Page images
PDF
EPUB

ported vast quantities of cloth to Hamburgh, A.D. 1666. (that town, in all wars with the Dutch, having been the magazine for the northern parts of the world,) it appeareth that the English goods now there, together with the debts owing from the Hamburghers, upon a just and regular computation, amount to about four hundred thousand pounds sterling, which in case of a war will certainly be confiscated: a sum that never will be repaid by the prizes which may be taken ; for that inconsiderable town, not daring to contend with his majesty, will immediately abstain from all trade, and not venture to put out one ship to sea, their inland trade being what will support them; and consequently their mariners, who are very numerous, will serve the Hollanders for bread: and besides, the lives of those Englishmen who are there will be exposed to the violence of an enraged, ungovernable populace; and then what remains but that our miserable traders thither must throw themselves and their families at his majesty's feet for bread? which would be, also, the condition of several thousands of clothiers and artificers of this nation, who are wholly supported and maintained by that trade. And now, my lord, we are too sensible of his majesty's goodness,

A.D. 1666. to impose upon it longer by our discourse: we

know our concerns are safely lodged when within his breast, and may esteem our fortunes secure, when committed to the tender care of the father

of our country.” Lord Ash- The war with Holland had been owing to the ley's aversion to the intrigues of France, whose instruments for prodesigns of

moting and carrying it on were the Duke of York and his adherents in the court. The chief persons entrusted by the duke, and promoted by his influence, were declared or suspected papists ; from whence Lord Ashley soon penetrated the secret of his being perverted to popery. The duke's principles made him believe that the crown ought to be vested with an arbitrary power, and his temper naturally led him to the practice of it: France promised him support in all his views, whether relating to government or religion; and for this reason he was always closely attached to her interest. Lord Ashley had an invincible aversion both to arbitrary power and to popery. *

France.

* Ce seigneur, quoique d'ailleurs tres moderé, estoit intraitable sur la religion Romaine, pour laquelle il avoit une aversion invincible. Il n'etoit pas mieux disposé à l'egard du pouvoir arbitraire

et tyrannique, c'est une chose connue de tous ceux qui ont eû quelque commerce avec lui, ou qui en ont oui parler à ceux qui l'ont connu. — Le Clerc, Bibliothèque Choisie, tom. vi. p. 364.

motes a

His opposition, in council, to every step in favour A.D. 1666. of either of these, and his suspicions of the duke, which he did not dissemble, gave the latter a distaste to him, that settled in an irreconcilable hatred; though the duke as yet had not dared to make any public profession of his religion. · The war evidently tended to weaken the mari- He protime powers, and in them the protestant interest. peace with

V. Holland. The French king's greatness could only be built on their ruin; and therefore Lord Ashley tried every art, and used his utmost interest, to forward a peace with the Dutch. However, he proposed, at the same time, that the nation might reap some advantage by the war; and for this purpose he delivered a paper to the king, representing that, in the treaty of peace, one half at the terms

proposed least of the trade of nutmegs, mace, cloves, and by him. cinnamon, which were solely in the hands of the Dutch East-India Company, should be claimed and insisted on. These claims he grounded on the Dutch having, by fraud and force, dispossessed the English of the spice trade at Amboyna and Poleroon; on their keeping possession of it, contrary to an agreement made with King James in the year 1619, by which agreement the English were to have one third part of the trade; on

VOL. I.

A.D. 1666. their detaining the island of Poleroon, contrary

to articles lately made ; on their, also, obliging the King of Macassar to exclude the English by name from the trade of cloves; and on their expelling the Portuguese from the island of Ceylon, and depriving the English likewise of the cinnamon trade; by which means, being the sole masters of those commodities, they made the whole world pay at least four times the price for them which they formerly did.

He proposed that if this agreement should be made with the Dutch, the English, for their own security, should have a military command in those places ; that caution should be taken at home for the performance of what was stipulated; that the commodities shipped from any of those islands to Europe, Persia, or other parts of the world, should be for a joint account of both nations; and that, if not the whole, at least half of the goods should be laden in English ships, and sold at such rates as should be mutually settled between the two powers: but this representation had no effect. The war was neither entered into nor concluded with any regard to the interest of England. It was carried on without honour, and ended without advantage.

war was

[ocr errors]

On the 16th of May 1667, Lord Ashley lost A.D. 1667. his relation and great friend, the Earl of South- Earl of ampton; and in him the public was deprived of ton’s death. a true patriot, and the protestant interest of an eminent support. He, in conjunction with Lord Ashley, Lord Roberts (lord privy seal), the Earl of Manchester (lord chamberlain), the Earls of Northumberland, Leicester, Sandwich, and Anglesey, Lord Holles, and Secretary Morrice, had given great opposition to the French interest, to the penal laws, and the schemes of arbitrary power.

After his death the following commissioners were appointed for executing the office of lord high treasurer, viz. the Duke of Albemarle, Lord Ashley (who continued chancellor of the exchequer), Sir William Coventry, Sir John Duncombe, and Sir Thomas Clifford. 69

On the 23rd of May 1667, a treaty of com

69 Clarendon claims the merit of having recommended Lord Ashley upon this occasion. He says the king “named Sir Thomas Clifford, who was newly of the council and comptroller of the house, and Sir William Coventry, and said, “he did not think there should be many;' and the duke then named Sir John Duncombe, as a man of whom he had heard well, and everybody knew he was intimate with Sir William Coventry. The king said, he thought they three would be enough, and that

« PreviousContinue »