David Cairnes

From A Compendium of Irish Biography, 1878

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Cairnes, David, one of the most prominent defenders of Derry, was born in the north of Ireland in 1645. He became a lawyer, and in 1688 was owner of considerable property in land. On the approach of Tirconnell's troops, to occupy Derry, early in December 1688, he advised the citizens to take the defence into their own hands; and on the 11th he set out for London, carrying letters to William III. and the Irish Society, imploring assistance in men, provisions, arms, and ammunition. He did not return until the 11th of April, 1689, in time to help to counteract Lundy's design of delivering up the city. Appointed Lieutenant-Colonel of a regiment, he distinguished himself all through the heroic and successful defence. After the war was over, he was returned M.P. for Derry. a trust he continued to fulfil for the succeeding thirty years. He was also appointed Recorder, and filled other offices in the city. Under date 16th April 1697, he bitterly complains to the Lord-Lieutenant of the manner in which the city and its defenders had been treated by Government — "lying to this day in misery and rubbish, for its great zeal to his present Majesty and Government, when it might have had any conditions could be asked from the late King, if it would have surrendered." Mr. Cairnes died in 1722, aged about 77, and was buried, with all honours, in the Cathedral Churchyard of the city.

Sources

196. Irishmen, Lives of Illustrious and Distinguished, Rev. James Wills, D.D. 6 vols. or 12 parts. Dublin, 1840-'7.

217a. Londonderry, Siege and History of: James Hempton. Londonderry, 1861.

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