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reign to preserve it entire in all the parts of it.” The House of Commons had the power under the Constitution of determining the amount of the army by limiting the supplies for its maintenance ; and the constitutional king accepted its decision. Mr. Hallam judiciously rejects what he calls “the vulgar story which that retailer of all gossip, Dalrymple, calls a well-authenticated tradition, that the king walked furiously round his room exclaiming, if I had a son, by God the guards should not leave me.” His real temper was far more characteristically displayed in a letter to Galway, in which he says, “I am afraid the good God will punish the ingratitude of this nation.” A rash man, with a despotic tendency, might have provoked another civil war, by retaining the Dutch guards, and by bringing over other Dutch guards. William was wiser. He said to the Commons in reply to their insulting address, in the hour in which his health and spirit sank under the indignity offered him, “ It shall be my study to the utmost of my power to perform the part of a just and a good king; and as I will ever be strictly and nicely careful of observing my promise to my subjects, so I will not doubt of their tender regards to me.”
The Commons had carried their jealousy of a standing army, and their hatred of foreigners, to the very verge of political disorganization. The kingdom was left almost entirely without military force. Credit was destroyed by no sum being voted for the discharge of debt; for it was in vain that William had said at the opening of the session, “I think an English Parliament can never make such a mistake as not to hold sacred all parliamentary engagements." The political machine had come to a dead lock. Tallard wrote to Louis, “ Till the session of Parliament is closed there is no hope of being able to advance a step in anything that is wanted to be done, of what nature soever." Nevertheless,-setting aside the obvious conclusion that patriotism had a great deal less to do with the temper of the Commons towards the king than the blindness of faction, perfectly reckless in its opposition to his policy of preserving to England its weight and influence in foreign affairs,--there was a deep substratum of English spirit beneath all this violence. Tallard had the sense to perceive how deceived Louis would be if he fancied these dissensions opened to him any prospect of bringing back the nation to its old subjection to his will: “Though the affairs of this country are in this state, I must warn your majesty that if the least circumstance should occur which inspired them with jealousy, and if means should be found to persuade them that they ought to be on their guard, the same spirit of liberty and of fickleness which induces them to do all that I have had the honour to intimate to
IRISH FORFEITURE RESUMED.
your majesty, would determine them to give their last penny for their defence, or to prevent what they should believe to be injurious to them."* Unchanged and unchangeable England !
The Parliament was prorogued on the 4th of May, after having passed a Bill which had a personal bearing on the king's exercise of the prerogative. It was to appoint a Commission to inquire into the extent of Irish forfeitures of estates, “ in order to their being applied in ease of the subjects of England.” This measure was tacked to a money-bill, so that it could not be discussed in the House of Lords or rejected by the Crown. The king had granted some of these estates to Portland, Albemarle, and other favourites, and a very natural and proper jealousy was excited. In previous Parliaments a measure for the public appropriation of the lands had been successfully resisted. Nine years before this Session, the king had undertaken to make no grants till the principle of the application of forfeitures had been determined. , But the interference of Parliament having ceased, the lands were granted to various persons ; "it being an undoubted branch of the royal prerogative, that all confiscations accrued to the Crown, and might be granted away at the pleasure of the king.” This is the doctrine held by Burnet. In the next Session of Parliament, which commenced on the 16th of November, 1699, the Commissioners of Inquiry presented their report. The grants made by the king, in spite of the exaggerations of the Report, were very enormous. A Bill of Re. sumption was brought in, by which the whole of the Irish forfeittures were to be applied to the public uses. In a measure which the Lords had rejected eight years before, one-third was to be reserved for the disposal of the king. The present measure was certain to be carried by the Tory majority in the Commons. The Whigs moved an amendment, to resume all grants of lands and revenues of the Crown made since the 6th of February, 1684—the date of the accession of James II, This was a much more sweeping resumption than the opponents of William contemplated. But they had the decency not to resist its adoption. The Commons again tacked the Resumption Bill to a money-bill; and fierce disputes ensued between the two Houses. The king, though bitterly mortified by the measure itself, saw the extreme peril of any conflict upon such a question, and exerted himself to get the Bill passed by the Lords. He gave his assent to it, and immediately prorogued the Parliament. The Commons were preparing a Resolution that an Address should be presented to the king, “ that no person, not a native, except the Prince of Denmark, should be admitted to his
• Grimblot, vol. ii. p. 292.
councils in England or Ireland." The prorogation prevented this last personal affront. Somers, the only one of the Whig ministers that William had retained, now quitted office. The triumphant Tories succeeded in effecting his removal, although they could not succeed in blackening his character by a vote of the House of Commons.
This House, so furious in its hostility to the Crown, passed the most disgraceful law of this reign. The tolerant disposition of William had in England made the old penal laws against papists in many respects a dead letter. Tallard wrote to his court in 1698 that the Catholic religion “is here tolerated more openly than it was even in the time of king Charles II.; and it seems evident that the king of England has determined to leave it in peace, in order to secure his own." The “ Act for the further preventing the growth of Popery” recites, that there has been a greater resort into this kingdom than formerly, of Popish bishops, priests, and Jesuits. Any person apprehending and prosecuting to conviction any such bishop, priest, or Jesuit, for saying mass, or exercising any priestly function, is to receive a reward of a hundred pounds. The punishment for such convicted persons, or for a papist keeping a school, is to be perpetual imprisonment. Every person educated in the Popish religion, upon attaining the age of eighteen, to take the oaths of allegiance and supremacy, and subscribe the declaration against transubstantiation and the worship of saints, and in default of such oath and subscription is declared incapable of purchasing lands, or of inheriting lands under any devise or limitation, the next of kin, being a Protestant, to enjoy such devised lands during life.* Many old and wealthy Catholic land-owners would necessarily come under the penalties of this atrocious law. But it is satisfactory to know that the chief object of the statute, which was to drive out these proprietors, was defeated, in most cases, by the more liberal spirit of the time. “The judges," says Mr. Hallam, "put such constructions upon the clause of forfeiture as eluded its efficacy; and, I believe, there were scarce any instances of a loss of property under this law.”
