House of Commons Committee Investigation

House of Commons Committee investigation in the ‘Occasion of the Delays in sending Relief over into Ireland, and particularly to Londonderry’, June – August 1689. [1]


On 1 June 1689 the House Commons debated the ongoing siege at Derry as news reached London that the Jacobite forces had built a boom across the River Foyle from Charles fort to Grange fort.  What is perhaps most noticeable about the course of this day’s debate is the palpable negativity from some speakers in regards the potential outcome of a failure to hold Derry.  Many of the MPs realised how high the stakes were for William & Mary.  What also emerges during the course of the debate is that Robert Lundy is regarded as a rather small actor in a much wider series of betrayals and plots which were at the very heart of the English government.  The real target of many MPs wrath were supposed Jacobite agents still at the heart of the political establishment who traitorously advised William III in order to bring about the return of the deposed Stuart monarchy.

The debates and the investigation by the Committee contain a great deal of information about how Lundy was viewed in London as well as an indication of how his governorship of Londonderry was perceived by those who had been in the garrison during the siege.  They also tell us a great deal more about how the siege fits into the general course and conduct of the war in Ireland between William and James especially in regards to Government supplies, ammunition, money and reinforcements for the often beleaguered Protestant forces.  The lack of material and financial support from Westminster had been a fundamental complaint of Protestants in Ireland in the wars of the 1640s and 1650s.  Lundy is a hugely important figure in this Committee’s investigation, but it should be recognised that he is just one piece in a still obscured puzzle.

On 1 June 1689 William Leveson Gower, MP for Newcastle-Under-Lyme, opened the debate, rising to his feet to voice his concern that the reinforcements sent to Londonderry under the command of Colonels John Cunningham and Solomon Richards had returned to England, bringing with them most of the supplies and specie meant for the pockets of resistance against James II and his forces.  However his concern was primarily centred on the security of England for he stated ‘If Ireland be lost, England will follow’.  John Dutton Colt, MP for Leominster, argued strongly that ‘these delays must lie at somebody’s door.  A poor parcel of people defended themselves bravely, and gave a stand to the Enemy’.  He wanted to determine the ‘authors of the counsel’ which advised sending Colonels Cunningham and Richards to relieve Derry rather than other forces who may have been more loyal to the Williamite regime.  If Colt implied Cunningham and Richards had acted treacherously in returning from Derry, Sir Robert Clayton, MP for Bletchingley, Surrey, was much less circumspect in apportioning blame.  He stated that ‘tis a thing admirable to me that Colonel Richards, who raised the first Regiment to fight against the Protestant Religion under King James, should be sent to maintain it’.  Richard Hampden, Richard Harbord and Sir Charles Montagu all suggested more suitable alternatives in the regiments of either Viscount Lisburne, Sir George Leslie, or the earl of Roscommon, all of which had been reformed to remove Catholics from their ranks.  These speeches were damning assessments of the loyalty of the Colonels given that they had not yet been given the chance to defend themselves.  John Grobham Howe, MP for Gloucestershire, expressed his utter distain for the failure to support the garrison at Derry.  He pointed at the poor quality of supplies which had been sent with the reinforcements and that some of these men even perished on the return journey to England.  Howe aimed higher than Lundy, Cunningham and Richards, stating that ‘those who gave this Counsel are greater offenders than they that executed it’.  He continued that William had,

…come over and delivered us from these Counsels; if we be delivered to these men, who formerly gave the ill Counsel, and were of the Privy-Council to King James, they are not fit to be Counsellors to King William. If you deprive him of these servants, who would draw the King into the same inconvenience they did King James, I hope affairs will go on much better.

Sir Robert Howard, MP for Castle Rising in Norfolk, believed Parliament should use the 1689 Mutiny Act to punish those like Lundy, Cunningham and Richards who had so readily abandoned Londonderry in its hour of need.  The Mutiny Act had been passed in March as a result of the desertion of some Scottish soldiers who refused to obey William’s commands and instead proclaimed their fealty to James II.  Howard stated that ‘two things are to be done concerning Ireland; one is, what has been done amiss, who should have stayed to have relieved them; the other, the slow assistance that has been sent them’.  This reflects a belief that an investigation into Lundy’s actions formed just one small part of Parliament’s oversight into the siege at Derry.  It was their duty to investigate what Howard thought was a clear case of Lundy’s desertion, and he felt that the use of parliamentary impeachment would be the best means of calling such traitors to account.  ‘I would have a search’, he argued, ‘and a speedy search, into these things, that Ireland may see we desert them not’.  He warned his fellow MPs that ‘if you are wanting in this, you send word to Londonderry to give it up’.

