The History of England from the Accession of James II. - Volume 3 (of 5)
by Thomas Babington Macaulay
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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 France, [217]

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 wisdom, [225]

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 Attainder.

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 death, [230]

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 pardon, [233]

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 dwellings, [234]

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 sufficient, [243]

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 Mitchelburne, [246]

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 bastion, [248]

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 time 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 fame.

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 Strabane, [254]

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 resolution, [256]

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 defiance.

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 populace.

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 moderation, [263]

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.

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