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CHAPTER VI. - Sir James Mackintosh, The Miscellaneous Works 
The Miscellaneous Works. Three Volumes, complete in One. (New York: D. Appleton & Co., 1871).
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D’Adda publicly received as the Nuncio.—Dissolution of Parliament.—Final breach.—Preparations for a new Parliament.—New charters.—Removal of Lord Lieutenants.—Patronage of the Crown.—Moderate views of Sunderland.—House of Lords.—Royal progress.—Pregnancy of the Queen.—London has the appearance of a Catholic city.
The war between Religious parties had not yet so far subsided as to allow the avowed intercourse of Princes of Protestant communions with the See of Rome. In the first violence of hostility, indeed, laws were passed in England forbidding, under pain of death, the indispensable correspondence of Catholics with the head of their Church, and even the bare residence of their priests within the realm.* These laws, never to be palliated except as measures of retaliation in a warfare of extermination, had been often executed without necessity and with slight provocation. It was most desirable to prevent their execution and to procure their repeal. But the object of the King in his embassy to Rome was to select these odious enactments, as the most specious case, in which he might set an example of the ostentatious contempt with which he was resolved to trample on every law which stood in the way of his designs. A nearer and more signal instance than that embassy was required by his zeal or his political projects. D’Adda was accordingly obliged to undergo a public introduction to the King at Windsor as Apostolic Nuncio from the Pope; and his reception,—being an overt act of high treason,—was conducted with more than ordinary state, and announced to the public like that of any other foreign minister.† The Bishops of Durham and Chester were perhaps the most remarkable attendants at the ceremonial. The Duke of Somerset, the second Peer of the kingdom, was chosen from the Lords of the Bedchamber as the introducer; and his attendance in that character had been previously notified to the Nuncio by the Earl of Mulgrave, Lord Chamberlain: but, on the morning of the ceremony, the Duke besought his Majesty to excuse him from the performance of an act which might expose him to the most severe ammadversion of the law.‡ The King answered, that he intended to confer an honour upon him, by appointing him to introduce the representative of so venerable a potentate; and that the royal power of dispensation had been solemnly determined to be a sufficient warrant for such acts.—The King is said to have angrily asked, “Do you not know that I am above the law?”§ to which the Duke is represented by the same authorities to have replied, “Your Majesty is so, but I am not;”—an answer which was perfectly correct, if it be understood as above punishment by the law. The Duke of Grafton introduced the Nuncio; and it was observed, that while the ambassadors of the Emperor, and of the crowns of France and Spain, were presented by Earls, persons of superior dignity were appointed to do the same office to the Papal minister;—a singularity rather rendered alarming than acceptable by the example of the Court of France, which was appealed to by the courtiers on this occasion. The same ceremonious introduction to the Queen Dowager immediately followed. The King was very desirous of the like presentation being made to the Princess Anne, to whom it was customary to present foreign ministers; but the Nuncio declined a public audience of an heretical princess:* and though we learn that, a few days after, he was admitted by her to what is called “a public audience,”† yet, as it was neither published in the Gazette, nor adverted to in his own letter, it seems probable that she only received him openly as a Roman prelate, who was to be treated with the respect due to his rank, and with whom it was equally politic to avoid the appearance of clandestine intercourse and of formal recognition. The King said to the Duke of Somerset, “As you have not chosen to obey my commands in this case, I shall not trouble you with any other;” and immediately removed him from his place in the Household, from his regiment of dragoons, and the Lord-lieutenancy of his county,—continuing for some time to speak with indignation of this act of contumacy, and telling the Nuncio, that the Duke’s nearest relations had thrown themselves at his feet, and assured him, that they detested the disobedience of their kinsman.‡ The importance of the transaction consisted in its being a decisive proof of how little estimation were the judicial decisions in favour of the dispensing power in the eyes of the most loyal and opulent of the nobility.§
The most petty incidents in the treatment of the Nuncio were at this time jealously watched by the public. By the influence of the new members placed by James in the corporation, he had been invited to a festival annually given by the city of London, at which the diplomatic body were then, as now, accustomed to be present. Fearful of insult, and jealous of his precedence, he consulted Lord Sunderland, and afterwards the King, on the prudence of accepting the invitation.∥ The King pressed him to go, also signifying to all the other foreign ministers that their attendance at the festival would be agreeable to him. The Dutch¶ and Swedish ministers were absent. The Nuncio was received unexpectedly well by the populace, and treated with becoming courtesy by the magistrates. But though the King honoured the festival with his presence, he could not prevail even on the aldermen of his own nomination to forbear from the thanksgiving, on the 5th of November, for deliverance from the Gunpowder Plot.** On the contrary, Sir John Shorter, the Presbyterian mayor, made haste to atone for the invitation of D’Adda, by publicly receiving the communion according to the rites of the Church of England;* —a strong mark of distrust in the dispensing power, and of the determination of the Presbyterians to adhere to the common cause of Protestants.†
Another occasion offered itself, then esteemed a solemn one, for the King, in his royal capacity, to declare publicly against the Established Church. The kings of England had, from very ancient times, pretended to a power of curing scrofula by touching those who were afflicted by that malady; and the Church had retained, after the Reformation, a service for the occasion, in which her ministers officiated. James, naturally enough, employed the mass book, and the aid of the Roman Catholic clergy, in the exercise of this pretended power of his crown, according to the precedents in the reign of Mary.‡ As we find no complaint from the Established clergy of the perversion of this miraculous prerogative, we are compelled to suspect that they had no firm faith in the efficacy of a ceremony which they solemnly sanctioned by their prayers.§
On the day before the public reception of the Nuncio, the dissolution of Parliament had announced a final breach between the Crown and the Church. All means had been tried to gain a majority in the House of Commons: persuasion, influence, corruption, were inadequate; the example of dismissal failed to intimidate,—the hope of preferment to allure. Neither the command obtained by the Crown over the corporations, nor the division among Protestants excited by the Toleration, had sufficiently weakened the opposition to the measures of the Court. It was useless to attempt the execution of projects to subdue the resistance of the Peers by new creations, till the other House was either gained or removed. The unyielding temper manifested by an assembly formerly so submissive, seems, at first sight, unaccountable. It must, however, be borne in mind, that the elections had taken place under the influence of the Church party; that the interest of the Church had defeated the ecclesiastical measures of the King in the two former sessions; and that the immense influence of the clergy over general opinion, now seconded by the zealous exertions of the friends of liberty, was little weakened by the servile ambition of a few of their number, who, being within the reach of preferment, and intensely acted upon by its attraction, too eagerly sought their own advancement to regard the dishonour of deserting their body. England was then fast approaching to that state in which an opinion is so widely spread, and the feelings arising from it are so ardent, that dissent is accounted infamous, and considered by many as unsafe. It is happy when such opinions (however inevitably alloyed by base ingredients, and productive of partial injustice) are not founded in delusion, but on principles, on the whole, beneficial to the community. The mere influence of shame, of fear, of imitation, or of sympathy, is, at such moments, sufficient to give to many men the appearance of an integrity and courage little to be hoped from their ordinary conduct.
