CHAPTER XVIII. THE STADHOLDERATE OF WILLIAM III, 1672-1688
The prince bade farewell to the States-General on October 26, and four days later he set sail from Helvoetsluis, but was driven back by a heavy storm, which severely damaged the fleet. A fresh start was made on November 11. Admiral Herbert was in command of the naval force, which convoyed safely through the Channel without opposition the long lines of transports. Over the prince's vessel floated his flag with the words Pro Religione et Libertate inscribed above the motto of the House of Orange, Je maintiendray. Without mishap a landing was effected at Torbay, November 14 (5 o.s.), which was William's birthday, and a rapid march was made to Exeter. He met with no armed resistance. James' troops, his courtiers, his younger daughter the Princess Anne, all deserted him; and finally, after sending away his wife and infant son to France, the king himself left his palace at Whitehall by night and fled down the river to Sheerness. Here he was recognised and brought back to London. It was thought, however, best to connive at his escape, and he landed on the coast of France at Christmas. The expedition had achieved its object and William, greeted as a deliverer, entered the capital at the head of his army.
On February 13,1689, a convention, specially summoned for the purpose, declared that James by his flight had vacated the throne; and the crown was offered to William and Mary jointly, the executive power being placed in the hands of the prince.
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