William Harbord, MP for Launceston in Cornwall, talked in barely disguised disbelief that the men sent under the commands of Colonels Cunningham and Richards should not only return to England rather than reinforce the garrison at Derry, but that they also brought the provisions intended for Derry with them.   Harbord stated that ‘either they are guilty of the greatest treason, or cowardice in the world’.  However he did not feel that impeachment would get to the root of the case. Instead he proposed putting them before a Court Martial which, he believed, ‘will handle these men tenderly’.  Richard Hampden, MP for Buckinghamshire also sought an investigation into the issue of supplies that had been intended for the besieged inhabitants.  He noted that he was informed that a victualler in Chester had been arrested and imprisoned for his abuses.  Hampden informed his fellow MPs that ‘the provisions he made were so bad, that a great many were little better than poisoned, and in a languishing condition’.  Harbord interjected, naming Matthew Anderton, the Collector of Customs at Chester as the main culprit, further noting that many of the seamen would rather have drunk their own urine that the water provided for their journey to Derry.  Colonel John Birch, MP for Weobley in Herefordshire, continued the debate stating that these miscarriages in those trusted to defend Londonderry was a ‘great business, and, if well followed, will make the Rabbit bolt’.  He believed that an investigation into the misdeeds of Anderton, Cunningham and Richards would expose other abuses and deceptions by William’s counsels.  Birch believed that closet Jacobites within the King’s counsels threatened to undermine the Williamite settlement.  Sir Joseph Tredenbam, MP for St. Mawes, Cornwall, agreed on this point stating that ‘if there be no other person to blame than him named [Lundy], you come not to your end. Therefore I would have it enquired to the bottom’.  At this juncture John Grobham Howe again spoke his mind, stating that ‘I am glad of this good beginning’.  He also desired to know why Admiral Herbert had been sent to sea towards Londonderry with only nineteen ships when he required at least thirty to properly relieve the garrison.  Howe also further pressed the notion that there were traitors at the heart of the King’s counsels who wanted to fill Derry’s reinforcements with Jacobites so that the garrison would fall.  He added that whenever they had acted to rid the nation of a papist monarch and his counsellors, they merely found over avenues for their avarice.  As Howe put it, ‘one bucket goes in, and another out. I would enquire into those that give these advices’.  He concluded his advice to the House by stating ‘Tis said, in the country, we are betrayed, and if we address the King to remove those who are under impeachments for crimes, and those that managed King James’s affairs, we do but what we ought’.

Finally Richard Holt, MP for Lymington, Hampshire, spoke to the Commons chamber.  He stated quite plainly to his belief that:

we are beholden to Londonderry; if that had not made a good resistance, King James had been at Edinburgh before now. I never expect redress of these miscarriages, till we come to the root. If Londonderry miscarriage be not redressed, it will come home to us. The old Army, we see, is continued, and the new one laid aside. Those who were King James’s creatures, are now in Office and Employment, and in great ones; and those who have been of the Cabinet-Council with the Queen.

This popular opinion led to the formation of a Committee to ‘enquire who has been the Occasion of the Delays in sending Relief over into Ireland, and particularly to Londonderry’.

This Committee was chaired by Sir Thomas Littleton and comprised of forty-two MPs.  The members were named as Sir Thomas Littleton, Sir Henry Ashurst, Sir William Ashurst, Philip Babington, Colonel John Birch, (Charles or Hugh) Boscowen, Sir Henry Capel, John Chetwynd, Sir Thomas Clarges, Sir Robert Clayton, John Dutton Colt, Thomas Coningsby, Sir William Ellys, Paul Foley, Fitton Gerard, Francis Gwyn, Richard Hampden, Sir Edward Harley, William Harbord, Henry Herbert, Richard Holt, Sir Robert Howard, John Grobham Howe, William Garraway, William Leveson Gower, Sir Charles Montagu, Sir Christopher Musgrave, Thomas Papillon, Charles Powlett (marquis of Winchester), Lord William Powlett, Sir Charles Raleigh, Sir Francis Russell, William Sacheverell, John Smith, John Somers, Oliver St John, William Stockdale, Sir Joseph Tredenham, Sir Patience Ward, Sir Trevor Williams, and Roger Whitley.  The MPs were instructed to make inquiries into the provisioning of the reinforcements bound for Londonderry and that they also ‘make a particular Inquiry into the Carriage of Colonel Lundee, Colonel Richards, and Colonel Coningham’.  Members particularly focused their enquiries on why the relief force that had been ordered to reinforce Londonderry under the command Richards and Cunningham had returned instead to England.

Two days after its formation, Sir Thomas Littleton asked the Commons that all copies of the commissions and instructions relating to Londonderry and Ireland be transmitted to the Committee.  He further requested that Robert Lundy, by now a prisoner in the Tower of London, be brought before the Committee.  The House of Commons assented to his requests.  The following day Littleton further reported from the Committee, asking that Matthew Anderton, the former Collector of Customs at Chester, as well as his eldest son and namesake, be brought from custody to answer the Committee’s questions.  Sir Henry Capell informed the House of Commons on 7th of June that the King assented to the desires of the Committee.  The Committee then concentrated their efforts on taking testimonies and considering who was truly responsible for the delays in reinforcements and supplies reaching Ireland.  They next reported on 22nd of June when Sir Thomas Littleton acquainted the House that the Committee desired an application be made to the King that the books and papers of the Privy Council, Irish Committee and books of the Admiralty covering their period of investigation be brought to them for their consideration.  Again the King expressed his assent to their request.

On 6th of July the Committee absolved Colonel Solomon Richards, upon whom many members had poured much scorn, of any miscarriage and ordered that he be released from imprisonment in the Gatehouse.  Furthermore the Members determined that Cunningham was the senior officer and that Richards ‘had acted nothing in the whole Matter, but in obedience to his superior officer’.

