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might hope, by reducing him to still greater distress, to SECTION compel him to change his religion, and submit to join – their league. Accordingly Lord Clarendon, describing j. 504. the difficulties of Charles to find a secure place of retreat, at the time when Cromwell was negotiating a treaty with France, says, “ the protestants, in most places, 6 expressed much more inclination to his rebels, than “ to him. The roman catholics looked upon him as « in so desperate a condition, that he would in a short “ time be necessitated to throw himself into their arms, “ by changing his religion, without which they generally “ declared, they would never give him the least assistance.” At this period, the situation of Charles was most distressing; the noble person, from whose history this passage is extracted, had strongly and frequently inculcated upon his mind, what his own observations had prepared him to believe, that the foreign protestants were generally his enemies, while the catholic princes made his conversion the condition, on which alone they would give him any assistance, and his mother was persuaded that, unless he complied, he had no possible chance of ever possessing his throne.
Moreover, he was prohibited from entering Holland, and expected every moment that the Court of France would be compelled to drive him from its dominions, if not give up his person. In these melancholy circum- Whethe stances it would not excite much surprize, if he had
Charles was converted before he left Paris.
SECTION yielded to necessity, and embraced the catholic faith.
If we may believe father Huddleston, his faith had been shaken, so early as the year 1651, after the defeat at Worcester; when he found an asylum at Mr. Whitgrave's house, at Mosely, in Staffordshire, where Mr. Huddleston resided, and had a chamber. There the King spent much of his time, perusing several of his books, and among others the manuscript, afterwards printed, of a Short and plain way to the faith and church; of which he said, “ I have not seen any thing more “ plain and clear upon this subject : the arguments
“ here drawn from succession are so conclusive, I do Buru. i. p. 73, “ not conceive how they can be denied.” Burnet sup
poses he was converted about 1653, before he left Paris, and says that the Cardinal de Retz was in the secret, and Lord Aubigny had a great hand in it, and that
Chancellor Hyde had some suspicion, but never was House of thoroughly satisfied of it. Oldmixon says, that Sir Allen Stuart, p. 453.
Brodrick, at his death, declared that Charles made profession of the catholic faith at Fontainbleau, where Sir Allen attended him, before he went to Cologne.
If Charles did make profession of the catholic faith about this time, we inay presume his immediate object was to secure the asylum in France, which he then enjoyed. But this, Cardinal Mazarin through fear of Cromwell's power, or rather because he could not
into effect his designs against Flanders, if he had
not peace with the protector, could not advise his So- SECTION vereign to permit, and he was obliged to leave the — French dominions.
But it is improbable that Charles should take a step Not probable. 80 dangerous to himself, and so highly important to his followers, without some assurance that he should derive advantage from it. If he felt himself obliged to profess the catholic religion, at that moment, from purely conscientious motives, it might be suggested, as a reason for secrecy, that he did not think it prudent to make an ayowal of this change when he could not possibly receive any benefit from it. But no part of Charles's character, or act of his life, permits the supposition that zeal for religion ever was the ruling passion of his heart.
The improbability of this conversion is increased by Charles's three letters, written a short time only after it must be supposed to have happened by Charles to the Duke of York; in one of which dated Cologne, 10th of November, 1654, after putting the Duke in mind of the commands he 293. had left with him at his going away, and alluding to an attempt of Mr. Montague, who was the Queen's confessor, to pervert him to her religion, and her design for that purpose, he says, “ if you hearken to her, or any .“ body else in that matter, you must never think to see « England, or me again, and whatsoever mischief shall
SECTION “ fall on me, or my affairs from this time, I must lay
-“ all upon you, as being the only cause of it,” and
he reminds him of the last words of his deceased father, “ which were to be constant to your religion, and “ never to be shaken in it, which if you do not “ observe, this shall be the last time you will ever hear “ from,” &c.
Macph. Pap. ii. p. 664, 665
Another letter, bearing the same date, begins thus, - The news I have received from Paris, of the en“ deavours used to change my brother Harry's religion, “ troubles me so much, that if I have any thing to “ answer to any of your letters, you must excuse me, “ if I omit it this post. All that I can say at this time “ is, that I conjure you as you love the memory of " your father, and if you have any care for yourself, “ or kindness for me, to hinder all that lies in your “ power all such practices, without any consideration “ of any person whatever. I have written very home, “ both to the Queen, and my brother about it, and “ I expect that you should second it, as I have said “ to them, with all the arguments you can. For “ neither you nor I were ever so much concerned “ in all respects as we are in this. I am able to say “ no more at this time, but that I am yours.” The third letter is from the King, dated the 19th of January, 1655, stating that he had commanded the bearer Lord Ormond to speak to the Duke at large, about his
brother Harry, desiring him to give credit to what be SECTION should say, and do all that he should desire of him. These letters certainly import that the writer was at that time a zealous protestant, and fully aware of the imminent danger, in which even a brother's conver. sion would necessarily involve the royal cause.
Some circumstances, mentioned by Lord Clarendon, The time fixed favour the supposition that Charles was converted (if favourable. converted at any time before his restoration) at the period mentioned by Bishop Burnet. He was importuned by Lord Jermyn to attend occasionally at the congregation of the Huguenots, which then assembled at Charenton, in order to keep up his interest with the presbyterian party in England, and attach to him the foreign protestant churches. The Queen Mother, a bigoted Roman Catholic, who had been enjoined by his father not to endeavour to change his religion, did not oppose his going there. She had long been of opinion that, without the assistance of the catholic princes on the continent, the restoration of her son could never be brought about. She wrote a letter to him, when preparing 2.685. for his expedition to Scotland, declaring her dislike of the treaty he had entered into with the Scotch, by which he had bound himself to take the covenant. She warns him that all the catholic princes will be alarmed, and cautions him that the Scotch deceive him, or will deceive, if they pretend that they can re-establish