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çare to acquire the French and English languages, wbich, afterwards, were of the highest importance to his management of several treaties of the last consequence to himself and bis allies.
He never had many favourites, and it was well for England that he had no more than two; the first of these was Monsieur Bentinck, now Earl of Portland, who obtained his esteem and friendship by one of the most generous actions imaginable. This young gentleman was page to the Prince of Orange, and much of the same age with his master. It happened that the Prince was taken ill of the small-pox, which not rising kindly upon him, his physicians judged it necessary that some young person should lie in the same bed with the Prince, imagining, that the natural heat of another would drive out the disease, and expel it from the nobler parts. No-body of quality could be found in all the court to make this experiment; at last, Monsieur Bentinck, though he had never had the small-pox, resolved to run the risque ; he did so, the Prince recovered, his Page fell ill, and, in a little time, had the happiness to find himself in a healthy condition as well as his master, Ever after this action of Monsieur Bentinck's, which was truly great and noble, the Prince had an intire affection for só faithful a servant, and particularly trusted him in affairs of the highest consequence. It was my Lord Portland that transacted the peace of Reswick, and the same nobleman managed the negotiations that were set on foot betwixt the then Prince of Orange and the English nobility, who had recourse to his Highness before his accession to these realms. If the favours of the King had stopped here, and his faithful minister had received no other arguments of bis master's esteem, than reasonable gifts and honours, perchance the character of the deceased Monarch might have been something greater ; but things were pushed too far, and, when the Parliament put a stop to some concessions intended for my Lord, it was a plain discovery of a weakness which had been better omitted.
Though his Higbness commanded the army of the States, very young, when he was scarcely seventeen, an age when some noblemen are hardly exempt from the tuition of a pedant, yet he behaved himself with greater vigilance, prudence, and conduct, than could be reasonably expected of him, at that time of day.
But though his conduct was surprising, when he entered upon those high employments of Stadt-holder and General, yet he seems rather indebted to chance and the miseries of his country for those posts, than to any personal merit of his own, or the atchievements of his ancestors.
The French had near over-run all Holland, their armies had possessed themselves of Utrecht, and most of the rest of the frontier towns belonging to the States had submitted themselves to that invincible deluge, which their troops could not resist, nor their prudence or negotiations avoid. The faction of Barnevelt, well known by that name in the Low-Countries, were then at the helm, and the two brothers, the De Wits, were looked upon as chiefs of a party who opposed the grandeur of the house of Orange. One of these was pensionary, which is principal secretary of state, and was either, in reality, a traytor to his country, or esteemed as such by the boors and common people, whose misfortunes sowred their humours, and made them ripe for tumults and rebellions. Upon the constant series of their ill success, the populace arose, tore in pieces the two unhappy brothers, and wrested the government from the hands of those who were averse to the house of Orange. They continued their resentments, and obliged the States to restore his highness to all the ancient honours of his family. Yet, though this young gentleman was made general by a tumult, yet, once posssessed of that high command, he behaved himself not like a tumultuary general; he soon repulsed the French out of their new conquests, with a greater chain of success than ever afterwards attended his military actions.
Though severe and reserved in the cabinet, yet, in the camp, he was fiery to a fault, and often exposed himself, and the cause he defended, with a rashness blameable in an officer of his dignity.
Yet one thing is very observable in his conduct, though he had the spirit and gallantry of a hero, yet he wanted the passion of love to make that character compleat. Neither before, at the time of his marriage, or afterwards, was he ever noted for any extraordinary tenderness; nor could the beauty of his queen, nor the address of any other lady, rajse in him extraordinary transports. His soul was free from these weaknesess, or he had the art to conceal them.
