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The History of Ulster
The Brave Inniskillings

The General Council address the Prince of Orange - The Prince replies - William and Mary proclaimed King and Queen in Enniskillen - Tyrconnell determines to reduce Ulster - He employs Colonel Richard Hamilton - Hamilton marches into Ulster - His Advance spreads Consternation - Lord Blaney defeats a Portion of his Forces and occupies Coleraine - Enniskillen still maintains her Independent Attitude - Viscount Galmoy lays Siege to Crom Castle with Tin Cannon - His Treachery and Barbarity.

Ulster now determined on a concentrated effort, the county councils congregated at Hillsborough to form one general council to consult upon the interests of the Protestant community. Tyrconnell contented himself with collecting, as best he could, forces to be employed in the service of James, and the Northerners, during January and February, 1689, were left unmolested to collect their troops and mature their plans. One of the first acts of the General Council was to compose an address to the Prince of Orange, stating their condition and expressing their sentiments and praying for speedy assistance. This address was committed to the care of Captain Leighton for delivery to the Prince. Leighton sailed from Belfast on the 10th of January, and on the 10th of February he returned with William's answer addressed to the President of the Ulster League, the Earl of Mount Alexander.

In his reply the Prince said: "Having received an account from Captain Leighton of what he was entrusted to represent to us in relation to the condition of the Protestants in Ireland, we have directed him to assure you in our name, how sensibly we are affected with the hazards you are exposed to, by the illegal power the Papists have of late usurped in that kingdom, and that we are resolved to employ the most speedy and effectual means in our power for rescuing you from the oppressions and terrors you be under; that in the meantime we do well approve of the endeavours we understand you are using to put yourselves into a posture of defence, that you may not be surprised, wherein you may expect all the encouragements and assistance that can be given you from hence.

"And because we are persuaded that there are even of the Romish communion many who are desirous to live peaceably, and do not approve of the violent and arbitrary proceedings of some who pretend to be in authority; and we think it just to make distinctions of persons, according to their behaviour and deserts; we do hereby authorize you to promise in our name, to all such who shall demean them- selves hereafter peaceably and inoffensively, our protection and exemption from those pains and forfeitures which those only shall incur who are the maintainers and abettors of the said illegal authority, assumed and continued contrary to law, or who shall act anything to the prejudice of the Protestant interest, or the disturbance of the public peace in that kingdom.

"And for further particulars we refer you to the report you shall receive from Captain Leighton (who hath committed himself with fidelity and diligence in your concerns) of the sincerity of our intentions towards you. And so we recommend you to the protection of Almighty God."

This gracious message from the Prince of Orange did much to raise the spirits of his adherents in Ulster. In Londonderry and Enniskillen the tidings of the proceedings at Westminster on the 6th of February, whereby the Convention had carried a resolution that the Prince and Princess of Orange should be declared King and Queen of England, were received with great joy. William and Mary, on the nth of March, were proclaimed at Enniskillen with unbounded enthusiasm, and with such pomp as the little town could furnish.

To reduce the Protestants of Ulster to submission before aid could arrive from England was now Tyrconnell's chief object, and he employed for this purpose a member of the illustrious house of Hamilton. Colonel Richard Hamilton, however, was not destined to add to the lustre of the family record. He spent his earlier years at Whitehall and Versailles, and later repaired to Ireland, where he was appointed Brigadier-General in the Irish army, and was one of the Irish Privy Council. He had been sent by Tyrconnell, whose friendship and confidence he had won, to support James in England, and when the troops submitted to the Prince of Orange, he made his own terms of peace. Owing chiefly to the influence of his celebrated brother, Anthony, Richard came under William's notice, to whom he was recommended as a man of honour, and as one having great influence with Tyrconnell; and as negotiations had been opened with the Lord -Deputy, he was commissioned to repair to Dublin to confer with him. This commission he accepted, promising if he was unsuccessful in bringing Tyrconnell to terms, he would return to London in three weeks.

