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to them; he resolved, therefore, to make a separate peace with the Dutch, on terms which they had proposed through the channel of the Spanish ambassador. For form's sake he asked the advice of his parliament, A. D. who concurring heartily in his intentions, a peace 1674. was concluded accordingly. This turn in the system of the king's politics was very pleasing to the nation in general; but the Cabal quickly saw that it would be the destruction of all their future attempts and power. Shaftesbury, therefore, was the first to desert them, and to go over to the country party, who received him with open arms, and trusted him with unbounded reserve. Clifford was dead. Buckingham was desirous of imitating Shaftesbury's example. Lauderdale and Arlington were exposed to all the effects of national resentment. Articles of impeachment were drawn up against the former, which, however, were never prosecuted; and as for the other, he every day grew more and more out of favour with the king, and contemptible to the people. This was an end of the power of a junto that had laid a settled plan for overturning the constitution, and fixing unlimited monarchy upon its ruins. In the mean time, the war between the Dutch and the French went on with the greatest vigour; and, although the latter were repressed for a while, they still continued making encroachments upon the enemy's territories. The Dutch forces were commanded by the prince of Orange, who was possessed of courage, activity, vigilance, and patience; but he was inferior in genius to the consummate generals who were opposed to him. He was, therefore, always unsuccessful; but still found means to repair his losses, and to make head in a little time against his victorious enemies. These ineffectual struggles for the preservation of his country's freedom interested the English strongly in his favour; so that, from being his opposers, they now wished to lend him assistance. They considered their alliance with France as threatening subversion to the protestant religion; and they longed for an union with him, as the only means of security. The commons there- A.D. fore addressed the king, representing the danger 1677. to which the kingdom was exposed from the growing greatness of France: and they assured him, in case of a war, that they would not be backward in their supplies. Charles was not displeased with the latter part of their address, as money was necessary for his pleasures. He therefore told them, that unless they granted him six hundred thousand pounds, it would be impossible for him to give them a satisfactory answer. The commons refused to trust to his majesty's professions; his well-known profusion was before their eyes. The king reproved them for their diffidence, and immediately ordered them to adjourn. The marriage of the duke of York's eldest daughter, the princess Mary, who had a fair prospect of the crown, with the prince of Orange, was a measure that gave great satisfaction in these general disquietudes about religion. The negotiation was brought about by the king's own desire; and the protestants now saw a happy prospect before them of a succession that would be favourable to their much-loved Reformation. A negotiation for peace between the French and the Dutch followed soon after, which was rather favourable to the latter. But the mutual animosities of these states not being as yet sufficiently quelled, the war was continued for some time. The king therefore, to satisfy his parliament, who declared loudly against the French, sent over an army of three thousand men to the continent under the com- A. D. mand of the duke of Monmouth, to secure Ost- 1678.
end. A fleet also was fitted out with great diligence; and a quadruple alliance was projected between England, Holland, Spain, and the emperor. These vigorous measures brought about the famous treaty of Nimeguen, which gave a general peace to Europe. But, though peace was secured abroad, the discontents of the people still continued at home.
THIs reign presents the most amazing contrasts of levity and cruelty, of mirth and gloomy suspicion. Ever since the fatal league with France, the people had entertained violent jealousies against the court. The fears and discontents of the nation were vented without restraint; the apprehensions of a popish successor, an abandoned court, and a parliament which, though sometimes assertors of liberty, yet continued for seventeen years without change; these naturally rendered the minds of mankind timid and suspicious, and they only wanted objects on which to wreak their ill huIn Our. When the spirit of the English is once roused, they either find objects of suspicion or make them. On the twelfth of August, one Kirby, a chemist, accosted the king as he was walking in the Park. “Sir," said he, “keep within the company; your enemies have a design upon your life, and you may be shot in this very walk.” Being questioned, in consequence of this strange intimation, he offered to produce one doctor Tongue, a weak credulous clergyman, who had told him, that
two persons, named Grove and Pickering, were engaged to murder the king; and that sir George Wakeman, the queen's physician, had undertaken the same task by poison. Tongue was introduced to the king, with a bundle of papers relating to this pretended conspiracy, and was referred to the lord-treasurer Danby. He declared to him that the papers were thrust under his door, and that he knew the author of them, who desired that his name might be concealed, as he dreaded the resentment of the Jesuits. This information appeared so vague and unsatisfactory, that the king concluded the whole was a fiction. However, Tongue was not to be repressed in the ardour of his loyalty; he went again to the lord-treasurer, and told him, that a packet of letters, written by Jesuits concarned in the plot, was that night to be put into the post-house for Windsor, directed to one Bedingfield, a Jesuit, who was confessor to the duke of York, and who resided there. These letters had actually been received a few hours before by the duke; but he had shown them to the king as a forgery, of which he knew not the drift or the meaning. This incident tended to confirm the king in his incredulity. He desired, however, that it might be concealed, as it might raise a flame in the nation; but the duke, solicitous to prove his innocence, insisted upon a more deliberate discussion, which turned out very different from his expectations. Titus Oates, who was the fountain of all this dreadful intelligence, was produced soon after, who, with seeming reluctance, came to give his intelligence. This man affirmed that he had fallen under the suspicion of the Jesuits, and that he had concealed himself in order to avoid their resentment. This Titus Oates was an abandoned miscreant, obscure, illiterate, vulgar, and indigent. He had been once indicted for perjury, was afterwards chaplain to a man-of-war, and dismissed for unnatural practices. He then professed himself a Roman catholic, and crossed the sea to St. Omer's, where he was for some time maintained in the English. seminary of that city. The fathers of that college sent him with some dispatches to Spain; but after his return, when they became better acquainted with his character, they would not suffer him to continue among them; so that he was obliged to return to London, where he was ready to encounter every danger for his support. At a time when he was supposed to have been entrusted with a secret involving the fate of kings, he was allowed to remain in such necessity that Kirby was obliged to supply him with daily bread. He had two methods of proceeding; either to ingratiate himself by this information with the ministry,"or to alarm the people, and thus turn their fears to his advantage. He chose the latter method. He went, therefore, with his two companions to sir Edmundbury Godfrey, a noted and active justice of peace, and before him deposed to a narrative dressed up in terrors fit to make an impression on the vulgar. The pope, he said, considered himself as entitled to the possession of England and Ireland, on account of the heresy of the prince and people, and had accordingly assumed the sovereignty of those kingdoms. This, which was St. Peter's patrimony, he had delivered up to the Jesuits; and Oliva, the general of that order, was his delegate. Several English catholic lords, whose names he mentioned, were appointed by the pope to the other offices of state: lord Arundel was created chancellor, lord Powis treasurer, sir William Godolphin privy-seal, Coleman, the duke's secretary, was made secretary of state, Langhorne attorney-general, lord Bellasis general of the forces, lord Petre lieutenant-general, and lord Stafford