The History of England Vol.8 Chapter 71 (David Hume)

The History of England Vol.8 Chapter 71 (David Hume)


WHILE every motive, civil and religious, concurred to alienate from the king every rank and denomination of men, it might be expected that his throne would, without delay, fall to pieces by its own weight: but such is the influence of established government; so averse are men from beginning hazardous enterprises; that, had not an attack been made from abroad, affairs might long have remained in their present delicate situation, and James might at last have prevailed in his rash and ill concerted projects.
The prince of Orange, ever since his marriage with the lady Mary, had maintained a very prudent conduct ; agreeably to that sound understanding with which he was so eminently endowed. He made it a maxim to concern himself little in English affairs, and never by any measure to disgust any of the factions, or give umbrage to the prince who filled the throne. His natural inclination, as well as his interest, led him to employ himself with assiduous industry in the transactions on the continent, and to oppose the grandeur of the French monarch, against whom he had long, both from personal and political considerations, conceived a violent animosity. By this conduct he gratified the prejudices of the whole English nation : but as he crossed the inclinations of Charles, who sought peace by compliance with France, he had much declined in the favour and affections of that monarch.

James on his accession found it so much his interest to live on good terms with the heir apparent, that he showed the prince some demonstrations of friendship ; and the prince, on his part, was not wanting in every instance of duty and regard towards the king. On Monmouth’s invasion, he immediately dispatched over six regiments of British troops, which were in the Dutch service; and he offered to take the command of the king’s forces against the rebels. How little soever he might approve of James’s administration, he always kept a total silence on the subject, and gave no countenance to those discontents which were propagated with such industry throughout the nation.