Letters of the Honourable Algernon Sydney, to the Honourable Henry Savile. Ambassador in France. In the year 1679, &c. Now first printed from the originals in Mr. Sydney's own hand
London, Febr. 3/13, 1678/9.
I HOPE you will be ſo juſt unto me, as not to think I gave over writing unto you during the ſitting of the Parliament, becauſe I did not in a good while receive an anſwer unto my firſt letter. I ſeldom ſtand upon ſuch ceremonies, and never with thoſe who have obliged me, as you have done. The truth is, ſome of your friends, and mine, were ſo entangled in buſineſs then upon the [Page 8] ſtage, that I could ſay nothing to the purpoſe, without mentioning them; and the parts they had taken upon themſelves, were ſuch as I was unwilling to relate. The reſult of all this is, that the Lord Sunderland is out of his place and the Council: The Lord Conway ſucceeds him, and hath the Seals. Eſſex is alſo put out of the Council and Lieutenancy of Hartfordſhire, upon preſenting a Petition from the Lords. Godolphin hoped to have had the Honour of accompanying them in their diſgrace; but Temple only hath it. The Council being hereby weakened, is reinforced by the admiſſion of the Earls of Oxford, Cheſterfield and Ayleſbury; and it is hoped that, to render it compleat, the Lords Berkeley, Craven and Arundel of Trerice, [Page 9] ſhall be called. The Lord Hallifax is gone to ruminate upon theſe matters at Rufford, and ſays he will not return ſouthward, until the Parliament meet at Oxford. The fruits expected from the laſt Parliament having been loſt by little underhand bargains, and, as ſome ſay, the King and Parliament equally betrayed by thoſe that were truſted by them, men's minds ſeem to be filled with various conceits, and many jealouſies. Some think, the Writs for calling the Parliament are in themſelves void, as being without advice of Council; and that the Law takes notice of nothing done by the King, ſine ſapientum & magnatum conſilio: Or that if it ſhould meet at Oxford, its Acts would be void, or ſubject to be vacated for want of the freedom [Page 10] of voting, which is eſſential unto it. Others ſay, the validity of the Writs depends ſolely upon the perſon of the King, and that others ought to think themſelves ſafe, where he is ſafe, though their danger be from him. I know not what this will produce, but I never ſaw men's minds more heated than at preſent; and cannot think that portends leſs evil than the Comet. People are every where buſy in chooſing Parliament Men of their own Principles, and they will probably be like unto the laſt; but it is thought, many Officers will be prevailed with to make falſe returns. I hear of no Election paſſed, but that of Amerſham: Of thoſe who by the laſt Parliament were there judged capable of giving their voices, Sir Robert Hill had forty; Mr. [Page 11] Sydney ſeven and thirty; Sir Joſeph Drake twenty eight; Mr. Cheyney twenty nine; but the Conſtables have been pleaſed to return the two latter. To-morrow is appointed for the Election of the City-Members, who, people believe, will be the ſame as formerly. Some think his Royal Highneſs hath buſineſs enough to employ his thoughts: Others ſay he is at ſuch perfect leiſure, that the Maid of Honour, who accompanied him, cannot employ all his ſpare time; and for that reaſon, or to give her time to lay aſide ſomething that troubled her, he applys himſelf to a young Gentlewoman, who with much reſpect, and gratitude, receives the honour he is pleaſed to do her; but ſhe hath an old crabbed Huſband, who doth not take that for a juſt recompence [Page 12] of the great reſpect he hath ſhewed unto his Royal Highneſs, and is not like to learn better manners from his Preſbyterian Bretheren.
Notwithſtanding what is ſaid, we good Subjects hope all will go perfectly well. His Majeſty, as is ſaid, reſolves ſo to reform his Court, that all ſhall be of one Mind. Mr. Seymour being now looked upon as the greateſt man, brings his two friends Conway and Ranelagh into the management of buſineſs; and the firſt of theſe being as eminent for fineſſe of Wit, quickneſs and eaſineſs in ſtate affairs, as the other in the excellency of all moral Virtues, things cannot but go well; and we particularly hope that England will keep up its reputation [Page 13] of being, as the Cardinal Pallavicini ſays, the Mother and Nurſe of the beſt Wits in the World, when all foreign Miniſters ſhall come to treat with Jenkins and Conway, who will be taken for patterns of the Genius of the Nation, and not thought the only men it produceth, that deſerve the higheſt praiſes; and leſt any thing ſhould be wanting, Mr. Hide is joined unto theſe. It is true that we have not of our Nation, a man to put at the head of the Soldiers, as admirable in military ſkill, and virtues, as thoſe above-mentioned are in civils and morals: But the knowledge of our own defects, the ſagacity of diſcovering in the Earl of Feverſham the qualities which we have not, and the prudent humility of ſubmitting unto him that is bleſſed with [Page 14] them, though a ſtranger, deſerves ſome commendations: And I am confident, that when things ſhall be brought into ſuch order, that a Papiſt may appear open-faced, we ſhall ſhew as great reſpect unto the Lord Dunbarton. France and Germany, that are full of their Trophies, cannot but admire this, whilſt we reſt ſecure under their ſhadow. Fit men may more eaſily be found for leſs eminent Places; and the Earl of Thanet, as is ſaid, ſhall ſucceed Mr. Ruſſell in the Command of the Foot Guards. Civil and military affairs being thus ſettled, Treaſures flowing in unto us on all ſides, and all Foreign Princes, concerned in our affairs, being ſure unto us; we need not fear a few diſcontented Lords, a mutinous City, or murmuring Counties; and [Page 15] preſuming that the vaſt magazines of arms made at Breſt, and ſome that with a good quantity of ammunition, were lately ſent into Ireland, are in purſuance of agreements made with you, we cannot but think all will tend to our good.
I am, Your moſt humble and faithful Servant.
London, Febr. 10th, 1678/9.
I HOPE you will excuſe the trouble I give you, in encloſing this, and deſire you to ſend it forward into Gaſcoiney. It is a climate where I cannot be ſuſpected of ſending any thing of a dangerous nature; but we have ſo many at the Poſt-Houſe, infected with the moſt impertinent folly, that a Pacquet though directed thither can hardly paſs unviſited, unleſs the Perſon to whom it is directed do protect it.
The laſt Reſolutions of the City, have been as pleaſing to the Countie [Page 17] as diſtaſtful to the Court. Yeſterday the Company of Artillery intended to have choſen Prince Rupert to be their Captain, and Sir Thomas Player their Leader; but a letter was produced from the King, rather deſiring than commanding that no new Officers ſhould be choſen; and they having no Conſtitution beyond an Act of King and Council, depending upon his Majeſty's Will, did unwillingly obey.
Parliament-Men are for the moſt part choſen by the Parties moſt contrary to the Court, and many believe this next Houſe of Commons will not be at all more pliable than the laſt. Sir William Waller and Poultney were this day choſen at Weſtminſter without any oppoſition. Col. Titus and Sir Thomas [Page 18] Proby were with the ſame facility choſen Knights of Huntingtonſhire; Hambden the elder, and Wharton, of Buckinghamſhire; with a multitude of others.
I am, Your moſt humble and faithful Servant.
London, April 7/17, 1679.
BEING conſcious unto my ſelf, that what I could ſay of buſineſſes now upon the Stage would be of little uſe unto you, I thought it fitter for me to be one of the laſt in writing to you, than to take place according to my deſire of ſerving you, which would ſuffer me to yield to none; but leſt this acknowledgment ſhould be taken for a pretence to cover lazineſs, I will here give you ſuch a ſight of things▪ as I have; and intend to continue to do the like as often as I can without troubling you. You will [Page 20] have heard from all hands, what temper the Houſe of Commons appears to be of, and that the Earl of Danby hath accompliſhed his promiſe of bringing it into an entire ſubjection unto the King's Will, as well as the other two points, of paying his Majeſty's Debts, encreaſing his Treaſure, and rendering him conſiderable amongſt his Neighbouring Princes; which are verified in leaving twenty two Shillings and ten pence in the Exchequer, two and forty hundred thouſand Pounds of paſſive debts, and the revenue anticipated for almoſt a Year and half, and the account his Lordſhip was pleaſed to give in his ſpeech to the Peers, of the eſteem the King of France had for his perſon and government. Notwithſtanding all this, he is ſo far conſidered at Court, that [Page 21] his concernments are a general obſtruction to all buſineſſes. The Lord Berckely, Frécheville, and others of the learned, think he hath behaved himſelf ſo well, as to deſerve no puniſhment, and therefore oppoſed the Commitment of the Bill of Attainder, that it might be caſt out: Shaftſbury, Eſſex and Halifax differing ſomething in opinion from them, in compliance unto the King's deſires, did, as an amendment, wipe out the word Attainder, and made it almoſt the ſame with that which their Lordſhips had formerly ſent up to baniſh him, and declaring him attainted only if he came into England after the firſt of May next: The conſideration of which buſineſs, is likely this day to poſſeſs the Houſe of Commons, and if their mind be [Page 22] known before this letter be ſealed, it ſhall be inſerted.
The next important point likely to be purſued is, to proſecute the laſt week's Vote, that all the Forces now on foot in England, except the trained Bands, were kept up contrary to Law; and though it was objected that the King's Guards, and the Garriſons of Portſmouth and other places would be included; it was anſwered, that Kings governing juſtly according to Law, had no need of Cuſtodia Corporis; and that it was better to have no Garriſons at all, than ſuch as were commanded by Leg, Holmes, and their Peers.
The controverſy concerning the Election at Grinſtead, was determined [Page 23] at the Committee in favour of Mr. Powell, choſen by the Commons, and Thomas Pelham, by the major part of the Corporation, no complaint being made againſt him. Powell chooſing to ſtand as he is choſen for Ciciter, the diſpute upon the new Election is like to be between Skrog and Sir Thomas Littleton, who is like to have the aſſiſtance of the Dorſet Family, the Pelhams, and ſome others. On Friday laſt, the ſame Committee voted the Right of Election at Windſor to be in the Commons; and that Ernely and his Companion having been unduly choſen by the Corporation, a new Election ſhould be made; but the Houſe approving of the firſt part only, annulled the Election of Ernely and the other, and approved that of Winhood and Storkey.
[Page 24] All Foreign Affairs are at a ſtand, only Van Beuninghen takes great pains to make people believe the King of France intends to add England unto his other Conqueſts, and diſabuſe ſuch as were ſo fooliſh as to believe there was any thing of truth in the reports of thoſe that had ſpoken of the Popiſh Plot; and finding me infected with the ſame opinion, with ſome of my Friends, he was pleaſed to ſpend two hours the other day in the Park to convince me of my error, in which he did ſucceed as well as he uſed to do in his great deſigns.
The King certainly inclines not to be ſo ſtiff as formerly in advancing only thoſe that exalt Prerogative; but the Earl of Eſſex, and ſome others that [Page 25] are coming into play thereupon, cannot avoid being ſuſpected of having intentions different from what they have hitherto profeſſed.
The Earl of Ormond's miſcarriages are ſo extreme, and his favour to the Iriſh ſo apparent, that few believe he can continue in the Government of Ireland. Some ſpeak of three Juſtices and a good Commander of the Army, wholly fixed upon an Engliſh Intereſt; but if a Lieutenant be ſent, I believe it will be Eſſex or Halifax.
That you may ſee the good humour we are in, I here encloſed ſend you, a piece of Poetry given unto me by a Friend of yours; and if you have not ſeen another, which is the Speech of [Page 26] † Hodge the Clown from the top of the Pyramid, I will endeavour to ſend it unto you.
The Houſe of Commons have this day preſented unto the Lords, the Articles drawn againſt the five Lords in the Tower. I alſo hear juſt now, that they do adhere to the Bill of Attainder of the Earl of Danby, and will no ways admit of the Lords amendments of it. One Reading, a Lawyer, not long ſince offered four thouſand pounds, and three hundred pounds a year in Land to Bedloe, if he would diſavow the teſtimony he had given againſt the Lords of Powys, Bellaſſys and Peters; which being communicated unto Prince [Page 27] Robert, and Earl of Eſſex, he brought Reading by their advice into a place, where two Witneſſes heard him; whereupon Reading was apprehended, and he having found means whilſt he was in the Serjeant's hands to ſend a Letter to his Wife, to be delivered to Mr. Chyvins, (deſiring to be admitted to the King's Preſence, promiſing to tell great matters) his Majeſty refers him wholly to the Houſe of Commons, and offers to iſſue out a Commiſſion of Oyer and Terminer for his Trial, which will be very ſpeedy, if he ſave not himſelf by diſcoveries: This Morning a Letter was intercepted written to him by his Wife, wherein ſhe tells him, that every body ſays he is a Rogue, and if he doth [Page 28] not confeſs all, he will be hanged, and ſhe together with her Children ruined.