When Hamilton arrived in Dublin, instead of executing his commission, he gave Tyrconnell all the information he had collected relating to the state of England, which he represented as favourable to the cause of James, recommended him to maintain his position as Lord Deputy, and notwithstanding his solemn promise to return he remained in Ireland and gave every assistance to the Viceroy to collect an army with which it was proposed to reduce Ulster to submission. The call to arms was answered with remarkable promptitude and enthusiasm. The flag which flew on Dublin Castle bore the words: "Now or Never! Now and for Ever!" and all Ireland repeated them. The army which in Ormonde's time had consisted of eight regiments rapidly increased to six times that number, and the ranks were full to overflowing. There was, however, a lamentable lack of officers, for Tyrconnell, in his zeal to purge the army of Protestants, had deprived many of their commissions, and their places were now filled by tailors, cobblers, and footmen. The arming became universal. To add fuel to the flame of general enthusiasm, an agent from James arrived to convey to Tyrconnell the welcome intelligence that he was himself hastening to the relief of his Catholic subjects and would soon appear among them in person at the head of a powerful force.

Hamilton, raised to the rank of General, marched into Ulster, after a proclamation had been issued commanding the northern Protestants to disarm and dissolve their assemblies. They had not yet learnt how to act with the unity and rapidity required to secure successful resistance, and they relied on Lundy, who, though he had signed a declaration by which he bound himself to stand by the new Government on pain of being considered a coward and a traitor, did not give the support he promised, and on which the Northerners had calculated. On the nth of March Hamilton appeared before Newry, which Sir Arthur Rawdon, with the small forces under his command, was obliged to abandon, and he slowly retreated towards Dromore. Here a skirmish took place with the opposing forces, with the loss of a few men, and Rawdon's followers were compelled to take to flight till they came to Hillsborough, which they could not hold, with the result that ammunition, provisions, and papers of the Central Council fell into the hands of Hamilton's men.

The advance of the Jacobite army spread consternation among the ill-armed and ill-disciplined levies of the Protestants, many of whom sought refuge in Londonderry or fled to England. The more resolute, however, rallied round Lord Mount Alexander and Sir Arthur Rawdon, whose spirit and example kept together about 4000 men, and with these they marched to Coleraine in order to prevent Hamilton's forces from crossing the Bann. The latter, elated with success, and being accompanied by a rabble, such as Keating well compared to the unclean birds of prey which gather wherever the scent of carrion is strong, gave themselves up to collecting booty, and thus gave time to the fugitives to rally and to fortify the towns they occupied.

The allied forces of Armagh and Monaghan, amounting to about 1800 men, ''indifferently well armed", were under the command of Lord Blaney. With these he had held in check a body of Jacobites who had made Charlemont their head-quarters, and a party of Blaney's men attacked near Glasslough a large force of James's adherents and defeated them, inflicting great loss. The terror inspired by the approach of Hamilton's army reduced Blaney's followers to some 300 foot and the same number of horse, with which he left Armagh on the 15th of March, to make his way to Coleraine. Information of his movements being conveyed to the Jacobites, the garrisons of Charlemont and Mountjoy marched to intercept him by seizing the bridge at Artrea, between Dungannon and Moneymore. Blaney, however, succeeded in reaching the bridge before them, and although they were numerically much stronger he attacked them and put them to flight with considerable loss, after which he proceeded to Coleraine, where the news of his victory cheered those who had awaited his arrival.

