne. Wolseley determined to
raise the siege. He sent Berry forward with such troops as could
be instantly put in motion, and promised to follow speedily with
a larger force.

Berry, after marching some miles, encountered thirteen companies
of Macarthy's dragoons commanded by Anthony, the most brilliant
and accomplished of all who bore the name of Hamilton, but much
less successful as a soldier than as a courtier, a lover, and a
writer. Hamilton's dragoons ran at the first fire: he was
severely wounded; and his second in command was shot dead.
Macarthy soon came up to support Hamilton; and at the same time
Wolseley came up to support Berry. The hostile armies were now in
presence of each other. Macarthy had above five thousand men and
several pieces of artillery. The Enniskilleners were under three
thousand; and they had marched in such haste that they had
brought only one day's provisions. It was therefore absolutely
necessary for them either to fight instantly or to retreat.
Wolseley determined to consult the men; and this determination,
which, in ordinary circumstances, would have been most unworthy
of a general, was fully justified by the peculiar composition and
temper of the little army, an army made up of gentlemen and
yeomen fighting, not for pay, but for their lands, their wives,
their children, and their God. The ranks were drawn up under
arms; and the question was put, "Advance or Retreat?" The
answer was an universal shout of "Advance." Wolseley gave out the
word, "No Popery." It was received with loud applause. He
instantly made his dispositions for an attack. As he approached,
the enemy, to his great surprise, began to retire. The
Enniskilleners were eager to pursue with all speed: but their
commander, suspecting a snare, restrained their ardour, and
positively forbade them to break their ranks. Thus one army
retreated and the other followed, in good order, through the
little town of Newton Butler. About a mile from that town the
Irish faced about, and made a stand. Their position was well
chosen. They were drawn up on a hill at the foot of which lay a
deep bog. A narrow paved causeway which ran across the bog was
the only road by which the cavalry of the Enniskilleners could
advance; for on the right and left were pools, turf pits, and
quagmires, which afforded no footing to horses. Macarthy placed
his cannon in such a manner as to sweep this causeway.

Wolseley ordered his infantry to the attack. They struggled
through the bog, made their way to firm ground, and rushed on the
guns. There was then a short and desperate fight. The Irish
cannoneers stood gallantly to their pieces till they were cut
down to a man. The Enniskillen horse, no longer in danger of
being mowed down by the fire of the artillery, came fast up the
causeway. The Irish dragoons who had run away in the morning were
smitten with another panic, and, without striking a blow,
galloped from the field. The horse followed the example. Such was
the terror of the fugitives that many of them spurred hard till
their beasts fell down, and then continued to fly on foot,
throwing away carbines, swords, and even coats as incumbrances.
The infantry, seeing themselves deserted, flung down their pikes
and muskets and ran for their lives. The conquerors now gave
loose to that ferocity which has seldom failed to disgrace the
civil wars of Ireland. The butchery was terrible. Near fifteen
hundred of the vanquished were put to the sword. About five
hundred more, in ignorance of the country, took a road which led
to Lough Erne. The lake was before them: the enemy behind: they
plunged into the waters and perished there. Macarthy, abandoned
by his troops, rushed into the midst of the pursuers and very
nearly found the death which he sought. He was wounded in several
places: he was struck to the ground; and in another moment his
brains would have been knocked out with the butt end of a musket,
when he was recognised and saved. The colonists lost only twenty
men killed and fifty wounded. They took four hundred prisoners,
seven pieces of cannon, fourteen barrels of powder, all the drums
and all the colours of the vanquished enemy.259

The battle of Newton Butler was won on the same afternoon on
which the boom thrown over the Foyle was broken. At Strabane the
news met the Celtic army which was retreating from Londonderry.
All was terror and confusion: the tents were struck: the military
stores were flung by waggon loads into the waters of the Mourne;
and the dismayed Irish, leaving many sick and wounded to the
mercy of the victorious Protestants, fled to Omagh, and thence to
Charlemont. Sarsfield, who commanded at Sligo, found it necessary
to abandon that town, which was instantly occupied by a
detachment of Kirke's troops.260 Dublin was in consternation.
James dropped words which indicated an intention of flying to the
Continent. Evil tidings indeed came fast upon him. Almost at the
same time at which he learned that one of his armies had raised
the siege of Londonderry, and that another had been routed at
Newton Butler, he received intelligence scarcely less
disheartening from Scotland.

It is now necessary to trace the progress of those events to
which Scotland owes her political and her religious liberty, her
prosperity and her civilisation.


