HotFreeBooks.com
The History of England in Three Volumes, Vol.II. - From William and Mary to George II.
by Tobias Smollett
Previous Part     1 ... 12  13  14  15  16  17  18  19  20  21  22  23  24 ... 53     Next Part
Home - Random Browse

Speeches suggested by a vindictive ministry better became the leader of an incensed party, than the father and sovereign of a divided people. This declaration portended measures which it was the interest of the crown to avoid, and suited the temper of the majority in both houses, which breathed nothing but destruction to their political adversaries. The lords, in their address of thanks, professed their hope that his majesty, assisted by the parliament, would be able to recover the reputation of the kingdom in foreign parts, the loss of which they hoped to convince the world by their actions was by no means to be imputed to the nation in general. The tories said this was an invidious reflection, calculated to mislead and inflame the people, for the reputation of the kingdom had never been so high as at this very juncture. The commons pretended astonishment to find that any conditions of the late peace should not yet be duly executed; and that care was not taken to form such alliances as might have rendered the peace not precarious. They declared their resolution to inquire into these fatal miscarriages; to trace out those measures whereon the pretender placed his hopes, and bring the authors of them to condign punishment. These addresses were not voted without opposition. In the house of lords, the dukes of Buckingham and Shrewsbury, the earl of Anglesea, the archbishop of York, and other peers both secular and ecclesiastical, observed, that their address was injurious to the late queen's memory, and would serve only to increase those unhappy divisions that distracted the kingdom. In the lower house, sir William Wyndham, Mr. Bromley, Mr. Ship-pen, general Ross, sir William Whitelock, and other members, took exceptions to passages of the same nature in the address which the commons had prepared. They were answered by Mr. Walpole, Mr. Pulteney, and Mr. secretary Stanhope. These gentlemen took occasion to declare, that notwithstanding the endeavours which had been used to prevent a discovery of the late mismanagements, by conveying away several papers from the secretary's office, yet the government had sufficient evidence left to prove the late ministry the most corrupt that ever sat at the helm; that those matters would soon be laid before the house, when it would appear that a certain English general had acted in concert with, if not received orders from, mareschal de Villars. Lord Bolingbroke, who had hitherto appeared in public, as usual, with remarkable serenity, and spoke in the house of lords with great freedom and confidence, thought it was now high time to consult his personal safety. He accordingly withdrew to the continent, leaving a letter which was afterwards printed in his justification. In this paper, he declared he had received certain and repeated informations, that a resolution was taken to pursue him to the scaffold; that if there had been the least reason to hope for a fair and open trial, after having been already prejudged, unheard, by the two houses of parliament, he should not have declined the strictest examination. He challenged the most inveterate of his enemies to produce any one instance of criminal correspondence, or the least corruption in any part of the administration in which he was concerned. He said, if his zeal for the honour and dignity of his royal mistress, and the true interest of his country, had any where transported him to let slip a warm and unguarded expression, he hoped the most favourable interpretation would be put upon it. He affirmed that he had served her majesty faithfully and dutifully in that especially which she had most at heart, relieving her people from a bloody and expensive war; and that he had always been too much an Englishman to sacrifice the interest of his country to any foreign ally whatsoever.

{1715}

In the midst of all this violence against the late ministers, friends were not wanting to espouse their cause in the face of opposition; and even in some addresses to the king their conduct was justified. Nay, some individuals had courage enough to attack the present administration. When a motion was made in the house of commons to consider the king's proclamation for calling a new parliament, sir William Whitelock, member for the university of Oxford, boldly declared it was unprecedented and unwarrantable. Being called upon to explain himself, he made an apology. Nevertheless, sir William Wyndham rising up said, the proclamation was not only unprecedented and unwarrantable, but even of dangerous consequence to the very being of parliaments. When challenged to justify his charge, he observed, that every member was free to speak his thoughts. Some exclaimed, "The Tower! the Tower!" A warm debate ensued; sir William being ordered to withdraw, was accompanied by one hundred and twenty-nine members; and those who remained in the house resolved, that he should be reprimanded by the speaker. He was accordingly rebuked, for having presumed to reflect on his majesty's proclamation, and having made an unwarrantable use of the freedom of speech granted by his majesty. Sir William said he was not conscious of having offered any indignity to his majesty, or of having been guilty of a breach of privilege; that he acquiesced in the determination of the house; but had no thanks to give to those gentlemen who, under pretence of lenity, had subjected him to this censure.



COMMITTEE OF SECRECY.

On the ninth day of April, general Stanhope delivered to the house of commons fourteen volumes, consisting of all the papers relating to the late negotiations of peace and commerce, as well as to the cessation of arms; and moved that they might be referred to a select committee of twenty persons, who should digest the substance of them under proper heads, and report them, with their observations, to the house. One more was added to the number of this secret committee, which was chosen by ballot, and met that same evening. Mr. Eobert Wal-pole, original chairman, being taken ill, was succeeded in that place by Mr. Stanhope. The whole number was subdivided into three committees. To each a certain number of books was allotted; and they carried on the inquiry with great eagerness and expedition. Before this measure was taken, Dr. Gilbert Burnet, bishop of Sarum, died of a pleuritic fever, in the seventy-second year of his age. Immediately after the committee had begun to act, the whig party lost one of their warmest champions, by the death of the marquis of Wharton, a nobleman possessed of happy talents for the cabinet, the senate, and the common scenes of life; talents which a life of pleasure and libertinism did not prevent him from employing with surprising vigour and application. The committee of the lower house taking the civil list into consideration, examined several papers relating to that revenue. The tories observed, that from the seven hundred thousand pounds granted annually to king William, fifty thousand pounds were allotted to the late queen, when princess of Denmark; twenty thousand pounds to the duke of Gloucester; and twice that sum, as a dowry, to James' queen; that nearly two hundred thousand pounds had been yearly deducted from the revenues of the late queen's civil list, and applied to other uses; notwithstanding which deduction, she had honourably maintained her family, and supported the dignity of the crown. In the course of the debate, some warm altercation passed between lord Guernsey and one of the members, who affirmed that the late ministry had used the whigs, and indeed the whole nation, in such a manner, that nothing they should suffer could be deemed a hardship. At length the house agreed that the sum of seven hundred thousand pounds clear should be granted for the civil list during his majesty's life. A motion being made for an address against pensions, it was opposed by Mr. Walpole, and over-ruled by the majority. The lords passed the bill for regulating the land forces, with some amendments.



SIR JOHN NORRIS SENT WITH A FLEET TO THE BALTIC.

On the eighteenth day of May, sir John Norris sailed with a strong squadron to the Baltic, in order to protect the commerce of the nation, which had suffered from the king of Sweden, who caused all ships trading to those parts to be seized and confiscated. That prince had rejected the treaty of neutrality concerted by the allies for the security of the empire; and considered the English and Dutch as his enemies. The ministers of England and the states-general had presented memorials to the regency of Sweden; but finding no redress, they resolved to protect their trade by force of arms. After the Swedish general, Steenbock, and his army were made prisoners, count Wellen concluded a treaty with the administrator of Holstein-Gottorp, by which the towns of Stetin and Wisma were sequestered into the hands of the king of Prussia; the administrator engaged to secure them, and all the rest of Swedish Pomerania, from the Poles and Muscovites; but as the governor of Pomerania refused to comply with this treaty, those allies marched into the province, subdued the island of Eugen, and obliged Stetin to surrender. Then the governor consented to the sequestration, and paid to the Poles and Muscovites four hundred thousand rix dollars, to indemnify them for the expense of the siege. The king of Sweden returning from Turkey, rejected the treaty of sequestration, and insisted upon Stetin's being restored, without his repaying the money. As this monarch likewise threatened to invade the electorate of Saxony, and chastise his false friend; king George, for the security of his German dominions, concluded a treaty with the king of Denmark, by which the duchies of Bremen and Verden, which had been taken from the Swedes in his absence, were made over to his Britannic majesty, on condition that he should immediately declare war against Sweden. Accordingly he took possession of the duchies in October, published a declaration of war against Charles in his German dominions; and detached six thousand Hanoverians to join the Danes and Prussians in Pomerania. These allies reduced the islands of Rugen and Uledon, and attacked the towns of Wismar and Stralsund, from which last place Charles was obliged to retire in a vessel to Schohen. He assembled a body of troops with which he proposed to pass the Sound upon the ice, and attack Copenhagen; but was disappointed by a sudden thaw. Nevertheless he refused to return to Stockholm, which he had not seen for sixteen years; but remained at Carlscroon, in order to hasten his fleet for the relief of Wismar.



DISCONTENT OF THE NATION.