The King had, early in the summer, ascertained the impossibility of obtaining the consent of a majority of the House of Commons to a repeal of the Test and penal laws, and appears to have shown a disposition to try a new Parliament.* His more moderate counsellors,† however, headed, as it appears, by the Earl of Sunderland,‡ did not fail to represent to him the mischiefs and dangers of that irrevocable measure. “It was,” they said, “a perilous experiment to dissolve the union of the Crown with the Church, and to convert into enemies an order which had hitherto supported unlimited authority, and inculcated unbounded submission. The submission of the Parliament had no bounds except the rights or interests of the Church. The expense of an increasing army would speedily require parliamentary aid; the possible event of the death of the King of Spain without issue might involve all Europe in war:§ for these purposes, and for every other that concerned the honour of the Crown, this loyal Parliament were ready to grant the most liberal supplies. Even in ecclesiastical matters, though they would not at once yield all, they would in time grant much: when the King had quieted the alarm and irritation of the moment, they would, without difficulty, repeal all the laws commonly called “penal.” The King’s dispensations, sanctioned by the decisions of the highest authority of the law, obviated the evil of the laws of disability; and it would be wiser for the Catholics to leave the rest to time and circumstances, than to provoke severe retaliation by the support of measures which the immense majority of the people dreaded as subversive of their religion and liberty. What hope of ample supply or steady support could the King entertain from a Parliament of Nonconformists, the natural enemies of kingly power? What faith could the Catholics place in these sectaries, the most Protestant of Protestant communions, of whom the larger part looked on relief from persecution, when tendered by Catholic hands, with distrust and fear; and who believed that the friendship of the Church of Rome for them would last no longer than her inability to destroy them?” To this it was answered, “that it was now too late to inquire whether a more wary policy might not have been at first more advisable; that the King could not stand where he was; that he would soon be compelled to assemble a Parliament; and that, if he preserved the present, their first act would be to impeach the judges, who had determined in favour of the dispensing power. To call them together, would be to abandon to their rage all the Catholics who had accepted office on the faith of the royal prerogative. If the Parliament were not to be assembled, they were at least useless; and their known disposition would, as long as they existed, keep up the spirit of audacious disaffection: if they were assembled, they would, even during the King’s life, tear away the shield of the dispensing power, which, at all events, never would be stretched out to cover Catholics by the hand of the Protestant successor. All the power gained by the monarchy over corporations having been used in the last election by Protestant Tories, was now acting against the Crown: by extensive changes in the government of counties and corporations, a more favourable House of Commons, and if an entire abrogation should prove impracticable, a better compromise, might be obtained.”
Sunderland informed the Nuncio that the King closed these discussions by a declaration that, having ascertained the determination of the present Parliament not to concur in his holy designs, and having weighed all the advantages of preserving it, he considered them as far inferior to his great object, which was the advancement of the Catholic religion. Perhaps, indeed, this determination, thus apparently dictated by religious zeal, was conformable to the maxims of civil prudence, unless the King was prepared to renounce his encroachments, and content himself with that measure of toleration for his religion which the most tolerant states then dealt out to their dissenting subjects.
The next object was so to influence the elections as to obtain a more yielding majority. At an early period Sunderland had represented two hundred members of the late House “as necessarily dependent on the Crown;”* —probably not so much a sanguine hope as a political exaggeration, which, if believed, might realise itself. He was soon either undeceived or contradicted: the King desired all bound to him, either by interest or attachment, to come singly to private audiences in his closet,† that he might ask their support to his measures; and the answers which he received were regarded by bystanders as equivalent to a general refusal.‡ This practice, then called “closeting,” was, it must be owned, a very unskilful species of canvass, where the dignity of the King left little room for more than a single question and answer, and where other parties were necessarily forewarned of the subject of the interview, which must have soon become so generally known as to expose the more yielding part of them to the admonitions of their more courageous friends. It was easy for an eager monarch, on an occasion which allowed so little explanation, to mistake evasion, delay, and mere courtesy, for an assent to his proposal. But the new influence, and, indeed, power, which had been already gained by the Crown over the elective body seemed to be so great as to afford the strongest motives for assembling a new Parliament.
In the six years which followed the first judgments of forfeiture, two hundred and forty-two new charters of incorporation had passed the seals to replace those which had been thus judicially annulled or voluntarily resigned.§ From this number, however, must be deducted those of the plantations on the continent and islands of America, some new incorporations on grounds of general policy,∥ and several subordinate corporations in cities and towns,—though these last materially affected parliamentary elections. The House then consisted of five hundred and five members, of whom two hundred and forty-four were returned on rights of election altogether or in part corporate; this required only a hundred and twenty-two new charters. But to many corporations more than one charter had been issued, after the extorted surrenders of others, to rivet them more firmly in their dependency; and if any were spared, it can only have been because they were considered as sufficiently enslaved and some show of discrimination was considered as politic. In six years, therefore, it is evident, that by a few determinations of servile judges, the Crown had acquired the direct, uncontrolled, and perpetual nomination of nearly one half of the House of Commons: and when we recollect the independent and ungovernable spirit manifested by that assembly in the last fifteen years of Charles II., we may be disposed to conclude that there is no other instance in history of so great a revolution effected in so short a time by the mere exercise of judicial authority. These charters, originally contrived so as to vest the utmost power in the Crown, might, in any instance where experience showed them to be inadequate, be rendered still more effectual, as a power of substituting others was expressly reserved in each.* In order to facilitate the effective exercise of this power, commissioners were appointed to be “regulators” of corporations, with full authority to remove and appoint freemen and corporate officers at their discretion. The Chancellor, the Lords Powis, Sunderland, Arundel, and Castlemaine, with Sir Nicholas Butler and Father Petre, were regulators of the first class, who superintended the whole operation.† Sir Nicholas Butler and Duncombe, a banker, “regulated” the corporation of London, from which they removed nineteen hundred freemen; and yet Jeffreys incurred a reprimand, from his impatient master, for want of vigour in changing the corporate bodies, and humbly promised to repair his fault: for “every Englishman who becomes rich,” said Barillon, “is more disposed to favour the popular party than the designs of the King.”‡ These regulators were sent to every part of the country, and were furnished with letters from the Secretary of State, recommending them to the aid of the Lord lieutenants of counties.§
When the election was supposed to be near, circular letters were sent to the Lord lieutenants, and other men of influence, including even the Chief Justice of the King’s Bench, recommending them to procure the election of persons mentioned therein by name, to the number of more than a hundred. Among them were eighteen members for counties, and many for those towns which, as their rights of election were not corporate, were not yet subjected to the Crown by legal judgments.∥ In this list we find the unexpected name of John Somers, probably selected from a hope that his zeal for religious liberty might induce him to support a Government which professed so comprehensive a toleration: but it was quickly discovered that he was too wise to be ensnared, and the clerk of the Privy Council was six days after judiciously substituted in his stead. It is due to James and his minister to remark, that these letters are conceived in that official form which appears to indicate established practice: and, indeed, most of these practices were not only avowed, but somewhat ostentatiously displayed as proofs of the King’s confidence in the legitimacy and success of his measures. Official letters* had also been sent to the Lord lieutenants, directing them to obtain answers from the deputy-lieutenants and justices of the peace of their respective counties, to the questions,—Whether, if any of them were chosen to serve in Parliament, they would vote for the repeal of the penal laws and the Test? and Whether they would contribute to the election of other members of the like disposition? and also to ascertain what corporations in each county were well affected, what individuals had influence enough to be elected, and what Catholics and Dissenters were qualified to be deputy-lieutenants or justices of the peace.
