The History of England in Three Volumes, Vol.II. - From William and Mary to George II.
by Tobias Smollett
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{WILLIAM, 1688—1701.}


When the commons were employed in examining the state of the revenue, and taking measures for raising the necessary supplies, the inhabitants of Royston presented a petition, complaining that the officers and soldiers of the regiment belonging to colonel Hastings, which was quartered upon them, exacted subsistence-money, even on pain of military execution. The house was immediately kindled into a flame by this information. The officers and Pauncefort, agent for the regiment, were examined: then it was unanimously resolved that such a practice was arbitrary, illegal, and a violation of the rights and liberties of the subject. Upon further inquiry, Pauncefort and some other agents were committed to the custody of the sergeant, for having neglected to pay the subsistence money they had received for the officers and soldiers. He was afterwards sent to the Tower, together with Henry Guy, a member of the house and secretary to the treasury, the one for giving and the other for receiving a bribe to obtain the king's bounty. Pauncefort's brother was likewise committed for being concerned in the same commerce. Guy had been employed, together with Trevor the speaker, as the court-agent for securing a majority in the house of commons; for that reason he was obnoxious to the members in the opposition, who took this opportunity to brand him, and the courtiers could not with any decency screen him from their vengeance. The house having proceeded in this inquiry, drew up an address to the king, enumerating the abuses which had crept into the army, and demanding immediate redress. He promised to consider the remonstrance and redress the grievances of which they complained. Accordingly, he cashiered colonel Hastings; appointed a council of officers to sit weekly and examine all complaints against any officer and soldier; and published a declaration for the maintenance of strict discipline, and the due payment of quarters. Notwithstanding these concessions, the commons prosecuted their examinations: they committed Mr. James Craggs, one of the contractors for clothing the army, because he refused to answer upon oath to such questions as might be put to him by the commissioners of accounts. They brought in a bill for obliging him and Mr. Richard Harnage, the other contractor, together with the two Paunceforts, to discover how they had disposed of the sums paid into their hands on account of the army, and for punishing them in case they should persist in their refusal. At this period they received a petition against the commissioners for licensing hackney-coaches. Three of them, by means of an address to the king, were removed with disgrace for having acted arbitrarily, corruptly, and contrary to the trust reposed in them by act of parliament.

Those who encouraged this spirit of reformation, introduced another inquiry about the orphans' bill, which was said to have passed into an act by virtue of undue influence. A committee being appointed to inspect the chamberlain's books, discovered that bribes had been given to sir John Trevor, speaker of the house, and Mr. Hungerford, chairman of the grand committee. The first being voted guilty of a high crime and misdemeanor, abdicated the chair, and Paul Foley was appointed speaker in his room. Then sir John and Hungerford were expelled the house: one Nois, a solicitor for the bill, was taken into custody because he had scandalized the commons, in pretending he was engaged to give great sums to several members, and denying this circumstance on his examination. The reformers in the house naturally concluded that the same arts had been practised in obtaining the new charter of the East India company, which had been granted so much against the sense of the nation. Their books were subjected to the same committee that carried on the former inquiry, and a surprising scene of venality and corruption was soon disclosed. It appeared that the company, in the course of the preceding year, had paid near ninety thousand rounds in secret services, and that sir Thomas Cooke, one of the directors, and a member of the house, had been the chief managers of this infamous commerce. Cooke, refusing to answer, was committed to the Tower, and a bill of pains and penalties brought in obliging him to discover how the sum mentioned in the report of the committee had been distributed. The bill was violently opposed in the upper house by the duke of Leeds, as being contrary to law and equity, and furnishing a precedent of a dangerous nature. Cooke, agreeably to his own petition, being brought to the bar of the house of lords, declared that he was ready and willing to make a full discovery, in case he might be favoured with an indemnifying vote to secure him against all actions and suits, except those of the East India company which he had never injured. The lords complied with his request and passed a bill for this purpose, to which the commons added a penal clause, and the former was laid aside.


When the king went to the house to give the royal assent to the money-bills, he endeavoured to discourage this inquiry by telling the parliament that the season of the year was far advanced, and the circumstances of affairs extremely pressing, he therefore desired they would despatch such business as they should think of most importance to the public, as he should put an end to the session in a few days. Notwithstanding this shameful interposition, both houses appointed a joint committee to lay open the complicated scheme of fraud and iniquity. Cooke, on his first examination, confessed that he had delivered tallies for ten thousand pounds to Francis Tyssen, deputy-governor, for the special service of the company; an equal sum to Richard Acton, for employing his interest in preventing a new settlement, and endeavouring to establish the old company; besides two thousand pounds by way of interest and as a further gratuity; a thousand guineas to colonel Fitzpatrick, five hundred to Charles Bates, and three hundred and ten to Mr. Molinenx, a merchant, for the same purpose; and he owned that sir Basil Firebrace had received forty thousand pounds on various pretences. He said he believed the ten thousand pounds paid to Tyssen had been delivered to the king by sir Josiah Child, as a customary present which former kings had received, and that the sums paid to Acton were distributed among some members of parliament. Firebrace being examined, affirmed that he had received the whole forty thousand pounds for his own use and benefit; but that Bates had received sums of money, which he understood were offered to some persons of the first quality. Acton declared that ten thousand pounds of the sum which he had received was distributed among persons who had interest with members of parliament, and that great part of the money passed through the hands of Craggs, who was acquainted with some colonels in the house and northern members. Bates owned he had received the money in consideration of using his interest with the duke of Leeds in favour of the company; that this nobleman knew of the gratuity; and that the sum was reckoned by his grace's domestic, one Robart, a foreigner, who kept it in his possession until this inquiry was talked of, and then it was returned. In a word, it appeared by this man's testimony, as well as by that of Firebrace on his second examination, that the duke of Leeds was not free from corruption, and that sir John Trevor was a hireling prostitute.


The report of the committee produced violent altercations, and the most severe strictures upon the conduct of the lord president. At length the house resolved that there was sufficient matter to impeach Thomas, duke of Leeds, of high crimes and misdemeanors, and that he should be impeached thereupon. Then it was ordered that Mr. comptroller Wharton should impeach him before the lords in the name of the house and of all the commons in England. The duke was actually in the middle of a speech for his own justification, in which he assured the house, upon his honour, that he was not guilty of the corruptions laid to his charge, when one of his friends gave him intimation of the votes which had passed in the commons. He concluded his speech abruptly, and repairing to the lower house, desired he might be indulged with a hearing. He was accordingly admitted, with the compliment of a chair, and leave to be covered. After having sat a few minutes, he took off his hat and addressed himself to the commons in very extraordinary terms. Having thanked them for the favour of indulging him with a hearing, he said that house would not have been then sitting but for him. He protested his own innocence with respect to the crime laid to his charge. He complained that this was the effect of a design which had been long formed against him. He expressed a deep sense of his being under the displeasure of the parliament and nation, and demanded speedy justice. They forthwith drew up the articles of impeachment, which being exhibited at the bar of the upper house, he pleaded not guilty, and the commons promised to make good their charge; but by this time such arts had been used as all at once checked the violence of the prosecution. Such a number of considerable persons were involved in this mystery of corruption, that a full discovery was dreaded by both parties. The duke sent his domestic Robart out of the kingdom, and his absence furnished a pretence for postponing the trial. In a word, the inquiry was dropped; but the scandal stuck fast to the duke's character.

In the midst of these deliberations, the king went to the house on the third day of May, when he thanked the parliament for the supplies they had granted; signified his intention of going abroad; assured them he would place the administration of affairs in persons of known care and fidelity; and desired that the members of both houses would be more than ordinarily vigilant in preserving the public peace. The parliament was then prorogued to the eighteenth of June. [057] [See note M, at the end of this Vol.] The king immediately appointed a regency to govern the kingdom in his absence; but neither the princess of Denmark nor her husband were intrusted with any share in the administration—a circumstance that evinced the king's jealousy, and gave offence to a great part of the nation. [058] [See note N, at the end of this Vol.]


A session of parliament was deemed necessary in Scotland, to provide new subsidies for the maintenance of the troops of that kingdom, which had been so serviceable in the prosecution of the war. But as a great outcry had been raised against the government on account of the massacre of Glencoe, and the Scots were tired of contributing towards the expense of a war from which they could derive no advantage, the ministry thought proper to cajole them with the promise of some national indulgence. In the meantime, a commission passed the great seal for taking a precognition of the massacre, as a previous step to the trial of the persons concerned in that perfidious transaction. On the ninth day of May, the session was opened by the marquis of Tweedale, appointed commissioner, who, after the king's letter had been read, expatiated on his majesty's care and concern for their safety and welfare; and his firm purpose to maintain the presbyterian discipline in the church of Scotland. Then he promised, in the king's name, that if they would pass an act for establishing a colony in Africa, America, or any other part of the world where a colony might be lawfully planted, his majesty would indulge them with such rights and privileges as he had granted in like cases to the subjects of his other dominions. Finally, he exhorted them to consider ways and means to raise the necessary supplies for maintaining their land forces, and for providing a competent number of ships of war to protect their commerce. The parliament immediately voted an address of condolence to his majesty on the death of the queen; and they granted one hundred and twenty thousand pounds sterling for the service of the ensuing year, to be raised by a general poll-tax, a land-tax, and an additional excise.