The Revolution more violent in Scotland than in England--
Elections for the Convention; Rabbling of the Episcopal Clergy--
State of Edinburgh--Question of an Union between England and
Scotland raised--Wish of the English Low Churchmen to preserve
Episcopacy in Scotland--Opinions of William about Church
Government in Scotland--Comparative Strength of Religious Parties
in Scotland--Letter from William to the Scotch Convention--
William's Instructions to his Agents in Scotland; the Dalrymples-
-Melville--James's Agents in Scotland: Dundee; Balcarras--Meeting
of the Convention--Hamilton elected President--Committee of
Elections; Edinburgh Castle summoned--Dundee threatened by the
Covenanters--Letter from James to the Convention--Effect of
James's Letter--Flight of Dundee--Tumultuous Sitting of the
Convention--A Committee appointed to frame a Plan of Government--
Resolutions proposed by the Committee--William and Mary
proclaimed; the Claim of Right; Abolition of Episcopacy--Torture-
-William and Mary accept the Crown of Scotland--Discontent of the
Covenanters--Ministerial Arrangements in Scotland--Hamilton;
Crawford--The Dalrymples; Lockhart; Montgomery --Melville;
Carstairs--The Club formed: Annandale; Ross--Hume; Fletcher of
Saltoun--War breaks out in the Highlands; State of the Highlands-
-Peculiar Nature of Jacobitism in the Highlands--Jealousy of the
Ascendency of the Campbells--The Stewarts and Macnaghtens--The
Macleans; the Camerons: Lochiel--The Macdonalds; Feud between the
Macdonalds and Mackintoshes; Inverness--Inverness threatened by
Macdonald of Keppoch--Dundee appears in Keppoch's Camp--
Insurrection of the Clans hostile to the Campbells--Tarbet's
Advice to the Government--Indecisive Campaign in the Highlands--
Military Character of the Highlanders--Quarrels in the Highland
Army--Dundee applies to James for Assistance; the War in the
Highlands suspended--Scruples of the Covenanters about taking
Arms for King William--The Cameronian Regiment raised--Edinburgh
Castle surrenders--Session of Parliament at Edinburgh--Ascendancy
of the Club--Troubles in Athol--The War breaks out again in the
Highlands--Death of Dundee--Retreat of Mackay--Effect of the
Battle of Killiecrankie; the Scottish Parliament adjourned--The
Highland Army reinforced--Skirmish at Saint Johnston's--Disorders
in the Highland Army--Mackay's Advice disregarded by the Scotch
Ministers--The Cameronians stationed at Dunkeld--The Highlanders
attack the Cameronians and are repulsed--Dissolution of the
Highland Army; Intrigues of the Club; State of the Lowlands

THE violence of revolutions is generally proportioned to the
degree of the maladministration which has produced them. It is
therefore not strange that the government of Scotland, having
been during many years far more oppressive and corrupt than the
government of England, should have fallen with a far heavier
ruin. The movement against the last king of the House of Stuart
was in England conservative, in Scotland destructive. The English
complained, not of the law, but of the violation of the law. They
rose up against the first magistrate merely in order to assert
the supremacy of the law. They were for the most part strongly
attached to the Church established by law. Even in applying that
extraordinary remedy to which an extraordinary emergency
compelled them to have recourse, they deviated as little as
possible from the ordinary methods prescribed by the law. The
Convention which met at Westminster, though summoned by irregular
writs, was constituted on the exact model of a regular
Parliament. No man was invited to the Upper House whose right to
sit there was not clear. The knights and burgesses were chosen by
those electors who would have been entitled to choose the members
of a House of Commons called under the great seal. The franchises
of the forty shilling freeholder, of the householder paying scot
and lot, of the burgage tenant, of the liveryman of London, of
the Master of Arts of Oxford, were respected. The sense of the
constituent bodies was taken with as little violence on the part
of mobs, with as little trickery on the part of returning
officers, as at any general election of that age. When at length
the Estates met, their deliberations were carried on with perfect
freedom and in strict accordance with ancient forms. There was
indeed, after the first flight of James, an alarming anarchy in
London and in some parts of the country. But that anarchy nowhere
lasted longer than forty-eight hours. From the day on which
William reached Saint James's, not even the most unpopular agents
of the fallen government, not even the ministers of the Roman
Catholic Church, had any thing to fear from the fury of the

