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end to which his measures tended, or merely the means of promoting the conversion of his subjects, is a question not easily determined. But it is evident, that a devoted attachment to the Catholic religion was the ruling principle of his after life, and appears all along to have been his predominant passion. The clear and rapid sketch drawn by the present writer gives a more distinct image of the Duke than any of the more laboured characters to be met with in history. He says,
«The character of the Duke of York was essentially different from that of his brother. Charles was quick, fickle, and indolent; James was dull, obstinate, and busy; the king was indifferent about religion, the duke was one of the greatest bigots that ever lived. The Duke of Buckingham described their characters in a few words saying, Charles could see things if he would, James would see things if he could." "
Again, he says,
"Yet it must not be imagined that James was without virtues. He was kind to his friends, and naturally just and true in his commerce with the world. But his bigotry, joined with his unnatural position, blotted out his good inclinations. The countenance he gave to the judgment given against Argyle; his assisting at the torture in Scotland, and attending races in the neighbourhood, when Lady Lisle was executed, leave an indelible stain upon his memory. He seems, by these instances, to have merited the retort of Ayloffe, who, when James advised him to make disclosures, because it was in his power to pardon, answered, Yes, but it is not in your
Of these royal brothers the heart of one was withered and rendered callous by the early habits of a dissolute life, which never fail to have that effect, and still more by seeing that dark view of human nature which is always disclosed under the circumstances in which he was placed: Where profligacy in some instances, and treachery in others, of those with whom he lived, and on whom he depended, were the result of exile, poverty, and unfixed principle, in these unhappy times. His brother, with a mind less open to enjoyment, and, consequently, less liable to temptations of a pleasurable nature, sought and found a gloomy and unsafe refuge from the evils by which his youth was
surrounded, in a religion calculated to limit the powers of the understanding, and to harden the heart. In each instance, all the better propensities of their nature were stifled at the very season when it was natural for them to expand. As long as Clarendon, who might be accounted the faithful Abdiel among their followers, continued to possess any influence, those fatal effects of early association did not appear in their full enormity; but in banishing him, Charles might be said "To curse his better angel from his side," and fall to reprobation. But the influence of France, fatal at all times to their family, was the chief cause of all their aberrations, moral and political, and it has, indeed, always proved sinister to this country; so much so, that its friendship has been even more pernicious than its enmity. Every marriage contracted betwixt our monarchs and the daughters of French princes, has had some baleful influence on the sovereign or the state, from the imperious Eleanor of Poictiers, who armed her sons against her husband; to the heiress of Guienne, who filled the Court of the feeble-minded third
Henry with French buffoons and sycophants, to the exclusion of the native nobility, from which arose the jealousies and insurrections which disturbed his long and turbulent reign: to the atrocious Isabella, who betrayed Edward the Second to deposition and a cruel death. Nor was the match between Charles the First and Henrietta of France much more fortunate.
Her religion, and the gaiety of her manners, were highly offensive to the puritanical party, and afforded them a pretext for disgusting the people in general with the manners of the court. The king's too great confidence in her made his friends distrustful, and afforded a handle to his enemies to sow fresh jealousies; and, finally, her influence, little as it was in France, was the means of attaching her unfortunate sons both to the religion and manners of that country, a fatal bias which proved ruinous to the fame of the one, and the fortunes of the other, and highly disastrous to the country in general. With seductive wit and gaiety, Charles and his courtiers imported the profiigacy of the most corrupt court that ever called itself Christian, that of Louis XIV.
without its elegance and refinement, which, though they could scarce be called redeeming qualities, certainly softened the coarser features of vice, by diminishing its grossness. The British exiles had drank deep in the cup of those abominations, and returned fatally imbued with them, without the thin and glittering veil of grace and softness which slightly disguised them in their native soil.
It was a great aggravation of the danger to national morality, that there happened to be more of luxuriant and misapplied talent among the courtiers and their retainers, than has ever been known to spring up in that cold atmosphere before or since; in those days when "statesmen farces writ," &c. the fascination of pleasure was heightened by having intellect pressed into its service. Correct morals and decent manners were considered as indicative of a deficiency of both wit and loyalty. Never was the tribute of esteem, which vice itself necessarily pays to virtue, so sparingly accorded. Gravity and regular conduct were deemed formality. There was, in short, a great gulf opened between the lovers of liberty, religion, and order, and the adherents of a licentious and profligate court; and the occurrences of every day contributed to widen the chasm; and still, as domestic discontents increased, the influence of France gained ground, till at length the monarch of a great and free nation, once popular and beloved, and still possessed of qualities that please and attract,-the descendant of a long line of sovereigns, who was expected to have grown wise in the school of adversity,-stooped, not only to receive a pension from France, but to apply this money, and much more extorted from his subjects, to crush the states of Holland, the old and natural ally of Britain, bound to her by ties of protection on one hand, and of gratitude on the other, professing the same religion, and having, in many essential points, the same interest.