The spirit of discontent and disaffection seemed to gain ground every day in England. Notwithstanding proclamations against riots, and orders of the justices for maintaining the peace, repeated tumults were raised by the malcontents in the cities of London and Westminster. Those who celebrated the anniversary of the king's birth-day with the usual marks of joy and festivity, were insulted by the populace; but next day, which was the anniversary of the restoration, the whole city was lighted up with bonfires and illuminations, and echoed with the sound of mirth and tumultuous rejoicing. The people even obliged the life-guards, who patroled through the streets, to join in the cry of "High-church and Ormond!" and in Smithfield they burned the picture of king William. Thirty persons were imprisoned for being concerned in these riots. One Bournois, a schoolmaster, who affirmed that king George had no right to the crown, was tried and scourged through the city, with such severity that in a few days he expired in the utmost torture. A frivolous incident served to increase the popular ferment. The shirts allowed to the first regiment of guards, commanded by the duke of Marlborough, were so coarse that the soldiers could hardly be persuaded to wear them. Some were thrown into the garden of the king's palace, and into that which belonged to the duke of Marlborough. A detachment, in marching through the city, produced them to the view of the shop-keepers and passengers, exclaiming, "These are the Hanover shirts." The court being informed of this clamour, ordered those new shirts to be burned immediately; but even this sacrifice, and an advertisement published by the duke of Marlborough in his own vindication, did not acquit that general of suspicion that he was concerned in this mean species of peculation. A reward of fifty pounds was offered by the government to any person that would discover one captain Wight, who, by an intercepted letter, appeared to be disaffected to king George; and Mr. George Jefferies was seized at Dublin with a packet directed to Dr. Jonathan Swift, dean of St. Patrick's. Several treasonable papers being found in this packet, were transmitted to England; Jefferies was obliged to give bail for his appearance; and Swift thought proper to abscond.



REPORT OF THE SECRET COMMITTEE.

The house of lords, to demonstrate their abhorrence of all who should engage in conspiracies against their sovereign, rejected with indignation a petition presented to them in behalf of Blackburne, Casils, Barnarde, Meldrum, and Chambers, who had hitherto continued prisoners, for having conspired against the life of king William. On the ninth day of June, Mr. Walpole, as chairman of the secret committee, declared to the house of commons that the report was ready; and in the meantime moved, that a warrant might be issued by Mr. Speaker, for apprehending several persons, particularly Mr. Matthew Prior and Mr. Thomas Harley, who being in the house, were immediately taken into custody. Then he recited the report, ranged under these different heads: the clandestine negotiation with monsieur Menager; the extraordinary measures pursued to form the congress at Utrecht; the trifling of the French plenipotentiaries, by the connivance of the British ministers; the negotiation about the renunciation of the Spanish monarchy; the fatal suspension of arms; the seizure of Ghent and Bruges, in order to distress the allies and favour the French; the duke of Ormond's acting in concert with the French general; the lord Bolingbroke's journey to France to negotiate a separate peace; Mr. Prior's and the duke of Shrewsbury's negotiation in France; the precipitate conclusion of the peace at Utrecht. The report being read, sir Thomas Hanmer moved that the consideration of it should be adjourned to a certain day; and that in the meantime the report should be printed for the perusal of the members: he was seconded by the tories: a debate ensued; and the motion was rejected by a great majority.

This point being gained, Mr. Walpole impeached Henry lord viscount Bolingbroke of high treason, and other high crimes and misdemeanors. Mr. Hungerford declared his opinion, that nothing mentioned in the report, in relation to lord Bolingbroke, amounted to high treason; and general Eoss expressed the same sentiment. Then lord Coningsby standing up, "The worthy chairman," said he, "has impeached the hand, but I impeach the head: he has impeached the clerk, and I the justice; he has impeached the scholar, and I the master. I impeach Eobert earl of Oxford and earl Mortimer of high treason, and other high crimes and misdemeanors." Mr. Auditor Harley, the earl's brother, spoke in vindication of that minister. He affirmed he had done nothing but by the immediate command of his sovereign; that the peace was a good peace, and approved as such by two parliaments; and that the facts charged to him in the report amounted only to misdemeanors; if the sanction of a parliament, which is the representative and legislature of the nation, be not sufficient to protect a minister from the vengeance of his enemies, he can have no security. Mr. Atiditor Foley, the earl's brother-in-law, made a speech to the same purpose; sir Joseph Jekyll, a staunch whig, and member of the secret committee, expressed his doubt whether they had sufficient matter or evidence to impeach the earl of high treason. Nevertheless the house resolved to impeach him without a division. When he appeared in the house of lords next day, he found himself deserted by his brother peers as infectious; and retired with signs of confusion. Prior and Harley having been examined by such of the committee as were justices of the peace for Middlesex, Mr. Walpole informed the house that matters of such importance appeared in Prior's examination, that he was directed to move them for that member's being closely confined. Prior was accordingly imprisoned, and cut off from all communication. On the twenty-first day of June, Mr. Secretary Stanhope impeached James duke of Ormond of high treason, and other high crimes and misdemeanors. Mr. Archibald Hutchinson, one of the commissioners of trade, spoke in favour of the duke. He expatiated on his noble birth and qualifications; he enumerated the great services performed to the crown and nation by his grace and his ancestors; he observed, that in the whole course of his late conduct, he had only obeyed the queen's commands; and he affirmed that all allegations against him could not in the rigour of the law be construed into high treason. Mr. Hutchinson was seconded by general Lumley, who urged that the duke of Ormond had on all occasions given signal proofs of his affection for his country, as well as of personal courage; and that he had generously expended the best part of his estate, by living abroad in a most noble and splendid manner, for the honour of his sovereign. Sir Joseph Jekyll said, if there was room for mercy, he hoped it would be shown to that noble, generous, and courageous peer, who had in a course of many years exerted those great accomplishments for the good and honour of his country; that, as the statute of Edward III., on which the charge of high treason against him was to be grounded, had been mitigated by subsequent acts, the house ought not, in his opinion, to take advantage of that act against the duke, but only impeach him of high crimes and misdemeanors. General Ross, sir William Wyndham, and the speakers of that party, did not abandon the duke in this emergency; but all their arguments and eloquence were lost upon the other faction, by which they were greatly out-numbered The question being put, was carried for the impeachment of the duke of Ormond, who perceiving every thing conducted by a furious spirit of revenge, and that he could not expect the benefit of an impartial trial, consulted his own safety by withdrawing himself from the kingdom. On the twenty-second day of June, the earl of Strafford was likewise impeached by Mr. Aislaby, for having advised the fatal suspension of arms, and the seizing of Ghent and Bruges; as well as for having treated the most serene house of Hanover with insolence and contempt. He was also defended by his friends, but overpowered by his enemies.



EARL OF OXFORD SENT TO THE TOWER.

When the articles against the earl of Oxford were read in the house, a warm debate arose upon the eleventh, by which he was charged with having advised the French king in what manner Tournay might be gained from the states-general. The question being put, whether this article amounted to high-treason; sir Robert Raymond, formerly solicitor-general, maintained the negative, and was supported not only by sir William Wyndham and the tories, but also by sir Joseph Jekyll. This honest patriot said it was ever his principle to do justice to every body, from the highest to the lowest; and that it was the duty of an honest man never to act by a spirit of party; that he hoped he might pretend to have some knowledge of the laws of the kingdom; and would not scruple to declare, that in his judgment the charge in question did not amount to high-treason. Mr. Walpole answered with great warmth, that there were several persons both in and out of the committee, who did not in the least yield to that member in point of honesty, and who were superior to him in the knowledge of the laws, yet were satisfied that the charge specified in the eleventh article amounted to high-treason. This point being decided against the earl, and the other articles approved by the house, lord Conningsby, attended by the whig members, impeached the earl of Oxford at the bar of the house of lords, demanding at the same time that he might be sequestered from parliament, and committed to safe custody. A motion was made, that the consideration of the articles might be adjourned. After a short debate the articles were read; then the tory lords moved that the judges might be consulted. The motion being rejected, another was made, that the earl should be committed to safe custody. This occasioned another debate, in which he himself spoke to the following purpose: that the whole charge might be reduced to the negotiations and conclusions of the peace; that the nation wanted a peace, he said, nobody would deny; that the conditions of the peace were as good as could be expected, considering the backwardness and reluctancy which some of the allies showed to come into the queen's measures; that the peace was approved by two successive parliaments; that he had no share in the affair of Tournay, which was wholly transacted by that unfortunate nobleman who has thought fit to step aside; that for his own part, he always acted by the immediate directions and commands of the late queen, without offending against any known law; and, being justified by his own conscience, was unconcerned for the life of an insignificant old man; that, if ministers of state, acting by the immediate commands of their sovereign, are afterwards to be made accountable for their proceedings, it might one day or other be the case with all the members of that august assembly; that he did not doubt their lordships, out of regard to themselves, would give him an equitable hearing; and that in the prosecution of the inquiry it would appear he had merited not only the indulgence, but even the favour of his government. "My lords," said he, "I am now to take my leave of your lordships, and of this honourable house, perhaps for ever; I shall lay down my life with pleasure in a cause favoured by my late dear royal mistress. When I consider that I am to be judged by the justice, honour, and virtue of my peers, I shall acquiesce, and retire with great content; and, my lords, God's will be done." The duke of Shrewsbury having acquainted the house that the earl was very much indisposed with the gravel, he was suffered to remain at his own house in custody of the black-rod; in his way thither he was attended by a great multitude of people crying, "High-church, Ormond and Oxford for ever!" Next day he was brought to the bar; where he received a copy of the articles, and was allowed a month to prepare his answer. Though Dr. Mead declared that if the earl should be sent to the Tower his life would be in danger, it was carried, on a division, that he should be conveyed thither on the sixteenth day of July. During the debate, the earl of Anglesea observed, that these impeachments were disagreeable to the nation, and that it was to be feared such violent measures would make the sceptre shake in the king's hands. This expression kindled the whole house into a flame. Some members cried, "To the Tower!" some, "To order!" The earl of Sunderland declared, that if these words had been spoken in another place, he would have called the person that had spoken them to an account; in the meantime he moved that the noble lord should explain himself. Anglesea, dreading the resentment of the house, was glad to make an apology; which was accepted. The earl of Oxford was attended to the Tower by a prodigious concourse of people, who did not scruple to exclaim against his persecutors. Tumults were raised in Staffordshire, and other parts of the kingdom, against the whig party, which had depressed the friends of the church and embroiled the nation. The house of commons presented an address to the king, desiring that the laws might be vigorously executed against the rioters. They prepared the proclamation-act, decreeing, that if any persons to the number of twelve, unlawfully assembled, should continue together one hour after having been required to disperse by a justice of peace or other officer, and heard the proclamation against riots read in public, they should be deemed guilty of felony without benefit of clergy.