In Scotland the course of events was very different. There the
law itself was a grievance; and James had perhaps incurred more
unpopularity by enforcing it than by violating it. The Church
established by law was the most odious institution in the realm.
The tribunals had pronounced some sentences so flagitious, the
Parliament had passed some acts so oppressive, that, unless those
sentences and those Acts were treated as nullities, it would be
impossible to bring together a Convention commanding the public
respect and expressing the public opinion. It was hardly to be
expected, for example, that the Whigs, in this day of their
power, would endure to see their hereditary leader, the son of a
martyr, the grandson of a martyr, excluded from the Parliament
House in which nine of his ancestors had sate as Earls of Argyle,
and excluded by a judgment on which the whole kingdom cried
shame. Still less was it to be expected that they would suffer
the election of members for counties and towns to be conducted
according to the provisions of the existing law. For under the
existing law no elector could vote without swearing that he
renounced the Covenant, and that he acknowledged the Royal
supremacy in matters ecclesiastical.261 Such an oath no rigid
Presbyterian could take. If such an oath had been exacted, the
constituent bodies would have been merely small knots of
prelatists: the business of devising securities against
oppression would have been left to the oppressors; and the great
party which had been most active in effecting the Revolution
would, in an assembly sprung from the Revolution, have had not a
single representative.262

William saw that he must not think of paying to the laws of
Scotland that scrupulous respect which he had wisely and
righteously paid to the laws of England. It was absolutely
necessary that he should determine by his own authority how that
Convention which was to meet at Edinburgh should be chosen, and
that he should assume the power of annulling some judgments and
some statutes. He accordingly summoned to the parliament house
several Lords who had been deprived of their honours by sentences
which the general voice loudly condemned as unjust; and he took
on himself to dispense with the Act which deprived Presbyterians
of the elective franchise.

The consequence was that the choice of almost all the shires and
burghs fell on Whig candidates. The defeated party complained
loudly of foul play, of the rudeness of the populace, and of the
partiality of the presiding magistrates; and these complaints
were in many cases well founded. It is not under such rulers as
Lauderdale and Dundee that nations learn justice and

Nor was it only at the elections that the popular feeling, so
long and so severely compressed, exploded with violence. The
heads and the hands of the martyred Whigs were taken down from
the gates of Edinburgh, carried in procession by great multitudes
to the cemeteries, and laid in the earth with solemn respect.264
It would have been well if the public enthusiasm had manifested
itself in no less praiseworthy form. Unhappily throughout a large
part of Scotland the clergy of the Established Church were, to
use the phrase then common, rabbled. The morning of Christmas day
was fixed for the commencement of these outrages. For nothing
disgusted the rigid Covenanter more than the reverence paid by
the prelatist to the ancient holidays of the Church. That such
reverence may be carried to an absurd extreme is true. But a
philosopher may perhaps be inclined to think the opposite extreme
not less absurd, and may ask why religion should reject the aid
of associations which exist in every nation sufficiently
civilised to have a calendar, and which are found by experience
to have a powerful and often a salutary effect. The Puritan, who
was, in general, but too ready to follow precedents and analogies
drawn from the history and jurisprudence of the Jews, might have
found in the Old Testament quite as clear warrant for keeping
festivals in honour of great events as for assassinating bishops
and refusing quarter to captives. He certainly did not learn from
his master, Calvin, to hold such festivals in abhorrence; for it
was in consequence of the strenuous exertions of Calvin that
Christmas was, after an interval of some years, again observed by
the citizens of Geneva.265 But there had arisen in Scotland
Calvinists who were to Calvin what Calvin was to Laud. To these
austere fanatics a holiday was an object of positive disgust and
hatred. They long continued in their solemn manifestoes to reckon
it among the sins which would one day bring down some fearful
judgment on the land that the Court of Session took a vacation in
the last week of December.266

On Christmas day, therefore, the Covenanters held armed musters
by concert in many parts of the western shires. Each band marched
to the nearest manse, and sacked the cellar and larder of the
minister, which at that season were probably better stocked than
usual. The priest of Baal was reviled and insulted, sometimes
beaten, sometimes ducked. His furniture was thrown out of the
windows; his wife and children turned out of doors in the snow.
He was then carried to the market place, and exposed during some
time as a malefactor. His gown was torn to shreds over his head:
if he had a prayer book in his pocket it was burned; and he was
dismissed with a charge, never, as he valued his life, to
officiate in the parish again. The work of reformation having
been thus completed, the reformers locked up the church and
departed with the keys. In justice to these men it must be owned
that they had suffered such oppression as may excuse, though it
cannot justify, their violence; and that, though they were rude
even to brutality, they do not appear to have been guilty of any
intentional injury to life or limb.267