The Dutch war, unpopular in itself, and more so for being well known to be the result of French influence, still more widened the breach between the court and country party.
An event, which appeared to many yet more alarming and portentous, about this time filled the country with
still darker fears and apprehensions, as being public, while the ignominious treaty with France was only known to the confidential ministers. The Duke of York, the heir of the Crown, publicly avowed himself a convert to the Catholic religion. From the general tone of honesty which has been ascribed to him, it might be supposed that he could ill bear the disguise of making a profession different from his real opinions;-but assuredly it did not suit the pride of the Roman Pontiff to receive an unacknowledged convert into the bosom of the church. Hence began those jealousies and heartburnings which ended in promoting the bill of exclusion. Those who were zealous for the religion and liberties of their country (which were in this intimately connected) saw only an alternative between two great evils-that of being governed by a Popish sovereign, necessarily under foreign influence, and full of arbitrary maxims-or encountering all the dangers of a disputed succession, in a country already torn into factions by civil as well as religious animosities.
Before this crisis called forth the hopes and fears of the opposing parties, Lord Russell had entered into public affairs with much zeal, but with that openness and singleness of heart which distinguished all his conduct. He had even gone so far as to move for the impeachment of Lord Danby for mismanagement of the Treasury. This impeachment fell to the ground, not being supported by the other members; which coldness was imputed to the influence of bribery. Here it may not be improper to refer to the author's defence of his noble ancestor from a charge which, however unfounded, has been brought forward with so much confidence, and by such authority, as to entitle it to a refutation. The proofs and arguments used for this purpose by our author appear perfectly satisfactory. Indeed, nothing less than proof positive should make one for a moment lend an ear to what is so very improbable, that it seems next to impossible. The chapter which is devoted to this purpose is too long for quotation, but gives a very clear view of the subject, and seems to solve the difficulty without even questioning the veracity of Barillon or the sincerity of Sir John Dalrymple. While the nation was
full of suspicion, the Popish Plot, in which a great deal of falsehood was mixed with a little truth, set all these floating humours into a state of violent fermentation. There has been, and ever will be, opposition to Government, in this country, while it continues free. It is essential to such a state. But on no occasion, not even on the breaking out of the civil war in the time of Charles the First, was there so great an accumulation of warrantable grounds of discontent as at this period. The scandalous and treacherous shutting up of the Exchequer, the impolitic and unpopular Dutch war,-the treaties with France, the ignominious purport of which were, if not known, strongly suspect ed, the dread of a Popish successor, and the morals of the Court faithless, truthless, and licentious, besides the cruelty of turning some thousands of clergymen out of their benefices, who, though perhaps too scrupulous in refusing to comply with forms no ways essential on the one hand, nor important on the other, showed themselves honest in the sacrifice they made for conscience sake;-no wonder, then, that every honourable and upright mind took the alarm at a prospect where bad seemed daily tending to worse, and that those who possessed great property, and consequent influence in the country, should feel the urgency tenfold which stimulated them to oppose the measures that threatened the destruction of all that made that country dear or life desir able.
We insert the arguments used by our author, to show that the Popish plot, though much too eagerly followed out by the country party, and too readily credited, was not by any means invented by their leader.
