« ElőzőTovább »
depend on a broken reed, for it is impossible any men should be raised and accoutred there time enough to do service, and fit to do it.
Lastly, Though the Irish submit, yet Ireland will need a conside, rable English army. For that kingdom is much depopulated, and there will be danger of some French attempt. But, besides all this, he knows little of Ireland, who thinks that the Irish army (when disa banded) will ever be brought to work for their living. On the con. trary, many of them will turn tories ; so that, if there be not a good army in the kingdom, it will be as unsafe and troublesome as in time
OTHING in this world is, or ought to be so dear to any man, as his reputation; and consequently the defence of it is the greatest obligation that one man can lay on another. There are also some cir. cumstances, that render this obligation yet more acceptable and valu. able; as when it is conferred generously, without any self-interest, or the least desire or invitation from the person so defended. All this happens to be my case at this time; and therefore, I hope, you will not be surprised to find I am not the most ungrateful and in. sensible man living; which certainly I should be, if I did not ac, knowledge all your industrious concern for me, about the business of the ecclesiastical commission, which now makes so much noise in the world. You have, as I am told, so cordially pleaded my cause, that it is almost become your own; and therefore, as unwilling as I am to speak of myself, especially in a business which I cannot wholly ex, cuse; yet I think myself now a little obliged to shew my part in this mat. ter; though imprudent enough, yet is not altogether unworthy of so just and so considerable an advocate,
The less a man says of himself, the better; and it is so well known already, how I was kept out of all the secret councils, that I need not justify myelf, or trouble you, as to those matters; only I ap, peal to the unquestionable testimony of the Spanish ambassador, if I did not zealously and constantly take all occasions to oppose
the French interest; because I knew it directly opposite both to the king
and kingdom's good, which are indeed things inseparable, and ought to be so accounted, as a fundamental maxim in all councils of princes.
This, I hope, will prepare the way a little for what I have to say concerning my being one of the ecclesiastical commissioners; of which error I am now as sensible, as I was at first ignorant, being so unhappily conversant in the midst of a perpetual court-flattery, as never to have heard the least word of any illegality in that commis. sion, before I was unfortunately engaged in it.
For, though my lord of Canterbury had very prudently refused to be of it, yet it was talked at court, it proceeded only from his un. willingness to act at that time, and not from any illegality he sus. pected in the commission : having excused himself from it the most respectful way, by the infirmities he lay under. Being thus igno. rant of the laws, and in such a station at court, I need not desire a man of your judgment and candour, to consider the hardness of my case, when I was commanded to serve in a commission with a lord chancellor, a lord chief justice, and two bishops, who had all of them already acted some time there, without shewing the least diffidence of their power, or hesitation in the execution of it. And, perhaps, a man, of more discretion than I can pretend to, might have been easily persuaded to act in such a conjunction, and to think he might do it safely, both in law and conscience. But I need not say much to shew my desire to have avoided, if possible, a trouble. some employment, that had not the least temptation of honour or profit to recommend it; and which therefore I continued in upon no account in the world, but to serve both king and clergy with the little ability I had, in moderating those councils, which I thought might grow higher, if I left my place to be filled by any of those who waited for it greedily, in order to their ill designs.
And I may expect the more credit in this, when it is considered that the two important affairs which passed in that ecclesiastical court, being the Bishop of London's suspension, and the incapacita. ting the members of Magdalen College; the first was done some months before I was a commissioner, and I opposed the last, both in voting and speaking, and with all the interest I was able to make use of, which indeced was but little after that opposition; in which being out voted, I seldom came, and never acted in that court after, except to restore the bishop of London, though sent for continually, by reason of my lodging so near it.
And, since I have been forced to mention my good will at least, if not my service, to such learned men of the clergy who I thought de. served it, it may be allowed me to give this one instance more of it; that, although in preferring men to all other places of the hous. hold, I ever used to ask permission first, and, accordingly, was often refused, for the sake of Roman Catholicks, and others, who were recommended by persons more in favour than myself; yet I was so careful of keeping that considerable part of the family unmixed with mean or unworthy chaplains, whom others, I feared, would have imposed on his majesty, that I constantly filled up those vacancies,
plied them with the ablest approved divines I could possibly find,
favoura. ble opinion of me, which must be acknowledged by every body an approbation of such weight, that, as I hope it may be an example of authority to many, so it is sufficient of itself to balance the censo. riousness of others.
I am, Sir,
Your obliged humble Servant, White-Hall,
MULGRAVE. March 27, 1689.
FELLOW-COMMONER OF ENGLAND,
FELLOW.COMMONERS OF THE CONVENTION.
Printed in the year 1689. Quarto, containing eight pages.
Mr. SPEAKER, Tue
HE present providence deserves our most serious thoughts; and truly, Sir, I cannot but say, that we are extremely obliged to the great goodness and valour of the Prince of Orange, who, with such hazard and expence, has brought us so seasonable and eminent a de.. liverance from Popery, and, I hope, from arbitrary power also. Sir, we cannot give him too much, unless we give him more than our own (the crown I mean); we have been of a long time taught, that is not the gift or work of subjects. Sovereign princes have made bold with one another, but I am of opinion, whatever malice may suggest against his highness, he was too noble a soul to be guilty of such an attempt. He came not hither for greatness; he has it of his own, and brought it with him, and values being Optimus more than Maximus, which is the best way of joining that imperial stile together Optimus Maximus. I say, I am confident it is more than he will judge proper to receive, and that he will think it more for his glory to reduce the monarchy to its just and legal establishment, than to be king himself, and to secure us against Popery, than to lead us into the errors of it,
of which the most pestilentious are deposing princes, and breaking faith with hereticks.
