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PUBLICATIONS UPON REFORMATION SOCIETIES.

Woodward, a pious clergyman of the Church of England, contained a narrative of their rise and progress. Another, recommended by several judges, bishops, and lay-lords, was intitled, "An Account of the Societies for Reformation of Manners in London and Westminster, and other parts of the kingdom. With a Persuasive to persons of all ranks to be zealous and diligent in promoting the execution of the Laws against Profaneness and Debauchery, for the effecting a National Reformation. Published with the approbation of a considerable number of the Lords Spiritual and Temporal. London, printed for B. Aylmer, 1699." 8vo. This was an anonymous performance, but appearing under so imposing an authority, and recommended by the earnestness of the writer, it was well calculated to forward the object he had in view. The book is introduced by the king's proclamation for preventing and punishing Immorality and Profaneness; the late queen's letter to the Justices of Middlesex for the same purpose; and the Address of the Commons before noticed. There is also appended, An Abstract of the Penal Laws against Immorality and Profaneness. At the opening of the next reign, a farther account of these societies was published in "An Account of the Progress of the Reformation of Manners in England, Scotland, and Ireland, and other parts of Europe and America. With some Reasons and Plain Directions for our hearty and vigorous Prosecution of this Glorious Work. In a Letter to a Friend. To which is added, "The Special Obligations of Magistrates to be diligent in the Execution of the Penal Laws against Profaneness and Debauchery, for the effecting of a National Reformation. The Twelfth Edition, with considerable Additions. London, 1704.'" 4to. This pamphlet is an important sequel to the former accounts of these societies, and bears full testimony to the activity and zeal of the persons engaged in them. One of the narratives, which are mostly anonymous, has been sometimes ascribed to De Foe, but apparently without sufficient reason.

CHAPTER XXI.

Politics of England after the Peace of Ryswick. Short History of the Last Parliament.-Merits of King William.-Character of his Fourth Parliament.-Declining Influence of the King.-His Mortifications from the Parliament.-Intrigues to supplant the Whigs.-The King and his Ministers attacked in Parliament.-Resumption of the Irish Grants.— De Foe's Remarks upon that Measure.-Publications upon the Subject.— Account of Mr. Stephens's Sermon before the Commons.-Measures against Dissenters and Catholics.-Imprisonment of a Popish Priest.-Remarks upon the Intolerant Proceedings in Parliament.-Affronting Address to the King-The Session terminates.

1698-1700.

PERHAPS there are few periods in our national history, that require to be studied with greater care and attention, than that which elapsed between the peace of Ryswick, and the death of King William. The principles of right and wrong were so frequently confounded and lost sight of in the clamour of party, as to disturb the political ties that connected men of similar opinions, and to smother the feelings of honour and patriotism, which were sacrificed at the shrine of a selfish ambition. In order to understand the policy that was pursued at this period, and the respective merits of the parties contending for power, we must be guided by the dictates of cool reason, rather than the pretensions of politicians, or the adulations of their admirers. This will enable us to analyse their actions, which were often dictated by motives that were at variance with their public professions.

By the terms of the Triennial Act, the third parliament of King William terminated the fifth of July, 1698. Some

304 time afterwards, a summary amount of its proceedings was published in an able pamphlet, intitled, "A Short History of the Last Parliament. London: printed for Jacob Tonson, &c. 1699." 4to. This work has been frequently quoted as Dr. Drake's, and is ascribed to him in the late edition of the Somers's Collection of Tracts; but it was evidently the production of a Whig writer, and a zealous friend of King William; therefore, of very opposite prin-ciples to those of Drake. The author opens his work by some just reflection upon the merits of the king, which were the more seasonable, as the nation now fostered a disposition to undervalue his services. "The honourable conclusion of the late war with France, to the great mortification of his majesty's enemies, the satisfaction of his friends, and the admiration of all men," says he, "must thankfully be acknowledged as chiefly owing to his majesty's great wisdom, invincible courage, and inflexible resolution. By his courage, he rekindled the decaying fire of this warlike people, taught them by his conduct, and provoked them by his example to equal the achievements of their valiant forefathers, and thereby restored to England the ancient reputation of her arms. But, by his wisdom, he procured us an honour we never could before pretend to: he made England a match for France, as well in the cabinet as in the camp; and gained by a wise treaty more than by arms had been won in the field. For any potentate to unite many states and princes, disagreeing in interests, inclinations, and religion, in a strict confederacy against a common enemy, and to preserve that alliance unbroken for many years together, notwithstanding the great losses these allies sustained, and in despite of all the attempts of foreign and domestic enemies to dissolve their union, must be acknowledged by all the world as the effect of a refined and masterly judgment. Yet the honour, which, perhaps, has no example, is by the confession of all due to his majesty, who was the only

