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promises which had brought the King home, so it must be the keeping of them which must keep him at home:' they sarcastically retorted, that the objects of his fulfilment were not the same; for that the oblivion was confined to his friends, and the indemnity to his enemies. There are some instances, however, in which (as Macdiarmid justly remarks) Clarendon was willing to wield the rod of power with too high a hand. The excessive dissipation, into which the court speedily fell, became the general theme of public conversation; and in the taverns and coffeehouses, to which in that licentious period persons of both sexes daily crowded, the example of the King and courtiers was usually urged as an apology for the grossest debaucheries.
Charles could not endure, that his royal vices should be the current topic of discourse in the mouths of the multitude; and, therefore, applied to his Chancellor to devise some remedy for this growing evil. Clarendon agreed with him, that it ought to be repressed;' and instead of assuring him, that the reformation of his conduct was the only effectual means of stopping the evil tongues of men, complaisantly proposed two expedients for subduing the mischief: “ either by a proclamation to forbid all persons to resort to those houses, and so totally to suppress them; or to employ spies who, being present in the conversation, might be ready to accuse such as had talked with most licence upon any subject that would bear complaint.” The King was much pleased with both expedients; but, on being debated in the Privy Council, this system of general espionage was abandoned, on the ground that it would diminish the revenue arising from coffee!
But the system pursued by the new Chancellor in regulating the judicial administration, deserves the highest praise. He showed his love for civil liberty, by making no attempts to revive the Courts of the Star Chamber and the High Commission, which had been, however unjustly, regarded as main props of the sovereign power, and which the complaisant parliament would probably not have scrupled to reestablish. He filled every judicial department with men of ascertained loyalty, morality, and talents. Some learned and incorruptible Judges, who had sat on the bench in the time of Cromwell, were again exalted to the same situation; and, among these, the name of Sir Matthew Hale has obtained emis nent celebrity. We readily enter into the triumph, which Clarendon expresses at having restored to the nation the blessings of a regular judicature. “ Denied it cannot be," says he," that there appeared, sooner than was thought possible, a general settlement in the civil justice of the kingdom: no man complained without remedy; and every man dwelt again under the shadow of his own vine, without any complaint of injustice and oppression.” Of the diligence and integrity, which he wished to diffuse among the guardians of the law, he set an illustrious example in his own judicial conduct; and it is allowed by all, that the office of Lord Chancellor was never more uprightly administered.
It would betray the writer beyond the limits assigned to this scanty biography, to enter into a discussion of the measures which he introduced, or patronised for the conversion of non-conformists. But to say nothing of the tyrannical rigour of a measure, which by attempting to impose upon the clergy an oath, that in their judgement no oppression or cruelty on the part of the Sovereign could justify his subjects in taking arms against his authority,' expelled two thousand conscientious ministers from their benefices by a species of second massacre on St. Bartholomew's Day, 1662 ; what can be pronounced of the igno. rance of ecclesiastical history, which it betrayed ? When has persecution, short of extermination, made real or respectable converts to any faith ? In this, as well as by a statute against conventicles, and a third which is usually called the · Five-mile Act,' he was strenuously opposed by his friend the virtuous Earl of Southampton, Lord High Treasurer, and by the excellent Earle Bishop of Salisbury. Yet all this, however injudicious and unsuccessful, was free from selfish motives. Though his fortune, originally inconsiderable, had suffered greatly in the last commotions, with the utmost difficulty could he be prevailed upon to accept any grants for it's reparation. He refused the name of Prime Minister, as invidious, being then recognised only in the arbitrary government of France; and from his personal attachment to his Sovereign he consented to endure the ungracious office of repelling the importunity of suitors, as well as the still more odious task of justifying their appointments, even where through royal partiality improperly bestowed. This uncommon devotion the Monarch, for some time, repaid with the most courteous attentions ; * and occasionally, when Clarendon was
* What must he have thought of Charles' principles, when upon communicating to him the insulting offer made to himself by the French Court of a yearly pension, he was told by his Majesty with a laugh, that he was a fool ? '.
afflicted with the gout, summoned his Privy Council to meet him even in the minister's bed-chamber at Worcester House.
But he speedily had cause to reflect upon the precariousness of Princes' favours.
His daughter, during her residence at the Hague, hád attracted the notice and affection of the Duke of York, afterward James II., who having fruitlessly made her dishonourable proposals, united her to himself by a private marriage. After the Restoration, the lady being with child insisted upon the Duke's avowing the marriage, affirming, “ that she would have it known that she was his wife, let him use her ever so ill for it;' upon which, the Duke communicated the whole affair to his royal brother. Her father, upon the first intimation of the affair, displayed such vehemence of resentment (devoting his daughter even to death, as the only adequate punishment for her presumption) that his friends thought him unnaturally severe, while his enemies insinuated that he over-acted his part as a political dissembler. The latter opinion ultimately prevailed, when his concurrence followed closely upon that of the King ;*
* The Queen Dowager, who had hastened from France to prevent her second son from acknowledging this unequal marriage, and upon her failure was meditating to bid an eternal farewell to the English Court, was compelled by Mazarin to suppress these exhibitions of her resentment. It was convenient to the French minister to cultivate the good will of every successive government of England: and from that period, keenly observes Clarendon, this vindictive woman never showed any “ want of kindness toward him, whilst he stood-in no need of it, nor until it might have done him good.” It was upon this event that he received his barony, and an unsolicited grant of 20,0001. from Charles II. He subsequently irritated the Duke
and the malice of his adversaries suggested the idea of a strange accusation against him, in consequence of this family-alliance with the crown. It was said, that he had contrived the King's marriage with the Infanta of Portugal, for the purpose of securing the succession to the issue of his daughter the Duchess of York:' as it had been declared by the Spanish Embassador and the Earl of Bristol, * previously to the consummation of the match, that • the intended Queen could have no children;' a declaration, verified by her subsequent barrenness. The imputation, however, against Lord Clarendon
of York, by refusing the Garter; and it was only upon his repeated expostulations, that he was at length induced to accept an Earldom.
* This nobleman, once known as the patriotic Lord Digby, on account of his peculiar talent was employed by the court of Spain to inflame the fancy of the English monarch by luxuriant descriptions of the beauties of Italy, in which country they wished him to select his wife. For a time, he had some hopes of success : but Clarendon and honour prevailed ; and on the arrival of his Portuguese bride, he found no reason for dissatisfaction. Her feelings were soon, however, to be insulted by her husband's introducing to her his mistress (Mrs. Palmer, afterward Duchess of Cleveland) in full court: she fainted away. In vain his virtuous minister represented to him, that no enemy
he had could advise him a more sure way to lose the hearts and affections of the people, than the indulging himself in such licentiousness :' in vain he disdained to countenance the titled courtesan by the slightest attention, and even refused to affix the Great Seal to any grant, in which she was concerned, in consequence of which they were transmitted to Ireland for the sanction of a more accommodating Chancellor: in vain Lord Southampton closed the treasury-books against the taint of her name.
Charles only felt the burthen of servants, whose morality reproached him so forcibly, as intolerably heavy, and with his profligate mistress began to concert their downfall. VOL. III.