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LONEL SYDNEY-PARDON OF MONMOUTH-POWER OF THE
HISTORY OF ENGLAND.
CHARLES II. Character of the Cabal-Stoppage of payments from the exchequer Declaration of indulgence- of war against the States-Victory at Southwold Bay-French conquests by land-Proceedings in parlia. ment—The indulgence recalled- The Test Act passed-Naval actions -Disgrace of Shaftesbury-Addresses against Lauderdale and Buckingham-Impeachment of Arlington-Conclusion of peace-Design of excluding the Duke of York-Repeated prorogations of parliamentIntrigues of Monmouth-Of Arlington-Proceedings of the popular party-Non-resisting test of Danby-Dispute respecting appealsAnother session-Revival of the dispute-Motion for dissolution of parliament-Proceedings in Scotland-And Ireland. Though the second of the secret treaties with France had been concluded in January, the ratifications were not exchanged till June, at which time it is probable that Charles had consented to engage in the projected war against the States, and to postpone to an indefinite period the announcement of his conversion. Louis had already sent presents to the commissioners who signed the secret treaty at Dover; he now sent others to Buckingham, Ashley, and Lauderdale, who had signed the second treaty in June. In this there was nothing unusual: but, to bind the leading ministers more strongly to his interests, he granted a pension of ten thousand livres to lady Shrewsbury, the mistress of Buckingham; and, when a similar pension was declined by Arlington, bestowed a magnificent present on his wife*. The only privy counsellors intrusted with
• Dalrvmple ii. 81, 82. Buckingham, to enhance the merit of his services, asserted that the Spaniards had offered him 200,0001. Colbert VOL. XII.
the secret of the king's connexion with Louis were Arlington, Clifford, Buckingham, Ashley, and Lauderdale; who formed the cabinet or cabal, in which, according to the practice introduced by Clarendon, every measure was debated and determined before it was submitted, for the sake of form, to the consideration of the council.
19. Of these ministers, Arlington, originally sir Henry Bennet, had signalized himself in the civil war, during which he received a sabre wound in the face. From Madrid, where he resided as ambassador from the king, he was recalled and introduced into the ministry by the enemies of Clarendon. To strength of mind or brilliancy of parts he had few pretensions; but he was an easy and pleasing speaker, was well acquainted with the routine of business, and covered the deepest cunning under the most insinuating address. As the best bred man in the English court, he acquired the favour of the king and of the foreign noblemen whom business or pleasure
brought to the capital; and Charles, as a proof of his 1672. esteem, caused the lord Harry, afterwards the duke of Aug. Grafton, his son by Castlemaine created Duchess of 1. Cleveland, to marry the daughter of Arlington, a most
beautiful child only five years old. In the cabinet, the prudence of this minister shrunk from the responsibility of being the foremost to suggest or to defend measures of doubtful tendency; and his timidity afterwards proved his safeguard. It was taken for moderation, and served to mitigate the displeasure and resentment of the people. He retained to the last the favour of his sovereign*.
20. The influence which Clifford, by his industry and eloquence, had acquired in the house of commons, had observes, "Je crois qu'il n'en est rien; mais je craius que l'appetit de ces “ nouveaux commissaires (Buckingham, Ashley, and Lauderdale) ne soit "grand.". Ibid. 81. --By a singular coincidence, the initials of the
• Life of James, i. 398. Clarend. Pap. iii. Sup. Ixxxi. Evelyn, ii. 372. 432. Macph, i, 48. Burnet, i. 170. Clarendon's Life, 181. 196. Works of Shcheld, duke of Buckingham, ii. 84.
names of the five ministers form the word "cabal."
originally recommended him to the notice of the ministers; and, under the patronage of Arlington, he had rapidly advanced in preferment. He now held the offices of privy counsellor, treasurer of the household, and commissioner of the treasury. He was brave, generous, and ambitious; constant in his friendships, and open in his resentments; a minister with clean hands in a corrupt court, and endued with a mind capable of forming, and a heart ready to execute, the boldest and most hazardous projects. The king soon learned to prefer his services before those of his more cautious patron*.
30. With Buckingham, his levity and immorality, his ambition and extravagance, the reader is already acquainted. Even when he was considered the prime minister, pleasure formed his favourite pursuit. He turned the night into day, and indulged in every sensual gratification " which nature could desire, or wit invent.” Charles, much as he was amused with the follies of the duke, frequently treated him with contempt :- - his princely fortune (a landed estate of 20,0001.) insensibly disappeared ; his mind became enfeebled with his body; and he lingered out the last years of his life in penury and disgracer.
4° Lauderdale made it the great object of his policy to advance his own fortune by securing the royal favour. He was ungainly in his appearance, and boisterous in his manner; but his experience business, his ready acquiescence in every wish of the sovereign, and the boldness with which he ridiculed the apprehensions and predictions of his colleagues, endeared him to the monarch. It was not in Lauderdale's disposition to allow principles, either political or religious, to interfere with his interest. A sincere friend to the covenant, he made it the constant subject of ridicule; a violent enemy to the catholics, he lent his support to every measure in their favour; and, with a strong predilection
• Erelyn, ii. 386, 7.. Pepys, Correspondence, v. 79. Macph, i. 48. + Burnet, i. 171. Macph. i. 467. Évelyn, ii. 355. Clarendon, i. 369, North's Lives, i. 97.