Reign of William and Mary. - (Continued.) page 2
But there were deeper and more real traitors than any of these around William - namely, admiral Russell, Sidney Godolphin, and Marlborough. These men, encouraged by the fall of Mons and the triumphant aspect of Louis's affairs, renewed with fresh activity their intrigues with the court of James. It was in vain that William heaped riches, honours, and places of confidence upon them; they. were ready to receive any amount of favours, but still kept an eye open to the possible return of James, and made themselves secure of pardon from him, and kept him duly informed of all the intended movements of William both at home and on the continent. Russell was made high admiral in place of Tor- rington. He was treasurer of the navy, enjoyed a pension of three thousand pounds a year, and a grant from the crown of property of great and increasing value near Charing Cross. But, with an insatiable greediness, he still complained of unrequited services; and, having a shoal of poor and hungry relatives badgering him for places and pensions, he complained that their incessant demands could not be gratified; and he cherished the hope that he could sell his treason at a favourable crisis to king James at no mean price. Godolphin was first commissioner of the treasury, sate in the privy council, and enjoyed the confidence of the sovereign; his former conduct in being one of the most pliant tools of James, ready to vote for his act of indulgence, being overlooked. Yet he was sworn, through the agency of a Mr. Bulkeley, to serve the interests of James. Hand in hand with him went Marlborough, who, though he was now fast overcoming the long-retained prejudices of William, had been honoured by his commission in the expedition to Ireland, and by his warm approbation on his return, and had the prospect of a brilliant command of the army in Flanders, where he could indulge his highest ambition - was yet a most thorough traitor, making a hypocritical pretence of great sorrow to James for his desertion of him, and, through colonel Sackville, and Lloyd, the non-juring bishop of Norwich, offering, on a good opportunity, to carry over the whole army to James.
Amid these lurking treasons the exultation of the Jacobites over the fall of Mons was open and insolent. They came by swarms out of their hiding-places and thronged the park and the neighbourhood of the palace, even insulting the queen in her drives before William's return.
William's indignation on hearing these facts roused him to put the laws in force against the non-juring bishops. The most extraordinary lenity had been shown them. They had been suffered to reside in their sees and occupy their palaces; they had been offered to be excused taking the oaths on condition that they would live quietly, and discharge their ecclesiastical functions of ordaining ministers, confirming their young flocks, &c., but without avail. Now that Turner was discovered in treasonable correspondence with St. Germains, and the rest refused to disavow what he had attributed to them in his letters, it was resolved to eject them. Sancroft was ejected from Lambeth, but not without much show of obstinacy, and Tillotson was nominated archbishop of Canterbury in his place; Ken removed from Bath and Wells, and Kidder instituted in his stead. In place of Turner succeeded Dr. Patrick; Fowler was appointed to Gloucester, and Cumberland to Peterborough. Soon after died Lam- plugh, archbishop of York, and Dr. Sharp took his place. Sancroft continued to maintain all his old pugnacity, and nominated other bishops in opposition to William's government as sees fell vacant. But perhaps the most savage outcry was raised on the appointment of Dr. Sherlock to the deanery of St. Paul's, vacated by the election of Tillotson to Canterbury. Tillotson himself was furiously assailed by the Jacobites as a thief and a false shepherd, who had stolen into the fold of the rightful pastor. Sherlock had been a zealous non-juror himself, but had been seriously convinced of the Scriptural ordinance to submit to any government, whatever its origin, which was firmly established. He was, therefore, violently and scurrilously assailed as a perjured apostate. Amongst the ejected non-juring clergy, Henry Dodwell was so insolent, that William remarked, "That Dodwell wants me to put him in prison, but I will disappoint him." The magnanimous forbearance of William, and the audacious impertinence of the non-jurors in consequence, form a wonderful contrast.
