The History of England in Three Volumes, Vol.II. - From William and Mary to George II.
by Tobias Smollett
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He took it for granted that as the Dutch were a trading people, whose commerce had greatly suffered in the war, they could not be averse to a pacification; and he instructed his emissaries to tamper with the malcontents of the republic, especially with the remains of the Louvestein faction, which had always opposed the schemes of the stadtholder. Callieres met with a favourable reception from the states, which began to treat with him about the preliminaries, though not without the consent and concurrence of king William and the rest of the allies. Louis, with a view to quicken the effect of this negotiation, pursued offensive measures in Catalonia, where his general the duke de Vendome attacked and worsted the Spaniards in their camp near Ostalrick, though the action was not decisive; for that general was obliged to retreat after having made vigorous efforts against their intrenchments. On the twentieth day of June, mareschal de Lorges passed the Rhine at Philips-burg and encamped within a league of Eppingen, where the Imperial troops were obliged to intrench themselves, under the command of the prince of Baden, as they were not yet joined by the auxiliary forces. The French general after having faced him about a month, thought proper to repass the river. Then he detached a body of horse to Flanders, and cantoned the rest of his troops at Spires, Franckendahl, Worms, and Ostofen. On the last day of August the prince of Baden retaliated the insult, by passing the Rhine at Mentz and Cocsheim. On the tenth he was joined by general Thungen, who commanded a separate body, together with the militia of Suabia and Franconia, and advanced to the camp of the enemy, who had reassembled; but they were posted in such a manner that he would not hazard an attack. Having therefore cannonaded them for some days, scoured the adjacent country by detached parties, and taken the little castle of Wiezengen, he repassed the river at Worms on the seventh day of October: the French likewise crossed at Philipsburgh in hopes of surprising general Thungen, who had taken post in the neighbourhood of Strasbourg; but he retired to Eppingen before their arrival, and in a little time both armies were distributed in winter quarters. Peter, the czar of Muscovy, carried on the siege of Azoph with such vigour, that the garrison was obliged to capitulate after the Russians had defeated a great convoy sent to its relief. The court of Vienna forthwith engaged in an alliance with the Muscovite emperor; but they did not exert themselves in taking advantage of the disaster which the Turks had undergone. The Imperial army, commanded by the elector of Saxony, continued inactive on the river Marosch till the nineteenth day of July, then they made a feint of attacking Temiswaer; but they inarched towards Betzkerch, in their route to Belgrade, on receiving advice that the grand seignor intended to besiege Titul. On the twenty-first day of August, the two armies were in sight of each other. The Turkish horse attacked the Imperialists in a plain near the river Begue, but were repulsed. The Germans next day made a show of retreating, in hopes of drawing the enemy from their intrenchments. The stratagem succeeded. On the twenty-sixth the Turkish army was in motion. A detachment of the Imperialists attacked them in flank as they marched through a wood. A very desperate action ensued, in which the generals Heusler and Poland, with many other gallant officers, lost their lives. At length the Ottoman horse were routed; but the Germans were so roughly handled, that on the second day after the engagement they retreated at midnight, and the Turks remained quiet in their intrenchments.

In Piedmont the face of affairs underwent a strange alteration. The duke of Savoy, who had for some time been engaged in a secret negotiation with France, at length embraced the offers of that crown, and privately signed a separate treaty of peace at Loretto, to which place he repaired on a pretended pilgrimage. The French king engaged to present him with four millions of livres by way of reparation for the damage he had sustained, to assist him with a certain number of auxiliaries against all his enemies, and to effect a marriage between the duke of Burgundy and the princess of Piedmont, as soon as the parties should be marriageable. The treaty was guaranteed by the pope and the Venetians, who were extremely desirous of seeing the Germans driven out of Italy. King William being apprized of this negotiation, communicated the intelligence to the earl of Galway, his ambassador at Turin, who expostulated with the duke upon this defection; but he persisted in denying any such correspondence, until the advance of the French army enabled him to avow it without fearing the resentment of the allies whom he had abandoned. Catinat marched into the plains of Turin at the head of fifty thousand men, an army greatly superior to that of the confederates. Then the duke imparted to the ministers of the allies the proposals which France had made; represented the superior strength of her army; the danger to which he was exposed; and, finally, his inclination to embrace her offers. On the twelfth of July a truce was concluded for a month, and afterwards prolonged till the fifteenth of September. He wrote to all the powers engaged in the confederacy, except King William, expatiating on the same topics, and soliciting their consent. Though each in particular refused to concur, he on the twenty-third day of August signed the treaty in public which he had before concluded in private. The emperor was no sooner informed of his design, than he took every step which he thought could divert him from his purpose. He sent the count Mansfeldt to Turin with proposals for a match between the king of the Romans and the princess of Savoy, as well as with offers to augment his forces and his subsidy; but the duke had already settled his terms with France, from which he would not recede. Prince Eugene, though his kinsman, expressed great indignation at his conduct. The young prince de Commercy was so provoked at his defection that he challenged him to single combat, and the duke accepted of his challenge; but the quarrel was compromised by the intervention of friends, and they parted in an amicable manner. He had concealed the treaty until he should receive the remaining part of the subsidies due to him from the confederates. A considerable sum had been remitted from England to Genoa for his use; but lord Galway no sooner received intimation of his new engagement, than he put a stop to the payment of this money, which he employed in the Milanese for the subsistence of those troops that were in the British service. King William was encamped at Gemblours when the duke's envoy notified the separate peace which his master had concluded with the king of France. Though he was extremely chagrined at the information, he dissembled his anger and listened to the minister without the least emotion. One of the conditions of this treaty was, that within a limited time the allies should evacuate the duke's dominions, otherwise they should be expelled by the joint forces of France and Savoy. A neutrality was offered to the confederates; and this being rejected, the contracting powers resolved to attack the Milanese. Accordingly when the truce expired, the duke, as generalissimo of the French king, entered that duchy and undertook the siege of Valentia; so that in one campaign he commanded two contending armies. The garrison of Valentia, consisting of seven thousand men, Germans, Spaniards, and French protestants, made an obstinate defence; and the duke of Savoy prosecuted the siege with uncommon impetuosity. But after the trenches had been open for thirteen days, a courier arrived from Madrid with an account of his catholic majesty's having agreed to the neutrality for Italy. This agreement imported that there should be a suspension of arms until a general peace could be effected; and that the Imperial and French troops should return to their respective countries. Christendom had well nigh been embroiled anew by the death of John Sobieski, king of Poland, who died at the age of seventy in the course of this summer, after having survived his faculties and reputation. As the crown was elective, a competition arose for the succession. The kingdom was divided by factions; and the different powers of Europe interested themselves warmly in the contention.


Nothing of consequence had been lately achieved by the naval force of England. When the conspiracy was first discovered, sir George Rooke had received orders to return from Cadiz, and he arrived in the latter end of April. While he took his place at the board of admiralty, lord Berkeley succeeded to the command of the fleet, and in the month of June set sail towards Ushant in order to insult the coast of France. He pillaged and burned the villages on the islands Grouais, Houat, and Hey die; made prize of about twenty vessels; bombarded St. Martin's on the isle of Ehe, and the town of Olonne, which was set on fire in fifteen different places with the shells and carcasses. Though these appear to have been enterprises of small import, they certainly kept the whole coast of France in perpetual alarm. The ministry of that kingdom were so much afraid of invasion, that between Brest and Goulet they ordered above one hundred batteries to be erected, and above sixty thousand men were continually in arms for the defence of the maritime places. In the month of May rear-admiral Benbow sailed with a small squadron in order to block up Du Bart in the harbour of Dunkirk; but that famous adventurer found means to escape in a fog, and steering to the eastward attacked the Dutch fleet in the Baltic under a convoy of five frigates. These last he took, together with half the number of the trading ships; but falling in with the outward bound fleet convoyed by thirteen ships of the line, he was obliged to burn four of the frigates, turn the fifth adrift, and part with all his prizes except fifteen, which he carried into Dunkirk.


The parliament of Scotland met on the eighth day of September, and lord Murray, secretary of state, now earl of Tullibardine, presided as king's commissioner. Though that kingdom was exhausted by the war and two successive bad harvests, which had driven a great number of the inhabitants into Ireland, there was no opposition to the court measures. The members of parliament signed an association like that of England. They granted a supply of one hundred and twenty thousand pounds for maintaining their forces by sea and land. They passed an act for securing their religion, lives, and properties, in case his majesty should come to an untimely death. By another they obliged all persons in public trust to sign the association, and then the parliament was adjourned to the eighth day of December. The disturbances of Ireland seemed now to be entirely appeased. Lord Capel dying in May, the council, by virtue of an act passed in the reign of Henry VIII., elected the chancellor, sir Charles Porter, to be lord justice and chief governor of that kingdom, until his majesty's pleasure should be known. The parliament met in June: the commons expelled Mr. Sanderson, the only member of that house who had refused to sign the association, and adjourned to the fourth day of August. By that time sir Charles Porter and the earls of Montrath and Drogheda were appointed lords justices, and signified the king's pleasure that they should adjourn. In the beginning of December the chancellor died of an apoplexy.


