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:' ‘On the 98th of March, the Exclusion Bill was read a first time. The House then proceeded to the question of the impeachment of F itzharris ; but Sir W. Jones had hardly entered upon it when the Black Rod knocked at the door, and gave notice that the King commanded the attendance of the House immediately in the House of Lords. After a short speech from the Throne, the Lord Chancellor declared the King’s pleasure, that the Parliament should be dissolved, without any previous prorogation. Although this step was taken in great apparent haste, and kept secret till the moment of execution, several circumstances serve to show it had been long premeditated. When Sir William Temple offered to stand for Cambridge, the King informed him, that he should have no occasion for his services in this Parliament. And so totally unsupported was the Crown in‘the House of Commons, that when Secretary Jenkins moved to throw out the Bill of Exclusion, his motion was not seconded. It- is also said, that the Duchess of Mazarine spoke of the dissolution in London, some hours before it had taken place at Oxford. *

The King set off in great haste for Windsor, and soon afterwards published a declaration,


4'’ Just and modest Vindication.

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d, lastly, assumed to themselves legislative power, by interfering in the regular prosecution by l

aw of Protestant Dissenters. The Parliament assembl

ed at Oxford, he re

proached with stirring the Exclusion Bill, to
which he had declared he never would consent;
and with their vote against the House of Lords,
on the subject of Fitzharris. He concluded by
warning the people against designing men, who
accused him of an intention of laying aside par-
liaments, and by declaring his determination
that, after the lapse of a short period, their
meetings should be constant and frequent.
This declaration of the King was, by an Order

in council, directed to be read in all Churches
and chapels. The order was very
obeyed, and the effect produced corresp
to the wishes of the court and clergy- The Part

which alluded to the Dissenters raised a 61
he whole kingdom-

Church and King through t
all sides vying with

Addresses poured in from

each other in fulsomeness and adulation.


of these, from Norwich, was pfesented as allibe'l by the grand jury of Middlesex.

An able answer to the Declaration, under the ‘title of “ A just and modest Vindication of the two last Parliaments,” was published by the Opposition. It was first written by Algernon Sydney, but a new draught was made by Mr. Somers, afterwards Lord Somers, and \corrected by Sir W. Jones. In this pamphlet, the proceedings of the Commons were shown to be agreeable to law" and precedent; but, though the argument was clear and convincing, and the stile more than usually correct and forcible, this and other writings, in favour of the Parliament, produced little effect. Nothing could more clearly prove the imprudence of the party in refusing the King’s offers. 1 ,

I There was yet another indiscretion of the Whigs, which contributed to give strength to their enemies. Having united themselves closely with the Presbyterians, they had {begun too soon to promote measures in their favour. Hence an alaim was excited that the Presbyterians were the same with the opposers of the Court, and that their object was no other than to gain possession of the government of the church; and as the fear of Popery subsided, that of Presbyterianism rose. In accounting for the

events of this and the following reign, religious


distinctions must always be kept in view. It will be recollected that Charles lost his object in the first Dutch war by proclaiming a toleration; and it is singular that- his adversaries now failed in the same endeavour.

It is diflicult to decide, if the conduct of the King had been long premeditated, or if it was the offspring of circumstance and temper. As he was a profound dissembler, it is almost impossible to judge of his views and motives. His admirers have been warm in their praises of his’ skill; and it is pretended that, some time before this crisis, he entirely changed his usual behaviour, and became thoughtful, prudent, and wary. " That he acted with consummate art, when the moment of difliculty arrived, is not to be doubted; but if we were to fix the period of

‘ his projects being matured long before the Ox

ford Parliament, we should probably fall into the common error of attributing too much to design, and too little to accident and impulse. A pilot cannot determine the exact path of the ship he is about to steer, because he cannot forsee the winds which will prevail; and the statesman can almost as little predict the passions which may If we may believe Lord Grey, there existed an intention, on the part of‘ the Whig leaders, to resist the dissolution at Oxford, and remain sitting in defiance of the King’s authority; but, by his own account, no preparation seems to have been made for supporting by force this act of rebellion; and the whole story seems to be got up for the purpose of justifying the execution of Colledge, which soon afterwards took place.


' influence his course.

* North. '


We may more readily trust the same authority, I

when he tells us, that, after the dissolution, all thoughts of resistance were given up, and every thing remained quiet amongst the party for a long time.

July, It is not well known how far the Prince

1681' of Orange was connected with the popular party during the reign of Charles the Second ; but the occurrence I am going to relate will show that he was, at this time, on good terms with Lord Russell and the Whigs. He paid a visit to England, for the purpose of doing away a misunderstanding he had had with the King, and with the hope of raising in the court a jealousy against France, and a desire to try once more a reconciliation with Parliaments. * For both these reasons, the Duke of York was much averse to

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