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´╗┐Title: History of the Early Part of the Reign of James the Second
Author: Fox, Charles James, 1749-1806
Language: English
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Transcribed from the 1888 Cassell & Company edition by David Price, email






Fox's "History of the Reign of James II.," which begins with his view of
the reign of Charles II. and breaks off at the execution of Monmouth, was
the beginning of a History of England from the Revolution, upon which he
worked in the last years of his life, for which he collected materials in
Paris after the Peace of Amiens, in 1802--he died in September, 1806--and
which was first published in 1808.

The grandfather of Charles James Fox was Stephen, son of William Fox, of
Farley, in Wiltshire.  Stephen Fox was a young royalist under Charles I.
He was twenty-two at the time of the king's execution, went into exile
during the Commonwealth, came back at the Restoration, was appointed
paymaster of the first two regiments of guards that were raised, and
afterwards Paymaster of all the Forces.  In that office he made much
money, but rebuilt the church at Farley, and earned lasting honour as the
actual founder of Chelsea Hospital, which was opened in 1682 for wounded
and superannuated soldiers.  The ground and buildings had been appointed
by James I., in 1609, as Chelsea College, for the training of disputants
against the Roman Catholics.  Sir Stephen Fox himself contributed
thirteen thousand pounds to the carrying out of this design.  Fox's
History dealt, therefore, with times in which his grandfather had played
a part.

In 1703, when his age was seventy-six, Stephen Fox took a second wife, by
whom he had two sons, who became founders of two families; Stephen, the
elder, became first Earl of Ilchester; Henry, the younger, who married
Georgina, daughter of the Duke of Richmond, and was himself created, in
1763, Baron Holland of Farley.  Of the children of that marriage Charles
James Fox was the third son, born on the 24th of January, 1749.  The
second son had died in infancy.

Henry Fox inherited Tory opinions.  He was regarded by George II. as a
good man of business, and was made Secretary of War in 1754, when Charles
James, whose cleverness made him a favoured child, was five years old.  In
the next year Henry Fox was Secretary of State for the Southern
Department.  The outbreak of the Seven Years' War bred discontent and
change of Ministry.  The elder Fox had then to give place to the elder
Pitt.  But Henry Fox was compensated by the office of Paymaster of the
Forces, from which he knew even better than his father had known how to
extract profit.  He rapidly acquired the wealth which he joined to his
title as Lord Holland of Farley, and for which he was attacked
vigorously, until two hundred thousand pounds--some part of the money
that stayed by him--had been refunded.

Henry Fox, Lord Holland, found his boy, Charles James, brilliant and
lively, made him a companion, and indulged him to the utmost.  Once he
expressed a strong desire to break a watch that his father was winding
up: his father gave it him to dash upon the floor.  Once his father had
promised that when an old garden wall at Holland House was blown down
with gunpowder before replacing it with iron railings, he should see the
explosion.  The workmen blew it down in the boy's absence: his father had
the wall rebuilt in its old form that it might be blown down again in his
presence, and his promise kept.  He was sent first to Westminster School,
and then to Eton.  At home he was his father's companion, joined in the
talk of men at his father's dinner-parties, travelled at fourteen with
his father to the Continent, and is said to have been allowed five
guineas a night for gambling-money.  He grew up reckless of the worth of
money, and for many years the excitement of gambling was to him as one of
the necessaries of life.  His immense energy at school and college made
him work as hard as the most diligent man who did nothing else, and
devote himself to gambling, horse-racing, and convivial pleasures as
vigorously as if he were the weak man capable of nothing else.  The Eton
boys all prophesied his future fame.  At Oxford, where he entered
Hertford College, he was one of the best men of his time, and one of the
wildest.  A clergyman, strong in Greek, was arguing with young Fox
against the genuineness of a verse of the Iliad because its measure was
unusual.  Fox at once quoted from memory some twenty parallels.

From college he went on the usual tour of Europe, spending lavishly,
incurring heavy debts, and sending home large bills for his father to
pay.  One bill alone, paid by his father to a creditor at Naples, was for
sixteen thousand pounds.  He came back in raiment of the highest fashion,
and was put into Parliament in 1768, not yet twenty years old, as member
for Midhurst.  He began his political life with the family opinions,
defended the Ministry against John Wilkes, and was provided promptly with
a place as Paymaster of the Pensions to the Widows of Land Officers, and
then, when he had reached the age of twenty-one, there was a seat found
for him at the Board of Admiralty.

At once Fox made his mark in the House as a brilliant debater with an
intellectual power and an industry that made him master of the subjects
he discussed.  Still also he was scattering money, and incurring debt,
training race-horses, and staking heavily at gambling tables.  When a
noble friend, who was not a gambler, offered to bet fifty pounds upon a
throw, Fox declined, saying, "I never play for pence."

After a few years of impatient submission to Lord North, Fox broke from
him, and it was not long before he had broken from Lord North's opinions
and taken the side of the people in all leading questions.  He became the
friend of Burke; and joined in the attack upon the policy of Coercion
that destroyed the union between England and her American colonies.  In
1774, at the age of twenty-five, Fox lost by death his father, his
mother, and his elder brother, who had succeeded to the title, and who
had left a little son to be his heir.  In February of that year Lord
North had finally broken with Fox by causing a letter to be handed to him
in the House of Commons while he was sitting by his side on the Treasury

   "His Majesty has thought proper to order a new commission of the
   Treasury to be made out, in which I do not perceive your name.  NORTH."

By the end of the year he was member for Malmesbury, and one of the
chiefs in opposition.  When Lord North opened the session of 1775 with a
speech arguing the need of coercion, Fox compared what ought to have been
done with what was done, and said that Lord Chatham, the King of Prussia,
nay, even Alexander the Great, never gained more in one campaign than
Lord North had lost.  He had lost a whole continent.  When Lord North's
ministry fell in 1782, Fox became a Secretary of State, resigning on the
death of Rockingham.  In coalition with Lord North, Fox brought in an
India Bill, which was rejected by the Lords, and caused a resignation of
the Ministry.  Pitt then came into office, and there was rivalry between
a Pitt and a Fox of the second generation, with some reversal in each son
of the political bias of his father.

In opposing the policy that caused the American Revolution Fox and Burke
were of one mind.  He opposed the slave trade.  After the outbreak of the
French Revolution he differed from Burke, and resolutely opposed Pitt's
policy of interference by armed force.

William Pitt died on the 23rd January, 1806.  Charles James Fox became
again a Secretary of State, and had set on foot negotiations for a peace
with France before his own death, eight months later, at the age of fifty-

During the last ten or twelve years of his life Fox had withdrawn from
the dissipations of his earlier years.  His interest in horse-racing
flagged after the death, in 1793, of his friend Lord Foley, a kindly,
honourable man, upon whose judgment in such matters Fox had greatly
relied.  Lord Foley began his sporting life with a clear estate of 1,800
pounds a year, and 100,000 pounds in ready money.  He ended his sporting
and his earthly life with an estate heavily encumbered and an empty

H. M.


Introductory observations--First period, from Henry VII. to the year
1588--Second period, from 1588 to 1640--Meeting of Parliament--Redress of
grievances--Strafford's attainder--The commencement of the Civil
War--Treaty from the Isle of Wight--The king's execution--Cromwell's
power; his character--Indifference of the nation respecting forms of
government--The Restoration--Ministry of Clarendon sod
Southampton--Cabal--Dutch War--De Witt--The Prince of Orange--The Popish
plot--The Habeas Corpus Act--The Exclusion Bill--Dissolution of Charles
the Second's last Parliament--His power; his tyranny in Scotland; in
England--Exorbitant fines--Executions--Forfeitures of charters--Despotism
established--Despondency of good men--Charles's death; his
character--Reflections upon the probable consequences of his reign and

In reading the history of every country there are certain periods at
which the mind naturally pauses to meditate upon, and consider them, with
reference, not only to their immediate effects, but to their more remote
consequences.  After the wars of Marius and Sylla, and the incorporation,
as it were, of all Italy with the city of Rome, we cannot but stop to
consider the consequences likely to result from these important events;
and in this instance we find them to be just such as might have been

The reign of our Henry VII. affords a field of more doubtful speculation.
Every one who takes a retrospective view of the wars of York and
Lancaster, and attends to the regulations effected by the policy of that
prince, must see they would necessarily lead to great and important
changes in the government; but what the tendency of such changes would
be, and much more, in what manner they would be produced, might be a
question of great difficulty.  It is now the generally received opinion,
and I think a probable opinion, that to the provisions of that reign we
are to refer the origin, both of the unlimited power of the Tudors and of
the liberties wrested by our ancestors from the Stuarts; that tyranny was
their immediate, and liberty their remote, consequence; but he must have
great confidence in his own sagacity who can satisfy himself that,
unaided by the knowledge of subsequent events, he could, from a
consideration of the causes, have foreseen the succession of effects so

Another period that affords ample scope for speculation of this kind is
that which is comprised between the years 1588 and 1640, a period of
almost uninterrupted tranquillity and peace.  The general improvement in
all arts of civil life, and, above all, the astonishing progress of
literature, are the most striking among the general features of that
period, and are in themselves causes sufficient to produce effects of the
utmost importance.  A country whose language was enriched by the works of
Hooker, Raleigh, and Bacon, could not but experience a sensible change in
its manners and in its style of thinking; and even to speak the same
language in which Spenser and Shakespeare had written seemed a sufficient
plea to rescue the commons of England from the appellation of brutes,
with which Henry VIII. had addressed them.  Among the more particular
effects of this general improvement the most material and worthy to be
considered appear to me to have been the frequency of debate in the House
of Commons, and the additional value that came to be set on a seat in
that assembly.

From these circumstances a sagacious observer may be led to expect the
most important revolutions; and from the latter he may be enabled to
foresee that the House of Commons will be the principal instrument in
bringing them to pass.  But in what manner will that house conduct
itself?  Will it content itself with its regular share of legislative
power, and with the influence which it cannot fail to possess whenever it
exerts itself upon the other branches of the legislative, and on the
executive power; or will it boldly (perhaps rashly) pretend to a power
commensurate with the natural rights of the representative of the people?
If it should, will it not be obliged to support its claims by military
force?  And how long will such a force be under its control?  How long
before it follows the usual course of all armies, and ranges itself under
a single master?  If such a master should arise, will he establish an
hereditary or an elective government?  If the first, what will be gained
but a change of dynasty?  If the second, will not the military force, as
it chose the first king or protector (the name is of no importance),
choose in effect all his successors?  Or will he fail, and shall we have
a restoration, usually the most dangerous and worst of all revolutions?
To some of these questions the answers may, from the experience of past
ages, be easy, but to many of them far otherwise.  And he will read
history with most profit who the most canvasses questions of this nature,
especially if he can divest his mind for the time of the recollection of
the event as it in fact succeeded.

The next period, as it is that which immediately precedes the
commencement of this history, requires a more detailed examination; nor
is there any more fertile of matter, whether for reflection or
speculation.  Between the year 1640 and the death of Charles II. we have
the opportunity of contemplating the state in almost every variety of
circumstance.  Religious dispute, political contest in all its forms and
degrees, from the honest exertions of party and the corrupt intrigues of
faction to violence and civil war; despotism, first, in the person of a
usurper, and afterwards in that of an hereditary king; the most memorable
and salutary improvements in the laws, the most abandoned administration
of them; in fine, whatever can happen to a nation, whether of glorious of
calamitous, makes a part of this astonishing and instructive picture.

The commencement of this period is marked by exertions of the people,
through their representatives in the House of Commons, not only
justifiable in their principle, but directed to the properest objects,
and in a manner the most judicious.  Many of their leaders were greatly
versed in ancient as well as modern learning, and were even
enthusiastically attached to the great names of antiquity; but they never
conceived the wild project of assimilating the government of England to
that of Athens, of Sparta, or of Rome.  They were content with applying
to the English constitution, and to the English laws, the spirit of
liberty which had animated and rendered illustrious the ancient
republics.  Their first object was to obtain redress of past grievances,
with a proper regard to the individuals who had suffered; the next, to
prevent the recurrence of such grievances by the abolition of tyrannical
tribunals acting upon arbitrary maxims in criminal proceedings, and most
improperly denominated courts of justice.  They then proceeded to
establish that fundamental principle of all free government, the
preserving of the purse to the people and their representatives.  And
though there may be more difference of opinion upon their proposed
regulations in regard to the militia, yet surely, when a contest was to
be foreseen, they could not, consistently with prudence, leave the power
of the sword altogether in the hands of an adverse party.

The prosecution of Lord Strafford, or rather, the manner in which it was
carried on, is less justifiable.  He was, doubtless, a great delinquent,
and well deserved the severest punishment; but nothing short of a clearly
proved case of self-defence can justify, or even excuse, a departure from
the sacred rules of criminal justice.  For it can rarely indeed happen
that the mischief to be apprehended from suffering any criminal, however
guilty, to escape, can be equal to that resulting from the violation of
those rules to which the innocent owe the security of all that is dear to
them.  If such cases have existed they must have been in instances where
trial has been wholly out of the question, as in that of Caesar and other
tyrants; but when a man is once in a situation to be tried, and his
person in the power of his accusers and his judges, he can no longer be
formidable in that degree which alone can justify (if anything can) the
violation of the substantial rules of criminal proceedings.

At the breaking out of the Civil War, so intemperately denominated a
rebellion by Lord Clarendon and other Tory writers, the material question
appears to me to be, whether or not sufficient attempts were made by the
Parliament and their leaders to avoid bringing affairs to such a
decision?  That, according to the general principles of morality, they
had justice on their side cannot fairly be doubted; but did they
sufficiently attend to that great dictum of Tully in questions of civil
dissension, wherein he declares his preference of even an unfair peace to
the most just war?  Did they sufficiently weigh the dangers that might
ensue even from victory; dangers, in such cases, little less formidable
to the cause of liberty than those which might follow a defeat?  Did they
consider that it is not peculiar to the followers of Pompey, and the
civil wars of Rome, that the event to be looked for is, as the same Tully
describes it, in case of defeat--proscription; in that of
victory--servitude?  Is the failure of the negotiation when the king was
in the Isle of Wight to be imputed to the suspicions justly entertained
of his sincerity, or to the ambition of the parliamentary leaders?  If
the insincerity of the king was the real cause, ought not the mischief to
be apprehended from his insincerity rather to have been guarded against
by treaty than alleged as a pretence for breaking off the negotiation?
Sad, indeed, will be the condition of the world if we are never to make
peace with an adverse party whose sincerity we have reason to suspect.
Even just grounds for such suspicions will but too often occur, and when
such fail, the proneness of man to impute evil qualities, as well as evil
designs, to his enemies, will suggest false ones.  In the present case
the suspicion of insincerity was, it is true, so just, as to amount to a
moral certainty.  The example of the petition of right was a satisfactory
proof that the king made no point of adhering to concessions which he
considered as extorted from him; and a philosophical historian, writing
above a century after the time, can deem the pretended hard usage Charles
met with as a sufficient excuse for his breaking his faith in the first
instance, much more must that prince himself, with all his prejudices and
notions of his divine right, have thought it justifiable to retract
concessions, which to him, no doubt, appeared far more unreasonable than
the petition of right, and which, with much more colour, he might
consider as extorted.  These considerations were probably the cause why
the Parliament so long delayed their determination of accepting the
king's offer as a basis for treaty; but, unfortunately, they had delayed
so long that when at last they adopted it they found themselves without
power to carry it into execution.  The army having now ceased to be the
servants, had become the masters of the Parliament, and, being entirely
influenced by Cromwell, gave a commencement to what may, properly
speaking, be called a new reign.  The subsequent measures, therefore, the
execution of the king, as well as others, are not to be considered as
acts of the Parliament, but of Cromwell; and great and respectable as are
the names of some who sat in the high court, they must be regarded, in
this instance, rather as ministers of that usurper than as acting from

The execution of the king, though a far less violent measure than that of
Lord Strafford, is an event of so singular a nature that we cannot wonder
that it should have excited more sensation than any other in the annals
of England.  This exemplary act of substantial justice, as it has been
called by some, of enormous wickedness by others, must be considered in
two points of view.  First, was it not in itself just and necessary?
Secondly, was the example of it likely to be salutary or pernicious?  In
regard to the first of these questions, Mr. Hume, not perhaps
intentionally, makes the best justification of it by saying that while
Charles lived the projected republic could never be secure.  But to
justify taking away the life of an individual upon the principle of self-
defence, the danger must be not problematical and remote, but evident and
immediate.  The danger in this instance was not of such a nature, and the
imprisonment or even banishment of Charles might have given to the
republic such a degree of security as any government ought to be content
with.  It must be confessed, however, on the other aide, that if the
republican government had suffered the king to escape, it would have been
an act of justice and generosity wholly unexampled; and to have granted
him even his life would have been one among the more rare efforts of
virtue.  The short interval between the deposal and death of princes is
become proverbial, and though there may be some few examples on the other
side as far as life is concerned, I doubt whether a single instance can
be found where liberty has been granted to a deposed monarch.  Among the
modes of destroying persons in such a situation, there can be little
doubt but that that adopted by Cromwell and his adherents is the least
dishonourable.  Edward II., Richard II., Henry VI., Edward V., had none
of them long survived their deposal, but this was the first instance, in
our history at least, where, of such an act, it could be truly said that
it was not done in a corner.

As to the second question, whether the advantage to be derived from the
example was such as to justify an act of such violence, it appears to me
to be a complete solution of it to observe that, with respect to England
(and I know not upon what ground we are to set examples for other
nations; or, in other words, to take the criminal justice of the world
into our hands) it was wholly needless, and therefore unjustifiable, to
set one for kings at a time when it was intended the office of king
should be abolished, and consequently that no person should be in the
situation to make it the rule of his conduct.  Besides, the miseries
attendant upon a deposed monarch seem to be sufficient to deter any
prince, who thinks of consequences, from running the risk of being placed
in such a situation; or, if death be the only evil that can deter him,
the fate of former tyrants deposed by their subjects would by no means
encourage him to hope he could avoid even that catastrophe.  As far as we
can judge from the event, the example was certainly not very effectual,
since both the sons of Charles, though having their father's fate before
their eyes, yet feared not to violate the liberties of the people even
more than he had attempted to do.

If we consider this question of example in a more extended view, and look
to the general effect produced upon the minds of men, it cannot be
doubted but the opportunity thus given to Charles to display his firmness
and piety has created more respect for his memory than it could otherwise
have obtained.  Respect and pity for the sufferer on the one hand, and
hatred to his enemies on the other, soon produce favour and aversion to
their respective causes; and thus, even though it should be admitted
(which is doubtful) that some advantage may have been gained to the cause
of liberty by the terror of the example operating upon the minds of
princes, such advantage is far outweighed by the zeal which admiration
for virtue, and pity for sufferings, the best passions of the human
heart, have excited in favour of the royal cause.  It has been thought
dangerous to the morals of mankind, even in fiction and romance, to make
us sympathise with characters whose general conduct is blameable; but how
much greater must the effect be when in real history our feelings are
interested in favour of a monarch with whom, to say the least, his
subjects were obliged to contend in arms for their liberty?  After all,
however, notwithstanding what the more reasonable part of mankind may
think upon this question, it is much to be doubted whether this singular
proceeding has not as much as any other circumstance, served to raise the
character of the English nation in the opinion of Europe in general.  He
who has read, and still more, he who has heard in conversation
discussions upon this subject by foreigners, must have perceived that,
even in the minds of those who condemn the act, the impression made by it
has been far more that of respect and admiration than that of disgust and
horror.  The truth is that the guilt of the action--that is to say, the
taking away of the life of the king, is what most men in the place of
Cromwell and his associates would have incurred; what there is of
splendour and of magnanimity in it, I mean the publicity and solemnity of
the act, is what few would be capable of displaying.  It is a degrading
fact to human nature, that even the sending away of the Duke of
Gloucester was an instance of generosity almost unexampled in the history
of transactions of this nature.

From the execution of the king to the death of Cromwell, the government
was, with some variation of forms, in substance monarchical and absolute,
as a government established by a military force will almost invariably
be, especially when the exertions of such a force are continued for any
length of time.  If to this general rule our own age, and a people whom
their origin and near relation to us would almost warrant us to call our
own nation, have afforded a splendid and perhaps a solitary exception, we
must reflect not only that a character of virtues so happily tempered by
one another, and so wholly unalloyed with any vices, as that of
Washington, is hardly to be found in the pages of history, but that even
Washington himself might not have been able to act his most glorious of
all parts without the existence of circumstances uncommonly favourable,
and almost peculiar to the country which was to be the theatre of it.
Virtue like his depends not indeed upon time or place; but although in no
country or time would he have degraded himself into a Pisistratus, or a
Caesar, or a Cromwell, he might have shared the fate of a Cato, or a De
Witt; or, like Ludlow and Sidney, have mourned in exile the lost
liberties of his country.

With the life of the protector almost immediately ended the government
which he had established.  The great talents of this extraordinary person
had supported during his life a system condemned equally by reason and by
prejudice: by reason, as wanting freedom; by prejudice, as a usurpation;
and it must be confessed to be no mean testimony to his genius, that
notwithstanding the radical defects of such a system, the splendour of
his character and exploits render the era of the protectorship one of the
most brilliant in English history.  It is true his conduct in foreign
concerns is set off to advantage by a comparison of it with that of those
who preceded and who followed him.  If he made a mistake in espousing the
French interest instead of the Spanish, we should recollect that in
examining this question we must divest our minds entirely of all the
considerations which the subsequent relative state of those two empires
suggest to us before we can become impartial judges in it; and at any
rate we must allow his reign, in regard to European concerns, to have
been most glorious when contrasted with the pusillanimity of James I.,
with the levity of Charles I., and the mercenary meanness of the two last
princes of the house of Stuart.  Upon the whole, the character of
Cromwell must ever stand high in the list of those who raised themselves
to supreme power by the force of their genius; and among such, even in
respect of moral virtue, it would be found to be one of the least
exceptionable if it had not been tainted with that most odious and
degrading of all human vices, hypocrisy.

The short interval between Cromwell's death and the restoration exhibits
the picture of a nation either so wearied with changes as not to feel, or
so subdued by military power as not to dare to show, any care or even
preference with regard to the form of their government.  All was in the
army; and that army, by such a concurrence of fortuitous circumstances as
history teaches us not to be surprised at, had fallen into the hands of a
man than whom a baser could not be found in its lowest ranks.  Personal
courage appears to have been Monk's only virtue; reserve and
dissimulation made up the whole stock of his wisdom.  But to this man did
the nation look up, ready to receive from his orders the form of
government he should choose to prescribe.  There is reason to believe
that, from the general bias of the Presbyterians, as well as of the
Cavaliers, monarchy was the prevalent wish; but it is observable that
although the Parliament was, contrary to the principle upon which it was
pretended to be called, composed of many avowed royalists, yet none dared
to hint at the restoration of the king till they had Monk's permission,
or rather command to receive and consider his letters.  It is impossible,
in reviewing the whole of this transaction, not to remark that a general
who had gained his rank, reputation, and station in the service of a
republic, and of what he, as well as others, called, however falsely, the
cause of liberty, made no scruple to lay the nation prostrate at the feet
of a monarch, without a single provision in favour of that cause; and if
the promise of indemnity may seem to argue that there was some attention,
at least, paid to the safety of his associates in arms, his subsequent
conduct gives reason to suppose that even this provision was owing to any
other cause rather than to a generous feeling of his breast.  For he
afterwards not only acquiesced in the insults so meanly put upon the
illustrious corpse of Blake, under whose auspices and command he had
performed the most creditable services of his life, but in the trial of
Argyle produced letters of friendship and confidence to take away the
life of a nobleman, the zeal and cordiality of whose co-operation with
him, proved by such documents, was the chief ground of his execution;
thus gratuitously surpassing in infamy those miserable wretches who, to
save their own lives, are sometimes persuaded to impeach and swear away
the lives of their accomplices.

The reign of Charles II. forms one of the most singular as well as of the
most important periods of history.  It is the era of good laws and bad
government.  The abolition of the court of wards, the repeal of the writ
De Heretico Comburendo, the Triennial Parliament Bill, the establishment
of the rights of the House of Commons in regard to impeachment, the
expiration of the Licence Act, and, above all, the glorious statute of
Habeas Corpus, have therefore induced a modern writer of great eminence
to fix the year 1679 as the period at which our constitution had arrived
at its greatest theoretical perfection; but he owns, in a short note upon
the passage alluded to, that the times immediately following were times
of great practical oppression.  What a field for meditation does this
short observation from such a man furnish!  What reflections does it not
suggest to a thinking mind upon the inefficacy of human laws and the
imperfection of human constitutions!  We are called from the
contemplation of the progress of our constitution, and our attention
fixed with the most minute accuracy to a particular point, when it is
said to have risen to its utmost perfection.  Here we are, then, at the
best moment of the best constitution that ever human wisdom framed.  What
follows?  A tide of oppression and misery, not arising from external or
accidental causes, such as war, pestilence, or famine, nor even from any
such alteration of the laws as might be supposed to impair this boasted
perfection, but from a corrupt and wicked administration, which all the
so much admired checks of the constitution were not able to prevent.  How
vain, then, how idle, how presumptuous is the opinion that laws can do
everything! and how weak and pernicious the maxim founded upon it, that
measures, not men, are to be attended to.

The first years of this reign, under the administration of Southampton
and Clarendon, form by far the least exceptionable part of it; and even
in this period the executions of Argyle and Vane and the whole conduct of
the Government with respect to church matters, both in England and in
Scotland, were gross instances of tyranny.  With respect to the execution
of those who were accused of having been more immediately concerned in
the king's death, that of Scrope, who had come in upon the proclamation,
and of the military officers who had attended the trial, was a violation
of every principle of law and justice.  But the fate of the others,
though highly dishonourable to Monk, whose whole power had arisen from
his zeal in their service, and the favour and confidence with which they
had rewarded him, and not, perhaps, very creditable to the nation, of
which many had applauded, more had supported, and almost all had
acquiesced in the act, is not certainly to be imputed as a crime to the
king, or to those of his advisers who were of the Cavalier party.  The
passion of revenge, though properly condemned both by philosophy and
religion, yet when it is excited by injurious treatment of persons justly
dear to us, is among the most excusable of human frailties; and if
Charles, in his general conduct, had shown stronger feelings of gratitude
for services performed to his father, his character, in the eyes of many,
would be rather raised than lowered by this example of severity against
the regicides.  Clarendon is said to have been privy to the king's
receiving money from Louis XIV.; but what proofs exist of this charge
(for a heavy charge it is) I know not.  Southampton was one of the very
few of the Royalist party who preserved any just regard for the liberties
of the people; and the disgust which a person possessed of such
sentiments must unavoidably feel is said to have determined him to quit
the king's service, and to retire altogether from public affairs.  Whether
he would have acted upon this determination, his death, which happened in
the year 1667, prevents us now from ascertaining.

After the fall of Clarendon, which soon followed, the king entered into
that career of misgovernment which, that he was able to pursue it to its
end, is a disgrace to the history of our country.  If anything can add to
our disgust at the meanness with which he solicited a dependence upon
Louis XIV., it is, the hypocritical pretence upon which he was
continually pressing that monarch.  After having passed a law, making it
penal to affirm (what was true) that he was a papist, he pretended (which
was certainly not true) to be a zealous and bigoted papist; and the
uneasiness of his conscience at so long delaying a public avowal of his
conversion, was more than once urged by him as an argument to increase
the pension, and to accelerate the assistance, he was to receive from
France.  In a later period of his reign, when his interest, as he
thought, lay the other way, that he might at once continue to earn his
wages, and yet put off a public conversion, he stated some scruples,
contracted, no doubt, by his affection to the Protestant churches, in
relation to the popish mode of giving the sacrament, and pretended a wish
that the pope might be induced by Louis to consider of some alterations
in that respect, to enable him to reconcile himself to the Roman church
with a clear and pure conscience.

The ministry known by the name of the Cabal seems to have consisted of
characters so unprincipled, as justly to deserve the severity with which
they have been treated by all writers who have mentioned them; but if it
is probable that they were ready to betray their king, as well as their
country, it is certain that the king betrayed them, keeping from them the
real state of his connexion with France, and from some of them, at least,
the secret of what he was pleased to call his religion.  Whether this
concealment on his part arose from his habitual treachery, and from the
incapacity which men of that character feel of being open and honest,
even when they know it is their interest to be so, or from an
apprehension that they might demand for themselves some share of the
French money, which he was unwilling to give them, cannot now be
determined.  But to the want of genuine and reciprocal confidence between
him and those ministers is to be attributed, in a great measure, the
escape which the nation at that time experienced--an escape, however,
which proved to be only a reprieve from that servitude to which they were
afterwards reduced in the latter years of the reign.

The first Dutch war had been undertaken against all maxims of policy as
well as of justice; but the superior infamy of the second, aggravated by
the disappointment of all the hopes entertained by good men from the
triple alliance, and by the treacherous attempt at piracy with which it
was commenced, seems to have effaced the impression of it, not only from
the minds of men living at the time, but from most of the writers who
have treated of this reign.  The principle, however, of both was the
same, and arbitrary power at home was the object of both.  The second
Dutch war rendered the king's system and views so apparent to all who
were not determined to shut their eyes against conviction, that it is
difficult to conceive how persons who had any real care or regard either
for the liberty or honour of the country, could trust him afterwards.  And
yet even Sir William Temple, who appears to have been one of the most
honest, as well as of the most enlightened, statesmen of his time, could
not believe his treachery to be quite so deep as it was in fact, and
seems occasionally to have hoped that he was in earnest in his professed
intentions of following the wise and just system that was recommended to
him.  Great instances of credulity and blindness in wise men are often
liable to the suspicion of being pretended, for the purpose of justifying
the continuing in situations of power and employment longer than strict
honour would allow.  But to Temple's sincerity his subsequent conduct
gives abundant testimony.  When he had reason to think that his services
could no longer be useful to his country he withdrew wholly from public
business, and resolutely adhered to the preference of philosophical
retirement, which, in his circumstances, was just, in spite of every
temptation which occurred to bring him back to the more active scene.  The
remainder of his life he seems to have employed in the most noble
contemplations and the most elegant amusements; every enjoyment
heightened, no doubt, by reflecting on the honourable part he had acted
in public affairs, and without any regret on his own account (whatever he
might feel for his country) at having been driven from them.

Besides the important consequences produced by this second Dutch war in
England, it gave birth to two great events in Holland; the one as
favourable as the other was disastrous to the cause of general liberty.
The catastrophe of De Witt, the wisest, best, and most truly patriotic
minister that ever appeared upon the public stage, as it was an act of
the most crying injustice and ingratitude, so, likewise, is it the most
completely discouraging example that history affords to the lovers of
liberty.  If Aristides was banished, he was also recalled; if Dion was
repaid for his services to the Syracusans by ingratitude, that
ingratitude was more than once repented of; if Sidney and Russell died
upon the scaffold, they had not the cruel mortification of falling by the
hands of the people; ample justice was done to their memory, and the very
sound of their names is still animating to every Englishman attached to
their glorious cause.  But with De Witt fell also his cause and his
party; and although a name so respected by all who revere virtue and
wisdom, when employed in their noblest sphere, the political service of
the public, must undoubtedly be doubly dear to his countrymen, yet I do
not know that, even to this day, any public honours have been paid by
them to his memory.

On the other hand, the circumstances attending the first appearance of
the Prince of Orange in public affairs, were, in every respect, most
fortunate for himself, for England, for Europe.  Of an age to receive the
strongest impressions, and of a character to render such impressions
durable, he entered the world in a moment when the calamitous situation
of the United Provinces could not but excite in every Dutchman the
strongest detestation of the insolent ambition of Louis XIV., and the
greatest contempt of an English government, which could so far mistake or
betray the interests of the country as to lend itself to his projects.
Accordingly, the circumstances attending his outset seem to have given a
lasting bias to his character; and through the whole course of his life
the prevailing sentiments of his mind seem to have been those which he
imbibed at this early period.  These sentiments were most peculiarly
adapted to the positions in which this great man was destined to be
placed.  The light in which he viewed Louis rendered him the fittest
champion of the independence of Europe; and in England, French influence
and arbitrary power were in those times so intimately connected, that he
who had not only seen with disapprobation, but had so sensibly felt the
baneful effects of Charles's connection with France, seemed educated, as
it were, to be the defender of English liberty.  This prince's struggles
in defence of his country, his success in rescuing it from a situation to
all appearance so desperate, and the consequent failure and mortification
of Louis XIV., form a scene in history upon which the mind dwells with
unceasing delight.  One never can read Louis's famous declaration against
the Hollanders, knowing the event which is to follow, without feeling the
heart dilate with exultation, and a kind of triumphant contempt, which,
though not quite consonant to the principles of pure philosophy, never
fails to give the mind inexpressible satisfaction.  Did the relation of
such events form the sole, or even any considerable part of the
historian's task, pleasant indeed would be his labours; but, though far
less agreeable, it is not a less useful or necessary part of his
business, to relate the triumphs of successful wickedness, and the
oppression of truth, justice, and liberty.

The interval from the separate peace between England and the United
Provinces, to the peace of Nymwegen, was chiefly employed by Charles in
attempts to obtain money from France and other foreign powers, in which
he was sometimes more, sometimes less successful; and in various false
professions, promises, and other devices to deceive his parliament and
his people, in which he uniformly failed.  Though neither the nature and
extent of his connection with France, nor his design of introducing
popery into England, were known at that time as they now are, yet there
were not wanting many indications of the king's disposition, and of the
general tendency of his designs.  Reasonable persons apprehended that the
supplies asked were intended to be used, not for the specious purpose of
maintaining the balance of Europe, but for that of subduing the
parliament and people who should give them; and the great antipathy of
the bulk of the nation to popery caused many to be both more
clear-sighted in discovering, and more resolute in resisting the designs
of the court, than they would probably have shown themselves, if civil
liberty alone had been concerned.