{GEORGE I, 1714—1727}



THE KING DECLARES TO BOTH HOUSES THAT A REBELLION IS BEGUN.

When the king went to the house of peers on the twentieth day of July, to give the royal assent to this and some other bills, he told both houses that a rebellion was actually begun at home; and that the nation was threatened with an invasion from abroad. He therefore expected that the commons would not leave the kingdom in a defenceless condition, but enable him to take such measures as should be necessary for the public safety. Addresses in the usual style were immediately presented by the parliament, the convocation, the common-council and lieutenancy of London, and the two universities; but that of Oxford was received in the most contemptuous manner; and the deputies were charged with disloyalty, on account of a fray which had happened between some recruiting officers and the scholars of the university. The addresses from the kirk of Scotland, and the dissenting ministers of London and Westminster, met with a much more gracious reception. The parliament forthwith passed a bill, empowering the king to secure suspected persons, and to suspend the habeas-corpus act in that time of danger. A clause was added to a money-bill, offering the reward of one hundred thousand pounds to such as should seize the pretender dead or alive. Sir George Byng was sent to take the command of the fleet. General Earle repaired to his government of Portsmouth; the guards were encamped in Hyde-park; lord Irwin was appointed governor of Hull, in the room of brigadier Sutton, who, together with lord Windsor, the generals Ross, Webb, and Stuart, were dismissed from the service. Orders were given for raising thirteen regiments of dragoons, and eight of infantry; and the trained bands were kept in readiness to suppress tumults. In the midst of these transactions, the commons added six articles to those exhibited against the earl of Oxford. Lord Bolingbroke was impeached at the bar of the house of lords by Mr. Walpole. Bills being brought in to summon him and the duke of Ormond to surrender themselves by the tenth of September, or, in default thereof, to attaint them of high treason, they passed both houses and received the royal assent. On the last day of August, the commons agreed to the articles against the earl of Strafford, which being presented to the house of lords, the earl made a speech in his own vindication. He complained that his papers had been seized in an unprecedented manner. He said, if he had in his letters or discourse dropped any unguarded expressions against some foreign ministers, while he had the honour to represent the crown of Great Britain, he hoped they would not be accounted criminal by a British house of peers; he desired he might be allowed a competent time to answer the articles brought against him, and have duplicates of all the papers which had either been laid before the committee of secrecy, or remained in the hands of government, to be used occasionally in his justification. This request was vehemently opposed by the leaders of the other party, until the earl of Hay represented that, in all civilized nations, all courts of judicature, except the inquisition, allowed the persons arraigned all that was necessary for their justification; and that the house of peers of Great Britain ought not, in this case, to do any thing contrary to that honour and equity for which they were so justly renowned throughout all Europe. This observation made an impression on the house, which resolved that the earl should be indulged with copies of such papers as he might have occasion to use in his defence.



DUKE OF ORMOND AND LORD BOLINGBROKE ATTAINTED.

On the third day of September, Oxford's answer was delivered to the house of lords, who transmitted it to the commons. Mr. Walpole, having heard it read, said it contained little more than a repetition of what had been suggested in some pamphlets and papers which had been published in vindication of the late ministry; that it was a false and malicious libel, laying upon his royal mistress the blame of all the pernicious measures he had led her into, against her own honour, and the good of his country; that it was likewise a libel on the proceedings of the commons, since he endeavoured to clear those persons who had already confessed their guilt by flight. After some debate, the house resolved, that the answer of Robert earl of Oxford should be referred to the committee appointed to draw up articles of impeachment, and prepare evidence against the impeached lords; and that the committee should prepare a replication to the answer. This was accordingly prepared and sent up to the lords. Then the committee reported, that Mr. Prior had grossly prevaricated on his examination, and behaved with great contempt of their authority. The duke of Ormond and lord viscount Bolingbroke having omitted to surrender themselves within the limited time, the house of lords ordered the earl-marshal to raze out of the list of peers their names and armorial bearings. Inventories were taken of their personal estates; and the duke's achievements, as knight of the garter, were taken down from St. George's chapel at Windsor. A man of candour cannot, without an emotion of grief and indignation, reflect upon the ruin of the noble family of Ormond, in the person of a brave, generous, and humane nobleman, to whom no crime was imputed but that of having obeyed the commands of his sovereign. About this period the royal assent was given to an act for encouraging loyalty in Scotland. By this law the tenant who continued peaceable while his lord took arms in favour of the pretender, was invested with the property of the lands he rented; on the other hand, it was decreed that the lands possessed by any person guilty of high treason should revert to the superior of whom they were held, and be consolidated with the superiority; and that all entails and settlements of estates, since the first day of August, in favour of children, with a fraudulent intent to avoid the punishment of the law due to the offence of high treason, should be null and void. It likewise contained a clause for summoning suspected persons to find bail for their good behaviour, on pain of being denounced rebels. By virtue of this clause all the heads of the jacobite clans, and other suspected persons, were summoned to Edinburgh; and those who did not appear were declared rebels.



INTRIGUES OF THE JACOBITES.

By this time the rebellion was actually begun in Scotland. The dissensions occasioned in that country by the union had never been wholly appeased. Ever since the queen's death, addresses were prepared in different parts of Scotland against the union, which was deemed a national grievance; and the Jacobites did not fail to encourage this aversion. Though the hopes of dissolving that treaty were baffled by the industry and other arts of the revolutioners, who secured a majority of whigs in parliament, they did not lay aside their designs of attempting something of consequence in favour of the pretender; but maintained a correspondence with the malcontents of England, a great number of whom were driven by apprehension, hard usage, and resentment, into a system of politics which otherwise they would not have espoused. The tories finding themselves totally excluded from any share in the government and legislature, and exposed to the insolence and fury of a faction which they despised, began to wish in earnest for a revolution. Some of them held private consultations, and communicated with the Jacobites, who conveyed their sentiments to the chevalier de St. George, with such exaggerations as were dictated by their own eagerness and extravagance. They assured the pretender that the nation was wholly disaffected to the new government; and indeed the clamours, tumults, and conversation of the people in general countenanced this assertion. They promised to take arms, without further delay, in his favour; and engaged that the tories should join them at his first landing in Great Britain. They therefore besought him to come over with all possible expedition, declaring that his appearance would produce an immediate revolution. The chevalier resolved to take the advantage of this favourable disposition. He had recourse to the French king, who had always been the refuge of his family. Louis favoured him in secret; and, notwithstanding his late engagements with England, cherished the ambition of raising him to the throne of Great Britain. He supplied him privately with sums of money to prepare a small armament in the port of Havre, which was equipped in the name of Depine d'Anicaut; and, without all doubt, his design was to assist him more effectually in proportion as the English should manifest their attachment to the house of Stuart. The duke of Ormond and lord Bolingbroke, who had retired to France, finding themselves condemned unheard, and attainted, engaged in the service of the chevalier, and corresponded with the tories of England.



DEATH OF LOUIS XIV.

