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covered way, the half-moon and ravelin,” with which “my uncle Toby did ofttimes puzzle his visitors and sometimes himself too.' In a letter to Shrewsbury, on the 17th of June, the king imparts his design of besieging Namur, "a very great undertaking-God grant that it may succeed.”+ On the ist of July, he says, “This night we propose to open the trenches at the gate of St. Nicholas.” On the 9th, the English, Scotch, and Dutch battalions carried the lines "which the enemy had constructed to cover their works." On the 18th William writes, “ Affairs here go on tolerably well, though not as expeditiously as I could wish. Yesterday, we made our lodgment in the counterscarp, and I now flatter myself that we shall soon be masters of the town. I cannot sufficiently applaud the firmness and valour of the troops. It is very grievous to lose

so many brave men, but it cannot be avoided in a siege like this." + . It was on this occasion that William exclaimed to the elector of

Bavaria, who stood by his side, “ See my brave English! See my brave English !” On the 28th of July the king writes to his Secretary of State: “ Although you will doubtless have heard of the surrender of Namur before you receive this letter, yet I would not omit informing you myself, that we obtained possession of this place this afternoon. The day after to-morrow we shall open the trenches before the citadel, and I hope that God will also bless this enterprise ; and that we shall soon be masters of it.” § On the 15th of August Portland writes to Shrewsbury : “The king having slept, little last night, and been on horseback the whole day, has ordered me to tell you, sir, that it is impossible for him to write this evening. Affairs here are at a great crisis. The siege of the citadel advances rapidly; the breach begins to be practicable, and I think a little time will render us masters of it, unless the enemy succour it by gaining a battle, since they approach us with a very numerous army." The two armies, that of William and of Villeroy, stood for three days in presence of each other, whilst the siege was proceeding under an incessant bombardment. On the 16th of August, the French army retired. The elector of Bavaria had the immediate charge of the siege, whilst the king was watching Villeroy; and when it was known that the French had moved off, the storm of the citadel of Namur commenced, Portland had summoned Boufflers to surrender upon the retirement of Villeroy, but the French commander still held out. The assault was undertaken by the Bavarians, the Dutch, the Brandenburgers, and the English. The Brandenburgers had amongst their leaders, the

"Tristram Shandy,” vol. i. c. xxvi, " Shrewsbury Correspondence," p. 90. 1 Ibid., p. 94.

$ Toid., p. 98. VOL. V.


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prince of Anhalt-Dessau, a young man of nineteen, who afterwards
had the honour of introducing important changes in military sci:
ence. “He invented the iron ramrod; he invented the equal step;
in fact, he is the inventor of modern military tactics." * The Dutch
and Brandenburgers accomplished their duty with little difficulty.
The Bavarians suffered severe loss. The English, under Cutts,
were at first driven back; but their intrepid commander, though
wounded, led them on again, and they carried a battery which had
swept away many in its deadly fire. Two thousand men were sac-
rificed in this terrible assault. Boufflers demanded a truce to bury
the dead. He also intimated a desire to capitulate, but asked for
a delay of ten days, when he would yield if not relieved. This re-
quest was refused ; another storm was threatened ; but on the
twentieth he agreed to surrender with the honours of war.t On
the twenty-sixth of August, the French garrison, now reduced to .
five thousand men, marched out. But the brave marshal was de-
tained a prisoner. William resolved to keep him till the garrisons
of Dixmuyde and Deynse should be restored. Louis sent full
powers to Boufflers to comply; and he was released after ten days'
detention. On the day after the surrender William wrote to
Shrewsbury, to announce the capture of the citadel of Namur:
“ With all its circumstances it is assuredly a great event, and we
cannot sufficiently offer up our thanks to God for this success, from
which we shall doubtless derive considerable advantages." | On
the same day Portland wrote to Shrewsbury: “The English have
greatly signalised themselves in this siege, by their share in the
vigorous actions which have occurred, in which they have been too
much animated by the presence of the king himself. But, thank
God, he is very well. The fatigue he has suffered is incredible,
as well as the care and trouble he has undergone, and is able to
support.” When we contemplate this feeble-bodied man with
the most heroic spirit, one day in the trenches; another day on
horseback from morning till night, expecting a battle with Ville-
roy; we can understand the confidence which he had won, in spite
of repeated miscarriages and disappointments. The English, who
were never wanting in their estimate of personal bravery, would
follow such a leader through every hazard of war. The coolness
of this model of self-command was amongst his most valuable
qualities. One day, when William was in the trenches, the deputy-

* Carlyle, “ History of Friedrich II.," vol. i. p. 395.

+ The reader who compares modern historians will fiud, in the accounts of this siege, discrepancies as to dates. They proceed from the difference between the old and new styles. We follow in this instance the original narratives which give the old style: #" Shrewsbury Correspondence," p. 103.

$ Toid., p. 104.




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governor of the Bank of England placed himself at his side. “Mr. Godfrey,” said the king, "why do you expose yourself ?” The Londoner replied, “ Not being more exposed than your majesty, should I be excusable if I showed more concern?” William, who had an especial objection to men going beyond their commission, replied, “ I am in my duty, and therefore have a more reasonable claim to preservation." A cannon-ball in a few minutes finished the career of the over-zealous amateur. But whilst we admire the resolution and perseverance of William, and the undaunted courage of all the troops of the allies, we must not forget that much of the success was due to the science of the engineer, Coehorn, the great rival of Vauban. When Namur was taken by the French' in 1692, the forts which Coehorn had constructed for its defence could not resist the besiegers. He was now to devise the most scientific means of attack upon works which he had constructed, and which Vauban had perfected. He had the gratification of seeing this place of strength pass out of the hands of the power that had held it for three years.