When the minds of men were in the disposition which such a state of
things was naturally calculated to produce, it is not to be wondered at
that a ready, and, perhaps, a too facile belief should have been accorded
to the rumour of a popish plot.  But with the largest possible allowance
for the just apprehensions which were entertained, and the consequent
irritation of the country, it is wholly inconceivable how such a plot as
that brought forward by Tongue and Oates could obtain any general belief.
Nor can any stretch of candour make us admit it to be probable, that all
who pretended a belief of it did seriously entertain it.  On the other
hand, it seems an absurdity, equal almost in degree to the belief of the
plot itself, to suppose that it was a story fabricated by the Earl of
Shaftesbury and the other leaders of the Whig party; and it would be
highly unjust, as well as uncharitable, not to admit that the generality
of those who were engaged in the prosecution of it were probably sincere
in their belief of it, since it is unquestionable that at the time very
many persons, whose political prejudices were of a quite different
complexion, were under the same delusion.  The unanimous votes of the two
houses of parliament, and the names, as well as the number of those who
pronounced Lord Strafford to be guilty, seem to put this beyond a doubt.
Dryden, writing soon after the time, says, in his "Absalom and
Achitophel," that the plot was

   "Bad in itself, but represented wore:"


   "Some truth there was, but dash'd and brew'd with lies:"

and that

   "Succeeding times did equal folly call,
   Believing nothing, or believing all."

and Dryden will not, by those who are conversant in the history and works
of that immortal writer, be suspected either of party prejudice in favour
of Shaftesbury and the Whigs, or of any view to prejudice the country
against the Duke of York's succession to the crown.  The king repeatedly
declared his belief of it.  These declarations, if sincere, would have
some weight; but if insincere, as may be reasonably suspected, they
afford a still stronger testimony to prove that such belief was not
exclusively a party opinion, since it cannot be supposed that even the
crooked politics of Charles could have led him to countenance fictions of
his enemies, which were not adopted by his own party.  Wherefore, if this
question were to be decided upon the ground of authority, the reality of
the plot would be admitted; and it must be confessed, that, with regard
to facts remote, in respect either of time or place, wise men generally
diffide in their own judgment, and defer to that of those who have had a
nearer view of them.  But there are cases where reason speaks so plainly
as to make all argument drawn from authority of no avail, and this is
surely one of them.  Not to mention correspondence by post on the subject
of regicide, detailed commissions from the pope, silver bullets, &c. &c.,
and other circumstances equally ridiculous, we need only advert to the
part attributed to the Spanish government in this conspiracy, and to the
alleged intention of murdering the king, to satisfy ourselves that it was
a forgery.

Rapin, who argues the whole of this affair with a degree of weakness as
well as disingenuity very unusual to him, seems at last to offer us a
kind of compromise, and to be satisfied if we will admit that there was a
design or project to introduce popery and an arbitrary power, at the head
of which were the king and his brother.  Of this I am as much convinced
as he can be; but how does this justify the prosecution and execution of
those who suffered, since few if any of them, were in a situation to be
trusted by the royal conspirators with their designs?  When he says,
therefore, that that is precisely what was understood by the conspiracy,
he by no means justifies those who were the principal prosecutors of the
plot.  The design to murder the king he calls the appendage of the plot:
a strange expression this, to describe the projected murder of a king;
though not more strange than the notion itself when applied to a plot,
the object of which was to render that very king absolute, and to
introduce the religion which he most favoured.  But it is to be observed,
that though in considering the bill of exclusion, the militia bill, and
other legislative proceedings, the plot, as he defines it--that is to
say, the design of introducing popery and arbitrary power--was the
important point to be looked to; yet in courts of justice, and for juries
and judges, that which he calls the appendage was, generally speaking,
the sole consideration.

Although, therefore, upon a review of this truly shocking transaction, we
may be fairly justified in adopting the milder alternative, and in
imputing to the greater part of those concerned in it rather an
extraordinary degree of blind credulity than the deliberate wickedness of
planning and assisting in the perpetration of legal murders, yet the
proceedings on the popish plot must always be considered as an indelible
disgrace upon the English nation, in which king, parliament, judges,
juries, witnesses, prosecutors, have all their respective, though
certainly not equal, shares.  Witnesses, of such a character as not to
deserve credit in the most trifling cause, upon the most immaterial
facts, gave evidence so incredible, or, to speak more properly, so
impossible to be true, that it ought not to have been believed if it had
come from the mouth of Cato; and upon such evidence, from such witnesses,
were innocent men condemned to death and executed.  Prosecutors, whether
attorneys and solicitors-general, or managers of impeachment, acted with
the fury which in such circumstances might be expected; juries partook
naturally enough of the national ferment; and judges, whose duty it was
to guard them against such impressions, were scandalously active in
confirming them in their prejudices and inflaming their passions.  The
king, who is supposed to have disbelieved the whole of the plot, never
once exercised his glorious prerogative of mercy.  It is said he dared
not.  His throne, perhaps his life, was at stake; and history does not
furnish us with the example of any monarch with whom the lives of
innocent or even meritorious subjects ever appeared to be of much weight,
when put in balance against such considerations.

The measures of the prevailing party in the House of Commons, in these
times, appear (with the exception of their dreadful proceedings in the
business of the pretended plot, and of their violence towards those who
petitioned and addressed against parliament) to have been, in general,
highly laudable and meritorious; and yet I am afraid it may be justly
suspected that it was precisely to that part of their conduct which
related to the plot, and which is most reprehensible, that they were
indebted for their power to make the noble, and, in some instances,
successful struggles for liberty, which do so much honour to their
memory.  The danger to be apprehended from military force being always,
in the view of wise men, the most urgent, they first voted the disbanding
of the army, and the two houses passed a bill for that purpose, to which
the king found himself obliged to consent.  But to the bill which
followed, for establishing the regular assembling of the militia, and for
providing for their being in arms six weeks in the year, he opposed his
royal negative; thus making his stand upon the same point on which his
father had done; a circumstance which, if events had taken a turn against
him, would not have failed of being much noticed by historians.  Civil
securities for freedom came to be afterwards considered; and it is to be
remarked, that to these times of heat and passion, and to one of those
parliaments which so disgraced themselves and the nation by the
countenance given to Oates and Bedloe, and by the persecution of so many
innocent victims, we are indebted for the Habeas Corpus act, the most
important barrier against tyranny, and best framed protection for the
liberty of individuals, that has ever existed in any ancient or modern

But the inefficacy of mere laws in favour of the subjects, in the case of
the administration of them falling into the hands of persons hostile to
the spirit in which they had been provided, had been so fatally evinced
by the general history of England, ever since the grant of the Great
Charter, and more especially by the transactions of the preceding reign,
that the parliament justly deemed their work incomplete unless the Duke
of York were excluded from the succession to the crown.  A bill,
therefore, for the purpose of excluding that prince was prepared, and
passed the House of Commons; but being vigorously resisted by the court,
by the church, and by the Tories, was lost in the House of Lords.  The
restrictions offered by the king to be put upon a popish successor are
supposed to have been among the most powerful of those means to which he
was indebted for his success.

The dispute was no longer, whether or not the dangers resulting from
James's succession were real, and such as ought to be guarded against by
parliamentary provisions, but whether the exclusion or restrictions
furnished the most safe and eligible mode of compassing the object which
both sides pretended to have in view.  The argument upon this state of
the question is clearly, forcibly, and, I think, convincingly, stated by
Rapin, who exposes very ably the extreme folly of trusting to measures,
without consideration of the men who are to execute them.  Even in Hume's
statement of the question, whatever may have been his intention, the
arguments in favour of the exclusion appear to me greatly to
preponderate.  Indeed, it is not easy to conceive upon what principles
even the Tories could justify their support of the restrictions.  Many
among them, no doubt, saw the provisions in the same light in which the
Whigs represented them, as an expedient, admirably, indeed, adapted to
the real object of upholding the present king's power, by the defeat of
the exclusion, but never likely to take effect for their pretended
purpose of controlling that of his successor, and supported them for that
very reason.  But such a principle of conduct was too fraudulent to be
avowed; nor ought it, perhaps, in candour to be imputed to the majority
of the party.  To those who acted with good faith, and meant that the
restrictions should really take place and be effectual, surely it ought
to have occurred (and to those who most prized the prerogatives of the
crown it ought most forcibly to have occurred), that in consenting to
curtail the powers of the crown, rather than to alter the succession,
they were adopting the greater in order to avoid the lesser evil.  The
question of what are to be the powers of the crown, is surely of superior
importance to that of who shall wear it?  Those, at least, who consider
the royal prerogative as vested in the king, not for his sake but for
that of his subjects, must consider the one of these questions as much
above the other in dignity as the rights of the public are more valuable
than those of an individual.  In this view the prerogatives of the crown
are, in substance and effect, the rights of the people; and these rights
of the people were not to be sacrificed to the purpose of preserving the
succession to the most favoured prince much less to one who, on account
of his religious persuasion, was justly feared and suspected.  In truth,
the question between the exclusion and restrictions seems peculiarly
calculated to ascertain the different views in which the different
parties in this country have seen, and perhaps ever will see, the
prerogatives of the crown.  The Whigs, who consider them as a trust for
the people--a doctrine which the Tories themselves, when pushed in
argument, will sometimes admit--naturally think it their duty rather to
change the manager of the trust than to impair the subject of it; while
others, who consider them as the right or property of the king, will as
naturally act as they would do in the case of any other property, and
consent to the loss or annihilation of any part of it, for the purpose of
preserving the remainder to him whom they style the rightful owner.  If
the people be the sovereign and the king the delegate, it is better to
change the bailiff than to injure the farm; but if the king be the
proprietor, it is better the farm should be impaired--nay, part of it
destroyed--than that the whole should pass over to an usurper.  The royal
prerogative ought, according to the Whigs (not in the case of a popish
successor only, but in all cases), to be reduced to such powers as are in
their exercise beneficial to the people; and of the benefit of these they
will not rashly suffer the people to be deprived, whether the executive
power be in the hands of an hereditary or of an elected king, of a
regent, or of any other denomination of magistrate; while, on the other
hand, they who consider prerogative with reference only to royalty, will,
with equal readiness, consent either to the extension or the suspension
of its exercise, as the occasional interests of the prince may seem to
require.  The senseless plea of a divine and indefeasible right in James,
which even the legislature was incompetent to set aside, though as
inconsistent with the declarations of parliament in the statute book, and
with the whole practice of the English constitution, as it is repugnant
to nature and common sense, was yet warmly insisted upon by the high
church party.  Such an argument, as might naturally be expected, operated
rather to provoke the Whigs to perseverance than to dissuade them from
their measure: it was, in their eyes, an additional merit belonging to
the exclusion bill that it strengthened, by one instance more, the
authority of former statutes in reprobating a doctrine which seems to
imply that man can have a property in his fellow-creatures.  By far the
best argument in favour of the restrictions, is the practical one that
they could be obtained, and that the exclusion could not; but the value
of this argument is chiefly proved by the event.  The exclusionists had a
fair prospect of success, and their plan being clearly the best, they
were justified in pursuing it.

The spirit of resistance which the king showed in the instance of the
militia and the exclusion bills, seems to have been systematically
confined to those cases where he supposed his power to be more
immediately concerned.  In the prosecution of the aged and innocent Lord
Stafford, he was so far from interfering in behalf of that nobleman, that
many of those most in his confidence, and, as it is affirmed, the Duchess
of Portsmouth herself, openly favoured the prosecution.  Even after the
dissolution of him last parliament, when he had so far subdued his
enemies as to be no longer under any apprehensions from them, he did not
think it worth while to save the life of Plunket, the popish Archbishop
of Armagh, of whose innocence no doubt could be entertained.  But this is
not to be wondered at, since, in all transactions relative to the popish
plot, minds of a very different cast from Charles's became, as by some
fatality, divested of all their wonted sentiments of justice and
humanity.  Who can read without horror, the account of that savage murmur
of applause, which broke out upon one of the villains at the bar,
swearing positively to Stafford's having proposed the murder of the king?
And how is this horror deepened, when we reflect, that in that odious cry
were probably mingled the voices of men to whose memory every lover of
the English constitution is bound to pay the tribute of gratitude and
respect!  Even after condemnation, Lord Russell himself, whose character
is wholly (this instance excepted) free from the stain of rancour or
cruelty, stickled for the severer mode of executing the sentence, in a
manner which his fear of the king's establishing a precedent of pardoning
in cases of impeachment (for this, no doubt, was his motive) cannot
satisfactorily excuse.

In an early period of the king's difficulties, Sir William Temple, whose
life and character is a refutation of the vulgar notion that philosophy
and practical good sense in business are incompatible attainments,
recommended to him the plan of governing by a council, which was to
consist in great part of the most popular noblemen and gentlemen in the
kingdom.  Such persons being the natural, as well as the safest,
mediators between princes and discontented subjects, this seems to have
been the best possible expedient.  Hume says it was found too feeble a
remedy; but he does not take notice that it was never in fact tried,
inasmuch as not only the king's confidence was withheld from the most
considerable members of the council, but even the most important
determinations were taken without consulting the council itself.  Nor can
there be a doubt but the king's views, in adopting Temple's advice, were
totally different from those of the adviser, whose only error in this
transaction seems to have consisted in recommending a plan, wherein
confidence and fair dealing were of necessity to be principal
ingredients, to a prince whom he well knew to be incapable of either.
Accordingly, having appointed the council in April, with a promise of
being governed in important matters by their advice, he in July dissolved
one parliament without their concurrence, and in October forbade them
even to give their opinions upon the propriety of a resolution which he
had taken of proroguing another.  From that time he probably considered
the council to be, as it was, virtually dissolved; and it was not long
before means presented themselves to him, better adapted, in his
estimation, even to his immediate objects, and certainly more suitable to
his general designs.  The union between the court and the church party,
which had been so closely cemented by their successful resistance to the
Exclusion Bill, and its authors, had at length acquired such a degree of
strength and consistency, that the king ventured first to appoint Oxford,
instead of London, for the meeting of parliament; and then, having
secured to himself a good pension from France, to dissolve the parliament
there met, with a full resolution never to call another; to which
resolution, indeed, Louis had bound him, as one of the conditions on
which he was to receive a stipend.  No measure was ever attended with
more complete success.  The most flattering addresses poured in from all
parts of the kingdom; divine right, and indiscriminate obedience, were
everywhere the favourite doctrines; and men seemed to vie with each other
who should have the honour of the greatest share in the glorious work of
slavery, by securing to the king, for the present, and after him to the
duke, absolute and uncontrollable power.  They who, either because
Charles had been called a forgiving prince by his flatterers (upon what
ground I could never discover), or from some supposed connection between
indolence and good nature, had deceived themselves into a hope that his
tyranny would be of the milder sort, found themselves much disappointed
in their expectations.

The whole history of the remaining part of his reign exhibits an
uninterrupted series of attacks upon the liberty, property, and lives of
his subjects.  The character of the government appeared first, and with
the most marked and prominent features, in Scotland.  The condemnation of
Argyle and Weir, the one for having subjoined an explanation when he took
the test oath, the other for having kept company with a rebel, whom it
was not proved he knew to be such, and who had never been proclaimed,
resemble more the acts of Tiberius and Domitian, than those of even the
most arbitrary modern governments.  It is true, the sentences were not
executed; Weir was reprieved; and whether or not Argyle, if he had not
deemed it more prudent to escape by flight, would have experienced the
same clemency, cannot now be ascertained.  The terror of these examples
would have been, in the judgment of most men, abundantly sufficient to
teach the people of Scotland their duty, and to satisfy them that their
lives, as well as everything else they had been used to call their own,
were now completely in the power of their masters.  But the government
did not stop here, and having outlawed thousands, upon the same pretence
upon which Weir had been condemned, inflicted capital punishment upon
such criminals of both sexes as refused to answer, or answered otherwise
than was prescribed to them to the most ensnaring questions.

In England, the city of London seemed to hold out for a certain time,
like a strong fortress in a conquered country; and, by means of this
citadel, Shaftesbury and others were saved from the vengeance of the
court.  But this resistance, however honourable to the corporation who
made it, could not be of long duration.  The weapons of law and justice
were found feeble, when opposed to the power of a monarch who was at the
head of a numerous and bigoted party of the nation, and who, which was
most material of all, had enabled himself to govern without a parliament.
Civil resistance in this country, even to the most illegal attacks of
royal tyranny, has never, I believe, been successful, unless when
supported by parliament, or at least by a great party in one or other of
the two houses.  The court having wrested from the livery of London,
partly by corruption, and partly by violence, the free election of their
mayor and sheriffs, did not wait the accomplishment of their plan for the
destruction of the whole corporation, which, from their first success,
they justly deemed certain, but immediately proceeded to put in execution
their system of oppression.  Pilkington, Colt, and Oates, were fined a
hundred thousand pounds each for having spoken disrespectfully of the
Duke of York; Barnardiston, ten thousand, for having in a private letter
expressed sentiments deemed improper; and Sidney, Russell, and Armstrong,
found that the just and mild principles which characterise the criminal
law of England could no longer protect their lives, when the sacrifice
was called for by the policy or vengeance of the king.  To give an
account of all the oppression of this period would be to enumerate every
arrest, every trial, every sentence, that took place in questions between
the crown and the subjects.

Of the Rye House plot it may be said, much more truly than of the popish,
that there was in it some truth, mixed with much falsehood; and though
many of the circumstances in Kealing's account are nearly as absurd and
ridiculous as those in Oates's, it seems probable that there was among
some of those accused a notion of assassinating the king; but whether
this notion was over ripened into what may be called a design, and, much
more, whether it were ever evinced by such an overt act as the law
requires for conviction, is very doubtful.  In regard to the conspirators
of higher ranks, from whom all suspicion of participation in the intended
assassination has been long since done away, there is unquestionably
reason to believe that they had often met and consulted, as well for the
purpose of ascertaining the means they actually possessed as for that of
devising others for delivering their country from the dreadful servitude
into which it had fallen; and thus far their conduct appears clearly to
have been laudable.  If they went further, and did anything which could
be fairly construed into an actual conspiracy to levy war against the
king, they acted, considering the disposition of the nation at that
period, very indiscreetly.  But whether their proceedings had ever gone
this length, is far from certain.  Monmouth's communications with the
king, when we reflect upon all the circumstances of those communications,
deserve not the smallest attention; nor indeed, if they did, does the
letter which he afterwards withdrew prove anything upon this point.  And
it is an outrage to common-sense to call Lord Grey's narrative written,
as he himself states in his letter to James II., while the question of
his pardon was pending, an authentic account.  That which is most certain
in this affair is, that they had committed no overt act, indicating the
imagining of the king's death, even according to the most strained
construction of the statute of Edward III.; much less was any such act
legally proved against them.  And the conspiring to levy war was not
treason, except by a recent statute of Charles II., the prosecutions upon
which were expressly limited to a certain time, which in these cases had
elapsed so that it is impossible not to assent to the opinion of those
who have ever stigmatised the condemnation and execution of Russell as a
most flagrant violation of law and justice.

The proceedings in Sidney's case were still more detestable.  The
production of papers, containing speculative opinions upon government and
liberty, written long before, and perhaps never even intended to be
published, together with the use made of those papers, in considering
them as a substitute for the second witness to the overt act, exhibited
such a compound of wickedness and nonsense as is hardly to be paralleled
in the history of juridical tyranny.  But the validity of pretences was
little attended to at that time, in the case of a person whom the court
had devoted to destruction, and upon evidence such as has been stated was
this great and excellent man condemned to die.  Pardon was not to be
expected.  Mr. Hume says, that such an interference on the part of the
king, though it might have been an act of heroic generosity, could not be
regarded as an indispensable duty.  He might have said with more
propriety, that it was idle to expect that the government, after having
incurred so much guilt in order to obtain the sentence, should, by
remitting it, relinquish the object just when it was within its grasp.
The same historian considers the jury as highly blamable, and so do I;
but what was their guilt in comparison of that of the court who tried,
and of the government who prosecuted, in this infamous cause?  Yet the
jury, being the only party that can with any colour be stated as acting
independently of the government, is the only one mentioned by him as
blamable.  The prosecutor is wholly omitted in his censure, and so is the
court; this last, not from any tenderness for the judge (who, to do this
author justice, is no favourite with him), but lest the odious connection
between that branch of the judicature and the government should strike
the reader too forcibly; for Jeffreys, in this instance, ought to be
regarded as the mere tool and instrument (a fit one, no doubt), of the
prince who had appointed him for the purpose of this and similar
services.  Lastly, the king is gravely introduced on the question of
pardon, as if he had had no prior concern in the cause, and were now to
decide upon the propriety of extending mercy to a criminal condemned by a
court of judicature; nor are we once reminded what that judicature was,
by whom appointed, by whom influenced, by whom called upon, to receive
that detestable evidence, the very recollection of which, even at this
distance of time, fires every honest heart with indignation.  As well
might we palliate the murders of Tiberius, who seldom put to death his
victims without a previous decree of his senate.  The moral of all this
seems to be, that whenever a prince can, by intimidation, corruption,
illegal evidence, or other such means, obtain a verdict against a subject
whom he dislikes, he may cause him to be executed without any breach of
indispensable duty; nay, that it is an act of heroic generosity if he
spares him.  I never reflect on Mr. Hume's statement of this matter but
with the deepest regret.  Widely as I differ from him upon many other
occasions, this appears to me to be the most reprehensible passage of his
whole work.  A spirit of adulation towards deceased princes, though in a
good measure free from the imputation of interested meanness, which is
justly attached to flattery when applied to living monarchs, yet, as it
is less intelligible with respect to its motives than the other, so is it
in its consequences still more pernicious to the general interests of
mankind.  Fear of censure from contemporaries will seldom have much
effect upon men in situations of unlimited authority: they will too often
flatter themselves that the same power which enables them to commit the
crime will secure them from reproach.  The dread of posthumous infamy,
therefore, being the only restraint, their consciences excepted, upon the
passions of such persons, it is lamentable that this last defence (feeble
enough at best) should in any degree be impaired; and impaired it must
be, if not totally destroyed, when tyrants can hope to find in a man like
Hume, no less eminent for the integrity and benevolence of his heart than
for the depth and soundness of his understanding, an apologist for even
their foulest murders.

Thus fell Russell and Sidney, two names that will, it is hoped, be for
ever dear to every English heart.  When their memory shall cease to be an
object of respect and veneration, it requires no spirit of prophecy to
foretell that English liberty will be fast approaching to its final
consummation.  Their department was such as might be expected from men
who knew themselves to be suffering, not for their crimes, but for their
virtues.  In courage they were equal, but the fortitude of Russell, who
was connected with the world by private and domestic ties, which Sidney
had not, was put to the severer trial; and the story of the last days of
this excellent man's life fills the mind with such a mixture of
tenderness and admiration, that I know not any scene in history that more
powerfully excites our sympathy, or goes more directly to the heart.

The very day on which Russell was executed, the University of Oxford
passed their famous decree, condemning formally, as impious and heretical
propositions, every principle upon which the constitution of this or any
other free country can maintain itself.  Nor was this learned body
satisfied with stigmatising such principles as contrary to the Holy
Scriptures, to the decrees of councils, to the writings of the fathers,
to the faith and profession of the primitive church, as destructive of
the kingly government, the safety of his majesty's person, the public
peace, the laws of nature, and bounds of human society; but after
enumerating the several obnoxious propositions, among which was one
declaring all civil authority derived from the people; another, asserting
a mutual contract, tacit or express, between the king and his subjects; a
third, maintaining the lawfulness of changing the succession to the
crown; with many others of a like nature, they solemnly decreed all and
every of those propositions to be not only false and seditious, but
impious, and that the books which contained them were fitted to lead to
rebellion, murder of princes, and atheism itself.  Such are the
absurdities which men are not ashamed to utter in order to cast odious
imputations upon their adversaries; and such the manner in which
churchmen will abuse, when it suits their policy, the holy name of that
religion whose first precept is to love one another, for the purpose of
teaching us to hate our neighbours with more than ordinary rancour.  If
_Much Ado about Nothing_ had been published in those days, the
town-clerk's declaration, that receiving a thousand ducats for accusing
the Lady Hero wrongfully, was flat burglary, might be supposed to be a
satire upon this decree; yet Shakespeare, well as he knew human nature,
not only as to its general course, but in all its eccentric deviations,
could never dream that, in the persons of Dogberry, Verges, and their
followers, he was representing the vice-chancellors and doctors of our
learned university.

Among the oppressions of this period, most of which were attended with
consequences so much more important to the several objects of
persecution, it may seem scarcely worth while to notice the expulsion of
John Locke from Christ Church College, Oxford.  But besides the interest
which every incident in the life of a person so deservedly eminent
naturally excites, there appears to have been something in the
transaction itself characteristic of the spirit of the times, as well as
of the general nature of absolute power.  Mr. Locke was known to have
been intimately connected with Lord Shaftesbury, and had very prudently
judged it advisable for him to prolong for some time his residence upon
the Continent, to which he had resorted originally on account of his
health.  A suspicion, as it has been since proved unfounded, that he was
the author of a pamphlet which gave offence to the government, induced
the king to insist upon his removal from his studentship at Christ
Church.  Sunderland writes, by the king's command, to Dr. Fell, bishop of
Oxford and dean of Christ Church.  The reverend prelate answers that he
has long had an eye upon Mr. Locke's behaviour; but though frequent
attempts had been made (attempts of which the bishop expresses no
disapprobation), to draw him into imprudent conversation, by attacking,
in his company, the reputation, and insulting the memory of his late
patron and friend, and thus to make his gratitude and all the best
feelings of his heart instrumental to his ruin, these attempts all proved
unsuccessful.  Hence the bishop infers, not the innocence of Mr. Locke,
but that he was a great master of concealment both as to words and looks;
for looks, it is to be supposed, would have furnished a pretext for his
expulsion, more decent than any which had yet been discovered.  An
expedient is then suggested to drive Mr. Locke to a dilemma, by summoning
him to attend the college on the first of January ensuing.  If he do not
appear, he shall be expelled for contumacy; if he come, matter of charge
may be found against him for what he shall have said at London or
elsewhere, where he will have been less upon his guard than at Oxford.
Some have ascribed Fell's hesitation, if it can be so called, in
executing the king's order, to his unwillingness to injure Locke, who was
his friend; others, with more reason, to the doubt of the legality of the
order.  However this may have been, neither his scruple nor his
reluctance was regarded by a court who knew its own power.  A peremptory
order was accordingly sent, and immediate obedience ensued.  Thus, while
without the shadow of a crime, Mr. Locke lost a situation attended with
some emolument and great convenience, was the university deprived of, or
rather thus, from the base principles of servility, did she cast away the
man, the having produced whom is now her chiefest glory; and thus, to
those who are not determined to be blind, did the true nature of absolute
power discover itself, against which the middling station is not more
secure than the most exalted.  Tyranny, when glutted with the blood of
the great, and the plunder of the rich, will condescend to bent humbler
game, and make a peaceable and innocent fellow of a college the object of
its persecution.  In this instance one would almost imagine there was
some instinctive sagacity in the government of that time, which pointed
out to them, even before he had made himself known to the world, the man
who was destined to be the most successful adversary of superstition and

The king, during the remainder of his reign, seems, with the exception of
Armstrong's execution, which must be added to the catalogue of his
murders, to have directed his attacks more against the civil rights,
properties, and liberties, than against the lives of his subjects.
Convictions against evidence, sentences against law, enormous fines,
cruel imprisonments, were the principal engines employed for the purpose
of breaking the spirit of individuals, and fitting their necks for the
yoke.  But it was not thought fit to trust wholly to the effect which
such examples would produce upon the public.  That the subjugation of the
people might be complete, and despotism be established upon the most
solid foundation, measures of a more general nature and effect were
adopted; and first, the charter of London, and then those of almost all
the other corporations in England, were either forfeited or forced to a
surrender.  By this act of violence two important points were thought to
be gained; one, that in every regular assemblage of the people in any
part of the kingdom the crown would have a commanding influence; the
other, that in case the king should find himself compelled to break his
engagement to France, and to call a parliament, a great majority of
members would be returned by electors of his nomination, and subject to
his control.  In the affair of the charter of London, it was seen, as in
the case of ship-money, how idle it is to look to the integrity of judges
for a barrier against royal encroachments, when the courts of justice are
not under the constant and vigilant control of parliament.  And it is not
to be wondered at, that, after such a warning, and with no hope of seeing
a parliament assemble, even they who still retained their attachment to
the true constitution of their country, should rather give way to the
torrent than make a fruitless and dangerous resistance.

Charles being thus completely master, was determined that the relative
situation of him and his subjects should be clearly understood, for which
purpose he ordered a declaration to be framed, wherein, after having
stated that he considered the degree of confidence they had reposed in
him as an honour particular to his reign, which not one of his
predecessors had ever dared even to hope for, he assured them he would
use it with all possible moderation, and convince even the most violent
republicans, that as the crown was the origin of the rights and liberties
of the people, so was it their most certain and secure support.  This
gracious declaration was ready for the press at the time of the king's
death, and if he had lived to issue it, there can be little doubt how it
would have been received at a time when

      "nunquam libertas gratior extat
   Quam sub rege pio,"

was the theme of every song, and, by the help of some perversion of
Scripture, the text of every sermon.  But whatever might be the language
of flatterers, and how loud soever the cry of a triumphant, but deluded
party, there were not wanting men of nobler sentiments and of more
rational views.  Minds once thoroughly imbued with the love of what
Sidney, in his last moments, so emphatically called the good old cause,
will not easily relinquish their principles: nor was the manner in which
absolute power was exercised, such as to reconcile to it, in practice,
those who had always been averse to it in speculation.  The hatred of
tyranny must, in such persons, have been exasperated by the experience of
its effects, and their attachment to liberty proportionably confirmed.  To
them the state of their country must have been intolerable: to reflect
upon the efforts of their fathers, once their pride and glory, and whom
they themselves had followed with no unequal steps, and to see the result
of all in the scenes that now presented themselves, must have filled
their minds with sensations of the deepest regret, and feelings bordering
at least on despondency.  To us, who have the opportunity of combining in
our view of this period, not only the preceding but subsequent
transactions, the consideration of it may suggest reflections far
different and speculations more consolatory.  Indeed, I know not that
history can furnish a more forcible lesson against despondency, than by
recording that within a short time from those dismal days in which men of
the greatest constancy despaired, and had reason to do so, within five
years from the death of Sidney arose the brightest era of freedom known
to the annals of our country.

It is said that the king, when at the summit of his power, was far from
happy; and a notion has been generally entertained that not long before
his death he had resolved upon the recall of Monmouth, and a
correspondent change of system.  That some such change was apprehended
seems extremely probable, from the earnest desire which the court of
France, as well as the Duke of York's party in England, entertained, in
the last years of Charles's life, to remove the Marquis of Halifax, who
was supposed to have friendly dispositions to Monmouth.  Among the
various objections to that nobleman's political principles, we find the
charge most relied upon, for the purpose of injuring him in the mind of
the king, was founded on the opinion he had delivered in council, in
favour of modelling the charters of the British colonies in North America
upon the principles of the rights and privileges of Englishmen.  There
was no room to doubt (he was accused of saying) that the same laws under
which we live in England, should be established in a country composed of
Englishmen.  He even dilated upon this, and omitted none of the reasons
by which it can be proved that an absolute government is neither so happy
nor so safe as that which is tempered by laws, and which limits the
authority of the prince.  He exaggerated, it was said, the mischiefs of a
sovereign power, and declared plainly that he could not make up his mind
to live under a king who should have it in his power to take, when he
pleased, the money he might have in his pocket.  All the other ministers
had combated, as might be expected, sentiments so extraordinary; and
without entering into the general question of the comparative value of
different forms of government, maintained that his majesty could and
ought to govern countries so distant in the manner that should appear to
him most suitable for preserving or augmenting the strength and riches of
the mother country.  It had been, therefore, resolved that the government
and council of the provinces under the new charter should not be obliged
to call assemblies of the colonists for the purpose of imposing taxes, or
making other important regulations, but should do what they thought fit,
without rendering any account of their actions except to his Britannic
Majesty.  The affair having been so decided with a concurrence only short
of unanimity, was no longer considered as a matter of importance, nor
would it be worth recording, if the Duke of York and the French court had
not fastened upon it, as affording the best evidence of the danger to be
apprehended from having a man of Halifax's principles in any situation of
trust or power.  There is something curious in discovering that even at
this early period a question relative to North American liberty, and even
to North American taxation, was considered as the test of principles
friendly or adverse to arbitrary power at home.  But the truth is, that
among the several controversies which have arisen there is no other
wherein the natural rights of man on the one hand, and the authority of
artificial institution on the other, as applied respectively by the Whigs
and Tories to the English constitution, are so fairly put in issue, nor
by which the line of separation between the two parties is so strongly
and distinctly marked.

There is some reason for believing that the court of Versailles had
either wholly discontinued, or, at least, had become very remiss in, the
payments of Charles's pension; and it is not unlikely that this
consideration induced him either really to think of calling a parliament,
or at least to threaten Louis with such a measure, in order to make that
prince more punctual in performing his part of their secret treaty.  But
whether or not any secret change was really intended, or if it were to
what extent, and to what objects directed, are points which cannot now be
ascertained, no public steps having ever been taken in this affair, and
his majesty's intentions, if in truth he had any such, becoming abortive
by the sudden illness which seized him on the 1st of February, 1685, and
which, in a few days afterwards, put an end to his reign and life.  His
death was by many supposed to have been the effect of poison; but
although there is reason to believe that this suspicion was harboured by
persons very near to him, and, among others, as I have heard, by the
Duchess of Portsmouth, it appears, upon the whole, to rest upon very
slender foundations.

With respect to the character of this prince, upon the delineation of
which so much pains have been employed, by the various writers who treat
of the history of his time, it must be confessed that the facts which
have been noticed in the foregoing pages furnish but too many
illustrations of the more unfavourable parts of it.  From these we may
collect that his ambition was directed solely against his subjects, while
he was completely indifferent concerning the figure which he or they
might make in the general affairs of Europe; and that his desire of power
was more unmixed with love of glory than that of any other man whom
history has recorded; that he was unprincipled, ungrateful, mean, and
treacherous, to which may be added, vindictive and remorseless.  For
Burnet, in refusing to him the praise of clemency and forgiveness, seems
to be perfectly justifiable, nor is it conceivable upon what pretence his
partisans have taken this ground of panegyric.  I doubt whether a single
instance can be produced of his having spared the life of any one whom
motives either of policy, or of revenge, prompted him to destroy.  To
allege that of Monmouth as it would be an affront to human nature, so
would it likewise imply the most severe of all satires against the
monarch himself, and we may add, too, an undeserved one; for, in order to
consider it as an act of meritorious forbearance on his part, that he did
not follow the example of Constantine and Philip II., by imbruing his
hands in the blood of his son, we must first suppose him to have been
wholly void of every natural affection, which does not appear to have
been the case.  His declaration that he would have pardoned Essex, being
made when that nobleman was dead, and not followed by any act evincing
its sincerity, can surely obtain no credit from men of sense.  If he had
really had the intention, he ought not to have made such a declaration,
unless he accompanied it with some mark of kindness to the relations, or
with some act of mercy to the friends of the deceased.  Considering it as
a mere piece of hypocrisy, we cannot help looking upon it as one of the
most odious passages of his life.  This ill-timed boast of his intended
mercy, and the brutal taunt with which he accompanied his mitigation (if
so it may be called) of Russell's sentence, show his insensibility and
hardness to have been such, that in questions where right feelings were
concerned, his good sense, and even the good taste for which he has been
so much extolled, seemed wholly to desert him.

