Edward Hyde Clarendon.

The life of Edward, earl of Clarendon, in which is included a continuation of his History of the grand rebellion (Volume 3) online

. (page 9 of 39)
Online LibraryEdward Hyde ClarendonThe life of Edward, earl of Clarendon, in which is included a continuation of his History of the grand rebellion (Volume 3) → online text (page 9 of 39)
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" give any countenance, or to pay more than or-
" dinary, cursory, and unavoidable civilities, to per-
" sons infamous for any vice, for which by the laws
" of God and man they ought to be odious, and to
" be exposed to the judgment of the church and
" state. And that he would not for his own sake
" and for his own dignity, to how low a condition
" soever he might be reduced, stoop to such a con-
" descension as to have the least commerce, or to
" make the application of a visit, to any such person,
" for any benefit or advantage that it might bring
" to him. He did beseech his majesty not to be-
** lieve, that he hath a prerogative to declare vice
** virtue ; or to qualify any person who lives in a sin
" and avows it, against which God himself hath pro-
" nounced damnation, for the company and conver-
" sation of innocent and worthy persons. And that
" whatever low obedience, which was in truth gross
" flattery, some people might pay to what they Ix?-
" lieved would be grateful to his majesty, they had
'* in their hearts a perfect detestation of the persons
" they made address to : and that for his part he


" was long resolved that his wife should not be one I6GG.
" of those courtiers ; and that he would himself
" much less like her company, if she put herself
" into theirs who had not the same innocence."

The king was not the more pleased for the de-
fence he made, and did not dissemble his dislike of
it, without any other sharpness, than by telling him
" that he was in the wrong, and had an understand-
" ing different from all other men who had ex-
" perience in the world." And it is most certain, it
was an avowed doctrine, and with great address
daily insinuated to the king, "that princes had
" many liberties which private persons have not ;
" and that a lady of honour who dedicates herself
" only to please a king, and continues faithful to
" him, ought not to be branded with any name or
" mark of infamy, but hath been always looked
" upon by all persons well-bred as worthy of re-
" spect :" and to this purpose the history of all the
amours of his grandfather were carefully presented
to him, and with what indignation he suffered
any disrespect towards any of his mistresses.

But of all these artifices the chancellor had no ap-
prehension, out of the confidence he had in the in-
tegrity of the king's nature ; and that though he
might be swayed to sacrifice his present affections
to his appetite, he could never be prevailed upon to
entertain a real suspicion of his very passionate
affection and duty to his person. That which
gave him most trouble, and many times made
him wish himself in any private condition sepa-
rated from the court, was that unfixedness and irre-
solution of judgment that was natural to all his fa-
mily of the male line, which often exposed them

I 2


I G66. all to the importunities of bold, and to the snares nf
~" crafty, men.

One day the king and the duke came to the chan-
cellor together ; and the king told him with a very
visible trouble in his countenance, " that they were
" come to confer and advise with him upon an affair
" of importance, which exceedingly disquieted them
one Tai- both. That Dick Talbot" (which was the fami-

bot, an , . _. . t _ _

irishman, liar appellation, according to the ill custom of the
JsaLlnate court, that most men gave him) " had a resolution
the duke of to assass i na te the duke of Ormond. That he had

Or mono.

" sworn in the presence of two or three persons
" of honour, that he would do it in the revenge of
" some injuries which, he pretended, he had done
" his family : that he had much rather fight with
" him, which he knew the duke would be willing
" enough to do ; but that he should never be able
" to bring to pass ; and therefore he would take his
" revenge in any way that should offer itself. And
" every body knew that the man had courage and
" wickedness enough to attempt any thing like it.
" That the duke of Ormond knew well enough that
" the fellow threatened it, and was like enough to
" act it ; but that he thought it below him to appre-
" bend it ; and that his majesty came to the notice
" of it by the earl of Clancarty, to whom sir Rotert
" Talbot, the elder brother of the other, told it, to
" the end that the earl might give the duke notice
" of it, and find some way to prevent it ; and the
" earl had that day informed the king of it, as the
" best way he could think of to prevent it." His ma-
jesty said, " there remained no doubt to l)e made of
" the truth of it ; for there were two or three more
" of unquestionable credit who had heard him use


" the same expressions: and that* he had first spoken 1666.
" with his brother, whose servant he was, whom he ~~
" found equally incensed as himself; and that they
" came immediately together to consult with him
" what was to be done."

