Sivut kuvina

venience spare. In this way, at an | digested into a secret treaty which was expense very much less than that which signed at Dover in May 1670, Treaty of he incurred in building and decorating just ten years after the day Dove Versailles or Marli, he succeeded in on which Charles had landed at that making England, during nearly twenty very port amidst the acclamations and years, almost as insignificant a member joyful tears of a too confiding people. of the political system of Europe as By this treaty Charles bound himself the republic of San Marino.

to make public profession of the Roman His object was not to destroy our Catholic religion, to join his arms to constitution, but to keep the various those of Lewis for the purpose of deelements of which it was composed in stroying the power of the United Proa perpetual state of conflict, and to set vinces, and to employ the whole strength irreconcilable enmity between those of England, by land and sea, in support who had the power of the purse and of the rights of the House of Bourbon those who had the power of the sword. to the vast monarchy of Spain. Lewis, With this view he bribed and stimu- on the other hand, engaged to pay a lated both parties in turn, pensioned at large subsidy, and promised that, if once the ministers of the crown and any insurrection should break out in the chiefs of the opposition, encouraged England, he would send an army at the court to withstand the seditious his own charge to support his ally. encroachments of the Parliament, and this compact was made with gloomy conveyed to the Parliament intimations auspices. Six weeks after it had been of the arbitrary designs of the court. signedand sealed, the charming princess,

One of the devices to which he whose influence over her brother and resorted for the purpose of obtaining brother in law had been so pernicious an ascendency in the English counsels to her country, was no more. Her deserves especial notice. Charles, death gave rise to horrible suspicions though incapable of love in the highest which, for a moment, seemed likely to sense of the word, was the slave of interrupt the newly formed friendship any woman whose person excited his between the Houses of Stuart and desires, and whose airs and prattle Bourbon: but in a short time fresh amused his leisure. Indeed a husband assurances of undiminished good will would be justly derided who should were exchanged between the confedebear from a wife of exalted rank and rates. spotless virtue half the insolence The Duke of York, too dull to apprewhich the King of England bore from hend danger, or too fanatical to care concubines who, while they owed about it, was impatient to see the everything to his bounty, caressed his article touching the Roman Catholic courtiers almost before his face. He religion carried into immediate execuhad patiently endured the termagant tion: but Lewis had the wisdom to passions of Barbara Palmer and the perceive that, if this course were taken, pert vivacity of Eleanor Gwynn. Lewis there would be such an explosion in thought that the most useful envoy England as would probably frustrate who could be sent to London, would those parts of the plan which he had be a handsome, licentious, and crafty most at heart. It was therefore deterFrenchwoman. Such a woman was mined that Charles should still call Louisa, a lady of the House of Querou- himself a Protestant, and should still, aille, whom our rude ancestors called at high festivals, receive the sacrament Madam Carwell. She was soon trium- according to the ritual of the Church phant over all her rivals, was created of England. His more scrupulous Duchess of Portsmouth, was loaded brother ceased to appear in the royal with wealth, and obtained a dominion chapel. which ended only with the life of About this time died the Duchess Charles.

of York, daughter of the banished Earl The most important conditions of of Clarendon. She had been, during the alliance between the crowns were some years, a concealed Roman Catholic. reproach. .

She left two daughters, Mary and more and more important. It at length Anne, afterwards successively Queens drew to itself the chief executive power, of Great Britain. They were bred and has now been regarded, during Protestants by the positive command several generations, as an essential part of the King, who knew that it would of our polity. Yet, strange to say, it be vain for him to profess himself a still continues to be altogether unknown member of the Church of England, if to the law: the names of the noblemen children who seemed likely to in- and gentlemen who compose it are herit his throne were, by his permission, never officially announced to the public: brought up as members of the Church no record is kept of its meetings and of Rome.

