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wrapped in a cloak, carried from the field, and laid, with all secrecy, in the sacred ground among the ruins of the ancient monastery of Loughrea. Till the fight was over, neither army was aware that he was no more. To conceal his death from the private soldiers might perhaps have been prudent; to conceal it from his lieutenants was madness. The crisis of the battle had arrived, and there was none to give direction.
in command of the reserve, but he had been strictly enjoined by St Ruth not to stir without orders, and no orders came. Mackay and Ruvigny, with their horse, charged the Irish in flank. Talmash and his foot returned to the attack in front with dogged determination. The breastwork was carried. The Irish, still fighting, retreated from inclosure to inclosure, but as inclosure after inclosure was forced, their efforts became fainter and fainter. At length they broke and fled.'1
Sarsfield now took command and conducted the retreat of the beaten army with courage and skill, falling back steadily on Limerick. Meanwhile, Ginkel pushed on vigorously, capturing Sligo and Galway, both of which towns capitulated on favourable terms, the garrisons being allowed to retire to Limerick. There Sarsfield once more resolved to make a last stand.
On 14th August, Ginkel approached the city, and on the 30th the second siege
TREATY OF LIMERICK
began. There was a gallant defence, and there was much slaughter. The English artillery battered the fortifications and set the town a blaze.
But for four weeks the Irish held out bravely and kept the enemy at bay. But the English bad conquered all Ireland but Limerick. The struggle was hopeless. Sarsfield could not expect to win the independence of his country; but he was determined to fight or to die unless he could secure honourable terms for the vanquished nation, and this he did.
On 23d September a parley was sounded ; terms of capitulation were immediately discussed between the besiegers and the besieged, and on the 3d of October the Treaty of Limerick—whose violation has left so deep a stain on the honour of England — was signed Stripped of all technicalities, the treaty secured the Irish Catholics in the full enjoyment of religious freedom on taking the oath of allegiance, and no other oath, to the English king. It provided, besides, that those who possessed lands in the reign of Charles II. should be left in undisturbed possession of their property. In a word, the treaty of of Limerick guaranteed the Irish against religious persecution and the confiscation of their estates. It was also part of the treaty that Sarsfield and the Irish troops should be permitted to retire to France, and thither they sailed before the end of the month.
On the 4th of October, Talmash, with five British regiments, occupied the English town of Limerick; and on the following day the Irish army was paraded on the King's Island, in order that they might decide between the service of England and France. Ginkel and Sarsfield each issued a proclamation; the former warmly recommending the service of King William, the latter the service of King Louis. On the 6th the army was again paraded, and it was agreed that a flag should be fixed at a given point, and that all who chose for England should file off to the left, while those who were for France should march on. The sun shone brightly on this strange, unwonted spectacle. Mass was said, and Catholic priests preached a sermon at the head of each regiment, while Catholic prelates passed through the lines and blessed the troops. The lord justices and Ginkel were then informed that all was ready. As the British cortége advanced, the Irish army, 15,000 strong, presented arms. Adjutant - General Withers then addressed them in eloquent commendation of the English service, after which the regiments formed into column, and the word ‘March' was given.
The citizens of Limerick crowded the walls; the peasantry gathered in masses on the neighbouring hills, and it can well be imagined how, when the decisive word was uttered, the deepest silence prevailed around, and not a sound was heard but the heavy tread of the advancing battalions. First came the picked soldiers of the Irish guard, 1400 in number, who excited, it is said, Ginkel's warmest
DEATH OF SARSFIELD
admiration. They marched past the flag, and only seven ranged themselves on the side of England. The next two regiments were the Ulster Irish, and these in a body filed off to the English side. Of the remainder the great majority decided for France, so that when the long procession closed, only about 1000 horse and 1500 foot had joined the English flag.
The rest of Sarsfield's days were spent in the service of the French king, but he did not long survive the downfall of his country. In July 1693, on the bloody field of Landen, he was struck down in the moment of victory, charging the retreating army of England.
The story of the men who rallied round Sarsfield in the struggle for Irish independence belongs rather to French than to Irish history. Forming that famous Irish Brigade, which first won its laurels at the battle of Marsiglia, and afterwards bore them so proudly on many a bloody field-Malplaquet, Blenheim, Ramillies, Oudenarde, Cremona, Almanza and Fontenoy -they nobly sustained the national honour, and shed a lustre of melancholy glory on the chequered fortunes of their unhappy country; bequeathing to posterity a splendid reputation and an imperishable name.
IND now the iron of the con
queror entered once more into the soul of the vanquished nation. The Treaty of Limerick had, as we have seen, guaranteed the Irish against religious persecution. But within
two months of its signature, and in flagrant violation of its terms, the first step was taken in forming that infamous Penal Code on which Englishmen now look back with so much shame and humiliation.
The very first article of the treaty had provided that “Their majesties, William and Mary, as as their affairs will permit them to
summon a parliament in this kingdom, will endeavour to