Page images
PDF
EPUB

the king himself was so far from being reconciled by it, that the esteem, which he could not hitherto but retain in his heart for her, grew now much less. He concluded, that all her former aversion, expressed in those lively passions, which seemed not capable of dissimulation, ivas all fiction, and purely acted to the life, by a nature crafty, perverse, and inconstant. He con gratulated his own ill-natured perseverance; by which he had discovered how he was to behave himself hereafter, and what remedies he was to apply to all futuré indispositions: nor had he, ever after, the same value of her wit, judgment, and understanding, which he had formerly; and was well enough pleased to observe, that the reverence others had for all three was somewhat diminished." No remarks need be made on this narrative. Every humane man must feel ani indignation arise in his breast against the actor of such barbarities. What-were the feeding of ducks, the humming of a song at a public entertainment, or mixing in the humours of the company, to counterbalance such vile behaviour?—-We may, therefore, very easily believe Burnet, when he tells us, that the king, on his death-bed," said nothing of the queen; nor any one word of his people, or of his servants b.” His mind was incapable of sentiments of humanity. A selfist he was; whose thoughts terminated in himself, and who regarded none who were not subservient to his pleasures. Such characters are not uncommon in life; in the higher parts of it ä s, in conformity to custom, they must be called :--but they are characters whieh will be despised, and execrated, as long as there is sense, or virtue, remaining in the world.

• Burnet, rol. I.

Clarendon's Continuation, vol. II. p. 339-343. p. 699.

This, as it was a matter of great

papist®.

8. He probably lived, as it is certain he died, a papist.] There had been suspicions of the king's being a papist, even before his restoration : and these had been increased by the favour shewn to many of the catholic persuasion, after his return. But his majesty always professed himself a zealous protestant, and a fợe to the Romish church. In his letter to the Convention parliament, from Breda, he talks much of his zeal and concern for the protestant faith. " If you desire,” says he, “ the advancement and propagation of the protestant religion; we have, by our constant profession, and practice of it, given sufficient testimony to the world, that neither the unkindness of those of the same faith towards us, nor the civilities and obligations from those of a contrary profession (of both which we have had abundant evidence), could in the least degree startle us, or make us swerve from it; and nothing can be proposed to manifest our zeal and affection for it, to which we will not readily consent: and we hope, in due time, ourself to propose somewhat to you for the propagation of it, that will satisfy the world, that we have always made it both our care, and our study, and have enough observed what is most like to bring disadvantage to it.” Thus also, in a message sent by him to the house of lords, to be imparted to the house of commons, Ap. 2, 1663, his majesty “ declares, and assures both his houses of parliament, and all his loving subjects of all his dominions, that as his affection and zeal for the protestant religion hath not been concealed or untaken notice of in the world; so he is not, nor will ever be, so sollicitous for the settling his own revenue, or providing any other expedients for the peace and tranquillity of

triumph to the Roman catholics, so was it

the kingdom, as for the advancement and improvement of the religion established, and for the using and applying all proper and effectual remedies to hinder, the growth of poperya.”— And in his speech to the parliament, March 6, 1678, 0. S. he says, “ I will with my life defend both the protestant religion and the laws of this kingdom."- But notwithstanding these public professions, it is probable he was a papist in his heart. For Burnet affirms, “ that before king Charles left Paris, he changed his religion; but by whose perswasion is not yet known: only cardinal de Retz was on the secret, and lord Aubigny had a great hand in it. It was kept a great secret. Chancellor Hyde had some suspicions of it, but would never suffer himself to believe it quite. Soon after the Restoration, that cardinal came over in disguise, and had an audience of the king: what passed is not known. The first ground I had to believe it was this: the marquis de Roucy, who was the man of the greatest family in France that continued protestant to the last, was much pressed by that cardinal to change his religion. He was his kinsman, and his particular friend. Among other reasons, one that he urged was, that the protestant religion must certainly be ruined; and that they could expect no protection from England: for, to his certain knowledge, both the princes were already changed. Roucy told this in great confidence to his minister; who, after his death, sent an advertisement of it to myself. Sir Allen Broderick, a great confident of the chancellor's, who, from being very atheistical, became in the last years of his

* Journals of the House of Commons.

a great blow to those who had had the impu

life an eminent penitent, as he was a man of great parts, with whom I had lived long in great confidence, on his death-bed sent me likewise an account of this matter, which he believed, was done at Fontainebleau, before king Charles was sent to Colena." Lord Halifax says, “ Some pretend to be very precise in the time of his reconciling; the cardinal de Retz, &c. I will not enter into it minutely; but whenever it was, it is observable that the government of France did not think it adviseable to discover it openly: upon which such, obvious, reflexions may be made, that I will not inen tion thein. Such a secret can never be put into a place, which is so closely stopt that there shall be no chinks. Whisper went about, particular men had informations. Cromwell had his advertisements in other things; and this was as well worth his paying for. There was enough said of it to startle a great many, though not universally diffused: so much that if the government bere had not crumbled of itself, his right alone, with that and other clogs upon it, would hardly have thrown it down. I conclude, that when he came into England he was as certainly a Roman catholick, as that he was a nian of pleasure; both very consistent by visible experience. The Roman catholicks complained of his breach of promise to them very early, There were broad peepings out; glimpses so often rez peated, that to discerning eyes it was glaring. In the very first year there were such suspicions as produced melancholy shnkings of the head, which were very significant. His unwillingness to marry a protestant, though, both the Catholick and the Christian crown

* Burnet, vol. I. p. 73.

dence, on all occasions, to assert his regard

would have adopted her. Very early in his youth, when any German princess was proposed, he put off the discourse with rallery. A thousand little circumstances were a kind of accumulative evidence, which in these cases may be admitted. Men that were earpest protestants, were under the sharpness of his dis, pleasure, expressed by rallery as well as by other ways, Men near him have made discoveries from suduen break, ings out in discourse, &c. which shewed there was root. It was not the least skilful part of his concealing himself, to make the world think he leaned towards an indifference in religion. He had sicknesses before his death; in which he did not trouble any protestant divines. Those who saw him upon his death-będ, saw a great deal a.” The duke of Buckingham, however, seems not willing to allow him to have been a Roman catholie; at least not till the last scene of his life. His account cannot, consistently with the impartiality of history, be omitted. Here, therefore, are his words, “ [ dare, confidently, affirm his religion to be only that which is vulgarly (tho unjustly) counted none at all.; I mean, deism. And this uncommon opinion he owed more to the liveliness of his parts, and carelessness of his temper, than either to reading or much consideration: for his quickness of apprehension, at first view, could discern thro' the several cheats of pious'pretences; and his natural laziness confirmed him in an equal mistrust of them all, for fear he should be troubled with examining which religion was best. If in his early travels and late administration, he seem'd a little hiassed to one sort of religion; the first is only to be

a Character of K, Charles II. p. mall

« PreviousContinue »