All these intrigues and machinations were discovered and communicated to the court of London by the earl of Stair, who then resided as English ambassador at Paris. He was a nobleman of unquestioned honour and integrity, generous, humane, discerning, and resolute. He had signalized himself by his valour, intrepidity, and other military talents, during the war in the Netherlands; and he now acted in another sphere with uncommon vigour, vigilance, and address. He detected the chevalier's scheme while it was yet in embryo, and gave such early notice of it as enabled the king of Great Britain to take effectual measures for defeating the design. All the pretender's interest in France expired with Louis XIV., that ostentatious tyrant, who had for above half a century sacrificed the repose of Christendom to his insatiate vanity and ambition. At his death, which happened on the first day of September, the regency of the kingdom devolved to the duke of Orleans, who adopted a new system of politics, and had already entered into engagements with the king of Great Britain. Instead of assisting the pretender, he amused his agents with mysterious and equivocal expressions, calculated to frustrate the design of the expedition. Nevertheless, the more violent part of the Jacobites in Great Britain believed he was at bottom a friend to their cause, and depended upon him for succour. They even extorted from him a sum of money by dint of importunities, and some arms; but the vessel was shipwrecked, and the cargo lost upon the coast of Scotland.



THE EARL OF MAR SETS UP THE PRETENDER'S STANDARD.

The partisans of the pretender had proceeded too far to retreat with safety, and therefore resolved to try their fortune in the field. The earl of Mar repaired to the Highlands, where he held consultations with the marquasses of Huntley and Tullibardine, the earls Marischal and Southesk, the generals Hamilton and Gordon, with the chiefs of the Jacobite clans. Then he assembled three hundred of his own vassals, proclaimed the pretender at Castletown, and set up his standard at Brae-Mar, on the sixth day of September. By this time the earls of Home, Winton, and Kinnoul, lord Deskford, and Lockhart of Carnwath, with other persons suspected of disaffection to the present government, were committed prisoners to the castle of Edinburgh; and major-general Whetham marched with the regular troops which were in that kingdom to secure the bridge at Stirling. Before these precautions were taken, two vessels had arrived at Arbroath from Havre, with arms, ammunition, and a great number of officers, who assured the earl of Mar that the pretender would soon be with them in person. The death of Louis the XIV. struck a general damp upon their spirits; but they laid their account with being joined by a powerful body in England. The earl of Mar, by letters and messages, pressed the chevalier to come over without further delay. He, in the meantime, assumed the title of lieutenant-general of the pretender's forces, and published a declaration, exhorting the people to take arms for their lawful sovereign. This was followed by a shrewd manifesto, explaining the national grievances, and assuring the people of redress. Some of his partisans attempted to surprise the castle of Edinburgh; but were prevented by the vigilance and activity of colonel Stuart, lieutenant-governor of that fortress. The duke of Argyle set out for Scotland, as commander-in-chief of the forces in North Britain: the earl of Sutherland set sail in the Queen-borough ship-of-war for the North, where he proposed to raise his vassals for the service of government; and many other Scottish peers returned to their own country in order to signalize their loyalty to king George.

In England the practices of the Jacobites did not escape the notice of the ministry. Lieutenant-colonel Paul was imprisoned in the gate-house for enlisting men in the service of the pretender. The titular duke of Powis was committed to the Tower; lords Lansdown-e and Duplin were taken into custody; and a warrant was issued for apprehending the earl of Jersey. The king desired the consent of the lower house to seize and detain sir William Wyndham, sir John Packington, Mr. Edward Harvey of Combe, Mr. Thos. Forster, Mr. John Anstis, and Mr. Corbet Kynaston, who were members of the house, and suspected of favouring the invasion. The commons unanimously agreed to the proposal, and presented an address signifying their approbation. Harvey and Anstis were immediately secured. Forster, with the assistance of some popish lords, assembled a body of men in Northumberland' sir John Packington being examined before the council, was dismissed for want of evidence: Mr. Kynaston absconded; sir William Wyndham was seized at his own house in Somersetshire, by colonel Huske and a messenger, who secured his papers: he found means, however, to escape from them; but afterwards surrendered himself: and, having been examined at the council-board, was committed to the Tower. His father-in-law, the duke of Somerset, offered to become bound for his appearance; and being rejected as bail, expressed his resentment so warmly that the king thought proper to remove him from the office of master of the horse. On the twenty-first day of September, the king went to the house of lords and passed the bills that were ready for the royal assent. Then the chancellor read his majesty's speech, expressing his acknowledgment and satisfaction, in consequence of the uncommon marks of their affection he had received; and the parliament adjourned to the sixth day of October.

The friends of the house of Stuart were very numerous in the western counties, and began to make preparations for an insurrection. They had concealed some arms and artillery at Bath, and formed a design to surprise Bristol; but they were betrayed and discovered by the emissaries of the government, which baffled all their schemes, and apprehended every person of consequence suspected of attachment to that cause. The university of Oxford felt the rod of power on that occasion. Major-general Pepper, with a strong detachment of dragoons, took possession of the city at day-break, declaring he would use military execution on all students who should presume to appear without the limits of their respective colleges. He seized tenor eleven persons, among whom was one Lloyd, a coffee-man; and made prize of some horses and furniture belonging to colonel Owen and other gentlemen. With this booty he retreated to Abingdon; and Handasyde's regiment of foot was afterwards quartered in Oxford to overawe the university. The ministry found it more difficult to suppress the insurgents in the northern counties. In the month of October the earl of Derwentwater and Mr. Forster took the field with a body of horse, and being joined by some gentlemen from the borders of Scotland, proclaimed the pretender in Warkworth, Morpeth, and Alnwick. The first design was to seize the town of Newcastle, in which they had many friends; but they found the gates shut upon them, and retired to Hexham; while general Carpenter having assembled a body of dragoons, resolved to march from Newcastle and attack them before they should be reinforced. The rebels retiring northward to Woller, were joined by two hundred Scottish horse under the lord viscount Kenmuir, and the earls of Carnwath and Winton, who had set up the pretender's standard at Moffat, and proclaimed him in different parts of Scotland. The rebels thus reinforced advanced to Kelso, having received advice that they would be joined by Mackintosh, who had crossed the Forth with a body of Highlanders.



MACKINTOSH JOINS THE ENGLISH INSURGENTS.

By this time the earl of Mar was at the head of ten thousand men well armed. He had secured the pass of the Tay at Perth, where his head-quarters were established, and made himself master of the whole fruitful province of Fife, and all the sea-coast on that side of the Frith of Edinburgh. He selected two thousand five hundred men, commanded by brigadier Mackintosh, to make a descent upon the Lothian side, and join the Jacobites in that county, or such as should take arms on the borders of England. Boats were assembled for this purpose; and notwithstanding all the precautions that could be taken by the king's ships in the Frith to prevent the design, about fifteen hundred chosen men made good their passage in the night, and landed on the coast of Lothian, having crossed an arm of the sea about sixteen miles broad, in open boats that passed through the midst of the king's cruisers. Nothing could be better concerted, or executed with more conduct and courage, than was this hazardous enterprise. They amused the king's ships with marches and counter-marches along the coast, in such a manner that they could not possibly know where they intended to embark. The earl of Mar, in the meantime, marched from Perth to Dumblane as if he had intended to cross the Forth at Stirling bridge; but his real design was to divert the duke of Argyle from attacking his detachment which had landed in Lothian. So far the scheme succeeded. The duke, who had assembled some troops in Lothian, returned to Stirling with the utmost expedition, after having secured Edinburgh and obliged Mackintosh to abandon his design on that city. This partisan had actually taken possession of Leith, from whence he retired to Seaton-house, near Prestonpans, which he fortified in such a manner that he could not be forced without artillery. Here he remained until he received an order across the Frith from the earl of Mar to join lord Kenmuir and the English at Kelso, for which place he immediately began his march, and reached it on the twenty-second day of October, though a good number of his men had deserted on the route.

