Imágenes de página

an officer of William when William was King. It is usual to describe Colonel Lundy as a traitor in my opinion he was nothing of the kind. He was simply a fairly competent soldier who, after considering the position of things in Derry from a soldier's point of view, came to the conclusion that the city was not capable of being defended against a regular army. This view is confirmed by the fact that when William sent the help which he had promised the Derry citizens, the two colonels who commanded, after consulting with Lundy, agreed that the walls of the city could not resist regular artillery, and that, moreover, the city itself was commanded by some of the surrounding hills. Accordingly, they withdrew with the two regiments which William had sent to help Lundy to make the best terms he could with the Irish. It is true that after a Parliamentary inquiry, both of these officers were deprived of their commissions for acting thus, and Lundy himself was excepted from the indemnity granted for acts done during the civil war; but no attempt was made to prosecute Lundy for treason; and we must remember that the decision of Parliament, that Lundy and the colonels should have defended Derry, was arrived at only after Derry had been successfully defended.

Whether Lundy's decision to surrender was right from a military point of view or not, the people of Derry would not listen to it. There were thirty


men and women crowded within when James's army drew up before its walls. Many of these had burnt their homesteads and fled to the city, determined on no terms or conditions to submit to the Catholic King and his Irish army. Among the last of these to arrive was a troop of horse led by Adam Murray, a scion of the Murrays of Philiphaugh. When he reached the gates, Lundy was treating for a surrender, and he refused to let Murray and his troop enter. As before, the citizens took the matter into their own hands. They threw open the gate and, in defiance of the Governor's orders, admitted Murray and his troop; and to his declaration that he was determined to fight to the death, they replied with thunderous shout of "No surrender!"-since then a watchword among Ulster Loyalists.

Next day Lundy, disguised as a common soldier, and with a pack on his back, stole out of the city and made his way to Scotland, and the bombardment of Londonderry by James's artillery began.

Macaulay has, as I have already said, told the tale of that long and terrible siege once and for ever. Those who wish to read it will find it in the twelfth chapter of the second volume of his 'History of England.' I will here merely oite a few sentences from his concluding words:—

"Five generations have since passed away; and still the wall of Londonderry is to the Protestants of Ulster

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

words of wrath and defiance." Less than two generations have passed away since Macaulay wrote these sentences, but during that short time the face of things has been changed. The descendants of the men who defended the walls of Londonderry are no longer a dominant caste or a dominant sect within them, and the walls which they defended are regarded as so little sacred by the race for whom they were defended, that when a competent military authority forbids the descendants of their assailants triumphing over and upon them, he is held up to opprobrium by that race's press.

what the trophy of Marathon have too often been mingled was to the Athenians. The wall is carefully preserved; nor would any plea of health or convenience be held by the inhabitants sufficient to justify the demolition of that sacred enclosure which, in the evil time, gave shelter to their race and their religion. . The anniversary of the day on which the gates were closed and the anniversary of the day on which the siege was raised have been down to our own time celebrated by salutes, processions, banquets, and sermons. . . It is impossible not to respect the sentiment which indicates itself by these tokens. It is a sentiment which belongs to the higher and purer part of human nature, and which adds not a little to the strength of States. A people which takes no pride in the noble achievements of remote ancestors will never do anything worthy to be remembered with pride by remote descendants. Yet it is impossible for the moralist or the statesman to look with unmixed complacency on the solemnities with which Londonderry commemorates her deliverance, and on the honours which she pays to those who saved her. Unhappily, the animosities of her brave champions have descended with their glory. The faults which are ordinarily found in dominant castes and dominant sects have not seldom shown themselves without disguise at her festivities; and even with the expressions of pious gratitude which have resounded from her pulpits

I have said that these two first acts in the terrible drama of the Siege of Derry are capable of throwing some light on the present opinions and past acts of the Ulster Loyalists of to-day. In order to obtain that light we must consider the nature of the acts of the Derry Loyalists and the nature of the views of the Ulster Loyalists of to-day, and the justification for them both.

Now the acts of the Derry Loyalists which I have desoribed were both acts of open rebellion: the shutting of the gates of Derry against Macdonnell was a flat defiance of the authorised officer of King James; the opening of the gates of Derry to Adam Murray was a flat defiance of the authorised officer of King William; yet both were later formally approved by the Parliament of England. More

over, both proved turning- power they get through these points in the struggle of professions he believes they will England against King James use to extort more until the for the liberties of England. sole question between Ireland That struggle struggle was but a and the Empire is civil war or prelude to the still greater separation. And he gives his struggle against King Louis reasons for this belief. for the liberties of Europe. If Derry had followed Lundy's lead, and James, who was but Louis's pawn, had become supreme in Ireland from Cape Clear to the Giant's Causeway, no one can guess what would have been the result of that terrifio contest between the King of France and the peoples of Europe which was ultimately decided on the bloody fields of Blenheim, Malplaquet, and Oudenarde, and which freed the world from the dominance of a military despot. The shutting and the opening of the gates of Derry walls then do not need vindication: they are justified by the result.