The inhabitants of Enniskillen, meanwhile, maintained their old courageous front, and, notwithstanding orders from Lundy directing them to abandon the town and retire upon Londonderry, determined to defend a position which might prove of service to their co-religionists, inasmuch as it stood in the way of an advance from Con naught. On the 20th of March, we are told, "all the Protestants in the county of Cavan, in pitiful stormy weather and in great disorder, came running to Enniskillen and the villages about, to the no small surprise of us all, about three or four troops of horse coming before, followed with about as many foot companies, and then the whole inhabitants with their women and children, to their middle in clay and dirt, with pitiful lamentations, and little or no provision to sustain them. Our governor ordered them free quarter for man and horse in the town and country about; many of them were indifferently well armed, and we were joyful that they were come to us, being in hopes that they would join us in defence of our country. But on inquiring into the reasons of their leaving their country as they did (where they had several good strengths that might for some time have been defended,) their officers told us that they had orders from Colonel Lundy for so doing, and did endeavour (though to no purpose) to persuade our governor to do the same with Enniskillen. But that which hastened them away in so great disorder, was the Lord Gillmoy's coming with a part of the Irish army into the county of Cavan, and surprising a house that belonged to Mr. Dixy, Dean of Kilmore, and made prisoner the Dean's eldest son (who was captain of a troop of horse,) Edward Charleton his cornet, and about eight or ten of his troopers; upon news of which all the garrisons about broke up, some setting fire to their own houses, and the whole country fled to us without knowing who or what number of men were come against them."

The Lord Gillmoy alluded to was Pierce Butler, third Viscount Galmoy, a descendant of Thomas, tenth Earl of Ormonde. He was made a Privy Councillor by James, who later created him Earl of Newcastle. As colonel of a troop of Irish Guards he was guilty of great barbarity, and proved the truth of Oldmixon's remark about him, that "he was a monster whom no titles could ennoble". Having stationed himself at Belturbet, as a point from whence to proceed against Enniskillen, he began by laying siege to Crom, a castle on the banks of the lower Lough Erne, about sixteen miles from Enniskillen. "This place", says a contemporary, "was under our protection, and has been ever since our frontier garrison towards Dublin, and his Lordship thinking to frighten that garrison to a compliance with his demands, sent two cannons made of tin, near a yard long in the chace, and about eight inches wide, strongly bound about with small cord, and covered with a sort of buckram, near the colour of a cannon. These two mock cannons he drew towards Crom with eight horses apiece, making a great noise as if they were drawn with much difficulty.

"As soon as they came before Crom, he threatened to batter the castle with these two battering guns, and had the vanity to fire one of them, which burst, and had like (as 'twas said) to have spoiled the gunner. But those within the castle, depending upon aid from Enniskillen, refused to surrender, and fired out at them from the castle, killing several. Gillmoy continues the siege, and on Friday the 22nd of March, sent a letter to the governor of Enniskillen in the nature of a summons, acquainting him that King James was come to Dublin, and that he was come with an army to reduce that country to his obedience, and that by his commission he had power to grant them better conditions than they might ever expect from him afterwards, if they were reduced by force.

"Upon receipt of this summons, our governor called his officers together to consult what was fit to be done, and all of them did unanimously conclude not to desert Enniskillen, nor to submit to any but to King William and Queen Mary, whom they had now proclaimed; and accordingly returned Lord Gillmoy an answer, that they owed allegiance to none but them, nor would they submit to any but to their Majesties, or those commissioned by them, and so did prepare themselves the best they could to defend the town, and to use what means they could to relieve Crom."