I am, Your moſt humble Servant.
London, April 21/31.
YOU are ſo much afore-hand in obliging me, when I moſt wanted a friend, that I cannot hope in a long time to pay my debt, though I were in a place that gave me more advantages, than any I can ever reaſonably expect; but you may ever be ſure of all that is within my reach. I write now in ſome haſte, but am unwilling this Poſt ſhould go without a Letter from me. I preſume you know that the Earl of Danby rendered himſelf to the Black Rod, on Wedneſday laſt; and that deſiring of the Lords at [Page 30] the Bar, that for his health he might be ſuffer'd to continue under his Cuſtody: That he might have recourſe, as often as occaſion ſhould require, to all State Papers, that were neceſſary to him in making his defence: That he might at once have a Copy of all his Charge, and be obliged not to anſwer to any part, until the whole were before him: And that he might have Serjeant Weſton, Serjeant Raymond, Mr. Sanders and Mr. Holt aſſigned unto him for Counſel. He received no other anſwer, than that if he told what Papers he deſired, the Houſe would do as was uſual in thoſe caſes: That the Houſe of Commons could not be abridged of the liberty retained to itſelf, of bringing in additional charges, if it were thought fit: That he might [Page 31] have for his Counſel, ſuch of thoſe he had named as were not of the King's: And that he muſt be committed to the Tower, where Cheeke received him. Subtle men find great myſteries in his rendering himſelf, and make the King to be of the Plot; but thoſe that ſee no farther than I, believe he hath had in this, and all his buſineſſes of late, no other Counſel than his Lady.
You will perhaps be ſurpriz'd to hear, that yeſterday the King did entirely diſſolve his Old Privy Council, and choſe a new one, conſiſting of fifteen Officers of the Crown, ten Lords, and five Commoners; his Majeſty retaining unto himſelf the liberty of naming a Preſident, calling ſuch Princes of the Blood, as ſhould be [Page 32] from time to time; and the Secretary of Scotland for the time being, if he thought fit; declaring moreover, that whenſoever any Place ſhould be vacant, he would name none without the advice of the Council; and that the Perſon named ſhould be called by a Letter ſubſcribed by them all. To which he was pleaſed to add, That he would have no firſt or principal Miniſter, no Committee of Foreign affairs, or Cabinet Council; but that in all things he would follow and rely upon their advice, next unto that of his Great Council, the Parliament, which was alſo ſpecified in the letter ſent by his Majeſty for the calling of every one of them, who are now to ſerve in Council. The Officers, who by their places are to be of the Council [Page 33] (as I remember) are the Chancellor, Chief Juſtice, Privy Seal, Ormond Steward, Arlington Chamberlain, Suſſex, as firſt Commiſſioner of the Treaſury, Sir Henry Capell as firſt Commiſſioner of the Admiralty, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, the Archbiſhop of Canterbury and Biſhop of London, the two Secretaries, and ſome others that I have forgot; but Newport and Mainard are none. The Lords are, the Dukes of Newcaſtle and Albemarle, the Marqueſſes of Wincheſter and Worceſter, Earls of Bridgewater and Saliſbury, Viſcounts Faulconbridge and Halifax, Barons Roberts and Hollys; Commoners are, the Lords Ruſſel and Cavendiſh, Mr. Powell, Mr. Seymour, and (as I hear) Sir William Temple. [Page 34] I hear alſo ſeven Commiſſioners nam'd for the Admiralty, Sir Henry Capell, Merres, Littleton, Vaughan, Mr. Daniel Finch, and two others, that I have forgotten. The Lord Shaftſbury is declared Preſident of the Council. Theſe were ſworn this morning, and that Ceremony being performed, the King went to the houſe of Lords, and ſent for the houſe of Commons, to whom he did impart all that had paſſed; and all that I have yet ſpoken with, ſeem much pleaſed; though it might have been wiſhed, that ſome of thoſe that are choſen had been left out. A friend *of yours and mine is, as far as I underſtand, the author of all this; and if he and two more can [Page 35] well agree amongſt themſelves, I believe they will have the management of almoſt all buſineſſes, and may bring much honour to themſelves, and good to our nation.
I find men's hearts much ſet upon taking the Government of Ireland out of the Earl of Ormond's hands. If a Lieutenant be named, I believe it will be Eſſex or Halifax; and, if neither of them, three Juſtices.
We have every day fooliſh alarms [Page 36] from the French Fleet, and I find no body but the Lord Sunderland and myſelf that believe not one word of it. Morgan, Governor of Jerſey, is dead, and Laheer appointed to ſucceed him. That our affairs may be managed by as able a man abroad as that iſland is defended by, Sir H. Goodrike expects in a few days to be diſpatched for Spain. We do not yet ſee what effect the death of the King of Sweden will have as to the peace of Europe. I received the good piece of Poetry, that I ſent you, from the Lord Halifax. You ſhould have Hodge's Speech by this Poſt, but it is very long, and I muſt write it in my own hand, which obligeth me to ſtay until the next week. The houſe of Commons hath been all this day upon Sir John [Page 37] Hubbert's Petition concerning the Election of Knights of the Shire for Norfolk, but I know not the ſucceſs.
I am Your moſt humble and faithful ſervant.
London, April 28.
ON this day was a ſe'nnight, I writ unto you what I had heard of the paſſages of the foregoing week; and though I make no doubt, but you have many that give you far better accounts of what is done than I am able to do, I will not make that an excuſe for ſilence, leſt others ſhould alledge the ſame, and covering true lazineſs with fained modeſty, leave you in the dark, as my friends did me when I was abroad.
The five Popiſh Lords in the Tower, had at the firſt given in cavilling [Page 39] uncertain anſwers; but Bellaſſys and Peters on Thurſday, and Powys, Stafford and Arundell on Saturday, without any ambiguity, pleaded not guilty, and declared they put themſelves upon the Lords Juſtice.
The Earl of Danby hath not thought fit, as yet, to deal ſo clearly, but hath put in a huge long anſwer, containing great proteſtations of his own Innocence, as to every part of his charge; and then pleads his pardon, which enumerates and acquits him of all the crimes, that it is almoſt poſſible for a man to commit. This is by ſome thought very ſtrange; his Innocence that he proteſts, declaring that he had no need of Pardon, and the Pardon pleaded in effect acknowledging the [Page 40] truth of his Charge; it being uſeleſs if he be not guilty. Hereupon other queſtions do ariſe, as whether the King can pardon? Whether if he have this power, he hath rightly executed it, the formalities not having been obſerved? And laſtly, whether he will inſiſt upon this anſwer, which will not leave him any plea at all, if the pardon be judged defective? I dare give no opinion upon theſe points, but I hear the learned ſay, the King cannot pardon a man impeached by Parliament upon a publick account: That though he could, this would be of no value, being defective in all the formalities: And though perhaps the Court may be prevalent enough in the houſe of Lords, to have it admitted; that would be of evil conſequence, no man doubting but [Page 41] the houſe of Commons will extremely diſlike ſuch a Judgment, and grow very refractory thereupon; and the whole Nation would follow them in it, ſo as all buſineſs would be thereby obſtructed; by which means the King, upon the perſonal account of the Earl of Danby, would loſe the advantage of all that hath been done of late to pleaſe the Nation; which I leave to your Judgment, that know the Court much better than I do. This point I only find to be clear, that if the Pardon can be found good, though the formalities are wanting, it will be made good; and the burthen left upon the Chancellor, that put the great Seal unto it, without taking care of ſeeing them obſerved.
[Page 42] Some Judges were yeſterday put out; Wild for inability of body, and Barton and Thurland of mind, with ſome others; to whom old Ellys, Raymond and Pemmerton, Leake and Atkins the younger are to ſucceed. The houſe of Lords is buſy upon one Bill concerning Popery, and the houſe of Commons upon another, both inclining to find a way of diſtinguiſhing Proteſtants only from Papiſts, but cannot yet reſolve upon it, ſo as to include the ſeveral diſſenting Sects; that Papiſts may not be ſheltered, and receive the indulgence (which is not intended them) under other Names; and this difficulty is chiefly occaſioned by the Quakers, who, for more than one reaſon, are thought leaſt to deſerve much to be cared for. Shaftſbury and Halifax [Page 43] are eminent in pleading for indulgence to tender-conſcienced Proteſtants, and ſeverity againſt Papiſts: The firſt of theſe ſaid the other day, ‘he neither could live with or under a Papiſt. ’ On Saturday it was reported to the houſe of Commons, that the Lord Cottington, who died many years ago in Spain, had appointed an Epitaph to be written upon his Tomb, expreſſing his deſire, that his body might reſt there until England were reſtored to the Church, and then carried over: This it was the laſt year, and a Warrant was produced from the Earl of Danby to the Commiſſioners of the Cuſtoms to let it paſs.
Yeſterday was appointed extraordinary by the houſe of Commons, to [Page 44] conſider of the ſucceſſion of the Crown in relation to Popery, upon the debate of which Secretary Coventry, amongſt other things, is ſaid to have reproached Birch, that his diſcourſes ſavoured of the Years 1640 and 41, but that himſelf continued in the ſame mind he had ever been; and having taken the oaths of Allegiance and Supremacy to the King and his Succeſſors, could not without Perjury fail of performing the contents of them to his Succeſſor, what Religion ſoever he ſhould happen to be of. Unto which Birch replied, aſſerting his own ſervices to the King; taxing Coventry of having broken his word to the Parliament twice the laſt year, in relation to a War promiſed to be declared and actually made upon France; diſſerved [Page 45] the King and Nation, in having been a principal cauſe of breaking the triple League; and concluded, he was as fit to be turn'd out of the Council as any one that had been ſo. Bennet not long before had ſaid, that though this Council ſeemed in ſome degree to be reformed, no good could reaſonably be expected, as long as one continued in it, who did by ſuch violences and other undue ways advance Arbitrary Power in Scotland, and one that had maſſes daily ſaid for him in Ireland: For the firſt of theſe he named Latherdale, and left the houſe in an opinion, that for the other he meant Angleſey. At the laſt it was concluded, that the King ſhould be deſired to give order for the execution of Pickering and another condemned Prieſt; [Page 46] that a Proclamation ſhould be iſſued to baniſh all Papiſts without any other exceptions than publick Miniſters, and their followers, twenty miles out of London: The Lady Portſmouth was named, but not purſued: That the Duke of York being a Papiſt, the hopes of his ſucceeding unto the Crown had been the principal ground and foundation of the Plot againſt the King's life and the Proteſtant Religion: That the ſecret Committee ſhould, on Wedneſday next, bring into the Houſe ſuch Letters and Papers as they had in their hands relating unto the ſaid Duke. The concurrence of the Lords is deſired, as to the Proclamation, and the firſt vote concerning the Duke; and the Lord Ruſſell, notwithſtanding his being a Privy Counſellor, appointed to [Page 47] carry up the Meſſage. They alſo voted an addreſs to be made to the King, that all Sea-ports, places of ſtrength, and command of Ships may be put into truſty hands, and concluded to refer the farther conſideration of this buſineſs to Wedneſday next, and I believe it will be then debated, whether ſuch an Aſſociation ſhall be entered into as was appointed in Queen Elizabeth's time; or an Act made, that this Parliament ſhould not determine in ſuch a time as ſhould be limited, though the King ſhould die, or in ſo many months after, or ſomething to that purpoſe, which may tend to the King's ſecurity. I do not well know what the Houſes have done this Morning, but hear the Meſſage from the houſe of Commons is carried up to the Lords, and that [Page 48] they have appointed the Earl of Danby to be at their Bar to-morrow morning. The Commons have alſo perfected their Bill for diſbanding of the Army, by a Land-Tax of twenty thouſand pounds the month, ſubſequent to that which will expire in February next. Several Prieſts were taken the laſt night, of which two confeſs they were ſent over by all means to endeavour to invalidate Oates and Bedloe's teſtimony. Reading was this morning in the Pillory, and is condemned to a year's impriſonment and 1000 pounds fine, for having endeavoured to corrupt Bedloe. Stubbs, the Counteſs of Shrewſbury's Butler, confeſſeth he had been induced by three Prieſts, to gain as many Servants as he could, to ſet [Page 49] fire on their Maſters houſes; of which a wench was apprehended for firing her Maſter's in Fetter-Lane.
