« ElőzőTovább »
great height, to such a height, indeed, I enjoyed the highest personal consideras seems to have excited the jealousy ation. He was surrounded by objects of his friend Arlington. While London interesting in the highest degree to a and Amsterdam resounded with accla- man of his observant turn of mind. mations of joy, the Secretary, in very He had no wearing labour, no heavy cold official language, communicated to responsibility; and, if he had no opporhis friend the approbation of the King; tunity of adding to his high reputation, and, lavish as the Government was of he ran no risk of impairing it. titles and of money, its ablest servant But evil times were at hand. Though was neither ennobled nor enriched. Charles had for a moment deviated
Temple’s next mission was to Aix- into a wise and dignified policy, his la-Chapelle, where a general congress heart had always been with France ; met for the purpose of perfecting the and France employed every means of work of the Triple Alliance. On his seduction to lure him back. His imroad he received abundant proofs of patience of control, his greediness for the estimation in which he was held. money, his passion for beauty, his Salutes were fired from the walls of family affections, all his tastes, all his the towns through which he passed ; feelings, were practised on with the the population poured forth into the utmost dexterity. His interior Cabinet streets to see him; and the magistrates was now composed of men such as that entertained him with speeches and ban- generation, and that generation alone, quets. After the close of the negotiations produced; of men at whose audacious at Aix he was appointed Ambassador profligacy the renegades and jobbers of at the Hague. But in both these mis- our own time look with the same sort sions he experienced much vexation of admiring despair with which our from the rigid, and, indeed, unjust sculptors contemplate the Theseus, and parsimony of the Government. Pro- our painters the Cartoons. To be a fuse to many unworthy applicants, the real, hearty, deadly enemy of the liberMinisters were niggardly to him alone. ties and religion of the nation was, in They secretly disliked his politics; and that dark conclave, an honourable disthey seem to have indemnified them- tinction, a distinction which belonged selves for the humiliation of adopting only to the daring and impetuous Clifhis measures, by cutting down his ford. His associates were men to whom salary and delaying the settlement of all creeds and all constitutions were his outfit.
alike; who were equally ready to proAt the Hague he was received with fess the faith of Geneva, of Lambeth, cordiality by De Witt, and with the and of Rome; who were equally ready most signal marks of respect by the to be tools of power without any sense States-General. His situation was in of loyalty, and stirrers of sedition withone point extremely delicate. The out any zeal for freedom. Prince of Orange, the hereditary chief It was hardly possible even for a of the faction opposed to the adminis- man so penetrating as De Witt to foretration of De Witt, was the nephew see to what depths of wickedness and of Charles. To preserve the confi- infamy this execrable administration dence of the ruling party, without would descend. Yet, many signs of showing any want of respect to so near the great woe which was coming on a relation of his own master, was no Europe, the visit of the Duchess of Oreasy task. But Temple acquitted him- leans to her brother, the unexplained self so well that he appears to have mission of Buckingham to Paris, the been in great favour, both with the sudden occupasjon of Lorraine by the Grand Pensionary and with the Prince. French, made the Grand Pensionary
In the main, the years which he uneasy; and his alarm increased when spent at the Hague seem, in spite of he learned that Temple had received some pecuniary difficulties occasioned orders to repair instantly to London. by the ill-will of the English Ministers, De Witt earnestly pressed for an exto have passed very agreeably. He planation Temple very sincerely
replied that he hoped that the English with great vehemence, that the States Ministers would adhere to the prin- had behaved basely, that De Witt was ciples of the Triple Alliance. “I can a rogue and a rascal, that it was answer," he said, “only for myself. below the King of England, or any But that I can do. If a new system is other king, to have any thing to do to be adopted, I will never have any with such wretches; that this ought to part in it. I have told the King so ; be made known to all the world, and and I will make my words good. If that it was the duty of the Minister at I return you will know more: and if I the Hague to declare it publicly. Temdo not return you will guess more.” ple commanded his temper as well as De Witt smiled, and answered that he he could, and replied calmly and firmly, would hope the best, and would do all that he should make no such declarain his power to prevent others from tion, and that, if he were called upon to forming unfavourable surmises. . give his opinion of the States and their