"A detailed history of this plot does not enter into my plan. But although the charge is now withdrawn, it is right to mention such circumstances as serve to exculpate the country party from the guilt of inventing this story, for the purpose of taking away the lives of the innocent. This accusation is easily disproved; nay, so far is it from the truth, that the plot was brought to light by Lord Shaftesbury and his friends, that it might have been suppressed but for the following circum, stance. The Duke of Buckingham, who was a great enemy of Lord Danby, had been long banished from Court, but had lately been privately admitted tb kiss the
King's hand at Chiffinch's. Upon being informed of the circumstance by the Duke of York, Danby expressed great indignation at the King's want of firmness to stand by his friends. From this time he expected to be supplanted by Buckingham in the royal favour, and he became proportionably anxious to obtain the good opinion of the country. The inquiry into the plot, he seems to have thought, would serve both to show his zeal for the Protestant religion, and to divert the attention of Parliament from his own impeachment. With this view, he advised the King to go to Newmarket, and leave to his council the unravelling of this mysterious business. And as soon as Parliament assembled, he, contrary to the wish and express command of the King, laid the whole affair before them. Upon the first discovery, the High Church party were eagerly bent on pursuing the plot; but when they saw Lord Shaftesbury and his friends take it up with still more vehemence and activity, they became cool in the prosecution. Another circumstance may be mentioned, which tends to exculpate Shaftesbury from any share in inventing the story. It was a part of the pretended plot, though not generally noticed, that Popish priests should assume the disguise of dissenting ministers, This could never answer the purpose of in order to preach liberty of conscience. Lord Shaftesbury, who was at this time chiefly supported by non-conformists. It is also remarkable, that the first time Oates was examined respecting the Duke of York, he affirmed him to be totally ignorant of the plot, and gave many reasons in support of that opinion. Besides, the whole story is so wild and so absurd, that it is impossible for any one to believe that it was the invention of so able a man as Shaftesbury."
pp. 126, 127.
The discovery of his secretary Coleman's seditious correspondence in some measure involved the Duke of York, and the king complied so far with the desire of the party, as to forbid him any concern with public affairs. Not satisfied with this, the opposition strove to have him removed from the royal presence and councils, and to make this measure the more popular with their own party, and less resisted by the other, they chose Lord Russell to make the motion, not expecting from him either acute powers or persuasive eloquence. But his great property, and his known integrity, and a love of liberty, undebased by any mean or selfish motive, made him the object of universal confidence; others feeling as on sure ground in making common cause with him. In this debate
the first hint was given of the bill of
"I have read a little in the law, but I
would have the gentlemen of the long robe
The king's conduct during these debates was allowed to be moderate and prudent. He dissolved the Parliament at last, which the noble author allows to have become quite unmanageable. The party were this time become so eager to pursue severe measures with the royal duke, that all other offenders, and many offences, were overlooked in prosecuting this main object. The elections for the next Parliament were carried on with great heat. The country party, with the help of the plot, seemed to have their enemies at their feet. A new proof of Lord Russell's unequalled popularity appeared in his being chosen for two counties at once, Bedfordshire and Hampshire. He preferred the former. The Duke of York shunned the impending storm by removing abroad, but first induced the king to declare the Duke of Monmouth illegitimate, and to promise that he would not consent to any bill excluding him from the Crown. Many and keen discussions took place in the new Parliament, but Lord Russell, though zealous against popery, only expressed a wish that a bill might be brought in to secure the Protestant religion, in case of a Popish successor. Mild in his temper, and moderate in all his views, he did not yet feel the necessity of stronger measures. The his tory of the prosecution of Lord Danby in this Parliament, and of the measures which accomplished his fall in the next, though much connected with Lord Russell's proceedings, is too intricate for insertion here. It is enough to say, that the measures used against him were the means of discovering many secret corruptions in the affairs of the Court, and adding much temporary strength to the country party, so much so, that Sir William Temple, an allowed judge of men and measures, believed that all would terminate in calling the Duke of Monmouth to the succession.
A new privy council, then chosen,
included, among the other heads of the Whig party, Lord Russell. There was, however, a counterbalance of persons in office on whom the king might rely, and the Court expected to carry some points more easily, by including this mixture of popular leaders, whose jealousy might be lulled by this appearance of confidence. Parliament, however, rather provoked than blinded by this artifice, no longer kept any measures with the Court, but immediately brought in the furious bill of exclusion, in which the Royal Duke and his pretensions were treated with little ceremony. This event makes so prominent a figure in history, that it is needless to enter into its details; it is sufficient to say, that, as frequently happens in more ordinary affairs, the promoters of the bill defeated their own purpose by the violence with which they pursued it. Lord Shaftes bury, the most able and artful of the party, was by no means scrupulous in the mode of prosecuting the measure, and even went so far as to persuade the credulous, that the king's secret wishes were in favour of the Duke of Monmouth. Highly incensed, Charles kept no further measures with the Parliament, but suddenly prorogued it contrary to his previous declaration. Elate and confident of their own power, nothing could exceed the rage of both houses at this unforeseen blast upon their favourite project. The next important event in which the Whigs were implicated by their enemies, was the insurrection in Scotland, terminated by the battle of Bothwell Brig, which was most unjustly attributed to their instigations. It is unnecessary to tell Scotsmen how little their forefathers, goaded by oppression, required such stimulation, and how disdainfully they would have received it from Prelatical Erastians.
