« ПредишнаНапред »
preservation: — that he was obliged to call a Parliament in April, on, account of a great branch of his revenue, which determined at Midsummer; and he saw no hope of getting it renewed, if they should find Flanders in a worse state than they left it: — that the Parliament, as His Most Christian Majesty well knew, had already forced him to a peace with Holland, and might now drive him into a war with France, if the terms he offered were not accepted: for the Prince of Orange was resolved to take no less, and the other allies desired * more.
The instructions themselves were to be shown. to Lewis, or his minister, if Lord Duras should think proper; and finally, no time was fixed for his return, and he was only desired to obtain the judgment of the King of France upon the terms. The French monarch was not a person to be won upon, by appealing to his generosity. The sum of his answer was, that the terms were by no means reasonable, and that Charles might as well cut off his legs and then bid him twalk. The Prince of Orange and Sir William Temple were the dupes of this negociation. Charles, instead of joining the confederates, as he had
* Instructions to Lord Duras in MSS. at Longleat. Sec Appendix.
f .Lord Danby's Letter to the Prince of Orange. VOL. I. II
promised to do, only revoked a proclamation, by which, in pursuance of his secret engagements with Lewis, he had adjourned Parliament till April. At the same time, he sent Mr. Montague, who had lately come over to England, to renew the propositions for peace, and represent, still more strongly, the necessity he should be under of declaring war against France, if peace was not instantly concluded: he begged His Most Christian Majesty to call to mind how much inconvenience he had suffered by parting with so many sessions of Parliament in discontent, and that a longer resistence to the wishes of his people would be attended with danger to his very being and crown: he, therefore, hoped his good brother would not consider the parting with a town or two for the sake of him who had so far forfeited his interest in his three kingdoms, to keep his friendship with Kim, an unreasonable demand: he concluded with declaring, that if Flanders should be lost, such disorders would probably ensue, both in the minds of his subjects in general, and in Parliament in particular, as would tend more to his injury than all the conquests His Most Christian Majesty had made could be of advantage to him. *
* Secretary Coventry's Instructions in MSS. at Longleat. See Appendix.
These instructions clearly show that Charles was determined to hazard every thing hut the loss of his crown for the maintenance of the French alliance.
Such a voluntary humiliation on the part of a King of England, as the above language implies, is extremely difficult to conceive. But whether his father's fate had inspired him with a distrust of Parliaments, or a long exile had extinguished every spark of attachment to his country, it is but too evident that he chose to depend on France as a natural support, and to treat his people as a foreign enemy.
But even this degree of meanness did not now avail him. Lewis stopped his pension, and prepared for continuing the war with Holland. In this extremity Charles revoked his proclamation, and was obliged to meet his Parliament.
At the beginning of the year 1678, the elder brother of Lord Russell died. He seems to have been long affected with hypochondriacal malady.
1673 When Parliament met, on the 28th January, the King in his speech informed them of the Dutch alliance and the marriage of the Prince of Orange, and told them that he expected a plentiful supply. But the popular party, with some reason, suspected his sincerity. They feared that Charles and Lewis were still in concert, and that when the supply was given the war would be allowed to languish, and the money used to subdue the people of England. They even apprehended that when the army should be in sufficient number to keep the country in awe, the leaders of opposition would be arrested. * These suspicions were strengthened by the authority of Algernon Sydney, who being lately returned from France, was readily believed when he declared his conviction that it was all a juggle, and the two courts . in complete t confidence. On the question of a supply, therefore, much jealousy was expressed, and complaints were made that the treaty had not been laid before the House. Mr. Sacheverell, a member of opposition, still more clearly showed the opinions of his party by the following parallel: — "12 Edw. IV. The ministers pursued this practice. A war, and an alliance was made with the Duke of Burgundy in all haste; and when that was done, the ministers found it a fine game to receive pensions from the French, and raise money at home, and always were in haste; and they must have money from the
Parliament for this war, to save Burgundy from the French: but all Burgundy was lost by * it. What end can our ministers now have in not showing us these articles, but their being conscious to themselves (who made the French alliance) that they are faulty?"
The supply was agreed to; but the jealousy of opposition produced an address desiring that His Majesty would admit of no peace which should leave the French King a larger territory than he possessed by the treaty of the Pyrenees. This, together with various other terms laid down in the address, provoked Charles to rebuke the Commons, and with some reason, for affixing new conditions to old promises. However, he accepted of the supply, notwithstanding the provisions with which it was clogged.
The country running headlong into the scheme of a French war, the next aim of the country party was, that the war should be a bond fide war, and that the direction of it should be taken out of the hands of those of the ministers who had been pensioned by France. It was only by such means that the nation could
* He alluded, probably, to the 13th Edw. IV. H73, when that king invaded France in defence of Burgundy, but immediately consented to a peace. Burgundy was not lost, however, till some years afterwards.