Page:History of England (Macaulay) Vol 4.djvu/35

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thinking that his horse would continue to fight. Whole troops had been cut to pieces. One fine regiment had only thirty unwounded men left. It was enough that these gallant soldiers had disputed the field till they were left without support, or hope, or guidance, till their bravest leader was a captive, and till their King had fled.

Whether James had owed his early reputation for valour to accident and flattery, or whether, as he advanced in life, his character underwent a change, may be doubted. But it is certain that, in his youth, he was generally believed to possess, not merely that average measure of fortitude which qualifies a soldier to go through a campaign without disgrace, but that high and serene intrepidity which is the virtue of great commanders.[1] It is equally certain that, in his later years, he repeatedly, at conjunctures such as have often inspired timorous and delicate women with heroic courage, showed a pusillanimous anxiety about his personal safety. Of the most powerful motives which can induce human beings to encounter peril none was wanting to him on the day of the Boyne. The eyes of his contemporaries and of posterity, of friends devoted to his cause and of enemies eager to witness his humiliation, were fixed upon him. He had, in his own opinion, sacred rights to maintain and cruel wrongs to revenge. He was a King come to fight for three kingdoms. He was a father come to fight for the birthright of his child. He was a zealous Roman Catholic, come to fight in the holiest of crusades. If all this was not enough, he saw, from the secure position which he occupied on the height of Donore, a sight which, it might have been thought, would have roused the most torpid of mankind to emulation. He saw his rival, weak, sickly, wounded, swimming the river, struggling through the mud, leading the charge, stopping the flight, grasping the sword with the left hand, managing the bridle with a

  1. See Pepys's Diary, June 4, 1664. "He tells me above all of the Duke of York, that he is more himself, and more of judgment is at hand in him, in the middle of a desperate service than at other times." Clarendon repeatedly says the same. Swift wrote on the margin of his copy of Clarendon, in one place, "How old was he (James) when he turned Papist and a coward?" — in another, "He proved a cowardly Popish king."