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committed by Douglas's army in its retreat from Athlone ; others complained of the devastations committed by the king's commissioners of forfeited goods and lands, which seemed to be the most crying abuse of any; the commissioners frequently mistaking Protestant property for Popish, when the former happened to be convenient to their grasp. There were also bitter complaints made to His Majesty by his Protestant subjects, to nearly the same effect, against the garrison of Dublin, and especially Trelawny's, Schomberg's, and some other regiments of horse. The people complained that those soldiers paid no respect to their Protestantism, and treated them much worse than James's Popish soldiers had done. On inquiry, William found that it was a fact, that the dragoons were not nice in selecting Papists when they had a fancy to rob, or amuse themselves with other military pastimes ; and despairing of being able to impress them with the necessity of making accurate distinctions, he ordered those indiscreet regiments to England.

While at Chapel-Izod, William published another “ Declaration," offering passes and protections to all foreigners in arms against him, who may be desirous of returning to their own countries. A second “Declaration” commanded all Papists to deliver up their arms, and submit, on pain of being abandoned, “ to the discretion

of the soldiers ;" — the most awful denunciation, as William well knew, which he could fulminate against such of his subjects as were unlucky enough to mistake their king and their religion.

Haying thus threatened the curse of his debauched army against his people, the king's next manifesto was a proclamation for a general fast to be observed every Friday during the war in all parts of the kingdom under His Majesty's obedience; on which days all good Protestants were ordered to ask God's pardon for their siņs, and implore a blessing (which they greatly wanted) upon His Majesty's forces.

Public opinion was much divided respecting the latter proclamation. Many excellent Protestants thought that His Majesty was unfortunate in the selection of a day for those religious exercises, Friday, as a fast-day, savouring strongly of popery; and it was afterwards imputed to the unhappy taint affecting Friday fasts or prayers, that the army, notwithstanding this proclamation, were nothing improved in their morals, and that they met shortly after so signal a failure at Limerick.

The king, while engaged in those regulations at Chapel-Izod, was anxiously expecting despatches from England, which were to decide whether he should return to the army and continue the war in person, or quit Ireland and hasten to the defence of his British dominions,

At length, the expected despatches arrived, with the good tidings, that the defeat of the British fleet had not led to the results which were apprehended: the French neglected to turn their victory to any account. Some of the conspirators in England had been apprehended, and the rest were discouraged by the inactivity of France. Upon the whole, public confidence had been somewhat restored, and things looked safer and better in Great Britain than had been lately anticipated.

CHAP. VIII.

THE SIEGE OF LIMERICK.

RE-ASSURED by this intelligence, William's resolution was instantly taken to return to his army, and continue the war in Ireland. He disencumbered himself of all his heavy baggage, and unnecessary attendants, and, travelling with great rapidity, rejoined his army on the 2d of August, at Golden Bridge.

He had heard, before leaving Dublin, the account of Douglas's disastrous failure at Athlone. The news added greatly to the gloom and despondency which the defeat of the British fleet, and the rumours of conspiracies in England and Scotland, and the king's intended departure, had spread over the protestant portion of Ireland and probably the defeat at Athlone had its influence in deciding William not to quit Ireland at that time, or until he had restored the confidence of his friends by some successful operation of importance.

From his position at Golden Bridge, William now moved forward with his whole

army

towards

division under Douglas, which had at length made their way to the royal army, after a circuitous and harassing march. If they did not bring honour with them, they brought spoil. They had driven before them all the cattle of the country as they marched, and now joined William's main force with several hundred head of black cattle and horses.

William had heard much of dissensions, said to prevail in the garrison of Limerick, between the French and Irish troops; and he had hastened his march with a view to improve those disputes, if possible, into a surrender. He recollected, probably, that it was by such means that Cromwell's general, Ireton, obtained possession of this celebrated fortress, when all the efforts of his skill and valour had been unsuccessful. Ireton had availed himself of the quarrels between the confederates so skilfully, that he obtained possession of the town, without a blow, and hanged a few of both parties to prove his gratitude for so easy a conquest.

William was not so fortunate. Though but little inferior to Cromwell as an intriguer, and well disposed on this occasion to exert all his talent in that great branch of politics, and though it was true, that serious and even violent dissensions did prevail in the town, between the French and Irish parties, yet the accounts he had received, of a disposition to surrender, were with.

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