The lord Kenmuir, with the earls of Winton, Nithsdale, and Carnwath, the earl of Derwentwater, and Mr. Forster with the English insurgents, arriving at the same time, a council of war was immediately called. Winton proposed that they should march immediately into the western parts of Scotland and join general Gordon, who commanded a strong body of Highlanders in Argyleshire. The English insisted upon crossing the Tweed and attacking general Carpenter, whose troops did not exceed nine hundred dragoons. Neither scheme was executed. They took the route to Jedburgh, where they resolved to leave Carpenter on one side and penetrate into England by the western border. The Highlanders declared they would not quit their own country, but were ready to execute the scheme proposed by the earl of Winton. Means however were found to prevail upon one half of them to advance, while the rest returned to the Highlands. At Brampton, Forster opened his commission of general, which had been sent to him by the earl of Mar, and proclaimed the pretender. They continued their march to Penrith, where the sheriff, assisted by lord Lonsdale and the bishop of Carlisle, had assembled the whole posse-comitatus of Cumberland, amounting to twelve thousand men, who dispersed with the utmost precipitation at the approach of the rebels. From Penrith, Forster proceeded by way of Kendal and Lancaster to Preston, from whence Stanhope's regiment of dragoons and another of militia immediately retired, so that he took possession of the place without resistance. General Willis marched against the enemy with six regiments of horse and dragoons, and one battalion of foot commanded by colonel Preston. They had advanced to the bridge of Ribble before Forster received intelligence of their approach. He forthwith began to raise barricadoes, and put the place in a posture of defence. On the twelfth day of November the town was briskly attacked in two different places; but the king's troops met with a very warm reception, and were repulsed with considerable loss. Next day general Carpenter arrived with a reinforcement of three regiments of dragoons, and the rebels were invested on all sides. The Highlanders declared they would make a sally sword in hand, and either cut their way through the king's troops or perish in the attempt, but they were over-ruled. Forster sent colonel Oxburgh with a trumpet to general Willis, to propose a capitulation. He was given to understand that the general would not treat with rebels; but in case of their surrendering at discretion, he would prevent his soldiers from putting them to the sword until he should receive further orders. He granted them time to consider till next morning, upon their delivering the earl of Derwentwater and Mackintosh as hostages. When Forster submitted, this Highlander declared he could not promise the Scots would surrender in that manner. The general desired him to return to his people, and he would forthwith attack the town, in which case every man of them should be cut to pieces. The Scottish noblemen did not choose to run the risk, and persuaded the Highlanders to accept the terms that were offered. They accordingly laid down their arms, and were put under a strong guard. All the noblemen and leaders were secured. Major Nairn, captain Lockhart, captain Shaftoe, and ensign Erskine, were tried by a court-martial as deserters, and executed. Lord Charles Murray, son of the duke of Athol, was likewise condemned for the same crime, but reprieved. The common men were imprisoned at Chester and Liverpool, the noblemen and considerable officers were sent to London, conveyed through the streets pinioned like malefactors, and committed to the Tower and to Newgate.



BATTLE AT DUMBLANE.

The day on which the rebels surrendered at Preston was remarkable for the battle of Dumblane, fought between the duke of Argyle and the earl of Mar, who commanded the pretender's forces. This nobleman had retreated to his camp at Perth, when he understood the duke was returned from Lothian to Stirling. But being now joined by the northern clans under the earl of Sea-forth, and those of the west commanded by general Gordon, who had signalized himself in the service of the czar of Muscovy, he resolved to pass the Forth in order to join his southern friends, that they might march together into England. With this view he advanced to Auchterarder, where he reviewed his army, and rested on the eleventh day of November. The duke of Argyle, apprised of his intention, and being joined by some regiments of dragoons from Ireland, determined to give him battle in the neighbourhood of Dumblane. On the twelfth day of the month, Argyle passed the Forth at Stirling, and encamped with his left at the village of Dumblane, and his right towards Sheriffmuir. The earl of Mar advanced within two miles of his camp, and remained till day-break in order of battle; his army consisted of nine thousand effective men, cavalry as well as infantry. In the morning the duke, understanding they were in motion, drew up his forces, which did not exceed three thousand five hundred men, on the heights to the north-east of Dumblane; but he was outflanked both on the right and left. The clans that formed part of the centre and right wing of the enemy, with Glengary and Clanronald at their head, charged the left of the king's army sword in hand, with such impetuosity that in seven minutes both horse and foot were totally routed with great slaughter; and general Whetham, who commanded them, fled at full gallop to Stirling, where he declared that the royal army was totally defeated. In the meantime the duke of Argyle, who commanded in person on the right, attacked the left of the enemy, at the head of Stair's and Evan's dragoons, and drove them two miles before him, as far as the water of Allan; yet in that space they wheeled about and attempted to rally ten times; so that he was obliged to press them hard that they might not recover from their confusion. Brigadier Wightman followed in order to sustain him with three battalions of infantry; while the victorious right wing of the rebels having pursued Whetham a considerable way, returned to the field and formed in the rear of Wightman to the amount of five thousand men. The duke of Argyle returning from the pursuit, joined Wightman, who had faced about and taken possession of some enclosures and mud wails in expectation of being attacked. In this posture both armies fronted each other till the evening, when the duke drew off towards Dumblane, and the rebels retired to Ardoch, without mutual molestation. Next day the duke marching back to the field of battle, carried off the wounded, with four pieces of cannon left by the army, and retreated to Stirling. Few prisoners were taken on either side: the number of the slain might be about five hundred of each army, and both generals claimed the victory. This battle was not so fatal to the Highlanders as the loss of Inverness, from which sir John Mackenzie was driven by Simon Fraser, lord Lovat, who, contrary to the principles he hitherto professed, secured this important post for the government; by which means a free communication was opened with the north of Scotland, where the earl of Sutherland had raised a considerable body of vassals. The marquis of Huntley and the earl of Seaforth were obliged to quit the rebel army, in order to defend their own territories; and in a little time submitted to king George: a good number of the Frasers declared with their chief against the pretender: the marquis of Tullibardine withdrew from the army to cover his own country; and the clans, seeing no likelihood of another action, began to disperse according to custom.



THE PRETENDER ARRIVES IN SCOTLAND.

The government was now in a condition to send strong reinforcements to Scotland. Six thousand men that were claimed of the states-general, by virtue of the treaty, landed in England, and began their march for Edinburgh: general Cadogan set out for the same place, together with brigadier Petit, and six other engineers; and a train of artillery was shipped at the Tower for that country, the duke of Argyle resolving to drive the earl of Mar out of Perth, to which town he retired with the remains of his forces. The pretender having been amused with the hope of seeing the whole kingdom of England rise up as one man in his behalf; and the duke of Ormond having made a fruitless voyage to the western coast, to try the disposition of the people, he was now convinced of the vanity of his expectation in that quarter; and, as he knew not what other course to take, he resolved to hazard his person among his friends in Scotland, at a time when his affairs in that kingdom were absolutely desperate. From Bretagne he posted through part of France in disguise, and embarking in a small vessel at Dunkirk, hired for that purpose, arrived on the twenty-second day of December at Peterhead with six gentlemen in his retinue, one of whom was the marquis of Tynemouth, son to the duke of Berwick. He passed through Aberdeen incognito, to Fetterosse, where he was met by the earls of Mar and Marischal, and about thirty noblemen and gentlemen of the first quality. Here he was solemnly proclaimed: his declaration, dated at Com-mercy, was printed and circulated through all the parts in that neighbourhood; and he received addresses from the episcopal clergy, and the laity of that communion in the diocese of Aberdeen. On the fifth day of January he made his public entry into Dundee; and on the seventh arrived at Scone, where he seemed determined to stay until the ceremony of his coronation should be performed. From thence he made an excursion to Perth, where he reviewed his forces. Then he formed a regular council; and published six proclamations: one for a general thanksgiving on account of his safe arrival; another enjoining the ministers to pray for him in the churches; a third establishing the currency of foreign coins; a fourth summoning the meeting of the convention of estates; a fifth ordering all sensible men to repair to his standard; and a sixth, fixing the twenty-third day of January for his coronation. He made a pathetic speech in a grand council, at which all the chiefs of his party assisted. They determined, however, to abandon the enterprise, as the king's army was reinforced by the Dutch auxiliaries, and they themselves were not only reduced to a small number, but likewise destitute of money, arms, ammunition, forage, and provision; for the duke of Argyle had taken possession of Burntisland, and transported a detachment to Fife, so as to cut off Mar's communication with that fertile country.

Notwithstanding the severity of the weather, and a prodigious fall of snow which rendered the roads almost impassable, the duke, on the twenty-ninth of January began his march for Dumblane, and next day reached Tullibardine, where he received intelligence that the pretender and his forces had, on the preceding day, retired towards Dundee. He forthwith took possession of Perth; and then began his march to Aberbrothick, in pursuit of the enemy. The chevalier de St. George being thus hotly pursued, was prevailed upon to embark on board a small French ship that lay in the harbour of Montrose. He was accompanied by the earls of Mar and Melfort, the lord Drummond, lieutenant-general Bulkley, and other persons of distinction, to the number of seventeen. In order to avoid the English cruisers, they stretched over to Norway, and coasting along the German and Dutch shores, arrived in five days at Grave-line. General Gordon, whom the pretender had left commander-in-chief of the forces, assisted by the earl Marischal, proceeded with them to Aberdeen, where he secured three vessels to sail northward, and take on board the persons who intended to make their escape to the continent. Then they continued their march through Strathspey and Strathdown, to the hills of Badenoch, where the common people were quietly dismissed. This retreat was made with such expedition, that the duke of Argyle, with all his activity, could never overtake their rear-guard, which consisted of a thousand horse commanded by the earl Marischal. Such was the issue of a rebellion that proved fatal to many noble families; a rebellion which in all probability would never have happened, had not the violent measures of a whig ministry kindled such a flame of discontent in the nation, as encouraged the partisans of the pretender to hazard a revolt.