resolutions; nor has its existence ever The principal servants of the crown been recognised by any Act of Parliaat this time were men whose names ment. have justly acquired an unenviable. During some years the word Cabal notoriety. We must take heed, how- was popularly used as synony- The ever, that we do not load their memory mous with Cabinet. But it hap- Cabal with infamy which of right belongs to pened by a whimsical coincidence that, their master. For the treaty of Dover in 1671, the Cabinet consisted of five the King himself is chiefly answerable. persons the initial letters of whose He held conferences on it with the names made up the word Cabal; ClifFrench agents : he wrote many letters ford, Arlington, Buckingham, Ashley, concerning it with his own hand: he and Lauderdale. These ministers were was the person who first suggested the therefore emphatically called the Cabal; most disgraceful articles which it con- and they soon made that appellation so tained ; and he carefully concealed some infamous that it has nerer since their of those articles from the majority of time been used except as a term of his Cabinet.

Few things in our history are more Sir Thomas Clifford was a CommisNature curious than the origin and sioner of the Treasury, and had greatly en el for growth of the power now pos- distinguished himself in the House of Cabinet sessed by the Cabinet. From Commons. Of the members of the an early period the Kings of England Cabal he was the most respectable. had been assisted by a Privy Council For, with a fiery and imperious temper, to which the law assigned many im- he had a strong though a lamentably portant functions and duties. During perverted sense of duty and honour. several centuries this body deliberated Henry Bennet, Lord Arlington, then on the gravest and most delicate affairs. Secretary of State, had, since he came But by degrees its character changed. to manhood, resided principally on the It became too large for despatch and Continent, and had learned that cosmosecrecy. The rank of Privy Councillor politan indifference to constitutions was often bestowed as an honorary and religions which is often obserydistinction on persons to whom nothing able in persons whose life has been was confided, and whose opinion was passed in vagrant diplomacy. If there never asked. The sovereign, on the was any form of government which he most important occasions, resorted for liked, it was that of France. If there advice to a small knot of leading minis- was any Church for which he felt a ters. The advantages and disadrantages preference, it was that of Rome. He of this course were early pointed out had some talent for conversation, and by Bacon, with his usual judgment and some talent also for transacting the sagacity: but it was not till after the ordinary business of office. He had Restoration that the interior council | learned, during a life passed in travelbegan to attract general notice. During | ling and negotiating, the art of accommany years old fashioned politicians modating his language and deportment continued to regard the Cabinet as an to the society in which he found himunconstitutional and dangerous board. self. His vivacity in the closet amused Nevertheless, it constantly became the King: his gravity in debates and conferences imposed on the public;ness, the most dishonest man in the and he had succeeded in attaching to whole Cabal. He had made himself himself, partly by services and partly conspicuous among the Scotch insurby hopes, a considerable number of gents of 1638 by his zeal for the personal retainers.

Covenant. He was accused of having Buckingham, Ashley, and Lauderdale been deeply concerned in the sale of were men in whom the immorality Charles the First to the English which was epidemic among the politi- Parliament, and was therefore, in the cians of that age appeared in its most estimation of good Cavaliers, a traitor, malignant type, but variously modified if possible, of a worse description than by great diversities of temper and those who had sate in the High Court understanding. Buckingham was a of Justice. He often talked with noisy sated man of pleasure, who had turned jocularity of the days when he was a to ambition as to a pastime. As he canter and a rebel. He was now the had tried to amuse himself with archi-chief instrument employed by the court tecture and music, with writing farces in the work of forcing episcopacy on and with seeking for the philosopher's his reluctant countrymen; nor did he stone, so he now tried to amuse himself in that cause shrink from the unsparing with a secret negotiation and a Dutch use of the sword, the halter, and the war. He had already, rather from boot. Yet those who knew him knew fickleness and love of novelty than that thirty years had made no change from any deep design, been faithless in his real sentiments, that he still to every party. At one time he had hated the memory of Charles the First, ranked among the Cavaliers. At and that he still preferred the Presbyanother time warrants had been out terian form of church government to against him for maintaining a treason- every other. able correspondence with the remains Unscrupulous as Buckingham, Ashof the Republican party in the city. ley, and Lauderdale were, it was not He was now again a courtier, and was thought safe to entrust to them the eager to win the favour of the King by King's intention of declaring himself services from which the most illustrious a Roman Catholic. A false treaty, in of those who had fought and suffered which the article concerning religion for the royal house would have recoiled was omitted, was shown to them. The with horror.

