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which did not confine France within the limits formerly settled by the treaty of the Pyrenees; 'and that he would make it a condition of the confederacy, that all commercial intercourse with France should be prohibited, and all articles of French growth or manufacture should be destroyed wherever, either by land or sea, they might be
found. Charles commented on this address with great Feb. severity of language. He had complied with their re4. quest of the 20th of May by making an alliance with
Holland; but they seemed to have forgotten their promise of supplying him with money to accomplish the object of such alliance, and had again invaded his prerogative by prescribing to him the conditions to be inserted in treaties; but they should know that he held the reins of government in his hand, and would continue to hold them for the safety of his people and himself. In addition they presumed to interfere with the commercial regulations of foreign and independent governments, which must be provoked by such interference ; and to dictate the terms of a future peace, as if they possessed a knowledge of the future contingencies of war; and this too at a time when not a ship, a regiment, a single penny had been voted to enable him to support the language which they wished him to assume. In the debate which followed, the country party maintained that they dared not grant money for the support of an alliance,
the conditions of which had not been communicated to 5. the house: but the minister obtained a majority of forty
two voices, and a supply was voted in general terms for the maintenance of a fleet of ninety sail, and an army of thirty thousand men *.
The extraordinary conduct of the house of commons induced the king to reflect seriously, before he suffered himself to be irrevocably drawn into the war. The French troops were already in motion : it was plain that his opponents, if they could not prevent, would at least
• C. Journ. Jan. 23. 31; Feb. 4,5. Parl. Hist. iv. 896. 915—925.
A.D. 1678.) CHARLES MAKES A NEW PROPOSAL.
retard the supply, till it should be too late for him to influence the events of the campaign: the States not only talked of a separate peace, they refused to furnish their quota of ships to the combined fleet, and Villa Hermosa declared that a pacification on any conditions was better to Spain than the continuance of the war *. Charles began to hesitate ; new expedients suggested themselves to his mind; and he resolved to make another effort to procure a peace. As France had expressed a willing. ness to restore Condé and Valenciennes, the single town of Tournai constituted the principal subject of dispute ; and the king persuaded himself that Louis might be brought to accept, William to yield, Charlemont in its place. With this proposal lie despatched Ruvigny to Feb. Paris, Godolphin to Holland; but with the intimation B. that the suggestion proceeded from himself, that he still intended to abide by the determination of his nephew, and that he should consider the investment by the French of any Spanish town before he received an answer, as a declaration of war against England. The reply of Louis was probably evasive, that of the prince of Orange, who had been privately instructed by Danby, a direct refusal •.
While the projects of Charles were paralyzed by doubts and jealousies, Louis displayed a spirit of enterprize, which astonished, and ultimately subdued his . See the instructions to Godolphin, Danby's Letters, 346.
Ibid. : also p. 197. 204. Dalrymple, ii. 147, 148. Clarend. Corresp. i. 5. On Feb. 8th, Danby wrote to the prince that there was no cause io " fear any alteration in the king : but that, if his highness did not approve " the having such conditions offered to France, he might be confident he "should hear no more of them.” Dalrymple, ii. 156. It is probable that this letter was writteu by the king's order; for the next day Danby writes a second letter, which lie desires may be burnt, exhorting the prince to refuse the proposal, and instructing him to return two answers, one private for the minister himself, and another fit to be shown to the king. Danby, 197—199. In this second letter he says, that in parliament "all doubt " whether bis majesty will go freely into war, and not without cause :'' words whence some writers have not hesitated to infer that Danby thought the king insincere in his present professions. To me, however, it appears from the whole context of his despatches that he does not charge him with insincerity, but fears that the offers and persuasion of the French envoy may induce him to have recourse again to negotiation. See also p. 363.
Jan. enemies. About the end of January he proceeded from 29. Paris to Metz, and every eye was directed to the armies
on the Rhine : in a few days Namur, and then Mons,
were invested, and the prince of Orange and the Spanish Feb.
generals hastened to the protection of these fortresses. 14.
next Louvois approached Ipres, and its numerous garrison was confined within its walls : at last the marshal d'Humières with a large division sat down before the
important city of Ghent, the real object of all these 22. movements : in three days the king arrived in the camp; 27. the trenches were opened, and the inhabitants capituMar. lated. Soon afterwards Ipres fell, and Louis, satisfied 15. with these conquests, engaged to undertake no military
operations during two months. He had opened a road into Holland; he had placed himself in a situation to insult at any hour Brussels, the seat of the Spanish government, and he paused to ascertain what impression this change of circumstances might make on the confederates *.
