Page images

nation. Their determination seemed to acquire strength from increased misery; and amidst famine and death, one of their governors, Baker, failing from fatigue, they threatened instant destruction to the man who should first advise a surrender. Rosen, who conducted the siege, gave them until the first of July, to consider; upon which day, finding the garrison still obstinate, he drove a multitude of Protestants, of all ages and sexes, gathered from the surrounding districts, beneath the walls, who, with true Roman fortitude, and like so many Reguluses, besought their countrymen, on bended knees and with outstretched hands, to disregard their cries, their tortures, and their deaths, and to persevere to defend themselves against the basest and most cruel of enemies. The townsmen now erected gallowses on the walls, and threatened to execute their prisoners, if their wretched countrymen were not suffered to escape ; but Rosen persevered, and famine and massacre pursued their cold and devastating way. The Protestant Bishop of Meath now boldly remonstrated with King James, upon the inhuman massacre of the unoffending victims without the walls; to which bis majesty coolly replied, “ That such severities were usual in foreign service ;” but ordered the sufferers to be released.

Time had now almost effected for the enemy what their military skill and courage were unequal to : the flesh of horses, dogs, and vermin, now consti


tuted the only sustenance of the besieged, and it was calculated that of this miserable food, a supply of a few days was all that could be obtained. In this extremity, Walker's courage and presence of mind never for an instant deserted him ; he barangued his brave companions at the crossways, and in his sacred pastoral character addressed them from the pulpit, imploring them to place a firm reliance upon the Almighty Disposer of events. At this critical moment, Kirk, accompanied by his fleet, reappeared below the town, and manifested a determination to attempt its relief. Two provision ships, convoyed by the Dartmouth frigate, approached the city, within view of the half-famished garrison that manned the walls, and reached the boom, the eventful spot, under a heavy fire of musketry, and discharge of cannon from the enemy. All eyes were intent; the arm of the soldier was suspended, for a moment, from its work of destruction, while he hearkened to the victualling-ship striking against the boom, the final proclamation of death or victory. She dashed with giant strength against the barrier ; broke it in two; but, from the violence of the shock, rebounded and ran upon the river's bank. The joy of the enemy was displayed by an instantaneous burst of tumultuous joy; they ran with disorder to the shore, prepared to board her, when the vessel, firing a broadside, was extricated by the shock, and floated out nobly into the deep again. During the

short interval of these momentous events, the feelings of the besieged can only be compared to the criminal -tried, condemned, reprieved; they underwent the trial, they prepared for their sentence with firmness, and they bore the reprieve with the humility that might be expected to belong to such bravery and resolution.

Upon this happy relief, the enemy raised the siege, and marched to the southward. Two thousand three hundred of the garrison perished in battle, or by famine, and of the enemy above eight thousand, during a siege of one hundred and five days.

Amongst the curiosities in the vicinity of the city, the long bridge is perhaps the most interesting. It is built of wood, from the design of Lemuel Cox, an American, extends one thousand and sixty-two feet in length, and cost originally £10,000. From the eastern end of the bridge we have taken our view of the city; a view supposed to bear a singular resemblance to the town of Lancaster, nearly encircled by the Lune, and to Cagliari, in Sardinia, with the smooth waters of the gulf spread out below it. The ruins of O'Donnell's and O'Neil's monasteries are totally extinct, as well as those of a religious house founded here by St. Columb in the year 546.

The Siege of Londonderry.

The Siege of Londonderry has supplied materials for a most interesting Work, entitled “DERRY," a tale of the Revolution, by CHARLOTTE ELIZABETH, in the preface to which she remarks, “ It has been imagined by some readers, that in the historical details here presented of the Siege, considerable exaggeration has been employed, and a high colouring given to the events narrated. This the writer positively disclaims ; she has stated simple facts, as they stand recorded on unquestionable authority: and she laments that those facts should be so imperfectly remembered, as to leave room for such surmises."

“ To exchange such a spot as this for the smoke, the din, and publicity of a town-how shall I prevail on them?" : Such was the mental enquiry of Bryan M‘Alister, as he slowly wound along through one of the most romantic defiles of the ancient Tyrconnel. November blasts had stripped the foliage from many a towering tree, and luxuriant shrub, tarnishing the emerald hue of Erin's sod, and imparting to that majestic scenery a character as sternly wild, as were the spirits of those times. Yet beautiful, surpassingly beautiful, in despite of cloud and storm, the giant hills arose, the vallies crouched beneath their sheltering bulwarks, and the broad lake expanded, or the narrow streamlet rippled on, diversifying by its liquid splendour, the ever changeful prospect. Home itself, that centre of all attractions to young Bryan's affectionate heart, could not by its proximity win him to quicken his pace. He suffered the rein to hang loosely on his horse's neck, and gazed around him with the sad forebodings of one who anticipates a long farewell to a spot endeared by every tender recollection of infancy and youth.

The abode to which he was so leisurely advancing, lay buried in deep seclusion, considerably removed from the highway. The approach was a perfect labyrinth, scarcely deserving the name of a road, or even of a path ; but Bryan's steed required no guidance to the well known spot. Emerging from the covert under which an ascent, and then a de'scent had been pursued, he now came full in view of the simple but substantial cottage that sheltered all his earthly treasures ; and his near approach was presently discovered by its delighted inmates. A sturdy house-dog was the first to greet him, with the warning bark of defiance, instantaneously changed into the yelpings of joy, as he bounded forward to spring against the saddle. Two blooming girls next rushed from the door ; and after them hastened a white-haired retainer of that noble, but no longer affluent house, whose fallen fortunes it was his pride to follow. A bare-headed gossoon seized the bridle with one hand, while the other plucked at his matted

« PreviousContinue »