On the other hand, it would be want of candour to maintain that Charles
was entirely destitute of good qualities; nor was the propriety of
Burnet's comparison between him and Tiberius ever felt, I imagine, by any
one but its author.  He was gay and affable, and, if incapable of the
sentiments belonging to pride of a laudable sort, he was at least free
from haughtiness and insolence.  The praise of politeness, which the
stoics are not perhaps wrong in classing among the moral virtues,
provided they admit it to be one of the lowest order, has never been
denied him, and he had in an eminent degree that facility of temper
which, though considered by some moralists as nearly allied to vice, yet,
inasmuch as it contributes greatly to the happiness of those around us,
is in itself not only an engaging but an estimable quality.  His support
of the queen during the heats raised by the popish plot ought to be taken
rather as a proof that he was not a monster than to be ascribed to him as
a merit; but his steadiness to his brother, though it may and ought, in a
great measure, to be accounted for upon selfish principles, had at least
a strong resemblance to virtue.

The best part of this prince's character seems to have been his kindness
towards his mistresses, and his affection for his children, and others
nearly connected to him by the ties of blood.  His recommendation of the
Duchess of Portsmouth and Mrs. Gwyn, upon his death-bed, to his successor
is much to his honour; and they who censure it seem, in their zeal to
show themselves strict moralists, to have suffered their notions of vice
and virtue to have fallen into strange confusion.  Charles's connection
with those ladies might be vicious, but at a moment when that connection
was upon the point of being finally and irrevocably dissolved, to concern
himself about their future welfare and to recommend them to his brother
with earnest tenderness was virtue.  It is not for the interest of
morality that the good and evil actions, even of bad men, should be
confounded.  His affection for the Duke of Gloucester and for the Duchess
of Orleans seems to have been sincere and cordial.  To attribute, as some
have done, his grief for the loss of the first to political
considerations, founded upon an intended balance of power between his two
brothers, would be an absurd refinement, whatever were his general
disposition; but when we reflect upon that carelessness which, especially
in his youth, was a conspicuous feature of his character, the absurdity
becomes still more striking.  And though Burnet more covertly, and Ludlow
more openly, insinuate that his fondness for his sister was of a criminal
nature, I never could find that there was any ground whatever for such a
suspicion; nor does the little that remains of their epistolary
correspondence give it the smallest countenance.  Upon the whole, Charles
II. was a bad man and a bad king; let us not palliate his crimes, but
neither let us adopt false or doubtful imputations for the purpose of
making him a monster.

Whoever reviews the interesting period which we have been discussing,
upon the principle recommended in the outset of this chapter, will find
that, from the consideration of the past, to prognosticate the future
would at the moment of Charles's demise be no easy task.  Between two
persons, one of whom should expect that the country would remain sunk in
slavery, the other, that the cause of freedom would revive and triumph,
it would be difficult to decide whose reasons were better supported,
whose speculations the more probable.  I should guess that he who
desponded had looked more at the state of the public, while he who was
sanguine had fixed his eyes more attentively upon the person who was
about to mount the throne.  Upon reviewing the two great parties of the
nation, one observation occurs very forcibly, and that is, that the great
strength of the Whigs consisted in their being able to brand their
adversaries as favourers of popery; that of the Tories (as far as their
strength depended upon opinion, and not merely upon the power of the
crown), in their finding colour to represent the Whigs as republicans.
From this observation we may draw a further inference, that, in
proportion to the rashness of the crown in avowing and pressing forward
the cause of popery, and to the moderation and steadiness of the Whigs in
adhering to the form of monarchy, would be the chance of the people of
England for changing an ignominious despotism for glory, liberty, and


Accession of James II.--His declaration in council; acceptable to the
nation--Arbitrary designs of his reign--Former ministers continued--Money
transactions with France--Revenue levied without authority of
Parliament--Persecution of Dissenters--Character of Jeffreys--The King's
affectation of independence--Advances to the Prince of Orange--The
primary object of this reign--Transactions in Scotland--Severe
persecutions there--Scottish Parliament--Cruelties of government--English
Parliament; its proceedings--Revenue--Votes concerning religion--Bill for
preservation of the King's person--Solicitude for the Church of
England--Reversal of Stafford's attainder rejected--Parliament
adjourned--Character of the Tories--Situation of the Whigs.

Charles II. expired on the 6th of February, 1684-85, and on the same day
his successor was proclaimed king in London, with the usual formalities,
by the title of James the Second.  The great influence which this prince
was supposed to have possessed in the government during the latter years
of his brother's reign, and the expectation which was entertained in
consequence, that his measures, when monarch, would be of the same
character and complexion with those which he was known to have highly
approved, and of which he was thought by many to have been the principal
author, when a subject left little room for that spirit of speculation
which generally attends a demise of the crown.  And thus an event, which
when apprehended a few years before had, according to a strong expression
of Sir William Temple, been looked upon as the end of the world, was now
deemed to be of small comparative importance.

Its tendency, indeed, was rather to ensure perseverance than to effect
any change in the system which had been of late years pursued.  As there
are, however, some steps indispensably necessary on the accession of a
new prince to the throne, to these the public attention was directed, and
though the character of James had been long so generally understood as to
leave little doubt respecting the political maxims and principles by
which his reign would be governed, there was probably much curiosity, as
upon such occasions there always is, with regard to the conduct he would
pursue in matters of less importance, and to the general language and
behaviour which he would adopt in his new situation.  His first step was,
of course, to assemble the privy council, to whom he spoke as follows:--

"Before I enter upon any other business, I think fit to say something to
you.  Since it hath pleated Almighty God to place me in this station, and
I am now to succeed so good and gracious a king, as well as so very kind
a brother, I think it fit to declare to you that I will endeavour to
follow his example, and most especially in that of his great clemency and
tenderness to his people.  I have been reported to be a man for arbitrary
power; but that is not the only story that has been made of me; and I
shall make it my endeavour to preserve this government, both in Church
and State, as it is now by law established.  I know the principles of the
Church of England are for monarchy, and the members of it have shown
themselves good and loyal subjects; therefore I shall always take care to
defend and support it.  I know, too, that the laws of England are
sufficient to make the king as great a monarch as I can wish; and as I
shall never depart from the just rights and prerogatives of the crown, so
I shall never invade any man's property.  I have often heretofore
ventured my life in defence of this nation and I shall go as far as any
man in preserving it in all its just rights and liberties."

With this declaration the council were so highly satisfied, that they
supplicated his majesty to make it public, which was accordingly done;
and it is reported to have been received with unbounded applause by the
greater part of the nation.  Some, perhaps, there were, who did not think
the boast of having ventured his life very manly, and who, considering
the transactions of the last years of Charles's reign, were not much
encouraged by the promise of imitating that monarch in clemency and
tenderness to his subjects.  To these it might appear, that whatever
there was of consolatory in the king's disclaimer of arbitrary power and
professed attachment to the laws, was totally done away, as well by the
consideration of what his majesty's notions of power and law were, as by
his declaration that he would follow the example of a predecessor, whose
government had not only been marked with the violation, in particular
cases, of all the most sacred laws of the realm, but had latterly, by the
disuse of parliaments, in defiance of the statute of the sixteenth year
of his reign, stood upon a foundation radically and fundamentally
illegal.  To others it might occur that even the promise to the Church of
England, though express with respect to the condition of it, which was no
other than perfect acquiescence in what the king deemed to be the true
principles of monarchy, was rather vague with regard to the nature or
degree of support to which the royal speaker might conceive himself
engaged.  The words, although in any interpretation of them they conveyed
more than he possibly ever intended to perform, did by no means express
the sense which at that time, by his friends, and afterwards by his
enemies, was endeavoured to be fixed on them.  There was, indeed, a
promise to support the establishment of the Church, and consequently the
laws upon which that establishment immediately rested; but by no means an
engagement to maintain all the collateral provisions which some of its
more zealous members might judge necessary for its security.

But whatever doubts or difficulties might be felt, few or none were
expressed.  The Whigs, as a vanquished party, were either silent or not
listened to, and the Tories were in a temper of mind which does not
easily admit suspicion.  They were not more delighted with the victory
they had obtained over their adversaries, than with the additional
stability which, as they vainly imagined, the accession of the new
monarch was likely to give to their system.  The truth is that, his
religion excepted (and that objection they were sanguine enough to
consider as done away by a few gracious words in favour of the Church),
James was every way better suited to their purpose than his brother.  They
had entertained continual apprehensions, not perhaps wholly unfounded, of
the late king's returning kindness to Monmouth, the consequences of which
could not easily be calculated; whereas, every occurrence that had
happened, as well as every circumstance in James's situation, seemed to
make him utterly irreconcilable with the Whigs.  Besides, after the
reproach, as well as alarm, which the notoriety of Charles's treacherous
character must so often have caused them, the very circumstance of having
at their head a prince, of whom they could with any colour hold out to
their adherents that his word was to be depended upon, was in itself a
matter of triumph and exultation.  Accordingly, the watchword of the
party was everywhere--"We have the word of a king, and a word never yet
broken;" and to such a length was the spirit of adulation, or perhaps the
delusion, carried, that this royal declaration was said to be a better
security for the liberty and religion of the nation than any which the
law could devise.

The king, though much pleased, no doubt, with the popularity which seemed
to attend the commencement of his reign, as a powerful medium for
establishing the system of absolute power, did not suffer himself, by any
show of affection from his people, to be diverted from his design of
rendering his government independent of them.  To this design we must
look as the mainspring of all his actions at this period; for with regard
to the Roman Catholic religion, it is by no means certain that he yet
thought of obtaining for it anything more than a complete toleration.
With this view, therefore, he could not take a more judicious resolution
than that which he had declared in his speech to the privy council, and
to which he seems, at this time, to have steadfastly adhered, of making
the government of his predecessor the model for his own.  He therefore
continued in their offices, notwithstanding the personal objections he
might have to some of them, those servants of the late king, during whose
administration that prince had been so successful in subduing his
subjects, and eradicating almost from the minds of Englishmen every
sentiment of liberty.

Even the Marquis of Halifax, who was supposed to have remonstrated
against many of the late measures, and to have been busy in recommending
a change of system to Charles, was continued in high employment by James,
who told him that, of all his past conduct, he should remember only his
behaviour upon the exclusion bill, to which that nobleman had made a
zealous and distinguished opposition; a handsome expression, which has
been the more noticed, as well because it is almost the single instance
of this prince's showing any disposition to forget injuries, as on
account of a delicacy and propriety in the wording of it, by no means
familiar to him.

Lawrence Hyde, Earl of Rochester, whom he appointed lord treasurer, was
in all respects calculated to be a fit instrument for the purposes then
in view.  Besides being upon the worst terms with Halifax, in whom alone,
of all his ministers, James was likely to find any bias in favour of
popular principles, he was, both from prejudice of education, and from
interest, inasmuch as he had aspired to be the head of the Tories, a
great favourer of those servile principles of the Church of England which
had been lately so highly extolled from the throne.  His near relation to
the Duchess of York might also be some recommendation, but his privity to
the late pecuniary transactions between the courts of Versailles and
London, and the cordiality with which he concurred in them, were by far
more powerful titles to his new master's confidence.  For it must be
observed of this minister, as well as of many others of his party, that
his _high_ notions, as they are frequently styled, of power, regarded
only the relation between the king and his subjects, and not that in
which he might stand with respect to foreign princes; so that, provided
he could, by a dependence, however servile, upon Louis XIV., be placed
above the control of his parliament and people at home, he considered the
honour of the crown unsullied.

Robert Spencer, Earl of Sunderland, who was continued as secretary of
state, had been at one period a supporter of the exclusion bill, and had
been suspected of having offered the Duchess of Portsmouth to obtain the
succession to the crown for her son, the Duke of Richmond.  Nay more,
King James, in his "Memoirs," charges him with having intended, just at
the time of Charles's death, to send him into a second banishment; but
with regard to this last point, it appears evident to me, that many
things in those "Memoirs," relative to this earl, were written after
James's abdication, and in the greatest bitterness of spirit, when he was
probably in a frame of mind to believe anything against a person by whom
he conceived himself to have been basely deserted.  The reappointment,
therefore, of this nobleman to so important an office, is to be accounted
for partly upon the general principle above-mentioned, of making the new
reign a mere continuation of the former, and partly upon Sunderland's
extraordinary talents for ingratiating himself with persons in power, and
persuading them that he was the fittest instrument for their purposes; a
talent in which he seems to have surpassed all the intriguing statesmen
of his time, or perhaps of any other.

An intimate connection with the court of Versailles being the principal
engine by which the favourite project of absolute monarchy was to be
effected, James, for the purpose of fixing and cementing that connection,
sent for M. de Barillon, the French ambassador, the very day after his
accession, and entered into the most confidential discourse with him.  He
explained to him his motives for intending to call a parliament, as well
as his resolution to levy by authority the revenue which his predecessor
had enjoyed in virtue of a grant of parliament which determined with his
life.  He made general professions of attachment to Louis, declared that
in all affairs of importance it was his intention to consult that
monarch, and apologised, upon the ground of the urgency of the case, for
acting in the instance mentioned without his advice.  Money was not
directly mentioned, owing, perhaps, to some sense of shame upon that
subject, which his brother had never experienced; but lest there should
be a doubt whether that object were implied in the desire of support and
protection, Rochester was directed to explain the matter more fully, and
to give a more distinct interpretation of these general terms.
Accordingly, that minister waited the next morning upon Barillon, and
after having repeated and enlarged upon the reasons for calling a
parliament, stated, as an additional argument in defence of the measure,
that without it his master would become too chargeable to the French
king; adding, however, that the assistance which might be expected from a
parliament, did not exempt him altogether from the necessity of resorting
to that prince for pecuniary aids; for that without such, he would be at
the mercy of his subjects, and that upon this beginning would depend the
whole fortune of the reign.  If Rochester actually expressed himself as
Barillon relates, the use intended to be made of parliament cannot but
cause the most lively indignation, while it furnishes a complete answer
to the historians who accuse the parliaments of those days of
unseasonable parsimony in their grants to the Stuart kings; for the
grants of the people of England were not destined, it seems, to enable
their kings to oppose the power of France, or even to be independent of
her, but to render the influence which Louis was resolved to preserve in
this country less chargeable to him, by furnishing their quota to the
support of his royal dependant.

The French ambassador sent immediately a detailed account of these
conversations to his court, where, probably, they were not received with
the less satisfaction on account of the request contained in them having
been anticipated.  Within a very few days from that in which the latter
of them had passed, he was empowered to accompany the delivery of a
letter from his master, with the agreeable news of having received from
him bills of exchange to the amount of five hundred thousand livres, to
be used in whatever manner might be convenient to the king of England's
service.  The account which Barillon gives, of the manner in which this
sum was received, is altogether ridiculous: the king's eyes were full of
tears, and three of his ministers, Rochester, Sunderland, and Godolphin,
came severally to the French ambassador, to express the sense their
master had of the obligation, in terms the most lavish.  Indeed,
demonstrations of gratitude from the king directly, as well as through
his ministers, for this supply were such, as if they had been used by
some unfortunate individual, who, with his whole family, had been saved,
by the timely succour of some kind and powerful protector, from a gaol
and all its horrors, would be deemed rather too strong than too weak.
Barillon himself seems surprised when he relates them; but imputes them
to what was probably their real cause, to the apprehensions that had been
entertained (very unreasonable ones!) that the king of France might no
longer choose to interfere in the affairs of England, and consequently
that his support could not be relied on for the grand object of
assimilating this government to his own.

If such apprehensions did exist, it is probable that they were chiefly
owing to the very careless manner, to say the least, in which Louis had
of late fulfilled his pecuniary engagements to Charles, so as to amount,
in the opinion of the English ministers, to an actual breach of promise.
But the circumstances were in some respects altered.  The French king had
been convinced that Charles would never call a parliament; nay, further
perhaps, that if he did, he would not be trusted by one; and considering
him therefore entirely in his power, acted from that principle in
insolent minds which makes them fond of ill-treating and insulting those
whom they have degraded to a dependence on them.  But James would
probably be obliged at the commencement of a new reign to call a
parliament, and if well used by such a body, and abandoned by France,
might give up his project of arbitrary power, and consent to govern
according to the law and constitution.  In such an event, Louis easily
foresaw, that, instead of a useful dependent, he might find upon the
throne of England a formidable enemy.  Indeed, this prince and his
ministers seem all along, with a sagacity that does them credit, to have
foreseen, and to have justly estimated, the dangers to which they would
be liable, if a cordial union should ever take place between a king of
England and his parliament, and the British councils be directed by men
enlightened and warmed by the genuine principles of liberty.  It was
therefore an object of great moment to bind the new king, as early as
possible, to the system of dependency upon France; and matter of less
triumph to the court of Versailles to have retained him by so moderate a
fee, than to that of London to receive a sum which, though small, was
thought valuable, no as an earnest of better wages and future protection.

It had for some time been Louis's favourite object to annex to his
dominion what remained of the Spanish Netherlands, as well on account of
their own intrinsic value, as to enable him to destroy the United
Provinces and the Prince of Orange; and this object Charles had bound
himself, by treaty with Spain, to oppose.  In the joy, therefore,
occasioned by this noble manner of proceeding (for such it was called by
all the parties concerned), the first step was to agree, without
hesitation, that Charles's treaty with Spain determined with his life, a
decision which, if the disregard that had been shown to it did not render
the question concerning it nugatory, it would be difficult to support
upon any principles of national law or justice.  The manner in which the
late king had conducted himself upon the subject of this treaty, that is
to say, the violation of it, without formally renouncing it, was gravely
commended, and stated to be no more than what might justly be expected
from him; but the present king was declared to be still more free, and in
no way bound by a treaty, from the execution of which his brother had
judged himself to be sufficiently dispensed.  This appears to be a nice
distinction, and what that degree of obligation was, from which James was
exempt, but which had lain upon Charles, who neither thought himself
bound, nor was expected by others to execute the treaty, it is difficult
to conceive.

This preliminary being adjusted, the meaning of which, through all this
contemptible shuffling, was, that James, by giving up all concern for the
Spanish Netherlands, should be at liberty to acquiesce in, or to second,
whatever might be the ambitious projects of the court of Versailles, it
was determined that Lord Churchill should be sent to Paris to obtain
further pecuniary aids.  But such was the impression made by the
frankness and generosity of Louis, that there was no question of
discussing or capitulating, but everything was remitted to that prince,
and to the information his ministers might give him, respecting the
exigency of affairs in England.  He who had so handsomely been
beforehand, in granting the assistance of five hundred thousand livres,
was only to be thanked for past, not importuned for future, munificence.
Thus ended, for the present, this disgusting scene of iniquity and
nonsense, in which all the actors seemed to vie with each other in
prostituting the sacred names of friendship, generosity, and gratitude,
in one of the meanest and most criminal transactions which history

The principal parties in the business, besides the king himself, to whose
capacity, at least, if not to his situation it was more suitable, and
Lord Churchill, who acted as an inferior agent, were Sunderland,
Rochester, and Godolphin, all men of high rank and considerable
abilities, but whose understandings, as well as their principles, seem to
have been corrupted by the pernicious schemes in which they were engaged.
With respect to the last-mentioned nobleman in particular, it is
impossible, without pain, to see him engaged in such transactions.  With
what self-humiliation must he not have reflected upon them in subsequent
periods of his life!  How little could Barillon guess that he was
negotiating with one who was destined to be at the head of an
administration which, in a few years, would send the same Lord Churchill
not to Paris, to implore Louis for succours towards enslaving England, or
to thank him for pensions to her monarch, but to combine all Europe
against him in the cause of liberty, to rout his armies, to take his
towns, to humble his pride, and to shake to the foundation that fabric of
power which it had been the business of a long life to raise, at the
expense of every sentiment of tenderness to his subjects, and of justice
and good faith to foreign nations.  It is with difficulty the reader can
persuade himself that the Godolphin and Churchill here mentioned are the
same persons who were afterwards one in the cabinet, one in the field,
the great conductors of the war of the succession.  How little do they
appear in one instance! how great in the other!  And the investigation of
the cause to which this excessive difference is principally owing, will
produce a most useful lesson.  Is the difference to be attributed to any
superiority of genius in the prince whom they served in the latter period
of their lives?  Queen Anne's capacity appears to have been inferior even
to her father's.  Did they enjoy in a greater degree her favour and
confidence?  The very reverse is the fact.  But in one case they were the
tools of a king plotting against his people; in the other, the ministers
of a free government acting upon enlarged principles, and with energies
which no state that is not in some degree republican can supply.  How
forcibly must the contemplation of these men, in such opposite
situations, teach persons engaged in political life that a free and
popular government is desirable, not only for the public good, but for
their own greatness and consideration, for every object of generous

The king having, as has been related, first privately communicated his
intentions to the French ambassador, issued proclamations for the meeting
of parliament, and for levying, upon his sole authority, the customs and
other duties which had constituted part of the late king's revenue, but
to which, the acts granting them having expired with the prince, James
was not legally entitled.  He was advised by Lord Guildford, whom he had
continued in the office of keeper of the great seal, and who upon such a
subject, therefore, was a person likely to have the greatest weight, to
satisfy himself with directing the money to be kept in the exchequer for
the disposal of parliament, which was shortly to meet; and by others, to
take bonds from the merchants for the duties, to be paid when parliament
should legalise them.  But these expedients were not suited to the king's
views, who, as well on account of his engagement with France, as from his
own disposition, was determined to take no step that might indicate an
intention of governing by parliaments, or a consciousness of his being
dependent upon them for his revenue, he adopted, therefore, the advice of
Jeffreys, advice not resulting so much, probably, either from ignorance
or violence of disposition, as from his knowledge that it would be most
agreeable to his master, and directed the duties to be paid as in the
former reign.  It was pretended, that an interruption in levying some of
the duties might be hurtful to trade; but as every difficulty of that
kind was obviated by the expedients proposed, this arbitrary and violent
measure can with no colour be ascribed to a regard to public convenience,
nor to any other motive than to a desire of reviving Charles I.'s claims
to the power of taxation, and of furnishing a most intelligible comment
upon his speech to the council on the day of his accession.  It became
evident what the king's notions were, with respect to that regal
prerogative from which he professed himself determined never to depart,
and to that property which he would never invade.  What were the
remaining rights and liberties of the nation, which he was to preserve,
might be more difficult to discover; but that the laws of England, in the
royal interpretation of them, were sufficient to make the king as great a
monarch as he, or, indeed, any prince could desire, was a point that
could not be disputed.  This violation of law was in itself most
flagrant; it was applied to a point well understood, and thought to have
been so completely settled by repeated and most explicit declarations of
the legislature, that it must have been doubtful whether even the most
corrupt judges, if the question had been tried, would have had the
audacity to decide it against the subject.  But no resistance was made;
nor did the example of Hampden, which a half century before had been so
successful, and rendered that patriot's name so illustrious, tempt any
one to emulate his fame, so completely had the crafty and sanguinary
measures of the late reign attained the object to which they were
directed, and rendered all men either afraid or unwilling to exert
themselves in the cause of liberty.

On the other hand, addresses the most servile were daily sent to the
throne.  That of the University of Oxford stated that the religion which
they professed bound them to unconditional obedience to their sovereign
without restrictions or limitations; and the Society of Barristers and
Students of the Middle Temple thanked his majesty for the attention he
had shown to the trade of the kingdom, concerning which, and its balance
(and upon this last article they laid particular stress), they seemed to
think themselves peculiarly called upon to deliver their opinion.  But
whatever might be their knowledge in matters of trade, it was at least
equal to that which these addressers showed in the laws and constitution
of their country, since they boldly affirmed the king's right to levy the
duties, and declared that it had never been disputed but by persons
engaged, in what they were pleased to call rebellion against his royal
father.  The address concluded with a sort of prayer that all his
majesty's subjects might be as good lawyers as themselves, and disposed
to acknowledge the royal prerogative in all its extent.

If these addresses are remarkable for their servility, that of the
gentlemen and freeholders of the county of Suffolk was no less so for the
spirit of party violence that was displayed in it.  They would take care,
they said, to choose representatives who should no more endure those who
had been for the Exclusion Bill, than the last parliament had the
abhorrers of the association; and thus not only endeavoured to keep up
his majesty's resentment against a part of their fellow-subjects, but
engaged themselves to imitate, for the purpose of retaliation, that part
of the conduct of their adversaries which they considered as most illegal
and oppressive.

It is a remarkable circumstance, that among all the adulatory addresses
of this time, there is not to be found, in any one of them, any
declaration of disbelief in the popish plot, or any charge upon the late
parliament for having prosecuted it, though it could not but be well
known that such topics would, of all others, be most agreeable to the
court.  Hence we may collect that the delusion on this subject was by no
means at an end, and that they who, out of a desire to render history
conformable to the principles of poetical justice, attribute the
unpopularity and downfall of the Whigs to the indignation excited by
their furious and sanguinary prosecution of the plot, are egregiously
mistaken.  If this had been in any degree the prevailing sentiment, it is
utterly unaccountable that, so far from its appearing in any of the
addresses of these times, this most just ground of reproach upon the Whig
party, and the parliament in which they had had the superiority, was the
only one omitted in them.  The fact appears to have been the very reverse
of what such historians suppose, and that the activity of the late
parliamentary leaders, in prosecuting the popish plot, was the principal
circumstance which reconciled the nation, for a time, to their other
proceedings; that their conduct in that business (now so justly
condemned) was the grand engine of their power, and that when that
failed, they were soon overpowered by the united forces of bigotry and
corruption.  They were hated by a great part of the nation, not for their
crimes, but for their virtues.  To be above corruption is always odious
to the corrupt, and to entertain more enlarged and juster notions of
philosophy and government, is often a cause of alarm to the narrow-minded
and superstitious.  In those days particularly it was obvious to refer to
the confusion, greatly exaggerated of the times of the commonwealth; and
it was an excellent watchword of alarm, to accuse every lover of law and
liberty of designs to revive the tragical scene which had closed the life
of the first Charles.  In this spirit, therefore, the Exclusion Bill, and
the alleged conspiracies of Sidney and Russell, were, as might naturally
be expected, the chief charges urged against the Whigs; but their conduct
on the subject of the popish plot was so far from being the cause of the
hatred born to them, that it was not even used as a topic of accusation
against them.

In order to keep up that spirit in the nation, which was thought to be
manifested in the addresses, his majesty ordered the declaration, to
which allusion was made in the last chapter, to be published, interwoven
with a history of the Rye House Plot, which is said to have been drawn by
Dr. Spratt, Bishop of Rochester.  The principal drift of this publication
was, to load the memory of Sidney and Russell, and to blacken the
character of the Duke of Monmouth, by wickedly confounding the
consultations holden by them with the plot for assassinating the late
king, and in this object it seems in a great measure to have succeeded.
He also caused to be published an attestation of his brother's having
died a Roman Catholic, together with two papers, drawn up by him, in
favour of that persuasion.  This is generally considered to have been a
very ill-advised instance of zeal; but probably James thought, that at a
time when people seemed to be so in love with his power, he might safely
venture to indulge himself in a display of his attachment to his
religion; and perhaps, too, it might be thought good policy to show that
a prince, who had been so highly complimented as Charles had been, for
the restoration and protection of the Church, had, in truth, been a
Catholic, and thus to inculcate an opinion that the Church of England
might not only be safe, but highly favoured, under the reign of a popish

Partly from similar motives, and partly to gratify the natural
vindictiveness of his temper, he persevered in a most cruel persecution
of the Protestant dissenters, upon the most frivolous pretences.  The
courts of justice, as in Charles's days, were instruments equally ready,
either for seconding the policy or for gratifying the bad passions of the
monarch; and Jeffreys, whom the late king had appointed chief justice of
England a little before Sidney's trial, was a man entirely agreeable to
the temper, and suitable to the purposes, of the present government.  He
was thought not to be very learned in his profession; but what might be
wanting in knowledge he made up in positiveness; and, indeed, whatever
might be the difficulties in questions between one subject and another,
the fashionable doctrine, which prevailed at that time, of supporting the
king's prerogative in its full extent, and without restriction or
limitation, rendered, to such as espoused it, all that branch of law
which is called constitutional extremely easy and simple.  He was as
submissive and mean to those above him as he was haughty and insolent to
those who were in any degree in his power; and if in his own conduct he
did not exhibit a very nice regard for morality, or even for decency, he
never failed to animadvert upon, and to punish, the most slight deviation
in others with the utmost severity, especially if they were persons whom
he suspected to be no favourites of the court.

Before this magistrate was brought for trial, by a jury sufficiently
prepossessed in favour of Tory politics, the Rev. Richard Baxter, a
dissenting minister, a pious and learned man, of exemplary character,
always remarkable for his attachment to monarchy, and for leaning to
moderate measures in the differences between the Church and those of his
persuasion.  The pretence for this prosecution was a supposed reference
of some passages in one of his works to the bishops of the Church of
England; a reference which was certainly not intended by him, and which
could not have been made out to any jury that had been less prejudiced,
or under any other direction than that of Jeffreys.  The real motive was,
the desire of punishing an eminent dissenting teacher, whose reputation
was high among his sect, and who was supposed to favour the political
opinions of the Whigs.  He was found guilty, and Jeffreys, in passing
sentence upon him, loaded him with the coarsest reproaches and bitterest
taunts.  He called him sometimes, by way of derision, a saint, sometimes,
in plainer terms, an old rogue; and classed this respectable divine, to
whom the only crime imputed was the having spoken disrespectfully of the
bishops of a communion to which he did not belong, with the infamous
Oates, who had been lately convicted of perjury.  He finished with
declaring, that it was a matter of public notoriety that there was a
formed design to ruin the king and the nation, in which this old man was
the principal incendiary.  Nor is it improbable that this declaration,
absurd as it was, might gain belief at a time when the credulity of the
triumphant party was at its height.

Of this credulity it seems to be no inconsiderable testimony, that some
affected nicety which James had shown with regard to the ceremonies to be
used towards the French ambassador, was highly magnified, and represented
to be an indication of the different tone that was to be taken by the
present king, in regard to foreign powers, and particularly to the court
of Versailles.  The king was represented as a prince eminently jealous of
the national honour, and determined to preserve the balance of power in
Europe, by opposing the ambitious projects of France at the very time
when he was supplicating Louis to be his pensioner, and expressing the
most extravagant gratitude for having been accepted as such.  From the
information which we now have, it appears that his applications to Louis
for money were incessant, and that the difficulties were all on the side
of the French court.  Of the historians who wrote prior to the inspection
of the papers in the foreign office in France, Burnet is the only one who
seems to have known that James's pretensions of independency with respect
to the French king were (as he terms them) only a show; but there can now
be no reason to doubt the truth of the anecdote which he relates, that
Louis soon after told the Duke of Villeroy, that if James showed any
apparent uneasiness concerning the balance of power (and there is some
reason to suppose he did) in his conversations with the Spanish and other
foreign ambassadors, his intention was, probably, to alarm the court of
Versailles, and thereby to extort pecuniary assistance to a greater
extent; while, on the other hand, Louis, secure in the knowledge that his
views of absolute power must continue him in dependence upon France,
seems to have refused further supplies, and even in some measure to have
withdrawn those which had been stipulated, as a mark of his displeasure
with his dependant, for assuming a higher tone than he thought becoming.

Whether with a view of giving some countenance to those who were praising
him upon the above mentioned topic, or from what other motive it is now
not easy to conjecture, James seems to have wished to be upon apparent
good terms, at least, with the Prince of Orange; and after some
correspondence with that prince concerning the protection afforded by him
and the states-general to Monmouth, and other obnoxious persons, it
appears that he declared himself, in consequence of certain explanations
and concessions, perfectly satisfied.  It is to be remarked, however,
that he thought it necessary to give the French ambassador an account of
this transaction, and in a manner to apologise to him for entering into
any sort of terms with a son-in-law, who was supposed to be hostile in
disposition to the French king.  He assured Barillon that a change of
system on the part of the Prince of Orange in regard to Louis, should be
a condition of his reconciliation: he afterwards informed him that the
Prince of Orange had answered him satisfactorily in all other respects,
but had not taken notice of his wish that he should connect himself with
France; but never told him that he had, notwithstanding the prince's
silence on that material point, expressed himself completely satisfied
with him.  That a proposition to the Prince of Orange, to connect himself
in politics with Louis would, if made, have been rejected, in the manner
in which the king's account to Barillon implies that it was, there can be
no doubt; but whether James ever had the assurance to make it is more
questionable; for as he evidently acted disingenuously with the
ambassador, in concealing from him the complete satisfaction he had
expressed of the Prince of Orange's present conduct, it is not
unreasonable to suppose that he deceived him still further, and pretended
to have made an application, which he had never hazarded.

However, the ascertaining of this fact is by no means necessary for the
illustration, either of the general history or of James's particular
character, since it appears that the proposition, if made, was rejected;
and James is, in any case, equally convicted of insincerity, the only
point in question being, whether he deceived the French ambassador, in
regard to the fact of his having made the proposition, or to the
sentiments he expressed upon its being refused.  Nothing serves more to
show the dependence in which he considered himself to be upon Louis than
these contemptible shifts to which he condescended, for the purposes of
explaining and apologising for such parts of his conduct as might be
supposed to be less agreeable to that monarch than the rest.  An English
parliament acting upon constitutional principles, and the Prince of
Orange, were the two enemies whom Louis most dreaded; and, accordingly,
whenever James found it necessary to make approaches to either of them,
an apology was immediately to be offered to the French ambassador, to
which truth sometimes and honour was always sacrificed.

Mr. Hume says the king found himself, by degrees, under the necessity of
falling into an union with the French monarch, who could alone assist him
in promoting the Catholic religion in England.  But when that historian
wrote, those documents had not been made public, from which the account
of the communications with Barillon has been taken, and by which it
appears that a connection with France was, as well in point of time as in
importance, the first object of his reign, and that the immediate
specific motive to that connection was the same as that of his brother;
the desire of rendering himself independent of parliament, and absolute,
not that of establishing popery in England, which was considered as a
more remote contingency.  That this was the case is evident from all the
circumstances of the transaction, and especially from the zeal with which
he was served in it by ministers who were never suspected of any leaning
towards popery, and not one of whom (Sunderland excepted) could be
brought to the measures that were afterwards taken in favour of that
religion.  It is the more material to attend to this distinction, because
the Tory historians, especially such of them as are not Jacobites, have
taken much pains to induce us to attribute the violences and illegalities
of this reign to James's religion, which was peculiar to him, rather than
to that desire of absolute power which so many other princes have had,
have, and always will have, in common with him.  The policy of such
misrepresentation is obvious.  If this reign is to be considered as a
period insulated, as it were, and unconnected with the general course of
history, and if the events of it are to be attributed exclusively to the
particular character and particular attachments of the monarch, the sole
inference will be that we must not have a Catholic for our king; whereas,
if we consider it, which history well warrants us to do, as a part of
that system which had been pursued by all the Stuart kings, as well prior
as subsequent to the restoration, the lesson which it affords is very
different, as well as far more instructive.  We are taught, generally,
the dangers Englishmen will always be liable to, if, from favour to a
prince upon the throne, or from a confidence, however grounded, that his
views are agreeable to our own notions of the constitution, we in any
considerable degree abate of that vigilant and unremitting jealousy of
the power of the crown, which can alone secure to us the effect of those
wise laws that have been provided for the benefit of the subject: and
still more particularly, that it is in vain to think of making a
compromise with power, and by yielding to it in other points, preserving
some favourite object, such, for instance, as the Church in James's case,
from its grasp.

