Page:History of England (Macaulay) Vol 4.djvu/17

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William had been, during the whole spring, impatiently expected in Ulster. The Protestant settlements along the coast of that province had, in the course of the month of May, been repeatedly agitated by false reports of his arrival.

It was not, however, till the afternoon of the fourteenth of June that he landed at Carrickfergus. The inhabitants of the town crowded the main street and greeted him with loud acclamations: but they caught only a glimpse of him. As soon as he was on dry ground he mounted and set off for Belfast. On the road he was met by Schomberg. The meeting took place close to a white house, the only human dwelling then visible, in the space of many miles, on the dreary strand of the estuary of the Laggan. A village and a cotton mill now rise where the white house then stood alone; and all the shore is adorned by a gay succession of country houses, shrubberies and flower beds. Belfast has become one of the greatest and most flourishing seats of industry in the British isles. A busy population of eighty thousand souls is collected there. The duties annually paid at the Custom House exceed the duties annually paid at the Custom House of London in the most prosperous years of the reign of Charles the Second. Other Irish towns may present more picturesque forms to the eye. But Belfast is the only large Irish town in which the traveller is not disgusted by the loathsome aspect and odour of long lines of human dens far inferior in comfort and cleanliness to the dwellings