Several refused to obey so unconstitutional a command: their refusal had been foreseen; and so specious a pretext as that of disobedience was thus found for their removal from office.† Sixteen Lieutenancies,‡ held by fourteen Lieutenants, were immediately changed; the majority of whom were among the principal noblemen of the kingdom, to whom the government of the most important provinces had, according to ancient usage, been intrusted. The removal of Lord Scarsdale§ from his Lieutenancy of Derbyshire displayed the disposition of the Princess Anne, and furnished some scope for political dexterity on her part and on that of her father. Lord Scarsdale holding an office in the household of Prince George, the Princess sent Lord Churchill to the King from herself and her husband, humbly desiring to know his Majesty’s pleasure how they should deal with one of the Prince’s servants who had incurred the King’s disfavour. The King, perceiving that it was intended to throw Scarsdale’s removal from their household upon him, and extremely solicitous that it should appear to be his daughter’s spontaneous act, and thus seem a proof of her hearty concurrence in his measures, declared his reluctance to prescribe to them in the appointment or dismissal of their officers. The Princess (for Prince George was a cipher) contented herself with this superficial show of respect, and resolved that the sacrifice of Scarsdale, if ever made, should appear to be no more than the bare obedience of a subject and a daughter. James was soon worsted in this conflict of address, and was obliged to notify his pleasure that Scarsdale should be removed, to avoid the humiliation of seeing his daughter’s court become the refuge of those whom he had displaced.* The vacant Lieutenancies were bestowed on Catholics, with the exception of Mulgrave, (who had promised to embrace the King’s faith, but whose delays begot suspicions of his sincerity,) and of Jeffreys, Sunderland, and Preston; who, though they continued to profess the Protestant religion, were no longer members of the Protestant party. Five colonels of cavalry, two of infantry, and four governors of fortresses, (some of whom were also Lord lieutenants, and most of them of the same class of persons,) were removed from their commands. Of thirty-nine new sheriffs, thirteen were said to be Roman Catholics.† Although the proportion of gentry among the Nonconformists was less, yet their numbers being much greater, it cannot be doubted that a considerable majority of these magistrates were such as the King thought likely to serve his designs.
Even the most obedient and zealous Lord lieutenants appear to have been generally unsuccessful: the Duke of Beaufort made an unfavourable report of the principality of Wales; and neither the vehemence of Jeffreys, nor the extreme eagerness of Rochester, made any considerable impression in their respective counties. Lord Waldegrave, a Catholic, the King’s son-in-law, found insurmountable obstacles in Somersetshire;‡ Lord Molyneux, also a Catholic, appointed to the Lieutenancy of Lancashire, made an unfavourable report even of that county, then the secluded abode of an ancient Catholic gentry; and Dr. Leyburn, who had visited every part of England in the discharge of his episcopal duty, found little to encourage the hopes and prospects of the King. The most general answer appears to have been, that if chosen to serve in Parliament, the individuals to whom the questions were put would vote according to their consciences, after hearing the reasons on both sides; that they could not promise to vote in a manner which their own judgment after discussion might condemn; that if they entered into so unbecoming an engagement, they might incur the displeasure of the House of Commons for betraying its privileges; and that they would justly merit condemnation from all good men for disabling themselves from performing the duty of faithful subjects by the honest declaration of their judgment on those arduous affairs on which they were to advise and aid the King. The Court was incensed by these answers; but to cover their defeat, and make their resolution more known, it was formally notified in the London Gazette.* that “His Majesty, being resolved to maintain the Declaration of Liberty of Conscience, and to use the utmost endeavours that it may pass into a law, and become an established security for after ages, has thought fit to review the lists of deputy-lieutenants and justices of the peace; that those may continue who are willing to contribute to so good and necessary a work, and such others be added from whom he may reasonably expect the like concurrence.”
It is very difficult to determine in what degree the patronage of the Crown, military, civil and ecclesiastical, at that period, influenced parliamentary elections. The colonies then scarcely contributed to it.† No offices in Scotland and few in Ireland, were bestowed for English purposes. The revenue was small compared with that of after times, even after due allowance is made for the subsequent change in the value of money: but it was collected at such a needless expense as to become, from the mere ignorance and negligence of the Government, a source of influence much more than proportioned to its amount. The Church was probably guarded for the moment by the zeal and honour of its members, against the usual effects of royal patronage; and even the mitre lost much of its attractions, while the see of York was believed to be kept vacant for a Jesuit. A standing army of thirty thousand men presented new means of provision, and objects of ambition to the young gentry, who then monopolized military appointments. The revenue, small as it now seems, had increased in proportion to the national wealth, more in the preceding half century than in any equal time since; and the army had within that period come into existence. It is not easy to decide whether the novelty and rapid increase of these means of bestowing gratification increased at the same time their power over the mind, or whether it was not necessarily more feeble, until long experience had directed the eyes of the community habitually towards the Crown as the source of income and advancement. It seems reasonable to suppose that it might at first produce more violent movements, and in the sequel more uniform support. All the offices of provincial administration were then more coveted than they are now. Modern legislation and practice had not yet withdrawn any part of that administration from lieutenants, deputy-lieutents, sheriffs, coroners, which had been placed in their hands by the ancient laws. A justice of the peace exercised a power over his inferior never controlled by public opinion, and for the exercise of which he could hardly be said to be practically amenable to law. The influence of Government has abated as the powers of these officers have been contracted, or their exercise more jealously watched. Its patronage cannot be justly estimated, unless it be compared with the advantage to be expected from other objects of pursuit. The professions called “learned” had then fewer stations and smaller incomes than in subsequent periods: in commerce, the disproportion was immense; there could hardly be said to be any manufactures; and agriculture was unskilful, and opulent farmers unheard of. Perhaps the whole amount of income and benefits at the disposal of the Crown bore a larger proportion to that which might be earned in all the other pursuits raised above mere manual labour than might at first sight be supposed: how far the proportion was less than at present it is hard to say. But patronage in the hands of James was the auxiliary of great legal power through the Lord lieutenants, and of the direct nomination of the members for the corporate towns. The grossest species of corruption had been practised among members;* and the complaints which were at that time prevalent of the expense of elections, render it very probable that bribery was spreading among the electors. Expensive elections have, indeed, no other necessary effect than that of throwing the choice into the hands of wealthy candidates; but they afford too specious pretexts for the purchase of votes, not to be employed in eager contests, as a disguise of that practice.
The rival, though sometimes auxiliary, influence of great proprietors, seems to have been at that time, at least, as considerable as at any succeeding moment. The direct power of nominating members must have been vested in many of them by the same state of suffrage and property which confer it on them at present,† while they were not rivalled in more popular elections by a monied interest. The power of landholders over their tenants was not circumscribed; and in all country towns they were the only rich customers of tradesmen who had then only begun to emerge from indigence and dependence. The majority of these landholders were Tories, and now adhered to the Church; the minority, consisting of the most opulent and noble, were the friends of liberty, who received with open arms their unwonted allies.
From the naturally antagonist force of popular opinion little was probably dreaded by the Court. The Papal, the French, and the Dutch ministers, as well as the King and Lord Sunderland, in their unreserved conferences with the first two, seem to have pointed all their expectations and solicitudes towards the uncertain conduct of powerful individuals. The body of the people could not read: one portion of them had little knowledge of the sentiments of another; no publication was tolerated, on a level with the information then possessed even by the middle classes; and the only channel through which they could be acted upon was the pulpit, which the King had vainly, though perfidiously, endeavoured to shut up. Considerable impediments stood in the way of the King’s direct power over elections, in the difficulty of finding candidates for Parliament not altogether disreputable, and corporators whose fidelity might be relied on. The moderate Catholics reluctantly concurred in the precipitate measures of the Court. They were disqualified, by long exclusion from business, for those offices to which their rank and fortune gave them a natural claim; and their whole number was so small, that they could contribute no adequate supply of fit persons for inferior stations.* The number of the Nonconformists were, on the other hand, considerable; amounting, probably, to a sixteenth of the whole people, without including the compulsory and occasional Conformists, whom the Declaration of Indulgence had now encouraged to avow their real sentiments.† Many of them had acquired wealth by trade, which under the Republic and the Protectorate began to be generally adopted as a liberal pursuit; but they were confined to the great towns, and were chiefly of the Presbyterian persuasion, who were ill affected to the Court. Concerning the greater number, who were to form the corporations throughout the country, it was difficult to obtain accurate information, and hard to believe that in the hour of contest, they could forget their enthusiastic animosity against the Church of Rome. As the project of introducing Catholics into the House of Commons by an exercise of the dispensing power had been abandoned, nothing could be expected from them but aid in elections; and if one eighth—a number so far surpassing their natural share—should be Nonconformists, they would still bear a small proportion to the whole body. These intractable difficulties, founded in the situation, habits, and opinions of men, over which measures of policy or legislation have no direct or sudden power, early suggested to the more wary of the King’s counsellors the propriety of attempting some compromise, by which he might immediately gain more advantage and security for the Catholics than could have been obtained from the Episcopalian Parliament, and open the way for further advances in a more favourable season.