In October, 1670, Temple reached Ministers, he would say exactly what London ; and all his worst suspicions he thought. were immediately more than confirmed. He now saw clearly that the tempest He repaired to the Secretary's house, was gathering fast, that the great aland was kept an hour and a half wait- liance which he had formed and over ing in the ante-chamber, whilst Lord which he had watched with parental Ashley was closeted with Arlington. care was about to be dissolved, that When at length the doors were thrown times were at hand when it would be open, Arlington was dry and cold, necessary for him, if he continued in asked trifling questions abont the voy- public life, either to take part decidedly age, and then, in order to escape from against the Court, or to forfeit the high the necessity of discussing business, reputation which he enjoyed at home called in his daughter, an engaging and abroad. He began to make prelittle girl of three years old, who was parations for retiring altogether from long after described by poets" as business. He enlarged a little garden dressed in all the bloom of smiling na- which he had purchased at Sheen, and ture," and whom Evelyn, one of the laid out some money in ornamenting witnesses of her inauspicious marriage, his house there. He was still nomimournfully designated as “the sweetest, nally ambassador to Holland; and the hopefullest, most beautiful child, and English Ministers continued during most virtuous too." Any particular some months to flatter the States with conversation was impossible : and the hope that he would speedily return. Temple, who with all his constitutional At length, in June, 1671, the designs or philosophical indifference, was suf- of the Cabal were ripe. The infamous ficiently sensitive on the side of vanity, treaty with France had been ratified. felt this treatment keenly. The next The season of deception was past, and day he offered himself to the notice of that of insolence and violence had arthe King, who was snuffing up the rived. Temple received his formal morning air and feeding his ducks in dismission, kissed the King's hand, was the Mall. Charles was civil, but, like repaid for his services with some of Arlington, carefully avoided all con- those vague compliments and promises versation on politics. Temple found which cost so little to the cold heart, that all his most respectable friends the easy temper, and the ready tongue were entirely excluded from the secrets of Charles, and quietly withdrew to of the inner council, and were awaiting his little nest, as he called it, at Sheen. in anxiety and dread for what those There he amused himself with garmysterious deliberations might produce. dening, which he practised so successAt length he obtained a glimpse of fully that the fame of his fruit-trees light. The bold spirit and fierce pas- soon spread far and wide. But letters sions of Clifford made him the most were his chief solace. He had, as we unfit of all men to be the keeper of a have mentioned, been from his youth momentous secret. He told Temple, in the habit of diverting himself with
composition. The clear and agreeable or accurate reasoner, but was an excellanguage of his despatches had early lent observer, that he had no call to attracted the notice of his employers; philosophical speculation, but that he and, before the peace of Breda, he had, was qualified to excel as a writer of at the request of Arlington, published Memoirs and Travels. a pamphlet on the war, of which no- While Temple was engaged in these thing is now known, except that it had pursuits, the great storm which had some vogue at the time, and that long been brooding over Europe burst Charles, not a contemptible judge, pro- with such fury as for a moment seemed nounced it to be very well written. to threaten ruin to all free governments, Temple had also, a short time before and all Protestant churches. France he began to reside at the Hague, and England, without seeking for any written a treatise on the state of Ire- decent pretext, declared war against land, in which he showed all the feel- Holland. The immense armies of ings of a Cromwellian. He had gra- Lewis poured across the Rhine, and dually formed a style singularly lucid invaded the territory of the United Proand melodious, superficially deformed, vinces. The Dutch seemed to be paraindeed, by Gallicisms and Hispanicisms, lysed by terror. Great towns opened picked up in travel or in negotiation, their gates to straggling parties. Rebut at the bottom pure English, which giments flung down their arms without generally flowed along with careless seeing an enemy. Guelderland, Overyssimplicity, but occasionally rose even sel, Utrecht were overrun by the coninto Ciceronian magnificence. The querors. The fires of the French camp length of his sentences has often been were seen from the walls of Amsterremarked. But in truth this length is dam. In the first madness of despair only apparent. A critic who considers the devoted people turned their rage as one sentence every thing that lies against the most illustrious of their between two full stops will undoubt- fellow-citizens. De Ruyter was saved edly call Temple's sentences long. But with difficulty from assassins. De Witt a critic who examines them carefully was torn to pieces by an infuriated will find that they are not swollen by rabble. No hope was left to the Comparenthetical matter, that their struc- monwealth, save in the dauntless, the ture is scarcely ever intricate, that they ardent, the indefatigable, the uncon-are formed merely by accumulation, querable spirit which glowed under the and that, by the simple process of now frigid demeanour of the young Prince and then leaving out a conjunction, of Orange. and now and then substituting a full That great man rose at once to the stop for a semicolon, they might, with full dignity of his part, and approved out any alteration in the order of the himself a worthy descendant of the words, be broken up into very short line of heroes who had vindicated the periods, with no sacrifice except that liberties of Europe against the house of euphony. The long sentences of of Austria. Nothing could shake his Hooker and Clarendon, on the contrary, fidelity to his country, not his close are really long sentences, and cannot connection with the royal family of be turned into short ones, without being England, not the most earnest solicitaentirely taken to pieces.