On 29th of July the Committee investigated the circumstances in which Richard Hamilton had been dispatched to Ireland by William III in an attempt to persuade the Irish Lord Deputy Richard Talbot, earl of Tyrconnell, to switch allegiance.  Hamilton had managed to procure the assistance of John Temple, the nephew of Sir John Temple, a former Attorney General of Ireland.  Tyrconnell’s secretary, William Ellis, had occasioned rumours in England that under the right circumstances the Lord Lieutenant might change his allegiance and abandon James.  Hamilton assured William that because of his personal relationship with Tyrconnell, he could persuade him to switch his alliance.  Should he fail, he promised on his honour as a gentleman and military officer that he would return to England.  However Tyrconnell had no intention of switching his allegiance and simply played for time to strengthen his own position and that of King James in Ireland.

Sir John Temple, who had been integral to Hamilton gaining this employment, informed the Commons Committee that he ‘never saw, spoke with, or writ to, this Mr. Hamilton, since he came into England; but that the sending him over was transacted by another (meaning his Nephew, Mr. Temple)’.  Temple claimed that Hamilton told his nephew that ‘if he might be sent into Ireland, he would prevent this Massacre; and did believe he might prevail with the Lord Tyrconnell to deliver up the Kingdom’.  Strangely, given the importance of Hamilton to the Jacobite cause in Ireland, Temple stated further that he thought,

this going-over of Hamilton’s did no great harm, that he knows of; for that it was but the loss of one man to our interest, who might have gone however, for that there was no stop upon his going; nor, after he was gone, did the preparations against Ireland go on ever the less for it.

This opinion was not shared by other Protestant observers.  Francis Marsh, Archbishop Of Dublin, informed the Committee that ‘witnesses and others thought him [Hamilton] an unfit man, and wondered how he came to be sent.  This was the crisis, the fatal hour of Ireland.  It was said in Ireland that Hamilton came from the King’.  Sir Oliver St. George claimed that when Richard Hamilton arrived to parley with Tyrconnell, ‘the Papists in Dublin made bonfires when Dick Hamilton came over, saying he was worth 10,000 men’.  Indeed Sir John Temple’s nephew felt the disgrace of having supported Hamilton.  He committed suicide by jumping into the Thames at London Bridge from a boat he had hired.  He left behind a suicide note explaining, ‘My folly in undertaking what I could not execute hath done the King great prejudice, which can be stopped – no easier way for me than this – May his undertakings prosper – and may he have a blessing’.

Major Richard Done provided the only eyewitness account of Richard Hamilton’s conduct when he arrived in Ireland.  He informed the Committee that he had heard a vessel had arrived from England at Ringsend and he went to the harbour to see who the passengers were.  He immediately identified Hamilton, having served with him in the Irish army some years previously.  Accompanied by some eleven other officers and 70 soldiers in redcoats, they made their way to a tavern.  Major Done followed them and overheard their whole conversation from the adjoining room.  The Major informed the Committee that after many salutations, he heard Hamilton break out into uproarious laughter ‘saying he could not forbear it, thinking how finely he shammed the Prince of Orange into a belief that he had interest and inclination enough to prevail with Tyrconnell to lay down the sword and submit to him’.  When asked by others in attendance how he managed to fool the usurper King, Hamilton replied ‘I wanted not friends to persuade him into a confidence of me’.  It was the intercession of key Jacobite agents in the English government which led to him receiving his liberty and a pass for eleven officers and 140 soldiers.  He believed he could have raised as many as 700 quite easily, adding that ‘had King James been so well advised as he might, he need not have come out of England for want of friends to support him’.  The party continued drinking in the tavern until they were joined by Sir Richard Nagle and Tyrconnell’s secretary William Ellis whom Tyrconnell once described as a ‘knave and villain…yet he is a useful knave and being a Protestant can do me good, but no hurt’.  Major Done noted that Hamilton welcomed both men warmly, saying to Ellis, ‘How, Brother Sham, are you there?  The Kingdom of Ireland is beholden to you and I, for diverting this storm off from them; eels you had ere this an enemy in the bowels of the Kingdom’.  He then turned to Nagle and asked ‘Could you think, Sir Richard, that Ellis could have such an interest with the Lord Deputy to persuade him to lay down the sword and submit to the Prince?’  Nagle noted his surprise and added that if any of the King’s advisors had carried out some due diligence and consulted with any Irish gentlemen in London they would have quickly determined that Tyrconnell had no intention of submitting.  Thereafter the party left the tavern.

The Committee also heard accusations regarding the support, or more especially the lack of support, for the Irish war from one of their members, William Harbord.  He stood accused of corruption and embezzlement of funds in his position as paymaster of the forces in Ireland.  Harbord had long supported William, though the earl of Halifax later remarked that ‘at first the K[ing] took Mr Harbord for an extraordinary man of business, but a few months after his being in England, he was undeceived’.  Frederick Schomberg, first duke of Schomberg, was also highly critical of Harbord’s management of money intended for his forces.  In his evidence to the Committee, Sir John Temple stated that he knew nothing that implicated Harbord in playing a role in sending Richard Hamilton to Ireland, though he admitted that the MP may have had ‘discourse with his nephew about this business, for aught he knows’.  Temple’s only direct interactions with Harbord was in early January 1689 when he was asked to draft a declaration on behalf of the King that Catholic forces in Ireland should lay down their arms.  After drawing up a declaration Temple asked for the opinion of ‘divers Irish Gentlemen, who were dissatisfied about it’.  He believed this was because he drafted the document himself without their input and assistance.  Temple therefore told Harbord that another should be drawn up instead, which the ‘Irish Gentlemen’ did themselves.  Temple concluded that Harbord ‘did give him all the countenance, assistance, and dispatch, that was possible, in relation to all the Irish Affairs wherein he was concerned’.