Shortly after the dissolution, Lord Sunderland communicated to the Nuncio his opinions on the various expedients by which the jealousies of the Nonconformists might be satisfied.* “As we have wounded the Anglican party,” said he, “we must destroy it, and use every means to strengthen as well as conciliate the other, that the whole nation may not be alienated, and that the army may not discover the dangerous secret of the exclusive reliance of the Government upon its fidelity.” “Among the Nonconformists were,” he added, “three opinions relating to the Catholics: that of those who would repeal all the penal laws against religious worship, but maintain the disabilities for office and Parliament; that of those who would admit the Catholics to office, but continue their exclusion from both Houses of Parliament; and that of a still more indulgent party, who would consent to remove the recent exclusion of the Catholic peers, trusting to the oath of supremacy in the reign of Elizabeth, as a legal, though it had not proved in practice a constant, bar against their entrance into the House of Commons:—to say nothing of a fourth project, entertained by zealous Catholics and thorough courtiers, that Catholic peers and commoners should claim their seats in both Houses by virtue of royal dispensations, which would relieve them from the oaths and declarations against their religion required by law,—an attempt which the King himself had felt to be too hazardous, as being likely to excite a general commotion on the first day of the session, to produce an immediate rupture with the new Parliament, and to forfeit all the advantage which had been already gained by a determination of both Houses against the validity of the dispensations.” He further added, that “he had not hitherto conferred on these weighty matters with any but the King, that he wished the Nuncio to consider them, and was desirous to govern his own conduct by that prelate’s decision.” At the same time he gave D’Adda to understand, that he was inclined to some of the above conciliatory expedients, observing, “that it was better to go on step by step, than obstinately to aim at all with the risk of gaining nothing;” and hinting, that this pertinacity was peculiarly dangerous, where all depended on the life of James. Sunderland’s purpose was to insinuate his own opinions into the mind of the Nuncio, who was the person most likely to reconcile the King and his priests to only partial advantages. But a prelate of the Roman Court, however inferior to Sunderland in other respects, was more than his match in the art of evading the responsibility which attends advice in perilous conjunctures. With many commendations of his zeal, D’Adda professed “his incapacity of judging in a case which involved the opinions and interests of so many individuals and classes; but he declared, that the fervent prayers of his Holiness, and his own feeble supplications, would be offered to God, for light and guidance to his Majesty and his ministers in the prosecution of their wise and pious designs.”
William Penn proposed a plan different from any of the temperaments mentioned above; which consisted in the exclusion of Catholics from the House of Commons, and the division of all the public offices into three equal parts, one of which should belong to the Church, another should be open to the Nonconformists, and a third to the Catholics;* —an extremely unequal distribution, if it implied the exclusion of the members of the Church from two thirds of the stations in the public service; and not very moderate, if it should be understood only as providing against the admission of the dissidents to more than two thirds of these offices. Eligibility to one third would have been a more equitable proposition, and perhaps better than any but that which alone is perfectly reasonable,—that the appointment to office should be altogether independent of religious opinion. An equivalent for the Test was held out at the same time, which had a very specious and alluring appearance. It was proposed that an Act for the establishment of religious liberty should be passed; that all men should be sworn to its observance; that it should be made a part of the coronation oath, and rank among the fundamental laws, as the Magna Charta of Conscience; and that any attempt to repeal it should be declared to be a capital crime.†
The principal objections to all these mitigated or attractive proposals arose from distrust in the King’s intention. It did not depend on the conditions offered, and was as fatal to moderate compromise as to undistinguishing surrender. The nation were now in a temper to consider every concession made to the King as an advantage gained by an enemy, which mortified their pride, as well as lessened their safety: they regarded negotiation as an expedient of their adversaries to circumvent, disunite, and dishearten them.
The state of the House of Lords was a very formidable obstacle. Two lists of the probable votes in that assembly on the Test and penal laws were sent to Holland, and one to France, which are still extant.‡ These vary in some respects from each other, according to the information of the writers, and probably according to the fluctuating disposition of some Peers. The greatest division adverse to the Court which they present, is ninety-two against the repeal of the penal and disabling laws to thirty-five for it, besides twenty whose votes are called “doubtful,” and twenty-three disabled as Catholics: the least is eighty-six to thirty-three, besides ten doubtful and twenty-one Catholic. Singular as it may seem, Rochester, the leader of the Church party, is represented in all the lists as being for the repeal. From this agreement, and from his officious zeal as Lord Lieutenant of Hertfordshire, it cannot be doubted that he had promised his vote to the King; and though it is hard to say whether his promise was sincere, or whether treachery to his party or insincerity to his old master would be most deserving of blame, he cannot be acquitted of a grave offence either against political or personal morality. His brother Clarendon, a man of less understanding and courage, is numbered in one list as doubtful, and represented by another as a supporter of the Court. Lord Churchill is stated to be for the repeal,—probably from the confidence of the writers that gratitude would in him prevail over every other motive; for it appears that on this subject he had the merit of not having dissembled his sentiments to his royal benefactor.* Lord Godolphin, engaged rather in ordinary business than in political councils, was numbered in the ranks of official supporters. As Lord Dartmouth, Lord Preston, and Lord Feversham never fluctuated on religion, they deserve the credit of being rather blinded by personal attachment, than tempted by interest or ambition, in their support of the repeal.† Howard of Escrick and Grey de Werke, who had saved their own lives by contributing to take away those of their friends, appear in the minority as slaves of the Court. Of the bishops only four had gone so far as to be counted in all the lists as voters for the King.‡ Wood of Lichfield appears to be with the four in one list, and doubtful in another. The compliancy of Sprat had been such as to place him perhaps unjustly in the like situation. Old Barlow of Lincoln was thought doubtful. The other aged prelate, Crofts of Hereford, though he deemed himself bound to obey the King as a bishop, claimed the exercise of his own judgment as a lord of Parliament. Sunderland, who is marked as a disabled Catholic in one of the lists, and as a doubtful voter in another, appears to have obtained the royal consent to a delay of his public profession of the Catholic religion, that he might retain his ability to serve it by his vote in Parliament.* Mulgrave was probably in the same predicament. If such a majority was to continue immovable, the counsels of the King must have become desperate, or he must have had recourse to open force: but this perseverance was improbable. Among the doubtful there might have been some who concealed a determined resolution under the exterior of silence or of hesitation. Such, though under a somewhat different disguise, was the Marquis of Winchester, who indulged and magnified the eccentricities of an extravagant character; counterfeited, or rather affected a disordered mind, as a security in dangerous times, like the elder Brutus in the legendary history of Rome; and travelling through England in the summer of 1687, with a retinue of four coaches and a hundred horsemen, slept during the day, gave splendid entertainments in the night, and by torch-light, or early dawn, pursued the sports of hunting and hawking.† But the majority of the doubtful must have been persons who assumed that character to enhance their price, or who lay in wait for the turns of fortune, or watched for the safe moment of somewhat anticipating her determination: of such men the powerful never despair. The example of a very few would be soon followed by the rest, and if they or many of them were gained, the accession of strength could not fail to affect the timid and mercenary who are to be found in all bodies, and whose long adherence to the Opposition was already wonderful.
