Throwing the English Royal Seal into the Thames upon his flight from London may have appeared to be a symbolic act of grave ramification for Jame’s critics, but Jame’s motivation for having done so will likely never be known. What is clear is that James II had not surrendered, only retreated.
The Parliament’s Bill of Rights did not limit William’s ability to summon and dissolve Parliament. Nor, did it prevent him from appointing and dismissing his own ministers. What is more, William III retained the right to declare war. And, this he did, relentlessly, during his brief eleven-year reign as King of England until his death in 1702.
Louis XIV, who reigned in France from 1643 until his death in 1715 — 72 years and 110 days — was far more concerned about England and the Holy Roman Empire than he was about William III and the Dutch Republic. The Dutch Provinces did not pose an existential threat to France; the Holy Roman Empire did. In contrast, William III and many a Dutch royalist and others viewed France under the leadership of the French Sun King as a threat to Dutch existence.
The Dutch rampjaar was still fresh in everyone’s mind!
Once again, Louis XIV was far more concerned about the Holy Roman Empire and its Spanish domain on the continent of Europe. There was also the disturbing English presence in North America. The United Provinces simply occupied a key geographical location in the French struggle with England and Spain. Keep in mind that Spain continued to rule over the remaining provinces of the Spanish Netherlands. Yes, the Dutch Navy was formidable, but the ocean was large, and the Dutch were more dependent on overseas trade than the French. What is more, the French enjoyed a very long coast line that the Dutch did not.
William III was in a most enviable position when it came to exercising the coercive power of the state. During his reign William enjoyed the combined navies of the English and Dutch fleets. And, when Parliament did not wish to support his war effort on the continent, William could turn to The Estates for their financial assistance. You see, the English Parliament was not against war; simply, they did not want to pay for it.
In April of 1688 Edmund Andros (1637-1714), Governor of the Dominion of New England — a North American colonial administration imposed by the English Board of Trade between 1686-1689 — attacked a French trading post called St. Castin. Jean-Vincent d’Abaddie de Saint-Castin (1652-1707) was a French colonial hero who married Molly Mathilde (ca 1665-1717), the daughter of the chief of the Abenaki tribe, and created thereby a blood alliance to ward off the aggressive Iroquois and equally obnoxious English governor. The attack on the trading post began what would become the first French and Indian War. Sir Edmund Andros was not well-liked even by the English colonialists who preferred their own separately elected assemblies over the administrative appointees of Governor Andros.
In September of 1688 Louis XIV captured the Trier Elector’s palatial fortress at Philippsburg just east of the Rhein (Rhine) River.
In March of 1689 James II arrived on the Irish mainland from France in an effort to muster Catholic support for an attempt to retake the English throne. William and Mary would not be crowned King and Queen of England until April of 1689. Jame’s arrival in Ireland appeared to be sufficient reason for Parliament to stop talking and take action.
In effect, William III’s reign began his administration already confronted by two English wars and another war on the continental mainland involving the Holy Roman Empire. None of these wars were acts of aggression against the Dutch Republic; all of these wars involved — either directly, or indirectly — the French King, Louis XIV.
In December of 1689, after appealing to Leopold I and other heads of the League of Augsburg, William III managed to organize his second Grand Alliance (Images 97 and 99) — this time the Kingdom of England was included.
For seven long years The Estates’ liabilities had increased monotonically as the Dutch struggled to push Louis XIV out of the United Provinces and recover from the Dutch rampjaar of 1672. By 1679 The Estates had finally gotten their budget under control and Holland’s debt burden fell by 1.7 percent. In 1688 The Estates’ outstanding liabilities were 159,196,000.
By 1697, however, when the Treaty of Ryswick was signed in a small village named — you guessed it — Ryswick, not far from Den Haag (The Hague) in the Province of Holland, the Nine Years War came to an end. The Estates’ liabilities had risen to 184,755,000 — a whopping net increase of 16 percent! It would not stop rising until 1717 — four years after the Treaty of Utrecht.
Alas, it is easy to gain weight, but it is difficult to lose, once it is acquired. Yes, the Wisselbank had held The Estates in check until William III became King of England!
We are almost ready to consider the financial abomination that continues to lead the Western World down a path of economic, political, and social destruction — the creation of the world’s first central bank, the Bank of England.
In liberty, or not at all,
Roddy A. Stegemann