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this correspondence, though but a small part of the Duke of York's intrigues, would have been sufficient grounds for the impeachment of any other subject. It is to be attributed to the moderation and prudence of the country party that the first motion they made on this subject was only for the removal of the Duke from direct influence in the administration.
Lord Shaftesbury moved, in the House of Lords, on the 2d of November, that he might be removed from all councils and public affairs. Two days afterwards, the King desired him not to come to the foreign committee, and to decline meddling any more in public business. The Duke reluctantly obeyed. * But the popular party, not satisfied with this concession, resolved to move an address in the Commons, to remove him from the King's presence and councils. The person chosen to make this important motion was Lord Russell. It was not because he was endowed with extraordinary sagacity to detect the intrigues of the Duke, or with remarkable eloquence to rouse the passions Of a popular assembly, that he was the fittest person to take the lead; but the great stake which he had in the country, and, above all, the personal integrity and temperate love of liberty which distinguished his character, pointed him out for this important duty.
In the prevailing temper of the House, the ministers did not venture to meet the motion by a direct negative. They allowed, in debate, the dangers to be apprehended from the Duke's influence; but they said he had himself proposed to withdraw from the King's councils. And that after what had passed in the Lords, such an address as the present might create a misunderstanding between the Houses. They argued also, that the measure woidd not answer the end proposed, as the King and Duke might correspond by letter. Sir John Ernly, Chancellor of the Exchequer, said, "If you put the Duke "away, you put him at the head of 20,000 "men, and then it will be much more in his "power to do you hurt." The debate was adjourned to the 8th, and after a short conversation on that day, ministers found means to prevent its again coming forward. Several circumstances, which occurred upon this occasion, serve to show the temper of the House. Sir T. Clarges declared it was the greatest debate that ever was in Parliament. Mr. Waller having desired time to consider, Mr. Harwood said, that he who moved to defer the question a minute longer was an enemy to his king and country. Sir Robert Sawyer, a great courtier, proposed an address to the King to represent that his brother, being a Papist, was the cause of all the confidence of the Papists, and that he be pleased to declare in open Parliament, whether he was a Papist or not. A motion not very different from one which Lord Russell brought forward in the next Parliament. But Mr. Sacheverell, in closing the debate, plainly hinted at the bill of exclusion. "I have read," said he, "a little in "the law, but I would have the gentlemen of "the long robe tell me, whether any degree or "quality whatsoever of any subject can pa"tronize any correspondence with the King's "enemies? or whether the King and Parlia"ment may not dispose of the succession of "the crown? and whether it be not premunire "to say the contrary?" This speech, and the report of an attempt being on foot to exclude the Duke from the succession, were, no doubt, N^ the motives of the King's speech of the 9th, when, under the pretence of thanking the Houses for their care of his person, he came "to assure them that whatsoever bills they should present to be passed into laws, to make them safe in the reign of his successor, so they tended not to impeach the right of succession, nor the descent of the crown in the true line; and so as they restrained not his power nor the just rights of any Protestant successor; should find from him a ready concurrence." The
King'thus protested against the Bill of Exclusion six months before it was brought in.
The Opposition, on the other hand, sought alliances in every direction. Lord Russell, Sir Henry Capel, &c, had meetings with the Duke of Monmouth, in order to concert the removal both of the Duke and the treasurer.
They commissioned Monmouth to acquaint the King that they would supply him with any sum of money he might require, if he would lay aside the Lord Treasurer. According to James, overtures were also made to Lord Danby, by Colonel Birch, who endeavoured to prevail upon him to favour Monmouth's legitimacy. Both these stories may be true; but we have not the same authority for an account which appears in James's memoirs of a proposal made by the party to the Duke of York, to turn out Lord Danby. The credit of this tale rests upon the authority of the anonymous biographer of James, a witness of the most exceptionable kind *; and its authenticity is rendered more questionable by the care he has taken to confirm the facts in the preceding paragraph, by a subsequent quotation of James's own words, whilst this singular story is left without any such confirmation.
* See Edinburgh Review, vol. xxvi. p. 402. et scq.
The Duke of York soon came again before the Commons in a different manner. A bill had been brought into the House of Lords, to disable Papists from sitting in Parliament, and a proviso moved, to except the Duke. He spoke on it himself with great earnestness, and with tears in his eyes.
On the Bill being sent down to the Commons, it occasioned a long debate, or rather a series of speeches, deprecating the vengeance of theHouse; for those who were against the Duke, almost" confined themselves to crying, "Question," and "Coleman's letters." Perhaps they were unwilling to entangle themselves in a personal discussion, when the question did not originate on their side of the House. Those who were in favour of the Duke, argued and prayed, and Sir W. Killigrew wept in his behalf. They magnified the obligations the Duke would be under to the Protestant interest if this proviso were carried, and the dangers he might cause if driven into exile in France. But wise men thought him equally incapable of feeling gratitude, as the friend, and of inspiring fear as the enemy of his country. The proviso was agreed to, by a majority of two. In this manner, a century and a half after the Reformation, Roman Catholics were excluded from both Houses of Parliament;