Page images
PDF
EPUB

REFUSAL OF A SUPPLY.

low up

A.D. 1678.]

119 Louis the offer was refused without hesitation : it came, he said, too late; his recent successes entitled him to greater advantages; he might, indeed, restore Guislain April and Ghent, but he would retain Ipres; and he had 1. given instructions to his envoys at Nimeguen to make an almost similar proposal to the confederates, by which, however, he should not hold himself bound unless it was accepted by a certain day. Charles was disappointed and offended : his warlike spirit revived, and he suggested to the foreign ministers at his court the conclusion of a quadripartite alliance, which he would fol

with a declaration of war. The Spanish ambassador and the Imperial envoy assented with joy, but the Dutch hesitated : he had neither powers nor instructions, and dared not act without them *. That he might have time to consult the States, the parliament, which had 15. met after the Easter recess, was adjourned for a fortnight, and in that interval Van Beuningen received the necessary powers, but without any instructions for his guidance. It was before suspected, it now became manifest, that the States would enter into no engagement, which might throw obstacles in the way of a separate peace. Before a few days were passed, they 29. voted a resolution to accept the terms offered by France.

On the meeting of parliament, the lord chancellor, by order of the king, explained to the two houses the past course and the present state of these negotiations, and in conclusion solicited their advice, with a promise that it should be faithfully followed. But the popular leaders had not forgotten their engagement to the French ambassador t. They induced the house to listen to a long and tedious report from the committee for religion, which had discovered that a dozen catholic priests resided in the counties of Hereford and Monmouth, and that the

• Dalrymple, 155. C. Journ. App. 29. The next day Danby complains to the prince-“ I do from my soul believe that our parliament and your " States contribute more to the service of the French king than the best "army he has could do." P. 219.

+ See p. 38.

laws which gave two-third parts of the estates of catholic
recusants to the crown, were often evaded by means of
secret trusts and conveyances. This was sufficient; the
alarming intelligence awakened the fears of the godly
and the credulous; and a resolution was passed, that
the house could not, consistently with its duty, lay any
additional charge on the people, till the kingdom was
“secured, and the dangers were prevented, which might
“arise from the prevalence and the countenance given to
“the popish party*.” When the king heard of this vote,
so unfounded in fact, and so insulting to his government,
he burst into expressions of astonishment and indigna-
tion; he saw that the object of its authors was to fortify
themselves with the passions of the people, and to con-
nect the refusal of supplies with the security of religion;
and he openly charged with deception those among his
counsellors who had urged him to enter into war on the
ground that he would meet with the co-operation of par-
liament. There remained, he said, but one resource for
himself. The confederates were willing to accept the
terms offered by France: they should have his assistance;
and he would demand money for concurring in the
accomplishment of a pacification, which would equally
be accomplished without his concurrence.

With this view he wrote a conciliatory letter to Louis, May and ordered the lord treasurer to commence a negotia1.

tion with the French ambassador. The subsequent proceedings in parliament served to confirm him in his determination. The commons voted an address for the removal of the duke of Lauderdale, pronounced the alliances lately concluded by the king inconsistent with the good and safety of the kingdom, advised him to comply with their previous addresses, and prayed him to banish from his presence the counsellors who had in

• The evidence, on which this vote was founded, occupies five folio pages in the printed journals, under the date of April 29, and deserves attention, as it shows what trifles may serve to raise the fiercest ebullitions of religious animosity under the management of bold and artful leaders. Journals, App. 29.

A.D. 1678.]

THE STATES AGREE WITH FRANCE.

121

duced him to reject their first advice. Charles on the

May other hand informed them that without a prompt supply 11. a portion of the fleet must be laid up, and a considerable reduction be made in the army. After some debate they refused to consider the subject; and the king sending 13. for them to the house of lords prorogued the parliament, but only for the short space of ten days *.

Louis, in the mean time, aware of the impression which his victories and his emissaries had made on the public mind in Holland, despatched a letter of the most pacific tendency to the States, and awaited their reply in

6 his camp at Wetteren, on the right bank of the Scheldt. They immediately consulted the English, Spanish, and Imperial ambassadors, who, by the secret advice of the

11. prince, returned for answer that they ought to abide by their engagements, and refuse to negotiate unless it were in company with their allies. But Louis had already won a separate peace by the capture of Ghent +. The desire to remove the French army to a distance from the frontier, aided by the distribution of French gold, bore down all opposition ; and the prince himself, warned of the unpopularity of his resistance, and driven to despair by the recent conduct of the English parliament, gave a tardy and reluctant assent. Van Beverning pro- 13. ceeded to the French camp, and an armistice was concluded to allow time for the discussion of the articles of 22. peace.