Previous to meeting his English parliament, James directed a parliament
which had been summoned in the preceding reign, to assemble at Edinburgh,
and appointed the Duke of Queensbury his commissioner.  This appointment
is, in itself, a strong indication that the king's views, with regard to
Scotland at least, were similar to those which I have ascribed to him in
England; and that they did not at that time extend to the introduction of
popery, but were altogether directed to the establishment of absolute
power as the _end_, and to the support of an episcopal church, upon the
model of the Church of England, as the _means_.  For Queensbury had
explained himself to his majesty in the fullest manner upon the subject
of religion; and while he professed himself to be ready (as, indeed, his
conduct in the late reign had sufficiently proved) to go any length in
supporting royal power and in persecuting the Presbyterians, had made it
a condition of his services, that he might understand from his majesty
that there was no intention of changing the established religion; for if
such was the object, he could not make any one step with him in that
matter.  James received this declaration most kindly, assured him he had
no such intention, and that he would have a parliament, to which he,
Queensbury, should go as commissioner, and giving all possible assurances
in the matter of religion, get the revenue to be settled, and such other
laws to be passed as might be necessary for the public safety.  With
these promises the duke was not only satisfied at the time, but declared,
at a subsequent period, that they had been made in so frank and hearty a
manner, as made him conclude that it was impossible the king should be
acting a part.  And this nobleman was considered, and is handed down to
us by contemporary writers, as a man of a penetrating genius, nor has it
ever been the national character of the country to which he belonged to
be more liable to be imposed upon than the rest of mankind.

The Scottish parliament met on the 23rd of April, and was opened by the
commissioner, with the following letter from the king:--

   "My Lords and Gentlemen,--The many experiences we have had of the
   loyalty and exemplary forwardness of that our ancient kingdom, by
   their representatives in parliament assembled, in the reign of our
   deceased and most entirely beloved brother of ever blessed memory,
   made us desirous to call you at this time, in the beginning of our
   reign, to give you an opportunity, not only of showing your duty to us
   in the same manner, but likewise of being exemplary to others in your
   demonstrations of affection to our person and compliance with our
   desires, as you have most eminently been in times past, to a degree
   never to be forgotten by us, nor (we hope) to be contradicted by your
   future practices.  That which we are at this time to propose unto you
   is what is as necessary for your safety as our service, and what has a
   tendency more to secure your own privileges and properties than the
   aggrandising our power and authority (though in it consists the
   greatest security of your rights and interests, these never having
   been in danger, except when the royal power was brought too low to
   protect them), which now we are resolved to maintain, in its greatest
   lustre, to the end we may be the more enabled to defend and protect
   your religion as established by law, and your rights and properties
   (which was our design in calling this parliament) against fanatical
   contrivances, murderers, and assassins, who having no fear of God,
   more than honour for us, have brought you into such difficulties as
   only the blessing of God upon the steady resolutions and actings of
   our said dearest royal brother, and those employed by him (in
   prosecution of the good and wholesome laws, by you heretofore
   offered), could have saved you from the most horrid confusions and
   inevitable ruin.  Nothing has been left unattempted by those wild and
   inhuman traitors for endeavouring to overturn your peace; and
   therefore we have good reason to hope that nothing will be wanting in
   you to secure yourselves and us from their outrages and violence in
   time coming, and to take care that such conspirators meet with their
   just deservings, so as others may thereby be deterred from courses so
   little agreeable to religion, or their duty and allegiance to us.
   These things we considered to be of so great importance to our royal,
   as well as the universal, interest of that our kingdom, that we were
   fully resolved, in person, to have proposed the needful remedies to
   you.  But things having so fallen out as render this impossible for
   us, we have now thought fit to send our right trusty and right
   entirely beloved cousin and councillor, William, Duke of Queensbury,
   to be our commissioner amongst you, of whose abilities and
   qualifications we have reason to be fully satisfied, and of whose
   faithfulness to us, and zeal for our interest, we have had signal
   proofs in the times of our greatest difficulties.  Him we have fully
   intrusted in all things relating to our service and your own
   prosperity and happiness, and therefore you are to give him entire
   trust and credit, as you now see we have done, from whose prudence and
   your most dutiful affection to us, we have full confidence of your
   entire compliance and assistance in all those matters, wherein he is
   instructed as aforesaid.  We do, therefore, not only recommend unto
   you that such things be done as are necessary in this juncture for
   your own peace, and the support of our royal interest, of which we had
   so much experience when amongst you, that we cannot doubt of your full
   and ample expressing the same on this occasion, by which the great
   concern we have in you, our ancient and kindly people, may still
   increase, and you may transmit your loyal actions (as examples of
   duty) to your posterity.  In full confidence whereof we do assure you
   of your royal favour and protection in all your concerns, and so we
   bid you heartily farewell."

This letter deserves the more attention because, as the proceedings of
the Scotch parliament, according to a remarkable expression in the letter
itself, were intended to be an example to others, there is the greatest
reason to suppose the matter of it must have been maturely weighed and
considered.  His majesty first compliments the Scotch parliament upon
their peculiar loyalty and dutiful behaviour in past times, meaning, no
doubt, to contrast their conduct with that of those English parliaments
who had passed the Exclusion Bill, the Disbanding Act, the Habeas Corpus
Act, and other measures hostile to his favourite principles of
government.  He states the granting of an independent revenue, and the
supporting the prerogative in its greatest lustre, if not the
aggrandising of it, to be necessary for the preservation of their
religion, established by law (that is, the Protestant episcopacy), as
well as for the security of their properties against fanatical assassins
and murderers; thus emphatically announcing a complete union of interests
between the crown and the Church.  He then bestows a complete and
unqualified approbation of the persecuting measures of the last reign, in
which he had borne so great a share; and to those measures, and to the
steadiness with which they had been persevered in, he ascribes the escape
of both Church and State from the fanatics, and expresses his regret that
he could not be present, to propose in person the other remedies of a
similar nature, which he recommended as needful in the present

Now it is proper in this place to inquire into the nature of the measures
thus extolled, as well for the purpose of elucidating the characters of
the king and his Scottish minsters, as for that of rendering more
intelligible the subsequent proceedings of the parliament, and the other
events which soon after took place in that kingdom.  Some general notions
may be formed of that course of proceedings which, according to his
majesty's opinion, had been so laudably and resolutely pursued during the
late reign, from the circumstances alluded to in the preceding chapter,
when it is understood that the sentences of Argyle and Laurie of
Blackwood were not detached instances of oppression, but rather a sample
of the general system of administration.  The covenant, which had been so
solemnly taken by the whole kingdom, and, among the rest, by the king
himself, had been declared to be unlawful, and a refusal to abjure it had
been made subject to the severest penalties.  Episcopacy, which was
detested by a great majority of the nation, had been established, and all
public exercise of religion, in the forms to which the people were most
attached, had been prohibited.  The attendance upon field conventicles
had been made highly penal, and the preaching at them capital, by which
means, according to the computation of a late writer, no less remarkable
for the accuracy of his facts than for the force and justness of his
reasonings, at least seventeen thousand persons in one district were
involved in criminality, and became the objects of persecution.  After
this letters had been issued by government, forbidding the intercommuning
with persons who had neglected or refused to appear before the Privy
Council, when cited for the above crimes, a proceeding by which not only
all succour or assistance to such persons, but, according to the strict
sense of the word made use of, all intercourse with them, was rendered
criminal, and subjected him who disobeyed the prohibition to the same
penalties, whether capital or others, which were affixed to the alleged
crimes of the party with whom he had intercommuned.

These measures not proving effectual for the purpose for which they were
intended, or, as some say, the object of Charles II.'s government being
to provoke an insurrection, a demand was made upon the landholders in the
district supposed to be most disaffected of bonds, whereby they were to
become responsible for their wives, families, tenants, and servants, and
likewise for the wives, families, and servants of their tenants, and,
finally, for all persons living upon their estates, that they should not
withdraw from the Church, frequent or preach at conventicles, nor give
any succour, or have any intercourse with persons with whom it was
forbidden to intercommune; and the penalties attached to the breach of
this engagement, the keeping of which was obviously out of the power of
him who was required to make it, were to be the same as those, whether
capital or other, to which the several persons for whom he engaged might
be liable.  The landholders, not being willing to subscribe to their own
destruction, refused to execute the bonds, and this was thought
sufficient grounds for considering the district to which they belonged as
in a state of rebellion.  English and Irish armies were ordered to the
frontiers; a train of artillery and the militia were sent into the
district itself; and six thousand Highlanders, who were let loose upon
its inhabitants, to exercise every species of pillage and plunder were
connived at, or rather encouraged, in excesses of a still more atrocious

The bonds being still refused, the government had recourse to an
expedient of a most extraordinary nature, and issued what the Scotch
called a writ of Lawburrows against the whole district.  This writ of
Lawburrows is somewhat analogous to what we call "swearing the peace"
against any one, and had hitherto been supposed, as the other is with us,
to be applicable to the disputes of private individuals, and to the
apprehensions which, in consequence of such disputes, they may mutually
entertain of each other.  A government swearing the peace against its
subjects was a new spectacle; but if a private subject, under fear of
another, hath a right to such a security, how much more the government
itself? was thought an unanswerable argument.  Such are the sophistries
which tyrants deem satisfactory.  Thus are they willing even to descend
from their loftiness into the situation of subjects or private men, when
it is for the purpose of acquiring additional powers of persecution; and
thus truly formidable and terrific are they, when they pretend alarm and
fear.  By these writs the persons against whom they were directed were
bound, as in case of the former bonds, to conditions which were not in
their power to fulfil, such as the preventing of conventicles and the
like, under such penalties as the Privy Council might inflict, and a
disobedience to them was followed by outlawry and confiscation.

The conduct of the Duke of Lauderdale, who was the chief actor in these
scenes of violence and iniquity, was completely approved and justified at
court; but in consequence probably of the state of politics in England at
a time when the Whigs were strongest in the House of Commons, some of
these grievances were in part redressed, and the Highlanders, and writs
of Lawburrows were recalled.  But the country was still treated like a
conquered country.  The Highlanders were replaced by an army of five
thousand regulars, and garrisons were placed in private houses.  The
persecution of conventicles continued, and ample indemnity was granted
for every species of violence that might be exercised by those employed
to suppress them.  In this state of things the assassination and murder
of Sharp, Archbishop of St. Andrews, by a troop of fanatics, who had been
driven to madness by the oppression of Carmichael, one of that prelate's
instruments, while it gave an additional spur to the vindictive temper of
the government, was considered by it as a justification for every mode
and degree of cruelty and persecution.  The outrage committed by a few
individuals was imputed to the whole fanatic sect, as the government
termed them, or, in other words, to a description of people which
composed a great majority of the population in the Lowlands of Scotland;
and those who attended field or armed conventicles were ordered to be
indiscriminately massacred.

By such means an insurrection was at last produced, which, from the
weakness, or, as some suppose, from the wicked policy of an
administration eager for confiscations, and desirous of such a state of
the country as might, in some measure, justify their course of
government, made such a progress that the insurgents became masters of
Glasgow and the country adjacent.  To quell these insurgents, who,
undisciplined as they were, had defeated Graham, afterwards Viscount
Dundee, the Duke of Monmouth was sent with an army from England; but,
lest the generous mildness of his nature should prevail, he had sealed
orders which he was not to open till in sight of the rebels, enjoining
him not to treat with them, but to fall upon them without any previous
negotiation.  In pursuance of these orders the insurgents were attacked
at Bothwell Bridge, where, though they were entirely routed and
dispersed, yet because those who surrendered at discretion were not put
to death, and the army, by the strict enforcing of discipline, were
prevented from plunder and other outrages, it was represented by James,
and in some degree even by the king, that Monmouth had acted as if he had
meant rather to put himself at the head of the fanatics than to repel
them, and were inclined rather to court their friendship than to punish
their rebellion.  All complaints against Lauderdale were dismissed, his
power confirmed, and an act of indemnity, which had been procured at
Monmouth's intercession, was so clogged with exceptions as to be of
little use to any but to the agents of tyranny.  Several persons, who
were neither directly nor indirectly concerned in the murder of the
archbishop, were executed as an expiation for that offence; but many more
were obliged to compound for their lives by submitting to the most
rapacious extortion, which at this particular period seems to have been
the engine of oppression most in fashion, and which was extended not only
to those who had been in any way concerned in the insurrection, but to
those who had neglected to attend the standard of the king, when
displayed against what was styled, in the usual insulting language of
tyrants, a most unnatural rebellion.

The quiet produced by such means was, as might be expected, of no long
duration.  Enthusiasm was increased by persecution, and the fanatic
preachers found no difficulty in persuading their flocks to throw off all
allegiance to a government which afforded them no protection.  The king
was declared to be an apostate from the government, a tyrant, and an
usurper; and Cargill, one of the most enthusiastic among the preachers,
pronounced a formal sentence of excommunication against him, his brother
the Duke of York, and others, their ministers and abettors.  This outrage
upon majesty together with an insurrection contemptible in point of
numbers and strength, in which Cameron, another field-preacher, had been
killed, furnished a pretence which was by no means neglected for new
cruelties and executions; but neither death nor torture were sufficient
to subdue the minds of Cargill and his intrepid followers.  They all
gloried in their sufferings; nor could the meanest of them be brought to
purchase their lives by a retractation of their principles, or even by
any expression that might be construed into an approbation of their
persecutors.  The effect of this heroic constancy upon the minds of their
oppressors was to persuade them not to lessen the numbers of executions,
but to render them more private, whereby they exposed the true character
of their government, which was not severity, but violence; not justice,
but vengeance: for example being the only legitimate end of punishment,
where that is likely to encourage rather than to deter (as the government
in these instances seems to have apprehended), and consequently to prove
more pernicious than salutary, every punishment inflicted by the
magistrate is cruelty, every execution murder.  The rage of punishment
did not stop even here, but questions were put to persons, and in many
instances to persons under torture, who had not been proved to have been
in any of the insurrections, whether they considered the archbishop's
assassination as murder, the rising at Bothwell Bridge rebellion, and
Charles a lawful king.  The refusal to answer these questions, or the
answering of them in an unsatisfactory manner, was deemed a proof of
guilt, and immediate execution ensued.

These last proceedings had taken place while James himself had the
government in his hands, and under his immediate directions.  Not long
after, and when the exclusionists in England were supposed to be entirely
defeated, was passed (James being the king's commissioner), the famous
bill of succession, declaring that no difference of religion, nor any
statute or law grounded upon such, or any other pretence, could defeat
the hereditary right of the heir to the crown, and that to propose any
limitation upon the future administration of such heir was high treason.
But the Protestant religion was to be secured; for those who were most
obsequious to the court, and the most willing and forward instruments of
its tyranny, were, nevertheless, zealous Protestants.  A test was
therefore framed for this purpose, which was imposed upon all persons
exercising any civil or military functions whatever, the royal family
alone excepted; but to the declaration of adherence to the Protestant
religion was added a recognition of the king's supremacy in
ecclesiastical matters, and a complete renunciation in civil concerns of
every right belonging to a free subject.  An adherence to the Protestant
religion, according to the confession of it referred to in the test,
seemed to some inconsistent with the acknowledgment of the king's
supremacy and that clause of the oath which related to civil matters,
inasmuch as it declared against endeavouring at any alteration in the
Church or State, seemed incompatible with the duties of a counsellor or a
member of parliament.  Upon these grounds the Earl of Argyle, in taking
the oath, thought fit to declare as follows:--

"I have considered the test, and I am very desirous to give obedience as
far as I can.  I am confident the parliament never intended to impose
contradictory oaths; therefore I think no man can explain it but for
himself.  Accordingly I take it, as far as it is consistent with itself
and the Protestant religion.  And I do declare that I mean not to bind up
myself in my station, and in a lawful way, to wish and endeavour any
alteration I think to the advantage of the Church or State, not repugnant
to the Protestant religion and my loyalty.  And this I understand as a
part of the oath."  And for this declaration, though unnoticed at the
time, he was in a few days afterwards committed, and shortly after
sentenced to die.  Nor was the test applied only to those for whom it had
been originally instituted, but by being offered to those numerous
classes of people who were within the reach of the late severe criminal
laws, as an alternative for death or confiscation, it might fairly be
said to be imposed upon the greater part of the country.

Not long after these transactions James took his final leave of the
government, and in his parting speech recommended, in the strongest
terms, the support of the Church.  This gracious expression, the
sincerity of which seemed to be evinced by his conduct to the
conventiclers and the severity with which he had enforced the test,
obtained him a testimonial from the bishops of his affection to their
Protestant Church, a testimonial to which, upon the principle that they
are the best friends to the Church who are most willing to persecute such
as dissent from it, he was, notwithstanding his own nonconformity, most
amply entitled.

Queensbury's administration ensued, in which the maxims that had guided
his predecessors were so far from being relinquished, that they were
pursued, if possible, with greater steadiness and activity.  Lawrie of
Blackwood was condemned for having holden intercourse with a rebel, whose
name was not to be found in any of the lists of the intercommuned or
proscribed; and a proclamation was issued, threatening all who were in
like circumstances with a similar fate.  The intercourse with rebels
having been in great parts of the kingdom promiscuous and universal, more
than twenty thousand persons were objects of this menace.  Fines and
extortions of all kinds were employed to enrich the public treasury, to
which, therefore, the multiplication of crimes became a fruitful source
of revenue; and lest it should not be sufficiently so, husbands were made
answerable (and that too with a retrospect) for the absence of their
wives from church; a circumstance which the Presbyterian women's aversion
to the episcopal form of worship had rendered very general.

This system of government, and especially the rigour with which those
concerned in the late insurrections, the excommunication of the king, or
the other outrages complained of, were pursued and hunted sometimes by
bloodhounds, sometimes by soldiers almost equally savage, and afterwards
shot like wild beasts, drove some of those sectaries who were styled
Cameronians, and other proscribed persons, to measures of absolute
desperation.  They made a declaration, which they caused to be affixed to
different churches, importing, that they would use the law of
retaliation, and "we will," said they, "punish as enemies to God, and to
the covenant, such persons as shall make it their work to imbrue their
hands in our blood; and chiefly, if they shall continue obstinately and
with habitual malice to proceed against us," with more to the like
effect.  Upon such an occasion the interference of government became
necessary.  The government did indeed interfere, and by a vote of council
ordered, that whoever owned, or refused to disown, the declaration on
oath, should be put to death in the presence of two witnesses, though
unarmed when taken.  The execution of this massacre in the welvet
counties which were principally concerned, was committed to the military,
and exceeded, if possible, the order itself.  The disowning the
declaration was required to be in a particular form prescribed.  Women,
obstinate in their fanaticism, lest female blood should be a stain upon
the swords of soldiers engaged in this honourable employment, were
drowned.  The habitations, as well of those who had fled to save
themselves, as of those who suffered, were burnt and destroyed.  Such
members of the families of the delinquents as were above twelve years old
were imprisoned for the purpose of being afterwards transported.  The
brutality of the soldiers was such as might be expected from an army let
loose from all restraint, and employed to execute the royal justice, as
it was called, upon wretches.  Graham who has been mentioned before, and
who, under the title of Lord Dundee, a title which was probably conferred
upon him by James for these or similar services, was afterwards esteemed
such a hero among the Jacobite party, particularly distinguished himself.
Of six unarmed fugitives whom he seized, he caused four to be shot in his
presence, nor did the remaining two experience any other mercy from him
than a delay of their doom; and at another time, having intercepted the
flight of one of these victims, he had him shown to his family, and then
murdered in the arms of his wife.  The example of persons of such high
rank, and who must be presumed to have had an education in some degree
correspondent to their station, could not fail of operating upon men of a
lower order in society.  The carnage became every day more general and
more indiscriminate, and the murder of peasants in their houses, or while
employed at their usual work in the fields, by the soldiers, was not only
not reproved or punished, but deemed a meritorious service by their
superiors.  The demise of King Charles, which happened about this time,
caused no suspension or relaxation in these proceedings, which seemed to
have been the crowning measure, as it were, or finishing stroke of that
system, for the steady perseverance in which James so much admired the
resolution of his brother.

It has been judged necessary to detail these transactions in a manner
which may, to some readers, appear an impertinent digression from the
narrative in which this history is at present engaged, in order to set in
a clearer light some points of the greatest importance.  In the first
place, from the summary review of the affairs of Scotland, and from the
complacency with which James looks back to his own share of them, joined
to the general approbation he expressed of the conduct of government in
that kingdom, we may form a pretty just notion, as well of his maxims of
policy, as of his temper and disposition in matters where his bigotry to
the Roman Catholic religion had no share.  For it is to be observed and
carefully kept in mind, that the Church, of which he not only recommends
the support, but which be showed himself ready to maintain by the most
violent means, is the Episcopalian Church of the Protestants; that the
test which he enforced at the point of the bayonet was a Protestant test,
so much so indeed, that he himself could not take it; and that the more
marked character of the conventicles, the objects of his persecution, was
not so much that of heretics excommunicated by the Pope, as of dissenters
from the Church of England, and irreconcilable enemies to the Protestant
liturgy and the Protestant episcopacy.  But he judged the Church of
England to be a most fit instrument for rendering the monarchy absolute.
On the other hand, the Presbyterians were thought naturally hostile to
the principles of passive obedience, and to one or other, or with more
probability to both of these considerations, joined to the natural
violence of his temper, is to be referred the whole of his conduct in
this part of his life, which in this view is rational enough; but on the
supposition of his having conceived thus early the intention of
introducing popery upon the ruins of the Church of England, is wholly
unaccountable, and no less absurd, than if a general were to put himself
to great cost and pains to furnish with ammunition and to strengthen with
fortifications a place of which he was actually meditating the attack.

The next important observation that occurs, and to which even they who
are most determined to believe that this prince had always popery in
view, and held every other consideration as subordinate to that primary
object, must nevertheless subscribe, is that the most confidential
advisors, as well as the most furious supporters of the measures we have
related, were not Roman Catholics.  Lauderdale and Queensbury were both
Protestants.  There is no reason, therefore, to impute any of James's
violence afterwards to the suggestions of his Catholic advisers, since he
who had been engaged in the series of measures above related with
Protestant counsellors and coadjutors, had surely nothing to learn from
papists (whether priests, jesuits, or others) in the science of tyranny.
Lastly, from this account we are enabled to form some notion of the state
of Scotland at a time when the parliament of that kingdom was called to
set an example for this, and we find it to have been a state of more
absolute slavery than at that time subsisted in any part of Christendom.

The affairs of Scotland being in the state which we have described, it is
no wonder that the king's letter was received with acclamations of
applause, and that the parliament opened, not only with approbation of
the government, but even with an enthusiastic zeal to signalise their
loyalty, as well by a perfect acquiescence to the king's demands, as by
the most fulsome expressions of adulation.  "What prince in Europe, or in
the whole world," said the chancellor Perth, "was ever like the late
king, except his present majesty, who had undergone every trial of
prosperity and adversity, and whose unwearied clemency was not among the
least conspicuous of his virtues?  To advance his honour and greatness
was the duty of all his subjects, and ought to be the endeavour of their
lives without reserve."  The parliament voted an address, scarcely less
adulatory than the chancellor's speech.

   "May it please your sacred majesty--Your majesty's gracious and kind
   remembrance of the services done by this, your ancient kingdom, to the
   late king your brother, of ever glorious memory, shall rather raise in
   us ardent desires to exceed whatever we have done formerly, than make
   us consider them as deserving the esteem your majesty is pleased to
   express of them in your letter to us dated the twenty-eighth of March.
   The death of that our excellent monarch is lamented by us to all the
   degrees of grief that are consistent with our great joy for the
   succession of your sacred majesty, who has not only continued, but
   secured the happiness which his wisdom, his justice, and clemency
   procured to us: and having the honour to be the first parliament which
   meets by your royal authority, of which we are very sensible, your
   majesty may be confident that we will offer such laws as may best
   secure your majesty's sacred person, the royal family and government,
   and be so exemplary loyal, as to raise your honour and greatness to
   the utmost of our power, which we shall ever esteem both our duty and
   interest.  Nor shall we leave anything undone for extirpating all
   fanaticism, but especially those fanatical murderers and assassins,
   and for detecting and punishing the late conspirators, whose
   pernicious and execrable designs did so much tend to subvert your
   majesty's government, and ruin us and all your majesty's faithful
   subjects.  We can assure your majesty, that the subjects of this your
   majesty's ancient kingdom are so desirous to exceed all their
   predecessors in extraordinary marks of affection and obedience to your
   majesty, that (God be praised) the only way to be popular with us is
   to be eminently loyal.  Your majesty's care of us, when you took us to
   be your special charge, your wisdom in extinguishing the seeds of
   rebellion and faction amongst us, your justice, which was so great as
   to be for ever exemplary, but above all, your majesty's free and
   cheerful securing to us our religion, when your were the late king's,
   your royal brother's commissioner, now again renewed, when you are our
   sovereign, are what your subjects here can never forget, and therefore
   your majesty may expect that we will think your commands sacred as
   your person, and that your inclination will prevent our debates; nor
   did ever any who represented our monarchs as their commissioners
   (except your royal self) meet with greater respect, or more exact
   observance from a parliament, than the Duke of Queensbury (whom your
   majesty has so wisely chosen to represent you in this, and of whose
   eminent loyalty and great abilities in all his former employments this
   nation hath seen so many proofs) shall find from

   "May it please your sacred majesty, your majesty's most humble, most
   faithful, and most obedient subjects and servants,

   "PERTH, Cancell."

Nor was this spirit of loyalty (as it was then called) of abject slavery,
and unmanly subservience to the will of a despot, as it has been justly
denominated by the more impartial judgment of posterity, confined to
words only.  Acts were passed to ratify all the late judgments, however
illegal or iniquitous, to indemnify the privy council, judges, and all
officers of the crown, civil or military, for all the violences they had
committed; to authorise the privy council to impose the test upon all
ranks of people under such penalties as that board might think fit to
impose; to extend the punishment of death which had formerly attached
upon the preachers at field conventicles only, to all their auditors, and
likewise to the preachers at house conventicles; to subject to the
penalties of treason all persons who should give or take the covenant, or
write in defence thereof, or in any other way own it to be obligatory;
and lastly, in a strain of tyranny, for which there was, it is believed,
no precedent, and which certainly has never been surpassed, to enact that
all such persons as being cited in cases of high treason, field or house
conventicles, or church irregularities, should refuse to give testimony,
should be liable to the punishment due by law to the criminals against
whom they refused to be witnesses.  It is true that an act was also
passed for confirming all former statutes in favour of the Protestant
religion as then established, in their whole strength and tenour, as if
they were particularly set down and expressed in the said act; but when
we recollect the notions which Queensbury at that time entertained of the
king's views, this proceeding forms no exception to the general system of
servility which characterised both ministers and parliament.  All matters
in relation to revenue were of course settled in the manner most
agreeable to his majesty's wishes and the recommendation of his

While the legislature was doing its part, the executive government was
not behindhand in pursuing the system which had been so much commended.  A
refusal to abjure the declaration in the terms prescribed, was everywhere
considered as sufficient cause for immediate execution.  In one part of
the country information having been received that a corpse had been
clandestinely buried, an inquiry took place; it was dug up, and found to
be that of a person proscribed.  Those who had interred him were
suspected, not of having murdered, but of having harboured him.  For this
crime their house was destroyed, and the women and children of the family
being driven out to wander as vagabonds, a young man belonging to it was
executed by the order of Johnston of Westerraw.  Against this murder even
Graham himself is said to have remonstrated, but was content with
protesting that the blood was not upon his head; and not being able to
persuade a Highland officer to execute the order of Johnston, ordered his
own men to shoot the unhappy victim.  In another county three females,
one of sixty-three years of age, one of eighteen, and one of twelve, were
charged with rebellion; and refusing to abjure the declaration, were
sentenced to be drowned.  The last was let off upon condition of her
father's giving a bond for a hundred pounds.  The elderly woman, who is
represented as a person of eminent piety, bore her fate with the greatest
constancy, nor does it appear that her death excited any strong
sensations in the minds of her savage executioners.  The girl of eighteen
was more pitied, and after many entreaties, and having been once under
water, was prevailed upon to utter some words which might be fairly
construed into blessing the king, a mode of obtaining pardon not
unfrequent in cases where the persecutors were inclined to relent.  Upon
this it was thought she was safe, but the merciless barbarian who
superintended this dreadful business was not satisfied; and upon her
refusing the abjuration, she was again plunged into the water, where she
expired.  It is to be remarked that being at Bothwell Bridge and Air's
Moss were among the crimes stated in the indictment of all the three,
though, when the last of these affairs happened, one of the girls was
only thirteen, and the other not eight years of age.  At the time of the
Bothwell Bridge business, they were still younger.  To recite all the
instances of cruelty which occurred would be endless; but it may be
necessary to remark that no historical facts are better ascertained than
the accounts of them which are to be found in Woodrow.  In every instance
where there has been an opportunity of comparing these accounts with
records, and other authentic monuments, they appear to be quite correct.

The Scottish parliament having thus set, as they had been required to do,
an eminent example of what was then thought duty to the crown, the king
met his English parliament on the 19th of May, 1685, and opened it with
the following speech:--

   "My lords and gentlemen,--After it pleased Almighty God to take to his
   mercy the late king, my dearest brother, and to bring me to the
   peaceable possession of the throne of my ancestors, I immediately
   resolved to call a parliament, as the best means to settle everything
   upon these foundations as may make my reign both easy and happy to
   you; towards which I am disposed to contribute all that is fit for me
   to do.

   "What I said to my privy council at my first coming there I am
   desirous to renew to you, wherein I fully declare my opinion
   concerning the principles of the Church of England, whose members have
   showed themselves so eminently loyal in the worst of times in defence
   of my father and support of my brother (of blessed memory), that I
   will always take care to defend and support it.  I will make it my
   endeavour to preserve this government, both in Church and State, as it
   is by law established: and as I will never depart from the just rights
   and prerogatives of the crown, so I will never invade any man's
   property; and you may be sure that having heretofore ventured my life
   in the defence of this nation, I will still go as far as any man in
   preserving it in all its just rights and liberties.

   "And having given this assurance concerning the care I will have of
   your religion and property, which I have chose to do in the same words
   which I used at my first coming to the crown, the better to evidence
   to you that I spoke them not by chance, and consequently that you may
   firmly rely upon a promise so solemnly made, I cannot doubt that I
   shall fail of suitable returns from you, with all imaginable duty and
   kindness on your part, and particularly to what relates to the
   settling of my revenue, and continuing it during my life, as it was in
   the lifetime of my brother.  I might use many arguments to enforce
   this demand for the benefit of trade, the support of the navy, the
   necessity of the crown, and the well-being of the government itself,
   which I must not suffer to be precarious; but I am confident your own
   consideration of what is just and reasonable will suggest to you
   whatsoever might be enlarged upon this occasion.

   "There is one popular argument which I foresee may be used against
   what I ask of you, from the inclination men have for frequent
   parliaments, which some may think would be the best security, by
   feeding me from time to time by such proportions as they shall think
   convenient.  And this argument, it being the first time I speak to you
   from the throne, I will answer, once for all, that this would be a
   very improper method to take with me; and that the best way to engage
   me to meet you often is always to use me well.

   "I expect, therefore, that you will comply with me in what I have
   desired, and that you will do it speedily, that this may be a short
   session, and that we may meet again to all our satisfactions.

   "My lords and gentlemen,--I must acquaint you that I have had news
   this morning from Scotland that Argyle is landed in the West
   Highlands, with the men he brought with him from Holland: that there
   are two declarations published, one in the name of all those in arms,
   the other in his own.  It would be too long for me to repeat the
   substance of them; it is sufficient to tell you I am charged with
   usurpation and tyranny.  The shorter of them I have directed to be
   forthwith communicated to you.

   "I will take the best care I can that this declaration of their own
   faction and rebellion may meet with the reward it deserves; and I will
   not doubt but you will be the more zealous to support the government,
   and give me my revenue, as I have desired it, without delay."

The repetition of the words made use of in his first speech to the privy
council shows that, in the opinion of the court, at least, they had been
well chosen, and had answered their purpose; and even the haughty
language which was added, and was little less than a menace to parliament
if it should not comply with his wishes, was not, as it appears,
unpleasing to the party which at that time prevailed, since the revenue
enjoyed by his predecessor was unanimously, and almost immediately, voted
to him for life.  It was not remarked, in public at least, that the
king's threat of governing without parliament was an unequivocal
manifestation of his contempt of the law of the country, so distinctly
established, though so ineffectually secured, by the statute of the
sixteenth of Charles II., for holding triennial parliaments.  It is said
Lord-keeper Guildford had prepared a different speech for his majesty,
but that this was preferred, as being the king's own words; and, indeed,
that part of it in which he says that he must answer once for all that
the Commons giving such proportions as they might think convenient would
be a very improper way with him, bears, as well as some others, the most
evident marks of its royal origin.  It is to be observed, however, that
in arguing for his demand, as he styles it, of revenue, he says, not that
the parliament ought not, but that he must not, suffer the well-being of
the government depending upon such revenue to be precarious; whence it is
evident that he intended to have it understood that if the parliament did
not grant, he purposed to levy a revenue without their consent.  It is
impossible that any degree of party spirit should so have blinded men as
to prevent them from perceiving in this speech a determination on the
part of the king to conduct his government upon the principles of
absolute monarchy, and to those who were not so possessed with the love
of royalty, which creates a kind of passionate affection for whoever
happens to be the wearer of the crown, the vindictive manner in which he
speaks of Argyle's invasion might afford sufficient evidence of the
temper in which his power would be administered.  In that part of his
speech he first betrays his personal feelings towards the unfortunate
nobleman, whom, in his brother's reign, he had so cruelly and
treacherously oppressed, by dwelling upon his being charged by Argyle
with tyranny and usurpation, and then declares that he will take the best
care, not according to the usual phrases to protect the loyal and well
disposed, and to restore tranquillity, but that the declaration of the
factious and rebellions may meet with the reward it deserves, thus
marking out revenge and punishment as the consequences of victory, upon
which he was most intent.

It is impossible that in a House of Commons, however composed, there
should not have been many members who disapproved the principles of
government announced in the speech, and who were justly alarmed at the
temper in which it was conceived.  But these, overpowered by numbers, and
perhaps afraid of the imputation of being concerned in plots and
insurrections (an imputation which, if they had shown any spirit of
liberty, would most infallibly have been thrown on them), declined
expressing their sentiments; and in the short session which followed
there was an almost uninterrupted unanimity in granting every demand, and
acquiescing in every wish of the government.  The revenue was granted
without any notice being taken of the illegal manner in which the king
had levied it upon his own authority.  Argyle was stigmatised as a
traitor; nor was any desire expressed to examine his declarations, one of
which seemed to be purposely withheld from parliament.  Upon the
communication of the Duke of Monmouth's landing in the west that nobleman
was immediately attainted by bill.  The king's assurance was recognised
as a sufficient security for the national religion; and the liberty of
the press was destroyed by the revival of the statute of the 13th and
14th of Charles II.  This last circumstance, important as it is, does not
seem to have excited much attention at the time, which, considering the
general principles then in fashion, is not surprising.  That it should
have been scarcely noticed by any historian is more wonderful.  It is
true, however, that the terror inspired by the late prosecutions for
libels, and the violent conduct of the courts upon such occasions,
rendered a formal destruction of the liberty of the press a matter of
less importance.  So little does the magistracy, when it is inclined to
act tyrannically, stand in need of tyrannical laws to effect its purpose.
The bare silence and acquiescence of the legislature is in such a case
fully sufficient to annihilate, practically speaking, every right and
liberty of the subject.

