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be offered to Spain; a truce for Sweden and Sicily ; Sicily to be restored to Spain ; all to be restored betwixt France and Holland: as to the Emperor, all to stand on the present foot, or the King will use his best endeavours to have Maestricht slighted on the one side, and Philipsburg on‘the other. Lorrain to be restored; the acceptance of the terms to be kept secret, till consented to by the Confederates.
Additional Instruction apart.
Besides the other instructions we have given you, in order to your negociation in France, we have thought fit to add this: In case you shall judge that the showing the instructions given you to his Most Christian Majesty, or such of his ministers as he shall appoint, may beget a greater confidence~in that Court, and so hasten your answer, (much depending upon our soon receiving of it,) we do impower you, in case in your judgment you shall think it for our service, to show the said instructions as aforesaid, the better to accelerate‘ your dispatch, which you shall press with all instance, and return with what speed you can; but this (if done) is to be done as of yourself, and unknown to us.
We give you no project of a treaty, because you are not sent to conclude any thing, but only
mentioned in the instructions, to desire the Most Christian King’s judgment upon them, and to bring that back to us with all speed.
Given at our Court at Whitehall, this 10th day of November, in the twenty-ninth year of our reign, 1677.
The instructions to Mr. Montague, dated December 4th, are nearly in the same words. But they also contain these additional arguments :
“ That we desired to know the Most Christian King’s mind by my Lord Feversham; but he hath brought us back an answer in general, that the propositions are no way reasonable ; which doth very much surprise us, when we consider how nakedly we, by him, stated the case to his Most Christian Majesty, viz. that this was the lowest terms we could bring the Prince of Orange to for a peace : that without a peace, suddenly concluded, all our measures would receive such a disturbance at home, that we should possibly be obliged to take some that we desire with all earnestness to avoid: and when his Most Christian Majesty hath seriously considered what inconveniences we have endured in parting with
so many sessions of parliament in discontent, the‘ consequences of which cannot be unknown to him; that, now we have resisted to the utmost, and for such reasons as shall hereafter be showed, you cannot defer the speedy calling of our Parliament, where, if a peace be not made, we must expect all the pressures imaginable to relieve Flanders, by such ways as‘ we would willingly avoid; and that yet our necessities, and the conjuncture of our affairs are such, that a longer living at a distance with our people cannot be continued without an apparent * danger to our very being and crown, we cannot but hope that when yourhave seriously discussed this matter with our Good Brother, he will not think ‘the parting with a town or two, for the sake of us who have so far hazarded our interest in our three kingdoms'l'to keep our friendship with him, (beyond our own most considerable interest,) an unreasonable demand.
“ If you shall be asked the reason why we have antidated the day for the meeting of the Parliament, you must plainly say, that the great preparations and present marches in Flanders, with the siege of St. Ghislain, joined to the answer given to my Lord Feversham, made it
* Visible. 1 He does not give a thought to the interest of the three kingdoms.
VOL- II. Q
seem necessary to us, lest Flanders should be lost before the meeting of our Parliament';' which, besides many inconveniences as to the reputation of our conduct and prudence, would possibly have raised a storm too violent for us to allay. '
“ If the Most Christian King shall take notice to you of the good correspondence that hath still been between him and us, and object many late intrigues and miscarriages to our prejudice, you may, in our name, assure him, we have the same value for his person and friendship we ever had ; neither hath the Spaniard changed the opinion we had of him by any fresh obligations. But the grounds of this our pressing him to a peace, proceedeth from a mature consideration of our own affairs at home, which, if Flanders should be lost in the interval of a Parliament, the disorder that would be in the minds of our subjects in general, and of our Parliament in particular, would, in all probability, occasion such confusions here, as would be of more damage to us than all the conquests the Most Christian King hath made, though prodigiously great, can be of advantage to him.”
EXTRACTS FROM SECRETARY COVENTRY'S
Secretary Coventry to the King. To His Majesty, at Newmarket.
Whitehall, Oct. 44, 1678. May it please Your Most Sacred Majesty;
My indisposition having increased upon me since Your Majesty’s departure, so far as to confine me most part of this time to my bed, I have not been able to give you any account of your affairs here: only this evening I have made shift to creep to the council, where some of Mr. Coleman’s papers have been read, which contain little as to the present question, but so much presumption in treating with the Most Christian King’s confessor and ministers, for the altering the religion and government, with such characters upon Your Majesty’s royal person, His Royal Highness, and all the ministers ; nay, undertaking, for a sum of money, to govern Your
Majesty as to the calling or not calling your Parliament ; and in making a manifesto for Your'Ma
jesty to justify the dissolution of the Parliament :
that I believe never any age produced a man
placed in no higher a post than he is, nor of so
indifferent quality, that had the confidence to
venture on so many extravagant crimes at one