William III (DNB00)
WILLIAM III (1650–1702), king of England, Scotland, and Ireland, was born on 4 Nov. 1650 at the Hague, in the stadholder's apartments in the old palace of the counts of Holland. William Henry, as he was named in a baptismal service celebrated with inopportune pomp, was the posthumous and only child of William II, Prince of Orange, and his consort Mary [q. v.], the eldest daughter of King Charles I and princess royal of England. At the time of his birth the prospects of the house of Orange seemed hopelessly darkened by a shadow which was to dominate the whole of his youth. Eight days before his birth his father had suddenly died, in the midst of schemes for redeeming the failure of his recent coup d'état, designed to raise the authority of the stadholderate at the cost of the provincial liberties and peace. Although the States-General were the sponsors of the young prince, it was inevitable that the opportunity of his father's death should be seized by the wealthy and powerful province of Holland, under the guidance from 1652 onwards of the far-sighted and resolute grand pensionary, John de Witt. Without a chief, the friends of the house of Orange could rest their hopes merely on its traditional hold over the masses, on their Calvinistic antipathies against the existing régime, and on the apprehensions excited by its neglect of the defensive powers of the Commonwealth, and of its land forces in particular. Yet the goodwill of both people and army towards the young prince increased with his growth, ‘ever presaging some revolution in the state, when he should come to the years of aspiring, and managing the general affections of the people’ (‘Observations upon the United Provinces,’ &c., Temple, Works, i. 73, 107).
Together with public hopes and fears, private jealousies were rife round William's cradle. The claims to his sole guardianship of his high-spirited but unconciliatory mother were disputed by his intriguing grandmother, the Princess-dowager Amalia, born Countess of Solms-Braunsfeld, and by his versatile uncle, the great elector, Frederick William of Brandenburg, until a compromise assigned the chief but not undivided authority to the princess royal. Personal ambitions sapped the loyalty of the collateral branches of the house of Nassau to his interests; and his resources were impaired by a vast debt contracted by his father, and by heavy jointures payable to his mother and grandmother (Burnet, i. 582). Yet even in his infancy, when the calamities of the first Anglo-Dutch war agitated the provinces (1653, autumn), De Witt with difficulty thwarted a scheme for nominating him captain-general of Holland, Zealand, and other provinces (Van Kampen, ii. 153). In 1654 Cromwell made the conclusion of peace conditional upon the adoption by the states of Holland of the Act of Exclusion, which bound them in no event to appoint the Prince of Orange or any of his descendants stadholder or admiral of their province, or to vote for him as captain-general of the Union (GARDINER, Commonwealth and Protectorate, ii. 364, 373). Although in September 1660 this act was revoked, owing to the Restoration in England, the connection between the houses of Orange and Stuart increased republican jealousies in Holland, and a project for sending the young prince on a pacific mission to his uncle, Charles II, in 1666, was speedily abandoned (Pontalis, i. 371).
Of William's education his mother retained the chief control till her death on 24 Dec. 1660 even after the states of Holland, while granting an allowance, had assumed a nominal supervision. The chief associates of William's early days were Philip Stanhope (afterwards first Earl of Chesterfield) [q. v.], son of his mother's intimate friend Lady Stanhope [see Kirkhoven, Catherine] (Zouch, Life of Walton, p. 20 and note), and William van Odyk, the son of her chosen counsellor, the sieur de Beverwaert. In October 1659 his mother accompanied William to the university of Leyden. On her death the interference of Charles II caused an undignified dispute as to the guardianship of the prince. Meanwhile De Witt substituted as his tutor in the place of his natural uncle (the sieur de Zuylesteen, who was married to an English wife), one Johan van Ghent, a political supporter of his own (Pontalis, i. 476), and rather later took a personal part in his political instruction (ib. ii. 15–18). William's main efforts as a student were devoted to the mastery of languages, in which he attained to an unusual proficiency, speaking Dutch, French, English, and German with equal ease, besides understanding Spanish, Italian, and Latin (Burnet, iv. 562). In 1665 the critical Charles de St. Evremond [q. v.] declared that no person of the prince's age and quality was ever master of so good a turn of wit (Trevor, i. 20); but other observers were more impressed by his indifference to all amusements except hunting, his frugal and temperate habits, and his grave self-control and impenetrable reserve (Temple ap. Traill, p. 7; in 1668 de Gourville reported him to De Witt as a master of dissimulation).
With a military plot formed in 1666 for restoring to William his father's functions he can have had little or no concern; but when, in 1667, the English war had ended, De Witt deemed it expedient to assent to his admission into the council of state, while at the same time inducing the provinces to assent by the act of harmony to the perpetual edict. By this the stadholderate was abolished in Holland, and separated for ever from the captain-generalship in that province, and, so far as its vote was concerned, in the union at large (Groen van Prinsterer, pp. 316–17; Van Kampen, ii. 216). The bargain was too unequal to be likely to last, more especially after, in 1668, the prince had taken his seat in his quality of margrave of Flushing and Vere, as the solitary noble among the states of Zealand, and had, on completing his eighteenth year, been declared of age (ib. p. 217). Temple had not been prevented by his co-operation with De Witt in the conclusion of the triple alliance (1668) from judiciously promoting the interests of the prince; but it was with the object of embroiling the relations between England and the provinces that Charles II was anxious to attach William more closely to his own house. Accordingly, in 1670, the prince visited England, where Charles, on 30 Oct., received him at Whitehall (Harris, i. 15), and warned him not to allow himself in religious matters to be led by such factious protestants as his Dutch blockheads (Burnet, i. 502). William, who made a favourable impression in England by his assiduous performance of his religious duties, gained no other advantage from his visit except an honorary degree at each of the universities.
When the imminent danger of a French invasion at last found credit in the Netherlands, a widespread demand arose for the appointment of William as captain- and admiral-general, partly in hopes of still conciliating Charles, partly for the sake of an Orange leadership should war prove inevitable. De Witt reluctantly assented to William's appointment as captain-general for the coming campaign (25 Feb. 1672), on condition that his permanent appointment to that office and the admiralty should be deferred till the completion of his twenty-second year in November (Van Kampen, p. 227). On 12 June the French army, fivefold the Dutch defensive forces in strength, and with vast reserves in its rear, crossed the Rhine. William thereupon abandoned the line of the Yssel, and within a few weeks the provinces of Guelderland, Utrecht, and Overyssel were occupied by the invaders. He has been censured for dividing his forces, and the credit for the measures of defence adopted in Holland has been ascribed to De Witt, to whom the previous disbandment of half the army was entirely due (Pontalis, ii. 285, 329). William, although not indisposed to negotiation, maintained a firm discipline among his troops, and carried out the preparations for resistance in an unfaltering spirit. Soon the popular exasperation against De Witt knew no bounds, and the establishment of the Prince of Orange as the chief of the republic became inevitable. At Vere in Zealand, and at Dort in his own presence on 29 June 1672, the perpetual edict was declared abolished, and the prince proclaimed stadholder, captain- and admiral-general; his formal election by the Zealand and Holland states, and by the States-General, followed early in July (see the medal, implying that ‘William III’ succeeded by hereditary right, in Histoire Numismatique, ii. 276). The disorders which followed culminated on 20 Aug. in the murder of the brothers De Witt. The coldness of William's response when requested by De Witt to justify him to the people has been absurdly blamed as arguing ingratitude (Pontalis, ii. 442); it remains uncertain whether his presence at the Hague would have restrained the fury of the populace. According to Burnet, William always spoke of the murder ‘with the greatest horror possible’ (i. 597); but he confessed to Gourville that, though he gave no order for the deed, the news of it relieved him (Mémoires, p. 481; cf. Pomponne, Mémoires, p. 494). Tichelaar, who had falsely accused Cornelius de Witt of hiring him for the assassination of William, was awarded a pension (Van Kampen, ii. 247). De Witt was succeeded as grand pensionary by Caspar Fagel, who henceforth became a firm and enthusiastic supporter of the stadholder. The stability of his government was further insured by extensive changes in the magistracy of Holland, and by a general amnesty (8 Nov.) which put an end to the civil troubles (ib. p. 250).
