Page:History of England (Macaulay) Vol 4.djvu/315

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large classes of his subjects, would at least have offered a general amnesty to the rest. But of general amnesty he said not a word. He did indeed promise that any offender who was not in any of the categories of proscription, and who should by any eminent service merit indulgence, should receive a special pardon. But, with this exception, all the offenders, hundreds of thousands in number, were merely informed that their fate should be decided in Parliament.

The agents of James speedily dispersed his Declaration over every part of the kingdom, and by doing so rendered a great service to William. The general cry was that the banished oppressor had at least given Englishmen fair warning, and that, if, after such a warning, they welcomed him home, they would have no pretence for complaining, though every county town should be polluted by an assize resembling that which Jeffreys had held at Taunton. That some hundreds of people,--the Jacobites put the number so low as five hundred,--were to be hanged without mercy was certain; and nobody who had concurred in the Revolution, nobody who had fought for the new government by sea or land, no soldier who had borne a part in the conquest of Ireland, no Devonshire ploughman or Cornish miner who had taken arms to defend his wife and children against Tourville, could be certain that he should not be hanged. How abject too, how spiteful, must be the nature of a man who, engaged in the most momentous of all undertakings, and aspiring to the noblest of all prizes, could not refrain from proclaiming that he thirsted for the blood of a multitude of poor fishermen, because, more than three years before, they had pulled him about and called him Hatchetface. If,