{WILLIAM, 1688—1701.}


Their next step was to desire the commissioner would transmit their humble thanks to the king for his care to vindicate the honour of the government and the justice of the nation, in ordering a precognition to be taken with respect to the slaughter of Glencoe. A motion was afterwards made that the commissioners should exhibit an account of their proceedings in this affair; accordingly a report, consisting of the king's instructions, Dalrymple's letters, the depositions of witnesses, and the opinion of the committee, was laid before the parliament. The motion is said to have been privately influenced by secretary Johnston, for the disgrace of Dalrymple, who was his rival in power and interest. The written opinion of the commissioners, who were creatures of the court, imported, That Macdonald of Glencoe had been perfidiously murdered; that the king's instructions contained nothing to warrant the massacre; and that secretary Dalrymple had exceeded his orders. The parliament concurred with this report. They resolved, That Livingston was not to blame for having given the orders contained in his letters to lieutenant-colonel Hamilton; that this last was liable to prosecution; that the king should be addressed to give orders, either for examining major Duncanson in Flanders, touching his concern in this affair, or for sending him home to be tried in Scotland; as also, that Campbell of Glenlyon; captain Drummond, lieutenant Lindsey, ensign Lundy, and sergeant Barber, should be sent to Scotland, and prosecuted according to law, for the parts they had acted in that execution. In consequence of these resolutions, the parliament drew up an address to the king, in which they laid the whole blame of the massacre upon the excess in the master of Stair's letters concerning that transaction. They begged that his majesty would give such orders about him, as he should think fit for the vindication of his government; that the actors in that barbarous slaughter might be prosecuted by the king's advocate according to law; and that some reparation might be made to the men of Glencoe who escaped the massacre, for the losses they had sustained in their effects upon that occasion, as their habitations had been plundered and burned, their lands wasted, and their cattle driven away; so that they were reduced to extreme poverty. Notwithstanding this address of the Scottish parliament, by which the king was so solemnly exculpated, his memory is still loaded with the suspicion of having concerted, countenanced, and enforced this barbarous execution, especially as the master of Stair escaped with impunity, and the other actors of the tragedy, far from being punished, were preferred in the service. While the commissioners were employed in the inquiry, they made such discoveries concerning the conduct of the earl of Breadalbane, as amounted to a charge of high treason; and he was committed prisoner to the castle of Edinburgh; but it seems he had dissembled with the highlanders by the king's permission, and now sheltered himself under the shadow of a royal pardon.


The committee of trade, in pursuance of the powers granted by the king to his commissioner, prepared an act for establishing a company trading to Africa and the Indies, empowering them to plant colonies, hold cities, towns, or forts, in places uninhabited, or in others with the consent of the natives; vesting them with an exclusive right, and an exemption for one-and-twenty years from all duties and impositions. This act was likewise confirmed by letters patent under the great seal, directed by the parliament, without any further warrant from the crown. Paterson, the projector, had contrived the scheme of a settlement upon the isthmus of Darien, in such a manner as to carry on a trade in the South Sea as well as in the Atlantic; nay, even to extend it as far as the East Indies: a great number of London merchants, allured by the prospect of gain, were eager to engage in such a company, exempted from all manner of imposition and restriction. The Scottish parliament likewise passed an act in favour of the episcopal clergy, decreeing, That those who should enter into such engagements to the king as were by law required, might continue in their benefices under his majesty's protection, without being subject to the power of presbytery. Seventy of the most noted ministers of that persuasion took the benefit of this indulgence. Another law was enacted, for raising nine thousand men yearly to recruit the Scottish regiments abroad; and an act for erecting a public bank; then the parliament was adjourned to the seventh day of November.


Ireland began to be infected with the same factions which had broke out in England since the revolution: lord Capel, lord-deputy, governed in a very partial manner, oppressing the Irish papists without any regard to equity or decorum. He undertook to model a parliament in such a manner that they should comply with all the demands of the ministry; and he succeeded in his endeavours by making such arbitrary changes in offices as best suited his purpose. These precautions being taken, he convoked a parliament for the twenty-seventh day of August, when he opened the session with a speech, expatiating upon their obligations to king-William, and exhorting them to make suitable returns to such a gracious sovereign. He observed, that the revenue had fallen short of the establishment; so that both the civil and military lists were greatly in debt; that his majesty had sent over a bill for an additional excise, and expected they would find ways and means to answer the demands of the service. They forthwith voted an address of thanks, and resolved to assist his majesty to the utmost of their power, against all his enemies, foreign and domestic. They passed the bill for an additional excise, together with an act for taking away the writ "De heretico comburendo;" another annulling all attainders and acts passed in the late pretended parliament of king James; a third to prevent foreign education; a fourth for disarming papists; and a fifth for settling the estates of intestates. Then they resolved, That a sum not exceeding one hundred and sixty-three thousand three hundred and twenty-five pounds, should be granted to his majesty; to be raised by a poll-bill, additional customs, and a continuation of the additional excise. Sir Charles Porter, the chancellor, finding his importance diminished, if not entirely destroyed, by the assuming disposition and power of the lord-deputy, began to court popularity by espousing the cause of the Irish against the severity of the administration, and actually formed a kind of tory interest which thwarted lord Capel in all his measures. A motion was made in parliament to impeach the chancellor for sowing discord and division among his majesty's subjects; but being indulged with a hearing by the house of commons, he justified himself so much to their satisfaction, that he was voted clear of all imputation by a great majority. Nevertheless, they, at the end of the session, sent over an address, in which they bore testimony to the mild and just administration of their lord-deputy.


King William having taken such steps as were deemed necessary for preserving the peace of England in his absence, crossed the sea to Holland in the middle of May, fully determined to make some great effort in the Netherlands that might aggrandize his military character, and humble the power of France which was already on the decline. That kingdom was actually exhausted in such a manner that the haughty Louis found himself obliged to stand upon the defensive against enemies over whom he had been used to triumph with uninterrupted success. He heard the clamours of his people which he could not quiet; he saw his advances to peace rejected; and to crown his misfortunes, he sustained an irreparable loss in the death of Francis de Montmorency, duke of Luxembourg, to whose military talents he owed the greatest part of his glory and success. That great officer died in January at Versailles, in the sixty-seventh year of his age; and Louis lamented his death the more deeply, as he had not another general left in whose understanding he could confide. The conduct of the army in Flanders was intrusted to mareschal Villeroy, and Boufflers commanded a separate army though subject to the other's orders. As the French king took it for granted that the confederates would have a superiority of numbers in the field, and was well acquainted with the enterprising genius of their chief, he ordered a new line to be drawn between Lys and the Scheld; he caused a disposition to be made for covering Dunkirk, Ypres, Tournay, and Namur; and laid injunctions on his general to act solely on the defensive. Meanwhile, the confederates formed two armies in the Netherlands. The first consisted of seventy battalions of infantry, and eighty-two squadrons of horse and dragoons, chiefly English and Scots, encamped at AErseele, Caneghem, and Wouterghem, between Thield and Deynse, to be commanded by the king in person, assisted by the old prince of Vaudemont. The other army, composed of sixteen battalions of foot and one hundred and thirty squadrons of horse, encamped at Zellich and Hamme, on the road from Brussels to Dendermonde, under the command of the elector of Bavaria, seconded by the duke of Holstein-Ploen. Major-general Ellemberg was posted near Dixmuyde with twenty battalions and ten squadrons; and another body of Brandenburg and Dutch troops, with a reinforcement from Liege, lay encamped on the Mehaigne, under the conduct of the baron de Heyden, Lieutenant-general of Brandenburgh, and the count de Berlo, general of the Liege cavalry. King-William arrived in the camp on the fifth clay of July, and remained eight days at AErseele. Then he marched to Bekelar, while Villeroy retired behind his lines between Menin and Ypres, after having detached ten thousand men to reinforce Boufflers, who had advanced to Pont d'Espieres; but he too retreating within his lines, the elector of Bavaria passed the Scheld and took post at Kirkhoven; at the same time the body under Heyden advanced towards Namur.


The king of England having by his motions drawn the forces of the enemy on the side of Flanders, directed the baron de Heyden and the earl of Athlone, who commanded forty squadrons from the camp of the elector of Bavaria, to invest Namur, and this service was performed on the third day of July; but as the place was not entirely surrounded, mareschal Boufflers threw himself into it with such a reinforcement of dragoons as augmented the garrison to the number of fifteen thousand chosen men. King William and the elector brought up the rest of the forces, which encamped on both sides of the Sambre and the Mose, and the lines of circumvallation were begun on the sixth day of July under the direction of the celebrated engineer, general Coehorn. The place was formerly very strong, both by situation and art; but the French, since its last reduction, had made such additional works that both the town and citadel seemed impregnable. Considering the number of the garrison and the quality of the troops, commanded by a mareschal of France distinguished by his valour and conduct, the enterprise was deemed an undeniable proof of William's temerity. On the eleventh the trenches were opened, and next day the batteries began to play with incredible fury. The king receiving intelligence of a motion made by a body of French troops with a view to intercept the convoys, detached twenty squadrons of horse and dragoons to observe the enemy.

