« PreviousContinue »
A.D. 1674.] MONMOUTH AND PRINCE OF ORANGE. 49 attentive to the suggestions of those who flattered and irritated his ambition. By their advice, he begged of Charles the appointment of commander-in-chief, which had been abolished, at the death of Monk, as an office dangerous to be placed in the hands of a subject, at a time when revolutionary principles were still cherished in the country. James was alarmed, and remonstrated against the measure; but the affection of the king refused to listen to his arguments, and the patent was engrossed, and received the royal signature. The duke of York, however, had his suspicions. He took it up
from the table; his jealous eye immediately discovered several erasures; and these, on examination, proved to be obliterations of the word “natural,” wherever Monmouth was described as the son of the king. Charles indignant at the fraud which had been practised upon him, tore the paper into fragments; but his anger quickly subsided; the offence was forgiven, and Monmouth obtained a second patent, drawn, however, in proper form, and with the admission of the obnoxious epithet. Still, his advisers were not satisfied. They instructed him to ask also for the command of the Scottish army, the levy of which they attributed to views hostile to the liberties of England. The king, with his usual facility, granted the request; but when Monmouth insisted that this commission should be drawn for life, and without mention of his illegitimacy, he was disappointed in both points by the vigilance and firmness of Lauderdale *.
James, i. 496,7. The next year the duke of York was more successful. Russell, colonel of the foot guards, solicited leave to sell his commission, and the king agreed to purchase it for the earl of Mulgrave, who was afterwards duke of Buckingham. But Mulgrave had seduced the mistress of Monmouth, who, in revenge, extorted, by his im. portunity, from the king a promise of the regiment for himself (1675. Ap. 24). Mulgrave spoke to the duke.
He observed to him, that as the regiment of two thousand four hundred men formed the strength of the army, the succession to the crown might one day depend on the
fidelity of its commander. James instantly caught the alarm. He applied to the king, to Monmouth, to the minister, but in vain.
At last he prevailed ou Russell, in consideration of a valuable present, to pretend that he repented of his design; that it would break his heart to leave the service of
A second, and in many respects a more formidable rival, was William, prince of Orange, the next in succession to the crown after the duke of York and his children. William was a protestant; his heroic exertions in defence of his country had exalted him in the eyes of all who dreaded the ambitious designs of the French monarch; and some of the popular leaders in England had not hesitated to pledge themselves to his service and to advocate his interests, even at a time when he was at war with their sovereign.
The correspondence between them passed through the hands of Du Moulins, who, on suspicion of treachery, had been dismissed from the office of lord Arlington, and had obtained in Holland the appointment of private secretary to the prince. His agents in England were Frymans, a Dutchman, and William Howard, the member for Winchelsea, and afterwards lord Howard of Escrick. The first was screened from detection by his obscurity ; but the discovery of certain important documents, furnished to the States by Howard, led to his incarceration in the Tower, where he purchased his pardon by an ingenuous confession. The king then became acquainted, for the first time, with the plan arranged between the prince and his English adherents, guided, as it was believed, by Shaftesbury, during the last winter,--that the Dutch fleet should suddenly appear at the mouth of the river ; that they should improve the panic which it would occasion, to raise the people ; and that the king should be compelled by clamour and intimidation to separate from his alliance with France. The conclusion of peace prevented the attempt, but did not dissolve the connexion. It was proposed, with the aid of money from Holland, to form a party in parliament, which should force Charles to join with the States as an ally in the war; and the prince was not only encouraged to hope for success by exaggerated statements of the national discontent, but
his sovereign. From that time James opposed, previously he had favoured, the ambition of Monmouth. Buck, Memoirs, ii 33–38. Macph, 1.'84.
A.D. 1674.) INTRIGUES OF SHAFTESBURY.
51 advised to be in readiness to take advantage of any revolution which might follow *.
The king was aware of the correspondence, but not of the particulars; and his jealousy was augmented by the ambiguous language of the instructions found upon Carstairs, an agent from the prince for the levy of troops. He resolved to watch more narrowly the conduct of Shaftesbury, who already began to practise those arts of exciting the passions of the people, which he afterwards employed to a greater extent, and with a more favourable result. He represented himself as having earned by bis zeal for protestantism the hatred of the papists; under pretence that his life was in danger from their malice, he procured lodgings in the house of Cook, an anabaptist preacher, and announced to the citizens that he trusted for his safety to their vigilance and fidelity. But the king had no intention that the agitator should gain the ascendency in the capital. He informed Shaftesbury that he was acquainted with his intrigues ; he ordered him to quit London and retire to his house in the country; and he dined in public with the lord mayor on the 29th of October, and accepted, in a gold box, the freedom of the city. On such occasions the king was irresistible. In defiance of the reports circulated against him, he won by his affability and cheerfulness the hearts of the citizens %.
