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THE WALLS OF DERRY.

BY J. A. STRAHAN.

If it be a blessing to a nation to possess a short memory of its past, what a chosen people the English must be! The average Scotsman or Irishman has a vivid remembrance of every capital event in the history of his country for centuries back the average Englishman's recollection of such events in the history of his country begins the day before yesterday. Struggles, victories, and defeats which have shaped the fate of his race, and have even changed the fate of the world, once over are quickly forgotten by him. His notion or, at any rate, his practice is to let bygones be bygones.

This was not always the disposition of the English people. At one time they remembered their past as thoroughly as do the Soots and Irish of to-day; but that was when they were a nation of farmers who spent their winter evenings talking by their own firesides, and not a nation of townsmen who spend their winter-and for that matter, their summerevenings staring at cinema shows. Still the change has its advantages: it prevents the indefinite continuation of feuds, national and international, which threaten at present to be the ourse of all the rest of Europe. And besides, it is of immense advantage to their new ruling classes, which now consist of the politicians and

publicists. If these new pastors and masters of the English people could not rely on their hearers and readers promptly forgetting all they say and prophesy, where would these worthies be? Well, I venture to think they would be in much the same paddock as sporting tipsters are among sportsmen who know. I once was very well acquainted with a sporting tipster, who was kind enough to give me gratis many sporting tips. Being neither a racing nor a betting man, I paid little heed to them. Once, however, when at the Derby, I recollected one of his tips for that race, and, just as a joke, put a pound or two on his selection. The beast I betted on came in an easy first, and, much to my astonishment and delight, I received from the bookmaker some forty pounds clear profit on my venture. When I next met my tipster friend, I told him of the good turn his advice had done me, and added, by way of compliment, "I don't doubt but if I had put money on all the tips you have given me, I should now be living in luxury." My friend gazed at me darkly for a moment; then he replied with unexpected vehemence, "By glory, if you had, you would now be living in the workhouse!" At present, it looks to me very much as if the reliance of the Eng

lish people on the advice of their political tipsters might end before long in their living in some sort of analogous abode.

These reflections have been suggested by certain comments which appeared some time ago in more than one English newspaper on troubles which had then occurred in connection with a Nationalist demonstration in the city of Londonderry. If I remember rightly, the Nationalist demonstration had taken place on Lady Day, a favourite day for such proceedings, though the connection between Holy Mary or anybody or anything else that's holy and Sinn Feinism seems just at present somewhat remote. Rightly or wrongly, the notion got abroad that the Nationalist procession intended to process along the ancient walls of Derry. The competent military authority learning this, regarded it as a deliberate attempt to exasperate the Loyalists as perhaps we may now be permitted to call the only people in Ireland who even profess a desire to remain subjects of King George and oitizens of the British Empire; and to prevent the Loyalists driving the Nationalists from their sacred places, resolved to prevent the Nationalists ever getting there at all-he occupied the ancient walls with British soldiers. Thereupon the Nationalists soreamed that they never intended to process along the walls, and, to show that they were sincere, they proceeded to wreck the shops and houses of the Loyalists

which lay within or adjacent to their own quarter, until they were calmed by the batons of the police and the bayonets of the soldiers.

The English newspapers to which I have referred, when they reported this riot, were shocked at the stupidity and partiality of the competent military authority: the Loyalists demonstrated yearly along these old walls-why, then, should not the Nationalists? A little sketch of Irish history will show why these old walls are sacred to all upholders in Ulster of the British connection and the British Empire, and are accursed ground to enemies of the same. It will also, perhaps, throw some little light on the present opinions and the past actions of Ulster Loyalists.

To begin at the beginning, the first we hear of Derry is as a monastery, said to be founded by St Columbkille before he left Ireland to found the far more famous monastery at Iona of the Western Isles. Whether he was, in fact, the founder of the Derry house of religion is not quite certain, but it is quite certain that from a very early date that house existed. For centuries it was plundered from time to time by Danes, Normans, English, and Irish with monotonous regularity and impartiality. At last it, with the neighbouring district, was occupied for England by Colonel Edward Randolph. That was in 1506; but the surrounding woods, mountains, and bogs made the olimate too trying for English

soldiers, and before long it was abandoned. In 1600 it was again occupied for England by Sir Henry Doowra; and though it was sacked by the Irish in 1606, the English never again lost their hold on it. In 1609 King James granted the site of the monastery and all the new county of Derry, formed out of the county of Coleraine and part of the territory of Tyrconnell, to the twelve great companies of the City of London, on condition that the companies would build a walled city on the site of the monastery and settle the county with Englishmen and "inland" (which means Lowland) Soots. Hence came its modern name of Londonderry.

The physical state of the country at the time it was granted may be gathered from this fact: the county of Derry, less the district of Limavady, was already planted, contains 480,000 acres; yet, according to the Carew MSS., each of the twelve City companies received a grant of ne more than 3100 aeres. Clearly this means that all the rest of the land in the country was what was then called waste, unenclosed country, consisting of forests, begs, and mountains. This is confirmed by a tradition ourrent there to this day, that at a time since the Plantation it was possible to walk across the county from Coleraine to Magherafelt a distance of some twenty-five miles-on the stumps of out-down trees.

