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Extreme grief of William. -Parliamentary Corruption.

War in the Netherlands. Siegi of Namur by the Allies-Namur takep.-William's reception in England. - State of the Currency.-A new Parliament.—Measures for a new Coinage.-Trials for Treason regulated by Law.—The Assassination Plot.

The death of the queen appears to have prostrated William. Shrewsbury could hardly approach him, till a month after, in consequence of “the retired manner his majesty has lived in since his last great misfortune.” * His ;“ former application to business o had not yet returned with the healing power of strenuous occupation. His political correspondence with the Grand Pensionary of Holland was suspended. The general before whom he retreated at Landen was no more : the strange life of Luxemburg—the crook-backed voluptuary who appeared to have no higher object than sensual ease, but who on the battle-field was all fire and decision-came to an end. Louis thought that William would rejoice. William heeded not this important event; and expressed his belief that he himself was no longer fit for military command. The French court sent Harlay, the president of the Parliament of Paris, to sound the Dutch as to the possibility of a peace. Pale and very thin was the envoy.' Are you a sample, said the rough republicans, of the wretched condition of France?: Let me send for my wife, replied the clever lawyer, and she will give you a notion of our thriving state. Harlay, who had no accredited mission, did not put the Dutch in good humour by his joke. There was still to be a struggle before peace was established.

William gradually recovered his serenity. The Houses of Parliament went on as usual with their labours. The proposed renewal of the Licensing Act was rejected without a division in the Com• " Shrewsbury Correspondence," p. 218.

t St. Simon

mons.

The press had been more than commonly bold, even seditious. But the representatives of the English people did not choose to interfere with that noble principle which, half a century before, had been proclaimed to all the civilised world by the most eloquent of freedom's advocates : “Though all the winds of doctrine were let loose to play upon the earth, so truth be in the field, we do injurjously, by licensing and prohibiting, te misdoubt her strength. Let'her and falsehood grapple. · Who evet knew truth put to the worse in a free and open encounter ?” *

The proceedings of this Session disclosed, what was no secret to men of all parties, the frightful corruption by which statesmen in power and statesmen in opposition were moved to support or to resist some measure in which large pecuniary interests were involved; or to screen some public delinquenti - Guy, a member of Parliament and secretary of the Treasury, was sent to the Tower for receiving a bribe, in connection with some inquiries into the conduct of a colonel of a regiment, who had appropriated the money for which he ought to have paid the quarters of his troops. Treror, the Speaker of the House of Commons, was proved to have received a bribe of a thousand guineas from the Corporation of London, for assisting in passing "Ani Act for relief of the orphans and other creditors of the City of London " ---that Act under which, when a poor man buys a sack of coals in this winter of 1858, he has still to pay a tax to this long-tolerated phantom of a departed greatness. "Trevor had to put the question from the Chair whether he himself was guilty of a high 'crime and misde. meanor ; and had to say, “ The Ayes have it.” He was expelled the House. The East India Company had spent a hundred and seven thousand pounds in secret service money, as an examination of their books had proved to a parliamentary committee. Eightyseven thousand pounds had thus been distributed in 1693 and 1694 Sir Thomas Cook, the chairman of the Company, had the management of these delicate matters. He was member for Colchester In his place in Parliament he refused to answer inquiries. The Commons then passed a bill compelling him to answer, under enormous penalties. Upon the bill going to the Upper House, the duke of Leeds--the earl of Danby of Charles II., the marquis, of Carmarthen of 1689-spoke strongly against the bill, and laying' his hand on his breast; protested that he was perfectly disinterested in the matter. The inquiries went on, implicating others; and the Commons finally impeached Thomas, duke of Leeds, President of the Council, for that he did, “ in breach of the great trust • Milton. Areopagitica."

† 5 & 6 Gul. and Mar., c. 10.

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WAR IN THE NETHERLANDS.