But notwithstanding bis whole life was an instance of his prudence in affairs of this nature (one case only excepted), yet he never shewed so great a reservedness, nor, indeed, a greater piece of wisdom, than upon his marriage with the Lady Mary, eldest daughter of the late King James. She was a princess, who, for her beauty, good humour, sense, and piety, had no equal in Europe. Her zeal for the Protestant religion was surprising in a lady of her youth, and what did not a little add to her shining qualities, was her being presumptive heiress to three kingdoms. The people of England were infinitely desirous this match should take effect, and King Charles persuaded the world be had the same inclinations, but privately insinuated to the Prince, that his making a peace with France, and his inducing the Spaniards to do the same, upon such terms as his Britannick Majesty proposed (which terms, in truth, were too favourable to the French) were the only means his Highness had to obtain the lady. Here was love and glory in opposition to one another; but the Prince, under these extraordinary circumstances, sbewed an unchangeable temper, and a mind impregnable against the strongest assaults. He assured the crown of England, that, although he had the highest veneration for the Princess Mary, yet nothing could make him recede from the interest of the Allies, and he should always prefer bis honour to all other considerations whatsoever. Fortune was just to his virtue; he gained his point both ways, and obtained the best of princesses for himself, and those articles of peace he insisted upon for his corfederates.
It seems a wonder if King Charles was a Roman Catholick, or, in reality, inclinable to that interest, he should permit the princesses to be educated in the Protestant faith: Yet there seem so many arguments for this opinion, that I believe few persons stand in doubt of it; but, if so, it is plain be preferred the easiness of a crown to his future considerations.
If the Prince was fond of any thing to a degree, it was of hunting and the diversions of the field. He paid his servants well that took care of his pleasures this way, and gave them all reasonable encouragement. Perchance some of these might receive their superfluous pensions, when the army abroad wanted their necessary subsistence.
Some persons are of opinion, that the Prince held predestination; that it was his judgment all balls were commissioned, and had their bounds set them, further than which they were not able to go. It is true, at the fight of Seneff, and the battle of the Boyne, he fought with such a spirit, as generally possesses those who have firmly imbibed a belief of this nature; but, whether bis judgment induced him to be of this opinion or not, be countenanced the thought, which he was satisfied made his soldiers regardless of danger, and contributed to their courage and resolution.
During his being at the helm of the Dutch government in Holland, he was sparing of bis own money, but yet not tenacious to that degree, but he concluded several alliances with the Protestant powers of Germany, for which he paid dear enough; and it is even said, that the Holy Father himself entered into an engagement with him against the King of France, that disturber of mankind. Certain it is, he knew how to spare, and bow to lay out, his money to a good advantage; and, if he could have commanded the purse of England, when he was only Prince of Orange, as he did afterwards, when he was King of England, in all probability, he had never permitted the growth of a power which grew, in time, to be so formidable to all Europe.
It is no strange thing that the Pope opposed the King of France; interest cements the closest friendship. The head of the most Holy Church and St. Peter's successor, as he stiles himself, joins with a prince of a different faith, in order to protect their common liberties: His most Christian Majesty acts the same part, and confederates with his good friends the Musselmen. The one leagues with a Protestant, the other with an Infidel, each for their separate advantage ; and, in this affair, the Pope's dealings must be owned the juster of the two. His reason for the union was self-defence ; and what obliged the King of France to his confederacy, was no other than the dishonest motives of tyranny and ambition.
The Prince of Orange, landing in the west of England, marched from thence to Exeter, of which city be made himself master, and went forward with the success that we all know of. Yet his preparations for this descent were not carried so privately, but the Count de Vaux, ambassador for his most Christian Majesty at the Hague, discovered the whole affair, and gave notice of it to his
master, and to the envoy of King James the Second. The King of France immediately caused a memorial to be presented to the States of Holland on this subject, who very fairly denied the matter, and turned the blame of the whole affair on the Prince of Orange. The King of France was satisfied with this answer, and certainly the genius of that empire was then asleep, or so employed about the war going to be made against the house of Austria, that it could not be at leisure to respect the affairs of the Low-Countries. If the troops of bis most Christian Majesty had fell down into the Spanish Netherlands, instead of marching into Germany, the Dutch had been obliged to have kept that warlike Prince at home, to defend their own territories; England might have justly despaired of a revolution, and Europe of its liberties. But Providence had ordered things otherwise; the court of France committed this unalterable blunder, and the great Lewis, upon this occasion, failed to exert that judgment which he so often convinced the world he was master of, both before and afterwards.
