German language, and did not easily midable than any which they had reaaccommodate himself to the manners son to apprehend from each other. of the people. He could not bear The old enemy of their independence much wine ; and none but a hard and of their religion was no longer to drinker had any chance of success in be dreaded. The sceptre had passed Westphalian society. Under all these away from Spain. That mighty emdisadvantages, however, he gave so pire, on which the sun never set, which much satisfaction that he was created had crushed the liberties of Italy and a baronet, and appointed resident at Germany, which had occupied Paris the viceregal court of Brussels. with its armies, and covered the Bri

Brussels suited Temple far better tish seas with its sails, was at the mercy than the palaces of the boar-hunting of every spoiler ; and Europe observed and wine-bibbing princes of Germany. with dismay the rapid growth of a new He now occupied one of the most im- | and more formidable power. Men portant posts of observation in which looked to Spain and saw only weaka diplomatist could be stationed. He ness disguised and increased by pride, was placed in the territory of a great dominions of vast bulk and little neutral power, between the territories strength, tempting, unwieldy, and deof two great powers which were at war fenceless, an empty treasury, a sullen with England. From this excellent and torpid nation, a child on the throne, school he soon came forth the most factions in the council, ministers who accomplished negotiator of his age. served only themselves, and soldiers

In the mean time the government who were terrible only to their countryof Charles had suffered a succession of men. Men looked to France, and saw a humiliating disasters. The extrava- large and compact territory, a rich soil, gance of the court had dissipated all a central situation, a bold, alert, and inthe means which Parliament had sup- genious people, large revenues, numeplied for the purpose of carrying on rous and well-disciplined troops, an acOffensive hostilities. It was determined tive and ambitious prince, in the flower to wage only a defensive war ; and of his age, surrounded by generals of even for defensive war the vast re- unrivalled skill. The projects of Lewis sources of England, managed by triflers could be counteracted only by ability, and public robbers, were found insuf- vigour, and union on the part of his ficient. The Dutch insulted the British neighbours. Ability and vigour had coasts, sajled up the Thames, took hitherto been found in the councils of Sheerness, and carried their ravages to Holland alone, and of union there was Chatham. The blaze of the ships burn-no appearance in Europe. The quesing in the river was seen at London : ittion of Portuguese independence sewas rumoured that a foreign army had parated England from Spain. Old landed at Gravesend ; and military grudges, recent hostilities, maritime men seriously proposed to abandon the pretensions, commercial competition Tower. To such a depth of infamy separated England as widely from the had a bad administration reduced that United Provinces. proud and victorious country, which a The great object of Lewis, from the few years before had dictated its plea- beginning to the end of his reign, was sure to Mazarine, to the States-General, the acquisition of those large and valuand to the Vatican. Humbled by the able provinces of the Spanish monarevents of the war, and dreading the chy, which lay contiguous to the eastjust anger of Parliament, the English ern frontier of France. Already, beMinistry hastened to huddle up a peace fore the conclusion of the treaty of with France and Holland at Breda. Breda, he had invaded those provinces.

But a new scene was about to open. He now pushed on his conquests with It had already been for some time ap- scarcely any resistance. Fortress after parent to discerning observers, that fortress was taken. Brussels itself was England and Holland were threatened in danger ; and Temple thought it wise by a common danger, much more for- to send his wife and children to Eng

land. But his sister, Lady Giffard, to the eternal doublings and evasions who had been some time his inmate, which passed for great feats of statesand who seems to have been a more manship among the Spanish politiimportant personage in his family than cians at Brussels. “Whoever,” he his wife, still remained with him. wrote to Arlington, “deals with M. de

De Witt saw the progress of the Witt must go the same plain way that French arms with painful anxiety. But he pretends to in his negotiations, withit was not in the power of Holland out refining or colouring or offering alone to save Flanders ; and the diffi- shadow for substance." Temple was culty of forming an extensive coalition scarcely less struck by the modest for that purpose appeared almost insu- dwelling and frugal table of the first perable. Lewis, indeed, affected mo- citizen of the richest state in the world. deration. He declared himself willing While Clarendon was amazing London to agree to a compromise with Spain. with a dwelling more sumptuous than But these offers were undoubtedly mere the palace of his master, while Arlingprofessions, intended to quiet the appre- ton was lavishing his ill-gotten wealth hensions of the neighbouring powers; on the decoys and orange-gardens and and, as his position became every day interminable conservatories of Euston, more and more advantageous, it was the great statesman who had frustrated to be expected that he would rise in all their plans of conquest, and the his demands.

