INQUIRY INTO THE PUBLIC ACCOUNTS.
No object engrossed more time, or produced more violent debates, than did the inquiry into the public accounts. The commissioners appointed for this purpose pretended to have made great discoveries. They charged the earl of Ranelagh, paymaster-general of the army, with flagrant mismanagement. He acquitted himself in such a manner as screened him from all severity of punishment; nevertheless, they expelled him from the house for a high crime and misdemeanor, in misapplying several sums of the public money; and he thought proper to resign his employment. A long address was prepared and presented to the queen, attributing the national debt to mismanagement of the funds; complaining that the old methods of the exchequer had been neglected; and that iniquitous frauds had been committed by the commissioners of the prizes. Previous to this remonstrance, the house, in consequence of the report of the committee, had passed several severe resolutions, particularly against Charles lord Halifax, auditor of the receipt of the exchequer, as having neglected his duty, and been guilty of a breach of trust. For these reasons they actually besought the queen, in an address, that she would give directions to the attorney-general to prosecute him for the said offences; and she promised to comply with their request. On the other hand, the lords appointed a committee to examine all the observations which the commissioners of accounts had offered to both houses. They ascribed the national debt to deficiencies in the funds: they acquitted lord Halifax, the lords of the treasury, and their officers, whom the commons had accused; and represented these circumstances in an address to the queen, which was afterwards printed with the vouchers to every particular. This difference blew up a fierce flame of discord between the two houses, which manifested their mutual animosity in speeches, votes, resolutions, and conferences. The commons affirmed, that no cognizance the lords could take of the public accounts would enable them to supply any deficiency, or appropriate any surplusage of the public money; that they could neither acquit nor condemn any person whatsoever, upon any inquiry arising originally in their own house; and that their attempt to acquit Charles lord Halifax was unparliamentary. The lords insisted upon their right to take cognizance originally of all public accounts; they affirmed, that in their resolutions, with respect to lord Halifax, they had proceeded according to the rules of justice. They owned however that their resolutions did not amount to any judgment or acquittal; but that finding a vote of the commons reflected upon a member of their house, they thought fit to give their opinion in their legislative capacity. The queen interposed by a message to the lords, desiring they would despatch the business in which they were engaged. The dispute continued even after this intimation; one conference was held after another, at length both sides despaired of an accommodation. The lords ordered their proceedings to be printed, and the commons followed their example. On the twenty-seventh day of February, the queen, having passed all the bills that were ready for the royal assent, ordered the lord-keeper to prorogue the parliament, after having pronounced a speech in the usual style. She thanked them for their zeal, affection, and despatch; declared, she would encourage and maintain the church as by law established; desired they would consider some further laws for restraining the great license assumed for publishing scandalous pamphlets and libels; and assured them, that all her share of the prizes which might be taken in the war, should be applied to the public service. By this time the earl of Eochester was entirely removed from the queen's councils. Finding himself outweighed by the interest of the duke of Marlborough and lord Godolphin, he had become sullen and intractable; and, rather than repair to his government of Ireland, chose to resign the office, which, as we have already observed, was conferred upon the duke of Ormond, an accomplished nobleman, who had acquired great popularity by the success of the expedition to Vigo. The parties in the house of lords were so nearly matched, that the queen, in order to ascertain an undoubted majority in the next session, created four new peers,  [See note-J, at the end of this Vol.] who had signalized themselves by the violence of their speeches in the house of commons.
DISPUTES BETWEEN THE TWO HOUSES OF CONVOCATION.
The two houses of convocation, which were summoned with the parliament, bore a strong affinity with this assembly, by the different interests that prevailed in the upper and lower. The last, in imitation of the commons, was desirous of branding the preceding reign; and it was with great difficulty that they concurred with the prelates in an address of congratulation to her majesty. Then their former contest was revived. The lower house desired, in an application to the archbishop of Canterbury and his suffragans, that the matters in dispute concerning the manner of synodical proceedings, and the right of the lower house to hold intermediate assemblies, might be taken into consideration and speedily determined. The bishops proposed, that in the intervals of sessions, the lower house might appoint committees to prepare matters; and when business should be brought regularly before them, the archbishop would regulate the prorogations in such a manner, that they should have sufficient time to sit and deliberate on the subject. This offer did not satisfy the lower house, which was emboldened to persist in its demand by a vote of the commons. These, in consequence of an address of thanks from the clergy, touching Mr. Lloyd, son to the bishop of Worcester, whom they ordered to be prosecuted after his privilege as member of the convocation should be expired, had resolved, that they would on all occasions assert the just rights and privileges of the lower house of convocation. The prelates refused to depart from the archbishop's right of proroguing the whole convocation with consent of his suffragans. The lower house proposed to refer the controversy to the queen's decision. The bishops declined this expedient, as inconsistent with the episcopal authority, and the presidency of the archbishop. The lower house having incurred the imputation of favouring presbytery, by this opposition to the bishops, entered in their books a declaration, acknowledging the order of bishops as superior to presbyters, and to be a divine apostolical institution. Then they desired the bishops in an address to concur in settling the doctrine of the divine apostolical right of episcopacy, that it might be a standing rule of the church. They likewise presented a petition to the queen, complaining, that in the convocation called in the year 1700, after an interruption of ten years, several questions having arisen concerning the rights and liberties of the lower house, the bishops had refused a verbal conference; and afterwards declined a proposal to submit the dispute to her majesty's determination; they therefore fled for protection to her majesty, begging she would call the question into her own royal audience. The queen promised to consider their petition, which was supported by the earl of Nottingham; and ordered their council to examine the affair, how it consisted with law and custom. Whether their report was unfavourable to the lower house, or the queen was unwilling to encourage the division, no other answer was made to their address. The archbishop replied to their request presented to the upper house, concerning the divine right of presbytery, that the preface to the form of ordination contained a declaration of three orders of ministers from the times of the apostles; namely, bishops, priests, and deacons, to which they had subscribed; but he and his brethren conceived, that without a royal license, they had not authority to attempt, enact, promulge, or execute any canon, which should concern either doctrine or discipline. The lower house answered this declaration in very petulant terms; and the dispute subsisted when the parliament was prorogued. But these contests produced divisions through the whole body of the clergy, who ranged themselves in different factions, distinguished by the names of high-church and low-church. The first consisted of ecclesiastical tories; the other included those who professed revolution principles, and recommended moderation towards the dissenters. The high-church party reproached the other as time-servers, and presbyterians in disguise; and were in their turn stigmatized as the friends and abettors of tyranny and persecution. At present, however, the tories both in church and state triumphed in the favour of their sovereign. The right of parliaments, the memory of the late king, and even the act limiting the succession of the house of Hanover, became the subjects of ridicule. The queen was flattered as possessor of the prerogatives of the ancient monarchy; the history written by her grandfather, the earl of Clarendon, was now for the first time published, to inculcate the principles of obedience, and inspire the people with an abhorrence of opposition to an anointed sovereign. Her majesty's hereditary right was deduced from Edward the Confessor, and as heir of his pretended sanctity and virtue, she was persuaded to touch persons afflicted with the king's evil, according to the office inserted in the Liturgy for this occasion.
ACCOUNT OF PARTIES IN SCOTLAND.
The change of the ministry in Scotland seemed favourable to the episcopalians and anti-revolutioners of that kingdom. The earls of Marchmont, Melvil, Selkirk, Leven, and Hyndford, were laid aside; the earl of Seafield was appointed chancellor; the duke of Queensberry and the lord viscount Tarbat, were declared secretaries of state; the marquis of Annandale was made president of the council, and the earl of Tullibardin, lord privy-seal. A new parliament having been summoned, the earl of Seafield employed his influence so successfully, that a great number of anti-revolutioners were returned as members. The duke of Hamilton had obtained from the queen a letter to the privy-council in Scotland, in which she expressed her desire that the presbyterian clergy should live in brotherly love and communion with such dissenting ministers of the reformed religion as were in possession of benefices, and lived with decency, and submission to the law. The episcopal clergy, encouraged by these expressions in their favour, drew up an address to the queen, imploring her protection; and humbly beseeching her to allow those parishes in which there was a majority of episcopal freeholders, to bestow the benefice on ministers of their principles. This petition was presented by Dr. Skeen and Dr. Scot, who were introduced by the duke of Queensberry to her majesty. She assured them of her protection and endeavours to supply their necessities; and exhorted them to live in peace and christian love with the clergy, who were by law invested with the church-government in her ancient kingdom of Scotland. A proclamation of indemnity having been published in March, a great number of Jacobites returned from France and other countries, pretended to have changed their sentiments, and took the oaths, that they might be qualified to sit in parliament. They formed an accession to the strength of the anti-revolutioners and episcopalians, who now hoped to out-number the presbyterians, and outweigh their interest. But this confederacy was composed of dissonant parts, from which no harmony could be expected. The presbyterians and revolutioners were headed by the duke of Argyle. The country party of malcontents, which took its rise from the disappointments of the Darien settlement, acted under the auspices of the duke of Hamilton and marquis of Tweedale; and the earl of Hume appeared as chief of the anti-revolutioners. The different parties who now united, pursued the most opposite ends. The majority of the country party were friends to the revolution, and sought only redress of the grievances which the nation had sustained in the late reign. The anti-revolutioners considered the accession and government of king William as an extraordinary event, which they were willing to forget, believing that all parties were safe under the shelter of her majesty's general indemnity. The Jacobites submitted to the queen, as tutrix or regent for the prince of Wales, whom they firmly believed she intended to establish on the throne. The whigs under Argyle, alarmed at the coalition of all their enemies, resolved to procure a parliamentary sanction for the revolution.
