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Crown for their continuance in office were always ready to pervert the law. The ground upon which this decision rested, however, was felt to be so unsafe that the proclamation was soon recalled. * And it was soon perceived, that though a free utterance was denied, the opinions of a people so bold and generous as the English could not fail to reach the ears of* government, however deaf, and to influence the decisions of the House of Commons, however subservient. The Parliament refused supplies: the French King likewise declined to advance a million of livres extraordinary, for which Charles had asked: Spain threatened to declare war; and an overture from Holland deprived the King of any further pretence for hostility. Under these circumstances he yielded to necessity, and graciously asked the advice of the House of Commons upon the expediency of making peace. They voted an address immediately afterwards, requesting that all troops raised since January 1st, 1663, might be disbanded. With this desire the King complied; and as soon as the peace was concluded, he prorogued the Parliament.
Thus, in the space of less than four years, the alliance with France was broken, and the troops by which Charles had hoped to make himself absolute, dispersed. The declaration for indulgence had been recalled, and a precedent against the dispensing power established, which in the next reign was to be a bulwark of liberty and religion. * But what was still more important, perhaps, the ministers of the Crown were struck with a salutary dread, and the King had no longer a council to whom he could confide his pernicious machinations.
Of the five members of the Cabal, Clifford was displaced by the Test Act; Arlington, finding himself in danger, became a decided enemy of Popery and the French t; Buckingham and Shaftesbury were excluded from the King's councils, and were converted into popular leaders. There remained only Lauderdale, whose pride and austerity, added to the distance of his government, made him proof against the resolutions of the Commons.
* See the trial of the bishops in the State Trials.
f In June this year (1674), Lewis the Fourteenth writes to James, thaf Lord Arlington and parliaments are unuseful; and James returns for answer, that Lord Arlington and parliaments are not only unuseful, but dangerous. — Sec Coleman's Letters.
In consequence of the removal of Clifford and Shaftesbury, the staff of Lord High Treasurer was entrusted to Sir Thomas Osborne, soon afterwards created Earl of Danby; and the seals were given to Sir Heneage Finch, afterwards Earl of Nottingham.
PROROGATION FOR FOURTEEN MONTHS. — TEMPLE'S ADVICE TO THE KING. A PARLIAMENT. LORD RUSSELL
MOVES AN IMPEACHMENT AGAINST LORD DANBY.
NON-RESISTING TEST BILL. MOTION FOR A DISSOLUTION OF PARLIAMENT. FAILS OF SUCCESS.
ANOTHER LONG PROROGATION. MOTION ON THE
DANGER OF FLANDERS. — LETTER OF LADY VAUGHAN
TO LORD RUSSELL. ADDRESS FROM THE COMMONS.—
ANGRY ANSWER OF THE KING. — PROROGATION.
As soon as Charles had prorogued the Parliament, he entered into fresh intrigues with the court of Versailles; and humbly asked pardon for the peace he had lately concluded, excusing himself on the necessity of his affairs. Lewis, on the other hand, was urgent to obtain a prorogation of Parliament, lest Charles should be forced into a war against him. The King of Febmary, England willingly came to terms, and 16?4. for the sum of 500,000 crowns was glad to dispense with the presence of the Commons for fourteen months. * In order to comply
in appearance with the public wish, a mediation between France and Holland was resolved upon; and Sir William Temple, whose honest character was universally esteemed, was named to give credit to the embassy. On his arrival at court, he had a private audience with Charles, in which he endeavoured to convince him, that it would be impossible to assimilate the government of England to that of France; and after various arguments, drawn from the situation of the two countries, he attempted to reconcile him to a limited authority by the saying of Gourville, a Frenchman, much esteemed by the King, that a kirtg of England who would be the man of his people would be the greatest monarch in Europe: but if he tried to be more he would
. be nothing. Charles, who had heard him with some impatience at first, seeing it was necessary to dissemble, pressed his hand and said, "And I will be the man of my people." * He soon afterwards connected himself more closely with France, and betrayed to her ambassador all the information he received from Temple. t April,' The chief business upon the meeting of J 675. Parliament, related to the large body of
. English troops which were still allowed to serve
* Temple's Works.
f Dal. App. p. 109.