King William being tired of an inactive campaign, left the army under the command of the elector of Bavaria, and about the latter end of August repaired to his palace at Loo, where he enjoyed his favourite exercise of stag-hunting. He visited the court of Brandenburgh at Cleves; conferred with the states of Holland at the Hague; and, embarking for England, landed at Margate on the sixth day of October. The domestic economy of the nation was extremely perplexed at this juncture from the sinking of public credit, and the stagnation that necessarily attended a recoinage. These grievances were with difficulty removed by the clear apprehension, the enterprising genius, the unshaken fortitude of Mr. Montague, chancellor of the exchequer, operating upon a national spirit of adventure, which the monied interest had produced. The king opened the session of parliament on the twentieth day of October, with a speech importing that overtures had been made for a negotiation, but that the best way of treating with France would be sword in hand. He therefore desired they would be expeditious in raising the supplies for the service of the ensuing year, as well as for making good the funds already granted. He declared that the civil list could not be supported without their assistance. He recommended the miserable condition of the French protestants to their compassion. He desired they would contrive the best expedients for the recovery of the national credit. He observed that unanimity and despatch were now more than ever necessary, for the honour, safety, and advantage of England. The commons having taken this speech into consideration, resolved that they would support his majesty and his government, and assist him in the prosecution of the war; that the standard of gold and silver should not be altered; and that they would make good all parliamentary funds. Then they presented an address in a very spirited strain, declaring, that notwithstanding the blood and treasure of which the nation had been drained, the commons of England would not be diverted from their firm resolutions of obtaining by war a safe and honourable peace. They therefore renewed their assurances that they would support his majesty against all his enemies at home and abroad. The house of lords delivered another to the same purpose, declaring that they would never be wanting or backward on their parts in what might be necessary to his majesty's honour, the good of his kingdoms, and the quiet of Christendom. The commons, in the first transports of their zeal, ordered two seditious pamphlets to be burned by the hands of the common hangman. They deliberated upon the estimates, and granted above six millions for the service of the ensuing-year. They resolved that a supply should be granted for making good the deficiency of parliamentary funds, and appropriated several duties for this purpose.


With respect to the coin they brought in a bill repealing an act for taking off the obligation and encouragement of coining guineas for a certain time, and for importing and coining guineas and half guineas, as the extravagant price of those coins which occasioned this act was now fallen. They passed a second bill for remedying the ill state of the coin; and a third, explaining an act in the preceding session for laying duties on low wines and spirits of the first extraction. In order to raise the supplies of the year, they resolved to tax all persons according to the true value of their real and personal estates, their stock upon land and in trade, their income by offices, pensions, and professions. A duty of one penny per week for one year was laid upon all persons not receiving alms. A further imposition of one farthing in the pound per week was fixed upon all servants receiving four pounds per annum as wages, and upwards to eight pounds a-year inclusive. Those who received from eight to sixteen pounds were taxed at one halfpenny per pound. An aid of three shillings in the pound for one year was laid upon all lands, tenements, and hereditaments, according to their true value. Without specifying the particulars of those impositions, we shall only observe that, in the general charge, the commons did not exempt one member of the commonwealth that could be supposed able to bear any part of the burden. Provision was made that hammered money should be received in payment of these duties at the rate of five shillings and eightpence per ounce. All the deficiencies on annuities and monies borrowed on the credit of the exchequer, were transferred to this aid. The treasury was enabled to borrow a million and a half at eight per cent, and to circulate exchequer bills to the amount of as much more. To cancel these debts the surplus of all the supplies, except the three-shilling-aid, was appropriated. The commons voted one hundred and twenty-five thousand pounds for making good the deficiency in recoining the hammered money, and the recompence for bringing in plate to the mint. This sum was raised by a tax or duty upon wrought plate, paper, pasteboard, vellum, and parchment, made or imported. Taking into consideration the services and the present languishing state of the bank, whose notes were at twenty per cent, discount, they resolved that it should be enlarged by new subscriptions, made by four-fifths in tallies struck on parliamentary funds, and one-fifth in bank-bills or notes; that effectual provision should be made by parliament for paying the principal of all such tallies as should be subscribed into the bank, out of the funds agreed to be continued; that an interest of eight per cent, should be allowed on all such tallies; and that the continuance of the bank should be prolonged to the first day of August, in the year one thousand seven hundred and ten. That all assignments of orders or tallies subscribed into the bank should be registered in the exchequer; that before the day should be fixed for the beginning of the new subscriptions, the old should be made one hundred per cent., and what might exceed that value should be divided among the old members; that all the interest due on those tallies which might be subscribed into the bank-stock, at that time appointed for subscriptions, to the end of the last preceding quarter on each tally, should be allowed as principal; that liberty should be given by parliament to enlarge the number of bank-bills to the value of the sum that should be so subscribed over and above the twelve hundred thousand pounds, provided they should be obliged to answer such bills on demand, and in default thereof be answered by the exchequer out of the first money due to them; that no other bank should be erected or allowed by act of parliament during the continuance of the bank of England; that this should be exempted from all tax or imposition; that no act of the corporation should forfeit the particular interest of any person concerned therein; that provision should be made to prevent the officers of the exchequer, and all other officers and receivers of the revenue, from diverting, delaying, or obstructing the course of payments to the bank; that care should be taken to prevent the altering, counterfeiting, or forging any bank bills or notes; that the estates and interest of each member in the stock of the corporation should be made a personal estate; that no contract made for any bank stock to be bought or sold, should be valid in law or equity unless actually registered in the bank books within seven days, and actually transferred within fourteen days after the contract should be made. A bill upon these resolutions was brought in under the direction of the chancellor of the exchequer: it related to the continuation of tonnage and poundage upon wine, vinegar, and tobacco, and comprehended a clause for laying an additional duty upon salt for two years and three quarters. All the several branches constituted a general fund, since known by the name of the general mortgage, without prejudice to their former appropriations. The bill also provided that the tallies should bear eight per cent, interest; that from the tenth of June for five years they should bear no more than six per cent, interest; and that no premium or discount upon them should be taken. In case of the general funds proving insufficient to pay the whole interest, it was provided that every proprietor should receive his proportion of the product, and the deficiency be made good from the next aid; but should the fund produce more than the interest, the surplus was destined to operate as a sinking fund for the discharge of the principal. In order to make up a deficiency of above eight hundred thousand pounds occasioned by the failure of the land-bank, additional duties were laid upon leather; the time was enlarged for persons to come in and purchase the annuities payable by several former acts, and to obtain more certain interest in such annuities.

Never were more vigorous measures taken to support the credit of the government; and never was the government served by such a set of enterprising undertakers. The commons having received a message from the king touching the condition of the civil list, resolved that a sum not exceeding five hundred and fifteen thousand pounds should be granted for the support of the civil list for the ensuing year, to be raised by a malt tax and additional duties upon mum sweets, cyder, and perry. They likewise resolved that an additional aid of one shilling in the pound should be laid upon land, as an equivalent for the duty of ten per cent, upon mixed goods. Provision was made for raising one million four hundred thousand pounds by a lottery. The treasury was empowered to issue an additional number of exchequer bills to the amount of twelve hundred thousand pounds, every hundred pounds bearing interest at the rate of fivepence a-day, and ten per cent, for circulation; finally, in order to liquidate the transport-debt, which the funds established for that purpose had not been sufficient to defray, a money-bill was brought in to oblige pedlars and hawkers to take out licenses, and pay for them at certain stated prices. One cannot without astonishment reflect upon the prodigious efforts that were made upon this occasion, or consider without indignation the enormous fortunes that were raised up by usurers and extortioners from the distresses of their country. The nation did not seem to know its own strength, until it was put to this extraordinary trial; and the experiment of mortgaging funds succeeded so well, that later ministers have proceeded in the same system, imposing burden upon burden, as if they thought the sinews of the nation could never be overstrained.

{WILLIAM, 1688—1701.}


The public credit being thus bolstered up by the singular address of Mr. Montague, and the bills passed for the supplies of the ensuing year, the attention of the commons was transferred to the case of sir John Fen-wick, who had been apprehended in the month of June at New Romney, in his way to France. He had when taken written a letter to his lady by one Webber, who accompanied him; but this man being seized, the letter was found, containing such a confession as plainly evinced him guilty. He then entered into a treaty with the court for turning evidence, and delivered a long information in writing, which was sent abroad to his majesty. He made no discoveries that could injure any of the Jacobites, who, by his account, and other concurring testimonies, appeared to be divided into two parties, known by the names of compounders and non-com-pounders. The first, headed by the earl of Middleton, insisted upon receiving security from king James that the religion and liberties of England should be preserved; whereas the other party, at the head of which was the earl of Melfort, resolved to bring him in without conditions, relying upon his own honour and generosity. King William having sent over an order for bringing Fenwick to trial, unless he should make more material discoveries, the prisoner, with a view to amuse the ministry until he could take other measures for his own safety, accused the earls of Shrewsbury, Marlborough, and Bath, the lord Godolphin, and admiral Russel, of having made their peace with king James, and engaged to act for his interest. Meanwhile his lady and relations tampered with the two witnesses, Porter and Goodman. The first of these discovered those practices to the government; and one Clancey, who acted as agent for lady Fenwick, was tried, convicted of subornation, fined, and set in the pillory; but they had succeeded better in their attempts upon Goodman, who disappeared; so that one witness only remained, and Fenwick began to think his life was out of danger. Admiral Russel acquainted the house of commons that he and several persons of quality had been reflected upon in some informations of sir John Fenwick; he therefore desired that he might have an opportunity to justify his own character. Mr. secretary Trumball produced the papers, which having been read, the commons ordered that sir John Fenwick should be brought to the bar of the house. There he was exhorted by the speaker to make an ample discovery; which, however, he declined, except with the proviso that he should first receive some security that what he might say should not prejudice himself. He was ordered to withdraw until they should have deliberated on his request. Then he was called in again, and the speaker told him that he might deserve the favour of the house by making a full discovery. He desired he might be indulged with a little time to recollect himself, and promised to obey the command of the house. This favour being denied, he again insisted upon having security; which they refusing to grant, he chose to be silent, and was dismissed from the bar. The house voted that his informations reflecting upon the fidelity of several noblemen, members of the house, and others, upon hearsay, were false and scandalous, contrived to undermine the government, and create jealousies between the king and his subjects in order to stifle the conspiracy.