roar of whose guns they had heard with Such was the state of affairs when terror even in the galleries of WhiteTemple obtained from the English hall, kept only a single servant, walked Ministry permission to make a tour in about the streets in the plainest garb, Holland incognito. In company with and never used a coach except for visits Lady Giffard he arrived at the Hague. of ceremony. He was not charged with any public Temple sent a full account of his incommission, but he availed himself of terview with De Witt to Arlington, this opportunity of introducing himself who, in consequence of the fall of the to De Witt. “My only business, sir,” Chancellor, now shared with the Duke he said, “is to see the things which are of Buckingham the principal direction most considerable in your country, and of affairs. Arlington showed no disI should execute my design very im-position to meet the advances of the perfectly if I went away without seeing Dutch minister. Indeed, as was amply you.” De Witt, who from report had proved a few years later, both he and formed a high opinion of Temple, was his master were perfectly willing to pleased by the compliment, and re- purchase the means of misgoverning plied with a frankness and cordiality England by giving up, not only Flanwhich at once led to intimacy. The ders, but the whole Continent to France. two statesmen talked calmly over the Temple, who distinctly saw that a mocauses which had estranged England ment had arrived at which it was posfrom Holland, congratulated each other sible to reconcile his country with Holon the peace, and then began to dis- land, to reconcile Charles with the Parcuss the new dangers which menaced liament, to bridle the power of Lewis, Europe. Temple, who had no autho-to efface the shame of the late ignomirity to say any thing on behalf of the nious war, to restore England to the English Government, expressed him- same place in Europe which she had self very guardedly. De Witt, who occupied under Cromwell, became more was himself the Dutch Government, had and more urgent in his representations. no reason to be reserved. He openly Arlington's replies were for some time declared that his wish was to see a couched in cold and ambiguous terms. general coalition formed for the pre- But the events which followed the servation of Flanders. His simplicity meeting of Parliament, in the autumn and openness amazed Temple, who had of 1667, appear to have produced an been accustomed to the affected solem- entire change in his views. The disnity of his patron, the Secretary, and content of the nation was deep and