The chancellor knew all the brothers well, and A " accou

of this

was believed to have too much prejudice to them man's fa.
all. They were all of an Irish family, but of an- with the

cient English extraction, which had always inhabit-
ed within that circle that was called the Pale ; brothers -
which, being originally an English plantation, was
in so many hundred years for the most part degene-
rated into the manners of the Irish, and rose and
mingled with them in the late rebellion : and of this
family there were two distinct families, who had
competent estates, and lived in many descents in the
rank of gentlemen of quality ; and those brothers
were all the sons, or the grandsons, of one who was
a judge in Ireland, and esteemed a learned man.
The eldest was sir Robert Talbot, who was by much Sir Robcrt

* Talbot, the

the best ; that is, the .rest were much worse men : a eldest.
man, whom the duke of Ormond most esteemed of
those who had been in rebellion, as one who had less
malice than most of the rest, and had recommended
to the king as a person fit for his favour. But be-
cause he did not ask all on his behalf, which he
must have done for a man entirely innocent, this re-
fusal was looked upon as the highest disobligation.

The second brother was a Jesuit, who had been peter, the
very troublesome to the king abroad, and had be-
haved himself in so insolent a manner, that his ma-
jesty had forbidden him his court ; after which he
went into England, and applied himself to the ruling
power there, and was by that sent into Spain, at

i 3

1666. the time when the treaty was at Fuentarabia be-

tween the two crowns, to procure that England
might be included in that peace, and the king ex-
cluded, and not to be suffered to remain in Flanders.
Of all which his majesty having advertisement, sent
positive orders to sir Harry Bennet his resident then
in Madrid to complain of him, and to desire don
Lewis de Haro, that he might receive no counte-
nance in that court. But the Jesuit had better and
more powerful recommendation ; and was not only
welcome there, but (which was very strange, consi-
dering his talent of understanding) in a short time
got so much interest in the resident, that he re-
ceived him into all kind of familiarity and trust, and
undertook to reconcile the king to him, and was as
good as his word : and from the time of his majesty's
return, or rather from the return of sir Harry, Ben-
net, he was as much and as busy in the court as if
he were a domestic servant. And after the queen
came to Whitehall, he was admitted one of her al-
moners; and walked with the same or more freedom
in the king's house (and in clergy habit) than any of
his majesty's chaplains did; who did not presume
to be seen in the galleries and other reserved
rooms, where he was conversant with the same con-
fidence as if he were of the bedchamber.
Gilbert, The third brother was Gilbert, who was called 1
called Co. Colonel Talbot from some command he had with
the rebels against the king. And he had likewise
been with the king in Flanders, that is, had lived in
Antwerp and Brussels whilst the king was there ;
and being a half-witted fellow did not meddle with

' called] Not in JMS.


any thing nor angered any body, but found a way J666.
to get good clothes and to play, and was looked upon ~
as a man of courage, having fought a duel or two
with stout men.

The fourth brother was a Franciscan friar, of wit Thomas,

the fourth,

enough, but of so notorious debauchery, that he was a Francis-
frequently under severe discipline by the superiors
of his order for his scandalous life, which made him
hate his habit, and take all opportunities to make
journeys into England and Ireland : but not being
able to live there, he was forced to return and put
on his abhorred habit, which he always called his
" fool's coat," and came seldom into those places
where he was known, and so wandered into Ger-
many and Flanders, and took all opportunities to be
in the places where the king was ; and so he came
to Cologne and Brussels and Bruges, and being a
merry fellow, was-the more made of for laughing at
and contemning his brother the Jesuit, who had not
so good natural parts, though by his education he
had more sobriety, and lived without scandal in his
manners. He went by the name of Tom Talbot,
and after the king's return was in London in his
man's clothes, (as he called them,) with the natural
license of an Irish friar, (which are a people, for the
most part, of the whole creation the most sottish
and the most brutal,) and against his obedience,
and all orders of his superiors, who interdicted him
to say mass.