A motion being made for leave to bring in a bill to attaint him of high treason, a warm debate ensued, and the question being put, was carried in the affirmative by a great majority. He was furnished with a copy of the bill, and allowed the use of pen, ink, paper, and counsel. When he presented a petition praying that his counsel might be heard against passing the bill, they made an order that his counsel should be allowed to make his defence at the bar of the house; so that he was surprised into an irregular trial, instead of being indulged with an opportunity of offering objections to their passing the bill of attainder. He was accordingly brought to the bar of the house; and the bill being read in his hearing, the speaker called upon the king's counsel to open the evidence. The prisoner's counsel objected to their proceeding to trial, alleging that their client had not received the least notice of their purpose, and therefore could not be prepared for his defence; but that they came to offer their reasons against the bill. The house, after a long debate, resolved, that he should be allowed further time to produce witnesses in his defence; that the counsel for the king should likewise be allowed to produce evidence to prove the treasons of which he stood indicted; and an order was made for his being brought to the bar again in three days. In pursuance of this order he appeared, when the indictment which had been found against him by the grand jury was produced; and Porter was examined as an evidence. Then the record of Clancey's conviction was read; and one Roe testified that Deighton, the prisoner's solicitor, had offered him an annuity of one hundred pounds to discredit the testimony of Goodman. The king's counsel moved, that Goodman's examination, as taken by Mr. Vernon, clerk of the council, might be read. Sir J. Powis and sir Bartholomew Shower, the prisoner's counsel, warmly opposed this proposal; they affirmed that a deposition taken when the party affected by it was not present to cross-examine the deposer, could not be admitted in a case of five shillings value; that though the house was not bound by the rules of inferior courts, it was nevertheless bound by the eternal and unalterable rules of justice; that no evidence, according to the rules of law, could be admitted in such a case but that of living witnesses; and that the examination of a person who is absent was never read to supply his testimony. The dispute between the lawyers on this subject gave rise to a very violent debate among the members of the house. Sir Edward Seymour, sir Richard Temple, Mr. Harley, Mr. Harcourt, Mr. Manly, sir Christopher Musgrave, and all the leaders of the tory party, argued against the hardship and injustice of admitting this information as an evidence. They demonstrated that it would be a step contrary to the practice of all courts of judicature, repugnant to the common notions of justice and humanity, diametrically opposite to the last act for regulating trials in cases of high treason, and of dangerous consequences to the lives and liberties of the people. On the other hand, lord Cutts, sir Thomas Lyttleton, Mr. Montague, Mr. Smith of the treasury, and Trevor the attorney-general, affirmed that the house was not bound by any form of law whatsoever; that this was an extraordinary case in which the safety of the government was deeply concerned; that though the common law might require two evidences in cases of treason, the house had a power of deviating from those rules in extraordinary cases; that there was no reason to doubt of sir John Fenwick's being concerned in the conspiracy; that he or his friends had tampered with Porter; and that there were strong presumptions to believe the same practices had induced Goodman to abscond. In a word, the tories, either from party or patriotism, strenuously asserted the cause of liberty and humanity by those very arguments which had been used against them in the former reigns; while the wings, with equal violence and more success, espoused the dictates of arbitrary power and oppression, in the face of their former principles, with which they were now upbraided. At length the question was put, whether or not the information of Goodman should be read? and was carried in the affirmative by a majority of seventy-three voices. Then two of the grand jury who had found the indictment, recited the evidence which had been given to them by Porter and Goodman; lastly, the king's counsel insisted upon producing the record of Cooke's conviction, as he had been tried for the same conspiracy. The prisoner's counsel objected, that if such evidence was admitted, the trial of one person in the same company would be the trial of all; and it could not be expected that they who came to defend sir John Fenwick only, should be prepared to answer the charge against Cooke. This article produced another vehement debate among the members; and the whigs obtained a second victory. The record was read, and the king's counsel proceeded to call some of the jury who served on Cooke's trial to affirm that he had been convicted on Goodman's evidence. Sir Bartholomew Shower said he would submit it to the consideration of the house, whether it was just that the evidence against one person should conclude against another standing at a different bar, in defence of his life? The parties were again ordered to withdraw; and from this point arose a third debate, which ended as the two former to the disadvantage of the prisoner. The jury being examined, Mr. Sergeant Gould moved, that Mr. Vernon might be desired to produce the intercepted letter from sir John Fenwick to his lady. The prisoner's counsel warmly opposed this motion, insisting upon their proving it to be his hand writing before it could be used against him; and no further stress was laid on this evidence. When they were called upon to enter on his defence, they pleaded incapacity to deliver matters of such importance after they had been fatigued with twelve hours' attendance. The house resolved to hear such evidence as the prisoner had to produce that night. His counsel declared that they had nothing then to produce but the copy of a record; and the second resolution was, that he should be brought up again next day at noon. He accordingly appeared at the bar, and sir J. Powis proceeded on his defence. He observed that the bill under consideration affected the lives of the subjects; and such precedents were dangerous; that sir John Fenwick was forthcoming in order to be tried by the ordinary methods of justice; that he was actually under process, had pleaded, and was ready to stand trial; that if there was sufficient clear evidence against him, as the king's sergeant had declared, there was no reason for his being deprived of the benefit of such a trial as was the birthright of every British subject; and if there was a deficiency of legal evidence, he thought this was a very odd reason for the bill. He took notice that even the regicides had the benefit of such a trial; that the last act for regulating trials in cases of treason proved the great tenderness of the laws which affected the life of the subject; and he expressed his surprise that the very parliament which had passed that law should enact another for putting a person to death without any trial at all. He admitted that there had been many bills of attainder, but they were generally levelled at outlaws and fugitives; and some of them had been reversed in the sequel as arbitrary and unjust. He urged that this bill of attainder did not allege or say that sir John Fenwick was guilty of the treason for which he had been indicted; a circumstance which prevented him from producing witnesses to that and several matters upon which the king's counsel had expatiated. He said they had introduced evidence to prove circumstances not alleged in the bill, and defective evidence of those that were; that Porter was not examined upon oath; that nothing could be more severe than to pass sentence of death upon a man, corrupt his blood, and confiscate his estate, upon parole evidence; especially of such a wretch who, by his own confession, had been engaged in a crime of the blackest nature, not a convert to the dictates of conscience, but a coward, shrinking from the danger by which he had been environed, and even now drudging for a pardon. He invalidated the evidence of Goodman's examination. He observed that the indictment mentioned a conspiracy to call in a foreign power; but as this conspiracy had not been put in practice, such an agreement was not a sufficient overt-act of treason, according to the opinion of Hawles the solicitor-general, concerned in this very prosecution. So saying, he produced a book of remarks which that lawyer had published on the cases of lord Russel, colonel Sidney, and others, who had suffered death in the reign of Charles II. This author, said he, takes notice, that a conspiracy or agreement to levy war is not treason without actually levying war; a sentiment in which he concurred with lord Coke, and lord chief-justice Hales. He concluded with saying, "We know at present on what ground we stand; by the statute of Edward III. we know what treason is; by the two statutes of Edward VI. and the late act, we know what is proof; by the Magna Charta we know we are to be tried per legem terrae el per judicium parium, by the law of the land and the judgment of our peers; but if bills of attainder come into fashion, we shall neither know what is treason, what is evidence, nor how nor where we are to be tried." He was seconded by sir Bartholomew Shower, who spoke with equal energy and elocution; and their arguments were answered by the king's counsel. The arguments in favour of the bill imported that the parliament would not interpose except in extraordinary cases; that here the evidence necessary in inferior courts being defective, the parliament, which was not tied down by legal evidence, had a right to exert their extraordinary power in punishing an offender, who would otherwise escape with impunity; that as the law stood, he was but a sorry politician that could not ruin the government, and yet elude the statute of treason; that if a plot, after being discovered, should not be thoroughly prosecuted, it would strengthen and grow upon the administration, and probably at length subvert the government; that it was notorious that parties were forming for king James; persons were plotting in every part of the kingdom, and an open invasion was threatened; therefore this was a proper time for the parliament to exert their extraordinary power; that the English differed from all other nations in bringing the witnesses and the prisoner face to face, and requiring two witnesses in cases of treason; nor did the English law itself require the same proof in some cases as in others, for one witness was sufficient in felony, as well as for the treason of coining; that Fenwick was notoriously guilty, and deserved to feel the resentment of the nation; that he would have been brought to exemplary punishment in the ordinary course of justice, had he not eluded it by corrupting evidence and withdrawing a witness. If this reasoning be just, the house of commons has a right to act in diametrical opposition to the laws in being; and is vested with a despotic power over the lives and fortunes of their constituents, for whose protection they are constituted. Let us therefore reflect upon the possibility of a parliament debauched by the arts of corruption into servile compliance with the designs of an arbitrary prince, and tremble for the consequence. The debate being finished, the prisoner was, at the desire of admiral Russel, questioned with regard to the imputations he had fixed upon that gentleman and others from hearsay; but he desired to be excused on account of the risk he ran while under a double prosecution, if any thing which should escape him might be turned to his prejudice.