To be governed by favourites is the most dangerous position in which a sovereign can be placed. To lavish gifts upon favourites is almost as dangerous even to a sovereign like William, who was not very likely to be governed by any man. The resumption of the Irish grants was a severe lesson to the king. It was very quickly followed by such a manifestation of the jealousy of Portland towards Albemarle, as must have taught William that it is
2 Gul. III. C. 4.
PORTLAND AND ALBEMARLE.
scarcely safe for the very highest in station to have any absorbing friendships, such as private men may indulge in. Burnet says that Portland observed the favour of the king for Albemarle with great uneasiness. “He could not bear the visible superiority in favour that the other was grown up to; so he took occasion, from a small preference that was given him, in prejudice of his own post, as groom of the stole ; and upon it withdrew from court, and laid down all his employments.” The letters of William to Portland, written about the time of the termination of the stormy Session of 1699, exhibit a warmth of feeling very different from the supposed coldness of his nature: “ Not to enter into a long dispute with you, on the subject of your retirement, I will say nothing to you about it, but I cannot help expressing my extreme grief at it, which is greater than you can imagine ; and I am convinced if you felt half as much, you would soon change your resolution. jure you to come and see me as often as you can, which will be a great consolation to me, in the affliction which you cause me, not being able to help loving you most tenderly as before.” William succeeded, after much importunity, in obtaining the consent of Portland to continue the negotiations for the Second Partition Treaty: "I cannot help telling you that the welfare and the repose of all Europe may depend upon the negotiation which you have in hand with count Tallard.”
The passing of the Act for disbanding the army, and the reduco' tion of the navy by a Vote of the Commons, left England in a very weakened condition for internal defence, or for preserving to Eng. land its weight and influence in affairs abroad. Yet the king did not abate one jot of his resolution to maintain the attitude before Europe that belonged to the states which he governed. England and Holland were under treaties of alliance with Sweden, and were bound to render her assistance should she be attacked. The king, Charles the Twelfth, was only in his eighteenth year, and it seemed a favourable opportunity for the king of Denmark, the elector of Saxony and king of Poland, and the czar of Russia, to form a league against him for the dismemberment of Sweden. The young hero threw himself into the affray with that characteristic energy which afterwards astonished the world; and he called upon England and Holland to assist him. The king of Denmark had insolently declared that now the king of England was unsupported by his Parliament; he would be able to do little in Europe. “I will teach the king of Denmark,” said William, “ that I can yet do something." He would ask for no vote from Parliament; he “apprehended,” says Burnet, “ that some of them might endeavour to
put an affront upon him, and oppose the sending a feet into the Sound.” He did do something. He sent an armament of English and Dutch ships into the Baltic, under the command of sir George Rooke, when his remonstrances to Denmark and the other powers were unheeded. Rooke formed a junction with the Swedish feet, and they drove the Danish navy into Copenhagen. Charles exerted himself with wonderful spirit, and prepared with his allies for a siege of the Danish capital. Frederick IV. of Denmark now professed his willingness to accept the mediation of England and Holland; and a treaty of peace was signed under their guarantee. “ The king's conduct on this whole matter was highly applauded. He effectually protected the Swedes, and yet obliged them to accept of reasonable terms of peace.'
The king of England, with his eight thousand soldiers and his seven thousand sailors, had manifested a spirit which was probably as impressive upon the minds of European statesmen as the ostentatious array of sixty thousand troops in the camp of Compiègne by the king of France. St. Simon has described this wonderful pageant as he alone could describe the prodigal ostentation of the court of Louis, He resolved to show all Europe, which believed that his resources were exhausted by a long war, that in the midst of profound peace he was as fully prepared as ever for arms,
* He wanted to con. vince the world,” says the compiler of the “Life of James II.," that he had concluded the peace “more out of a Christian motive than the want of money.” To present a superb spectacle to Madame de Maintenon he announced that he counted upon seeing the troops look their best. The officers vied with each other in the finery of their dresses, and the magnificence of their banquets. The temporary houses were furnished with all the splendour of the Parisian saloons. Marshal Boufflers kept open table at all hours. Every luxury which the epicures of France could desire was brought to the camp by unnumbered express carriages. The king showered gratuities of hundreds and thousands of francs upon the officers, according to their several degrees. These gifts were a very small compensation for the extravagant expenditure which the king had stimulated. “There was not a single regiment, officers and men, that was not ruined for several years." Twenty years afterwards, says St. Simon, some of the regiments were still in difficulties from this cause. “ Truly did the king astonish Europe. But at what a cost !” When sovereigns, as well as private men, rush into prodigal expenditure to convince the world that they have no “want of money,” the real want is pretty sure to overtake