DANGEROUS HEATS IN THE PARLIAMENT.
The parliament being opened on the sixth day of May at Edinburgh, by the duke of Queensberry as commissioner, the queen's letter was read, in which she demanded a supply for the maintenance of the forces, advised them to encourage trade, and exhorted them to proceed with wisdom, prudence, and unanimity. The duke of Hamilton immediately offered the draft of a bill for recognising her majesty's undoubted right and title to the imperial crown of Scotland, according to the declaration of the estates of the kingdom, containing the claim of right. It was immediately received; and at the second reading, the queen's advocate offered an additional clause, denouncing the penalties of treason against any person who should question her majesty's right and title to the crown, or her exercise of the government, from her actual entry to the same. This, after a long and warm debate, was carried by the concurrence of the anti-revolutioners. Then the earl of Hume produced the draft of a bill for the supply; immediately after it was read, the marquis of Tweedale made an overture, that, before all other business, the parliament would proceed to make such conditions of government, and regulations in the constitution of the kingdom, to take place after the decease of her majesty and the heirs of her body, as should be necessary for the preservation of their religion and liberty. This overture and the bill were ordered to lie upon the table; and in the meantime the commissioner found himself involved in great perplexity. The duke of Argyle, the marquis of Annandale, and the earl of Marchmont, gave him to understand in private, that they were resolved to move for an act ratifying the revolution; and for another confirming the presbyterian government; that they would insist upon their being discussed before the bill of supply, and that they were certain of carrying the points at which they aimed. The commissioner now found himself reduced to a very disagreeable alternative. There was a necessity for relinquishing all hope of a supply, or abandoning the anti-revolutioners, to whom he was connected by promises of concurrence. The whigs were determined to oppose all schemes of supply that should come from the cavaliers; and these last resolved to exert their whole power in preventing the confirmation of the revolution and the presbyterian discipline. He foresaw that on this occasion the whigs would be joined by the duke of Hamilton and his party, so as to preponderate against the cavaliers. He endeavoured to cajole both parties; but found the task impracticable. He desired in parliament, that the act for the supply might be read, promising that they should have full time afterwards to deliberate on other subjects. The marquis of Tweedale insisted upon his overture; and after warm debates, the house resolved to proceed with such acts as might be necessary for securing the religion, liberty, and trade of the nation, before any bill for supply or other business should be discussed. The marquis of Athol offered an act for the security of the kingdom, in case of her majesty's decease; but before it was read, the duke of Argyle presented his draft of a bill for ratifying the revolution, and all the acts following thereupon, An act for limiting the succession after the death of her majesty, and the heirs of her body, was produced by Mr. Fletcher of Saltoun. The earl of Rothes recommended another, importing, that after her majesty's death, and failing heirs of her body, no person coming to the crown of Scotland, being at the same time king or queen of England, should as king or queen of Scotland, have power to make peace or war without the con* sent of parliament. The earl of Marchmont recited the draft of an act for securing the true protestant religion and presbyterian government; one was also suggested by sir Patrick Johnston, allowing the importation of wines, and other foreign liquors. All these bills were ordered to lie upon the table. Then the earl of Strath-more produced an act for toleration to all protestants in the exercise of religious worship. But against this the general assembly presented a most violent remonstrance; and the promoters of the bill, foreseeing that it would meet with great opposition, allowed it to drop for the present. On the third day of June, the parliament passed the act for preserving the true reformed protestant religion, and confirming presbyterian church government, as agreeable to the word of God, and the only government of Christ's church within the kingdom. The same party enjoyed a further triumph in the success of Argyle's act, for ratifying and perpetuating the first act of king William's parliament; for declaring it high treason to disown the authority of that parliament, or to alter or renovate the claim of right or any article thereof. This last clause was strenuously opposed; but at last the bill passed with the concurrence of all the ministry, except the marquis of Athol and the viscount Tarbat, who began at this period to correspond with the opposite party.
THE COMMISSIONER IS ABANDONED BY THE CAVALIERS.
The cavaliers thinking themselves betrayed by the duke of Queensberry, who had assented to these acts, first expostulated with him on his breach of promise, and then renounced his interest, resolving to separate themselves from the court, and jointly pursue such measures as might be for the interest of their party. But of all the bills that were produced in the course of this remarkable session, that which produced the most violent altercation was the act of security, calculated to abridge the prerogative of the crown, limit the successor, and throw a vast additional power into the hands of the parliament. It was considered paragraph by paragraph; many additions and alterations were proposed, and some adopted; inflammatory speeches were uttered; bitter sarcasms retorted from party to party; and different votes passed on different clauses. At length, in spite of the most obstinate opposition from the ministry and the cavaliers, it was passed by a majority of fifty-nine voices. The commissioner was importuned to give it the royal assent; but declined answering their entreaties till the tenth day of September. Then he made a speech in parliament, giving them to understand that he had received the queen's pleasure, and was empowered to give the royal assent to all the acts voted in this session, except the act for the security of the kingdom. A motion was made to solicit the royal assent in an address to her majesty; but the question being put, it was carried in the negative by a small majority. On the sixth day of the same month, the earl of Marchmont had produced a bill to settle the succession on the house of Hanover. At first the import of it was not known; but when the clerk in reading it mentioned the princess Sophia, the whole house was kindled into a flame. Some proposed that the overture should be burned; others moved that the earl might be sent prisoner to the castle; and a general dissatisfaction appeared in the whole assembly. Not that the majority in parliament were averse to the succession in the house of Hanover; but they resolved to avoid a nomination without stipulating conditions; and they had already provided, in the act of security, that it should be high treason to own any person as king or queen after her majesty's decease, until he or she should take the coronation oath, and accept the terms of the claim of right, and such conditions as should be settled in this or any ensuing parliament.
HE IS IN DANGER OF HIS LIFE.
