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macy with the prince of Orange, which led to the matrimonial contract above alluded to, and gave rise to an occurrence which Sir William ever regarded as one of the happiest of his life. One day, when the prince happened to be absent, five Englishmen were seized and brought to the Hague, and immediately tried and condemned for deserting their colours. Some of Sir William Temple's servants had the curiosity to visit the unfortunate prisoners, and came home horror-struck by the conviction that their countrymen were about to be slaughtered for an offence of which they were not guilty, and that innocent as they were, there was no shield to interpose between them and the too certain instrument of death. The earth was already opened to receive their bodies, and the next day's noon would find them numbered with the dead. Impelled at once with sympathy and terror, the servants besought their master to exert himself, and avert, if possible, the unjust doom to which these persons were consigned. Sir William omitted no effort of entreaty, but the lives of a few private and humble individuals, when weighed in the balance against the infallibility of a public judicial body, were made to kick the beam; their sentence could not be retracted; the evidence had been deemed conclusive; the men must die. One hope still remained, that that which their humanity denied might possibly be extorted from their fears. Sir William sent then to the officers with a threat that he would appeal to the prince and to the king, who would demand reparation, or rather wreak vengeance, if so many of his majesty's subjects were subjected to punishment so unjust. But even this succeeded no farther than to obtain a reprieve for a single day, in the course of which time Sir William managed to communicate with the prince, and procured the liberation of the prisoners. The feelings of the men carried them first, naturally enough, to visit the fresh-dug graves, whose mouths still yawned, expecting their bodies; then with a mingled sentiment of horror and gratitude, to cast themselves at the feet of Sir William Temple, and on their knees pour forth their thankfulness. It will easily be believed that in the retrospect of bygone years, Sir William must have felt, as he declared, this to have been the brightest, most joyous moment.
In the spring of the year 1678, Sir William Temple was called home to succeed Mr Coventry in the office of secretary of state, but though the offer of the secretaryship was at his request withdrawn for a time, he did not return to Nimeguen that year. About this time occurred the marriage of the prince of Orange to the lady Mary; in allusion to which, Lord Arlington, rather ill-humouredly, remarked, that "some things were so ill in themselves that the manner of doing them could not mend them; and others so good that the manner they were done in could not spoil them; and that the prince of Orange's match was one of the last sort." The source of Lord Arlington's coldness to Sir William Temple is to be found in the early acquaintance of the former with the lord-treasurer, Danby; they had travelled together when young; they were related by marriage; Danby was now prime minister in Arlington's room: since then Danby and Temple were at difference with each other, it was impossible for Arlington to be the friend, and retain the good will of both. Hence the rupture between Temple and Arlington, which after occurrences tended to widen rather than close up.
The king would have engaged Sir William Temple in some negotiations with the crown of France, for which he was so little disposed that he requested the lord-treasurer to acquaint his majesty with his wish to retire altogether, offering to resign all pretensions to the post of secretary of state, which had been in abeyance in consequence of some difficulties originating in Mr Coventry. But when it was discovered that the French intended not to evacuate the Spanish towns, according to the stipulations of the treaty, the king commanded Sir William to act a third time as ambassador to the States, in which capacity he again visited Holland, and concluded a treaty, by which England was engaged, if those towns were not evacuated in forty days, to declare immediate war with France; but before the expiration of half the time, one Du Cross was sent from our court to Holland, on a mission which damped the good humour that treaty had produced, and destroyed the life and activity with which affairs were then moving. Sir William Temple had seen too much of the baseness of courts to be much astonished, but the frequency and suddenness of the changes of purpose in our court disgusted and wearied him of all public employment.
