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than submit to the enemy; when he happily found himself reinforced by prince Rupert with sixteen ships of the line. By this time it was night; and the next morning, after a distant cannonading, the fleets came to a close combat, which was continued with great violence till they were parted by a mist. Sir George Ayscough, in a ship of one hundred guns, had the misfortune to strike on the Galoper sands, where he was surrounded and taken. The English retired first into their harbours; both sides claimed the victory, but the Dutch certainly obtained the advantage, though not the glory, of the combat. A second engagement, equally bloody, followed soon after, with larger fleets on both sides, commanded by the same admirals; and in this the Dutch were obliged to own themselves vanquished, and retreat into their own harbours. But they were soon in a capacity to outnumber the English fleet, by the junction of Beaufort the French admiral. The Dutch fleet appeared in the A. D. Thames, conducted by their great admiral; and 1667. threw the English into the utmost consternation: a chain had been drawn across the river Medway; some fortifications had been added to the forts along the banks; but all these were unequal to the present force. Sheermess was soon taken, the Dutch passed forward, and broke the chain, though fortified by some ships sunk there by Albemarle's orders. Destroying the shipping in their passage, they advanced with six men of war and five fire-ships, as far as Upnore castle, where they burned three men of war. The whole city of London was in consternation; it was expected that the Dutch might sail up next tide to London bridge, and destroy, not only the shipping, but even the buildings of themetropolis. But the Dutch were unable to prosecute that project, from the failure of the French, who had promised to give them assistance: spreading, therefore, an alarm along the coast, they returned to their own ports, to boast of their success against their formidable enemies. Nothing could exceed the indignation felt by the people at this disgrace. But they had lately sustained some accidental calamities, which in some measure moderated their rage and their pride. A plague had ravaged the city, which swept away ninety thousand of its inhabitants. This calamity was followed, in the year 1666, by another still more dreadful, as more unexpected; a fire breaking out at a baker's house, who lived in Pudding-lane, near the bridge, it spread with such rapidity, that no efforts could extinguish it till it laid in ashes the most considerable part of the city. The conflagration continued three days; while the wretched inhabitants fled from one street only to be spectators of equal calamities in another. At length, when all hope vanished, and a total destruction was expected, the flames ceased unexpectedly, after having reduced thousands from affluence to misery. As the streets were narrow, and the houses were mostly built with wood, the flames spread the faster; and the unusual dryness of the season prevented the proper supplies of water. But the people were not satisfied with these obvious causes: having been long taught to impute their calamities to the machinations of their enemies, they now ascribed the present misfortune to the same cause, and imputed the burning of the city to a plot laid by the papists. But, happily for that sect, no proofs were brought of their guilt, though all men were willing to credit them. The magistracy, therefore, contented themselves with ascribing it to them, on a monument raised where the fire began, and which still continues as a proof of the blind credulity of the times. This calamity, though at first it affected the fortunes of thousands, in the end proved both beneficial and ornamental to the city. It rose from its ruins in greater beauty than ever; and the streets being widened, and the houses built of brick instead of wood, it became more wholesome and more secure. These complicated misfortunes did not fail to excite many murmurs among the people: fearful of laying the blame on the king, whose authority was formidable, they very liberally ascribed all their calamities to papists, jesuits, and fanatics. The war against the Dutch was exclaimed against, as unsuccessful and unnecessary; as being an attempt to humble that nation, who were equal enemies of popery themselves. Charles himself also began to be sensible that all the ends for which he had undertaken the Dutch war were likely to prove ineffectual. Whatever projects he might have formed for secreting the money granted him by parliament for his own use, he had hitherto failed in his intention; and, instead of laying up, he found himself considerably in debt. Proposals were, therefore, thrown out for an accommodation, which, after some negotiation, the Dutch consented to accept. A treaty was concluded at Breda, by which the colony of New York was ceded by the Dutch to the English, to whom it was a most valuable acquisition. Upon the whole of this treaty, it was considered as inglorious to the English, as they failed in gaining any redress upon the complaints that gave rise to it. Lord Clarendon, therefore, incurred blame, both for having first advised an unnecessary war, and then for concluding a disgraceful peace. He had been long declining in the king's favour, and he was no less displeasing to the majority of the people. His severe virtue, his uncomplying temper, and his detestation of factious measures, were unlikely to gain him many partisans in such a court as that of Charles, that had been taught to regard every thing serious as somewhat criminal. There were many accusations now, therefore, brought up against him: the sale of Dunkirk, the bad payment of the seamen, and disgrace at Chatham, were all added to the accumulation of his guilt; but particularly his imputed ambition was urged among his crimes. His daughter had, while yet in Paris, commenced an amour with the duke of York, and had permitted his gallantries to transgress the bounds of virtue. Charles, who then loved Clarendon, and who was unwilling that he should suffer the mortification of a parent, obliged the duke to marry his daughter; and this marriage, which was just in itself, became culpable in the minister. A building likewise of more expense than his slender fortune could afford had been undertaken by him; and this was regarded as a structure raised by the plunder of the public. Fewer accusations than these would have been sufficient to disgrace him with Charles; he ordered the seals to be taken from him, and given to Sir Orlando Bridgman. This seemed the signal of Clarendon's enemies to step in, and effect his entire overthrow. The house of commons, in their address to the king, gave him thanks for the dismission of that nobleman; and immediately a charge was opened against him in the house, by Mr. Seymour, consisting of seventeen articles. These, which were only a catalogue of the popular rumours before mentioned, appeared at first sight false or frivolous. However, Clarendon finding the popular torrent, united to the violence of power, running with impetuosity against him, thought proper to withdraw to France. The legislature then passed a bill of banishment and incapacity, while the earl continued to reside in a private manner at Paris, where he employed his leisure in reducing his history of the civil war into form, for which he had before collected materials. A. D. A confederacy of great importance, which 1668. goes by the name of the Triple Alliance, was formed by Charles soon after the fall of this great statesman, as if to show that he could still supply his place. It was conducted by Sir William Temple, one of the great ornaments of English literature, who united the philosopher and the statesman, and was equally great in both characters. This alliance was formed between England, Holland, and Sweden, to prevent the French king from completing his conquests in the Netherlands. That monarch had already subdued the greater part of that delightful country; when he was unexpectedly stopped in the midst of his career by this league, in which it was agreed by the contracting powers, that they would constitute themselves arbiters of the differences between France and Spain, and check the inordinate pretensions of either. To this foreign confederacy succeeded one of a domestic nature, that did not promise such beneficial effects as the former. The king had long been fluctuating between his pride and his pleasures; the one urged him to extend his prerogative, the other to enjoy the good things that fortune threw in his way. He therefore would be likely to find the greatest satisfaction in those ministers who could flatter both his wishes at once. He was excited, by the active spirit of his brother, to rise above humble solicitations to his parliament; and was A. D. beset by some desperate counsellors, who im1670. portuned and encouraged him to assert his own independence. The principal of those were Clifford, Ashley, Buckingham, Arlington, and Lauderdale, a junto distinguished by the appellation of the Cabal, a word containing the initial letters of their names. Ne

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