The History of England, from the Accession of James II [Microform] - Vol. 4

The History of England, from the Accession of James II [Microform] - Vol. 4

Read FREE!

The History of England, from the Accession of James II [Microform] - Vol. 4

The History of England, from the Accession of James II [Microform] - Vol. 4

Read FREE!

Excerpt

On the eighteenth of January, 1691, the King, having been detained some days by adverse winds, went on board at Gravesend. Four yachts had been fitted up for him and for his retinue. Among his attendants were Norfolk, Ormond, Devonshire, Dorset, Portland, Monmouth, Zulestein, and the Bishop of London. Two distinguished admirals, Cloudesley Shovel and George Rooke, commanded the men of war which formed the convoy. The passage was tedious and disagreeable. During many hours the fleet was becalmed off the Godwin Sands; and it was not till the fifth day that the soundings proved the coast of Holland to be near. The sea fog was so thick that no land could be seen; and it was not thought safe for the ships to proceed farther in the darkness. William, tired out by the voyage, and impatient to be once more in his beloved country, determined to land in an open boat. The noblemen who were in his train tried to dissuade him from risking so valuable a life; but, when they found that his mind was made up, they insisted on sharing the danger. That danger proved more serious than they had expected. It had been supposed that in an hour the party would be on shore. But great masses of floating ice impeded the progress of the skiff: the night came on: the fog grew thicker: the waves broke over the King and the courtiers. Once the keel struck on a sand bank, and was with great difficulty got off. The hardiest mariners showed some signs of uneasiness. But William, through the whole night, was as composed as if he had been in the drawing-room at Kensington. "For shame," he said . . .

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