Boulger: The Battle Of The Boyne

Pdf Boulger, Demetrius Charles, The Battle Of The Boyne, London: Martin Secker, 1911
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The Battle of the Boyne by Demetrius Charles Boulger is an 1911 account of the war between two rival British Kings, James II and William III of Orange . The Williamites scored an important victory over the Jacobites at the Battle of the Boyne in 1690. The pivotal outcome would have a profound effect on the future history of Ireland and Great Britain .

James' grandfather James Stuart VI of Scotland unified the Kingdoms of England, Scotland and Ireland in 1603 following the death of the Tudor Queen Elizabeth I. He reigned as James I, styling himself as 'King of Britain.' His son Charles I, succeeded him in 1625 but was executed in 1649 during the English Civil War between Anglican Royalists and Parliamentarian forces.

Between 1653 and 1659 the monarchy was abolished while the victorious Parliamentarian Oliver Cromwell and later his son Richard ruled as Lord Protector. However Charles II, heir to the throne was invited to return by parliament and a new limited monarchy was restored in 1660. In 1685, James II, a Catholic, succeeded his brother to the throne. James' belief in absolute monarchy, his own Catholicism and his alliance with his Catholic cousin Louis XIV of France provoked Protestant English rebellion. He was forced to flee in 1688 and his Protestant sister Mary II became joint ruler with her Dutch husband William III of Orange who reigned as William III of England .

Between 1688 and 1697, Louis XIV of France was involved in a protracted global war against the Grand Alliance. It was led by Holy Roman Emperor Leopold I supported by William of Orange, which included the armies of England, Spain, Austria, Sweden, Savoy and German principalities. William of Orange formed an alliance with and received financial assistance from the Catholic Pope Innocent XI after the French seizure of the papal territory of Avignon . Nonetheless James II sought French help to win back his throne and landed in Ireland in 1689 with thousands of French troops.

In Ireland , the Gaelic Irish and the Catholic Anglo-Irish gentry who had lost their lands following their defeat by Cromwell decades before, now supported the Catholic monarch. Lord Deputy of Ireland , Richard Talbot, 1st Earl of Tyrconnell, a Catholic appointed by James II, secured most of Ireland for Jacobite forces except for Protestant controlled Ulster . A garrison in Londonderry successfully resisted a siege by Jacobite forces who also suffered a defeat near Enniskillen.

When James II arrived in Dublin he enjoyed the support of the Irish Parliament and an alliance of Gaelic Irish, 'Old English' Catholic gentry and Anglo-Irish Protestant Royalists who wished to restore an absolute monarchy. James commanded their loyalty by promising to restore their lands.

In 1689, a Williamite army landed in Co. Down, captured Carrickfergus and marched on Dundalk before Jacobite forces blocked their progress southward. During the following winter, disease, lack of food and Irish Catholic guerrilla attacks took a heavy toll on the Williamite camp. Simultaneously the William III also faced Jacobite revolt in Scotland and other fighting in Europe and America . Scottish Jacobite rebellions led by Stuart pretenders continued until 1745.

In 1690, William of Orange landed at Carrickfergus and headed south with an army of about 36,000 which included Protestant Irish, English, Scottish, German, Danish, Dutch and French Huguenot troops. The Jacobite army that faced them consisted mostly of Irish Catholic peasants with French troops in support.

Both forces met on 1 July, 1690 at the River Boyne at Oldbridge, Co. Meath near Drogheda . Losses were relatively light on both sides but the Williamites crossed the river and Jacobite forces fled in chaos. James II himself fled to France earning the insult Seamus An Chacafrom his supporters who abandoned Dublin and retreated to Limerick . Jacobite forces resisted the Williamite siege of Limerick and also held Galway and the province of Connaught west of the River Shannon. However in 1691 the Jacobites suffered a final defeat at Aughrim, Co. Galway . James II remained in France as pretender to the English throne until his death in 1701.

Under the terms of the 1691 Treaty of Limerick, the Jacobite forces commanded by Patrick Sarsfield agreed to go into exile to mainland Europe where they formed the Irish Brigade in the service of Louis XIV. The Irish Brigade would remain part of the French Army until 1792. The Nine Years War came to an end when Louis XIV signed the Treaty of Ryswick with his European enemies in 1697. However the peace was soon followed by renewed global conflict in the War of the Spanish Succession from 1701 and 1714.

Queen Anne, a Protestant daughter of James II, succeeded Mary II who died in 1694 and William of Orange who died in 1702. Anne reigned until 1714 when she died without children ending the Stuart monarchy. She was succeeded by the Protestant George I, Elector of Hanover, over the heads of her closer Catholic relations. During his reign he would defeat repeated Jacobite rebellions in Scotland .

In Ireland , the Penal Laws were introduced which systematically persecuted Irish Catholics and Ulster-Scots Presbyterians. An Anglo-Irish Protestant 'Ascendancy' emerged which would dominate the political, social, economic and cultural life of Ireland until the 19th century. The figure of William of Orange or 'King Billy' eventually became the symbol of Protestant Unionist resistance to Irish nationalist republicanism and the influence of the Roman Catholic Church in Ireland .


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