But the subtile genius of Lord Sunderland, not content with ordinary means of seduction and with the natural progress of desertion, had long meditated an expedient for quickening the latter, and for supplying in some measure the place of both. He had long before communicated to the Nuncio a plan for subduing the obstinacy of the Upper House by the creation of the requisite number of new Peers‡ devoted to his Majesty’s measures. He proposed to call up by writ the elder sons of friendly Lords; which would increase his present strength, without the incumbrance of new peerages, whose future holders might be independent. Some of the Irish,§ and probably of the Scotch nobility, whose rank made their elevation to the English peerage specious, and whose fortunes disposed them to dependency on royal bounty, attracted his attention, as they did that of those ministers who carried his project into execution twenty-five years afterwards. He was so enamoured of this plan, that in a numerous company, where the resistance of the Upper House was said to be formidable, he cried out to Lord Churchill, “O silly! why, your troop of guards shall be called to the House of Lords!”* On another occasion (if it be not a different version of the same anecdote) he declared, that sooner than not gain a majority in the House of Lords, he would make all Lord Feversham’s troop Peers.† The power of the Crown was in this case unquestionable. The constitutional purpose for which the prerogative of creating Peers exists, is, indeed, either to reward public service, or to give dignity to important offices, or to add ability and knowledge to a part of the legislature, or to repair the injuries of time, by the addition of new wealth to an aristocracy which may have decayed. But no law limits its exercise.‡ By the bold exercise of the prerogative of creating Peers, and of the then equally undisputed right of granting to towns the privilege of sending members to Parliament, it is evident that the King possessed the fullest means of subverting the constitution by law. The obstacles to the establishment of despotism consisted in his own irresolution or unskilfulness, in the difficulty of finding a sufficient number of trustworthy agents, and in such a determined hostility of the body of the people as led sagacious observers to forbode an armed resistance.§ The firmness of the Lords has been ascribed to their fears of a resumption of the Church property confiscated at the Reformation: but at the distance of a century and a half, and after the dispersion of much of that property by successive sales, such fears were too groundless to have had a considerable influence. But though they ceased to be distinctly felt, and to act separately, it cannot be doubted that the remains of apprehensions once so strong, still contributed to fortify that dread of Popery, which was an hereditary point of honour among the great families aggrandized and enriched under the Tudors.
At the same time the edge of religious animosity among the people at large was sharpened by the controversy then revived between the divines of the two Churches. A dispute about the truth of their religion was insensibly blended with contests concerning the safety of the Establishment; and complete toleration brought with it that hatred which is often fiercer, and always more irreconcilable, against the opponents of our religious opinions than against the destroyers of our most important interests. The Protestant Establishment and the cause of liberty owed much, it must be owned, to this dangerous and odious auxiliary; while the fear, jealousy, and indignation of the people were more legitimately excited against a Roman Catholic Government by the barbarous persecution of the Protestants in France, and by the unprovoked invasion of the valleys of Piedmont;—both acts of a monarch of whom their own sovereign was then believed to be, as he is now known to have been, the creature.
The King had, in the preceding year, tried the efficacy of a progress through a part of the kingdom, to conciliate the nobility by personal intercourse, and to gratify the people by a royal visit to their remote abodes; which had also afforded an opportunity of rewarding compliance by smiles, and of marking the contumacious. With these views he had again this autumn meditated a journey to Scotland, and a coronation in that kingdom: but he confined himself to an excursion through some southern and western counties, beginning at Portsmouth, and proceeding through Bath (at which place the Queen remained during his journey) to Chester, where he had that important interview with Tyrconnel, of which we have already spoken. James was easily led to consider the courtesies of the nobility due to his station, and the acclamations of the multitude naturally excited by his presence, as symptoms of an inflexible attachment to his person, and of a general acquiescence in his designs. These appearances, however, were not considered as of serious importance, either by the Dutch minister, who dreaded the King’s popularity, or by the French ambassador, who desired its increase, or by the Papal Nuncio, who was so friendly to the ecclesiastical policy of the Court, and so adverse to its foreign connections as to render him in some measure an impartial observer. The journey was attended by no consequences more important than a few addresses extorted from Dissenters by the importunity of personal canvass, and the unseemly explosion of royal anger at Oxford against the fellows of Magdalen College.* Scarcely any of the King’s measures seem to have had less effect on general opinion, and appear less likely to have influenced the election for which he was preparing.
But the Royal Progress was speedily followed by an occurrence which strongly excited the hopes and fears of the public, and at length drove the opponents of the King to decisive resolutions. Soon after the return of the Court to Whitehall,* it began to be whispered that the Queen was pregnant. This event in the case of a young princess, and of a husband still in the vigour of life, might seem too natural to have excited surprise. But five years had elapsed since her last childbirth, and out of eleven children who were born to James by both his wives, only two had outlived the years of infancy. Of these, the Princess of Orange was childless, and the Princess Anne, who had had six children, lost five within the first year of their lives, while the survivor only reached the age of eleven. Such an apparent peculiarity of constitution, already transmitted from parent to child, seemed to the credulous passions of the majority, unacquainted as they were with the latitude and varieties of nature, to be a sufficient security against such an accession to the royal progeny as should disturb the order of succession to the crown. The rumour of the Queen’s condition suddenly dispelled this security. The Catholics had long and fervently prayed for the birth of a child, who being educated in their communion, might prolong the blessings which they were beginning to enjoy. As devotion, like other warm emotions, is apt to convert wishes into hopes, they betrayed a confidence in the efficacy of their prayers, which early excited suspicions among their opponents that less pure means might be employed for the attainment of the object. Though the whole importance of the pregnancy depended upon a contingency so utterly beyond the reach of human foresight as the sex of the child, the passions of both parties were too much excited to calculate probabilities; and the fears of the Protestants as well as the hopes of the Catholics anticipated the birth of a male heir. The animosity of the former imputed to the Roman Catholic religion, that unscrupulous use of any means for the attainment of an object earnestly desired, which might more justly be ascribed to inflamed zeal for any religious system, or with still greater reason to all those ardent passions of human nature, which, when shared by multitudes, are released from the restraints of fear or shame. In the latter end of November a rumour that the Queen had been pregnant for two months became generally prevalent;* and early in December, surmises of imposture began to circulate at Court.† Time did not produce its usual effect of removing uncertainty, for, in the middle of the same month, the Queen’s symptoms were represented by physicians as still ambiguous, in letters, which the careful balance of facts on both sides, and the cautious abstinence from a decisive opinion, seem to exempt from the suspicion of bad faith.‡ On the 23d of December, a general thanksgiving for the hope of increasing the royal family was ordered; but on the 15th of the next month, when that thanksgiving was observed in London, Lord Clarendon remarked with wonder, “that not above two or three in the church brought the form of prayer with them; and that it was strange to see how the Queen’s pregnancy was every where ridiculed, as if scarce any body believed it to be true.” The Nuncio early expressed his satisfaction at the pregnancy, as likely to contribute “to the re-establishment of the Catholic religion in these kingdoms,”§ and in the following month, he pronounced to her Majesty the solemn benediction of the Sovereign Pontiff, on a pregnancy so auspicious to the Church.∥ Of the other ministers most interested in this event, Barillon, a veteran diplomatist, too cool and experienced to be deluded by his wishes, informed his master, “that the pregnancy was not believed to be true in London; and that in the country, those who spread the intelligence were laughed at;”¶ while the Republican minister, Van Citters, coldly communicated the report, with some of the grounds of it, to the States-General, without hazarding an opinion on a matter so delicate. The Princess Anne, in confidential letters** to her sister at the Hague, when she had no motive to dissemble, signified her unbelief, which continued even after the birth of the child, and was neither subdued by her father’s solemn declarations, nor by the testimony which he produced.†† On the whole, the suspicion, though groundless and cruel, was too general to be dishonest: there is no evidence that the rumour originated in the contrivance of any individuals; and it is for that reason more just, as well as perhaps in itself more probable, to conclude that it arose spontaneously in the minds of many, influenced by the circumstances and prejudices of the time. The currency of the like rumours, on a similar occasion, five years before, favours the opinion that they arose from the obstinate prejudices of the people rather than from the invention of designing politicians.* The imprudent confidence of the Catholics materially contributed to strengthen suspicion. When the King and his friends ascribed the pregnancy to his own late prayers at St. Winifred’s well,† or to the vows while living, and intercession after death of the Duchess of Modena, the Protestants suspected that effectual measures would be taken to prevent the interposition of Heaven from being of no avail to the Catholic cause; and their jealous apprehensions were countenanced by the expectation of a son, which was indicated in the proclamation for thanksgiving,‡ and unreservedly avowed in private conversation. As straws shows the direction of the wind, the writings of the lowest scribblers may sometimes indicate the temper of a party; and one such writing, preserved by chance, may probably be a sample of the multitudes which have perished. Mrs. Behn, a loose and paltry poetastress of that age, was bold enough in the title page of what she calls “A Poem to their Majesties,” to add, “on the hopes of all loyal persons for a Prince of Wales,” and ventures in her miserable verses already to hail the child of unknown sex, as “Royal Boy.”§ The lampooners of the opposite party, in verses equally contemptible, showered down derision on the Romish imposture, and pointed the general abhorrence and alarm towards the new Perkin Warbeck whom the Jesuits were preparing to be the instrument of their designs.
