Full Text Archive logoFull Text Archive — Free Classic E-books

The History of England from the Accession of James II, Vol. 2 by Thomas Babington Macaulay

Part 5 out of 12

Adobe PDF icon
Download this document as a .pdf
File size: 1.4 MB
What's this? light bulb idea Many people prefer to read off-line or to print out text and read from the real printed page. Others want to carry documents around with them on their mobile phones and read while they are on the move. We have created .pdf files of all out documents to accommodate all these groups of people. We recommend that you download .pdfs onto your mobile phone when it is connected to a WiFi connection for reading off-line.

letter, purporting to have been written by the direction of
James. In that letter the Pensionary was exhorted to use all his
influence with the Prince and Princess, for the purpose of
inducing them to support their father's policy. After some delay
Fagel transmitted a reply, deeply meditated, and drawn up with
exquisite art. No person who studies that remarkable document can
fail to perceive that, though it is framed in a manner well
calculated to reassure and delight English Protestants, it
contains not a word which could give offence, even at the
Vatican. It was announced that William and Mary would, with
pleasure, assist in abolishing every law which made any
Englishman liable to punishment for his religious opinions. But
between punishments and disabilities a distinction was taken. To
admit Roman Catholics to office would, in the judgment of their
Highnesses, be neither for the general interest of England nor
even for the interest of the Roman Catholics themselves. This
manifesto was translated into several languages, and circulated
widely on the Continent. Of the English version, carefully
prepared by Burnet, near fifty thousand copies were introduced
into the eastern shires, and rapidly distributed over the whole
kingdom. No state paper was ever more completely successful. The
Protestants of our island applauded the manly firmness with which
William declared that he could not consent to entrust Papists
with any share in the government. The Roman Catholic princes, on
the other hand, were pleased by the mild and temperate style in
which his resolution was expressed, and by the hope which he held
out that, under his administration, no member of their Church
would be molested on account of religion.