Mr. Speaker, the prince is too great a disciple both of religion and honour, not to be satisfied with our doing what is agreeable to them ; and let us not press him out of his own sentiments, which have been the greatest and most heroick, that have appeared in this latter age of the world, lest, whilst we have taken arms to redress grievances, we do not draw greater upon ourselves, and that as well from abroad as at home.
For, Sir, when we believe Catholick princes to have zeal so un. seasonably fierce, and unsafe to other people, we cannot at the same time think they will tamely suffer a Catholick king to be kept out of his kingdom, for little more than being so; 'and I am afraid that this procedure may precipitate Ireland unto extremities; and, if it should follow the king to France, all sober sensible men know, of what ill consequence a revolt to that crown may be to this kingdom. We shall then, instead of invading France, find difficulties to preserve our own country; nor, for what I see, are we sure of being at peace here. The tide is mightily abated since the king's going from Rochester; those, that wished his humiliation in the government, will by no means hear of his exclusion and perdition, from the crown; they either believe the fault none of his, or not of weight enough to justify so extraordinary an example; kings must see and hear by the eyes and ears of others, which makes it their misfortune, rather than their crime, that they do amiss. We are also of a church that has been singular for her honour and deference to kings, and, if we have any for her, we ought to tread tenderly in this point; and, that we may be just, two things compel us to it for our
The first is, that the most of things that made the king's govern. ment so obnoxious have already been done in this. We have had a dispensing power exercised both at Exeter and at London; we have had free quarter constrained almost in all places where the Dutch army has marched; we have, in great part, a Popish army too, though that was one of the most crying offences we objected to the king, and from which we drew the most popular notions of our in. security; the very money, that is now. receiving, was asked with armies on foot, and all men will conclude, there was no refusing a proposal so seconded; and, how far our famous petition of right may be concerned in this, the gentlemen of the law must determine. But, I dare say,
this very loan could not escape this censure under a lawful prince; and, under our present circumstances, we cannot reasonably think the case better,
Nor is this all. The second reason of our caution is, the little truth, that at last appears in those many stories, that, above any charge, seemed to alienate the hearts of his subjects from his majesty, and to dissolve that tie of affection and duty they had to him, as his sub, jects. Such as, the alarms we had here of a French invasion; the king's selling the kingdom for five millions sterling; the Irish kill, ing man, woman, and child upon the roads; the French embarked
for the west, but met and sunk by the Dutch; the forty-thousand new-fashioned knives of slaughter; the queen's back.door for bringing to bed a supposititious child; her cuffing the Earl of Craven and the Princess Anne, with forty more of that stamp, which time hath proved as malicious as false; how much they have influenced to this present great change, is not unworthy of our just thoughts and an. swer, and, in my opinion, it calls upon us as loudly for a speedy reparation.
Mr. Speaker, these are the things that have driven the king out of England; and, if it can be proved that the Prince of Wales is an impostor, and that there was a league with France to cut off Pro. testants, I think nothing has befallen him, too hard measure for him. But, truly Sir, it is upon no other terms that the people of England will part with their king, or with any patience think of the usage he has got upon that supposition. But it is objected that some of those that were in arms are in apprehension, lest their estates and lives should be at the mercy of the king, in case he returns. I think that the king will be so far from expecting, and the nation from yielding to it, that they must not only be all pardoned, but those lords and gentlemen, that have been the noble assertors of our English liberties at this juncture, must be posted in the greatest places of honour and trust. I hope the king himself will see it his interest to leave off little and parasitical favourites, and be willing, that such be employed in all his affairs, as his perple can confide in, and, as will use their preferments for the honour of their prince, and the good of his subjects.
Mr. Speaker, the objection against the king's return, upon the account of having deserted his kingdoms, by going into France, I am astonished at it, since it is plain, he did not voluntarily desert us, as the Queen of Sweden did her kingdom, but was attacked from abroad, and deserted at home: Consequently, Sir, that cannot be in good morality, as well as law, a demise, forfeiture, surrender, or abdication of the crown of England.
Mr. Speaker, I fear, that, if I have not tired your patience, I have been, at least, ordinary long for some members of a contrary judg. ment, who sit in this convention, and, therefore, I shall add this humble caution, that our convention; consider well their power, which, I do conceive, is too scanty to make a new king, though it may call home that to whom we have most, if not all of us, sworn allegiance. Nay, let me say further, if our case were so desperate, that no remedy would serve but creating a new king, our convention has not cnough of our fellow subjects for the rest to be concluded by. When things are transacted, according to the known laws and ancient customs, the usual deputies may deliver and state the intentions of the people; but, when so many and great alterations must be made in the building, that is to be for the common convenience, every mau thinketh himself worthy to be consulted, as well as the greatest archie tect, when he is to dwell in the house. Parliaments, that are called by kings, cannot make kings, and a convention not called by a king, and as narrow-bottomed as a parliament, is yet less nor a para