{WILLIAM, 1688—1701.}


Prince Vaudemont, who was left at Roselsaer with fifty battalions, and the like number of squadrons, understanding that Villeroy had passed the Lys in order to attack him, took post with his left near Grammen, his right by AErseele and Caneghem, and began to fortify his camp with a view to expect the enemy. Their vanguard appearing on the evening of the thirteenth at Dentreghem, he changed the disposition of his camp, and intrenched himself on both sides. Next day, however, perceiving Villeroy's design was to surround him by means of another body of troops commanded by M. Montai, who had already passed the Scheld for that purpose, he resolved to avoid an engagement, and effected a retreat to Ghent, which is celebrated as one of the most capital efforts of military conduct. He forthwith detached twelve battalions and twelve pieces of cannon to secure Newport, which Villeroy had intended to invest; but that general now changed his resolution, and undertook the siege of Dixmuyde, garrisoned by eight battalions of foot and a regiment of dragoons, commanded by major-general Ellemberg, who in six-and-thirty hours after the trenches were opened, surrendered himself and his soldiers prisoners of war. This scandalous example was followed by colonel O'Farrel, who yielded up Deynse on the same shameful conditions, even before a battery was opened by the besiegers. In the sequel, they were both tried for their misbehaviour; Ellemberg suffered death, and O'Farrel was broke with infamy. The prince of Vaudemont sent a message to the French general, demanding the garrisons of those two places, according to a cartel which had been settled between the powers at war; but no regard was paid to this remonstrance. Villeroy, after several marches and countermarches, appeared before Brussels on the thirteenth day of August, and sent a letter to the prince of Berghem, governor of that city, importing that the king his master had ordered him to bombard the town, by way of making reprisals for the damage done by the English fleet to the maritime towns of France; he likewise desired to know in what part the electress of Bavaria resided, that he might not fire into that quarter. After this declaration, which was no more than an unmeaning compliment, he began to bombard and cannonade the place with red-hot bullets, which produced conflagrations in many different parts of the city, and frightened the electress into a miscarriage. On the fifteenth, the French discontinued their firing, and retired to Enghein.

During these transactions, the siege of Namur was prosecuted with great ardour under the eye of the king of England; while the garrison defended the place with equal spirit and perseverance. On the eighteenth day of July, major-general Ramsay and lord Cutis, at the head of five battalions, English, Scots, and Dutch, attacked the enemy's advanced works on the right of the counterscarp. They were sustained by six English battalions commanded by brigadier-general Fitzpatrick; while eight foreign regiments, with nine thousand pioneers, advanced on the left under major-general Salish. The assault was desperate and bloody, the enemy maintaining their ground for two hours with undaunted courage; but at last they were obliged to give way, and were pursued to the very gates of the town, though not before they had killed or wounded twelve hundred men of the confederate army. The king was so well pleased with the behaviour of the British troops, that during the action he laid his hand upon the shoulder of the elector of Bavaria, and exclaimed with emotion, "See, my brave English." On the twenty-seventh the English and Scots, lander Ramsay and Hamilton, assaulted the counterscarp, where they met with prodigious opposition from the fire of the besieged. Nevertheless, being sustained by the Dutch, they made a lodgement on the foremost covered-way before the gate of St. Nicholas, as also upon part of the counterscarp. The valour of the assailants on this occasion was altogether unprecedented, and almost incredible; while on the other hand the courage of the besieged was worthy of praise and admiration. Several persons were killed in the trenches at the side of the king, and among these Mr. Godfrey, deputy-governor of the bank of England, who had come to the camp to confer with his majesty about remitting money for the payment of the army. On the thirtieth day of July the elector of Bavaria attacked Vauban's line that surrounded the works of the castle. General Coehorn was present in this action, which was performed with equal valour and success. They not only broke the line, but even took possession of Coehorn's fort, in which however they found it impossible to effect a lodgement. On the second day of August, lord Cutts, with four hundred English and Dutch grenadiers, attacked the salient angle of a demi-bastion, and lodged himself on the second counterscarp. The breaches being now practicable, and preparations made for a general assault, count Guiscard the governor capitulated for the town on the fourth of August; and the French retired into the citadel, against which twelve batteries played upon the thirteenth. The trenches meanwhile were carried on with great expedition, notwithstanding all the efforts of the besieged, who fired without ceasing, and exerted amazing diligence and intrepidity in defending and repairing the damage they sustained. At length the annoyance became so dreadful from the unintermitting showers of bombs and red-hot bullets, that Boufflers, after having made divers furious sallies, formed a scheme for breaking through the confederate camp with his cavalry. This however was prevented by the extreme vigilance of king William.

After the bombardment of Brussels, Villeroy, being-reinforced with all the troops that could be drafted from garrisons, advanced towards Namur with an army of ninety thousand men; and prince Vaudemont, being joined by the prince of Hesse with a strong body of forces from the Rhine, took possession of the strong camp at Masy, within five English miles of the besieging army. The king understanding that the enemy had reached Fleurus, where they discharged ninety pieces of cannon as a signal to inform the garrison of their approach, left the conduct of the siege to the elector of Bavaria, and took upon himself the command of the covering army, in order to oppose Villeroy, who being further reinforced by a detachment from Germany, declared that he would hazard a battle for the relief of Namur. But when he viewed the posture of the allies near Masy, he changed his resolution and retired in the night without noise. On the thirtieth day of August, the besieged were summoned to surrender, by count Horn, who in a parley with the count de Lamont, general of the French infantry, gave him to understand that mareschal Villeroy had retired towards the Mehaigne; so that the garrison could not expect to be relieved. No immediate answer being returned to this message, the parley was broke off, and the king resolved to proceed without delay to a general assault, which he had already planned with the elector and his other generals. Between one and two in the afternoon, lord Cutts, who desired the command though it was not his turn of duty, rushed out of the trenches of the second line, at the head of three hundred grenadiers, to make a lodgement in the breach of Terra-nova, supported by the regiments of Coulthorp, Buchan, Hamilton, and Mackay; while colonel Marselly with a body of Dutch, the Bavarians, and Brandenburghers, attacked at two other places. The assailants met with such a warm reception, that the English grenadiers were repulsed, even after they had mounted the breach, lord Cutts being for some time disabled by a shot in the head. Marselly was defeated, taken, and afterwards killed by a. cannon ball from the batteries of the besiegers. The Bavarians by mistaking their way were exposed to a terrible fire, by which their general count Rivera, and a great number of their officers, were slain: nevertheless, they fixed themselves on the outward intrenchment on the point of the Coehorn next to the Sambre, and maintained their ground with amazing fortitude. Lord Cutts, when his wound was dressed, returned to the scene of action, and ordered two hundred chosen men of Mackay's regiment, commanded by lieutenant Cockle, to attack the face of the salient angle next to the breach sword in hand, while the ensigns of the same regiment should advance and plant their colours on the pallisadoes. Coekle and his detachment executed the command he had received with admirable intrepedity. They broke through the pallisadoes, drove the French from the covered way, made a lodgement in one of the batteries, and turned the cannon against the enemy. The Bavarians being thus sustained, made their post good. The major-generals La Cave and Schwerin lodged themselves at the same time on the covered way; and though the general assault did not succeed in its full extent, the confederates remained masters of a very considerable lodgement, nearly an English mile in length. Yet this was dearly purchased with the lives of two thousand men, including many officers of great rank and reputation. During the action the elector of Bavaria signalised his courage in a very remarkable manner, riding from place to place through the hottest of the fire, giving his directions with notable presence of mind, according to the emergency of circumstances, animating the officers with praise and promise of preferment, and distributing handfuls of gold among the private soldiers.