The disorder spread fast. In Ayrshire, Clydesdale, Nithisdale,
Annandale, every parish was visited by these turbulent zealots.
About two hundred curates--so the episcopal parish priests were
called--were expelled. The graver Covenanters, while they
applauded the fervour of their riotous brethren, were
apprehensive that proceedings so irregular might give scandal,
and learned, with especial concern, that here and there an Achan
had disgraced the good cause by stooping to plunder the
Canaanites whom he ought only to have smitten. A general meeting
of ministers and elders was called for the purpose of preventing
such discreditable excesses. In this meeting it was determined
that, for the future, the ejection of the established clergy
should be performed in a more ceremonious manner. A form of
notice was drawn up and served on every curate in the Western
Lowlands who had not yet been rabbled. This notice was simply a
threatening letter, commanding him to quit his parish peaceably,
on pain of being turned out by force.268

The Scottish Bishops, in great dismay, sent the Dean of Glasgow
to plead the cause of their persecuted Church at Westminster. The
outrages committed by the Covenanters were in the highest degree
offensive to William, who had, in the south of the island,
protected even Benedictines and Franciscans from insult and
spoliation. But, though he had, at the request of a large number
of the noblemen and gentlemen of Scotland, taken on himself
provisionally the executive administration of that kingdom, the
means of maintaining order there were not at his command. He had
not a single regiment north of the Tweed, or indeed within many
miles of that river. It was vain to hope that mere words would
quiet a nation which had not, in any age, been very amenable to
control, and which was now agitated by hopes and resentments,
such as great revolutions, following great oppressions, naturally
engender. A proclamation was however put forth, directing that
all people should lay down their arms, and that, till the
Convention should have settled the government, the clergy of the
Established Church should be suffered to reside on their cures
without molestation. But this proclamation, not being supported
by troops, was very little regarded. On the very day after it was
published at Glasgow, the venerable Cathedral of that city,
almost the only fine church of the middle ages which stands
uninjured in Scotland, was attacked by a crowd of Presbyterians
from the meeting houses, with whom were mingled many of their
fiercer brethren from the hills. It was a Sunday; but to rabble a
congregation of prelatists was held to be a work of necessity and
mercy. The worshippers were dispersed, beaten, and pelted with
snowballs. It was indeed asserted that some wounds were inflicted
with much more formidable weapons.269

Edinburgh, the seat of government, was in a state of anarchy. The
Castle, which commanded the whole city, was still held for James
by the Duke of Gordon. The common people were generally Whigs.
The College of justice, a great forensic society composed of
judges, advocates, writers to the signet, and solicitors, was the
stronghold of Toryism: for a rigid test had during some years
excluded Presbyterians from all the departments of the legal
profession. The lawyers, some hundreds in number, formed
themselves into a battalion of infantry, and for a time
effectually kept down the multitude. They paid, however, so much
respect to William's authority as to disband themselves when his
proclamation was published. But the example of obedience which
they had set was not imitated. Scarcely had they laid down their
weapons, when Covenanters from the west, who had done all that
was to be done in the way of pelting and hustling the curates of
their own neighbourhood, came dropping into Edinburgh, by tens
and twenties, for the purpose of protecting, or, if need should
be, of overawing the Convention. Glasgow alone sent four hundred
of these men. It could hardly be doubted that they were directed
by some leader of great weight. They showed themselves little in
any public place: but it was known that every cellar was filled
with them; and it might well be apprehended that, at the first
signal, they would pour forth from their caverns, and appear
armed round the Parliament house.270

It might have been expected that every patriotic and enlightened
Scotchman would have earnestly desired to see the agitation
appeased, and some government established which might be able to
protect property and to enforce the law. An imperfect settlement
which could be speedily made might well appear to such a man
preferable to a perfect settlement which must be the work of
time. Just at this moment, however, a party, strong both in
numbers and in abilities, raised a new and most important
question, which seemed not unlikely to prolong the interregnum
till the autumn. This party maintained that the Estates ought not
immediately to declare William and Mary King and Queen, but to
propose to England a treaty of union, and to keep the throne
vacant till such a treaty should be concluded on terms
advantageous to Scotland.271

