John Boyle.

The battle-fields of Ireland, from 1688 to 1691: including Limerick and Athlone, Aughrim and the Boyne online

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Fbom 1G88 to 1691 :






"And as they tread the ruined Isle,
Where rest, at length, the lord and slave,
They'll wondering ask, how hands so vile
Could conquer hearts so brave?" Mooee.


366 BOWiJHY.


9 1943


Entered according to Act of Congress, in the year 1S67,


In the Clerk's Office of the District Court of the United for the Southern
District of New York.


Most of the following- chapters were written some time
since, at the request of the publisher, whose intention it
was to present the readers of Irish history with a porta-
ble volume, which, while removing the necessity of wading
through many tomes, would give an authentic account of
the two leading events of a very important period, — the
battles of the Boyne and Aughrim.

Having undertaken the task, and performed it to the
extent of his information, it appeared to the writer that,
without some allusion to antecedent causes and interme-
diate events, the book, though it should be acceptable to
some, would be quite unsatisfactory to others ; and it was
concluded to make such interpolation as, without over-
burdening, would render the offering: more clear and com-

After collecting much matter bearing on the subject,
and finding it impossible to compress it methodically with-
in the limits assigned, such selections were made, from
historians of every shade of opinion, as would suffice,


without distorting the parts already arranged, to give a
consecutive view of the Jacobite war in Ireland, from its
inception to its close.

As it was almost exclusively a war for religious ascen-
dency on the one side, and for complete civil and religious
liberty on the other, continually presenting a politico-reli-
gious aspect, it was chosen to leave the etiological bear-
ing to other mediums, and confine this principally to the
leading military events of the time. Hence, no allusion
whatever is made to the interior merits of either faith
dependent on the issue ; nor to its exterior action, only so
far as to preserve the order of an unbroken narrative.

Having followed the war down to the battle of Aughrim,
inclusive, and reached the limit prescribed, the writer stops
short of the final event — the last siege of Limerick ; and
he does so as well from motive as necessity, for he thinks
that event could be more appropriately connected with a
history of " The Brigade." But whether the subject is
ever resumed by him or not, will greatly depend on the
reception of this little volume, which is now submitted to

the public.





A Cursory View of England and Ireland anterior to the Acces-
sion of James II 9


The Reign of James II. in England — The Invasion of William,

Prince of Orange. From 1685 to 1688 26


Events preceding Hostilities in Ireland — The preparatory Meas-
ures of Tyrconnel 41


From the Commencement of Hostilities to the Landing of King

James in Ireland 58


The Battle of Cladiford — The Investment of Deny — Proceed-
ings of Parliament 74


The Battle of Newtown Butler, and the Relief of Enniskillen
and Derry 90


The Landing of Marshal Schomberg, and his Winter Campaign 108




Schoniberg's Campaign continued — The Arrival of the Prince

of Orange 112

The Battle of the Boyne 125


Final departure of King James— A Retrospect of his Character. . 153


The Surrender of Drogheda and Dublin — The First Siege of
Athlone 160

The Siege of Limerick 174


The Arrival of the Duke of Marlborough — The Siege of Cork

and Kinsale 193

The Winter of 1690 206

Arrival of St. Ruth— Ginckle takes the field 222

The Siege of Athlone 239

The Interval from July 1st to the 12th 267

The Battle of Aughrim 292





Few monarchs ever ascended the English throne under
more unfavorable auspices than James II. Though he
reached it in the order of legitimate right, it was at a
time when the monarchy of England was well-nigh di-
vested of its most vital prerogatives, and when the voice
of the sovereign had little more weight in the national
councils than that of any ordinarily dissentient member ;
and to this were superadded rivalries, jealousies, and
hatreds, which having their sources in remoter times,
gathered strength like the rivers, and grew deeper and
darker in their course.