tions, not the most tempting offers. The best known of the works which The spirit of the nation, that spirit Temple composed during his first re- which had maintained the great contreat from official business are an fict against the gigantic power of Essay on Government, which seems to Philip, revived in all its strength. us exceedingly childish, and an Account Counsels, such as are inspired by a of the United Provinces, which we generous despair, and are almost alvalue as a master-piece in its kind. ways followed by a speedy dawn of Whoever compares these two treatises hope, were gravely concerted by the will probably agree with us in think- statesmen of Holland. To open their ing that Temple was not a very deep dykes, to man their ships, to leave their country, with all its miracles of art and the manner the other half. Liberal industry, its cities, its canals, its villas, men would have rejoiced to see a toleits pastures, and its tulip gardens, ration granted, at least to all Protestant buried under the waves of the German sects. Many high churchmen had no ocean, to bear to a distant climate objection to the King's dispensing power. their Calvinistic faith and their old But a tolerant act done in an unconBatavian liberties, to fix, perhaps with stitutional way excited the opposition happier auspices, the new Stadthouse of all who were zealous either for the of their Commonwealth, under other Church or for the privileges of the peostars, and amidst a strange vegetation, ple, that is to say, of ninety-nine Engin the Spice Islands of the Eastern lishmen out of a hundred. The Minisseas; such were the plans which they ters were, therefore, most unwilling to had the spirit to form; and it is seldom meet the Houses. Lawless and despethat men who have the spirit to form rate as their counsels were, the boldest such plans are reduced to the necessity of them had too much value for his of executing them.
neck to think of resorting to benevoThe Allies had, during a short lences, privy-seals, ship-money, or any period, obtained success beyond their of the other unlawful modes of extorhopes. This was their auspicious mo- tion which had been familiar to the ment. They neglected to improve it. preceding age. The audacious fraud It passed away; and it returned no of shutting up the Exchequer furnished more. The Prince of Orange arrested them with about twelve hundred thouthe progress of the French armies. sand pounds, a sum which, even in Lewis returned to be amused and flat- better hands than theirs, would not tered at Versailles. The country was have sufficed for the war-charges of a under water. The winter approached. single year. And this was a step The weather became stormy. The which could never be repeated, a step fleets of the combined kings could no which, like most breaches of public longer keep the sea. The republic had faith, was speedily found to have caused obtained a respite ; and the circum- pecuniary difficulties greater than those stances were such that a respite was, which it removed. All the money in a military view, important, in a poli- that could be raised was gone; Holtical view almost decisive.