It may seem strange that a large portion of a people, whose
patriotism, exhibited, often in a heroic, and sometimes in a
comic form, has long been proverbial, should have been willing,
nay impatient, to surrender an independence which had been,
through many ages, dearly prized and manfully defended. The truth
is that the stubborn spirit which the arms of the Plantagenets
and Tudors had been unable to subdue had begun to yield to a very
different kind of force. Customhouses and tariffs were rapidly
doing what the carnage of Falkirk and Halidon, of Flodden and of
Pinkie, had failed to do. Scotland had some experience of the
effects of an union. She had, near forty years before, been
united to England on such terms as England, flushed with
conquest, chose to dictate. That union was inseparably associated
in the minds of the vanquished people with defeat and
humiliation. And yet even that union, cruelly as it had wounded
the pride of the Scots, had promoted their prosperity. Cromwell,
with wisdom and liberality rare in his age, had established the
most complete freedom of trade between the dominant and the
subject country. While he governed, no prohibition, no duty,
impeded the transit of commodities from any part of the island to
any other. His navigation laws imposed no restraint on the trade
of Scotland. A Scotch vessel was at liberty to carry a Scotch
cargo to Barbadoes, and to bring the sugars of Barbadoes into the
port of London.272 The rule of the Protector therefore had been
propitious to the industry and to the physical wellbeing of the
Scottish people. Hating him and cursing him, they could not help
thriving under him, and often, during the administration of their
legitimate princes, looked back with regret to the golden days of
the usurper.273

The Restoration came, and changed every thing. The Scots regained
their independence, and soon began to find that independence had
its discomfort as well as its dignity. The English parliament
treated them as aliens and as rivals. A new Navigation Act put
them on almost the same footing with the Dutch. High duties, and
in some cases prohibitory duties, were imposed on the products of
Scottish industry. It is not wonderful that a nation eminently
industrious, shrewd, and enterprising, a nation which, having
been long kept back by a sterile soil and a severe climate, was
just beginning to prosper in spite of these disadvantages, and
which found its progress suddenly stopped, should think itself
cruelly treated. Yet there was no help. Complaint was vain.
Retaliation was impossible. The Sovereign, even if he had the
wish, had not the power, to bear himself evenly between his large
and his small kingdom, between the kingdom from which he drew an
annual revenue of a million and a half and the kingdom from which
he drew an annual revenue of little more than sixty thousand
pounds. He dared neither to refuse his assent to any English law
injurious to the trade of Scotland, nor to give his assent to any
Scotch law injurious to the trade of England.

The complaints of the Scotch, however, were so loud that Charles,
in 1667, appointed Commissioners to arrange the terms of a
commercial treaty between the two British kingdoms. The
conferences were soon broken off; and all that passed while they
continued proved that there was only one way in which Scotland
could obtain a share of the commercial prosperity which England
at that time enjoyed.274 The Scotch must become one people with
the English. The Parliament which had hitherto sate at Edinburgh
must be incorporated with the Parliament which sate at
Westminster. The sacrifice could not but be painfully felt by a
brave and haughty people, who had, during twelve generations,
regarded the southern domination with deadly aversion, and whose
hearts still swelled at the thought of the death of Wallace and
of the triumphs of Bruce. There were doubtless many punctilious
patriots who would have strenuously opposed an union even if they
could have foreseen that the effect of an union would be to make
Glasgow a greater city than Amsterdam, and to cover the dreary
Lothians with harvests and woods, neat farmhouses and stately
mansions. But there was also a large class which was not disposed
to throw away great and substantial advantages in order to
preserve mere names and ceremonies; and the influence of this
class was such that, in the year 1670, the Scotch Parliament made
direct overtures to England.275 The King undertook the office of
mediator; and negotiators were named on both sides; but nothing
was concluded.

The question, having slept during eighteen years, was suddenly
revived by the Revolution. Different classes, impelled by
different motives, concurred on this point. With merchants, eager
to share in the advantages of the West Indian Trade, were joined
active and aspiring politicians who wished to exhibit their
abilities in a more conspicuous theatre than the Scottish
Parliament House, and to collect riches from a more copious
source than the Scottish treasury. The cry for union was swelled
by the voices of some artful Jacobites, who merely wished to
cause discord and delay, and who hoped to attain this end by
mixing up with the difficult question which it was the especial
business of the Convention to settle another question more
difficult still. It is probable that some who disliked the
ascetic habits and rigid discipline of the Presbyterians wished
for an union as the only mode of maintaining prelacy in the
northern part of the island. In an united Parliament the English
members must greatly preponderate; and in England the bishops
were held in high honour by the great majority of the population.
The Episcopal Church of Scotland, it was plain, rested on a
narrow basis, and would fall before the first attack. The
Episcopal Church of Great Britain might have a foundation broad
and solid enough to withstand all assaults.

