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THE IMPERIAL MAGAZINE
HISTORICAL SKETCII OF LONDON DERRY, IN IRELAND.
(With an Engraving.)
The large and populous city of Londonderry is situated in a county bearing the same name, in the province of Ulster. It lies to the west of Antrim, from which it is in a great measure separated by the river Bann. The country is in general mountainous, excepting the eastern part, adjoining Lough Neagh and the river Bann. A great part of this county was given by James I. to the twelve London companies, on condition of their fortifying the towns of Derry and Coleraine. From this circumstance both the county and the town acquired the name of Londonderry, which, from that period to the present time they have continued to retain.
Londonderry, the capital of the above county, is situated on the Foyle, over which, a bridge of singular construction, was erected from the design of Lemuel Cox, in the year 1791. It is 1068 feet in length, and is deserving the attention of every visitor. This town, which is a county within itself, has long been remarkable for the order, sobriety, and industry of its inhabitants. At an early period it was surrounded by a wall, which, though bearing the marks of age, and the corrosions of time, still remains in a respectable state of preservation.
Within this enclosure are four principal streets, which cross each other at right angles, and form, with other streets and lanes, which follow the same arrangement, a kind of parallelogram, extending twelve hundred and seventy-three feet, by six hundred and thirty-five. The Exchange is in the centre, from which the main streets issue, and terminate at a gate that takes its name from each street. The ground on which the town stands is hilly, which renders some parts very inconvenient for carriages, but every attention has been paid by the inhabitants, in paving and lighting, to remedy these local disadvantages.
The old walls were Hanked with bastions in 1614. These still remain in excellent repair, and are an ornament to the town. On the summit of the rampart is a parapet. The cathedral is a gothic structure, built, in the year 1633, by Sir John Vaughan. It also contains a chapel of ease, two Presbyterian meeting-houses, a Roman Catholic chapel, besides WesleyanMethodist, and dissenting, places of worship.
The central market-house, or town-hall, was erected in 1692, over which were the courts of justice, and an apartment occasionally used as a ball
These have, however, been recently superseded by a spacious and handsome structure, erected for these special purposes. A new jail has D. SERIES, NO, 24.-VOL. II.
also been built within a comparatively few years, which is esteemed one of the best in the northern counties. The episcopal palace is a spacious edifice. Besides private schools, supported by voluntary contributions, for educating the children of the poor, a public building has been erected for the same benevolent purpose. An infirmary has also been built on a large scale, at the expense of the county, which is supported by benevolent contributions. A small theatre, and a convenient linen-hall, must also be included among the public buildings of this place.
The principal exports of Londonderry consist of linen and linen yarn; the raw material of which, the county abundantly supplies. Some of these manufactures find a market in the West Indies, but by far the greater portion is transported to America.
In the time of Queen Elizabeth, Londonderry was a military station of considerable importance, which, from the peculiarity of its situation, admirably adapted it for keeping the surrounding country in subjection. In the reign of James I. it was fortified and strengthened by the citizens of London, to whom it had been given by this monarch, as already noticed. During the rebellion of 1641, and succeeding years, it was twice besieged; but in both instances the assailants were repelled with considerable loss, and no small portion of military dishonour.
The most memorable feature, however, in the history of Londonderry, arises from the siege which it sustained, under circumstances the most disastrous, but in the result most triumphant, against the army of James II. in 1688 and 1689. On this occasion, being pressed severely with all the horrors of famine, the military commander, thinking all further resistance useless, manifested a disposition to surrender to the forces of the invader. To this submission the inhabitants were, however, decidedly hostile, and, headed by the Rev. George Walker, whom they chose for their governor, they took the management and defence upon themselves, and in the issue gained immortal honours.
As the account of this ever-memorable siege is related in the form of a journal by the Rev. George Walker, D.D. we shall select from it some of the more remarkable passages.
April 19th, 1689, Mr. Walker, a clergyman, and Major Baker, were chosen by the inhabitants of Londonderry to be their governors, during the siege. The garrison consisted of 7020 men, and 341 officers. The number of men, women, and children, in the town, was about 30,000. Upon a declaration of the enemy to receive and protect all that would desert the town, and return to their dwellings, 10,000 left us ; after that, many more grew weary of us, and 7000 died of disease.
“ April 21st, the enemy placed a demiculver 180 perches distant from the town, E. by N., on the other side the water; they played on the houses in the town, but did little or no mischief only to the market-house. This day our men sallied out, as many as pleased, and what officers were at leisure, not in any commendable manner, yet they killed above 200 of the enemy's soldiers, besides Mamou, the French general, and several other officers.