While these hopes and fears agitated the multitude of both parties, the ultimate objects of the King became gradually more definite, while he at the same time deliberated, or perhaps, rather decided, about the choice of his means. His open policy assumed a more decisive tone: Castlemaine, who in his embassy had acted with the most ostentatious defiance of the laws, and Petre, the most obnoxious clergyman of the Church of Rome, were sworn of the Privy Council.* The latter was even promoted to an ecclesiastical office in the household of a prince, who still exercised all the powers of the supreme head of a Protestant Church. Corker, an English Benedictine, the superior of a monastery of that order in London, had an audience of the King in his ecclesiastical habits, as envoy from the Elector of Cologne,† doubtless by a secret understanding between James and that prince;—an act, which Louis XIV. himself condemned as unexampled in Catholic countries, and as likely to provoke heretics, whose prejudices ought not to be wantonly irritated.‡ As the animosity of the people towards the Catholic religion increased, the designs of James for its re-establishment became bolder and more open. The monastic orders, clad in garments long strange and now alarming to the people, filled the streets; and the King prematurely exulted that his capital had the appearance of a Catholic city,§ —little aware of the indignation with which that obnoxious appearance inspired the body of his Protestant subjects. He must now have felt that his contest had reached that point in which neither party would submit without a total defeat.
The language used or acquiesced in by him in the most confidential intercourse, does not leave his intention to be gathered by inference. For though the words, “to establish the Catholic religion,” may denote no more than to secure its free exercise, another expression is employed on this subject for a long time, and by different persons, in correspondence with him, which has no equivocal sense, and allows no such limitation. On the 12th of May, 1687, Barillon had assured him, that the most Christian King “had nothing so much at heart as to see the success of his exertions to re-establish the Catholic religion.” Far from limiting this important term, James adopted it in its full extent, answering, “You see that I omit nothing in my power;” and not content with thus accepting the congratulation in its utmost latitude, he continued, “I hope the King your master will aid me; and that we shall, in concert, do great things for religion.” In a few months afterwards, when imitating another part of the policy of Louis XIV., he had established a fund for rewarding converts to his religion, he solicited pecuniary aid from the Pope for that very ambiguous purpose. The Nuncio, in answer, declared the sorrow of his Holiness, at being disabled by the impoverished state of his treasury from contributing money, notwithstanding “his paternal zeal for the promoting, in every way, the re-establishment of the Catholic religion in these kingdoms;”∥ as he had shortly before expressed his hope, that the Queen’s pregnancy would insure “the re-establishment of the true religion in these kingdoms.”* Another term in familiar use at Court for the final object of the royal pursuit was “the great work,”—a phrase borrowed from the supposed transmutation of metals by the alchemists, which naturally signified a total change, and which never could have been applied to mere toleration by those who were in system, if not in practice, the most intolerant of an intolerant age. The King told the Nuncio, that Holland was the main obstacle to the establishment of the Catholic religion in these kingdoms; and D’Abbeville declared, that without humbling the pride of that republic, there could be no hope of the success “of the great work.”† Two years afterwards, James, after reviewing his whole policy and its consequences, deliberately and decisively avows the extent of his own designs:—“Our subjects opposed our government, from the fear that we should introduce the orthodox faith, which we were, indeed, labouring to accomplish when the storm began, and which we have done in our kingdom of Ireland.”‡ Mary of Este, during the absence of her husband in Ireland, exhorts the Papal minister, “to earn the glorious title of restorer of the faith in the British kingdoms,” and declares, that she “hopes much from his administration for the re-establishment both of religion and the royal family.”§ Finally, the term “re-establish,” which can refer to no time subsequent to the accession of Elizabeth, had so much become the appropriate term, that Louis XIV., assured the Pope of his determination to aid “the King of England, and to re-establish the Catholic religion in that island.”∥
None of the most discerning friends or opponents of the King seem at this time to have doubted that he meditated no less than to transfer to his own religion the privileges of an Established Church. Gourville, one of the most sagacious men of his age, being asked by the Duchess of Tyrconnel, when about to make a journey to London, what she should say to the King if he inquired about the opinion of his old friend Gourville, of his measures for the “re-establishment” of the Catholic religion in England, begged her to answer,—“If I were Pope, I should have excommunicated him for exposing all the English Catholics to the risk of being hanged. I have no doubt, that what he sees done in France is his model; but the circumstances are very different. In my opinion, he ought to be content with favouring the Catholics on every occasion, in order to augment their number, and he should leave to his successors the care of gradually subjecting England altogether to the authority of the Pope.”* Bossuet, the most learned, vigorous, and eloquent of controversialists, ventured at this critical time to foretel, that the pious efforts of James would speedily be rewarded by the reconciliation of the British islands to the Universal Church, and their filial submission to the Apostolic See.†
If Gourville considered James an injudicious imitator of Louis XIV., it is easy to imagine what was thought on the subject in England, at a time when one of the mildest, not to say most courtly, writers, in the quietness and familiarity of his private diary, speaks of “the persecution raging in France,” and so far forgets his own temper, and the style suitable to such writings, as to call Louis “the French tyrant.”‡ Lord Halifax, Lord Nottingham, and Lord Danby, the three most important opponents of the King’s measures, disagreeing as they did very considerably in opinion and character, evidently agreed in their apprehension of the extent of his designs.§ They advert to them as too familiar to themselves and their correspondent to require proof, or even development; they speak of them as being far more extensive than the purposes avowed; and they apply terms to them which might be reasonable in the present times, when many are willing to grant and to be contented with religious liberty, but which are entirely foreign to the conceptions of an age when toleration (a term then synonomous with connivance) was the ultimate object of no great party in religion, but was sometimes sought by Dissenters as a step towards establishment, and sometimes yielded by the followers of an Established Church under the pressure of a stern necessity. Some even of those who, having been gained over by the King, were most interested in maintaining his sincerity, were compelled at length to yield to the general conviction. Colonel Titus, a veteran politician, who had been persuaded to concur in the repeal of the penal laws (a measure agreeable to his general principles), declared “that he would have no more to do with him; that his object was only the repeal of the penal laws; that his design was to bring in his religion right or wrong,—to model the army in order to effect that purpose; and, if that was not sufficient, to obtain assistance from France.”∥