Temple, ii. 434. Louis, iv. 163. Dalrymple, 172. C. Journ. App. 29; May 4, 7, 8. 10, 11. 13. The parties were so equally balanced, that the fate of every question seemed doubtful. The vote for an address against Lauderdale was carried by a majority of 45. On the next day the address itself was rejected by a majority of six, and on the following it was inserted as an amendment in another address by a majority of eight.

† Sa prise a forcé mes ennemis à la paix, les mettant hors d'état de soutenir la guerre. Louis, iv. 146. Some of his council thought it beneath the king to solicit pence: mais, he adds with great complacency, le bien public, se juignant à la gloire de me vaincre moi même, l'importa. Ibid. 163.

# Ibid. 165, 166. Temple, ii. 437. Clar. Corresp. i. 17.. Danby's Let. ters, 254. 338, 341. 358. " The prince said to me alone, that finding the "distractions and divisions increase every day in parliament, was that 'which did most of all discourage him from strupgling any longer against

That he might not be disappointed of his object by the interference of England, Louis commissioned Barillon to make a new offer to Charles. Danby no longer advised hostilities—he was deterred by the visible reluctance of the confederates, and the violence of his political enemies--the duke of York sacrificed his ambition of military glory to his fear that a war would enable the

popular party to make new inroads on what he deemed May the legitimate authority of the crown*; and Charles 17. readily subscribed a secret treaty, by which it was sti

pulated, that, unless the States signified their formal acceptance of the terms offered at Nimeguen within the space of two months, the English king should withdraw his forces from the continent with the exception of three thousand men, to form the garrison of Ostend, and should receive from Louis in return the sum of 6,000,000 livres (450,0001.) by four quarterly instalments. Barillon, however, was not forgetful of his engagement with the popular leaders, and therefore made the first payment depend on two important conditions, the prorogation of parliament for four months, preparatory to a dissolution, and the reduction of the English army to

the small force of six thousand men t. . 23. The moment the parliament met, the altercation be27. tween the king and the commons was revived. The latter

proposed in an address to the throne that war should be 28. declared, or the army be disbanded, without delay.

Charles replied that in one case he might be left to fight without allies, and in the other his allies might be com

pelled to fight without him. They resolved that all the 30. June

forces levied during the last seven months “ ought to be 4. paid off and disbanded forthwith,and voted the sum of

200,0001. for that purpose, on the condition that the dis

banding should be effected in the short space of three 7.

weeks. He begged to learn whether it was their inten" the inclinations of this whole country to the peace.” Gudolphin to Danby, May 14. Ibid. p. 361. . See his letters to the prince, Dalrymple, 172-175.

+ Dalrymple, 159–168.

A.D. 1678.]

CHARLES OPPOSES FRANCE.

123

tion that the English garrisons in the towns of Flanders should be withdrawn before they could be relieved by Spanish troops; and his opponents, ashamed of their June

13. precipitancy, extended the three weeks to sixty days for the regiments serving beyond the sea, but passed a reso

15. lution that after three days no additional motion for a supply should be made during the session. The king 18 then called them before him, reminded them of the public debt, which had been contracted some years before, and of the anticipations on the actual revenue, occasioned by his preparations for war, and condescended to request that, if they meant him to pursue hostilities with the petty state of Algiers, or to take that part in continental politics which became the dignity of the crown, or to lead. the remaining portion of his life in ease and quiet, they would add to his annual income the sum of 300,0001. But this appeal to their feelings was useless: the house passed contemptuously to the order of the day *.

In the meanwhile the negotiation between Louis and the States was transferred from the French camp to the congress at Nimeguen. Every question respecting the personal interests of the two parties was speedily and amicably arranged; a day for the signature of the treaty was appointed; and an armistice for six weeks allowed time for the Spanish government to signify its acceptance of the terms previously offered by Louis. It chanced, however, that a question put by Doria, the Spanish am

19. bassador, drew from the French commissioners an avowal, that, though it was the intention of their master to restore the six towns to Spain, he would continue to hold them as securities for his ally, the king of Sweden, till the emperor should have restored the conquests which he

C. Journ. May 27, 28 ; June 4.7. 13. 15. 18. Parl. Hist. iv. 977. 983. 986. 994. On the last day a test was proposed for the discovery of such members in that house as had received bribes or any other consideration for their votes, either from the English government or foreign powers. The popular leaders spoke warmly in its favour, but before the last division took place, about 100 members slipped out of the house, and the motion was lost by a majority of 14. C. Journ. June 18. Parl. Hist. iv. 1000.

« PreviousContinue »