| Our Island Story|
|by H. E. Marshall|
|A child's history of England from earliest legendary times delightfully retold. Beginning with the stories of Albion and Brutus, it relates all the interesting legends and hero tales in which the history of England abounds through the end of the reign of Queen Victoria. Ages 9-12 |
WILLIAM III. AND MARY II.—THE STORY OF BRAVE LONDONDERRY
 ALTHOUGH most of the people received William and Mary
joyfully, some, chiefly in Ireland and Scotland, still
looked upon James as the rightful King.
In Ireland especially there were many Roman Catholics, who
would not acknowledge a Protestant King. The King of France
hated William, so he helped James with money and ships,
which enabled him to set out for Ireland to win his kingdom
James landed at a town called Kinsale and the Irish people
welcomed him with great joy. But he felt disheartened almost
at once for there had already been much fighting, and the
country through which he had to pass was desolate and
deserted, and at times he and his men could find hardly
enough food to keep them from starving. Most of the
Protestants had fled from the land or had shut themselves up
in the two towns of Enniskillen and Londonderry. The
soldiers of James besieged both these towns, but it was
round Londonderry that the greatest fight took place.
Londonderry is on a river called the Foyle, and the enemy
not only surrounded the town on the land side, but they
built a bar across the river so that no ships could come to
the town with food or help.
 The walls were weak and the cannon few, and the Irish
thought that the town could not hold out for long. The
Governor, too, was a cowardly man, and did his best to
dishearten the people, until it was suspected that he was a
traitor. Indeed, he would have given in, but a brave old
clergyman, called Walker, marched into his pulpit one
morning with a sword in one hand and a Bible in the other,
and preached such a rousing sermon that the people took
heart and never lost it again through all the long weeks of
hunger and suffering which they had to endure.
It was a dreadful time. The people had hardly anything to
eat, but they held bravely on, hoping against hope that help
would come to them from England. But day after day passed
and no help came. Rats, mice, dogs, and horses, all were
eaten, only tallow and skins remained. Still they held on.
The soldiers were so weak at last from want of food that
they could hardly stand, far less fight. They resolved to
hold out for two days longer. Then the end must come.
But just as the sun was setting on the 28th of July, the day
before they were going to give in, the eager watchers on the
walls saw the gleam of sails far down the river. Help! Help
at last! How their hearts beat, how they shouted with all
the little strength they had, as nearer and nearer sailed
There were three of them. On they came with all sail set.
But how could they pass the dreadful bar which lay right across
the river? On they came. One ship called the Mountjoy took
the lead and, sailing with all its force, it crashed against
the boom, as the bar was called.
With a tremendous noise the boom shivered and cracked, but
the Mountjoy was not strong enough to
 break it through. The
shock was so fierce that the ship was thrown backward and
stuck in the mud, for the river was shallow.
A groan rose from the people on the walls, and their hearts
grew sick with disappointment and fear, while the Irish
soldiers on the bank cheered with triumph. But as the
Mountjoy was thrown back, the second ship followed and
dashed at the spot which the Mountjoy had hit. The boom,
which was already cracked, gave way and, amid the noise of
joyful cheers and of tearing, splintering wood, she sailed
gaily over. Londonderry was saved.
That same night, eager hands unloaded the ships and, for the
first time for three months, the people had enough to eat. A
day or two later the army of James burned the tents and
cabins in which they had lived while besieging the town, and
But the struggle was not over. It lasted until the following
year, when William himself came to Ireland. Then there was a
great battle between the soldiers of James and the soldiers
of William. It was called the Battle of the Boyne, because
it was fought near a river of that name. James was beaten,
and fled again to France, and William, with the crown upon
his head, entered Dublin, the acknowledged King of Ireland.
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