On the first day of September, the besieged having obtained a cessation of arms that their dead might be buried, the count de Guiscard appearing on the breach, desired to speak with the elector of Bavaria. His highness immediately mounting the breach, the French governor offered to surrender the fort of Cohorn; but was given to understand, that if he intended to capitulate, he must treat for the whole. This reply being communicated to Boufflers, he agreed to the proposal: the cessation was prolonged, and that very evening the capitulation was finished. Villeroy, who lay encamped at Gemblours, was no sooner apprised of this event by a triple discharge of all the artillery, and a running fire along the lines of the confederate army, than he passed the Sambre near Charleroy with great precipitation; and having reinforced the garrison of Dinant, retreated towards the lines in the neighbourhood of Mons. On the fifth day of September the French garrison, which was now reduced from fifteen to five thousand five hundred men, evacuated the citadel of Namur. Boufflers, in marching out, was arrested in name of his Britannic majesty, by way of reprisal for the garrisons of Dixmuyde and Deynse, which the French king had detained contrary to the cartel subsisting between the two nations. The mareschal was not a little discomposed at this unexpected incident, and expostulated warmly with Mr. Dyckvelt, who assured him that the king of Great Britain entertained a profound respect for his person and character. William even offered to set him at liberty, provided he would pass his word that the garrisons of Dixmuyde and Deynso should be sent back, or that he himself would return in a fortnight. He said that he could not enter into any such engagement, as he did not know his master's reasons for detaining the garrisons in question. He was therefore reconveyed to Namur; from thence removed to Maestricht, and treated with great reverence and respect, till the return of an officer whom he had despatched to Versailles with an account of his captivity. Then he engaged his word, that the garrisons of Dixmuyde and Deynse should be sent back to the allied army. He was immediately released and conducted in safety to Dinant. When he repaired to Versailles, Louis received him with very extraordinary marks of esteem and affection. He embraced him in public with the warmest expressions of regard; declared himself perfectly well satisfied with his conduct; created him a duke and peer of France; and presented him with a very large sum, in acknowledgment of his signal services.


After the reduction of Namur, which greatly enhanced the military character of king William, he retired to his house at Loo, which was his favourite place of residence, leaving the command to the elector of Bavaria; and about the latter end of September both armies began to separate. The French forces retired within their lines. A good number of the allied troops were distributed in different garrisons; and a strong detachment marched towards Newport, under the command of the prince of Wirtemberg, for the security of that place. Thus ended the campaign in the Netherlands. On the Rhine nothing of moment was attempted by either army. The mareschal de Lorges, in the beginning of June, passed the Rhine at Philipsburgh; and posting himself at Brucksal, sent out parties to ravage the country. On the eleventh of the same month the prince of Baden joined the German army at Steppach, and on the eighth day of July was reinforced by the troops of the other German confederates, in the neighbourhood of Wiselock. On the nineteenth the French retired without noise, in the night, towards Manheim, where they repassed the river without any interruption from the imperial general; then he sent off a large detachment to Flanders. The same step was taken by the prince of Baden; and each army lay inactive in their quarters for the remaining part of the campaign. The command of the Germans in Hungary was conferred upon the elector of Saxony; but the court of Vienna was so dilatory in their preparations, that he was not in a condition to act till the middle of August. Lord Paget had been sent ambassador from England to the Ottoman Porte, with instructions relating to a pacification; but before he could obtain an audience the sultan died, and was succeeded by his nephew Mustapha, who resolved to prosecute the war in person. The warlike genius of this new emperor afforded but an uncomfortable prospect to his people, considering that Peter, the czar of Muscovy, had taken the opportunity of the war in Hungary, to invade the Crimea and besiege Azoph; so that the Tartars were too much employed at home to spare the succours which the sultan demanded. Nevertheless, Mustapha and his vizier took the field before the imperialists could commence the operations of the campaign, passed the Danube, took Lippa and Titul by assault, stormed the camp of general Veterani, who was posted at Lugos with seven thousand men, and who lost his life in the action. The infantry were cut to pieces, after having made a desperate defence; but the horse retreated to Caronsebes, under the conduct of general Trusches. The Turks after this exploit retired to Orsowa. Their navy meanwhile surprised the Venetian fleet at Scio, where several ships of the republic were destroyed, and they recovered that island, which the Venetians thought proper to abandon; but in order to balance this misfortune, these last obtained a complete victory over the pacha of Negropont in the Morea.


The French king still maintained a secret negotiation with the duke of Savoy, whose conduct had been for some time mysterious and equivocal. Contrary to the opinion of his allies, he undertook the siege of Casal, which was counted one of the strongest fortifications in Europe, defended by a numerous garrison, abundantly supplied with ammunition and provisions. The siege was begun about the middle of May; and the place was surrendered by capitulation in about fourteen days, to the astonishment of the confederates, who did not know that this was a sacrifice by which the French court obtained the duke's forbearance during the remaining part of the campaign. The capitulation imported, that the place should be restored to the duke of Mantua, who was the rightful proprietor; that the fortifications should be demolished at the expense of the allies; that the garrison should remain in the fort till that work should be completed; and hostages were exchanged for the performance of these conditions. The duke understood the art of procrastination so well, that September was far advanced before the place was wholly dismantled; and then he was seized with an ague, which obliged him to quit the army.


In Catalonia the French could hardly maintain the footing they had gained. Admiral Russel, who wintered at Cadiz, was created admiral, chief-commander, and captain general of all his majesty's ships employed, or to be employed, in the narrow-seas and in the Mediterranean. He was reinforced by four thousand five hundred soldiers, under the command of brigadier-general Stewart; and seven thousand men, Imperialists as well as Spaniards, were drafted from Italy for the defence of Catalonia. These forces were transported to Barcelona under the convoy of admiral Nevil, detached by Russel for that purpose. The affairs of Catalonia had already changed their aspect. Several French parties had been defeated. The Spaniards had blocked up Ostalric and Castel-Follit: Noailles had been recalled, and the command devolved to the duke de Vendome, who no sooner understood that the forces from Italy were landed, than he dismantled Ostalric and Castel-Follit, and retired to Palamos. The viceroy of Catalonia and the English admiral having resolved to give battle to the enemy and reduce Palamos, the English troops were landed on the ninth day of August, and the allied army advanced to Palamos. The French appeared in order of battle; but the viceroy declined an engagement. Far from attacking the enemy he withdrew his forces, and the town was bombarded by the admiral. The miscarriage of this expedition was in a great measure owing to a misunderstanding between Russel and the court of Spain. The admiral complained that his catholic majesty had made no preparations for the campaign; that he had neglected to fulfil his engagements with respect to the Spanish squadron which ought to have joined the fleets of England and Holland; that he had taken no care to provide tents and provisions for the British forces. On the twenty-seventh day of August he sailed for the coast of Provence, where the fleet was endangered by a terrible tempest; then he steered down the Straits, and toward the latter end of September arrived in the bay of Cadiz. There he left a number of ships under the command of sir David Mitchel, until he should be joined by sir George Rooke who was expected from England, and returned home with the rest of the combined squadrons.

{WILLIAM, 1688—1701.}


While admiral Russel asserted the British dominion in the Mediterranean, the French coasts were again insulted in the channel by a separate fleet under the command of lord Berkeley of Stratton, assisted by the Dutch admiral Allemonde. On the fourth day of July they anchored before St. Maloes, which they bombarded from nine ketches covered by some frigates, which sustained more damage than was done to the enemy. On the sixth, Granville underwent the same fate, and then the fleet returned to Portsmouth. The bomb vessels being refitted, the fleet sailed round to the Downs, where four hundred soldiers were embarked for an attempt upon Dunkirk, under the direction of Meesters the famous Dutch engineer, who had prepared his infernals and other machines for the service. On the first day of August the experiment was tried without success. The bombs did some execution; but two smoke ships miscarried. The French had secured the Ris-bank and wooden forts with piles, bombs, chains, and floating batteries, in such a manner that the machine-vessels could not approach near enough to produce any effect. Besides, the councils of the assailants were distracted by violent animosities. The English officers hated Meesters, because he was a Dutchman, and had acquired some credit with the king; he on the other hand treated them with disrespect. He retired with his machines in the night, and refused to co-operate with lord Berkeley in his design upon Calais, which was now put in execution. On the sixteenth he brought his batteries to bear upon this place, and set fire to it in different quarters; but the enemy had taken such precautions as rendered his scheme abortive.


A squadron had been sent to the West Indies under the joint-command of captain Robert Wilmot and colonel Lilingston, with twelve hundred land forces. They had instructions to co-operate with the Spaniards in Hispaniola, against the French settlements on that island, and to destroy their fisheries on the banks of Newfoundland in their return. They were accordingly joined by seventeen hundred Spaniards raised by the president of St. Domingo; but instead of proceeding against Petit-Guavas, according to the directions they had received, Wilmot took possession of Port Francois, and plundered the country for his own private advantage, notwithstanding the remonstrances of Lilingston, who protested against his conduct. In a word, the sea and land officers lived in a state of perpetual dissension; and both became extremely disagreeable to the Spaniards, who soon renounced all connexion with them and their designs. In the beginning of September the commodore set sail for England, and lost one of his ships in the gulph of Florida. He himself died in his passage; and the greater part of the men being swept off by an epidemical distemper, the squadron returned to Britain in a most miserable condition. Notwithstanding the great efforts the nation had made to maintain such a number of different squadrons for the protection of commerce, as well as to annoy the enemy, the trade suffered severely from the French privateers, which swarmed in both channels and made prize of many rich vessels. The marquis of Caermarthen, being stationed with a squadron off the Scilly islands, mistook a fleet of merchant ships for the Brest fleet, and retired with precipitation to Milford-Haven. In consequence of this retreat, the privateers took a good number of ships from Barbadoes, and five from the East-Indies, valued at a million sterling. The merchants renewed their clamour against the commissioners of the Admiralty, who produced their orders and instructions in their own defence. The marquis of Caermarthen had been guilty of flagrant misconduct on this occasion; but the chief source of those national calamities was the circumstantial intelligence transmitted to France from time to time by the malcontents of England; for they were actuated by a scandalous principle which they still retain, namely, that of rejoicing in the distress of their country.