As the grant of revenue was unanimous, so there does not appear to have
been anything which can justly be styled a debate upon it, though Hume
employs several pages in giving the arguments which, he affirms, were
actually made use of, and, as he gives us to understand, in the House of
Commons, for and against the question; arguments which, on both sides,
seem to imply a considerable love of freedom and jealousy of royal power,
and are not wholly unmixed even with some sentiments disrespectful to the
king.  Now I cannot find, either from tradition, or from contemporary
writers, any ground to think that either the reasons which Hume has
adduced, or indeed any other, were urged in opposition to the grant.  The
only speech made upon the occasion seems to have been that of Mr.
(afterwards Sir Edward) Seymour, who, though of the Tory party, a
strenuous opposer of the Exclusion Bill, and in general supposed to have
been an approver, if not an adviser, of the tyrannical measures of the
late reign, has the merit of having stood forward singly, to remind the
House of what they owed to themselves and their constituents.  He did
not, however, directly oppose the grant, but stated, that the elections
had been carried on under so much court influence, and in other respects
so illegally, that it was the duty of the House first to ascertain who
were the legal members, before they proceeded to other business of
importance.  After having pressed this point, he observed that if ever it
were necessary to adopt such an order of proceeding, it was more
peculiarly so now, when the laws and religion of the nation were in
evident peril; that the aversion of the English people to popery, and
their attachment to the laws were such, as to secure these blessings from
destruction by any other instrumentality than that of parliament itself,
which, however, might be easily accomplished, if there were once a
parliament entirely dependent upon the persons who might harbour such
designs; that it was already rumoured that the Test and Habeas Corpus
Acts, the two bulwarks of our religion and liberties, were to be
repealed; that what he stated was so notorious as to need no proof.
Having descanted with force and ability upon these and other topics of a
similar tendency, he urged his conclusion, that the question of royal
revenue ought not to be the first business of the parliament.  Whether,
as Burnet thinks, because he was too proud to make any previous
communication of his intentions, or that the strain of his argument was
judged to be too bold for the times, this speech, whatever secret
approbation it might excite, did not receive from any quarter either
applause or support.  Under these circumstances it was not thought
necessary to answer him, and the grant was voted unanimously, without
further discussion.

As Barillon, in the relation of parliamentary proceedings, transmitted by
him to his court, in which he appears at this time to have been very
exact, gives the same description of Seymour's speech and its effects
with Burnet, there can be little doubt but their account is correct.  It
will be found as well in this, as in many other instances, that an
unfortunate inattention on the part of the reverend historian to forms
has made his veracity unjustly called in question.  He speaks of
Seymour's speech as if it had been a motion in the technical sense of the
word, for inquiring into the elections, which had no effect.  Now no
traces remaining of such a motion, and, on the other hand, the elections
having been at a subsequent period inquired into, Ralph almost pronounces
the whole account to be erroneous; whereas the only mistake consists in
giving the name of motion to a suggestion, upon the question of a grant.
It is whimsical enough, that it should be from the account of the French
ambassador that we are enabled to reconcile to the records and to the
forms of the English House of Commons, a relation made by a distinguished
member of the English House of Lords.  Sir John Reresby does indeed say,
that among the gentlemen of the House of Commons whom he accidentally
met, they in general seemed willing to settle a handsome revenue upon the
king, and to give him money; but whether their grant should be permanent,
or only temporary, and to be renewed from time to time by parliament,
that the nation might be often consulted, was the question.  But besides
the looseness of the expression, which may only mean that the point was
questionable, it is to be observed, that he does not relate any of the
arguments which were brought forward even in the private conversations to
which he refers; and when he afterwards gives an account of what passed
in the House of Commons (where he was present), he does not hint at any
debate having taken place, but rather implies the contrary.

This misrepresentation of Mr. Hume's is of no small importance, inasmuch
as, by intimating that such a question could be debated at all, and much
more, that it was debated with the enlightened views and bold topics of
argument with which his genius has supplied him, he gives us a very false
notion of the character of the parliament and of the times which he is
describing.  It is not improbable, that if the arguments had been used,
which this historian supposes, the utterer of them would have been
expelled, or sent to the Tower; and it is certain that he would not have
been heard with any degree of attention or even patience.

The unanimous vote for trusting the safety of religion to the king's
declaration passed not without observation, the rights of the Church of
England being the only point upon which, at this time, the parliament
were in any degree jealous of the royal power.  The committee of religion
had voted unanimously, "That it is the opinion of the committee, that
this House will stand by his majesty with their lives and fortunes,
according to their bounden duty and allegiance, in defence of the
reformed Church of England, as it is now by law established; and that an
humble address be presented to his majesty, to desire him to issue forth
his royal proclamation, to cause the penal laws to be put in execution
against all dissenters from the Church of England whatsoever."  But upon
the report of the House, the question of agreeing with the committee was
evaded by a previous question, and the House, with equal unanimity,
resolved: "That this House doth acquiesce, and entirely rely, and rest
wholly satisfied, on his majesty's gracious word, and repeated
declaration to support and defend the religion of the Church of England,
as it is now by law established, which is dearer to us than our lives."
Mr. Echard, and Bishop Kennet, two writers of different principles, but
both churchmen, assign, as the motive of this vote, the unwillingness of
the party then prevalent in parliament to adopt severe measures against
the Protestant dissenters; but in this notion they are by no means
supported by the account, imperfect as it is, which Sir John Reresby
gives of the debate, for he makes no mention of tenderness towards
dissenters, but states as the chief argument against agreeing with the
committee, that it might excite a jealousy of the king; and Barillon
expressly says, that the first vote gave great offence to the king, still
more to the queen, and that orders were, in consequence, issued to the
court members of the House of Commons to devise some means to get rid of
it.  Indeed, the general circumstances of the times are decisive against
the hypothesis of the two reverend historians; nor is it, as far as I
know, adopted by any other historians.  The probability seems to be, that
the motion in the committee had been originally suggested by some Whig
member, who could not, with prudence, speak his real sentiments openly,
and who thought to embarrass the government, by touching upon a matter
where the union between the church party and the king would be put to the
severest test.  The zeal of the Tories for persecution made them at first
give into the snare; but when, upon reflection, it occurred that the
involving of the Catholics in one common danger with the Protestant
dissenters must be displeasing to the king, they drew back without delay,
and passed the most comprehensive vote of confidence which James could

Further to manifest their servility to the king, as well as their
hostility to every principle that could by implication be supposed to be
connected with Monmouth or his cause, the House of Commons passed a bill
for the preservation of his majesty's person, in which, after enacting
that a written or verbal declaration of a treasonable intention should be
tantamount to a treasonable act, they inserted two remarkable clauses, by
one of which to assert the legitimacy of Monmouth's birth, by the other,
to propose in parliament any alteration in the succession of the crown,
were made likewise high treason.  We learn from Burnet, that the first
part of this bill was strenuously and warmly debated, and that it was
chiefly opposed by Serjeant Maynard, whose arguments made some impression
even at that time; but whether the serjeant was supported in his
opposition, as the word _chiefly_ would lead us to imagine, or if
supported, by whom, that historian does not mention; and, unfortunately,
neither of Maynard's speech itself, nor indeed of any opposition whatever
to the bill, is there any other trace to be found.  The crying injustice
of the clause which subjected a man to the pains of treason merely for
delivering his opinion upon a controverted fact, though he should do no
act in consequence of such opinion, was not, as far as we are informed,
objected to or at all noticed, unless indeed the speech above alluded to,
in which the speaker is said to have descanted upon the general danger of
making words treasonable, be supposed to have been applied to this clause
as well as to the former part of the bill.  That the other clause should
have passed without opposition or even observation, must appear still
more extraordinary, when we advert, not only to the nature of the clause
itself, but to the circumstances of there being actually in the House no
inconsiderable number of members who had in the former reign repeatedly
voted for the Exclusion Bill.

It is worthy of notice, however, that while every principle of criminal
jurisprudence, and every regard to the fundamental rights of the
deliberative assemblies, which make part of the legislature of the
nation, were thus shamelessly sacrificed to the eagerness which, at this
disgraceful period, so generally prevailed of manifesting loyalty, or
rather abject servility to the sovereign, there still remained no small
degree of tenderness for the interests and safety of the Church of
England, and a sentiment approaching to jealousy upon any matter which
might endanger, even by the most remote consequences, or put any
restriction upon her ministers.  With this view, as one part of the bill
did not relate to treasons only, but imposed new penalties upon such as
should, by writing, printing, preaching, or other speaking, attempt to
bring the king or his government into hatred or contempt, there was a
special proviso added, "that the asserting and maintaining, by any
writing, printing, preaching, or any other speaking, the doctrine,
discipline, divine worship, or government of the Church of England as it
is now by law established, against popery or any other different or
dissenting opinions, is not intended, and shall not be interpreted or
construed to be any offence within the words or meaning of this Act."  It
cannot escape the reader, that only such attacks upon popery as were made
in favour of the doctrine and discipline of the Church of England, and no
other, were protected by this proviso, and consequently that, if there
were any real occasion for such a guard, all Protestant dissenters who
should write or speak against the Roman superstition were wholly
unprotected by it, and remained exposed to the danger, whatever it might
be, from which the Church was so anxious to exempt her supporters.

This bill passed the House of Commons, and was sent up to the House of
Lords on the 30th of June.  It was read a first time on that day, but the
adjournment of both houses taking place on the 2nd of July, it could not
make any further progress at that time; and when the parliament met
afterwards in autumn, there was no longer that passionate affection for
the monarch, nor consequently that ardent zeal for servitude which were
necessary to make a law with such clauses and provisoes palatable or even

It is not to be considered as an exception to the general complaisance of
parliament, that the Speaker, when he presented the Revenue Bill, made
use of some strong expressions, declaring the attachment of the Commons
to the national religion.  Such sentiments could not be supposed to be
displeasing to James, after the assurances he had given of his regard for
the Church of England.  Upon this occasion his majesty made the following

   "My lords and gentlemen,--I thank you very heartily for the bill you
   have presented me this day; and I assure you, the readiness and
   cheerfulness that has attended the despatch of it is as acceptable to
   me as the bill itself.

   "After so happy a beginning, you may believe I would not call upon you
   unnecessarily for an extraordinary supply; but when I tell you that
   the stores of the navy and ordnance are extremely exhausted, that the
   anticipations upon several branches of the revenue are great and
   burthensome; that the debts of the king, my brother, to his servants
   and family, are such as deserve compassion; that the rebellion in
   Scotland, without putting more weight upon it than it really deserves,
   must oblige me to a considerable expense extraordinary: I am sure,
   such considerations will move you to give me an aid to provide for
   those things, wherein the security, the ease, and the happiness of my
   government are so much concerned.  But above all, I must recommend you
   to the care of the navy, the strength and glory of this nation; that
   you will put it into such a condition as may make us considered and
   respected abroad.  I cannot express my concern upon this occasion more
   suitable to my own thoughts of it than by assuring you I have a true
   English heart, as jealous of the honour of the nation as you can be;
   and I please myself with the hopes that by God's blessing and your
   assistance, I may carry the reputation of it yet higher in the world
   than ever it has been in the time of any of my ancestors; and as I
   will not call upon you for supplies but when they are of public use
   and advantage, so I promise you, that what you give me upon such
   occasions shall be managed with good husbandry; and I will take care
   it shall be employed to the uses for which I ask them."

Rapin, Hume, and Ralph observe upon this speech, that neither the
generosity of the Commons' grant, nor the confidence they expressed upon
religious matters, could extort a kind word in favour of their religion.
But this observation, whether meant as a reproach to him for his want of
gracious feeling to a generous parliament, or as an oblique compliment to
his sincerity, has no force in it.  His majesty's speech was spoken
immediately upon, passing the bills which the Speaker presented, and he
could not therefore take notice of the Speaker's words unless he had
spoken extempore; for the custom is not, nor I believe ever was, for the
Speaker to give beforehand copies of addresses of this nature.  James
would not certainly have scrupled to repeat the assurances which he had
so lately made in favour of the Protestant religion, as he did not
scruple to talk of his true English heart, honour of the nation, &c., at
a time when he was engaged with France; but the speech was prepared for
an answer to a money bill, not for a question of the Protestant religion
and church, and the false professions in it are adapted to what was
supposed to be the only subject of it.

The only matter in which the king's views were in any degree thwarted was
the reversal of Lord Stafford's attainder, which, having passed the House
of Lords, not without opposition, was lost in the House of Commons; a
strong proof that the popish plot was still the subject upon which the
opposers of the court had most credit with the public.  Mr. Hume,
notwithstanding his just indignation at the condemnation of Stafford, and
his general inclination to approve of royal politics, most unaccountably
justifies the Commons in their rejection of this bill, upon the principle
of its being impolitic at that time to grant so full a justification of
the Catholics, and to throw so foul an imputation upon the Protestants.
Surely if there be one moral duty that is binding upon men in all times,
places, and circumstances, and from which no supposed views of policy can
excuse them, it is that of granting a full justification to the innocent;
and such Mr. Hume considers the Catholics, and especially Lord Stafford,
to have been.  The only rational way of accounting for this solitary
instance of non-compliance on the part of the Commons is either to
suppose that they still believed in the reality of the popish plot, and
Stafford's guilt, or that the Church party, which was uppermost, had such
an antipathy to popery, as indeed to every sect whose tenets differed
from theirs, that they deemed everything lawful against its professors.

On the 2nd of July parliament was adjourned for the purpose of enabling
the principal gentlemen to be present in their respective counties at a
time when their services and influence might be so necessary to
government.  It is said that the House of Commons consisted of members so
devoted to James, that he declared there were not forty in it whom he
would not himself have named.  But although this may have been true, and
though from the new modelling of the corporations, and the interference
of the court in elections, this parliament, as far as regards the manner
of its being chosen, was by no means a fair representative of the legal
electors of England, yet there is reason to think that it afforded a
tolerably correct sample of the disposition of the nation, and especially
of the Church party, which was then uppermost.

The general character of the party at this time appears to have been a
high notion of the king's constitutional power, to which was superadded a
kind of religious abhorrence of all resistance to the monarch, not only
in cases where such resistance was directed against the lawful
prerogative, but even in opposition to encroachments which the monarch
might make beyond the extended limits which they assigned to his
prerogative.  But these tenets, and still more the principle of conduct
naturally resulting from them, were confined to the civil, as
contra-distinguished from the ecclesiastical polity of the country.  In
Church matters they neither acknowledged any very high authority in the
crown, nor were they willing to submit to any royal encroachment on that
side; and a steady attachment to the Church of England, with a
proportionable aversion to all dissenters from it, whether Catholic or
Protestant, was almost universally prevalent among them.  A due
consideration of these distinct features in the character of a party so
powerful in Charles's and in James's time, and even when it was lowest
(that is, during the reigns of the two first princes of the House of
Brunswick), by no means inconsiderable, is exceedingly necessary to the
right understanding of English history.  It affords a clue to many
passages otherwise unintelligible.  For want of a proper attention to
this circumstance, some historians have considered the conduct of the
Tories in promoting the revolution as an instance of great inconsistency.
Some have supposed, contrary to the clearest evidence, that their notions
of passive obedience, even in civil matters, were limited, and that their
support of the government of Charles and James was founded upon a belief
that those princes would never abuse their prerogative for the purpose of
introducing arbitrary sway.  But this hypothesis is contrary to the
evidence both of their declarations and their conduct.  Obedience without
reserve, an abhorrence of all resistance, as contrary to the tenets of
their religion, are the principles which they professed in their
addresses, their sermons, and their decrees at Oxford; and surely nothing
short of such principles could make men esteem the latter years of
Charles II., and the opening of the reign of his successor, an era of
national happiness and exemplary government.  Yet this is the
representation of that period, which is usually made by historians and
other writers of the Church party.  "Never were fairer promises on one
side, nor greater generosity on the other," says Mr. Echard.  "The king
had as yet, in no instance, invaded the rights of his subjects," says the
author of the Caveat against the Whigs.  Thus, as long as James contented
himself with absolute power in civil matters, and did not make use of his
authority against the Church, everything went smooth and easy; nor is it
necessary, in order to account for the satisfaction of the parliament and
people, to have recourse to any implied compromise by which the nation
was willing to yield its civil liberties as the price of retaining its
religious constitution.  The truth seems to be, that the king, in
asserting his unlimited power, rather fell in with the humour of the
prevailing party than offered any violence to it.  Absolute power in
civil matters, under the specious names of monarchy and prerogative,
formed a most essential part of the Tory creed; but the order in which
Church and king are placed in the favourite device of the party is not
accidental, and is well calculated to show the genuine principles of such
among them as are not corrupted by influence.  Accordingly, as the sequel
of this reign will abundantly show, when they found themselves compelled
to make an option, they preferred, without any degree of inconsistency,
their first idol to their second, and when they could not preserve both
Church and king, declared for the former.

It gives certainly no very flattering picture of the country to describe
it as being in some sense fairly represented by this servile parliament,
and not only acquiescing in, but delighted with the early measures of
James's reign; the contempt of law exhibited in the arbitrary mode of
raising his revenue; his insulting menace to the parliament, that if they
did not use him well, he would govern without them; his furious
persecution of the Protestant dissenters, and the spirit of despotism
which appeared in all his speeches and actions.  But it is to be
remembered that these measures were in nowise contrary to the principles
or prejudices of the Church party, but rather highly agreeable to them;
and that the Whigs, who alone were possessed of any just notions of
liberty, were so outnumbered and discomforted by persecution, that such
of them as did not think fit to engage in the rash schemes of Monmouth or
Argyle, held it to be their interest to interfere as little as possible
in public affairs, and by no means to obtrude upon unwilling hearers
opinions and sentiments which, ever since the dissolution of the Oxford
parliament, in 1681, had been generally discountenanced, and of which the
peaceable, or rather triumphant, accession of James to the throne was
supposed to seal the condemnation.


Attempts of Argyle and Monmouth--Account of their followers--Argyle's
expedition discovered--His descent in Argyleshire--Dissensions among his
followers--Loss of his shipping--His army dispersed, and himself taken
prisoner--His behaviour in prison--His execution--The fate of his
followers--Rumbold's last declaration examined--Monmouth's invasion of
England--His first success and reception--His delays, disappointment, and
despondency--Battle of Sedgmoor--He is discovered and taken--His letter
to the king--His interview with James--His preparations for
death--Circumstances attending his execution--His character.

It is now necessary to give some account of those attempts in Scotland by
the Earl of Argyle, and in England by the Duke of Monmouth, of which the
king had informed his parliament in the manner recited in the preceding
chapter.  The Earl of Argyle was son to the Marquis of Argyle, of whose
unjust execution, and the treacherous circumstances accompanying it,
notice has already been taken.  He had in his youth been strongly
attached to the royal cause, and had refused to lay down his arms till he
had the exiled king's positive orders for that purpose.  But the merit of
his early services could neither save the life of his father, nor even
procure for himself a complete restitution of his family honours and
estates; and not long after the restoration, upon an accusation of
leasing-making, an accusation founded, in this instance, upon a private
letter to a fellow-subject, in which he spoke with some freedom of his
majesty's Scottish ministry, he was condemned to death.  The sentence was
suspended and finally remitted, but not till after an imprisonment of
twelve months and upwards.  In this affair he was much assisted by the
friendship of the Duke of Lauderdale, with whom he ever afterwards lived
upon terms of friendship, though his principles would not permit him to
give active assistance to that nobleman in his government of Scotland.
Accordingly, we do not, during that period, find Argyle's name among
those who held any of those great employments of State to which, by his
rank and consequence, he was naturally entitled.  When James, then Duke
of York, was appointed to the Scottish government, it seems to have been
the earl's intention to cultivate his royal highness's favour, and he was
a strenuous supporter of the bill which condemned all attempts at
exclusions or other alterations in the succession of the crown.  But
having highly offended that prince by insisting, on the occasion of the
test, that the royal family, when in office, should not be exempted from
taking that oath which they imposed upon subjects in like situations, his
royal highness ordered a prosecution against him, for the explanation
with which he had taken the test oath at the council-board, and the earl
was, as we have seen, again condemned to death.  From the time of his
escape from prison he resided wholly in foreign countries, and was looked
to as a principal ally by such of the English patriots as had at any time
entertained thoughts, whether more or less ripened, of delivering their

James, Duke of Monmouth, was the eldest of the late king's natural
children.  In the early parts of his life he held the first place in his
father's affections; and even in the height of Charles's displeasure at
his political conduct, attentive observers thought they could discern
that the traces of paternal tenderness were by no means effaced.
Appearing at court in the bloom of youth, with a beautiful figure and
engaging manners, known to be the darling of the monarch, it is no wonder
that he was early assailed by the arts of flattery; and it is rather a
proof that he had not the strongest of all minds, than of any
extraordinary weakness of character, that he was not proof against them.
He had appeared with some distinction in the Flemish campaigns, and his
conduct had been noticed with the approbation of the commanders as well
as Dutch as French, under whom he had respectively served.  His courage
was allowed by all, his person admired, his generosity loved, his
sincerity confided in.  If his talents were not of the first rate, they
were by no means contemptible; and he possessed, in an eminent degree,
qualities which, in popular government, are far more effective than the
most splendid talents; qualities by which he inspired those who followed
him, not only with confidence and esteem, but with affection, enthusiasm,
and even fondness.  Thus endowed, it is not surprising that his youthful
mind was fired with ambition, or that he should consider the putting
himself at the head of a party (a situation for which he seems to have
been peculiarly qualified by so many advantages) as the means by which he
was most likely to attain his object.

Many circumstances contributed to outweigh the scruples which must have
harassed a man of his excellent nature, when he considered the
obligations of filial duty and gratitude, and when he reflected that the
particular relation in which he stood to the king rendered a conduct,
which in any other subject would have been meritorious, doubtful, if not
extremely culpable in him.  Among these, not the least was the declared
enmity which subsisted between him and his uncle, the Duke of York.  The
Earl of Mulgrave, afterwards Duke of Buckinghamshire, boasted in his
"Memoirs," that this enmity was originally owing to his contrivances; and
while he is relating a conduct, upon which the only doubt can be, whether
the object or the means were the most infamous, seems to applaud himself
as if he had achieved some notable exploit.  While, on the one hand, a
prospect of his uncle's succession to the crown was intolerable to him,
as involving in it a certain destruction of even the most reasonable and
limited views of ambition which he might entertain, he was easily led to
believe, on the other hand, that no harm, but the reverse, was intended
towards his royal father, whose reign and life might become precarious if
he obstinately persevered in supporting his brother; whereas, on the
contrary, if he could be persuaded, or even forced, to yield to the
wishes of his subjects, he might long reign a powerful, happy, and
popular prince.

It is also reasonable to believe, that with those personal and private
motives others might co-operate of a public nature and of a more noble
character.  The Protestant religion, to which he seems to have been
sincerely attached, would be persecuted, or perhaps exterminated, if the
king should be successful in his support of the Duke of York and his
faction.  At least, such was the opinion generally prevalent, while, with
respect to the civil liberties of the country, no doubt could be
entertained, that if the court party prevailed in the struggle then
depending they would be completely extinguished.  Something may be
attributed to his admiration of the talents of some, to his personal
friendship for others among the leaders of the Whigs, more to the
aptitude of a generous nature to adopt, and, if I may so say, to become
enamoured of those principles of justice, benevolence, and equality,
which form the true creed of the party which he espoused.  I am not
inclined to believe that it was his connection with Shaftesbury that
inspired him with ambitious views, but rather to reverse cause and
effect, and to suppose that his ambitious views produced his connection
with that nobleman; and whoever reads with attention Lord Grey's account
of one of the party meetings at which he was present, will perceive that
there was not between them that perfect cordiality which has been
generally supposed; but that Russell, Grey, and Hampden, were upon a far
more confidential footing with him.  It is far easier to determine
generally, that he had high schemes of ambition, than to discover what
was his precise object; and those who boldly impute to him the intention
of succeeding to the crown, seem to pass by several weighty arguments,
which make strongly against their hypothesis; such as his connection with
the Duchess of Portsmouth, who, if the succession were to go to the
king's illegitimate children, must naturally have been for her own son;
his unqualified support of the Exclusion Bill, which, without indeed
mentioning her, most unequivocally settled the crown, in case of a
demise, upon the Princess of Orange; and, above all, the circumstance of
his having, when driven from England, twice chosen Holland for his
asylum.  By his cousins he was received, not so much with the civility
and decorum of princes, as with the kind familiarity of near relations, a
reception to which he seemed to make every return of reciprocal
cordiality.  It is not rashly to be believed, that he, who has never been
accused of hardened wickedness, could have been upon such terms with, and
so have behaved to, persons whom he purposed to disappoint in their
dearest and best grounded hopes, and to defraud of their inheritance.

Whatever his views might be, it is evident that they were of a nature
wholly adverse, not only to those of the Duke of York, but to the schemes
of power entertained by the king, with which the support of his brother
was intimately connected.  Monmouth was therefore, at the suggestion of
James, ordered by his father to leave the country, and deprived of all
his offices, civil and military.  The pretence for this exile was a sort
of principle of impartiality, which obliged the king, at the same time
that he ordered his brother to retire to Flanders, to deal equal measure
to his son.  Upon the Duke of York's return (which was soon after),
Monmouth thought he might without blame return also; and persevering in
his former measures and old connections, became deeply involved in the
cabals to which Essex, Russell, and Sidney fell martyrs.  After the death
of his friends, he surrendered himself; and upon a promise that nothing
said by him should be used to the prejudice of any of his surviving
friends, wrote a penitentiary letter to his father, consenting, at the
same time, to ask pardon of his uncle.  A great parade was made of this
by the court, as if it was designed by all means to goad the feelings of
Monmouth: his majesty was declared to have pardoned him at the request of
the Duke of York, and his consent was required to the publication of what
was called his confession.  This he resolutely refused at all hazards,
and was again obliged to seek refuge abroad, where he had remained to the
period of which we are now treating.

A little time before Charles's death he had indulged hopes of being
recalled; and that his intelligence to that effect was not quite
unfounded, or if false, was at least mixed with truth, is clear from the
following circumstance:--From the notes found when he was taken, in his
memorandum book, it appears that part of the plan concerted between the
king and Monmouth's friend (probably Halifax), was that the Duke of York
should go to Scotland, between which, and his being sent abroad again,
Monmouth and his friends saw no material difference.  Now in Barillon's
letters to his court, dated the 7th of December, 1684, it appears that
the Duke of York had told that ambassador of his intended voyage to
Scotland though he represented it in a very different point of view, and
said that it would not be attended with any diminution of his favour or
credit.  This was the light in which Charles, to whom the expressions,
"to blind my brother, not to make the Duke of York fly out," and the
like, were familiar, would certainly have shown the affair to his
brother, and therefore of all the circumstances adduced, this appears to
me to be the strongest in favour of the supposition, that there was in
the king's mind a real intention of making an important, if not a
complete, change in his councils and measures.

Besides these two leaders, there were on the continent at that time
several other gentlemen of great consideration.  Sir Patrick Hume, of
Polworth, had early distinguished himself in the cause of liberty.  When
the privy council of Scotland passed an order, compelling the counties to
pay the expense of the garrisons arbitrarily placed in them, he refused
to pay his quota, and by a mode of appeal to the court of session, which
the Scotch lawyers call a bill of suspension, endeavoured to procure
redress.  The council ordered him to be imprisoned, for no other crime,
as it should seem, than that of having thus attempted to procure, by a
legal process, a legal decision upon a point of law.  After having
remained in close confinement in Stirling Castle for near four years, he
was set at liberty through the favour and interest of Monmouth.  Having
afterwards engaged in schemes connected with those imputed to Sidney and
Russell, orders were issued for seizing him at his house in Berwickshire;
but having had timely notice of his danger from his relation, Hume of
Ninewells, a gentleman attached to the royal cause, but whom party spirit
had not rendered insensible to the ties of kindred and private
friendship, he found means to conceal himself for a time, and shortly
after to escape beyond sea.  His concealment is said to have been in the
family burial-place, where the means of sustaining life were brought to
him by his daughter, a girl of fifteen years of age, whose duty and
affection furnished her with courage to brave the terrors, as well
superstitious as real, to which she was necessarily exposed in an
intercourse of this nature.

Andrew Fletcher of Saltoun, a young man of great spirit, had signalised
himself in opposition to Lauderdale's administration of Scotland, and had
afterwards connected himself with Argyle and Russell, and what was called
the council of six.  He had, of course, thought it prudent to leave Great
Britain, and could not be supposed unwilling to join in any enterprise
which might bid fair to restore him to his country, and his countrymen to
their lost liberties, though, upon the present occasion, which he seems
to have judged to be unfit for the purpose, he endeavoured to dissuade
both Argyle and Monmouth from their attempts.  He was a man of much
thought and reading, of an honourable mind, and a fiery spirit, and from
his enthusiastic admiration of the ancients, supposed to be warmly
attached, not only to republican principles, but to the form of a
commonwealth.  Sir John Cochrane of Ochiltree had fled his country on
account of the transactions of 1683.  His property and connections were
considerable, and he was supposed to possess extensive influence in
Ayrshire and the adjacent counties.

Such were the persons of chief note among the Scottish emigrants.  Among
the English, by far the most remarkable was Ford, Lord Grey of Wark.  A
scandalous love intrigue with his wife's sister had fixed a very deep
stain upon his private character; nor were the circumstances attending
this affair, which had all been brought to light in a court of justice,
by any means calculated to extenuate his guilt.  His ancient family,
however, the extensive influence arising from his large possessions, his
talents, which appear to have been very considerable, and above all, his
hitherto unshaken fidelity in political attachments, and the general
steadiness of his conduct in public life, might in some degree
countervail the odium which he had incurred on account of his private
vices.  Of Matthews, Wade, and Ayloff, whose names are mentioned as
having both joined the preliminary councils, and done actual service in
the invasions, little is known by which curiosity could be either
gratified or excited.

Richard Rumbold, on every account, merits more particular notice.  He had
formerly served in the republican armies; and adhering to the principles
of liberty which he had imbibed in his youth, though nowise bigoted to
the particular form of a commonwealth had been deeply engaged in the
politics of those who thought they saw an opportunity of rescuing their
country from the tyrannical government of the late king.  He was one of
the persons denounced in Keeling's narrative, and was accused of having
conspired to assassinate the royal brothers in their road to Newmarket,
an accusation belied by the whole tenor of his life and conduct, and
which, if it had been true, would have proved him, who was never thought
a weak or foolish man, to be as destitute of common sense as of honour
and probity.  It was pretended that the seizure of the princes was to
take place at a farm called Rye House, which he occupied in Essex, for
the purposes of his trade as maltster; and from this circumstance was
derived the name of the Rye House Plot.  Conscious of having done some
acts which the law, if even fairly interpreted and equitably
administered, might deem criminal, and certain that many which he had not
done would be both sworn and believed against him, he made his escape,
and passed the remainder of Charles's reign in exile and obscurity; nor
is his name, as far as I can learn, ever mentioned from the time of the
Rye House Plot to that of which we are now treating.

It is not to be understood that there were no other names upon the list
of those who fled from the tyranny of the British government, or thought
themselves unsafe in their native country, on account of its violence,
besides those of the persons above mentioned, and of such as joined in
their bold and hazardous enterprise.  Another class of emigrants, not
less sensible probably to the wrongs of their country, but less sanguine
in their hopes of immediate redress, is ennobled by the names of Burnet
the historian and Mr. Locke.  It is difficult to accede to the opinion
which the first of these seems to entertain, that though particular
injustices had been committed, the misgovernment had not been of such a
nature as to justify resistance by arms.  But the prudential reasons
against resistance at that time were exceedingly strong; and there is no
point in human concerns wherein the dictates of virtue and worldly
prudence are so identified as in this great question of resistance by
force to established government.  Success, it has been invidiously
remarked, constitutes in most instances the sole difference between the
traitor and the deliverer of his country.  A rational probability of
success, it may be truly said, distinguishes the well-considered
enterprise of the patriot, from the rash schemes of the disturber of the
public peace.  To command success is not in the power of man; but to
deserve success, by choosing a proper time, as well as a proper object,
by the prudence of his means, no less than by the purity of his views, by
a cause not only intrinsically just, but likely to insure general
support, is the indispensable duty of him who engages in an insurrection
against an existing government.  Upon this subject the opinion of Ludlow,
who, though often misled, appears to have been an honest and enlightened
man, is striking and forcibly expressed.  "We ought," says he, "to be
very careful and circumspect in that particular, and at least be assured
of very probable grounds to believe the power under which we engage to be
sufficiently able to protect us in our undertaking; otherwise I should
account myself not only guilty of my own blood, but also, in some
measure, of the ruin and destruction of all those that I should induce to
engage with me, though no cause were never so just."  Reasons of this
nature, mixed more or less with considerations of personal caution, and
in some, perhaps, with dislike and distrust of the leaders, induced many,
who could not but abhor the British government, to wait for better
opportunities, and to prefer either submission at home, or exile, to an
undertaking which, if not hopeless, must have been deemed by all
hazardous in the extreme.

In the situation in which these two noblemen, Argyle and Monmouth, were
placed, it is not to be wondered at if they were naturally willing to
enter into any plan by which they might restore themselves to their
country; nor can it be doubted but they honestly conceived their success
to be intimately connected with the welfare, and especially with the
liberty of the several kingdoms to which they respectively belonged.
Monmouth, whether because he had begun at this time, as he himself said,
to wean his mind from ambition, or from the observations he had made upon
the apparently rapid turn which had taken place in the minds of the
English people, seems to have been very averse to rash counsels, and to
have thought that all attempts against James ought at least to be
deferred till some more favourable opportunity should present itself.  So
far from esteeming his chance of success the better, on account of there
being in James's parliament many members who had voted for the Exclusion
Bill, he considered that circumstance as unfavourable.  These men, of
whom, however, he seems to have over-rated the number, would, in his
opinion, be more eager than others to recover the ground they had lost,
by an extraordinary show of zeal and attachment to the crown.  But if
Monmouth was inclined to dilatory counsels, far different were the views
and designs of other exiles, who had been obliged to leave their country
on account of their having engaged, if not with him personally, at least
in the same cause with him, and who were naturally enough his advisers.
Among these were Lord Grey of Wark, and Ferguson; though the latter
afterwards denied his having had much intercourse with the duke, and the
former, in his "Narrative," insinuates that he rather dissuaded than
pressed the invasion.