Andrew Fletcher of Saltoun, a man of undaunted courage and inflexible integrity, who professed republican principles, and seemed designed by nature as a member of some Grecian commonwealth, after having observed that the nation would be enslaved should it submit, either willingly or by commission, to the successor of England, without such conditions of government as should secure them against the influence of an English ministry, offered the draft of an act, importing, that after the decease of her majesty, without heirs of her body, no person being successor to the English throne should succeed to the crown of Scotland but under the following limitations, which, together with the coronation oath and claim of right, they should swear to observe: namely, that all offices and places, civil and military, as well as pensions, should for the future be conferred by a parliament to be chosen at every Michaelmas head-court, to sit on the first day of November, and adjourn themselves from time to time till the ensuing Michaelmas; that they should choose their own president; that a committee of six-and-thirty members, chosen out of the whole parliament, without distinction of estates, should, during the intervals of parliament, be vested, under the king, with the administration of the government, act as his council, be accountable to parliament, and call it together on extraordinary occasions. He proposed that the successor should be nominated by the majority; declaring for himself that he would rather concur in nominating the most rigid papist with those conditions, than the truest protestant without them. The motion was seconded by many members; and though postponed for the present, in favour of an act of trade under the consideration of the house, it was afterwards resumed with great warmth. In vain the lord-treasurer represented that no funds were as yet provided for the army, and moved for a reading of the act presented for that purpose; a certain member observed, that this was a very unseasonable juncture to propose a supply, when the house had so much to do for the security of the nation; he said they had very little encouragement to grant supplies when they found themselves frustrated of all their labour and expense for these several months; and when the whole kingdom saw that supplies served for no other use but to gratify the warice of some insatiable ministers. Mr. Fletcher expatiated upon the good consequences that would arise from the act which he had proposed. The chancellor answered, that such an act was laying a scheme for a commonwealth, and tending to innovate the constitution of a monarchy. The ministry proposed a state of a vote, whether they should first give a reading to Fletcher's act or to the act of subsidy. The country party moved that the question might be, "Overtures for subsidies, or overtures for liberty." Fletcher withdrew his act, rather than people should pervert the meaning of laudable designs. The house resounded with the cry of "Liberty or Subsidy." Bitter invectives were uttered against the ministry. One member said it was now plain the nation was to expect no other return for their expense and toil than that of being loaded with a subsidy, and being obliged to bend their necks under the yoke of slavery, which was prepared for them from that throne; another observed, that as their liberties were suppressed, so the privileges of parliament were like to be torn from them; but that he would venture his life in defence of his birthright, and rather die a free man than live a slave. When the vote was demanded, and declined by the commissioner, the earl of Roxburgh declared, that if there was no other way of obtaining so natural and undeniable a privilege of parliament, they would demand it with their swords in their hands. The commissioner, foreseeing this spirit of freedom and contradiction, ordered the foot-guard to be in readiness, and placed a strong guard upon the eastern gate of the city. Notwithstanding these precautions, he ran the risk of being torn to pieces; and, in this apprehension, ordered the chancellor to inform the house that the parliament should proceed upon overtures for liberty at their next sitting. This promise allayed the ferment which had begun to rise. Next day the members prepared an overture, implying, that the elective members should be chosen for every seat at the Michaelmas head courts; that a parliament should be held once in two years at least; that the short adjournments de die in diem should be made by the parliaments themselves as in England; and that no officer in the army, customs, or excise, nor any gratuitous pensioner, should sit as an elective member. The commissioner being apprised of their proceedings, called for such acts as he was empowered to pass, and having given the royal assent to them, prorogued the parliament to the twelfth day of October.  [See note X, at the end of this Vol.] Such was the issue of this remarkable session of the Scottish parliament, in which the duke of Queensberry was abandoned by the greatest part of the ministry; and such a spirit of ferocity and opposition prevailed, as threatened the whole kingdom with civil war and confusion. The queen conferred titles upon those who appeared to have influence in the nation  [See note Y, at the end of this Vol.] and attachment to her government, and revived the order of the thistle, which the late king had dropped.
PROCEEDINGS OF THE IRISH PARLIAMENT.
Ireland was filled with discontent by the behaviour and conduct of the trustees for the forfeited estates. The earl of Rochester had contributed to foment the troubles of the kingdom by encouraging the factions which had been imported from England. The duke of Ormond was received with open arms as heir to the virtues of his ancestors, who had been the bulwarks of the protestant interest in Ireland. He opened the parliament on the twenty-first day of September, with a speech to both houses, in which he told them that his inclination, his interest, and the examples of progenitors, were indispensable obligations upon him to improve every opportunity to the advantage and prosperity of his native country. The commons having chosen Allen Broderick to be their speaker, proceeded to draw up very affectionate addresses to the queen and the lord lieutenant. In that to the queen they complained that their enemies had misrepresented them, as desirous of being independent of the crown of England; they, therefore, to vindicate themselves from such false aspersions, declared and acknowledged that the kingdom of Ireland was annexed and united to the imperial crown of England. In order to express their hatred of the trustees, they resolved, that all the protestant freeholders of that kingdom had been falsely and maliciously misrepresented, traduced, and abused, in a book entitled, "The Report of the Commissioners appointed to inquire into the Irish Forfeitures;" and it appearing that Francis Annesley, member of the house, John Trenchard, Henry Langford, and James Hamilton, were authors of that book, they further resolved, that these persons had scandalously and maliciously misrepresented and traduced the protestant freeholders of that kingdom, and endeavoured to create a misunderstanding and jealousy between the people of England and the protestants of Ireland. Annesley was expelled the house, Hamilton was dead, and Trenchard had returned to England. They had finished the inquiry before the meeting of this parliament; and sold at an undervalue the best of the forfeited estates to the sword-blade company of England. This, in a petition to the Irish parliament, prayed that heads of a bill be brought in for enabling them to take conveyance of lands in Ireland; but the parliament was very little disposed to confirm the bargains of the trustees, and the petition lay neglected on the table. The house expelled John Asgil, who, as agent to the sword-blade company, had offered to lend money to the public in Ireland, on condition that the parliament would pass an act to confirm the company's purchase of the forfeited estates. His constituents disowned his proposal; and when he was summoned to appear before the house, and answer for his prevarication, he pleaded his privilege as member of the English parliament. The commons, in a representation of the state and grievances of the nation, gave her majesty to understand that the constitution of Ireland had been of late greatly shaken; and their lives, liberties, and estates, called in question, and tried in a manner unknown to their ancestors; that the expense to which they had been unnecessarily exposed by the late trustees for the forfeited estates, in defending their just rights and titles, had exceeded in value the current cash of the kingdom; that their trade was decayed, their money exhausted; and that they were hindered from maintaining their own manufactures; that many protestant families had been constrained to quit the kingdom in order to earn a livelihood in foreign countries; that the want of frequent parliaments in Ireland had encouraged evil-minded men to oppress the subject; that many civil officers had acquired great fortunes in that impoverished country, by the exercise of corruption and oppression; that others, in considerable employments, resided in another kingdom, neglecting personal attendance on their duty, while their offices were ill executed, to the detriment of the public, and the failure of justice. They declared, that it was from her majesty's gracious interposition alone they proposed to themselves relief from those their manifold grievances and misfortunes. The commons afterwards voted the necessary supplies, and granted one hundred and fifty thousand pounds to make good the deficiencies of the necessary branches of the establishment.
A SEVERE ACT PASSED AGAINST PAPISTS.
They appointed a committee to inspect the public accounts, by which they discovered that above one hundred thousand pounds had been falsely charged as a debt upon the nation. The committee was thanked by the house for having saved this sum, and ordered to examine what persons were concerned in such a misrepresentation, which was generally imputed to those who acted under the duke of Ormond. He himself was a nobleman of honour and generosity, addicted to pleasure, and fond of popular applause; but he was surrounded by people of more sordid principles, who had ingratiated themselves into his confidence by the arts of adulation. The commons voted a provision for the half-pay officers; and abolished pensions to the amount of seventeen thousand pounds a-year, as unnecessary branches of the establishment. They passed an act settling the succession of the crown after the pattern set them by England; but the most important transaction of this session was a severe bill to prevent the growth of popery. It bore a strong affinity to that which had passed three years before in England; but contained more effectual clauses. Among others it enacted, that all estates of papists should be equally divided among the children, notwithstanding any settlement to the contrary, unless the person to whom they might be settled should qualify themselves by taking the oaths, and communicating with the church of England. The bill was not at all agreeable to the ministry in England, who expected large presents from the papists, by whom a considerable sum had been actually raised for this purpose. But as they did not think proper to reject such a bill while the English parliament was sitting, they added a clause which they hoped the parliament of Ireland would refuse: namely, that no persons in that kingdom should be capable of any employment, or of being in the magistracy of any city, who did not qualify themselves by receiving the sacrament according to the test act passed in England. Though this was certainly a great hardship on the dissenters, the parliament of Ireland sacrificed this consideration to their common security against the Roman catholics, and accepted the amendment without hesitation. This affair being discussed, the commons of Ireland passed a vote against a book entitled, "Memoirs of the late king James II." as a seditious libel. They ordered it to be burned by the hands of the common hangman; and the bookseller and printer to be prosecuted. When this motion was made, a member informed the house that in the county of Limerick the Irish papists had begun to form themselves into bodies, to plunder the protestants of their arms and money; and to maintain a correspondence with the disaffected in England. The house immediately resolved, that the papists of the kingdom still retained hopes of the accession of the person known by the name of the Prince of Wales in the life-time of the late king James, and now by the name of James III. In the midst of this zeal against popery and the pretender, they were suddenly adjourned by the command of the lord-lieutenant, and broke up in great animosity against that nobleman.  [See note Z, at the end of this Vol.]
THE ELECTOR TAKES POSSESSION OF RATISBON.
