Reign of William III

Though all military opposition was thus overcome, William soon found difficulties of another kind in the management of the state. The Tories, though glad to save the established church by calling in his interference, had submitted with no good grace to the necessity of making him king; and no sooner was the danger past, than their usual principles of hereditary right were in a great measure revived. From the name of the exiled monarch, they now began to be known by the appellation of Jacobites. James' hopes of a restoration were thus for a long time kept alive, and the peace of William's mind was so much embittered, as to make his sovereignty appear a dear purchase. Perhaps the only circumstances which reconciled the king to his situation, was the great additional force he could now bring against the ambitious designs of Louis XIV. Almost from his accession he entered heartily into the combination of European powers for checking this warlike prince, and conducted military operations against him every summer in person. The necessity of having supplies for that purpose rendered him unfit, even if he had been willing, to resist any liberal measures proposed to him in Parliament, and hence his passing of the famous Triennial Act in 1694, by which it was appointed that a new Parliament should be called every third year. In this year died Queen Mary, without offspring after which William reigned as sole monarch.

The peace of Ryswick, concluded in 1697, by which the French power was confined to the limits, permitted William to spend the concluding years of his reign in peace. In 1700, in consideration that he and his sister-inlaw Anne had no children, the famous Act of Succession was passed, by which the crown, failing these two individuals, was settled upon the next Protestant heir, Sophia, Duchess of Hanover, daughter of Elizabeth, the eldest daughter of James I.

The reign of King William is remarkable for the first legal support of a standing army, and for the commencement of the national debt. It is also distinguished by the first establishment of regular banks for the deposit of money, and the issue of a paper currency. Formerly, the business of banking, as far as necessary, was transacted by goldsmiths, or through the medium of the public Exchequer, by which plans the public was not sufficient 1y insured against loss. In 1695, the first public establishment for the purpose, the Bank of England, was established by one William Paterson, a scheming Scotsman; and next year the Bank of Scotland was set on foot by one Holland, an English merchant. The capital in the former case being only L1,200,000, and in the latter, the tenth part of that sum.

In the reign of King William flourished Sir William Temple, an eminent political and philosophical writer, to whom is usually assigned the honor of first composing the English language in the fluent and measured manner which afterwards became general. The most profound philosophical writer of the age was John Locke, author of an Essay on the Human Understanding, an Essay on Toleration, and other works. Bishop Tillot son stands high as a writer of elegant sermons. The greatest name in polite literature is that of John Dryden, remarkable for his energetic style of poetry, and his translations of Virgil and Juvenal.