I am, Your moſt humble Servant.
London, May 5/15.
THOUGH the laſt week was ſpent rather in wrangling than the diſpatch of any buſineſs of importance, I continue to give you an account of what I hear, becauſe theſe irregular motions are often the forerunners of great matters; and as they denote the temper of a Nation, they give good grounds of gueſſing what they will end in. I do not ſend you the King and Chancellor's ſpeeches, becauſe I preſume care was taken to ſend them to you by the laſt poſt; but perhaps others have not been ſo free in [Page 51] telling you the effect of it as I ſhall be. The Courtiers did believe, that the King's yielding that the Parliament ſhould not end with his life, or be revived by his death, if it chanced to be diſſolved in his life-time, and have the nomination of all Officers, both civil and military, if his Succeſſor proved to be a Papiſt, would have given entire ſatisfaction unto the houſe of Commons. But to the contrary it is certain, that the ſuppoſition that the next in blood muſt be King, though a Papiſt, is ſo diſtaſtful to them, that nothing will pleaſe upon that odious condition; and as to this particular, it is looked upon as a trick to bring the Parliament to confeſs and confirm the Duke's title, that is, a little gilding to cover a poiſonous pill. This puts them [Page 52] upon various counſels; ſome would impeach him, upon what is diſcovered of his part in the Plot: Others incline more to bring in an Act, to exclude him from the ſucceſſion of the Crown, as being a Papiſt, and thereby a friend unto and dependent upon, a foreign and enemy Power. Some of thoſe that are of this mind, look ‘ who is fitteſt to ſucceed, if this ſhould be; and they are for the moſt part divided between the Prince of Orange and Duke of Monmouth. The firſt hath plainly the moſt plauſible title, by his Mother and his Wife; but, beſides the opinion of the influence it is believed the Duke of York would have over him, it is feared that the Commonwealth-party in Holland, would be ſo frighted with that, as to [Page 53] caſt itſelf abſolutely into the hands of the King of France, who might thereby have a fair occaſion of ruining both England and Holland.’ I need not tell you the reaſons againſt Monmouth; but the ſtrongeſt I hear alledged for him, are, that whoſoever is oppoſed to York, will have a good party, and all Scotland, which is every day like to be in arms, doth certainly favour him, ‘and may probably be of as much importance in the troubles that are now likely to fall upon us, as they were in the beginning of the laſt.’ Others are only upon negatives. But when I have ſaid what I can upon this buſineſs, I muſt confeſs I do not know three men of a mind, and that a ſpirit of giddineſs reigns amongſt [Page 54] us, far beyond any I have ever obſerved in my life.
Nothing was done the laſt week concerning the Popiſh Lords in the Tower. The Earl of Danby on Saturday laſt did inſiſt upon his former plea and anſwer, how little ſenſe ſoever there be in it. ſome ſay it is, ex induſtria perplexa; and that having the Court and houſe of Lords to favour him, he cares not for the inconſiſtence of proteſting his innocence, which renders his pardon uſeleſs, and pleading his pardon, which is a confeſſion of guilt; hoping that if the Commons do demur in Law upon the two points, (firſt, that the King cannot pardon a Delinquent impeached by one Commoner, much leſs by all the Commons in England; [Page 55] ſecondly, that though it were granted he might pardon, this pardon could not hold, becauſe it wants all the formalities) the Lords would over-rule it, and then he is acquitted.
The Bill for the Habeas Corpus was paſſed by the Lords on Friday laſt, and ſent down to the Commons. The ſame day they alſo paſſed an Act for the baniſhing of the Papiſts out of London, and penned it ſo well by the induſtry of the Biſhops, that if the Commons ſhould paſs it without amendment, all the Non-conformiſts of London would be driven out of town, and half the ſhops ſhut up. The Bill for diſbanding the Army is paſſed the two Houſes, and I preſume will not ſtay long for the Royal aſſent. The Lords did aſſent [Page 56] to the vote of the Commons, that the Duke being a Papiſt, had been the occaſion of the Plot, but added the word, unwillingly. The whole buſineſs formerly mentioned of the Earl of Danby his endeavour to ſuborn Bedloe to renounce his teſtimony, was the laſt week verified before a Committee of Lords, and Dumblain his man confeſſed he had been employed to do it; ſo as his Lordſhip is found to have done juſt the ſame thing, for which Reading ſtood the laſt week in the pillory. Some Scholars ſent from St. Omer's were lately apprehended by Sir William Waller, and confeſs they are ſent hither by the Jeſuits, by any means to invalidate Oates and Bedloe's teſtimonies, but they rather confirm them. The Lord Roſs having been put [Page 57] out of the houſe of Commons, is by Writ called to the houſe of Lords. Sir John Hartup, who petitioned againſt him, is, upon the invalidating of his Election, choſen by the Freeholders of the County, and took his place in the Houſe on Friday. This day is appointed for the new Election in Norfolk, and it is thought Sir John Hubbert will have the ſame ſucceſs.
Sir, I deſire you to tell Monſieur de Ruvygny the younger, that upon his recommendation I did addreſs the Duke de Gramont's Eſq to the places where all the beſt horſes in England were to be had; but he has rid four hundred miles, and is returned without liking any. To ſay the truth, he is ſuch a proud aſs, that he neither [Page 58] knows what is good, nor will believe any body elſe. I had directed him to ſee two, that are ſaid to be as fine young horſes of five years old as any are in England, which having never been trained were fat, and as he ſaid, trop relever. Near Lincoln he ſaw two of the Lord Caſtletown's, which had the ſame faults. At the Lord Burlington's in Yorkſhire he ſaw one, that is thought to be worth as much as any one in England, bred of an Arabian, ſix years old paſſed, never run but once at Kippling, and then won the Plate; and being now thin, and drawn for another courſe, he is to run within this week, this wiſe Gentleman took him for a Mazette: He did the like with ſome others in the ſame place and at the Marqueſs of [Page 59] Wincheſter's; upon all which I have no more to ſay to Monſ. Ruvygny, than that he ſhould find a way to revive Bucephalus, or ſend a man that hath more wit than this, to take ſuch as the world affords.
The houſe of Commons have voted, that the pardon pretended by the Earl of Danby was of no value, and went up to deſire juſtice upon him of the houſe of Lords. We live in a time that no man, by what is paſſed, can well judge what is to be expected for the future; but I am much inclined [Page 60] to believe, that Danby having in this laſt act followed his own diſpoſition, that ever delighted in juggling and indirectneſs, will, by the tricks he hath played, have found a way to hang himſelf. It is ſaid, that the King will be at the Houſe to-morrow, in his Robes, to paſs the act for diſbanding the Army. This morning, Secretary Coventry not being well, the Lord Ruſſel from the King declared unto the houſe of Commons, he expected no ſupply from them this ſeſſions, but deſired care might be taken of the Navy.
I am Your moſt humble and faithful ſervant.
I HAVE received your Letter of May 13, and continue my cuſtom of giving you once a Week an account of what comes to my knowledge, though to diſcourage me I can only make the unpleaſant relations of ſuch diſorders here, as in my opinion threaten us with the greateſt miſchiefs, that can befall a Nation. The three that I meant in my Letter, that you would have me explain, were the Earls of Sunderland, Eſſex, and Halifax, and I am ſtill of the ſame mind, ſo far as the power of the Court goes.
[Page 62] The laſt week was ſpent for the moſt part in janglings between the two Houſes, upon points of Privilege relating unto the Rights the Lords pretend unto in points of Judicatories; which the Lords Frecheville, Berckely, Ferrers, Ayleſbury, Northampton, and ſome others equal unto them in underſtanding, eloquence and reputation, do with the help of the Biſhops very magnanimouſly defend. Several propoſals have been made by the Commons of conferring with them upon all the points in queſtion, or appointing a Committee of both Houſes, which, meeting together, might adjuſt all thoſe that might be occaſion of difference; but their Lordſhips diſdaining to confer upon points that as they did ſuppoſe depended wholly upon their Will, [Page 63] on Friday laſt did vote that they would have no ſuch Committee, which vote was carried only by two voices, the one ſide having 54, the other 52. Of eighteen Biſhops that were preſent, ſixteen were on the victorious ſide, and only Durham and Carliſle were ſo humble as to join with the vanquiſhed. Of thoſe 52, one and fifty the next day proteſted, and I think only lazineſs hindered the Earl of Leiceſter, who was the other, not to proteſt, as well as the others with whom he had voted. On Saturday there was a conference between the two Houſes upon this buſineſs, and it appearing that all proceedings would ſtop thereupon, it being impoſſible for two to agree upon any thing, unleſs their thoughts and reaſons are communicated, they were [Page 64] pleaſed yeſterday to recede from that vote, and appointed a Committee of twelve Lords to confer with a double number of Commons thereupon.
The houſe of Commons have made an addreſs unto his Majeſty, deſiring him to remove the Duke of Latherdale out of all employments in England and Ireland, and from his preſence for ever; to which they received a dilatory anſwer.
The Archbiſhop of St. Andrew's hath been lately murther'd in his coach three miles from St. Andrew's, by ten men, that there ſet upon him, of which two were taken by ſome horſe that came ſuddenly to the place. It is not known who they are, nor [Page 65] who employed them; but Latherdale is graciouſly pleaſed to lay it upon the Nonconformiſts, and hath thereupon cauſed a very ſevere Proclamation to be iſſued out againſt them: But others believe it was upon a private quarrel with ſome Gentlemen, that by fraud and power the Prelate had thrown out of their eſtates, he having been moſt remarkable for outragious covetouſneſs, beſides other Epiſcopal qualities.
The houſe of Commons have forbidden all Commoners of England to be of Counſel to the Earl of Danby, under the pain of being eſteemed betrayers of the rights of all the Commons, by whom he is accuſed, unleſs leave be aſked and given by them. [Page 66] The Bill for disbanding the Army is paſſed. On Saturday the King having appointed ſixteen ſmall pieces of Ordnance to be ſent to Portſmouth, notice was taken thereof in the houſe of Commons, and a great ſuſpicion, that they being ſent with field-carriages, harneſſes for horſes, and all neceſſaries belonging to the train of a marching Army, they might be intended rather for ſuch an uſe, than to furniſh a Garriſon as is pretended. At the ſame time reports were ſpread, that the Duke of York was returned into England, or hourly expected, and ſome believe his buſineſs is to hinder the diſbanding of the Army, with ſuch others as the knowledge of his nature, together with the perſons that command in Portſmouth, the Iſle of Wight, and [Page 67] ſome other places may ſuggeſt, in the moſt jealous time that I have ever lived in.
The houſe of Commons ſate yeſterday, being Sunday, to hear ſuch papers read, as the ſecret Committee thought fit to produce relating to the Duke of York, which had been found amongſt the Cardinal of Norfolk's papers, and other places. They are many in number, which ſpeak of his aſſenting unto and approving of the Plot in all points, but none directed to him, or written by him. Many various motions were made, but in the end it was ordered, that a Bill ſhould be drawn up, to debar him from the Succeſſion of the Crown. Sir Francis Winnington and Mr. Vaughan would have put off the debate, [Page 68] until the trial oſ Danby and the Popiſh Lords was over. Sir William Coventry, Sir Thomas Littleton, and others, ſpoke directly againſt the thing, but the major part by much was of the other opinion, ſo as on the diviſion appointed upon the queſtion, whether there ſhould be Candles, the inequality was ſo great, that the pains of telling was ſpared, and when the main queſtion was put, there was no diviſion at all. Not to trouble you with many particulars, I will only recite one, which is, that a Gentleman moving the words ſhould be put in, ‘Or ever had been a Papiſt,’ they were laid aſide, as ſome believe, in reſpect unto him, who by the direction of the late Lord Crofts, was brought up under the diſcipline of the Peres de l'Oratorie. The next work [Page 69] was to make an addreſs to his Majeſty, full of humility and loyalty, expreſſing their utmoſt reſolution to ſerve him with their lives and fortunes in the preſervation of the Proteſtant Religion.