King William, after having conferred with the states of Holland and the elector of Brandenburgh who met him at the Hague, embarked for England on the nineteenth day of October, and arrived in safety at Margate, from whence he proceeded to London, where he was received as a conqueror, amidst the rejoicings and acclamations of the people. On the same day he summoned a council at Kensington, in which it was determined to convoke a new parliament. While the nation was in good humour, it was supposed that they would return such members only as were well affected to the government; whereas the present parliament might proceed in its inquiries into corruption and other grievances, and be the less influenced by the crown, as their dependence was of such short duration. The parliament was therefore dissolved by proclamation, and a new one summoned to meet at Westminster on the twenty-second day of November. While the whole nation was occupied in the elections, William, by the advice of his chief confidants, laid his own disposition under restraint in another effort to acquire popularity. He honoured the diversions of Newmarket with his presence, and there received a compliment of congratulation from the university of Cambridge. Then he visited the earls of Sunderland, Northampton, and Montague, at their different houses in the country; and proceeded with a splendid retinue to Lincoln, from whence he repaired to Welbeck, a seat belonging to the duke of Newcastle in Nottinghamshire, where he was attended by Dr. Sharp, archbishop of York, and his clergy. He lodged one night with lord Brooke at Warwick castle, dined with the duke of Shrewsbury at Ryefort, and by the way of Woodstock, made a solemn entry into Oxford, having been met at some distance from the city by the duke of Or-mond, as chancellor of the university, the vice-chancellor, the doctors in their habits, and the magistrates in their formalities. He proceeded directly to the theatre, where he was welcomed in an elegant Latin speech; he received from the chancellor on his knees the usual presents of a large English Bible, and book of Common-Prayer, the cuts of the university, and a pair of gold-fringed gloves. The conduits ran with wine, and a magnificent banquet was prepared; but an anonymous letter being found in the street, importing that there was a design to poison his majesty, William refused to eat or drink in Oxford, and retired immediately to Windsor. Notwithstanding this abrupt departure, which did not savour much of magnanimity, the university chose sir William Trumball, secretary of state, as one of their representatives in parliament.


The whig interest generally prevailed in the elections, though many even of that party were malcontents; and when the parliament met, Foley was again chosen speaker of the commons. The king in his first speech extolled the valour of the English forces; expressed his concern at being obliged to demand such large supplies from his people; observed that the funds had proved very deficient, and the civil list was in a precarious condition; recommended to their compassion the miserable situation of the French protestants; took notice of the bad state of the coin; desired they would form a good bill for the encouragement and increase of seamen; and contrive laws for the advancement of commerce. He mentioned the great preparations which the French were making for taking the field early; in treated them to use despatch; expressed his satisfaction at the choice which his people had made of their representatives in the house of commons; and exhorted them to proceed with temper and unanimity. Though the two houses presented addresses of congratulation to the king upon his late success, and promised to assist him in prosecuting the war with vigour, the nation loudly exclaimed against the intolerable burdens and losses to which they were subjected by a foreign scheme of politics, which, like an unfathomable abyss, swallowed up the wealth and blood of the kingdom. All the king's endeavours to cover the disgusting side of his character had proved ineffectual; he was still dry, reserved, and forbidding; and the malcontents inveighed bitterly against his behaviour to the princess Anne of Denmark. When the news of Namur's being reduced arrived in England, this lady congratulated him upon his success in a dutiful letter, to which he would not deign to send a reply, either by writing or message, nor had she or her husband been favoured with the slightest mark of regard since his return to England. The members in the lower house, who had adopted opposing maxims either from principle or resentment, resolved that the crown should purchase the supplies with some concession in favour of the people. They therefore brought in the so long contested bill for regulating trials in cases of high treason, and misprison of treason; and considering the critical juncture of affairs, the courtiers were afraid of obstructing such a popular measure. The lords inserted a clause, enacting, that a peer should be tried by the whole peerage; and the commons at once assented to this amendment. The bill provided, that persons indicted for high treason, or misprison of treason, should be furnished with a copy of the indictment five days before the trial; and indulged with council to plead in their defence; that no person should be indicted but upon the oaths of two lawful witnesses swearing to overt-acts; that in two or more distinct treasons of divers kinds, alleged in one bill of indictment, one witness to one, and another witness to another, should not be deemed two witnesses; that no person should be prosecuted for any such crime, unless the indictment be found within three years after the offence committed, except in case of a design or attempt to assassinate or poison the king, where this limitation should not take place; that persons indicted for treason, or misprison of treason, should bo supplied with copies of the panel of the jurors, two days at least before the trial, and have process to compel their witnesses to appear; that no evidence should be admitted of any overt-act not expressly laid in the indictment; that this act should not extend to any impeachment, or other proceeding in parliament; nor to any indictment for counterfeiting his majesty's coin, his great seal, privy seal, sign manual, or signet.

{WILLIAM, 1688—1701.}


This important affair being discussed, the commons proceeded to examine the accounts and estimates, and voted above five millions for the service of the ensuing year. The state of the coin was by this time become such a national grievance as could not escape the attention of parliament. The lords prepared an address to the throne, for a proclamation to put a stop to the currency of diminished coin; and to this they desired the concurrence of the commons. The lower house, however, determined to take this affair under their own inspection. They appointed a committee of the whole house to deliberate on the state of the nation with respect to the currency. Great opposition was made to a recoinage, which was a measure strenuously recommended and supported by Mr. Montague, who acted on this occasion by the advice of the great mathematician sir Isaac Newton. The enemies of this expedient argued, that should the silver coin be called in, it would be impossible to maintain the war abroad, or prosecute foreign trade, inasmuch as the merchant could not pay his bills of exchange, nor the soldier receive his subsistence; that a stop would bo put to all mutual payment; and this would produce universal confusion and despair. Such a reformation could not be effected without some danger and difficulty; but it was become absolutely necessary, as the evil daily increased, and in a little time must have terminated in national anarchy. After long and vehement debates, the majority resolved to proceed with all possible expedition to a new coinage. Another question arose, Whether the new coin, in its different denominations, should retain the original weight and purity of the old; or the established standard be raised in value? The famous Locke engaged in this dispute against Mr. Lowndes, who proposed that the standard should be raised; the arguments of Mr. Locke were so convincing, that the committee resolved the established standard should be preserved with respect to weight and fineness. They likewise resolved, that the loss accruing to the revenue from clipped money, should be borne by the public. In order to prevent a total stagnation, they further resolved, that after an appointed day no clipped money should pass in payment, except to the collectors of the revenue and taxes, or upon loans or payments into the exchequer; that after another day to be appointed, no clipped money of any sort should pass in any payment whatsoever; and that a third day should be fixed for all persons to bring in their clipped money to be recoined, after which they should have no allowance upon what they might offer. They addressed the king to issue a proclamation agreeably to these resolutions; and on the nineteenth day of December it was published accordingly. Such were the fears of the people, augmented and inflamed by the enemies of the government, that all payment immediately ceased, and a face of distraction appeared through the whole community. The adversaries of the bill seized this opportunity to aggravate the apprehensions of the public. They inveighed against the ministry as the authors of this national grievance; they levelled their satire particularly at Montague; and it required uncommon fortitude and address to avert the most dangerous consequences of popular discontent. The house of commons agreed to the following resolutions: that twelve hundred thousand pounds should be raised by a duty on glass windows, to make up the loss on the clipped money; that the recompence for supplying the deficiency of clipped money should extend to all silver coin, though of a coarser alloy than the standard; that the collectors and receivers of his majesty's aids and revenues should be enjoined to receive all such monies; that a reward of five per cent, should be given to all such persons as should bring in either milled or broad undipped money, to be applied in exchange of the clipped money throughout the kingdom; that a reward of threepence per ounce should be given to all persons who should bring wrought plate to the mint to be coined; that persons might pay in their whole next year's land-tax in clipped money, at one convenient time to be appointed for that purpose; that commissioners should be appointed in every county to pay and distribute the milled and broad undipped money, and the new coined money in lieu of that which was diminished. A bill being prepared agreeably to these determinations, was sent up to the house of lords, who made some amendments which the commons rejected; but in order to avoid cavils and conferences, they dropped the bill and brought in another without the clauses which the lords had inserted. They were again proposed in the upper house and over-ruled by the' majority; and on the twenty-first day of January the bill received the royal assent, as did another bill enlarging the time for purchasing annuities and continuing the duties on low wines. At the same time the king passed the bill of trials for high treason, and an act to prevent mercenary elections. Divers merchants and traders petitioned the house of commons that the losses in their trade and payments, occasioned by the rise of guineas, might be taken into consideration. A bill was immediately brought in for taking off the obligation and encouragement for coining guineas for a certain time; and then the commons proceeded to lower the value of this coin, a task in which they met with great opposition from some members, who alleged that it would foment the popular disturbances. At length, however, the majority agreed that a guinea should be lowered from thirty to eight-and-twenty shillings, and afterwards to six-and-twenty. At length a clause was inserted in the bill for encouraging people to bring plate to the mint, settling the price of a guinea at two-and-twenty shillings, and it naturally sunk to its original value of twenty shillings and sixpence. Many persons, however, supposing that the price of gold would be raised the next session, hoarded up their guineas; and upon the same supposition, encouraged by the malcontents, the new coined silver money was reserved, to the great detriment of commerce. The king ordered mints to be erected in York, Bristol, Exeter, and Chester, for the purpose of the re-coinage, which was executed with unexpected success, so that in less than a year the currency of England, which had been the worst, became the best coin in Europe.