names and seals of Clifford and ArlingAshley, with a far stronger head, ton are affixed to the genuine treaty. and with a far fiercer and more earnest Both these statesmen had a partiality ambition, had been equally versatile. for the old Church, a partiality which But Ashley's versatility was the effect, the brave and vehement Clifford in no not of levity, but of deliberate selfish- long time manfully avowed, but which ness. He had served and betrayed a the colder and meaner Arlington consuccession of governments. But he cealed, till the near approach of death had timed all his treacheries so well scared him into sincerity. The three that, through all revolutions, his other cabinet ministers, however, were fortunes had constantly been rising. not men to be easily kept in the dark, The multitude, struck with admiration and probably suspected more than was by a prosperity which, while every thing distinctly avowed to them. They were else was constantly changing, remained certainly privy to all the political unchangeable, attributed to him a engagements contracted with France, prescience almost miraculous, and and were not ashamed to receive large likened him to the Hebrew statesman gratifications from Lewis. of whom it is written that his counsel | The first object of Charles was to was as if a man had inquired of the obtain from the Commons supplies oracle of God.

which might be employed in executing Lauderdale, loud and coarse, both in the secret treaty. The Cabal, holding mirth and anger, was perhaps, under power at a time when our government the outward show of boisterous frank- was in a state of transition, united in

itself two different kinds of vices for these advances they received assignbelonging to two different ages and ments on the revenue, and were reto two different systems. As those paid with interest as the taxes came in. five evil counsellors were among the About thirteen hundred thousand last English statesmen who seriously pounds had been in this way entrusted thought of destroying the Parliament, to the honour of the state. On a so they were the first English states- sudden it was announced that it was men who attempted extensively to not convenient to pay the principal, corrupt it. We find in their policy at and that the lenders must content once the latest trace of the Thorough themselves with interest. They were of Strafford, and the earliest trace of consequently unable to meet their own that methodical bribery which was engagements. The Exchange was in afterwards practised by Walpole. an uproar: several great mercantile They soon perceived, however, that, houses broke; and dismay and distress though the House of Commons was spread through all society. Meanwhile chiefly composed of Cavaliers, and rapid strides were made towards desthough places and French gold had potism. Proclamations, dispensing been lavished on the members, there with Acts of Parliament, or enjoining was no chance that even the least what only Parliament could lawfully odious parts of the scheme arranged at enjoin, appeared in rapid succession. Dover would be supported by a Of these edicts the most important majority. It was necessary to have was the Declaration of Indulgence. By recourse to fraud. The King ac- this instrument the penal laws against cordingly professed great zeal for the Roman Catholics were set aside; and, principles of the Triple Alliance, and that the real object of the measure pretended that, in order to hold the might not be perceived, the laws ambition of France in check, it would against Protestant Nonconformists be necessary to augment the fleet were also suspended. The Commons fell into the snare, and A few days after the appearance of voted a grant of eight hundred thousand the Declaration of Indulgence, War with pounds. The Parliament was instantly war was proclaimed against Provinces, prorogued: and the court, thus emanci the United Provinces. By sea and their

extreme pated from control, proceeded to the | the Dutch maintained the strug- danger. execution of the great design.

gle with honour ; but on land they were The financial difficulties however at first borne down by irresistible force. Shatting were serious. A war with A great French army passed the Rhine. of the Ex. Holland could be carried on Fortress after fortress opened its gates. chequer.

