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March 24. After the subsidy had been granted, 1678. M. de Rouvigny saw Lord Russell and Lord Hollis again. They told him that they
that the King (i. e. of France) is convinced it is not his interest to make the King of England absolute master in his kingdom; and that His Majesty (i. e. of France) would contribute his endeavours to bring about the dissolution of this Parliament as soon as the time should appear favourable. Lord Russell told him he would engage Lord Shaftesbury in this affair, and that he should be the only man to whom he would speak of it explicitly; and that I hey would work under-hand to hinder an augmentation of the sum which has been offered for carrying on the war; and would cause to be added to the offer of the million sterling, such disagreeable conditions to the King of England as they hoped would rather make him wish to reunite himself with France than to consent to theme He gave M. de Rouvigny to understand, that he suspected Your Majesty approved of the King of England's declaring war against you, only to give him an opportunity of obtaining money, and under a promise that, as soon as h had got the money, he would conclude a peace; M. de Rouvigny told him, that to show him clearly the contrary, I was ready to distribute a considerable sum in the parliament to prevail with it to refuse any money for the war, and solicited him to name the persons who might be gained. Lord Russell replied, that he should be very sorry to have any commerce with persons capable of being gained by money; but he appeared pleased to see by this proposal that there is no private understanding between Your Majesty and the King of England to hurt their constitution: he told M.de Rouvigny, that he and all his friends wanted nothing further than the dissolution of parliament; that they knew it could only come from the help of France; that since he assured them it was the design of Your Majesty to assist in it, they would trust never pretended to oppose the supply openly^ but they had hoped that the clauses they had affixed, being contrary to the privileges and authority of the crown, would not have been consented to, either by the King or his * ministers; that the passing of the act without any difficulty had redoubled their fears of the designs of the court;. that they were still persuaded the Kings of France and England acted in concert, and were afraid that the war would serve only to bring them into subjection. In short, the popular party were at this time in- the greatest alarmThey had found, as we have seen in the last chapter, that the nation, eager for a war with France, was too much blinded by national animosity to allow of any hope that the projects of the Court might be successfully opposed. The object tlley then pursued was, in the words of Barillon, " to:
him, and would do all in their power to oblige the King of England to ask your friendship once more, and by this means put Your Majesty in a state to contribute to their satisfaction."
* By these clauses the money was strictly appropriated to the war to be carried on with France, and all French commodities were prohibited for three years. Echard, vol.iii. p. 442. If Barillon repeats correctly the expressions of Lord Russell, they show what a great improvement wasmade about this time in the constitutional method of granting money. Indeed without appropriation acts the present form of government could not subsist... *
force the court to declare war, and thereby shelter themselves from the danger, lest the army which is now raising should be employed to change the form of government in England.,:>' With this view, and with that of clearing up the suspicion which they still entertained, that the two kings acted in concert, Lord Russell and Lord Hollis represented to Rouvigny, and the Duke of Buckingham at the same time endeavoured to persuade Barillon, that their master might acquire merit with the whole nation, if he would demand peremptorily of Charles whether there was to be peace or war; that this step would not oblige the King of England to declare war, if he* were not resolved upon it already; and their party would, by this means, know that Lewis not only had no connection with the King of England to oppress them, but that he would not suffer him, under pretence of an imaginary war, to bring them into subjection.* "I did not controvert this reasoning," says Barillon, " and have been, in some degree, obliged to enter into the sentiments of tbe Duke of Buckingham, and
* Dal. App. p. 138. This dispatch of.Barillon's is headed by Dalrymple, "Dangerous Projects of the Heads of the the popular Party acting in concert with France." The danger, if any, was to the cause of arbitrary monarchy, which would hare been injured bya war between Charles andLewis.
to pretend to him that I did not think it impossible Your Majesty might order me to speak as he wished." He afterwards says, that Buckingham was the only person of the opposition who would enter into a formal engagement.
Allowing the whole of this statement to be correct, few persons, I imagine, will feel a shock nearly equal to that they would feel if they saw a son turn his back in the day of battle. Such a feeling could not arise even from an extreme sensibility of nerves, if not accompanied with an equal obtuseness of understanding. In the case of Sir John Dalrymple, the expression must, I' fear, be attributed to that affectation of generous and patriotic sentiment, of which his writings afford so many examples. The concert between the popular party and France was a concert only in name. The opposition continued, as before, pursuing their own purpose, which, so far from being French, was the preservation of the English religion and laws. They promised, it is true, to prevent, if possible, the war with France, but it was their bounden duty to do so. They had every reason to suppose that war was intended as a death-blow to liberty. The only offer which Rouvigny made to assist them in their endeavours with money, was indignantly refused. I need not point out to my readers, that this refusal shows Lord Russell to have been
quite free from the general corruption of the age. But it is material to observe, that it proves him to have been unsuspicious of the rest of his party. It is clear, therefore, that the aim and end of Lord Russell was to preserve the constitution, and that he was not swayed by interest in pursuing that end. How then can he be called an enemy to his country?
But if Lord Russell did not alter his line of conduct to please the King of France, it may be asked what were the objects of the interview. I answer, the first object was to procure from his near relation an insight into the connection between Charles and Lewis. This connection was a cause of continual apprehension in the party, for they well knew that it might in the end be fatal to them, their constitution, and their country. The second object, however, was not so laudable; it was to procure from Lewis a promise to assist in obtaining a dissolution, in case the peace, should be maintained. Yet there was nothing criminal in such an endeavour. The imminent danger which threatened us from the conduct of France, abetting the designs of Charles, cannot, at this day, be properly estimated. At the very time when the Parliament was giving money for a war, Lord Danby was writing, by his master's order, to beg for money as'the price of peace. We shall presently see, that, five days after the