PREFACE TO THE FIFTH VOLUME.
I have thought it right to publish that portion of the continuation of the “History of England” which was fairly transcribed and revised by Lord Macaulay. It is given to the world precisely as it was left: no connecting link has been added; no reference verified; no authority sought for or examined. It would indeed have been possible, with the help I might have obtained from his friends, to have supplied much that is wanting; but I preferred, and I believe the public will prefer, that the last thoughts of the great mind passed away from among us should be preserved sacred from any touch but his own. Besides the revised manuscript, a few pages containing the first rough sketch of the last two months of William’s reign are all that is left. From this I have with some difficulty deciphered the account of the death of William. No attempt has been made to join it on to the preceding part, or to supply the corrections which would have been given by the improving hand of the author. But, imperfect as it must be, I believe it will be received with pleasure and interest as a fit conclusion to the life of his great hero.
I will only add my grateful thanks for the kind advice and assistance given me by his most dear and valued friends, Dean Milman and Mr. Ellis.
Standing Armies—Sunderland—Lord Spencer—Controversy touching Standing Armies—Meeting of Parliament—The King’s Speech well received; Debate on a Peace Establishment—Sunderland attacked— The Nation averse to a Standing Army—Mutiny Act; the Navy Acts concerning High Treason—Earl of Clancarty—Ways and Means; Rights of the Sovereign in reference to Crown Lands—Proceedings in Parliament on Grants of Crown Lands—Montague accused of Peculation—Bill of Pains and Penalties against Duncombe— Dissension between the houses—Commercial Questions—Irish Manufactures—East India Companies—Fire at Whitehall—Visit of the Czar—Portland’s Embassy to France—The Spanish Succession— The Count of Tallard’s Embassy—Newmarket Meeting: the insecure State of the Roads—Further Negotiations relating to the Spanish Succession—The King goes to Holland—Portland returns from his Embassy—William is reconciled to Marlborough
The rejoicings, by which London, on the second of December 1697, celebrated the return of peace and prosperity, continued till long after midnight. On the following morning the Parliament met; and one of the most laborious sessions of that age commenced.