After he was removed from the bar, Mr. Vernon, at the desire of the house, recapitulated the arts and practices of sir John Fenwick and his friends to procrastinate the trial. The bill was read a second time; and the speaker asking, If the question should be put for its being committed? the house was immediately kindled into a new flame of contention. Hawles, the solicitor-general, affirmed that the house in the present case should act both as judge and jury. Mr. Harcourt said he knew of no trial for treason but what was confirmed by Magna Charta, by a jury, the birthright and darling privilege of an Englishman, or per legem terrae, which includes impeachments in parliament; that it was a strange trial where the person accused had a chance to be hanged, but none to be saved; that he never heard of a juryman who was not on his oath, nor of a judge who had not power to examine witnesses upon oath, and who was not empowered to save the innocent as well as to condemn the guilty. Sir Thomas Lyttleton was of opinion that the parliament ought not to stand upon little niceties and forms of other courts when the government was at stake. Mr. Howe asserted that to do a thing of this nature, because the parliament had power to do it, was a strange way of reasoning; that what was justice and equity at Westminster-hall, was justice and equity every where; that one bad precedent in parliament was of worse consequence than an hundred in Westminster-hall, because personal or private injuries did not foreclose the claims of original right; whereas the parliament could ruin the nation beyond redemption, because it could establish tyranny by law. Sir Richard Temple, in arguing against the bill, observed that the power of parliament is to make any law, but the jurisdiction of parliament is to govern itself by the law; to make a law, therefore, against all the laws in England was the ultimum remedium et pessimum, never to be used but in case of absolute necessity. He affirmed that by this precedent the house overthrew all the laws of England; first, in condemning a man upon one witness; secondly, in passing an act without any trial. The commons never did nor can assume a jurisdiction of trying any person: they may for their own information hear what can be offered; but it is not a trial where witnesses are not upon oath. All bills of attainder have passed against persons that were dead or fled, or without the compass of the law: some have been brought in after trials in Westminster-hall; but none of those have been called trials, and they were generally reversed. He denied that the parliament had power to declare anything treason which was not treason before. When inferior courts were dubious, the case might be brought before parliament to judge whether it be treason or felony; but then they must judge by the laws in being, and this judgment was not in the parliament by bill but only in the house of lords. Lord Digby, Mr. Harley, and colonel Granville, spoke to the same purpose. But their arguments and remonstrances had no effect upon the majority, by whom the prisoner was devoted to destruction. The bill was committed, passed, and sent up to the house of lords, where it produced the longest and warmest debates which had been known since the Restoration. Bishop Burnet signalized his zeal for the government by a long speech in favour of the bill, contradicting some of the fundamental maxims which he had formerly avowed in behalf of the liberties of the people. At length it was carried by a majority of seven voices; and one-and-forty lords, including eight prelates, entered a protest couched in the strongest terms against the decision.

When the bill received the royal assent, another act of the like nature passed against Barclay, Holmes, and nine other conspirators who had fled from justice, in case they should not surrender themselves on or before the twenty-fifth day of March next ensuing. Sir John Fenwick solicited the mediation of the lords in his behalf, while his friends implored the royal mercy. The peers gave him to understand that the success of his suit would depend upon the fulness of his discoveries. He would have previously stipulated for a pardon, and they insisted upon his depending on their favour. He hesitated some time between the fears of infamy and the terrors of death, which last he at length chose to undergo rather than incur the disgraceful character of an informer. He was complimented with the axe in consideration of his rank and alliance with the house of Howard, and suffered on Tower-hill with great composure. In the paper which he delivered to the sheriff, he took God to witness that he knew not of the intended invasion until it was the common subject of discourse, nor was he engaged in any shape for the service of king James. He thanked those noble and worthy persons who had opposed his attainder in parliament; protested before God that the information he gave to the ministry he had received in letters and messages from France; and observed that he might have expected mercy from the prince of Orange, as he had been instrumental in saving his life by preventing the execution of a design which had been formed against it—a circumstance which in all probability induced the late conspirators to conceal their purpose of assassination from his knowledge. He professed his loyalty to king James, and prayed heaven for his speedy restoration.


While Fenwick's affair was in agitation, the earl of Monmouth had set on foot some practices against the duke of Shrewsbury. One Matthew Smith, nephew to sir William Perkins, had been entertained as a spy by this nobleman, who finding his intelligence of very little use or importance, dismissed him as a troublesome dependent. Then he had recourse to the earl of Monmouth, into whom he infused unfavourable sentiments of the duke, insinuating that he had made great discoveries which from sinister motives were suppressed. Monmouth communicated those impressions to the earl of Portland, who enlisted Smith as one of his intelligencers. Copies of the letters he had sent to the duke of Shrewsbury were delivered to secretary Trumball sealed up for the perusal of his majesty at his return from Flanders. When Fenwick mentioned the duke of Shrewsbury in his discoveries, the earl of Monmouth resolved to seize the opportunity of ruining that nobleman. He, by the channel of the duchess of Norfolk, exhorted lady Fenwick to prevail upon her husband to persist in his accusation, and even dictated a paper of directions. Fenwick rejected the proposal with disdain, as a scandalous contrivance; and Monmouth was so incensed at his refusal that when the bill of attainder appeared in the house of lords, he spoke in favour of it with peculiar vehemence. Lady Fenwick, provoked at this cruel outrage, prevailed upon her nephew the earl of Carlisle to move the house that sir John might be examined touching any advices that had been sent to him with relation to his discoveries. Fenwick being interrogated accordingly, gave an account of all the particulars of Monmouth's scheme, which was calculated to ruin the duke of Shrewsbury by bringing Smith's letters on the carpet. The duchess of Norfolk and a confidant were examined and confirmed the detection. The house called for Smith's letters, which were produced by sir William Trumball. The earl of Monmouth was committed to the Tower and dismissed from all his employments. He was released however at the end of the session, and the court made up all his losses in private lest he should be tempted to join the opposition.


The whigs, before they were glutted with the sacrifice of Fenwick, had determined to let loose their vengeance upon sir George Rooke, who was a leader in the opposite interest. Sir Cloudesley Shovel had been sent with a squadron to look into Brest, where, according to the intelligence which the government had received, the French were employed in preparing for a descent upon England; but this information was false. They were busy in equipping an armament for the West Indies, under the command of M. Pointis, who actually sailed to the coast of New Spain and took the city of Carfehagena. Rooke had been ordered to intercept the Toulon squadron in its way to Brest; but his endeavours miscarried. The commons in a committee of the whole house resolved to inquire why this fleet was not intercepted; Rooke underwent a long examination, and was obliged to produce his journal, orders, and letters. Shovel and Mitchel were likewise examined; but nothing appearing to the prejudice of the admiral, the house thought proper to desist from their prosecution. After they had determined on the fate of Fenwick, they proceeded to enact several laws for regulating the domestic economy of the nation; among others they passed an act for the more effectual relief of creditors in cases of escape, and for preventing abuses in prisons and pretended privileged places. Ever since the reformation certain places in and about the city of London, which had been sanctuaries during the prevalence of the popish religion, afforded asylum to debtors, and were become receptacles of desperate persons who presumed to set the law at defiance. One of these places called White-friars was filled with a crew of ruffians, who every day committed acts of violence and outrage; but this law was so vigorously put in execution that they were obliged to abandon the district, which was soon filled with more creditable inhabitants. On the sixteenth day of April the king closed the session with a short speech, thanking the parliament for the great supplies they had so cheerfully granted, and expressed his satisfaction at the measures they had taken for retrieving the public credit. Before he quitted the kingdom he ventured to produce upon the scene the earl of Sunderland, who had hitherto promoted his councils behind the curtain. That politician was now sworn of the privy council, and gratified with the office of lord-chamberlain, which had been resigned by the earl of Dorset, a nobleman of elegant talents and invincible indolence, severe and poignant in his writings and remarks upon mankind in general, but humane, good-natured, and generous to excess, in his commerce with individuals.


William having made some promotions * and appointed a regency, embarked on the twenty-sixth day of April for Holland, that he might be at hand to manage the negotiation for a general peace.

* Somers was created a baron, and appointed lord-chancellor of England; admiral Russel was dignified with the title of earl of Orford. In February the earl of Aylesbury, who had been committed on account of the conspiracy, was released upon bail; but this privilege was denied to lord Montgomery, who had been imprisoned in Newgate on the same account.

