Page images
PDF
EPUB

nel to send bither several regiments from Ireland, which put the people under terrible appehensions of an Irish massacre.

September 21, his majesty issued out his proclamation for the meeting of a new parliament, “ intimating his royal purpose to endeavor a legal establishment of an universal toleration, and inviolably to preserve the church of Eng. land in possession of the several acts of uniformity, as for as they were consistent with such a toleration,* And further to quiet the minds of his protestant subjects, he was content that the Roman catholics should remain incapable of being members of the house of commons, that so the legislature might continue in the hands of protestants." Sept. 23, the king was further assured by letters from the marquis of Abbeville at the Hague, that pensionary Fagel had owned the design of the prince of Orange to invade Eingland.& Upon which the king turned pale and speechless for a while, and like a distracted man looked round every way for relief, but was resolute in nothing. He postponed the meeting of the parliament, and by advice of his council applied to the bishops then in town for advice what was necessary to be done to make the church easy. The bishops moved him to annul the ecclesiastical commission, and the dispensing power : to recall all licenses and faculties for papists to keep schools, to prohibit the four pretended vicars apostolical invading the ecclesiastical jurisdiction ; to fill the vacant bishoprics; to restore the charters, and to call a free and regular parliament, by which the church of England might be secured, according to the act of uniformity; and provision made for a due liberty of conscience. Pursuant to this advice the king and court began to tread backward, concluding, that if they could satisfy the bishops, and recover the affection of the church, all would do well. The bishop of London's suspension was taken off, the ecclesiastical commission dissolved, the city charter and the fellows of Magdalen-college were restored, and other illegal practices renounced it but upon news of the prince of Orange's fleet being dispersed by a storm, and that they would hardly be able to put to sea again till next spring, his majesty withdrew his hand from any further redress of grievances.

• Gazette, No. 2384. Ibid. No. 2386. + Ibid. 2388, 2391, Vol. y.

27

But the prince having repaired the damages of the storm, sailed a second time, November 1, and after a remarkable passage, in wbich the wind chopped about almost miraculously in his favor,* landed at Torbay, Nov. 5, with about fourteen thousand men, without meeting the king's fleet, which was at sea in order to intercept them. The prince brought over with him a declaration, dated Oct. 10, divided into twenty-six articles, but reducible to three principal heads, 1. An enumeration of the public grievances, with regard to religion and civil government. 2. The fruitless attempts which had been made to redress those grievances; under which mention is made of the suspicious birth of the pretended prince of Wales. 3. A protestation that the present expedition was intended for no other parpose than to procure a free and lawful parliament; to which the prince would refer the redress of all the grievances complained of; and for the obtaining such a parliament, his highness declares, he had been most earnestly solicited by a great mapy lords both spiritualt and temporal, and

* Bishop Burnet, who minutely describes the circumstances of the princ of Orange's landing, says, that though he was never inclined to superstition, but rather to be philosophical on all occasions, yet the strange ordering of the winds and seasons to change, just as their affairs required it, made a deep impression on himself, and on all who observed it. The famous verses of Claudian, seemed to be more applicable to the prioce, than to him on whom they were made :

O nimirum dilecte Deo, cui militat æther,
« Et conjurati veniunt ad classica venti.
“ Heaven's favorite, for whom the skies do fight,
“ And all the winds conspire to guide thee right.”

Burnet's History, vol. iii. p. 252. Edin. edit. 12mo. Ed. † Dr. Grey, though he cannot deny that the prince of Orange averred, in his declaration, that he was invited over by lords spiritual, yet is net inclined to admit the fact. He quotes, with a view to invalidate it, some letters from sir Jonathan Trelawney, bishop of Winchester, written to Mr. Eachard in the years 1716, and 1718-19: in which this concurrence of the bishops, and of themselves, in the invitation to the prince of Orange, is absolutely denied. To these assertions is added a nemoranduru, made by sir Jonathan Trelawney, of a conversation which he had with Mr. Francis Robarts, son to the earl of Radnor, shortly after the king's coronation, on this point: who said, that he had asked commissary William Harbord, that came over with the prince, whether it was true that the bishops had taken a part in that invitation ? To which Harbord answered with a curse, “ No, they were not so honest. But I caused it to be put in to raise a jealousy and hatred on both sides, that

by many gentlemen, and other subjects of all ranks, to come over to England ; and to encourage the protestant dissenters, his highness adds, that he would recommend to the parliament the making such new laws, as might establish a good agreement between the church of England and all protestant non-conformists, and in the mean time would suffer such as would live peaceably to enjoy all due freedom in their consciences.