In England the reduction of Ghent provoked a general cry for war. The house of commons hastened to pass a bill, imposing a poll-tax as part of the supply; but the popular leaders were careful to incumber it with provisoes thought to trench on the lawful authority of the crown, and to take from its value by the introduction of a clause, which prohibited the importation of French commodities, and consequently lopped off one of the most productive branches of revenue. It was expected that Charles would resent this artifice+: but,
guided by the counsels of his brother and the lord trea20. surer, he silently accepted the bill, despatched three A.D. 1678.] FRESH OPPOSITION IN PARLIAMENT. 117 weeks. His adversaries in parliament were surprised át his vigour, but did not relax from their efforts to embarrass his proceedings. Lord Russell inveighed Mar. with warmth against popery, and a standing army; sir Gilbert Gerard hinted a suspicion that, if the new regiinents were raised, they would be employed, not against the enemy, but the liberties of the country; a committee was appointed to inquire into the dangers with which the established church was threatened by the growth of popery; and an address was voted, praying the king to 15. leclare war without a moment's delay, to dismiss the French envoys, and to recall his own commissioners from he congress at Nimeguen. The object of the supply, ind the tone of this address, provoked Ruvigny and Barillon to expostulate with their friends, the former with the lords Russell and Holles, the latter with Buckingham and Shaftesbury. They all returned the same answer, that they had violated no pledge; that to oppose the grant of money would have been dangerous, but they had clogged it with conditions most offensive to the king; and that in moving the address they had sought to draw from him the disclosure of his real intentions, an object not more beneficial to themselves than to the French monarch; for, were he once with the aid of an army to secure the persons of his political opponents, he would be able to obtain from a servile parliament whatever aid he might demand for the prosecution of the war. Lord Russell carried up the address to the house of lords for their concurrence: but they contended that it would be folly to plunge the nation into hostilities without some previous knowledge of the intentions of the allies. A conference followed: neither house was convinced by the other; and the lords in conclusion returned a direct 22. refusal *.
thousand men to Ostend, and issued levy-money to twenty colonels, each oî whom bound himself to raise a regiment of one thousand men in the space of six
* Louis, iv. 123–162.
† Charles adverted to this artifice in the next session, and declared that, if such innovation were continued of“ tacking together" matters of a different nature in the same bill, “ that bill should certainly be lost, lët the “ importance of it be never so great." C. Journ. May 23, 1678.
The fact was that the success of Louis had subdued the obstinacy of the confederates. The emperor, the
.C. Journ. Feb. 18; March 8. 15. 22. I.. Journ. xiii. 186. 192. 196. Parl. Hist. iv. 940-956. Barillon, 134., 137.
Mar. queen of Spain, the prince of Orange, acquainted the 17. king by their ambassadors that they no longer objected
to the cession of Tournai, and in addition of Valenciennes, if France would restore the other five towns, and with them her recent conquests *. Charles received the information with joy : of the acquiescence of Louis he entertained not a doubt, and instantly devised a plan
of providing for his own interests, while he seemed to 25 consult only those of the allies. Calling for Danby, he
compelled him to write to the ambassador at Paris the
Pour nous, nous ferons de même, et ainsy voilà la paix faite, si la
+ Danby, 70–76. The facts that the bill for the poll-tax received the royal assent on the 20th, and that the king proposed terms of peace to Louis on the 25th, have induced most writers to charge him with deceit, with pretending hostility to France till the money was voted, and then seeking a peace, that he might put the money in his pocket. But attention to dates and events will not justify the inference. It was not before the 14th of March that the bill passed the lords, when it was known that a strong inclination to make peace existed in the Dutch and Spanish councils. On the 15th the two houses informed the king that they had pro. vided money, aud wished him to declare war without delay. He waited four days before he returned an auswer, expecting probably certain intel. ligence from the continent. It did not, however, arrive, and on the 19th he promised to pass the bill, which he did the next day. The prince of Orange wrote his answer, stating that all parties would accept the condi. tions formerly proposed, ou the 17th, which would reach London between the 201h and 25th, and on the receipt of this answer, the king ordered the proposals to be sent to Montague.