The converts to the religious or political party of the King were few and discreditable, Lord Lorn, whose predecessors and successors were the firmest supporters of the religion and liberty of his country, is said to have been reduced by the confiscation of his patrimony to the sad necessity of professing a religion which he must have regarded with feelings more hostile than those of mere unbelief.* Lord Salisbury, whose father had been engaged with Russell and Sydney in the consultation called the “Ryehouse Plot,” and whose grandfather had sat in the House of Commons after the abolition of the monarchy and the peerage, embraced the Catholic religion, and adhered to it during his life. The offices of Attorney and Solicitor-general, which acquire a fatal importance in this country under Governments hostile to liberty, were newly filled. Sawyer, who had been engaged in the worst prosecutions of the preceding ten years, began to tremble for his wealth, and retired from a post of dishonourable danger. He was succeeded by Sir Thomas Powis, a lawyer of no known opinions or connections in politics, who acted on the unprincipled maxim, that, having had too little concern for his country to show any preference for public men or measures, he might as lawfully accept office under any Government, as undertake the defence of any client. Sir William Williams, the confidential adviser of Lord Russell, on whom a fine of 10,000l. had been inflicted, for having authorised, as Speaker of the House of Commons, a publication, though solemnly pledged both to men and measures in the face of the public, now accepted the office of Solicitor-general, without the sorry excuse of any of those maxims of professional ethics by which a powerful body countenance each other in their disregard of public duty. A project was also in agitation for depriving the Bishop of London by a sentence of the Ecclesiastical Commissioners for perseverance in his contumacy;† but Cartwright, of Chester, his intended successor, having, in one of his drunken moments, declared the Chancellor and Lord Sunderland to be scoundrels who would betray the King (which he first denied by his sacred order, but was at last reduced to beg pardon for in tears‡ ), the plan of raising him to the see was abandoned. Crew, Bishop of Durham, was expected to become a Catholic, and Parker of Oxford,—the only prelate whose talents and learning, seconded by a disregard of danger and disgrace, qualified him for breaking the spirit of the clergy of the capital,—though he had supported the Catholic party during his life, refused to conform to their religion on his death-bed;§ leaving it doubtful, by his habitual alienation from religion and honour, to the lingering remains or the faint revival of which of these principles the unwonted delicacy of his dying moments may be most probably ascribed.
[* ] 13 Eliz. c. 2.—35 Eliz. c. 1.
[† ] D’Adda, 11th July.—MS. London Gazette, 4th to 7th July.
[‡ ] Van Citters, 15th July.—MS.
[§ ] Perhaps saying, or meaning to say, “in this respect.”
[* ] D’Adda, 16th July.—MS.
[† ] Van Citters, 22d July.—MS.
[‡ ] D’Adda, suprà.
[§ ] Barillon, 21st July.—Fox MSS.
[∥ ] D’Adda, 7th—14th Nov.—MS.
[¶ ] According to the previous instructions of the States General, and the practice of their ministers at the Congresses of Munster and Nimeguen.
[** ] Narcissus Luttrell, Nov. 1687.—MS.
[* ] Van Citters, 24th Nov.—MS.
[† ] Catharine Shorter, the daughter and heiress of this Presbyterian mayor, became, long after, the wife of Sir Robert Walpole.
[‡ ] Van Citters, 7th June, 1686.—MS.
[§ ] It is well known that Dr. Samuel Johnson was, when a child, touched for the scrofula by Queen Anne. The princes of the House of Brunswick relinquished the practice. Carte, the historian, was so blinded by his zeal for the House of Stuart as to assure the public that one Lovel, a native of Bristol, who had gone to Avignon to be touched by the son of James II. in 1716, was really cured by that prince. A small piece of gold was tied round the patient’s neck, which explains the number of applications. The gold sometimes amounted to 3000l. a year. Louis XIV. touched sixteen hundred patients on Easter Sunday, 1686.—See Barrington’s Observations on Ancient Statutes, pp. 108, 109. Lovel relapsed after Carte had seen him.—General Biographical Dictionary, article “Carte.”
[* ] Van Citters, 13th June.—MS.
[† ] Barillon, 12th June.—Fox MSS.
[‡ ] D’Adda, 7th—22d August.—MS.
[§ ] The exact coincidence, in this respect, of Sunderland’s public defence, nearly two years afterwards, with the Nuncio’s secret despatches of the moment, is worthy of consideration:—
“I hindered the dissolution several weeks, by telling the King that the Parliament would do every thing he could desire but the taking off the tests; that another Parliament would probably not repeal these laws: and, if they did, would do nothing else for the support of government. I said often if the King of Spain died, his Majesty could not preserve the peace of Europe; that he might be sure of all the help and service he could wish from the present Parliament, but if he dissolved it be must give up all thoughts of foreign affairs, for no other would ever assist him but on such terms as would ruin the monarchy.”—Lord Sunderland’s Letter, licensed 23d March, 1689.
“Dall’ altra parte si poteva promettere S. M. del medesimo parlamento ogni assistenza maggiore de denaro, si S. M. fosse obligato di entrare in una guerra straniera, ponderando il caso possibile della morte del Re di Spagna senza successione Questi e simili vantaggi non doverse attendere d’un nuovo parlamento composto di Nonconformisti nutrendo, per li principi, sentimenti totalmente contraril alla monarchia.“D’Adda.”
[* ] D’Adda, 10th Oct. 1686.—7th Feb. 1687.—MS.
[† ] Id. 24th Jan.—MS.
[‡ ] Van Citters, 24th Jan.—MS.
[§ ] Lords’ Journals, 20th Dec. 1689.
[∥ ] Of these, those of the College of Physicians and the town of Bombay, are mentioned by Narcissus Luttrell.
[* ] Reign of James II. p. 21.—Parliamentum Pacificum, (London, 1688,) p. 29. The latter pamphlet boasts of these provisions. The Protestant Tories, says the writer, cannot question a power by which many of themselves were brought into the House.
[† ] Lords’ Journals, suprà.
[‡ ] Barillon, 8th Sept.—MS.
[§ ] Dated 21st July.—State Paper Office.
[∥ ] Lord Sunderland’s Letters, Sept.—Ibid.
[* ] Dated 5th Oct.—State Paper Office. Van Citters’ account exactly corresponds with the original document.
[† ] Barillon, 8th Dec.—MS. “Il alloit faire cette tentative pour avoir un prétexte de les changer.”
[‡ ] Id. 18th Dec.
[§ ] Id. 15th Dec.
[* ] Barillon, 30th August.—Fox MSS.
[† ] The names are marked in a handwriting apparently contemporary, on the margin of the list, in a copy of the London Gazette now before me. Van Citters (14th Nov.) makes the sheriffs almost all either Roman Catholics or Dissenters,—probably an exaggeration. In his despatch of 16th Dec., he states the sheriffs to be thirteen Catholics, thirteen Dissenters, and thirteen submissive Churchmen.
