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deed the best he could now hope for. Monmouth, Sunderland, and the Duchess of Portsmouth, had formed an union with Shaftesbury, Halifax, and Essex, for his ruin. The former were to undermine his influence at court, whilst the latter prosecuted him in Parliament. At the same time, the King, and more particularly the Duke, incensed against him for his behaviour on the Popish Plot, were prepared to let him fall. '
From the following letter, written from the Marquis of Winchester’s house at Basing,‘ it appears, that Lord Russell was engaged in some negociation at this time, but with whom
14-6 THE use ‘or
ELECTlONS-—-MEETING OF PARLIA‘M‘INT-—-OHOIOE OF A
THE elections were carried on, as might be expected, with great heat, and generally speaking, much to the advantage of Opposition. It is said that the practice of splitting freeholds was now introduced, for the first time, by the
Marquis of Winchester were intercepted and opened by the court. They were found to
‘contain recommendations to their friends not to
choose fanatics, and the King declared he had not heard so much good of them a great while.‘k
In the new parliament, John Hampden was returned for Buckinghamshire, Henry Booth
* Lady Russell’s Letters lately published.
which he had shown against Popery, was rejected by the court for his enmity to Danby, and Sir Thomas Meres proposed in his stead. But the House generally resented what they thought an encroachment on their privileges, and sent Lord Russell and Sir Robert Carr to desire time to consider of the King’s message. On a subsequent day they presented an address, asserting the undoubted right of the Commons to
elect freely one of their members as speaker, D
and that the person so elected had always continued speaker, unless excused for some bodily infirmity. But the King gave them a sharp answer, and upon their insisting on their right, prorogued them. Upon their meeting again two days after, Lord Russell said he hoped the late unhappy difference would not be renewed, and proposed Serjeant Gregory as speaker. This motion was seconded by Lord Cavendish, and was generally acquiesced in. The more prudent part of the Opposition, led by the opinion of Serjeant Maynard, seem to have thought that the dangers at home and abroad were evident, and a remedy necessary, while the question of privilege was not clear, nor a decision essential. They felt they could not answer it to the country, if they broke with the King on a point comparatively trifling. The King’s refusal to confirm the speaker, how