By this time the preliminaries were settled between Callieres the French minister, and Mr. Dykvelt in behalf of the states-general, who resolved, in consequence of the concessions made by France, that, in concert with their allies, the mediation of Sweden might be accepted. The emperor and the court of Spain, however, were not satisfied with those concessions; yet his imperial majesty declared he would embrace the proffered mediation, provided the treaty of Westphalia should be re-established; and provided the king of Sweden would engage to join his troops with those of the allies, in case France should break through the stipulation. This proposal being delivered, the ministers of England and Holland at Vienna presented a joint memorial, pressing his imperial majesty to accept the mediation without reserve, and name a place at which the congress might bo opened. The emperor complied with reluctance. On the fourteenth day of February all the ministers of the allies, except the ambassador of Spain, agreed to the proposal; and next day signified their assent in form to M. Lillienroot, the Swedish plenipotentiary. Spain demanded, as a preliminary, that France should agree to restore all the places mentioned in a long list which the minister of that crown presented to the assembly. The emperor proposed that the congress should be held at Aix-la-Chapelle, or Franckfort, or some other town in Germany. The other allies were more disposed to negotiate in Holland. At length the French king suggested, that no place would be more proper than a palace belonging to king William called Newbourg-house, situated between the Hague and Delft, close by the village of Ryswick; and to this proposition the ministers agreed. Those of England were the earl of Pembroke, a virtuous, learned, and popular nobleman, the lord Villiers, and sir Joseph Williamson: France sent Harlay and Crecy to the assistance of Callieres. Louis was not only tired of the war, on account of the misery in which it had involved his kingdom; but in desiring a peace he was actuated by another motive. The king of Spain had been for some time in a very ill state of health, and the French monarch had an eye to the succession: this aim could not bo accomplished while the confederacy subsisted; therefore he eagerly sought a peace, that he might at once turn his whole power against Spain as soon as Charles should expire. The emperor harboured the same design upon the Spanish crown, and for that reason interested himself in the continuance of the grand alliance. Besides, he foresaw he should in a little time be able to act against France with an augmented force. The czar of Muscovy had engaged to find employment for the Turks and Tartars. He intended to raise the elector of Saxony to the throne of Poland; and he had made some progress in a negotiation with the circles of the Rhine for a considerable body of auxiliary troops. The Dutch had no other view but that of securing a barrier in the Netherlands. King William insisted upon the French king's acknowledging his title; and the English nation wished for nothing so much as the end of a ruinous war. On the tenth day of February, Callieres, in the name of his master, agreed to the following preliminaries: That the treaties of Westphalia and Nimeguen should be the basis of this negotiation; that Strasbourg should be restored to the empire, and Luxembourg to the Spaniards, together with Mons, Charleroy, and all places taken by the French in Catalonia since the treaty of Nimeguen; that Dinant should be ceded to the bishop of Liege, and all reunion since the treaty of Nimeguen be made void; that the French king should make restitution of Lorraine, and, upon conclusion of the peace, acknowledge the prince of Orange as king of Great Britain, without condition or reserve. The conferences were interrupted by the death of Charles XI. king of Sweden, who was succeeded by his son Charles, then a minor: but the queen and five senators, whom the late king had by will appointed administrators of the government, resolved to pursue the mediation, and sent a new commission to Lillienroot for that purpose. The ceremonials being regulated with the consent of all parties, the plenipotentiaries of the emperor delivered their master's demands to the mediator on the twenty-second day of May, and several German ministers gave in the pretensions the respective princes whom they represented.

{WILLIAM, 1688—1701.}


Meanwhile the French king, in the hope of procuring more favourable terms, resolved to make his last effort against the Spaniards in Catalonia and in the Netherlands, and to elevate the prince of Conti to the throne of Poland; an event which would have greatly improved the interest of France in Europe. Louis had got the start of the confederates in Flanders, and sent thither a very numerous army commanded by Catinat, Villeroy, and Boufflers. The campaign was opened with the siege of Aeth, which was no sooner invested than king William, having recovered of an indisposition, took the field, and had an interview with the duke of Bavaria, who commanded a separate body. He did not think proper to interrupt the enemy in their operations before Aeth, which surrendered in a few days after the trenches were opened; but contented himself with taking possession of an advantageous camp, where he covered Brussels, which Villeroy and Boufflers had determined to besiege. In Catalonia the duke of Vendome invested Barcelona, in which there was a garrison of ten thousand regular soldiers, besides five thousand burghers who had voluntarily taken arms on this occasion. The governor of the place was the prince of Hesse d Armstadt, who had served in Ireland; and been vested with the command of the Imperial troops which were sent into Spain. The French general being reinforced from Provence and Languedoc, carried on his approaches with surprising impetuosity; and was repulsed in several attacks by the valour of the defendants. At length the enemy surprised and routed the viceroy of Catalonia; and flushed with this victory, stormed the outworks, which had been long battered with their cannon. The dispute was very bloody and obstinate; but the French, by dint of numbers, made themselves masters of the covered-way and two bastions. There they erected batteries of cannon and mortars, and fired furiously on the town, which however the prince of Hesse resolved to defend to the last extremity. The court of Madrid, however, unwilling to see the place entirely ruined, as in all probability it would be restored at the peace, despatched an order to the prince to capitulate; and he obtained very honourable terms, after having made a glorious defence for nine weeks; in consideration of which he was appointed viceroy of the province. France was no sooner in possession of this important place, than the Spaniards became as eager for peace as they had been before averse to a negotiation.


Their impatience was not a little inflamed by the success of Pointis in America, where he took Carthagena, in which he found a booty amounting to eight millions of crowns. Having ruined the fortifications of the place, and received advice that an English squadron under admiral Nevil had arrived in the West Indies, with a design to attack him in his return, he bore away for the straits of Bahama. On the twenty-second day of May he fell in with the English fleet, and one of his fly-boats was taken; but such was his dexterity, or good fortune, that he escaped after having been pursued five days, during which the English and Dutch rear-admirals sprang their fore-top-masts and received other damage, so that they could not proceed. Then Nevil steered to Carthagena, which he found quite abandoned by the inhabitants, who after the departure of Pointis had been rifled a second time by the buccaneers, on pretence that they had been defrauded of their share of the plunder. This was really the case; they had in a great measure contributed to the success of Pointis, and were very ill rewarded. In a few days the English admiral discovered eight sail of their ships, two of which were forced on the shore and destroyed, two taken and the rest escaped. Then he directed his course to Jamaica, and by the advice of the governor, sir William Beeston, detached rear-admiral Meeze with some ships and forces to attack Petit-Guavas, which he accordingly surprised, burned, and reduced to ashes. After this small expedition, Nevil proceeded to the Havannah on purpose to take the galleons under his convoy for Europe, according to the instructions he had received from the king; but the governor of the place, and the general of the plate-fleet, suspecting such an offer, would neither suffer him to enter the harbour, nor put the galleons under his protection. He now sailed through the gulf of Folrida to Virginia, where he died of chagrin, and the command of the fleet devolved on captain Dilkes, who arrived in England on the twenty-fourth day of October, with a shattered squadron half manned, to the unspeakable mortification of the people, who flattered themselves with the hopes of wealth and glory from this expedition. Pointis steering to the banks of Newfoundland, entered the bay of Conceptione, at a time when a stout English squadron, commanded by commodore Norris, lay at anchor in the bay of St. John. This officer being informed of the arrival of a French fleet, at first concluded that it was the squadron of M. Nesmond come to attack him, and exerted his utmost endeavours to put the place in a posture of defence; but afterwards understanding that it was Pointis returning with the spoil of Carthagena, he called a council of war, and proposed to go immediately in quest of the enemy. He was however over-ruled by a majority, who gave it as their opinion that they should remain where they were without running unnecessary hazard. By virtue of this scandalous determination, Pointis was permitted to proceed on his voyage to Europe; but he had not yet escaped every danger. On the fourteenth day of August he fell in with a squadron under the command of captain Harlow, by whom he was boldly engaged till night parted the combatants. He was pursued next day; but his ships sailing better than those of Harlow, he accomplished his escape, and on the morrow entered the harbour of Brest. That his ships, which were foul, should out-sail the English squadron, which had just put to sea, was a mystery which the people of England could not explain. They complained of having been betrayed through the whole course of the West Indian expedition. The king owned he did not understand marine affairs, the entire conduct of which he abandoned to Russel, who became proud, arbitrary, and unpopular, and was supposed to be betrayed by his dependents. Certain it is, the service was greatly obstructed by faction among the officers, which with respect to the nation had all the effects of treachery and misconduct.


The success of the French in Catalona, Flanders, and the West Indies, was balanced by their disappointment in Poland. Louis encouraged by the remonstrance of the abbe de Polignac, who managed the affairs of France in that kingdom, resolved to support the prince of Conti as a candidate for the crown, and remitted great sums of money which wore distributed among the Polish nobility. The emperor had at first declared for the son of the late king; but finding the French party too strong for his competitor, he entered into a negotiation with the elector of Saxony, who agreed to change his religion, to distribute eight millions of florins among the Poles, to confirm their privileges, and advance with his troops to the frontiers of that kingdom. Having performed these articles, he declared himself a candidate, and was publicly espoused by the Imperialists. The duke of Lorraine, the prince of Baden, and don Livio Odeschalchi, nephew to pope Innocent, were likewise competitors; but finding their interest insufficient, they united their influence with that of the elector, who was proclaimed king of Poland. He forthwith took the oath required, procured an attestation from the Imperial court of his having changed his religion, and marched with his army to Cracow, where he was crowned with the usual solemnity. Louis persisted in maintaining the pretensions of the prince of Conti, and equipped a fleet at Dunkirk for his convoy to Dantzick in his way to Poland. But the magistrates of that city, who had declared for the new king, would not suffer his men to land, though they offered to admit himself with a small retinue. He therefore went on shore at Marien-burgh, where he was met by some chiefs of his own party; but the new king Augustus acted with such vigilance, that he found it impracticable to form an army; besides he suspected the fidelity of his own Polish partizans; he therefore refused to part with the treasure he had brought, and in the beginning of winter returned to Dunkirk.


