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A.D. 1670. The value of James the Second's testimony, or
rather, perhaps, of that of the person who compiled his life, (see Fox's History of the early part of the reign of James II. p. xxvi.) may be estimated by his declaration, that he and Arlington knew nothing of this second treaty. 7
It is evident, from all our writers, that the two favourite points with the court were the esta
blishment of an arbitrary power in the crown, and The king's the introduction of popery. The king was zea
lous for the first, and inclined towards the last : the Duke of York was earnest for both; and, as his zeal and industry supplied the want of capacity, the king, from his natural indolence, trusted his brother chiefly with the management of these points, by which means he was himself left more at liberty to follow his pleasures, and was screened from the resentment of the nation.
The scheme of arbitrary. power was formed from the politics of France, carried on by her instructions, and supported by her interest. From
According to the fashion of that age, the seconds fought as well as the principals; and there were six combatants upon the ground. The duke was attended by Sir Robert Holmes and Captain Jenkins, and the earl by Sir John Talbot and Mr Bernard Howard. The countess afterwards married a Mr. Bridges.
her were introduced those two engines of power, A.D. 1670. luxury and corruption, which mutually support and increase each other. Though luxury is always represented as the mother of corruption, this as naturally tends to the improvement of luxury, which, beginning with the higher ranks of mankind, soon spreads, by the prevalence of example, through the body of the people. Each is sufficient to poison the best constitution; but where they co-operate, their influence is as irresistible as it is fatal. To promote the scheme more effectually, the protestants were divided at home and weakened abroad ; the church was armed with power against the dissenters, and the dissenters were afterwards indulged only with a view to widen the breach; while every act which enlarged this breach added strength to the crown. In imitation of the French court, the king, soon after the Restoration, throwing off bis confidence in the people, established a large body of guards, and raised a great army in Scotland. The interest of France was supported abroad, in return for her assistance to the designs of the court of England. With the same view, the first Dutch war, in 1664, was entered into; as was likewise the second, in
A.D. 1670. 1672. The last has generally been most ex
claimed against; but they had both of them the same tendency, and were owing to the same
counsels. The Cabal. The whole management of affairs has been
generally represented as centering in the five following persons, Clifford, Arlington, Buckingham, Ashley, and Lauderdale; the initial letters of whose names forming the technical word Cabal, it is probable that the wit, which was
thought to be in this conceit, gave birth to the The com- opinion. Nothing can be more evident than mon opini
that the Duke of York had the greatest, if not the only influence in council; and it should seem that the Duke of Ormond must have had some share in the conduct of affairs : for when the Duke of Buckingham was, three years* afterwards, examined before the house of commons, and was asked by the speaker “ which of the ministry had got any great sums of money,” he only mentioned the Duke of Ormond and Lord Arlington, and said of the first, it was upon record that he had got five hundred thousand
on of it erroneous.
It will appear, that the members of the com
* January 14, 1673.
mittee for foreign affairs, which has been com- A D. 1670. monly called the cabinet council, were far from acting in perfect harmony; that Lord Ashley was not acquainted with all their secrets, and that he opposed many of their designs. Nay, at the very time in which the cabal is said to have been formed, the Duke of Buckingham and Lord Arlington were declared enemies, and were endeavouring to ruin each other. Bishop Burnet allows that, in the latter end of the year 1668, they fell out; and Lord Ashley, in a letter to his intimate friend Sir William Morrice, who had lately resigned the office of secretary of state, hints at their disunion in the following words: “ The Lapland knots are untied, and we are in horrid storms: those that hunted together, now hunt one another; but, at horseplay, the master of the horse must have the better. *"
On the 19th of May 1670, the Duchess of Duchess of Orleans, King Charles's sister, came into Eng- visit. land, and was met by the king at Dover. There a stricter union was settled between the crowns
* As the Duke of Buckingham was at that time master of the horse, it is plain that Lord Ashley alluded to the
enmity between the duke and Lord Arlington, who had been declared enemies of the Earl of Clarendon.
A.D. 1670. of England and France. A treaty was formed
for the breach of the triple alliance, and for declaring war against the Dutch; and, to draw King Charles more readily into the snare, the French king engaged to assist him with fifty thousand men, whenever they should be demanded, for advancing his schemes in favour of popery and arbitrary power at home.
This treaty, which was so threatening to the liberties of England, and, indeed, of Europe, proved more immediately fatal to the duchess
of Orleans herself; for, upon her return to the Her death. French court, she was poisoned, as it was thought,
in consequence of the jealousy of her husband,
and expired soon after in great torments. Duke of The Duke of Buckingham, who had hitherto ham’s em- acted in concert with Lord Ashley, was sent
over to the court of France with a compliment of condolence on the death of the duchess. As he was always unsteady in his conduct, he was soon lost in the pleasures, and dazzled with the honours with which the French court distinguished him ; went without reserve into its interest; and concluded the treaty with France which had been entered into at Dover. Lord Ashley, who was fearful of the duke's conduct,
bassy to France.