te only at enormous cost. The Three of the seven provinces of the ordinary revenue was not more than federation were occupied by the insufficient to support the government in vaders. The fires of the hostile camp time of peace. The eight hundred were seen from the top of the Stadtthousand pounds out of which the house of Amsterdam. The Republic, Commons had just been tricked would thus fiercely assailed from without, not defray the naval and military was torn at the same time by internal charge of a single year of hostilities. dissensions. The government was in After the terrible lesson given by the the hands of a close oligarchy of powerLong Parliament, even the Cabai did ful burghers. There were numerous not venture to recommend benevolences selfelected Town Councils, each of or shipmoney. In this perplexity which exercised, within its own sphere, Ashley and Clifford proposed a flagi- many of the rights of sovereignty. tious breach of public faith. The These Councils sent delegates to the goldsmiths of London were then not Provincial States, and the Provincial only dealers in the precious metals, States again sent delegates to the but also bankers, and were in the States General. A hereditary first habit of advancing large sums of magistrate was no essential part of money to the government. In return this polity. Nevertheless one family, singularly fertile of great men, had friends of his line. He enjoyed high gradually obtained a large and some consideration as the possessor of a what indefinite authority. William, splendid fortune, as the chief of one of first of the name, Prince of Orange the most illustrious houses in Europe, Nassau, and Stadtholder of Holland, as a Magnate of the German empire, had headed the memorable insurrection as a prince of the blood royal of Engagainst Spain. His son Maurice had land, and, above all, as the descendant been Captain General and first minis- of the founders of Batavian liberty. ter of the States, had, by eminent But the high office which had once abilities and public services, and by been considered as hereditary in his some treacherous and cruel actions, family, remained in abeyance; and raised himself to almost kingly power, the intention of the aristocratical party and had bequeathed a great part of was that there should never be another that power to his family. The influence Stadtholder. The want of a first maof the Stadtholders was an object of gistrate was, to a great extent, supplied extreme jealousy to the municipal oli- by the Grand Pensionary of the Progarchy. But the army, and that great vince of Holland, John de Witt, whose body of citizens which was excluded abilities, firmness, and integrity had from all share in the government, raised him to unrivalled authority in looked on the Burgomasters and Depu- the councils of the municipal oligarchy. ties with a dislike resembling the dis- The French invasion produced a like with which the legions and the complete change. The suffering and common people of Rome regarded the | terrified people raged fiercely against Senate, and were as zealous for the the government. In their madness House of Orange as the legions and the they attacked the bravest captains and common people of Rome for the House the ablest statesmen of the distressed of Cæsar. The Stadtholder commanded commonwealth. De Ruyter was inthe forces of the commonwealth, dis- sulted by the rabble. De Witt was posed of all military commands, had a torn in pieces before the gate of the Targe share of the civil patronage, and palace of the States General at the was surrounded by pomp almost regal. Hague. The Prince of Orange, who

Prince William the Second had been had no share in the guilt of the murder, strongly opposed by the oligarchical but who, on this occasion, as on anparty. His life had terminated in the other lamentable occasion twenty years year 1650, amidst great civil troubles. later, extended to crimes perpetrated He died childless: the adherents of in his cause an indulgence which has his house were left for a short time left a stain on his glory, became chief without a head; and the powers which of the government without a rival. he had exercised were divided among Young as he was, his ardent and unthe Town Councils, the Provincial conquerable spirit, though disguised States, and the States General. by a cold and sullen manner, soon

But, a few days after William's roused the courage of his dismayed death, his widow, Mary, daughter of countrymen. It was in vain that both Charles the First, King of Great his uncle and the French King atBritain, gave birth to a son, destined tempted by splendid offers to seduce to raise the glory and authority of the him from the cause of the Republic. House of Nassau to the highest point, To the States General he spoke a high to save the United Provinces from and inspiriting language. He even slavery, to curb the power of France, ventured to suggest a scheme which and to establish the English constitu- has an aspect of antique heroism, and tion on a lasting foundation.

which, if it had been accomplished, This Prince, named William Henry, would have been the noblest subject for

m was from his birth an object epic song that is to be found in the Prince of of serious apprehension to the whole compass of modern history. He

se party now supreme in Holland, told the deputies that, even if their and of loyal attachment to the old natal soil and the marvels with which



« EdellinenJatka »