St. John’s Gate and the Irish outworks were surrendered to the English; the English town was left for the Irish troops to occupy until their departure for France. The men were to have their choice whether they would serve under William III. or under the French. A few days after they were mustered on the Clare side of the Shannon, to declare which alternative they preferred. An Ulster battalion, and a few men in each regiment, in all about 1,000, entered the service of Government; 2,000 received passes to return home; 11,000, with all the cavalry, volunteered for France, and embarked for that country in different detachments, under their respective officers. They were warmly received in the land of their adoption; and all Irish Catholics to France were granted the privileges of French citizens, without the formality of naturalization. And thus was formed the famous “Irish Brigade,” which has become a household word for bravery and the glory of the Irish nation.
The Treaty, as I have said, was signed on the 3rd of October, 1691. The preamble states that the contracting parties were Sir Charles Porter and Thomas Coningsby, Lords Justices, with the Baron de Ginkell as Commander-in-Chief, on the part of William and Mary; Sarsfield, Earl of Lucan, Viscount Galmoy, Colonel Purcell, Colonel Cusack, Sir J. Butler, Colonel Dillon, and Colonel Brown, on the part of the Irish nation. The articles were fifty-two in number. They guaranteed to the Catholics (1) the free exercise of their religion; (2) the privilege of sitting in Parliament; (3) freedom of trade; (4) the safety of the estates of those who had taken up arms for King James; (5) a general amnesty; (6) all the honours of war to the troops, and a free choice for their future destination. The articles run to considerable length, and cannot, therefore, be inserted here; but they may be seen in extenso in MacGeoghegan’s History of Ireland, and several other works. So little doubt had the Irish that this Treaty would be solemnly observed, that when the accidental omission of two lines was discovered in the clean copy, they refused to carry out the arrangements until those lines had been inserted. The Treaty was confirmed by William and Mary, who pledged “the honour of England” that it should be kept inviolably, saying: “We do, for us, our heirs and successors, as far as in us lies, ratify and confirm the same, and every clause, matter, and thing therein contained.” Two days after the signing of the Treaty, a French fleet arrived in the Shannon, with 3,000 soldiers, 200 officers, and 10,000 stand of arms. Sarsfield was strongly urged to break faith with the English; but he nobly rejected the temptation. How little did he foresee how cruelly that nation would break faith with him!