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This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 823 pages of information about History of England, from the Accession of James the Second, the Volume 4.
impossible to contend against such a combination of force.  A bill was passed which authorised the government to borrow two million five hundred and sixty-four thousand pounds at seven per cent.  A fund, arising chiefly from a new tax on salt, was set apart for the payment of the interest.  If, before the first of August, the subscription for one half of this loan should have been filled, and if one half of the sum subscribed should have been paid into the Exchequer, the subscribers were to become a corporate body, under the name of the National Land Bank.  As this bank was expressly intended to accommodate country gentlemen, it was strictly interdicted from lending money on any private security other than a mortgage of land, and was bound to lend on mortgage at least half a million annually.  The interest on this half million was not to exceed three and a half per cent., if the payments were quarterly, or four per cent., if the payments were half yearly.  At that time the market rate of interest on the best mortgages was full six per cent.  The shrewd observers at the Dutch Embassy therefore thought that capitalists would eschew all connection with what must necessarily be a losing concern, and that the subscription would never be half filled up; and it seems strange that any sane person should have thought otherwise.691

It was vain however to reason against the general infatuation.  The Tories exultingly predicted that the Bank of Robert Harley would completely eclipse the Bank of Charles Montague.  The bill passed both Houses.  On the twenty-seventh of April it received the royal assent; and the Parliament was immediately afterwards prorogued.

CHAPTER XXII

Military Operations in the Netherlands—­Commercial Crisis in England—­Financial Crisis—­Efforts to restore the Currency—­ Distress of the People; their Temper and Conduct—­Negotiations with France; the Duke of Savoy deserts the Coalition—­Search for Jacobite Conspirators in England; Sir John Fenwick—­Capture of Fenwick—­Fenwick’s Confession—­Return of William to England—­ Meeting of Parliament; State of the Country; Speech of William at the Commencement of the Session—­Resolutions of the House of Commons—­Return of Prosperity—­Effect of the Proceedings of the House of Commons on Foreign Governments—­Restoration of the Finances—­Effects of Fenwick’s Confession—­Resignation of Godolphin—­Feeling of the Whigs about Fenwick—­William examines Fenwick—­Disappearance of Goodman—­Parliamentary Proceedings touching Fenwick’s Confession—­Bill for attainting Fenwick—­ Debates of the Commons on the Bill of Attainder—­The Bill of Attainder carried up to the Lords—­Artifices of Monmouth—­Debates of the Lords on the Bill of Attainder—­Proceedings against Monmouth—­Position and Feelings of Shrewsbury—­The Bill of Attainder passed; Attempts to save Fenwick—­Fenwick’s Execution; Bill for the Regulating of Elections—­Bill for the Regulation of the Press—­Bill abolishing

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