A popular pamphlet, which appeared after the dissolution of Parliament, among many inflammatory plans for the succession of the Duke of Monmouth, used the very unten able one, "That he who has the worst title makes the best king."
Next follows a most painful detail of the trials occasioned by the Popish plot. Such a tissue of perjury, cruelty, and injustice, is seldom to be met with in our history. The infatuation of party, by which even the good and the wise were induced to lend their
sanction to such enormities, affords a very melancholy proof of the power that the worst characters acquire, to the misleading and injury of the best, in times of popular commotion, when the general mind is too much heated for discrimination. The result of the perjury and subornation of some, and the credulity and rashness of others, in raising on a small foundation such a superstructure of mischief, was every way pernicious, not merely to the objects of suspicion and punishment, but to those whose virtuous indignation made them more open to imposition in the beginning and misconstruction in the end. "There is a tide in the affairs of men," &c.; the passage is well known: but when those who float upon the tide of popular opinion trust too much to it, they are in great dan ger of being left on the strand, a violent flood being often succeeded by a sudden ebb, and popular frenzy as often followed by a sudden fit of pusillanimous terror. That able and sub- "When she was gone, he said, Now tle statesman, Shaftesbury, entangled the bitterness of death is past. And he himself and his party in the toils he then ran out into a long discourse concernhad set for others. He did, indeed, had been to him, and what a misery it ing her, saying, how great a blessing she escape with dishonoured life, but left would have been to him, if she had not a more costly victim to satiate the had that magnanimity of spirit, joined to vengeance he had provoked. The her tenderness, as never to have desired Rye-house Plot, which afforded a thin him to do a base thing to save his life. pretext for aiming at the life of Lord - Whereas, what a week he should have pasRussell, is too long and too intricate sed, if she had been crying on him to turn to be detailed here, and is familiar to informer, and to be a Lord Howard! He all readers of history. We shall only then repeated to Dr Burnet, what he had observe, what, perhaps, is not so well often before said, that he knew of nothing known, that Lord Russell might have whereby the peace of the nation was in escaped, and was, perhaps, wished to danger; and that all that ever was, was either loose discourse, or, at most, embryos do so, not from compassion or esteem, that never came to any thing; so there was but to afford a pretext for loading him nothing on foot, to his knowledge. He with undeserved imputations. Nei- then returned to speak of his wife. ther he nor his heroic consort yielded said there was a signal providence of God for a moment to this temptation. He in giving him such a wife, where there was stood the shameful mockery of a trial, birth, fortune, great understanding, great after challenging thirty-one of the religion, and great kindness to him; but jury. His incomparable wife acted as her carriage in his extremity was beyond his amanuensis on the trial. We fi- all. He said that he was glad that she nish with a brief abstract of that close and his children were to lose nothing by which reflected glory on the unspothis death; and it was great comfort to ted life of the truest patriot, the kind him that he left his children in such a est friend and relation, and the sin him to take care of herself for their sakes. mother's hands, and that she had promised cerest Christian. Then he spoke of his own situation, and said, how great a change death made, and how wonderfully those new scenes would strike on a soul. He had heard how some that had been born blind were struck, when, by the couching of their cataracts, they saw; but what, he said, if the first thing they saw were the sun rising?
was sent to his wife, containing a new project for his preservation, he turned it into ridicule, in such a manner, that those who were with him, and were not themselves able to contain their griefs, were amazed. They could not conceive how his heart, naturally so tender, could resist the impression of their sorrow. In the day time he had bled at the nose, on which he said, “ 1 shall not now let blood to divert this that will be done to-morrow.' And when it rained hard that night, he said, Such a rain to-morrow will spoil a great show, which is a dull thing on a rainy day.'
"Before his wife left him, he took her by the hand, and said, This flesh you now feel, in a few hours, must be cold.' At ten o'clock she left him. He kissed her four or five times; and she so governed her distress, to the pain of separation. sorrow, as not to add, by the sight of her Thus they parted; not with sobs and tears, but with a composed silence; the wife wishing to spare the feelings of the husband, and the husband of the wife, they both restrained the expression of a grief too great to be relieved by utterance.
"A little before he went to eat his supper, he said to Lady Russell, Stay and sup with me: let us eat our last earthly food together.' He talked very cheerfully during supper on various subjects, and particularly of his two daughters. He mentioned several passages of dying men with great freedom of spirit; and when a note
"His servant requested he might sit up