The establishment of Augustus on the throne of Poland was in some measure owing to the conduct of Peter the czar of Muscovy, who having formed great designs against the Ottoman Porte, was very unwilling to see the crown of Poland possessed by a partizan of France, which was in alliance with the grand seignor. He therefore interested himself warmly in the dispute, and ordered his general to assemble an army on the frontiers of Lithuania, which by over-awing the Poles that were in the interest of the prince of Conti, considerably influenced the election. This extraordinary legislator, who was a strange compound of heroism and barbarity, conscious of the defects in his education, and of the gross ignorance that overspread his dominions, resolved to extend his ideas, and improve his judgment by travelling; and that he might be the less restricted by forms, or interrupted by officious curiosity, he determined to travel in disguise. He was extremely ambitious of becoming a maritime power, and in particular of maintaining a fleet in the Black-sea; and his immediate aim was to learn the principles of ship-building. He appointed an embassy for Holland, to regulate some points of commerce with the states-general. Having intrusted the care of his dominions to persons in whom he could confide, he now disguised himself, and travelled as one of their retinue. He first disclosed himself to the elector of Brandenburgh in Prussia, and afterwards to king William, with whom he conferred in private at Utrecht. He engaged himself as a common labourer with a ship-carpenter in Holland, whom he served for some months with wonderful patience and assiduity. He afterwards visited England, where he amused himself chiefly with the same kind of occupation. From thence he set out for Vienna, where receiving advices from his dominions, that his sister was concerned in managing intrigues against his government, he returned suddenly to Moscow, and found the machinations of the conspirators were already baffled by the vigilance and fidelity of the foreigners to whom he had left the care of the administration. His savage nature, however, broke out upon this occasion; he ordered some hundreds to be hanged all round his capital; and a good number were beheaded, he himself with his own hands performing the office of executioner.


The negotiations at Ryswick proceeded very slowly for some time. The Imperial minister demanded, that Franco should make restitution of all the places and dominions she had wrested from the empire since the peace of Munster, whether by force of arms or pretence of right. The Spaniards claimed all they could demand by virtue of the peace of Nimeguen and the treaty of the Pyrenees. The French affirmed, that if the preliminaries offered by Callieres were accepted, these propositions could not be taken into consideration. The Imperialists persisted in demanding a circumstantial answer, article by article. The Spaniards insisted upon the same manner of proceeding, and called upon the mediator and Dutch ministers to support their pretensions. The plenipotentiaries of France declared, they would not admit any demand or proposition contrary to the preliminary articles; but were willing to deliver in a project of peace in order to shorten the negotiations, and the Spanish ambassadors consented to this expedient. During these transactions the earl of Portland held a conference with mareschal Boufflers near Halle, in sight of the two opposite armies, which was continued in five successive meetings. On the second day of August they retired together to a house in the suburbs of Halle, and mutually signed a paper, in which the principal articles of the peace between France and England were adjusted. Next day king William quitted the camp, and retired to his house at Loo, confident of having taken such measures for a pacification as could not be disappointed. The subject of this field negotiation is said to have turned upon the interest of king James, which the French monarch promised to abandon; others however suppose that the first foundation of the partition treaty was laid in this conference. But in all probability, William's sole aim was to put an end to an expensive and unsuccessful war, which had rendered him very unpopular in his own dominions, and to obtain from the court of France an acknowledgment of his title, which had since the queen's death become the subject of dispute. He perceived the emperor's backwardness towards a pacification, and foresaw numberless difficulties in discussing such a complication of interests by the common method of treating; he therefore chose such a step as he thought would alarm the jealousy of the allies, and quicken the negotiation at Ryswick. Before the congress was opened, king James had published two manifestoes, addressed to the catholic and protestant princes of the confederacy, representing his wrongs, and craving redress; but his remonstrances being altogether disregarded, he afterwards issued a third declaration, solemnly protesting against all that might or should be negotiated, regulated, or stipulated with the usurper of his realms, as being void of all rightful and lawful authority. On the twentieth day, of July the French ambassadors produced their project of a general peace, declaring at the same time that should it not be accepted before the last day of August, France would not hold herself bound for the conditions she now offered; but Caunitz, the emperor's plenipotentiary, protested he would pay no regard to this limitation. On the thirtieth of August, however, he delivered to the mediators an ultimatum, importing that he adhered to the treaties of Westphalia and Nimeguen, and accepted of Strasbourg with its appurtenances; that he insisted upon the restitution of Lorraine to the prince of that name; and demanded that the church and chapter of Liege should be re-established in the possession of their incontestable rights. Next day the French plenipotentiaries declared that the month of August being now expired, all their offers were vacated; that therefore the king of France would reserve Strasbourg, and unite it with its dependencies to his crown for ever; that in other respects he would adhere to the project, and restore Barcelona to the crown of Spain; but that these terms must be accepted in twenty days, otherwise he should think himself at liberty to recede. The ministers of the electors and princes of the empire joined in a written remonstrance to the Spanish plenipotentiaries, representing the inconveniencies and dangers that would accrue to the Germanic body from France being in possession of Luxembourg, and exhorting them in the strongest terms to reject all offers of an equivalent for that province. They likewise presented another to the states-general, requiring them to continue the war according to their engagements, until France should have complied with the preliminaries. No regard however was paid to either of these addresses. Then the Imperial ambassadors demanded the good offices of the mediator on certain articles; but all that he could obtain of France was, that the term for adjusting the peace between her and the emperor should be prolonged till the first day of November, and in the meantime an armistice be punctually observed. Yet even these concessions were made on condition that the treaty with England, Spain, and Holland, should be signed on that day, even though the emperor and empire should not concur.


Accordingly on the twentieth day of September, the articles were subscribed by the Dutch, English, Spanish, and French ambassadors, while the Imperial ministers protested against the transaction, observing this was the second time that a separate peace had been concluded with France; and that the states of the empire, who had been imposed upon through their own credulity, would not for the future be so easily persuaded to engage in confederacies. In certain preparatory articles settled between England and France, king William promised to pay a yearly pension to queen Mary D'Este, of fifty thousand pounds, or such sum as should be established for that purpose by act of parliament. The treaty itself consisted of seventeen articles. The French king engaged, that he would not disturb or disquiet the king of Groat Britain in the possession of his realms or government; nor assist his enemies, nor favour conspiracies against his person. This obligation was reciprocal. A free commerce was restored. Commissaries were appointed to meet at London and settle the pretensions of each crown to Hudson's bay, taken by the French during the late peace, and retaken by the English in the course of the war; and to regulate the limits of the places to be restored, as well as the exchanges to be made. It was likewise stipulated, that, in case of a rupture, six months should be allowed to the subjects of each power for removing their effects; that the separate articles of the treaty of Nimeguen, relating to the principality of Orange, should be entirely executed; and that the ratifications should be exchanged in three weeks from the day of signing. The treaty between France and Holland imported a general armistice, a perpetual amity, a mutual restitution, a reciprocal renunciation of all pretensions upon each other, a confirmation of the peace of Savoy, a re-establishment of the treaty concluded between France and Brandenburgh in the year I one thousand six hundred and seventy-nine, a comprehension of Sweden, and all those powers that should be named before the ratification, or in six months after the conclusion of the treaty. Besides, the Dutch ministers concluded a treaty of commerce with France, which was immediately put in execution. Spain had great reason to be satisfied with the pacification, by which the recovered Gironne, Eoses, Barcelona, Luxembourg, Charleroy, Mons, Courtray, and all the towns, fortresses, and territories taken by the French in the province of Luxembourg, Namur, Brabant, Flanders, and Hainault, except eighty-two towns and villages claimed by the French; this dispute was left to the decision of commissaries; or in case they should not agree, to the determination of the states-general. A remonstrance in favour of the French protestant refugees in England, Holland, and Germany, was delivered by the earl of Pembroke to the mediators, in the name of the protestant allies, on the day that preceded the conclusion of the treaty; but the French plenipotentiaries declared in the name of their master, that as he did not pretend "to prescribe rules to king William about the English subjects, he expected the same liberty with respect to his own." No other effort was made in behalf of those conscientious exiles; the treaties were ratified, and the peace proclaimed at Paris and London.


