England and Ireland: The Williamite War (1689-91)


Figure 1.--The Appretice Boys of Derry prevented James Lord Deputy, the Earl of Tyrconnell, from seizing the last major Protestat stringhold in Ireland (September 1688) At the time, James was still king. A much more substatial Jacobite force after James landed in Ireland would launch the seige of Derry (April 1689).

The Williamite or Jacobite War began when James II supported by King Louis XIV of France attempted to regain his throne (1689). It is also called the War of the Two Kings because it pitted deposed Catholic James II against the new king, Protestaht William I (William of Orange). James had been deposed by William and Parliament in the Glorious Revolution (1688). William had married to James' daughter Mary which provided a thin venner of dyastic cover. James decided to use predomunantly Catholic Ireland to launch his campaign to regain the crown. Even aftr the Glorious Revolution in England, the Jacobites held most of Ireland. Richard Talbot, the Earl of Tyrconnell, was James's viceroy in Ireland. He wabnted to ensure that all the strong points in Ireland were firmly in the hands of loyal Catholic garrisons. And by By November 1688, only the walled city of Derry (later renamed Londonderry) had a Protestant garrison loyal to William and Mary. Talbot ordered the Earl of Antrim to take the city and garison it with a loyal Catholic force. He did not immediately move on the town. James found support among the mostly Catholic Irish who forned the bulk of the Jaobites Army. James had signed a scret treaty with Louis even before he was deposed. Louis supported James with monet, arms, and men. Tghe Williamite War thus became part War became part of a wider European conflict known as the Nine Years War. A few Protestants of the established Church in Ireland also fought with the Jacobites. In England, James downfall was sealed when he lost the support of the Churchof England because of his none to secret Catholic sympathies. Williams support cane from the mostly Protestant popultion of northern Ireland. A Jacobite army attempted to take the the Williamite stronghold of Derry (1689). The Royaln Govenor declared the city indefensible, but was expelled. Appretice boys managed to stop the first Jacobite force to reach the town, by raising a drawbridge and clising the town gates. The people of Derry decided to fight even when King James appeared at the city gates and demanded surrender (April 18). The city was finally releaved by the Royal Navy (July 28). William organized a multi-national force to invade Ireland, including English, Scottish, Dutch, Danish and other troops. The Protestants who fought under William against James became known as Orangemen. In addition to the dynastic and religious struggle, The Williamite War was the last real Irish resistance to English rule until the 20th century. The Jacobites fought a series of battles. The most important was the Battle of the Boyne (1690). James left Ireland after the Battle of the Boyne. The remaining Irish Jacobites were finally defeated after the Battle of Aughrim (1691). This ended Irish Jacobitism. The Boyne was the last major Irish effort at independence until the Easter Rebellion in 1916. TheWar was formally ended on honorableterms with the Peace of Limrick (1691), althoufg the Irish Parliament subsequentlyvrefused to honor all ofthe terms of the Treaty. The Boyne confirmed English Protestant control of Ireland, but did not affect the Cattholcism of the Irish peasantry. Subsequent Jacobite Risings were confined to Scotland and England. The War had a lasting effect on Ireland, confirming British and Protestant rule over the country for over two centuries. The iconic Williamite victories of the Siege of Derry and the Battle of the Boyne are still celebrated by the Unionist community in Northern Ireland today.

Background

The Williamite or Jacobite War began when deposed King James II supported by King Louis XIV of France attempted to regain his throne (1689). It is also called the War of the Two Kings because it pitted deposed Catholic James II against the new king, Protestaht William III (William of Orange). James had been deposed by William and Parliament in the Glorious Revolution (1688). William had married to James' daughter Mary which provided a thin venner of dynastic cover. James backed by Lois decided to use predomunantly Catholic Ireland to launch his campaign to regain the crown. Novice readers may be confused by the pittong of England against France, especialy because in modern times England became such paowerhouse with a global empire. At the time discussed here, England did not yet have a substabtial empire. France under Louis was the super power of the day. It was aarger coujntry with aore productive economy. Yet it would the English who constanly prevailed, not to mention the even smaller Dutch Republic. The reader should ask himself the basic question, why did the English time and again prevail over a larger, richer country. Our answer is free market capitlism and English law, but readees can make their own assessments. It is, however, an important question to ask.

