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1667. the house, that he, hearing what articles were brought against him, did in order to the despatch of the business, desire that those, who knew best what their evidence was, would single out any one of the articles that they thought could be best proved; and, if they could prove that, he would submit to the censure due upon them all. But those, who had the secret of this in their hands, and knew they could make nothing of it, resolved to put the matter upon a preliminary, in which they hoped to find cause to hang up the whole affair, and fix upon the lords the denial of justice. So, according to some few and late precedents, they sent up a general impeachment to the lords' bar, of high treason, without any special matter; and demanded, that upon that he might be committed to prison. They had reason to believe the lords would not grant this: and therefore they resolved to insist on it; and reckoned, that, when so much money was to be given, the king would prevail with the lords. Upon this occasion it appeared, that the private animosities of a court could carry them to establish the most destructive precedent that could have been thought on. For if this had passed, then every minister upon a general impeachment was to be ruined, though no special matter was laid against him. Yet the king himself pressed this vehemently. It was said, the very suspicions of a house of commons, especially such a one as this was, was enough to blast a man, and to secure him: for there was reason to think, that every person so charged would run away, if at liberty. Lord Clarendon's enemies had now gone far: they thought they were not safe till his head was off: and they apprehended, that, if he were once in prison, it would be easy either to find, 1667. or at least to bring witnesses against him. This matter is all in print: so I will go no further in the particulars. The duke was at this time taken with the small-pox: so he was out of the whole debate. The peers thought, that a general accusation was only a clamour, and that their dignities signified little, if a clamour was enough to send them to prison. All the earl of Clarendon's friends pressed the king much on his behalf, that he might be suffered to go off gently, and without censure, since he had served both his father and himself so long, so faithfully, and with such success. But the king was now so sharpened against him, that, though he named no particulars, he expressed a violent and irreconcileable aversion to him; which did the king much hurt in the opinion of all that were not engaged in the party. The affair of the king's marriage was the most talked of, as that which indeed was the only thing that could in any sort justify such a severity. Lord Clarendon did protest, as some that had it from himself told me, that he had no other hand in that matter, than as a counsellor: 256 and in that he appealed to the king himself. After many debates, and conferences, and protestations, in which the whole court went in visibly to that which was plainly destructive both to the king and to the ministry, the majority of the house stood firm, and adhered to their first resolution against commitment. The commons were upon that like to carry the matter far against the peers, as denying justice. The king, seeing this, spoke to the The king duke, to persuade lord Clarendon to go beyond sea, would go as the only expedient that was left to make up the bey0D<i "*
1667. breach between the two houses: and he let fall some words of kindness, in case he should comply with this. The earl of Clarendon was all obedience and submission; and was charmed with those tender words that the king had said of him. So, partly to serve the king, and save himself and his family, but chiefly that he might not be the occasion of any difference between the king and the duke, who had heartily espoused his interest, he went privately beyond sea; and writ a letter from Calais to the house of lords, protesting his innocence in all the points objected to him, and that he had not gone out of the kingdom for fear, or out of any consciousness of guilt, but only that he might not be the unhappy occasion of any difference between the two houses, or of obstructing public business. This put an end to the dispute. But his enemies called it a confession of guilt, and a flying from justice: such colours will people give to the most innocent actions.
He was ba- A bill was brought in, banishing him the king's act of par- dominions, under pain of treason if he should rei.amcat. turn, &n(j •£ was ma<je treason to correspond with him, without leave from the king. This act did not pass without much opposition. It was said, there was a known course of law when any man fled from justice: and it seemed against the common course of justice, to make all corresponding with him treason, when he himself was not attainted of treasons: nor could it be just to banish him, unless a day were given him to come in: and then, if he did not come in, he might incur the pu
s Bishop of Rochester's case. S.
nishment upon contempt. The duke, whom the 1667. king had employed to prevail with him to withdraw himself, thought he was bound in honour to press the matter home on the king; which he did so warmly, that for some time a coldness between them was very visible. The part the king had acted in this matter came to be known; and was much censured, as there was just cause for it. The vehemence that he shewed in this whole matter was imputed by many to very different causes. Those who knew him best, but esteemed him least, said to me on this occasion, that all the indignation that 257 appeared in him on this head, was founded on no reason at all; but was an effect of that easiness, or rather laziness of nature, that made him comply with every person that had the greatest credit with him. The mistress, and the whole bedchamber, were perpetually railing at him'. This, by a sort of infection, possessed the king, who, without giving himself the trouble of much thinking, did commonly go into any thing that was at the present time the easiest, without considering what might at any other
11 have heard my uncle say, (who was a groom of the bedchamber,) the first proof the courtiers had of his being out of favour, was Harry Killigrew's mimicking of him before the king; which he could do in a very ridiculous manner, by carrying the bellows about the room, instead of a purse, and another before him with a shovel for a mace, and could counterfeit his voice and style very exactly; which the king was so much pleased with, that he made him do it before the duchess of
Cleveland, who hated lord Cla-
1667. time follow on it. Thus the lord Clarendon fell under the common fate of great ministers; whose employment exposes them to envy, and draws upon them the indignation of all who are disappointed in their pretensions. Their friends do generally shew, that they are only the friends of their fortunes: and upon the change of favour, they not only forsake them in their extremity, but, that they may secure to themselves the protection of a new favourite, they will labour to redeem all that is past, by turning as violently against them as they formerly fawned abjectly upon themv: and princes are so little sensible of merit or great services, that they sacrifice their best servants, not only when their affairs seem to require it, but to gratify the humour of a mistress, or the passion of a rising favourite. Thecharac- j wjji encl this relation of lord Clarendon's fall
ter of his
two sons. with an account of his two sons. The eldest, now the earl of Clarendon, is a man naturally sincere: [except in the payment of his debts; in which he had a particular art, upon his breaking of his promises, which he does very often, to have a plausible excuse, and a new promise ever ready at hand: in which he has run longer than one could think possible.] He is a friendly and good-natured man. He keeps an exact journal of all that passes", and is punctual to tediousness in all that he relates. He was very early engaged in great secrets: for his father, apprehending of what fatal consequence it would have been to the king's affairs, if his correspondence had been discovered by unfaithful secretaries.engaged
v Stupid moralist. S. volumes quarto, from the Cla
u (It was published, together rendon press in 1763.) with his State Letters, in two