Meanwhile the campaign of 1672 had run its course. William, while rejecting the preposterous French proposals of peace, and refusing to yield to the pressure put upon him by the English envoys, Buckingham and Arlington, had concluded an alliance with Brandenburg (May), and a defensive league with the emperor; and in the new field-marshal, George Frederick, count of Waldeck, had found a capable military guide, afterwards equally trusted as a diplomatic adviser (Müller, i. 32, 56). With the withdrawal of Louis XIV it became clear that the campaign would not prove decisive; and finally, though Luxemburg relieved Woerden, the siege of which had formed William's first considerable action, the progress of the French was stopped by a sudden thaw. Thus the year ended with a recovery of confidence; but 1673 began less favourably with the defection of the great elector, and in the spring three French armies were again in the field. Though Maestricht was lost (July), William's capture of Naarden (September) completely covered Amsterdam. He now concluded definitive treaties of alliance with the empire and Spain (October); and resolving, in the words of Temple (Memoirs, 1672–9, p. 382), ‘like another young Scipio, to save his country by abandoning it,’ opened the way into the Low Countries to the imperialists by uniting with them in the siege and capture of Bonn (November). Of all their conquests in the Netherlands, the French now retained only Grave and Maestricht. Early in 1674 England concluded a separate peace with the United Provinces (February), and soon Temple reappeared at the Hague to aid William in negotiating a general peace. Brandenburg having returned to the alliance, France was left without any support but that of Sweden. The success of the prince in arresting the aggression of France was rewarded by his election to the stadholderates of the three liberated provinces; in Gueldres he was offered but refused the sovereignty as duke (Van Kampen, ii. 261; cf. Gourville, p. 482—William told the writer that he had at first inclined to accept the offer). But already in January of this year, through Fagel's influence, the first step had been taken towards making the stadholderate hereditary to the prince's male descendants; and the proposal having been adopted by the states of Holland in February, those of the remaining provinces in which he was stadholder followed suit (for the decree of the states of Holland see Trevor, vol. i. App. p. i.) With the aid of constitutional amendments in several of these provinces, he had now secured a firm control over their affairs; in Friesland and Groningen, where his cousin, Henry Casimir of Nassau-Diez, was hereditary stadholder, the most complete deference was paid to his wishes.
In 1674 the war, now entirely delocalised, proved in the main favourable to the French; but in the bloody battle of Senef in Hainault (11 Aug.) between William and the veteran Condé, both sides claimed the victory. The French carried away the greater number of prisoners, but William maintained his position. He failed immediately afterwards in the siege of Oudenarde, but in October recovered Grave (as to the battle of Senef, see Duc d'Aumale, Les Princes de Condé, vii. 568, where a strong attempt is made to show that William ought not to have claimed the victory; cf., however, Temple, u.s. p. 389, and Gourville's Mémoires, p. 462). Unwilling, notwithstanding this unsatisfactory campaign, to conclude either an unfavourable or a separate peace, William greatly resented Arlington's lectures to the contrary (Temple, p. 397). Arlington seems also to have suggested to William a journey to England, should peace be concluded; but in March 1675 Temple was brusquely ordered to stop any such project (ib. p. 400). The prince was indignant at this blundering attempt to bribe him into subserviency. Charles, whose ways were never more crooked than at this period, tried to work on William by envoys more pliable than Temple, such as Sir Gabriel Sylvius, and to persuade him to peace by arguing that the emperor, not France, was really to be feared. These attempts to detach William from the house of Habsburg continued on the part of both the English and French governments through 1675 and 1676, and had the effect of making the war languish in the campaigns of those years.
In the earlier part of 1675 William was attacked by the small-pox (see his letter to Waldeck, announcing his recovery, ap. Müller, ii. 247; and the medal with the inscription ‘God saves the Prince of Orange,’ in Histoire Numismatique, ii. 192). This was the occasion on which William Bentinck (afterwards first Earl of Portland) [q. v.] endeared himself to the prince for life by his devotion (see Macaulay, ch. vii.; the story is told rather differently in M'Cormick's Life of Carstares, p. 64). William was able to take part in the unimportant campaign of 1675. Before taking the field in 1676 he sounded Temple on the question of his marriage with the Princess Mary, the elder daughter of James, Duke of York [see James II, King of England]. Marriage had been pressed upon him by the states of the provinces when they had made the stadholderate hereditary; and to an English marriage personal, as well as political, reasons inclined him. Temple having satisfied him both as to the personality of the princess and as to the stability of her uncle's throne, he determined on proceeding with his suit (Temple, Memoirs, p. 415). The campaign of 1676, in which he received a musket-shot in the arm at the siege of Maestricht, was not successful; he was unable to relieve either Valenciennes or Cambray, and in vain offered battle to Louis, who was again figuring at the head of his army (Burnet, ii. 114). In April 1677 he marched to the relief of St. Omer, but was defeated (11 April) by the Duke of Orleans at Montcassel, notwithstanding a display of great personal bravery; and his attempt on Charleroi (July) was likewise unsuccessful.
In the middle of October 1677, encouraged by Danby's assurances conveyed through Temple, he embarked for England on his marriage suit. Notwithstanding the efforts of Charles II, who in the course of the summer had sent Laurence Hyde [q. v.] to the Hague to urge his views, the prince arrived in England politically unpledged [as to the transactions which ensued see MARY II]. The marriage was solemnised on 4 Nov.; in the negotiations concerning the peace which were carried on during William's visit, he held his own against the designs of Charles. The conditions agreed upon between them for a general peace (Temple, pp. 455–6) were, however, rejected at Versailles, and the treaty of January 1678 based on them remained a dead letter owing partly to the false play of Charles II, but chiefly to the successes of the French arms in Flanders in the spring of 1678, to the revival of the French republican party in Holland, its suspicions of dynastic designs, and to the intrigues of Louis with the whig opposition in England. Thus, when William had reached the Hague with his wife (December), serious disappointments awaited him. A treaty for the transfer of the English troops in the French to the Dutch service (July) proved of no avail, and three days before his sanguinary battle with Luxemburg (13 Aug.) the peace of Nimeguen was concluded. Having withdrawn to his hunting-seat Dieren, he treated the situation as one in which he could no longer interfere (Temple, u.s. p. 472). As a matter of fact this peace secured his primary object, the integrity of the territories of the united provinces; while the losses of Spain and the empire justified his policy, and marked him out as the leader of a future alliance against the aggressive policy of France.
After the peace of Nimeguen William continued to watch very closely the progress of English politics, chiefly through the medium of Henry Sidney [q. v.], ambassador at the Hague from 1679, and to oppose the intrigues of the French ambassador d'Avaux with the republican party. He gave a cordial reception at the Hague to the Duke of York, and treated Monmouth with discreet kindness (Sidney, Diary and Correspondence, i. 55); but his utterances as to the proposed exclusion of the former from the throne were not altogether consistent with one another (ib. i. 143, ii. 120). At the time of the crisis (1680) he offered to come to England, doubtless with a view to the suggested compromise of creating him ‘protector’ or ‘regent’ on the nominal succession of his father-in-law as king (ib. ii. 177; cf. Burnet, ii. 276, and Macaulay). Some of his well-wishers thought that he should have come sooner; when he actually arrived in England, in July 1681, the situation had completely changed [see James II]. Sidney, who had been recently superseded at the Hague by Skelton, to the dissatisfaction of William and the states and others, had urged the visit against the prince's better judgment. He was generally supposed to be anxious to engage Charles against the French in the defence of the Spanish Netherlands (Luttrell, Brief Relation, i. 112); and he certainly about this time made no secret of his apprehensions of Louis's ‘plans for a universal monarchy’ (see Gourville, Mémoires, p. 474). But his meeting with Monmouth at Tunbridge, and his acceptance of an invitation from the city, frustrated by a royal summons to Windsor, excited the jealous suspicions of the Duke of York (Clarke, Life of James II, i. 690), although the king seems to have treated him with easy confidence (Burnet, ii. 415). On his return to Holland early in August he assured the States-General that no secret understanding existed between the sovereigns of England and France (D'Avaux ap. Klopp, ii. 344). With the aid of Waldeck he assiduously carried on his schemes for a European alliance against France, a basis for which was furnished by the association formed in 1681 between the united provinces, Sweden, the empire, and Spain for the maintenance of existing treaties. His activity against Louis was intensified by the French occupation of the principality of Orange in 1682 and the encroachments upon the liberty of its inhabitants in the following year in connection with the first dragonnades (Müller, i. 195; cf. Trevor, i. 174; during the course of his life he only intermittently held possession of Orange, and never set foot there). In this year he chivalrously made known to D'Avaux a proposal which had been communicated to him for the assassination of the king of France (Abbadie, Défense de la Nation Britannique, &c., 1693, p. 482). At no period of his stadholderate was he more grievously hampered by the opposition maintained against his policy by Amsterdam and by minorities in Zealand and other provinces, and fostered both by D'Avaux and the English envoy Chudleigh (Burnet, ii. 447; cf. Müller, i. 227, who refers to Wagenaar, vol. xv., in proof of the assertion that not even in 1650 were the provinces nearer to civil war). In 1684 Louis proceeded to add to his Alsatian ‘reunions’ the annexation of Luxemburg, so as to secure the broadest basis of possession for the proposed truce. The Amsterdam magistrates rejected the stadholder's supplication for a grant enabling him to raise sixteen thousand men; Luxemburg capitulated (‘la perte est irréparable,’ William to Waldeck, 10 June), and a truce for twenty years was concluded on the basis of existing conquests, to which the emperor acceded at Ratisbon (August). Thus, when the reign of Charles II came to a close, the European position of France was stronger than ever, and William's labours had to be recommenced.
