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perpetually before him, time could not possibly be found till Thursday. But the king finding his natural strength decay, commanded of his own accord all to retire out of the room, telling them, that he had something to communicate to his brother. Then Mr. Huddleston being brought in, that great work was done, & with that exactness, that there was nothing omitted either necessary or decent; &, as Mr. Huddleston himself has told me, by a particular instance of God's grace, the king was as ready and apt in making his confession, & all other things, as if he had been brought up a catholick all his life time: & from that moment till eight of the clock the next day, att which time his speech-left him, he was heard to say little but begging
Almighty God's pardon for all offences & the like; so „ that we may joyfully say, God have mercy of his
soul, & make him eternally participant of his kingdom of heaven.
As for our present king, he dayly gives us by his actions new hopes of a great deal of future happiness; for besides the great content & satisfaction, which seems to be in every body here, we in particular have reason to praise God for giving him so much courage and resolution to confess his faith publickly, as he did yesterday in a most eminent manner; for on Friday last he declared to the councell, that he was resolved to make known publickly to the world of what religion he was : and yesterday he came with the queen to the chapell, attended by all the nobility & gentry about court, & there received together with the queen from the hands of her almoner the most precious body and blood of our Saviour, with as much devotion as I ever saw in any man; & heard all the time upon his knees two long masses. This ceremony I saw & will allways esteem the day
holy, whereon it was done; for above this 126 years the like has not been seen in England.
The mayor and aldermen of London came on Saturday last with an address to the king in the name of the city, wherein they promise to stand by him with their lives & fortunes, which I hope will be a good example to all others to do the like.
This is all but my true love to my dear sister, & all yours.
From, dear brother,
J. APRICE. (The original letter is now in the hands of Mrs. Eyre of Stamford : and J. Aprice, above-mentioned, was a Romish priest, and relation of hers; as was also Mr. Lynwood, to whom the letter was written.)
No. III.', A Copy of a Letter from the Duchess of Cleveland to
King Charles II. From the Original, now in the hands of the Earl of Berkshire, 1731. Harleyan Manuscripts, N". 7006.
Paris, Tuesday the 28th,—78. I was never so surprized in my holle life time as I was at my coming hither, to find my lady Sussex gone from my house and monastery where I left her, and this letter from her, which I here send you the copy of. I never in my holle life time heard of such government of herself as she has had, since I went into England. She has never been in the monastery two days together, but every day gone out with the ambassador, and has often lain four days together at my bouse, and sent for her meat to the ambassador, he
a Ralph Mountague, afterwards duke of Mountague.
being always with her till five o'clock in the morning, they two shut up together alone, and would not let my maistre d'hotel wait, nor any of my servants, only the ambassadors. This has made so great a noise at Paris, that she is now the holle discourse. I am so much afficted that I can hardly write this for crying, to see a child that I doted on as I did on her, should make me so ill a return, and join with the worst of men to ruin me. For sure never malice was like the ambassadors, that only because I would not answer to his love, and the importunities he made to me, was resolved to ruin me. I hope your majesty will yet have that justice and consideration for me, that though I have done a foolish action, you will not let me be ruined by this most abominable man. I do confess to you that I did write a foolish letter to the chevalier de Chatilion, which letter I sent inclosed to madam de Pallas, and sent hers in a packet I sent to lady Sussex by Sir Henry Tichborn ; which letter she has either given to the ambassador, or else he had it by his man, to whom Sir Harry Tichborn gave it, not finding my lady Sussex. But as yet I do not know which of the ways he had it, but I shall know as soon as I have spoke with Sir Harry Tichborn. But the letter be has, and I doubt not but he has or will send it to you. Now all I have to say for myself is, that you know as to love, one is not mistress of ones self, and that you ought not to be offended at me, since all things of this nature is at an end with you and I. So that I could do you no prejudice. Nor will you I hope follow the advice of this ill man who in his heart I know hates you, and were it not for his interest would ruin you to if he could. For he has neither conscience or honor, and has several times told me, that in his heart he despised you and your brother; and that foi his part, he wished with all his heart that the parliament would send you
both to travel; for you were a dull governable fool and the duke a wilful fool. So that it were yet better to have you than him, but that you always chose a greater beast than yourself to govern you. And when I was to come over he brought me two letters to bring to you, which he read both to me before he sealed them. The one was a mans, that he said you had great faith in; for that he had at several times foretold things to you that were of consequence, and that you believ'd him in all things, like a changeling as you were : And that now he had wrote you word that in a few months the king of France and his son were threatned with death, or at least with a great fit of sickness, in which they would be in great danger if they did not die: and that therefore he counsellid you to defer any resolutions either of war or peace till some months were past; for that if this happened it would make a great change in France. The ambassador after he had read this to me said, “ now the good of this is said he, that I can do what I will with this man, for he is poor, and a good sum of money will make him write whatever I will.” So he proposed to me that he and I should join together in the ruin of my lord treasurer and the duchess of Portsmouth, which might be done thus: The man, though he was infirm and ill should go into England, and there after having been a little time to sollicit you for money ; for that you were so base, that though you employed him, you let him starve. So that he was obliged to give him 501. and that the man had writ several times to you for money. “ And,” says he, “ when he is in England, he shall tell the king things that he foresees will infallibly ruin him; and so wish those to be removed, as having an ill star, that would be unfortunate to you, if they were not removed :" but if that were done, he was confident you would have the most glorious reign that ever was. This, says he, I am sure I can order so as to bring to a good effect, if you will. And in the mean time I will try to get secretary Coventrys place, which he has a mind to part with, but not to Sir William Temple ; because he is the treasurers creature, and he hates the treasurer, and I have already employed my sister to talk with Mr. Cook, and to mind him to engage Mr. Coventry not to part with it as yet, and he has assured my lady Harvy he will not. And my lord treasurers lady and Mr. Bertee are both of them desirous I should have it. And when I have it I will be damn'd if I do not quickly get to be lord treasurer; and then you and your children shall find such a friend as never was. And for the king, I will find a way to furnish him so easily with money for his pocket and his wenches, that we will quickly out Bab. May, and lead the king by the nose. So when I had heard him out, I told him, I thank'd him, but that I would not meddle with any such thing: and that for my part I had no malice to my lady Portsmouth, or to the treasurer, and therefore would never be in any plot to destroy them. But that I found the character which the world gave of him was true : which was that the devil was not more designing than he was, and that I wondered at it, for sure all these things working in his brain must make him very uneasy, and would at last make him mad. 'Tis possible you may think I say all this out of malice. 'Tis true he has urged me beyond all patience : but what I tell you here is most true; and I will take the sacrament on it whenever you please. 'Tis certain I would not have been so base as to have informed against him for what he said before me, had he not provoked me to it in this violent way that he has. There is no ill thing
a See Burnet's Hist. of his own Times, vol. I. p. 422.