This was not exactly a land flowing with milk and honey to men brought up among the

park-like pastures of southern England, who were naturally the settlers first brought to it by the London companies; and it is not surprising to learn that they did not like it, and mostly took the first chance that presented itself to return to merrier England. The "inland" Soots were of sterner stuff and used to a sterner climate, and they soon flocked in to take the barns and farms deserted by the English settlers. So completely did they take their place that North County Derry is at this moment one of the most Scottish and most Presbyterian districts in all Ulster.

The London companies, in fulfilment of the conditions of their grant, not merely planted the lands with "inland " Scots, but proceeded also to erect a walled city on the ridge of land west of and a few miles from the mouth of the river Foyle-a river which the great Lord Lawrence, when at Caloutta administering the affairs of an empire, declared with filial piety to be very like but much superior to the river Hooghly. The walls were completed in 1617. Originally they were some twenty-four feet high-they are now about fifteen-and some twelve feet thick, and about a mile in cireumference. They were armed with a few guns, but their chief defence was the stout hearts of Derry's citizens; and those hearts were stout enough to hold them safely, not merely against the Irish rebels in the sixteen-forties, but against the guns of King

James's soldiers and the skill his insane desire to be more

of King Louis's generals in 1689. To the Loyalists of Derry those old walls are sacred, because never since they were built has an enemy of England fought his way within them. It is they which have kept Derry what her citizens still proudly call her -the Maiden City, unviolated by the force of any foe of theirs, of their religion, or of their race.

It is not my intention to traee the oourse of the struggles of Derry against the Irish rebels in the sixteenforties, nor of the much more desperate struggle against James's forces in 1689. The tale of the latter has been told once and for all time by Macaulay, who, if he cannot tell a simple story simply, can tell a splendid story splendidly. But there are a few incidents which preceded the siege to which I wish to draw attention, because, as I have already said, they throw, I think, some light on the present opinions and past acts of the Ulster Loyalists of to-day.

In the winter of 1688 the Loyalists of Ulster were convinced 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. There was little doubt but the conviction was well grounded. James II., in

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papist than the Pope, had appointed Tyrconnell, an Irish Catholic, Lord Deputy; had substituted for the Protestants Irish Catholic Judges, and

had raised an Irish Catholic army, which was instructed to keep the Ulster Scots and English quiet, and was intended to keep the Scots and English at home quiet too. Not seeing any chance of proteotion from Great Britain, the Ulster Scots and English prepared to protect themselves.

The two fortified cities of Ulster were Carrickfergus and Londonderry. Carrickfergus

was held by a garrison of Tyrconnell's. By an accident Londonderry was not. When Tyreonnell heard of the preparations of the Ulstermen, he thought the sooner it had a garrison the safer things would be in the North. He directed directed the Catholic Macdonnell, Earl of Antrim, to raise a regiment from among his Highland and Antrim tenants, who were all Catholics, and take possession of Londonderry in the name of King James II., then unquestioned King of Great Britain and Ireland. Macdonnell proceeded without delay to obey these orders.

On the 7th December 1688 news was received from George Canning of Garvagh, and Phillips, a Phillips, a former Mayor of Londonderry, that Macdonnell's men were approaching the city,

1 Ancestor of the great George Canning, Earl Canning of the Indian Mutiny, Lord Stratford de Redcliffe of Constantinople fame, and of the present Lord Garvagh.

and that there were rumours abroad that there was to be a general massacre of Ulster Protestants on the 9th inst. Alderman Tompkins, the acting Mayor of Derry, was much upset by this information. He consulted the clergy as to what he should do. Their advice was divided: the Presbyterian minister advised him to close the gates against Macdonnell's host; the Church of Ireland advised him to do no such thing, as it would amount to an open act of rebellion against their lawful King.

While the acting Mayor was still consulting and hesitating, the Macdonnell soldiers were approaching. At length, before any decision had been come to, they appeared on the east bank of the river Foyle, opposite the gate in the walls of Derry called the Ferry Gate. Some of the officers of Macdonnell's army orossed by the ferry to present their credentials. After them trooped a number of their rather motley soldiers. Meanwhile, the acting Mayor and the city authorities continued to consult and hesitate, while the citizens watched with anger and apprehension the Irish soldiery orossing the river Foyle and approaching nearer and nearer to the Ferry Gate. At last it was clear if nothing was done these wild Redshanks would soon be within the city. Thirteen young apprentices determined to settle matters themselves. Drawing their swords, they rushed to the Ferry Gate and closed it in the face of their lawful King's troops; and then mounting on

the walls, they proclaimed that they would die before they permitted a man of them to enter the city.

It was now Macdonnell's turn to hesitate. On refleotion he came to the conclusion that his instructions had scarcely authorised him to commence a civil war, so he withdrew his regiment and communicated with Dublin. Negotiations between the Derry citizens and the King's Government followed. The citizens absolutely refused to admit Catholic soldiers. The Government compromised by offering to garrison the city with a Protestant regiment. The offer was accepted, and a Protestant regiment entered the city, whose colonel, Lundy, was made Governor. This famous Shutting of the Gates was the first act of the great drama of the Siege of Derry.

Shortly after the Shutting of the Gates, William III. landed at Torbay, and James II. filed to France. The moment the news of this reached Derry the citizens and soldiers proclaimed themselves Williamites; and when William was informed of this he accepted their allegiance, confirmed Lundy in the Governorship of the eity, and promised the citizens help to maintain their walls against Tyrconnell and the Irish army which remained loyal to James.

The first act of the great drama of the Siege of Derry was the revolt of the citizens against an officer of James when James was King. The second was a revolt against

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