Pagina-afbeeldingen
PDF
ePub

name, he, in presence of the lord-keeper, and the clerks of parliament, applied a stamp prepared for the purpose. The earl of Albemarle arriving from Holland, conferred with him in private on the posture of affairs abroad: but he received his informations with great coldness, and said, "Je tire vers ma fin.-I approach the end of my life." In the evening he thanked Dr. Bidloo for his care and tenderness, saying, "I know that you and the other learned physicians have done all that your art can do for my relief; but, finding all means ineffectual, I submit." He received spiritual consolation from archbishop Tennison, and Burnet, bishop of Salisbury: on Sunday morning the sacrament was administered to him. The lords of the privy-council, and divers noblemen, attended in the adjoining apartments, and to some of them who were admitted he spoke a little. He thanked lord Auverquerque for his long and faithful services: he delivered to lord Albemarle the keys of his closet and scrutoire, telling him he knew what to do with them. He inquired for the earl of Portland; but, being speechless before that nobleman arrived, he grasped his hand, and laid it to his heart, with marks of the most tender affection. On the 8th day of March he expired, in the fifty-second year of his age, after having reigned thirteen years. The lords Lexington and Scarborough, who were in waiting, no sooner perceived that the king was dead, than they ordered Ronjat to untie from his left arm a black ribbon, to which was affixed a ring, containing some hair of the late queen Mary. The body being opened and embalmed, lay in state for some time at Kensington; and on the 12th day of April was deposited in a vault of Henry's chapel in Westminsterabbey. In the beginning of May, a will, which he had intrusted with monsieur Schuylemberg, was opened at the Hague. In this he had appointed his cousin, prince Frison of Nassau, stadtholder of Friesland, his sole and universal heir, and appointed the states-general his exe;

cutors. By a codicil annexed, he had bequeathed the lordship of Breevert, and a legacy of two hundred thousand guilders, to the earl of Albemarle.

§ LXXI. William III. was in his person of the middle stature, a thin body, a delicate constitution, subject to an asthma and continual cough from his infancy. He had an aquiline nose, sparkling eyes, a large forehead, and a grave, solemn aspect. He was very sparing of speech: his conversation was dry, and his manner disgusting, except in battle, when his deportment was free, spirited, and animating. In courage, fortitude, and equanimity, he rivalled the most eminent warriors of antiquity; and his natural sagacity made amends for the defects in his education, which had not been properly superintended. He was religious, temperate, generally just and sincere, a stranger to violent transports of passion, and might have passed for one of the best princes of the age in which he lived, had he never ascended the throne of Great Britain. But the distinguishing criterion of his character was ambition. To this he sacrificed the punctilios of honour and decorum, in deposing his own father-inlaw and uncle; and this he gratified at the expense of the nation that raised him to sovereign authority. He aspired to the honour of acting as umpire in all the contests of Europe; and the second object of his attention was, the prosperity of that country to which he owed his birth and extraction. Whether he really thought the interests of the continent and Great Britain were inseparable, or sought only to drag England into the confederacy as a convenient ally, certain it is, he involved these kingdoms in foreign connexions, which, in all probability, will be productive of their ruin. In order to establish this favourite point, he scrupled not to employ all the engines of corruption, by which the morals of the nation were totally debauched. He procured a parliamentary sanction for a standing army, which now seems to be interwoven in the constitution. He introduced

the pernicious practice of borrowing upon remote funds; an expedient that necessarily hatched a brood of usurers, brokers, contractors, and stock-jobbers, to prey upon the vitals, of their country. He entailed upon the nation a growing debt, and a system of politics big with misery, despair, and destruction. To sum up his character in a few words-William was a fatalist in religion, inde fatigable in war, enterprising in politics, dead to all the warm and generous emotions of the human heart, a cold relation, an indifferent husband, a disagreeable man, an ungracious prince, and an imperious sovereign.

CHAP. VII.

ANNE.

