Page:History of England (Macaulay) Vol 4.djvu/256

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of great weight to make a similar motion in the Commons.

If the address should be carried, what could William do? Would he yield? Would he discard all his dearest, his oldest, his most trusty friends? It was hardly possible to believe that he would make so painful, so humiliating a concession. If he did not yield, there would be a rupture between him and the Parliament; and the Parliament would be backed by the people. Even a King reigning by a hereditary title might well shrink from such a contest with the Estates of the Realm. But to a King whose title rested on a resolution of the Estates of the Realm such a contest must almost necessarily be fatal. The last hope of William would be in the army. The army Marlborough undertook to manage; and it is highly probable that what he undertook he could have performed. His courage, his abilities, his noble and winning manners, the splendid success which had attended him on every occasion on which he had been in command, had made him, in spite of his sordid vices, a favourite with his brethren in arms. They were proud of having one countryman who had shown that he wanted nothing but opportunity to vie with the ablest Marshal of France. The Dutch were even more disliked by the English troops than by the English nation generally. Had Marlborough therefore, after securing the cooperation of some distinguished officers, presented himself at the critical moment to those regiments which he had led to victory in Flanders and in Ireland, had he called on them to rally round him, to protect the Parliament, and to drive out the aliens, there is strong reason to think that the call would have been obeyed. He would then have had it in his power to fulfil the promises which he had so solemnly made to his old master.

Of all the schemes ever formed for the restoration of James or of his descendants, this scheme promised the fairest. That national pride, that hatred of arbitrary power, which had hitherto been on William's side, would now be turned against him. Hundreds of thousands who would have put their lives in jeopardy to prevent a French army from imposing a government on the English, would have felt no disposition to prevent