Page images
PDF
EPUB

hundred who were prepared to sue for protections, Chap. When the magistrates were imprisoned for declaring) -..• in favour of a snrrendry, and the garrison were adopting sentiments of the same nature, the commanders at length concurred, and entered into a parley, on the seizure of a fort by the besiegers, which stood southeastward of the town, and commanded great part of the wall. Contrary to the opinion of Talmash and other officers, who were adverse to the granting of any conditions, Ginckle resolved to concede such terms as might convince the whole Irish party of their infatuation in an adherence to a desperate cause, and might dispose them to a speedy submission. The troops of the garrison were allowed to march to Limerick with all the honours of war, with liberty of remaining in the town, or of returning to their respective habitations, to all who might desire it. A free pardon was granted to the governor, magistracy, freemen, and inhabitants, with full possession of their estates and liberties under the a6ls of settlement and explanation. The catholics were allowed the private exercise of their religion, their lawyers to practice, and their men of estates to carry arms.

Encouraged by such favourable concessions, con-affairs gf siderable numbers deserted the Jacobite cause, and according to their own option, were either dismissed peaceably to their homes, or admitted to serve in the Williamite army: but still greater numbers, influenced by delusive hopes of powerful succours from France, continued obstinately determined on

the

Chap, the prolonging the war. While the English cabinet, imagining the force of the Irish quite broken, order

ed ten thousand men to be sent from Cork and Kinsale to the king then campaigning in tbje Netherlands; and the generals, employed in the service of Ireland, more sensible of the difficulty still remaining, prevailed in their application for the deferring of this measure; Sarsfield passed the Shannon with seven thousand men, to desolate the country, and storm the town of Cashel; but was obliged to retire 00 finding that the garrison was reinforced, and that the army of Ginckle was advancing to Limerick. In this town, the last great refuge of the Jacobites, an unanimity of opinion was far from having place, Tyrconneli contumeliously treated on account of his advice in favour of submission, expired in the bitterness of vexation, the viciim of that violent opposition to the protestantism and civil liberty of which him-* self had been the great fomenter. His sentiments with respect to submission were adopted by Fitton, Nagle; and Plowden, the three lords justices, who, exercised the civil administration in the name of James; But the faction who favoured the French interest were enabled for the present to predominate by the influence of the French generals, and the intelligence of a squadron of twenty ships of war, commanded by Chateau Renault, ready to sail from France to their assistance. siege of Having by a new proclamation prolonged the time l"i69l' ft"" pardon to submitting rebels, Ginckle took mea^ snres for the attack of Limerick with such precaution,

lion, that the chief governors, less acquainted with c Ha P. the difficulty of the enterprize, were displeased at ^w-^w his slowness. He secured the passes of the Shannon, and his communication with Kerry, a country reserved for his winter-quarters; and, while the fleet of Sir Ralph Delaval cruised near cape Clear to intercept the French succours, he ordered captain Cole, who lay with some ships in the Shannon, to burn the forage in the districts of Clare, bordering that river, whence the enemy drew their subsistence, Ginckle approached Limerick on the twenty-fifth of August, on the south-eastern side, in the same manner as William in the foregoing year, driving the Irish from Ireton's fort and other posts, and pouring a fire from cannon and mortars for several days on the Irish town, whence the inhabitants fled from their burning houses, and formed a sort of camp towards the north-east, on the opposite side of the river. Since to make breaches in walls defended by a garrison equal to the besieging army, and consequently of very dangerous assault, seemed unavailing, the general resolved to gain, if possible, the ground on the opposite side of the Shannon, so as to preclude the besieged from the county of Clare, which furnished them with provisions, by the command of Thomond-bridge, the pass of communication between Limerick and this countv. The Irish raised shouts of joy, when they beheld his batteries dismounted, a manoeuvre to deceive them into a belief of an intended retreat; but, in the darkness of night was nearlv completed a bridge of tin boats,

by

Chap, by which a body of troops was conveyed into an

XXXIV" .

v j island, whence to the main land of Clare the rivet was

fordable. The English passed the ford, very feebly resisted by four regiments of Irish dragoons, who were posted near the passage, under the command of an officer named Clifford, who is supposed to have afeled thus with design, that the garrison should be forced into a submission" to the new government, a measure previously preferred by him to the sacrificing of Irish interests to the ambition of the French monarch. Colonel Henry Lutterel, at that time a prisoner in the castle of Limerick, after a trial, in which he had been acquitted, for an imagined correspondence with the English, was falsely reported by the vulgar Irish, and is believed by their posterity, to have commanded here, and to have betrayed the pass to Ginckle.

Astonished at the success of the English detachment, the Irish cavalry and inhabitants, who were encamped on the Clare side, fled, some to the mountains, others to the city, where they were denied admittance; but the English were restrained from pursuit, through apprehension of an ambuscade; and the retreating cavalry formed another encampment at a much greater distance. Notwithstanding the accomplishing of this lodgement on the opposite side of the Shannon, and the securing of their bridge of pontons by a fort, the besiegers could have little ground for hopes of ultimate success in so advanced a season, without possession of Thomond-bridge, and King's Island, a tract low and marshy, north of the , English

English town. To divide so small an army in the Chap. ° . •'. XXXIV.

face of such a garrison was dangerous; yet Ginckle, \—y—'

Wirtemberg, and Sgravenmore, crossed the Shannon with a large body of troops on the pontons, on the twenty-second of September; and, after a sharp contest, forced their way to the works protecting Thomond-bridge, which the grenadiers, supported by tour regiments, were commanded to storm at four in the evening. The battle now raged with inexpressible fury; the grenadiers rushing desperately forward, even contrary to orders, through a tremendous fire of great and small arms, pushing the Irish from their ground, and, notwithstanding reinforcements from the town, and renewals of the combat, finally putting them to total rout. A French major, who commanded at this post, fearing lest the English might enter with the fugitives, commanded the raising of the draw-bridge, and thus abandoned his men to the fury of the enemy. Before the carnage could be stopped, so as to save the lives of a hundred and twenty-six, who were made prisoners, six hundred carcases tilled the bridge even to the battlements, and about a hundred and fifty men were forced into the river and drowned. The besiegers made a lodgement within ten yards of the bridge, astonished at the conduct of the garrison in not having hazarded a general engagement against the divided forces of the English, rather than suffer the town to be surrounded. But dissentions and discontents with their French allies had encreased among the Irish, particularly from the behaviour of Vol, II. N the

« PreviousContinue »