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ver was there a more dangerous ministry in England, or one more fitted to destroy all that liberty had been establishing for ages. Sir Thomas Clifford was a man of a daring and impetuous spirit, rendered more dangerous by eloquence and intrigue. Lord Ashley, soon after known by the name of Lord Shaftesbury, was the most extraordinary man of his age: he had been a member of the long parliament, and had great influence among the presbyterians; he was a favourite of Cromwell, and afterwards had a considerable hand in the Restoration; he was turbulent, ambitious, subtle, and enterprising; well acquainted with the blind attachment of parties, he surmounted all shame; and while he had the character of never betraying any of his friends, yet he changed his party as it suited his convenience. The duke of Buckingham was gay, capricious, of some wit, and great vivacity, well fitted to unite and harmonise the graver tempers of which this junto was composed. Arlington was a man of moderate capacity; his intentions were good, but he wanted courage to persevere in them. The duke of Lauderdale was not defective in natural, and still less in acquired talents: but neither was his address graceful, nor his understanding just; he was ambitious, obstinate, insolent, and sullen. These were the men to whom Charles gave up the conduct of his affairs, and who plunged the remaining part of his reign in difficulties which produced the most dangerous symptoms. A secret alliance with France, and a rupture with Holland, were the first consequences of their advice. The duke of York had the confidence boldly to declare himself a catholic; and, to alarm the fears of the nation still more, a liberty of conscience was allowed to all sectaries, whether protestant dissenters or papists. These measures were considered by the people as destructive. not only of their liberties, but of their religion, which they valued more. A proclamation was issued, containing very rigorous clauses in favour of pressing; another full of menaces against those who ventured to speak undutifully of his majesty's measures; and even against those who heard such discourses, unless they informed in due time against the offenders. These measures, though still within bounds, were yet no way suitable to that legal administration, which upon his restoration, he had promised to establish. The English now saw themselves engaged in a league with France against the Dutch; and, consequently, whether victorious or vanquished, their efforts were like to be equally unsuccessful. The French had for some years been growing into power; and now under the conduct of their ambitious monarch, Louis XIV., they began to threaten the liberties of Europe, and particularly the protestant religion, of which that prince had shown himself a determined enemy. It gave the people, therefore, a gloomy prospect to see a union formed, which, if successful, must totally subvert that balance of power which the protestants aimed at preserving; nor were they less apprehensive of their own sovereign, who, though he pretended to turn all religion to ridicule in his gayer hours, yet was secretly attached to the catholics, or was very much suspected of being so. The first events of this war were very correspondent to their fears of A. D. French treachery. The English and French 1672. combined fleets, commanded by the duke of York, and the marechal d'Etrées, met the Dutch fleet, to the number of ninety sail, commanded by admiral De Ruyter; and a furious battle ensued. In this engagement, the gallant Sandwich, who commanded the English van, drove his ship into the midst of the enemy, beat off the admiral that ventured to attack him, sunk one ship that attempted to board him, and also three fire-ships. Though his vessel was torn with shot, and out of a thousand men there only remained four hundred, he still continued to thunder with his artillery in the midst of the engagement. At last a fire-ship, more fortunate than the former, having laid hold of his vessel, her destruction was now inevitable. Sandwich, however, refused to quit his ship, though warned by Sir Edward Haddock his captain; he perished in the flames, while the engagement continued to rage all around him. Night parted the combatants; the Dutch retired, and were not followed by the English. The loss sustained by the two maritime powers was nearly equal; but the French suffered very little, not having entered into the heat of the engagement. It was even supposed that they had orders for this conduct, and to spare their own ships, while the Dutch and English should grow weak by their mutual animosities. - The combined powers were much more successful against the Dutch by land. Louis conquered all before him, crossed the Rhine, took all the frontier towns of the enemy, and threatened the new republic with a final dissolution. Terms were proposed to them by the two conquerors. Louis offered them such as would have deprived them of all power of resisting an invasion from France by land. Those of Charles exposed them. equally to every invasion from sea. At last, the murmurs of the English, at seeing this brave and industrious people, the supporters of the protestant cause, totally sunk, and on the brink of destruction, were too loud not to impress the king. He was obliged to reassemble the parliament, to take the sense of A. D. the nation upon his conduct; and he soon saw 1673. how his subjects stood affected. The eyes of all men, both abroad and at home, were fixed upon this meeting of the parliament. Before the commons entered upon business, there lay before them an affair, which discovered, beyond a possibility of doubt, the arbitrary projects of the king. It had been a constant practice in the house for many years, in case of any vacancy, to issue out writs for new elections; but by Shaftesbury's advice, several members had taken their seats upon irregular writs issued by the chancellor; so that the whole house in time might be filled with members clandestinely called up by the court. The house was no sooner assembled, and the speaker placed in his chair, than a motion was made against this method of election; and the members themselves, thus called to parliament, had the modesty to withdraw. The king's late declaration of indulgence to all sectaries was next taken into consideration, and a remonstrance drawn up against that exercise of the prerogative. The commons persisted in their opposition to it; and represented that such a practice, if admitted, might tend to interrupt the free course of the laws, and alter the legislative power, which had always been acknowledged to reside in the king and the two houses. Charles, therefore, found himself obliged reluctantly to retract his declaration; but, that he might do it with a better grace, he asked the opinion of the house of peers, who advised him to comply. The commons expressed the utmost satisfaction with this measure, and the most entire duty to the king. He, on his part, assured them, that he would willingly pass any law which might tend to give them satisfaction in all their just grievances. Having abridged the king's stretches of power in these points, they went still farther, and resolved to make the conformity of national principles still more general. A law was passed, entitled the Test Act, imposing an oath on all who should enjoy any public of fice. Besides the taking the oaths of allegiance and the king's supremacy, they were obliged to receive the sacrament once a year in the established church, and to adjure all belief in the doctrine of transubstantiation. As the dissenters had also seconded the efforts of the commons against the king's declaration for indulgence, a bill was passed for their ease and relief, which, however, went with some difficulty through the house of peers. But still the great object of their meeting was to be inquired into; for the war against the Dutch continued to rage with great animosity. Several sea-engagements succeeded each other very rapidly, which brought on no decisive action; both nations claiming the victory after every battle. The commons, therefore, weary of the war, and distrustful even of success, resolved that the standing army was a grievance. They next declared, that they would grant no more supplies to carry on the Dutch war, unless it appeared that the enemy continued so obstinate as to refuse all reasonable conditions. To cut short these disagreeable altercations, the king resolved to prorogue the parliament; and, with that intention, he went unexpectedly to the house of peers, and sent the usher of the black rod to summon the house of commons to attend. It happened that the speaker and the usher nearly met at the door of the house; but the speaker being within, some of the members suddenly shut the door, and cried, “To the chair." Upon which the following motions were instantly made in a tumultuous manner: That the alliance with France was a grievance; that the evil counsellors of the king were a grievance; that the duke of Lauderdale was a grievance: and then the house rose in great confusion. The king soon saw that he could expect no supply from the commons for carrying on the war, which was so odious

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