Scarcely had William time to settle these affairs, and arrange the plan of the campaign in Ireland, when he was compelled to return to Holland. Unaware as yet of the more recent treason of Marlborough, he took him with him. He had conceived the highest opinion of his military talents, and he was confirmed in this opinion, on his arrival at the Hague, by the prince of Vaudemont, a distinguished commander in the Dutch service. He praised highly the generals Talmache and Mackay; as to Marlborough, he declared that he had every quality of a general; that his very look showed it, and that he was certainly destined to do something great. William replied that he was of the same conviction.
William found himself at the head of seventy thousand men of various nations, the different contingents of the allies, and the beginning of the campaign was very promising. He sent Marlborough on to Flanders to collect the forces there, and form a camp to cover Brussels against the advance of Luxembourg and the French. His convenient position no doubt suggested to James the idea of his immediate execution of his promised treason. James, therefore, sent him word that he expected his fulfilment of his engagement; but to this startling demand Marlborough replied that the time was not come. It was necessary to have first obtained a complete ascendancy over the troops, or, instead of following him, they would abandon him, and the only consequence would be making things worse. William's immediate arrival put an end to the temptation, and he marched against Luxembourg, who retired before him. Ha next sent a detachment against marshal Boufflers, who was besieging Liege, which having succeeded in, he crossed the Sambre, to endeavour to bring Luxembourg at length to an engagement. But that crafty general, who had an inferior though well-appointed army, took care to avoid a general action, calculating that William's army, made up of so many nonentities, would, if let alone, ere long go to pieces. Thus the summer was spent in marches and counter-marches without any result, except of wearying out William's patience, who in September surrendered the command to the prince of Waldeck, and retired to his favourite hunting-seat at Loo, and soon after returned to England.
The summer campaign was carried on by the allies in other quarters with more or less success in Spain the French made some barbarous inroads, but were vigorously- repelled. They were more successful in their combat with the duke of Savoy. Marshal Catinat took several of their towns, besieged Coni, and advanced within three leagues of Turin, the duke's capital. Just, however, as they were hoping for a signal triumph, they were arrested by the appearance of a new hero, destined, in co-operation with Marlborough, to shake to the foundations the power of Louis XIV. This was Eugene, prince of Savoy. Eugene, being joined by young Schomberg with a few troops, and some money from William, at the suggestion of Schomberg made a sadden march across the mountains, raised the siege of Coni, and then, issuing on the plains, drove back Catinat, and regained Carmagnola. On the Rhine, where the elector of Saxony commanded, nothing of moment was effected; but the French allies, the Turks, who were harassing Austria, received a severe defeat at Salankeman, on the Danube, which placed the emperor of Germany at his ease.
The campaign in Ireland did not begin till June. The condition of that island during the winter was miserable in the extreme. The ravages which the Irish, mad with oppression, ignorance, and revenge, let loose by the frightful policy of James, had inflicted on the country from the north to the south, such as we have described them, must necessarily have left it a prey to famine, moral chaos, and revolting crime. In the north, where the protestants had regained the power, there was the commencement of restoration. Those who had fled to England with their movable property came swarming back. It was, indeed, to towns burnt down and fields laid waste; but they brought with them money, and, still more, indomitable energies, which impelled them instantly to commence rebuilding their dwellings, at least in such a manner as to shelter them from the elements, and to cultivate and sow their fields. Commerce came back with them; and the estuaries of the Foyle, the Lagan, the Bann, the Carlingford, and the Boyne, were busy with ships and boats pouring in food, seed, and live-stock. So soon as nature had time to do her part and to ripen her crops, there would be once more comparative plenty, and there was an animating prospect of a secure permanence of peace and order. But in the south, and still more the south-west, where the troops of James still held their ground, the condition of things was as appalling as can be conceived. In the north the protestants kept a tight hand on the native Irish; they refused them the possession of any arms; they forbade them to proceed more than three miles from their own dwellings, except to attend market; or for more than five papists to assemble together on any occasion or pretence. They forbade them to approach the frontier within ten miles, to prevent them holding intelligence with the enemy. If outrages were committed, they were visited with unsparing severity. But if the north was strict and yet struggling, the south was in a fearful state of calamity. The soldiers traversed the country, levying contributions of cattle and provisions wherever they could find them. They were no better than so many bandits and rapparees, who swarmed over the desolated region, carrying violence, and terror, and spoliation wherever they came. There was no money but James's copper trash, bearing high nominal values. Provisions and clothes, where they were to be had, fetched the most incredible prices; and merchants feared to approach the ports, because they were in as much danger of wholesale robbery as the shopkeepers and farmers on land.
