Page:History of England (Macaulay) Vol 4.djvu/22

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constantly passing up and down the Laggan; what a forest of masts would have bristled in the desolate port of Newry; and what vast warehouses and stately mansions would have covered the space occupied by the noisome alleys of Dundalk. "The country," he was heard to say, "is worth fighting for."

The original intention of James seems to have been to try the chances of a pitched field on the border between Leinster and Ulster. But this design was abandoned, in consequence, apparently, of the representations of Lauzun, who, though very little disposed and very little qualified to conduct a campaign on the Fabian system, had the admonitions of Louvois still in his ears.[1] James, though resolved not to give up Dublin without a battle, consented to retreat till he should reach some spot where he might have the vantage of ground. When therefore William's advanced guard reached Dundalk, nothing was to be seen of the Irish Army, except a great cloud of dust which was slowly rolling southwards towards Ardee. The English halted one night near the ground on which Schomberg's camp had been pitched in the preceding year; and many sad recollections were awakened by the sight of that dreary marsh, the sepulchre of thousands of brave men.[2]

Still William continued to push forward, and still the Irish receded before him, till, on the morning of Monday the thirtieth of June, his army, marching in three columns, reached the summit of a rising ground near the southern frontier of the county of Louth. Beneath lay a valley, now so rich and so cheerful that the Englishman who gazes on it may imagine himself to be in one of the most highly favoured parts of his own highly favoured country. Fields of wheat, woodlands, meadows bright with daisies and clover, slope gently down to the edge of the Boyne. That bright and tranquil stream, the boundary of Louth and Meath, having flowed many miles between verdant banks crowned by modern palaces, and by the ruined keeps of old Norman barons of the pale, is here about to mingle with the

  1. Lauzun to Louvois, June 23/July 3, 1690; Life of James, ii. 393, Orig. Mem.
  2. Story's Impartial Account; Dumont MS.