I hope the new method reſolved upon here, in relation unto publick Miniſters, will be of as little prejudice unto you where you are, as the report of the occaſion which began with you will do you here.
I am, Your moſt humble and faithful Servant.London, May 12.
London, May 19.
I HAVE been abroad all this day, and come with a Head ſo diſordered with the Eaſt-wind and duſt, that I can ſay very little this night. The Lords and Commons have not yet found the way of agreeing upon the method of trying the Earl of Danby and the other Lords. The Biſhops are the principal cauſes of the diſpute, affecting a right to ſit as Judges, and content themſelves to leave the exerciſe of it to the Papiſts, but with a proteſtation that the Precedent be not alledged againſt them for the future, but inſiſt upon ſitting in [Page 71] the Earl of Danby's caſe, until they come to vote upon life or death; and to ſhew how ingenious they are in that point, they profeſs they do no prejudice to their calling, in being his Judges, reſolving not to condemn him. The truth is, that buſineſs is full of a multitude of difficulties, that are very hard to decide; the chief of which are, firſt, whether the King hath power to pardon one impeached by the Commons; ſecondly, whether that Judgment belonging to the declaratory part of the Law, is to be given by one or both Houſes. Thirdly, in caſe the King can pardon, whether this hath the formalities required. Fourthly, If this pardon be not good, whether he may be admitted to plead any thing elſe. Fifthly, If he may plead, whether the [Page 72] points he is accuſed of amount to Treaſon, which may probably exerciſe the Houſe until it be diſſolved or prorogued. The two Houſes differ alſo, in that the Lords would firſt try the Popiſh Lords, and the Commons would give the preference to Danby.
The Duke Hamilton arrived the laſt week from Scotland with a great train, and was received here in triumph: All that come with him ſay, the Archbiſhop of St. Andrew's was killed by one that had been his own Steward, and others that were not Conventiclemen.
The ſevere Bill againſt the Duke of York was read on Thurſday laſt, and is appointed to be read again to-morrow. [Page 73] It recites the Pope's pretenſions to power over Kings, particularly in England; the Immorality of the Roman Religion; Incompatibility of thoſe that profeſs it with Engliſh Proteſtants; their perpetual Plots againſt the Government; ſedulity in ſeducing the Duke; and a multitude of other things of the like nature in the preamble: Aſſerts the power of Parliament to diſpoſe of the Succeſſion, as beſt conduced to the good of the Kingdom, which had been often exerciſed in debarring thoſe that were neareſt in blood, but never with ſo much reaſon as now: Wherefore it doth enact, ‘that the Duke ſhould be, and was thereby excluded; declares him attainted of high Treaſon, if he landed in England before or after the [Page 74] King's death; forbids commerce or correſpondency with him, under the ſame penalty of Treaſon.’ This pleaſeth the City ſo well, that a petition is framing there, which will be preſented in two Days, ſigned by one hundred thouſand men, to give thanks unto the Parliament for their vigorous proceeding in diſcovering the Plot, and oppoſing of Popery, and promiſing to aſſiſt them in ſo doing with their lives and fortunes.
The Committee of Lords being informed that ſome important papers were hid in a wall at Tart-hall, they ſent to break it, and in a copper Box found thoſe which the Attorney General ſays give more light into the Plot, than all they had formerly ſeen; [Page 75] but moſt particularly againſt the Lord Stafford. I am almoſt aſleep, and can only aſſure you,
I am Your moſt humble and faithful ſervant.
London, June 2/12.
YOUR Nephew arrived here laſt night, and I going to welcome him, received your letter from him. His friends find he bears in his face too fair marks of a Spaniſh journey, but in all things elſe, I believe he will give them as entire ſatisfaction as unto me, who ever had an extraordinary good opinion of him.
This day was ſe'nnight the prorogation of the Parliament was ſpoken of, but being then uncertain, and (as I thought) not like to be, I was not [Page 77] willing to mention it; but it fell out the next day, and all men's wits have been ſcrewed ever ſince that day to find out the conſequences. Every body hath had his conjecture, and the moſt ignorant ſhewed themſelves the moſt bold, in aſſerting their opinions. Many find that the King would not have done it, if he had not reſolved to ſend for the Duke; keep up the Army; deſire aſſiſtances from abroad; ſell Jerſey and Tangier to the French, (for which Mr. Savile is to make the bargain) ſet the Earl of Danby at liberty, and with the help of the Papiſts and Biſhops ſet up for himſelf. But inſtead of this, we ſee little reaſon to believe the Duke will think himſelf well here: The Army is in part diſbanded, and had been entirely before this day, if it [Page 78] had pleaſed Colonel Birch. The place from whence the foreign aſſiſtances ſhould come is not known: Mr. Savile is not thought very good at ſuch Treaties: The Earl of Danby is like to lie where he is, and the utmoſt help his Majeſty can (for ought I hear) expect, until the Parliament do meet, is, by Fox, Kent, and Duncomb's credit, which perhaps will not be found to be a very ſteddy foundation. No man will avow having been the King's Counſellor in this buſineſs; and ſome wonder, that his Majeſty in conſtituting the privy Council, having promiſed that he would have no cabinet Council, but that he would in all things follow their advices, next unto thoſe of his great Council the Parliament; ſhould ſo ſuddenly prorogue that great [Page 79] Council, without ſo much as aſking the other. This fills men with many ill humours; the Parliament-men go down diſcontented, and are like by their reports to add unto the diſcontents of the Countries, which are already very great; and the fears from the Papiſts at home, and their friends abroad, being added thereunto, they begin to look more than formerly unto the means of preſerving themſelves.
There hath been a ſuit at Law in Scotland, between the Earl of Argyle, and one Macclaine a great man in the Highlands, and the Earl (as is ſaid) by the favour of Duke Latherdale, hath obtained a decree for the Lands in queſtion; which by order from hence, is to be put in execution, by the [Page 80] ſtrength of all the King's forces in Scotland, and fire and ſword to be uſed in caſe they find reſiſtance; as probably they will, Macclaine reſolving he will not be turned out of his ancient inheritance by a trick in law, and a decree from corrupt Judges: This Man being head of a numerous and ſtout people, helped by the faſtneſs and poverty of their Country, may perhaps make good what he propoſeth unto himſelf; and to ſhew he is not to be ſurpriſed, he hath already entered into Argyle's Country with 800 or 1000 men. The Earl of Athol is his neighbour, friend, and enemy to Argyle, ſo as it is believed, he may give him ſecret aſſiſtance at the firſt, and afterwards more openly. About the ſame time a proclamation was there publiſhed, making [Page 81] it Treaſon to be preſent at any of the Field-Conventicles that are armed; and every man knowing the preſſures they are expoſed unto if they go diſarmed, they muſt incurr the penalties, or abſtain wholly from going, which they will hardly be perſwaded unto. Things being thus brought unto extremities, the King hath been perſwaded to give a hearing unto what the Duke Hamilton, and other Scotch Lords, have to ſay againſt Latherdale, as is appointed before the Council.
Two aſſociates were offered unto Sir Thomas Chichely, for the better executing of his Office of Maſter of the Ordnance; but he thinking that an affront to a man of ſo eminent abilities as himſelf, refuſed them, which [Page 82] hath obliged the King to diſmiſs him from the place, and put it into commiſſion, as ſome others have been; Sir Thomas Littleton, Sir William Hickman, and Sir Joſeph Lowther are ſaid to be the men. If what is ſaid be true, the ill management of the Treaſury was not more extreme, than this of the Ordnance; for beſides the extravagancies of furniſhing the French Armies with arms and ammunition, (whereas the Stores where fuller two years ago than ever they were known to have been) there are now but ſix hundred muſkets in the Tower, and other things in proportion.
Some think theſe ways of employing many Parliament-men, may ſtrengthen the King's party in the Houſe. Others [Page 83] think, that a King is ever a loſer when he enters into a Faction, and bandys againſt his Subjects; beſides that theſe men will loſe their credit, and, having only ſingle votes, will be overpowered by number. I do not find the new privy Counſellors well at eaſe, and am not free from ſear, that whilſt they endeavour to keep fair with both parties, they may give diſtaſte unto both. Harry Sydney is to go Envoy extraordinary into Holland, and yeſterday the King declared unto him his intention to that purpoſe.
Vanlieu the Holland Ambaſſador is arrived, and Van Beuninghen going away. He made the laſt week a great noiſe about a meſſage ſent by the King of France unto his Maſters, concerning [Page 84] the contribution-money due from the Country about Breda; denouncing in a very terrible manner, his intention of levying it by force, if it were not paid; and that in an Ottoman ſtile, which unto ſome ſilly people gave as ſilly a hope, that the peace would break, and the league be renewed againſt the French; but the French Ambaſſador ſays, it is a thing of no moment at all, and already compoſed. However I ſee no inclinations in diſcreet men here, to deſire ſuch a diſcompoſure of things abroad, as ſhould engage us to take any part in them, until our affairs are better ſettled at home than they are yet like to be.
Ireland is in extreme diſorder, by the Duke of Ormond's negligence, ignorance, [Page 85] and favour to the Iriſh. Douglaſs his Regiment thinking to uſe the ſame licentiouſneſs at Kinſale, as it had been accuſtomed unto in France, gives great diſtaſte, and apprehenſions of ſuch works as began almoſt by the ſame ways in 1641. Old Roberts, in appearing of late for the King and Biſhops, thinks himſelf of merit to ſucceed him; but he is as ſingular in that opinion as in many others.
Some that know matters better than I do, muſt tell you, whether we ſhall have the ſame Parliament, at the end of the prorogation, or a new one, or none at all. But I think, this, or another will be found neceſſary; and if this be diſſolved, another will be choſen of leſs inclinations to favour the [Page 86] Court. The four Prieſts are ſent down to be hanged, where they were condemned. The Council gave order to the Lord Mayor, to be very diligent in putting the Proclamations againſt the Papiſts in execution, and careful under that name not to trouble Proteſtant diſſenters. It is ſaid that Langhorne, Wakeman, Sir Joſeph Gage, Sir William Goring, and other Popiſh Commoners, ſhall be ſoon brought to their tryal. Now the Parliament doth not ſit, little news will be ſtirring, but you ſhall conſtantly have ſuch as I know, or any other ſervice that lies in the Power of
Your moſt humble Servant.
London, June 9/19.
There hath been a ſuit at Law depending this good while in Scotland, between the Earl of Argyle, and one Macclaine, the head of a great and numerous family in the Highlands. The Earl (as is ſaid) by the help of the Duke of Latherdale, obtained of late a Decree for the poſſeſſion of the Lands [Page 88] in queſtion, and an order was ſent from hence unto the King's Officers, to aſſiſt the Earl in executing the decree, and uſe fire and ſword againſt ſuch as ſhould oppoſe it; which was ſo far proſecuted, that he with 300 of the King's men and 500 of his own, raiſed upon an Iſland of Macclaine's, which he was not able to defend, or perhaps thought it his beſt courſe by way of diverſion to draw Argyle from thence; but what reaſon ſoever perſwaded him, he ſaid he would not be put out of the Inheritance of his Anceſtors by a trick in law, and the corruption of the Judges; and joining the Macdonnells unto himſelf, fell into Argyle's Country with near 3000 men, where he found no reſiſtance; the Lady of Argyle was obliged to leave [Page 89] her houſe, and in ſome haſte retired to Edinborough to get relief, which could not eaſily be granted, leſt the Fanaticks ſhould take advantage of the King's forces being ſo employed. Some ſay this is only a family feud, others believe it hath a deeper root; but whatſoever this is, no man doubts of the truth of the news brought hither by an expreſs on Saturday morning; which is, that the Conventicle-men in the County of Glaſcow are in arms; that one Captain Grimes coming ſomething too near them, with his Troop and other forces, was beaten back, with the loſs of his Cornet and fourteen Troopers; which according to the poſture he found them in, he was perſwaded to content himſelf with, rather than to preſs farther. The Council [Page 90] was called upon this occaſion on Saturday laſt, but nothing (as I hear) reſolved until they hear more, ſome doubting whether it be a laid buſineſs, or a ſudden tumult raiſed by accident. I know not the truth of this, but the diſcourſes I have heard very often of late, of thoſe who every day expected ſome ſuch thing, perſwades me to believe it is not fallen out by chance. Though no reſolution was taken at Council upon this matter, it is ſaid, that private orders are given out to ſeveral Officers of the late diſbanded Troops, to get their men again together; and to others, upon the moſt plauſible pretences that they can invent, to delay their diſbanding as much as may be. Theſe ſuſpicions go too far, and already reach ſome of your [Page 91] friends and mine, to ſuch a degree, that Counſellors are rather ſaid to be changed than Councils; and if they do not find a way to cure that ſore, at the next meeting of the Parliament, they will be looked on as their predeceſſors. If nothing from Scotland hinders, the Court will go to Windſor to-morrow. I preſume you know that H. Sydney hath bought Mr. Godolphin's place of Maſter of the Robes, gives 6000 pounds, and is to go Envoy extraordinary into Holland. The Lord Ranalagh for the ſame ſum paid to the Lord Sunderland is made Gentleman of the Bed-chamber in his place, and the great buſineſs concerning his account is referred to the Council in Ireland.