On Mr Coventry's resignation, he was sent for to enter upon the duties of secretary, but still unwilling to accept the appointment, he assigned as an objection the fact of his not being a member of parliament; from which, the times being so critical, he thought public business would suffer. Lord Danby's imprisonment by the parliament, left the king without a councillor in whom he could confide; he was therefore the more urgent in pressing Sir William, for whom he entertained a high esteem, to accept the secretaryship. But Sir William having already suffered much annoyance and trouble incident to a public life, aware of the prevailing discontent and jealousy, and anxious to avoid the suspicion with which every act of every public man was scrutinized, persisted in his endeavour to effect his retreat. He suggested to the king a plan, the adoption of which, he judged, would tend to quiet the discontent of the people, establish a balance of power between the commons and the court, and secure to his majesty the ascendancy in the council. The king approved his reasons, adopted his plan, and reduced the number of his councillors from fifty to thirty, fifteen officers of the crown; the rest, chief men from the popular party. For a time the new council worked very well, but the incongruousness of its elements soon destroyed that concentration of purpose which is the very soul of such a body. In the next year, 1680, the council was again changed, and Sir William Temple, though, as one of their number, he had frequently joined in their deliberations, ever looking anxiously for the time of his liberation from public business, endeavoured gradually to withdraw himself into retirement. The king, however, again summoned him into action, intending to send him on an embassy to Spain; but just at the completion of his preparations, his majesty desired him to defer his journey till the end of the session of parliament, in which the factious were exceedingly violent. Sir William was at that time member for Cambridge, and strenuously opposed the attempt to cut off the duke of York from the succession. His endeavours, he said, should ever be to unite the royal family, but that he would never enter into any council to divide them. This Bill of Exclusion,' after long and sharp contests, was thrown out; and the last act of Sir William in
parliament, was to convey the king's final answer to the address of the house of commons, containing a resolution never to consent to the exclusion of his brother: an office of so obnoxious a character, that no other person could be found to undertake it. When, however, in January 1681, the king dissolved the parliament without the advice of the privy council, he avowed with great boldness his disapprobation of the measure; and being now quite weary of all the faction and misgovernment he had witnessed, he declined the offer of being returned for the university, in the new parliament which was summoned at Oxford, and withdrew to Sheen. Thence he sent word to the king, “that he would pass the rest of his life as good a subject as any in his kingdom, but would never more meddle with public affairs." His majesty, in consequence, expunged his name from the council, but returned an assurance, that Sir William's secession had given him no offence. From which time, to the end of this reign, and during part of the next, he remained at Sheen. In 1686, however, he removed to a very retired and agreeable spot, named Moor Park, near Farnham, Surrey, where, afflicted with the gout, and otherwise suffering from the infirmities of age, he resolved to pass the remainder of his days. On his way thither, he visited King James, and endeavoured to engage his majesty's favour and protection, but again avowed his fixed resolution never more to enter on any public employment. His retirement now was so secluded, and he became so much a stranger to the course and changes of public affairs, that not only was he wholly unacquainted with the design of the prince of Orange, but was one of the last men in England that gave credit to the account of his landing. He refused his son permission to present himself to William on his landing, but after James' abdication, he took his son with him to wait on the prince at Windsor. William pressed his acceptance of the secretaryship, and declared that kindness was the only motive for the concealment of his design. Both unwilling and unable himself, he, nevertheless, was content that his son should accept some appointment; accordingly, Mr John Temple was made secretary at war, but had scarcely held the office a week, when he drowned himself in the Thames. Sudden and awful as was this event, Sir William received the intelligence with a degree of coolness wholly foreign to the usual character of parental affection, and involving a far greater extent of unfavourable import than can be comprised in the phrase, stoic firmness,' which, together with Christian resignation,' has been applied as descriptive of the feeling which dictated the utterance, on this occasion, of the Stoic maxim, that a wise man may dispose of himself, and make his life as short as he pleases.'
The disturbances of the revolution had compelled Sir William to abandon Moor Park and reside with his son at Sheen; but, at the end of this year, he returned to Moor Park, where he had the honour of being frequently consulted by his majesty, and where he remained till the period of his death, which occurred in Jan. 1698, he being then in his seventieth year.
Sir William Temple's general character seems, from other accounts, to have been attractive. Bishop Burnet, however, makes the following observations on him: "Temple was too proud to bear contempt, or forget such an injury soon. He was a vain man, much blown up in
his own conceit, which he showed too indecently on all occasions. He had a true judgment in affairs, and very good principles with relation to government, but good in nothing else; for he was an Epicurean both in principle and practice. He seemed to think that things were as they are from all eternity; at least, he thought religion was fit only for the mob. He was a corrupter of all that came near him, and he delivered himself up wholly to study ease and pleasure's." As a companion, he was social and humorous, and it has been said that he never made an unsuccessful attempt to gain the good will and friendship of another : as a politician he held a deservedly high rank; without ambition or avarice, and thoroughly acquainted with the true interests of his country, he pursued his course in sincerity, integrity, and honour, enjoying the friendship and confidence of each of the three kings in whose reigns he lived as a writer, he is classed with the most eminent and popular of his time. His 'Observations upon the United Provinces of the Netherlands,' are a valuable and interesting performance, highly deserving the attention of the politician and philosopher. The Miscellanies,' are essays on various subjects, lively and interesting, if not profound. His 'Memoirs' are important to the history of the times. He published also An Introduction to the History of England;' and Swift, who had lived with him during his latter years, edited, after his death, three volumes of his 'Letters.' All Sir William Temple's writings display much acquaintance both with books and men, and are entirely free from the licentiousness so prevalent in that age. Their style is negligent and incorrect, but agreeable, resembling that of easy and polite conversation.