But if Monmouth was inclined to delay, Argyle seems, on the other hand,
to have been impatient in the extreme to bring matters to a crisis, and
was of course anxious that the attempt upon England should be made in co-
operation with his upon Scotland.  Ralph, an historian of great acuteness
as well as diligence, but who falls sometimes into the common error of
judging too much from the event, seems to think this impatience wholly
unaccountable; but Argyle may have had many motives which are now unknown
to us.  He may not improbably have foreseen that the friendly terms upon
which James and the Prince of Orange affected at least to be, one with
the other, might make his stay in the United Provinces impracticable, and
that, if obliged to seek another asylum, not only he might have been
deprived, in some measure, of the resources which he derived from his
connections at Amsterdam, but that the very circumstance of his having
been publicly discountenanced by the Prince of Orange and the
states-general, might discredit his enterprise.  His eagerness for action
may possibly have proceeded from the most laudable motives, his
sensibility to the horrors which his countrymen were daily and hourly
suffering, and his ardour to relieve them.  The dreadful state of
Scotland, while it affords so honourable an explanation of his
impatience, seems to account also, in a great measure, for his acting
against the common notions of prudence, in making his attack without any
previous concert with those whom he expected to join him there.  That
this was his view of the matter is plain, as we are informed by Burnet
that he depended not only on an army of his own clan and vassals, but
that he took it for granted that the western and southern counties would
all at once come about him, when he had gathered a good force together in
his own country; and surely such an expectation, when we reflect upon the
situation of those counties, was by no means unreasonable.

Argyle's counsel, backed by Lord Grey and the rest of Monmouth's
advisers, and opposed by none except Fletcher of Saltoun, to whom some
add Captain Matthews, prevailed, and it was agreed to invade immediately,
and at one time, the two kingdoms.  Monmouth had raised some money from
his jewels, and Argyle had a loan of ten thousand pounds from a rich
widow in Amsterdam.  With these resources, such as they were, ships and
arms were provided, and Argyle sailed from Vly on the 2nd of May with
three small vessels, accompanied by Sir Patrick Hume, Sir John Cochrane,
a few more Scotch gentlemen, and by two Englishmen, Ayloff, a nephew by
marriage to Lord Chancellor Clarendon, and Rumbold, the maltster, who had
been accused of being principally concerned in that conspiracy which,
from his farm in Essex, where it was pretended Charles II. was to have
been intercepted in his way from Newmarket, and assassinated, had been
called the Rye House Plot.  Sir Patrick Hume is said to have advised the
shortest passage, in order to come more unexpectedly upon the enemy; but
Argyle, who is represented as remarkably tenacious of his own opinions,
persisted in his plan of sailing round the north of Scotland, as well for
the purpose of landing at once among his own vassals, as for that of
being nearer to the western counties, which had been most severely
oppressed, and from which, of course, he expected most assistance.  Each
of these plans had, no doubt, its peculiar advantages; but, as far as we
can judge at this distance of time, those belonging to the earl's scheme
seemed to preponderate; for the force he carried with him was certainly
not sufficient to enable him, by striking any decisive stroke, to avail
himself even of the most unprepared state in which he could hope to find
the king's government.  As he must, therefore, depend entirely upon
reinforcements from the country, it seemed reasonable to make for that
part where succour was most likely to be obtained, even at the hazard of
incurring the disadvantage which must evidently result from the enemy's
having early notice of his attack, and, consequently, proportionable time
for defence.

Unfortunately this hazard was converted into a certainty by his sending
some men on shore in the Orkneys.  Two of these, Spence and Blackadder,
were seized at Kirkwall by the bishop of the diocese, and sent up
prisoners to Edinburgh, by which means the government was not only
satisfied of the reality of the intended invasion, of which, however,
they had before had some intimation, but could guess with a reasonable
certainty the part of the coast where the descent was to take place, for
Argyle could not possibly have sailed so far to the north with any other
view than that of making his landing either on his own estate, or in some
of the western counties.  Among the numberless charges of imprudence
against the unfortunate Argyle, charges too often inconsiderately urged
against him who fails in any enterprise of moment, that which is founded
upon the circumstance just mentioned appears to me to be the most
weighty, though it is that which is the least mentioned, and by no
author, as far as I recollect, much enforced.  If the landing in the
north was merely for the purpose of gaining intelligence respecting the
disposition of the country, or for the more frivolous object of making
some few prisoners, it was indeed imprudent in the highest degree.  That
prisoners, such as were likely to be taken on this occasion, should have
been a consideration with any man of common sense is impossible.  The
desire of gaining intelligence concerning the disposition of the people
was indeed a natural curiosity, but it would be a strong instance of that
impatience which has been often alleged though in no other case proved to
have been part of the earl's character, if, for the sake of gratifying
such a desire, he gave the enemy any important advantage.  Of the
intelligence which he sought thus eagerly, it was evident that he could
not in that place and at that time make any immediate use; whereas, of
that which he afforded his enemies, they could and did avail themselves
against him.  The most favourable account of this proceeding, and which
seems to deserve most credit, is, that having missed the proper passage
through the Orkney Islands, he thought proper to send on shore for
pilots, and that Spence very imprudently took the opportunity of going to
confer with a relation at Kirkwall; but it is to be remarked that it was
not necessary for the purpose of getting pilots, to employ men of note,
such as Blackadder and Spence, the latter of whom was the earl's
secretary; and that it was an unpardonable neglect not to give the
strictest injunctions to those who were employed against going a step
further into the country than was absolutely necessary.

Argyle, with his wonted generosity of spirit, was at first determined to
lay siege to Kirkwall, in order to recover his friends; but, partly by
the dissuasions of his followers, and still more by the objections made
by the masters of the ships to a delay which might make them lose the
favourable winds for their intended voyage, he was induced to prosecute
his course.  In the meantime the government made the use that it was
obvious they would make of the information they had obtained, and when
the earl arrived at his destination, he learned that considerable forces
were got together to repel any attack that he might meditate.  Being
prevented by contrary winds from reaching the Isle of Islay, where he had
purposed to make his first landing, he sailed back to Dunstafnage in
Lorn, and there sent ashore his son, Mr. Charles Campbell, to engage his
tenants and other friends and dependants of his family to rise in his
behalf; but even there he found less encouragement and assistance than he
had expected, and the laird of Lochniel, who gave him the best
assurances, treacherously betrayed him, sent his letter to the
government, and joined the royal forces under the Marquis of Athol.  He
then proceeded southwards, and landed at Campbelltown in Kintyre, where
his first step was to publish his declaration, which appears to have
produced little or no effect.

This bad beginning served, as is usual in such adventures, rather to
widen than to reconcile the differences which had early begun to manifest
themselves between the leader and his followers.  Hume and Cochrane,
partly construing, perhaps too sanguinely, the intelligence which was
received from Ayrshire, Galloway, and the other Lowland districts in that
quarter, partly from an expectation that where the oppression had been
most grievous, the revolt would be proportionably the more general, were
against any stay, or, as they termed it, loss of time in the Highlands,
but were for proceeding at once, weak as they were in point of numbers,
to a country where every man endowed with the common feelings of human
nature must be their well-wisher, every man of spirit their coadjutor.
Argyle, on the contrary, who probably considered the discouraging
accounts from the Lowlands as positive and distinct, while those which
were deemed more favourable appeared to him to be at least uncertain and
provisional, thought the most prudent plan was to strengthen himself in
his own country before he attempted the invasion of provinces where the
enemy was so well prepared to receive him.  He had hopes of gaining time,
not only to increase his own army, but to avail himself of the Duke of
Monmouth's intended invasion of England, an event which must obviously
have great influence upon his affairs, and which, if he could but
maintain himself in a situation to profit by it, might be productive of
advantages of an importance and extent of which no man could presume to
calculate the limits.  Of these two contrary opinions it may be difficult
at this time of day to appreciate the value, seeing that so much depends
upon the degree of credit due to the different accounts from the Lowland
counties, of which our imperfect information does not enable us to form
any accurate judgment.  But even though we should not decide absolutely
in favour of the cogency of these reasonings which influenced the chief,
it must surely be admitted that there was, at least, sufficient
probability in them to account for his not immediately giving way to
those of his followers, and to rescue his memory from the reproach of any
uncommon obstinacy, or of carrying things, as Burnet phrases it, with an
air of authority that was not easy to men who were setting up for
liberty.  On the other hand, it may be more difficult to exculpate the
gentlemen engaged with Argyle for not acquiescing more cheerfully, and
not entering more cordially into the views of a man whom they had chosen
for their leader and general; of whose honour they had no doubt, and
whose opinion even those who dissented from him must confess to be formed
upon no light or trivial grounds.

The differences upon the general scheme of attack led, of course, to
others upon points of detail.  Upon every projected expedition there
appeared a contrariety of sentiment, which on some occasions produced the
most violent disputes.  The earl was often thwarted in his plans, and in
one instance actually over-ruled by the vote of a council of war.  Nor
were these divisions, which might of themselves be deemed sufficient to
mar an enterprise of this nature, the only adverse circumstances which
Argyle had to encounter.  By the forward state of preparation on the part
of the government, its friends were emboldened; its enemies, whose spirit
had been already broken by a long series of sufferings, were completely
intimidated, and men of fickle and time-serving dispositions were fixed
in its interests.  Add to all this, that where spirit was not wanting, it
was accompanied with a degree and species of perversity wholly
inexplicable, and which can hardly gain belief from any one whose
experience has not made him acquainted with the extreme difficulty of
persuading men who pride themselves upon an extravagant love of liberty,
rather to compromise upon some points with those who have in the main the
same views with themselves, than to give power (a power which will
infallibly be used for their own destruction) to an adversary of
principles diametrically opposite; in other words, rather to concede
something to a friend, than everything to an enemy.  Hence, those even
whose situation was the most desperate, who were either wandering about
the fields, or seeking refuge in rocks and caverns, from the authorised
assassins who were on every side pursuing them, did not all join in
Argyle's cause with that frankness and cordiality which was to be
expected.  The various schisms which had existed among different classes
of Presbyterians were still fresh in their memory.  Not even the
persecution to which they had been in common, and almost indiscriminately
subjected, had reunited them.  According to a most expressive phrase of
an eminent minister of their church, who sincerely lamented their
disunion, the furnace had not yet healed the rents and breaches among
them.  Some doubted whether, short of establishing all the doctrines
preached by Cargill and Cameron, there was anything worth contending for;
while others, still further gone in enthusiasm, set no value upon
liberty, or even life itself, if they were to be preserved by the means
of a nobleman who had, as well by his serviced to Charles the Second as
by other instances, been guilty in the former parts of his conduct of
what they termed unlawful compliances.

Perplexed, no doubt, but not dismayed, by these difficulties, the earl
proceeded to Tarbet, which he had fixed as the place of rendezvous, and
there issued a second declaration (that which has been mentioned as
having been laid before the House of Commons), with as little effect as
the first.  He was joined by Sir Duncan Campbell, who alone, of all his
kinsmen, seems to have afforded him any material assistance, and who
brought with him nearly a thousand men; but even with this important
reinforcement, his whole army does not appear to have exceeded two
thousand.  It was here that he was over-ruled by a council of war, when
he proposed marching to Inverary; and after much debate, so far was he
from being so self-willed as he is represented, that he consented to go
over with his army to that part of Argyleshire called Cowal, and that Sir
John Cochrane should make an attempt upon the Lowlands; and he sent with
him Major Fullarton, one of the offices in whom he most trusted, and who
appears to have best deserved his confidence.  This expedition could not
land in Ayrshire, where it had at first been intended, owing to the
appearance of two king's frigates, which had been sent into those seas;
and when it did land near Greenock, no other advantage was derived from
it than the procuring from the town a very small supply of provisions.

When Cochrane, with his detachment, returned to Cowal, all hopes of
success in the Lowlands seemed, for the present at least, to be at an
end, and Argyle's original plan was now necessarily adopted, though under
circumstances greatly disadvantageous.  Among these, the most important
was the approach of the frigates, which obliged the earl to place his
ships under the protection of the castle of Ellengreg, which he fortified
and garrisoned as well as his contracted means would permit.  Yet even in
this situation, deprived of the co-operation of his little fleet, as well
as of that part of his force which he left to defend it, being well
seconded by the spirit and activity of Rumbold, who had seized the castle
of Ardkinglass, near the head of Loch Fin, he was not without hopes of
success in his main enterprise against Inverary, when he was called back
to Ellengreg, by intelligence of fresh discontents having broken out
there, upon the nearer approach of the frigates.  Some of the most
dissatisfied had even threatened to leave both castle and ships to their
fate; nor did the appearance of the earl himself by any means bring with
it that degree of authority which was requisite in such a juncture.  His
first motion was to disregard the superior force of the men of war, and
to engage them with his small fleet; but he soon discovered that he was
far indeed from being furnished with the materials necessary to put in
execution so bold, or, as it may possibly be thought, so romantic a
resolution.  His associates remonstrated, and a mutiny in his ships was
predicted as a certain consequence of the attempt.  Leaving, therefore,
once more, Ellengreg with a garrison under the command of the laird of
Lochness, and strict orders to destroy both ships and fortification,
rather than suffer them to fall into the hands of the enemy, he marched
towards Gareloch.  But whether from the inadequacy of the provisions with
which he was to supply it, or from cowardice, misconduct, or treachery,
it does not appear, the castle was soon evacuated without any proper
measures being taken to execute the earl's orders, and the military
stores in it to a considerable amount, as well as the ships which had no
other defence, were abandoned to the king's forces.

This was a severe blow; and all hopes of acting according to the earl's
plan of establishing himself strongly in Argyleshire were now
extinguished.  He therefore consented to pass the Leven, a little above
Dumbarton, and to march eastwards.  In this march he was overtaken, at a
place called Killerne, by Lord Dumbarton, at the head of a large body of
the king's troops; but he posted himself with so much skill and judgment,
that Dumbarton thought it prudent to wait, at least, till the ensuing
morning, before he made his attack.  Here, again Argyle was for risking
an engagement, and in his nearly desperate situation, it was probably his
best chance, but his advice (for his repeated misfortunes had scarcely
left him the shadow of command) was rejected.  On the other hand, a
proposal was made to him, the most absurd, as it should seem, that was
ever suggested in similar circumstances, to pass the enemy in the night,
and thus exposing his rear, to subject himself to the danger of being
surrounded, for the sake of advancing he knew not whither, or for what
purpose.  To this he could not consent; and it was at last agreed to
deceive the enemies by lighting fires, and to decamp in the night towards
Glasgow.  The first part of this plan was executed with success, and the
army went off unperceived by the enemy; but in their night march they
were misled by the ignorance or the treachery of their guides and fell
into difficulties which would have caused some disorder among the most
regular and best-disciplined troops.  In this case such disorder was
fatal, and produced, as among men circumstanced as Argyle's were, it
necessarily must, an almost general dispersion.  Wandering among bogs and
morasses, disheartened by fatigue, terrified by rumours of an approaching
enemy, the darkness of the night aggravating at once every real distress,
and adding terror to every vain alarm; in this situation, when even the
bravest and the best (for according to one account Rumbold himself was
missing for a time) were not able to find their leaders, nor the corps to
which they respectively belonged; it is no wonder that many took this
opportunity to abandon a cause now become desperate, and to effect
individually that escape which, as a body, they had no longer any hopes
to accomplish.

When the small remains of this ill-fated army got together, in the
morning, at Kilpatrick, a place far distant from their destination, its
number was reduced to less than five hundred.  Argyle had lost all
authority; nor, indeed, had he retained any, does it appear that he could
now have used it to any salutary purpose.  The same bias which had
influenced the two parties in the time of better hopes, and with regard
to their early operations, still prevailed now that they were driven to
their last extremity.  Sir Patrick Hume and Sir John Cochrane would not
stay even to reason the matter with him whom, at the onset of their
expedition, they had engaged to obey, but crossed the Clyde, with such as
would follow them to the number of about two hundred, into Renfrewshire.

Argyle, thus deserted, and almost alone, still looked to his own country
as the sole remaining hope, and sent off Sir Duncan Campbell, with the
two Duncansons, father and son--persons, all three, by whom he seemed to
have been served with the most exemplary zeal and fidelity--to attempt
new levies there.  Having done this, and settled such means of
correspondence as the state of affairs would permit, he repaired to the
house of an old servant, upon whose attachment he had relied for an
asylum, but was peremptorily denied entrance.  Concealment in this part
of the country seemed now impracticable, and he was forced at last to
pass the Clyde, accompanied by the brave and faithful Fullarton.  Upon
coming to a ford of the Inchanon they were stopped by some militia-men.
Fullarton used in vain all the best means which his presence of mind
suggested to him to save his general.  He attempted one while by gentle,
and then by harsher language, to detain the commander of the party till
the earl, who was habited as a common countryman, and whom he passed for
his guide, should have made his escape.  At last, when he saw them
determined to go after his pretended guide, he offered to surrender
himself without a blow, upon condition of their desisting from their
pursuit.  This agreement was accepted, but not adhered to, and two
horsemen were detached to seize Argyle.  The earl, who was also on
horseback, grappled with them till one of them and himself came to the
ground.  He then presented his pocket pistols, on which the two retired,
but soon after five more came up, who fired without effect, and he
thought himself like to get rid of them, but they knocked him down with
their swords and seized him.  When they knew whom they had taken they
seemed much troubled, but dared not let him go.  Fullarton, perceiving
that the stipulation on which he had surrendered himself was violated,
and determined to defend himself to the last, or at least to wreak,
before he fell, his just vengeance upon his perfidious opponents, grasped
at the sword of one of them, but in vain; he was overpowered, and made

Argyle was immediately carried to Renfrew, thence to Glasgow, and on the
20th of June was led in triumph into Edinburgh.  The order of the council
was particular: that he should be led bareheaded in the midst of Graham's
guards, with their matches cocked, his hands tied behind his back, and
preceded by the common hangman, in which situation, that he might be more
exposed to the insults and taunts of the vulgar, it was directed that he
should be carried to the castle by a circuitous route.  To the equanimity
with which he bore these indignities, as indeed to the manly spirit
exhibited by him throughout, in these last scenes of his life, ample
testimony is borne by all the historians who have treated of them, even
those who are the least partial to him.  He had frequent opportunities of
conversing, and some of writing, during his imprisonment, and it is from
such parts of these conversations and writings as have been preserved to
us, that we can best form to ourselves a just notion of his deportment
during that trying period; at the same time a true representation of the
temper of his mind in such circumstances will serve, in no small degree,
to illustrate his general character and disposition.

We have already seen how he expresses himself with regard to the men who,
by taking him, became the immediate cause of his calamity.  He seems to
feel a sort of gratitude to them for the sorrow he saw, or fancied he saw
in them, when they knew who he was, and immediately suggests an excuse
for them, by saying that they did not dare to follow the impulse of their
hearts.  Speaking of the supineness of his countrymen, and of the little
assistance he had received from them, he declares with his accustomed
piety his resignation to the will of God, which was that Scotland should
not be delivered at this time, nor especially by his hand; and then
exclaims, with the regret of a patriot, but with no bitterness of
disappointment, "But alas! who is there to be delivered!  There may,"
says he, "be hidden ones, but there appears no great party in the country
who desire to be relieved."  Justice, in some degree, but still more that
warm affection for his own kindred and vassals, which seems to have
formed a marked feature in this nobleman's character, then induces him to
make an exception in favour of his poor friends in Argyleshire, in
treating for whom, though in what particular way does not appear, he was
employing, and with some hope of success, the few remaining hours of his
life.  In recounting the failure of his expedition it is impossible for
him not to touch upon what he deemed the misconduct of his friends; and
this is the subject upon which of all others, his temper must have been
most irritable.  A certain description of friends (the words describing
them are omitted) were all of them without exception, his greatest
enemies, both to betray and destroy him; and . . . and . . . (the names
again omitted) were the greatest cause of his rout, and his being taken,
though not designedly, he acknowledges, but by ignorance, cowardice, and
faction.  This sentence had scarce escaped him when, notwithstanding the
qualifying words with which his candour had acquitted the last-mentioned
persons of intentional treachery, it appeared too harsh to his gentle
nature, and declaring himself displeased with the hard epithets he had
used, he desires they may be put out of any account that is to be given
of these transactions.  The manner in which this request is worded shows
that the paper he was writing was intended for a letter, and as it is
supposed, to a Mrs. Smith, who seems to have assisted him with money; but
whether or not this lady was the rich widow of Amsterdam, before alluded
to, I have not been able to learn.

When he is told that he is to be put to the torture, he neither breaks
out into any high-sounding bravado, any premature vaunts of the
resolution with which he will endure it, nor, on the other hand, into
passionate exclamations on the cruelty of his enemies, or unmanly
lamentations of his fate.  After stating that orders were arrived that he
must be tortured, unless he answers all questions upon oath, he simply
adds that he hopes God will support him; and then leaves off writing, not
from any want of spirits to proceed, but to enjoy the consolation which
was yet left him, in the society of his wife, the countess being just
then admitted.

Of his interview with Queensbury, who examined him in private, little is
known, except that he denied his design having been concerted with any
persons in Scotland; that he gave no information with respect to his
associates in England; and that he boldly and frankly averred his hopes
to have been founded on the cruelty of the administration, and such a
disposition in the people to revolt as he conceived to be the natural
consequence of oppression.  He owned, at the same time, that he had
trusted too much to this principle.  The precise date of this
conversation, whether it took place before the threat of the torture,
whilst that threat was impending, or when there was no longer any
intention of putting it into execution, I have not been able to
ascertain; but the probability seems to be that it was during the first
or second of these periods.

Notwithstanding the ill success that had attended his enterprise, he
never expresses, or even hints, the smallest degree of contrition for
having undertaken it: on the contrary, when Mr. Charteris, an eminent
divine, is permitted to wait on him, his first caution to that minister
is, not to try to convince him of the unlawfulness of his attempt,
concerning which his opinion was settled, and his mind made up.  Of some
parts of his past conduct he does indeed confess that he repents, but
these are the compliances of which he had been guilty in support of the
king, or his predecessors.  Possibly in this he may allude to his having
in his youth borne arms against the covenant, but with more likelihood to
his concurrence, in the late reign, with some of the measures of
Lauderdale's administration, for whom it is certain that he entertained a
great regard, and to whom he conceived himself to be principally indebted
for his escape from his first sentence.  Friendship and gratitude might
have carried him to lengths which patriotism and justice must condemn.

Religious concerns, in which he seems to have been very serious and
sincere, engaged much of his thoughts; but his religion was of that
genuine kind which, by representing the performance of our duties to our
neighbour as the most acceptable service to God, strengthens all the
charities of social life.  While he anticipates, with a hope approaching
to certainty, a happy futurity, he does not forget those who have been
justly dear to him in this world.  He writes, on the day of his
execution, to his wife, and to some other relations, for whom he seems to
have entertained a sort of parental tenderness, short, but the most
affectionate letters, wherein he gives them the greatest satisfaction
then in his power, by assuring them of his composure and tranquillity of
mind, and refers them for further consolation to those sources from which
he derived his own.  In his letter to Mrs. Smith, written on the same
day, he says, "While anything was a burden to me, your concern was; which
is a cross greater than I can express" (alluding probably to the
pecuniary loss she had incurred); "but I have, I thank God, overcome
all."  Her name, he adds, could not be concealed, and that he knows not
what may have been discovered from any paper which may have been taken;
otherwise he has named none to their disadvantage.  He states that those
in whose hands he is, had at first used him hardly, but that God had
melted their hearts, and that he was now treated with civility.  As an
instance of this, he mentions the liberty he had obtained of sending this
letter to her; a liberty which he takes as a kindness on their part, and
which he had sought that she might not think he had forgotten her.

Never, perhaps, did a few sentences present so striking a picture of a
mind truly virtuous and honourable.  Heroic courage is the least part of
his praise, and vanishes as it were from our sight, when we contemplate
the sensibility with which he acknowledges the kindness, such as it is,
of the very men who are leading him to the scaffold; the generous
satisfaction which he feels on reflecting that no confession of his has
endangered his associates; and above all, his anxiety, in such moments,
to perform all the duties of friendship and gratitude, not only with the
most scrupulous exactness, but with the most considerate attention to the
feelings as well as to the interests of the person who was the object of
them.  Indeed, it seems throughout to have been the peculiar felicity of
this man's mind, that everything was present to it that ought to be so;
nothing that ought not.  Of his country he could not be unmindful; and it
was one among other consequences of his happy temper, that on this
subject he did not entertain those gloomy ideas which the then state of
Scotland was but too well fitted to inspire.  In a conversation with an
intimate friend, he says that, though he does not take upon him to be a
prophet, he doubts not but that deliverance will come, and suddenly, of
which his failings had rendered him unworthy to be the instrument.  In
some verses which he composed on the night preceding his execution, and
which he intended for his epitaph, he thus expresses this hope still more

   "On my attempt though Providence did frown,
   His oppressed people God at length shall own;
   Another hand, by more successful speed,
   Shall raise the remnant, bruise the serpent's head."

With respect to the epitaph itself, of which these lines form a part, it
is probable that he composed it chiefly with a view to amuse and relieve
his mind, fatigued with exertion, and partly, perhaps, in imitation of
the famous Marquis of Montrose, who, in similar circumstances, had
written some verses which have been much celebrated.  The poetical merit
of the pieces appears to be nearly equal, and is not in either instance
considerable, and they are only in so far valuable as they may serve to
convey to us some image of the minds by which they were produced.  He who
reads them with this view will, perhaps, be of opinion that the spirit
manifested in the two compositions is rather equal in degree than like in
character; that the courage of Montrose was more turbulent, that of
Argyle more calm and sedate.  If, on the one hand, it is to be regretted
that we have not more memorials left of passages so interesting, and that
even of those which we do possess, a great part is obscured by time, it
must be confessed, on the other, that we have quite enough to enable us
to pronounce that for constancy and equanimity under the severest trials,
few men have equalled, none ever surpassed, the Earl of Argyle.  The most
powerful of all tempters, hope, was not held out to him, so that he had
not, it is true, in addition to his other hard tasks, that of resisting
her seductive influence; but the passions of a different class had the
fullest scope for their attacks.  These, however, could make no
impression on his well-disciplined mind.  Anger could not exasperate,
fear could not appal him; and if disappointment and indignation at the
misbehaviour of his followers, and the supineness of the country, did
occasionally, as surely they must, cause uneasy sensations, they had not
the power to extort from him one unbecoming or even querulous expression.
Let him be weighed never so scrupulously, and in the nicest scales, he
will not be found, in a single instance, wanting in the charity of a
Christian, the firmness and benevolence of a patriot, the integrity and
fidelity of a man of honour.

The Scotch parliament had, on the 11th of June, sent an address to the
king wherein, after praising his majesty, as usual, for his extraordinary
prudence, courage, and conduct, and loading Argyle, whom they styled an
hereditary traitor, with every reproach they can devise--among others,
that of ingratitude for the favours which he had received, as well from
his majesty as from his predecessor--they implore his majesty that the
earl may find no favour and that the earl's family, the heritors,
ringleaders, and preachers who joined him, should be for ever declared
incapable of mercy, or bearing any honour or estate in the kingdom, and
all subjects discharged under the highest pains to intercede for them in
any manner of way.  Never was address more graciously received, or more
readily complied with; and, accordingly, the following letter, with the
royal signature, and countersigned by Lord Melford, Secretary of State
for Scotland, was despatched to the council at Edinburgh, and by them
entered and registered on the 29th of June.

   "Whereas, the late Earl of Argyle is, by the providence of God, fallen
   into our power, it is our will and pleasure that you take all ways to
   know from him those things which concern our government most, as his
   assisters with men, arms, and money, his associates and
   correspondents, his designs, etc.  But this must be done so as no time
   may be lost in bringing him to condign punishment, by causing him to
   be demeaned as a traitor, within the space of three days after this
   shall come to your hands, an account of which, with what he shall
   confess, you shall send immediately to us or our secretaries, for
   doing which this shall be your warrant."

When it is recollected that torture had been in common use in Scotland,
and that the persons to whom the letter was addressed had often caused it
to be inflicted, the words, "it is our will and pleasure that you take
all ways," seem to convey a positive command for applying of it in this
instance; yet it is certain that Argyle was not tortured.  What was the
cause of this seeming disregard of the royal injunctions does not appear.
One would hope, for the honour of human nature, that James, struck with
some compunction for the injuries he had already heaped upon the head of
this unfortunate nobleman, sent some private orders contradictory to this
public letter; but there is no trace to be discovered of such a
circumstance.  The managers themselves might feel a sympathy for a man of
their own rank, which had no influence in the cases where only persons of
an inferior station were to be the sufferers; and in those words of the
king's letter which enjoin a speedy punishment as the primary object to
which all others must give way, they might find a pretext for overlooking
the most odious part of the order, and of indulging their humanity, such
as it was, by appointing the earliest day possible for the execution.  In
order that the triumph of injustice might be complete, it was determined
that, without any new trial, the earl should suffer upon the iniquitous
sentence of 1682.  Accordingly, the very next day ensuing was appointed,
and on the 13th of June he was brought from the castle, first to the
Laigh Council-house, and thence to the place of execution.

Before he left the castle, he had his dinner at the usual hour, at which
he discoursed, not only calmly, but even cheerfully, with Mr. Charteris
and others.  After dinner he retired, as was his custom, to his
bed-chamber, where it is recorded that he slept quietly for about a
quarter of an hour.  While he was in his bed, one of the members of the
council came and intimated to the attendants a desire to speak with him:
upon being told that the earl was asleep, and had left orders not to be
disturbed, the manager disbelieved the account, which he considered as a
device to avoid further questionings.  To satisfy him, the door of the
bed-chamber was half opened, and he then beheld, enjoying a sweet and
tranquil slumber, the man who, by the doom of him and his fellows, was to
die within the space of two short hours!  Struck with this sight, he
hurried out of the room, quitted the castle with the utmost
precipitation, and hid himself in the lodgings of an acquaintance who
lived near, where he flung himself upon the first bed that presented
itself, and had every appearance of a man suffering the most excruciating
torture.  His friend, who had been apprised by the servant of the state
he was in, and who naturally concluded that he was ill, offered him some
wine.  He refused, saying, "No, no, that will not help me: I have been in
at Argyle, and saw him sleeping as pleasantly as ever man did, within an
hour of eternity.  But as for me--."  The name of the person to whom this
anecdote relates is not mentioned, and the truth of it may therefore be
fairly considered as liable to that degree of doubt with which men of
judgment receive every species of traditional history.  Woodrow, however,
whose veracity is above suspicion, says he had it from the most
unquestionable authority.  It is not in itself unlikely; and who is there
that would not wish it true?  What a satisfactory spectacle to a
philosophical mind, to see the oppressor, in the zenith of his power,
envying his victim!  What an acknowledgment of the superiority of virtue!
What an affecting and forcible testimony to the value of that peace of
mind which innocence alone can confer!  We know not who this man was; but
when we reflect that the guilt which agonised him was probably incurred
for the sake of some vain title, or, at least, of some increase of
wealth, which he did not want, and possibly knew not how to enjoy, our
disgust is turned into something like compassion for that very foolish
class of men whom the world calls wise in their generation.

Soon after his short repose Argyle was brought, according to order, to
the Laigh Council-house, from which place is dated the letter to his
wife, and thence to the place of execution.  On the scaffold he had some
discourse, as well with Mr. Annand, a minister appointed by government to
attend him, as with Mr. Charteris.  He desired both of them to pray for
him, and prayed himself with much fervency and devotion.  The speech
which he made to the people was such as might be expected from the
passages already related.  The same mixture of firmness and mildness is
conspicuous in every part of it.  "We ought not," says he, "to despise
our afflictions, nor to faint under them.  We must not suffer ourselves
to be exasperated against the instruments of our troubles, nor by
fraudulent, nor pusillanimous compliances, bring guilt upon ourselves;
faint hearts are ordinarily false hearts, choosing sin rather than
suffering."  He offers his prayers to God for the three kingdoms of
England, Scotland, and Ireland, and that an end may be put to their
present trials.  Having then asked pardon for his own failings, both of
God and man, he would have concluded; but being reminded that he had said
nothing of the royal family, he adds that he refers, in this matter, to
what he had said at his trial concerning the test; that he prayed there
never might be wanting one of the royal family to support the Protestant
religion; and if any of them had swerved from the true faith, he prayed
God to turn their hearts, but, at any rate, to save His people from their
machinations.  When he had ended, he turned to the south side of the
scaffold, and said, "Gentlemen, I pray you do not misconstruct my
behaviour this day; I freely forgive all men their wrongs and injuries
done against me, as I desire to be forgiven of God."  Mr. Annand repeated
these words louder to the people.  The earl then went to the north side
of the scaffold, and used the same or the like expressions.  Mr. Annand
repeated them again, and said, "This nobleman dies a Protestant."  The
earl stepped forward again, and said, "I die not only a Protestant, but
with a heart-hatred of popery, prelacy, and all superstition whatsoever."
It would perhaps have been better if these last expressions had never
been uttered, as there appears certainly something of violence in them
unsuitable to the general tenor of his language; but it must be
remembered, first, that the opinion that the pope is _Antichrist_ was at
that time general among almost all the zealous Protestants in these
kingdoms; secondly, that Annand being employed by government, and
probably an Episcopalian, the earl might apprehend that the declaration
of such a minister might not convey the precise idea which he, Argyle,
affixed to the word Protestant.

He then embraced his friends, gave some tokens of remembrance to his son-
in-law, Lord Maitland, for his daughter and grandchildren, stripped
himself of part of his apparel, of which he likewise made presents, and
laid his head upon the block.  Having uttered a short prayer, he gave the
signal to the executioner, which was instantly obeyed, and his head
severed from his body.  Such were the last hours, and such the final
close, of this great man's life.  May the like happy serenity in such
dreadful circumstances, and a death equally glorious, be the lot of all
whom tyranny, of whatever denomination or description, shall in any age,
or in any country, call to expiate their virtues on the scaffold!

