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A.D. 1672.] INDULGENCE GRANTED TO DISSENTERS. 9 prising opponent. During the night the English admiral received a reinforcement; in the morning he renewed the action; and at last succeeded in cutting off one man-ofwar and four merchantmen, two of which proved of con. siderable value. The failure was certainly owing to the presumption and ambition of Holmes. To Charles it became a subject of bitter disappointment, both as it diminished the pecuniary resources on which he had reckoned, and as it covered him and his advisers with disgrace: for both his subjects and foreigners united in condemning the attempt, which they would probably have applauded, had it been crowned with success *,
During the last war with Holland the counsels of government had been distracted, and the most serious alarm had been repeatedly excited, by the close and dangerous correspondence between the foreign enemy and the malcontents within the kingdom. Since that period the number of the latter had been multiplied by the intolerant enactments against the dissenters; and, to apply a remedy to the evil, the king's advisers determined to carry into execution his favourite project of indulgence to tender consciences. With this view, a declaration was published, stating that the experience of twelve years had Mar. proved the inefficacy of coercive measures in matters of 15. religion; that the king found himself “ obliged to make
use of that supreme power in ecclesiastical matters “ which was not only inherent in him, but had been de" clared and recognised to be so by several statutes and " acts of parliament; " that it was his intention and resolution to maintain the church of England in all her rights, possessions, doctrine, and government; that it was moreover his will and pleasure that “ all manner of
penal laws in matters ecclesiastical, against whatsoever • James, i. 456. Macph. Pap. i. 58. Marvell, ii. 478. Heath, 582. Notwithstanding this attack, both parties faithfully observed the provision in the treaty of Breda, that, in case of a rupture, the ships and merchandise belonging to the suhjects of either party, and existing in the ports and territory of the other, should not be molested for six months. Eæ naves, merces, bona quævis motabilia quæ in port et ditione partis adversæ hinc inde hærere et extare deprehendentur. Dumont, vii. 47.
" sort of non-conformists or recusants, should be from “ that day suspended ; " and that to take away all pretence for illegal or seditious conventicles, he would license a sufficient number of places and teachers for the exercise of religion among the dissenters, which places and teachers so licensed should be under the protection of the civil magistrate ; but that this benefit of publie worship should not be extended to the catholics, who, if they sought to avoid molestation, must confine their religious assemblies to private houses *.”
This declaration, like the former, had been moved in the council by Clifford, and seconded by Ashley : the provision respecting the catholics was added to satisfy the scruples of the lord keeper. By the public it was received with expressions of applause or vituperation, as men were swayed by interest or religion. Its opponents complained that it tolerated popery, and consequently idolatry; that, by affording encouragement to schism, and the opportunity of meeting to the factious, it must tend to weaken the stability both of the church and of the throne; and that it claimed for the king a power subversive of a free constitution,--the power of dispensing with the laws. In reply, it was contended by the advocates of indulgence, that religious opinion was beyond the control of government, and that no people could be powerful abroad, as long as they were divided by dissension at home; that the public exercise of their worship was still forbidden to the catholics ; that the indulgence, by removing religious discontent, was calculated to strengthen both the church and the throne; that no claim was set forth by the king, which did not by ancient usage belong to the crown; and that, of necessity, the power of dispensing with the law in matters ecclesiastical grew out of the ecclesiastical supremacy, and in civil matters, out of the very nature of government: for no form of government could be perfect, in which the ex
• Parl. Hist. iv. 515.
A.D. 1662.] WAR WITH THE STATES.
11 ecutive power did not possess the means of providing for the exigencies of the state during the intervals when the legislative power was not assembled: that to dispense with the penal laws respecting religion had been the practice of every sovereign since the reformation; and that the king himself, during the late war with Holland, had suspended the trade and navigation acts without exciting contradiction or murmur. The result showed the power of interest over principle. The dissenters, who had been in the habit of confining within the narrowest limits the pretensions of the crown, gratefully accepted the indulgence, and presented by their ministers an address of thanks to the king; while the ardent friends of orthodoxy began to dispute their own doctrine of passive obedience, and to think that the prerogative ought to be fettered in those cases, in which it might operate in opposition to their own claims and prepossessions *.
In a few days appeared the English and French declarations of war. Louis was content to assert that, after the many insults which he had suffered from the arrogance of the States, to dissemble his resentment would be to detract from his glory. Charles condescended Mar to enumerate the several causes of his displeasure, the 17. unwillingness of the States to regulate with him according to treaty the commerce of the two nations in the East Indies, their perfidious detention of the English traders in Surinam, their refusal to strike to his flag in the narrow seas p; and the repeated insults which had been offered to him personally by injurious medals and
• For these particulars and reasonings, see Parker, 251–8. Parl. Hist. iv. App. xli. xlii. Arlington to Gascoign, 66. James, i. 455. It is often said, but certainly without authority, that the lord keeper refused to put the spal to the declaration. Had this been the case, he would probably have been dismissed in March instead of November.
