Page images

der well, before she rejected it. This was carried 1667. to the king, as a design he had that the crown might descend to his own grandchildren; and that he was afraid, lest strange methods should be taken to get rid of the queen, and to make way for her. When the king saw that she had a mind to marry the duke of Richmond, he offered to make her a duchess, and to settle an estate on her. Upon this she said, she saw she must either marry him, or suffer much in the opinion of the world. And she was prevailed on by the duke of Richmond, who was passionately in love with her, to go privately from Whitehall, and marry him without giving the king notice. The earl of Clarendon's son, the lord Cornbury, was going to her lodgings, upon some assignation that she had given him about her affairs, knowing nothing of her intentions. He met the king in the door coming out full of fury. And he, suspecting that lord Cornbury was in the design, spoke to him as one in a rage, that forgot all decency, and for some time would not hear lord Cornbury speak in his own defence. In the afternoon he heard him with more temper, as he himself told me". Yet this made so deep an impression, that he resolved to take the seals from his father. The king said to the lord Lauderdale, that he had talked of the matter with Sheldon; and that he convinced him, that it was necessary to remove lord Clarendon from his post. And as soon as it was done, the king sent for Sheldon, and told him what he had done. But he answered nothing. When the king insisted to oblige him to declare himself, he said,

"Who told him? S. (Lord Cornbury, as it should seem.) 1667. Sir, I wish you would put away this woman that you keep. The king upon that replied sharply, why had he never talked to him of that sooner, but took this occasion now to speak of it. Lauderdale told me, he had all this from the king: and that the 253 king and Sheldon had gone into such expostulations upon it, that from that day forward Sheldon could never recover the king's confidence °. Bridgman The seals were given to sir Orlando Bridgman,

made lord 0 .

keeper. lord chief justice of the common pleas, then in great esteem, which he did not maintain long after his advancement. His study and practice lay so entirely in the common law, that he never seemed to apprehend what equity was: nor had he a head made for business or for such a court. He was a man of great integrity, and had very serious impressions of religion on his mind. He had been always on the side of the church P: yet he had great tenderness for the nonconformists: and the bishops having all declared for lord Clarendon, except one or two, he and the new scene of the ministry were inclined to favour them. The duke of Buckingham,

0 Sheldon had refused the creature Sheldon was known to sacrament to the king for living be. And this was the true in adultery. S. The king had cause of lord Clarendon's disasked Sheldon, if the church of grace. D. (Salmon, in his ExEngland would allow of a di- amination of Burnet's History, vorce, where both parties were remarks, " that if the archbiconsenting, and one of them "shop's friendship to the lord lay under a natural incapacity "Clarendon was one induceof "having children; which he "ment for his grace's using took time to consider of, under "this freedom, as our author a strict command of secresy: but "would insinuate, this rather the duke of Richmond's clan- "advances than depresses Sheldestine marriage, before he had "don's character.") given an answer, made the king P What side should he be suspect he had revealed the se- of? S. cret to lord Clarendon, whose

who had been in high disgrace before lord Claren- 1667. don's fall, came upon that into high favour, and set up for a patron of liberty of conscience and of all the sects. The see of Chester happened to fall vacant soon after: and doctor Wilkins was by his means promoted to that see. It was no small prejudice to him, that he was recommended by so bad a man. Wilkins had a courage in him that could stand against a current, and against all the reproaches with which ill-natured clergymen studied to load him. He said, he was called for by the king, without any motion of his own, to a public station, in which he would endeavour to do all the good he could, without considering the ill effects that it might have on himself. The king had such a command of himself, that when his interest led him to serve any end, or to court any sort of men, he did it so dexterously, and with such an air of sincerity, that till men were well practised in him, he was apt to impose on them. He seemed now to go into moderation and comprehension with so much heartiness, that both Bridgman and Wilkins believed he was in earnest in it: though there was nothing that the popish counsels were more fixed in, than to oppose all motions of that kind. But the king saw it was necessary to recover the affections of his people. And since the church of England was now gone off from him, upon lord Clarendon's disgrace, he resolved to shew some favour to the sects, both to soften them, and to force the others to come back to their dependence upon him.

He began also to express his concerns in the af« 7}lt ?nach

0 king 8 pre

fairs of Europe: and he brought about the peace tensions to between Castile and Portugal. The French king

1O67. pretended that, by the law of Brabant, his queen, as the heir of the late king of Spain's first marriage, though a daughter, was to be preferred to the young king of Spain, the heir of the second venter, 254 without any regard to the renunciation of any succession to his queen stipulated by the peace of the Pyrenees: and was upon that pretension like to overrun the Netherlands. Temple was sent over to enter into an alliance with the Dutch, by which some parts of Flanders were yielded up to France, but a barrier was preserved for the security of Holland. Into this the king of Sweden, then a child, was engaged: so it was called the triple alliance. I will say no more of that, since so particular an account is given of it by him who could do it best, Temple himself. It was certainly the masterpiece of king Charles's life: and, if he had stuck to it, it would have been both the strength and the glory of his reign. This disposed his people to forgive all that was passed, and to renew their confidence in him, which was much shaken by the whole conduct of the Dutch war. clarendon** The parliament were upon their first opening set

integrity. r r . .

on to destroy lord Clarendon. Some of his friends went to him a few days before the parliament met; and told him, many were at work to find out matter of accusation against him. He best knew what could be brought against him with any truth; for falsehood was infinite, and could not be guessed at. They desired, he would trust some of them with what might break out, since probably nothing could lie concealed against so strict a search. And the method in which his friends must manage for him, if there was any mixture or allay in him, was to be very different from that they could use, 1667. if he was sure that nothing^could be brought out against him. The lord Burlington and bishop Morley both told me, they talked to this purpose to him. Lord Clarendon upon that told them, that if, either in matters of justice or in any negotiations abroad, he had ever received a farthing, he gave them leave to disown all friendship to him. The French king, hearing he had sent for all the books of the Louvre impression, had sent these to him, which he took, as thinking it a trifle, as indeed it was: and this was the only present he ever had from any foreign prince: he had never taken any thing by virtue of his office, but that which his predecessors had claimed as a rightq. But now hue and cry were sent out against him: and all persons who had heard him say any thing that could bear an ill construction, were examined. Some thought, they had matters of great weight against him: and, when they were told these would not amount to high treason, they desired to know what would amount to it'.

When twenty-three articles were brought into He was imthe house against him, the next day he desired his the house second son, the now earl of Rochester, to acquaint ^f0TMm"

1 And it has been said, that he should say to sir Stephen Fox, "If my friends can but "forgive me the folly of the "great house, there is nothing "they may not well defend me "upon against my enemies." O. (See above, page 249.)

'When they made some difficulty, in the house of commons, of accusing him without

proof, the last earl of Carbery
told them, if they would but
impeach him, he would under-
take to make out the fact after-
wards: though I have heard
him since say, he did not know
any one thing against him, but
knew he had so many enemies,
that he could never want as-
sistance to make good what he
said. D.

« PreviousContinue »