The return of William to England was hailed by the popular enthusiasm which naturally attends success. The good man struggling with misfortune may be the noblest sight in the world, but it calls forth no huzzas or bell-ringings. The king reached Kensington through the illuminated streets on the night of the roth of October, and immediately went to business. A Proclamation was issued for a new Parliament. In a week William set forth upon a most unusual mission, to propitiate the people by showing himself amongst them. He visited Newmarket; was entertained by the earl of Sunderland at Althorpe, and by the duke of Newcastle at Welbeck. He hunted in Sherwood forest, amidst oaks which tradition associates with the memory of the courteous outlaw, who once reigned there by the title of his long-bow and his broad arrows. He looked upon those towers of Warwick, where the great king-maker gave law, at a time when the throne rested upon feudalism, and representative government was a dream. William was making his holiday tour, to incline those who had to choose representatives to send men well affected to the principles of liberty which had placed him 'upon the throne. At Oxford he had personally to feel that too often the seats of learning are the last to be illumined by the progressive spirit of a generation---the last to perceive that they are halting whilst the great body of a nation are moving opward. The record of Evelyn is quite sufficient to noté this fact : “ The king went a progress into the north, to show himself to the people against the elections, and was everywhere com

plimented, except at Oxford, where it was not as he expected ; so that he hardly stopped an hour there, and having seen the Theatre, did not receive the banquet proposed.” The elections generally were favourable to the government. The Whig party acquired a considerable accession of strength. The taxes were heavy; the currency of the kingdom was in a frightful state of depreciation ; the price of grain was unusually high—and yet the nation manifested no alarming discontent. The Jacobites plotted ; but they were as far from success as ever.

Looking at the depreciated state of the coinage in 1696, it is difficult to say how far the high price of grain was the natural result of a succession of bad seasons. The years from 1692 to 1699 are known as “the seven barren years." In Scotland there was a dearth approaching to famine. Legislation might have had something to do with the high prices. A bounty upon importation was established in 1689, which might not have sufficiently stimulated production to meet the ordinary wants of the people under the extraordinary drain of the war. The average price of wheat from the Restoration to 1691 was about forty-eight shillings a quarter. From 1692 to 1699 the average price was about sixty-two shillings. A very factious member of Parliament, sir John Knight, made a speech in 1694, in which he complains that corn is sent out of the country “for the use of our Dutch allies, to enable them to live cheap, by making the same dear at home.” He would have shown a better knowledge of the matter if he had said that the Dutch bought the corn cheaper than the natural rate, through the bounty, and then sold it in England again at a profit. The necessity, however, for feeding the armies abroad must have had a material influence on the market. But even the needful consumption and inevitable waste of four campaigns was not wholly without some compensating good : “In Norfolk and Suffolk, and in Lincolnshire, there was a wonderful improvement in husbandry and tillage; for the war was of great advantage to the farmers, who exported corn into Holland."*

The defective state of the coinage was now to be effectually redressed. The evil had become insupportable. The established prescription of the gallows was found to be no remedy for the disease. In July, 1694, we read, “many executed at London for clipping money, now done to that intolerable extent, that there was hardly any money that was worth above half the nominal value." + A writer of the period, who speaks with full knowledge of his subject, says that "the almost fatal symptoms of the general corCunningh:m. "History;" 30?. 1. p. 153.

+ Evelyn.



ruption of the silver money, like covered flames or distracted torrents, universally broke out upon the nation, as it were at once. Guineas on a sudden rose to thirty shillings per piece; all currency of other money was stopped; hardly any had wherewith to pay; public securities sank to about a moiety of their original value, and buyers hard to be found even at these prices; no man knew what he was worth; the course of trade and correspondency almost universally stopped ; the poorer sort of people plunged into inexpressible distress, and, as it were, left perishing, whilst even the richer had hardly wherewith to go to market for obtaining the common conveniences of life.” This writer adds that “the intolerable corruption of the coin was alone sufficient to have provoked any nation on earth to extremities. . . . . Nevertheless, the remainder of gratitude in the people to their deliverer, king William, was even still such, that they bore these inexpressible afflictions with an inimitable temper and patience." * It is difficult to understand these seemingly exaggerated phrases of “fatal symptoms," * inexpressible distress," " intolerable corruption of the coin," without some explanation. Those of us who lived in the latter years of George 111. can recollect the time when there was not a sixpence, shilling, or half-crown, in circulation, that was not worn perfectly smooth. These coins, which had originally come from the Royal Mint, were not counterfeits. They passed as counters, But their real value was not tested by their circulation in common with any new coinage. In 1695, of the various coinages of Elizabeth, of James I., and of Charles I., it was computed that five millions were in circulation, in common with about half-a

million of the new coinages of Charles II., James II., and William III. The old money, which had no milled edge, had been gradually clipped, so that at last the current silver coin had been diminished in weight nearly one-half. Of this clipped money four millions were considered to be in circulation; whilst one million six hundred thousand pounds of unclipped coin were hoarded, or only appeared occasionally in remote places.f As fast as new silver coins were issued from the Mint they disappeared. They were worth twice as much as the old clipped coin. Whilst a single unclipped shil. ling was circulating in th same town with the shilling that was not intrinsically worth more than sixpence, traders would perpetually demand the honest shilling from their customers, and not being able to get it would put a higher price upon their com

**Wednesday Club," 1717, qu vted in Bannister's “ Life of Paterson,” p. 105.

+ " Essay for the Amendment of the Silver Coins, 1995," quoted in Tindal, vol. 1., bo

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