May 5th, this night the besiegers drew a trench across the windmill hill, from the bay to the river, and there began a battery; from which they endeavoured to annoy our walls, but they were too strong for the guns they used, and our men were not afraid to advise them to save all that trouble and expense, as they always kept the gates open, and they might use that passage if they pleased, which was wider than any breach they could make in the walls.'
“ Juue 4th, the besiegers made an attack at the windmill works, with a body of foot and horse; the horse they divided into three squadrons, and assaulted us at the river-side, it being low water; the foot attacked the rest of our line. The front of the horse was composed of gentlemen who had bound themselves by an oath, that they would mount our lines ; they were commanded by Captain Butler, second son to my Lord Montgarret. Our men placed themselves within our lines in three ranks, so advantageously, that one rank was always ready to march up and relieve the other, and discharge successively upon the enemy; which (though it is strange how they could think otherwise) greatly surprised and astonished them, for they, it seems, expected we should make but one single volley, and then they could fall in upon us.
Their foot had fagots laid before them, for a defence against our shot. They and the horse began with a loud huzza, which was seconded from all parts of their camp with most dreadful shrieks and howlings of a numerous rabble that attended the besiegers. The fagot men, unable to stand before our shot, were, however, soon forced to quit their new defence, and run for it, though Captain Butler topped our works, which was but a dry bank of seven feet high, at the water-side, and thirty of his own sworn party of horse followed him. Our men wondered to find, that, having spent so many shot, none of them fell : but Captain Crook, observing they had armour on, commanded them to fire at their horses, which turned to so good account, that but three of these bold men with much difficulty made their escape. We wondered also, that the foot did not (according to custom) run faster, till we noticed, that in their retreat, they took the dead on their backs, which, preserving their own bodies from the remainder of our shot, rendered them more service than they did when alive.
“ The enemy, in this action, lost 400 of their fighting men; most of their officers were killed ; Captain Butler was taken prisoner, and several others. We lost on our side, six private men, and one Captain Maxwell; two of the men were killed by a shot from a great gun from the other side of the water, opposite the windmill works.
“ June 30th, at 10 o'clock at night, my Lord Clancarty, at the head of a regiment, and with some detachments, possessed himself of our lines, and placed some miners in a lower cellar, under the half-bastion. The noble Captain Dunbar, and several other gentlemen, on seeing this, sallied out at the Bishop's gate, and crept along the wall, till they came very near the enemy's guards. Our men received their firing quietly, till they got to a right distance; and then thundered upon them. Our case-shot from the bastion, and small-shot off the walls, seconded their firing so effectually, that his lordship was forced to quit his post, and hasten to the main body of the enemy, leaving his miners, and a hundred of his best men, dead upon the place, besides several officers and men, who were wounded, and who died of their wounds some days after the action, as we were informed. We were often told that some great thing was to be performed by this lord, and they had a prophecy among them, that a Clancarty should knock at the gates of Derry. The credulity and superstition of his countrymen, with the rarity of so brave an attempt, and some good liquor, easily warmed him to this bold undertaking; but we soon taught him that little value was to be put on the Irish prophecies, or confidence in courage so supported.
“On July 8, the garrison was reduced to 5520 men
and under the greatest extremity for want of provision, which appears from the following account, taken by a gentleman in the garrison, of the price of our food :
Horse-flesh, per pound, sold for
or purchased under the rate of a quantily of meal.
1 0 0 0 1
0 0 6 2
“ We were under so great necessity, that we had nothing left, unless we could prey upon one another. A certain fat gentleman conceived himself in the greatest danger, and, fancying that several of the garrison looked upon him with a greedy eye, thought fit to hide himself for three days.Our drink was nothing but water ; for which we paid very dear, and could not get it without great danger; we mixed in it ginger and aniseed, of which we had got plenty. The tallow and starch, which we were compelled to eat, not only nourished and supported us, but this food was an infallible cure for the Aux, and recovered a great many that were strangely reduced by that distemper, and preserved others from it. In the midst of this extremity, the spirit and courage of the men were so great, that they were often heard to discourse confidently, and with some anger contend, whether they should take their debentures in Ireland or in France ; when, alas ! they could not promise themselves twelve hours' life.
