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studiously avoided taking any notice of him, and testified his resentment by the caresses he bestowed upon the members of the opposite faction. A regency had been some time before appointed to govern the kingdom, and Addison was made Secretary. Bolingbroke still maintained his place of State Secretary, but subject to the contempt of the great, and the insults of the mean. The first step taken by them to mortify him, was to order all letters and packets, directed to the Secretary of State, to be sent to Mr Addison; so that Bolingbroke was in fact removed from his office, that is, the execution of it, in two days after the queen's death. But this was not the worst; for his mortifications were continually heightened by the daily humiliation of waiting at the door of the apartment where the regency sat, with a bag in his hand, and being all the time, as it were, exposed to the insolence of those who were tempted by their natural malevolence, or who expected to make their court to those in power by abusing him.
Upon this sudden turn of fortune, when the seals were taken from him, he went into the country; and having received a message from court to be present when the seal was taken from the door of the secretary's office, he excused himself, alleging, that so trifling a ceremony might as well be performed by one of the under secretaries,
king's hand, to whom he testified the utmost submission. This request, however, was rejected with disdain ; the king had been taught to regard him as an enemy, and threw himself entirely on the whigs for safety and protection.
The new Parliament, mostly composed of whigs, met on the 17th of March, and in the king's speech from the throne many inflaming hints were given, and many methods of violence chalked out to the two Houses. «The first steps (says Lord Bolingbroke, speaking on this occasion) in both were perfectly answerable; and, to the shame of the peerage be it spoken, I saw at that time several lords concur to condemn, in one general vote, all that they had approved in a former Parliament by many particular resolutions. Among several bloody resolutions proposed and agitated at this time, the resolution of impeaching me of high treason was taken, and I took that of leaving England, not in a panic terror, improved by the artifices of the Duke of Marlborough, whom I knew even at that time too well to act by his advice or information in any case, but on such grounds as the proceedings which soon followed sufficiently justified, and such as I have never repented building upon. Those who blamed it in the first heat, were soon after obliged to change their language : for what other resolution could I take? The method of prosecution designed against me would have put me out of a condition immediately to act for myself, or to serve those who were less exposed than me, but who were however in danger. On the other hand, how few were there on whose assistance I could depend, or to whom I would even in these circumstances be obliged? The ferment in the nation was wrought up to a considerable height; but there was at that time no reason to expect that it could influence the proceedings in Parliament, in favour of those who should be accused : left to its own movement, it was much more proper to quicken than slacken the prosecutions; and who was there to guide its motions ? The tories, who had been true to one another to the last, were a handful, and no great vigour could be expected from them; the whimsicals, disappointed of the figure which they hoped to make, began indeed to join their old friends. One of the principal among them, namely, the Earl of Anglesea, was so very good as to confess to me, that if the court had called the servants of the late queen to account, and stopped there, he must have considered himself as a judge, and acted according to his conscience on what should have appeared to him; but that war had been declared to the whole tory party, and that now the state of things was altered. This discourse needed no commentary, and proved to me, that I had never erred in the judgment I made of this set of men. Could I then resolve to be obliged to them, or to suffer with Oxford? : As much as I still was heated by the disputes, in which I had been all my life engaged against the whigs, I would sooner have chosen to owe my security to their indulgence, than to the assistance of the whimsicals; but I thought banishment, with all her train of evils, preferable to either.»
Such was the miserable situation to which he was reduced upon this occasion : of all the number of his former flatterers and dependants, scarcely was one found remaining. Every hour brought fresh reports of his alarming situation, and the dangers which threatened him and his party on all sides. Prior, who had been employed in negociating the treaty of Utrecht, was come over to Dover, and promised to reveal all he knew. The Duke of Marlborough planted his creatures round his lordship, who artfully endeavoured to increase the danger; and an impeachment was actually preparing in which he was accused of high treason. It argued therefore no great degree of timidity in his lordship, to take the first opportunity to withdraw from danger, and to suffer the first boilings of popular animosity to quench the flame that had been raised against him: accordingly, having made a gallant show
of despising the machinations against him, having appeared in a very unconcerned manner at the play-house in Drury-lane, and having bespoke another play for the night ensuing; having subscribed to a new opera that was to be acted some time after, and talked of making an elaborate defence; he went off that same night in disguise to Dover, as a servant to Le Vigne, a messenger belonging to the French king; and there one William Morgan, who had been a captain in General Hill's regiment of dragoons, hired a vessel, and carried him over to Calais, where the governor attended him in his coach, and carried him to his house with all possible distinction.
The news of Lord Bolingbroke's flight was soon known over the whole town; and the next day a letter from him to Lord Lansdowne was handed about in print, to the following effect :
« MY LORD, . «I left the town so abruptly, that I had no time to take leave of you or any of my friends. You will excuse me, when you know that I had certain and repeated informations, from some who are in the secret of affairs, that a
it, to pursue me to the scaffold. My blood was to have been the cement of a new alliance, nor could my innocence be any security, after it had once been demanded from abroad, and resolved on at home, that it was necessary to cut me off. Had there been the least reason to hope for a fair and open trial, after having been already prejudged unheard by the two Houses of Parliament, I should not have declined the strictest examination. I challenge the most inveterate of my enemies to produce any one instance of a criminal correspondence, or the least corruption of any part of the administration in which I was concerned. If my zeal for the honour and dignity of my Royal Mistress, and the true interest of my country, have any where transported me to let slip a warm or unguarded expression, I hope the most favourable interpretation will be put upon it. It is a comfort that will remain with me in all my misfortunes, that I served her majesty faithfully and dutifully, in that especially which she had most at heart, relieving her people from a bloody and expensive war, and that I have also been too much an Englishman to sacrifice the interests of my country to any foreign ally; and it is for this crime only that I am now driven from thence. You shall hear more at large from me shortly.
« Yours, » etc.
No sooner was it universally known that he was retired to France, than his flight was construed into a proof of his guilt; and his enemies accordingly set about driving on his impeachment with redoubled alacrity. Mr, afterwards Sir Robert Walpole, who had suffered a good deal by his attachment to the whig interest during the former reign, now undertook to bring in and conduct the charge against him in the House of Commons. His impeachment consisted of six articles, which Walpole read to the House, in substance as follows:- First, that whereas the Lord Bolingbroke had assured the Dutch ministers, that the queen his mistress would make no peace but in concert with them, yet he had sent Mr Prior to France that same year with proposals for a treaty of peace with that monarch, without the consent of the allies. Secondly, that he advised and promoted the making a separate treaty of convention with France, which was signed in September. Thirdly, that he disclosed to M. Mesnager, the French