Tyrconnel was received at Limerick, even by his enemies, with decent respect. Much as they hated him, they could not question the validity of his commission; and, though they still maintained that they had been perfectly justified in annulling, during his absence, the unconstitutional arrangements which he had made, they acknowledged that, when he was present, he was their lawful governor. He was not altogether unprovided with the means of conciliating them. He brought many gracious messages and promises, a patent of peerage for Sarsfield, some money which was not of brass, and some clothing, which was even more acceptable than money. The new garments were not indeed very fine. But even the generals had long been out at elbows; and there were few of the common men whose habiliments would have been thought sufficient to dress a scarecrow in a more prosperous country. Now, at length, for the first time in many months, every private soldier could boast of a pair of breeches and a pair of brogues. The Lord Lieutenant had also been authorised to announce that he should soon be followed by several ships, laden with provisions and military stores. This announcement was most welcome to the troops, who had long been without bread, and who had nothing stronger than water to drink.
During some weeks the supplies were impatiently expected. At last, Tyrconnel was forced to shut himself up; for, whenever he appeared in public, the soldiers ran after him clamouring for food. Even the beef and mutton, which, half raw, half burned, without vegetables, without salt, had hitherto supported the army, had become scarce; and the common men were on rations of horseflesh when the promised sails were seen in the mouth of the Shannon.
A distinguished French general, named Saint Ruth, was on board with his staff. He brought a commission which appointed him commander in chief of the Irish army. The commission did not expressly declare that he was to be independent of the
- Life of James, ii. 433, 451; Story's Continuation.
- Life of James, ii. 438; Light to the Blind; Fumeron to Louvois, April 22/May 2, 1691.