As a representative of Scottish royalty, he inherited
many a bitter memory from Bannockburn to Flodden,
and as a descendant of the unfortunate Mary, he was an
object of hatred to the old reform families of England,
with whom her persecutor, Elizabeth, was still a hal-
lowed memory ; he was a grandson of James I., whom



neither the acquisition of a kingdom, nor the confiscation
of Ireland, — so grateful to every English adventurer, —
could redeem from national contempt ; a son of Charles I.,
whom the revolutionary elements evoked in Church and
State by the pedantry of his father, had brought to the
scaffold ; and brother to the second Charles, one of the
most indolent and dissolute monarchs that ever disgraced
a throne. Through the last three reigns, the name of
Stuart had been a term of distrust or hatred, both to
the High Church party of England, and the fanatics of
Scotland ; but through some unaccountable cause, it had
one, and only one, abiding-place, — the heart of Catholic
Ireland, — whose people, through every phase of that dy-
nasty, had experienced nothing but treachery, confiscation,
and proscription.

Other circumstances, too, though of a domestic nature,
tended to establish the unpopularity of James, and to raise
up difficulties in his road to royalty. In 1611, his wife,
the Duchess of York, though nominally a Protestant, died
in communion with the Catholic Church, and from that
time forward he himself made open profession of Catho-
licity. Towards the beginning of 1613 he was married to
Mary of Modena, a Catholic, and the daughter of a royal
house then in close alliance with France. The Parlia-
ment, which met shortly after, expressed great indigna-
tion at this event, and gave practical effect to its resent-
ment. A declaration of indulgence which had been issued
by Charles in 1611, granting to dissenters from the High
Church the public observance of their religion, and to
Roman Catholics the right to hear Mass in private houses,
was censured, and repealed in its application to the Catho-
lics. In this session was also passed the " Test Act,"


which continued in full legal force down to the reign of
George IV., and which, with some modifications, is virtually
observed at the present day. By the passage of this act,
every Catholic official in the realm was removed, and the
Duke of York lost the command of the British navy, in
which he had won high distinction, and which he had
brought to a greater degree of efficiency than it had hith-
erto known. These and similar marks of disapprobation
were specially meant for James, who was then heir-pre-
sumptive, and showed him the dangers that beset his way
to the throne. He, however, continued on unwavering in
his principles, while every exercise of conscience on his
part was met by a check on the king's prerogative, or a
direct censure on himself. But when it became known,
after the demise of Charles, that he, too, had received the
last sacraments at the hands of a Catholic priest, and that
James had been instrumental in the conversion of his rep-
robate brother, the rage of the High Church party knew
no bounds, and their denunciations were echoed through
every recusant party in the land. Comfort they knew
none ; their forbearance was stretched to the utmost ten-
sion ; their cup of hatred was filled to the last drop ; and
even that drop was pendent, as from a leaf ; the next wind
might shake the branch, and then

But still they had one hope. James was a good round
age ; as yet he had no issue male by his Catholic queen ;
his daughters, by his former wife, were educated in the
Protestant faith, and had each been espoused to a Protes-
tant prince ; and in a few years, the throne would appar-
ently revert to a Protestant sovereign.

William, Prince of Orange, the husband of the elder,
was the ostensible head of the Protestant Alliance, and a


devoted enemy to France. This was a relief in their pres-
ent misfortunes, and a little forbearance was thought bet-
ter than much blood-letting. The Duke of Monmouth, too,
the natural son of Charles, was a great favorite with a large
portion of the English people, and had even, during the life
of his father, struck for the crown ; and though banished
the realm for that offence, he was still a centre to rally
round, in case of necessity. These were the considerations
which alleviated the misfortunes of James's enemies, and
made his accession, even for a moment, tolerable.

