London in the Time of the Stuarts

By Walter Besant | Go to book overview

CHAPTER VIII
WILLIAM THE THIRD

AT the Coronation Banquet the Lord Mayor, the Aldermen, and the members of the twelve principal companies attended as butler and assistants. The City plate was also lent for the occasion. This was on the 11th of April 1689. Since the Prince of Orange had entered London on December I8, 1688, when James fled, the country had been left without King or Government. The "Convocation," as it was called, met on January 22. On the 28th the Commons declared the throne to be vacant, and on the 6th of February the House of Lords passed a similar resolution. A Declaration of Rights was next drawn up condemning the unconstitutional acts of James and offering the throne to William and Mary. After their proclamation their Majesties made haste to convert the Convocation into Parliament.

The reign of William presents few surprises or dramatic scenes so far as the City of London is concerned. On the other hand, there was a great deal done towards the strengthening and definition of the City rights and liberties. The Stuart kings, who could learn nothing and forget nothing, were gone, never to return; in future it would be quite as impossible for the sovereign to rob London of her liberties as to reign without a Parliament. Out of the arbitrary acts of the two Charleses, the elder and the younger, out of the civil wars, out of the expulsion of James, came to London the secure possession, henceforth unquestioned, of her charters, just as to the three kingdoms came constitutional government and a sovereign bound by the will of the people. These were great gains; one who could realise the state of the country even under the well-beloved despot Elizabeth, and compare it with its condition under the Georges, might well acknowledge that the gain was worth all the fighting and struggle, all the trials and executions which had to be endured in achieving it.

Of the loyalty of the City throughout this reign there can be no question. The address drawn up by the Lord Mayor and Sheriffs soon after it began on the occasion of a discovery of a plot against the King strikes a note which was maintained throughout:--

-117-

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London in the Time of the Stuarts
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • 49079 Preface v
  • Contents ix
  • Illustrations xi
  • Sovereigns 1
  • Chapter I James I 3
  • Chapter II Charles I 22
  • Chapter III the City and the Civil War 53
  • Chapter IV the Commonwealth 64
  • Chapter V the Restoration 74
  • Chapter VI 82
  • Chapter VII: James II 103
  • Chapter VIII William the Third 117
  • Chapter IX Queen Anne 127
  • Religion, Government, and Trade 135
  • Chapter I Religion 137
  • Chapter II Tiie Church and Dissent 154
  • Chapter III Superstitions 159
  • Chapter IV Sanctuary 168
  • Chapter V City Government and Usages 172
  • Chapter VI Trade 190
  • Chapter VII the Irish Estates 206
  • The Great Plague and Fire 213
  • Chapter I Plague 215
  • Chapter II Plague and Medicine 233
  • Chapter III the Fire 240
  • Chapter IV Ii. the Fire of London 244
  • Chapter V Contemporary Evidence 258
  • Chapter VI London After the Fire 269
  • Manners and Customs 285
  • Chapter I Food and Drink 287
  • Chapter II Dress and Manners 298
  • Chapter III Weddings and Funerals 308
  • Chapter IV Places of Resort 311
  • Chapter V Theatre and Art 318
  • Chapter VI: Sports and Amusements 328
  • Chapter VII Coaches 338
  • Chapter VIII Punishment and Crime 345
  • Chapter IX Public Morality 355
  • Chapter X General Notes 359
  • Appendices 363
  • Index 385
  • Ogilby and Morgan's Map of London, 1677 397
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