Графични страници
PDF файл
ePub

he spoke always in general terms, at length requested him to make an alliance, offensive and defensive, with Holland, for the preservation of the Netherlands: but Charles gave a very angry answer; declared their address to be an interference with his prerogative of making peace and war; and put an end to the session.

Those who watched with jealousy the behaviour of the King, might easily perceive that he was still in his heart attached to France. He had entered into the wars against Holland without any assurance of support from his Parliament, and he had much more reason to expect it in a war undertaken entirely in compliance with the inclinations of his people. As for the charge against the Commons, of invading the prerogative, it was utterly groundless. They had not declared war, or put any force upon the King to oblige him to do it: they had only given their advice; and to refuse them this power, were to deny to the great council that right which is the basis of our free government.

This doctrine has scarcely been called in question in later times; and it seems to be allowed that the Commons may freely offer their advice upon the exercise of any part of the prerogative.

CHAP. V.

MARRIAGE OF THE FRINCE OF ORANOK.— MISSION OF

LORD DURAS TO PARIS. MEETING OF PARLIAMENT.

SPEECH OF MR. SACHEVEREL MOTION (3F SIR

CILBERT GERARD, SECONDED BY LORD RUSSELL.— HESITATION OF THE KING.— HE CONCLUDE8 A SECRET TREATY WITH FRANCE. GENERAL PEACE.

.the minister, who had succeeded to the power of the Cabal, was Sir Thomas Osborne, afterwards Earl of Danby. He had got the Treasurer's staff upon the resignation of Clifford, and soon eclipsed Arlington in the royal favour. He was himself of the old Cavalier party, had been foremost in the prosecution of Lord Clarendon, and now made it the chief object of bis administration to raise and strengthen the prerogative. The projects for enlarging the King's authority had hitherto failed of success. The Dutch war and the Non-resisting Test Bill had been arrested in their progress by the opposition raised in Parliament. Charles was too sagacious not to perceive, that the suspicions of his religion and of the French alliance had been the chief causes of his failure; and therefore readily gave into a scheme calculated to Remove both obstacles at once. This Was the marriage of the Prince of Orange to the eldest daughter of the Duke of York. So early as 1674, Lord Arlington had been sent to Holland to offer this match, with a proposal, at the same time, that the Prince of Orange should assist Charles against his rebellious subjects. * But the Prince of Orange at that time waved the subject; saying, with respect to the demand for aid, that he could not think the King of England could be so ill-beloved or so imprudent as to need such assistance. The first motion April, was now made by the Prince himself 1677. to Sir William Temple, who thereupon entrusted his wife with a verbal message to Lord Danby. The marriage was not proposed to the King till two months after, and the Prince did not come to England till the end of September. t Even at this time the King continued his secret transactions with France. In August he had concluded a treaty, by which two millions of livres were to be paid him; and, at the very moment of the Prince's arrival, he wrote orders to Montague,

'- h- ..,. , —

* Temple's Works, vol. ii. p. 29 i.
f Danby's Letters.

ills ambassador, to get this sum increased to 200,0001. *

The favourite argument of Montague on these occasions was, that France had gained six millions additional revenue by her conquests in Flanders, in which it was but just that Charles should share, as accessary by connivance. t

When the Prince of Orange arrived in England, he refused, with admirable spirit, to enter into any negociations concerning the terms of peace till the marriage was concluded. This refusal, and the opposition offered by the Duke of York, had nearly prevented the match, but the King suddenly submitted; and these nuptials, so auspicious to the future liberties of England, were immediately celebrated.

The terms of the peace were then agreed upon between the King, the Prince of Orange, Lord Danby, and Sir William Temple. The Kiug was to communicate them to France, and the Prince of Orange to Spain. Upon the question being asked, who was to carry them to France, Lord Danby said it must either be Sir William Temple or himself; and as he could not be spared, Temple was named. He was to

* Montague's Letter to the King, October 12., in Danby's Letters. t Danby'* Letter*. .

give the court of Versailles only two days for an answer; and in case of a refusal, the King was immediately to join the confederates. But the day before Sir William Temple was to go away, the King sent for him, and, with some confusion, told him that he had changed his mind, and would send some other person with the propositions. Temple, instead of being angry, expressed great joy at this news. The King then pretended to consult him about the person to be sent, and said, "What think'you of Lord Duras?" (Lord Feversham.) Temple agreed that he would do very well. Notwithstanding this appearance of asking advice, however, the appointment had been settled that morning with the Duke of York, and the infractions were of a nature that would hardly have pleased Sir William Temple. Lord Duras was ordered to offer the terms which had been concerted with the Prince of Orange, and to assure Lewis, that without them the Prince did not conceive Flanders could be left in any possibility of defence : — that Lewis, having always professed that he did not mean to conquer Flanders, and Charles having told his Parliament and people that he would not see it lost, he feared that if any farther conquests were made, he could no longer resist the humour of his people, which was violently bent on its

« ПредишнаНапред »