The announcement to William by James II of his brother's death and of his own accession was cold (Dalrymple, ii. appendix, p. cxxxix); but nothing had as yet occurred to render friendly relations between them impossible, and James was by no means disposed to surrender the control of his foreign policy to France [see James II]. William at once despatched Dykvelt to England on a special mission of congratulation, obtained from Monmouth a promise that he would depart from the provinces and ‘never stir’ against King James (Life of James II, ii. 32), and sent assurances that he would do all that the latter could expect from him, ‘sauf la religion’ (Sidney, Diary, &c., ii. 249). Although both Argyll's and Monmouth's expeditions were prepared at Amsterdam, every reasonable effort was made to prevent their sailing, and before Monmouth's departure the stadholder sent to England the three Scottish regiments in the service of the states. Barillon's scheme for transferring the succession to the Princess Anne, conditionally upon her conversion to Rome, was not taken up by James (Mazure, ii. 27, 37; and see ib. p. 166 as to its revival early in 1686); and Skelton at the Hague loudly proclaimed the reconciliation between the king and the prince.
In July James's victory over both insurrections was assured; and the loyalty of William, who had sent over the three English in the wake of the three Scottish regiments in the Dutch service, and had offered to command them in person, had not been without its effect. On 7 Aug. the old treaties between England and the Netherlands were renewed, conformably with James's inclination to maintain a position resembling independence as between France and the empire. As late as October William showed his anxiety for friendly relations, by clearing out with Mary's consent the whole of her household, in which reports had been set on foot that gave rise to distrust in England (Ranke, v. 501 n.) But, stimulated by French influence, the catholic zeal of James was beginning to work its way, and the revocation of the edict of Nantes (October) directly affected his relations with his son-in-law. While in Holland William sheltered the Huguenot refugees, and prevented a counter-persecution of the Dutch catholics; he failed, notwithstanding Mary's effort, to induce James to intervene on behalf of the inhabitants of Orange against the aggression of the dragonnades (Mazure, iii. 165). By the close of 1685 it was obvious both that the seeds of distrust had been sown afresh between James and William, and that Louis had recognised in him the determined adversary of his English as well as of his European policy. Yet for some time further William not only continued to avoid giving cause of offence, but through Fagel advised moderation to his parliamentary friends in England; he was, however, accused of scheming a protestant religious league by James, into whom Skelton on his return from the Hague instilled divers other suspicions (January 1686) (Klopp, iii. 156). Rumours of a secret Anglo-French alliance continued to be rife, and William's message to the states of Holland through Fagel (1 Aug.) shows him to have by this time completely mistrusted James (D'Avaux, iii. 229). His meeting at Cleves (August) with the great elector of Brandenburg, which was chiefly concerned with the Orange succession (Droysen, iii. 3, 803), had no connection with the contemporary conclusion of the league of Augsburg, the significance of which French policy succeeded in both exaggerating and perverting (see Foster, Die Augsburger Allianz von 1686, Munich, 1893; and cf. Klopp, iii. 247; Macaulay's account, ch. vii., like those of most modern historians, errs accordingly). William had no concern with this defensive compact, and was at the time still anxious to avoid any overt act which might have hastened the action of James. Undoubtedly, however, his mistrust was gradually ripening towards action on his own account. In the summer of 1686 the presence at the Hague of Gilbert Burnet [q. v.], besides counteracting the efforts of another visitor, William Penn [q. v.], in favour of a religious toleration in England which should prevent the omnipotence of the church, led to a full consideration of the situation there (Burnet, iii. 136). In January 1687 the Marquis d'Albeville arrived as English ambassador, with instructions to persuade the prince and princess of the expediency in their own interests of the repeal of the Test Act. He obtained the removal of Burnet, but it was a long time before he saw either prince or princess (ib. p. 173). About the time of d'Albeville's arrival, Dykvelt was sent to England, with instructions which Burnet says were drawn by him, but were inspired by a bona fide intention of improving relations with the king. On 4 April, in direct disregard of William's advice, James issued his first declaration of indulgence; and, according to Burnet (ib. p. 160), William was speedily implored by several clergymen and friends of the church, who afterwards were among his bitterest enemies, to come to her aid. He made no secret of his opposition to the suppression of the protestant security laws (ib. p. 176; and Bonrepaux ap. Macaulay, ch. vii.). Dykvelt, through whom Sunderland had hoped to convert William to the religious policy of James, by holding out a promise of ‘closer measures’ against France, now directed his attention to bringing about an understanding with the leading adversaries of the king's measures. In May the Princess Anne assured William and her sister of her adherence to the protestant faith; in June Dykvelt brought back letters expressing confidence in the prince, and from September onwards these were followed up by visits to the Hague from some of the writers. [The further transactions of the year 1687 and the earlier half of 1688, affecting the relations between James and William, are summarised under James II.] Although preparations for an expedition were in progress in Holland from March onwards, when a grant of four millions of florins was made by the states of Holland, the stadholder's action was still purely executive; his correspondence mentions no definite plans; nor, perhaps, were any such actually in existence. In May his popularity was increased by rumours of a design against his life (see as to the supposed revelations of Gronsfeldt, Mazure, iii. 108). Early in the same month, or near the close of April, Edward Russell (afterwards Earl of Orford) [q. v.] was at the Hague, and to him William signified his willingness to undertake an armed expedition to England, provided he received a signed invitation from a limited number of responsible persons. The news of the second declaration of indulgence (27 April), and of the proceedings against the bishops which ensued, seems at that date not to have arrived in Holland (Traill, p. 23 n.) The management of the business was, by the prince's desire, entrusted to Henry Sidney (Burnet, iii. 277); and on the day after the acquittal of the bishops (July 1) the invitation, signed in cipher, was safely conveyed to William by Admiral Herbert (for a summary of it see Macaulay, chap. ix.)
William, who, agreeably to a remonstrance in the letter of invitation, caused the prayer for the Prince of Wales to be omitted from the English service in the princess's chapel, now had to overcome the unwillingness to engage in the expedition still felt at Amsterdam (see Klopp, iv. 37, as to his discussions with the friendly burgomaster Witsen), and, while taking the ultimate responsibility upon himself, to carry on his preparations with as much secrecy as possible. Through Bentinck he secured from the new elector of Brandenburg, Frederick III, as well as from the Duke of Celle and the Landgrave of Hesse-Cassel, the promise of troops amounting to ten thousand men, to be left behind under the command of Waldeck (Droysen, iv. 1, 29; Ranke, vol. vi. appendix). On 3 Aug. the prayer for the Prince of Wales was restored in reply to an indignant inquiry by King James (Clarke, ii. 161); but the preparations continued (see the graphic description in Macaulay), and from England came further promises of support, together with significant overtures from Sunderland. Early in September William was recalled from Minden by the tidings that the states of Holland had with more or less grace resolved to support his enterprise. D'Avaux's efforts to create a belief at the Hague in an Anglo-French alliance had contributed to this result; as a matter of fact, James was as far as ever from falling in with the designs of Louis. Accordingly the latter turned to his plans against the empire, and declared war against it by his manifesto of 24 Sept. William's hands were now free; and on the 30th he issued his declaration, which, drawn up by Fagel, was abridged and translated into English by Burnet (iii. 300; and cf. Kennet, iii. 492; and Harris, ii. 68, for a full summary of text and addition).
James, who had declined a last offer of alliance made by Louis, on 4 Oct. made a conciliatory communication to the States-General through d'Albeville (Mazure, iii. 202); but the time for words had passed. The expedition on which William was about to start was directed against a government which had rejected his advice, not against a hostile power; and the expectation of Louis that he had at least made sure a conflict between England and the united provinces was to prove a miscalculation (see the whole argument of bk. xi. in Klopp, vol. iv.; and cf. the views of Louvois, adverse to those of d'Avaux, ap. Rousset, ii. 104). The expedition had the ‘sympathy of the Vatican and the Waldenses, of Brandenburg and of Spain; it was in the interest of the English nation, and of all the world save Louis XIV’ (Müller, ii. 22).
William's armada consisted of fifty men-of-war, with more than five hundred transports, carrying an army of fourteen thousand men. Old Marshal Schomberg was second in command; Bentinck was by William's side; among the Englishmen surrounding him were several eldest sons of great noblemen, together with divers notable agitators and adventurers (cf. Macaulay, ch. ix.); the most influential Scotsmen were Sir James Dalrymple (Stair Annals, i. 75) and William Carstares, whose shrewd advice was henceforth never wanting to William in Scottish matters; Burnet attended the prince as his chaplain (Own Times, iii. 301). On 16 Oct. (O.S.) William bade farewell to the states of Holland, and in the evening went on board at Helvoetsluys. On the 19th the fleet, under Herbert's command, set sail, but in mid-Channel was scattered by a storm, and had gradually to find its way back to Helvoetsluys. On 1 Nov. it again put to sea, and on the morning of 5 Nov. a safe landing was effected at Brixham, south of Torbay (Burnet, who gives a striking description of the prince's conduct during the voyage and on landing; Rapin, who was a soldier in William's army; Macaulay; cf. McCormick, Life of Carstares, p. 34, as to the service held at the head of the army before it encamped); the progress of events up to the second flight of James (23 Dec.) has been sketched under James II.