§ I. Anne succeeds to the throne-§ II. She resolves to fulfil the engagements of her predecessor with his allies-§ III. A French memorial presented to the states-general—§ IV. The queen's inclination to the tories-§ V. War declared against France-§ VI. The parliament prorogued-§ VII. Warm opposition to the ministry in the Scottish parlia ment-§ VIII. They recognise her majesty's authority-§ IX. The queen appoints commissioners to treat of a union between England and Scotland--§ X. State of affairs on the continent-§ XI. Keiserswaert and Landau taken by the allies-§ XII. Progress of the earl of Marlborough in Flanders—§ XIII. He narrowly escapes being taken by a French partisan—§ XIV. The imperialists are worsted at Fridlinguen-§ XV. Battle of Luzzara, in Italy-§ XVI. The king of Sweden defeats Augustus at Lissou, in Poland-§ XVII. Fruitless expedition to Cadiz by the duke of Ormond and sir George Rooke— § XVIII. They take and destroy the Spanish galleons at Vigo-§ XIX. Admiral Benbow's engagement with Du Casse in the West Indies→ § XX. The queen assembles a new parliament-§ XXI. Disputes between the two houses—§ XXII. The lords inquire into the conduct of sir George Rooke-§ XXIII. The parliament make a settlement on prince George of Denmark-§ XXIV. The earl of Marlborough created a duke-§ XXV. All commerce and correspondence prohibited between Holland and the two crowns of France and Spain-§ XXVI. A bill for preventing occasional conformity-§ XXVII. It miscarries e Burnet. Oldmixon. Boyer. Lamberty. State Tracts. Tindal. Ralph. Voltaire.

-§ XXVIH. Violent animosity between the two houses, produced by the inquiry into the public accounts-§ XXIX. Disputes between the two houses of convocation-§ XXX. Account of the parties in Scotland-§ XXXI. Dangerous heats in the parliament of that kingdom -§ XXXII. The commissioner is abandoned by the cavaliers— § XXXIII. He is in danger of his life, and suddenly prorogues the parliament-§ XXXIV. Proceedings of the Irish parliament§ XXXV. They pass a severe act against Papists—§ XXXVI. The elector of Bavaria defeats the imperialists at Scardingen, and takes possession of Ratisbon-§ XXXVII. The allies reduce Bonne§ XXXVIII. Battle of Eckeren—§ XXXIX. The prince of Hesse is defeated by the French at Spirebach—§ XL. Treaty between the emperor and the duke of Savoy. The king of Portugal accedes to the grand alliance-§, XLI. Sir Cloudesley Shovel sails with a fleet to the Mediterranean-§ XLII. Admiral Graydon's bootless expedition to the West Indies-§ XLIII. Charles, king of Spain, arrives in Eng. land.

[ocr errors]

§ I. WILLIAM was succeeded as sovereign of England by Anne, princess of Denmark, who ascended the throne in the thirty-eighth year of her age, to the general satisfaction of all parties. Even the Jacobites seemed pleased with her elevation, on the supposition, that, as in all probability she would leave no heirs of her own body, the dictates of natural affection would induce her to alter the succession in favour of her own brother. She had been taught to cherish warm sentiments of the tories, whom she considered as the friends of monarchy, and the true sons of the church; and they had always professed an inviolable attachment to her person and interest; but her conduct was wholly influenced by the countess of Marlborough, a woman of an imperious temper and intriguing genius, who had been intimate with the princess from her tender years, and gained a surprising ascendancy over her. Anne had undergone some strange vicissitudes of fortune in consequence of her father's expulsion, and sustained a variety of mortifications in the late reign, during which she conducted herself with such discretion, as left little or no pretence for censure or re sentment. Such conduct, indeed, was in a great measure owing to a natural temperance of disposition, not easily ruffled or inflamed. She was zealously devoted

to the church of England, from which her father had used some endeavours to detach her before the revolution; and she lived in great harmony with her husband, to whom she bore six children, all of whom she had already survived. William had no sooner yielded up his breath, than the privy-council, in a body, waited on the new queen, who, in a short but sensible speech, assured them, that no pains nor diligence should be wanting on her part, to preserve and support the religion, laws, and liberties of her country, to maintain the succession in the Protestant line, and the government in church and state, as by law established. She declared her resolution to carry on the preparations for opposing the exorbitant power of France, and to assure the allies, that she would pursue the true interest of England, together with theirs, for the support of the common cause. The members of the privy-council having taken the oaths, she ordered a proclamation to be published, signifying her pleasure, that all persons in office of authority or government at the decease of the late king, should so continue till farther directions. By virtue of an act passed in the late reign, the parliament continued sitting even after the king's death. Both houses met immediately, and unanimously voted an address of condolence and congratulation; and, in the afternoon, the queen was proclaimed. Next day the lords and commons severally attended her with an address, congratulating her majesty's accession to the throne; and assuring her of their firm resolution to support her against all her enemies whatso

ever.

The lords acknowledged, that their great loss was no otherwise to be repaired, but by a vigorous adherence to her majesty and her allies, in the prosecution of those measures already concerted to reduce the exorbitant power of France. The commons declared, they would maintain the succession of the crown in the Protestant line, and effectually provide for the public credit of the nation. These addresses were graciously received by the

« VorigeDoorgaan »