Your moſt humble Servant▪
London, June 16/26.
THE Scotch news that I mentioned to you laſt week, doth ſtill poſſeſs the minds of all men here; but all relations that come from Scotland are ſo imperfect, that no man knows what to make of them; and thoſe that come to Court being more particularly ſo than others, no men are thought to underſtand leſs of the buſineſs than Privy Counſellors. This is attributed to Latherdale; and though it be concluded, that what he ſays is not true, ſome think the buſineſs worſe, others better, than it is repreſented. [Page 94] The fact, as far as I hear, is, that the Earl of Lithco with above five and twenty hundred horſe and foot did come within a few miles of the Conventicle-men, and finding them in ſuch a poſture, as he did not think it prudent to charge them, he concluded the beſt was to let them take Glaſcow, where they are ſaid to have found good ſtore of arms, ammunition and ſome cannon, and having left ſo many men in the Town as are thought ſufficient to guard it, they march with four pieces. They are ſaid to encreaſe in number every day, but we know nothing of them certainly, unleſs it be that they have no landed men amongſt them, nor any Gentlemen, but a younger brother to a Knight of the Hamilton family. The laſt week we heard [Page 95] of nothing but raiſing of great forces to ſubdue theſe Rebels. The Dukes of Monmouth, Albemarle, and Lord Garret were to have Regiments of Horſe, Feverſham one of Dragoons and Grenadiers, the Lord Cavendiſh, Grey of Werk, Mr. T. Thinne, and ſome others, Regiments of Foot; but that heat ſeems to be ſomething abated. The Lord Grey gave up his Commiſſion, Mr. Thinne refuſed to take any; Cavendiſh doth not raiſe any men upon his, and Garret ſwears he will not be at a penny charge to raiſe a man, but if the Commiſſioners for the Treaſury will raiſe him a Regiment, and provide money to pay it, he will command it. Whilſt ways were ſought to remove theſe difficulties, the Scotch Lords that are here endeavoured to perſwade the [Page 96] King, that the buſineſs may be ended by far more certain and leſs chargeable ways, in as much as theſe men having been driven into a neceſſity of taking arms, by the extreme preſſure ſuffered from thoſe that did abuſe the authority his Majeſty had truſted them with, the people being eaſed of thoſe burthens, the perſons removed that had cauſed them, and ſuch men placed in the Government, as were acceptable to the Nation, they durſt undertake that all may be compoſed without blood. This was not (as I hear) diſliked, but another point was ſtarted, that doth yet more incline the Court to mild courſes; which is, in the Year 1641 Acts of Parliament were made in both Kingdoms, making it Treaſon for any perſon belonging unto either to make [Page 97] war upon or invade the other, without the conſent of Parliament. And though one or two of the Judges ſay, that the Acts being reciprocal, the Scots having reſcinded theirs, ours falls of itſelf; or though it did not, the act forbidding an Invaſion, no ways toucheth ſuch as by the King's command ſhould go to ſubdue Rebels; others ſay, that what the Scots did might indeed give unto the Parliament of England a juſt ground of annulling their act alſo, but not having done it, no man can doubt but it remains in force; and whoſoever marcheth againſt Scotland incurrs the penalties of Treaſon denounced by it. And ſome that were preſent at the making of it, are ſo far from approving the diſtinction between invading and ſubduing Rebels, as to ſay, [Page 98] that the Parliament then finding they had been upon the like pretence engaged againſt Scotland in 1638 and 39, made this act expreſsly to hinder any ſuch a buſineſs as that which is now depending; and to take care, that England ſhould never be again engaged againſt Scotland, without the conſent of the Parliament; which was alſo the reaſon why the act was continued in force on our ſide, though it was diſſolved on theirs. This renders men of eſtates unwilling to engage, and hereupon the Duke of Monmouth was ſent away yeſterday in ſuch haſte, as to carry no more company with him, than could go in one day to your good town of Newark, where he was to lodge the laſt night. He is furniſhed with powers of indulgence to [Page 99] compoſe rather than deſtroy; and the Lord Melvin (who is thought well enough inclined to Non-conformiſts, and well liked by them) is ſent with him, as being thought a fit Miniſter of a good agreement. The foot that was embarqued in the Thames is gone for Barwick, where it is to ſtay to ſecure the Town; and the other forces, that are newly entertained, are to continue only for a Month. This looks as if your friend Latherdale may within a while be leſt as naked as the Earl of Danby. The army is almoſt every where diſbanded, unleſs it be theſe that upon this occaſion are again taken into pay, and the Countries almoſt every where expreſs the utmoſt hatred unto them, as ſoon as they have laid down their arms. Douglas his Regiment now [Page 100] in Ireland, as is ſaid, hath orders to march into Scotland, which giving people occaſion to talk of that Country, they ſay that the King having lately placed the greateſt powers of the three Kingdoms in the hands of the three worſt men that could be found in them, can never be at eaſe until they are all ſacrificed, to expiate the faults of the Government, and appeaſe the diſcontents of the Nation.
Harry Sydney hath his Inſtructions for Holland. Sir Henry Goodrike is going into Spain, as a pattern by which that Court may judge of the wit and good ſenſe of our Nation. On Friday laſt Harcourt, Whitebread, and three other Prieſts were, at the old Baily, found guilty of the Plot, and condemned [Page 101] as Traitors. On Saturday the like ſentence paſſed upon Langhorne. The trials were in all reſpects fair, even by the confeſſion of the adverſaries. The arraigned perſons placed all the hopes of their defence upon the invalidating of Oates his teſtimony, to which end they had about 16 witneſſes ſent from St. Omer's, to aſſert that they had ſeen him every day in May and June was a twelve month at St. Omer's, and conſequently he could not be here as he doth aſſert; but as three of them, having been apprehended by Sir Will. Waller at their firſt coming, told him they were come to be witneſſes, and being aſked what they were to witneſs, they ſaid they muſt know that from their ſuperiors; it did plainly appear at the trial, that they were ready to ſay [Page 102] whatever they were bid; and Oates did plainly prove by a Knight and two of his ſervants, two Proteſtant Parſons, a Popiſh Prieſt, and ſome others, that he was here at that time; ſo as his teſtimony was taken without diſpute. This is a dangerous leading caſe for the Lords in the Tower, whoſe principal hopes were to invalidate the teſtimony of Oates, Bedloe, and Dugdale; all which being confirmed by the judgment of a jury in the face of all London, cannot be queſtioned. Wakeman was to have been tried the ſame day, but being arraigned the trial was put off for a month, as is ſaid, at the ſollicitation of the Portugal Ambaſſador, and in a way that to many ſeemed ſcandalous. If the Scotch buſineſs be ſettled, the King will go to [Page 103] Windſor as he intended. You may remember that the laſt year four Iriſhmen were ſpoken of, for having been ſent down thither to attempt upon the King's life; it is now ſaid that one Antonio, a ſervant to the Queen, told one belonging to the Duke of Monmouth at that time, that four Iriſhmen were expected there about a buſineſs of great importance; and the King's harbinger ſays, four ſuch were then recommended to him, as men he muſt take a care of, and ſee well lodged. How little ſoever I have to ſay, I fill my paper like a Gazette, and have room only to add that I am,
Your humble and faithful Servant.
London, June 23. July 2.
I TOLD you in my laſt, that the Duke of Monmouth was gone towards Scotland, ſince which time reports have been ſo various, that no man well knows what to make of that buſineſs; and the cauſe of this uncertainty is imputed to the diligence of the King's Officers, who intercept and keep all letters directed unto perſons any ways ſuſpected, ſo as no more is known, than they think fit to divulge. An expreſs arrived here on Saturday-night from Edinburgh, and brought news that the Duke of Monmouth arrived there on Wedneſday: That he [Page 105] had been received with great joy, and as much honour, as thoſe that were there could ſhew unto him: That the Council having been immediately called, he expoſed unto them his Commiſſion, which was very well liked: That the Chancellor invited him to ſupper that night, and that he was the next morning to go to the Army, having firſt ſent an expreſs to the Lord Lithco, that commands it, no ways to engage in any action before he comes. Some think that he hath the Conventicle-men at an advantage, and will purſue it to their deſtruction. Others ſay, that upon the extreme averſion that is ſhewn all over England to a War in Scotland, and the little probability yet appearing of the Parliament's being any ways engageable in it, he hath received [Page 106] much more gentle inſtructions, and intends, by the help of the Lord Melvin, to compoſe thoſe buſineſſes if he can; and if he can accompliſh it, will certainly render himſelf very popular in England and Scotland.
The Duke Hamilton and ſome other Scotch Lords, having let his Majeſty know, that the diſorders in Scotland proceeded only from the extreme preſſures the people was brought under, by thoſe who contrary to Law abuſed the power his Majeſty had truſted them with, did undertake to finiſh all without blood, if he would be pleaſed to eaſe them of thoſe preſſures, and, removing thoſe who had cauſed them, put the Government of the Kingdom into the hands of ſuch perſons as were well-pleaſing unto the [Page 107] Nation. This having been taken into conſideration for ſome days, the Duke Hamilton with the reſt, and one Lockart, were ſent for by the King, who told them, the points formerly ſpoken of did relate unto his Prerogative, which in three points he would not ſuffer to be touched: 1ſt, That he having a right of diſpoſing of all places, might incapacitate ſuch perſons as he ſhould think fit: 2dly, That it belonging to him to prevent conſpiracies, he might ſecure and impriſon ſuſpected perſons; and that there was no ſuch thing as a Habeas Corpus in Scotland, nor ſhould be as long as he liv'd: 3dly, That it being his part to prevent or to quell rebellions, he might raiſe ſuch forces as he pleaſed, quarter them where he thought fit, and employ [Page 108] them as occaſion ſhould require. To which Lockart replied, that the places in queſtion were thoſe belonging to Counties and Corporations, which had ever been choſen by the people reſpectively according to their Charters. And foraſmuch as concerns conſpiracies and rebellions, he thought he could prove, that what his Majeſty did aſſert did neither agree with the Laws of Scotland, nor any other Law, nor the ends for which that, or any other Government was conſtituted.
The next point in diſcourſe was concerning ſome articles exhibited againſt Latherdale; in which it is ſaid, that ‘his Majeſty for ſeveral years paſſed had been utterly miſinformed, and never known the truth of any thing relating unto Scotland, but been [Page 109] guided by ſuch reports as beſt ſuited with Latherdale's intereſts.’ That he had been thereby induced to bring down the laſt year that army of barbarous Highlanders, upon pretence of mutinous and ſeditious Field-conventicles; whereas ſuch meetings as had been, were modeſt and quiet; and quartered them in thoſe countries where there never had been any at all. Several other miſdemeanors are ſaid to be mentioned, and amongſt others, that of Michell, who had been put to death after having had a promiſe of life and limb, by falſe oaths made by Latherdale and ſome others of the privy Council. The concluſion was, the King commanded the Duke that theſe articles ſhould not be made publick. In which he excuſed himſelf, foraſmuch [Page 110] as having done nothing in the dark, ſeveral copies had been taken, which were not in his power. Some ſay, we ſhall this day ſee them in print, with the Declaration of the Conventiclemen, printed at Glaſcow, which is very well worth ſeeing. The forces of theſe Conventicle-men, or, as they call themſelves, the Weſtern Army, are variouſly reported. Some ſay, they have 14000 or 15000 Men; others, that this Day was a ſe'nnight they had, not far from Stirling, between two and three thouſand Horſe, well armed and mounted, with about the like number of Foot; that a brother of the Earl of Galloway was coming to them, and within three hours march, with above four hundred horſe and foot, and that they had parties of good ſtrength in ſeveral other places.