Of the followers of Argyle, in the disastrous expedition above recounted,
the fortunes were various.  Among those who either surrendered or were
taken, some suffered the same fate with their commander, others were
pardoned; while, on the other hand, of those who escaped to foreign
parts, many after a short exile returned triumphantly to their country at
the period of the revolution, and under a system congenial to their
principles, some even attained the highest honours of the State.  It is
to be recollected that when, after the disastrous night-march from
Killerne, a separation took place at Kilpatrick between Argyle and his
confederates, Sir John Cochrane, Sir Patrick Hume, and others, crossed
the Clyde into Renfrewshire, with about, it is supposed, two hundred men.
Upon their landing they met with some opposition from a troop of militia
horse, which was, however, feeble and ineffectual; but fresh parties of
militia as well as regular troops drawing together, a sort of scuffle
ensued, near a place called Muirdyke; an offer of quarter was made by the
king's troops, but (probably on account of the conditions annexed to it)
was refused; and Cochrane and the rest, now reduced to the number of
seventy took shelter in a fold-dyke, where they were able to resist and
repel, though not without loss on each side, the attack of the enemy.
Their situation was nevertheless still desperate, and in the night they
determined to make their escape.  The king's troops having retired, this
was effected without difficulty; and this remnant of an army being
dispersed by common consent, every man sought his own safety in the best
manner he could.  Sir John Cochrane took refuge in the house of an uncle,
by whom, or by whose wife, it is said, he was betrayed.  He was, however,
pardoned; and from this circumstance, coupled with the constant and
seemingly peevish opposition which he gave to almost all Argyle's plans,
a suspicion has arisen that he had been treacherous throughout.  But the
account given of his pardon by Burnet, who says his father, Lord
Dundonald, who was an opulent nobleman, purchased it with a considerable
sum of money, is more credible, as well as more candid; and it must be
remembered that in Sir John's disputes with his general, he was almost
always acting in conjunction with Sir Patrick Hume, who is proved, by the
subsequent events, and indeed by the whole tenor of his life and conduct,
to have been uniformly sincere and zealous in the cause of his country.
Cochrane was sent to England, where he had an interview with the king,
and gave such answers to the questions put to him as were deemed
satisfactory by his majesty; and the information thus obtained whatever
might be the real and secret causes, furnished a plausible pretence at
least for the exercise of royal mercy.  Sir Patrick Hume, after having
concealed himself some time in the house, and under the protection of
Lady Eleanor Dunbar, sister to the Earl of Eglington, found means to
escape to Holland, whence he returned in better times, and was created
first Lord Hume of Polwarth, and afterwards Earl of Marchmont.  Fullarton,
and Campbell of Auchinbreak, appear to have escaped, but by what means is
not known.  Two sons of Argyle, John and Charles, and Archibald Campbell,
his nephew, were sentenced to death and forfeiture, but the capital part
of the sentence was remitted.  Thomas Archer, a clergyman, who had been
wounded at Muirdyke, was executed, notwithstanding many applications in
his favour, among which was one from Lord Drumlanrig, Queensbury's eldest
son.  Woodrow, who was himself a Presbyterian minister, and though a most
valuable and correct historian, was not without a tincture of the
prejudices belonging to his order, attributes the unrelenting spirit of
the government in this instance to their malice against the clergy of his
sect.  Some of the holy ministry, he observes, as Guthrie at the
restoration, Kidd and Mackail after the insurrections at Pentland and
Bothwell Bridge, and now Archer, were upon every occasion to be
sacrificed to the fury of the persecutors.  But to him who is well
acquainted with the history of this period, the habitual cruelty of the
government will fully account for any particular act of severity; and it
is only in cases of lenity, such as that of Cochrane, for instance, that
he will look for some hidden or special motive.

Ayloff, having in vain attempted to kill himself, was, like Cochrane,
sent to London to be examined.  His relationship to the king's first wife
might perhaps be one inducement to this measure, or it might be thought
more expedient that he should be executed for the Rye House Plot, the
credit of which it was a favourite object of the court to uphold, than
for his recent acts of rebellion in Scotland.  Upon his examination he
refused to give any information, and suffered death upon a sentence of
outlawry, which had passed in the former reign.  It is recorded that
James interrogated him personally, and finding him sullen, and unwilling
to speak, said: "Mr. Ayloff, you know it is in my power to pardon you,
therefore say that which may deserve it:" to which Ayloff replied:
"Though it is in your power, it is not in your nature to pardon."  This,
however, is one of those anecdotes which are believed rather on account
of the air of nature that belongs to them, than upon any very good
traditional authority, and which ought, therefore when any very material
inference with respect either to fact or character, is to be drawn from
them, to be received with great caution.

Rumbold, covered with wounds, and defending himself with uncommon
exertions of strength and courage, was at last taken.  However desirable
it might have been thought to execute in England a man so deeply
implicated in the Rye House Plot, the state of Rumbold's health made such
a project impracticable.  Had it been attempted he would probably, by a
natural death, have disappointed the views of a government who were eager
to see brought to the block a man whom they thought, or pretended to
think, guilty of having projected the assassination of the late and
present king.  Weakened as he was in body, his mind was firm, his
constancy unshaken; and notwithstanding some endeavours that were made by
drums and other instruments, to drown his voice when he was addressing
the people from the scaffold, enough has been preserved of what he then
uttered to satisfy us that his personal courage, the praise of which has
not been denied him, was not of the vulgar or constitutional kind, but
was accompanied with a proportionable vigour of mind.  Upon hearing his
sentence, whether in imitation of Montrose, or from that congeniality of
character which causes men in similar circumstances to conceive similar
sentiments, he expressed the same wish which that gallant nobleman had
done; he wished he had a limb for every town in Christendom.  With
respect to the intended assassination imputed to him, he protested his
innocence, and desired to be believed upon the faith of a dying man;
adding, in terms as natural as they are forcibly descriptive of a
conscious dignity of character, that he was too well known for any to
have had the imprudence to make such a proposition to him.  He concluded
with plain, and apparently sincere, declarations of his undiminished
attachment to the principles of liberty, civil and religious; denied that
he was an enemy to monarchy, affirming, on the contrary, that he
considered it, when properly limited, as the most eligible form of
government; but that he never could believe that any man was born marked
by God above another, "for none comes into the world with a saddle on his
back, neither any booted and spurred to ride him."

Except by Ralph, who, with a warmth that does honour to his feelings,
expatiates at some length upon the subject, the circumstances attending
the death of this extraordinary man have been little noticed.  Rapin,
Echard, Kennet, Hume, make no mention of them whatever; and yet,
exclusively of the interest always excited by any great display of spirit
and magnanimity, his solemn denial of the project of assassination
imputed to him in the affair of the Rye House Plot is in itself a fact of
great importance, and one which might have been expected to attract, in
no small degree, the attention of the historian.  That Hume, who has
taken some pains in canvassing the degree of credit due to the different
parts of the Rye House Plot, should pass it over in silence, is the more
extraordinary because, in the case of the popish plot, he lays, and
justly lays, the greatest stress upon the dying declarations of the
sufferers.  Burnet adverts as well to the peculiar language used by
Rumbold as to his denial of the assassination; but having before given us
to understand that he believed that no such crime had been projected, it
is the less to be wondered at that he does not much dwell upon this
further evidence in favour of his former opinion.  Sir John Dalrymple,
upon the authority of a paper which he does not produce, but from which
he quotes enough to show that if produced it would not answer his
purpose, takes Rumbold's guilt for a decided fact, and then states his
dying protestations of his innocence, as an instance of aggravated
wickedness.  It is to be remarked, too, that although Sir John is pleased
roundly to assert that Rumbold denied the share he had had in the Rye
House Plot, yet the particular words which he cites neither contain nor
express, nor imply any such denial.  He has not even selected those by
which the design of assassination was denied (the only denial that was
uttered), but refers to a general declaration made by Rumbold, that he
had done injustice to no man--a declaration which was by no means
inconsistent with his having been a party to a plot, which he, no doubt,
considered as justifiable, and even meritorious.  This is not all: the
paper referred to is addressed to Walcot, by whom Rumbold states himself
to have been led on; and Walcot, with his last breath, denied his own
participation in any design to murder either Charles or James.  Thus,
therefore, whether the declaration of the sufferer be interpreted in a
general or in a particular sense, there is no contradiction whatever
between it and the paper adduced; but thus it is that the character of a
brave and, as far as appears, a virtuous man, is most unjustly and
cruelly traduced.  An incredible confusion of head, and an uncommon want
of reasoning powers, which distinguish the author to whom I refer, are, I
should charitably hope, the true sources of his misrepresentation; while
others may probably impute it to his desire of blackening, upon any
pretence, a person whose name is more or less connected with those of
Sidney and Russell.  It ought not, perhaps, to pass without observation,
that this attack upon Rumbold is introduced only in an oblique manner:
the rigour of government destroyed, says the historian, the morals it
intended to correct, and made the unhappy sufferer add to his former
crimes the atrocity of declaring a falsehood in his last moments.  Now,
what particular instances of rigour are here alluded to, it is difficult
to guess: for surely the execution of a man whom he sets down as guilty
of a design to murder the two royal brothers, could not, even in the
judgment of persons much less accustomed than Sir John to palliate the
crimes of princes, be looked upon as an act of blameable severity; but it
was thought, perhaps, that for the purpose of conveying a calumny upon
the persons concerned, or accused of being concerned, in the Rye House
Plot, an affected censure upon the government would be the fittest

The fact itself, that Rumbold did, in his last hours, solemnly deny the
having been concerned in any project for assassinating the king or duke,
has not, I believe, been questioned.  It is not invalidated by the
silence of some historians: it is confirmed by the misrepresentation of
others.  The first question that naturally presents itself must be, was
this declaration true?  The asseverations of dying men have always had,
and will always have, great influence upon the minds of those who do not
push their ill opinion of mankind to the most outrageous and
unwarrantable length; but though the weight of such asseverations be in
all cases great, it will not be in all equal.  It is material therefore
to consider, first, what are the circumstances which may tend in
particular cases to diminish their credit; and next, how far such
circumstances appear to have existed in the case before us.  The case
where this species of evidence would be the least convincing, would be
where hope of pardon is entertained; for then the man is not a dying man
in the sense of the proposition, for he has not that certainty that his
falsehood will not avail him, which is the principal foundation of the
credit due to his assertions.  For the same reason, though in a less
degree, he who hopes for favour to his children, or to other surviving
connections, is to be listened to with some caution; for the existence of
one virtue does not necessarily prove that of another, and he who loves
his children and friends may yet be profligate and unprincipled; or,
deceiving himself, may think that while his ends are laudable, he ought
not to hesitate concerning the means.  Besides these more obvious
temptations to prevarication, there is another which, though it may lie
somewhat deeper, yet experience teaches us to be rooted in human nature:
I mean that sort of obstinacy, or false shame, which makes men so
unwilling to retract what they have once advanced, whether in matter of
opinion or of fact.  The general character of the man is also in this, as
in all other human testimony, a circumstance of the greatest moment.
Where none of the above-mentioned objections occur, and where therefore
the weight of evidence in question is confessedly considerable, yet is it
still liable to be balanced or outweighed by evidence in the opposite

Let Rumbold's declaration, then, be examined upon these principles, and
we shall find that it has every character of truth, without a single
circumstance to discredit it.  He was so far from entertaining any hope
of pardon, that he did not seem even to wish it; and indeed if he had had
any such chimerical object in view, he must have known that to have
supplied the government with a proof of the Rye House assassination plot,
would be a more likely road at least, than a steady denial, to obtain it.
He left none behind him for whom to entreat favour, or whose welfare or
honour was at all affected by any confession or declaration he might
make.  If, in a prospective view, he was without temptation, so neither,
if he looked back, was he fettered by any former declaration; so that he
could not be influenced by that erroneous notion of consistency to which
it may be feared that truth, even in the most awful moments, has in some
cases been sacrificed.  His timely escape in 1683 had saved him from the
necessity of making any protestation upon the subject of his innocence at
that time; and the words of the letter to Walcot are so far from
containing such a protestation, that they are quoted (very absurdly, it
is true) by Sir John Dalrymple as an avowal of guilt.  If his testimony
is free from these particular objections, much less is it impeached by
his general character, which was that of a bold and daring man, who was
very unlikely to feel shame in avowing what he had not been ashamed to
commit, and who seems to have taken a delight in speaking bold truths, or
at least what appeared to him to be such, without regarding the manner in
which his hearers were likely to receive them.  With respect to the last
consideration, that of the opposite evidence, it all depends upon the
veracity of men who, according to their own account, betrayed their
comrades, and were actuated by the hope either of pardon or reward.

It appears to be of the more consequence to clear up this matter, because
if we should be of opinion, as I think we all must be, that the story of
the intended assassination of the king, in his way from Newmarket, is as
fabulous as that of the silver bullets by which he was to have been shot
at Windsor, a most singular train of reflections will force itself upon
our minds, as well in regard to the character of the times, as to the
means by which the two causes gained successively the advantage over each
other.  The Royalists had found it impossible to discredit the fiction,
gross as it was, of the popish plot; nor could they prevent it from being
a powerful engine in the hands of the Whigs, who, during the alarm raised
by it, gained an irresistible superiority in the House of Commons, in the
City of London, and in most parts of the kingdom.  But they who could not
quiet a false alarm raised by their adversaries, found little or no
difficulty in raising one equally false in their own favour, by the
supposed detection of the intended assassination.  With regard to the
advantages derived to the respective parties from those detestable
fictions, if it be urged, on one hand, that the panic spread by the Whigs
was more universal and more violent in its effects, it must be allowed,
on the other, that the advantages gained by the Tories were, on account
of their alliance with the crown, more durable and decisive.  There is a
superior solidity ever belonging to the power of the crown, as compared
with that of any body of men or party, or even with either of the other
branches of the legislature.  A party has influence, but, properly
speaking, no power.  The Houses of Parliament have abundance of power,
but, as bodies, little or no influence.  The crown has both power and
influence, which, when exerted with wisdom and steadiness, will always be
found too strong for any opposition whatever, till the zeal and fidelity
of party attachments shall be found to increase in proportion to the
increased influence of the executive power.

While these matters were transacting in Scotland, Monmouth, conformably
to his promise to Argyle, set sail from Holland, and landed at Lyme in
Dorsetshire, on the 11th of June.  He was attended by Lord Grey of Wark,
Fletcher of Saltoun, Colonel Matthews, Ferguson, and a few other
gentlemen.  His reception was, among the lower ranks, cordial, and for
some days at least, if not weeks, there seemed to have been more
foundation for the sanguine hopes of Lord Grey and others, his followers,
than the duke had supposed.  The first step taken by the invader was to
issue a proclamation, which he caused to be read in the market-place.  In
this instrument he touched upon what were, no doubt, thought to be the
most popular topics, and loaded James and his Catholic friends with every
imputation which had at any time been thrown against them.  This
declaration appears to have been well received, and the numbers that came
in to him were very considerable; but his means of arming them were
limited, nor had he much confidence, for the purpose of any important
military operation, in men unused to discipline, and wholly unacquainted
with the art of war.  Without examining the question whether or not
Monmouth, from his professional prejudices, carried, as some have alleged
he did, his diffidence of unpractised soldiers and new levies too far, it
seems clear that, in his situation, the best, or rather the only chance
of success, was to be looked for in counsels of the boldest kind.  If he
could not immediately strike some important stroke, it was not likely
that he ever should; nor indeed was he in a condition to wait.  He could
not flatter himself, as Argyle had done, that he had a strong country,
full of relations and dependants, where he might secure himself till the
co-operation of his confederate or some other favourable circumstance
might put it in his power to act more efficaciously.  Of any brilliant
success in Scotland he could not, at this time, entertain any hope, nor,
if he had, could he rationally expect that any events in that quarter
would make the sort of impression here which, on the other hand, his
success would produce in Scotland.  With money he was wholly unprovided;
nor does it appear, whatever may have been the inclination of some
considerable men, such as Lords Macclesfield, Brandon, Delamere, and
others, that any persons of that description were engaged to join in his
enterprise.  His reception had been above his hopes, and his recruits
more numerous than could be expected, or than he was able to furnish with
arms; while, on the other hand, the forces in arms against him consisted
chiefly in a militia, formidable neither from numbers nor discipline, and
moreover suspected of disaffection.  The present moment, therefore,
seemed to offer the most favourable opportunity for enterprise of any
that was likely to occur; but the unfortunate Monmouth judged otherwise,
and, as if he were to defend rather than to attack, directed his chief
policy to the avoiding of a general action.

It being, however, absolutely necessary to dislodge some troops which the
Earl of Feversham had thrown into Bridport, a detachment of three hundred
men was made for that purpose, which had the most complete success,
notwithstanding the cowardice of Lord Grey, who commanded them.  This
nobleman, who had been so instrumental in persuading his friend to the
invasion, upon the first appearance of danger is said to have left the
troops whom he commanded, and to have sought his own personal safety in
flight.  The troops carried Bridport, to the shame of the commander who
had deserted them, and returned to Lyme.

It is related by Ferguson that Monmouth said to Matthews, "What shall I
do with Lord Grey?"  To which the other answered, "That he was the only
general in Europe who would ask such a question;" intending, no doubt, to
reproach the duke with the excess to which he pushed his characteristic
virtues of mildness and forbearance.  That these virtues formed a part of
his character is most true, and the personal friendship in which he had
lived with Grey would incline him still more to the exercise of them upon
this occasion; but it is to be remembered also that the delinquent was,
in respect of rank, property, and perhaps too of talent, by far the most
considerable man he had with him; and, therefore, that prudential motives
might concur to deter a general from proceeding to violent measures with
such a person, especially in a civil war, where the discipline of an
armed party cannot be conducted upon the same system as that of a regular
army serving in a foreign war.  Monmouth's disappointment in Lord Grey
was aggravated by the loss of Fletcher of Saltoun, who, in a sort of
scuffle that ensued upon his being reproached for having seized a horse
belonging to a man of the country, had the misfortune to kill the owner.
Monmouth, however unwilling, thought himself obliged to dismiss him; and
thus, while a fatal concurrence of circumstances forced him to part with
the man he esteemed, and to retain him whom he despised, he found himself
at once disappointed of the support of the two persons upon whom he had
most relied.

On the 15th of June, his army being now increased to near three thousand
men, the duke marched from Lyme.  He does not appear to have taken this
step with a view to any enterprise of importance, but rather to avoid the
danger which he apprehended from the motions of the Devonshire and
Somerset militias, whose object it seemed to be to shut him up in Lyme.
In his first day's march he had opportunities of engaging, or rather of
pursuing, each of those bodies, who severally retreated from his forces;
but conceiving it to be his business, as he said, not to fight, but to
march on, he went through Axminster, and encamped in a strong piece of
ground between that town and Chard in Somersetshire, to which place he
proceeded on the ensuing day.  According to Wade's narrative, which
appears to afford by far the most authentic account of these
transactions, here it was that the first proposition was made for
proclaiming Monmouth king.  Ferguson made the proposal, and was supported
by Lord Grey, but it was easily run down, as Wade expresses it, by those
who were against it, and whom, therefore, we must suppose to have formed
a very considerable majority of the persons deemed of sufficient
importance to be consulted on such an occasion.  These circumstances are
material, because if that credit be given to them which they appear to
deserve, Ferguson's want of veracity becomes so notorious, that it is
hardly worth while to attend to any part of his narrative.  Where it only
corroborates accounts given by others, it is of little use; and where it
differs from them, it deserves no credit.  I have, therefore, wholly
disregarded it.

From Chard, Monmouth and his party proceeded to Taunton, a town where, as
well from the tenor of former occurrences as from the zeal and number of
the Protestant dissenters, who formed a great portion of its inhabitants,
he had every reason to expect the most favourable reception.  His
expectations were not disappointed.

The inhabitants of the upper, as well as the lower classes, vied with
each other in testifying their affection for his person, and their zeal
for his cause.  While the latter rent the air with applauses and
acclamations, the former opened their houses to him and to his followers,
and furnished his army with necessaries and supplies of every kind.  His
way was strewed with flowers; the windows were thronged with spectators,
all anxious to participate in what the warm feelings of the moment made
them deem a triumph.  Husbands pointed out to their wives, mothers to
their children, the brave and lovely hero who was destined to be the
deliverer of his country.  The beautiful lines which Dryden makes
Achitophel, in his highest strain of flattery, apply to this unfortunate
nobleman, were in this instance literally verified:

   "Thee, saviour, thee, the nation's vows confess,
   And, never satisfied with seeing, bless.
   Swift unbespoken pomps thy steps proclaim,
   And stammering babes are taught to lisp thy name."

In the midst of these joyous scenes twenty-six young maids, of the best
families in the town, presented him in the name of their townsmen with
colours wrought by them for the purpose, and with a Bible; upon receiving
which he said that he had taken the field with a design to defend the
truth contained in that Book, and to seal it with his blood if there was

In such circumstances it is no wonder that his army increased; and,
indeed, exclusive of individual recruits, he was here strengthened by the
arrival of Colonel Bassett with a considerable corps.  But in the midst
of these prosperous circumstances, some of them of such apparent
importance to the success of his enterprise, all of them highly
flattering to his feelings, he did not fail to observe that one
favourable symptom (and that too of the most decisive nature) was still
wanting.  None of the considerable families, not a single nobleman, and
scarcely any gentleman of rank and consequence in the counties through
which he had passed, had declared in his favour.  Popular applause is
undoubtedly sweet; and not only so, it often furnishes most powerful
means to the genius that knows how to make use of them.  But Monmouth
well knew that without the countenance and assistance of a proportion, at
least, of the higher ranks in the country, there was, for an undertaking
like his, little prospect of success.  He could not but have remarked
that the habits and prejudices of the English people are, in a great
degree, aristocratical; nor had he before him, nor indeed have we since
his time, had one single example of an insurrection that was successful,
unaided by the ancient families and great landed proprietors.  He must
have felt this the more, because in former parts of his political life he
had been accustomed to act with such coadjutors; and it is highly
probable that if Lord Russell had been alive, and could have appeared at
the head of one hundred only of his western tenantry, such a
reinforcement would have inspired him with more real confidence than the
thousands who individually flocked to his standard.

But though Russell was no more, there were not wanting, either in the
provinces through which the duke passed, or in other parts of the
kingdom, many noble and wealthy families who were attached to the
principles of the Whigs.  To account for their neutrality, and, if
possible, to persuade them to a different conduct, was naturally among
his principal concerns.  Their present coldness might be imputed to the
indistinctness of his declarations with respect to what was intended to
be the future government.  Men zealous for monarchy might not choose to
embark without some certain pledge that their favourite form should be
preserved.  They would also expect to be satisfied with respect to the
person whom their arms, if successful, were to place upon the throne.  To
promise, therefore, the continuance of a monarchical establishment, and
to designate the future monarch, seemed to be necessary for the purpose
of acquiring aristocratical support.  Whatever might be the intrinsic
weight of this argument, it easily made its way with Monmouth in his
present situation.  The aspiring temper of mind which is the natural
consequence of popular favour and success, produced in him a disposition
to listen to any suggestion which tended to his elevation and
aggrandisement; and when he could persuade himself, upon reasons specious
at least, that the measures which would most gratify his aspiring desires
would be, at the same time, a stroke of the soundest policy, it is not to
be wondered at that it was immediately and impatiently adopted.  Urged,
therefore, by these mixed motives, he declared himself king, and issued
divers proclamations in the royal style; assigning to those whose
approbation he doubted the reasons above adverted to, and proscribing and
threatening with the punishment due to rebellion such as should resist
his mandates, and adhere to the usurping Duke of York.

If this measure was in reality taken with views of policy, those views
were miserably disappointed; for it does not appear that one proselyte
was gained.  The threats in the proclamation were received with derision
by the king's army, and no other sentiments were excited by the
assumption of the royal title than those of contempt and indignation.  The
commonwealthsmen were dissatisfied, of course, with the principle of the
measure: the favourers of hereditary right held it in abhorrence, and
considered it as a kind of sacrilegious profanation; nor even among those
who considered monarchy in a more rational light, and as a magistracy
instituted for the good of the people, could it be at all agreeable that
such a magistrate should be elected by the army that had thronged to his
standard, or by the particular partiality of a provincial town.
Monmouth's strength, therefore, was by no means increased by his new
title, and seemed to be still limited to two descriptions of persons;
first, those who, from thoughtlessness or desperation, were willing to
join in any attempt at innovation; secondly, such as, directing their
views to a single point, considered the destruction of James's tyranny as
the object which, at all hazards, and without regard to consequences,
they were bound to pursue.  On the other hand, his reputation both for
moderation and good faith was considerably impaired, inasmuch as his
present conduct was in direct contradiction to that part of his
declaration wherein he had promised to leave the future adjustment of
government, and especially the consideration of his own claims, to a free
and independent parliament.

The notion of improving his new levies by discipline seems to have taken
such possession of Monmouth's mind that he overlooked the probable, or
rather the certain, consequences of a delay, by which the enemy would be
enabled to bring into the field forces far better disciplined and
appointed than any which, even with the most strenuous and successful
exertions, he could hope to oppose to them.  Upon this principle, and
especially as he had not yet fixed upon any definite object of
enterprise, he did not think a stay of a few days at Taunton would be
materially, if at all, prejudicial to his affairs; and it was not till
the 21st of June that he proceeded to Bridgewater, where he was received
in the most cordial manner.  In his march, the following day, from that
town to Glastonbury, he was alarmed by a party of the Earl of Oxford's
horse; but all apprehensions of any material interruptions were removed
by an account of the militia having left Wells, and retreated to Bath and
Bristol.  From Glastonbury he went to Shipton-Mallet, where the project
of an attack upon Bristol was communicated by the duke to his officers.
After some discussion, it was agreed that the attack should be made on
the Gloucestershire side of the city, and with that view to pass the Avon
at Keynsham Bridge, a few miles from Bath.  In their march from Shipton-
Mallet, the troops were again harassed in their rear by a party of horse
and dragoons, but lodged quietly at night at a village called Pensford.  A
detachment was sent early the next morning to possess itself of Keynsham,
and to repair the bridge, which might probably be broken down to prevent
a passage.  Upon their approach, a troop of the Gloucestershire horse-
militia immediately abandoned the town in great precipitation, leaving
behind them two horses and one man.  By break of day, the bridge, which
had not been much injured, was repaired, and before noon, Monmouth,
having passed it with his whole army, was in full march to Bristol, which
he determined to attack the ensuing night.  But the weather proving rainy
and bad, it was deemed expedient to return to Keynsham, a measure from
which he expected to reap a double advantage; to procure dry and
commodious quarters for the soldiery, and to lull the enemy, by a
movement, which bore the semblance of a retreat, into a false and
delusive security.  The event, however, did not answer his expectation,
for the troops had scarcely taken up their quarters, when they were
disturbed by two parties of horse, who entered the town at two several
places.  An engagement ensued, in which Monmouth lost fourteen men, and a
captain of horse, though in the end the Royalists were obliged to retire,
leaving three prisoners.  From these the duke had information that the
king's army was near at hand, and, as they said, about four thousand

This new state of affairs seemed to demand new councils.  The projected
enterprise upon Bristol was laid aside, and the question was, whether to
make by forced marches for Gloucester, in order to pass the Severn at
that city, and so to gain the counties of Salop and Chester, where he
expected to be met by many friends, or to march directly into Wiltshire,
where, according to some intelligence received ["from one Adlam"] the day
before, there was a considerable body of horse (under whose command does
not appear) ready, by their junction, to afford him a most important and
seasonable support.  To the first of these plans a decisive objection was
stated.  The distance by Gloucester was so great, that, considering the
slow marches to which he would be limited, by the daily attacks with
which the different small bodies of the enemy's cavalry would not fail to
harass his rear, he was in great danger of being overtaken by the king's
forces, and might thus be driven to risk all in an engagement upon terms
the most disadvantageous.  On the contrary, if joined in Wiltshire by the
expected aids, he might confidently offer battle to the royal army; and,
provided he could bring them to an action before they were strengthened
by new reinforcements, there was no unreasonable prospect of success.  The
latter plan was therefore adopted, and no sooner adopted than put in
execution.  The army was in motion without delay, and being before Bath
on the morning of the 26th of June, summoned the place, rather (as it
should seem) in sport than in earnest, as there was no hope of its
surrender.  After this bravado they marched on southward to Philip's
Norton, where they rested; the horse in the town, and the foot in the

While Monmouth was making these marches, there were not wanting, in many
parts of the adjacent country, strong symptoms of the attachment of the
lower orders of people to his cause, and more especially in those
manufacturing towns where the Protestant dissenters were numerous.  In
Froome there had been a considerable rising, headed by the constable, who
posted up the duke's declaration in the market-place.  Many of the
inhabitants of the neighbouring towns of Westbury and Warminster came in
throngs to the town to join the insurgents; some armed with fire-arms,
but more with such rustic weapons as opportunity could supply.  Such a
force, if it had joined the main army, or could have been otherwise
directed by any leader of judgment and authority, might have proved very
serviceable; but in its present state it was a mere rabble, and upon the
first appearance of the Earl of Pembroke, who entered the town with a
hundred and sixty horse and forty musketeers, fell, as might be expected,
into total confusion.  The rout was complete; all the arms of the
insurgents were seized; and the constable, after having been compelled to
abjure his principles, and confess the enormity of his offence, was
committed to prison.

This transaction took place the 25th, the day before Monmouth's arrival
at Philip's Norton, and may have, in a considerable degree, contributed
to the disappointment, of which we learn from Wade, that he at this time
began bitterly to complain.  He was now upon the confines of Wiltshire,
and near enough for the bodies of horse, upon whose favourable intentions
so much reliance had been placed, to have effected a junction, if they
had been so disposed; but whether that Adlam's intelligence had been
originally bad, or that Pembroke's proceedings at Froome had intimidated
them, no symptom of such an intention could be discovered.  A desertion
took place in his army, which the exaggerated accounts in the Gazette
made to amount to near two thousand men.  These dispiriting
circumstances, added to the complete disappointment of the hopes
entertained from the assumption of the royal title, produced in him a
state of mind but little short of despondency.  He complained that all
people had deserted him, and is said to have been so dejected, as hardly
to have the spirit requisite for giving the necessary orders.

From this state of torpor, however, he appears to have been effectually
roused by a brisk attack that was made upon him on the 27th, in the
morning, by the Royalists, under the command of his half-brother, the
Duke of Grafton.  That spirited young nobleman (whose intrepid courage,
conspicuous upon every occasion, led him in this, and many other
instances, to risk a life, which he finally lost in a better cause),
heading an advanced detachment of Lord Feversham's army, who had marched
from Bath, with a view to fall on the enemy's rear, marched boldly up a
narrow lane leading to the town, and attacked a barricade, which Monmouth
had caused to be made across the way, at the entrance of the town.
Monmouth was no sooner apprised of this brisk attack, than he ordered a
party to go out of the town by a by-way, who coming on the rear of the
Grenadiers while others of his men were engaged with their front, had
nearly surrounded them, and taken their commander prisoner, but Grafton
forced his way through the enemy.  An engagement ensued between the
insurgents and the remainder of Feversham's detachment, who had lined the
hedges which flanked them.  The former were victorious, and after driving
the enemy from hedge to hedge, forced them at last into the open field,
where they joined the rest of the king's forces, newly come up.  The
killed and wounded in these encounters amounted to about forty on
Feversham's side, twenty on Monmouth's; but among the latter there were
several officers, and some of note, while the loss of the former, with
the exception of two volunteers, Seymour and May, consisted entirely of
common soldiers.

The Royalists now drew up on an eminence, about five hundred paces from
the hedges, while Monmouth, having placed, of his four field-pieces, two
at the mouth of the lane, and two upon a rising ground near it on the
right, formed his army along the hedge.  From these stations a firing of
artillery was begun on each side, and continued near six hours, but with
little or no effect.  Monmouth, according to Wade, losing but one, and
the Royalists, according to the Gazette, not one man, by the whole
cannonade.  In these circumstances, notwithstanding the recent and
convincing experience he now had of the ability of his raw troops to
face, in certain situations at least, the more regular forces of his
enemy, Monmouth was advised by some to retreat; but upon a more general
consultation, this advice was over-ruled, and it was determined to cut
passages through the hedges and to offer battle.  But before this could
be effected the royal army, not willing again to engage among the
enclosures, annoyed in the open field by the rain which continued to fall
very heavily, and disappointed, no doubt, at the little effect of their
artillery, began their retreat.  The little confidence which Monmouth had
in his horse--perhaps the ill opinion he now entertained of their
leader--forbade him to think of pursuit, and having stayed till a late
hour in the field, and leaving large fires burning, he set out on his
march in the night, and on the 28th, in the morning, reached Froome,
where he put his troops in quarter and rested two days.

It was here he first heard certain news of Argyle's discomfiture.  It was
in vain to seek for any circumstance in his affairs that might mitigate
the effect of the severe blow inflicted by this intelligence, and he
relapsed into the same low spirits as at Philip's Norton.  No diversion,
at least no successful diversion, had been made in his favour: there was
no appearance of the horse, which had been the principal motive to allure
him into that part of the country; and what was worst of all, no
desertion from the king's army.  It was manifest, said the duke's more
timid advisers, that the affair must terminate ill, and the only measure
now to be taken was, that the general with his officers should leave the
army to shift for itself, and make severally for the most convenient sea-
ports, whence they might possibly get a safe passage to the Continent.  To
account for Monmouth's entertaining, even for a moment, a thought so
unworthy of him, and so inconsistent with the character for spirit he had
ever maintained--a character unimpeached even by his enemies--we must
recollect the unwillingness with which he undertook this fatal
expedition; that his engagement to Argyle, who was now past help, was
perhaps his principal motive for embarking at the time; that it was with
great reluctance he had torn himself from the arms of Lady Harriet
Wentworth, with whom he had so firmly persuaded himself that he could be
happy in the most obscure retirement, that he believed himself weaned
from ambition, which had hitherto been the only passion of his mind.  It
is true, that when he had once yielded to the solicitations of his
friends so far as to undertake a business of such magnitude, it was his
duty (but a duty that required a stronger mind than his to execute) to
discard from his thoughts all the arguments that had rendered his
compliance reluctant.  But it is one of the great distinctions between an
ordinary mind and a superior one, to be able to carry on without
relenting a plan we have not originally approved, and especially when it
appears to have turned out ill.  This proposal of disbanding was a step
so pusillanimous and dishonourable that it could not be approved by any
council, however composed.  It was condemned by all except Colonel
Venner, and was particularly inveighed against by Lord Grey, who was
perhaps desirous of retrieving, by bold words at least, the reputation he
had lost at Bridport.  It is possible, too, that he might be really
unconscious of his deficiency in point of personal courage till the
moment of danger arrived, and even forgetful of it when it was passed.
Monmouth was easily persuaded to give up a plan so uncongenial to his
nature, resolved, though with little hope of success, to remain with his
army to take the chance of events, and at the worst to stand or fall with
men whose attachment to him had laid him under indelible obligations.

This resolution being taken, the first plan was to proceed to Warminster,
but on the morning of his departure hearing, on the one hand, that the
king's troops were likely to cross his march, and on the other, being
informed by a quaker, before known to the duke, that there was a great
club army, amounting to ten thousand men, ready to join his standard in
the marshes to the westward, he altered his intention, and returned to
Shipton-Mallet, where he rested that night, his army being in good
quarters.  From Shipton-Mallet he proceeded, on the 1st of July, to
Wells, upon information that there were in that city some carriages
belonging to the king's army, and ill-guarded.  These he found and took,
and stayed that night in the town.  The following day he marched towards
Bridgewater in search of the great succour he had been taught to expect;
but found, of the promised ten thousand men, only a hundred and sixty.
The army lay that night in the field, and once again entered Bridgewater
on the 3rd of July.  That the duke's men were not yet completely
dispirited or out of heart appears from the circumstance of great numbers
of them going from Bridgewater to see their friends at Taunton, and other
places in the neighbourhood, and almost all returning the next day
according to their promise.  On the 5th an account was received of the
king's army being considerably advanced, and Monmouth's first thought was
to retreat from it immediately, and marching by Axbridge and Keynsham to
Gloucester, to pursue the plan formerly rejected, of penetrating into the
counties of Chester and Salop.