It is probable that the Pope himself was among those who read
this celebrated letter with pleasure. He had some months before
dismissed Castelmaine in a manner which showed little regard for
the feelings of Castelmaine's master. Innocent thoroughly
disliked the whole domestic and foreign policy of the English
government. He saw that the unjust and impolitic measures of the
Jesuitical cabal were far more likely to make the penal laws
perpetual than to bring about an abolition of the test. His
quarrel with the court of Versailles was every day becoming more
and more serious; nor could he, either in his character of
temporal prince or in his character of Sovereign Pontiff, feel
cordial friendship for a vassal of that court. Castelmaine was
ill qualified to remove these disgusts. He was indeed well
acquainted with Rome, and was, for a layman, deeply read in
theological controversy.275 But he had none of the address which
his post required; and, even had he been a diplomatist of the
greatest ability, there was a circumstance which would have
disqualified him for the particular mission on which he had been
sent. He was known all over Europe as the husband of the most
shameless of women; and he was known in no other way. It was
impossible to speak to him or of him without remembering in what
manner the very title by which he was called had been acquired.
This circumstance would have mattered little if he had been
accredited to some dissolute court, such as that in which the
Marchioness of Montespan had lately been dominant. But there was
an obvious impropriety in sending him on an embassy rather of a
spiritual than of a secular nature to a pontiff of primitive
austerity. The Protestants all over Europe sneered; and Innocent,
already unfavourably disposed to the English government,
considered the compliment which had been paid him, at so much
risk and at so heavy a cost, as little better than an affront.
The salary of the Ambassador was fixed at a hundred pounds a
week. Castelmaine complained that this was too little. Thrice the
sum, he said, would hardly suffice. For at Rome the ministers of
all the great continental powers exerted themselves to surpass
one another in splendour, under the eyes of a people whom the
habit of seeing magnificent buildings, decorations, and
ceremonies had made fastidious. He always declared that he had
been a loser by his mission. He was accompanied by several young
gentlemen of the best Roman Catholic families in England,
Ratcliffes, Arundells and Tichbornes. At Rome he was lodged in
the palace of the house of Pamfili on the south of the stately
Place of Navona. He was early admitted to a private interview
with Innocent: but the public audience was long delayed. Indeed
Castelmaine's preparations for that great occasion were so
sumptuous that, though commenced at Easter 1686, they were not
complete till the following November; and in November the Pope
had, or pretended to have, an attack of gout which caused another
postponement. In January 1687, at length, the solemn introduction
and homage were performed with unusual pomp. The state coaches,
which had been built at Rome for the pageant, were so superb that
they were thought worthy to be transmitted to posterity in fine
engravings and to be celebrated by poets in several languages.276
The front of the Ambassador's palace was decorated on this great
day with absurd allegorical paintings of gigantic size. There
was Saint George with his foot on the neck of Titus Cares, and
Hercules with his club crushing College, the Protestant joiner,
who in vain attempted to defend himself with his flail. After
this public appearance Castelmaine invited all the persons of
note then assembled at Rome to a banquet in that gay and splendid
gallery which is adorned with paintings of subjects from the
Aeneid by Peter of Cortona. The whole city crowded to the show;
and it was with difficulty that a company of Swiss guards could
keep order among the spectators. The nobles of the Pontifical
state in return gave costly entertainments to the Ambassador; and
poets and wits were employed to lavish on him and on his master
insipid and hyperbolical adulation such as flourishes most when
genius and taste are in the deepest decay. Foremost among the
flatterers was a crowned head. More than thirty years had elapsed
since Christina, the daughter of the great Gustavus, had
voluntarily descended from the Swedish throne. After long
wanderings, in the course of which she had committed many follies
and crimes, she had finally taken up her abode at Rome, where she
busied herself with astrological calculations and with the
intrigues of the conclave, and amused herself with pictures,
gems, manuscripts, and medals. She now composed some Italian
stanzas in honour of the English prince who, sprung, like
herself, from a race of Kings heretofore regarded as the
champions of the Reformation, had, like herself, been reconciled
to the ancient Church. A splendid assembly met in her palace. Her
verses, set to music, were sung with universal applause: and one
of her literary dependents pronounced an oration on the same
subject in a style so florid that it seems to have offended the
taste of the English hearers. The Jesuits, hostile to the Pope,
devoted to the interests of France and disposed to pay every
honour to James, received the English embassy with the utmost
pomp in that princely house where the remains of Ignatius Loyola
lie enshrined in lazulite and gold. Sculpture, painting, poetry,
and eloquence were employed to compliment the strangers: but all
these arts had sunk into deep degeneracy. There was a great
display of turgid and impure Latinity unworthy of so erudite an
order; and some of the inscriptions which adorned the walls had a
fault more serious than even a bad style. It was said in one
place that James had sent his brother as his messenger to heaven,
and in another that James had furnished the wings with which his
brother had soared to a higher region. There was a still more
unfortunate distich, which at the time attracted little notice,
but which, a few months later, was remembered and malignantly
interpreted. "O King," said the poet, "cease to sigh for a son.
Though nature may refuse your wish, the stars will find a way to
grant it."

In the midst of these festivities Castelmaine had to suffer cruel
mortifications and humiliations. The Pope treated him with
extreme coldness and reserve. As often as the Ambassador pressed
for an answer to the request which he had been instructed to make
in favour of Petre, Innocent was taken with a violent fit of
coughing, which put an end to the conversation. The fame of these
singular audiences spread over Rome. Pasquin was not silent. All
the curious and tattling population of the idlest of cities, the
Jesuits and the prelates of the French faction only excepted,
laughed at Castelmaine's discomfiture. His temper, naturally
unamiable, was soon exasperated to violence; and he circulated a
memorial reflecting on the Pope. He had now put himself in the
wrong. The sagacious Italian had got the advantage, and took care
to keep it. He positively declared that the rule which excluded
Jesuits from ecclesiastical preferment should not be relaxed in
favour of Father Petre. Castelmaine, much provoked, threatened to
leave Rome. Innocent replied, with a meek impertinence which was
the more provoking because it could scarcely be distinguished
from simplicity, that his Excellency might go if he liked. "But
if we must lose him," added the venerable Pontiff, "I hope that
he will take care of his health on the road. English people do
not know how dangerous it is in this country to travel in the
heat of the day. The best way is to start before dawn, and to
take some rest at noon." With this salutary advice and with a
string of beads, the unfortunate Ambassador was dismissed. In a
few months appeared, both in the Italian and in the English
tongue, a pompous history of the mission, magnificently printed
in folio, and illustrated with plates. The frontispiece, to the
great scandal of all Protestants, represented Castelmaine in the
robes of a Peer, with his coronet in his hand, kissing the toe of