PROCEEDINGS OF THE IRISH PARLIAMENT.

The parliament of Ireland, which met at Dublin on the twelfth day of November, seemed even more zealous, if possible, than that of England, for the present administration. They passed bills for recognizing the king's title; for the security of his person and government; for setting a price on the pretender's head; and for attainting the duke of Ormond. They granted the supplies without opposition. All those who had addressed the late queen in favour of sir Constantine Phipps, then lord chancellor of Ireland, were now brought upon their knees, and censured as guilty of a breach of privilege. They desired the lords-justices would issue a proclamation against the popish inhabitants of Limerick and Gal-way, who, presuming upon the capitulation signed by king William, claimed an exemption from the penalties imposed upon other papists. They engaged in an association against the pretender, and all his abettors. They voted the earl of Anglesea an enemy to the king and kingdom, because he advised the queen to break the army, and prorogue the late parliament; and they addressed the king to remove him from his council and service. The lords-justices granted orders for apprehending the earls of Antrim and Westmeath, the lords Natterville, Cahir, and Dillon, as persons suspected of disaffection to the government. Then they adjourned the two houses.

{GEORGE I, 1714—1727}



THE REBEL LORDS ARE IMPEACHED.

The king in his speech to the English parliament, which met on the ninth of January, told them he had reason to believe the pretender was landed in Scotland; he congratulated them on the success of his arms in suppressing the rebellion; on the conclusion of the barrier-treaty between the emperor and the states-general, under his guarantee; on a convention with Spain that would deliver the trade of England to that kingdom, from the new impositions and hardships to which it was subjected in consequence of the late treaties. He likewise gave them to understand, that a treaty for renewing all former alliances between the crown of Great Britain and the states-general was almost concluded; and he assured the commons he would freely give up all the estates that should become forfeited to the crown by this rebellion, to be applied towards defraying the extraordinary expense incurred on this occasion. The commons, in their address of thanks, declared that they would prosecute, in the most vigorous and impartial manner, the authors of those destructive councils which had drawn down such miseries upon the nation. Their resolutions were speedy, and exactly conformable to this declaration. They expelled Mr. Forster from the house. They forthwith impeached the earls of Derwentwater, Nithsdale, Carnwath, and Winton; lords Widdrington, Kenmuir, and Nairn. These noblemen being brought to the bar of the house of lords, heard the articles of impeachment read on the tenth day of January, and were ordered to put in their answers on the sixteenth. The impeachments being lodged, the lower house ordered a bill to be brought in for continuing the suspension of the habeas-corpus act; then they prepared another to attaint the marquis of Tullibardine, the earls of Mar and Linlithgow, and lord John Drummond. On the twenty-first day of January, the king gave the royal assent to the bill for continuing the suspension of the habeas-corpus act. He told the parliament that the pretender was actually in Scotland heading the rebellion, and assuming the style and title of king of these realms; he demanded of the commons such supply as might discourage any foreign power from assisting the rebels. On Thursday the nineteenth day of January, all the impeached lords pleaded guilty to the articles exhibited against them, except the earl of Winton, who petitioned for a longer time on various pretences. The rest received sentence of death on the ninth day of February, in the court erected in Westminster-hall, where the lord-chancellor Cowper presided as lord high-steward on that occasion. The countess of Nithsdale and lady Nairn threw themselves at the king's feet, as he passed through the apartments of the palace, and implored his mercy in behalf of their husbands; but their tears and entreaties produced no effect. The council resolved that the sentence should be executed, and orders were given for that purpose to the lieutenant of the Tower, and the sheriffs of London and Middlesex.



EARL OF DEEWENTWATER AND LORD KENMUIR ARE BEHEADED.

The countess of Derwentwater, with her sister, accompanied by the duchesses of Cleveland and Bolton, and several other ladies of the first distinction, was introduced by the dukes of Richmond and St. Alban's into the king's bed-chamber, where she invoked his majesty's clemency for her unfortunate consort. She afterwards repaired to the lobby of the house of peers, attended by the ladies of the other condemned lords, and above twenty others of the same quality, and begged the intercession of the house; but no regard was paid to their petition. Next day they petitioned both houses of parliament. The commons rejected their suit. In the upper house, the duke of Richmond delivered a petition from the earl of Derwentwater, to whom he was nearly related, at the same time declaring that he himself should oppose his solicitation. The earl of Derby expressed some compassion for the numerous family of lord Nairn. Petitions from the rest were presented by other lords, moved with pity and humanity. Lord Town-shend and others vehemently opposed their being read. The earl of Nottingham thought this indulgence might be granted; the house assented to his opinion, and agreed to an address, praying his majesty would reprieve such of the condemned lords as should seem to deserve his mercy. To this petition the king answered, that on this and all other occasions, he would do what he thought most consistent with the dignity of his crown and the safety of his people. The earl of Nottingham, president of the council, his brother the earl of Aylesbury, chancellor of the duchy of Lancaster, his son lord Finch, one of the lords of the treasury, his kinsman lord Guernsey, master of the jewel-office, were altogether dismissed from his majesty's service. Orders were despatched for executing the earls of Derwentwater and Nithsdale, and the viscount of Kennruir, immediately; the others were respited to the seventh day of March. Nithsdale made his escape in woman's apparel, furnished and conveyed to him by his own mother. On the twenty-fourth day of February, Derwentwater and Kenmuir were beheaded on Tower-hill. The former was an amiable youth, brave, open, generous, hospitable, and humane. His fate drew tears from the spectators, and was a great misfortune to the country in which he lived. He gave bread to multitudes of people whom he employed on his estate; the poor, the widow, and the orphan rejoiced in his bounty. Kenmuir was a virtuous nobleman, calm, sensible, resolute, and resigned. He was a devout member of the English church; but the other died in the faith of Rome: both adhered to their political principles. On the fifteenth day of March, Winton was brought to trial, and being convicted, received sentence of death.

{1716}



TRIALS OF REBELS.

When the king passed the land-tax bill, which was ushered in with a very extraordinary preamble, he informed both houses of the pretender's flight from Scotland. In the beginning of April a commission for trying the rebels met in the court of common-pleas, when bills of high treason were found against Mr. Forster, Mackintosh, and twenty of their confederates. Forster escaped from Newgate, and reached the continent in safety; the rest pleaded not guilty, and were indulged with time to prepare for their trials. The judges appointed to try the rebels at Liverpool, found a considerable number guilty of high treason. Two-and-twenty were executed at Preston and Manchester; about a thousand prisoners submitted to the king's mercy, and petitioned for transportation. Pitts, the keeper of Newgate, being suspected of having connived at Forster's escape, was tried for his life at the Old-Bailey, and acquitted. Notwithstanding this prosecution, which ought to have redoubled the vigilance of the jailors, brigadier Mackintosh, and several other prisoners, broke from Newgate, after having mastered the keeper and turnkey, and disarmed the sentinel. The court proceeded with the trials of those that remained, and a great number were found guilty; four or five were hanged, drawn, and quartered, at Tyburn; and among these was one William Paul, a clergyman, who, in his last speech, professed himself a true and sincere member of the church of England, but not of the revolution schismatical church, whose bishops had abandoned the king, and shamefully given up their ecclesiastical rights, by submitting to the unlawful, invalid, lay-deprivations authorized by the prince of Orange.



ACT FOR SEPTENNIAL PARLIAMENTS.

