Diary from the Battle of the Boyne

An eyewitness account of the Battle of the Boyne was sold for $62,750  in an auction on Bonhams in London on Wednesday.

Sellers expected the first hand account by Captain John Stevens, who fought for King James against King William in the 1690 battle, to be sold for about $20,000.

A spokesman for Bonham’s auctioneers in London said that the book went for $62,750 on Wednesday.

The same spokesperson said that the identity of the purchaser will not be revealed.

“I’ve checked and I’m afraid as I suspected that we can’t make identity of purchaser public,” he told the News Letter.

“There was quite a bit of interest in the book from Northern Ireland but not exclusively from there”

He added that if a public institute had purchased the book it would more than likely have been publicized but a private individual won't go public for security reasons.

In the book Stevens claimed more than 1,000 of the Jacobite troops were too drunk to fight after a consignment of brandy, ordered to fortify the men on the eve of battle, did not arrive until the famous kings were drawing swords.

Grand Secretary of the Orange Order, Drew Nelson, said that it was imperative historians question if Stevens was trying to make excuses as to why they lost the battle. He also said it was up to the officers in charge to regulate how much alcohol the men were allowed consume.

“Notwithstanding, this was a fantastic price and demonstrates the interest in artifacts from this period. Several years ago the order bought a letter for $6,052 which was written by King William several days before the battle,” said Nelson.

The Battle of the Boyne was fought in 1690 between two rival claimants of the English, Scottish and Irish thrones – the Catholic King James and the Protestant King William, who had deposed James in 1688.

The battle, won by William, was a turning point in James' unsuccessful attempt to regain the crown and ultimately helped ensure the continuation of Protestant supremacy in Ireland.