The King's Letter to Ireland, by Captain Leighton

From Derry and Enniskillen in the Year 1689 by Thomas Witherow

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Having received an account from Captain Leighton of what he was intrusted to represent to us, in relation to the condition of the Protestants in Ireland, we have directed him to assure you in our name, how sensibly we are affected with the hazards you are exposed to, by the illegal power the Papists have of late usurped in that kingdom, and that we are resolved to employ the most speedy and effectual means in our power, to rescue you from the oppressions and terrors you lie under; that in the meantime we do well approve of the endeavours we understand you are using to put yourself into a posture of defence, that you may not be surprised—wherein you may expect all the encouragements and assistance that can be given you from hence. And because we are persuaded that there are even of the Romish Communion many who are desirous to live peaceably, and do not approve of the violent and arbitrary proceedings of some who pretend to be in authority; and we, thinking it just to make distinctions of persons, according to their behaviour and deserts, do hereby authorize you to promise in our name to all such as shall demean themselves hereafter peaceably and inoffensively, our protection, and exemption from those pains and forfeitures, which those only shall incur who are the maintainers and abettors of the said illegal authority, assumed and continued contrary to law, or who shall act anything to the prejudice of the Protestant interest, or the disturbance of the public peace in that kingdom. And for further particulars we refer you to the report you shall receive from Captain Leighton (who hath acquitted himself with fidelity and diligence in your concerns), of the sincerity of our intentions towards you. And so we recommend you to the protection of Almighty God.

Given at St. James's, the 10th day of Feb., 1688/9.

To the Earl of Mount-Alexander, to be communicated to the Protestant nobility and gentry in the North of Ireland.

By His Highness's command. WILLIAM JEPHSON.

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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.