The fifth brother was this Dick Talbot, who gave Richard,
the king and the duke the trouble mentioned before, the person
He was brought into Flanders first by Daniel concernetl '
O'Neile, as one who was willing to assassinate
Cromwell ; and he made a journey into England

I 4


1 666. with that resolution not long before his death, and
"after it returned into Flanders ready to do all that
he should be required. He was a very handsome
young man, wore good clothes, and was m without
doubt of a clear, ready courage, which was virtue
enough to recommend a man to the duke's good
opinion ; which, with more expedition than could be
expected, he got to that degree, that he was made
of his bedchamber; and, from that qualification.
embarked himself after the king's return in the pre-
tences of the Irish, with such an unusual confi-
dence, and upon private contracts with very scan-
dalous circumstances, that the chancellor had some-
times at the council-table been obliged to give him
severe reprehensions, and often desired the duke to
withdraw his countenance from him. He had like-
wise declared very loudly against the Jesuit, and,
though he had made many addresses unto him by
letters and by some friends who had credit with
him, would never, from the time of the king's re-
turn, be persuaded to speak with him, and had once
prevailed with the king so far, that he was forbid to
come to the court ; but he had a friend, who after
some time got that restraint off again. The chan-
cellor had likewise observed the friar to be too fre-
quently in the galleries, and sometimes drunk there,
and caused him to be forbid to come into the court :
and the eldest brother, towards whom he had rather
kindness than prejudice, finding many obstructions
in his pretences, was persuaded to think him not his
friend. And so he got the reproach of being an
enemy to the whole family.

m was] Not in MS.


This consideration did really affect the chancellor, 1 666.
so that he appeared more reserved and more wary"
in this particular proposed by the king and by the
duke, than he used to be. He said, " that in many
" respects he was not so fit to advise in this parti-
" cular as other men were. Though this man's be-
" haviour was so scandalous that it deserved exem-
" plary punishment, yet he did not conceive any pre-
" sent danger from it : that he would deny it and
" repent it, and give any other satisfaction that
" would be required or assigned ; and then his ma-
" jesty and the duke would be prevailed with to
" take off their displeasure. And therefore it would
" be better n not to make such a matter public,
" which, considering the person and the circum-
" stances, would make a deep impression upon the
" minds of all wise men ; than, after the world takes
" notice of it, to pass it over with a light and ordi-
" nary punishment." The king interrupted him as
he was going on, and told him, " there was no dan-
" ger of that, and that he would deal freely with
" him. That as the offence was in itself unpar-
" donable, so he and his brother were resolved to take
" this opportunity and occasion to free themselves
" from the importunity of the whole family : that
" all the brothers were naughty fellows, and had no
" good meaning." And thereupon his majesty en-
larged with much sharpness upon the Jesuit and
friar, with charges upon both very weighty and un-
answerable ; and the duke upon this man who was
the subject of the debate : and both concluded,
" that they should be in great ease by the absence

" it would be better] Omitted in MS.


1 666. " of all of them, which should be enjoined as soon
~ " as a resolution should be taken in this particular."
The chancellor knew that there was somewhat
else, which was not so fit to be mentioned, that had
offended them both as much ; and thought he had
reason to believe that they would be both resolute
in the punishment, and that they had deliberated it
too long to depart from the prosecution. He there-
fore advised, " that the gentleman should be pre-
" sently apprehended and examined upon the words,
" which some witness should be ready to affirm :
" and that thereupon he should be sent to the Tower,
" and the next day that his majesty should inform
" the privy-council of the whole, which without
" question would give direction to his attorney ge-
" neral to prosecute this foul misdemeanour in such
" a manner, that should put this gentleman in such
" a condition, that he should not trouble the court
" with his attendance; and other men should by
" his example find, that their tongues are not their
" own, to be employed according to their own mali-
" cious pleasures."