[‡ ] D’Adda, 12th Dec.—MS.
[* ] Of the 11th Dec.
[† ] Chamberlayne, Present State of England, London, 1674.)
[* ] Pension Parliament.
[† ] 1826.—Ed.
[* ] By Sir William Petty’s computation, which was the largest, the number of Catholics in England and Wales, about the accession of James, was thirty-two thousand. The survey of bishops in 1676, by order of Charles II., made it twenty-seven thousand. Barlow (Bishop of Lincoln,) Genuine Remains, (London, 1693,) p. 312. “George Fox,” said Petty, “made five times more Quakers in forty-four years than the Pope, with all his greatness, has made Papists.”
[† ] Barlow, suprà.—About two hundred and fifty thousand, when the population was little more than four millions.
[* ] D’Adda, 7th August.—MS.
[* ] Johnstone, 13th Jan. 1688.—MS.
[† ] “Good Advice.” “Parliamentum Pacificum.”
[‡ ] The reports sent to Holland were communicated to me by the Duke of Portland. One of them purports to be drawn by Lord Willoughby. That sent by Barillon is from the Depôt des Affaires Etrangères at Paris.
[* ] Coxe, Memoirs, &c. vol. i. pp. 23—29, where the authorities are collected, to which may be added the testimony of Johnstone:—“Lord Churchill swears he will not do what the King requires from him.”—Letter 12th Jan. 1688.—MS.
[† ] Johnstone, however, who knew them, did not ascribe their conduct to frailties so generous: “Lord Feversham and Lord Dartmouth are desirous of acting honourably: but the first is mean-spirited; and the second has an empty purse, yet aims at living grandly. Lord Preston desires to be an honest man; but if he were not your friend and my relation, I should say that he is both Feversham and Dartmouth.”—Ibid.
[‡ ] Durham (Crew), Oxford (Parker), Chester (Cartwright), and St. David’s (Watson).
[* ] “Ministers and others about the King, who have given him grounds to expect that they will turn Papists, say, that if they change before the Parliament they cannot be useful to H. M. in Parliament, as the Test will exclude them.”—Johnstone, 8th Dec. 1687.—MS.
[† ] Reresby, p. 247.
[‡ ] D’Adda, 11th October, 1686.—MS.
[§ ] Johnstone, 27th Feb. 1688.—MS.
[* ] Burnet, (Oxford, 1823), vol. iii. p. 249; Lord Dartmouth’s note.
[† ] Halifax MSS. The turn of expression would seem to indicate different conversations. At all events, Halifax affords a strong corroboration.
[‡ ] It is, perhaps, not easy to devise such a limitation, unless it should be provided that no newly created Peer should vote till a certain period after his creation; which, in cases of signal service, would be ungracious, and in those of official dignity inconvenient.
[§ ] On suivra ici le projet d’avoir un parliament tant qu’il ne paroitra pas impraticable; mais s’il ne réussit pas, le Roi d’Angleterre pretendra faire par son autorité ce qu’il n’aura pas obtenu par la voie d’un parliament. C’est en ce cas là qu’il aura besoin de ses amis au dedans et au dehors, et il recevra alors des oppositions qui approcheront fort d’une rebellion ouverte. On ne doit pas douter qu’elle ne soit soutenue par M. le Prince d’Orange, et que beaucoup de gens qui paroissent attachés au Roi d’Angleterre ne lui manquent au besoin; cette épreuve sera fort perilleuse.”—Barillon, Windsor, 9th October, 1687.—MS.
[* ] “The King has returned from his progress so far as Oxford, on his way to the Bath, and we do not hear that his observations or his journey can give him any great encouragement. Besides the considerations of conscience and the public interest, it is grown into a point of honour universally received by the nation not to change their opinions, which will make all attempts to the contrary ineffectual.”—Halifax to the Prince of Orange, 1st Sept. Dalrymple, app. to book v.
[* ] James rejoined the Queen at Bath on the 6th September. On the 16th he returned to Windsor, where the Queen came on the 6th October. On the 11th of that month they went to Whitehall.—London Gazettes.
[* ] Narcissus Luttrell, 28th Nov.—MS.
[† ] Johnstone, 8th Dec.—MS.
[‡ ] Johnstone, 16th Dec.—MS.,—containing a statement of the symptoms by Sir Charles Scarborough, and another physician whose name I have been unable to decipher.
[§ ] D’Adda, 2d Dec.—MS.
[∥ ] Id. 20th Feb. 1688.—MS.
[¶ ] Barillon, 11th Dec.—MS.
[** ] March 14th—20th, 1688.—Dalrymple, app. to book v. “Her being so positive it will be a son, and the principles of that religion being such that they will stick at nothing, be it ever so wicked, if it will promote their interest, gave some cause to fear that there is foul play intended.” On the 18th June, she says, “Except they give very plain demonstration, which seems almost impossible now, I shall ever be of the number of unbelievers.” Even the candid and loyal Evelyn Diary, 10th and 17th of June) very intelligibly intimates his suspicions.
[†† ] Clarendon, Diary, 31st Oct.
[* ] “If it had pleased God to have given his Highness the blessing of a son, as it proved a daughter, you were prepared to make a Perkin of him.”—L’Estrange, Observator, 23d August, 1682.
[† ] Life of James II., vol. ii. p. 129.
[‡ ] The object of the thanksgiving was indicated more plainly in the Catholic form of prayer on that occasion:—“Concede propitius ut famula tua regina nostra Maria partu felici prolem edat tibi fideliter servituram.”
[§ ] State Poems, vol. iii. and iv.; a collection a once the most indecent and unpoetical probably extant in any language.
[* ] London Gazette, 25th Sept. and 11th Nov. 1687; in the last Petre is styled “Clerk of the Closet.”
[† ] Narcissus Luttrell, Jan. 1688.—MS.
[‡ ] The King to Barillon, 26th Feb.—MS.
[§ ] D’Adda, 9th March.—MS.
[∥ ] Ibid. 2d Jan. 1688.—MS.
[* ] D’Adda, 2d Dec. 1687.—MS.
[† ] Ibid. 22d August, 1687.—MS.
[‡ ] James II. to Cardinal Ottoboni. Dublin, 15th Feb. 1690.—Papal MSS.
[§ ] Mary to Ottoboni, St. Germains, 4th—15th Dec. 1689.—Papal MSS.
[∥ ] Louis to the Pope, 17th Feb. 1689—MS.
[* ] Mémoires de Gourville, vol. ii. p. 254.
[† ] Histoire des Variations des Eglises Protestants, liv. vii.
[‡ ] Evelyn, vol. i. Diary, 3d Sept. 1687.—23d Feb. 1688.
[§ ] Lord Halifax to the Prince of Orange, 7th Dec. 1686—18th Jan.—31st May, 1687. “Though there appears the utmost vigour to pursue the object which has been so long laid, there seemeth to be no less firmness in the nation and aversion to change.”—“Every day will give more light to what is intended; though it is already no more a mystery.”—Lord Nottingham to the Prince, 2d Sept. 1687. “For though the end at which they aim is very plain and visible, the methods of arriving at that end have been variable and uncertain.”—Dalrymple, app. to book v.
[∥ ] Johnstone 16th Feb.—MS.
[* ] Narcissus Luttrell, 1st April.—MS.:—“arrested for 3000l. declares himself a Catholic.”
[† ] Johnstone, 8th Dec. 1687.—MS.
[‡ ] Johnstone, 27th Feb.—MS. Narcissus Luttrell. 11th Feb.—MS.
[§ ] Evelyn, vol. i. Diary, 23d March.