general. The administration was at- evening of the first of January, 1668, tacked in all its parts. The King and a council was held, at which Charles the ministers laboured, not unsuccess- declared his resolution to unite with fully, to throw on Clarendon the blame the Dutch on their own terms. Temple of past miscarriages ; but though the and his indefatigable sister immediately Commons were resolved that the late sailed again for the Hague, and, after Chancellor should be the first victim, it weathering a violent storm in which was by no means clear that he would they were very nearly lost, arrived in be the last. The Secretary was per- safety at the place of their destination. sonally attacked with great bitterness On this occasion, as on every other, in the course of the debates. One of the dealings between Temple and De the resolutions of the Lower House Witt were singularly fair and open. against Clarendon was in truth a cen- When they met, Temple began by resure of the foreign policy of the Go-capitulating what had passed at their vernment, as too favourable to France. last interview. De Witt, who was as To these events chiefly we are inclined little given to lying with his face as to attribute the change which at this with his tongue, marked his assent by crisis took place in the measures of his looks while the recapitulation proEngland. The Ministry seem to have ceeded, and, when it was concluded, felt that, if they wished to derive any answered that Temple's memory was advantage from Clarendon's downfall, perfectly correct, and thanked him for it was necessary for them to abandon proceeding in so exact and sincere a what was supposed to be Clarendon's manner. Temple then informed the system, and by some splendid and popu- Grand Pensionary that the King of lar measure to win the confidence of England had determined to close with . the nation. Accordingly, in Decem- the proposal of a defensive alliance. ber, 1667, Temple received a despatch De Witt had not expected so speedy a containing instructions of the highest resolution ; and his conntenance indiimportance. The plan which he had cated surprise as well as pleasure. But so strongly recommended was approved; he did not retract; and it was speedily and he was directed to visit De Witt as arranged that England and Holland speedily as possible, and to ascertain should unite for the purpose of comwhether the States were willing to enter pelling Lewis to abide by the comprointo an offensive and defensive league mise which he had formerly offered. with England against the projects of The next object of the two statesmen France. Temple, accompanied by his was to induce another government to sister, instantly set out for the Hague, become a party to their league. The and laid the propositions of the Eng- victories of Gustavus and Torstenson, lish Government before the Grand and the political talents of Oxenstiern, Pensionary. The Dutch statesman had obtained for Sweden a consideraanswered with characteristic straight- tion in Europe, disproportioned to her forwardness, that he was fully ready real power : the princes of Northern to agree to a defensive confederacy, but Germany stood in great awe of her; that it was the fundamental principle and De Witt and Temple agreed that of the foreign policy of the States to if she could be induced to accede to the make no offensive alliance under any league, “ it would be too strong a bar circumstances whatever. With this for France to venture on.” Temple answer Temple hastened from the went that same evening to Count Dona, Hague to London, had an audience of the Swedish Minister at the Hague, took the King, related what had passed be- a seat in the most unceremonious mantween himself and De Witt, exerted ner, and, with that air of frankness and himself to remove the unfavourable good-will by which he often succeeded opinion which had been conceived of in rendering his diplomatic overtures the Grand Pensionary at the English acceptable, explained the scheme which court, and had the satisfaction of suc- was in agitation. "Dona was greatly ceeding in all his objects. On the pleased and flattered. He had not


powers which would authorise him to to us deserving of all the praise which conclude a treaty of such importance. has been bestowed upon it. But he strongly advised Temple and Dr. Lingard, who is undoubtedly a De Witt to do their part without delay, very able and well informed writer, but and seemed confident that Sweden whose great fundamental rule of judging would accede. The ordinary course of seems to be that the popular opinion on public business in Holland was too a historical question cannot possibly be slow for the present emergency; and correct, speaks very slightingly of this De Witt appeared to have some scruples celebrated treaty; and Mr. Courtenay, about breaking through the established who by no means regards Temple with forms. But the urgency and dexterity that profound veneration which is geof Temple prevailed. The States- nerally found in biographers, has conGeneral took the responsibility of exe- ceded, in our opinion, far too much to cuting the treaty with a celerity unpre- Dr. Lingard. cedented in the annals of the federation, The reasoning of Dr. Lingard is and indeed inconsistent with its funda- simply this. The Triple Alliance only mental laws. The state of public feel compelled Lewis to make peace on the ing was, however, such in all the pro- terms on which, before the alliance was vinces, that this irregularity was not formed, he had offered to make peace. merely pardoned but applauded. When How can it then be said that this the instrument had been formally signed, alliance arrested his career, and prethe Dutch Commissioners embraced the served Europe from his ambition ? Now, English Plenipotentiary with the this reasoning is evidently of no force warmest expressions of kindness and at all, except on the supposition that confidence. “At Breda,” exclaimed Lewis would have held himself bound Temple, “we embraced as friends, here by his former offers, if the alliance had as brothers.”

not been formed; and, if Dr. Lingard This memorable negotiation occupied thinks this a reasonable supposition, only five days. De Witt complimented we should be disposed to say to him, in Temple in high terms on having effected the words of that great politician, in so short a time what must, under Mrs. Western ; “Indeed, brother, you other management, have been the work would make a fine plenipo to negotiate of months; and Temple, in his de- with the French. They would soon spatches, spoke in equally high terms persuade you that they take towns out of De Witt. “I must add these words, of mere defensive principles.” Our own to do M. de Witt right, that I found impression is that Lewis made his offer him as plain, as direct and square in only in order to avert some such the course of this business as any man measure as the Triple Alliance, and could be, though often stiff in points adhered to his offer only in consewhere he thought any advantage could quence of that alliance. He had refused accrue to his country; and have all the to consent to an armistice. He had reason in the world to be satisfied with made all his arrangements for a winter him; and for his industry, no man had campaign. In the very week in which ever more I am sure. For these five Temple and the States concluded their days at least, neither of us spent any agreement at the Hague, Franche idle hours, neither day nor night.” Comté was attacked by the French

Sweden willingly acceded to the armies, and in three weeks the whole league, which is known in history by province was conquered. This prey the name of the Triple Alliance; and, Lewis was compelled to disgorge. And after some signs of ill-humour on the what compelled him ? Did the object part of France, a general pacification seem to him small or contemptible ? was the result.

