OREALD.COM - An Old Electronic Library
eng: a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z

Reign of James II. (Continued) page 8

Pages: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 <8> 9 10 11 12

William took up his quarters in a cottage whilst his troops were landing, and from its thatched roof waved the flag of Holland, bearing the significant motto, "I will maintain the Protestant Religion and the Liberties of England." Burnet was one of the first to congratulate William on his landing on English soil; and, at the recommendation of Carstairs, the first thing on the complete disembarkation was to collect the troops, and return public thanks to Heaven for the successful transit of the armament. The next day William marched in the direction of Exeter; but the rains continued, and the roads were foul, so that he made little progress. It was not till the 9th that he appeared before the city. The people received him with enthusiasm, but the magistracy shrunk back in terror, and the bishop Lamplugh and the dean had fled to warn the king of the invasion. The city was in utter confusion, and first shut its gates; but as quickly agreed to open them, and William was accommodated in the vacated deanery. But the people of the west had suffered too much from the support of Monmouth not to have learnt caution. A service was ordered in the cathedral to return thanks for the safe arrival of the prince; but the canons absented themselves, and only some of the prebendaries and choristers attended, and, as soon as Burnet began to read the prince's declaration, these hurried out as fast as they could. On Sunday, which was the 11th, Burnet was the only clergyman that could begot to preach before the prince, and the dissenters refused admittance to the fanatic Ferguson to their chapel. That extraordinary person, however, who appears to have been one-third enthusiast and two-thirds knave, called for a hammer, and exclaiming, "I will take the kingdom of heaven by storm!" broke open the door, marched to the pulpit with his drawn sword in his hand, and delivered one of those wild and ill-judged philippics against the king which did so much mischief in the cause of Monmouth.

Altogether, so far the cause of William appeared as little promising as that of Monmouth had done. Notwithstanding the many and earnest entreaties from men of high ränk and of various classes, nobles, bishops, officers of army and navy, a week had elapsed, and no single person of influence had joined him. The' people only, as in Monmouth's case, had crowded about him with acclamations of welcome. William was extremely disappointed and chagrined; he declared that he was deluded and betrayed, and he vowed that he would reimbark, and leave those who had called for him to work out their own deliverance, or receive their due punishment. But on Monday, the 12th, his spirits were a little cheered by a gentleman of Crediton, named Burrington, attended by a few followers, joining his standard. This was immediately followed, however, by the news that lord Lovelace, with about seventy of his tenants and neighbours, had been intercepted by the militia at Cirencester, taken prisoners, and sent to Gloucester castle. The slow movement of the disaffected appears to have originated in William's not having landed in Yorkshire, as was expected, but in the west, where he was not expected. In the north, lord Delamere and Brandon in Cheshire, Danby and Lumley in Yorkshire, Devonshire and Chesterfield in Derbyshire: in Lancashire the earl of Manchester, in Nottinghamshire and Lincolnshire Rutland and Stamford, and others were all' waiting to receive him. The very army which had been encamped on Hounslow Heath was the seat of secret conspiracy of officers, with Churchill himself at their head, who kept up constant communication with the club at the Rose tavern, in Covent Garden, of which lord Colchester was president. But all this concert was paralysed for a time by William's appearance in so distant a quarter.

But the elements of revolt which had suffered a momentary shock now began to move visibly. The very day that lord Lovelace was captured, lord Colchester marched into Exeter, attended by about seventy horse, and accompanied by the hero of Lillibullero, Thomas Wharton. They were quickly followed by Russell, the son of the duke of Bedford, one of the earliest promoters of the revolution, and still more significantly by the earl of Abingdon, a stanch tory, who had supported James till he saw that nothing but the reign of popery would satisfy him. A still more striking defection from the king immediately followed. Lord Cornbury, the eldest son of the earl of Clarendon, pretended to have received orders to march with three regiments of cavalry stationed at Salisbury moor to the enemy in the west. He was a young man, entirely under the influence of lord Churchill, having been brought up in the household of his cousin, the princess Anne, where Churchill and his wife directed everything; and there can be no doubt that this movement was the work of Churchill. As the cavalry proceeded from place to place by a circuitous route to Axminster, the officers became suspicious, and, demanded to see the orders. Cornbury replied that his orders were to beat up the quarters of the army in the night near Honiton. The loyal officers, who had received hints that all was not right, demanded to see the written orders; but Cornbury, who had none to produce, stole away in the dark with a few followers who were in the secret, and got to the Dutch camp. His regiment, and that of the duke of Berwick, James's own son, with the exception of about thirty troops, returned to Salisbury; but the third regiment, the duke of St. Alban's, followed the colonel, Langton, to Honiton, where general Talmash received them; and most of the officers and a hundred and fifty privates declared for the prince, the rest being made prisoners but soon afterwards discharged.

