Page:History of England (Macaulay) Vol 4.djvu/455

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Declaration of April 1692 had been read with exultation by his enemies and with deep affliction by his friends, that it had been printed and circulated by the usurpers, that it had done more than all the libels of the Whigs to inflame the nation against him, and that it had furnished those naval officers who had promised him support with a plausible pretext for breaking faith with him, and for destroying the fleet which was to have convoyed him back to his kingdom. He continued to be deaf to the remonstrances of his best friends in England till those remonstrances began to be echoed at Versailles. All the information which Lewis and his ministers were able to obtain touching the state of our island satisfied them that James would never be restored unless he could bring himself to make large concessions to his subjects. It was therefore intimated to him, kindly and courteously, but seriously, that he would do well to change his counsels and his counsellors. France could not continue the war for the purpose of forcing a Sovereign on an unwilling nation. She was crushed by public burdens. Her trade and industry languished. Her harvest and her vintage had failed. The peasantry were starving. The faint murmurs of the provincial Estates began to be heard. There was a limit to the amount of the sacrifices which the most absolute prince could demand from those whom he ruled. However desirous the Most Christian King might be to uphold the cause of hereditary monarchy and of pure religion all over the world, his first duty was to his own kingdom; and, unless a counterrevolution speedily took place in England, his duty to his own kingdom might impose on him the painful necessity of treating with the Prince of Orange. It would therefore be wise in James to do without delay whatever he could honourably and conscientiously do to win back the hearts of his people.

Thus pressed, James unwillingly yielded. He consented to give a share in the management of his affairs to one of the most distinguished of the Compounders, Charles Earl of Middleton.

Middleton's family and his peerage were Scotch. But he was closely connected with some of the noblest houses of England;