[Page 111] The five Prieſts formerly condemned, were executed on Saturday, confeſſing nothing. Langhorne is reprieved for ſome time, upon his offer to confeſs that which ſhall deſerve his Life. The Earl of Shaftſbury hath been twice with him, but, as is ſaid, hath as yet gained nothing from him, but the diſcovery of ſome Lands belonging to the Jeſuits, Franciſcans, and Benedictins, not exceeding two thouſand pounds a year, which will not ſave his life. Wakeman is to be tried this week at the King's Bench bar. His relations deſire he ſhould confeſs, and think he will. It is ſaid that about this time was a twelvemonth, ſome women viſiting his wife, ſaw a daughter of his, growing up to be marriageable, which gave occaſion to the goſſips to aſk the mother, [Page 112] what portion ſhe ſhould have? To which ſhe anſwered, that if one thing hit right, Sir George would give her ten thouſand pounds; which people now reflecting upon, together with the life and eſtate of the Perſon, believe That one thing which was to enable him to give ſo large a portion, was the 15000 pounds, which was promiſed him to poiſon the King.
There is a certain Petition preparing in London to be preſented unto the King, which, as is ſaid, will be ſigned by many Lords, Gentlemen, and all the principal houſe-holders of the City of London, taking notice of the Army having been raiſed upon pretence of the French War, kept up by Danby's means contrary to an Act of Parliament, [Page 113] as a ſtanding Army. In the next place it mentions the Acts of Parliament made in England and Scotland, making it Treaſon for the ſubjects of either kingdom to invade the other, or the ſubjects thereof, giving power and enjoining all other ſubjects of either to fall upon and deſtroy ſuch as ſhould in any time attempt to do it, as rebels and traitors; and ſhewing the dangerous conſequences of forcing the Proteſtants of his kingdom to imbrue their hands in each other's blood, if according to the rumour ſpread of a war in Scotland, any men ſhould contrary to the act march againſt them; deſiring his Majeſty to put an end to their fears in that point, compoſe things there, ſuffer the Parliament to meet the 14th of Auguſt, bring Danby [Page 114] and others to their trials, perfect the diſbanding of the army, and other new-rais'd forces. If this petition do take, as ſome believe, it will be ſent to the Grand Juries in the ſeveral counties, and come up ſigned by ſo many as ſhall approve of it. Some ſay, the Highlanders have laid down their arms, and ſubmit the determination of their differences with Argyle to the King.
The Speaker Jeffryes is made a Baron of the Exchequer in the place of Leak, who reſigned it. Whilſt I write this, news is come by an expreſs, that the Duke of Monmouth is within a mile of the Scotch Conventicle-men, who lodged them in Duke Hamilton's little park, with ſo little ſkill and ſo much diſorder, that all men give them [Page 115] for loſt. I am ſure our friends will be ſo cautious as you wiſh concerning tickliſh places. H. Sydney is to be here again in October, but to return after the diſpatch of ſome private buſineſſes. I am
Your moſt humble Servant.
P. S. This long letter was to have been ſent by the laſt poſt, and left by accident till it is in danger of appearing unſeaſonable. A Courier arrived the laſt night from Scotland, who brings word, that the Duke of Monmouth had attacked the Conventicle-men, and eaſily forcing a little barricado they had made to defend a bridge, had utterly defeated them. Some letters ſay, two thouſand are killed upon the place; but my Lord [Page 116] Sunderland tells me there is only ſome hundreds ſlain, many taken, and the whole party diſſipated and deſtroyed; by which means it is ſaid, that the Duke of Monmouth will have made himſelf as popular in England and Scotland as the Duke of York. Men here will be ſtartled at preſent, but that will not hold. The Scotch Lords here have been ſo wiſe as to leave their countrymen to be cut in pieces, but (as ſome believe) not enough to keep themſelves ſo free from correſponding with them, as not to leave that, which being well followed may bring their heads to the block. I am
Your moſt humble and faithful Servant.
London, June 30, July 9.
I WRITE to you now rather to keep my day, than from an opinion that theſe laſt days have produced any thing that deſerves to be communicated unto you. The news concerning the Scots, mentioned in my laſt, is confirmed by ſeveral expreſſes, and all ſhew their defeat to have been entire, the party diſſipated, and thoſe who eſcaped the fury of the ſword remain expoſed to the diſcretion of their conquerors. I find men's judgments as various, as to the uſe will be made of [Page 119] this advantage, as of the Duke of Monmouth's action in what is paſſed. Some did think that they being a poor people, brought into deſpair by the moſt violent perſecution, pitied by all both in England and Scotland, helped by none, without head or conduct, were to be ſpared; and that in doing ſo, he might have made himſelf very popular in both Kingdoms, (which he is thought with reaſon much to deſire) and beſt to have provided for the King's intereſt. Others, who look upon it as a fine thing to kill a great many men, and believe Monarchies are beſt kept up by terrour, extol the action, and ſay there is no other way of ſuppreſſing old rebellions, or preventing new ones, than by force and rigour; looking upon Caligula as a great Stateſman, and [Page 120] oderint dum metuant as a good maxim. Some think that the Duke of Monmouth's firſt inſtructions were according to the firſt of theſe ways, but that he was followed by others, which ſavoured much of the ſecond; thoſe that were of the firſt opinion, do now think the beſt way were to compoſe things there, and by ſhewing indulgence not only in ſparing thoſe that are obnoxious, but in giving them ſuch indulgence in matters of conſcience, as may ſatisfy them, prevent the like, and pleaſe the Body of the Engliſh Nation, which hath given many tokens of being much concerned for them. On the other ſide, thoſe are not wanting who think the beſt way of bringing that ſtubborn people into ſubjection, and keep 'em, as they call it in peace, free from [Page 121] rebellions, is to uſe the utmoſt rigour upon thoſe that are in their power, and to diſcover who did in any meaſure aſſiſt or abet them; and in order thereunto the priſoners are uſed moſt cruelly, and it is ſaid, that at the leaſt forty of the moſt noted men amongſt them ſhall be put into the Boots my Lord of Latherdale hath brought into faſhion, to make them diſcover what correſpondence the great men held with them. I know not how far this may concern ſome that are, or lately have been here but it is probable enough they may have the fortune that ordinarily accompanies them that pretending to be very ſubtile and keep well with both ſides, ever do too much or too little; and that whereas they might have prevented all tumults, if they had endeavoured [Page 122] it, by denying all manner of favour to the diſcontented people; or reformed the ſtate of that Kingdom, if they would have taken the conduct of them, and very well provided for their own intereſt by either way, may have ruined theſe poor people by ſtirring them up, and leaving them to themſelves; brought the whole Nation under the power of their enemy, and given ſuch advantages againſt themſelves, as may be their ruin, if they are purſued; that is, to periſh or be ſaved by the mercy of him they profeſs to abhor. Duke Hamilton complains he is ruined by this buſineſs, and that not only all the proviſions of victuals and corn and graſs upon the ground is deſtroyed, but that there is not a Cow, one Horſe or Sheep left upon his whole eſtate; and [Page 123] his own houſe had been plundered, if the Duke of Monmouth had not ſent an Officer to preſerve it. But Latherdale ſays, he cannot believe that Hamilton's friends, tenants, and ſervants, would ſo far forget their dependence, obligations and good manners, as to deal uncivilly with him. Such as are near unto thoſe who manage buſineſſes may ſpeak poſitively of them, but I muſt as you ſee ſuſpend my judgment, until the Duke of Monmouth comes back, which is expected in a few days.
The Petition I mentioned in my laſt did meet with ſome interruption, but the defeat of the Scots put an end to it. Thoſe who uſe to extol all that relates to Rome, admire the conſtancy of the five Prieſts executed the laſt week, [Page 124] but we ſimple people find no more in it, than that the Papiſts, by arts formerly unknown to mankind, have found ways of reconciling falſhood in the utmoſt degree with the hopes of ſalvation, and at the beſt have no more to brag of, than that they have made men dye with lies in their mouths. Langhorne's diſcoveries being trivial, relating only to lands of a ſmall value belonging to Convents, I think he will be hanged this day or to-morrow. Wakeman's trial is put off, as is believed to avoid the indecency of the diſcourſes that would have been made. This day and to-morrow will bring all the Court to Windſor. The King is to meet the Council every Thurſday at Hampton Court, and we of the Vulgar expect after their firſt meeting to hear, whether [Page 125] the Parliament ſhall meet or no, at the time appointed. Some ſpeak as if our ſmall Queen, upon pretence of going to Burton, would be ſo cruel as to leave us.
I am Your humble and faithful Servant.
London, July 10/20.
IF I had a mind to play the Politick, like a houſe of Commons man newly preferred to be a privy Counſellor, I ſhould very gravely excuſe myſelf for not writing to you by the laſt poſt, and lay the fault upon my want of leiſure, putting as much weight upon a Law-ſuit, as they do upon affairs of State; but having at their coſts learnt, that thoſe who make ſuch diſcourſes, cheat none but themſelves, I ingenuouſly confeſs, I had nothing to ſay; and that now the Parliament is prorogued and the Court at Windſor, I [Page 127] hear little more than I ſhall do when I am dead. The truth is, ſome of our friends being newly grown men of buſineſs, are ſo politick and ſecret, that a man who ſees it can hardly forbear laughing; but none is ſo ingenuous as to be content men ſhould do it, except the Lord Halifax, who is ſometimes free enough with his Companions to begin. I long ſince found that the deſign of ſending H. Sydney into Holland, was like the reſt of Sir William Temple's projects, a matter of great depth, and kept ſo cloſe, that not one of them would ſpeak to me of it; but this day was a ſe'nnight a Gentleman that came to ſee me, took a letter out of his pocket, newly come from Holland, wherein the whole end of his Negotiation is ſet out very plainly; which in ſhort is underſtood [Page 128] to be no more, than under the pretence of a guaranty to draw Holland and Spain into a League with England, which may help the Prince of Orange with an occaſion of breaking the peace lately made; which I believe will take effect, if the French can be perſwaded to ſleep three months, and take no notice of it; if the Louveſteine party in Holland, and their aſſociates can be brought to believe the Prince of Orange thinks of advancing no intereſt but the publick good of the Country; and if our houſe of Commons can be ſo well ſatisfied with the management of the laſt buſineſs in Flanders, as to be willing to raiſe a new army under the ſame conduct, and to believe one that is ſo raiſed, will conduce to the defence of Flanders, as much as the laſt.
[Page 129] The laſt poſt brought me yours of July the 12th, and if you confeſs you did not know what to make of the Scotch buſineſs before you had my letters, I may conclude you were as much in the dark afterwards, for I could not make you underſtand that which I am ignorant of; and to ſay the truth, I am ſo; a great part of our modern prudence being to ſuppreſs informations of the truth, which I take to be as great a point of ſubtilty as that of one of our friends, who concealed a misfortune befallen him in the firſt acquaintance he had with a woman, until he was like to fall into pieces. Some think the great Lords will be found to have incited the poor people, and then endeavoured to value themſelves at Court upon the power they had of appeaſing [Page 130] them; and if that prove true, they may have the fortune that ordinarily accompanies thoſe that do too much or too little, and my Lord Latherdale's Boots will be a powerful means of diſcovering whether this be ſo or no.
Monſieur de Flamarin hath been received at Windſor as ſeriouſly, as if it had been believed the Queen of Spain's marriage ſhould not hold, unleſs it were here approved, and the formalities that are uſual with men of buſineſs, having been obſerved to him, he is grown to think he is ſo. You know Monſieur de Barillion governs us (if he be not miſtaken) but he ſeems not to be ſo much pleaſed with that, as to find his Embonpoint encreaſed by the moiſtneſs of our air, by frequently clapping [Page 131] his hands upon his thighs, ſhewing the delight he hath in the ſharpneſs of the ſound that teſtifies the plumpneſs and hardneſs of his fleſh; and certainly if this climate did not nouriſh him better than any other, the hairs in his noſe, and nails of his fingers could not grow ſo faſt as to furniſh enough of the one to pull out, and of the other to cut off in all Companies, which being done he picks his ears with as good a grace as my Lord La. The diſſolution of the Tables at Windſor hath cauſed a great ſolitude there, which leaves the King few better entertainments than fiſhing, and unto ſome of our friends a good opportunity of making their court, which they improve. A man is come out of the North, who ſays, that Sir Thomas Gaſcoin did treat with him [Page 132] to undertake to kill the King, ſent him to London to receive farther inſtructions, and tells his ſtory ſo diſcreetly, that every body believes him. He ſeems to involve Sir George Ratclife of Northumberland, who had been formerly taxed by Oates. One Carrill, a Suſſex Gentleman, was laſt week ſeized and brought before Oates; he ſays he is a Jeſuit, and the ſame man that by thoſe of the Society was called Blundell, of whom much hath been ſaid.