The news of this defection of one so near to the king's family created the greatest consternation in the palace. The king rose from table without finishing his dinner, and there were terror and tears amongst the queen's ladies, the queen herself appearing quite prostrated. What made the matter the more alarming wait the undisguised joy which appeared amongst the king's most trusted officers. Clarendon pretended to be overwhelmed at so unlooked-for a calamity as the treason of his son. "O God!" he exclaimed, "that a son of mine should be a rebel!" But subsequent events soon showed that this was mere affectation; in another fortnight he became a rebel himself. He was not long in discovering that there were plenty of people about the court who applauded his son's conduct, and the princess Anne herself asked why he made trouble of it. "People," she naively remarked, "are very uneasy about popery, and there are plenty more in the army who will do the säme." In fact, it is not to be forgotten that, though the Hydes were nearly related by marriage to the throne, they were still more nearly related to the invading party by blood. Both Clarendon and Rochester had been disgraced and dismissed for their unbending protestantism; and they had no hope whatever from the popish prince, but every expectation from the protestant aspirants.

In his terror, James summoned a military council. He was anxious to receive the assurances of fidelity from his other officers - as if any assurances, under the circumstances, anything but leading them against the enemy, could test the loyalty of these men. He told them that he wished to be satisfied that there were no more Cornburys amongst them; and that, if any present had any scruple about fighting for him, he was ready to receive back their commissions. Of course they all protested the most ardent devotion to his cause, though not a man of them but was not already pledged to desert him. There were Churchill, recently made a lieutenant-general, and the duke of Grafton, the king's nephew, especially fervid in their expressions of loyalty; there were Trelawney, smarting secretly over the persecution of his brother, the bishop of Bristol - and the savage Kirke, who, when James had importuned him to turn papist, had replied that he was sorry, but ho had already engaged to the grand Turk that if he changed his religion he would become a mussulman. Reassured by these hollow professions, James gave orders for joining the camp at Salisbury; but the next morning, before he could set out, he was waited on by a numerous deputation of lords spiritual and temporal, with Sancroft at their head, praying that a free parliament might be immediately called, and a communication opened with the prince of Orange.

James received the deputation ungraciously. In all his hurried concessions he had still shown his stubborn spirit by refusing to give up the dispensing power; and now, though he declared that what they asked he passionately desired, he added that he could not call a parliament till the prince of Orange quitted the kingdom. "How," he asked, "can you have a free parliament whilst a foreign prince, at the head of a foreign force, has the power to return a hundred members?" He then fell foul of the bishops, reminding them that the other day they refused to avow under their hands their disapproval of the invasion, on the plea that their vocation was not in politics; and yet here they were at the very head of a political movement. He charged them with fomenting the rebellion, and retired, declaring to his courtiers that he would not concede an atom. He then appointed a council of five lords - of whom two were papists and the third Jeffreys - to keep order during his absence, sent off the prince of Wales to Portsmouth to the care of the duke of Berwick, the commander, and set out for Salisbury.. He reached his camp on the 19th, and ordered a review the next day, at Warminster, of Kirke's division. Churchill and Kirke were particularly anxious that he should proceed to this review, and Kirke and Trelawny hastened on to their forces on pretence of making the necessary preparations. On the other hand, count de Roye as earnestly dissuaded James from going to Warminster; he told him that the enemy's advanced foot was at Wincanton, and that the position at Warminster, or even that where they were at Salisbury, was untenable. James, however, was resolved to go; but the next morning, the 20th, he was prevented by a violent bleeding at the nose, which continued unchecked for three days.

Scarcely had this impediment occurred when news came that the king's forces had been attacked at Wincanton, and worsted by some of the division of General Mackay. James was now assured that, had he gone to Warminster, he would have been seized by traitors near' his person, and carried off to the enemy's quarters. He was advised to arrest Churchill and Grafton; but, with his usual imprudence, he refused, and summoned them along with the other officers to a military council, to decide whether they should advance or retreat. Feversham, Roye, and Dumbarton argued for a retreat; Churchill persisted in his recommendation of an advance to the post at Warminster. The council lasted till midnight, when Churchill and Grafton, seeing that their advice was not followed, felt the time was come to throw off the mask, and therefore rode directly away to the prince's lines. The next morning the discovery of this desertion filled the camp with consternation, and this was at its height when it was known that Churchill's brother, a colonel, Trelawny, Barclay, and about twenty privates had ridden after the fugitives. It was said that Kirke was gone too, but it was not the fact; and he was now arrested for having disobeyed orders' sent to him from Salisbury; but he professed such indignation at the desertion of Churchill and the others, that the shallow-minded king set him again at liberty. The deserters were received by William with a most gracious welcome, though Schömberg remarked of Churchill that he was the first lieutenant-general that he had ever heard of running away from his colours.

