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without any definite meaning; and the candidates in the interest of the court were everywhere assailed with cries of the danger of protestantism, and the bloody designs of the papists. The returns proved that the influence of the minister was no match for the phrenzy of the people. His adherents were rej with marks of infamy, and their places supplied with men breathing vengeance against the catholics, and against an administration by which they believed that the catholics were secretly supported *.
The unfavourable result of the elections suggested to Danby the necessity of some expedient to propitiate and disarm his opponents. They had failed to exclude the duke of York from the house of lords; he undertook to remove him from the kingdom. To sound the disposition of that prince, certain persons, some his known friends, others considered as neutral, were employed to explain to him the expediency of a voluntary but temporary exile; and, when he refused to purchase impunity for the minister by his own disgrace, Danby advised the king to send him an order to quit England, and to fix his residence at Brussels. But the good nature of Charles recoiled from so harsh and ungracious a proceeding; the suggestion of an attempt to convert his misbelieving brother was adopted as less offensive to his feelings; and the archbishop with some of his brethren received a
commission to bring back the strayed sheep to the fold Feb. of the established church. These prelates waited on the 22. duke: they represented to him the pain which it gave
them to behold the son of a martyred king absenting himself from the national worship; they inveighed in sharp and bitter terms against the principles of the Roman church; and they maintained that she “ both “taught and practised doctrines destructive of salvation;" an assertion which, with his permission, they were prepared to establish, “ not by perplexing him with the sub“tleties and niceties of the schools, but by a plain text
• Burnet, ii. 177. L. Jourp. xiii. 449. North, 504, 505.
A.D. 1679.] THE DUKE FORCED TO QUIT ENGLAND.
or two, and a plain obvious matter of fact." James replied that he doubted not the uprightness of their motives, though he knew that the suggestion came from an enemy: that it would be presumption in him, a layman, to enter the lists against professed theologians ; that he had not changed his religious creed without a serious examination of the distinctive doctrines of the wo churches, or a clear foresight of the sacrifices which that change would entail upon himself; and that to renew the investigation would require more leisure than he at that time possessed, and more deep and continued attention than he could under existing circumstances command. The failure of the prelates and the importunity of the treasurer subdued the reluctance of Charles, who at length mustered sufficient courage to hint to James that his expatriation for a short time offered the most probable means of mitigating the hostility of his enemies. The duke professed himself ready to submit to the royal will, but at the same time solicited two favours; one an order in writing to quit the kingdom, that he might not appear to steal like a coward from the contest; the other, a solemn promise that his rights should not be sacrificed in his absence to the pretensions of Monmouth, who, it was now reported, had provided four witnesses to establish, in the event of the king's death, a contract of marriage between his father and mother. The order
Feb was immediately given in the form of a most affectionate 28. letter; and Charles, having assembled the council,
Mar. declared " in the presence of Almighty God that he had
3. never given or made any contract of marriage, nor was ever married to any woman whatsoever but his wife,
queen Catherine, then living." For greater security he subscribed this declaration, commanded the counsellors present to attest its execution with their signatures, and ordered the instrument with their testimony to be enrolled in chancery *. James, accompanied by the • This declaration, as well as another made on the 6th of January, has
Mar. duchess, departed the next day for Brussels: his 4. daughter Anne was left under the care of her uncle,
that it might not be said that her father meant to seduce her from the protestant worship *.
The parliament opened with a violent altercation 6. respecting the choice of a speaker. Seymour, who had
discharged the office in the last, was re-elected by the new house of commons. This, however, accorded not with the designs of the lord treasurer, and it was resolved that when, according to custom, he should beg of the
king to be excused, his prayer should be granted: but 7.
Seymour, aware of the intention, omitted in his speech the usual disqualifying expressions, and merely stated that he stood there to receive his majesty's approbation. The chancellor was disconcerted: Charles had more self-possession; he whispered in the ear of that officer, who answered that Seymour was reserved for a different employment, and that the commons must proceed to a new election.