Earl of Tyrconnell: Lord Deputy (1687-88)

John Talbott was the scion of an old Norman family who like many English Normans installed in Ireland adopted Irish identities. Talbott remained committed to Catholocism and resisted Cromwell's brutal conquest of Ireland. He became acqainted with Charles II and Duke of Yok (future James II) while in exile in Flanders. Talbot's second marriage was to Frances Jennings, sister of Sarah Jennings (the future Sarah Churchill, Duchess of Marlborough). James ascended to the throne (1685). Charles offered him good advise nefore he died, but James ignored it. Jamnes, a scret Catholic, signed a sceret treaty with Engand's arch enemy, Louis XIV of France. James also moved to promote Catholics to public office and positions in the army. As part of this effot, he created Talbott, Baron of Talbotstown, Viscount Baltinglass and Earl of Tyrconnell (2nd creation). He then dispatched him to Ireland as commander in chief of the militia in Ireland as well as Lord Deputy, essentially a vice-counsel (1687–88). In this position, he followed James' policies of appointing Catholics to positions of authority and commad of the miitia which the Duke of Ormonde had organised. As a result, the Roman Catholic population sided with James in the Glorious Revolution. This mean most of Ireland except for Ulseter in the north. Tyrconnell was the first Catholic Lord Deputy since the Reformation. Tyrconnell moved to reduce te Protestant numbers in the army, the courts and civil government.

Apprentice Boys of Derry (September 1688)

Only in Ulster where as a result of the Plantations was the Protestant population substatil. Here they were able to resist Tyrconnell effectively. Tyrconnell attempted to take control of Derry (September 1688) bu installing aoyal Catholic garison. James was still king. Unexpectedly, apprentice boys in the town raised adrawbridge and closed the city's gates to prevent a Catholic regiment under Lord Antrim from entering the town.

Jacobite Hold on Ireland

Even after the Glorious Revolution in England (1688), the Jacobites held most of Ireland. Richard Talbot, the Earl of Tyrconnell, was James's Lord Deputy in Ireland. He wanted to ensure that all the strong points in Ireland were firmly in the hands of loyal Catholic garrisons. And by By November 1688, only the walled city of Derry (later renamed Londonderry) and a few smaller outposts had a Protestant garrison loyal to William and Mary. Talbot ordered the Earl of Antrim to take Derry and garison it with a loyal Catholic force. Antrim, however, did not move expeditiously. He did not immediately move on the town.

James' Support

James found support among the mostly Catholic Irish who forned the bulk of the Jaobites Army. James had signed a scret treaty with Louis even before he was deposed. Louis supported James with monet, arms, and men. Tghe Williamite War thus became part War became part of a wider European conflict known as the Nine Years War. A few Protestants of the established Church in Ireland also fought with the Jacobites. In England, James downfall was sealed when he lost the support of the Church of England because of his none to secret Catholic sympathies.

William's Support

Williams support cane from the mostly Protestant popultion of northern Ireland. This was a small minority of the Irish population. Thus to regain possession of Ireland, William would have to form a Protestant army and retake Ireland.

James Lands in Irelad (March 1869)

James with French officers and arms landed at Kinsale near Dublin (March 1689). The Lord Deputy, the Earl of Tyrconnell, had an Irish army organized amd ready to fight for him. Tyrconnell, and his Irish army controlled most of the island. James summoned a mostly Catholic parliament. They repealed the legislation under which Protestant settlers had acquired land. James prioceded to Derry and frmally beseiged the town.

Siege of Derry (April-July 1689)

A Jacobite army attempted to take the the Williamite stronghold of Derry (1689). At the time, William had not yet landed a force in Ireland. The Royal Govenor declared the city indefensible, but was expelled. The Jacobites made no serious attempt to storm the city and its formidable walls. There was a substantial and well armed military force. This and the refugees fleeing into the city meant that the population ws swollen, creating afood problem. Although there was jno mjor attack on Derry, there were a number of hard-fought hand-to-hand skirmishes. The Jacobite besiegers who camped in the hills surrounded Derry were poorly armed and equipped. The Jacobites primarily relied on a blockade to starve Derryb into surrender. There were as a result, relatively few combat casualties. The deaths resulted from hunger and disease. The Jacobite besiegers fired mortar bombs over the city walls, which crashed through roofs of houses, injuring and killing occupants. Conditions in Derry deteriorated and became atrocious as food all but disappeared. Often less well reported, conditions for the Jacobites were also poor. Finally the Royal Navy relief ships in Lough Swilly returned to Lough Foyle and managed to break through the the boom. The city was finally relieved (July 28). Three days later the besieging Jacobite forces acknowkding defeat, withdrew from Derry.

Ulster

Ulster is sometimes used synomesouly with norther Ireland. It was here theProtestant population was cbntered. While Derry was the main engagement in Ulster, the Protestants of Enniskillen also defended their walled city. They prevailed several engageents wuith Jacobite troops. James decidedto with withdrew from the north and fight William in the south. The Scotts-Irish support in Ulster was an importat factior in William's victory. Subsequent English Hanovarian monrchs would estrage the Scotts-Irish, driving many to America. And there the Scotts-Irish in the backwoods would play a central role in defeating the British in the American Revolutionary War.