The Committee also examined Sir Oliver St. George on this issue.  He stated that soon after the Prince of Orange had arrived in London in December 1688, he argued that it would ‘conduce much to the good of Ireland that a fair correspondence were settled from hence thither; and that expresses might be sent away to let them know how well things were here’.  He noted that William had immediately agreed and ordered him to meet with Harbord for that purpose.  Sir Oliver St. George further noted that Harbord had delegated to him the task of finding fit messengers to carry letters to Ireland to this affect.  He recommended two such individuals to be employed in this affair, both of whom he believed to be very honest and loyal to the Crown.  The spelling of the messengers is inconsistent in the records.  One is named as Calthrop or Courthope and may have been a reference to Captain John Coltrop who had been granted a commission as Captain of a troop of Dragoons in December 1688, but complained he had been prevented from going to Ireland.  The other messenger is referred to either as Cartwright or Carteret and his origin is unknown.  St. George found that Harbord proved reticent to send the letters and messengers to Ireland and when he questioned the delays he thought ‘Mr. Harbord was many times so passionate, as he thought himself slighted by him’.  Despite St. George’s continued intercessions, Harbord decided to stop Cartwright from travelling to Ireland and resolved to send Frederick Hamilton instead.  St. George further alleged that Harbord delayed the dispatch of Coltrop to Ireland until several letters from Munster arrived which pressed for relief to be sent there.  In total he thought there to be around three weeks to a month between the time St. George recommended these messengers to Harbord and the time of Coltrop’s dispatch.  He vigorously argued with Harbord that if the messengers had been dispatched when he had first pressed for him to do so, some relief may have already been sent to Ireland before the intercessions from Munster had arrived in London.  St. George concluded his evidence by stating that ‘Mr [Frederick] Hamilton (who was sent by Mr. Harbord in the stead of Mr. Cartwright) fell sick by the way, whereby the benefit of two expresses were lost; which was of ill consequence’.  St. George alleged that Harbord’s slowness in sending messengers and preferring Frederick Hamilton to either of the men he suggested led to a crisis in confidence amongst Protestants on the island.  Furthermore he informed the Committee that he believed Harbord was much more interested in securing estates for his own posterity rather than saving Protestants in Ireland.  To his best remembrance, St George informed the Committee that Harbord once said to him ‘what should we make such haste for into Ireland, for, if we do, we shall get no estates there, for I shall carry 20,000l with me’ with which he intended to invest in land.  He also overheard the MP chastising Hugh Hamilton, who travelled from Enniskillen, for bringing him more grim news, saying ‘God’s wounds!  What do you tell me of Ireland?  I would not go over the threshold for Ireland’.  Hugh Hamilton informed the Committee that in his recollection, when he asked Harbord at his home in Newport Street to help him secure supplies and provisions, Harbord replied that ‘he would not go to Whitehall if it would save the nation from sinking’.  The Committee further discovered that Thomas Coote, brother of Richard, earl of Mountrath, had also been charged to go to Ireland alongside Frederick Hamilton but refused the service owing to the intervention of his wife, much to the chagrin of his ennobled brother.

Harbord was enraged by St. George and Hamilton’s evidence, stating that he had many witnesses to ‘justify himself against any aspersions that might be laid upon him; and moved they might be called in, and examined’.  The Committee found themselves quite assured of his fidelity after previously hearing his version of events in his home.  They stated with confidence that ‘no reflection whatsoever did rest upon him, from any evidence that had been given; and therefore altogether needless to examine any more witnesses’.  Members therefore moved that ‘this special matter, as it stands’ should be reported to the House for Hardbord’s further justification ‘from anything that might seem to reflect upon him’.  The House of Commons divided on the issue, with 75 votes to 29 agreed with the Committee’s support for Harbord.

The Committee appointed to inquire into the Miscarriages relating to Ireland and Londonderry next reported to the Commons on 10th of August, informing the House that they were preparing to make their report the following Monday.   Two days later on 12th of August 1689 Sir Thomas Littleton reported from the Committee, noting that while members had examined many witnesses, they ultimately ‘came to no Resolutions thereupon’.  Nonetheless, they resolved to report the matter as they saw it to the House.