In the Irish camp the utmost licence, disorder, and destitution prevailed. The duke of Berwick was elected to command during the absence of Tyrconnel in France; but his power was a mere fiction, and he let things take their course. Sarsfield was the only officer who had any real influence with the soldiers. But early in the spring Tyrconnel returned, bringing some supplies of money and clothing; and in April a fleet also arrived, bringing arms, ammunition, flour, and provisions. With these came what was much needed - two general officers - Saint Ruth and D'Usson. Saint Ruth was a general of considerable experience. He had lately served in Savoy, and had the prestige of victory; but he was vain and cruel, was mortally hated by the Huguenots for his persecutions of them, and was called by them "the hangman." His very name, therefore, was a guarantee for the Huguenot troops in the English service fighting to the utmost. He was astonished, and disgusted at the dirty, ragged, and disorderly crew which bore the name of the Irish army; but he began actively to repress their licence, and to drill them into some discipline.
On the 6th of June Ginckell took the field against him with a body of efficient troops, reinforced by some excellent regiments from Scotland, and having now under his command Talmache and Mackay, two brave officers. At the head of the French refugees was the marquis Ruvigny, the brother-in-law of the late general Caillemot, who fell at the Boyne. On the 7th Ginckell reached Ballymore, and compelled the fortress there, containing a garrison of one thousand men, to surrender, and sent all the prisoners to Dublin. Having placed the fortress, which stood on an island in the lake, in good defence, he marched forward, and, on the 18th, sate down before the very strongly-fortified town of Athlone. On his march he had been joined by the duke of Wurtemberg and his Danish division.
Athlone stood on the Shannon, the river cutting it in two. The stream there was deep and rapid, and was spanned by a bridge on which stood two mills, worked by the current below, and on the Connaught side was a strong fort, called King John's Fort, with a tower seventy feet high, and flanking the river for a distance of two hundred feet. The town on the Leinster side, where Ginckell was, was defended by bold earthen ramparts, the most indestructible of any kind by cannon. Ginckell, however, lost no time in attacking it. On the 20th his cannon were all in order for bombarding, and he opened a terrible fire on the town. Under cover of his fire the troops rushed to the walls, and the French refugees were the first to mount a breach, and one of them, flinging his grenade, fell with a shout of triumph. His example was quickly followed. The assailants sprang over the walls in hundreds, clearing the way with hand grenades; and the Irish giving way, there was a hot pursuit along the bridge, by which they sought to escape into the other half of the town. The crush and confusion there was such, that many of the flying Irish were trodden under foot, and others were forced over the parapets of the bridge, and perished in the Shannon. The near side of the town was in Ginckell's possession, with the loss of only twenty men killed and forty wounded.
The cannonade was continued on the bridge and on the town across the river, and the next day it was repeated with increased effect from batteries thrown up along the river bank. The next morning it was discovered that the mills were greatly damaged; one, indeed, had taken fire, and its little garrison of sixty men had perished in it. A great part of the fort had also been beaten down. The French officers had constructed a tete du pont at the end of the bridge to assist the fort, had broken down some of the arches, and made the conquest of a passage by the bridge next to impossible. To add to the difficulty of the enterprise, St. Ruth had hastened from Limerick with an army superior in numbers to that of Ginckell. But this force was more imposing in appearance than formidable in reality. Saint Ruth, calculating on the difficulty of the passage, imagined that he could hold the place with little loss till the autumnal rains drove the English from the field through sickness. He therefore ordered D'Usson to attend to the defence of the passage, and fixed his camp about three miles from the town.
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