Now, as to the nature of the views of the Ulster Loyalists of to-day, the primary fact is this, that the average Ulster Loyalist is to-day convinced, as completely as was his ancestor in 1688, that the one cause of Irish Nationalism is hatred of England and hatred of Protestantism, just because it is England's religion, and the one object of Irish Nationalism is the Independence of, and the supremacy of the Church of Rome in, Ireland. He regards the professions of moderate Nationalists that they will be contented with Dominion or some other form of Home Rule, and will extend absolute equality to Protestants, as mere dishonesty any concession of

Look, he says, what Nationalists of the past the people honour. Can you find in a Nationalist bookseller's a biography of a moderate leader? Are not all the monuments raised by Nationalists moruments to rebels who fought and died for Irish Independence or worked for Catholic claims? It may be said that Parnell's monument is an exception. It is only an exception, they say, because he, while posing to Englishmen as a moderate man, was in Ireland explaining that his moderation meant nothing to Nationalists: his acceptance of any Home Rule scheme did not bind them; and the Ulster Loyalists point to the inscription on his Dublin monument in confirmation of their views. That inscription is an excerpt from one of his speeches. "No man," it runs, "has a right to fix the boundary to the march of a nation. No man has a right to say to his country, Thus far shalt thou go, and no farther. We have never attempted to fix the ne plus ultra to the progress of Ireland, and we never shall." Parnell, they say, kept Irish Nationalists in favour of the Constitutional movement by assuring them that its object was merely to humbug the English. Once they got Home Rule they would be in a position to get more, in

spite of any paper limitations skate on thin ice with perfect

on their powers, to do as they liked.

Humbugging the English has always been not merely a device but an amusement of the Southern Irish, Protestant as well as Catholio. The portentous seriousness with which the self-contented Englishman regards himself induces this practice. I think it is Sir Jonah Barrington who tells the way the Irish Bench and Bar humbugged Lord Redesdale when that gentleman, fully charged with his knowledge of law and his own importance, first, as Lord Chancellor, entertained them to dinner. After the meal he proceeded to instruct them on several things, and among others he dilated on the importance of one's dog-teeth. The Bench and Bar listened to him intently, and when he had finished, one of them remarked in a low and distressed voice that he had lost one of his dogteeth, and hadn't so far noticed any difference; but after what the Lord Chancellor had said, he would call next morning on his dentist and have a new one. Then Lord Redesdale told the company at great length how in his youth ladies of high degree went in their hoops to the Cook Pit in Westminster to see the cook-fights. Thereupon another guest ventured the suggestion that this practice accounted for the expression Cock-a-hoop. Lord Redesdale reflected, and said that that derivation had never occurred to him. Then he told how in his youth he used to


safety, since he always had bladders fastened under his arms. "Ah, that, Lord Chancellor," observed Lord Norbury, "is a common practice here; it is what we call blatherumskate," which pression, so far as it can be translated into English, means pompous bosh. Lord Redesdale was greatly interested to learn that the practice existed in Ireland. Then devoting his attention to the Bar, he said to a distinguished leader called O'Farrell, "Your family, Mr O'Farrell, are well known in County Wicklow." "Too well known, my lord," replied Mr O'Farrell in a depressed tone. "And very numerous, aren't they?" continued Lord Redesdale. "Well," said Mr O'Farrell very deliberately, "they once were, but just now the name is hardly known in the oountry, because, ye see, my lord, so many of them have lately got hanged for sheepstealing."

"'Ods fish," oried witty Nell Gwynne, when she found that King Charles II. had not money enough to pay for a supper to which he had entertained her, "what sort of company have I got into?" Lord Redesdale, if he had had the wit to do so, might have said the same; but all he did was to gaze about him in amazement. As he did so, however, it suddenly dawned on his mind that the whole company was laughing at him, and the evening ended in dulness and constraint.

Possessed then by the con

Suddenly the Great War was sprung upon the world. The Ulster Volunteers joined up in tens of thousands to defend the British Empire against German military despotism: it was a repetition of the struggle for European freedom against French military despotism of two centuries before. They joined up with misgivings, for all of them knew the two maxims on which Irish Nationalism has for centuries acted— that England's difficulty is Ireland's opportunity, and England will concede anything to disorder. These maxims have been the ourse of Ireland: the first, because it is false; the second, because it is true. Still the Ulster Loyalists felt assured that they would sooner or later act on one of them, and they feared what the consequences would be if this occurred when the British Army and the Ulster Loyalists were out of Ireland, fighting a life and death struggle for the Empire and human liberty,

viction that all the professions the enemies of their country, of moderation and toleration and the Liberal Government in on the part of the Nationalist a panic declared that coercion leaders were mere devices to of the Ulster Loyalists was a mislead English opinion, the course not to be imagined. Ulster Loyalists, in the winter Well, it had become so before of 1913, found themselves faced the Government had made this with a Bill which would shortly declaration. become an Aet to hand over the whole government of Ireland to the Nationalists. They were convinced, as their ancestors were in the winter of 1688, that a party in England was determined to subject them, their lives, liberties, and religion, to a people whom England had made their and her enemies; and as their ancestors did before them, they began to prepare to protect themselves. They formed a volunteer army some hundred thousand strong, which they proceeded to arm and drill. The Liberals and Nationalists soreamed that they were traitors, since they were defying the decisions of the ruling party in England. The Ulster Loyalists were unmoved: they remembered that their ancestors had defied the ruling party in England before, and had afterwards been thanked for doing so by the English Parliament, and had by their sotion saved the liberties not merely of England but of Europe. They continued to arm and to drill their volunteers. The outory among the Liberals of England and the Nationalists of Ireland grew louder and louder, and at last the Government called upon the British Army to suppress this new rebellion. The British Army declined to fight the friends of their country for the benefit of

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

As might have been expected, the Irish Nationalists aoted first on the first maxim, and their rebellion was stamped out as usual in blood and ruin. Would it have been stamped out so easily if the armed opposition of the Ulster Unionists had not prevented the establishment of an Irish

« AnteriorContinuar »