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The History of Ulster
After the Battle


The Battle of the Boyne one of the Decisive Battles of the World—The Remains of Schomberg taken to Dublin and deposited in St. Patrick's Cathedral—Walker interred at Castle Caulfeild—Macaulay's Mistakes in connection with Walker—The Memory of the Dead Governor duly honoured at Londonderry— Drogheda surrenders—James flies to France—Dublin in a State of Anarchy— William encamps at Finglas and enters Dublin in State—His Cause triumphant.

The Boyne was one of the decisive battles of the world. To Ireland it meant the change of a dynasty, to Ulster the triumph of the Protestants. After a battle it is usual to count the number of the slain, to identify, if possible, the distinguished among the dead, to attend to and succour the wounded, and to perform the last offices over those who have fallen, securing their mortal remains, if time permits, from the possibility of again appearing in disjointed fashion to bear evidence to the "great victory" to which they contributed. This task shall be ours also.

The most distinguished of those who fell at the Boyne undoubtedly was Schomberg. To his corpse all honour was paid. The remains of the great soldier were taken to Dublin, where they were embalmed in as efficient a manner as was possible, and were placed in a leaden coffin, which was deposited in St. Patrick's Cathedral. The intention no doubt was, as announced at the time, to "bury the great duke with a nation's lamentation" in Westminster Abbey, but it was never carried out, and the remains of Schomberg still repose in their first resting-place.

"Walker", says Macaulay, "was treated less respectfully;" but this was only one of the great historian's exaggerated statements. Walker's remains were treated in the manner he would himself have desired. He was interred at his own church at Castle Caulfeild. The presence of the defender of Londonderry with the army of William, and the circumstance of his death have been interpreted by Macaulay with acrimony, and even injustice to his memory. So far was George Walker from having "contracted a passion for war"; from having forgotten "that the peculiar circumstances which had justified him in becoming a combatant had ceased to exist"; from being "determined to be wherever danger was"; or from exposing himself in such a way as to excite "the extreme disgust of his royal patron"; so untrue was it, as Macaulay asserts, that "while exhorting the colonists of Ulster to play the men, Walker was shot dead", that in fact Walker did not take any part whatever in the military work of the campaign.

Deputed by the Episcopalian and Presbyterian clergy of Ulster to present congratulatory addresses to William on his arrival in Ireland, Walker waited on him for that purpose at Belfast on the 19th of June, and was then requested by the King to accompany him on his march for the sake of the information he could impart as to the country and the people. That the substantial liberality of William, shown a few days after to the Presbyterian clergy of Ulster, was the effect in some degree of Walker's representations there cannot be reasonable doubt.

The Londonderry and Enniskillen troops did not join the army till nearly the eve of the battle, and therefore Walker could not truly be represented as accompanying them on the march from Belfast. He did not enter the battle with them; he did not even enter the Boyne at the same spot, nor until long after they had passed and won for themselves a footing on the south bank; nor was he slain near where they were in contention. He seems to have remained near Duke Schomberg on the north bank until the latter, seeing the Huguenot regiments driven back into the river, and their brave commander carried mortally wounded across the ford, thought the emergency required from him the personal exertion of a soldier. Walker accompanied him to the brink of the river, and may perhaps unconsciously have followed, sometime after, into the stream; but it was a stray cannon-shot which terminated his life while a (perhaps too near) spectator of the fight. This explains William's query on hearing of his death: "What took him there?" That Walker's memory was duly honoured Macaulay himself admits: "Five generations have since [the siege of Londonderry] 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 from far up and down the Foyle. On the summit is the statue of Walker, such as when, in the last and 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 bay."

The number of distinguished men who fell at the Boyne included, as we have seen, Caillemot, for whose memory William exhibited his respect by giving Duke Schomberg's regiment of French horse to his brother, the Marquis de Ruvigny.

Amongst the prisoners was Richard Hamilton, who, when he was brought before William, was asked by the King: "Is this business over, or will your horse make more fight?" Hamilton replied: "Upon my honour, sir, I believe they will, for they have yet a good body of horse." William cast a scornful glance at the man who had betrayed him in his negotiations with Tyrconnell, and exclaimed, in a contemptuous tone: "Honour, your honour!"

On the morning following the day of battle William sent a detachment to summon the garrison of Drogheda to surrender; and when its commander, Lord Iveagh, hesitated, he threatened to put the garrison to the sword if any resistance was offered. On this they listened to terms, and the garrison, 1300 strong, were allowed to march out without their arms and be conducted to Athlone.

James, first in the retreat, arrived in Dublin with some horse early in the evening, and bodies of the Jacobite infantry coming in in the course of the night confirmed the news of the defeat. When James arrived at the Castle it is said he was met at the threshold by Lady Tyrconnell, to whom he announced his defeat, attributing it entirely to "the runaway Irish", whereupon the lady observed that their fleetness was nothing in comparison with that of His Majesty, who evidently had won the race! Next morning the French reached the capital, and the Irish horse, "who had, on the preceding day, so well supported the honour of their country", arrived in such excellent order, with martial music, that it was for a moment doubted if they had lost the battle. On a rumour that the enemy was approaching, the Jacobite troops were again drawn out on the north side of the city to oppose them; but in truth William's army did not enter Dublin until late in the evening of the following day, Thursday, the 3rd of July.