land was not conquered, and the The alliance against Holland, for- King had no resource but in a Parliamidable as it was, was yet of such a ment. nature that it could not succeed at all, Had a general election taken place unless it succeeded at once. The Eng- at this crisis, it is probable that the lish Ministers could not carry on the country would have sent up representawar without money. They could le- tives as resolutely hostile to the Court gally obtain money only from the Par- as those who met in November, 1640; liament; and they were most unwilling that the whole domestic and foreign to call the Parliament together. The policy of the Government would have measures which Charles had adopted been instantly changed; and that the at home were even more unpopular members of the Cabal would have exthan his foreign policy. He had bound piated their crimes on Tower Hill. himself by a treaty with Lewis to re- But the House of Commons was still establish the Catholic religion in Eng- the same which had been elected land; and, in pursuance of this design, twelve years before, in the midst of he had entered on the same path the transports of joy, repentance, and which his brother afterwards trod with loyalty which followed the Restoration; greater obstinacy to a more fatal end. and no pains had been spared to atThe King had annulled, by his own tach it to the Court by places, ponsole authority, the laws against Catho- sions, and bribes. To the great mass lics and other dissenters. The matter of the people it was scarcely less of the Declaration of Indulgence exas- odious than the Cabinet itself. Yet, perated one half of his subjects, and though it did not immediately proceed to those strong measures which a new policy of the Cabinet, and declared House would in all probability have himself on the side of the House of adopted, it was sullen and unmanage Commons. Even that age had not able, and undid, slowly indeed, and by witnessed so portentous a display of degrees, but most effectually, all that the impudence. Ministers had done. In one session it. The King, by the advice of the annihilated their system of internal go- French Court, which cared much more vernment. In a second session it gave about the war on the Continent than a death-blow to their foreign policy. about the conversion of the English
The dispensing power was the first heretics, determined to save his foreign object of attack. The Commons would policy at the expense of his plans in not expressly approve the war ; but favour of the Catholic church. He neither did they as yet expressly con- obtained a supply; and in return for demn it ; and they were even willing this concession he cancelled the Declato grant the King a supply for the pur-ration of Indulgence, and made a formal pose of continuing hostilities, on con- renunciation of the dispensing power dition that he would redress internal before he prorogued the Houses. grievances, among which the Declaration But it was no more in his power to of Indulgence held the foremost place. go on with the war than to maintain
Shaftesbury, who was Chancellor, his arbitrary system at home. His saw that the game was up, that he had Ministry, betrayed within, and fiercely got all that was to be got by siding assailed from without, went rapidly to with despotism and Popery, and that pieces. Clifford threw down the white it was high time to think of being a staff, and retired to the woods of Ugdemagogue and a good Protestant. brook, vowing, with bitter tears, that The Lord Treasurer Clifford was he would never again see that turbumarked out by his boldness, by his lent city, and that perfidious Court. openness, by his zeal for the Catholic Shaftesbury was ordered to deliver up religion, by something which, compared the Great Seal, and instantly carried with the villany of his colleagues, might over his front of brass and his tongue almost be called honesty, to be the of poison to the ranks of the Opposiscapegoat of the whole conspiracy. tion. The remaining members of the The King came in person to the House Cabal had neither the capacity of the of Peers for the purpose of requesting late Chancellor, nor the courage and their Lordships to mediate between enthusiasm of the late Treasurer. him and the Commons touching the They were not only unable to carry Declaration of Indulgence. He re- on their former projects, but began to mained in the House while his speech tremble for their own lands and heads. was taken into consideration; a com- The Parliament, as soon as it again met, mon practice with him; for the debates began to murmur against the alliance amused his sated mind, and were some- with France and the war with Holland; times, he used to say, as good as a and the murmur gradually swelled into comedy. A more sudden turn his a fierce and terrible clamour. Strong Majesty had certainly never seen in resolutions were adopted against Lauany comedy of intrigue, either at his derdale and Buckingham. Articles of own play-house, or at the Duke's, than impeachment were exhibited against that which this memorable debate pro- Arlington. The Triple Alliance was duced. The Lord Treasurer spoke mentioned with reverence in every dewith characteristic ardour and intre- bate; and the eyes of all men were pidity in defence of the Declaration. turned towards the quiet orchard, When he sat down, the Lord Chan- where the author of that great league cellor rose from the woolsack, and, to was amusing himself with reading and the amazement of the King and of the gardening. House, attacked Clifford, attacked the Temple was ordered to attend the Declaration for which he had himself King, and was charged with the office spoken in Council, gave up the whole of negotiating a separate peace with