The Declaration

From Derry and Enniskillen in the Year 1689 by Thomas Witherow

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To all Christian people to whom these presents shall come, the Mayor, Sheriffs, and Citizens of Londonderry, send greeting. Having received intimation from several creditable persons that an insurrection of the Irish Papists was intended, and by them a general massacre of the Protestants in this Kingdom; and the same to be acted and perpetrated on or about the 9th of this instant (December), and being confirmed in our fear and jealousy of so horrible a design by many palpable insinuations, dubious expressions, monitory letters, and positive information, all conducing and concurring to beget in us a trembling expectation of a sudden and inevitable ruin and destruction; we disposed ourselves to a patient and quiet resignation to the Divine providence, hoping for some deliverance and diversion of this impending misery, or to receive from the hands of God such a measure of constancy and courage as might enable us to possess our souls in patience, and submissively to wait the issue of so severe a trial. Accordingly, when, on the 5th instant, part of the Earl of Antrim's forces advanced to take possession of this place, though we looked on ourselves as sheep appointed for slaughter, and on them as the executioners of vengeance on us, yet we contrived no other means of escape than by flight, and with all precipitation to hurry away our families into other places and countries. But it pleased God, who watches over us, so to order things that when they were ready to enter the city, a great number of the younger, and some of the meaner sort of the inhabitants, ran hastily to the gates and shut them, loudly denying entrance to such guests, and obstinately refusing obedience to us. At first we were amazed at the enterprise, and apprehensive of the many ill circumstances and consequences, that might result from so rash an undertaking; but since that, having received repeated advertisements of the general design, and particular informations which may rationally induce us to believe it; and being credibly assured, that under the pretence of six companies to quarter amongst us, a vast swarm of Highland and Irish Papists were on the ways and roads approaching to us; that some of the Popish clergy in our neighbourhood had bought up arms and provided an unusual furniture of iron chains for bridles (whereof sixty were bespoke in one place), and some of them seized, and now in our custody; we began to consider it as an especial instance of God's mercy towards us, that we were not delivered over as a prey unto them, and that it pleased Him to stir up the spirits of the people so unexpectedly to provide for their and our common safety and preservation; wherefore we do declare and remonstrate to the world, that as we have resolved to stand upon our guards, and defend our walls, and not to admit of any Papist whatsoever to quarter amongst us, so we have firmly and sincerely determined to persevere in our duty and loyalty to our Sovereign Lord the King, without the least breach of mutiny, or seditious opposition to his royal commands. And since no other motives have prompted us to this resolution, but the preservation of our lives, and to prevent the plots and machinations of the enemies of the Protestant religion; we are encouraged to hope that the Government will vouchsafe a candid and favourable interpretation of our proceedings, and that all His Majesty's Protestant subjects will interpose with their prayers to God, their solicitations to the King, and their advice and assistance to us on this so extraordinary and immergent an occasion, which not only have an influence on the rest of the Kingdom, but may have a probable aspect towards the interest of the Protestant religion, and may deserve a favourable regard from all the professors thereof in His Majesty's dominions. God save the King.

« Appendix 1 | Contents | Appendix 3 »

William R. Young’s Fighters of Derry has for decades been one of the most overlooked works on the Siege of Derry and as a local genealogical resource. First published in 1932, the book was the product of ten years’ research into identifying participants at the siege which the author undertook when suffering from ill-health in the latter part of his life.

The book is essentially divided into two parts: the first contains 1660 biographical entries relating to the defenders of Derry, tracing, where possible, the family lineage; and the second part includes 352 entries on the Jacobite side. Apart from individual accounts of eminent protagonists in the siege, such as David Cairnes, Rev. George Walker, the Duke of Schomberg, Patrick Sarsfield, etc., there is also background given to many of the most influential families involved in the conflict.