James hastily called a meeting at the Castle of the civil and military authorities and delivered a short address, in which he informed his audience of his defeat, which he attributed entirely to the cowardice of his Irish troops, who had, he said, fled in the moment of danger and could not be rallied, although they had suffered but little loss, adding: "I will never command an Irish army again. I must now shift for myself; and so must you." Having thus reviled his troops he exhibited some concern lest his words might bear fruit, and the discontented soldiery pillage and burn the city. He urged them not to provoke the vengeance of their enemies by so barbarous an act, but to set their prisoners at liberty and submit to the Prince of Orange, who was of a merciful disposition. At five o'clock on Wednesday morning he set out, and, leaving two troops of horse which he had taken with him, to defend the bridge at Bray, should the enemy come up, he continued his flight with a few followers through the Wicklow Mountains. Near Arklow he bated his horses for about two hours and then pursued his way to the harbour of Waterford, where, after travelling all night, he arrived at sunrise. Here he embarked on board a small French vessel, which took him by the following morning to Kinsale, whence he sailed with a French squadron, which had been provided for his service by his Queen, and which landed him at Brest on the 20th of July, he being himself the first to arrive with the news of his defeat.

James's forces had followed him to Dublin, and thence— when they learned that he had deserted them, and, as they maintained, sacrificed them to other interests—they made an orderly retreat towards the Shannon. There they were joined by the officers who had accompanied James to Waterford, who came to continue the war and explain the causes of his departure. The indignation of the soldiery had indeed been great at the imputation of cowardice cast upon them by a prince who, instead of taking any part in the action, had stood aloof from the conflict, a looker-on, and had fled before the battle was decided. They made invidious comparisons between his pusillanimity and the bravery of King William, who had been seen leading on his men in the thickest of the contest. "If the English would change kings with us," Sarsfield said, "we would willingly fight the battle over again!"

James, with characteristic selfishness, had shown no care in his flight for anyone save himself. He abandoned Dublin to its fate, leaving no one with authority to keep order in the city, of which the inhabitants now naturally became a prey to conflicting emotions. When the fugitive army marched hastily through on their way south, Simon Luttrell, the Jacobite governor, the magistrates, with the militia and principal Roman Catholic inhabitants, abandoned the capital, which remained in a state of anarchy and disorder, in the power of liberated Protestant prisoners. These, having suffered many privations and indignities, were in a state of wild delight at the sudden and signal defeat of their persecutors, and, breathing nothing but vengeance against them, were prepared for any outrages that might be suggested in the heat of the moment of triumph. They ran about the streets scarcely knowing what they did, assembled here and there in small parties discussing first one project and then another, and at last some came to the resolution of attacking and plundering the dwellings of the "Papists".

At this critical moment a FitzGerald of the Kildare family, a military man, who had like other Protestants been released from prison, presented himself amongst the populace, and aided by his social and military rank he succeeded in prevailing upon the frenzied crowd to abstain from acts of violence. Some of the gentry and clergy rallied round him, and he assumed the government of the city. The guard left in the Castle, consisting of some thirty Roman Catholic militia, were easily persuaded to lay down their arms and surrender, and FitzGerald placed the fortress in the hands of a party of Protestants, under the command of Captain Farlow, an officer who had been taken prisoner by James during William's march to Dundalk. FitzGerald next sent off an express to the camp in the north, begging for speedy assistance to keep Dublin in order. At such times rumours spread like wildfire. Every moment some fresh alarm disturbed the city. Reports had been circulated that the Catholics intended to set fire to the capital. News was brought to FitzGerald that a thousand of the enemy had arrived, and that the suburbs were already in flames; but when he hastened to the spot indicated he found neither fires nor incendiaries. The excited populace, still eager for plunder, broke into the house of Sarsfield, and it was with the utmost difficulty that FitzGerald saved it from their fury. In his anxiety he sent fresh expresses to King William, urging him to dispatch some troops to occupy the city.

FitzGerald's first messengers had reached William's camp early on the 3rd of July, the second day after the battle, and when the King learnt from them the state of affairs in Dublin he directed the young Duke of Ormonde to proceed to the capital with the Blue Dutch Guards, and nine troop of horse under Auverquerque, Master of the Horse, and Sgravenmore. The horse took possession of all the outposts, while the Dutch marched into Dublin Castle.

William, with the body of the army, now marched south, and on Saturday, the 5th, entered Finglas, a village about two miles distant from Dublin, and in Finglas he established his head-quarters. On Sunday morning, the 6th, he made his public entry into Dublin, riding in great state to St. Patrick's Cathedral, and there, with a crown on his head, "returned public thanks to God in the choir which is now hung with the banners of the Knights of St. Patrick". Having heard a sermon from Dr. King, William returned to his camp at Finglas, preferring the small portable wooden house which he used in campaigning to the state apartments in Dublin Castle.

For some considerable time from this period the history of Ulster is also the history of Ireland; the scene of action shifts to the south and west. As we have seen, Drogheda, on the day after the passage of the Boyne, submitted to William's forces. On the 16th Kilkenny opened its gates to a detachment sent under the Duke of Ormonde, with whom William dined on the 19th at his castle in that city. Duncannon was surrendered, and on the 25th of July Waterford capitulated, its garrison of 1600 marching out with arms and baggage for Limerick, towards which William next directed his course.

Into the history of the Siege of Limerick and the Battle of Aughrim it is not our province to enter.


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