He is sent The person was the same night sent to the Tower ;

Tcwer by an ^ both the king and the duke declared themselves,
r^'ad * n * ne P resence ^ their servants and many others,
to be as highly offended, and as positively resolved
to take as much vengeance upon the impudent pre-
sumption of the offender as the rigour of the law
would inflict, as ever they had done upon any oc-
currence and accident in their lives : and if they
had had persons enough about them, who out of a
just sense of their honour would have confirmed

ever] if


them in the judgment they were of, it would have 1 666.
been in nobody's power to have shaken them. But"
as from the first day of his commitment, the ser-
vants near the person both of the king and duke
presumed, against all ancient order, (which made it
a crime in any to perform those civilities to persons
declared to be under his majesty's displeasure,) to
visit Mr. Talbot, and to censure those who had ad-
vised his commitment; SOP after some few days,
when they thought the duke's passion in some de-
gree abated, the lord Berkley confidently told the
duke, " that he suffered much in the opirtion of the
" world, in permitting a servant of so near relation <i
" to be committed to prison for a few hasty and
" unadvised words to which he had been provoked ;
" and that it was well enough known that it was
" by the contrivement and advice of the chancellor,
" who was taken notice of to be an enemy to that
" whole family, nor any great friend to any of his
" highness's servants ; and if he had that credit to
" remove any of them from his person, there would
" in a short time be few of them found in his
" court."

This was seconded by all the standers by ; and
though it did not suddenly work its effect, yet the
continual pressing it by degrees weakened the reso-
lution : and the same offices being with equal im-
portunity performed towards the king, and with the
more zeal after it was published that the whole was
done by the chancellor's procurement ; both his ma-
jesty and his highness grew weary of their severity,
and, upon conference together, resolved to interpose

v so] and 'i relation] relation to his person


with the duke for his remission, who disdained to
~ make himself a prosecutor in such a transgression.
ut won And so the prisoner returned to Whitehall, with the

released by .

the artifice advantage which men who have been unjustly im-
usually receive : and all men thought he

enemies, triumphed over the chancellor, who, how uncon-
cerned soever, knew every day the less how to be-
have himself. And this unhappy constitution grew
so notorious, (for there were too many instances of
it,) that all men grew less resolute in matters which
concerned the king and drew the displeasure of
others upon them, which was like to prove unpro-
fitable to them.

The pariia- According to their last prorogation the parliament

nient meets. . . <-,

convened again upon the one and twentieth of Sep-
The king's tember ; when the king told them, " that he was
" very glad to meet so many of them together again,
" and thanked God for their meeting together again
" in that place." He said, " little time had passed
" since they were almost in despair of having that
" place left to meet in. They saw the dismal ruins
" the fire had made ; and nothing but a miracle of
" God's mercy could have preserved what was left
" from the same destruction."

His majesty told them, " he need make no ex-
" cuse to them for having dispensed with their at-
" tendance in April ; he was confident they all
" thanked him for it : the truth is, he desired to
" put them to as little trouble as he could ; and he
" could tell them truly, he desired to put them to
" as little cost as was possible. He wished with all
" his heart that he could bear the whole charge of
'* the war himself, and that his subjects should reap
" the whole benefit of it to themselves. But he had


" two great and powerful enemies, who used all the ifififi.
" ways they could, fair and foul, to make all the
" world to concur with them ; and the war was
" more chargeable by that conjunction, than any
" body thought it would have been. He needed
" not tell them the success of the summer, in which
" God had given them great success ; and no ques-
" tion the enemy had undergone great losses ; and
" if it had pleased God to have withheld his late
" judgment by fire, he had been in no ill condition."
His majesty confessed, " that they had given him
" very large supplies for the carrying on the war :
" and yet," he told them, " that if he had not, by
" anticipating his own revenue, raised a very great
" sum of money, he had not been able to have set out
" the fleet the last spring ; and he had some hope
" upon the same credit to be able to pay off the great
" ships as they should come in. They would con-
" sider what was to be, done next, when they were
" well informed of the expense : and he would leave
" it to their wisdoms, to find out the best expedients
" for the carrying on the war with as little burden
" to the people as was possible." He said, " he
" would add no more than to put them in mind,
" that their enemies were very insolent ; and if
" they were able the last year to persuade their mi-
" serable people whom they misled, that the con-
" tagion had so wasted the nation, and impoverished
" the king, that he would not be able to set out
" any fleet ; how would they be exalted with this
" last impoverishment of the city, and contemn all
" reasonable conditions of peace ? And therefore
" he could not doubt but that they would provide
" accordingly."


