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The King himself, says Echard, confirmed the truth of the greatest part of this account; and, in conclusion, said, "James (meaning the Duke of Monmouth) has often told me the same thing."
Upon first reading this account, I was convinced some error had crept into it. For, in a manner totally opposite to the character of a man of honour, and much more to the plain and upright conduct of Lord Russell, he is here represented as engaging in consultations for rebellion, with the design of frustrating and betraying them. A perusal of Dr. Tillotson's examination before the House of Lords, after the Revolution, has persuaded me that Echard has fallen into many mistakes, which make the credit of this story doubtful. For, by his account, Dr. Tillotson's letter to Lord Russell fell into the hands of Sir Thomas Clarges, who came in when Dr. Tillotson was reading it to Lord Halifax, and found means not only to read it, but to take a copy of it, from which copy, he supposes it was printed. But it appears, by the examination, that it was a servant who came in to announce the Spanish Ambassador, when Dr. Tillotson was reading the letter to Lord Halifax. And Lord Halifax told him, that he had shown the letter to the king upon the occasion of Lord Russell's paper being cried about the 4
streets, and that the King, as he supposed, had given copies of it.
2d. According to Echard, the examination of Dr. Tillotson before the Cabinet Council took place on the day of the execution. But in fact he was not examined till the day after.
Echard's account professes to be taken from a great man, (Dr. Tennison, I believe,) who heard it from Tillotson's own mouth. But if in this double narration mistakes have crept with regard to the time of the examination, and the manner of the letter's coming into the King's hands, how much more likely is it that the discourse of Lord Russell to Dr. Tillotson, the whole force of which depends on the expression, has been incorrectly stated?
Burnet says, that Tillotson had little to say before the Council, but only that Lord Russell had showed him the speech the day before he suffered.
Printed by A. and H. Spottiswoode,