In the beginning, Good King Billy
won the hearts and minds of the ordinary English people. They feared the
spectre of another catholic king, partly because they themselves were
Protestants, partly because their lords and masters were split down the middle on
religious lines. Nobody wanted another civil war. They were happy with half the
nobility following the rites and rituals of the village church, while the rest
kept their beliefs to themselves and their private chapels.
But Billy, the orange prince, also brought in new ideas
with the power to unite the merchant class and landed gentry under the common
cause of war and profit. It had worked back home in Holland, which had surged
ahead with commerce and trade, while fighting a bloody war with Catholic Spain
and the dreaded Habsburg dynasty, to secure its independence.
Amsterdam had a new kind of bank, funded by public
subscription, managed by shareholders, funding the war with Spain. They offered
a win-win proposition….