The attention of the English ministry had been for some time chiefly engrossed by the affairs of the continent. The emperor agreed with the allies that his son, the archduke Charles should assume the title of king of Spain, demand the infanta of Portugal in marriage, and undertake something of importance, with the assistance of the maritime powers. Mr. Methuen, the English minister at Lisbon, had already made some progress in a treaty with his Portuguese majesty; and the court of Vienna promised to send such an army into the field as would in a little time drive the elector of Bavaria from his dominions. But they were so dilatory in their preparations, that the French king broke all their measures by sending powerful reinforcements to the elector, in whose ability and attachment Louis reposed great confidence. Mareschal Villars, who commanded an army of thirty thousand men at Strasburgh, passed the Rhine and reduced fort Kehl, the garrison of which was conducted to Philipsburgh. The emperor, alarmed at this event, ordered count Schlick to enter Bwaria on the side of Saltsburgh, with a considerable body of forces; and sent another, under count Stirum, to invade the same electorate by the way of Newmark, which was surrendered to him after he had routed a party of Bavarians; the city of Amberg met with the same fate. Meanwhile count Schlick defeated a body of militia that defended the lines of Saltsburgh, and made himself master of Biedt, and several other places. The elector assembling his forces near Brenau, diffused a report that he intended to besiege Passau, to cover which place Schlick advanced with the greatest part of his infantry, leaving behind his cavalry and cannon. The elector having by this feint divided the Imperialists, passed the bridge of Scardingen with twelve thousand men, and, after an obstinate engagement, compelled the Imperialists to abandon the field of battle; then he marched against the Saxon troops which guarded the artillery, and attacked them with such impetuosity that they were entirely defeated. In a few days after these actions, he took Newburgh on the Inn by capitulation. He obtained another advantage over an advanced post of the Imperialists near Burgenfeldt, commanded by the young prince of Brandenburgh Anspach, who was mortally wounded in the engagement. He advanced to Batisbon, where the diet of the empire was assembled, and demanded that he should be immediately put in possession of the bridge and gate of the city. The burghers immediately took to their arms, and planted cannon on the ramparts; but when they saw a battery erected against them, and the elector determined to bombard the place, they thought proper to capitulate, and comply with his demands. He took possession of the town on the eighth day of April, and signed an instrument obliging himself to withdraw his troops as soon as the emperor should ratify the diet's resolution for the neutrality of Ratisbon. Mareschal Villars having received orders to join the elector at all events, and being reinforced by a body of troops under count Tallard, resolved to break through the lines which the prince of Baden had made at Stolhoffen. This general had been luckily joined by eight Dutch battalions, and received the French army, though double his number, with such obstinate resolution, that Villars was obliged to retreat with great loss, and directed his route towards Offingen. Nevertheless he penetrated through the Black Forest, and effected a junction with the elector. Count Stirum endeavoured to join prince Louis of Baden; but being attacked near Schwemmingen, retired under the cannon of Nortlingen.
THE ALLIES REDUCE BONNE.
The confederates were more successful on the Lower Rhine and in the Netherlands. The duke of Marlborough crossed the sea in the beginning of April, and assembling the allied army, resolved that the campaign should be begun with the siege of Bonne, which was accordingly invested on the twenty-fourth day of April. Three different attacks were carried on against this place: one by the hereditary prince of Hesse-Cassel; another by the celebrated Coehorn; and a third by lieutenant-general Fagel. The garrison defended themselves vigorously till the fourteenth day of May, when the fort having been taken by assault, and the breaches rendered practicable, the marquis d'Alegre, the governor, ordered a parley to be beat; hostages were immediately exchanged; on the sixteenth the capitulation was signed; and in three days the garrison evacuated the place in order to be conducted to Luxembourg. During the siege of Bonne, the mareschals Boufflers and Villeroy advanced with an army of forty thousand men towards Tongeren, and the confederate army, commanded by M. d'Auverquerque, was obliged at their approach to retreat under the cannon of Maestricht. The enemy having taken possession of Tongeren, made a motion against the confederate army, which they found already drawn up in order of battle, and so advantageously posted, that, notwithstanding their great superiority in point of number, they would not hazard an attack, but retired to the ground from whence they had advanced. Immediately after the reduction of Bonne, the duke of Marlborough, who had been present at the siege, returned to the confederate army in the Netherlands, now amounting to one hundred and thirty squadrons, and fifty-nine battalions. On the twenty-fifth day of May, the duke having passed the river Jecker in order to give battle to the enemy, they marched with precipitation to Boekwren, and abandoned Tongeren, after having blown up the walls of the place with gunpowder. The duke continued to follow them to Thys, where he encamped, while they retreated to Hannye, retiring as he advanced. Then he resolved to force their lines: this service was effectually performed by Coehorn, at the point of Callo, and by baron Spaar, in the county of Waes, near Stoken. The duke had formed the design of reducing Antwerp, which was garrisoned by Spanish troops under the command of the marquis de Bedmar. He intended with the grand army to attack the enemy's lines on the side of Louvaine and Mechlin: he detached Coehorn with his flying camp on the right of the Scheldt towards Dutch Flanders, to amuse the marquis de Bed-mar on that side; and he ordered the baron Opdam, with twelve thousand men, to take post between Eckeren and Capelle, near Antwerp, that he might act against that part of the lines which was guarded by the Spanish forces.
BATTLE OF ECKEREN.
The French generals, in order to frustrate the scheme of Marlborough, resolved to cut off the retreat of Opdam. Boufflers, with a detachment of twenty thousand men from Villeroy's army, surprised him at Eckeren, where the Dutch were put in disorder; and Opdam, believing all was lost, fled to Breda. Nevertheless, the troops rallying under general Schlangenburg, maintained their ground with the most obstinate valour till night, when the enemy was obliged to retire, and left the communication free with fort Lillo, to which place the confederates marched without further molestation, having lost about fifteen hundred men in the engagement. The damage sustained by the French was more considerable. They were frustrated in their design, and had actually abandoned the field of battle; yet Louis ordered Te Deum to be sung for the victory; nevertheless Boufflers was censured for his conduct on this occasion, and in a little time totally disgraced. Opdam presented a justification of his conduct to the states-general; but by this oversight he forfeited the fruits of a long service, during which he had exhibited repeated proofs of courage, zeal, and capacity. The states honoured Schlangenburg with a letter of thanks for the valour and skill he had manifested in this engagement; but in a little time they dismissed him from his employment on account of his having given umbrage to the duke of Marlborough, by censuring his grace for exposing such a small number of men to this disaster. After this action, Villeroy, who lay encamped near Saint Job, declared he waited for the duke of Marlborough, who forthwith advanced to Hoogstraat, with a view to give him battle; but at his approach the French general, setting fire to his camp, retired within his lines with great precipitation. Then the duke invested Huy, the garrison of which, after a vigorous defence, surrendered themselves prisoners of war on the twenty-seventh day of August. At a council of war held in the camp of the confederates, the duke proposed to attack the enemies' lines between the Mehaigne and Leuwe, and was seconded by the Danish, Hanoverian, and Hessian generals; but the scheme was opposed by the Dutch officers, and the deputies of the states, who alleged that the success was dubious, and the consequences of forcing the lines would be inconsiderable; they therefore recommended the siege of Limburgh, by the reduction of which they would acquire a whole province, and cover their own country, as well as Juliers and Gueldres, from the designs of the enemy. The siege of Limburgh was accordingly undertaken. The trenches were opened on the five-and-twentieth day of September, and in two days the place was surrendered; the garrison remaining prisoners of war. By this conquest the allies secured the country of Liege, and the electorate of Cologn, from the incursions of the enemy; before the end of the year they remained masters of the whole Spanish Guelderland, by the reduction of Gueldres, which surrendered on the seventeenth day of September, after having been long blockaded, bombarded, and reduced to a heap of ashes, by the Prussian general Lottum. Such was the campaign in the Netherlands, which in all probability would have produced events of greater importance, had not the duke of Marlborough been restricted by the deputies of the states-general, who began to be influenced by the intrigues of the Louvestein faction, ever averse to a single dictator.
PRINCE OF HESSE DEFEATED BY THE FRENCH.
