Графични страници
PDF файл

P 739.

SECTION prevail on Monk to restore him without conditions; for

4th May, 1000, Lord Mordaunt writes, “ Last week I Clar.St.Pap, i.i.

“ sent you word it then clearly lay in the general's

power to restore the King without terms; but last week is not this week, neither did he strike whilst

“ the iron was hot. My opinion is, his interest lesBurnet. i p. 88. “ sens again,” &c.

sens again,” &c. Afterwards when the convention was assembled, one of the most upright and honourable of its members, Mr. (afterwards, Sir Matthew.) Hale, moved for a committee to look into the propositions and concessions made during the life of the late King, particularly at the treaty of the Isle of Wight, and draw up such propositions as they should think fit to be sent over to the King; this

motion being seconded, Monk got up, and answered it by urging the extreme danger of any delay, and that they might as well prepare them and offer them when the King should come over; and then moved that commissioners should be sent immediately to bring over the King. This was echoed with such a shout over the House, that the motion was more insisted upon.

These authorities prove that Monk did not argue, as Mr. Rose's fertile imagination fancied he might have done. To him, as Mr. Fox justly observes, « did the “ nation look up, ready to receive from his orders “ the form of government he should choose to pre“ scribe;" but he and the King's emissaries were acting


Rox, p. 13.



in concert to bring in the King, without any

limitation to the regal power: he prevented a party in the council of state, who would have run the risk of being considered and treated as enemies to royalty, from taking the steps necessary to impose some restrictions; and in the convention, he defeated Mr. Matthew Hale’s salutary design, by proposing a resolution, that the King should be sent for without any. Thus, be it to his praise or not, to him, and to him alone, was the King indebted, that he mounted the throne with unlimited authority. For this service Monk was afterwards liberally rewarded ; but so shortsighted is the policy of men, that this circumstance of triumph in 1060, after proving a perpetual source of vexation to the King occasioned the ruin of the House of Stuart only 28 years afterwards. A wiser conduct was pursued at the Revolution ; the Prince of Orange accepted the crown under such limitations as were well calculated to give security to the monarch, and liberty and happiness to his people.

A restoration

Mr. Rose is always on the alert to detect republican usually the principles in Mr. Fox's work, and always desirous to lucions. communicate to others the impression he has himself taken up. Thus, after he has in one place mentioned Rose p. 19. the restoration, he adds, “ according to Mr. Fox, the worst sort of revolution.” Mr. Fox having described what might have been the speculations of a



SECTION sagacious observer of the circumstances which pre

ceded the year 1640, comparing them with the events
which happened afterwards, asks, as proper subjects
for these conjectures, how long the army may be be-
fore it would range itself under a single master? and
what form of government he would establish? He then
goes on to say, " or will he fail, and shall we have a re-
“ storation, usually the most dangerous and worst of all
“ revolutions ?" This observation is of a general nature,
alluding to no particular event, but to all restorations, in
all countries, and in all times. Mr. Fox might lay
down as a general principle, that any restoration must
necessarily be dangerous to the liberties of the people,
because the ancient system would resume its func-
tions armed with more despotic power, and abuses of
every kind would be triumphantly re-established. A
revolution is a desperate remedy, and to be resorted
to only in cases of the most urgent necessity; for
when an ancient system is broken up and destroyed,
no human foresight can fix the limits at which the
rage for alteration shall stop, the period at which the
horrors of civil war shall cease, or the number of
victims which shall be sacrificed.

In most cases, a
restoration may be justly styled the worst of revolu-
tions, because, notwithstanding the risks which have
been run, and the privations which have been endured,
it has usually happened, that it has afforded no pre-
sent alleviation to the misery which had originally pro-

[ocr errors]



voked the preceding revolution, and has destroyed all prospect of grievances being redressed, and the situation of the people being meliorated.

Gibbon's Rom.

Mr. Fox's opinions concerning a restoration, are neither new

nor peculiar. It would be easy to ac- Emp. C. 48. cumulate instances and authorities, let one suffice :Mr Gibbon observes, “ The ancient proverh, That blood“ thirsty is the man who returns from banishment to

power, had been applied with too much truth to “ Marius and Tiberius, and was now verified for the " third time in the life of Andronicus."


Mr. Rose unwarrantably confines this general observation to the Restoration of Charles the Second, and may

therefore be worth while to examine shortly, whether even that great event might not be cited as an example of the truth of Mr. Fox's general observation. The Restoration was in one point of view a most fortunate incident for this country, for it brought back the form of government, to which the people had been accustomed, and which a majority of them preferred; and it laid the foundation of the happy political system, under which we now live, But we must not forget that it was also accompanied with the re-establishment of most of the abuses of the former monarchy, and that, according to Mr. Rose, so strong was the cry in favour of kingly go



vernment, it would not have been safe for the restorer of it to have proposed the most salutary restrictions. Even Monk himself would have been considered as an enemy to royalty, and treated as such. A wild and enthusiastic spirit in favour of the ancient form of government, has generally preceded, and occasioned restorations; it is not peculiar to that just mentioned, but belongs indiscriminately to all, and may be one of the reasons operating upon Mr. Fox's mind, and inducing him to make the observation in question. The existence of such a spirit, at the moment of a restoration, must be highly dangerous to the liberty of the people, and prevent them from deriving the benefit, they might have expected from resistance, In this respect, therefore, it may be doubtful in what class of revolutions the Restoration of Charles the Second ought to be placed, for owing to his being seated on the throne, without limitation, almost the whole of his reign was one continued tumultuous struggle between him and his subjects, and, if the fear of Popery had not united and invigorated the friends of rational liberty, it might have been recorded in history among the worst of revolutions, and as one which had blasted the rising prosperity of a great people. By constant adherence to a system of unexampled duplicity and meanness, Charles contrived to retain a precarious throne, but, within less than four years after his death, the errors of the first revolution were so severely felt,

« ПредишнаНапред »