The blunder of Lewis in choosing Germany instead of Holland for his point of attack was all but atoned for by the brilliant successes with which he opened the war. The whole country west of the Rhine was soon in his hands; his armies were masters of the Palatinate, and penetrated even to Wiirtemberg. His hopes had never been higher than at the moment when the arrival of James at St. Germain dashed all hope to the ground. Lewis was at once thrown back on a war of defence, and the brutal ravages which marked the retreat of his armies from the Rhine revealed the bitterness with which his pride stooped to the necessity. The Palatinate was turned into a desert. The same ruin fell on the stately palace of the Elector at Heidelberg, on the venerable tombs of the Emperors at Speyer, on the town of the trader, on the hut of the vine-dresser. In accepting the English throne William had been moved not so much by personal ambition as by the prospect of firmly knitting together England and Holland, the two great Protestant powers whose fleets held the mastery of the sea, as his diplomacy had knit all Germany together a year before in the Treaty of Augsburg. But the advance from such a union to the formation of the European alliance against France was still delayed by the reluctance of the two branches of the House of Austria in Germany and Spain to league with Protestant States against a Catholic King, while England cared little to join in an attack on France with the view of saving the liberties of Europe. All hesitation, however, passed away when the reception of James as still King of England at St. Germain gave England just ground for a declaration of war, a step in which it was soon followed by Holland, and the two countries at once agreed to stand by one another in their struggle against France. The adhesion of Spain and the Court of Vienna in 1689 to this agreement completed the Grand Alliance which William had designed; and when Savoy joined the allies France found herself girt in on every side save that of Switzerland with a ring of foes.
The Scandinavian kingdoms alone stood aloof from the confederacy of Europe, and their neutrality was unfriendly to France. Lewis was left without a single ally save the Turk: but the energy and quickness of movement which sprang from the concentration of the power of France in a single hand still left the contest an equal one. The Empire was slow to move; the Court of Vienna was distracted by a war with the Turks; Spain was all but powerless; Holland and England were alone earnest in the struggle, and England could as yet give little aid in the war. One English brigade, indeed, formed from the regiments raised by James, joined the Dutch army on the Sambre, and distinguished itself under Churchill, who had been rewarded for his treason by the title of Earl of Marlborough, in a brisk skirmish with the enemy at Walcourt. But William had as yet grave work to do at home.
[Authorities. - As before].
In England not a sword had been drawn for James. In Scotland his tyranny had been yet greater than in England, and so far as the Lowlands went the fall of his tyranny was as rapid and complete. No sooner had he called his troops southward to meet William's invasion than Edinburgh rose in revolt. The western peasants were at once up in arms, and the Episcopalian clergy who had been the instruments of the Stuart misgovernment ever since the Restoration were rabbled and driven from their parsonages in every parish. The news of these disorders forced William to act, though he was without a show of legal authority over Scotland. On the advice of the Scotch Lords present in London, he ventured to summon a Convention similar to that which had been summoned in England, and on his own responsibility to set aside the laws which excluded Presbyterians from the Scotch Parliament. This Convention resolved that James had forfeited the crown by misgovernment, and offered it to William and Mary. The offer was accompanied by a Claim of Right framed on the model of the Declaration of Rights to which they had consented in England, but closing with a demand for the abolition of Prelacy. Both crown and claim were accepted, and the arrival of the Scotch regiments which William had brought from Holland gave strength to the new Government. Its strength was to be roughly tested.
John Graham of Claverhouse, whose cruelties in the persecution of the Western Covenanters had been rewarded by high command in the Scotch army, and the title of Viscount Dundee, withdrew with a few troopers from Edinburgh to the Highlands, and appealed to the clans. In the Highlands nothing was known of English government or misgovernment: all that the Revolution meant to a Highlander was the restoration of the House of Argyll. To many of the clans it meant the restoration of lands which had been granted them on the Earl's attainder; and the Macdonalds, the Macleans, the Camerons, were as ready to join Dundee in fighting the Campbells and the Government which upheld them as they had been ready to join Montrose in the same cause forty years before. They were soon in arms. As William's Scotch regiments under General Mackay climbed the pass of Killiecrankie, Dundee charged them at the head of three thousand clansmen and swept them in headlong rout down the glen. But his death in the moment of victory broke the only bond which held the Highlanders together, and in a few weeks the host which had spread terror through the Lowlands melted helplessly away.
In the next summer Mackay was able to build the strong post of Fort William in the very heart of the disaffected country, and his offers of money and pardon brought about the submission of the clans. Sir John.
Dalrymple, the Master of Stair, in whose hands the government of Scotland at this time mainly rested, had hoped that a refusal of the oath of allegiance would give grounds for a war of extermination, and free Scotland for ever from its terror of the Highlanders. He had provided for the expected refusal by orders of a ruthless severity. " Your troops," he wrote to the officer in command, "will destroy entirely the country of Lochaber, Lochiel's lands, Keppoch's, Glengarry's, and Glencoe's. Your powers shall be large enough. I hope the soldiers will not trouble the Government with prisoners." But his hopes were disappointed by the readiness with which the clans accepted the offers of the Government. All submitted in good time save Macdonald of Glencoe, whose pride delayed his taking of the oath till six days after the latest date fixed by the proclamation. Foiled in his larger hopes of destruction, Dalrymple seized eagerly on the pretext given by Macdonald, and an order "for the extirpation of that sect of robbers" was laid before William and received the royal signature. "The work," wrote the Master of Stair to Colonel Hamilton who undertook it, "must be secret and sudden." The troops were chosen from among the Campbells, the deadly foes of the clansmen of Glencoe, and quartered peacefully among the Macdonalds for twelve days, till all suspicion of their errand disappeared.