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this they were not. He never saw the journal, as I have before mentioned. He made extracts from the Stuart Papers, and additions from those of Carte.
I will now give you some general specimen of the information which you may derive from the work of Dalrymple. I will endeavour to exhibit to you their references to a few of
a the more striking particulars of the reign. It appears from these papers, that Charles made a treaty with the French king, to which only the Roman Catholic part of the cabal was privy, Lord Arlington and Lord Clifford, not Shaftesbury, Buckingham, and Lauderdale. Charles was to get £.200,000 for declaring himself a Roman Catholic, was to receive £.800,000 per annum during the Dutch war, and was to be assisted with troops if his subjects rebelled, which was called, “ being engaged in domestic wars ;” but as Louis only meant to seize upon the Low Countries, and destroy Holland, and cared not for Charles or his concerns, any further than they could be made subservient to his own; it was next the effort of the French ministry, to persuade Charles to begin with a war in Holland, and to postpone his domestic plans till the successful termination of the enterprise on the continent. This duplicity the Duke of York saw through, and remonstrated, but in vain. The Duchess of Orleans was sent over by Louis with a French mistress, and it was soon agreed by Charles, that the treaty should be executed in the order that the French monarch wished ; that is, that Holland should be destroyed in the first place.
A second treaty was then concluded, to which the Protestant part of the cabal was made privy, though they had not been to the first treaty. The second was to the same purport as the first, but with one important omission—the king's intentions with respect to the Roman Catholic religion. This last treaty, whenever alluded to by the king and the duke in their communications with each other, went under the name of the sham treaty; and Buckingham and Shaftesbury, who thought themselves, no doubt, the first men of talents at the time, were, on this occasion, as they knew nothing of the first treaty, the dupes of their sovereign.
The reasonings on which the king and the French ambassador proceeded, are curious.
“Tell your people,” says Barillon (68), “ that you will
” get their trade from the Dutch,” who were represented as insatiably greedy; "the merchants will be satisfied with this commercial reason; your brave officers and soldiers will be occupied with the war in Holland ; the sectaries will be in good humour with you, for the toleration you are to grant them; your council are already committed, they will do their duty to you ; they will keep those of the parliament to it with whom they have credit; you may then, in the midst of a successful war with Holland, declare yourself a Catholic, there will be no grounds to fear,” &c. &c. But in the midst of all these plots and projects, the Prince of Orange came over from Holland, probably to make out what was the meaning of the late visit from the Duchess of Orleans, the journies of Buckingham to Paris, &c. &c.
The Prince of Orange, afterwards William III., was therefore now to be practised upon : but the French ambassador writes to Louis, “that Charles had found him such a passionate Dutchman and Protestant, that nothing could be made of him." - And now begins a pleasant consultation, whether the parliament should be assembled. "No," says the Duke of Buckingham; “no,” says the Duke of York; “ do not call them till we are successful in Holland, and till we can obtain by force what we cannot by mildness.” (80).
We have next notifications from the French ambassador to Louis, of the manner in which he had disposed of what he calls “ the marks of the king's esteem and distinction;" i. e. the French bribes to Charles's ministers. And in this manner, it seems, were to be intrigued away, for the gratification of the profligacy of one monarch, and the ambition of another, the liberties of England, and the existence of the republic of Holland.
You will now, I conceive, be fully enabled to comprehend the general tenor of these original documents, and their connexions with the history of the reign.
The transactions of the reign (as I have already observed) I cannot further allude to; and such extracts as I have given, and such references as I have made to different books and papers, must be considered, as the only allusions I can make to the particulars of the reign after the disgrace of Clarendon, and before Lord Shaftesbury and the exclusionists claim our attention.
But there is one transaction so remarkable, that I may select it from the rest, and allude to it more distinctly; this is the king's declaration on ecclesiastical affairs--the declaration that brought the struggle between Charles II, and the virtuous part of the parliament and nation to a sort of crisis.
After alluding to this singular affair, and once more to a few passages in Barillon's dispatches, I shall conclude.
It is probable that Charles cared as little for what Louis called his glory, as Louis did for Charles's authority over his subjects. But Charles hated the Dutch, and he hated his parliaments, as he did every thing that was an impediment to his own vicious indulgences; so he was sincerely desirous to be arbitrary, that he might have money without either the trouble of asking for it, or the inconvenience of accounting for it.