In James's camp all was confusion, suspicion, and dismay. There was not a man who was sure of his fellow, and the retreat which commenced more resembled a flight. Numbers who would have fought had they been led at once to battle, now lost heart, and stole away on all sides. The news that found its way every hour into the demoralised camp was enough to ruin any army. From every quarter came tidings of insurrection. The earl of Bath, the governor of Plymouth, had surrendered the place solemnly to William; Sir Edward Seymour, Sir William Portman, Sir Francis Warre - men of immense influence in Devon, Somerset, and Dorset, were already with William at Exeter; a paper had been drawn up and signed by the leading persons there to stand by the prince, and, whether he succeeded or whether he fell, never to cease till they had obtained all the objects in his declaration; Delamere had risen in Chester, and had reached Manchester on his way south; Danby had surprised the garrison at York; the town had warmly welcomed him, and a great number of peers, baronets, and gentlemen were in arms with him. Devonshire was up in Derbyshire; he had been amongst the very earliest movers in the invitation to William; and there still stands a little thatched cottage at Whittington, betwixt Chesterfield and Chatsworth, where he and the other signers of the invitation had first planned the resistance to James, whence it bears to this day the name of the "Revolution House;" and where, in 1788, the centenary of this great national event was celebrated by the descendants of the chief actors, amid a great assembly of the gentry of the neighbouring counties. Devonshire had called together the authorities and people of Derby, and published his reason for appearing in arms, calling on them to assist all true men in obtaining a settlement of the public rights in a free parliament. At Nottingham he was met by the earls of Rutland, Stamford, Manchester, Chesterfield, and the lords Cholmondeley and Grey de Ruthyn.

These were tidings of a reaction as determined as James's headstrong career had been; but the worst had not yet overtaken him. On the evening of November 24th. he had retreated towards London as far as Andover. Prince George of Denmark, the husband of the princess Anne, and the duke of Ormond, »supped with him. Prince George was a remarkably stupid personage, whose constant reply to any news was, "Est-il possible?" When the intelligence of one desertion after another came he had exclaimed, "Est-il possible?" But the moment supper was over and the king gone to bed, prince George and Ormond mounted and rode off to the enemy too. When James the next morning was informed of this mortifying news, he coolly replied, "What, is Est-il-possible gone too? were he not my son-in-law, a single trooper would have been a greater loss." With the prince and Ormond had also fled lord Drumlanrig, the eldest son of the duke of Queensberry, Mr. Boyle, Sir George Hewit, and other persons of distinction. The blow was severe; and though James at the first moment, being stunned, as it were, seemed to bear it with indifference, he pursued his way to London in a state of intense exasperation. There the first news that met him was the flight of his own daughter, Anne. Anne was bound up, soul and body, with the Churchills, and it had no doubt been for some time settled amongst them that they should all get away to the prince her brother-in-law. Her correspondence with her sister, the princess of Orange, pretty well indicated this conclusion. Accordingly, on hearing that the Churchills and her own husband had deserted, and the king was coming back to London, says lady Churchill in her own account, "This put the princess into a great fright. She sent for me, told me her distress, and declared that, rather than see her father, she would out at window. This was her expression. A little before a note had been left with me to inform me where I might find the bishop of London - who in that critical time absconded - if her royal highness should have occasion for a friend. The princess, in her alarm, immediately sent me to the bishop. I acquainted him with her resolution to leave the court, and to put herself under his care. It was hereupon agreed that when he had advised with his friends in the city, he should come about midnight, in a hackney-coach, to the neighbourhood of the Cockpit, in. order to convey the princess to some place where she might be private and safe. The princess went to bed at the usual time, to prevent suspicion. I came to her soon after; and, by the back-stairs which went down from her closet, her royal highness, my lady Fitzharding, and I, with one servant, walked to the coach, where we found the bishop and the earl of Dorset. They conducted us that night to the bishop's house in the city, and the next day to my lord Dorset's, at Copt Hall."

<<< Previous page <<< >>> Next page >>>
Pages: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 <8> 9 10 11 12

Pictures for Reign of James II. (Continued) page 8

The Earl of Shrewsbury
The Earl of Shrewsbury >>>>
Prince of Orange
Prince of Orange >>>>
The seven bishops
The seven bishops >>>>
William of orange entering Exeter
William of orange entering Exeter >>>>
Queen of James II
Queen of James II >>>>
The flight of the Queen of James II
The flight of the Queen of James II >>>>
Attack on James II
Attack on James II >>>>
The Princess Anne
The Princess Anne >>>>
William of Orange
William of Orange >>>>

Home | Privacy Policy | Copyright | About