The Committee firstly pointed out that Lundy’s leadership, or more specifically his lack of it, had undermined Protestant forces in Sligo and Dungannon as well as Londonderry.  The Committee noted that on 13th of April 1689,  Lundy wrote to Lord Kingston in Sligo and begged him to advance north with all due haste to rendezvous with his own forces to prevent the Jacobites under Richard Hamilton from crossing the River Finn.  Kingston, Major Vaughan, Cornet Nicholson and Henry Nicholson marched with 1,000 horse and foot as far as Ballyshannon where he awaited further orders.  However, none came and the enemy encircled that force, cutting off communication between Kingston and Londonderry.  Therefore the Committee determined that due to Lundy’s lack of clear orders ‘Lord Kingston’s forces were dispersed, and the best regiment of horse the protestants had, broken; besides the town of Sligoe, and all that country, possessed by the enemy’.  Lieutenant Colonel Swan informed the Committee that he and Reverend George Walker and several others had persuaded Captain Williams to keep the fort at Dungannon where they raised a company of foot and two troops of horse.  Walker left Dungannon and made for Londonderry in order to consult with Lundy for the best defence of the garrison.  Lundy promised to send a small force and guns to the town in order to make it the ‘frontier garison against the enemy, who held Charlemont within five miles’.  Due to Lundy’s encouragement, the local inhabitants in and around the town fortified Dungannon and brought in great stores of provisions, in particular 2,000l worth of oatmeal and other grains.  Despite this, on 16th of March 1689 Lundy wrote a letter to Colonel Stewart, the Governor of the town, with orders to quit the garrison.  The town was therefore abandoned alongside all the provisions in their possession.  Swann argued that this came at an opportune time for the Jacobites as they were at that very time ready to starve, and could not have held their own garrisons much longer for want of provisions

The Committee then sought to delineate Lundy’s military tactics in early April at Strabane, Clady, Lifford and Long Causeway.  Daniel Sherrard, one of the Apprentice Boys who closed the gates of the city against the earl of Antrim’s Redshanks, contradicted Lundy’s version of events when the Jacobites first appeared within sight of the city.  Lundy stated that on 13th of April three squadrons of Jacobite horse had appeared across the river from the city and that he ordered a gunner to fire upon them.  However Sherrard stated that when Lundy became Governor he removed the citizens of Londonderry from positions of guard and put in men from his own regiment.  He also did not allow citizens to have any ammunition until the day the siege began.  Sherrard also stated that the gunner who purportedly fired upon the Jacobites could not have done so as he had no ammunition ‘as the Gunner himself then told him’.

In relation to Lundy’s orders on 15th of April for all men who could bear arms to assemble and make for various defensive passes at Cladyford, Lifford and Long Causeway, Lord Blayney informed the Committee that when the Jacobites approached the passes, Lundy’s forces ‘all run in great confusion; no order was either given or observed’.  He further stated that while many officers and soldiers respected his position as the commander-in-chief based on his military experience, he lacked the basic leadership qualities to command a personal following among the men under his charge.  In particular Blayney pointed to a lack of care for his soldiers, stating ‘there was no sort of care taken, few of the men having powder; nor was there three guns fired, before they were all routed’.  Joseph Bennett, who later published his account of the siege as an ‘eyewitness’ to it, accused Lundy of being one of the first to flee the battlefield, ‘bidding the Men shift for themselves, and saying, All was lost’; a charge that Lundy vigorously denied.  He admitted that he had fled the passes, but only once it appeared to him that all was lost and that he did so amongst his men.  Colonel John Chichester affirmed Bennett’s version of events having alleged he met Lundy as he fled from the defence of the passes.  He urged Lundy to ‘tarry, and give some orders, or all would be lost’, to which he contemptuously replied that Londonderry was his post and primary concern and he preferred to make his return to the city.  The Committee also found that when Lundy returned to the garrison he ordered that the gates be shut, locking several thousand people outside the walls.  Lundy for his part claimed that those he left outside were the ‘rabble’ and cowards who left the battlefield.  The Committee investigating the Occasion of the Delays in sending Relief over into Ireland noted that he left four to five thousand men outside the city walls throughout the night, exposed to potential Jacobite vengeance.

David Cairns stated quite plainly that he believed that there had been treachery at the heart of Lundy’s plans for the defence of the city.  He stated that he believed ‘the enemy had notice, someway or other, of the resolution taken on Saturday, April thirteenth, at the council of war; because they marched immediately to the very place where the Protestants were to meet’.  Cairns argued that he took his concerns directly to Lundy and pressed him to march immediately rather than waiting until Monday 15th of April in order to prevent the Jacobite forces from surprising them.  Though he did not blame Lundy directly for the disclosure of the defensive military operations, he certainly implied that the Scottish Governor displayed a casual attitude towards the care of the city and the men he commanded, noting that despite his intercession, Lundy refused to march out from the garrison before Monday morning at 10 a.m.  Other witnesses also alleged that Lundy was a closet Jacobite and traitor that colluded with agents of the Jacobite military, as well as Tyrconnell and King James himself.  On Tuesday 16th of April one Whitloe, a minister from Raphoe, entered the city on behalf of Lieutenant General Richard Hamilton, to propose a treaty for the surrender of the town.  Daniel Sherarrd informed the Committee that Whitloe had been present at the Council of War when it had been decided to quit the city.  Cornet Nicholson alleged before the Committee that on 16th of April he asked Whitloe, whom he knew for some time, what Lundy intended to do concerning the surrender of the city.  Nicholson stated that ‘Whitloe seemed at first very shy towards him; but, at last, told him, the town would be delivered before Saturday following; and that he was to receive his letters next morning from Colonel Lundie: and he advised him, as an old acquaintance, to shift for himself’. Cornet Nicholson retold his conversation to two further witnesses, one Henry Nicholson and one Dr Lasby.  Henry Nicholson was examined before the Committee and confirmed he had been told of this account.  They subsequently left Londonderry, fearing the city was about to be betrayed.  Indeed the civil government of the town did send Captain Charles Kinaston, Archdeacon James Hamilton of Raphoe and Captain Francis Neville as emissaries to Lieutenant General Richard Hamilton and Marshall Conrad de Rosen to consult upon the surrender of Londonderry.