At this period the attention of the commons was diverted to an object of a more private nature. The earl of Portland, who enjoyed the greatest share of the king's favour, had obtained a grant of some lordships in Derbyshire. While the warrant was depending, the gentlemen of that county resolved to oppose it with all their power. In consequence of a petition, they were indulged with a hearing by the lords of the treasury. Sir William Williams, in the name of the rest, alleged that the lordships in question were the ancient demesnes of the prince of Wales, absolutely unalienable; that the revenues of those lordships supported the government of Wales in paying the judges and other salaries; that the grant was of too large an extent for any foreign subject; and that the people of the county were too great to be subject to any foreigner. Sundry other substantial reasons were used against the grant, which, notwithstanding all their remonstrances, would have passed through the offices, had not the Welsh gentlemen addressed themselves by petition to the house of commons. Upon this occasion, Mr. Price, a member of the house, harangued with great severity against the Dutch in general, and did not even abstain from sarcasms upon the king's person, title, and government. The objections started by the petitioners being duly considered, were found so reasonable that the commons presented an address to the king, representing that those manors had been usually annexed to the principality of Wales, and settled on the princes of Wales for their support; that many persons in those parts held their estates by royal tenure under great and valuable compositions, rents, royal payments, and services to the crown and princes of Wales; and enjoyed great privileges and advantages under such tenure. They therefore besought his majesty to recall the grant which was in diminution of the honour and interest of the crown; and prayed that the said manors and lands might not be alienated without the consent of parliament. This address met with a cold reception from the king, who promised to recall the grant which had given such offence to the commons, and said he would find some other way of showing his favour to the earl of Portland.

The people in general entertained a national aversion to this nobleman: the malcontents inculcated a notion that he had made use of his interest and intelligence to injure the trade of England, that the commerce of his own country might flourish without competition. To his suggestions they imputed the act and patent in favour of the Scottish company, which was supposed to have been thrown in as a bone of contention between the two kingdoms. The subject was first started in the house of lords, who invited the commons to a conference; a committee was appointed to examine into the particulars of the act for erecting the Scottish company; and the two houses presented a joint address against it, as a scheme that would prejudice all the subjects concerned in the wealth and trade of the English nation. They represented, that in consequence of the exemption from taxes and other advantages granted to the Scottish company, that kingdom would become a free port for all East and West India commodities; that the Scots would be enabled to supply all Europe at a cheaper rate than the English could afford to sell their merchandise for, therefore England would lose the benefit of its foreign trade; besides, they observed that the Scots would smuggle their commodities into England, to the great detriment of his majesty and his customs. To this remonstrance the king replied that he had been ill served in Scotland; but that he hoped some remedies would be found to prevent the inconveniencies of which they were apprehensive. In all probability he had been imposed upon by the ministry of that kingdom; for in a little time he discarded the marquis of Tweedale, and dismissed both the Scottish secretaries of state, in lieu of whom he appointed lord Murray, son to the marquis of Athol. Notwithstanding the king's answer, the committee proceeded on the inquiry, and, in consequence of their report confirming a petition from the East India company, the house resolved that the directors of the Scottish company were guilty of a high crime and misdemeanor in administering and taking an oath de fideli in this kingdom, and that they should be impeached for the same. Meanwhile, Roderick Mackenzie, from whom they had received their chief information, began to retract his evidence, and was ordered into custody; but he made his escape and could not be retaken, although the king at their request issued a proclamation for that purpose. The Scots were extremely incensed against the king when they understood he had disowned their company, from which they had promised themselves such wealth and advantage. The settlement of Darien was already planned and afterwards put in execution, though it miscarried in the sequel, and had like to have produced abundance of mischief.


The complaints of the English merchants who had suffered by the war were so loud at this juncture, that the commons resolved to take their case into consideration. The house resolved itself into a committee to consider the state of the nation with regard to commerce, and having duly weighed all circumstances, agreed to the following resolutions: that a council of trade should be established by act of parliament, with powers to take measures for the more effectual preservation of commerce; that the commissioners should be nominated by parliament, but none of them have seats in the house; that they should take an oath acknowledging the title of king William as rightful and lawful; and abjuring the pretensions of James, or any other person. The king considered these resolutions as an open attack upon his prerogative, and signified his displeasure to the earl of Sunderland, who patronised this measure; but it was so popular in the house, that in all probability it would have been put in execution, had not the attention of the commons been diverted from it at this period by the detection of a new conspiracy. The friends of king James had, upon the death of queen Mary, renewed their practices for effecting a restoration of that monarch, on the supposition that the interest of William was considerably weakened by the decease of his consort. Certain individuals, whose zeal for James overshot their discretion, formed a design to seize the person of king William, and convey him to France, or put him to death in case of resistance. They had sent emissaries to the court of St. Germain's to demand a commission for this purpose, which was refused. The earl of Aylesbury, lord Montgomery, son to the marquis of Powis, sir John Fenwick, sir John Friend, captain Charnock, captain Porter, and one Mr. Goodman, were the first contrivers of this project. Charnock was detached with a proposal to James, that he should procure a body of horse and foot from France to make a descent in England, and they would engage not only to join him at his landing, but even to replace him on the throne of England.

These offers being declined by James, on pretence that the French king could not spare such a number of troops at that juncture, the earl of Aylesbury went over in person, and was admitted to a conference with Louis, in which the scheme of an invasion was actually concerted. In the beginning of February the duke of Berwick repaired privately to England, where he conferred with the conspirators, assured them that king James was ready to make a descent with a considerable number of French forces, distributed commissions, and gave directions for providing men, arms, and horses, to join him at his arrival. When he returned to France, he found every thing prepared for the expedition. The troops were drawn down to the sea-side; a great number of transports were assembled at Dunkirk; monsieur Gabaret had advanced as far as Calais with a squadron of ships, which, when joined by that of Du Bart at Dunkirk, was judged a sufficient convoy; and James had come as far as Calais in his way to embark. Meanwhile the Jacobites in England were assiduously employed in making preparations for a revolt. Sir John Friend had very near completed a regiment of horse; considerable progress was made in levying another by sir William Perkins; sir John Fenwick had enlisted four troops; colonel Tempest had undertaken for one regiment of dragoons; colonel Parker was preferred to the command of another; Mr. Curzon was commissioned for a third; and the malcontents intended to raise a fourth in Suffolk, where their interest chiefly prevailed.


While one part of the Jacobites proceeded against William in the usual way of exciting an insurrection, another, consisting of the most desperate conspirators, had formed a scheme of assassination. Sir George Barclay, a native of Scotland, who had served as an officer in the army of James, a man of undaunted courage, a furious bigot in the religion of Rome, yet close, circumspect, and determined, was landed with other officers in Romneymarsh, by one captain Gill, about the beginning of January, and is said to have undertaken the task of seizing or assassinating king William. He imparted his design to Harrison, alias Johnston, a priest, Char-nock, Porter, and sir William Perkins, by whom it was approved; and he pretended to have a particular commission for this service. After various consultations, they resolved to attack the king on his return from Richmond, where he commonly hunted on Saturdays; and the scene of their intended ambuscade was a lane between Brentford and Turnham-Green. As it would be necessary to charge and disperse the guards that attended the coach, they agreed that their number should be increased to forty horsemen, and each conspirator began to engage proper persons for the enterprise. When their complement was full, they determined to execute their purpose on the fifteenth day of February. They concerted the manner in which they should meet in small parties without suspicion, and waited with impatience for the hour of action. In this interval some of the underling actors, seized with horror at the reflection of what they had undertaken, or captivated with the prospect of reward, resolved to prevent the execution of the design by a timely discovery. On the eleventh day of February, one Fisher informed the earl of Portland of the scheme, and named some of the conspirators; but his account was imperfect. On the thirteenth however he returned with a circumstantial detail of all the particulars. Next day the earl was accosted by one Pendergrass, an Irish officer, who told his lordship he had just come from Hampshire at the request of a particular friend, and understood that he had been called up to town with a view of engaging him in a design to assassinate king William. He said, he had promised to embark in the undertaking, though he detested it in his own mind, and took this first opportunity of revealing the secret, which was of such consequence to his majesty's life. He owned himself a Roman catholic, but declared that he did not think any religion could justify such a treacherous purpose. At the same time he observed, that as he lay under obligations to some of the conspirators, his honour and gratitude would not permit him to accuse them by name; and that he would upon no consideration appear as an evidence. The king had been so much used to fictitious plots and false discoveries, that he paid little regard to the informations until they were confirmed by the testimony of another conspirator called La Rue, a Frenchman, who communicated the same particulars to brigadier Levison, without knowing the least circumstance of the other discoveries. Then the king believed there was something real in the conspiracy; and Pendergrass and La Rue were severally examined in his presence. He thanked Pendergrass in particular for this instance of his probity; but observed that it must prove ineffectual unless he would discover the names of the conspirators; for, without knowing who they were, he should not be able to secure his life against their attempts. At length Pendergrass was prevailed upon to give a list of those he knew, yet not before the king had solemnly promised that he should not be used as an evidence against them, except with his own consent. As the king did not go to Richmond on the day appointed, the conspirators postponed the execution of their design till the Saturday following. They accordingly met at different houses on the Friday, when every man received his instructions. There they agreed, that after the perpetration of the parricide, they should ride in a body as far as Hammersmith, and then dispersing, enter London by different avenues. But on the morning, when they understood that the guards were returned to their quarters, and the king's coaches sent back to the Mews, they were seized with a sudden damp, on the suspicion that their plot was discovered. Sir George Barclay withdrew himself, and every one began to think of providing for his own safety. Next night, however, a great number of them were apprehended, and then the whole discovery was communicated to the privy council. A proclamation was issued against those that absconded; and great diligence was used to find sir George Barclay, who was supposed to have a particular commission from James for assassinating the prince of Orange; but he made good his retreat, and it was never proved that any such commission had been granted.


