Robert Vaughan.

Revolutions in English history (Volume 3) online

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all these considerations, your majesty will judge better of the state of Eng-
land, than from all that I have presented in my letters ; and it will be
difficult to conceive that a king should be so abandoned by his subjects,
that even among his ministers he cannot find one in whom he can place an
entire confidence. This example will show your majesty that all England
is against your interests, and that there is only the king of England and
the duke of York who embrace them with affection.' — Dalrymple, ii. 98-
108. Hume's account of these dealings with France is full of inaccuracies;
and inaccuracies which he was too indolent to correct when they were
shown to be such by the pubhcatiou of Dalrymple's Memorials.


might be useful. In England alarm of every sort had bookxiv
arisen from this cause. Earl}^ in 1678, Louis began to ^"^''' ' '
extend his intrigues from the king to such of the
country party as might be induced to accept his gra-
tuities. In that year also, Moutague made his start-
ling disclosures in parliament concerning the transac-
tions of this nature to which Danby had been a party
in the name of the king. By that time no intelligent
politician doubted that St. James's had been literally
bought long since by Versailles. Before the peace of
Nimeguen, the progress of the French arms on the
continent, and its probable effect on the liberties of
Europe, filled the minds of most men with grave soli-
citude. Parliament and people called on Charles to
assist the confederates in resisting the arms of Louis.
But the king of England was mindful of the pledge
he had given to Louis, and of his promised pension,
and deemed it enough to say that the expenditure in
the proposed war must be left whoU}^ to his discretion.
His majesty well knew that no grant would be made
on such terms. Money so intrusted would go largely
to the king's mistresses ; and the general impression
was, that the force raised would be more likely to be
employed against the liberties of England, than against
the power of France. So the peace of Nimeguen Peace of
came. It ceded to Louis nearly everything he had ^''"i^g^en-
claimed. Such, too, had been the genius displayed by
his generals and diplomatists, that France had never
been so much an object of fear to her neighbours as
she now became.

But who was to blame ? Imperialists, Spaniards,
the people of the United Provinces, and the people of
England, aU endeavoured to conceal their mortification
by casting the blame upon each other. All had been
losers in the past, and by their dissensions now they
seemed to have lost the power of combining to retrieve
their fortunes in the future. But the kino; of Eno-land
was the special object of censure. Nowhere was he
more despised than in France. Every intelligent man

ill. H H


BOOK XIV saw that during this great struggle, the country which
^2!^!li* might have dictated the terms of peace had from
some strange cause become paralyzed — a cipher.
Charles retained his pension, but assuredly it was at
some cost. By such experiences the nation was to be
raised above the senseless royal ism to which it had sur-
rendered itself some twenty years before.
Religion of Wc sliould mentiou also as among the special causes
of Ywk^ leading to this freer speculation in politics in the later
and disputes years of this reign, the known Romanism of the duke
succtstoa. of York, and the suspected apostasy of the king. The
Test Act was designed to compel the duke to avow his
religious creed. The fact that the heir to the English
throne was an avowed Catholic suggested all kinds
of danger. What could be done to place adequate
safeguards about the religion of the country became
the great question. By this circumstance, the doctrine
of legitimacy — the whole question of divine right — was
forced into discussion, and that not among lawyers or
educated men merely, but among all classes of the
people. Buckingham, while in office, making use of
the fears of the nation on this subject, became occupied
with more than one scheme in the hope of seeing the
duke of York excluded from the succession. With
this view he would have fabricated evidence to show
that the birth of the duke of Monmouth, a son of the
king by one of his mistresses, had been legitimate.
But Charles condemned the device. He listened, how-
ever, to those who suggested that the barrenness of the
queen was sufficient ground for a divorce. When that
notion had been for some while abandoned, Shaftes-
bury, Carlisle, and Halifax proposed in the lords, that
any prince of the blood marrying a Catholic should
forfeit the right of succession. But that mode of at-
tempting to allay the popular fear concerning
* Popish successor ' was not to be entertained.*

* Temple's Worhs, i. 458 et sc

Online LibraryRobert VaughanRevolutions in English history (Volume 3) → online text (page 43 of 60)