I dare not aſſure you that the Gentleman to, whom the Letters were addreſſed that I ſent to you, is as honeſt as he is underſtanding in buſineſs, becauſe I doubt men that are neceſſitous and live by their wits, may be apt to ſwerve from the beſt way, and I know [Page 133] ſome of his near relations to be very naught; but I can truly ſay, that in many years acquaintance I have not found him guilty of any ill thing, and I am ſure that a brother of his, having undertaken one that was abominable, he was ſo far from joining with him, that he diſcovered it to the perſon concerned in it, and as I believe thereby ſaved his life; and ſince that time ſo brake with his brother, as never to have looked upon him for this 13 or 14 years. I hear the Duke of Monmouth is expected here this day. We poor people know nothing of the ſitting of the Parliament, but are confident it will not be in Auguſt.
I am, Sir, Your moſt humble and faithful Servant.
YOU may with reaſon believe, I am little informed of what paſſeth in the world, that in my laſt letter I ſaid nothing of the Parliament, which I make no doubt but others, that writ to you the ſame day, ſaid was diſſolved. The truth is, the buſineſs being done at Hampton-Court, the news came not hither until the afternoon, and I having it two or three hours later than others, had already ſent my letter to the poſt, and could not recover it to make an addition, though of ſo great importance. This buſineſs is wholly imputed unto your two friends, and the other that ever [Page 135] joins with them; but the King finding it would not paſs at Council, takes it wholly upon himſelf; tho' that, as well as ſome other things of the like nature, are thought not well to agree with what his Majeſty was pleaſed to declare when he made the new Council, to have no Cabinet Council, but next unto the advices of the Parliament to follow their's in all things; and the world looking upon this as the work of the three above mentioned, they begin to be ſpoken of all over England in the ſame manner as Danby, and I fear, may be impeached the next Parliament upon this point, and the War in Scotland, as is ſaid, contrary to an act Parliament in the Year 1641. The new Parliament is to meet on the 7th of October: there [Page 136] will be as great canvaſſing for Places as ever, people believing this Parliament was diſſolved only in hopes of having one that would be leſs careful of the publick intereſt. All men that wiſh well unto it, think it neceſſary to imploy all their induſtry in endeavouring to make it better in that ſenſe; and many believe they will effect it, though ſome probably will grow weary of the expences of Elections, and the ways of preventing them as yet are not ſettled. The Lord Halifax is made an Earl, under the ſame title. The Lord Sunderland hath order to prepare Warrants to confer the ſame honour upon the Lords Garret and Roberts.
The Lord of Wiltſhire's marriage with Mrs. Coventry was the laſt week [Page 137] celebrated with great ſolemnity; and yeſterday the young couple came to the Marqueſs of Wincheſter's houſe, where there was a mighty feaſt, and much dancing and rejoicing. Langhorne was yeſterday hanged, profeſſing the ſame innocence that the Jeſuites did, and had the fortune as well as they, to be believed only by thoſe that are in the ſame crimes, or are concerned in having them concealed. This day the Council was extraordinarily aſſembled at Hampton-Court, to conſider of Wakeman's buſineſs, with its conſequences, which notwithſtanding he is to be tried to-morrow at the Old Baily.
The laſt week the King gave the Scotch Lords a hearing againſt Latherdale; [Page 138] they had counſel on both ſides; Lockart and Cunningham did undertake to prove a multitude of things done by Latherdale to have been againſt law; and Mackenzy, the King's Advocate, being of counſel for him, could no ways diſprove them, but had recourſe unto the Royal Authority. The Lords of Eſſex and Halifax were preſent, and both of them, but eſpecially the latter, did very much uphold the complainants, and, amongſt other things, told the King he ſaw the Scotiſh nation was more free than the Engliſh. Nevertheleſs anſwer was returned to them, that Latherdale had done nothing but what his Majeſty had commanded, and which he would uphold by virtue of his prerogative, which was above the law. This, as is thought, [Page 139] will preſerve him from puniſhment, but his place of Secretary will be given to the Lord Magennis.
The Duke of Monmouth, before he came from Scotland, had taken care that the Scotch Priſoners ſhould be uſed with more humanity than they found amongſt their Countrymen, and ſince his arrival here, orders are ſent to enlarge the indulgence granted unto the Non-conformiſts in their meetings. The reſult of that buſineſs, as far as I underſtand it, is, a great many fools have been killed; their blood lies upon Latherdale; their folly and the cruelty ſhewed unto them hath gained a great deal of compaſſion for thoſe that remain of their party, which probably will perſwade thoſe in authority here [Page 140] to proceed more gently; and that which is reaſonable in itſelf, will be rendered abſolutely neceſſary, if the Parliament be ſuffered to ſit; for unleſs they prove to be of a temper very different from what is expected, they will ſuffer nothing like unto that which hath been.
A buſineſs happened lately which makes a great deal of noiſe. A certain Captain under the ſhelter of the African Company committed ſeveral Piracies upon the Engliſh Company trading in Turky, and lately coming to town, five or ſix principal Merchants that had received the damage, arreſted him, whereupon he complained to the Commiſſioners of the Admiralty, who ſent for the Merchants, and upon their [Page 141] refuſal to releaſe the Captain, committed them. They addreſſed themſelves to one of the Judges for a Habeas Corpus, who before he granted it, gave notice unto the Commiſſioners, that the commitment of the Merchants was againſt Law, adviſed their releaſe before the Habeas Corpus was granted, which could not be denied, which the Commiſſioners refuſed to do; but adviſing farther with Lawyers, found not only that what they had done was unwarrantable, but that they were ſubject to actions for falſe impriſonment, upon which the injured perſons would obtain great damages; ſo as they found no better way than to releaſe the men, with a great many fair words: But they not being therewith ſatisfied, reſolved to ſue them at law, or bring the buſineſs [Page 142] into Parliament. I write this two days before the going of the Poſt, becauſe I am obliged to make a little journey this day, and ſhall not be back until he be gone.
I am Your humble and faithful Servant.London, July 16.
London, September 8/18.
I HAVE been out of Town almoſt this month, ſo as my laſt letter to you was dated about that time. At my return I found men's minds more diſturbed than ever I remember them to have been, ſo as there is no extremity of diſorder to be imagined, that we might not probably have fallen into if the King had died, or that may not yet reaſonably be feared if he ſhould relapſe. All that is now to be told of news, is from the Court, and muſt be known from thoſe that are more converſant there than I am. [Page 144] Though the Parliament is like to ſignify little, people are buſy in bringing thoſe in, who are of their own mind; and the party that is moſt averſe to the Court ſeems to prevail in the Counties and great Corporations, as the other doth in many of the ſmall Boroughs; and upon the whole matter, many believe the Houſe will be compoſed as the laſt was, or, as ſome think, of a more harſh humour, the ſame men being ſomething ſharpened.
Your friend the Lord Latherdale is more powerful than ever in Scotland, openly oppoſeth the Duke of Monmouth, and hath ſo far prevailed, as to render the indulgences obtained by him utterly ineffectual: But leſt his power there ſhould not be ſufficient [Page 145] to protect him here, if the Parliament meets, he doth not diſdain a pardon, and as I hear, one is preparing for him. I know not how much your friends and mine do grow at Court, nor whether the gains they can expect to make there, will countervail what they loſe in the Nation; but I do think myſelf aſſured, that †two of them, who were generally as well eſteemed as any men I know, are now as ill ſpoken of as any; and the aſperity one of them ſhewed againſt the Papiſts, is moſt bitterly retorted upon him. If the Parliament ſits, I ſhall not be ſo ignorant as I am of what paſſeth, and I will with the ſame care that I did the laſt time, let you know what I hear, and [Page 146] as far as I dare truſt letters ſent by the poſt, what I think.
I am Your moſt humble and faithful Servant.
London, October 29.
IT is indeed a good while ſince I heard from you, and I have been leſs diligent in writing to you than formerly, partly becauſe I doubted, whether my letters were any ways acceptable unto you, and partly becauſe one that is far from Court knows nothing worth relating, unleſs it be in Parliament-time, when all that is done is made publick, or at the leaſt comes to the knowledge of thoſe that have any acquaintance. I am not able to give ſo much as a gueſs, whether the Parliament ſhall ſit the 26th of January or not, and though I think myſelf in all reſpects well choſen, am uncertain [Page 148] whether I ſhall be of it, or not, there being a double return; and nothing can be aſſured, until the queſtion ariſing thereupon be determined, unleſs it be that as I and my principles are out of faſhion, my inclinations going one way, my friendſhip and alliance with thoſe that are like to give occaſion for the greateſt conteſts drawing another, I ſhall be equally diſliked and ſuſpected by both parties, and thereby become the moſt inconſiderable member of the Houſe. But however matters go, if the houſe doth ſit, and you care to know what I either hear or think, I ſo far abhor the excuſe that is worn out by having been ſo often alledged by liars and fools, as never to pretend to much buſineſs [Page 149] as a reaſon for my omiſſion; and I think I ſhall make none.
I have often heard of Monſieur D'Avaux his behaviour in Holland, but did not need any information as to matter of fact, to be aſſured he would oppoſe it; to believe he would ſucceed, and indeed with ſome confidence to conclude, that our diſappointment in that caſe is much more for our advantage than what we ſought. And as it is ſaid in Religion, that nothing is more terrible than the return of ill-conceived prayers, nothing is more to be feared in Politicks than the ſucceſs of unreaſonable and illgrounded counſels. And though the ‘propoſition that was made, being [Page 150] rejected, will certainly raiſe the party in Holland that is leaſt for the Prince of Orange, and caſt it into a dependence upon France; that is leſs mortal unto us than a League, that would certainly have produced a rupture of the peace, renewed the war all over Europe, expoſed Flanders to be loſt the firſt year (which this muſt have done;’ it being as certain, the aſſiſtances expected from hence would have failed, as that it hath not in itſelf that which is neceſſary for its Defence.) This, and a great deal more upon the like ſubject was told the Lord Sunderland, and Mr. H. Sydney before he went; but Sir William, who was taken for the oracle of thoſe parts, aſſured them, there was no ſuch thing as a [Page 151] party in Holland inclined to oppoſe the Prince of Orange: That all was ſubmitted unto his authority, and united in deſiring ſuch an alliance with us: That it would certainly be accepted as ſoon as offered, and that the French which had made the Peace for fear of us, would by the ſame reaſon more exactly keep it, when it was ſeen that we were joined with them. I ſhould think him bewitched, that doth not ſee there is as many falſities, as to matter of fact, and miſtakes in judgment in this matter, as there are words; but I ſee no intention of receding from ſuch counſels, nor remedy for the miſchiefs they bring upon us. It was alſo believed this Buſineſs would have been liked by the Parliament, but I am as confident, as of this that is [Page 152] paſſed, that if the Parliament had met, neither this nor any thing that is like to engage us in any war, would have been endured by them, nor that they would have given a Penny towards it.