“July 30th, about an hour after sermon, being in the midst of our extremity, we saw some ships in the Lough, making towards us, and soon discovered they were those that Major-general Kirk had sent us, according to his promise, when we could hold out no longer; he being resolved to relieve us, at every hazard. These vessels consisted of the Mountjoy, of Derry, Captain Browning, commander ; the Phønix, of Colerain, Captain Douglas, master; being both laden with provisions, and convoyed by the Dartmough frigate.
“ The enemy fired most desperately upon them from the fort of Culmore, and both sides of the river ; and they made sufficient return, and with the greatest bravery. The Mountjoy made a little stop at the boom ; occasioned by her rebound after striking and breaking it; so that she was run aground. Upon this, the enemy set up the loudest huzzas, and the most dreadful to the besieged, that ever we heard ; fired all their guns upon her, and were preparing their boats to board her. Our trouble was not to be expressed at this dismal prospect; but, by great providence, on firing a broadside, the shock loosened her, so that she got clear, and passed their boom. Captain Douglas all this while was engaged, and gave them warm entertainment; at length, the ships got to us, to the inexpressible joy and transport of the garrison ; for we only reckoned upon two days' life, having only nine lean horses left, and among us all, no more than one pint of meal
to each man. Hunger, and the fatigue of war, had so prevailed among us, that of 7500 men regimented, we had now alive but about 4300 ; of whom one-fourth part were rendered unserviceable, having been close besieged for 105 days, by near 20,000 men, constantly supplied from Dublin. But God Almighty was pleased in the greatest extremity to send relief, to the admiration and joy of all good people, and to the great disappointment of so powerful and inveterate an enemy:'
Of this illustrious event, for which we could not easily find a parallel in the records of any country, the inhabitants of Londonderry long cherished a proud and fond remembrance; and the name of Walker has been transmitted from generation to generation, associated with all the honours which energy, coolness, prudence, courage, and perseverance, could supply. Of Governor Walker, every age readily resounded the praise; but it was reserved for the present generation to raise a more substantial image of his reputation. This has been happily effected by the erection of an elegant column, surmounted by a statue of the heroic governor. Its completion, and first public display, occurred on the 12th of August 1828, when it was opened with much ceremony and rejoicing.
The design, which is by James Henry, Esq., architect, is a composition from the Greek and Roman Doric. It consists of a shaft eighty feet in height, resting on a pedestal both classical and original. The capital is surmounted by a dome supporting a colossal statue of the celebrated governor, executed by Smith, in a very masterly manner. The figure looks towards the river Foyle, and, with an outstretched hand, points towards the spot where the boom was stretched across the river, to intercept all relief from the sea ; and by this attitude recalls to mind the eventful crisis upon which the whole issue of the siege depended. On the city of Londonderry Walker has conferred immortal honours, and the inhabitants have evinced their gratitude by erecting this monument to perpetuate his fame.
A PARALLEL BETWEEN THE SAVAGE AND
BY W. K. T.
and social economy. Between the savage
and the citizen of Europe, there is an imTranslated from the Semeur, a French measurable distance; the two different beperiodical.
ings appear scarcely to belong to the same world; they seem only to enjoy one com
mon physical organization and delineation Never has there been so much said of civi. of feature, but for the rest they are absolization as at the present time; never has lutely different. Such is the opinion of its benefits been so greatly extolled. The most of our cotemporaries. mere word, civilization, is to many a magic Far be it from us, indeed, ever to become sort of electricity, without which they can the adversaries or slanderers of modern suppose nothing capable of arriving at civilization ; too well we know its value. prosperity or glory. A nation, in their Disciples of the gospel of Christ, and con. opinion, is great only in proportion as in- sequently friends of the true light, we are dustry and commerce, the arts and sciences, incapable of living indifferent to any social literature and philosophy, flourish. This is improvement, whatever be its nature. On the great touchstone with which they appre. the contrary, we encourage with our whole ciate the value of a people ; and they ima- might, the intellectual and moral developgine that a greater injury, or a more unfa- ment of humanity, in the foundation of vourable impression, cannot be given or schools, in the diffusion of instruction to all received, than to say of a country, “it is classes, in fostering institutions eminently not civilized," or, “ civilization has, as yet, philanthropic, in supporting those which Jittle advanced.”
already exist, and which appear worthy of Judged in this light, the heathen are, preservation, and in sending the Bible, and above all, the most wretched, and worthy of with it a new world, to the most recluse compassion, inasmuch as they are totally inhabitants of the earth ; the incontestable ignorant of European legislation, politics, superiority in the present age, of our soci.