BORN A. D. 1633.-DIED A. D. 1701.
JAMES II. of England, and VII. of Scotland, the second son of Charles I. and of Henrietta of France, was born in October, 1633, and immediately declared duke of York. After the capture of Oxford and the defeat of the royalists hopes, he escaped to the continent, in April, 1648. In his twentieth year, he entered the French army, and served under Turenne in four campaigns. He subsequently served under the prince of Condé in Flanders.
The circumstances attending the duke's marriage with the daughter of the chancellor, afterwards earl of Clarendon, are thus related by the anonymous compiler of James's life: "We must not forget to mention in this year (1660), so important and so extraordinary a passage in the duke's life, as was his first marriage with the lord-chancellor's daughter, extraordinary indeed, both in itself and in the consequences, both good and bad, which in process of time followed from it. When the princesse of Orange came to Paris to see the queen her mother, the duke being (there) at that time, as has been before mention'd, Mrs Anne Hide was one of her maids of honour, who then attended her: it happen'd that after some conversation together, the
Hist. of his own Times. Burnet speaks highly of his Letters.
duke fell in love with her, she having witt and other qualitys capable of surprising a heart less inclinable to the sexe, than was that of his Royal Highness in the first warmth of his youth. She indeed shew'd both her witt and her vertue in managing the affaire so dexterously, that the duke overmastered by his passion, at last gave her a promise of marriage some time before the Restoration: not long after which, the lord-chancellor, her father, being then uppermost in the king's favour, the duke chose that time to beg his majesty's leave to perform what he had promised; which at first his majesty positively refused, and used many arguments to dissuad the duke from that resolution; and not only his majesty but many of the duke's friends, and most especially some of his meniall servants, with a violent zeal opposed the match. However (the duke still continuing constant in his resolution to be true in his word, and chusing rather to undergo the censure of being fraile in promising, than of being unjust in breaking his promise) the king at last, after much importunity, consented to the marriage; and it may well be supposed that my lord-chancellor did his part, but with great caution and circumspection, to soften the king in that matter, which in every respect seem'd so much for his own advantage. The king's leave being thus obtained, the duke without loss of time privately married the young lady, and soon after own'd the marriage. It must be confessed, that what she wanted in birth, was so well made up by other endowments, that her carriage afterwards did not misbecome her acquired dignity." These statements are in direct contradiction to the account which Clarendon himself gives of this matter; but Hume, whose great object it was to palliate the conduct of James, has adopted them in his history.
At the Restoration, James took the command of the fleet as lordhigh-admiral, in which station he displayed considerable skill and bravery.
Considerable doubts have existed relative to the date of the conversion of Charles and James to the Catholic faith. In Welwood's Memoirs' it is asserted that the latter was privately reconciled to the church of Rome previously to the Restoration; other accounts fix the date of this remarkable change in the year 1671. James himself, in his diary, tells us that "he did not turn till after" his return to England, and his having read the histories of the Reformation. His anonymous biographer gives the following account of his conversion :
"It was about this time, in the beginning of the year 1669, that his royal highness (who had it long in his thoughts that the church of England was the only true church) was most sensibly touched in conscience, and began to think seriously of his salvation. Accordingly he sent for one Father Simons, a Jesuit, who had the reputation of a very learned man, to discourse with him upon that subject; and, when he came, he told him the good intentions he had of being a Catholic, and treated with him about his being reconciled to the church. After much discourse about the matter, the father very sincerely told him, that unless he would quitt the communion of the church of England, he could not be received into the Catholic church; the duke then said, he thought it might be done by a dispensation from the pope, alleging to him the singularity of his case, and the advantage it might bring to the Catholic religion in general, and in particular to those of