On 18 Dec. William arrived at St. James's, whither ‘all the world hastened to see him’ (Evelyn, who was present, thought him ‘very stately, serious, and reserved’). The twofold flight of James II had completely altered the situation, for his dethronement had formed no part of William's design. (In their circular to foreign powers, October, the States-General had declared their grant of means for the expedition to have been conditional upon its not being directed to this end, Klopp, iv. 302). The suggestion that he should assume the throne as by right of conquest was at once put aside. By the advice of the lords and members of the parliaments of Charles II, whom William had called together after James had left for Rochester, a convention parliament was summoned for 7 Jan., and in Scotland for 14 March. Meanwhile he assumed the executive, and early in January had the satisfaction of receiving the congratulations of the burgomaster of Amsterdam, who had arrived with Dykvelt.
During the earlier debates in the convention parliament concerning the state of the nation, William maintained a close reserve, and was charged with exhibiting a morosity of temper which heightened the prevailing dissatisfaction (Evelyn, Diary, 29 Jan.). When, on the rejection by the lords of the plan of a regency, the question as to the vacancy of the throne awaited decision, he recognised that it involved that of his personal position, and, at a meeting of the two groups at the Earl of Devonshire's house, caused a hint to be given that he was not prepared to become his wife's gentleman-usher. Halifax's proposal to place William alone on the throne, though it may have commended itself to him (Burnet, iii. 391), met with no support; and Mary's letter to Danby, together with Anne's disavowal of the exertions of her agents, furnished the basis of a settlement in accordance with William's views. After a plain expression of them to Halifax, Danby, Shrewsbury, and others, the conference between the two houses on 6 Feb. ended in a resolution that the throne was vacant, and that the Prince and Princess of Orange should be declared king and queen. The declaration of right, drawn up by a committee of the commons, recapitulated the grievances against the government of the late king, and ordered the succession, after the decease of William and Mary, to be to her issue, then to the Princess Anne and her issue, and then to that of William. Mary arrived from the Hague on 12 Feb., and on the following day in the banqueting house at Whitehall, the declaration having been read, the crown was formally tendered to her consort and herself by Halifax in the name of the estates of the realm, and accepted. William's gravity of bearing once more strongly impressed observers (Evelyn, Diary, 21 Feb. For an account of the transactions in the convention, see Burnet and Macaulay, and the summary in Hallam, Constitutional History, chap. xiv.)
William met his first parliament with a body of counsellors formed out of the chief men who had helped to bring about, or rallied to, his government, the whigs necessarily securing the greater share of the subordinate offices of state, while his chief Dutch followers were provided with places in the household. The oath of allegiance caused no serious difficulties except among the clergy. The coronation of William and Mary was solemnised on 11 April, Bishop Compton of London performing the ceremony and Burnet preaching the sermon (Evelyn, Diary; Luttrell, Brief Relation, i. 520). William failed to obtain from parliament more than a temporary settlement of his revenue, or an assent to the religious policy which he had at heart; for, though it passed the Toleration Act (24 May), the comprehensive bill was shelved. The bill of rights (25 Oct.) reasserted in a legislative form the substance of the declaration of right, including the order of succession there established, without naming the house of Brunswick. In Scotland the convention met on 14 March; and after the throne had been declared vacant and a claim of right voted, showing forth fifteen reasons why James had forfeited the crown, William and Mary were proclaimed king and queen. In accordance with Carstares's ‘Hints to the King’ (see McCormick, p. 38), William's assent was given to the act abolishing episcopacy in Scotland (1 July); his desire to effect a union between the two kingdoms in church and state had to be indefinitely postponed. The death of Dundee at Killiecrankie (27 July 1689) was followed by a general laying down of arms on the part of the clans, pending the hoped-for arrival of James in person. On the other hand William was much blamed for neglecting Ireland (Evelyn, Diary, 2 March), where James opened a parliament which declared itself independent of the English, and where soon Londonderry and Enniskillen alone held out for the new government. But no conflict took place between James's forces and those of Schomberg, who arrived in August.
The English parliament having on 19 April promised to support William should he declare war against France, it was declared accordingly on 7 May. A few days later (12 May) the foundation, of what was not yet known as the ‘grand alliance,’ was laid by a treaty of alliance between the united provinces and the empire. To this treaty William acceded as king of England on 9 Sept. 1689, in a document neither countersigned nor communicated to parliament; and in the next year followed the accessions of Spain and Savoy. The purport of the compact was the maintenance of the treaties of Westphalia and the Pyrenees; but a secret article undertook to support the emperor's claims to the Spanish succession in the event of the death of the reigning king (for this article see Grimblot, i. 271 n.; cf. as to the beginnings of the ‘grand alliance,’ Klopp, iv. 492; Müller, ii. 67). On 27 Jan. 1690, seriously disheartened by the violence of the whigs, more especially in insisting upon exceptions to his project of indemnity, William prorogued parliament, and shortly afterwards it was dissolved. Its successor met on 20 March. After obtaining a more favourable, but still only in part permanent, settlement of his revenue (Burnet, iv. 77), carrying through a broad act of grace (not of indemnity) accounted by Macaulay (chap. xv.) ‘one of his noblest and purest titles to renown,’ and helping to bring about the dropping of the much-vexed abjuration bill, William prorogued parliament, and, though pressed to proceed to Scotland (Stair Annals, i. 144), took his departure for Ireland (4 June). Burnet (iv. 83) describes him as ‘very cloudy’ on the previous day, doubtless in part owing to Fuller's disclosures of Jacobite designs (Macaulay, chap. xv.; as to the alarm with which Portland and other friends of the king regarded his Irish journey, see Cal. State Papers, Dom. 1689–1690, Introd. p. xxvi, and letters there cited). Provision had been made by parliament for the conduct of the government by the queen during his absence in their joint names [see Mary II]. After landing at Carrickfergus (14 June) and proceeding to Belfast (see two contemporary accounts ap. Trevor, vol. ii. App. iv.), William assumed the command of his forces, and marched towards Drogheda, crossing the Boyne and leaving the town to his right. On 30 June he was faced on the other side of the river by the Irish-French army under James, inferior in numbers to his own; and on 1 July, fording the Boyne, drove the Irish into flight, the French covering their retreat and the escape of his adversary [see James II]. Delighted to find the enemy before him, he displayed his usual courage in the action, in which he was slightly wounded, together with extraordinary endurance: he was nineteen hours in the saddle. A false rumour of his death having reached Paris, the bells of Notre-Dame were rung (for contemporary authorities on the battle see Macaulay, chap. xvi., and Ranke, vol. vi. appendix; cf. Burnet, iv. 201, and Luttrell, ii. 71 et al.) Drogheda fell, and William entered Dublin, where he received the news of the defeat of the Anglo-Dutch fleet at Beachy Head, followed by that of Luxemburg's victory at Fleurus. He advanced on Limerick, but, after an unsuccessful assault (27 Aug.), raised its siege and sailed for England, where he was well received at Bristol (6 Sept.). The victory of the Boyne had effectively prevented James II from making Ireland a stepping-stone for the reconquest of England, and the reduction of the island was completed by the capitulation of Limerick (July 1691), the terms of which show that, after the departure of James, the Irish fought only for their own hand.
William's chief energies were now directed to raising the ways and means for the continental war in support of the ‘confederacy abroad,’ which in his speech of 2 Oct. he vigorously commended to parliament (Kennet, iii. 566). On 18 Jan. 1691 he set out for Holland, where, after a perilous landing (Burnet, iv. 129; cf. Cal. State Papers, Dom. 1690–1, p. 250), he met with a splendid reception at the Hague, and addressed the congress of allies in the tone of their acknowledged leader (Wagenaar, ap. Klopp, v. 238). But before he could bring up the force of fifty thousand men collected by him, Mons had fallen (9 April); and though after a visit to England, in which he haughtily trod down the insidious ashes of Preston's disclosures, he resumed the campaign, it remained devoid of result. During the winter 1691–2 he remained intent upon the great European struggle. Parliament voted the poll-tax that was to enable him to take the field with a force of sixty-four thousand men. He prorogued it, however (24 Feb. 1692), after for the first time using his power of veto, in order to protect the crown against a new charge (his action as to the bill for securing fixed salaries to the judges is explained by Macaulay, chap. xviii.) Before the dissolution Marlborough, who had concerted with James a series of operations, beginning with a motion in the lords for the exclusion of all foreigners from the service of England, was dismissed from all his employments, and a rupture ensued of the friendly relations between the sovereigns and the Princess Anne (January).
