Page:History of England (Macaulay) Vol 4.djvu/272

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appearance, and had then absented themselves, and left him exposed to the resentment of the House of Commons.[200] The story had the reception which it deserved, and Fuller sank into an obscurity from which he twice or thrice, at long intervals, again emerged for a moment into infamy.

On the twenty-fourth of February 1692, about an hour after the Commons had voted Fuller an impostor, they were summoned to the chamber of the Lords. The King thanked the Houses for their loyalty and liberality, informed them that he must soon set out for the Continent, and commanded them to adjourn themselves. He gave his assent on that day to many bills, public and private; but when the title of one bill, which had passed the Lower House without a single division and the Upper House without a single protest, had been read by the Clerk of the Crown, the Clerk of the Parliaments declared, according to the ancient form, that the King and the Queen would consider of the matter. Those words had very rarely been pronounced before the accession of William. They have been pronounced only once since his death. But by him the power of putting a Veto on laws which had been passed by the Estates of the Realm was used on several important occasions. His detractors truly asserted that he rejected a greater number of important bills than all the Kings of the House of Stuart put together, and most absurdly inferred that the sense of the Estates of the Realm was much less respected by him than by his uncles and his grandfather. A judicious student of history will have no difficulty in discovering why William repeatedly exercised a prerogative to which his predecessors very seldom had recourse, and which his successors have suffered to fall into utter desuetude.

His predecessors passed laws easily because they broke laws easily. Charles the First gave his assent to the Petition of Right, and immediately violated every clause of that great statute. Charles the Second gave his assent to an Act which provided that a Parliament should be held at least once in three