+ The negotiations on this subject show that the king claimed as a right what the Hollanders would yield only as a compliment. Parker, 106-9. " You must always know my mind and resolution," says Charles to Downing, “ is not only to insist upon the having my flag saluted when on " their very shores (as it was always piractised), but in having my do "minion of the seas asserted, and Van Ghent exemplarily punished.”' Jan. 16. 1672. Lord King's Life of Locke, i. 76.
defamatory publications. It was his duty to maintain the honour of his crown, to preserve the trade and commerce of the nation, and to protect from oppression the persons of his subjects. But, if this consideration compelled him to appeal to arms, it was still his intention to “ maintain the true intent and scope of the treaty of * Aix-la-Chapelle,” in all alliances which he “had made,
or should make, in the progress of the war, to preserve
“ the ends thereof inviolable, unless provoked to the A pril“ contrary *.” In a few days the king of Sweden, the 4. second party to the triple alliance, acceded to the designs
of Charles and Louis, and, under the specious pretence of preserving the peace of Germany, bound himself by a second treaty, to make war on any prince of the empire, who should undertake to aid the States in the approaching war between them and the king of France t.
The Dutch were the first at sea; and De Ruyter, with seventy-five men-of-war, and a considerable number of fire-ships, stationed himself between Dover and Calais, to prevent the intended junction of the French and Eng
lish fleets. The duke of York could muster no more May 3. than forty sail at the Nore; but with these he contrived,
• Parl. Hist. iv. 512. Dumont, vii. 163, 4. " Yet,” says Marvell, “ it is as clear as the sun that the French had by the treaty of Aix“ la-Chapelle agreed to acquiesce in their former conquests in Flanders; "and that the English, Swede, and Hollander, were reciprocally bound to “ be aiding against whomsoever should disturb that regulation." (Marvell, ii. 482.) This, though it has been repeated hundreds of times, is far from being an accurate exposition of the transaction. The real object of the triple alliance was to compel the crowns of France and Spain to make peace on the terms already offered by France, and to guarantee to Spain the provinces in the Netherlands which should reniain to her after that peace-Tant pour aider à faire finir par leur intervention la guerre qui s'estoit alors allumée entre les deux couronnes, que pour guarantir aussi le plus fortement et efficacement, que faire si pourroit, la paix.-The peace was accordingly made at Aix-la-Chapelle, and the kings of England and Sweden, and the States, signed the act of guarantee-promettent par ces presentes de guarantir le dit traité--and promised if Louis were, under any pretext whatever, to invade any of the territories belonging to Spain, -aucun des royaumes, estats, pays, ou sujets du Roy catholique,-to employ all their forces in resisting the aggression, and obtaining reparation. See tbe act of guaranty in Dumont, vii. 107. In the treaty between Louis and Charles, the treaty of Aix-la-Chapelle was confirmed, and no infraction of it took place during the war.
+ Dumont, vi 16 Miscel. Aul. 68. 70.
A.D. 1672.] BATTLE OF SOUTHWOLD BAY.
13 under the cover of a fog, to pass unnoticed by the enemy, May and, proceeding to St. Helen's, awaited the arrival of the 4. French squadron under D'Estrées. The combined fleet
10. now sailed in search of the enemy, whom they discovered lying before Ostend. But the prudence of De Ruyter 19. refused to engage even on equal terms. Availing him. self of the shallows, he kept his opponents at bay, and baffled all their mancuvres with a skill which extorted their admiration. At last he reached Goree, and the duke returned to Southwold bay, that his ships might take in their full complement of men and provisions *.
In a few days, De Ruyter learned, from the captain of a collier, the situation and employment of the English tleet. He suddenly resolved to become the aggressor,
27. sailed from Goree in the evening with his whole force, and would probably have surprised his enemies at anchor, had it not been for the sagacity of Cogolin, the commander of a French frigate. That officer, on account of his ignorance of the coast, had cast anchor during the night at a distance of some miles from Southwold bay, At the first dawn he descried two Dutch men-of-war of 28. equal force, which immediately brought to, and stood from him, and, concluding from these motions, that the main body could not be far distant, he discharged his guns in succession as a signal. James immediately ordered every ship to get under weigh, and take her station in the line: but the wind was easterly, and the tide to leeward, and not more than twenty sail could form to meet the enemy. The duke, with a part of the red squadron, opposed De Ruyter, and the fleet from the Maese; the earl of Sandwich, with part of the blue, Van Ghent and the fleet from Amsterdam. D'Estrées received Banker with the ships from Zeeland : but both stood under easy sail to the southward, and, as they never came to close action, suffered comparatively but little injury +.
• James, i. 457–61. Miscel. Aul. 69, 70.
† James, i. 461-5.