The French king redoubled his efforts in Germany. The duke de Vendome was ordered to march from the Milanese to Tyrol, and there join the elector of Bwaria, who had already made himself master of Inspruck. But the boors rising in arms, drove him out of the country before he could be joined by the French general, who was therefore obliged to return to the Milanese. The Imperialists in Italy were so ill supplied by the court of Vienna, that they could not pretend to act offensively. The French invested Ostiglia, which, however, they could not reduce; but the fortress of Barsillo, in the duchy of Beggio, capitulating after a long blockade, they took possession of the duke of Modena's country. The elector of Bwaria rejoining Villars, resolved to attack count Stirum, whom prince Louis of Baden had detached from his army. With this view they passed the Danube at Donawert, and discharged six guns as a signal for the marquis D'Usson, whom they had left in the camp at Lavingen, to fall upon the rear of the imperialists, while they should charge them in front. Stirum no sooner perceived the signal than he guessed the intention of the enemy, and instantly resolved to attack D'Usson before the elector and the mareschal should advance. He accordingly charged him at the head of some select squadrons with such impetuosity, that the French cavalry were totally defeated; and all his infantry would have been killed and taken, had not the elector and Villars come up in time to turn the fate of the day. The action continued from six in the morning till four in the afternoon, when Stirum, being overpowered by numbers, was obliged to retreat to Norlin-gen, with the loss of twelve thousand men, and all his baggage and artillery. In the meantime the duke of Burgundy, assisted by Tallard, undertook the siege of Old Brisac, with a prodigious train of artillery. The place was very strongly fortified, though the garrison was small and ill provided with necessaries. In fourteen days the governor surrendered the place, and was condemned to lose his head for having made such a slender defence. The duke of Burgundy returned in triumph to Versailles, and Tallard was ordered to invest Landau. The prince of Hesse-Cassel being detached from the Netherlands for the relief of the place, joined the count of Nassau-Weilbourg, general of the Palatine forces, near Spires, where they resolved to attack the French in their lines. But by this time Mons. Pracon-tal, with ten thousand men, had joined Tallard, and enabled him to strike a stroke which proved decisive. He suddenly quitted his lines, and surprised the prince at Spirebach, where the French obtained a complete victory after a very obstinate and bloody engagement, in which the prince of Hesse distinguished himself by uncommon marks of courage and presence of mind. Three horses were successively killed under him, and he slew a French officer with his own hand. After incredible efforts, he was fain to retreat with the loss of some thousands. The French paid dear for their victory, Pracontal having been slain in the action. Nevertheless they resumed the siege, and the place was surrendered by capitulation. The campaign in Germany was finished by the reduction of Augsburg by the elector of Bwaria, who took it in the month of December, and agreed to its being secured by a French garrison.
TREATY BETWEEN THE EMPEROR AND THE DUKE OF SAVOY.
The emperor's affairs at this juncture wore a very unpromising aspect. The Hungarians were fleeced and barbarously oppressed by those to whom he intrusted the government of their country. They derived courage from despair. They seized this opportunity, when the emperor's forces were divided, and his councils distracted, to exert themselves in defence of their liberties. They ran to arms under the auspices of prince Ragotzki. They demanded that their grievances should be redressed, and their privileges restored. Their resentment was kept up by the emissaries of France and Bwaria, who likewise encouraged them to persevere in their revolt, by repeated promises of protection and assistance. The emperor's prospect, however, was soon mended by two incidents of very great consequence to his interest. The duke of Savoy foreseeing how much he should be exposed to the mercy of the French king, should that monarch become master of the Milanese, engaged in a secret negotiation with the emperor, which, notwithstanding all his caution, was discovered by the court of Versailles. Louis immediately ordered the duke of Vendome to disarm the troops of Savoy that were in his army, to the number of two-and-twenty thousand men; to insist upon the duke's putting him in possession of four considerable fortresses; and demand that the number of his troops should be reduced to the establishment stipulated in the treaty of 1696. The duke, exasperated at these insults, ordered the French ambassador, and several officers of the same nation, to be arrested. Louis endeavoured to intimidate him by a menacing letter, in which he gave him to understand that since neither religion, honour, interest, nor alliances, had been able to influence his conduct, the duke de Vendome should make known the intentions of the French monarch, and allow him four-and-twenty hours to deliberate on the measures he should pursue. This letter was answered by a manifesto: in the meantime the duke concluded a treaty with the court of Vienna; acknowledged the archduke Charles as king of Spain; and sent envoys to England and Holland. Queen Anne, knowing his importance as well as his selfish disposition, assured him of her friendship and assistance; and both she and the states sent ambassadors to Turin. He was immediately joined by a body of imperial horse under Visconti, and afterwards by count Staremberg, at the head of fifteen thousand men, with whom that general marched from the Modenese in the worst season of the year, through an enemy's country, and roads that were deemed impassable. In vain the French forces harassed him in his march, and even surrounded him in many different places on the route: he surmounted all these difficulties with incredible courage and perseverance, and joined the duke of Savoy at Canelli, so as to secure the country of Piedmont. The other incident which proved so favourable to the imperial interest, was a treaty by which the king of Portugal acceded to the grand alliance. His ministry perceived that should Spain be once united to the crown of France, their master would sit very insecure upon his throne. They were intimidated by the united fleets of the maritime powers, which maintained the empire of the sea; and they were allured by the splendour of a match between their infanta and the archduke Charles, to whom the emperor and the king of the Romans promised to transfer all their pretensions to the Spanish crown. By this treaty, concluded at Lisbon between the emperor, the queen of Great Britain, the king of Portugal, and the states-general, it was stipulated that king Charles should be conveyed to Portugal by a powerful fleet, having on board twelve thousand soldiers, with a great supply of money, arms, and ammunition; and that he should be joined immediately upon his landing by an army of eight-and-twenty thousand Portuguese.
SIR CLOUDESLEY SHOVEL SAILS WITH A FLEET.
The confederates reaped very little advantage from the naval operations of this summer. Sir George Rooke cruised in the channel, in order to alarm the coast of France, and protect the trade of England. On the first day of July, sir Cloudesley Shovel sailed from St. Helen's with the combined squadrons of England and Holland: he directed his course to the Mediterranean, and being reduced to great difficulty by want of water, steered to Altea, on the coast of Valentia, where brigadier Seymour landed, and encamped with five-and-twenty hundred marines. The admiral published a short manifesto, signifying that he was not come to disturb but to protect the good subjects of Spain, who should swear allegiance to their lawful monarch the archduke Charles, and endeavour to shake off the yoke of France. This declaration produced little or no effect; and the fleet being watered, sir Cloudesley sailed to Leghorn. One design of this armament was to assist the Cevennois, who had in the course of the preceding year been persecuted into a revolt on account of religion, and implored the assistance of England and the states-general. The admiral detached two ships into the gulf of Narbonne, with some refugees and French pilots, who had concerted signals with the Cevennois; but the mareschal de Montrevil having received intimation of their design, took such measures as prevented all communication; and the English captains having repeated their signals to no purpose, rejoined sir Cloudesley at Leghorn. This admiral, having renewed the peace with the piratical states of Barbary, returned to England without having taken one effectual step for annoying the enemy, or attempted any thing that looked like the result of a concerted scheme for that purpose. The nation naturally murmured at the fruitless expedition, by which it had incurred such a considerable expense. The merchants complained that they were ill supplied with convoys. The ships of war were victualled with damaged provisions; and every article of the marine being mismanaged, the blame fell upon those who acted as council to the lord high-admiral.
ADMIRAL GRAYDON'S BOOTLESS EXPEDITION.