His preparations for this march were all made, when, on the afternoon of
the 5th, he learnt, more accurately than he had before done, the true
situation of the royal army, and from the information now received, he
thought it expedient to consult his principal officers, whether it might
not be advisable to attempt to surprise the enemy by a night attack upon
their quarters.  The prevailing opinion was, that if the infantry were
not entrenched the plan was worth the trial; otherwise not.  Scouts were
despatched to ascertain this point, and their report being that there was
no entrenchment, an attack was resolved on.  In pursuance of this
resolution, at about eleven at night, the whole army was in march, Lord
Grey commanding the horse, and Colonel Wade the vanguard of the foot.  The
duke's orders were, that the horse should first advance, and pushing into
the enemy's camp, endeavour to prevent their infantry from coming
together; that the cannon should follow the horse, and the foot the
cannon, and draw all up in one line, and so finish what the cavalry
should have begun, before the king's horse and artillery could be got in
order.  But it was now discovered that though there were no
entrenchments, there was a ditch which served as a drain to the great
moor adjacent, of which no mention had been made by the scouts.  To this
ditch the horse under Lord Grey advanced, and no farther; and whether
immediately, as according to some accounts, or after having been
considerably harassed by the enemy in their attempts to find a place to
pass, according to others, quitted the field.  The cavalry being gone,
and the principle upon which the attack had been undertaken being that of
a surprise, the duke judged it necessary that the infantry should advance
as speedily as possible.  Wade, therefore, when he came within forty
paces of the ditch, was obliged to halt to put his battalion into that
order, which the extreme rapidity of the march had for the time
disconcerted.  His plan was to pass the ditch, reserving his fire; but
while he was arranging his men for that purpose, another battalion, newly
come up, began to fire, though at a considerable distance; a bad example,
which it was impossible to prevent the vanguard from following, and it
was now no longer in the power of their commander to persuade them to
advance.  The king's forces, as well horse and artillery as foot, had now
full time to assemble.  The duke had no longer cavalry in the field, and
though his artillery, which consisted only of three or four iron guns,
was well served under the directions of a Dutch gunner, it was by no
means equal to that of the royal army, which, as soon as it was light,
began to do great execution.  In these circumstances the unfortunate
Monmouth, fearful of being encompassed and made prisoner by the king's
cavalry, who were approaching upon his flank, and urged, as it is
reported, to flight by the same person who had stimulated him to his
fatal enterprise, quitted the field accompanied by Lord Grey and some
others.  The left wing, under the command of Colonel Holmes and Matthews,
next gave way; and Wade's men, after having continued for an hour and a
half a distant and ineffectual fire, seeing their left discomfited, began
a retreat, which soon afterwards became a complete rout.

Thus ended the decisive battle of Sedgmoor; an attack which seems to have
been judiciously conceived, and in many parts spiritedly executed.  The
general was deficient neither in courage nor conduct; and the troops,
while they displayed the native bravery of Englishmen, were under as good
discipline as could be expected from bodies newly raised.  Two
circumstances seem to have principally contributed to the loss of the
day; first, the unforeseen difficulty occasioned by the ditch, of which
the assailants had had no intelligence; and secondly, the cowardice of
the commander of the horse.  The discovery of the ditch was the more
alarming, because it threw a general doubt upon the information of the
spies, and the night being dark they could not ascertain that this was
the only impediment of the kind which they were to expect.  The
dispersion of the horse was still more fatal, inasmuch as it deranged the
whole order of the plan, by which it had been concerted that their
operations were to facilitate the attack to be made by the foot.  If Lord
Grey had possessed a spirit more suitable to his birth and name, to the
illustrious friendship with which he had been honoured, and to the
command with which he was entrusted, he would doubtless have persevered
till he found a passage into the enemy's camp, which could have been
effected at a ford not far distant: the loss of time occasioned by the
ditch might not have been very material, and the most important
consequences might have ensued; but it would surely be rashness to
assert, as Hume does, that the army would after all have gained the
victory had not the misconduct of Monmouth and the cowardice of Grey
prevented it.  This rash judgment is the more to be admired, as the
historian has not pointed out the instance of misconduct to which he
refers.  The number of Monmouth's men killed is computed by some at two
thousand, by others at three hundred--a disparity, however, which may be
easily reconciled, by supposing that the one account takes in those who
were killed in battle, while the other comprehends the wretched fugitives
who were massacred in ditches, corn-fields, and other hiding-places, the
following day.

In general, I have thought it right to follow Wade's narrative, which
appears to me by far the most authentic, if not the only authentic
account of this important transaction.  It is imperfect, but its
imperfection arises from the narrator's omitting all those circumstances
of which he was not an eye-witness, and the greater credit is on that
very account due to him for those which he relates.  With respect to
Monmouth's quitting the field, it is not mentioned by him, nor is it
possible to ascertain the precise point of time at which it happened.
That he fled while his troops were still fighting, and therefore too soon
for his glory, can scarcely be doubted; and the account given by
Ferguson, whose veracity, however, is always to be suspected, that Lord
Grey urged him to the measure, as well by persuasion as by example, seems
not improbable.  This misbehaviour of the last-mentioned nobleman is more
certain; but as, according to Ferguson, who has been followed by others,
he actually conversed with Monmouth in the field, and as all accounts
make him the companion of his flight, it is not to be understood that
when he first gave way with his cavalry, he ran away in the literal sense
of the words, or if he did, he must have returned.  The exact truth, with
regard to this and many other interesting particulars, is difficult to be
discovered; owing, not more to the darkness of the night in which they
were transacted, than to the personal partialities and enmities by which
they have been disfigured, in the relations of the different contemporary

Monmouth with his suite first directed his course towards the Bristol
Channel, and as is related by Oldmixon, was once inclined, at the
suggestion of Dr. Oliver, a faithful and honest adviser, to embark for
the coast of Wales, with a view of concealing himself some time in that
principality.  Lord Grey, who appears to have been, in all instances, his
evil genius, dissuaded him from this plan, and the small party having
separated, took each several ways.  Monmouth, Grey, and a gentleman of
Brandenburg, went southward, with a view to gain the New Forest in
Hampshire, where, by means of Grey's connections in that district, and
thorough knowledge of the country, it was hoped they might be in safety,
till a vessel could be procured to transport them to the Continent.  They
left their horses, and disguised themselves as peasants; but the pursuit,
stimulated as well by party zeal as by the great pecuniary rewards
offered for the capture of Monmouth and Grey, was too vigilant to be
eluded.  Grey was taken on the 7th in the evening; and the German, who
shared the same fate early on the next morning, confessed that he had
parted from Monmouth but a few hours since.  The neighbouring country was
immediately and thoroughly searched, and James had ere night the
satisfaction of learning that his nephew was in his power.  The
unfortunate duke was discovered in a ditch, half concealed by fern and
nettles.  His stock of provision, which consisted of some peas gathered
in the fields through which he had fled, was nearly exhausted, and there
is reason to think that he had little, if any other sustenance, since he
left Bridgewater on the evening of the 5th.  To repose he had been
equally a stranger; how his mind must have been harassed, it is needless
to discuss.  Yet that in such circumstances he appeared dispirited and
crestfallen, is, by the unrelenting malignity of party writers, imputed
to him as cowardice and meanness of spirit.  That the failure of his
enterprise, together with the bitter reflection that he had suffered
himself to be engaged in it against his own better judgment, joined to
the other calamitous circumstances of his situation, had reduced him to a
state of despondency, is evident; and in this frame of mind, he wrote, on
the very day of his capture, the following letter to the king:

   "Sir,--Your majesty may think it the misfortune I now lie under makes
   me make this application to you; but I do assure your majesty, it is
   the remorse I now have in me of the wrong I have done you in several
   things, and now in taking up arms against you.  For my taking up arms,
   it was never in my thought since the king died: the Prince and
   Princess of Orange will be witness for me of the assurance I gave
   them, that I would never stir against you.  But my misfortune was such
   as to meet with some horrid people, that made me believe things of
   your majesty, and gave me so many false arguments, that I was fully
   led away to believe that it was a shame and a sin before God not to do
   it.  But, sir, I will not trouble your majesty at present with many
   things I could say for myself, that I am sure would move your
   compassion; the chief end of this letter being only to beg of you,
   that I may have that happiness as to speak to your majesty; for I have
   that to say to you, sir, that I hope may give you a long and happy

   "I am sure, sir, when you hear me, you will be convinced of the zeal I
   have of your preservation, and how heartily I repent of what I have
   done.  I can say no more to your majesty now, being this letter must
   be seen by those that keep me.  Therefore, sir, I shall make an end in
   begging of your majesty to believe so well of me, that I would rather
   die a thousand deaths than excuse anything I have done, if I did not
   really think myself the most in the wrong that ever a man was, and had
   not from the bottom of my heart an abhorrence for those that put me
   upon it, and for the action itself.  I hope, sir, God Almighty will
   strike your heart with mercy and compassion for me, as he has done
   mine with the abhorrence of what I have done: wherefore, sir, I hope I
   may live to show you how zealous I shall ever be for your service; and
   could I but say one word in this letter, you would be convinced of it;
   but it is of that consequence, that I dare not do it.  Therefore, sir,
   I do beg of you once more to let me speak to you; for then you will be
   convinced how much I shall ever be, your majesty's most humble and


The only certain conclusion to be drawn from this letter, which Mr.
Echard, in a manner perhaps not so seemly for a Churchman, terms
submissive, is, that Monmouth still wished anxiously for life, and was
willing to save it, even at the cruel price of begging and receiving it
as a boon from his enemy.  Ralph conjectures with great probability that
this unhappy man's feelings were all governed by his excessive affection
for his mistress and that a vain hope of enjoying, with Lady Harriet
Wentworth, that retirement which he had so unwillingly abandoned, induced
him to adopt a conduct, which he might otherwise have considered as
indecent.  At any rate it must be admitted that to cling to life is a
strong instinct in human nature, and Monmouth might reasonably enough
satisfy himself, that when his death could not by any possibility benefit
either the public or his friends, to follow such instinct, even in a
manner that might tarnish the splendour of heroism, was no impeachment of
the moral virtue of a man.

With respect to the mysterious part of the letter, where he speaks of one
word which would be of such infinite importance, it is difficult, if not
rather utterly impossible, to explain it by any rational conjecture.  Mr.
Macpherson's favourite hypothesis, that the Prince of Orange had been a
party to the late attempt, and that Monmouth's intention, when he wrote
the letter, was to disclose this important fact to the king, is totally
destroyed by those expressions, in which the unfortunate prisoner tells
his majesty he had assured the Prince and Princess of Orange that he
would never stir against him.  Did he assure the Prince of Orange that he
would never do that which he was engaged to the Prince of Orange to do?
Can it be said that this was a false fact, and that no such assurances
were in truth given?  To what purpose was the falsehood?  In order to
conceal from motives, whether honourable or otherwise, his connection
with the prince?  What! a fiction in one paragraph of the letter in order
to conceal a fact, which in the next he declares his intention of
revealing?  The thing is impossible.

The intriguing character of the Secretary of State, the Earl of
Sunderland, whose duplicity in many instances cannot be doubted, and the
mystery in which almost everything relating to him is involved, might
lead us to suspect that the expressions point at some discovery in which
that nobleman was concerned, and that Monmouth had it in his power to be
of important service to James, by revealing to him the treachery of his
minister.  Such a conjecture might be strengthened by an anecdote that
has had some currency, and to the truth of which, in part, King James's
"Memoirs," if the extracts from them can be relied on, bear testimony.  It
is said that the Duke of Monmouth told Mr. Ralph Sheldon, one of the
king's chamber, who came to meet him on his way to London, that he had
had reason to expect Sunderland's co-operation, and authorised Sheldon to
mention this to the king: that while Sheldon was relating this to his
majesty, Sunderland entered; Sheldon hesitated, but was ordered to go on.
"Sunderland seemed, at first, struck" (as well he might, whether innocent
or guilty), "but after a short time said, with a laugh, 'If that be all
he (Monmouth) can discover to save his life, it will do him little
good.'"  It is to be remarked, that in Sheldon's conversation, as alluded
to by King James, the Prince of Orange's name is not even mentioned,
either as connected with Monmouth or with Sunderland.  But, on the other
hand, the difficulties that stand in the way of our interpreting
Monmouth's letter as alluding to Sunderland, or of supposing that the
writer of it had any well-founded accusation against that minister, are
insurmountable.  If he had such an accusation to make, why did he not
make it?  The king says expressly, both in a letter to the Prince of
Orange, and in the extract, from his "Memoirs," above cited, that
Monmouth made no discovery of consequence, and the explanation suggested,
that his silence was owing to Sunderland the secretary's having assured
him of his pardon, seems wholly inadmissible.  Such assurances could have
their influence no longer than while the hope of pardon remained.  Why,
then, did he continue silent, when he found James inexorable?  If he was
willing to accuse the earl before he had received these assurances, it is
inconceivable that he should have any scruple about doing it when they
turned out to have been delusive, and when his mind must have been
exasperated by the reflection that Sunderland's perfidious promises and
self-interested suggestions had deterred him from the only probable means
of saving his life.

A third, and perhaps the most plausible, interpretation of the words in
question is, that they point to a discovery of Monmouth's friends in
England, when, in the dejected state of his mind at the time of writing,
unmanned as he was by misfortune, he might sincerely promise what the
return of better thoughts forbade him to perform.  This account, however,
though free from the great absurdities belonging to the two others, is by
no means satisfactory.  The phrase, "one word," seems to relate rather to
some single person, or some single fact, and can hardly apply to any list
of associates that might be intended to be sacrificed.  On the other
hand, the single denunciation of Lord Delamere, of Lord Brandon, or even
of the Earl of Devonshire, or of any other private individual, could not
be considered as of that extreme consequence which Monmouth attaches to
his promised disclosure.  I have mentioned Lord Devonshire, who was
certainly not implicated in the enterprise, and who was not even
suspected, because it appears, from Grey's narrative, that one of
Monmouth's agents had once given hopes of his support; and therefore
there is a bare possibility that Monmouth may have reckoned upon his
assistance.  Perhaps, after all, the letter has been canvassed with too
much nicety, and the words of it weighed more scrupulously than, proper
allowance being made for the situation and state of mind of the writer,
they ought to have been.  They may have been thrown out at hazard, merely
as means to obtain an interview, of which the unhappy prisoner thought he
might, in some way or other, make his advantage.  If any more precise
meaning existed in his mind, we must be content to pass it over as one of
those obscure points of history, upon which neither the sagacity of
historians, nor the many documents since made public, nor the great
discoverer, Time, has yet thrown any distinct light.

Monmouth and Grey were now to be conveyed to London, for which purpose
they set out on the 11th, and arrived in the vicinity of the metropolis
on the 13th of July.  In the meanwhile, the queen dowager, who seems to
have behaved with a uniformity of kindness towards her husband's son that
does her great honour, urgently pressed the king to admit his nephew to
an audience.  Importuned, therefore, by entreaties, and instigated by the
curiosity which Monmouth's mysterious expressions, and Sheldon's story,
had excited, he consented, though with a fixed determination to show no
mercy.  James was not of the number of those, in whom the want of an
extensive understanding is compensated by a delicacy of sentiment, or by
those right feelings, which are often found to be better guides for the
conduct than the most accurate reasoning.  His nature did not revolt, his
blood did not run cold, at the thoughts of beholding the son of a brother
whom he had loved embracing his knees, petitioning, and petitioning in
vain, for life; of interchanging words and looks with a nephew, on whom
he was inexorably determined, within forty-eight short hours, to inflict
an ignominious death.

In Macpherson's extract from King James's "Memoirs," it is confessed that
the king ought not to have seen, if he was not disposed to pardon the
culprit; but whether the observation is made by the exiled prince
himself, or by him who gives the extract, is in this, as in many other
passages of those "Memoirs," difficult to determine.  Surely if the king
had made this reflection before Monmouth's execution, it must have
occurred to that monarch, that if he had inadvertently done that which he
ought not to have done, without an intention to pardon, the only remedy
was to correct that part of his conduct which was still in his power, and
since he could not recall the interview, to grant the pardon.

Pursuant to this hard-hearted arrangement, Monmouth and Grey, on the very
day of their arrival, were brought to Whitehall, where they had severally
interviews with his majesty.  James, in a letter to the Prince of Orange,
dated the following day, gives a short account of both these interviews.
Monmouth, he says, betrayed a weakness which did not become one who had
claimed the title of king; but made no discovery of consequence.

Grey was more ingenuous (it is not certain in what sense his majesty uses
the term, since he does not refer to any discovery made by that lord),
and never once begged his life.  Short as this account is, it seems the
only authentic one of those interviews.  Bishop Kennet, who has been
followed by most of the modern historians, relates, that "This unhappy
captive, by the intercession of the queen dowager, was brought to the
king's presence, and fell presently at his feet, and confessed he
deserved to die; but conjured him, with tears in his eyes, not to use him
with the severity of justice, and to grant him a life, which he would be
ever ready to sacrifice for his service.  He mentioned to him the example
of several great princes, who had yielded to the impressions of clemency
on the like occasions, and who had never afterwards repented of those
acts of generosity and mercy; concluding, in a most pathetical manner,
'Remember, sir, I am your brother's son, and if you take my life, it is
your own blood that you will shed.'  The king asked him several
questions, and made him sign a declaration that his father told him he
was never married to his mother: and then said, he was sorry indeed for
his misfortunes; but his crime was of too great a consequence to be left
unpunished, and he must of necessity suffer for it.  The queen is said to
have insulted him in a very arrogant and unmerciful manner.  So that when
the duke saw there was nothing designed by this interview but to satisfy
the queen's revenge, he rose up from his majesty's feet with a new air of
bravery, and was carried back to the Tower."

The topics used by Monmouth are such as he might naturally have employed,
and the demeanour attributed to him, upon finding the king inexorable, is
consistent enough with general probability, and his particular character;
but that the king took care to extract from him a confession of Charles's
declaration with respect to his illegitimacy, before he announced his
final refusal of mercy, and that the queen was present for the purpose of
reviling and insulting him, are circumstances too atrocious to merit
belief, without some more certain evidence.  It must be remarked also,
that Burnet, whose general prejudices would not lead him to doubt any
imputations against the queen, does not mention her majesty's being
present.  Monmouth's offer of changing religion is mentioned by him, but
no authority quoted; and no hint of the kind appears either in James's
Letters, or in the extract from his "Memoirs."

From Whitehall Monmouth was at night carried to the Tower, where, no
longer uncertain as to his fate, he seems to have collected his mind, and
to have resumed his wonted fortitude.  The bill of attainder that had
lately passed having superseded the necessity of a legal trial, his
execution was fixed for the next day but one after his commitment.  This
interval appeared too short even for the worldly business which he wished
to transact, and he wrote again to the king on the 14th, desiring some
short respite, which was peremptorily refused.  The difficulty of
obtaining any certainty concerning facts, even in instances where there
has not been any apparent motive for disguising them, is nowhere more
striking than in the few remaining hours of this unfortunate man's life.
According to King James's statement in his "Memoirs," he refused to see
his wife, while other accounts assert positively that she refused to see
him, unless in presence of witnesses.  Burnet, who was not likely to be
mistaken in a fact of this kind, says they did meet, and parted very
coldly, a circumstance which, if true, gives us no very favourable idea
of the lady's character.  There is also mention of a third letter written
by him to the king, which being entrusted to a perfidious officer of the
name of Scott, never reached its destination; but for this there is no
foundation.  What seems most certain is, that in the Tower, and not in
the closet, he signed a paper, renouncing his pretensions to the crown,
the same which he afterwards delivered on the scaffold; and that he was
inclined to make this declaration, not by any vain hope of life, but by
his affection for his children, whose situation he rightly judged would
be safer and better under the reigning monarch and his successors, when
it should be evident that they could no longer be competitors for the

Monmouth was very sincere in his religious professions, and it is
probable that a great portion of this sad day was passed in devotion and
religious discourse with the two prelates who had been sent by his
majesty to assist him in his spiritual concerns.  Turner, bishop of Ely,
had been with him early in the morning, and Kenn, bishop of Bath and
Wells, was sent, upon the refusal of a respite, to prepare him for the
stroke, which it was now irrevocably fixed he should suffer the ensuing
day.  They stayed with him all night, and in the morning of the 15th were
joined by Dr. Hooper, afterwards, in the reign of Anne, made bishop of
Bath and Wells, and by Dr. Tennison, who succeeded Tillotson in the see
of Canterbury.  This last divine is stated by Burnet to have been most
acceptable to the duke, and, though he joined the others in some harsh
expostulations, to have done what the right reverend historian conceives
to have been his duty, in a softer and less peremptory manner.  Certain
it is, that none of these holy men seem to have erred on the side of
compassion or complaisance to their illustrious penitent.  Besides
endeavouring to convince him of the guilt of his connection with his
beloved lady Harriet, of which he could never be brought to a due sense,
they seem to have repeatedly teased him with controversy, and to have
been far more solicitous to make him profess what they deemed the true
creed of the Church of England, than to soften or console his sorrows, or
to help him to that composure of mind so necessary for his situation.  He
declared himself to be a member of their Church, but, they denied that he
could be so, unless he thoroughly believed the doctrine of passive
obedience and non-resistance.  He repented generally of his sins, and
especially of his late enterprise, but they insisted that he must repent
of it in the way they prescribed to him, that he must own it to have been
a wicked resistance to his lawful king, and a detestable act of
rebellion.  Some historians have imputed this seemingly cruel conduct to
the king's particular instructions, who might be desirous of extracting,
or rather extorting, from the lips of his dying nephew such a confession
as would be matter of triumph to the royal cause.  But the character of
the two prelates principally concerned, both for general uprightness and
sincerity as Church of England men, makes it more candid to suppose that
they did not act from motives of servile compliance, but rather from an
intemperate party zeal for the honour of their Church, which they judged
would be signally promoted if such a man as Monmouth, after having
throughout his life acted in defiance of their favourite doctrine, could
be brought in his last moments to acknowledge it as a divine truth.  It
must never be forgotten, if we would understand the history of this
period, that the truly orthodox members of our Church regarded monarchy
not as a human, but as a divine institution, and passive obedience and
non-resistance, not as political maxims, but as articles of religion.

At ten o'clock on the 15th Monmouth proceeded in a carriage of the
lieutenant of the Tower to Tower Hill, the place destined for his
execution.  The two bishops were in the carriage with him, and one of
them took that opportunity of informing him that their controversial
altercations were not yet at an end, and that upon the scaffold he would
again be pressed for more explicit and satisfactory declarations of
repentance.  When arrived at the bar which had been put up for the
purpose of keeping out the multitude, Monmouth descended from the
carriage, and mounted the scaffold, with a firm step, attended by his
spiritual assistants.  The sheriffs and executioners were already there.
The concourse of spectators was innumerable; and if we are to credit
traditional accounts, never was the general compassion more affectingly
expressed.  The tears, sighs, and groans, which the first sight of this
heartrending spectacle produced, were soon succeeded by a universal and
awful silence; a respectful attention and affectionate anxiety to hear
every syllable that should pass the lips of the sufferer.  The duke began
by saying he should speak little; he came to die, and he should die a
Protestant of the Church of England.  Here he was interrupted by the
assistants, and told, that if he was of the Church of England, he must
acknowledge the doctrine of non-resistance to be true.  In vain did he
reply that if he acknowledged the doctrine of the Church in general it
included all: they insisted he should own that doctrine, particularly
with respect to his case, and urged much more concerning their favourite
point, upon which, however, they obtained nothing but a repetition in
substance of former answers.  He was then proceeding to speak of Lady
Harriet Wentworth, of his high esteem for her, and of his confirmed
opinion that their connection was innocent in the sight of God, when
Goslin, the sheriff, asked him, with all the unfeeling bluntness of a
vulgar mind, whether he was ever married to her.  The duke refusing to
answer, the same magistrate, in the like strain, though changing his
subject, said he hoped to have heard of his repentance for the treason
and bloodshed which had been committed; to which the prisoner replied,
with great mildness, that he died very penitent.  Here the Churchmen
again interposed, and renewing their demand of particular penitence and
public acknowledgment upon public affairs, Monmouth referred them to the
following paper, which he had signed that morning:

   "I declare that the title of king was forced upon me, and that it was
   very much contrary to my opinion when I was proclaimed.  For the
   satisfaction of the world, I do declare that the late king told me he
   was never married to my mother.  Having declared this, I hope the king
   who is now will not let my children suffer on this account.  And to
   this I put my hand this fifteenth day of July, 1685.


There was nothing, they said, in that paper about resistance; nor, though
Monmouth, quite worn-out with their importunities, said to one of them,
in the most affecting manner, "I am to die--pray my lord--I refer to my
paper," would those men think it consistent with their duty to desist.
There were only a few words they desired on one point.  The substance of
these applications on the one hand, and answers on the other, was
repeated over and over again, in a manner that could not be believed, if
the facts were not attested by the signatures of the persons principally
concerned.  If the duke, in declaring his sorrow for what had passed,
used the word invasion, "Give it the true name," said they, "and call it
rebellion."  "What name you please," replied the mild-tempered Monmouth.
He was sure he was going to everlasting happiness, and considered the
serenity of his mind in his present circumstances as a certain earnest of
the favour of his Creator.  His repentance, he said, must be true, for he
had no fear of dying; he should die like a lamb.  "Much may come from
natural courage," was the unfeeling and stupid reply of one of the
assistants.  Monmouth, with that modesty inseparable from true bravery,
denied that he was in general less fearful than other men, maintaining
that his present courage was owing to his consciousness that God had
forgiven him his past transgressions, of all which generally he repented
with all his soul.

At last the reverend assistants consented to join with him in prayer, but
no sooner were they risen from their kneeling posture than they returned
to their charge.  Not satisfied with what had passed, they exhorted him
to a true and thorough repentance.  Would he not pray for the king, and
send a dutiful message to his majesty to recommend the duchess and his
children?  "As you please," was the reply; "I pray for him and for all
men."  He now spoke to the executioner, desiring that he might have no
cap over his eyes, and began undressing.  One would have thought that in
this last sad ceremony, the poor prisoner might have been unmolested, and
that the divines would have been satisfied that prayer was the only part
of their function for which their duty now called upon them.  They judged
differently, and one of them had the fortitude to request the duke, even
in this stage of the business, that he would address himself to the
soldiers then present, to tell them he stood a sad example of rebellion,
and entreat the people to be loyal and obedient to the king.  "I have
said I will make no speeches," repeated Monmouth, in a tone more
peremptory than he had before been provoked to; "I will make no speeches.
I come to die."  "My lord, ten words will be enough," said the
persevering divine; to which the duke made no answer, but turning to the
executioner, expressed a hope that he would do his work better now than
in the case of Lord Russell.  He then felt the axe, which he apprehended
was not sharp enough, but being assured that it was of proper sharpness
and weight, he laid down his head.  In the meantime many fervent
ejaculations were used by the reverend assistants, who, it must be
observed, even in these moments of horror, showed themselves not
unmindful of the points upon which they had been disputing, praying God
to accept his imperfect and general repentance.

The executioner now struck the blow, but so feebly or unskilfully, that
Monmouth, being but slightly wounded, lifted up his head, and looked him
in the face as if to upbraid him, but said nothing.  The two following
strokes were as ineffectual as the first, and the headsman, in a fit of
horror, declared he could not finish his work.  The sheriffs threatened
him; he was forced again to make a further trial, and in two more strokes
separated the head from the body.

Thus fell, in the thirty-sixth year of his age, James, Duke of Monmouth,
a man against whom all that has been said by the most inveterate enemies
both to him and his party amounts to little more than this, that he had
not a mind equal to the situations in which his ambition, at different
times, engaged him to place himself.  But to judge him with candour, we
must make great allowances, not only for the temptations into which he
was led by the splendid prosperity of the earlier parts of his life, but
also for the adverse prejudices with which he was regarded by almost all
the contemporary writers, from whom his actions and character are
described.  The Tories, of course, are unfavourable to him; and even
among the Whigs, there seems, in many, a strong inclination to disparage
him; some to excuse themselves for not having joined him, others to make
a display of their exclusive attachment to their more successful leader,
King William.  Burnet says of Monmouth, that he was gentle, brave, and
sincere: to these praises, from the united testimony of all who knew him,
we may add that of generosity; and surely those qualities go a great way
in making up the catalogue of all that is amiable and estimable in human
nature.  One of the most conspicuous features in his character seems to
have been a remarkable, and, as some think, a culpable degree of
flexibility.  That such a disposition is preferable to its opposite
extreme, will be admitted by all who think that modesty, even in excess,
is more nearly allied to wisdom than conceit and self-sufficiency.  He
who has attentively considered the political, or, indeed, the general
concerns of life, may possibly go still further, and rank a willingness
to be convinced, or in some cases even without conviction, to concede our
own opinion to that of other men, among the principal ingredients in the
composition of practical wisdom.  Monmouth had suffered this flexibility,
so laudable in many cases, to degenerate into a habit which made him
often follow the advice, or yield to the entreaties, of persons whose
characters by no means entitled them to such deference.  The sagacity of
Shaftesbury, the honour of Russell, the genius of Sydney, might, in the
opinion of a modest man, be safe and eligible guides.  The partiality of
friendship, and the conviction of his firm attachment, might be some
excuse for his listening so much to Grey; but he never could, at any
period of his life, have mistaken Ferguson for an honest man.  There is
reason to believe that the advice of the two last-mentioned persons had
great weight in persuading him to the unjustifiable step of declaring
himself king.  But far the most guilty act of this unfortunate man's life
was his lending his name to the declaration which was published at Lyme,
and in this instance Ferguson, who penned the paper, was both the adviser
and the instrument.  To accuse the king of having burnt London, murdered
Essex in the Tower, and, finally, poisoned his brother, unsupported by
evidence to substantiate such dreadful charges, was calumny of the most
atrocious kind; but the guilt is still heightened, when we observe, that
from no conversation of Monmouth, nor, indeed, from any other
circumstance whatever, do we collect that he himself believed the horrid
accusations to be true.  With regard to Essex's death in particular, the
only one of the three charges which was believed by any man of common
sense, the late king was as much implicated in the suspicion as James.
That the latter should have dared to be concerned in such an act, without
the privacy of his brother, was too absurd an imputation to be attempted,
even in the days of the popish plot.  On the other hand, it was certainly
not the intention of the son to brand his father as an assassin.  It is
too plain that, in the instance of this declaration, Monmouth, with a
facility highly criminal, consented to set his name to whatever Ferguson
recommended as advantageous to the cause.  Among the many dreadful
circumstances attending civil wars, perhaps there are few more revolting
to a good mind than the wicked calumnies with which, in the heat of
contention, men, otherwise men of honour, have in all ages and countries
permitted themselves to load their adversaries.  It is remarkable that
there is no trace of the divines who attended this unfortunate man having
exhorted him to a particular repentance of his manifesto, or having
called for a retraction or disavowal of the accusations contained in it.
They were so intent upon points more immediately connected with orthodoxy
of faith, that they omitted pressing their penitent to the only
declaration by which he could make any satisfactory atonement to those
whom he had injured.


_The following detached paragraphs were probably intended for the fourth
chapter_.  _They are here printed in the incomplete and unfinished state
in which they were found_.

While the Whigs considered all religious opinions with a view to
politics, the Tories, on the other hand, referred all political maxims to
religion.  Thus the former, even in their hatred to popery, did not so
much regard the superstition, or imputed idolatry of that unpopular sect,
as its tendency to establish arbitrary power in the State, while the
latter revered absolute monarchy as a divine institution, and cherished
the doctrines of passive obedience and non-resistance as articles of
religious faith.

* * * * *

To mark the importance of the late events, his majesty caused two medals
to be struck; one of himself, with the usual inscription, and the motto,
_Aras et sceptra tuemur_; the other of Monmouth, without any inscription.
On the reverse of the former were represented the two headless trunks of
his lately vanquished enemies, with other circumstances in the same taste
and spirit, the motto, _Ambitio malesuada ruit_; on that of the latter
appeared a young man falling in the attempt to climb a rock with three
crowns on it, under which was the insulting motto, _Superi risere_.

* * * * *

With the lives of Monmouth and Argyle ended, or at least seemed to end,
all prospect of resistance to James's absolute power; and that class of
patriots who feel the pride of submission, and the dignity of obedience,
might be completely satisfied that the crown was in its full lustre.

James was sufficiently conscious of the increased strength of his
situation, and it is probable that the security he now felt in his power
inspired him with the design of taking more decided steps in favour of
the popish religion and its professors than his connection with the
Church of England party had before allowed him to entertain.  That he
from this time attached less importance to the support and affection of
the Tories is evident from Lord Rochester's observations, communicated
afterwards to Burnet.  This nobleman's abilities and experience in
business, his hereditary merit, as son of Lord Chancellor Clarendon, and
his uniform opposition to the Exclusion Bill, had raised him high in the
esteem of the Church party.  This circumstance, perhaps, as much, or more
than the king's personal kindness to a brother-in-law, had contributed to
his advancement to the first office in the State.  As long, therefore, as
James stood in need of the support of the party, as long as he meant to
make them the instruments of his power, and the channels of his favour,
Rochester was, in every respect, the fittest person in whom to confide;
and accordingly, as that nobleman related to Burnet, his majesty honoured
him with daily confidential communications upon all his most secret
schemes and projects.  But upon the defeat of the rebellion, an immediate
change took place, and from the day of Monmouth's execution, the king
confined his conversations with the treasurer to the mere business of his

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to Doctrine Publishing's system: If you are conducting research on machine
translation, optical character recognition or other areas where access to a
large amount of text is helpful, please contact us. We encourage the use of
public domain materials for these purposes and may be able to help.

+ Keep it legal -  Whatever your use, remember that you are responsible for
ensuring that what you are doing is legal. Do not assume that just because
we believe a book is in the public domain for users in the United States,
that the work is also in the public domain for users in other countries.
Whether a book is still in copyright varies from country to country, and we
can't offer guidance on whether any specific use of any specific book is
allowed. Please do not assume that a book's appearance in Doctrine Publishing
ISYS search  means it can be used in any manner anywhere in the world.
Copyright infringement liability can be quite severe.

About ISYS® Search Software
Established in 1988, ISYS Search Software is a global supplier of enterprise
search solutions for business and government.  The company's award-winning
software suite offers a broad range of search, navigation and discovery
solutions for desktop search, intranet search, SharePoint search and embedded
search applications.  ISYS has been deployed by thousands of organizations
operating in a variety of industries, including government, legal, law
enforcement, financial services, healthcare and recruitment.