« ПредишнаНапред »
pensions received by the King from France, and a peace concluded abroad, leaving Flanders exposed to a hazard, from which, after so many successful wars, it has not yet been relieved. Such are the bad effects to the nation of being governed by a King in whom his parliament can place no confidence.
The various events of the negociation at Nimeguen; the artificial difliculties raised by the Fren‘ch ; the embassy of Sir William Temple, and the mission of Du Cros are more fit subjects for general history than biography. Perhaps I have already detailed too minutely the progress of public affairs. But the conduct of the party to which Lord Russell belonged could not be explained, without presenting a view of the times; and it will be presently seen, that his own character has been attacked upon the ground of his behaviour during a part of this session.
since that time, have been recorded by all historians, could create little surprise. But the very shadow of a connection between Lord Russell and France excited, as might be expected, astonishment, sorrow, and * indignation. To heighten the effect of the discovery, Sir John declared that he “ felt very near the same shock as if he had seen a son turn his back in the day of battle.” He pronounced these intrigues to be of a tendency nearly as dangerous as those of the princes. And he drew from them this sweeping inference, that “ 11L party in this country has a right to assume over another from the merit of their ancestors; it being too plain, from the following papers, that Whigs and Tories, in their turns, have been the enemies of their country.”
However gratifying such reflections must always be to selfish politicians, and to those who doubt all public virtue, I hope to prove that this instance, at least, will afford no foundation for their malignity. In doing this, I shall not throw any doubt upon the accuracy of the historian or the honesty of the ambassador. I am willing to allow, for the present, that the stream of history has flowed with undiminished purity
* See Hume's note upon this subject. vol. viii. |“ "Q
through these suspected channels. I \shall not deny, therefore, that an intercourse took place between Lord Russell and Rouvigny; although it is very probable that Barillon, in repeating from Rouvigny the substance of these interviews, represented them as much more favourable to his master than they really were. But I trust that an account of the whole matter will show that nothing took place derogatory to the public virtue or private honour of Lord Russell.
The first thing to consider, is the time at which the intercourse took place; for any political intercourse whatever with an agent of France would, in ordinary times, be, to say the least, extremely improper. But this was a period of extreme danger to the English constitution. The King, who was known to entertain sentiments hostile to the liberty of his people, was about to raise an army, under the pretence of a French war, but in reality, as it was supposed, to subjugate his own country. That these fears were not -idle fancies, appears from the best authorities. Sir John Reresby, a professed courtier, says, a jealousy was entertained “ that the King indeed intended to raise an army, but never designed to join with the war; and to say the truth, some of the King’s own party were not very sure of the contrary.” Lord Danby, the prime minister, writes to the Prince of Orange, on Feb. 9. in these words: “ The Parliament has now voted 26,000 foot and 4000 horse and dragoons; and I am- confident will not stop there, in case His Majesty will go freely into the war, which yet they all doubt, and NOT WITHOUT cAUsE.” Two months afterwards Barillon writes, “ The Duke of York believes himself lost as to his religion, if the present opportunity does not serve to bring England into subjection: ’tis a very bold enterprise, and the success very doubtful. I believe they have persuaded this Prince that a war is more proper to accomplish his design than peace.” * _The views of Lord Danby, he says, tended solely to procure money and increase his master’s authority. And though the King still wavered, and his humour was very repugnant to the design of changing the form of government, he was nevertheless drawn along by the Duke and Treasurer. Jr
These quotations prove that those who were most in the confidence of Charles were ignorant of his real intentions, and that the Duke of York looked upon the war as an opportunity
* Dal. App. p.143.
1- Del. App. ibid. I only quote this dispatch, to show the general views of the court. The date is. of the 18th o£ April.
VOL. I. I.