William Invades (August 1689)

William could not ignore James' presence in Ireland. Backed by France, Jamnes was a serious threat. William organized a multi-national Protestaht force to invade Ireland, including English, Scottish, Dutch, Danish and other troops. The Protestants who fought under William against James became known as Orangemen. In addition to the dynastic and religious struggle, The Williamite War was the last real Irish resistance to English rule until the 20th century. Marshal Schomberg landed at Bangor with 20,000 troops (August 1689). As James had already withdrawn, this secured Uklsrer for William. Schomberg mrched his men south to Dundalk. Here James's Jacobite army blocked further advancestioward Dublin. The commanders, however, declined to fight a bttle adinstead with \drew into winter quarters. The two opposing armies received reinforcenents as theweather improved (March 1890). Louis dispached 7,000 French regulars, but demanded that James recruit over 5,000 Irish troops. The Williamites were also reinforced. Danish mercenaries arived as well as English and Dutch regiments. William landed at Carrickfergus to take command (June 14). His army totaled 36,000 men. He renewed the march on Dublin. There was a small action at Newry, but James and the the main Jacobite withdrew to a defesive position along the south bank of the Boyne.

Battle of the Boyne (July 1690)

The most important battle of the War was fought on the River Boyne (1690). It would priove to be the most important battle in Irish history. The Willianite Orangemen and the Jacobiteshad been sparring for several months. They finally came t grips on the River Boyne (July 1, 1690). Irish rivers are much smaller than American rivers ad thus easier to cross. James' position was a good one, but not formidable. The focus of the battle was fordable river bend 4 miles west of Drogheda. Willian concentrated his infantry force there to effect a fording of the Boyne near the village of Oldbridge. Willian launched the battle with cavalry and a small infantry force commited to a flanking attack upstream. James was concered about being outflanked. James thus diverted troops from the main battklefiekd to stop the flanking movement. He was also concerbned with his retreat being cut off. William had about 10,000 more men than James. Jamnes diversion of forces, howver, seriously weakned hisposition t the ford,. William thus has a three-to-one superriority at the critical poit in the battlefield. William attacked abnd easily forded the Boyne. he Jacobite army was badly mauled and by mid-afternoon in full retret. The retreating army was left to its own devices as James ingloriously raced to Dublin, susposedly to warn the residents that William was marching on the city. The Boyne took the fight out of James. He quickly boarded a ship back to France. William entered Dublin (July 6). He offered thanks for victory in Christ Church Cathedral. The Boyne proved to be the last major Irish effort at independence until the Easter Rebellion in 1916.

Final Battles

After defeat at the Boyne, Tyrconnell fled with James back to France. Unlike James, he returned to Ireland (1691). He died apoplexy just before Limerick fell to William. The remaining Irish Jacobites were finally defeated after the Battle of Aughrim (October 3, 1691). This ended Irish Jacobitism. The final important Jacobite strnglod wasLimrick along te western cioast.

Peace of Limrick (October 1691)

The War was formally ended on honorable terms with the Peace of Limrick (1691) Limrick, a port in the southwest, was one of Ireland's most important cties. Patrick Sarsfield captured and destroyed William's convoy of cannons and ammunition en route to support the first siege of Limerick (1690). William again beseiged Limrick (1691). By this time it was clear the the war was lost. Sarsfield was the chief negotiator for the Jacobites. Baron Godert de Ginkel, Eilliam's military commnder, was surprised by the Jacobite request for an aristice. He negotiated on behalf of William. The resulting treaty was a detailed document with both military and civil articles. The military articles primarily addressed how the defeated Jacobite forces would be treated. This was amatter of no small importance. In the wars of the dates there were masacres of both defeated armies and supporting civilian populations. The civil articles were designed to protecting the Jacobites who chose to remain in Ireland. They also set out how Catholics would be treated in an Ireland ruled by a a Protestant monarcy. The military articles permitted Jacobite soldiers to leave Ireland for refuge in France a well as their wives and children. Many chose to do this and this came to be called in Irish history, the 'Flight of the Wild Geese'. Jacobite soldiers wre also permitted to join the Williamite army, but only a few chose to do. The Jacobites who chose to remain in Ireland were prtected as long as they pledged allegiance to King William and Queen Mary. They were allowed to keep their estates and property. Catholic noblemen were also allowed to bear arms. Limerick as a result is known as the Treaty City. The Treaty, according to tradition, was signed on a stone within the sight of both armies at the Clare end of Thomond Bridge. The Irish Parliament subsequently refused to honor many of the terms of the Treaty. The Irish Parliament passed the Penal Laws (mid-1690s). This began the persecution of Irish Catholics in violtion of the Treaty of Limerick.

Impact

The Boyne confirmed English Protestant control of Ireland, but did not affect the Cattholcism of the Irish peasantry. Subsequent Jacobite Risings were confined to Scotland and England. The War had a lasting effect on Ireland, confirming British and Protestant rule over the country for over two centuries. The iconic Williamite victories of the Siege of Derry and the Battle of the Boyne are still celebrated by the Unionist community in Northern Ireland today.







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Created: 6:02 AM 9/26/2012
Last updated: 6:02 AM 9/26/2012