This affront to the speaker elect has been represented as the consequence of a private quarrel between him and the lady Danby. But it is scarcely credible that the treasurer, with an impeachment hanging over his head, would wantonly plunge into another quarrel with the house of commons merely to gratify the resentment of his wife; and the subsequent proceedings appear to show that the attempt was made in consequence of the secret understanding between him and some of the popular leaders. The person whom he sought to substitute in the place of Seymour was sir Thomas Meres, one of his most active and eloquent opponents in the late parliament; but the commons adhered to their first been published by Mr. Rose from the rolls in chancery. Observations on Fox, App. p. 59.
* James (Memoirs), i. 530. 536, 537.541. Dalrymple, ii. 212. Burnet, ii. 194. The discourse of the prelates is in Clar. Corresp. ii. App. 467— 471. The duke afterwards wrote to the archbishop an account of his conversion, which did not take place till after the Restoration, and in consequence of the fullest conviction. James (Memoirs), i. 539, 540.
PARDON GRANTED TO DANBY.
choice ; and to their petition, that the king would not Mar, invade their undoubted right, an answer was returned, 11. bidding them not to waste the time but to obey. They 12. requested him to reconsider their petition, and he prorogued the parliament for two days. When the house met again, Seymour was never mentioned: as if no dispute had previously existed, serjeant Gregory, on the 15. motion of lord Russell, seconded by lord Cavendish, was placed in the chair, and the new speaker immediately received the approbation of the king. By this arrangement Charles saved to the crown the right of refusing the person elected; and the commons took from the privy counsellors, by whom it had hitherto been exercised, the privilege of proposing the name of the speaker, and extended it to any member of the house *.
The moment the last parliament was prorogued, Montague, apprehensive of the royal resentment, had endeavoured to escape to the continent in disguise, but had been apprehended on suspicion at Dover, and compelled to give security that he would not quit the kingdom. Again, however, he absconded, till his election for the borough of Huntingdon in the new parliament reinvested him with freedom from arrest, and placed him in a situation to resume the prosecution of Danby. Fortunately for this purpose the lords had resolved that “ the dissolution of the last parliament did not alter the
state of the impeachments, brought up by the commons “ in that parliament," and the majority of the house were so irritated by the late contest respecting the speaker, that they offered themselves to become the willing tools of his policy or malice. Charles saw, and sought to avert, the impending storm. Having compelled the treasurer to resign the staff, he called the two houses into the royal presence, and informed them that,
* Reresby, 80–82. Parl. Hist. iv. 1093—1113. Burpet, ii. 194. + Danby, 118
IL Journ. xiii. 464. 466. We may infer from the report of the committee that this resolution was not founded on any ancient precedent, because no inquiry into precedents was made. VOL. XU.
whatever Danby had done in the writing of the letters, or the inquiry into the plot, had been done by his express order: that they were in reality his own acts, and he was therefore bound to shield his minister from punishment on his account. There existed, indeed, other reasons why he should exclude the earl from his counsels and presence; but, with respect to the offences of which he had been impeached, a full pardon had already been granted him, and that pardon should be renewed a dozen times, if a dozen renewals should be found necessary*.
If Charles assumed on this occasion so decisive a tone in favour of his late minister, it was not that he any longer looked upon him with feelings of friendship and esteem. For some months the chief object of Danby's proceedings had been his own preservation ; to his obstinacy in the inquiry into the plot the king attributed all his present embarrassments; and the duchess of Portsmouth, whose industry had been quickened by a threat of impeachment, laboured by her suggestions to strengthen the alienation of the royal mind t. But a sense of honour and justice (so it was pretended) forbade the monarch to allow that the seryant should suffer the penalty of a transaction, in which he had done nothing more than obey the command of his master; though, if we believe Danby himself, the king was actuated by another and more selfish motive; it was for the royal interest to prevent a trial, because a trial would probably lead to the exposure of the secret treaties between Charles and the king of France. Had it not been for this inconvenience, Danby would have refused the pardon: he wanted no shield for defence; he was ready to fight his enemies with such arms as innocence supplied 1. However that may be, by the house the very mention of a pardon in bar of an impeachment was taken
• Ibid. 466. Reresby, 84. Burnet, ii. 196. The pardon was dated or March 1. See it in Journals, xiii. 539. Temple, ii. 478.
# Danby, 109. 111.