Little importance can at the time have been attached by William to an incident which, besides leading to the political overthrow of one of his most trusted Scottish advisers, was to cast a deep shadow over his own fame [see Dalrymple, Sir John, first Earl of Stair; and Dalrymple, Sir James, first Viscount Stair]. William's letter of 11 Jan. 1692 to Sir Thomas Livingstone, which sanctioned a rigorous treatment of any highland rebels failing to take advantage of the indemnity granted to such as should come in by 1 Jan., and the additional instructions signed by him on 16 Jan., prove that he wished an example to be made of the Macdonalds of Glencoe, if their case could be distinctly shown to fall outside of the indemnity. William's responsibility is not affected by the glosses put upon his orders by the master of Stair, who was attending him as joint secretary for Scotland; nor is it reasonable to press the literal meaning of the term ‘extirpation’ employed by him as to the treatment, in a particular event only, of the Macdonalds. While he could not be aware of the method by which his orders were to be carried out, the line of action which in a certain event he approved manifestly failed to strike him as extraordinary. After having become known at Paris in March and in London in April 1692, the massacre was in the following year discussed in the Scottish parliament by the enemies of the master of Stair and his father, the lord president; but it was not till April 1695 that the king granted a commission of inquiry, whose report, issued 20 June, exonerated him while condemning the master of Stair. The latter having resigned office, William issued a letter freeing him from all consequences of his connection with the massacre, and conveying no disapproval of anything but the method of its execution (for the report see Carstares Papers, p. 236; for the ‘Scroll of Discharge,’ Paget's The New Examen, p. 74; see ib. p. 69 as to the tract ‘Gallienus Redivivus,’ published after the appointment of the commission, and clearly aimed at King William).
Early in 1692 the half-discoveries which had led to the dismissal of Marlborough were in some measure discredited by the exposure of the fictitiousness of ‘Fuller's plot.’ Soon, however, Louis XIV, trusting partly to English discontent and disloyalty, partly to the country being bared of troops for William's campaign in Flanders, equipped a powerful expedition for the invasion of England by James. But the defeat and destruction of the French fleet at La Hogue (19 and 24 May) ended the last armada ever despatched by Louis against this country, and it had not even succeeded in drawing William out of the Netherlands. Here he failed to raise the siege of Namur (which was taken on 23 June), and, throwing himself in the way of Luxemburg's advance upon Brussels, was defeated by him at Steenkirke (3 Aug.), where, however, the losses of the French were such as to stay their advance (the correctness of Macaulay's and other descriptions of the battle are impugned by Müller, ii. 198; see ib. p. 102, as to William's sorrow for the death, in November, of Waldeck, who made the dispositions for the battle). A week after Steenkirke a French officer named Grandval was executed in the English camp, having confessed a design upon William's life, in which Louvois and his son were said to have been involved, and of which James II and his queen are stated to have been aware (Burnet, iv. 170, and Macaulay, chap. xix. As to Louis XIV's ignorance of the plot, see Briefe der Herzogin Elisabeth Charlotte von Orléans an die Kurfürstin Sophie, 1891, i. 154). On 24 March 1693 William was back in Holland after his parliamentary session, and soon confronted the French forces, nearly double his own in number, commanded by Louis XIV. But it was not until after the departure of the latter, who had declined a battle, that Luxemburg, after taking Huy, could attempt by a decisive action to drive William out of Brabant. The battle of Neerwinden, or Landen (19 July), in which William gave remarkable proofs of personal valour, is described by Macaulay as the most sanguinary battle fought in Europe during the seventeenth century. Berwick had collected two hundred volunteers for an attack on the person of William in this battle (Klopp, vi. 214). Though Luxemburg was victorious, his terrible losses prevented a pursuit. William fell back upon Brussels, and was soon reinforced; but he neither ventured on a second battle nor interfered with the capture of Charleroi, soon after which he returned to England (29 Oct.) The two years' campaigns had resulted in maintaining a balance of success between the adversaries, and in the latter part of 1693 an inclination towards peace was first shown by the aggressor (see ib. vi. 237). In England the tories and the country interest were likewise beginning to grow weary of the war, while the whigs and the mercantile classes were prepared to keep up the English army, without whose aid the struggle in the Netherlands must have collapsed and invasion become possible. This increase of tension between the political parties made it more and more difficult for William to govern with the support of both. In the winter session 1692–3 the place bill, which prohibited the tenure of any office under the crown by a member of parliament chosen after 1 Feb. 1693, and which would have altered the relations of all future parliaments to the crown, had been rejected by a narrow majority; to the passing of the triennial bill, which as amended would have terminated the sitting parliament on Lady day 1694, and limited the duration of all subsequent parliaments to three years, the king had refused his assent, thus for the second time making use of his power of veto (14 March 1693; as to William's interview with Swift, sent by Temple to urge him to assent to the bill, see Swift's own account in his ‘Autobiographical Anecdotes’ in Forster's Life, i. 13). But though he had thus opposed the wishes of the whigs, the necessities of his foreign policy, which he plainly put before parliament when opening the session on 7 Nov. (Kennet, iii. 665), and the increased violence of the wrangles between the two parties during its course, strengthened his inclination to trust the stronger and better organised of them. The triennial bill was this time rejected by the commons. To a new and far less drastic place bill he injudiciously refused his assent, by this third use of his power exasperating the tories, and running a serious risk of losing his supply (December). The storm, however, blew over, and the remainder of the session was occupied with the provision of ways and means, partly by a lottery loan of 1,000,000l., and the incorporation of the subscribers to a further loan of 1,200,000l., under the name of the governor and company of the Bank of England [see Paterson, William, (1658–1719); and Montagu, Charles, Earl of Halifax]. When, on 25 April 1694, the bill establishing the Bank of England having received the royal assent, parliament was prorogued, the ministry was already being transformed into a whig administration. The Duke of Shrewsbury [see Talbot, Charles] had at last accepted a secretaryship of state, and Montagu was soon afterwards appointed chancellor of the exchequer. Yet the campaign, which William opened at the head of nearly ninety thousand men (May), led to no result, the French contriving to avoid a battle with his superior numbers, while the treason of Marlborough frustrated an attack on Brest (June). But William's activity was nowhere relaxed, and in October Heinsius could address the congress of allies at the Hague in terms as confident as those in which on 12 Nov. the king appealed to his own parliament for continued support (Kennet, vi. 672). He was, however, clearly already disposed to listen to overtures of peace, and the joint negotiations conducted by Dykvelt on his behalf suggest the beginnings of hesitations in his policy which were afterwards to lead to the partition treaties (Klopp, vi. 358).
In the new session William, warned by the recent breakdown of the ‘Lancashire plot’ prosecutions, determined to avoid further opposition to a measure supported by the moderate men of both parties, and signified the royal assent to the triennial bill (22 Dec.). At this very time he was on the eve of a loss which seemed likely to endanger seriously the stability of his rule. On 28 Dec. Queen Mary [q. v.] died of the small-pox. William, who had not always been kind or faithful to his wife, had of late years had unprecedented opportunities for recognising the completeness of her self-sacrificing devotion, and sincerely mourned her loss (see Burnet, iv. 249, as to his anxiety and faintings during her last illness, and his complete seclusion for some weeks after her death; cf. Shrewsbury Correspondence, p. 218). His replies to the condolences of the houses bear the impress of genuine grief, and, in deference to her wish, he consented to a personal reconciliation with the Princess Anne (January 1695). He afterwards showed a consistent kindness to her son, William, duke of Gloucester, till his death in 1700. The rumours of his own remarriage, which were rife in 1696, gradually died out.
In accordance with the provision made in the bill of rights, no formal break ensued either in the reign or in the existing parliament. But the Jacobites were much encouraged by the queen's death, which became the signal for the revival of plots against the life of the king. Moreover, the growing distaste for his war policy and the removal of a moderating influence by the death of Halifax (February) stimulated tory factiousness. Godolphin was the only tory among the seven lords justices named by William on departing for Holland (12 May). On whatever basis he might ultimately conclude peace, success in his campaign was of the utmost importance to William; but though he took Namur (1 Sept.), he was unable to follow up its capture by a victory in the field. (As to the rumour of the annihilation of himself and his army which reached London shortly before, see Carstares Papers, p. 259). On 6 Nov. he quietly ratified the renewal of the ‘grand alliance,’ without any reference to the secret article (Klopp, vii. 118).
The Triennial Act made it impossible to postpone a general election beyond 1696, and William resolved forthwith to employ every means for securing the return of a homogeneous whig House of Commons. Besides making manifest his goodwill to the heir-presumptive and her heir-apparent (Luttrell, iii. 537–8), he showed himself and the court in various parts of the country—at Newmarket, at Althorp, at Stamford—and held something like a progress in the west. Evelyn mentions his hasty departure from Oxford, where he had been very coldly received. The whole ended with a pyrotechnic display arranged by Romney (Henry Sidney) in St. James's Square for the royal birthday (Luttrell, iii. 538–46; Lexington Papers, p. 138). His exertions were rewarded by the return of a decided whig majority.