Daniel Sherrard also alleged that Lundy favoured closet Jacobites, including a Captain in his own Regiment who had sworn that he would not serve William against King James.  Furthermore he stated that Lundy held constant correspondence with William Ellis, Tyrconnell’s Secretary, until the Jacobite army under Hamilton marched on the city and cut off communication with Dublin.  He also claimed that one Captain Netterville, who Lundy apparently often admitted into his counsels, also refused to serve against King James.   Sherarrd further attacked Lundy by informing the committee that he had made one William Stewart a captain of the city’s defences even though he refused to take the oath of allegiance, and that Lieutenant General Richard Hamilton had attempted to appoint Stewart as a lieutenant in the Jacobite force on several occasions.  One Edward Hansard stated that Colonel Gustavus Hamilton, who Sherrard had accused of harbouring Jacobite sentiments, captured Doe Castle from him and placed it under Stewart’s charge.  Stewart promptly surrendered it to a MacSweeney, who Hansard believed to be a Tory and outlaw.

In Lundy’s defence, Colonel James Hamilton informed the Committee of his experience of the conditions in the city at Londonderry when he arrived with arms, money, ammunition from England on 21st of March 1689 aboard the aptly-named Deliverance.  Hamilton stated that he immediately wrote to Lundy to come aboard his ship in order to receive the supplies.  When informed that he would be required to take an oath of loyalty to William and Mary in order to receive the supplies, Lundy happily did so in the presence of several others, including Colonel Stewart, Captain Mervyn and Captain Corry.  Other witnesses testified that they were prevented from seeing Lundy take the oath.  Sir Arthur Rawdon informed the Committee that he, alongside Captain Beverley, commander of the frigate The Jersey, were made to leave the cabin of the Deliverance ‘under the pretence that Colonel Lundie and Mr James Hamilton had private business’.  Rawdon also claimed that Hamilton told them afterwards that he had personally administered the oath to Lundy.  However Rawdon and many of the other officers in Londonderry remained unsatisfied and demanded that Lundy swear his oath again in their presence, a request that the Governor refused.  James Hamilton, in further evidence to the Committee attested that not only did Lundy take the oath on The Deliverance in his presence, he also assisted in having it enforced upon the inhabitants and soldiers inside the city, as well as the public proclamation of King William and Queen Mary on 22nd of March.  Thereafter Hamilton delivered all the arms and ammunition which he had in his charge to the Governor.  He noted however that although he meant to deliver 1,000l to Lundy, he could only collect 595l-16s-8d from Matthew Anderton, the Collector of Customs at Chester.  The Committee expressed their satisfaction with Hamilton’s version of events, indicating their belief that Lundy had indeed taken the oath of allegiance to William and Mary.

The Committee also further investigated the conduct of Lundy and Colonels Cunningham and Richards who arrived with reinforcements intended for the city on 15th of April.  They found that Cunningham sent two letters to Lundy on his arrival, and after receiving no answer to either (not knowing that Lundy was in the field), he sent Major Tiffin in person at about 9 in evening the with a third letter.  On his journey into the city, Tiffin met Lundy’s messenger who carried a reply to the initial two letters from Cunningham.  In these, Lundy replied that,

I am come back much sooner than I expected when I went forth; for, having numbers placed on Finn water, as I went to pass where a few might oppose a greater number then came to the place, I found them on the run before the enemy, who pursued with great vigour and, I fearm march on with all their forces; so that I wish your men would march all night in good order, lest they be surprised; here they shall have all the accommodation the place will afford; in this hurry pardon me for this brevity; the rest the bearer will inform you.

The messenger turned back and accompanied Tiffin to meet with Lundy, whereupon the Governor reopened his reply and added a postscript to it which stated,

Since writing this, Major Tiffin is come here and I have given him my opinion fully which, I believe, when you hear, and see this place, you will both join with me that, without an immediate supply of money and provisions this place must fall very soon into the enemy’s hands.  If you do not send your men here some time tomorrow, it will not be in your power to bring ’em at all.

In conversation with Tiffin, Lundy expressed his gratitude for the arrival of these reinforcements.  However he qualified this by claiming that the city could not sustain a prolonged siege nor could it support more mouths to feed.  The next day Cunningham sent instructions to Richards to bring three or four officers of his own for a meeting with Lundy at the Governor’s house.  Colonel Richards informed the committee that a great number of local gentry and officers also attended.  However he noted that Cunningham and Lundy spent much of the time whispering together away from the prying eyes and inquisitive ears of the rest of the party.  Richards sensed treachery was afoot