Consecration of the Nuncio at Saint James's Palace; his public
Reception--The Duke of Somerset--Dissolution of the Parliament;
Military Offences illegally punished--Proceedings of the High
Commission; the Universities--Proceedings against the University
of Cambridge--The Earl of Mulgrave--State of Oxford--Magdalene
College, Oxford--Anthony Farmer recommended by the King for
President--Election of the President--The Fellows of Magdalene
cited before the High Commission--Parker recommended as
President; the Charterhouse--The Royal Progress--The King at
Oxford; he reprimands the Fellows of Magdalene--Penn attempts to
mediate--Special Ecclesiastical Commissioners sent to Oxford--
Protest of Hough--Parker--Ejection of the Fellows--Magdalene
College turned into a Popish Seminary--Resentment of the Clergy--
Schemes of the Jesuitical Cabal respecting the Succession--Scheme
of James and Tyrconnel for preventing the Princess of Orange from
succeeding to the Kingdom of Ireland--The Queen pregnant; general
Incredulity--Feeling of the Constituent Bodies, and of the Peers-
-James determines to pack a Parliament--The Board of Regulators--
Many Lords Lieutenants dismissed; the Earl of Oxford--The Earl of
Shrewsbury--The Earl of Dorset--Questions put to the Magistrates-
-Their Answers; Failure of the King's Plans--List of Sheriffs--
Character of the Roman Catholic Country Gentlemen--Feeling of the
Dissenters; Regulation of Corporations--Inquisition in all the
Public Departments--Dismission of Sawyer--Williams Solicitor
General--Second Declaration of Indulgence; the Clergy ordered to
read it--They hesitate; Patriotism of the Protestant
Nonconformists of London--Consultation of the London Clergy--
Consultation at Lambeth Palace--Petition of the Seven Bishops
presented to the King--The London Clergy disobey the Royal Order-
-Hesitation of the Government--It is determined to prosecute the
Bishops for a Libel--They are examined by the Privy Council--They
are committed to the Tower--Birth of the Pretender--He is
generally believed to be supposititious--The Bishops brought
before the King's Bench and bailed--Agitation of the public Mind-
-Uneasiness of Sunderland--He professes himself a Roman Catholic-
-Trial of the Bishops--The Verdict; Joy of the People--Peculiar
State of Public Feeling at this Time

THE marked discourtesy of the Pope might well have irritated the
meekest of princes. But the only effect which it produced on
James was to make him more lavish of caresses and compliments.
While Castelmaine, his whole soul festered with angry passions,
was on his road back to England, the Nuncio was loaded with
honours which his own judgment would have led him to reject. He
had, by a fiction often used in the Church of Rome, been lately
raised to the episcopal dignity without having the charge of any
see. He was called Archbishop of Amasia, a city of Pontus, the
birthplace of Strabo and Mithridates. James insisted that the
ceremony of consecration should be performed in the chapel of
Saint James's Palace. The Vicar Apostolic Leyburn and two Irish
prelates officiated. The doors were thrown open to the public;
and it was remarked that some of those Puritans who had recently
turned courtiers were among the spectators. In the evening Adda,
wearing the robes of his new office, joined the circle in the
Queen's apartments. James fell on his knees in the presence of
the whole court and implored a blessing. In spite of the
restraint imposed by etiquette, the astonishment and disgust of
the bystanders could not be concealed.278 It was long indeed
since an English sovereign had knelt to mortal man; and those who
saw the strange sight could not but think of that day of shame
when John did homage for his crown between the hands of Pandolph.

In a short time a still more ostentatious pageant was performed
in honour of the Holy See. It was determined that the Nuncio
should go to court in solemn procession. Some persons on whose
obedience the King had counted showed, on this occasion, for the
first time, signs of a mutinous spirit. Among these the most
conspicuous was the second temporal peer of the realm, Charles
Seymour, commonly called the proud Duke of Somerset. He was in
truth a man in whom the pride of birth and rank amounted almost
to a disease. The fortune which he had inherited was not adequate
to the high place which he held among the English aristocracy:
but he had become possessed of the greatest estate in England by
his marriage with the daughter and heiress of the last Percy who
wore the ancient coronet of Northumberland. Somerset was only in
his twenty-fifth year, and was very little known to the public,
He was a Lord of the King's Bedchamber, and colonel of one of the
regiments which had been raised at the time of the Western
insurrection. He had not scrupled to carry the sword of state
into the royal chapel on days of festival: but he now resolutely
refused to swell the pomp of the Nuncio. Some members of his
family implored him not to draw on himself the royal displeasure:
but their intreaties produced no effect. The King himself
expostulated. "I thought, my Lord," said he, "that I was doing
you a great honour in appointing you to escort the minister of
the first of all crowned heads." "Sir," said the Duke, "I am
advised that I cannot obey your Majesty without breaking the
law." "I will make you fear me as well as the law," answered the
King, insolently. "Do you not know that I am above the law?"
"Your Majesty may be above the law," replied Somerset; "but I am
not; and, while I obey the law, I fear nothing." The King turned
away in high displeasure, and Somerset was instantly dismissed
from his posts in the household and in the army.279