William's speech on the opening of the new parliament (Kennet, iii. 703) showed his determination to utilise it for a vigorous prosecution of the war, so as to make possible a substantially satisfactory peace. He obtained a supply sufficient to provide for an army nearly as large as that commanded by him in his last campaign, although a heavy expenditure was necessitated about this time by Montagu's act for remedying the depreciation of the silver coinage (January 1696). In return the king magnanimously—for the air was full of plots—assented to a bill abating the rigour of the proceedings in trials for high treason; and, in answer to an address from the commons, promised to revoke grants of land in Wales made to Portland (January). On 14 Feb. a plot which had been formed in the previous year, but postponed in its execution owing to William's departure for the continent, was disclosed to Portland. The design of the plot, for which Sir George Barclay [q. v.] had brought over a species of general sanction from St. Germain, and which had been joined by Sir John Fenwick [q. v.], and others, to the number of forty in all, was to fall upon the king at a ferry near Turnham Green on his way from Kensington to Richmond Park. Berwick, who had secretly arrived in London to superintend a plan of invasion, the progress of which James watched from Calais, on the detection of the assassination plot at once withdrew. The agitation in London was very great (Evelyn, Diary, 26 Feb.), and, while measures were quickly taken for the defence of the coast and Calais was bombarded (March), an association was formed for the defence of the king's person, and generally joined throughout the country, even in Lancashire. William showed perfect self-control in the course of the proceedings which followed, neither interfering with the course of justice, nor pursuing the charges of complicity made against Shrewsbury and others by Fenwick on his arrest (June 1696; see the earlier of the Vernon Letters, vol. i.). In the midst of these proceedings the king sailed for Holland (7 May). Before proroguing parliament he had used his power of veto once more, against a bill imposing a qualification of landed estate upon members of the House of Commons (10 April), but had assented to the bill embodying the futile tory scheme of a land bank (27 April).
The financial embarrassments which marked this year in England and the more serious distress in France hampered the combatants during the campaign of 1696; and William was further inclined towards peace, even if its conditions should fall short of the original programme of the ‘grand alliance,’ by the defection of Savoy (June); by the pacific tendencies at Amsterdam; by mistaken suspicions that the emperor desired a separate treaty (Klopp, vii. 258, 354); and possibly by a knowledge of the will of Charles II of Spain (afterwards destroyed) in favour of the electoral prince of Bavaria (ib. pp. 350, 419). In the summer and autumn of 1696 informal negotiations were carried on by his direction between Portland and Boufflers (see Grimblot, vol. i.). But his views remained unknown to his English advisers or to parliament and public; and when on 16 April 1697 he prorogued parliament, his speech (Kennet, iii. 734) dwelt on the firmness with which the financial difficulties had been met, and every mark of royal favour descended on the whig junto now in control of the government (Macaulay, chap. xxii.) When he returned to Holland (24 April) peace negotiations were on the point of being opened at Ryswyk (May); no military operations took place, and the peace of Ryswyk with France was actually concluded by England, the united provinces, and Spain on 10 Sept. (the emperor definitively acceded on 30 Oct.) So far as England was concerned, this peace secured, together with a mutual restoration of territories, a promise by Louis XIV not to support directly or indirectly the enemies of William (whom he thus recognised as king), whoever they might be; but it included no engagement for the banishment of James from France. The interests of the empire were only partially met; but a barrier treaty provided for the safety of the frontier, and a commercial treaty was arranged with France in the trade interests of the united provinces, his solicitude for which William was at no pains to conceal (Grimblot, i. 136).
No reference was made in the treaty to the question of the Spanish succession; but this omission little troubled William's English subjects, with whom the peace was genuinely popular. They accorded the king an excellent reception on his return to London on 16 Nov. (William to Heinsius, ap. Grimblot, i. 137; cf. Evelyn, Diary), and crowded to his court at Whitehall on Thanksgiving day on 2 Dec. (ib.) The fundamental misunderstanding between William and English public opinion, however, speedily manifested itself. In announcing the peace to parliament in his opening speech, on 3 Dec. (Kennet, iii. 740), he declared his conviction that England could not at present be safe without a land force. An agitation for disarmament had been in progress already before his return, and Harley's motion—carried on 10 Dec.—for a reduction of the army to five thousand, or with garrisons from eight to ten thousand, men, gave moderate expression to the general opinion. Sunderland, supposed to have supported the maintenance of the forces, was driven from office. William delayed the reduction, and a motion for vacating grants of crown lands made since the revolution was evaded (February). It was while thus at issue with his parliament that he engaged in negotiations with Louis XIV on the subject which occupied him above all others, viz. the Spanish succession.
William's relations with Louis had entered into a courteous stage; his ambassador, Portland, was politely received in France, although James still remained at St. Germain; a concession to protestant feeling was made in the matter of the principality of Orange (Carstares Papers, p. 573); and the French ambassador, Count de Tallard, was entertained by William at Newmarket. Here and at Paris the question of the Spanish succession was, without the knowledge of parliament, informally pushed forward with a view to the succession of the electoral prince of Bavaria to at least the nucleus of the Spanish monarchy (Grimblot, i. 290, 340), a scheme favoured by William already in the previous year (Gourville, Mémoires, p. 513). Louis, although his ambassador Harcourt, at Madrid, was pressing the French claims to the Spanish inheritance, was gradually brought to concede the principle of its partition; and in apprehension of the death of Charles II of Spain, William laboured hard to hasten a conclusion, keeping the secret so far as possible from the emperor and the Spanish government (Vernon Letters, ii. 189), but labouring hard to obtain for the former the solid compensation of the Milanese (Grimblot, ii. 182). Only a few days before the signing of the treaty at the Hague (11 Oct.) it was communicated by William to Somers, and by him shown to four other members of the ministry; but although Vernon, as secretary of state, declined to give his warrant for the affixing to it of the great seal, Somers, while stating to the king the objections of himself and his colleagues to the treaty, forwarded to him the necessary commission for plenipotentaries; and, having been signed by them, the treaty was ratified by William at the Loo before the end of October (see Somer, John, Lord Somers; for the text of the treaty see Grimblot, vol. ii. appendix i.) In order to defeat the project of a French succession, he had abandoned the chief secret purpose of the ‘grand alliance;’ and had obtained no tangible advantages for England to stand him in stead in the day of reckoning.
The new House of Commons, though it had been returned under a whig government and elected a whig speaker (Sir Thomas Littleton), at once showed itself unwilling to respond to the king's opening admonition as to the necessity of keeping up the national armaments by land and sea (Kennet, iii. 758), and resolved in reply to limit the land forces to seven thousand men, all of whom were to be native-born Englishmen. Moved in part by his affection for his Dutch foot guards, William told Heinsius that he was being ‘driven mad’ by the doings of parliament, and not obscurely spoke of withdrawing to Holland (Grimblot, ii. 219, 233; cf. Somers to Shrewsbury, in Shrewsbury Correspondence, p. 572; Hallam, chap. xv. n.) He actually drafted what was to be his last speech from the throne (the manuscript is preserved in the British Museum). But on 1 Feb. he gave his assent to the proposal in a candid and dignified speech (Kennet, iii. 759), and the house replied with a loyal address. It should be noticed that parliament had only fixed the total of men under arms, and that it was left to the crown whether this should largely consist of cadres of regiments. A few days afterwards came the news of the death (6 Feb.) of the electoral prince of Bavaria, whom Charles II of Spain had acknowledged (14 Nov. 1698) as his heir. William soon found that Louis had no intention of acting upon the secret article of the first partition treaty, which, in the event of the death of the prince, transferred his claims to his father (Grimblot, ii. 251), and at once began to take thought of a fresh combination. He made one more attempt by a message to the commons to retain his Dutch guards (18 March), but the previous question was carried without a division. The appointment, before the prorogation of parliament (4 May), of a commission to consider his grants of forfeited Irish estates increased the existing tension. He had already admitted some tories into the administration; but of far deeper personal importance to him was the resignation about this time of all his offices by Portland, who resented the continued rise in the royal favour of Albemarle (see Burnet, iv. 412; and cf. Keppel, Arnold joost van, first Earl of Albemarle). During his absence in Holland (31 May–18 Oct.) his attention was absorbed by the negotiations for the second partition treaty, which, when interchanging friendly letters with Louis XIV in November and December, he described as completed (Ranke, vol. vi. app.) It had been formally submitted to the cabinet council in 1699, but with an unmistakable intimation from Portland that it must be taken or left as it stood (see Hardwicke Papers, ii. 399). It was actually signed in London on 21 Feb. 1700, a month later at the Hague, and was not communicated to parliament. Although the second partition treaty (for the text see Grimblot, vol. ii. app. ii.), in giving Milan to France, granted her terms neither excessive nor equal to those which she had at first asked, its conditions were not really satisfactory to William, and would not have been accepted by him but for the weakness of his position at home and the absence of any understanding between him and the emperor. The cardinal objection to the treaty, however, lay not in its actual terms but in the inherent improbability that, under the circumstances of its conclusion, it would ever be carried out. The winter session 1699–1700 proved, in his own words to Heinsius (Grimblot, ii. 398), ‘the most dismal’ ever experienced by William. For the failure of the Darien settlement and the expedition sent to recover it (June 1699–February 1700), which plunged the whole of Scotland into the wildest excitement, he was not responsible, although in Edinburgh his presence was loudly demanded, while at the same time every obloquy was heaped upon his name (Carstares Papers, p. 539, June and July 1700). His desire for a union with Scotland, which he impressed upon the lords at the very time when they were remonstrating against the Darien settlement, was diametrically opposed to the spirit pervading English commercial as well as religious legislation in this age. On the other hand, he was personally concerned in the question of the Irish grants, on which the commons' commissioners—or the four of the seven who signed—reported 15 Dec. 1699, with the result of a bill of resumption being immediately passed by the commons which vested the lands in trustees and for the most part voided the grants. The Earls of Portland (through his son, Viscount Woodstock), Romney (Henry Sidney), and Rochford (Zulestein), and the king's former mistress (Lady Orkney) had benefited by what had been to some extent a misappropriation, but could not, without dishonour to both king and parliament, be proclaimed as such. The bill was tacked to a money bill, in order to prevent its rejection in the House of Lords, where, however, it was passed by the king's own desire (May; Burnet, iv. 436; cf. Hallam, chap. xv.). The next blow aimed against him was an address for the removal from his councils of his supposed chief adviser in recent transactions, the Lord-chancellor Somers. This was lost only by a narrow majority, and soon afterwards Somers resigned at the king's request. Finally, an address having been carried against the employment in the service of the state of any person not a native of England, with the exception of Prince George of Denmark, William avoided receiving it by proroguing parliament (11 April), for the first time in many sessions without a speech from the throne.
