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as members of Parliament, before they are trusted as servants of the crown. The monarchy itself derives great advantage from this restraint to the personal will of the sovereign. Not only is the King less liable than other
sovereigns to errors, which even the best in-'
tentioned are exposed to, by the arts of specious impostors and dishonest flatterers, but he has this security for the conduct of the most violent parliamentary leaders, that ambition can hardly lead them to wish the total destruction of that monarchy, of which they may hope at a future time to exercise the powers. '
But such ideas were far from being understood before the Revolution. During the reign of Charles the First, indeed, an attempt seems to have been made to conciliate the great parliamentary leaders, by entrusting them with oflices of the crown. The Earl of Bedford, as we have seen in the early part of this work, was amongst those who were thus favoured. But the King was soon disgusted with them, and Lord Clarendon thinks he has sufliciently justified this dislike, when he tells us, that they always advised the King to comply with the wishes of his Parliament. .
Nor was the measure .now proposed by Temple likely to be attended with the success which he expected from it. Had he begun by asking
the dismissal of all the obnoxious ministers, 4 and the formation of a new council, by the union of the great Whig leaders, with Secretary Coventry and others, who had experience of ofiice without the ambition of being chief ministers, a firm administration would have been formed, and the necessity of a revolution might have been prevented. But Temple had only ' in view to add to the strength of the old court. Fifteen of the thirty members of whom the new council was to be composed, were to be oflicers of the crown, on whom it was supposed the King might rely. It was thought that fewer concessions would be required, when the leaders of the Commons were members of the council, and that the King, with such assist0 anee, might safely dissolve the parliament
should it persist in unreasonable demands. It
was considered as a most favourable circum
stance, should affairs come to an extremity,
that the property of the new council amounted
to 300,0001. a year, whilst that of the members
of the House of Commons seldom exceeded
4100,0001. ; 1101;:
pendant on it, and the Whig leaders, to obtain at most half the confidence of the King, were i' to give up all the confidence of the people.
“ For the bare being preferred,” says Secretary Coventry, “ maketh some of them suspected, though not criminal.” * The public were not yet able to conceive that men could be at the same time counsellors of the King and friends of the people; and it was only by a complete change of councils, that they could have been convinced of its integrity. It is not surprising then, that the King’s speech, announcing the new council, was received coldly by the House of Commons, and that little more than a fortnight after, they should present an address, praying the removal of the Duke of Lauderdale from all oflices and employments, and from His Majesty’s presence for ever.
The president of the new council, much against the opinion of Temple, was Lord Shaftesbury. But the cabinet council, which digested all affairs before they were brought forward, consisted of Essex, who was the new Lord Treasurer, in place of Danby, Sunderland, Secretary of State, Halifax, and Temple. Six days after the appointment of the new council, in a debate on the succession, Colonel Birch said, “ It must not be the addition of four or
* MSS. at Longleat. See also Sidney’s Letters to Saville', April 21. and May 12.
tations on a Popish successor having been proposed, some heads to be offered to the consideration of Parliament were at length resolved upon, and obtained the consent of all but Lord Shaftesbury and Sir William Temple. Shaftesbury declared openly, that no security was to be found but in the total exclusion of the Duke of York, who, by force of arms, might break through all the limitations proposed ; whilst Temple feared they would leave him in shackles, which would not be easily broken through by any successor. Temple, indeed, was secretly of opinion, that no expedient proposed by the crown would be agreed to by the Commons. This was also the private opinion of the King, who, even at the moment of proposing the limitations, was resolved never to consent to them. * He came to the House of Peers on the 30th, and, after a short speech, left the matter to be fully explained by the chancellor. The chief articles he proposed were as follows. That care should be taken, that all ecclesiastical benefices and promotions in the gift of the crown, should be conferred on the most learned Protestants: That no members of the privy council, no judges
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* At least he wrote to this effect to the Prince of Orange, who does not, however, seem to have given full credit to the King’s assurances. Dal. App. 302. 307.