Though the rebellion was extinguished, the flame of national dissatisfaction still continued to rage: the severities exercised against the rebels increased the general discontent; for now the danger was blown over, their humane passions began to prevail. The courage and fortitude with which the condemned persons encountered the pains of death in its most dreadful force, prepossessed many spectators in favour of the cause by which those unhappy victims were animated. In a word, persecution, as usual, extended the heresy. The ministry, perceiving this universal dissatisfaction, and dreading the revolution of a new parliament, which might wrest the power from their faction, and retort upon them the violence of their own measures, formed a resolution equally odious and effectual to establish their administration. This was no other than a scheme to repeal the triennial act, and by a new law to extend the term of parliaments to seven years. On the tenth day of April, the duke of Devonshire represented, in the house of lords, that triennial elections served to keep up party divisions; to raise and foment feuds in private families; to produce ruinous expenses, and give occasion to the cabals and intrigues of foreign princes; that it became the wisdom of such an august assembly to apply proper remedies to an evil that might be attended with the most dangerous consequences, especially in the present temper of the nation, as the spirit of rebellion still remained unconquered. He therefore proposed a bill for enlarging the continuance of parliaments. He was seconded by the earls of Dorset and Rockingham, the duke of Argyle, Lord Townshend, and the other chiefs of that party. The motion was opposed by the earls of Nottingham, Abingdon, and Paulet. They observed, that frequent parliaments were required by the fundamental constitution of the kingdom, ascertained in the practice of many ages; that the members of the lower house were chosen by the body of the nation, for a certain term of years, at the expiration of which they could be no longer representatives of the people, who, by the parliament's protracting its own authority, would be deprived of the only remedy which they have against those who, through ignorance or corruption, betrayed the trust reposed in them; that the reasons in favour of such a bill were weak and frivolous; that, with respect to foreign alliances, no prince or state could reasonably depend upon a people to defend their liberties and interests, who should be thought to have given up so great a part of their own; nor would it be prudent in them to wish for a change in that constitution under which Europe had of late been so powerfully supported; on the contrary, they might be deterred from entering into any engagements with Great Britain, when informed by the preamble of the bill, that the popish faction was so dangerous as to threaten destruction to the government; they would apprehend that the administration was so weak as to want so extraordinary a provision for its safety; that the gentlemen of Britain were not to be trusted; and that the good affections of the people were restrained within the limits of the house of commons. They affirmed that this bill, far from preventing the expense of elections, would rather increase it, and encourage every species of corruption; for the value of a seat would always be in proportion to the duration of a parliament, and the purchase would rise accordingly; that a long parliament would yield a greater temptation, as well as a better opportunity to a vicious ministry, to corrupt the members, than they could possibly have when the parliaments were short and frequent; that the same reasons urged for passing the bill to continue this parliament for seven years, would be at least as strong, and, by the conduct of the ministry, might be made much stronger before the end of that term, for continuing and even perpetuating their legislative power, to the absolute subversion of the third estate of the realm. These arguments served only to form a decent debate, after which the bill for septennial parliaments passed by a great majority, though twenty peers entered a protest. It met with the same fate in the lower house, where many strong objections were stated to no purpose. They were represented as the effects of party spleen; and, indeed, this was the great spring of action on both sides. The question for the bill was carried in the affirmative; and in a little time it received the royal sanction.



DUKE OF ARGYLE DISGRACED.

The rebellion being utterly quelled, and all the suspected persons of consequence detained in safe custody, the king resolved to visit his German dominions, where he foresaw a storm gathering from the quarter of Sweden. Charles XII. was extremely exasperated against the elector of Hanover, for having entered into the confederacy against him in his absence, particularly for his having purchased the duchies of Bremen and Verden, which constituted part of his dominions; and he breathed nothing but revenge against the king of Great Britain. It was with a view to avert this danger, or prepare against it, that the king now determined upon a voyage to the continent. But as he was restricted from leaving his British dominions by the act for the further limitation of the crown, this clause was repealed in a new bill that passed through both houses without the least difficulty. On the twenty-sixth day of June, the king closed the session with a speech upon the usual tonics, in which, however, he observed, that the numerous instances of mercy he had shown served only to encourage the faction of the pretender, whose partisans acted with such insolence and folly, as if they intended to convince the world that they were not to be reclaimed by gentle methods. He intimated his purpose of visiting his dominions in Germany; and gave them to understand, that he had constituted his beloved son, the prince of Wales, guardian of the kingdom in his absence. About this period general Macartney, who had returned to England at the accession of king George, presented himself to trial for the murder of the duke of Hamilton. The deposition of colonel Hamilton was contradicted by two park-keepers; the general was acquitted of the charge, restored to his rank in the army, and gratified with the command of a regiment. The king's brother, prince Ernest, bishop of Osnabruck, was created duke of York and Albany, and earl of Ulster. The duke of Argyle, and his brother the earl of Hay, to whom his majesty owed, in a great measure, his peaceable accession to the throne, as well as the extinction of the rebellion in Scotland, were now dismissed from all their employments. General Carpenter succeeded the duke in the chief command of the forces in North Britain, and in the government of Port Mahon; and the duke of Montrose was appointed lord-register of Scotland in the room of the earl of Hay.



THE TRIPLE ALLIANCE.

On the seventh day of July, the king embarked at Gravesend, landed on the ninth in Holland, through which he passed incognito to Hanover, and from thence set out for Pyrmont. His aim was to secure his German dominions from the Swede, and Great Britain from the pretender. These two princes had already begun to form a design, in conjunction, of invading his kingdom. He knew the duke of Orleans was resolved to ascend the throne of France, in case the young king, who was a sickly child, should die without male issue. The regent was not ignorant that Philip of Spain would powerfully contest that succession, notwithstanding his renunciation; and he was glad of an opportunity to strengthen his interest by an alliance with the maritime powers of England and Holland. The king of England sounded him on this subject, and found him eager to engage in such an association. The negotiation was carried on by general Cadogan for England, the abbe du Bois for France, and the pensionary Heinsius for the states-general. The regent readily complied with all their demands. He engaged that the pretender should immediately depart from Wignon to the other side of the Alps, and never return to Lorraine or France on any pretence whatsoever; that no rebellious subjects of Great Britain should be allowed to reside in that kingdom; and that the treaty of Utrecht, with respect to the demolition of Dunkirk, should be fully executed to the satisfaction of his Britannic majesty. The treaty contained a mutual guarantee of all the places possessed by the contracting powers; of the protestant succession on the throne of England, as well as of that of the duke of Orleans to the crown of France, and a defensive alliance, stipulating the proportion of ships and forces to be furnished to that power which should be disturbed at home or invaded from abroad. The English people murmured at this treaty. They said an unnecessary umbrage was given to Spain, with which the nation had great commercial connexions; and that on pretence of an invasion, a body of foreign troops might be introduced to enslave the kingdom.



COUNT GYLLENBURGH ARRESTED.

His majesty was not so successful in his endeavours to appease the king of Sweden, who refused to listen to any overtures until Bremen and Verden should be restored. These the elector of Hanover resolved to keep as a fair purchase; and he engaged in a confederacy with the enemies of Charles, for the maintenance of this acquisition. Meanwhile his rupture with Sweden was extremely prejudicial to the commerce of England, and had well nigh entailed upon the kingdom another invasion, much more formidable than that which had so lately miscarried. The ministers of Sweden resident at London, Paris, and the Hague, maintained a correspondence with the disaffected subjects of Great Britain. A scheme was formed for the Swedish king's landing on this island with a considerable body of forces, where he should be joined by the malcontents of the united kingdom. Charles relished the enterprise, which flattered his ambition and revenge; nor was it disagreeable to the czar of Muscovy, who resented the elector's offer of joining the Swede against the Russians, provided he would ratify the cession of Bremen and Verden. King George having received intimation of these intrigues, returned to England towards the end of January, and ordered a detachment of foot-guards to secure count Gyllenburgh, the Swedish minister, with all his papers. At the same time, sir Jacob Bancks and Mr. Charles Caesar were apprehended. The other foreign ministers took the alarm, and remonstrated to the ministry upon this outrage committed against the law of nations. The two secretaries, Stanhope and Methuen, wrote circular letters to them, assuring them that in a clay or two they should be acquainted with the reasons that induced the king to take such an extraordinary step. They were generally satisfied with this intimation; but the marquis de Monteleone, ambassador from Spain, expressed his concern that no other way could be found to preserve the peace of the kingdom, without arresting the person of a public minister, and seizing all his papers, which were the sacred repositories of his masters's secrets; he observed, that in whatever manner these two facts might seem to be understood, they very sensibly wounded the law of nations. About the same time baron Gortz, the Swedish residentiary in Holland, was seized with his papers at Arnheim, at the desire of king George, communicated to the states by Mr. Loathes, his minister at the Hague. The baron owned he had projected the invasion, a design that was justified by the conduct of king George, who had joined the princes in confederacy against the king of Sweden, without having received the least provocation; who had assisted the king of Denmark in subduing the duchies of Bremen and Verden, and then purchased them of the usurper; and who had, in the course of this very summer, sent a strong squadron of ships to the Baltic, where it joined the Danes and Russians against the Swedish fleet.



ACCOUNT OF THE OXFORD RIOT.

