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for the decencies of life for which the court of Louis XIV. then king of France, was infamous. He married an infanta of Portugal, but did not the less connect himself with other women; on whom, as well as on his illegitimate children, he bestowed the highest titles. He had no issue by his queen.
Charles was always secretly aiming to bring in popery, and to make himself an absolute king: not that, like his father, he thought unlimited power his rightful heritage, but that he wished to be under no restraint in the indulgence of his pleasures; nor was the Duke of York exempt from the same licentious tastes, while he was far more zealous than the king in promoting the interest of the Church of Rome. This prince married a daughter of the Earl of Clarendon; by whom he became the father of the Princesses Mary and Anne. He afterwards married a sister of the Duke of Modena. Being made lord high admiral, he seems to have induced his brother to declare war very needlessly with the United States of Holland. Many naval battles were fought without very decided advantage to either side; though on one occasion the Dutch fleet under De Ruyter sailed up the Thames, burned the ships of war which lay at Chatham, and threatened London itself. (A.D. 1667.)
The country was at this time visited with two great calamities in succeeding years. The first (A.D. 1665) was a plague, which spread through many parts of the kingdom, and carried off in London alone upwards of one hundred thousand people. The inhabitants were summoned by a bell to bring out their dead; which were thrown, without any religious rite, into a pit prepared in the nearest churchyard. The other calamity (A.D. 1666) was the most exten. sive fire with which London was ever visited. It broke out in Pudding-lane, near the only bridge which London then possessed, and raged with fury for five days, consuming more than thirteen thousand houses, eighty-nine churches, and the cathedral of St. Paul's. But London rose from its ashes in greater beauty than before, and the streets were rebuilt with more attention to health and regularity. The column, called The Monument, was raised to commemorate this awful fire; in checking which the king exerted himself with energy and humanity.
At this time Louis XIV. was pushing his conquests in Flanders, and aiming at an universal rule in Europe. The Dutch were alarmed at his progress, and sued for peace. A treaty, called "The Triple Alliance," was formed by the agency of Sir William Temple between England, Sweden, and Holland, against the French king; and well would it have been for Charles's honour, had he been true to the engagements which he thus contracted. Anxious, however, to dispense with parliaments, and to raise by other means the money required for his pleasures, he stooped (through a great part of his reign) to become the pensioner of Louis; who thus bought from a king of England the promise that he would declare himself a member of the Roman Church, and make war with the United States of Holland.
Charles had some little time before formed a ministry which was called the "Cabal," because the first letters of the names of its members were ingeniously arranged into that word. These were Clifford, Arlington, Buckingham, Ashley, Lauderdale. Buckingham was the son of the late king's favourite. Ashley was afterwards made Earl of Shaftesbury. A more profligate ministry was never at the head of affairs: but their corruption was exceeded by the venality of Charles himself; of which a second war with Holland was the fruit. In this war, the young Prince of Orange greatly distinguished himself against the armies of Charles's ally, the King of France. A marriage was, however, arranged between this prince and the Princess Mary, the daughter of the Duke of York; whose second daughter. (the Princess Anne) was afterwards married to Prince George of Denmark.
Peace was at length concluded with the United States of Holland on favourable terms to England, but only that Charles might return to his dishonourable engagements with Louis, who himself made peace with Holland by the treaty of Nimeguen (1678).
The country, which had hailed the king's return had long learnt to distrust his principles, and was alarmed at the prospect of a popish successor in the person of his brother.
At the meeting of the parliament in 1673, this temper displayed itself in a manner not to be mistaken. Charles had issued the year before a proclamation, generally called "the declaration of indulgence." It professed to suspend
the penal laws which had been enacted against all nonconformists or recusants soever; Protestant dissenters were permitted the public exercise of their form of religion; and Romanists the exercise of theirs in their private houses. But the parliament saw that the king's design, though in appearance liberal, was to protect his brother. Remonstrances were made; and the king was obliged to withdraw the declaration. A law was forthwith passed, which imposed a test upon all who should enjoy any public office. They were to take the oaths of allegiance and supremacy, to receive the Holy Eucharist at the hands of a minister of the Church of England, and to abjure the doctrine of transubstantiation.
In 1679 the Long Parliament, as it was called, because it had sat by prorogations ever since the Restoration, was dissolved. A new one was summoned forthwith. It met under great excitement. The fear of popery was strong in the minds both of the people and of their representatives. Of this the immediate causes were as follows.