This design and the projected invasion proved equally abortive. James had scarce reach Calais when the duke of Wirtemberg despatched his aidecamp from Flanders to king William, with an account of the purposed descent. Expresses with the same tidings arrived from the elector of Bavaria and the prince de Vaude-mont. Two considerable squadrons being ready for sea, admiral Russel embarked at Spithead and stood over to the French coast with about fifty sail of the line. The enemy were confounded at his appearance, and hauled in their vessels under the shore, in such shallow water that he could not follow and destroy them; but he absolutely ruined their design, by cooping them up in their harbours. King James, after having tarried some weeks at Calais, returned to St. Germain's. The forces were sent back to the garrisons from which they had been drafted; the people of France exclaimed, that the malignant star which ruled the destiny of James had blasted this and every other project formed for his restoration. By means of the reward offered in the proclamation, the greater part of the conspirators were betrayed or taken. George Harris, who had been sent from France with orders to obey sir George Barclay, surrendered himself to sir William Trumball, and confessed the scheme of assassination in which he had been engaged. Porter and Pendergrass were apprehended together. This last insisted upon the king's promise that he should not be compelled to give evidence; but when Porter owned himself guilty, the other observed he was no longer bound to be silent, as his friend had made a confession; and they were both admitted as evidences for the crown.


After their examination, the king, in a speech to both houses, communicated the nature of the conspiracy against his life, as well as the advices he had received touching the invasion; he explained the steps he had taken to defeat the double design, and professed his confidence in their readiness and zeal to concur with him in every thing that should appear necessary for their common safety. That same evening the two houses waited upon him at Kensington in a body, with an affectionate address, by which they expressed their abhorrence of the villanous and barbarous design which had been formed against his sacred person, of which they besought him to take more than ordinary care. They assured him they would to their utmost defend his life, and support his government against the late king James and all other enemies; and declared, that in case his majesty should come to a violent death, they would revenge it upon his adversaries and their adherents. He was extremely well pleased with this warm address, and assured them in his turn he would take all opportunities of recommending himself to the continuance of their loyalty and affection. The commons forthwith empowered him by bill to secure all persons suspected of conspiring against his person and government. They brought in another, providing, that in case of his majesty's death, the parliament then being should continue until dissolved by the next heir in succession to the crown, established by act of parliament; that if his majesty should chance to die between two parliaments, that which had been last dissolved should immediately re-assemble, and sit for the despatch of national affairs. They voted an address to desire that his majesty would banish by proclamation all papists to the distance of ten miles from the cities of London and Westminster; and give instructions to the judges going on the circuits to put the laws in execution against Roman catholics and nonjurors. They drew up an association, binding themselves to assist each other in support of the king and his government, and to revenge any violence that should be committed on his person. This was signed by all the members then present; but as some had absented themselves on frivolous pretences, the house ordered, that in sixteen days the absentees should either subscribe or declare their refusal. Several members neglecting to comply with this injunction within the limited time, the speaker was ordered to write to those who were in the country, and demand a peremptory answer; and the clerk of the house attended such as pretended to be ill in town. The absentees finding themselves pressed in this manner, thought proper to sail with the stream, and sign the association, which was presented to the king by the commons in a body, with a request that it might be lodged among the records in the Tower, as a perpetual memorial of their loyalty and affection. The king received them with uncommon complacency; declared that he heartily entered into the same association; that he should be always ready to venture his life with his good subjects against all who should endeavour to subvert the religion, laws, and liberties of England; and he promised that this and all other associations should be lodged among the records of the Tower of London. Next day the commons resolved, that whoever should affirm an association was illegal, should be deemed a promoter of the designs of the late king James, and an enemy to the laws and liberties of the kingdom. The lords followed the example of the lower house in drawing up an association; but the earl of Nottingham, sir Edward Seymour, and Mr. Finch, objected to the words rightful and lawful as applied to his majesty. They said as the crown and its prerogatives were vested in him, they would yield obedience, though they could not acknowledge him as their rightful and lawful king.

Nothing could be more absurd than this distinction, started by men who had actually constituted part of the administration; unless they supposed that the right of king William expired with queen Mary. The earl of Rochester proposed an expedient in favour of such tender consciences, by altering the words that gave offence; and this was adopted accordingly. Fifteen of the peers, and ninety-two commoners, signed the association with reluctance. It was, however, subscribed by all sorts of people in different parts of the kingdom; and the bishops drew up a form for the clergy, which was signed by a great majority. The commons brought in a bill, declaring all men incapable of public trust, or of sitting in parliament, who would not engage in this association. At the same time the council issued an order for renewing all the commissions in England, that those who had not signed it voluntarily should be dismissed from the service as disaffected persons.


After these warm demonstrations of loyalty, the commons proceeded upon ways and means for raising the supplies. A new bank was constituted as a fund, upon which the sum of two millions five hundred and sixty-four thousand pounds should be raised; and it was called the land-bank, because established on land securities. This scheme, said to have been projected by the famous Dr. Chamberlain, was patronised by the earl of Sunderland, and managed by Foley and Harley; so that it seemed to bo a tory plan which Sunderland supported, in order to reconcile himself to that party. [067] [See note O, at the end of this Vol.] The bank of England petitioned against this bill, and were heard by their counsel; but their representations produced no effect, and the bill having passed through both houses, received the royal assent. On the twenty-seventh day of April the king closed the session with a short but gracious speech; and the parliament was prorogued to the sixteenth day of June.