SHORT HISTORY OF THE LAST PARLIAMENT.

SHORT HISTORY OF THE LAST PARLIAMENT.

305 centre in which so many various lines could meet, the only head which such differing interests could confide in, as capable to direct them in a juncture of time, when the liberties of all Europe lay at stake." In promoting the objects here mentioned, the author pays a just tribute of acknowledgment to the great skill and steady zeal of the late parliament, and justifies his encomiums by a review of the various important measures that engaged its deliberation. Drake's work, for which this valuable tract has been mistaken, was not published until three years afterwards, and bore a different title. His object is to blacken the Whigs, and traduce the actions of King William, for which he was called to account by the parliament, as will be seen hereafter.

The fourth parliament of King William, assembled the ninth of December, 1698, and sat two years; Sir Thomas Littleton being the Speaker. Although the Whigs retained their influence in the Commons, they were divided in their sentiments upon some questions of public importance; and it was found that many violent men had been returned, who, destitute of all public virtue, bent their whole force to ruin the friends of the Revolution. To this end, many were accused of fictitious crimes; innocent persons were brought into danger; and whilst the Whigs were charged with corruption, their efforts to detect it in others, and to punish the guilty, were counteracted by those who wished only to supplant them, that they might have the greater facility of practising it themselves.* (A)

Cunningham's Great Brit. i. 172.

(A) The manner in which the public was served in this reign, may be illustrated by the following anecdote. During the inquiries that were set on foot by this parliament, Mynheer Gore, a man of talents and principle who had been preferred by the king to an office in the ordnance department, growing weary of his fellow-commissioners, now desired to quit his office, and gave the king an account of their conduct. "Well," said the

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MERITS OF KING WILLIAM.

Since the conclusion of the war, William had lost much of his personal influence. This was but too evident from the proceedings in parliament, which were often insulting to his feelings, and indicated the prevalence of faction over the purer spirit of patriotism. Hence arose a series of mortifications that embittered the closing years of his reign, and made him desirous of relinquishing a crown which he wore with so little satisfaction, either to himself, or to those about him. By the union of men of opposite political sentiments, agreed only in their opposition to the court, and their aspiration to power, the measures of government were often embarrassed, and received a colouring that rendered them unpopular with the people. To men so well skilled in the art of intriguing, the passport to popular favour was by no means difficult; for, as the bulk of mankind seldom look far into things, so an affectation of purity will often pass for patriotism, especially when accompanied by acts of a beneficial nature. It was by the self-created patriots that formed the opposition in this parliament, that the king, and his best friends, the Whigs, were persecuted and betrayed; and they pushed their measures with such violence, that the king could no longer carry on the government without taking them into his councils.

As William had been slow in disbanding his army, the first measure of the Commons was to pass a bill for its reduction to seven thousand men, to consist entirely of native subjects. Much asperity was mixed up with the debate, as well as many personal reflections upon the monarch for his tardiness in conforming to the resolutions of parliament. He had hoped by delay, and by a conciliatory address, to obtain some mitigation of a measure that he wished above all things to avert; but that which touched him the most

king, "it is like all the rest; and if you would be a thief too, your numbers would protect you." Gore, however, resigned his situation, and retired to Holland. Cunningham, i. 171.

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