Whether, in 1689, it would have been possible to effect a civil
union without a religious union may well be doubted. But there
can be no doubt that a religious union would have been one of the
greatest calamities that could have befallen either kingdom. The
union accomplished in 1707 has indeed been a great blessing both
to England and to Scotland. But it has been a blessing because,
in constituting one State, it left two Churches. The political
interest of the contracting parties was the same: but the
ecclesiastical dispute between them was one which admitted of no
compromise. They could therefore preserve harmony only by
agreeing to differ. Had there been an amalgamation of the
hierarchies, there never would have been an amalgamation of the
nations. Successive Mitchells would have fired at successive
Sharpes. Five generations of Claverhouses would have butchered
five generations of Camerons. Those marvellous improvements which
have changed the face of Scotland would never have been effected.
Plains now rich with harvests would have remained barren moors.
Waterfalls which now turn the wheels of immense factories would
have resounded in a wilderness. New Lanark would still have been
a sheepwalk, and Greenock a fishing hamlet. What little strength
Scotland could under such a system have possessed must, in an
estimate of the resources of Great Britain, have been, not added,
but deducted. So encumbered, our country never could have held,
either in peace or in war, a place in the first rank of nations.
We are unfortunately not without the means of judging of the
effect which may be produced on the moral and physical state of a
people by establishing, in the exclusive enjoyment of riches and
dignity a Church loved and reverenced only by the few, and
regarded by the many with religious and national aversion. One
such Church is quite burden enough for the energies of one

But these things, which to us, who have been taught by a bitter
experience, seem clear, were by no means clear in 1689, even to
very tolerant and enlightened politicians. In truth the English
Low Churchmen were, if possible, more anxious than the English
High Churchmen to preserve Episcopacy in Scotland. It is a
remarkable fact that Burnet, who was always accused of wishing to
establish the Calvinistic discipline in the south of the island,
incurred great unpopularity among his own countrymen by his
efforts to uphold prelacy in the north. He was doubtless in
error: but his error is to be attributed to a cause which does
him no discredit. His favourite object, an object unattainable
indeed, yet such as might well fascinate a large intellect and a
benevolent heart, had long been an honourable treaty between the
Anglican Church and the Nonconformists. He thought it most
unfortunate that one opportunity of concluding such a treaty
should have been lost at the time of the Restoration. It seemed
to him that another opportunity was afforded by the Revolution.
He and his friends were eagerly pushing forward Nottingham's
Comprehension Bill, and were flattering themselves with vain
hopes of success. But they felt that there could hardly be a
Comprehension in one of the two British kingdoms, unless there
were also a Comprehension in the other. Concession must be
purchased by concession. If the Presbyterian pertinaciously
refused to listen to any terms of compromise where he was strong,
it would be almost impossible to obtain for him liberal terms of
compromise where he was weak. Bishops must therefore be allowed
to keep their sees in Scotland, in order that divines not
ordained by Bishops might be allowed to hold rectories and
canonries in England.

Thus the cause of the Episcopalians in the north and the cause of
the Presbyterians in the south were bound up together in a manner
which might well perplex even a skilful statesman. It was happy
for our country that the momentous question which excited so many
strong passions, and which presented itself in so many different
points of view, was to be decided by such a man as William. He
listened to Episcopalians, to Latitudinarians, to Presbyterians,
to the Dean of Glasgow who pleaded for the apostolical
succession, to Burnet who represented the danger of alienating
the Anglican clergy, to Carstairs who hated prelacy with the
hatred of a man whose thumbs were deeply marked by the screws of
prelatists. Surrounded by these eager advocates, William remained
calm and impartial. He was indeed eminently qualified by his
situation as well as by his personal qualities to be the umpire
in that great contention. He was the King of a prelatical
kingdom. He was the Prime Minister of a presbyterian republic.
His unwillingness to offend the Anglican Church of which he was
the head, and his unwillingness to offend the reformed Churches
of the Continent which regarded him as a champion divinely sent
to protect them against the French tyranny, balanced each other,
and kept him from leaning unduly to either side. His conscience
was perfectly neutral. For it was his deliberate opinion that no
form of ecclesiastical polity was of divine institution. He
dissented equally from the school of Laud and from the school of
Cameron, from the men who held that there could not be a
Christian Church without Bishops, and from the men who held that
there could not be a Christian Church without synods. Which form
of government should be adopted was in his judgment a question of
mere expediency. He would probably have preferred a temper
between the two rival systems, a hierarchy in which the chief
spiritual functionaries should have been something more than
moderators and something less than prelates. But he was far too
wise a man to think of settling such a matter according to his
own personal tastes. He determined therefore that, if there was
on both sides a disposition to compromise, he would act as
mediator. But, if it should prove that the public mind of England
and the public mind of Scotland had taken the ply strongly in
opposite directions, he would not attempt to force either nation
into conformity with the opinion of the other. He would suffer
each to have its own church, and would content himself with
restraining both churches from persecuting nonconformists, and
from encroaching on the functions of the civil magistrate.