The reign of James I., commonly called the " Pedant,' 7
from his affectation of learning, his uncouth appearance,
and slovenly habits, was not marked by any act that
elevates a people, or adorns a crown. It was chiefly em-
ployed in religious disquisition, which, giving rise to in-
numerable sects, greatly disturbed the interior spirit of the
nation. That part of his time not so devoted, was spent
in securing to the reform party the lands, lay and cleric,
which had been confiscated during the reign of his imme-
diate predecessors. But he was never popular. Though
his low garrulity and set apothegms were hailed by the
vile minions by whom he was constantly surrounded, as
the sublimation of wisdom, they never failed to plant a
thorn in the breast of the nobles, and with them he was an
object of unmitigated contempt — deeply felt, but not openly
expressed. Still the courtiers and the king got along
pretty well, and each improved after a mutual acquaintance.
He knew their instincts and their passions, and they secured
his favor by sacrificing to his egotism. In them he dis-
covered an inordinate appetite for plunder, and in him they
saw an obtusity of honor, and an unscrnpulousness of con-
science, that could be made sure instruments in securing


the spoils of an incomplete reformation. He resolved to
cater to their appetite, and they determined to obey his
rule, though they did not at all reverence his majesty.

The death of Elizabeth had left England in a profound
peace, which was scarcely disturbed during his reign ;
and this fortuitous circumstance, more than his innate cow-
ardice, won for him the name of " the peaceful monarch."
He has had many satirists and many eulogists, and some
who were both as occasion answered. Among the latter may
be reckoned Sir Walter Scott, by whom we are told that
the restless spirits of the former reign might calmty enjoy
" the peace which James the peaceful gave." But, then,
this was only in poetic romaunt, and by one who greatly
despised him in romantic prose. Such eulogiums, how-
ever, had only reference to the influence of his reign on
England and Scotland ; the tyranny of an English king
towards Ireland had been, in all times, his surest passport
to popularity, and there his reign was one of terror, ven-
geance, persecution, and spoliation.

The prince who connived at the murder of his royal
mother, could lay little claim to the respect of the good or
high-minded in any age or nation, and so he lived an ob-
ject of contempt and loathing to all that was good or
honorable in the land. But though men of honor shunned
his court, the venal there held high jubilee. The king's
natural avarice was keen, and it was still further whetted
by Scotch self-seekers, who thronged lobby and vestibule in
all their greedy officiousness. Their rapacity had to be
appeased. The people of England, too, were grown sullen
and discontented; a spiritual madness had lately overspread
the land, and produced a state of society alwaj's ominous
of evil to the monarch ; hence the public mind should be


diverted from its sombre broodings. To secure himself on
the throne, he saw the necessity of opening a way to the
enterprise of the incongruous elements by which he was
surrounded, and many precedents pointed to Ireland as
the never-failing outlet for English discontent.

The latter half of Elizabeth's reign had been disturbed by
a series of revolutions in Ireland. The first of these was
headed by the Earl of Desmond, in defence of religious
liberty ; it extended all over Munster, and ended in his
death and the confiscation of that province. Shortly
after it was revived by Hugh O'Neil, Earl of T3>rone, and
assuming national proportions, continued with almost un-
varied success to the battle of Kinsale, in 1602, and termi-
nated in a treaty which was wantonly violated after the
queen's death. These wars extended through a period of
more than twenty years, and left Ireland greatly prostrated
on the accession of James I. ; but the country was beginning
to revive, and, under a fostering hand, it would soon have
been content and prosperous. It was hoped, too, that as
James, while king of Scotland, had contributed much to
foment the uprising of O'Neil, he would be as instrumental
in allaying the causes that led to it. The English " Under-
takers," however, looked on an Irish war as a prelude to a
general confiscation, and felt bitter disappointment at the
terms accorded to the Irish rebels by the late queen. The
apportionment of one province, which took place after the
death of Desmond, did not satisfy them, while Ulster, a
wealthy and populous one, was still left in the possession
of the natives. The Scotch followers of James could not un-
derstand the thing at all, and attributed it to the dotage of the
queen. In this state of affairs, the king saw an opportunity
of rendering himself acceptable alike to his English and


