William of Orange

Justin McCarthy
Chapter VI | Start of Chapter

When James II. had rendered his rule intolerable in England, and William of Orange had come over to make himself King, the Irish Catholics threw themselves heart and soul into the sinking cause of the Stuarts. Once again Irish fighting men were rallying under the leadership of a Tyrconnel. James made some efforts to endear himself to his Irish followers by hasty and, as it proved, futile concessions to the Irish national sentiment. Poynings' law, the act which declared that no measure could be introduced into an Irish Parliament without the approval of the King and his Council, was formally repealed; but as events turned out it was no more in the power of James II. to carry the repeal into effect than it was to keep England's crown upon his head. France sent over a large force to Ireland for the support of King James, under the command of a gallant and picturesque soldier, General St. Ruth, a man who, whatever his personal courage, was poorly qualified to contest the field against some of William's commanders. The ruin of James's cause was accomplished in Ireland. Ginckel, the ablest of William's commanders, won victory after victory. He made himself master of Athlone, and defeated the French and Irish troops at Aughrin, where St. Ruth was killed.