When the parliament of Great Britain met on the twentieth day of February, the king informed them of the triple alliance he had concluded with France and Holland. He mentioned the projected invasion; told them he had given orders for laying before them copies of the letters which had passed between the Scottish ministers on that subject; and he demanded of the commons such supplies as should be found necessary for the defence of the kingdom. By those papers it appeared that the scheme projected by baron Gortz was very plausible, and even ripe for execution; which, however, was postponed until the army should be reduced, and the Dutch auxiliaries sent back to their own country. The letters being read in parliament, both houses presented addresses, in which they extolled the king's prudence in establishing such conventions with foreign potentates as might repair the gross defects, and prevent the pernicious consequences, of the treaty of Utrecht, which they termed a treacherous and dishonourable peace; and they expressed their horror and indignation at the malice and ingratitude of those who had encouraged an invasion of their country. He likewise received an address of the same kind from the convention; another from the dissenting ministers; a third from the university of Cambridge; but Oxford was not so lavish of her compliments. At a meeting of the vice-chancellor and heads of that university, a motion was made for an address to the king, on the suppression of the late unnatural rebellion, his majesty's safe return, and the favour lately shown to the university, in omitting, at their request, the ceremony of burning in effigy the devil, the pope, the pretender, the duke of Ormond, and the earl of Mar, on the anniversary of his majesty's accession. Dr. Smallridge, bishop of Bristol, observed, that the rebellion had been long suppressed; that there would be no end of addresses should one be presented every time that his majesty returned from his German dominions; that the late favour they had received was overbalanced by a whole regiment now quartered upon them; and that there was no precedent for addressing a king upon his return from his German dominions. The university thought they had reason to complain of the little regard paid to their remonstrances, touching a riot raised in that city by the soldiers there quartered, on pretence that the anniversary of the prince's birthday had not been celebrated with the usual rejoicings. Affidavits had been sent up to the council, which seemed to favour the officers of the regiment. When the house of lords deliberated upon the mutiny-bill, by which the soldiers were exempted from arrests for debts, complaint was made of their licentious behaviour at Oxford; and a motion was made that they should inquire into the riot. The lords presented an address to the king, desiring that the papers relating to that affair might be laid before the house. These being perused, were found to be recriminations between the Oxonians and the officers of the regiment. A warm debate ensued, during which the earl of Abingdon offered a petition from the vice-chancellor of the university, the mayor and magistrates of Oxford, praying to be heard. One of the court members observing that it would be irregular to receive a petition while the house was in a grand committee, a motion was made that the chairman should leave the chair; but this being carried in the negative, the debate was resumed, and the majority agreed to the following resolutions:—That the heads of the university, and mayor of the city, neglected to make public rejoicings on the prince's birth-day; that the officers having met to celebrate that day, the house in which they had assembled was assaulted, and the windows were broken by the rabble; that this assault was the beginning and occasion of the riots that ensued. That the conduct of the mayor seemed well justified by the affidavits produced on his part; that the printing and publishing the depositions upon which the complaints relating to the riots at Oxford were founded, while that matter was under the examination of the lords of the committee of the council, before they had time to come to any resolution touching the same, was irregular, disrespectful to his royal highness, and tending to sedition. An inquiry of this nature, so managed, did not much redound to the honour of such an august assembly.

{1717}

The commons passed a bill prohibiting all commerce with Sweden, a branch of trade which was of the utmost consequence to the English merchants. They voted ten thousand seamen for the ensuing year; granted about a million for the maintenance of guards, garrisons, and land-forces; and passed the bill relating to mutiny and desertion. The house likewise voted four-and-twenty thousand pounds for the payment of four battalions of Munster, and two of Saxe-Gotha, which the king had taken into his service, to supply the place of such as might be, during the rebellion, drawn from the garrisons of the states-general to the assistance of England. This vote, however, was not carried without a violent debate. The demand was inveighed against as an imposition, seeing no troops had ever served. A motion was made for an address, desiring that the instructions of those who concluded the treaties might be laid before the house; but this was over-ruled by the majority. The supplies were raised by a land-tax of three shillings in the pound, and a malt-tax. What the commons had given was not thought sufficient for the expense of the year; therefore Mr. secretary Stanhope brought a message from his majesty, demanding an extraordinary supply, that he might be the better enabled to secure his kingdoms against the danger with which they were threatened from Sweden; and he moved that a supply should be granted to his majesty for this purpose. Mr. Shippen observed it was a great misfortune that the king was as little acquainted with the parliamentary proceedings as with the language of the country: that the message was unparliamentary and unprecedented; and, in his opinion, penned by some foreign minister: he said he had been often told that his majesty had retrieved the honour and reputation of the nation; a truth which appeared in the flourishing condition of trade; but that the supply demanded seemed to be inconsistent with the glorious advantages which his majesty had obtained for the people. He was seconded by Mr. Hungerford, who declared that for his part he could not understand what occasion there was for new alliances; much less that they should be purchased with money. He expressed his surprise that a nation so lately the terror of France and Spain should now seem to fear so inconsiderable an enemy as the king of Sweden. The motion was supported by Mr. Boscawen, sir Gilbert Heathcote, and others; but some of the whigs spoke against it; and Mr. Robert Walpole was silent. The speaker, and Mr. Smith, one of the tellers of the exchequer, opposed this unparliamentary way of demanding the supply: the former proposed that part of the army should be disbanded, and the money applied towards the making good such new engagements as were deemed necessary. After several successive debates, the resolution for a supply was carried by a majority of four voices.

* This year was rendered famous by a complete victory which, prince Eugene obtained over the Turks at Peterwaradin upon the Danube. The battle was fought upon the fifth day of August. The Imperial army did not exceed sixty thousand men; that of the infidels amounted to one hundred and fifty thousand, commanded by the grand vizier, who was mortally wounded in the engagement. The infidels were totally defeated, with the loss of all their tents, artillery, and baggage, so that the victors obtained an immense booty.

{GEORGE I, 1714—1727}



DIVISION IN THE MINISTRY.

The ministry was now divided within itself. Lord Townshend had been removed from the office of secretary of state, by the intrigues of the earl of Sunderland; and he was now likewise dismissed from the place of lord-lieutenant of Ireland. Mr. Robert Walpole resigned his posts of first commissioner of the treasury and chancellor of the exchequer: his example was followed by Mr. Pulteney, secretary at war, and Mr. Methuen, secretary of state. When the affair of the supply was resumed in the house of commons, Mr. Stanhope made a motion for granting two hundred and fifty thousand pounds for that purpose. Mr. Pulteney observed, that having resigned his place, he might no w act with the freedom becoming an Englishman: he declared against the manner of granting the supply, as unparliamentary and unprecedented. He said he could not persuade himself that any Englishman advised his majesty to send such a message; but he doubted not the resolution of a British parliament would make a German ministry tremble. Mr. Stanhope having harangued the house in vindication of the ministry, Mr. Smith answered every article of his speech: he affirmed, that if an estimate of the conduct of the ministry in relation to affairs abroad was to be made from a comparison of their conduct at home, they would not appear altogether so faultless as they were represented. "Was it not a mistake," said he, "not to preserve the peace at home, after the king had ascended the throne with the universal applause and joyful acclamations of all his subjects? Was it not a mistake, upon the breaking out of the rebellion, not to issue a proclamation, to offer pardon to such as should return home peaceably, according to the custom on former occasions of the same nature? Was it not a mistake, after the suppression of the rebellion and the trial and execution of the principal authors of it, to keep up animosities, and drive people to despair, by not passing an act of indemnity, by keeping so many persons under hard and tedious confinement; and by granting pardons to some, without leaving them any means to subsist? Is it not a mistake, not to trust a vote of parliament for making good such engagements as his majesty should think proper to enter into; and instead of that, to insist on the granting this supply in such an extraordinary manner? Is it not a mistake, to take this opportunity to create divisions, and render some of the king's best friends suspected and obnoxious? Is it not a mistake, in short, to form parties and cabals in order to bring in a bill to repeal the act of occasional conformity?" A great number of members had agreed to this measure in private, though at this period it was not brought into the house of commons. After a long debate the sum was granted. These were the first-fruits of Britain's being wedded to the interests of the continent. The elector of Hanover quarrelled with the king of Sweden; and England was not only deprived of a necessary branch of commerce, but even obliged to support him in the prosecution of the war. The ministry now underwent a new revolution. The earl of Sunderland and Mr. Addison were appointed secretaries of state; Mr. Stanhope became first commission of the treasury and chancellor of the exchequer.



THE COMMONS PASS THE SOUTH-SEA ACT, &c.

On the sixth day of May, the king, going to the house of peers, gave the parliament to understand that the fleet under sir George Byng, which had sailed to the Baltic to observe the motions of the Swedes, was safely arrived in the Sound. He said he had given orders for the immediate reduction of ten thousand soldiers, as well as directions to prepare an act of indemnity. He desired they would take proper measures for reducing the public debts with a just regard to parliamentary credit; and that they would go through the public business with all possible despatch and unanimity. Some progress had already been made in deliberations upon the debt of the nation, which was comprehended under the two heads of redeemable and irredeemable incumbrances. The first had been contracted with a redeemable interest; and these the public had a right to discharge: the others consisted of long and short annuities granted for a greater or less number of years, which could

Previous Part     1 ... 12  13  14  15  16  17  18  19  20  21  22  23  24 ... 53     Next Part
Home - Random Browse