Nor were the arms of England by sea much more successful in the West Indies. Sir George Rooke, in the preceding year, had detached from the Mediterranean captain Hovenden Walker, with six ships of the line and transports, having on board four regiments of soldiers, for the Leeward islands. Being joined at Antigua by some troops under colonel Codrington, they made a descent upon the island of Guadaloupe, where they razed the fort, burned the town, ravaged the country, and reimbarked with precipitation, in consequence of a report that the French had landed nine hundred men on the back of the island. They retired to Nevis, where they must have perished by famine, had they not been providentially relieved by vice-admiral Graydon, in his way to Jamaica. This officer had been sent out with three ships to succeed Benbow, and was convoyed about one hundred and fifty leagues by two other ships of the line. He had not sailed many days when he fell in with part of the French squadron, commanded by Du Casse, on their return from the West Indies, very full and richly laden. Captain Cleland, of the Montagu, engaged the sternmost; but he was called off by a signal from the admiral, who proceeded on his voyage without taking-further notice of the enemy. When he arrived at Jamaica, he quarrelled with the principal planters of the island; and his ships beginning to be crazy, he resolved to return to England. He accordingly sailed through the gulf of Florida, with a view to attack the French at Placentia in Newfoundland; but his ships were dispersed in a fog that lasted thirty days; and afterwards the council of war which he convoked were of opinion that he could not attack the settlement with any prospect of success. At his return to England, the house of lords, then sitting, set on foot an inquiry into his conduct. They presented an address to the queen, desiring she would remove him from his employments; and he was accordingly dismissed. The only exploit that tended to distress the enemy was performed by rear-admiral Dilkes, who in the month of July sailed to the coast of France with a small squadron; and, in the neighbourhood of Granville, took or destroyed about forty ships and their convoy. Yet this damage was inconsiderable, when compared to that which the English navy sustained from the dreadful tempest that began to blow on the twenty-seventh day of November, accompanied with such flashes of lightning, and peals of thunder, as overwhelmed the whole kingdom with consternation. The houses in London shook from their foundations, and some of them falling buried the inhabitants in their ruins. The water overflowed several streets, and rose to a considerable height in Westminster-hall. London bridge was almost choked with the wrecks of vessels that perished in the river. The loss sustained by the capital was computed at a million sterling; and the city of Bristol suffered to a prodigious amount; but the chief national damage fell upon the navy. Thirteen ships of war were lost, together with fifteen hundred seamen, including rear-admiral Beaumont, who had been employed in observing the Dunkirk squadron, and was then at anchor in the Downs, where his ship foundered. This great loss, however, was repaired with incredible diligence, to the astonishment of all Europe. The queen immediately issued orders for building a greater number of ships than that which had been destroyed; and she exercised her bounty for the relief of the shipwrecked seamen, and the widows of those who were drowned, in such a manner as endeared her to all her subjects.
CHARLES KING OF SPAIN ARRIVES IN ENGLAND.
The emperor having declared his second son, Charles, king of Spain, that young prince set out from Vienna to Holland, and at Dusseldorp was visited by the duke of Marlborough, who, in the name of his mistress, congratulated him upon his accession to the crown of Spain. Charles received him with the most obliging courtesy. In the course of their conversation, taking off his sword he presented it to the English general, with a very gracious aspect, saying, in the French language, "I am not ashamed to own myself a poor prince. I possess nothing but my cloak and sword; the latter may be of use to your grace; and I hope you will not think it the worse for my wearing it one day."—"On the contrary," replied the duke, "it will always put me in mind of your majesty's just right and title, and of the obligations I lie under to hazard my life in making you the greatest prince in Christendom." This nobleman returned to England in October and king Charles embarking for the same kingdom, under convoy of an English and Dutch squadron, arrived at Spithead on the twenty-sixth day of December. There he was received by the dukes of Somerset and Marlborough, who conducted him to Windsor; and on the road he was met by prince George of Denmark. The queen's deportment towards him was equally noble and obliging; and he expressed the most profound respect and veneration for this illustrious princess. He spoke but little; yet what he said was judicious; and he behaved with such politeness and affability, as conciliated the affection of the English nobility. After having been magnificently entertained for three days, he returned to Portsmouth, from whence on the fourth of January he sailed for Portugal, with a great fleet commanded by sir George Rooke, having on board a body of land forces under the duke of Schomberg. When the admiral had almost reached Cape Finisterre, he was driven back by a storm to Spithead, where he was obliged to remain till the middle of February. Then being favoured with a fair wind, he happily performed the voyage to Lisbon, where king Charles was received with great splendour, though the court of Portugal was overspread with sorrow excited by the death of the infanta, whom the king of Spain intended to espouse. In Poland all hope of peace seemed to vanish. The cardinal-primate, by the instigation of the Swedish king, whose army lay encamped in the neighbourhood of Dantzick, assembled a diet at Warsaw, which solemnly deposed Augustus, and declared the throne vacant. Their intention was to elect young Sobieski, son of their late monarch, who resided at Breslau in Silesia: but their scheme was anticipated by Augustus, who retired hastily into his Saxon dominions, and seizing Sobieski, with his brother, secured them as prisoners at Dresden.
The Commons revive the Bill against occasional Conformity..... Conspiracy trumped up by Simon Fraser, Lord Lovat..... The Lords present a Remonstrance to the Queen..... The Commons pass a Vote in favour of the Karl of Nottingham..... Second Remonstrance of the Lords..... Further Disputes between the two Houses..... The Queen grants the first Fruits and the tenths to the poor Clergy..... Inquiry into Naval Affairs..... Trial of Lindsay..... Meeting of the Scottish Parliament..... Violent Opposition to the Ministry in that Kingdom..... Their Parliament pass the Act of Security..... Melancholy Situation of the Emperor's Affairs..... The duke of Marlborough marches at the head of the Allied Army into Germany..... He defeats the Bavarians at Schellenberg..... Fruitless Negotiation with the Elector of Bavaria..... The Confederates obtain a complete Victory at Hochstadt..... Siege of Landau..... The Duke of Marlborough returns to England..... State of the War in different parts of Europe..... Campaign in Portugal..... Sir George Rooke takes Gibraltar, and worsts the French Fleet in a Battle off Malaga..... Session of Parliament in England..... An Act of Alienation passed against the Scots..... Manor of Woodstock granted to the Duke of Marlborough..... Disputes between the two Houses on the Subject of the Aylesbury Constables..... The Parliament dissolved..... Proceedings in the Parliament of Scotland..... They pass an Act for a Treaty of Union with England..... Difference between the Parliament and Convocation in Ireland..... Fruitless Campaign on the Moselle..... The Duke of Marlborough forces the French lines in Brabant..... He is prevented by the Deputies of the States from attacking the French Army..... He visits the Imperial Court of Vienna..... State of the War on the Upper Rhine, in Hungary, Piedmont, Portugal, and Poland..... Sir Thomas Dilkes destroys part of the French Fleet, and relieves Gibraltar..... The Earl of Peterborough and Sir Cloudesley Shovel reduce Barcelona..... The Karl's surprising Progress in Spain..... New Parliament in England..... Bill for a Regency in case of the Queen's Decease..... Debates in the House of Lords upon the supposed Danger to which the Church was exposed..... The Parliament prorogued..... Disputes in the Convocation..... Conferences opened for a Treaty of Union with Scotland..... Substance of the Treaty.
BILL AGAINST OCCASIONAL CONFORMITY.
When the parliament met in October, the queen in her speech took notice of the declaration by the duke of Savoy, and the treaty with Portugal, as circumstances advantageous to the alliance. She told them, that although no provision was made for the expedition to Lisbon, and the augmentation of the land forces, the funds had answered so well, and the produce of prizes been so considerable, that the public had not run in debt by those additional services; that she had contributed out of her own revenue to the support of the circle of Suabia, whose firm adherence to the interest of the allies deserved her seasonable assistance. She said, she would not engage in any unnecessary expense of her own, that she might have the more to spare towards the ease of her subjects. She recommended despatch and union, and earnestly exhorted them to avoid any heats or divisions that might give encouragement to the common enemies of the church and state. Notwithstanding this admonition, and the addresses of both houses, in which they promised to avoid all divisions, a motion was made in the house of commons for renewing the bill against occasional conformity, and carried by a great majority. In the new draft, however, the penalties were lowered and the severest clauses mitigated. As the court no longer interested itself in the success of this measure, the house was pretty equally divided with respect to the speakers, and the debates on each side were maintained with equal spirit and ability; at length it passed, and was sent up to the lords, who handled it still more severely. It was opposed by a small majority of the bishops, and particularly by Burnet of Sarum, who declaimed against it as a scheme of the papists to set the church and protestants at variance. It was successively attacked by the duke of Devonshire, the earl of Pembroke, the lords Haversham, Mohun, Ferrars, and Wharton. Prince George of Denmark absented himself from the house; and the question being put for a second reading, it was carried in the negative; yet the duke of Marlborough and lord Godolphin entered their dissent against its being rejected, although the former had positively declared that he thought the bill unseasonable. The commons having perused a copy of the treaty with Portugal, voted forty thousand men, including five thousand marines, for the sea service of the ensuing year; and a like number of land forces, to act in conjunction with the allies, besides the additional ten thousand: they likewise resolved, that the proportion to be employed in Portugal should amount to eight thousand. Sums were granted for the maintenance of these great armaments, as well as for the subsidies payable to her majesty's allies; and funds appointed equal to the occasion. Then they assured the queen, in an address, that they would provide for the support of such alliances as she had made, or should make with the duke of Savoy.
CONSPIRACY OF SIMON FRASER, LORD LOVAT.