On the contrary, the annexation of The Triple Alliance may be viewed Franche Comté to his kingdom was in two lights; as a measure of foreign one of the favourite projects of his life. policy, and as a measure of domestic Was he withheld by regard for his policy; and under both aspects it seems word ? Did he, who never in any other transaction of his reign showed the sovereign with a people who had, under smallest respect for the most solemn | his wretched administration, become obligations of public faith, who violated ashamed of him and of themselves. the Treaty of the Pyrenees, who vio- It was a kind of pledge for internal lated the Treaty of Aix, who violated good government. The foreign relathe Treaty of Nimeguen, who violated tions of the kingdom had at that time the Partition Treaty, who violated the the closest connection with our doTreaty of Utrecht, feel himself restrained mestic policy. From the Restoration by his word on this single occasion ? to the accession of the House of HanoCan any person who is acquainted with ver, Holland and France were to Enghis character and with his whole policy land what the right-hand horseman doubt that, if the neighbouring powers and the left-hand horseman in Bürwould have looked quietly on, he would ger's fine ballad were to the Wildinstantly have risen in his demands ? graf, the good and the evil counselHow then stands the case ? He wished lor, the angel of light and the angel of to keep Franche Comté. It was not darkness. The ascendency of France from regard to his word that he ceded was inseparably connected with the Franche Comté. Why then did he prevalence of tyranny in domestic cede Franche Comté ? We answer, as affairs. The ascendency of Holland all Europe answered at the time, from was as inseparably connected with the fear of the Triple Alliance.

prevalence of political liberty and of But grant that Lewis was not really mutual toleration among Protestant stopped in his progress by this famous sects. How fatal and degrading an league; still it is certain that the world influence Lewis was destined to exerthen, and long after, believed that he cise on the British counsels, how great was so stopped, and that this was the a deliverance our country was destined prevailing impression in France as well to owe to the States, could not be as in other countries. Temple, there- foreseen when the Triple Alliance was fore, at the very least, succeeded in concluded. Yet even then all discernraising the credit of his country, and in ing men considered it as a good omen lowering the credit of a rival power. for the English constitution and the Here there is no room for controversy. reformed religion, that the Government No grubbing among old state-papers had attached itself to Holland, and will ever bring to light any document had assumed a firm and somewhat which will shake these facts; that hostile attitude towards France. The Europe believed the ambition of France fame of this measure was the greater, to have been curbed by the three because it stood so entirely alone. It powers; that England, a few months was the single eminently good act perbefore the last among the nations, formed by the Government during the forced to abandon her own seas, unable interval between the Restoration and to defend the mouths of her own the Revolution.* Every person who rivers, regained almost as high a place had the smallest part in it, and some in the estimation of her neighbours as who had no part in it at all, battled for she had held in the times of Elizabeth a share of the credit. The most parsiand Oliver; and that all this change monious republicans were ready to of opinion was produced in five days grant money for the purpose of carryby wise and resolute counsels, without ing into effect the provisions of this the firing of a single gun. That the popular alliance; and the great Tory Triple Alliance effected this will hardly poet of that age, in his finest satires, be disputed ; and therefere, even if it repeatedly spoke with reverence of the effected nothing else, it must still be re- “ triple bond." garded as a master-piece of diplomacy. This negotiation raised the fame of

Considered as a measure of domestic Temple both at home and abroad to a policy, this treaty seems to be equally

* " The only good public thing that hath deserving of approbation. It did much n

uc been done since the King came into Engto allay discontents, to reconcile the land.”—PEPY8's Diary, February 14. 1667-8.

« ElőzőTovább »