Scotch subjects. It was an age fruitful in plots and expe-
dients, when plunder took the name of civilization, and
avarice stalked forth under the cloak of religion. "The
artful Cecil," the contriver and discoverer of many plots,
was consulted by the king, and a scheme was laid for the
violation of the compact of Mellifont, and the confiscation
of Ulster. Lord Chichester was then deputy for Ireland ; —
but the words of Dr. Jones, the king's bishop of Meath, will
tell the matter with sufficient brevity :* " Anno 160%
there was a providential discovery of another rebellion in
Ireland, the Lord Chichester being deputy ; the discov-
erer not being willing to appear, a letter from him, not
subscribed, was superscribed to Sir William Usher, clerk
of the council, and dropt in the council-chamber, then
held in Dublin Castle, in which was mentioned a design
for seizing the Castle and murdering the deputy, with a
general revolt and dependence on Spanish forces ; and
this also for religion ; for particulars whereof I refer to
that letter, dated March the 19th, 1607."— This letter was
read, and O'Xeil, the late leader of the Irish, was singled
out as the head and front of the supposed conspiracy.

O'Xeil, who had been educated at the English court with
a view to the advancement of the English interest in
Ireland, was apprised of the conspiracy designed for his
ruin, and at once detected the master-spirit — " The artful
Cecil." From this he knew that his doom was sealed
should he abide the action of the council, before which he
had been summoned. He accordingly notified the chiefs of
Ulster of the impending blow, and advised flight as the only
means of safety. Most of them followed this advice, and

* Mitchell's Life of Hugh O'Neil, pp. 236, .237.


he himself, collecting his household, retired to Rome, where
he died in 1616.

The flight of O'Neil accomplished all that the conspira-
tors wished, and with far less trouble than they antici-
pated. Wholesale confiscation, without resistance, was
out of their calculation, even in a country borne down by
the protracted strife of nearly twenty years. There still
remained an element in Ulster, which, though it could not
work the deliverance of the nation, could wreak summary
vengeance on many a hungry Undertaker ; but this settled
all at once, to the great "joyousness" of the king : and he
lost no time in proclaiming his satisfaction, in words of
which the following is an extract : " Wee doe professe, that
it is both known to us and our council here, and to our
deputie and state there, and so shall it appeare to the world
(as cleare as the sunne) by evident proofes, that the only
ground and motive of this high contempt, in these men's
departure, hath been the private knowledge and inward
terrour of their own guiltinesse," etc. " But," says Mitchell,
"no attempt to give these proofs was ever made," and
never will be. The very manner of their departure is a
proof of innocence. Had there been a conspiracy, they
would have abided the result, and sold their lives with their
lands at a price dear enough to the English enemy. But
they went in the belief that their lives and lands alone
were what the king sought, and that by quitting the
country, they would save the minor chieftains and their
clansmen from the greed of England. They calculated
erroneously, for this did not accord with the design of the
infamous king, and the whole province soon became the
spoil of the " Undertakers." An act of Parliament — the
English Parliament — immediately followed the king's pro-


clamation, declaring that "Whereas the divine justice hath
lately cast out of the province of Ulster divers wicked and
ungratefull traytors,who practised to interrupt those bless-
ed courses begun and continued by your majestie for the
general good of this whole realm, by whose defection and
attainders great scopes of land in those parts have been
reduced to your majestie's hands and possession," etc. — and
of course awaited but the royal pleasure to be transferred
to his loyal subjects of the realm. Nor was the royal
assent long withheld, for the royal coffers were always
open, even to smaller windfalls than the revenues arising
from a confiscated province.

The work of settlement was soon commenced, under the
supervision of the king, privy council, committees of
conference, committees of inquiry, contractors, under-
takers, speculators, and commissioners names of ominous
import in Ireland and so often revived there that her
people can rehearse them like a catechism. " In the six
counties of Donegal, Tyrone, Deny, Farmanagh, Cavan,
and Armagh, a tract of country containing 500,000 acres,
was seized upon by the king and parcelled out in lots to
Undertakers.* The "domains" of the attainted lords were
assumed to include all the lands inhabited by their clans,
and so far were the king's new arrangements from respect-
ing the rights of the ancient natives, that " the fundamen-
tal ground of this plantation was the avoiding of natives
and planting only with British."

