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out foundation. There was no such disposition in either party; and William's efforts to improve the jealousies that prevailed into treachery or capitulation failed entirely of success; and not only failed, but returned upon himself, and contributed to his own defeat and discomfiture.
Limerick was at this time the most considerable city in Ireland, next to Dublin. The country for a great extent along the banks of the Shannon was much wooded, though not forest; but in the immediate vicinity of the town the land was well cultivated and thickly peopled. Population bad every where taken refuge under the guns of the fortified towns, as the only security in the long wars which had so frequently swept the open country of its inhabitants. On William's approach, he found the city encompassed outside the walls, to a considerable extent, with thick enclosures, houses, orchards, gardens, and plantations. The land was every where divided into small fields, enclosed by strong hedges, and intersected by green lanes. A number of ancient, now ruinous forts and castles, were scattered among those modern im
To the north of the town, the Shannon divides its stream, throwing out a large arm, which encircles the city and insulates the piece of land on which it stands. The town situate upon this
nected by two bridges; upon one side, with the county of Clare, upon the other with the Irishtown, or second portion of the city. The first, which was called Thomond Bridge, and which crossed the main stream of the Shannon, by sixteen arches, to the Thomond or Clare side of the river, was defended upon the latter side by a strong fort, and some field works, and on the city side by a drawbridge, flanked with towers and the city walls. The great length and narrowness of the bridge made it easily defensible. This bridge, which is of hewn stone, is supposed to have been built in the reign of King John, by one of the O'Brien family, then king of Limerick and Thomond : it was at least known to be in existence at that period.
The second bridge, which crossed the arm of the Shannon, and connected the two divisions of the city, that on the island and that on the county of Limerick side, was of ordinary dimensions, and lay within the circuit of the walls.
The town upon the island was by nature almost impregnable. It was built upon a rock of considerable extent; and the land upon every side of it was low and marshy, and could at any time be flooded so as to make the approach of an enemy almost impossible. The great breadth and rapidity of the main stream of the Shannon presented an insuperable impediment upon one side, and upon every other the arm with which
the river embraced the town was of a depth which it was impossible to ford.
The Irish-town which lay upon the main land of the county of Limerick was but of ordinary strength, and defended only by its walls. If captured, however, the English-town might still be maintained.
William made his approaches to the city slowly, having to level the numerous enclosures of the adjoining grounds as he moved on. These he found occupied by the light infantry of the Irish army, who lined the hedges, and kept up a troublesome fire upon his advanced parties, under cover of those natural defences. A few light cavalry supported the skirmishers of the Irish
but the whole retired gradually as the British advanced ; and they encountered no serious opposition, till the Irish parties having at length fallen back under cover of their guns, the city opened its fire upon the advancing enemy, and compelled them to halt.
Here, as at the Boyne, the king had a very narrow escape. A cannon-ball from the walls struck the ground at his foot, as he was passing through a gap made in a hedge; the ball would have passed through his body, if he had not stumbled and fallen as he clambered through
William took no notice, but recovered his footing, and moved on quietly ; possessed,
bullet has its billet;" or with the Christian confidence, as true a source of courage, that his life was in the hand of God.
William, when he came in view of the town, sent a trumpet with a summons of surrender to the French general, Boileau, who commanded the garrison. The terms of this summons probably betrayed the hopes which the king entertained of an easy surrender. Boileau addressed his answer to William's secretary, Sir Robert Southwell, not being at liberty to acknowledge the prince as king, and too polite to hurt his feelings by a denial of the royal title. He expressed great surprise at the summons he had received, and declared his resolution to merit the good opinion of the Prince of Orange, by a vigorous defence of the fortress committed to his care, by His Majesty James the Second.
This answer did not cure William of the erroneous notion he had conceived, that the citizens and the garrison were desirous to capitulate ; and that they were induced to defend the town only by the strong persuasions of Sarsefield and the Duke of Berwick. The subsequent events of the siege revealed to him his error. The city was not only bravely defended by the garrison, but the inhabitants of all classes, and even the women, took part in the defence.
While William was preparing for the siege, the main force of the Irish, now posted along the
west bank of the Shannon, had been gathering strength every day by the falling in of the numerous garrisons which had capitulated upon Williarn's line of march. These troops lay between Limerick, Galway, and Athlone, the French under the command of Lauzun, and the Irish under Tyrconnel. The stout defence made by the city, and the length of the siege, afforded this army abundant opportunity of undertaking some decisive operation upon Wil. liam's rear.
But nothing was undertaken, in consequence of the misunderstandings which prevailed between the French and Irish troops and their commanders. Nor does it
that it was very clearly settled at this time who was to command in chief. James had fled with too much precipitation to settle the point; and the French generals were not inclined to admit the authority of the Lord-lieutenant, Tyrconnel.
The king took his place on the right of his encampment, having near him the horse guards, and the blue Dutch guards, which were always his main reliance. To the left of these were some English and Dutch regiments intermixed; farther on the French and Danes were stationed, and the Brandenburgers and other German regiments formed the extreme of his line, composing altogether as curious an assemblage of tongues, and nations, and people, as ever beleaguered a