The death (30 July) of the Duke of Gloucester, of whom the king, his godfather, had been unmistakably fond (see Jenkin Lewis, Memoir of William, Duke of Gloucester, ed. W. J. Loftie, 1881), made it necessary to take immediate thought of the eventual succession to the prince's mother. William's interest in the claims of the house of Hanover was shown in this year (October) by his reception of the Electress Sophia and her daughter the Electress of Brandenburg, both at the Loo and at the Hague (Klopp, vii. 570–571). In the same year he intervened against Denmark on behalf of Sweden and the peace of the north, and English vessels took part in the not very severe but effectual bombardment of Copenhagen (June). William had not long returned from Holland to England when the news arrived of the death of Charles II of Spain (1 Nov.), and of the bequest in his will of the entire Spanish inheritance to the dauphin's younger son, Philip, duke of Anjou. A fortnight later Louis XIV had made up his mind, and the second partition treaty (to which the emperor had never acceded, although a secret article left him two months after the death of Charles II for the purpose) had become waste paper. William, who had hoped that Louis would at least for a time keep up the appearance of adhering to the treaty (see his letter to Heinsius, 12 Nov., Ranke, vol. vii. app.), was fully aware of the general disposition in England to acquiesce in Charles II's will, and could only trust to the action of Holland for giving him time to draw over his English subjects to the right side (see his letter to the same, 16 Nov., in Hardwicke Papers, ii. 394). But Holland very speedily dropped the treaty. William therefore returned to the policy of the grand alliance, which he was to carry to a successful issue even before Louis XIV's final challenge. For the moment he felt the necessity of governing with the support of the tories, and with this view admitted Rochester and Godolphin into office and dissolved parliament (December).
In the House of Commons of the new parliament which met on 6 Feb. 1701, the tories had a large majority, as was shown by the election of Harley as speaker; but the supposition of Burnet (iv. 474) that corruption secured a strong support for the policy of France seems unwarranted. A reaction against the general acquiescence in the succession of Philip of Anjou is perceptible already in 1701 (see ‘The Apparent Danger of an Invasion,’ in Harleian Miscellany, vol. x.); and, though William was unable to prevent the recognition of Philip as king of Spain by the States-General, this reaction was increased by the seizure of the barrier fortresses by the French (6 Feb.) The whigs were inclined for war. On a motion (20 Feb.) for the recognition of Philip, Harley advocated leaving the matter to the judgment of the king, and an address was voted giving him virtually a free hand in his efforts for preserving peace. He improved the opportunity by communicating to parliament a letter from Melfort as to a contemplated invasion (Kennet, iii. 792). But while William seemed prepared to treat parliament with frankness as to the actual situation, the houses chose to settle down to a banquet of debate on the whole subject of his foreign policy in the past, including a discussion of the partition treaties, conducted in the commons with absolute recklessness of tone and language. Addresses by both houses (21 March), inveighing both against the policy of the treaties and the clandestine method of their conclusion, were followed by blustering resolutions for the impeachment of Portland, Somers, Orford, and Halifax (Montagu), which involved the two houses in conflict, and finally broke down on the dissolution of parliament. These transactions help to explain why William yielded (April) to his cabinet council in returning, to a letter from Philip announcing his accession, a reply addressing him as king of Spain (printed in Kennet, iii. 801). On the other hand, the growing popular feeling that the factiousness of parliament was obscuring the situation found expression in the Kentish petition (signed 29 April); and, though this was voted scandalous by the commons, the king was encouraged to present to both houses the memorials of the States-General (13 May) as to their immediate danger. Meanwhile the debates on the Act of Settlement had been carried on through the session, and the act received the royal assent on 12 June (for an analysis see Hallam, chap. xv.) With the aid of the whigs William had secured the ultimate succession of the house of Hanover; but the securities inserted in the act by the tories were unmistakably in a large measure intended as remonstrances against the system of government practised by him, or imputed to him. On 24 June he prorogued parliament, after the commons had voted an address leaving it to him to support his allies by a lasting peace or a necessary war (Kennet, iii. 810), and on 30 June he embarked for Holland, leaving orders for Marlborough to follow him with an English army.
He had thus carried through his main purpose; and the efforts in which he hereupon engaged (July and August) resulted (7 Sept.) in the renewal of the ‘grand alliance’—a name now first used (Von Noorden, i. 144, 164). Thus the die was cast before William knew of the decease of his father-in-law, James II, and the recognition by Louis XIV of the pretender of St. Germain as king of England (6 Sept.) William at once withdrew his ambassador, the Earl of Manchester, from Paris, and the city of London set the example of a loyal address denouncing the indignity offered to him by the French king. When he returned to England (4 Nov.) he found the country aflame with resentment, and addresses in various tones pouring in from all sides (Burnet, iv. 543). The spirit of faction was, however, far from extinct; and finding some of the tories whom he caused to be consulted intent upon continuing the impeachments, he took the advice of Somers (Hardwicke Papers, ii. 453) and dissolved parliament (11 Nov.) During the elections he this time bore himself with caution; but their result encouraged him to trust himself once more to the whigs, and to begin transforming the government in this sense (December).
The admirable speech, said to have been written by Somers, with which on 30 Dec. William opened his last parliament, was followed by loyal addresses, and the king at once laid before the houses the treaties of the ‘grand alliance.’ On 9 Jan. 1702 the commons brought in a bill for the further security of the king's person and of the protestant succession, and on the following day determined that the proportion of the land forces contributed by England should, in accordance with the ‘grand alliance’ treaties, be forty thousand men. On 20 Feb. the lords passed a bill sent up by the commons for the attainder of the pretended Prince of Wales; and after much debate the security bill, which imposed upon all persons employed in church or state an oath abjuring the pretender and acknowledging William as the rightful and lawful king, which in the commons had been made obligatory by a single vote only, was likewise passed on 24 Feb. Further difficulties had been caused by the insertion in this bill of a clause relative to the Princess Anne, whose succession William was in some quarters unjustly supposed to view with disfavour (Stanhope, p. 34).
During the whole of this winter his health had been bad; he had consulted many eminent physicians in different parts of Europe by letter; at the Hague he had remained in seclusion, disturbed by rumours of a renewed design against his life (see Klopp, ix. 416, as to the escape of the dangerous Count Boselli from the Bastille; and cf. Lexington Papers, p. 259). On his return to England he had so far kept up the appearance of health as to ride and even hunt at Hampton Court; in his last letter to Heinsius, of 20 Feb., it was the health of his trusted friend that engaged his solicitude (this letter concludes the series in Ranke). On this very day his favourite horse Sorrel, which he was riding through the park at Hampton Court, stumbled on a molehill, causing him to fall and break his collar-bone. He was taken to Kensington the same night. No serious alarm seems to have been felt at the time; and on 23 Feb. he sent a message to both houses, in reference to a motion by Nottingham for the calling of a new parliament in Scotland, recommending a union between the two kingdoms (Burnet, iv. 558). An accession of pain and weakness on 1 March induced him to grant a commission under the great seal for giving the royal assent to the bill for the attainder of the pretender and certain other bills. On 3 March he had what Burnet calls ‘a short fit of the ague,’ and from the following day had to keep his room. Four days afterwards, when Albemarle arrived from Holland with a satisfactory report of the progress of affairs, the king received it apathetically, and soon afterwards said, ‘Je tire vers ma fin.’ On the same day Tenison and Burnet were in attendance; and on the following morning, Sunday, 8 March, having received the sacrament, he bade farewell to several English lords and to Auverquerque, committed his private keys to the care of Albemarle, asked for Portland but was unable to speak to him articulately, and between seven and eight o'clock, while the commendatory prayer was being said for him, died (Burnet and Macaulay; for the incident of the finding of the gold ring with Mary's hair tied to the king's left arm, see also Kennet, iii. 832). The autopsy showed death to have resulted from an acute pleurisy, probably complicated by the inflammation of one lung. He had always been asthmatical (see ib. p. 833, the report of the nine physicians and four surgeons who conducted the post-mortem examination; and cf. Dr. Norman Moore's letter to the Athenæum, 7 July 1894).
