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:--