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1708) Godolphin and Marlborough went together to the Book I, Queen a little before the hour at which a Cabinet Council Tiitc,...had been summoned. They told her they must quit her ""l',"^'1' service, since they saw that she was resolved not to part «u"Msa with Harley. 'She seemed,' says Bishop Burnet, ' not much concerned at the Lord Godolphin's offering to lay down; and it was believed to be a part of Harley's new scheme to remove him. But she was much touched with the Duke of Marlborough's offering to quit, and studied, with some soft expressions, to divert him from that resolu- B.m,ct. tion; but he was firm; and she did not yield to them.' ""'JZ'f„„ri So they both went away, without attending the Council, ' to ^ the wonder of the whole Court.' («iit. lbsy.
When the Council met, it became part of Harley's duty as Secretary to deliver to the Queen a memorial relating to the conduct of the war. The Duke of Somerset rose, as the Secretary was about to read it, and with the words 'If Your Majesty suffers that fellow ' (pointing to Harley) ^f° 'to treat affairs of the war without the General's advice, I King, 12 ^b. cannot serve you,'abruptly left the Council. 'The rest,' c'0mP. according to Burnet, 'looked so cold and sullen that the f^"**'" Cabinet Council was soon at an end.'
Whilst a result which—for the time—had thus become so plainly inevitable, remained still doubtful, Harley had imposed on himself the humiliating task of assuring the Duke of Marlborough of the honesty of his former professions of attachment. 'I have never writ anything to Hablus you,' said he, 'but what T really thought and intended.' "b„mthv And then he went on to say :—' I have for near two years ^"TAET" seen the storm coming upon me, and now I find I am to reb-1708be sacrificed to sly insinuations and groundless jealousies.' These words were written in September, 1707. On the
Booii. 1 Oth of February in the following year, Marlborough had, Turcot- at length, the satisfaction of writing from St. James' to a °' foreign correspondent:—' Mr. Secretary Harley has this M!iS afternoon given up the seals of office to the Queen. Between Marlborough ourselves he richly deserves what has befallen him.'* Among wratT.L the two or three friends who went out with Harley was ioTM..im Henry St. John.
For the next two years and a half, Harley's principal Te'ioui occupation was to prepare the way for a return, in kind, of Aoainstth* the defeat thus inflicted upon him. Some of the steps by Ministry.' which he achieved his end are among the most familiar oo-mo portions 0f our political history. But from the necessities of the case it has been, and probably it must continue to be, one of those portions in which the basis of truth can scarcely, by any researches that are now possible, be separated from the large admixture of falsehood built thereon by party animosities.
His own correspondence shows that strong hopes of success in the effort were entertained within eight months of his dismissal. It shows also that the channel employed, unsuccessfully, in 170S, was that which became an effectual one in 1710.
* In the interval between June, 1707 (after the Union with Scotland), and February, 1708, the following entries occur in the Council Books :—
'1 July, 1707. The Rt. Hon. Robert Harley, one of Her Majesty's principal Secretaries of State, delivered up the old signet of office— which was thereupon broken before Her Majesty—and received a new one by the Queen's command.' The entry is followed by the note:— 'This order was thus drawn by Mr. Harley's particular direction.' [Register of Privy Council, Anne, vol. iii, p. 395.)
'8 January, 170J. The Rt. Hon. R. Harley, . . . having this day presented to Her Majesty in her Privy Council a new signet with supporters, Her Majesty was pleased to deliver it back to him, whereupon he returned to Her Majesty the old signet, which was immediately defaced,' Sus. (Ib., p. 485.)
Early in October, Harley received from the Court an Booki, unsigned letter in which these passages occur :—' The Queen Thk Colstands her ground and refuses to enter into any capitula- J^.th*°' tion with the [Whig Lords]. She has not hitherto con- »«»« "assented to offer or hear of any terms. The Lord T[reasure]r desired she might allow him to treat with 'em, and the Duke of S[o.merse]t was employed to persuade her, but she was inflexible. The Lord Treasurer offered to resign the Staff, but she would neither take the Staff nor advice from him, and he went to Newmarket without gettiug any powers or leave to treat. . . . Your friend cannot answer H"rl0*
1 t Corres|>. Hi
for the event. ... I will add no more but that your friend M3.u«rL thinks your being here is very necessary, and that Her Majesty .... would be the better of assistance and good advice.'