Before this period some of the conspirators had been brought to trial. The first who suffered was Robert Charnock, one of the two fellows of Magdalen-college, who, in the reign of James, had renounced the protestant religion; the next were lieutenant King and Thomas Keys, which last had been formerly a trumpeter, but of late servant to captain Porter. They were found guilty of high treason, and executed at Tyburn. They delivered papers to the sheriff, in which they solemnly declared, that they had never seen or heard of any commission from king James for assassinating the prince of Orange; Charnock in particular observed, that he had received frequent assurances of the king's having rejected such proposals when they had been offered; and that there was no other commission but that for levying war in the usual form. Sir John Friend and sir William Perkins were tried in April. The first, from mean beginnings, had acquired great wealth and credit, and always firmly adhered to the interests of king James. The other was likewise a man of fortune, violently attached to the same principles, though he had taken the oaths to the present government as one of the six clerks in chancery. Porter and Blair, another evidence, deposed, that sir John Friend had been concerned in levying men under a commission from king James, and that he knew of the assassination plot, though not engaged in it as a personal actor. He endeavoured to invalidate the testimony of Blair, by proving him guilty of the most shocking ingratitude. He observed that both the evidences were reputed papists. The curate of Hackney, who officiated as chaplain in the prisoner's house, declared upon oath, that after the revolution he used to pray for king William, and that he had often heard sir John Friend say that though he could not comply with the present government, he would live peaceably under it, and never engage in any conspiracy. Mr. Hoadley, father of the present bishop of Winchester, added, that the prisoner was a good protestant, and frequently expressed his detestation of king-killing principles. Friend himself owned he had been with some of the conspirators at a meeting in Leadenhall-street, but heard nothing of raising men, or any design against the government. He likewise affirmed that a consultation to levy war was not treason; and that his being at a treasonable consult could amount to no more than a misprison of treason. Lord chief justice Holt declared, that although a bare conspiracy, or design to levy war, was not treason within the statute of Edward III., yet if the design or conspiracy be to kill, or depose, or imprison the king, by the means of levying war, then the consultation and conspiracy to levy war becomes high treason though no war be actually levied. The same inference might have been drawn against the authors and instruments of the revolution. The judge's explanation influenced the jury, who, after some deliberation, found the prisoner guilty. Next day sir William Perkins was brought to the bar, and upon the testimony of Porter, Ewebank, his own groom, and Haywood, a notorious informer, was convicted of having been concerned not only in the invasion, but also in the design against the king's life. The evidence was scanty, and the prisoner having been bred to the law, made an artful and vigorous defence: but the judge acted as counsel for the crown; and the jury decided by the hints they received from the bench. He and sir John Friend underwent the sentence of death, and suffered at Tyburn on the third day of April. Friend protested before God that he knew of no immediate descent purposed by king James, and therefore had made no preparations; that he was utterly ignorant of the assassination scheme; that he died in the communion of the church of England, and laid down his life cheerfully in the cause for which he suffered. Perkins declared, upon the word of a dying man, that the tenour of the king's commission which he saw was general, directed to all his loving subjects, to raise and levy war against the prince of Orange and his adherents, and to seize all forts, castles, &c, but that he neither saw nor heard of any commission particularly levelled against the person of the prince of Orange. He owned, however, that he was privy to the design; but believed it was known to few or none but the immediate undertakers. These two criminals were in their last moments attended by Collier, Snatt, and Cook, three nonjuring clergymen, who absolved them in the view of the populace, with an imposition of hands; a public insult on the government which did not pass unnoticed. Those three clergyman were presented by the grand jury for having countenanced the treason by absolving the traitors, and thereby encouraged other persons to disturb the peace of the kingdom. An indictment being preferred against them, Cook and Snatt were committed to Newgate; but Collier absconded, and published a vindication of their conduct, in which he affirmed that the imposition of hands was the general practice of the primitive church. On the other hand, the two metropolitans and twelve other bishops subscribed a declaration, condemning the administration of absolution without a previous confession made, and abhorrence expressed, by the prisoners of the heinous crimes for which they suffered.

In the course of the same month, Rookwood, Cranborne, and Lowick, were tried as conspirators by a special commission in the king's-bench, and convicted on the joint testimony of Porter, Harris, La Rue, Bertram, Fisher, and Pendergrass. Some favourable circumstances appeared in the case of Lowick. The proof of his having been concerned in the design against the king's life was very defective; many persons of reputation declared he was an honest, good natured, inoffensive man; and he himself concluded his defence with the most solemn protestation of his own innocence. Great intercession was made for his pardon by some noblemen; but all their interest proved ineffectual. Cranborne died in a transport of indignation, leaving a paper which the government thought proper to suppress. Lowick and Rookwood likewise delivered declarations to the sheriff, the contents of which as being less inflammatory were allowed to be published. Both solemnly denied any knowledge of a commission from king James to assassinate the prince of Orange; the one affirming that he was incapable of granting such an order; and the other asserting that he, the best of kings, had often rejected proposals of that nature. Lowick owned that he would have joined the king at his landing; but declared he had never been concerned in any bloody affair during the whole course of his life. On the contrary, he said he had endeavoured to prevent bloodshed as much as lay in his power; and that he would not kill the most miserable creature in the world, even though such an act would save his life, restore his sovereign, and make him one of the greatest men in England. Rookwood alleged he was engaged by his immediate commander, whom he thought it was his duty to obey, though the service was much against his judgment and inclination. He professed his abhorrence of treachery even to an enemy. He forgave all mankind, even the prince of Orange, who as a soldier, he said, ought to have considered his case before he signed his death warrant; he prayed God would open his eyes, and render him sensible of the blood that was from all parts crying against him, so as he might avert a heavier execution than that which he now ordered to be inflicted. The next person brought to trial was Mr. Cooke, son of sir Miles Cooke, one of the six clerks in chancery. Porter and Goodman deposed that he had been present at two meetings at the King's-head tavern in Leadenhall-street, with the lords Aylesbury and Montgomery, sir William Perkins, sir John Fenwick, sir John Friend, Charnock, and Porter. The evidence of Goodman was invalidated by the testimony of the landlord and two drawers belonging to the tavern, who swore that Goodman was not there while the noblemen were present. The prisoner himself solemnly protested, that he was ever averse to the introduction of foreign forces; that he did not so much as hear of the intended invasion until it became the common topic of conversation; and that he had never seen Goodman at the King's-head. He declared his intention of receiving the blessed sacrament, and wished he might perish in the instant if he now spoke untruth. No respect was paid to these asseverations. The solicitor-general Hawles, and lord chief-justice Treby, treated him with great severity in the prosecution and charge to the jury, by whom he was capitally convicted. After his condemnation, the court-agents tampered with him to make further discoveries; and after his fate had been protracted by divers short reprieves, he was sent into banishment. From the whole tenour of these discoveries and proceedings, it appears that James had actually meditated an invasion; that his partisans in England had made preparations for joining him on his arrival; that a few desperadoes of that faction had concerted a scheme against the life of king William; that in prosecuting the conspirators, the court had countenanced informers; that the judges had strained the law, wrested circumstances, and even deviated from the function of their office, to convict the prisoners; in a word, that the administration had used the same arbitrary and unfair practices against those unhappy people, which they themselves had in the late reigns numbered among the grievances of the kingdom.

{WILLIAM, 1688—1701.}


The warmth, however, manifested on this occasion may have been owing to national resentment of the purposed invasion. Certain it is, the two houses of parliament and the people in general were animated with extraordinary indignation against France at this juncture. The lords besought his majesty in a solemn address to appoint a day of thanksgiving to Almighty God for having defeated the barbarous purpose of his enemies; and this was observed with uncommon zeal and devotion. Admiral Russel, leaving a squadron for observation on the French coast, returned to the Downs; but sir Cloudesley Shovel, being properly prepared for the expedition, subjected Calais to another bombardment, by which the town was set on fire in different parts, and the inhabitants were overwhelmed with consternation. The generals of the allied army in Flanders resolved to make some immediate retaliation upon the French for their unmanly design upon the life of king William, as they took it for granted that Louis was accessary to the scheme of assassination. That monarch, on the supposition that a powerful diversion would be made by the descent on England, had established a vast magazine at Givet, designing, when the allies should be enfeebled by the absence of the British troops, to strike some stroke of importance early in the campaign. On this the confederates now determined to wreak their vengeance. In the beginning of March the carl of Athlone and monsieur de Coehorn, with the concurrence of the duke of Holstein-Ploen, who commanded the allies, sent a strong detachment of horse, drafted from Brussels and the neighbouring garrisons, to amuse the enemy on the side of Charleroy, while they assembled forty squadrons, thirty battalions, with fifteen pieces of cannon, and six mortars, in the territory of Namur. Athlone with a part of this body invested Dinant, while Coehorn with the remainder advanced to Givet. He forthwith began to batter and bombard the place, which in three hours was on fire, and by four in the afternoon wholly destroyed, with the great magazine it contained. Then the two generals joining their forces returned to Namur without interruption. Hitherto the republic of Venice had deferred acknowledging king William; but now they sent an extraordinary embassy for that purpose, consisting of signiors Soranzo and Venier, who arrived in London, and on the first day of May had a public audience. The king on this occasion knighted Soranzo as the senior ambassador, and presented him with the sword according to custom. On that day, too, William declared in council that he had appointed the same regency which had governed the kingdom during his last absence, and embarking on the seventh at Margate, arrived at Orange-Polder in the evening, under convoy of vice-admiral Aylmer. This officer had been ordered to attend with a squadron, as the famous Du Bart still continued at Dunkirk, and some attempt of importance was apprehended from his enterprising genius.*

* Some promotions were made before the king left England. George Hamilton, third son of the duke of that name, was for his military services in Ireland and Flanders created earl of Orkney. Sir John Lowther was ennobled by the title of baron Lowther and viscount Lonsdale; sir John Thompson made baron of Haversham; and the celebrated John Locke appointed one of the commissioners of trade and plantation.


The French had taken the field before the allied army could be assembled; but no transaction of consequence distinguished this campaign either upon the Rhine or in Flanders. The scheme of Louis was still defensive on the side of the Netherlands, while the active plans of king William were defeated by want of money. All the funds for this year proved defective: the land-bank failed, and the national bank sustained a rude shock in its credit. The loss of the nation upon the recoinage, amounted to two millions two hundred thousand pounds; and though the different mints were employed without interruption, they could not for some months supply the circulation, especially as great part of the new money was kept up by those who received it in payment, or disposed of it at an unreasonable advantage. The French king having exhausted the wealth and patience of his subjects, and greatly diminished their number in the course of this war, began to be diffident of his arms, and employed all the arts of private negotiation. While his minister D'Avaux pressed the king of Sweden to offer his mediation, he sent Callieres to Holland with proposals for settling the preliminaries of a treaty.

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