During the summer Charles had leisure to decide on the fate of the three ministers who had drawn upon themselves the displeasure of the parliament. He considered Lauderdale as a servant of the crown of Scotland, and resolved to retain him in all his offices in opposition to the votes of the house of commons. Buckingham he dismissed without regret; and that nobleman immediately joined Shaftesbury, and proved himself a valuable auxiliary in the ranks of his former enemies. Arlington,
• D'Avaux, i. 8. Burnet, ii. 56. Burnet, however, should be corrected by Temple,
ii. 286. 294. 334. 337. † Macph. i. 73. Kennet, 300.
by the royal command, accepted from sir Joseph Williamson, under secretary, the sum of 6,0001. for the secretaryship of state, and was raised to a more honourable, though less influential, office, that of chamberlain of the household. He did not, however, disguise to himself the real cause of his removal. He had observed the rapid progress which the new treasurer, lately created earl of Danby, had made in the royal favour; he saw that, to support his own declining credit, it was necessary to render some signal service to the king; and with this view he proposed to him the negotiation of a marriage between William, prince of Orange, and Mary, eldest daughter, and presumptive heir to the duke of York. As the prince was a protestant, such marriage, he argued, would tend to allay the religious apprehensions of the people; and, as it would open to him a fair prospect of succeeding to the throne, it might reasonably be expected, in return, that he should divorce himself from his political connexion with the popular leaders, and second the king in his endeavours to mediate a general peace. It was in vain that the duke of York objected : when he claimed the rights of a parent, he was told that his children were the property of the nation; and when he urged the indelicacy of making his daughter the wooer, it was replied, that it would be the care of the
negotiator to lead the prince by hints and suggestions to Nov.
make the first proposal. Charles entered warmly into 10. the project, and the earls of Arlington and Ossory pro
ceeded with their families to the Hague, under the pretence of visiting the relatives of their wives, two sisters of the name of Beverwaert, daughters of a natural son of Maurice, prince of Orange. But William had already taken his determination. For Arlington he had contracted an insuperable aversion; and when that minister complained to him in his uncle's name of his reluctance to accept the king's mediation, and of his intrigues against the royal authority, he replied, that peace must depend on the consent of those allies who had so gene
PLANS OF THE OPPOSITION.
53 rously rescued his country from the grasp of the invader, and that his honour forbade him to enter into explanations which might compromise the safety of his friends in England. To the earl of Ossory, whom the prince, on account of his naval reputation, treated with more respect, had been assigned the first mention of the intended marriage; but the moment he attempted to introduce the subject, William interrupted him by the laconic remark, that, in the existing circumstances, he was not in a condition to think of a wife. The fact was, that his English adherents were alarmed. They admonished him to be on his guard against the wiles and sophistry of Arlington, and conjured him to reject the proposal of marriage as an artifice devised by his enemies, to destroy his popularity, by persuading the people that he was joined in league with the king and the duke against their liberties and religion. The advice was religiously obeyed; and the envoys, having paid a short visit to their relations, returned to England. Here Are lington found that the failure of his mission did not contribute to raise him in the estimation of his sovereign, and that Danby had improved the opportunity furnished by his absence, to render himself the lord of the ascendant *.
As the winter passed, the leaders of the two great parties held numerous consultations, to recruit their forces, and arrange their plans against the approaching session of parliament. In the house of lords the adversaries of the minister could present a small but formidable minority under the duke of Buckingham, the earls of Shaftesbury and Salisbury, and the lord Wharton. In that of the commons they formed a numerous party under active and experienced leaders; among whom were Garroway and Lee, veterans, who had long been listened
• James, i. 500—2. Temple, ii. 287–295. 334. Coleman's Letter, C. Journ. ix. 527. The origin of the prince's arersion to Arlington arose from that minister's attempts in favour of the project to legitimate Monmouth. Macph. i. 74. 84. When the offer of marriage was made, he knew that the duchess of York was in an advanced state of pregnancy, a circumstance which considerably lessened its value.