It was not, however, until the 8th of August, 1710, that the Godoli'uin Ministry was dismissed. Two days afterwards, Harley was made Chancellor of the Exchequer; the Treasury being put into commission.
He entered upon that office amidst enormous obstacles. ti"cha!«
His enemies were unable to deny that his exertions to over- Okthk come the difficulties in his path were marked by financial 1710, ability, and by a large measure of temporary success. But August as little can it be denied that the immediate triumph laid the groundwork of public troubles to come.
His own account of the situation of affairs, and of the methods taken to improve it, must, of course, be read with the due allowance. The pith of it lies in these sentences: —' The army was in the field. There was no money in the Treasury. None of the remitters would contract again. The Bank had recently refused to lend the Lord Treasurer Godolphin a hundred thousand pounds. The Army and Navy Services were in debt nearly eleven millions. The
«~»«r, CivO List owed ioOO.OOO. The annual deficit was, at T.'i*r,„.. least, a hundred and twenty-four thousand pounds. The new Commia.-iior.er3 of the Treasury, nevertheless, made provision, within a few days of their appointment, for paving the Army hy the greatest remittance that was ever known. When Parliament met, on the 27th of November, oTM*'*' fun(k ^ad ^een prepared for the service of the rear, and a plan was submitted for easing the nation of nine miilionsof debt.'
Haklet was scarcely warm in his new office before he made the acquaintance of Swift, then full of ambitious though vague schemes for the future, and very angry with the leaders of the Whig party for the coolness with which his proffers, both of counsel and of service, had lately been received.
r..«rTr«- \i the time of his introduction to Harlet, Swift's immediate business in London consisted in soliciting from the Government a remission of first-fruits to the clergy of Ireland. His nominal colleagues in that trust were the Bishops of Ossory and Killaloe, but the whole weight of the negotiations rested upon Swift's shoulders. His treatment of it soon displayed his parts. The Minister saw that he was both able and willing to render efficient political service. To the intercourse so begun we owe a life-like portraiture of Harley, under all his aspects, and in every mood of mind. Nor is the depicter himself anywhere seen under stronger light than in those passages of his journal which narrate, from day to day, the rise and fall of the Government founded on the unstable alliance between [iarlet and St. John.
Of their first interview Swift notes:—'I was brought privately to Mr. Haulky, who received me with the greatest respect and kindness imaginable.' Of the second :—' We
were two hours alone. ... He read a memorial I had drawn Book I, up, and put it into his pocket to show the Queen; told me Stcilthe measures he would take, .... told me he must bring ^"OE 1
Mr. St. John and me acquainted ; and spoke so *"»ny things of personal kindness and esteem for me, that I am inclined half to believe what some friends have told ine, that he would do everything to bring me over.' When the promised ^^'/n interview with Secretary St. John comes to be diarized in ^k^,I"ji its turn:—' He told me,' says Swift, 'among other things, Pps?; that Mr. Harley complained he could keep nothing from me, I had the way so much of getting into him.' I knew
that was a refinement It is hard to see these great
men using me like one who was their betters, and the puppies with you in Ireland hardly regarding me.' Not many weeks had passed before Swift's pen was at work in defence of the measures of the Government with an energy, a practical and versatile ability, of which, up to that date, there had been scarcely an example, brilliant as was the roll of contemporary writers who had taken sides in the political strife. Swift's defects, as well as his merits, armed him for his task.
Nor had he been long engaged upon it before he marked, very distinctly, the character both of the rewards to which he aspired, and of the personal independence which he was determined to maintain, in his own fashion.
One day, as he took his leave of Harley, after dining with him, the Minister placed in his hand a fifty pound note. He returned it angrily. And he met Harley's next invitation by a refusal. Then comes this entry in his diary:—' I was this morning early with Mr. Lewis, of the Secretary's office, and saw a letter Mr. Harley had sent to him desiring to be reconciled j but I was deaf to all entreaties, and have desired Lewis to go to him and let