« PreviousContinue »
his confession, and the fact appeared sufficiently proved to induce the
commons to vote an impeachment against him. Though in his answer to the articles of it he denied his having received the money, the sudden disappearing of his servant, whose testimony only could have cleared the point, confirmed the suspicions against the duke, and the prosecution was postponed to the next session ; but an act of grace came in at the end of this, with an-exception indeed as to corruption ; yet this whole discovery was let fall, on account it was believed of the great number of offenders of all sides concerne in it; for, by a common consent it was never revived.
In the midst of these deliberations the king came to the house, May 13th, when he signified his intention of going abroad, and entrusting with the administration of affairs in his absence, persons of known care and fidelity. He then prorogued the parliament. The regency was composed of the archbishop of Canterbury, Somers, lord keeper of the great seal; the earl of Pembroke, lord privy seal, the duke of Devonshire, lord steward of the household; the duke of Shrewsbury, secretary of state; the earl of Dorset, lord chamberlain ; and lord Godolphin, first commissioner of the treasury.
The coin of the kingdom being greatly diminished and adulterated, an act was passed in this session containing severer penalties against clippers ; but this produced no good effect, the value of money sunk in the exchange to such a degree, that a guinea was reckoned adequate to thirty shillings, and this public disgrace lowered the credit of the funds and of the government. The nation was alarmed by the circulation of fictitious wealth instead of gold and silver, such as bank-bills, exchequer tallies, and government securities. The malcontents took this
opportunity to exclaim against the bank, and even attempted to shake the credit of it in parliament; but their endeavours proved abortive, the moniec interest preponderated in both houses.
William arrived in Holland in the middle of May, and took the field on the 6th of June, at the head of an army much superior to that of the French, who, besides their inferiority in numbers, had lost the best of their generals by the death of the mareschal Luxembourg, who was succeeded by Villeroi in the command of the army. In order to conceal his real plan for the campaign, William amused the enemy by several feints and movements until his preparations were quite completed. When he had succeeded in making every necessary disposition for attacking Namur, for covering the siege, and forming an army to observe the motions of the enemy on the maritime side of Flanders, he caused the place to be invested by the elector of Bavaria, with his own troops, the forces of the German princes, and a body of cavalry ; while, at the head of the main army, he took himself a strong position behind the Mehaigne, in a condition to pass that river, and, if necessary, to support the siege.
In the mean time, the king having thought fit to call a parliament in Scotland, to provide new subsidies for the war, the session was opened by the marquis of Tweedale, his majesty's commissioner. To soften the opposition to the crown, a commisşion was issued under the great seal, to examine witnesses upon the horrible massacre perpetrated at Glenco in 1692, as the memory of it still inflamed the passions of the whole nation. The principal circumstances of that act of barbarity are as follows:
The king had, by a proclamation, offered an indemnity to all the highlanders who had been in arms against him, upon their coming in to take the oaths, with a positive threatening of proceeding to
military execution against such as should not submit by the last day of December. On that day Macdonald of Glenco went to colonel Hill, governor of Fort William, at Inverlochie, and offered to take the oaths. But the colonel, being only a military man, could not or would not tender them, and Macdonald was forced to seek for some of the legal magistrates; but the snow was then fallen so high, that five or six days elapsed before he could come to a magistrate, and on the 6th of January, 1692, he took the oaths before sir Collin Campbell, sheriff deputy of Argyle. Sir John Dalrymple, afterwards earl of Stair, who attended king William as secretary of state for Scotland, took advantage of Macdonald's neglecting to take the oaths within the time prescribed, and induced the king to sign a warrant of military execution against him and his whole tribe. Campbell
, a captain and two subalterns, with 120 men, were ordered to repair to Glenco, on the 1st of February, and in pursuance of Dalrymple's letters, they were urged to execute the warrant with the utmost rigour. Campbell being uncle to young Macdonald's wife, was friendly received by the father, and the men were treated in the houses of his tenants with free quarters and kind entertaininent, and lived in good humour and familiarity with them during nearly two weeks. The officers, on the very night of the massacre, played at cards all the evening in Macdonald's house. În the night lieutenant Lindsey, with a party of soldiers, called in a friendly manner at his door, and was instantly admitted. Macdonald, as he was rising from his bed to receive his guest, was shot dead with two bullets. His wife had already put on her clothes, but she was stript naked by the soldiers; the slaughter now became general, neither age nor infirmity were spared, and nearly forty persons were massacred by the troops. Several who
Aed to the mountains, perished by famine, and the inclemency of the season, which, however, secured the safety of the rest of the unfortunate tribe, as lieutenant-colonel Hamilton, who had the charge of the execution from Dalrymple, was on his march with 400 men, to occupy all the passes which led from the valley of Glenco, and was obliged to stop by the severity of the weather. He entered the valley the next day, laid all the houses in ashes, and carried away all the cattle and spoil, which were divided among the officers and soldiers.
A motion was now made, that the commissioners appointed to investigate the circumstances of these odious transactions, should exhibit an account of their proceedings; and their report laid before the parliament, stated that Macdonald of Glenco had been perfidiously murdered; that the king's instructions contained nothing to warrant the massacre; and that secretary Dalrymple had exceeded his orders. The parliament concurred with this report, and, proceeding upon this affair, ordered colonel Hill and lieutenant-colonel Hamilton to be called. The former appeared, was examined and acquitted; but the latter not appearing, was de clared guilty of the murder of the Glenco men, and ordered to be apprehended. As to the other actors of these bloody scenes, an address was voted to the king, that he would give orders for their being sent home, to be prosecuted or not as his majesty should think fit; and that he would take into his princely consideration the case of the Glenco men.
This apparent resolution of his majesty to vindicate the honour of the government and the justice of the nation respecting the slaughter of Glenco, was not the only means employed by the government to gain the Scots; the marquis of Tweedale, expatiating in his speech on his majesty's care and concern for their welfare, promised in the king's name, that if they would pass an act to establish a colony in Africa, America, or any where else, his majesty would indulge them with such rights and privileges as he had granted in like cases to the subjects of his other dominions. This promise alluded to a mercantile project of an extensive kind, framed for Scotland by Patterson, the same who had been the chief instrument in establishing the bank of England. His scheme was to establish a settlement upon the isthmus of Darien, so as to carry on a trade in the South-Sea, the Atlantic, and even as far as the East-Indies; vesting the company to be formed with an exclusive right, and an exemption for 21 years from all duties and impositions. The bait was greedily seized; the people lost their resentment in the flattering hopes of wealth; the parliament itself was all submission, and unanimously voted a supply of 1,440,000l. and 9000 men, to be raised early to recruit the Scottish regiments abroad, and an act for erecting a public bank at Edinburgh. Then the parliament was adjourned to the 7th of November
In Ireland, sir Henry Capel, created a lord, and two other lord justices, carried on the government with a great partiality against the catholics, but without any material difficulty or opposition. He promised to the ministers that should he be appointed lord deputy, with powers to displace some men in office, he would carry every thing in a parliament. His proposal was accepted, and he easily succeeded in bringing the parliament to comply with all the demands and projects of the crown, though the chancellor endeavoured to raise a party against him, and thwarted all his measures; which gave occasion to a motion made in parliament to impeach the chancellor for sowing discord and di. vision among his majesty's subjects; he was, how, ever, voted clear of all imputation by a great ma