The language which he held to those Scottish Episcopalians who
complained to him of their sufferings and implored his protection
was well weighed and well guarded, but clear and ingenuous. He
wished, he said, to preserve, if possible, the institution to
which they were so much attached, and to grant at the same time
entire liberty of conscience to that party which could not be
reconciled to any deviation from the Presbyterian model. But the
Bishops must take care that they did not, by their own rashness
and obstinacy, put it out of his power to be of any use to them.
They must also distinctly understand that he was resolved not to
force on Scotland by the sword a form of ecclesiastical
government which she detested. If, therefore; it should be found
that prelacy could be maintained only by arms, he should yield to
the general sentiment, and should merely do his best to obtain
for the Episcopalian minority permission to worship God in
freedom and safety.276

It is not likely that, even if the Scottish Bishops had, as
William recommended, done all that meekness and prudence could do
to conciliate their countrymen, episcopacy could, under any
modification, have been maintained. It was indeed asserted by
writers of that generation, and has been repeated by writers of
our generation, that the Presbyterians were not, before the
Revolution, the majority of the people of Scotland.277 But in
this assertion there is an obvious fallacy. The effective
strength of sects is not to be ascertained merely by counting
heads. An established church, a dominant church, a church which
has the exclusive possession of civil honours and emoluments,
will always rank among its nominal members multitudes who have no
religion at all; multitudes who, though not destitute of
religion, attend little to theological disputes, and have no
scruple about conforming to the mode of worship which happens to
be established; and multitudes who have scruples about
conforming, but whose scruples have yielded to worldly motives.
On the other hand, every member of an oppressed church is a man
who has a very decided preference for that church. A person who,
in the time of Diocletian, joined in celebrating the Christian
mysteries might reasonably be supposed to be a firm believer in
Christ. But it would be a very great mistake to imagine that one
single Pontiff or Augur in the Roman Senate was a firm believer
in Jupiter. In Mary's reign, every body who attended the secret
meetings of the Protestants was a real Protestant: but hundreds
of thousands went to mass who, as appeared before she had been
dead a month, were not real Roman Catholics. If, under the Kings
of the House of Stuart, when a Presbyterian was excluded from
political power and from the learned professions, was daily
annoyed by informers, by tyrannical magistrates, by licentious
dragoons, and was in danger of being hanged if he heard a sermon
in the open air, the population of Scotland was not very
unequally divided between Episcopalians and Presbyterians, the
rational inference is that more than nineteen twentieths of those
Scotchmen whose conscience was interested in the matter were
Presbyterians, and that not one Scotchman in twenty was decidedly
and on conviction an Episcopalian. Against such odds the Bishops
had but little chance; and whatever chance they had they made
haste to throw away; some of them because they sincerely believed
that their allegiance was still due to James; others probably
because they apprehended that William would not have the power,
even if he had the will, to serve them, and that nothing but a
counterrevolution in the State could avert a revolution in the

As the new King of England could not be at Edinburgh during the
sitting of the Scottish Convention, a letter from him to the
Estates was prepared with great skill. In this document he
professed warm attachment to the Protestant religion, but gave no
opinion touching those questions about which Protestants were
divided. He had observed, he said, with great satisfaction that
many of the Scottish nobility and gentry with whom he had
conferred in London were inclined to an union of the two British
kingdoms. He was sensible how much such an union would conduce to
the happiness of both; and he would do all in his power towards
the accomplishing of so good a work.