After a short period Lundy suggested they meet as a Council of War in the Council Chamber to discuss how best to use the reinforcements for the general defence of the city.  The Committee heard from several witnesses who all asserted that Lundy prevented them from attending the Council, despite the fact they had attended former meetings of the military leadership in western Ulster including Colonels Hamilton and Chichester, and Majors Baker and Walker.  Indeed, when Baker and Walker attempted to enter the Council Chamber, Lundy ordered them to be kept out, saying ‘they were to be a select Company’.  Evidence submitted to the House of Commons Committee noted that Lundy spoke first at the Council of War, proposing to quit the city and to send the two regiments of reinforcements back to England.  Lundy justified this action by claiming that they only had enough provisions to last a week to ten days in the face of any enemy around 25,000 strong and within four or five miles of the walls.  Colonel Richards informed the Committee that, except for his own vociferous objections, all present at the Council consented to Lundy’s proposal.  He claimed he opposed this drastic measure, stating, ‘Quitting the town, was quitting of a kingdom’.  All those present then subscribed to a paper of their consent to quit the town.  Richards stated that the resolution began, ‘Finding, upon Inquiry, that there was not above a Week or Ten Days Provision, etc…’, even though no inquiry had taken place at the Council of War as those present simply trusted Lundy at his word when he stated he had searched the stores himself.  Furthermore Richards informed the Committee that those present agreed, upon their honour, not to inform anyone of the resolution they had taken.  Lundy proposed an oath of secrecy which Richards utterly rejected.  Lord Blayney further informed the Committee that a proposition had been put forth which planned to destroy all the ammunition in the town which Lundy approved, indicating that ‘it was better so to do, than to let it fall into the enemy’s hand’.

Despite Lundy’s protestations to the contrary, Cornet Nicholson informed the Committee that practically every house in the city had ample supplies.  He asserted that provisions came into the city daily by boat, meaning that by the time of the Council of War, the city had enough supplies to sustain 3,000 men for three months, information which he alleged Lundy had admitted to Lord Blayney prior to the meeting of the Council.  Nicholson further stated that after the meeting, the inhabitants of the city desired to know what resolutions had been agreed.  He asserted that ‘the more to amuse them [the members of the Council of War]’, they informed the citizens that they resolved to land the men immediately and march them into the town.  The Committee determined that Lundy only pretended to give some orders to the citizens regarding quarters for the reinforcements in order to make a show for those inhabitants inside the city walls.  Sir Arthur Rawdon made a similar claim stating that he often asked Lundy to employ men to go outside the city walls in order to bring in provisions, but he could not get him to agree to the need to give such orders.  He further said that three days before Cunningham and Richards arrived at Londonderry, Lundy told him that the garrison had three months provisions for 6,000 men.  Furthermore, Joseph Bennett informed the Committee that at one point there was a stack of hay and 150 or 200 barrels of salmon which belonged to viscount Massereene which were within a quarter of a mile of Londonderry which Lundy could have brought within the city.  Despite Lundy claiming that he had brought the supplies into the city, they were actually appropriated by Captain Warham Jemmit, the Governor of Culmore Fort.  Lundy defended his account of the provisions available, though he vigorously denied the discourses put forth by Bennett, Blayney and Rawdon when confronted by the Committee.

Colonel Chichester attested that when Colonels Cunningham and Richards retired to their ships, the general populace expected to see them return with their reinforcements.  However, ‘when they saw the ships fall down lower from the town, they first took the alarm; and cried out, they were betrayed’.  The Committee formed an opinion that the ships only stayed so close to the city after the Council of War in order to allow Lundy to make an escape, with the Governor begging Cunningham not to leave without him ‘lest he became a sacrifice to the rabble’.  When it became clear that the reinforcements planned to leave the city other parties tried desperately to persuade them to stay.  Joseph Bennett alleged that on 17th of April Colonel Cunningham’s brother, who according to Lundy’s account had been educated in the city, and one Captain Cole, offered Cunningham the government of the garrison instead of Lundy.  They argued that they had sufficient provisions inside the walls, and that they had a large force prepared to march into the field to meet the Jacobites should the need emerge.  However Bennett stated that Cunningham refused and bid them to return to Londonderry and obey Lundy’s authority.  For his part Colonel Cunningham agreed with previous witnesses in their interpretations of the Council of War, though he denied Colonel Richards’ accusation that he said ‘he would go home again, let who would be displeased with it’.  He also denied Bennett’s statement that his brother came to meet him with Captain Cole to offer him the government of the city. Cunningham informed the Committee that he had a ‘good opinion’ of Lundy’s loyalty and told them that they would be better served obeying the Governor.  The Commons Committee also posed questions to Cunningham regarding his oath to William & Mary, stating that his name was amongst those in the Dispensation to Popish Officers.  Cunningham also produced a certificate from the King’s Bench which stated outright that he had taken the oath.

After leaving Londonderry the ships made their return voyage to Liverpool, carrying not only the reinforcements, but also many officers and gentry who had been in service in Londonderry itself.  The Committee noted that Lundy made his escape into Scotland in a ‘private soldier’s habit’.  Colonel Chichester further informed the Committee, that Captain Cornwall, of the frigate Swallow which had carried Colonel Cunningham to Londonderry, carried many of the local officers and gentry.  Chichester stated that he had demanded 4l as payment for each person, and where they did not have money, Cornwall ‘plundered their swords, watches, cloathes, or any thing they had, in a very barbarous manner’.

