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towards a limited and constitutional monarchy, he fearlessly executed in his native country the most arbitrary determinations of the government. For these reasons he had numerous enemies among the dissenters, and the men of liberal principles; and, on another account, he had incurred the hatred of all the caraliers both English and Scots. He was accused of having been a principal in the sale of Charles I. to the parliament, and of having received a considerable portion of the money. But the efforts of his countrymen to bring him into disgrace recoiled on their own heads. The king remained his friend; Middleton, the chief of his enemies, was removed from the government of Scotland, and that high office, after a decent interval, was bestowed on Lauderdale himself. But his triumph served only to multiply his enemies. The English cavaliers took up the cause of their northern brethren, and waited with impatience for the favourable opportunity of gratifying their vengeance by accomplishing the downfall of the Scottish favourite*.
5o. Sir Anthony Ashley Cooper formerly possessed the ear of Cromwell; at the restoration, through the influence of Monk, whose friendship he had gained, and of Southampton, whose niece he had married, he was appointed chancellor of the exchequer, and soon afterwards called to the house of lords by the title of baron Ashley. When Charles said of him that he was "the “weakest and wickedest man of the age,” the king consulted his anger more than his judgment. Ashley possessed talents of the highest order, but made them subservient to his passion and interest. As long as the royal cause promised to be successful, he was careful to suggest the most arbitrary measures and to support them
• Burnet, i. 174. Clarendon, 51. Miscel. Aul. 212. 234. Pepys, 154. In the Scottish parliament, it had been agreed that a certain number of delinquents should be incapacitated from holding office, not openly hy the majority of votes, but secretly by way of ballot, to prevent family feuds between the excluders and the excluded. Among the names was that of Lauderdale. But Charles disapproved of the proceeding, and re
See the pleadings before the king in Miscel. Aul. ibid.
5 at the expense of liberty and justice: but, when the current turned, when the spirit of discontent, which animated the house of commons, led him to anticipate a failure, he divested himself of his employment at court, and, coming forward as the champion of popular right,
usurped a patriot's all-atoning name." But whether he served the king, or the king's opponents, he was still the same character, displaying in his conduct a singular fertility of invention, a reckless contempt of principle, and a readiness to sacrifice the rights of others in the pursuit of his object, whether it were the acquisition of power, or the gratification of revenge*.
Of these five ministers, Lauderdale adhered to the Scottish covenant; Buckingham, with all his ridicule of bishops and sermons, called himself an orthodox churchman; and Ashley was supposed to belong to no church whatever. Of Arlington and Clifford, it has often been said that they were catholics. But hitherto they had certainly professed themselves protestants, though, perhaps, like many others, for no better reason than because protestantism was in fashion. For, during the revolutions of the last twenty years, the immorality of the royalists, the cant of the fanatics, and the successive prevalence of contrary doctrines in the pulpits, had, especially among the higher classes, unsettled religious opinion, and rendered men indifferent to particular forms of worship. It may, however, be that the knowledge of the duke's conversion, and of the king's sentiments, made impression on Arlington and Clifford. The lat. ter certainly embraced the catholic faith before the close of the Dutcb war: Arlington continued a protestant till his last sickness, when he was reconciled to the church of Romer.
These were the ministers, with whose assistance
• Macph. 70. Dalrymple, ii. 15. Burnet, i. 164, 5. Clarendon, 26. 245.
+ In May 1671, Evelyn from Clifford's conversation "suspected him a "little of warping to Rome." (Evelyn, ii. 341. 382.) lä May 1673, he is called " a new convert." Life of James, i. 484.
Charles determined to engage in the war against the States: a war from which he promised to himself an abundant harvest of profit and glory, in the humiliation of a republic, the prosperity of which held out to his subjects the example of successful rebellion; in the superiority which the trade of the British merchants would derive from the ruin of their commercial rivals; and in the additional authority with which he would be himself invested at the head of a conquering army and navy. To obtain these results it was necessary to make the most gigantic efforts, and to provide pecuniary funds commensurate with these efforts. An ample supply had been already granted by parliament; to secure the stipulated subsidy from France a third treaty had been concluded with Louis*; and an additional resource was now discovered by the ingenuity of Ashley or Clifforder The reader is aware that ever since the time of Cromwell the bankers and capitalists had been accustomed to advance money to the government, receiving in return assignations of some branch of the public revenue till both capital and interest should be extinguished. Hitherto the exchequer had maintained its credit by the punctuality with which it discharged these obligations: but now it was proposed, 1°. to suspend all payments to the public creditors for the space
• It is plain that a third treaty was concluded in the beginning of 1672 Dalrymple notices it as merely a Latin copy of the second treaty, signed on Feb. 5th; but that it was different in some points, appears from this, that the command of the English auxiliaries was given by it to the duke of Monmouth (Dalrym. ii. 88). The services of Montague, the English ambassador, were so pleasing to Louis on this occasion, that he solicited Charles to send to the ambassador the order of the garter, and to allow him (Louis) the pleasure of presenting it to Montague. Euv. de Louis, v. 493. March 21, 1672.