The battle of Mons was an action in which the Prince of Orange acquired a great deal of glory. He beat the Duke of Luxemburgh, who lay incamped before that town, out of his intrenchments, and forced his army to a precipitate flight. This relation, without other circumstances, is indeed extremely honourable to the memory of that monarch; but, if it be also true, which tradition acquaints us with, concerning that battle, the Prince deserved no laurels. It is most certain, that, a few hours before the fight, a peace was concluded betwixt his most Christian Majesty and the States of Holland; but, whether the Prince had any notice of this pacification, I cannot tell; but, if so, to fight with the articles of peace in his pocket, proves him vain-glorious and revengeful.
His enterprise upon England must be allowed very just. That step towards the revolution, there are but few which cavil at. It is true, some persons would have been contented that he had proceeded but little further, and only tied up the hands of his unfortunate pre. decessor. But these gentlemen argue very little like politicians ; King James would have been King James still, and soon, by the violation of the people's liberties, returned to that course from whence the success of the Prince's arms bad obliged him to deviate ; and, admitting King James to have kept within the bounds of reason and moderation, yet still the Protestant religion, and the liberties of all Europe, must have been betrayed to the ambition of France, by the bare neutrality of England, our island being the only balance to that incredible power which the French has lately assumed. So that King William's taking upon him the regency of this nation, seems rather to have been an act of necessity than ambition. Happy is that prince who finds such an opportunity of mounting a throne, where fate or Providence push upon him that grandeur, which it is the nature of all mankind to be desirous of.
The securing those lords, by the Prince of Orange, which were sent to him on the part of King James, when he fixed his victorious standards at Windsor, carried with it an air of ill nature and hardship, and looked like a violence upon the law of nations; but they were soon discharged, and were only secured from receiving injuries themselves, and injuring others by their ill-timed errand.
The message which the son-in-law sent to his royal father, à little before the blue guards took their post before Whitehall, was looked upon, in those times, by such who had an inclination to their old master, as bitter, undutiful, and wicked; but, certainly, the Prince never shewed his clemency, or indeed bis tenderness, for King James, more than upon that occasion. The Prince was under an unavoidable necessity of entering London, the heart and capital of this realm, in order to bring those great designs to a conclusion, on account of which he bad run so many hazards. The troops that he commanded, and would, in all likelihood, have took possession of Whitehall, were foreigners, of a different language and religion than King James, and such who might have offered violence to the person of that monarch, notwithstanding their orders to the contrary. But allowing that King William had detached for that service the Scotch and English, which bore his colours, still the hazards of King James would have been the greater ; several of the officers, belonging to those regiments, had served in Ireland under King James, and had been broke of their commissions, purely for being Protestants; others had voluntarily quitted England or Ireland, to find a liberty of their religion abroad, and which they conceived was in danger at home. In the number of these were Major General Mackay, and several others. Another party were personally disgusted by the late King James; such were Lieutenant-General Talmash, my Lord Cutts, and many more of quality and distinction : To have commanded, therefore, these to guard their old master, against whom they had, or pretended to have, so niany causes of dissatisfaction, would have been madness in any person, who intended or designed that monarch should live, till cut off by the course of nature; which was the visible design of King William in respect to the late King James, as appears by this, and will be made yet further apparent by the subsequent observations. It is true, the honour of General Talmash and my Lord Cutts would have guarded the late King from violence and injuries to their power : But who could answer for the caprice and wbimsies of the private sentinels ? or, who can say to their humours, thus far sball thou go, and no further.
Thus, we frequently see the best of accounts misinterpreted; we turn the great or little end of perspective suitable to our own inclination or fancy, and the fact bears no colour from itself, but frotn the false and prejudiced gloss we put upon it.
The church of England was as forward in solliciting King William to invade England as the dissenters. The reason of this was evident; because King James invaded the church, assumed a power to new-model the Universities, silenced Dr. Sharpe, then minister of St. Giles's in the Fields, set up an ecclesiastical court, superior to that of Doctor's Commons, and imprisoned the bishops in the Tower. Yet this very church of England, I mean some of the