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Bonaventure and Good-hope, the pretended 9^^. p« grounds of the quarrel, was no longer insisted on: Acadie was yielded to the French. The acqui- i667. sition of New-York, a settlement so important by its situation, was the chief advantage which the English reaped from a war, in which the national character of bravery had shone out with lustre, but where the misconduct of the government, especially in the conclusion, had been no less apparent.
To appease the people by some sacrifice seemed ^"*fiiii requisite before the meeting of parliament; and the prejudices of the nation pointed out the victim. The chancellor was at this time much exposed to the hatred of the public, and of every party which divided the nation. All the numerous sectaries regarded him as their determined enemy; and ascribed to his advice and influence those persecuting laws to which they had lately been exposed. The catholics knew, that while he retained any authority, all their credit with the king and the duke would be entirely useless to them, nor must they ever expect any favour or indulgence. Even the royalists, disappointed in their sanguine hopes of preferment, threw a great load of envy on Clarendon, into whose hands the king seemed at first to have resigned the whole power of government. The sale of Dunkirk, the bad payment of the seamen, the disgrace at Chatham, the unsuccessful conclusion of the war; all these misfortunes were charged on the chancellor, who, though he had ever opposed the rupture with Holland, thought it still his duty to justify what he could not prevent. A building, likewise, of more expence and magnificence than his slender fortune could afford, being unwarily undertaken by him, much exposed him to public reproach, as if he had acquired great riches by corruption. The
Eopulace gave it commonly the appellation of
CHAP. The king; himself, who had always more revered vjf!^/ than loved the chancellor, was now totally estranged .U367. from him. Amidst the dissolute manners of the court, that minister still maintained an inflexible dignity, and would not submit to any condescensions, which he deemed unworthy of his age and character. Buckingham, a man of profligate morals, happy in his talent for ridicule, but exposed in his own conduct to all the ridicule which he threw on others, still made him the object of his raillery, and gradually lessened in the king that regard which he bore to his minister. When any difficulties arose either for want of power or money, the blame was still thrown on him, who, it was believed, had carefully at the restoration checked all lavish concessions to the king. And what perhaps touched Charles more nearly, he found in Clarendon, it is said, obstacles to his pleasures, as well as to his ambition.
The king, disgusted with the homely person of his consort, and desirous of having children, had hearkened to proposals of obtaining a divorce, on pretence either of her being pre-engaged to another, or of having made a vow of chastity before her marriage. He was farther sti* jnu Iated by his passion for Mrs. Stuart, daughter of a Scotch gentleman; a lady of great beauty, and whose virtue he had hitherto found impregnable: But Clarendon, apprehensive of the consequences attending a disputed title, and perhaps anxious for the succession of his own grandchildren, engaged the duke of Richmond to marrv Mrs. Stuart, and thereby put an end to the king's hopes. It is pretended that Charles never forgave this disappointment.
When politics therefore, and inclination, both concurred to make the king sacrifice Clarendon to popular prejudices, the memory of his past services was not able any longer to delay his fall. The great
CHARLES II. 425seal was taken from him, and given to sir Orlando C H A P. Bridgeman, by the title of Lord Keeper. South- v^^/ ampton, the treasurer, was now dead, who had per- 1667< severed to the utmost in his attachments to the chancellor. The last time he appeared at the counciltable, he exerted his friendship with a vigour which neither age nor infirmities could abate. "This man," said he, speaking of Clarendon, "is a true pro"testant and an honest Englishman; and while he enjoys power, we are secure of our laws, liberties, and religion. I dread the consequences of his "removal.'
But the fall of the chancellor was not sufficient to gratify the malice of his enemies: His total ruin was resolved on. The Duke of York in vain exerted his interest in behalf of his father-in-law. Both prince and people united in promoting that violent measure; and no means were thought so proper for ingratiating the court with a parliament, which had so long been governed by that very minister, who was now to be the victim of their prejudices.
SomE popular acts paved the way for the session; and the parliament, in their first address, gave the king thanks for these instances of his goodness, and among the rest, they took care to mention his dismission of Clarendon. The king, in reply, assured the houses, that he would never again employ that nobleman in any public office whatsoever. Immediately, the charge against him was opened in the house of commons by Mr. Seymour, afterwards sir Edward, and consisted of seventeen articles. The house, without examining particulars, farther than hearing general affirmations that all would be proved, immediately voted his impeachment. Many of the articles' we know to be either false or frivolous; and such of them as we are less acquainted with, we , - 1 mav T See note [M] at the end of the volume*
Chap. may fairly presume to be no better grounded. His v^^/ advising the sale of Dunkirk, seems the heaviest and i«67. truest part of the charge; but a mistake in judgment, allowing it to be such, where there appear no symptoms of corruption or bad intentions, it would be very hard to impute as a crime to any minister. The king's necessities, which occasioned that measure, cannot, with any appearance of reason, be charged on Clarendon; and chiefly proceeded from the over-frugal maxims of the parliament itself, in not granting the proper supplies to the crown.
When the impeachment was carried up to the peers, as it contained an accusation of treason in general, without specifying any particulars, it seemed not a sufficient ground for committing Clarendon to custody. The precedents of Strafford and Laud were not, by reason of the violence of the times, deemed a proper authority; but as the commons still insisted upon his commitment, it was necessary to appoint a free conference between the houses. The lords persevered in their resolution; and the commons voted this conduct to be an obstruction to public justice, and a precedent of evil and dangerous tendency. They also chose a committee to draw up a vindication of their own proceedings.
Clarendon, finding that the popular torrent, united to the violence of power, ran with impetuosity against him, and that a defence, offered to such prejudiced ears, would be entirely ineffectual, thought proper to withdraw. At Calais he wrote a paper addressed to the house of lords. He there said, that his fortune, which was but moderate, had been gained entirely by the lawful, avowed profits of his office, and by the voluntary bounty of the king; that during the first years after the restoration he had always concurred in opinion with the other counsellors, men of such reputation that no one could entertain suspicions of their wisdom or integrity; that his credit soon declined, and however
he he might disapprove of some measures, he found it c H A P. vain to oppose them; that his repugnance to the \^^^/ Dutch war, the source of all the public grievances, tm• was always generally known, as well as his disapprobation of many unhappy steps taken in conducting it; and that whatever pretence might be made of public offences, his real crime, that which had exasperated his powerful enemies, was his frequent opposition to exorbitant grants, which the importunity of suitors had extorted from his majesty.
The lords transmitted this paper to the commons under the appellation of a libel; and by a vote of both houses, it was condemned to be burned by the hands of the hangman. The parliament next proceeded to exert their legislative power against Clarendon, and passed a bill of banishment and inca- ciaren. pacity, which received the royal assent. He retired d?°^'; into France, where he lived in a private manner. He survived his banishment six years; and he employed his leisure chiefly in reducing into order the History of the Civil Wars, for which he had before collected materials. The performance does honour to his memory; and, except Whitlocke's Memorials, is the most candid account of those times, composed by any contemporary author.
Clarendon was always a friend to the liberty and constitution of his country. At the commencement of the civil wars, he had entered into the late king's service, and was honoured with a great share in the esteem and friendship of that monarch: He was pursued with unrelenting animosity by the long parliament: He had shared all the fortunes, and directed all the counsels of the present king during his exile: He had been advanced to the highest trust and offices after the restoration: Yet all these circumstances, which might naturally operate with such force, either on resentment, gratitude, or ambition, bad no influence on his uncorrupted