# It seems doubtful with whom this measure originated. Evelyn assigns it to sir Thomas Clifford (Diary, ii. 361. 385), probably because he was chosen to recommend it to the privy council. In Arlington's letters it is attributed to lord Ashley ; also in the Life of James, " it was he “ (Ashley) who advised the shutting up the exchequer." Life, I. 488. See also Burnet, i. 532. Shaftesbury himself in a letter to Locke Life by Lord King, i. 65.) gives some reasons why, not he, but Clifford, should be thought the author of it; but the care with which he avoids a direct denial provokes suspicion that the charge was well founded.
CHAP. 1.] SHUTTING UP OF THE EXCHEQUER.
of twelve months, which would permit the king to devote the whole of his income to the purposes of the war ; and 2°. to add the interest now due to the capital, and to allow six per cent. interest on this new stock, which would afford a reasonable compensation to the holders, for any inconvenience which they might suffer from the delay. Clifford, as one of the commissioners of the treasury, carried this project from the cabinet to the privy council; he endeavoured to defend it on the ground of state necessity; and requested that no member would raise objections, unless he were prepared to offer some other expedient equally productive, and equally expeditious*. Clifford was supported by Ashley; the council gave its consent; and the suspen- 1672. sion was announced by proclamation to the public.
2. stated that the safety of the kingdom rendered it necessary to forbid the payment of any money out of the exchequer in virtue of existing warrants and securities, but promised that the creditors should receive “interest "at the rate of six per cent. ; that no person whatsoever "should be defrauded of anything that was justly due, and "that the restraint should not continue any longer than
one yeart." By this iniquitous act, a sum of about 1,300,0001. was placed at the disposal of the ministers : but the benefit was dearly purchased with the loss of popularity and reputation. Many of the bankers, who had placed their money in the exchequer, failed; a general shock was given to the commercial credit of the country, and numbers of annuitants, widows, and orphans were reduced to a state of the lowest distress.
In this attempt the five ministers could not fail of success ; in the next they met with a signal defeat. It was known that in the month of March a fleet of Dutch merchantmen, laden with the commerce of the Levant, would pass up the Channel; and a resolution • Temple, ii. 181. + Declaration. In the
Savoy, by the king's printers. L. Journ. xii. 526. North, Examen. 37. Parker, 121. Marvell, ii. 475.
was taken to capture them as lawful prizes, without any previous declaration of war. To the objection that such conduct would resemble the rapacity of the pirate and the highwayman, it was replied, that arrogance and avarice had led the Hollanders to trample on all the received usages of civilized nations, and that they could not reasonably complain, if they received in return such treatment as they had already inflicted upon others * The States, however, were not to be taken unawares. The immense preparations of Louis had opened their eyes to the danger which menaced them; and the recall of
Temple, who had negotiated the triple league, with the 1671. mission, in his place, of Downing, a man so hateful in Dec.
Holland, that he fled back to England to escape the ven4. 1672. geance of the mob +, taught them to suspect that Charles Feb. was the secret ally of the French king. Under this im6. pression, they were careful to furnish protection to their
merchantmen, and to acquaint their naval commanders with the possibility of a sudden rupture between the two nations. The task of intercepting the Dutch fleet had been intrusted by the English ministers to Sir Robert Holmes, who received orders to take under his command
all the ships which he should find at Portsmouth, or Mar. should meet at sea. Holmes, at the back of the Isle of 2. Wight, saw the squadron of Sir Edward Spragge, which
had recently destroyed the Algerine navy in the Medi-
object, sixty sail of merchantmen, many of them well 3. armed, under convoy of seven men-of-war.
Van Nesse, the Dutch admiral, saw the design of Holmes, and so admirably did he dispose his force, so gallantly was he seconded by the officers and men under his command, that he completely baffled all the efforts of his enter
* See the question discussed in Parker, 124. + Downing was sent to the Tower for his cowardice. Temple, ii. 180. May 23.