Depending, therefore, on the assistance of Louis and his own ministry, he hesitated not to undertake the establishment of a regular system of arbitrary power; and he began by pubfishing a declaration of indulgence to nonconformists. It is now very important to observe the conduct of the House of Commons on this occasion. We cannot but be taught how necessary it is for that house, and for all Englishmen, to be scrupulously faithful to the great principles of the constitution, whenever they appear to be in the least disturbed.
The king's declaration only proposed to do, what every humane and intelligent man would wish to have done to extend relief to nonconformists, to dispense occasionally with the penal statutes, that operated so severely against them.
The king, however, made use of the following expressions in his declaration of indulgence :-"that he had a supreme power in ecclesiastical matters,” and “ that he suspended the penal laws, in matters ecclesiastical, against whatever sect of nonconformists ;” and in his speech to the parliament, he should take it very ill to receive contradiction in what he had done, and that to deal plainly with them, he was resolved to stick to his declaration."
Such were the words of the king, “ But,” said a member of the House of Commons, “if the king can dispense with all penal laws, he may dispense with all laws.” And finally, the parliament, in an address to the king, represented to his majesty, in short, " that penal statutes in matters ecclesiastical, could not be suspended but by act of parliament.”
The king and the House of Commons were therefore at issue. The king in his answer declared, “that he was troubled to find his power was questioned; that this had not been done in the reigns of his ancestors; that he did not pretend to the right of suspending any laws, whenever the properties, rights, or liberties, of any of his subjects were concerned; but to take off the penalties on the Dissenters; nor did he preclude the advice of his parliament.”
These softening expressions were sufficient to satisfy many of the members of the house, but the major and sounder part were not so to be appeased, and the house returned to the charge. They represented to his majesty, " that his answer was not sufficient to clear their apprehensions; that his majesty had claimed a power which, if admitted, would alter the legislative power which had always been acknowledged to reside in his majesty and the two houses of parliament.”
The parties were therefore still at issue. Besides his usual guards, the king had an army encamped at Blackheath, under the command of Marshal Schomberg; and the French king, it may be remembered, had stipulated to afford assistance if force became requisite.
Here then was a crisis truly awful; and as the connexion between the French court and Charles could not but have been observed (for the arms of England were visibly combined in the most unnatural manner, with those of France, against the independence of Holland), this crisis must have been sufficiently understood by all the intelligent and virtuous part of the community; i. e. by all those who did not suffer themselves wilfully to be blinded by some base interest of their own, or some stupid principle of general confidence.
In this situation the king applied to the House of Lords, and the lords did not, as Hume and other writers represent, take the part of the commons against the king, for they received his majesty's communication very favourably; and
the king replied to their address in the following manner :“ My lords, I take this address of yours very kindly, and I will always be affectionate to you, and I expect that you
will stand by me, as I will always by you."
But notwithstanding this disgraceful alliance, offensive and defensive, it appears that thirty peers (and this shows the importance of virtuous minorities) had protested against the courtly address of the house; and though Lord Clifford, one of the cabal, had made a furious speech against the commons, and though Lord Shaftesbury had done every thing for the court that they could wish, as far as the Dutch war was concerned (having made a speech in his character of chancellor, with which he was reproached to his last hour), still, when the whole cause in which he had so seriously engaged, came to the last critical turn, this very Shaftesbury, to the astonishment of the whole house, and of the Duke of York and king, who were present, rose up in his place and declared,“ that he differed toto cælo from his colleague; that he submitted his reason to the House of Commons, so loyal and affectionate,” &c. &c.
And the lords, on their meeting the next day, and not before, thought proper to do no more than “thank the king for referring those points to a parliamentary way by bill, that being a good and natural cause of satisfaction therein.”
In the result, the king very wisely broke the seals of the declaration, appeased the House of Commons, and gave way.
It is a curious point in history to determine, what could induce Shaftesbury to make this most fortunate, but most unexpected, turn.
Hume does not appear to have considered the conduct of this powerful man, on this great occasion, with sufficient attention. In like manner, it is not readily ascertained why Charles did not persevere. It may, however, be made out from Dalrymple, and other sources, that Arlington betrayed the secret of the first treaty to Shaftesbury; and that Shaftesbury must thus have seen that he had been deceived by the king.
It appears, too, that the commons had severely questioned (which again shows the importance of constitutional jealousy) Shaftesbury's illegal proceedings, as chancellor, with respect