On one point, however, James showed some prudence. He did not
venture to parade the Papal Envoy in state before the vast
population of the capital. The ceremony was performed, on the
third of July 1687, at Windsor. Great multitudes flocked to the
little town. The visitors were so numerous that there was neither
food nor lodging for them; and many persons of quality sate the
whole day in their carriages waiting for the exhibition. At
length, late in the afternoon, the Knight Marshal's men appeared
on horseback. Then came a long train of running footmen; and
then, in a royal coach, appeared Adda, robed in purple, with a
brilliant cross on his breast. He was followed by the equipages
of the principal courtiers and ministers of state. In his train
the crowd recognised with disgust the arms and liveries of Crewe,
Bishop of Durham, and of Cartwright, Bishop of Chester.280

On the following day appeared in the Gazette a proclamation
dissolving that Parliament which of all the fifteen Parliaments
held by the Stuarts had been the most obsequious.281

Meanwhile new difficulties had arisen in Westminster Hall. Only a
few months had elapsed since some Judges had been turned out and
others put in for the purpose of obtaining a decision favourable
to the crown in the case of Sir Edward Hales; and already fresh
changes were necessary.

The King had scarcely formed that army on which he chiefly
depended for the accomplishing of his designs when he found that
he could not himself control it. When war was actually raging in
the kingdom a mutineer or a deserter might be tried by a military
tribunal and executed by the Provost Marshal. But there was now
profound peace. The common law of England, having sprung up in an
age when all men bore arms occasionally and none constantly,
recognised no distinction, in time of peace, between a soldier
and any other subject; nor was there any Act resembling that by
which the authority necessary for the government of regular
troops is now annually confided to the Sovereign. Some old
statutes indeed made desertion felony in certain specified cases.
But those statutes were applicable only to soldiers serving the
King in actual war, and could not without the grossest
disingenuousness be so strained as to include the case of a man
who, in a time of profound tranquillity at home and abroad,
should become tired of the camp at Hounslow and should go back to
his native village. The government appears to have had no hold on
such a man, except the hold which master bakers and master
tailors have on their journeymen. He and his officers were, in
the eye of the law, on a level. If he swore at them he might be
fined for an oath. If he struck them he might be prosecuted for
assault and battery. In truth the regular army was under less
restraint than the militia. For the militia was a body
established by an Act of Parliament, and it had been provided by
that Act that slight punishments might be summarily inflicted for
breaches of discipline.

It does not appear that, during the reign of Charles the Second,
the practical inconvenience arising from this state of the law
had been much felt. The explanation may perhaps be that, till the
last year of his reign, the force which he maintained in England
consisted chiefly of household troops, whose pay was so high that
dismission from the service would have been felt by most of them
as a great calamity. The stipend of a private in the Life Guards
was a provision for the younger son of a gentleman. Even the Foot
Guards were paid about as high as manufacturers in a prosperous
season, and were therefore in a situation which the great body of
the labouring population might regard with envy. The return of
the garrison of Tangier and the raising of the new regiments had
made a great change. There were now in England many thousands of
soldiers, each of whom received only eightpence a day. The dread
of dismission was not sufficient to keep them to their duty: and
corporal punishment their officers could not legally inflict.
James had therefore one plain choice before him, to let his army
dissolve itself, or to induce the judges to pronounce that the
law was what every barrister in the Temple knew that it was not.