On 18 March the privy council resolved to bury William decently and privately in Westminster Abbey, to erect a monument to him and his queen there, and to set up a statue on horseback in some public place (Luttrell, v. 154); no monument, however, was erected in the abbey (the king's wax effigy, upon which Michelet moralises in his Louis XIV, 1864, p. 170, may still be seen there). The funeral took place on the night of 12 April, when the remains were, without the slightest attempt at pomp, laid in the vault under Henry VII's chapel in the abbey (Burnet, iv. 570). The king's will, on the contents of which conjecture had freely exercised itself (Luttrell, v. 150), was opened in May; it left the whole of his inheritance to his youthful cousin, John William Friso, hereditary stadholder of Friesland and Gröningen, whom William had in vain wished to succeed him in his own stadholderates (Van Kampen, ii. 334). A codicil bestowed a large legacy upon Albemarle.
William III's chief title to fame consists in his lucid perception, from first to last, of the political task of his life, and in the single-minded consistency with which he devoted himself to its accomplishment. This task was, in a word, to save the united provinces from being overwhelmed by France. The military leadership in the crisis of the French invasion he assumed as belonging to him by inheritance. But, the extremity of peril past, he recognised that the peril itself remained. To avert it he made himself indispensable as the leader of the European coalition against Louis XIV; to establish that position on an enduring basis he mounted the English throne; to maintain it he digested all but unbearable provocations. With the same purpose primarily in view, he accepted a disappointing, and concluded a temporising, peace; he entered into hazardous engagements involving him in serious misunderstandings with his near but clear-sighted English subjects, and in a happier hour reknit the European alliance of which at his death he left England the foremost member. Although his acceptance of the English throne was primarily due to his solicitude for the safety of the united provinces, it reduced their own influence in the affairs of Europe, and during his own lifetime impaired the cherished independence of their conditions of government at home. In return, his affection for his countrymen was the main source of his unpopularity in England. This unpopularity was probably not so marked as has been affirmed, except in Jacobite regions of the country, and in those spheres of court and political society where his Dutch followers were begrudged favour and office; but it certainly increased in his last years, embittered as they were by disappointments, sorrows, and failing health. With his parliaments, and with the classes among his subjects represented by them, he was frequently at variance, because to them the purposes of his foreign policy remained imperfectly intelligible, while he had little or no sympathy with their conceptions of government in state or church. Yet, owing to the circumstances of his position, and to his willingness to postpone all other considerations to that nearest to his heart, the power of parliament grew under his strong rule, and the system of party government advanced under a king who, with reason, detested nothing so much as faction. A less paradoxical result of his reign was the ‘military tinge’ imparted by him to English policy. The disbandment which troubled him so greatly was not to be repeated in our history (Seeley, The Growth of British Policy, 1895, ii. 347). He was by predilection a soldier, never appearing quite at his best except on the field of battle, where he repeatedly proved his high personal courage; as a general he took the measure of the foremost commanders of his times, and himself displayed circumspection, determination, and dash. On the other hand, he neglected the navy, and confessed that he did not understand sea affairs (Dalrymple, iii. 257). It was not his fault that he could give but little direct effect to his views of religious policy, favouring not only the toleration of which in England, as well as in Holland, he was a consistent promoter, but also a comprehension from which both the English and the Scottish churches were averse. In his personal tenets he seems to have been a Calvinist, ‘much possessed with the belief of absolute decrees’ (Burnet, iv. 564; cf. Letters of the Duchess of Orleans, passim); while his indifference to forms of church government failed to affect the regularity of his religious observances (McCormick, Life of Carstares, p. 38 n.) His unpopularity with the English clergy finds its chief explanation in their politics; the higher church appointments he was, during her lifetime, glad to leave to the queen. He readily associated himself with the wave of opinion against the progress of profanity and immorality which marked the last lustrum of his reign (Kennet, iii. 745). He showed warm sympathy with the struggles of protestantism in Switzerland and France, and was a kind friend to the protestant refugees in England (Cal. State Papers, Dom. 1690–1, Introd. p. xlvii; cf. C. Weiss, Histoire des Réfugiés Protestants de France, Paris, 1853, i. 321 seqq.).
His personal morality cannot be held to have risen above the level of his age. Macaulay has attempted to invest with a sentimental halo the affection which in his later years he learnt to dedicate to his faithful and self-sacrificing wife; but till within a year of her death (Shrewsbury Correspondence, pp. 19 sqq.) he kept up some sort of special relation with Elisabeth Villiers (afterwards Lady Orkney) [q. v.], the avowed mistress of his earlier married days. The suggestions as to his convivialities with a few chosen intimates at the Loo have little or no significance. A quite unwarrantable interpretation, gravely accepted by so calm an historian as Lord Stanhope, has been put upon Burnet's awkward statement (iii. 133), that ‘he had no vice but of one sort, in which he was very cautious and secret’ (cf. Letters of the Duchess of Orleans, u.s. i. 226). Although in his later years he made a favourite of Albemarle, he showed no fickleness towards the friends and advisers of his youth, and did not requite Portland's jealousy by a withdrawal of his confidence. With the two successive grand pensionaries, Fagel and Heinsius—with the latter in particular—his relations were continuously those of complete mutual trust. In England there were few on whom he could rely; but he preserved an unshaken confidence in Temple and Henry Sidney (Romney), valued the services of Somers, and to the last paid much attention to the counsels of Sunderland. He disliked flatterers, and a lack of geniality in his nature made him generally prone to taking unfavourable impressions. Although simple in bearing, and averse from all pomp and show (cf. Burnet, iv. 373, after Ryswick), he had a strong sense of dignity, ignoring considerations of profit (cf. Trevor, i. 113) and scorning as ‘beneath him’ apprehensions for his own safety (cf. his refusal to inquire into schemes for his assassination, Macaulay, chap. vii.) Throughout the greater part of his career he bore himself calmly both in the hour of victory and in the face of hopes defeated (cf. Burnet, iv. 106, after the Boyne and the raising of the siege of Limerick), and rarely departed from his rule of lenity except when rigour seemed required by ‘justice and example’ (Carstares Papers, p. 331). On the other hand, his reserved disposition disinclined him from courting popularity by his manners, and in his later years this unwillingness inevitably degenerated into moroseness. His extraordinary application to business, of which his voluminous correspondence furnishes a convincing record, and which was facilitated by a memory of extraordinary strength, illustrates his disregard of self, for Burnet must be correct in describing him (iii. 133) as hating business of all sorts. Yet he disliked the pleasures of life even more; he cared nothing for learning or art, shrank from conversation, and was as inamusable as Napoleon. Hunting was his one diversion, doubtless both on account of its solitariness and because, notwithstanding its fatigues, it seemed to suit his health, which he liked to treat in his own way (cf. Grimblot, i. 136). In his earlier manhood he carried on this pursuit at Dieren and other hunting seats, latterly by preference at his beloved country palace of the Loo. On this Kensington Palace was modelled, as altered from the house which he had bought from Nottingham in 1689 (Evelyn, Diary, 25 Feb. 1690; Norden's map of the north-west of Europe still remains over the chimneypiece in the king's gallery, together with the dial-hand showing the quarter whence the wind was blowing which delighted Peter the Great on his private visit to William in 1698). In his later years he resided much at Hampton Court, which he also largely improved; in building he was occasionally extravagant.
The debility of William's constitution, in which the seeds of disease long lurked, accounts for the gradual physical collapse which intensified the trials of his last years. His body was weak and thin, and was found after death to contain a quite unusually small quantity of blood (Report, u.s.); his stature was small, almost diminutive. Yet it was impossible to look upon him without being struck by the high spirit and intellectual power perceptible in his countenance, with its aquiline nose, thin compressed lips, and piercing eyes (by which Berwick recognised him when confronted with him after Landen, Pontalis, ii. 66). In his youth he had thick brown hair. Evelyn (Diary, 4 Nov. 1670) thought him in face much like his mother and his uncle Henry, duke of Gloucester. Among the numerous portraits of him may be mentioned one as an infant with his mother, by Honthorst, 1653, at the Hague; another, at the age of seven, by Cornelius Janssen van Ceulen, in the National Portrait Gallery; and a third, at the age of ten, in the Mauritshuis at the Hague. The portrait of him at the age of three, attributed to Rembrandt, is considered doubtful. The striking portrait of him in armour by Wissing at Kensington Palace was, together with the companion picture of Mary, painted at the Hague for James II. Another portrait of him as Prince of Orange, by Kneller, is also at Kensington. Of a portrait of him (ib.) as stadholder, 1680, a replica at Panshanger is doubtfully attributed to Wissing, by whom is another portrait at Hampton Court. From the period after his accession to the throne date, among others, those by Vollevens or Wissing, and by Van der Schuer in the Hague Musée Municipal, and by Seghers and G. Schalcken, also at the Hague; two by Jan Wyck in the National Portrait Gallery, two by Kneller at Kensington, and one by him at Hatfield. At the Hague are also busts of him by Verhulst and Blommendael. A marble statue of him was set up in the great hall of the Bank of England in 1735 (Gent. Mag. v. 49); another at Hull in 1734 to his memory as ‘our great deliverer.’ The equestrian statue at Petersfield was erected by William Jolliffe, M.P.; yet another, famed in the annals of Irish faction stands in the middle of College Green, Dublin.