15

reposed in him, by himself, his agents, or servants, corruptly and illegally treat, contract, and agree, with the 'merchants trading ito the East Indies, for five thousand five hundred guineas, to procure their charter of confirmation.” *: The duke had appeared at the bar of the House, and had to a certain extent acknowledged his delinquency, by admitting that he had helped a friend to get the money. That friend was one Bales, who'admitted that he had received the money to bribe the duke, and had given it to a Swiss, who was the confidential manager of the duke's private business. The Swiss fled; the Parliament was prorogued ; and the impeachment fell to the ground. The king's personal friend, Portland, was found to have been proof against these temptations, having refused a bribe of fifty thousand pounds.

The king was no doubt rejoiced to-get away from this tainted atmosphere to the bracing air of a campaign. He was first reconciled to the princess Anne, and then departed for the continents having, when he prorogued the Parliament on the 3rd of May, said, * I will take care to place the administrationsof affairs, during my absence, in such persons on whose care and fidelity I can entirely depend." The duke of Leeds was not one of those personsis Burnet, writing in the reign of queen. Anne, says of the princess, * now that he {William) was to go beyond 'sea, she was not set át the head of the couneils, nor was there any care taken to oblige those about her." "The bishop no doubt alludes to Marlborough and his duchess; and adds, “ this looks either like jealousy and distrust, or a coldness towards her.” Lord Dartmouth, in a note upon this passage, says, “ The princess was not only next to him in succession, but there was a party which might have made a claim for her against him. She was a very good woman, and not likely of herself to give in to it. But she was not of the strongest understanding, and always influenced by others, who might have found their account in it." Marlborough took the more prudent course. Shrewsbury writes to Russell that the princess Anne has loșt no opportunity of showing her zeal to the king and the government; and that sour friend ” [Marlborough) seemed resolved to encourage this union. ." I do not see,” adds Shrewsbury, " that he is likely at present to get much by it, not having yet kissed the king's hand, but his reversion is very fair and great." I

The energy and perseverance of William were at length to be crowned with success. It was a real advantage to him that Luxemburg was gone. It was a greater advantage that - Louis bad ap: " Parliamentary History," vol. v. col. 937

nying * " Own Time," vol. iv. p. z6r. 1" Shrewsbury Correspondence," p. 220.

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pointed as his successor an accomplished courtier but a feeble general, Villeroy; and that this sycophant of the great king en trusted an important command to the duke de Maine, the most favoured of the illegitimate children of Louis. But the numbers, and the high discipline, of the French armies would have probably interfered with any signal advantage on the gart of the allies, if William had not exercised in this campaign many of the highest qualities of a great commander. The opening of the campaign, says St. Simon, was a beautiful game of chess; the prince of Orange, the elector of Bavaria, and the earl of Athlone moving in detached bodies; and Villeroy, Boufflers, Harcourt, and Montal regulating their own movements by those of their enemy which they saw, or by those which they expected. William, “who had well taken all his measures to cover his main design.” suddenly turned his course towards Namur. The elector of Bavaria, and the Brandenburg army, arrived at the same point. That strongest fort of Europe was invested by this united force at the beginning of July, Vauban bad materially strengthened the fortifications since it had been taken by the French. The court of Louis thought William's attempt a rash one, and that it would signally fail. “I was of another opinion," writes St. Simon; "I persuaded myself that a man of the sagacity of the prince of Orange would not commence so important a siege without well seeing how he was to come out of it.” William's movement had been so admirably planned and rapidly accomplished, that Boufflers: had scarcely time to reinforce the garrison of Namur, and to take the command of the fifteen thousand men who were now within the walls. Villeroy expected to destroy that part of the allied army under Vaudemont which remained in Flanders, and then to relieve Namur. Vaudemont, by consummate prudence-aided by the incompetence and cowardice of the duke de Maine-effected a retreat to Ghent. Villeroy took two small fortresses, Dixmuyde, and Deynse, 'sending their garrisons into France in violation of a convention for exchange of prisoners.': He bombarded Brussels, effecting a tremendous destruction of private property,“ in reprisal,” says St. Simon, “of the attacks on our coasts."). He then marched with eighty thousand men to attack the besieging army at Namur; but Vaudemont had joined his force to that already on the banks of the Meuse and Sambre. Meanwhile the siege had proceeded with a vigour almost unparalleled. The letters of William himself furnish the best materials for tracing the progress of the siege, with out perplexing ourselves or our readers with “the differences and distinctions between the scarp and counterscarp, the glacis and

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