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indulgence, which was obtained without opposition, marks, at that period, a considerable enlargement of religious opinions ; and may be regarded as forming a conspicuous era in the history of ecclesiastical government.
Notwithstanding the invaluable blessings which this prince had procured to the nation, his administration was never very popular, nor free from disturbance. The two great political factions, which, before he mounted the throne, had almost entirely disappeared, were in a little time revived ; and by their intrigues, and party views, he was, in some cases, provoked or deceived.
As the principles of the tories had led them early to retard and oppose the revolution-settlement, so their bad humour and disappointment excited them afterwards to practise every expedient for interrupting and preventing that success and prosperity which might otherwise have resulted from it. The situation of William, upon his first advancement to the English throne, must have naturally disposed him to place his chief confidence in the whigs, by whom
his undertaking had been most warmly and heartily promoted. But the subsequent views and measures of this party contributed by degrees to alienate his affections. They betrayed a constant jealousy of the crown. Their parsimony in granting supplies was pushed to an extreme, altogether incompatible with those patriotic, but expensive enterprises, in which he was engaged. Their aversion to a standing army, which was carried so far as to require the dismission of his Dutch guards, the old and favourite companions of all his military operations, appears to have been regarded by him as an indication of personal enmity and distrust. Though this prince discovered an invariable attachment to the form of a limited monarchy, it must not thence be concluded, that he willingly submitted to all such restrictions of the prerogative, and to all such extensions of popular privilege, as were aimed at by many of the whigs. He probably entertained higher notions of the regal authority than were found, even in that age, to prevail among this description of the inhabitants. It is not surprising,
besides, that a monarch, however moderate in his general principles, should in the ordinary course of business, be sometimes betrayed, like other men, into an impatience of opposition, that he should be ruffled with contradiction, or vent his displeasure against those who had thwarted his measures. The whigs becoming, on this account, obnoxious to the king, the tories endeavoured to conciliate his favour by their apparent assiduity and solicitude to humour his inclinations. Though it is probable that the sagacity of William penetrated the views of this party, he took advantage of their professed intentions, and made use of their assistance in executing that great system of European policy which he had long meditated. He adopted the hazardous plan of balancing the two parties, either by promoting them jointly to offices, or by alternately employing the one and the other. In pursuing this line of conduct, so far from gaining the friendship of either, he incurred the resentment of both. The whigs, overrating their merit in accomplishing the revolution, were highly dissatisfied with the
return made to their services; while the tories considered the favours bestowed
upon them as the effects of interested and temporising politics, which afforded no proof of any real confidence or affection ; and both parties being thus, by turns, thrown into opposition, were actuated by the animosity and rancour arising from disappointed ambition, sharpened by
by the acrimony and agitation, proceeding from the heat of controversy and the triumph of their adversaries. In this situation, many individuals of high rank and consequence became desirous of restoring the exiled family; and, even when employed in the service of government, did not scruple to betray the secrets of their master; to correspond with the court of Versailles and that of St. Germains; and to promise their assistance to the late king for the recovery of his crown. What is more surprising, it appears, that some persons of distinction among the whigs were induced to hold a correspondence in the same quarter; but with what views, or from what motives, whether from gross corruption, and the effect of discontent and
disgust, or from an opinion of the instability of the present government, which led them to provide for their own safety in case of a counter-revolution, it is not easy to determine*.
While many of the leading men in the kingdom were engaged in such crooked and infamous transactions, the inferior partisans of the late king were attempting a more expeditious way to his restoration, by the assassination of William; but these detestable
* The evidence upon this point, adduced by Mr. M-Pherson, in his collection of original papers, is not very distinct. He rests, in a great measure, upon the memoirs of James, and the reports of persons whom he employed in the management of his affairs. But this prince, and his agents, were so credulous and sanguine, as to over-rate and magnify every circumstance in their own favour, and to become the dupes of every impostor. According to their accounts, it is a miracle that the government of King William could subsist for a moment, since both whigs and tories were equally zealous in overturning it, and were only vying with one another in the execution of that enterprise. It is the privilege of every unfortunate adventurer, to weary all his hearers with end. less proofs that he has met with uncommonly bad usage, and that his undertaking, in the natural course of things, should have been successful.