At this period the nation was alarmed by the detection of a conspiracy said to be hatched by the Jacobites of Scotland. Simon Fraser, lord Lovat, a man of desperate enterprise, profound dissimulation, abandoned morals, and ruined fortune, who had been outlawed for having ravished a sister of the marquis of Athol, was the person to whom the plot seems to have owed its origin. He repaired to the court of St. Germain's, where he undertook to assemble a body of twelve thousand highlanders to act in favour of the pretender, if the court of France would assist them with a small reinforcement of troops, together with officers, arms, ammunition, and money. The French king seemed to listen to the proposal; but as Fraser's character was infamous, he doubted his veracity. He was therefore sent back to Scotland with two other persons, who were instructed to learn the strength and sentiments of the clans, and endeavour to engage some of the nobility in the design of an insurrection. Fraser had no sooner returned, than he privately discovered the whole transaction to the duke of Queensberry, and undertook to make him acquainted with the whole correspondence between the pretender and the Jacobites. In consequence of this service he was provided with a pass, to secure him from all prosecution; and made a progress through the highlands, to sound the inclination of the chieftains. Before he set out on this circuit, he delivered to the duke a letter from the queen dowager at St. Germain's, directed to the marquis of Athol: it was couched in general terms, and superscribed in a different character; so that, in all probability, Fraser had forged the direction with a view to ruin the marquis, who had prosecuted him for the injury done to his sister. He proposed a second journey to France, where he should be able to discover other more material circumstances; and the duke of Queensberry procured a pass for him to go to Holland from the earl of Nottingham, though it was expedited tinder a borrowed name. The duke had communicated his discovery to the queen without disclosing his name, which he desired might be concealed: her majesty believed the particulars, which were confirmed by her spies at Paris, as well as by the evidence of sir John Maclean, who had lately been convoyed from France to England in an open boat, and apprehended at Feldstone. This gentleman pretended at first that his intention was to go through England to his own country, in order to take the benefit of the queen's pardon; and this in all probability was his real design; but being given to understand that he would be treated in England as a traitor, unless he should merit forgiveness by making important discoveries, he related all he knew of the proposed insurrection. From his informations the ministry gave directions for apprehending one Keith, whose uncle had accompanied Fraser from France, and knew all the intrigues of the court of St. Germain's. He declared that there was no other design on foot, except that of paving the way for the pretender's ascending the throne after the queen's decease. Ferguson, that veteran conspirator, affirmed that Fraser had been employed by the duke of Queensberry to decoy some persons whom he hated into a conspiracy, that he might have an opportunity to effect their ruin; and by the discovery establish his own credit, which began to totter. Perhaps there was too much reason for this imputation. Among those who were seized at this time was a gentleman of the name of Lindsay, who had been under-secretary to the earl of Middleton. He had returned from France to Scotland in order to take the benefit of the queen's pardon, under the shelter of which he came to England, thinking himself secure from prosecution. He protested he knew of no designs against the queen or her government; and that he did not believe she would ever receive the least injury or molestation from the court of St. Germain's. The house of lords having received intimation of this conspiracy, resolved, that a committee should be appointed to examine into the particulars; and ordered that sir John Maclean should be next day brought to their house. The queen, who was far from being pleased with this instance of their officious interposition, gave them to understand by message, that she thought it would be inconvenient to change the method of examination already begun; and that she would in a short time inform the house of the whole affair. On the seventeenth day of December the queen went to the house of peers, and having passed the bill for the land-tax, made a speech to both houses, in which she declared that she had unquestionable information of ill practices and designs carried on by the emissaries of France in Scotland. The lords persisting in their resolution to bring the inquiry into their own house, chose their select committee by ballot; and, in an address, thanked her majesty for the information she had been pleased to communicate.
A REMONSTRANCE PRESENTED TO THE QUEEN.
The commons, taking it for granted that the queen was disobliged at these proceedings of the upper house—which indeed implied an insult upon her ministry, if not upon herself—presented an address, declaring themselves surprised to find that when persons suspected of treasonable practices were taken into custody by her majesty's messengers in order to be examined, the lords, in violation to the known laws of the land, had wrested them out of her hands, and arrogated the examination solely to themselves; so that a due inquiry into the evil practices and designs against her majesty's person and government, might in a great measure be obstructed. They earnestly desired that she would suffer no diminution of the prerogative; and they assured her they would, to the utmost of their power, support her in the exercise of it at home, as well as in asserting it against all invasions whatsoever. The queen thanked them for their concern and assurances; and was not ill pleased at the nature of the address, though the charge against the peers was not strictly true; for there were many instances of their having assumed such a right of inquiry. The upper house deeply resented the accusation. They declared, that by the known laws and customs of parliament, they had an undoubted right to take examinations of persons charged with criminal matters, whether those persons were or were not in custody. They resolved, That the address of the commons was unparliamentary, groundless, without precedent, highly injurious to the house of peers, tending to interrupt the good correspondence between the two houses, to create an ill opinion in her majesty of the house of peers, of dangerous consequence to the liberties of the people, the constitution of the kingdom, and privileges of parliament. They presented a long remonstrance to the queen, justifying their own conduct, explaining the steps they had taken, recriminating upon the commons, and expressing the most fervent zeal, duty, and affection to her majesty. In her answer to this representation, which was drawn up with elegance, propriety, and precision, she professed her sorrow for the misunderstanding which had happened between the two houses of parliament, and thanked them for the concern they had expressed for the rights of the crown and the prerogative; which she should never exert so willingly as for the good of her subjects, and the protection of their liberties.
Among other persons seized on the coast of Sussex on their landing from France, was one Boucher, who had been aidecamp to the duke of Berwick. This man, when examined, denied all knowledge of any conspiracy: he said, that being weary of living so long abroad, and having made some unsuccessful attempts to obtain a pass, he had chosen rather to cast himself on the queen's mercy than to remain longer in exile from his native country. He was tried and condemned for high treason, yet continued to declare himself ignorant of the plot. He proved that in the war of Ireland, as well as in Flanders, he had treated the English prisoners with great humanity. The lords desisted from the prosecution; he obtained a reprieve, and died in Newgate. On the twenty-ninth day of January, the earl of Nottingham told the house that the queen had commanded him to lay before them the papers containing all the particulars hitherto discovered of the conspiracy in Scotland; but that there was one circumstance which could not yet bo properly communicated without running the risk of preventing a discovery of greater importance. They forthwith drew up and presented an address, desiring that all the papers might be immediately submitted to their inspection. The queen said she did not expect to be pressed in this manner immediately after the declaration she had made; but in a few days the earl of Nottingham delivered the papers, sealed, to the house, and all the lords were summoned to attend on the eighth day of February, that they might be opened and perused. Nottingham was suspected of a design to stifle the conspiracy. Complaint was made in the house of commons that he had discharged an officer belonging to the late king James, who had been seized by the governor of Berwick. A warm debate ensued, and at length ended in a resolve, That the earl of Nottingham, one of her majesty's principal secretaries of state, for his great ability and diligence in the execution of his office, for his unquestionable fidelity to the queen and her government, and for his steady adherence to the church of England as by law established, highly merited the trust her majesty had reposed in him. They ordered the speaker to present this resolution to the queen, who said, she was glad to find them so well satisfied with the earl of Nottingham, who was trusted by her in so considerable an office. They perused the examinations of the witnesses which were laid before them, without passing judgment or offering advice on the subject; but they thanked her majesty for having communicated those particulars, as well as for her wisdom and care of the nation. When the lords proceeded with uncommon eagerness in their inquiry, the lower house, in another address, renewed their complaints against the conduct of the peers, which they still affirmed was without a precedent. But this was the language of irritated faction, by which indeed both sides were equally actuated. The select committee of the lords prosecuted the inquiry, and founded their report chiefly on the confession of sir John Maclean, who owned that the court of St. Germain's had listened to Lovat's proposal; that several councils had been held at the pretender's court on the subject of an invasion; and that persons were sent over to sound some of the nobility in Scotland. But the nature of their private correspondence and negotiation could not be discovered. Keith had tampered with his uncle to disclose the whole secret; and this was the circumstance which the queen declined imparting to the lords until she should know the success of his endeavours, which proved ineffectual. The uncle stood aloof; and the ministry did not heartily engage in the inquiry. The house of lords having finished these examinations, and being warmed with violent debates, voted that there had been dangerous plots between some persons in Scotland and the courts of France and St. Germain's; and that the encouragement for this plotting arose from the not settling the succession to the crown of Scotland in the house of Hanover. These votes were signified to the queen in an address; and they promised, that when the succession should be thus settled, they would endeavour to promote the union of the two kingdoms upon just and reasonable terms. Then they composed another representation in answer to the second address of the commons touching their proceedings. They charged the lower house with want of zeal in the whole progress of this inquiry. They produced a great number of precedents to prove that their conduct had been regular and parliamentary; and they, in their turn, accused the commons of partiality and injustice in vacating legal elections. The queen, in answer to this remonstrance, said, she looked upon any misunderstanding between the two houses as a very great misfortune to the kingdom; and that she should never omit anything in her power to prevent all occasions of them for the future.