The Committee also focused their attention upon Matthew Anderton, the Collector of Customs at Chester, for the lack of and poor quality of supplies and provisions sent to Londonderry with Colonels Cunningham and Richards; the insufficient amount of ships that transported the reinforcements and provisions; and, that Anderton failed to provide payments of money for the garrison according to the orders of Parliament.  Anderton did not appear before the Committee in person, sending a certificate under oath from two surgeons who attested that he had a bruised leg and could not travel, sending two of his sons in his stead.  Colonel Richards stated that Anderton had failed to provide adequate and comfortable shipping for 1,500 men, especially criticising a lack of platforms for the men to lie upon as was the usual practice.  Richards further stated that he attributed the sickness of his men on the voyage to the ‘badness of provisions’.

In regards the poor quality of the provisions sent by Anderton, Colonels Cunningham and Richards, Captain Tucker and Lieutenant Driver stated that ‘the biscuit was very bad, and so was the beer; but the cheese was agreed, on all hands, to be good’.  Lieutenant Mouse and Lieutenant Hasley informed the Committee that ‘the biscuit was rotten, and mouldy; and not fit to eat’.  Indeed, some witnesses heard that the biscuit had been in Chester Castle’s stores since the time of Monmouth’s Rebellion in 1685.  As for the beer, ‘the men chose rather to drink salt water, or their own urine’.  Furthermore it was discovered that the casks which shipped the beer were often as much as twelve of fourteen inches short of being full.  Anderton’s sons defended their father’s conduct, stating that the provisions which came from Chester Castle had only been baked in 1688.  Anderton had been forced to get supplies from the castle rather than buying them from the local populace as they simply could not provide enough in a prompt fashion to allow it to be shipped with Colonels Richards and Cunningham.  He produced a certificate, signed by five individuals, who attested to the fact that they had viewed the biscuit and thought it fit for purpose.  As for the beer and biscuit he bought from local traders, he asked the aldermen from the Brewers and Bakers companies to view the goods before they were shipped to Londonderry and to ensure he had paid a fair rate.  To this end Anderton produced a receipt and certificate of their approval.

In regards to the issue of non-payment of several tranches of specie which had been allocated to Governor Lundy for the defence of Londonderry, the Commons Committee reiterated that Anderton had been ordered to provide 1,000l but only presented 595l-16s-8d to James Hamilton before he traveled across the narrow Irish Sea aboard The Deliverance.   Anderton’s sons insisted that this was all the coin their father had in his possession at the time and he had been unable to procure more in the town.  The Committee asked additional questions regarding a further grant of 2,000l for Colonel Cunningham to bring to Londonderry.  Anderton’s sons produced documentary evidence that demonstrated that the Commons order dated 14th of March 1689 had been received on 16th of March, with the money paid to Cunningham on 19th of March.  They further produced a certificate and receipt to this effect which had Cunningham’s signature affixed.  Anderton’s sons claimed that their father had no more than 40l of the King’s money in his possession when he received instructions to provision Cunningham and Richards and therefore raised the first 2,000l entirely on his own credit.  Anderton later received a third set of instructions to procure additional funds in a letter from William Blathwayte, the Secretary at War, ordering him to pay a further 2,000l to Cunningham ‘out of such monies as he had in his hands’.  Cunningham informed the Committee that when he arrived in Chester he sought to receive this money directly from Anderton.  However, Anderton informed Cunningham that he did not have that amount at hand and could not possibly get it before he sailed for Ulster.  Anderton’s sons apprised the Committee that thereafter he raised the sum and paid the 2,000l to Lieutenant Colonel Thomas St. John who commanded two regiments that shipped for Londonderry soon after Richards and Cunningham had departed.

After laying out the range of statements and evidence the Committee had taken, Sir Thomas Littleton rose to his feet in the Commons chamber and moved that the House present an address to the King that Colonel Cunningham be bailed, indicating that while they were not entirely convinced by his conduct, they did not think him guilty of any plot, desertion or treachery.  The Commons further resolved that ‘an humble Address be presented to his Majesty, by such Members of this House as are of his Majesty’s most honourable Privy Council, that Colonel Lundie be sent over to Londonderry, to be tried there for the treasons that are laid to his charge’.

On 21st of October 1689, after several months imprisonment, Lundy petitioned Parliament for his release.  He complained about the intention to send him to Derry for trial ‘which trully is the hight of malice considering that the princepall man ther was only a Leutenant in the regiment I comanded’.  He further noted ‘ther neuer was a presedent for such a proseeding’.  Noting that he was likely to be excluded from the benefit of the Bill of Indemnity, he desired to be brought to trial ‘by full oficers heir, for the law of England and all nations also says that eury body shud be tryed by ther peers’.  If this request was denied then he could only conclude that ‘they haue a minde to make me a sacrafice for their owen faults’.  As well as asking for a provision of money to help with the expense of being held prisoner in the Tower, he reiterated his loyalty to William & Mary and offered to serve the allies of the King, suggesting William’s cousin Frederick I, Elector of Brandenburg.     

[1] Commons Journal, X, pp. 162, 163, 164-165, 167, 193, 210, 225, 243-244, 259, 260-263, 272; A. Grey, Debates of the House of Commons, from the Year 1667 to 1694 (London, 1763), pp. 276-280; HMC House of Lords MSS, 1689-1690, pp. 136-192; NAS GD26/7/37/iii