Page images
PDF
EPUB

be relied on.---He is accused, perhaps not without foundation, of ingratitudet to

apologize for him, however, on this head. “ If he dissembled,” says he,“ let us remember, first, that he was a king; and that dissimulation is a jewel of the crown: next, that it is very hard for a man not to do sometimes too much of that, which he concludeth necessary for him to practise. Men should consider, that as there would be no false dice, if there were no true ones; so if dissembling is grown universal, it ceaseth to be foul play, having an implied allowance by the general practice. He that was so often forced to dissemble in his own defence, might the better have the priviledge sometimes to be the aggressor, and to deal with men at their own weapon“.”

What force there is in this, the reader will determine.

4 He has been accused of ingratitude.] This was the charge against him soon after his restoration, by parties, and private persons.—“They who had suffered much in their fortunes, and, by frequent imprisonments, and sequestrations, and compositions, expected large recompences and reparations in honours, which they could not support, or offices which they could not discharge, or lands and money which the king had not to give; as all dispassioned men knew the conditions which the king was obliged to perform, and that the act of indemnity discharged all those forfeitures which could have been applied to their benefit; and therefore they who had been, without comparison, the greatest sufferers in their fortunés, and in all respects had merited most, never made any ineonve

a Character of K. Charles II. p. 56. Compare a passage from the Anti-Machiavel, quoted in the Life of Charles I. P

83. VOL. V.

wards those from whom he had received very great obligations in his necessities;

[ocr errors]

:

nient suits to the king, but modestly left the memory and consideration of all they had done, or undergone, to his majesty's own gracious reflexions. They were observed to be most importunate, who had deserved least, and were least capable to perform any notable service; and none had more esteem of themselves, and believed preferment to be more due to them, than a sort of men who had most loudly began the king's health in taverns; especially if, for any disorders which had accompanied it, they had suffered imprisonment, without any other pretence of merit, or running any other hazard a." These are the words of Clarendon words of severity, but perhaps justice, to many of his party; though they come with a very ill grace from a man who received twenty thousand pounds, from the king's bounty, soon after his arrival in England b: who had never suffered imprisonment, or run hazard in the field, for the royal cause; and who, moreover, had procured of the king the manor of Cornbury, in Oxfordshire, forfeited by the attainder of Sir John Danvers, one of the late king's judges“. We are not to wonder then that the cavaliers complained highly of their being neglected, as Burnet assures us they did : or that, upon Clarendon's beating down the value they set on their services, an implacable hatred took place in the breasts of many of them against him ". For to be neglected, and contemned at the same time, by persons we have wished to serve, and for whom we have suffered, is hardly to be borne by men of virtue; much less

c Wood's

* Clarendon's Continuation, vol. II. p. 35. o Id. p. 60. Åthenæ, vol. II. c. 534. • See Burnet, vol. I. p. 165.

and even towards the memory of his father,

by those unacquainted with it. -If his lordship, as was given out, advised the king to gain his enemies, since he was sure of his friends by their principles; we cannot be at a loss to account for their ill will.

-To go on. Burnet observes of his majesty, that “ he had been obliged to so many, who had been faithful to him, and careful of him, that he seemed afterwards to resolve to make an equal return to them all: and finding it not easy to reward them all as they deserved, he forgot them all alike. Most princes seem to have this pretty deep in them; and to think, that they ought never to remember past services, but that their acceptance of them is a full reward. He, of all in 'our age, exerted this piece of prerogative in the amplest manner: for he never seemed to charge his memory, or trouble his thoughts, with the sense of any of the services that had been done him"."'-It appears also, from the satires of the times, that ingratitude was imputed to Charles.

“ His father's foes he does reward,

Preserving those that cut off's head :
Old cavaliers, the crown's best guard,
He lets them starve for want of bread.

Never was any king endu'd
With so much grace and gratitude."

ROCHESTER

“ To see them who suffer'd for father and son,
And helped to bring the latter to's throne,
Who, with lives and estates, did loyally serve,
And yet, for all this, can nothing deserve.
The king looks not on them, preferment's deny'd 'em;
The Roundheads insult, and the Courtiers deride 'em.”

MARVEL

• Burnet, vol. I. p. 611.

he was wanting in that respect, which his

This was the language of the times. Nor did it want truth for its foundation. Lord Clarendon, as we have seen, endeavours to excuse and justify his master; but how very poorly, is about to appear. I will not here take notice of Charles's treatment of the body of the presbyterians, to whom he, in a good measure, owed his crown: but will confine myself to the cases of a few persons, one of whom only was of that persuasion. The marquis of Argyle was executed, as it is well known, soon after Charles had taken possession of the three kingdoms. He had been looked on as an enemy by the former king ;-he certainly was so to his designs; and it was alledged, “ that he had hindered the Scots from inviting his majesty, and, as long as possible, kept him from being received by them :" but, at the same time, it is confessed, “ that when there was no remedy, and that he was actually landed, no man paid him so much reverence and outward respect, and gave so good an example to all others, with what veneration their king ought to be treated, as the marquis of Argyle did; and in a very short time made himself agreeable and acceptable to him. And though he never consented to any one thing of moment which the king asked of him, and even in those seasons in which he was used with the most rudeness by the clergy, and with some barbarity by his son the lord Lorne, whoni he had made captain of his majesty's guard, to guard him from his friends, and from all who he desired should have access to him; the marquis still had that address, that he perswaded him all was for the best. When the other faction prevailed, in which there were likewise crafty managers, and that his counsels were commonly rejected, he carried himself so, that they who

friends thought needful, and all mankind

hated him most were willing to compound with him, and that his majesty should not withdraw his countenance from him. But he continued in all his charges, and had a very great party in the parliament that was most devoted to serve the king; so that his majesty was often put to desire his help to compass what he desired. He did heartily oppose the king's marching with his army into England; the ill success whereof made many men believe, afterwards, that he had more reasons for the counsels he gave, than they had who were of another opinion. And the king was so far from thinking him his enemy, that, when it was privately proposed to him, by those he trusted most, that he inight be secured from doing hurt when the king was marched into England, since he was so much against it; his majesty would by no means consent to it, but parted with him very graciously, as with one he expected good service from. All which the commissioners (of Scotland, foes to Argyle] well remembered, and were very unwilling that he should be again admitted into his presence, to make his own excuses for any thing he could be charged with. And his behaviour afterwards, and the good correspondence he had kept with Cromwell, but especially some confident averments of some particular words or actions which related to the murder of his father, prevailed with his majesty not to speak with him, which he laboured by many addresses in petitions to the king, and letters to some of those who were trusted by him, which were often presented by his wife, and his son, and in which he only desired, to speak with the king, or with some of those lords, pretending, that he should inform and communicate somewhat that would highly concern his

« PreviousContinue »