The discovery of the resources afforded by the national wealth revealed a fresh source of power; and the rapid growth of the National Debt, as the mass of these loans to the State came to be called, gave a new security against the return of the Stuarts, whose first work would have been the repudiation of the claims of the lenders or "fundholders." The evidence of the public credit gave strength to William abroad, while at home a new unity of action followed the change which Sunderland counselled and which was quietly carried out. One by one the Tory Ministers, already weakened by Montague's success, were replaced by members of the Junto. Russell went to the Admiralty; Somers was named Lord Keeper; Shrewsbury, Secretary of State; Montague, Chancellor of the Exchequer. Even before this change was completed its effect was felt. The House of Commons took a new tone. The Whig majority of its members, united and disciplined, moved quietly under the direction of their natural leaders, the Whig Ministers of the Crown. It was this which enabled William to face the shock which was given to his position by the death of Queen Mary. The renewed attacks of the Tories showed what fresh hopes had been raised by William's lonely position.

The Parliament, however, whom the King had just conciliated by assenting at last to the Triennial Bill, went steadily with the Ministry; and its fidelity was rewarded by triumph abroad. In 1695 the Alliance succeeded for the first time in winning a great triumph over France in the capture of Namur. The King skilfully took advantage of his victory to call a new Parliament, and its members at once showed their temper by a vigorous support of the war. The Houses, indeed, were no mere tools in William's hands. They forced him to resume prodigal grants of lands made to his Dutch favourites, and to remove his ministers in Scotland who had aided in a wild project for a Scotch colony on the Isthmus of Darien. They claimed a right to name members of the new Board of Trade, established for the regulation of commercial matters. They rejected a proposal, never henceforth to be revived, for a censorship of the Press. But there was no factious opposition. So strong was the ministry that Montague was enabled to face the general distress that was caused for the moment by a reform of the currency, which had been reduced by clipping to far less than its nominal value; and in spite of the financial embarrassments created by the reform, William was able to hold the French at bay.

But the war was fast drawing to a close. Lewis was simply fighting to secure more favourable terms, and William, though he held that "the only way of treating with France is with our swords in our hands," was almost as eager as Lewis for a peace. The defection of Savoy made it impossible to carry out the original aim of the Alliance, that of forcing France back to its position at the Treaty of Westphalia, and the question of the Spanish succession was drawing closer every day. The obstacles which were thrown in the way of an accommodation by Spain and the Empire were set aside in a private negotiation between William and Lewis, and the year 1697 saw the conclusion of the Peace of Ryswick. In spite of failure and defeat in the field William's policy had won. The victories of France remained barren in the face of a United Europe; and her exhaustion forced her, for the first time since Richelieu's day, to consent to a disadvantageous peace. On the side of the Empire France withdrew from every annexation save that of Strassburg which she had made since the Treaty of Nimeguen, and Strassburg would have been restored but for the unhappy delays of the German negotiators.

To Spain Lewis restored Luxemburg and all the conquests he had made during the war in the Netherlands. The Duke of Lorraine was replaced in his dominions. A far more important provision of the peace pledged Lewis to an abandonment of the Stuart cause and a recognition of William as King of England. For Europe in general the Peace of Ryswick was little more than a truce. But for England it was the close of a long and obstinate struggle and the opening of a new aera of political history. It was the final and decisive defeat of the conspiracy which had gone on between Lewis and the Stuarts ever since the Treaty of Dover, the conspiracy to turn England into a Roman Catholic country and into a dependency of France. But it was even more than this. It was the definite establishment of England as the centre of European resistance against all attempts to overthrow the balance of power.