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liament. A Mr. Stawell, a gentleman of good family in Devonshire, acquired great popularity by refusing to submit to the arrest. The House,' to avoid a discussion of the question, gave hinv a month's time" for his appearance. Mr. Hume says, that his vigour and courage put an end to the practice.* The Commons did not pass over the violent and intemperate threats which had been used by Sir George Jeffries, and, in an address to the King, they desired that he might be removed from all his public offices and employments under the Crown. The King hesitated to agree to this prayer, but Jeffries himself took the alarm, and not only gave up all his offices, but received a reprimand on his knees at the bar of the House of Commons. The King wittily remarked, that Jeffries was not parliament proo£ The Attorney^General being next brought to the bar, was asked who had assisted him in drawing up the proclamation; and, after several refusals to answer the question, he was at length induced to name the Lord C. J. North. Upon which an impeachment was ordered against him; but though a committee was named, the
* Roger Coke mentions a person of the name of Herring, who having absconded, the House threatened to proceed against him by bill, ten days after the vote mentioned in the text. But it would seem by the Journals, (14th Dec. 1680,) that his offence was of a different nature.
accusation against him was not found to be sufficient to build a legal charge upon.
On the 2d November Lord Russell
seconded a motion, made by Colonel Titus, " That a committee be appointed to draw "up a bill to disable James Duke of York from "inheriting the imperial crown of this realm."
It may naturally excite some surprise to find Lord Russell proposing so violent .a measure as the exclusion of the legal successor to the throne. He was loyal in his disposition, and zealously attached to hereditary monarchy. He was of a temper which inclined to moderate measures, and had on a former occasion supported the plan of limitations. The difficulty of carrying the Bill of Exclusion must have forcibly struck him; for the Peers were known to be favourable to the Court, whilst the Clergy were, as usual, engaged on the side of prerogative and legitimacy: and if, as it was afterwards loudly proclaimed in Parliament, there was a loyal party, determined, in spite of all laws, to assert the right of James, a wise patriot, it may be said, would never concur in the formation of an act which entailed resistance, and made a provision for civil war. These considerations might have had some weight in Lord Russell's mind, and probably restrained him from joining Lord Shaftesbury when he first promoted the Exclusion Bill. On the other
hand, his affection to the reigning family must have been shaken by remarking how frequently they had violated the liberties, and betrayed the interests of the country they were called to govern. James the First had torn with his own hand the remonstrance of the Commons from their Journals: Charles the First had set at defiance all law and order, when he seized, in the House of Commons, five members who were obnoxious to him: Charles the Second, restored by an indulgent nation, had become the pensioner of France, her greatest enemy, and a promoter of Popery, the object of her continual dread. His conduct was only moderated by love of ease, and an instability of temper, which unfitted him for great enterprizes. But his brother James was so bigotted in his religious principles, and so arbitrary in his notions of government, that there could be little doubt he would endeavour, immediately on his coming to the throne, to introduce the Roman Catholic religion, and lay aside parliaments. These apprehensions have been fully confirmed, and more than justified by subsequent events. There was also reason to fear that he would avail himself, as Charles had intended to do, of the military assistance of France; and that, amongst the divisions of the times, he would gain at least one party in the nation to his support. His neglect in both these particulars implies an extreme of folly and arrogance, which could not fairly be an element of calculation, and forms another instance of the truth of the proverb, "Quern Deus vult perdere prius dementat!"
If the existing actual danger was so imminent as to justify the strongest remedy, the obstacles to the Exclusion Bill were not, in their own nature, so insurmountable as they afterwards became by force of circumstances. The tenacity of the House of Lords to the principles of legitimacy might have been overcome by the perseverance of the Commons, as it was afterwards at the Revolution, when they refused to declare the throne vacant ; and with regard to the Court, it was to be observed that Charles had never been steady to any man or any measure. It has even been said, that if he could have been assured of 600,0001. from the Commons, he would have agreed to the exclusion of his brother. But they suspected his sincerity, probably with reason. The Duchess of Portsmouth was induced, partly by her fears of impeachment* and partly by her hopes of her son's succession, to be zealous in favour of the exclusion. The Duke of Monmouth promoted it as an opening to his own designs on the Crown; and the Prince of Orange, probably with like intentions, encouraged Pensionary Fagel to send a strong memorial in its support. Lord Sunderland, Lord Essex, and Mr. Godolphin, secretly'favoured it in the Council. That the part taken by Lord Russell was of no trifling importance, is sufficiently plain from a passage in Sir W. Temple, where he mentions, as one of two circumstances that had great influence on the House, the lead which Lord Russell took in promoting the Bill.
The motion for bringing in the Bill was supported by Sir. H. Capel, Mr. Boscawen, Sir F. Winnington, Colonel Birch, &c. They urged that every endeavour had been made, but without success, to find another expedient: that any other law would give the Duke of York such a command both of the army, and of the revenue, that he would be enabled to make those inroads on our constitution, in church and state, which he had been so long' promoting^
On the other hand, the motion was opposed by Mr. Garroway, Mr. Lawrence Hyde, Sir C. Musgrave, and Sir R. Graham, who severally spoke for expedients; but the greatest ability was displayed by Mr. Seymour: —" Sir, I must "confess," he said, "I am very much against ** the bringing in of this Bill; for I think it a "very unfortunate thing, that, whereas His "Majesty hath prohibited but one thing only, "we should so soon fall upon it. I do not "see there is any cause why we should fear