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18

kirk was sold

in an infamous manner);

munity in which they so largely shared honour and profit! However, they, it must be owned, remembered their creator.

18 He sold Dunkirk to the French king). Charles assured the count d'Estrades, ambassador of France (who had complimented him, in his master's name, on his re-establishment in his dominions, and notified his desire of the duke of Orleans's marrying the princess of England)." that he never desired any one's friendship so much as his majesty's ; that he esteemed himself happy to know, by what he had told him, that his wishes were accomplished: and that if the emperor and all the kings of the world had asked his sister, he would have refused them all to have given her to Monsieur, for the very reason of being more nearly attached to his majesty's person: that he was pleased that his conduct was approved by him: and assured the ambassador, that, for the time to come, his majesty should have reason to be pleaseda.”- And good reason indeed, after this, he had to be pleased. For Dunkirk, acquired by Cromwell with glory, and deemed so important by the very house of commons who called home the king, that a bill was passed by them for annexing it to the imperial crown of this realm : -Dunkirk, I say, was sold to his most Christian Majesty for the sum of five millions of livres. Some few extracts from the negotiators of this important affair may be acceptable, perhaps, to the reader, who has curiosity and taste for matters of this nature. Lord Clarendon, in a letter to the count d'Estrades,

• D’Estrades' Letters and Negotiations, p. 107. 8vo. Lond. 1755.

Journal, Dec. 7, 1660.

whose mischievous schemes he adopted,

dated, Hampton Court, June 29, 1662, writes, “As I have frequently reflected upon several particulars of the sundry conferences we have had together; and finding a disposition in the king, my master, to give all sorts of proof of the desire which he enter. tains to bind still more the ties of friendship betwixt him and his most christian majesty; I have sent on this journey M. Bellings, whom you know to be a person in whom I confide, to communicate to you my sentiments: to whom I desire you to give credence, &c.*"_But D’Estrades being set out on his journey as ambassador to Holland, Charles writ him a letter, dated July 27, 1662, from Hampton Court; in which observing that his letter might find him at Calais, be adds, "for which reason, as I have a great many things to communicate to you, and to resolve upon an affair which the chancellor hath proposed to me, I wish you would, to oblige me, turn a little out of your road, and take this in your way

-This affair was Dunkirk; in which, as we shall presently see, Clarendon was most concerned. D'Estrades, in a letter to the French king, dated London, Aug. 21, 1662, says, “ the chancellor [Hyde] told me it was pure necessity obliged his master to part with Dunkirk; and that he was not afraid to let me know this from the beginning, because he treated with me as one who is a friend to the king of England, and the minister of a great prince his ally, of whom he had no distrust; and that in both those characters he would own to me, there were four expedients to be taken in the business now proposed. The first, to treat with the

b"

* D'Estrades. Letters, p. 298.

Id. p. 229.

184

THE LIFE OF

and helped to carry into execution. The

Spaniards; who, at this very time, offered any terms 'for that town: the second, with the Dutch; that offered for it an immense sum: the third, was to put it into the hands of the parliament; who would be at all the expence, and leave the king full as much master of it as at present: the fourth was, to bargain with your majesty : which last appeared to him more just and more agreeable to his majesty's interest, which was the reason he had made me the first proposal. But that after hearing what I offered, and which he had reported to the persons abovementioned [the duke of York, general Monk, lord Southampton, and lord Sandwich], and had met to come to some resolution; every body was surprized, and easily remembered, that when Cromwell had offered it at 500,000 crowns, it was exclusive of the artillery, stores, and the new works, which were to be paid for over and above: and upon this resolved rather to put the place into the hands of the parliament; because, that when it was known that it had been disposed of for so small a suin, the king could not but expose himself to reproach; or he, the chancellor, at least, might be liable to a public censure that might endanger even his life. That it was his opinion, rather to make a present of it to your majesty, and to leave the price to your own generosity; but that as this was not in his power to do, and he was so deeply concerned in conducting an affair of such delicacy, he was obliged to conceal his opinion, and to seem to agree with that of others, so as not to appear as the chief promoter of this treaty. That the most pressing argument which he made use of to preyail with them to consent, was, the supply of money which the king might draw from thence; and that thereby he might discharge the debts he was obliged to be bound for in maintaining this place: but that my scanty offers had destroyed that motive, and shewed them that either we had no trade, no inclination to have Dunkirk; or that we put too small a value upon ita."-It may be well supposed so able a man as D'Estrades availed himself of such a conversation. His master had, he well knew, a great inclination to have Dunkirk; but he was desirous of having it as cheap as he could. A bargain, at length, however, was drove. The terms were advantageous on the side of France; and, for the trifling sum above-mentioned, the town, fortifications, artillery, and warlike stores, were put into her possession. What follows from the ambassador's letter to Lewis, dated London, Oct. 27, 1662, will not, it is presumed, be deemed unacceptable by the reader." At last,” says he," after several delays, and getting over several difficulties, I have signed the treaty of Dunkirk; and send it over to your majesty by this express. I ought not to omit, that the chancellor was the person, of all the others, who suffered most during the contest which was formed by all the council on this affair. The commissioners laboured most to break it off; and it may be said, that the reasons alledged were so strong, that the king of England and the duke of York would have been staggered, had he not taken great pains to keep them to their first resolutions. This was apparent to all the court; and from thence they took occasion to blame him as the sole author of the treaty. His enemies, and all the Spanish faction, have attacked his conduct on that score; and cry loudly against him, that as he had very impolitickly made the match with Portugal, before he had secured the protection of France; so he had as imprudently parted with Dunkirk, without being assured of that strict friendship and union, which he boasted of would be procured with your majesty by the treaty in relation to that place. That when you once found yourself master of it, without any stipulation or particular engagement with England, you would think your civility nothing but meer courtesy, which would not embark you in

* D'Estrades' Letters, p. 245.

any

affairs. That as his own interest had made him engage in the business of the match, to be revenged of some bad treatment from the Spaniards, and out of fear of being supplanted by the Spanish faction in England; so out of a view to his own interest, by being supported by that of France, he had sacrificed the interest of the king his master, and had given up a place which, for the honour of England, and its importance to foreign nations, was more valuable than all Ireland.—There have been so many turnings and windings in this affair to oblige me to speak again and again so often to the king, the duke of York, and the chancellor, that it would be tedious to give your majesty an account of them; but I must still do them the justice to say, that their manner of treating was the most honourable I ever saw; and I do not beJieve there is an instance to be found in history, where, in a negotiation of 5 millions, or even a much smaller sum, one prince has been satisfied with the bare word of another for the payment of the money; especially being a prince but lately restored to his dominions, whose prerogative is but small, and the authority divided between him and a parliament. This uncommon procedure fully perswaded me that the king of England very earnestly, desires to be in friendship with your majesty, and knows how useful it may be to him; and that the chancellor seconds and cherishes this dis

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