DISPUTES BETWEEN THE TWO HOUSES.
The lords and commons, animated by such opposite principles, seized every opportunity of thwarting each other. An action having been brought by one Matthew Ashby against William White and the other constables of Aylesbury, for having denied him the privilege of voting in the last election, the cause was tried at the assizes, and the constables were cast with damages. But an order was given in the queen's bench to quash all the proceedings, since no action had ever been brought on that account. The cause being moved by writ of error into the house of lords, was argued with great warmth; at length it was carried by a great majority, that the order of the queen's bench should be set aside, and judgment pronounced according to the verdict given at the assizes. The commons considered these proceedings as encroaching on their privileges. They passed five different resolutions, importing, That the commons of England, in parliament assembled, had the sole right to examine and determine all matters relating to the right of election of their own members; that the practice of determining the qualifications of electors in any court of law would expose all mayors, bailiffs, and returning officers, to a multiplicity of vexatious suits and insupportable expenses, and subject them to different and independent jurisdictions, as well as to inconsistent determinations in the same case, without relief; that Matthew Ashby was guilty of a breach of privilege, as were all attorneys, solicitors, counsellors, and sergeants-at-law, soliciting, prosecuting, or pleading, in any case of the same nature. These resolutions, signed by the clerk, were fixed upon the gate of Westminster-hall. On the other hand, the lords appointed a committee to draw up a state of the case; and, upon their report, resolved, That every person being wilfully hindered to exercise his right of voting, might maintain an action in the queen's courts against the officer by whom his vote should be refused, to assert his right, and recover damage for the injury; that an assertion to the contrary was destructive of the property of the subjects, against the freedom of elections, and manifestly tended to the encouragement of partiality and corruption; that the declaring of Matthew Ashby guilty of a breach of privilege of the house of commons, was an unprecedented attempt upon the judicature of parliament, and an attempt to subject the law of England to the votes of the house of commons. Copies of the case, and these resolutions, were sent by the lord-keeper to all the sheriffs of England, to be circulated through all the boroughs of their respective counties.
THE QUEEN'S BOUNTY to the POOR CLERGY.
On the seventh day of February, the queen ordered secretary Hedges to tell the house of commons that she had remitted the arrears of the tenths to the poor clergy; that she would grant her whole revenue arising out of the first fruits and tenths, as far as it should become free from incumbrance, as an augmentation of their maintenance; that if the house of commons could find any method by which her intentions to the poor clergy might be made more effectual, it would be an advantage to the public, and acceptable to her majesty. The commons immediately brought in a bill enabling her to alienate this branch of the revenue, and create a corporation by charter, to direct the application of it to the uses proposed; they likewise repealed the statute of mortmain, so far as to allow all men to bequeath by will, or grant by deed, any sum they should think fit to give towards the augmentation of benefices. Addresses of thanks and acknowledgment from all the clergy of England were presented to the queen for her gracious bounty; but very little regard was paid to Burnet, bishop of Sarum, although the queen declared that prelate author of the project. He was generally hated, either as a Scot, a low-churchman, or a meddling partisan.
INQUIRY INTO NAVAL AFFAIRS.
In March, an inquiry into the condition of the navy was begun in the house of lords. They desired the queen in an address to give speedy and effectual orders that a number of ships, sufficient for the home service, should be equipped and manned with all possible expedition. They resolved, that admiral Graydon's not attacking the four French ships in the channel, had been a prejudice to the queen's service, and a disgrace to the nation; that his pressing men in Jamaica, and his severity towards masters of merchant vessels and transports, had been a great discouragement to the inhabitants of that island, as well as prejudicial to her majesty's service; and they presented an address against him, in consequence of which he was dismissed. They examined the accounts of the earl of Oxford, against which great clamour had been raised; and taking cognizance of the remarks made by the commissioners of the public accounts, found them false in fact, ill-grounded, and of no importance. The commons besought the queen to order a prosecution on account of ill practices in the earl of Ranelagh's office; and they sent up to the lords a bill for continuing the commission on the public accounts. Some alterations were made in the upper house, especially in the nomination of commissioners; but these were rejected by the commons. The peers adhering to their amendments, the bill dropped, and the commission expired. No other bill of any consequence passed in this session, except an act for raising recruits, which empowered justices of the peace to impress idle persons for soldiers and marines. On the third day of April the queen went to the house of peers, and having made a short speech on the usual topics of acknowledgment, unity, and moderation, prorogued the parliament to the fourth day of July. The division still continued between the two houses of convocation; so that nothing of moment was transacted in that assembly, except their address to the queen upon her granting the first fruits and tenths for the augmentation of small benefices. At the same time, the lower house sent their prolocutor with a deputation to wait upon the speaker of the house of commons, to return their thanks to that honourable house for having espoused the interest of the clergy; and to assure them that the convocation would pursue such methods as might best conduce to the support, honour, interest, and security of the church as now by law established. They sent up to the archbishop and prelates divers representations, containing complaints, and proposing canons and articles of reformation; but very little regard was paid to their remonstrances.
TRIAL OF LINDSAY.
About this period the earl of Nottingham, after having ineffectually pressed the queen to discard the dukes of Somerset and Devonshire, resigned the seals. The carl of Jersey and sir Edward Seymour were dismissed; the earl of Kent was appointed chamberlain, Harley secretary of state, and Henry St. John secretary of war. The discovery of the Scottish conspiracy was no sooner known in France, than Louis ordered Fraser to be imprisoned in the Bastile. In England, Lindsay being sentenced to die for having corresponded with France, was given to understand that he had no mercy to expect, unless he would discover the conspiracy, He persisted in denying all knowledge of any such conspiracy; and scorned to save his life by giving false information. In order to intimidate him into a confession, the ministry ordered him to be conveyed to Tyburn, where he still rejected life upon the terms proposed; then he was carried back to Newgate, where he remained some years; at length he was banished, and died of hunger in Holland. The ministers had been so lukewarm and languid in the investigation of the Scottish conspiracy, that the whigs loudly exclaimed against them as disguised Jacobites, and even whispered insinuations, implying, that the queen herself had a secret bias of sisterly affection for the court of St. Germain's. What seemed to confirm this allegation was the disgrace of the duke of Queensberry, who had exerted himself with remarkable zeal in the detection; but the decline of his interest in Scotland was the real cause of his being laid aside at this juncture.
THE SCOTTISH PARLIAMENT.
The design of the court was to procure in the Scottish parliament the nomination of a successor to the crown, and a supply for the forces, which could not be obtained in the preceding session. Secretary Johnston, in concert with the marquis of Tweedale, undertook to carry these points in return for certain limitations on the successor, to which her majesty agreed. The marquis was appointed commissioner. The office of lord-register was bestowed upon Johnston; and the parliament met on the sixth day of July. The queen, in her letter, expressed her concern that these divisions should have risen to such a height, as to encourage the enemies of the nation to employ their emissaries for debauching her good subjects from their allegiance. She declared her resolution to grant whatever could in reason be demanded for quieting the minds of the people. She told them she had empowered the marquis of Tweedale to give unquestionable proofs of her determination to maintain the government in church and state, as by law established in that kingdom; to consent to such laws as should be found wanting for the further security of both, and for preventing all encroachments for the future. She earnestly exhorted them to settle the succession in the protestant line, as a step absolutely necessary for their own peace and happiness, the quiet and security of all her dominions, the reputation of her affairs abroad, and the improvement of the protestant interest through all Europe. She declared that she had authorized the commissioners to give the royal assent to whatever could be reasonably demanded, and was in her power to grant, for securing the sovereignty and liberties of that her ancient kingdom. The remaining part of the letter turned upon the necessity of their granting a supply, the discouragement of vice, the encouragement of commerce, and the usual recommendation of moderation and unanimity.