"On Saturday, the 23rd of March," continues our chronicler, "early in the morning, many of the County of Cavan men left Enniskillen, and marched towards Derry, in obedience (as they said,) to Colonel Lundy's orders. And the same day in the afternoon, our governor drew out all the horse and foot he had under his command, on the common hill near Enniskillen, keeping them all day at their arms, expecting every hour to hear that the lord Gillmoy was on his march towards us, and resolved to give him battle before he came near the town; for ever since we took up Enniskillen, we judged it advisable rather to fight the enemy at a distance from it, than to let them lay siege to it, and we have hitherto done accordingly. But seeing no enemy appear all that day, and our scouts returning and bringing us word that Gillmoy came only the length of Lisnaskea, a village ten miles distant from the town, and that upon the news of our drawing out against him, he retreated back with his men to the siege of Crom. Our governor therefore, in the night, sent a detachment of about two hundred of his best armed men, some by land, and some in boats, towards Crom, hoping they might get into the castle in the night; but it being day before they got there, the enemy used all the endeavours they could to keep our boats from landing at the castle, firing many vollies at them, but being bad marksmen, killed only one old boatman, and did our men no further harm, but our men shot several of them dead from the boats, landed at the castle, and having joined those that were within, they sallied out together, and beat them from their trenches; killed between thirty and forty of them, got the fire-arms of those that they killed, took their two mock cannon (one of which was left at Crom, and the other brought to the castle of Enniskillen), got two suits of armour, and several other things of value, and immediately after this the Lord Gillmoy quitted the thoughts of any further siege against Crom, and retreated to Belturbet."

Of Galmoy's barbarity and perfidy many tales are told. The following is a fair example of his methods, and that it is true in every detail we have ample evidence. "At this time", says the same authority, "one Brian MacConagher Maguire (who had been a captain in the Irish army,) was a prisoner with us at Crom. Him the Lord Gillmoy had a desire to release, and the next day he sent an express to captain Crighton (the proprietor of the Castle of Crom, and governor thereof,) proposing to exchange captain Dixie for this Captain Maguire, and desiring, if the change were approved of, that Captain Maguire might be sent to him, promising upon his honour to return us Captain Dixie for him.

"The exchange was very acceptable to the governor, and all that were in the castle of Crom, but yet they would conclude nothing until they had the consent of the governor of Enniskillen, and the other officers that were there, and so sent an express from Crom to Enniskillen for their resolution. The messenger was immediately sent back to Captain Crighton, with orders from the governor to go on with the exchange. Accordingly Captain Crighton sent Maguire to the lord Gillmoy, desiring that Captain Dixie might be returned to him, according to his promise under his hand, which letter is in the hands of the governor of Enniskillen. But the lord Gillmoy, as soon as he had Maguire in his hands, called a council of war on Captain Dixie and his cornet, Mr. Charleton, where they were both found guilty, and sentence of death passed upon them, for levying men by the Prince of Orange's commission, which was found in their pockets; and immediately they were desired to prepare to die against the next day; but in the meantime great endeavours were used, and promises made them of life and preferment, if they would turn Papists and adhere to King James. But they though both young men, resolutely rejected the offer, and preferred their religion to the saving of their lives." Captain Dixie, it must be recalled, was a son of the Dean of Kilmore.

"And here", continues our chronicler of the deeds of these brave Inniskillings, "I cannot but remember Maguire's carriage, who (as it was reported) showed an extraordinary concern for the Lord Gillmoy's breach of faith; he went to him, and told him that his putting Mr. Dixie to death (after his promise under his hand to return him,) would be a perpetual stain to his honour, and rather than he should do so base a thing, prayed that he might be returned a prisoner back to Crom, and that Mr. Dixie's life might be saved, for he did not desire to purchase his freedom by so great injustice. But the Lord Gillmoy, deaf to anything that could be said on their behalf, caused both the young gentlemen to be hanged on Mr. Russell's sign-post in Belturbet, and, when they were dead, commanded to take their corpses into the kitchen, to cut off both their heads, and ordered them to be thrown out into the street to the soldiers to play at foot-ball with, and when the soldiers for some time had pleased themselves with this barbarous sport, the heads were set up on the market-house in Belturbet."

Thus history repeats itself. This piece of savagery was but a repetition of what had happened in Fermanagh exactly one hundred years earlier, when " Captain Willis, having Captain Fuller's band and other companies with him, was sent on commission to be sheriff there, and preyed the country. They cut off the head of Edmund Hugh M'Guire, and hurled it from place to place as a football ",*a striking instance of how  -

. . . ill keeps echoing ill
And never lets our ears have done with noise.

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