Murray's Father

From Derry and Enniskillen in the Year 1689 by Thomas Witherow

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CHAPTER IV....continued


By this time it was well known in King James's camp that Murray was the leading spirit in the garrison, and that without him the city could not hold out. His father lived at the distance of a few miles in the country, and was an old man of some eighty years of age. General Hamilton sent for him, and besought him to induce his son not to stand out against the King's army in such a hopeless struggle. He accordingly had an interview with his son, but could not prevail upon him to surrender. It is even said that, like a second Regulus, the old man, regardless of his personal safety, counselled unyielding resistance. However this may be, General Hamilton sent him back to his home, and allowed him to live there without molestation the whole time of the siege. Conduct so honourable and so generous on the part of an enemy, is well worthy of being recorded.[14]

From the communications forwarded to France by Avaux, we now for the first time learn, early in May, that Hamilton and some of his friends entertained no small jealousy of the French officers. It was supposed that these strangers had come to rob them of the glory of the campaign. The Ambassador naively remarks that he sees no appearance of Hamilton gathering much glory if he shall conduct himself as he has done hitherto, and alleges that without M. de Pusignan he could not have crossed the river at Cladyford.[15]

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[14] Londerias, iii. 6.

[15] Avaux to Louvois, May 18/8th, 1689.

Derry and Enniskillen in the Year 1689

Thomas Witherow's thoroughly researched and well-annotated work is a classic account of the Siege of Derry, from the shutting of the gates against the Jacobite forces by the thirteen apprentice boys to the relief of the city by Major-General Kirke's fleet in July 1689. The defence of Enniskillen and the counteroffensive actions of the Enniskilleners is also ably documented.

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Fighters of Derry

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.

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The Actions of the Enniskillen-men

While the epic siege of Derry is usually accorded its proper place in history, the contemporaneous exploits of the Enniskillen men are often overlooked. This is manifestly unjust because the Enniskilleners demonstrated bravery and heroism in battle at least equal to that of the defenders of Londonderry. Some, of course, rate the actions of the Enniskillen men more highly. As far as Revd Andrew Hamilton, the Rector of Kilskeery and author of A True Relation of the Actions of the Inniskilling Men (1690), was concerned ‘The Derry men saved a city but the Enniskilleners saved a kingdom.’

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