You will certainly have heard of a precious plot, carried on by a man of four names (who had been almoſt as many times in the pillory for perjury, and ſuch other pieces of wit) whereby the Preſbyterians ſhould be brought under the ſuſpicion of having one now on foot, which ſhould have given occaſion of bailing the Lords in the Tower: But he having had the ill luck to miſtake Manſell for Mansfield, carried a bundle of letters, he had forged, to a wrong place; and bringing ſome officers of the cuſtoms to ſearch [Page 153] Manſell's lodgings for Flanders lace, and other prohibited commodities, was fain to find them himſelf; but the miſtake of the ſuperſcription, which was to Mansfield, the ſeals not opened, and other circumſtances making the fraud to appear, the whole matter vaniſhed. About the ſame time another deſign of equal prudence and integrity was carried on to ſuborn Dugdale to renounce his teſtimony concerning the Popiſh plot; but he conſulted with ſome friends, placed two good witneſſes under the hanging to teſtify what the woman ſaid, who treated with him; and when he ſaw a fit time, diſcovered all to the council, ſo as that plot alſo is enervated. We hear of ſeveral other perſons that would more fully diſcover the Popiſh plot; [Page 154] but as things ſtand, none dares appear. Serjeant, long ſpoken of, hath depoſed what he knows, and, as I hear, delivered it into ſafe hands ſigned and ſealed. H. Sydney is ſaid to have made a very ill diſcourſe to him at the Hague, and if it come before the Parliament, will probably have evil effects. The Duke went towards Scotland on Monday, full of various imaginations, as is ſaid; but ſome underſtanding men think he hath nothing, that ought more to pleaſe him in his journey than good weather. There is a paper caſt about the town of the Earl of Danby his caſe, which makes a very ill one of it; and amongſt other things to prove he was not of the French faction, he ſays, he needs alledge only the French Ambaſſador's diſcourſes of him at [Page 155] Madam Mazarin's; this new Logick of proving a thing by a propoſition, either falſe, or as uncertain as itſelf, being looked upon as the invention of that excellent wit.
I am glad to hear of the dulneſs you obſerve in your neighbourhood, and wiſh you could find means to encreaſe it, believing that nothing elſe can keep them from taking advantage of our follies, as I am ſure the League would have done, if it had been accepted in Holland. H. Sydney arrived here yeſterday. The Duke his firſt lodging was at Hatfield; the Earl of Saliſbury being at Quickſhot, ſix miles off, ſent his ſon to excuſe his not coming to wait upon his Royal Highneſs, for that he had been let blood five days before. [Page 156] No proviſions for his entertainment appeared in the houſe, but two Does upon the table, one barrel of ſmall beer in the cellar, and a pile of faggots. The Duke's ſervants ſent into the town to buy all things neceſſary, even to candles, and to borrow candleſticks. The gentlemen of the neighbourhood were ſo charitable as to take the Lord of Oſſory and many others to their houſes, where they were well entertained. The Duke being unwilling to be burthenſome to a poor Lord, appointed Sir J. Worden to pay for what he had had, and the Steward took money for the faggots, and eight ſhillings for the barrel of beer. The Earl of Orrery is dead, and the Lord of Ormond hath made his ſon Arran, Major-General in his ſtead; that if the French invade [Page 157] that kingdom, the army commanded by himſelf and his two ſons may be fit to oppoſe them.
I am Your moſt humble and faithful Servant.
London, October 31.
WE are in a buſy time, and how empty ſoever any man's head hath formerly been, the variety of reports concerning things in agitation do ſo fill it, at the leaſt with an imagination of contributing ſomething to other men's inventions, that they have little leiſure to do any thing elſe. This obligeth me to write in haſte, and without any other conſideration than of the agreement made between you and me, to ſet down nothing but truth; to tell you in ſhort, that the firſt day of the Parliament the Lord Ruſſel [Page 159] named Mr. Williams to be Speaker, who being approved of without contradiction, was with little ceremony, and no excuſe made for himſelf, aſſented unto by the King. The two next days were ſpent in ſwearing the members of the houſe of Commons, and putting them to the teſt. On Monday the five and twentieth, the Committees were named, and a multitude of petitions concerning Elections preſented, and referred unto that of Privileges and Elections.
On Tueſday the 26th, Dangerfield was brought to the bar of the houſe of Commons, where he did declare himſelf poſitively, that the Duke had offered him a great ſum of money to kill the King. He alſo ſaid, that the [Page 160] Lord Privy Seal, Peterborough and Sir Robert Payton, were privy unto and contrivers of the Meal-Tub Plot. The ſame day the Lord Ruſſell, repreſenting the miſchiefs and dangers that threaten our nation, ſhewed the Duke to be the center of all. Sir H. Capell ſeconded him. Sir Francis Winnington made a Recapitulation of all that had been done ſince the laſt Parliament to the prejudice of the nation, in favour of Popery, and imputed the greateſt part thereof unto the ſame cauſe; whereupon a vote was paſſed by the houſe nemine contradicente, that the houſe ſhould proceed inceſſantly upon the further diſcovery of the plot, and the means of preventing a Popiſh ſucceſſor.
[Page 161] Wedneſday the 27th, Dangerfield was brought into the Speaker's chamber, and being put to his oath by a Juſtice of the Peace, did depoſe what he had formerly ſaid. Mr. Hide only and Sir Lionel Jenkins did ſpeak in favour of the Duke; and the latter having the ill luck to ſay, he did in his heart believe his Royal Highneſs was as good a Subject as any is in England, one, that was not far off, whiſper'd, "and as good a Proteſtant.
The ſame day complaint being made in the houſe of Commons of thoſe who had obſtructed Petitions, and ſome Members ſeverely anſwering ſuch as had been guilty thereof, Sir Robert Howard deſired the Houſe to proceed cautiouſly therein, his Majeſty having [Page 162] by Proclamation declared ſuch Petitions to be contrary to Law. Notwithſtanding which admonition, the Houſe did vote nemine contradicente, That it was, and had ever been the right of the Subjects of England to petition his Majeſty for the meeting and ſitting of Parliaments, until all petitions were heard and grievances redreſſed. In the ſecond place they appointed a Committee to examine who had been guilty of obſtructing ſuch Petitions, and therein betraying their Country. There are ſix or ſeven Members of the houſe of Commons ſaid to have declared themſelves deteſters and abhorrers of ſuch Petitions, who, as is thought, will be turned out of the Houſe without other ceremony.
An American Jew, lately interpreter to the laſt Portugal Embaſſador that was here, did teſtify before a Committee of the houſe of Lords, that he had been ſuborned by the ſaid Embaſſador to kill the Earl of Shaftſbury, by caſting Hand-granadoe's into his Coach as he ſhould be going to, or coming from Chelſea; and to find others to kill Arnold, Oates and Bedloe. He mention'd this at firſt in the phrenſy of a Fever, and finding that he had ſo diſcover'd himſelf, found no better way of ſecurity than to declare the whole to the Earl of Clarendon the firſt day of May laſt, and deliver'd unto him the whole matter [Page 164] in writing. The Earl doth neither deny the receipt of the papers, nor give any reaſon why he concealed it.
The Lord Halifax brought in a Bill for the ſpeedy diſcovery and conviction of Papiſts, and eaſe of Nonconformiſts, but ſo contrived, that both parties are almoſt equally incenſed againſt him for it. The houſe of Lords was on Thurſday turned into a Committee, and, as I hear, will be ſo every day, to conſider of it, and try whether it can be ſo mended, as to be uſeful unto the ends intended. I know not whether that can be done or no; but I could have wiſhed, that intending [Page 165] to oblige above a Million of men, that go under the name of Nonconformiſts, he had been pleaſed to conſult with one of that number, concerning the ways of doing it.
On Friday twenty-nine Lords and Commoners were invited by the Lord Mayor to his feaſt, and after dinner the Duke of Monmouth came to them. In his return he was accompanied by a great number of people, that ran to ſee him and Eſquire Thinne. It was obſerved that having formerly had a Bar in his Arms upon his Coach, it was then wiped out.
October the 30th Dugdale did declare unto the houſe of Commons, that Ewers the Jeſuit told him, there [Page 166] had been a conteſt between the Duke of York and Coleman; he complaining that the Duke put him upon buſineſſes that would bring him to be hanged, the Duke told him, he would ſecure his life, ſo he would hold his peace: Coleman anſwered, he could do ſo for the future; but he had already confeſſed ſo much unto his Friend Sir Edmond Godfrey, that it was in his Power to diſcover him and all his Buſineſs; whereupon the Duke replied, that ought not to trouble him, for order ſhould be taken to keep Godfrey from doing any hurt, which in a few days was performed by his death. Cann of Briſtol, and Withins Steward of Weſtminſter, are put out of the houſe of Commons for diſcountenancing and oppoſing Petitioning.
[Page 167] I believe To-morrow will be a great day in the houſe of Commons, in as much as it relates to the Duke; he is ſaid to be arrived in Scotland, but no certain news is come of him, ſince he was ſeen off from Newcaſtle on Monday laſt. If the orders ſent into Flanders from Spain concerning repriſals upon the Duke of Brandenburgh by ſea or land be executed (as is ſaid) by ſending two or three thouſand Horſe into the Pais de Cleves & de Juliers, I look upon the peace as broken; for the French will certainly defend it, or do the like in Flanders.
I am Your moſt humble and faithful Servant.
Nerac, December 18/28, 1682.
I Received yeſterday in one and the ſame packet three letters from you, of which one had paſſed through Paris whilſt I was there, and that would have ſpared me a journey of four hundred leagues, if I had then received it. This would have been a convenience unto me; but my obligation unto you is the ſame, and I ſo far acknowledge it to be the greateſt that I have in a long time received from any man, as not to value the leave you have obtained for me to return into my country after ſo long an abſence, at a lower [Page 170] rate than the ſaving of my life. You having proceeded thus far, I will, without any ſcruple, put myſelf intirely upon the King's word; and deſire you only to obtain a Paſs to ſignify it, and that his Majeſty is pleaſed to ſend for me; ſo as the officers of the ports or other places may not ſtop me, as they will be apt to do as ſoon as they know my name, if I have not that for my protection. You took that which had paſſed between you and me ſo rightly, that I have nothing to add unto it. I have no other buſineſs than what ſolely concerns my perſon and family. I deſire not to be a day in England unknown to the King, or his Miniſters; and will loſe no time in waiting upon the Secretary, as ſoon as I can after my arrival. I think it no ways reaſonable [Page 171] that I ſhould ſtay in England, if the King do not ſee, I may do it without any ſhadow or poſſibility of prejudice unto him; and unleſs I can ſatiſfy him in that point, I deſire no more than to return on this ſide the ſeas after the three months, where I intend to finiſh my days, without thinking any more of living in England. You ſee my thoughts ſimply expoſed; I beſeech you to accompliſh the work you have ſo well begun. Send your anſwer to Monſieur du Moulins, and believe no man in the world can be more obliged unto you, than
Your moſt humble and obedient Servant.
London, July 26, 1682.
I HAD not failed of ſeeing you, when you were here, if it could have been compaſſed by induſtry, for I was more than once at your old lodging in King-ſtreet, and the new one which I then heard you had taken near St. James's; but Courtiers are always in motion, ſo as to meet with them is as hard, as to ſhoot flying, and though my intention was to have done it, I found that ſkill was wanting. I was in that enquiry guided by my own inclinations unto you, and the knowledge of obligations received from you, [Page 173] both of which join in perſwading me to wiſh you in a way more ſuitable unto your humour, than that which engageth you in troubleſome removes to follow a Prince, who perhaps doth not always know his own mind, or that thinks it a part of his greatneſs to vex as many as he can. Thoſe that he ſent lately hither, ſpake of nothing ſo much as la gloire de leur Maitre; though perhaps there were more of true glory in the ſteadineſs of a little good common ſenſe, than in all the vanities and whimſies their heads are filled with. But if you find ſome inconvenience in being obliged in a degree to comply with them where you are, I doubt whether you would have been exempted from the like here, for even we that are afar off from that fire, are [Page 174] ſo much ſcorched by it, that we expect not trouble but ruin from it. I am, Sir,
Your moſt humble and faithful Servant.
Paris, Novemb. 14/24, 1682.
THE time that I have remained here beyond my expectation, might have given you leiſure to let me know what ſucceſs you had in the buſineſs you were pleaſed to ſpeak to me of, but the ſickneſs, which as I hear you fell into ſoon after your arrival, may have detained you, till you had reaſon to believe I was removed into a country far from this; but if your recovery give you opportunity of making an eſſay, I deſire you either to give your letter, by which I may know it, to my Lady Sunderland, to [Page 176] be ſent unto me, or direct it to Monſieur du Moulins, who is with your Nephew here, to be ſent after me. I have bought a Horſe of Mr. Porter, in which I think he hath dealt civilly with me, as he ſays, upon your conſideration, which I have reaſon to believe, and am very willing to acknowledge, as from a perſon from whom I receive much greater obligations, and to whom I ſhall be ever ready to render all that agrees with the title of
Your moſt humble and obedient Servant.