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СНАР. The country party had intended to make use of LXVIII. Fitz-harris's evidence against the Duke and the catho. 168 1.
lics; and his execution was therefore a great morti. fication to them. But the King and his ministers were resolved not to be contented with so slender an advantage. They were determined to pursue the victory, and to employ against the exclusionists those very offensive arms, however unfair, which that party had laid up in store against their antagonists. The whole gang of spies, witnesses, informers, suborners, who had so long been supported and encouraged by the leading patriots, finding now that the King was entirely master, turned short upon their old patrons, and offered their service to the ministers. To the disgrace of the court and of the age, they were received with hearty welcome; and their testimony, or rather perjury, made use of in order to commit legal murder upon the opposite party. With an air of triumph and derision it was asked, “ Are not “ these men good witnesses, who have established the “ popish plot, upon whose testimony Stafford and so
many catholics have been executed, and whom
you yourselves have so long celebrated as men of “ credit and veracity? You have admitted them into
your bosom: They are best acquainted with your “ treasons: They are determined in another shape " to serve their King and country : And you cannot “ complain, that the same measure, which you
meted “ to others, should now, by a righteous doom or ven“ geance, be measured out to you."
It is certain, that the principle of retaliation may serve in some cases as a full apology, in others as an alleviation, for a conduct which would otherwise be exposed to great blame. But these infamous arts, which poison justice in its very source, and break all the bands of human society, are so detestable and dangerous, that no pretence of retaliation can be pleaded as an apology or even an alleviation of the crime incurred by them. On the contrary, the greater CHAP. indignation the King and his ministers felt, when LXVIII. formerly exposed to the perjuries of abandoned men,
1681. the more reluctance should they now have discovered against employing the same instruments of vengeance upon their antagonists.
The first person, on whom the ministers fell, was one College, a London joiner, who had become extremely noted for his zeal against popery, and was much connected with Shaftesbury and the leaders of the country party: For as they relied much upon the populace, men of College's rank and station were useful to them. College had been in Oxford armed with sword and pistol during the sitting of the parliament; and this was made the foundation of his crime. It was pretended that a conspiracy had been entered into to seize the King's person, and detain him in confinement, till he should make the concessions demanded of him. The sheriffs of London were in strong opposition to the court; and it was not strange, that the grand jury named by them rejected the bill against College. The prisoner was therefore sent to Oxford, where the treason was said to have been committed. Lord Norris, a courtier, was sheriff of the county ; and the inhabitants were in general devoted to the court party. A jury was named, consisting entirely of royalists ; and though they were men of credit and character, yet such was the factious rage which prevailed, that little justice could be expected by the prisoner. Some papers, containing hints and directions for his defence, were taken from him, as he was conducted to his trial : An iniquity, which some pretended to justify by alleging, that a like violence had been practised against a prisoner during the fury of the popish plot. Such wild notions of retaliation were at that time propagated by the court party
THE witnesses produced against College were LXVIII. Dugdale, Turberville, Haynes, Smith; men who
had before given evidence against the catholics; and 1681.
whom the jury, for that very reason, regarded as the most perjured villains. College, though beset with so many toils, and oppressed with so many iniquities, defended himself with spirit, courage, capacity, presence of mind; and he invalidated the evidence of the crown, by convincing arguments and undoubted testimony: Yet did the jury, after half an hour's deliberation, bring in a verdict against him. The inhuman spectators received the verdict with a shout of applause : But the prisoner was nowise dismayed. At his execution, he maintained the same manly fortitude, and still denied the crime im. puted to him. His whole conduct and demeanour prove him to have been a man led astray only by the fury of the times, and to have been governed by an honest, but indiscreet, zeal for his country and his religion.
Thus the two parties, actuated by mutual rage, but cooped up within the narrow limits of the law, levelled with poisoned daggers the most deadly blows against each other's breast, and buried in their factious divisions all regard to truth, honour, and humanity.
C H A P. LXIX.
State of Affairs in Ireland. — - Shaftesbury acquitted.
Argyle's Trial.-- State of Affairs in Scotland. - State of the Ministry in England. - New Nomination of Sheriffs. Quo Warrantos. — Great Power of the Crown. A Conspiracy. — Shaftesbury retires and dies. — Rye-house Plot. - Conspiracy discovered. Execution of the Conspirators. - Trial of Lord Russel. — His Execution. — Trial of Algernon Sidney. — His Execution. - Sate of the Nation. - State of Foreign Affairs. - King's Šickness and Death and Character.
HEN the Cabal entered into the mysterious CHAP. WH
alliance with France, they took care to remove LXIX. the Duke of Ormond from the committee of foreign
1681. affairs; and nothing tended farther to increase the
State of national jealousy, entertained against the new mea- Affairs in sures, than to see a man of so much loyalty, as well Ireland. as probity and honour, excluded from public councils. They had even so great interest with the King as to get Ormond recalled from the government of Ireland; and Lord Robarts, afterwards Earl of Radnor, succeeded him in that important employment. Lord Berkeley succeeded Robarts; and the Earl of Essex, Berkeley. At last, in the year 1677, Charles cast his eye again upon Ormond, whom he had so long neglected; and sent him over lieutenant to Ireland. “ I have done every thing," said the King, “ to “ disoblige that man ; but it is not in my power to " make him my enemy.” Ormond, during his disgrace, had never joined the malcontents, nor encouraged those clamours, which, with too much reason, but often for bad purposes, were raised against the King's measures. He even thought it his duty, regularly, though with dignity, to pay his
CHAP. court at Whitehall; and to prove that his attachments LXIX. were founded on gratitude, inclination, and principle, 1681.
not on any temporary advantages. All the expressions, which dropped from him, while neglected by the court, shewed more of good humour, than any prevalence of spleen and indignation.
" I can do you no service,” said he to his friends, “ I have only the power left by my applications to do you
some hurt.” When Colonel Carey Dillon solicited him to second his pretensions for an office, and urged that he had no friends but God and his Grace : “: Alas! poor Carey,” replied the Duke, “ I pity " thee: Thou couldst not have two friends that “ possess less interest at court." " I am thrown " by,” said he, on another occasion, “ like an old
rusty clock; yet even that neglected machine, “ twice in twenty-four hours, points right.”.
On such occasions, when Ormond, from decency, paid his attendance at court, the King, equally ashamed to shew him civility and to neglect him, was abashed and confounded. “ Sir,” said the profligate Buckingham, “ I wish to know whether it « be the Duke of Ormond that is out of favour with “ your Majesty, or your Majesty with the Duke of “ Ormond; for, of the two, you seem the most cs out of countenace."
WHEN Charles found it his interest to show fa. vour to the old royalists, and to the church of England, Ormond, who was much revered by that whole party, could not fail of recovering, together with the government of Ireland, his former credit and authority. His administration, when lord lieutenant, corresponded to the general tenor of his life; and tended equally to promote the interests of Prince and people, of protestant and catholic. Ever firmly attached to the established "religion, he was able, even during those jealous times, to escape suspicion, though he gratified not vulgar prejudices by any persecution of the popish party. He increased the 4