Page:History of England (Macaulay) Vol 4.djvu/18

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which, in happier countries, are provided for cattle. No other large Irish town is so well cleaned, so well paved, so brilliantly lighted. The place of domes and spires is supplied by edifices, less pleasing to the taste, but not less indicative of prosperity, huge factories, towering many stories above the chimneys of the houses, and resounding with the roar of machinery. The Belfast which William entered was a small English settlement of about three hundred houses, commanded by a stately castle which has long disappeared, the seat of the noble family of Chichester. In this mansion, which is said to have borne some resemblance to the palace of Whitehall, and which was celebrated for its terraces and orchards stretching down to the river side, preparations had been made for the King's reception. He was welcomed at the Northern Gate by the magistrates and burgesses in their robes of office. The multitude pressed on his carriage with shouts of "God save the Protestant King." For the town was one of the strongholds of the Reformed Faith, and, when, two generations later, the inhabitants were, for the first time, numbered, it was found that the Roman Catholics were not more than one in fifteen.[1]

The night came; but the Protestant counties were awake and up. A royal salute had been fired from the castle of Belfast. It had been echoed and reechoed by guns which Schomberg had placed at wide intervals for the purpose of conveying signals from post to post. Wherever the peal was heard, it was known that King William was come. Before midnight all the heights of Antrim and Down were blazing with bonfires. The light was seen across the bays of Carlingford and Dundalk, and gave notice to the outposts of the enemy that the decisive hour was at hand. Within forty-eight hours after William had landed, James set out from Dublin for the Irish camp, which was pitched near the northern frontier of Leinster.[2]

  1. London Gazette, June 19, 1690; History of the Wars in Ireland by an Officer in the Royal Army, 1690; Villare Hibernicum, 1690; Story's Impartial History, 1691; Historical Collections relating to the town of Belfast, 1817. This work contains curious extracts from MSS. of the seventeenth century. In the British Museum is a map of Belfast made in 1685, so exact that the houses may be counted.
  2. Lauzun to Louvois, June 16/26. The messenger who brought the news to Lauzun had heard the guns and seen the bonfires. History of the Wars in Ireland by an Officer of the Royal Army, 1690; Life of James, ii. 392, Orig. Mem.; Burnet, ii. 47. Burnet is strangely mistaken when he says that William had been six days in Ireland before his arrival was known to James.