The emperor still held out, and perhaps was encouraged to persevere in his obstinacy by the success of his arms in Hungary, where his general, prince Eugene of Savoy, obtained a complete victory at Zenta over the forces of the grand seignor, who commanded his army in person. In this battle, which was fought on the eleventh day of September, the grand vizier, the aga of the janissaries, seven-and-twenty pachas, and about thirty thousand men, were killed or drowned in the river Theysse six thousand were wounded or taken, together with all their artillery, tents, baggage, provisions, and ammunition, the grand seignor himself escaping with difficulty; a victory the more glorious and acceptable, as the Turks had a great superiority in point of number, and as the Imperialists did not lose a thousand men during the whole action. The emperor perceiving that the event of this battle had no effect in retarding the treaty, thought proper to make use of the armistice, and continue the negotiation after the forementioned treaties had been signed. This was likewise the case with the princes of the empire; though those of the protestant persuasion complained that their interest was neglected. In one of the articles of the treaty, it was stipulated that in the places to be restored by France, the Roman catholic religion should continue as it had been re-established. The ambassadors of the protestant princes joined in a remonstrance, demanding that the Lutheran religion should be restored in those places where it had formerly prevailed; but this demand was rejected, as being equally disagreeable to France and the emperor. Then they refused to sign the treaty, which was now concluded between France, the emperor, and the catholic princes of the empire. By this pacification, Triers, the Palatinate, and Lorraine, were restored to their respective owners. The countries of Spanheim and Valdentz, together with the duchy of Deux Ponts, were ceded to the king of Sweden. Francis Louis Palatine was confirmed in the electorate of Cologn; and cardinal Furstemberg restored to all his rights and benefices. The claims of the duchess of Orleans upon the Palatinate were referred to the arbitration of France and the emperor; and in the meantime the elector Palatine agreed to supply her highness with an annuity of one hundred thousand florins. The ministers of the protestant princes published a formal declaration against the clause relating to religion, and afterwards solemnly protested against the manner in which the negotiation had been conducted. Such was the issue of a long and bloody war, which had drained England of her wealth and people, almost entirely ruined her commerce, debauched her morals, by encouraging venality and corruption, and entailed upon her the curse of foreign connexions, as well as a national debt which was gradually increased to an intolerable burden. After all the blood and treasure which had been expended, William's ambition and revenge remained unsatisfied. Nevertheless, he reaped the solid advantage of seeing himself firmly established on the English throne; and the confederacy, though not successful in every instance, accomplished their great aim of putting a stop to the encroachments of the French monarch. They mortified his vanity, they humbled his pride and arrogance, and compelled him to disgorge the acquisitions which, like a robber, he had made in violation of public faith, justice, and humanity. Had the allies been true to one another; had they acted from genuine zeal for the common interests of mankind; and prosecuted with vigour the plan which was originally concerted, Louis would in a few campaigns have been reduced to the most abject state of disgrace, despondence, and submission; for he was destitute of true courage and magnanimity. King William having finished this important transaction, returned to England about the middle of November, and was received in London amidst the acclamations of the people, who now again hailed him as their deliverer from a war, by the continuance of which they must have been infallibly beggared.


State of Parties..... Characters of the Ministers..... The Commons reduce the Number of standing Forces to Ten Thousand..... They establish the Civil list; and assign Funds for paying the National Debts..... They take Cognisance of fraudulent Endorsements of Exchequer Bills..... Anew East-India Company constituted by act of parliament..... .Proceedings against a Book written by William Molineux of Dublin, and against certain Smugglers of Alamodes and Lustrings from France..... Society for the Reformation of Manners..... The Earl of Portland resigns his Employments..... The King disowns the Scottish Trading Company..... He embarks for Holland..... First Treaty of Partition..... Intrigues of France at the Court of Madrid..... King William is thwarted by his now Parliament..... He is obliged to send away his Dutch Guards..... The Commons address the King against the Papists..... The Parliament prorogued..... The Scottish Company make a Settlement on the Isthmus of Darien; which however they are compelled to abandon..... Remonstrances of the Spanish Court against the Treaty of Partition ..... The Commons persist in their Resolutions to mortify the King..... Inquiry into the Expedition of Captain Kidd..... A Motion made against Burnet, bishop of Sarum..... Inquiry into the Irish Forfeitures..... The Commons pass a Bill of Resumption, and a severe Bill against Papists..... The old East-India Company re-established..... Dangerous Ferment in Scotland..... lord Homers dismissed from his Employments..... Second Treaty of Partition..... Death of the Duke of Gloucester..... The King sends a Fleet into the Baltic, to the Assistance of the Swedes..... The second Treaty of Partition generally disagreeable to the European Powers..... The French Interest prevails at the Court of Spain..... King William finds means to allay the heats in Scotland ..... The King of Spain dies, after having bequeathed his Dominions by Will to the Duke of Anjou..... The French King's Apology for accepting the Will ..... The States-general owns Philip as King of Spain..... Anew Ministry and a new Parliament..... The Commons unpropitious to the Court—-The Lords are more condescending..... An intercepted Letter from the Earl of Melfort to his Brother..... Succession of the Crown settled upon the Princess Sophia, Elect ress Dowager of Hanover, and the Protestant Heirs of her Body..... The Duchess of Savoy protests against this Act..... Ineffectual Negotiation with France..... Severe Addresses from both Houses, in relation to the Partition Treaty..... William is obliged to acknowledge the King of Spain..... The two Houses seem to enter into the King's Measures..... The Commons resolve to wreak their Vengeance on the old Ministry..... The earls of Portland and Oxford, the Lords Sotners and Halifax, are impeached..... Disputes between the two Houses..... The House of Peers acquits the impeached Lords ..... Petition of Kent..... Favourable end of the Session..... Progress of Prince Eugene in Italy..... Sketch of the Situation of Affairs in Europe..... Treaty of Alliance between the Emperor and the maritime Powers..... Death of King James..... The French King owns the pretended Prince of Wales as King of England..... Addresses to King William on that subject..... New Parliament..... The King's last Speech to both Houses received with great Applause..... Great Harmony between the King and Parliament..... The two Houses pass the Bill of Abjuration..... The Lower House justifies the Proceedings of the Commons in the preceding Parliament..... Affairs of Ireland ..... The King recommends an Union of the two Kingdoms..... He falls from his Horse..... His Death..... And Character.

{WILLIAM, 1688—1701.}

WHEN the king opened the session of parliament on the third day of December, he told them the war was brought to the end they all proposed, namely, an honourable peace. He gave them to understand there was a considerable debt on account of the fleet and army; that the revenues of the crown had been anticipated. He expressed his hope that they would provide for him during his life, in such a manner as would conduce to his own honour and that of the government. He recommended the maintenance of a considerable navy; and gave it as his opinion, that for the present England could not be safe without a standing army. He promised to rectify such corruptions and abuses as might have crept into any part of the administration during the war; and effectually to discourage profaneness and immorality. Finally, he assured them that as he had rescued their religion, laws, and liberties, when they were in the extremest danger, so he should place the glory of his reign in preserving and leaving them entire to latest posterity. To this speech the commons replied in an address, by a compliment of congratulation upon the peace, and an assurance, that they would be ever ready to assist and support his majesty, who had confirmed them in the quiet possession of their rights and liberties, and by putting an end to the war fully completed the work of their deliverance. Notwithstanding these appearances of good humour, the majority of the house, and indeed the whole nation, were equally alarmed and exasperated at a project for maintaining a standing army, which was countenanced at court, and even recommended by the king in his speech to the parliament. William's genius was altogether military. He could not bear the thought of being a king without power. He could not without reluctance dismiss those officers who had given so many proofs of their courage and fidelity. He did not think himself safe upon the naked throne, in a kingdom that swarmed with malcontents who had so often conspired against his person and government. He dreaded the ambition and known perfidy of the French king, who still retained a powerful army. He foresaw that a reduction of the forces would lessen his importance both at home and abroad; diminish the dependence upon his government; and disperse those foreigners in whose attachment he chiefly confided. He communicated his sentiments on this subject to his confidant, the earl of Sunderland, who knew by experience the aversion of the people to a standing army; nevertheless he encouraged him with hope of success, on the supposition that the commons would see the difference between an army raised by the king's private authority, and a body of veteran troops maintained by consent of parliament for the security of the kingdom. This was a distinction to which the people paid no regard. All the jealousy of former parliaments seemed to be roused by the bare proposal; and this was inflamed by a national prejudice against the refugees, in whose favour the king had betrayed repeated marks of partial indulgence. They were submissive, tractable, and wholly dependent upon his will and generosity. The Jacobites failed not to cherish the seeds of dissatisfaction, and reproach the whigs who countenanced this measure. They branded that party with apostacy from their former principles. They observed that the very persons who in the late reigns endeavoured to abridge the prerogative, and deprive the king of that share of power which was absolutely necessary to actuate the machine of government, were now become advocates for maintaining a standing army in time of peace; nay, and impudently avowed, that their complaisance to the court in this particular was owing to their desire of excluding from all share in the administration a faction disaffected to his majesty, which might mislead him into more pernicious measures. The majority of those who really entertained revolution principles, opposed the court from apprehension that a standing army, once established, would take root and grow into an habitual maxim of government; that should the people be disarmed and the sword left in the hands of mercenaries, the liberties of the nation must be entirely at the mercy of him by whom these mercenaries should be commanded. They might overawe elections, dictate to parliaments, and establish a tyranny, before the people could take any measures for their own protection. They could not help thinking it was possible to form a militia, that, with the concurrence of a fleet, might effectually protect the kingdom from the dangers of an invasion. They firmly believed that a militia might be regularly trained to arms, so as to acquire the dexterity of professed soldiers; and they did not doubt they would surpass those hirelings in courage, considering that they would be animated by every concurring motive of interest, sentiment, and affection. Nay, they argued, that Britain, surrounded as it was by a boisterous sea, secured by floating bulwarks, abounding with stout and hardy inhabitants, did not deserve to be free if her sons could not protect their liberties without the assistance of mercenaries, who were indeed the only slaves of the kingdom. Yet among the genuine friends of their country, some individuals espoused the opposite maxims. They observed that the military system of every government in Europe was now altered, that war was become a trade, and discipline a science not to be learned but by those who made it their sole profession; that therefore, while France kept up a large standing army of veterans ready to embark on the opposite coast, it would be absolutely necessary for the safety of the nation to maintain a small standing force, which should be voted in parliament from year to year. They might have suggested another expedient which in a few years would have produced a militia of disciplined men. Had the soldiers of this small standing army been enlisted for a term of years, at the expiration of which they might have claimed their discharge, volunteers would have offered themselves from all parts of the kingdom, even from the desire of learning the use and exercise of arms, the ambition of being concerned in scenes of actual service, and the chagrin of little disappointments or temporary disgusts, which yet would not have impelled them to enlist as soldiers on the common terms of perpetual slavery. In consequence of such a succession, the whole kingdom would soon have been stocked with members of a disciplined militia, equal if not superior to any army of professed soldiers. But this scheme would have defeated the purpose of the government, which was more afraid of domestic foes than of foreign enemies; and industriously avoided every plan of this nature, which could contribute to render the malcontents of the nation more formidable.