That this cruel policy was carried out to the letter,
would seem scarcely credible. But let the authority al-
ready quoted settle that matter. "It is true," says Sir

* Mitchell's Hugh O'Neil, p. 241.


Thomas Phillips, in "Harris's Hibernia," "that after the
prescribed number of freeholders and leaseholders were
settled on every townland, and the rents therein set down,
they might let the remainder to natives, for lives, so as they
were conformable in religion, and for the favor to double
their rents \" Even so, to double their rents, if natives,
though conformable in religion. A high favor, and all for
the love of God !

This is but a very imperfect outline of the plantation
of Ulster, and the manner of effecting it ; and it is alluded
to in these pages, only in so far as it illustrates the
subject-matter of them, on which that settlement has a di-
rect bearing. Its immediate and subsequent effects on the
Irish race, though the theme of many a commentator, have
never been told," and never will be. Even its remoter
consequence at the present day can scarcely be alluded to
without opening up wounds but imperfectly healed, and
memories too bitter for wholesome reflection. It renewed,
by one dash of the royal pen, all the wrongs of the preceding
centuries, and filled the last stronghold of the Irish race
with a people inimical to their interests, and who, with the
exception of one short epoch in the country's history, have
remained a cancer on the body politic, and, as if by a
special providence, though meant to strengthen the dynasty
of the Stuarts, were mainly instrumental in causing its

The reign of Charles I. was an eventful and a bloody one.
In 1625 he ascended the throne ; in 1649 he ascended the
scaffold ; and through the intervening period of twenty-four
years, it was a continual struggle for the preservation of
the royal prerogatives. These prerogatives were yielded,
one by ©ne, to the fanatical spirit of the age, and the


last royal prerogative, that of life— for it is held a standing
apothegm, that the king can do no wrong — terminated in
a disastrous civil war which drenched the three kingdoms
in blood.

England had been in a state of transition since the
reign of Henry VIII. The religion of the country had
undergone a change which had left more than one-half of
its population — and that the more powerful one — adhe-
rents of the new faith. New manners and new morals
had kept pace with the change of religion. The lands,
too, had undergone as great a change as the people.
Most of the old manors were possessed by new lords ; and
as for the Church, its glebes had passed to the early con-
formists, and its cash to the royal coffers. Hatred on the
one hand, and revenge on the other, the usual concomitants
of all violent changes in civil or ecclesiastical bodies, were
the order of the day. Among those who had become re-
cipients of the spoils, a feeling of insecurity was pre-
dominant. These changes had all been wrought through
the will of the sovereigns — the royal prerogative, and
it required no prophetic ken to know, that while that
prerogative remained unimpaired, some future sovereign
might undo all that his predecessors had accomplished ;
and this continual apprehension was the parent of each
successive reform : and self-preservation the object.

The reign of James I. sowed the seed of religious dis-
content : that of Charles I. reaped the harvest. The old
faith had been too closely drawn towards the political
arena, and had suffered by the contact ; the new one
whirled in its vortex, and the result was the worst state
of human society — civil and religious anarchy. A church
had been established by law, and richly endowed by the


spoils of the old one, antecedent to the accession of
Charles, and its followers were called the " High Church"
pecpie. But outside its communion, innumerable sects
overspread the land, known by the general name of
" Nonconformists." The highways and by-ways of Eng-
land and Scotland resounded with their religious disqui-
sitions ; every man had become an interpreter and a
prophet. The most powerful of those sects were the
Puritans of England, and the Covenanters of Scotland,
who, though differing in religious principles, closely as-
similated in their hatred of all monarchical government,
and of the outward ceremonies of divine worship. Prac-
tising greater simplicity, they laid claim to greater purity
of religion, until they at length believed themselves in-
vested with a divine mission to eradicate " popery,"
" prelacy," and monarchy. The materials of combustion
had been long preparing, . and nothing was wanting but

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