1GGG. Indeed the king did not till now understand the
' damage he had sustained by the plague, much less
what he must sustain by r the fire. Monies could
neither be collected nor borrowed where the plague
had prevailed, which was over all the city and over
a great part of the country ; the collectors durst not
go to require it or receive it. Yet the fountains
remained yet clear, and the waters would run again :
but this late conflagration had dried up or so stopped
the very fountains, that there was no prospect when
they would flow again. The two great branches of
the revenue, the customs and excise, which was the
great and almost inexhaustible security to borrow
money upon, were now bankrupt, and would neither
bring in money nor supply credit : all the measures
by which -computations had been made were so
broken, that they could not be brought to meet
again. By a medium of the constant receipts it had
been depended upon, that what had been borrowed
upon that fund would by this time have been fully sa-
tisfied with all the interest, whereby the money would
have been replaced in the hands to which it was due,
which would have been glad to have laid it out again ;
and the security would have 8 remained still in vigour
to be applied to any other urgent occasions : but now
the plague had routed all those receipts, especially
in London, where the great conduits of those re-
ceipts still ran. The plague and the war had so
totally broken and distracted those receipts, that the
farmers of either had not received enough to dis-
charge the constant burden of the officers, and were
so far from paying any part of the principal that
was secured upon it, that it left the interest unpaid
r by] from * would have] Not in MS.


to swell the principal. And now this deluge by fire
had dissipated the persons, and destroyed the houses, ~
which were liable to the reimbursement of all ar-
rears ; and the very stocks were consumed which
should carry on and revive the trade. And the third
next considerable branch of the revenue, the chim-
ney-money, was determined; and the city must be
rebuilt before any body could be required to pay for
his chimneys.

This was the true state of the crown, if all other
inconveniences and casual expenses had been away,
and all application to things serious had been made
by all persons concerned. And this woful prospect
was in view when the parliament met again ; which
came not together with the better countenance by
seeing all hopes abroad with so sad an aspect, and
all things at home (that troubled them much more)
appear so desperate in many respects. Yet within
few days after the king had spoken to them, the
house of commons being most filled with the king's
servants, the gentlemen of the country being not
yet come, there was a faint vote procured, " that
" they would give a supply to the king proportion -
" able to his wants," without mentioning any sum,
or which way it should be raised : nor from that mi-
nute did they make the least reflection upon that
engagement in many months after. Whilst the ene-
mies, much more exalted than ever, believed, as
they had good cause, that they should reap a much
greater benefit by the burning of London than they
had from the contagion.

When the numbers of the members increased, the Discontents
parliament appeared much more chagrined than it
had hitherto done ; and though they made the same

1666. professions of affection and duty to the king they

had ever done, they did not conceal the very ill
opinion they had of the court and the continual riot-
ings there: and the very idle discourses of some
(who were much countenanced) upon the miserable
event of the fire made them even believe, that the
former jealousies of the city, when they saw their
houses burning at such a distance from each other,
were not without some foundation, nor without just
apprehension of a conspiracy, and that it had not
A commit- been diligently enough examined ; and therefore
pointed to they appointed a committee, with large authority to
IhJ'cause"* send for and examine all persons who could give
of the fire. an y information concerning it.

When any mention was made of the declaration
they had so lately passed, for giving the king sup-
ply, and " that it was high time to despatch it, that

Online LibraryEdward Hyde ClarendonThe life of Edward, earl of Clarendon, in which is included a continuation of his History of the grand rebellion (Volume 3) → online text (page 9 of 39)