Before we proceed to the transactions of parliament in this session, it may not be amiss to sketch the outlines of the ministry as it stood at this juncture. The king's affection for the earl of Portland had begun to abate in proportion as his esteem for Sunderland increased, together with his consideration for Mrs. Villiers, who had been distinguished by some particular marks of his majesty's favour. These two favourites are said to have supplanted Portland, whose place in the king's bosom was now filled by Van Keppel, a gentleman of Guelderland who had first served his majesty as a page, and afterwards acted as private secretary. The earl of Portland growing troublesome, from his jealousy of this rival, the king resolved to send him into honourable exile, in quality of an ambassador-extraordinary to the court of France; and Trumball, his friend and creature, was dismissed from the office of secretary, which the king conferred upon Vernon, a plodding man of business who had acted as under-secretary to the duke of Shrewsbury. This nobleman rivalled the earl of Sunderland in his credit at the council-board, and was supported by Somers, lord chancellor of England, by Russel now earl of Orford, first lord of the admiralty, and Montague, chancellor of the exchequer. Somers was an upright judge, a plausible statesman, a consummate courtier, affable, mild, and insinuating. Orford appears to have been rough, turbulent, factious, and shallow. Montague had distinguished himself early by his poetical genius; but he soon converted his attention to the cultivation of more solid talents. He rendered himself remarkable for his eloquence, decemment, and knowledge of the English constitution. To a delicate taste he united an eager appetite for political studies. The first catered for the enjoyments of fancy; the other was subservient to his ambition. He at the same time was the distinguished encourager of the liberal arts, and the professed patron of projectors. In his private deportment he was liberal, easy, and entertaining; as a statesman, bold, dogmatical, and aspiring.


The terrors of a standing army had produced such an universal ferment in the nation, that the dependents of the court in the house of commons durst not openly oppose the reduction of the forces; but they shifted the battery, and employed all their address in persuading the house to agree that a very small number should be retained. When the commons voted, That all the forces raised since the year one thousand six hundred and eighty should be disbanded, the courtiers desired the vote might be re-committed, on pretence that it restrained the king to the old tory regiments, on whose fidelity he could not rely. This motion however was overruled by a considerable majority. Then they proposed an amendment, which was rejected, and afterwards moved, That the sum of five hundred thousand pounds per annum should be granted for the maintenance of guards and garrisons. This provision would have maintained a very considerable number; but they were again disappointed, and fain to embrace a composition with the other party, by which three hundred and fifty thousand pounds were allotted for the maintenance of ten thousand men; and they afterwards obtained an addition of three thousand marines. The king was extremely mortified at these resolutions of the commons; and even declared to his particular friends, that he would never have intermeddled with the affairs of the nation had he foreseen they would make such returns of ingratitude and distrust. His displeasure was aggravated by the resentment against Sunderland, who was supposed to have advised the unpopular measure of retaining a standing army. This nobleman dreading the vengeance of the commons, resolved to avert the fury of the impending storm, by resigning his office and retiring from court, contrary to the entreaties of his friends, and the earnest desire of his majesty.


The house of commons, in order to sweeten the unpalatable cup they had presented to the king, voted the sum of seven hundred thousand pounds per annum for the support of the civil list, distinct from all other services. Then they passed an act prohibiting the currency of silver hammered coin, including a clause for making out new exchequer-bills, in lieu of those which were or might be filled up with endorsements; they framed another to open the correspondence with France, under a variety of provisos; a third for continuing the imprisonment of certain persons who had been concerned in the late conspiracy; a fourth, granting further time for administering oaths with respect to tallies and orders in the exchequer and bank of England. These bills having received the royal assent, they resolved to grant a supply, which, together with the funds already settled for that purpose, should be sufficient to answer and cancel all exchequer-bills, to the amount of two millions seven hundred thousand pounds. Another supply was voted for the payment and reduction of the army, including half-pay to such commission officers as were natural born subjects of England. They granted one million four hundred thousand pounds, to make good deficiencies. They resolved, That the sum of two millions three hundred and forty-eight thousand one hundred and two pounds, was necessary to pay off arrears, subsistence, contingencies, general-officers, guards, and garrisons; of which sum eight hundred and fifty-five thousand five hundred and two pounds, remained in the hands of the pay-master. Then they took into consideration the subsidies due to foreign powers, and the sums owing to contractors for bread and forage. Examining further the debts of the nation, they found the general debt of the navy amounted to one million three hundred and ninety-two thousand seven hundred and forty-two pounds. That of the ordnance was equal to two hundred and four thousand one hundred and fifty-seven pounds. The transport debt contracted for the reduction of Ireland and other services, did not fall short of four hundred and sixty-six thousand four hundred and ninety-three pounds; and they owed nine-and-forty thousand nine hundred and twenty-nine pounds, for quartering and clothing the army which had been raised by one act of parliament in the year 1677, and disbanded by another in the year 1679. As this enormous load of debt could not be discharged at once, the commons passed a number of Arotes for raising sums of money, by which it was considerably lightened; and settled the funds for those purposes by the continuation of the land tax, and other impositions. With respect to the civil list, it was raised by a new subsidy of tonnage and poundage, the hereditary and temporary excise, a weekly portion from the revenue of the post-office, the first-fruits and tenths of the clergy, the fines in the alienation office, and post-fines, the revenue of the wine-license, money arising by sheriffs, proffers, and compositions in the exchequer; and seizures, the income of the duchy of Cornwall, the rents of all other crown lands in England or Wales, and the duty of four and a half per cent, upon specie from Barbadoes and the Leeward-islands. The bill imported, That the overplus arising from these funds should be accounted for to parliament. Six hundred thousand pounds of this money was allotted for the purposes of the civil list: the rest was granted for the jointure of fifty thousand pounds per annum, to be paid to queen Mary d'Este, according to the stipulation at Ryswick; and to maintain a court for the duke of Gloucester, son of the princess Anne of Denmark, now in the ninth year of his age; but the jointure was never paid; nor would the king allow above fifteen thousand pounds per annum for the use of the duke of Gloucester, to whom Burnet, bishop of Salisbury, was appointed preceptor.


The commons having discussed the ways and means for raising the supplies of the ensuing year, which rose almost to five millions, took cognizance of some fraudulent endorsements of exchequer bills, a species of forgery which had been practised by a confederacy, consisting of Charles Duncomb, receiver-general of the excise, Bartholomew Burton, who possessed a place in that branch of the revenue, John Knight, treasurer of the customs, and Reginald Marriot, a deputy-teller of the exchequer. This last became evidence, and the proof turning out very strong and full, the house resolved to make examples of the delinquents. Duncomb and Knight, both members of parliament, were expelled and committed to the Tower; Burton was sent to Newgate; and bills of pains and penalties were ordered to be brought in against them. The first, levelled at Duncomb, passed the lower house, though not without great opposition, but was rejected in the house of lords by the majority of one voice. Duncomb, who was extremely rich, is said to have paid dear for his escape. The other two bills met with the same fate. The peers discharged Duncomb from his confinement; but he was recommitted by the commons, and remained in custody till the end of the session. While the commons were employed on ways and means, some of the members in the opposition proposed, that one fourth part of the money arising from improper grants of the crown, should be appropriated to the service of the public; but this was a very unpalatable expedient, as it affected not only the whigs of king William's reign, but also the tories who had been gratified by Charles II. and his brother. A great number of petitions were presented against this measure, and so many difficulties raised, that both parties agreed to lay it aside. In the course of this inquiry, they discovered that one Railton held a grant in trust for Mr. Montague, chancellor of the exchequer. A motion was immediately made, that he should withdraw; but passed in the negative by a great majority. Far from prosecuting this minister, the house voted it was their opinion, That Mr. Montague, for his good services to the government, did deserve his majesty's favour.

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