Page:History of England (Macaulay) Vol 4.djvu/61

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that his country would be freed from the tyranny of the Saxons must be abandoned if Limerick were surrendered.

The conduct of the Irish during the last two months had sunk their military reputation to the lowest point. They had, with the exception of some gallant regiments of cavalry, fled disgracefully at the Boyne, and had thus incurred the bitter contempt both of their enemies and of their allies. The English who were at Saint Germains never spoke of the Irish but as a people of dastards and traitors.[1] The French were so much exasperated against the unfortunate nation, that Irish merchants, who had been many years settled at Paris, durst not walk the streets for fear of being insulted by the populace.[2] So strong was the prejudice, that absurd stories were invented to explain the intrepidity with which the horse had fought. It was said that the troopers were not men of Celtic blood, but descendants of the old English of the pale.[3] It was also said that they had been intoxicated with brandy just before the battle.[4] Yet nothing can be more certain than that they must have been generally of Irish race; nor did the steady valour which they displayed in a long and almost hopeless conflict against great odds bear any resemblance to the fury of a coward maddened by strong drink into momentary hardihood. Even in the infantry, undisciplined and disorganized as it was, there was much spirit, though little firmness. Fits of enthusiasm and fits of faintheartedness succeeded each other. The same battalion, which at one time threw away its arms in a panic and shrieked for quarter, would on another occasion fight valiantly. On the day of the Boyne the courage of the ill trained and ill commanded

  1. "Pauci illi ex Cilicibus aulicis, qui cum regina in Syria commorante remanserant, . . . . non cessabant universam nationem fœde traducere, et ingestis insuper convitiis lacerare, pavidos et malefidos proditores ac mortalium consceleratissimos publice appellando." — Macariæ Excidium. The Cilicians are the English. Syria is France.
  2. "Tanta infamia tam operoso artificio et subtili commento in vulgus sparsa, tam constantibus de Cypriorum perfidia atque opprobrio rumoribus, totam, qua lata est, Syriam ita pervasit, ut mercatores Cyprii, … propter inustum genti dedecus, intra domorum septa clausi nunquam prodire auderent; tanto eorum odio populus in universum exarserat." — Macariæ Excidium.
  3. I have seen this assertion in a contemporary pamphlet of which I cannot recollect the title.
  4. Story; Dumont MS.