The king, who had relied too much on the clergy's professions of unlimited obedience, being surprised at the expression in the prince's declaration, that he had been invited by the lords spiritual, sent for the bishops then in town, and insisted not only upon their disowning the fact, but upon their signing a paper, expressing their abhorrence of the intended invasion ; but they excused themselves only with a general profession of their allegiance and duty.The church party (says Burnet|l) now shewed their approbation of the prince's expedition in such terms that many were surprised at it both then, and since that time; they spoke openly in favor of it; they expressed their grief to see the wind so cross, and wished for a protestant wind that might bring the prince over. His majesty therefore finding himself deceived in the church party, and that he had no other reliance but his army, used

all imaginable diligence to strengthen it; in obedience to the orders already given, two thousand five hundred men [chiefly papists] were landed at Chester from Ireland. Commissions were given out for raising ten new regiments of horse and foot. Three thousand Scots were ordered from that country. All the militia were commanded to be in readiness to march on the first summons; and a proclamation was issued out, requiring all horses and cattle to be removed twenty miles from those parts of the sea-coast, where it was apprehended the prince would land ; but so great was the people's disking James believing it, might never forgive them; and they, fearing he did believe it, might be provoked, for their own safety, to wish and help on his ruin.” Against these authorities, it is to be observed that bishop Burnet asserts, that the earl of Danby drew in the bishop of London to join in the design of bringing over the prince of Orange : and that Trelawney, besides going into it, engaged also his brother, the bishop of Bristol, into it. Grey's Examination, vol. iii. p. 422, and Burpet, vol. iii. p. 214, 15. Ed.

Ji Burnet, p. 243, 4.

affection that thiey paid little regard to his majesty's orders

Soon after his biglines's landing, the body of the nation discovered their inclinations so evidently, that the king lost both head and beart at once. The city of London was in confusion; reports were spread that the Irish would cut the throats of tbe protestants throughout the nation in one and the same nigbit, which awakened the people's fears, and kept them all night on their guard. When this fright was allayed, the mob rose and pulled down the mass houses, and burnt the materials in the streets; father Petre, with the swarms of priests and jesuits who had flocked about the court, disappeared, and retired into foreign parts; and several of the king's arbitrary ministers, who had brought him under these difliculties, forsook bim and absconded. Jefferies was taken in Wapping in a suilor's habit, and would have been torn in pieces by the mob if he had not been conducted by a strong guard to the Tower, where he died he. fore he came to bis trial. The unhappy king, being left in a manner alone, retired with a small retinue to bis army at Salisbury.

The prince of Orange, having refreshed his forces, marched from Torbay to Exeter, where the nobility and gentry signed an association to support and assist his highnes in pursuing the ends of his declaration, and that if any attempt was made on his person it should be revenged on all by whom, or from whom it should be made. Great numbers of common people came in to the prince at Exeter; and as soon as be marched forward towards London, priore George of Denmark, the dukes of Ormond, Grafton, lord Wharton, Churchil, and others of the first distinction, de serted the army at Salisbury, and joined the prince, with a great many protestant officers and soldiers; so that his majesty perceived that even the army which was his last refuge, was not to be relied op; and to complete his unbappi. ness, princess Anne, his younger daughter, withdrew privately from court; with the bishop of London, who put on his buff coat and sword, and commanded a little army for her highness's defence.

Dr. Fioch, son to the earl of Winchelsea, and warden of all Souls college in Oxford, was sent to the prince from some of the heads of colleges, to invite him to Oxford,

and to assure him they were ready to declare for him, and that their plate should be at his service. The prince intended to have accepted their invitation, but all things being in a ferinent at London, he was advised to make all the haste thither that he could. So he sent to Oxford to excuse his visit, and to offer them the ASSOCIATION, which was signed by almost all the heads, and the chief men of the university ; even by those who being disappointed in the preferments they aspired to, became afterwards his most implacable enemies.t Archbishop Sancroft also sent his compliments to the prince, and with seven or eight other bishops, signed the association, baving changed the word revenge into that of punishment. This was a sudden turn (says the bishop) from those principles which they had carried so high a few years before. The dissenters went cheerfully into all the prince's measures, and were ready to sign the association: there were few or no jacobites or non-jurors, among them; and throughout the whole course of king William's reigo, they were among his most loyal and zealous subjects.

In this critical juncture, the queen and the young prince of Wales were sent to France, December 9, the king himself following the latter end of the month, having first caus. ed the writs for calling a new parliament to be burnt, and the great seal to be thrown into the Thames. After his majesty's first attempt to leave the kingdom he was seized at Feversham,ĝ and prevailed with to return back to London; but when the prince resolved to come to Whitehall, and sent his majesty a message, that he thought it not consistent with the peace of the city, and of the kingdom, for both of them to be there together; his majesty retired a second time to Rochester with the prince's consent, and after a week's stay in that place went away privately in a vessel to France, leaving a paper bebind him, in which

* Burnet, p. 257, 8. + Eachard, p. 1138. || Burnet. p. 260, 263.

He was seized by Mr. Hunt, at that time a custom-house officer, who died so lately as the 24th of July, 1752, at Feversham. He boarded the ship in which the king was, by virtue of his office; and taking his majesty for a suspicious person, brought him ashore without knowing bis quality; but was greatly terrified when he found it was the king. Gentleman's Magazine for July, 1752, p. 337. Ed.

« PreviousContinue »