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c H A P. diency of many and great alterations in both the v—v—* civil and military departments, and of his resolution to appoint lord Rochester chief governor. Thu chief governor was to be totally excluded from the military department, the entire command of which was to be committed to a lieutenant-general, Richard Talbot, the known partizan of the Romanists. While Rochester delayed to take possession of his unenviable office, the king seemed again disposed to change ..his measures and counsellors, and all arrangements seemed for a time suspended, when suddenly, by the death of Charles, on the sixth of February 1685, a turn most decided was given to affairs, attended for some time with lamentable, and afterwards with happy and important consequences.
CHAP. CHAP. XXX.
EnglisJi affairs—New administration in Ireland—Violences of the catholics—Tories and informers—Violent proceedings of the king—Violences of Tyrconnei —Tyrconnei lord-deputy—His arrangements—New model of corporations—Attempts on the University —State of the country—A quaiTel among the catholics—Attempt against the acts of settlement—Rejoicings of the catholics—Imprisonment of the officers of Christ Church—Agitations on the news of the prince of Orange's preparations—Alarm of massacre.
Charles the second had ascended the throne "with a cordial affection of his subjects almost uni- txxx versal; yet mutual jealousies began soon to operate; English Af. and the English commons appear to have been somewhat too frugal in the granting of supplies to the king's necessities in the beginning of his reign. In their bill of non-importation of Irish cattle, the in^justice and impolicy of which his good sense would have prevented, they made an offensive and imprudent display of their power, by forcing his assent contrary to his declared resolution. Perhaps the most blameless conduct on their side might not have prevented a scheme for the establishment of popery
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c Ha P. and depostic monarchy, formed by the Duke of Uy«J York who was a bigoted and zealous Romanist, and the king who was privately, but less violently, attached to the same religion. For the attainment of this end, for which the cabal made strenuous, and even premature exertions, the assistance of Lewis the fourteenth, the most powerful monarch in Europe, was engaged by a secret treaty. A preparatory step, judged necessary by the two confederate monarchs, was the destruction of the Dutch commonwealth, from which alone, in case of civil war, the protestants of England could expect assistance against the forces of their own prince and his French auxiliars. So prodigious were the exertions of the Dutch, who were assailed by the united powers of England and France in 1672, that the kings were frustrated in this part of their plan, and Charles was necessitated to conclude a peace.
Before this pacification, the king, when affairs had come to a dangerous crisis between him and the commons, had prudently receded from another preparatory measure, an a6t of prerogative, by which he suspended the laws in religious matters. Concluding, from this want of resolution in Charles, that the scheme of despotism would prove abortive, and dreading impeachments from the commons when their power should prevail, the earl of Shaftsbury, the chief member of the cabal, resolved immediately to change sides, and to atone for all his violences in favour of monarchy by like violences in opposition to it. Against the Duke of York, who was the next heir to the crown, as Charles had no legitimate
children, children, this earl and his party pushed matters to ex- Chap. tremity, endeavouring to pass a bill into a law for his v-*-v-»*' exclusion, as a papist, from the succession. By the violence with which some of their measures were conducted, particularly the prosecution of the popish plot, the forgery of which was manifest to many, the popular party lost so much credit with the nation, that theking at length gained an uncontested superiority. The detection of a conspiracy for an insurrection against the government, to prevent the duke's succession, enabled the royal party to exercise their vengeance more fully on their opponents. The virulence of the two parties is marked by the opprobrious denominations given by each to the other. Instead of roundhead and cavalier, the terms whig and tory came into use; the former conferred on the favourers of opposition, the latter on the partizans of unshackled monarchy.
The uncontroled power of the crown was exercised in the last years of Charles's reign with atrocious iniquity, under the forms of law, particularly in Scotland, where the examples of oppression were so various and so enormous, that a writer would be totally at a loss to reduce them to any class, or to make a selection. Unhappy, notwithstanding his enjoyment of unrestrained prerogative, he formed at length the design of changing his measures, and regaining the affections of his subjects, a design which caused the suspension in the business of Ireland mentioned at the end of the foregoing chapter; but at the critical moment he unfortunately died. This prince, adorned with uncommon brilliancy of wit
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Chap, and gracefulness of manners, destitute of any one
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Wyw/ingredient of principle or virtue, but fortunately not obstinately persevering in pernicious plans, was succeeded by his brother the duke of York, under the name of James the second, a bigoted, obstinate, and intolerant papist, whose ultimate obje6l was despotic power, and the exclusive establishment of his own mode of worship throughout his dominions. By a papist I mean one devoted without reserve to the papal authority, while the term Roman catholic may be understood in a less confined signification,, as possibly doubting, or not admitting, in some points, the sovereign pontiff's jurisdiction.
James had soon an opportunity of gratifying his inhuman spirit, and taking preliminary steps for the accomplishment of his main design. James, duke of Monmouth, his illegitimate nephew, finding himself persecuted abroad by the influence of the new king, sought safety by a desperate attempt at home, where he was greatly beloved by the people; and, landing in the west of England with a few followers, was joined by some thousands, and claim-r ed the crown as next heir to his father, the late king; He was defeated, taken prisoner, and executed. Numerous and horrid cruelties were, after the suppression of this short-lived insurrection, committed through the country, first by military outrage, and afterwards under the forms of Jaw; and the king was furnished early with an excuse to fill his armies with catholic officers and soldiers. He proceeded with such violence and precipitation in the forwarding of hjs plan, that the tory party of England, hitherto