It was necessary that he should allow a large discretion to his
confidential agents at Edinburgh. The private instructions with
which he furnished those persons could not be minute, but were
highly judicious. He charged them to ascertain to the best of
their power the real sense of the Convention, and to be guided by
it. They must remember that the first object was to settle the
government. To that object every other object, even the union,
must be postponed. A treaty between two independent legislatures,
distant from each other several days' journey, must necessarily
be a work of time; and the throne could not safely remain vacant
while the negotiations were pending. It was therefore important
that His Majesty's agents should be on their guard against the
arts of persons who, under pretence of promoting the union, might
really be contriving only to prolong the interregnum. If the
Convention should be bent on establishing the Presbyterian form
of church government, William desired that his friends would do
all in their power to prevent the triumphant sect from
retaliating what it had suffered.278

The person by whose advice William appears to have been at this
time chiefly guided as to Scotch politics was a Scotchman of
great abilities and attainments, Sir James Dalrymple of Stair,
the founder of a family eminently distinguished at the bar, on
the bench, in the senate, in diplomacy, in arms, and in letters,
but distinguished also by misfortunes and misdeeds which have
furnished poets and novelists with materials for the darkest and
most heartrending tales. Already Sir James had been in mourning
for more than one strange and terrible death. One of his sons had
died by poison. One of his daughters had poniarded her bridegroom
on the wedding night. One of his grandsons had in boyish sport
been slain by another. Savage libellers asserted, and some of the
superstitious vulgar believed, that calamities so portentous were
the consequences of some connection between the unhappy race and
the powers of darkness. Sir James had a wry neck; and he was
reproached with this misfortune as if it had been a crime, and
was told that it marked him out as a man doomed to the gallows.
His wife, a woman of great ability, art, and spirit, was
popularly nicknamed the Witch of Endor. It was gravely said that
she had cast fearful spells on those whom she hated, and that she
had been seen in the likeness of a cat seated on the cloth of
state by the side of the Lord High Commissioner. The man,
however, over whose roof so many curses appeared to hang did not,
as far as we can now judge, fall short of that very low standard
of morality which was generally attained by politicians of his
age and nation. In force of mind and extent of knowledge he was
superior to them all. In his youth he had borne arms: he had then
been a professor of philosophy: he had then studied law, and had
become, by general acknowledgment, the greatest jurist that his
country had produced. In the days of the Protectorate, he had
been a judge. After the Restoration, he had made his peace with
the royal family, had sate in the Privy Council, and had presided
with unrivalled ability in the Court of Session. He had doubtless
borne a share in many unjustifiable acts; but there were limits
which he never passed. He had a wonderful power of giving to any
proposition which it suited him to maintain a plausible aspect of
legality and even of justice; and this power he frequently
abused. But he was not, like many of those among whom be lived,
impudently and unscrupulously servile. Shame or conscience
generally restrained him from committing any bad action for which
his rare ingenuity could not frame a specious defence; and he was
seldom in his place at the council board when any thing
outrageously unjust or cruel was to be done. His moderation at
length gave offence to the Court. He was deprived of his high
office, and found himself in so disagreeable a situation that he
retired to Holland. There he employed himself in correcting the
great work on jurisprudence which has preserved his memory fresh
down to our own time. In his banishment he tried to gain the
favour of his fellow exiles, who naturally regarded him with
suspicion. He protested, and perhaps with truth, that his hands
were pure from the blood of the persecuted Covenanters. He made a
high profession of religion, prayed much, and observed weekly
days of fasting and humiliation. He even consented, after much
hesitation, to assist with his advice and his credit the
unfortunate enterprise of Argyle. When that enterprise had
failed, a prosecution was instituted at Edinburgh against
Dalrymple; and his estates would doubtless have been confiscated
had they not been saved by an artifice which subsequently became
common among the politicians of Scotland. His eldest son and heir
apparent, John, took the side of the government, supported the
dispensing power, declared against the Test, and accepted the
place of Lord Advocate, when Sir George Mackenzie, after holding
out through ten years of foul drudgery, at length showed signs of
flagging. The services of the younger Dalrymple were rewarded by
a remission of the forfeiture which the offences of the elder had
incurred. Those services indeed were not to be despised. For Sir
John, though inferior to his father in depth and extent of legal
learning, was no common man. His knowledge was great and various:
his parts were quick; and his eloquence was singularly ready and
graceful. To sanctity he made no pretensions. Indeed
Episcopalians and Presbyterians agreed in regarding him as little
better than an atheist. During some months Sir John at Edinburgh
affected to condemn the disloyalty of his unhappy parent Sir

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