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entering the city. The report carried so much terror that people ran from their goods, took what weapons they could find, and wreaked a senseless revenge on some unhappy individuals of those nations who fell in their way; and it was not without infinite difficulty that these maddened wretches were at last appeased. * On this occasion Mr. Evelyn exhibited a wonderful evidence of his activity and energy, for within two days after the conflagration, viz. on the 13th. Sept., he says,
I presented his Maty with a survey of the ruines and a plot for a new citty, with a discourse upon it,' &c. Part of his plan was to lessen the declivities, and to employ the rubbish in filling up the shore of the Thames to low water-mark, so as to keep the basin always full. Prompt, however, as Mr. Evelyn was with his plan, Mr. Wren (Sir Christopher, who had given very early indication of his talents,) had gotten the start of him. Both these plans were afterward printed by the Society of Antiquaries, and have been repeatedly engraved for various histories of London.
Mr. Evelyn, though an indefatigable member of a great variety of public commissions, was never engaged in any high ministerial office: a scholar, a philosopher, a man of business, and intimate with all the ministers of his time, he still was not much of a politician. He furnishes us, therefore, with an abundance of anecdotes of public men, but rarely seems to have discovered the secret springs of public measures.
Himself a straight-forward, single-minded man, he was naturally unsuspicious of others, and evidently much more shocked with
* It was only a few months afterward that the Dutch did inflict on us the disgrace of entering the river, and burning our men of war as they were moored, or at anchor. Their whole fleet lay triumphantly within the very mouth of the Thames from the North Foreland, Margate, even to the buoy of the Nore. “A dreadful spectacle,' says our honest chronicler, 'as ever Englishmen saw, and a dishonour never to be wiped away. Those who advised his Majesty to prepare no fleet this spring, deserved - I know what. It was Sir William Coventry, one of the commissioners of the Treasury, who advised that the expence should be spared of fitting out the fleet.
Mr. Evelyn began the History of the Dutch War at Charles's request, and was furnished with materials by the officers of' state : but it was discontinued, also by the King's desire, to please the Dutch, on the conclusion of the treaty of Breda, who were much dissatisfied with some expressions in it. The MS., after diligent search, is not ascertained to be in existence. Mr. Bray, the editor of the present work, says in his preface that the reason of the suppression does not appear: but, if he refers to p.470. of the first volume, he will find it explained,
the moral than with the political turpitude and profligacy of Charles II. and his court. The one was daily obtruding itself on him in every form of licentiousness; while the latter, disguised by a consummate actor, who concealed his hypocrisy under the mask of sincerity and openness, was but imperfectly discerned. Mr. E. does not once seem to have suspected that the sole object of all Charles's measures was arbitrary power at home: but Mr. Fox, in the admirable introductory chapter to his historical work, says of him that “ his ambition was directed solely against his subjects, while he was completely indifferent concerning the figure which he or they might make in the general affairs of Europe; and that his desire of power was more unmixed with the love of glory than that of any other man whom history has recorded.” Mr. Evelyn is, however, very much disgusted at the gross dishonesty and impudence of shutting up the Exchequer, a measure which spread consternation and ruin among all monied and commercial-men *; and he does not conceal his indignation at the attack, in time of peace, of the Dutch Smyrna fleet : — but it does not occur to him that the object of both was money, not as an end, but as a means of governing without parliaments. Charles had already tried the experiment, by long prorogations; and, under pretence of maintaining the triple-league against Louis XIV., which at the very time he had resolved to break, he had obtained a considerable subsidy from the Commons, which he actually employed in crushing one of the contracting parties ! The Commons, however, were much too troublesome in their remonstrances; and, if he could obtain money without them, by any means, he was contented to sacrifice the interests, the honour, and the character of his country. This was his object in shutting up the Eschequer, and piratically attempting to seize the rich fleet
This measure is attributed to Lord Shaftesbury by Burnet, Hume, and Dalrymple: but from the infamy of this aspersion he has been defended by Mr. Belsham and Mr. Fox, and is now entirely exonerated by Mr. Evelyn; who says that Sir Thomas, afterward Lord, Clifford (one of the cabal), was the sole adviser of that scandalous expedient. Clifford was at first employed and advanced by Lord Arlington, another of the cabal, and on the death of the Earl of Southampton was made one of the commissioners of the Treasury. His Majesty inclining to put the staff into the hands of an individual, Lord Clifford, under pretence of making all his interest for his patron, Lord Arlington, cut the grasse under his feet,' as Mr. Evelyn quaintly expresses it, and procured the staff for himself, assuring the King that Lord Arlington did not desire it!
of the Smyrna merchants. With respect to the first measure, honest Evelyn says, “Never did his Majesty's affairs prosper to any purpose after it; for as it did not supply the expence of the meditated war, so it mealted away, I know not how. As to the second, he remarks; “ We received little, save blows and a worthy reproach, for attacking our neighbours ’ere any war was proclaimed -and we are like to thrive accordingly. To this succeeded the King's declaration for indulgence; and our chronicler moans over the injury to the Church of England and its episcopal government, which was to be anticipated, · Papists and swarms of sectaries now boldly shewing themselves in their publiq meetings:' but he does not see that this also was a part of the same plan. Charles could be Papist.or Protestant as it suited his purpose; and he expected that the party whom he would conciliate by this measure of toleration would be more numerous and powerful than that which it would alienate. The Dissenters, the most inveterate enemies of the court, were mollified by these indulgent maxims *; and the Catholics, under their shelter, enjoyed more liberty than the laws had hitherto allowed them. As to the flexibility of Charles's religion, Mr. Fox says, “ After having passed a law, making it penal to affirm, what was true, that he was a Papist, he pretended, which was certainly not true, to be a zealous and bigoted Papist.” To whom did he pretend this? not to the British parliament, or the British nation, but to the King of France ! to Louis XIV., as an argument to increase his disgraceful pension, and accelerate the assistance which he was to receive from France to establish despotism in England.