It had been alleged that just before the dissolution of the late parliament, a popish plot, on a very extended scale, had been discovered. The informer was one Dr. Titus Oates, who had been in turns an anabaptist preacher, a clergyman of the Church of England, and a papist. Through all his changes he had borne a most corrupt character, and was, consequently, unworthy of credit. But, such was the temper of the time, his testimony, though to the highest degree suspicious, brought many innocent persons to the scaffold. New perplexity was created by information of another plot, called the Mealtub Plot, from the reported discovery of some treasonable papers in a barrel of flour. Under the panic occasioned by these real or pretended conspiracies, a bill of exclusion was brought forward by Lord Shaftesbury (who had turned against the Court) and Lord Russell. It was carried in the House of Commons, but rejected in the House of Lords by a considerable majority, much to the chagrin of its promoters, especially of Lord Russell. That nobleman
2 This parliament passed a Bill to render the operation of the Habeas Corpus Act more easy and effectual.
3 Its object was to exclude the Duke of York, as being a papist, from the succession to the throne.
himself was soon afterwards implicated in a conspiracy which was formed by some of the republican faction, who began to despair of the liberties of England. This party contained persons of various ranks and opinions; and some of the more desperate had planned to shoot the king, from a building called the Rye-house, near Newmarket; and the plot is therefore known as the Rye-house Plot. It does not appear that Lord Russell was privy to this part of the scheme; and the evidence against him was very questionable. His wife, a lady of distinguished excellence, acted as his secretary on the trial; the result of which was that he was beheaded in Lincoln's-Inn Fields. He was a man of sincerity and virtuous private life, and met his end with Christian resignation and cheerfulness. Algernon Sidney, a decided republican, who was implicated in the same conspiracy, was executed on Tower-hill, a few months after the death of Lord Russell (1683).
Soon after the king's return, episcopacy' had been restored in Scotland; and throughout the greater part of this reign it was upheld by a persecution of the Presbyterians which was carried on with the most revolting cruelty. An insurrection took place, but was crushed with great severity by Graham of Claverhouse, who became Lord Dundee. It was at length put down by the Duke of Monmouth, an illegitimate son of the king; who would have dealt more gently with the insurgents, had he not been controlled by the influence of Graham and the Duke of Lauderdale. On the other hand, Archbishop Sharpe was murdered in cold blood by a party of the class of fanatics called Cameronians; and the whole history of these troubles exhibits a picture of the worst parts of human nature; relieved only by the faith and courage with which many of the persecuted Presbyterians submitted to torture and death.
The king had probably injured his constitution by early excesses, and had a fit of apoplexy in the 55th year of his age. He died Feb. 6, 1685, and was succeeded by his brother James.
In this reign the clergy first ceased to tax themselves in their own convocation; an arrangement was made between Sheldon, archbishop of Canterbury, and the Lord Chan
4 See p. 110, note.
cellor Hyde, by which it was settled, that the clergy should be included in the money bills passed in parliament. From this period the convocation gradually lost its civil importance as a part of the constitution.
It may be mentioned also, that the appellations of Whig and Tory began to distinguish the two great political parties in the country in this reign. The former is said to have been a nickname of the ultra-Protestant fanatics in the west of Scotland, and the latter to have been a familiar designation of certain Popish outlaws in Ireland. Whig was used, at this time, to designate those who were opposed to a Roman Catholic prince. Tory, those who had no objection to see such a person on the throne. But we shall see that
these terms expanded in signification soon afterwards.
Born at St. James's Palace.
Buried in the Nunnery of the Benedictines, at Paris. Reigned 4 years. From A.D. 1685 to A.D. 1689.
Archbishop of Canterbury.
William Sancroft, A.D. 1677-1691.
Ar the council which assembled on the death of Charles, the new king declared his purpose of maintaining the Church and constitution of the country as established by law. His conduct soon made his people mistrust the sincerity of this declaration. He went publicly to Divine service celebrated according to the Romish ritual, relaxed the enforcement of laws against Romanists, and sent the Earl of Castlemain as his ambassador to Rome. His measures for the reconciliation of his kingdom to that see appeared so imprudent to the pope, that the earl was coldly received; and though a nuncio was sent to England, he did not openly assume that character at first. Monks in the habit of their order now appeared at court, as well as in all parts of London; and the alarm which was excited by these signs of the king's intention was greatly increased, when he claimed the power of dispensing by his own act with the execution of all laws.
The opponents of James in the late reign had on several occasions put forward the Duke of Monmouth as his rival,