In Sir John Dalrymple's “ Memoirs," among documents of various degrees of authority, is a letter from M. Colbert (de Croissy) to the King of France, dated Nov. 13. 1669, giving an account of a conference between the former and Charles the Second, on the subject of introducing the Catholic religion into England. Charles was, or pretended to be, anxious for an immediate declaration of his faith, for the double purpose of easing his conscience, and maturing his authority, which he now saw daily diminishing, into a complete and perfect despotism. Colbert recommends him to begin more cautiously and circuitously, by making war on Holland: the German
* So says Mr. Hume: but the Dissenters behaved with great spirit and disinterestedness on this occasion ; for, as soon as they discovered the insidious object of Charles, they disclaimed it; and when Parliament met in 1673, the Dissenters publicly desired that their interests might not be considered by the House of Commons.
princes would now join with France and England, which could not be expected from Protestant kings and potentates if Charles declared himself a Catholic before-hand; as the Dutch, he said, would then make them believe that it was a religious war. At the end of the first campaign, which it was supposed might finish the contest, such troops, as Charles thought he could least trust for the support of his change of religion, were to garrison the places which might fall to his share; while those who were implicitly devoted to his interest, and on whom he could safely rely, were to be called home. It was believed that, in conjunction with these latter, the recruits and levies which he might raise during the campaign, under pretence of continuing the war, would enable him to introduce Popery and establish despotism; for the Duke of York had told the French ambassador that, he conceived, a king and a parliament could no longer exist together! It was, moreover, imagined that Charles's own subjects, seeing him well armed by sea and land, and knowing him to have the dispo. sition of all the French king's forces, against both foreign and domestic enemies, would not dare to oppose his measures. This curious letter is followed by a draft of the secret treaty, by which Charles was to get 200,000l. for easing his conscience, and declaring himself a Catholic. France engaged to assist him with troops, if his subjects should rebel; and if the King of Spain should die without issue, Spain was to be partitioned: England to have Minorca, Ostend, and Spanish America; and France to take possession of the rest of the Spanish dominions. Holland was also to be divided between France and England, and provision was to be made for the young king of Holland. Charles was to have 800,oool. a year during the Dutch dispute; and war was to be declared against Hamburgh. - A fuller account of this “conspiracy of kings” is to be found in the Life of James II. from the Stuart MSS. at Carlton-House, lately published by Mr. Clarke. (See our Number for October last.) This treaty had its origin in a conference in January, 1669, between the King, the Duke of York, the Lords Arundel and Arlington, and Sir Thomas Clifford: but it was not finally concluded and signed till May 22. 1670, and the actual terms of it varied but little from the original draft. (See Rose's Observations on Mr. Fox's work, p. 45., and Life of James II. p. 443, &c.] In the treatyitself
, Louis agreed to give Charles two millions of livres Tournois, and to assist him with 6000 troops, raised and maintained at his own cost and expence, as long as the King of Great Britain might judge them Rev. Feb. 1820.
to be necessary for the execution of his design; and they were to be entirely obedient to the orders of Charles.
At what time Charles's Catholic faith was first settled, it might not be very easy to ascertain, even if it were worth the trouble to inquire : but he was disgusted with the fanaticism of the Scotch, and probably became reconciled to the church of Rome during his residence at Paris before the Restoration. He could not avoid seeing, also, with
the help at least of the more acute optics of his brother the Duke of York, that the Roman Catholic religion was much more closely connected with the doctrines of the divine right of kings, and passive obedience, than a Protestant religion which had begun its course at the Reformation by a bold resistance against popes and princes, councils and conclaves, and was nourished by an unrestricted freedom of opinion and discussion, on political as well as religious topics.
We find, however, an extremely curious letter from Charles in this work addressed to his brother Henry, Duke of Gloucester, concerning an attempt on the part of the Queenmother to seduce him from his Protestant faith; and representing such a seduction as injurious to his own interests. As the letter was written before the Restoration, it leaves no doubt that the anxiety expressed was perfectly sincere: “ Deare Brother,
" Coloigne, Nov. 10. 1654. " I haue receaued yors without a date, in wch you tell me that Mr. Mountagu has endeauoured to pervert you from yor religion. I doe not doubt but you remember very well ye com'ands I left wth you at my going away concerning yt point. I am confident you will observe them; yet yor letters that come from Paris say that it is ye Queenes purpose to do all shee can to change yor religion, in wch if you do hearken to her or any body els in that matter, you must never thinke to see England or mee againe, and wtsoeuer mischiefe shall fall on mee or my affaires from this time I must lay all upon you as being ye onely cause of it. Therefore consider well wliat it is to bee not onely ye cause of ruining a brother that loves you so well, but also of yor King and country. Do not lett them p'suade you either by force or faire p’mises; for the first they neither dare, nor will use, and for the second as soone as they haue perverted you they will haue their end, and then they will care no more for you. I am also informed yt there is a purpose to putt you into ye Jesuits' Colledge, wch I command you upon ye same grounds neuer to consent unto. And whensoeuer any body shall goe to dispute wth you in religion doo not answere them at all. For though you haue the reaso' on yor side, yett they being prepared will haue ye aduantage of any body ye is not upon ye same security that they are. If you do not consider what I say unto you, remember ye last words of yore dead father, wou were to bee constant to yor