It was peculiarly important to secure the cooperation of two
courts; the court of King's Bench, which was the first criminal
tribunal in the realm, and the court of gaol delivery which sate
at the Old Bailey, and which had jurisdiction over offences
committed in the capital. In both these courts there were great
difficulties. Herbert, Chief Justice of the King's Bench, servile
as he had hitherto been, would go no further. Resistance still
more sturdy was to be expected from Sir John Holt, who, as
Recorder of the City of London, occupied the bench at the Old
Bailey. Holt was an eminently learned and clear headed lawyer: he
was an upright and courageous man; and, though he had never been
factious, his political opinions had a tinge of Whiggism. All
obstacles, however, disappeared before the royal will. Holt was
turned out of the recordership. Herbert and another Judge were
removed from the King's Bench; and the vacant places were filled
by persons in whom the government could confide. It was indeed
necessary to go very low down in the legal profession before men
could be found willing to render such services as were now
required. The new Chief justice, Sir Robert Wright, was ignorant
to a proverb; yet ignorance was not his worst fault. His vices
had ruined him. He had resorted to infamous ways of raising
money, and had, on one occasion, made a false affidavit in order
to obtain possession of five hundred pounds. Poor, dissolute, and
shameless, he had become one of the parasites of Jeffreys, who
promoted him and insulted him. Such was the man who was now
selected by James to be Lord Chief justice of England. One
Richard Allibone, who was even more ignorant of the law than
Wright, and who, as a Roman Catholic, was incapable of holding
office, was appointed a puisne judge of the King's Bench. Sir
Bartholomew Shower, equally notorious as a servile Tory and a
tedious orator, became Recorder of London. When these changes had
been made, several deserters were brought to trial. They were
convicted in the face of the letter and of the spirit of the law.
Some received sentence of death at the bar of the King's Bench,
some at the Old Bailey. They were hanged in sight of the
regiments to which they had belonged; and care was taken that the
executions should be announced in the London Gazette, which very
seldom noticed such events.282

It may well be believed, that the law, so grossly insulted by
courts which derived from it all their authority, and which were
in the habit of looking to it as their guide, would be little
respected by a tribunal which had originated in tyrannical
caprice. The new High Commission had, during the first months of
its existence, merely inhibited clergymen from exercising
spiritual functions. The rights of property had remained
untouched. But, early in the year 1687, it was determined to
strike at freehold interests, and to impress on every Anglican
priest and prelate the conviction that, if he refused to lend his
aid for the purpose of destroying the Church of which he was a
minister, he would in an hour be reduced to beggary.

It would have been prudent to try the first experiment on some
obscure individual. But the government was under an infatuation
such as, in a more simple age, would have been called judicial.
War was therefore at once declared against the two most venerable
corporations of the realm, the Universities of Oxford and

The power of those bodies has during many ages been great; but it
was at the height during the latter part of the seventeenth
century. None of the neighbouring countries could boast of such
splendid and opulent seats of learning. The schools of Edinburgh
and Glasgow, of Leyden and Utrecht, of Louvain and Leipzig, of
Padua and Bologna, seemed mean to scholars who had been educated
in the magnificent foundations of Wykeham and Wolsey, of Henry
the Sixth and Henry the Eighth. Literature and science were, in
the academical system of England, surrounded with pomp, armed
with magistracy, and closely allied with all the most august
institutions of the state. To be the Chancellor of an University
was a distinction eagerly sought by the magnates of the realm. To
represent an University in Parliament was a favourite object of
the ambition of statesmen. Nobles and even princes were proud to
receive from an University the privilege of wearing the doctoral
scarlet. The curious were attracted to the Universities by
ancient buildings rich with the tracery of the middle ages, by
modern buildings which exhibited the highest skill of Jones and
Wren, by noble halls and chapels, by museums, by botanical
gardens, and by the only great public libraries which the kingdom
then contained. The state which Oxford especially displayed on
solemn occasions rivalled that of sovereign princes. When her
Chancellor, the venerable Duke of Ormond, sate in his embroidered
mantle on his throne under the painted ceiling of the Sheldonian
theatre, surrounded by hundreds of graduates robed according to
their rank, while the noblest youths of England were solemnly
presented to him as candidates for academical honours, he made an
appearance scarcely less regal than that which his master made in
the Banqueting House of Whitehall. At the Universities had been
formed the minds of almost all the eminent clergymen, lawyers,
physicians, wits, poets, and orators of the land, and of a large
proportion of the nobility and of the opulent gentry. It is also
to be observed that the connection between the scholar and the
school did not terminate with his residence. He often continued
to be through life a member of the academical body, and to vote
as such at all important elections. He therefore regarded his old
haunts by the Cam and the Isis with even more than the affection
which educated men ordinarily feel for the place of their
education. There was no corner of England in which both
Universities had not grateful and zealous sons. Any attack on the
honour or interests of either Cambridge or Oxford was certain to
excite the resentment of a powerful, active, and intelligent
class scattered over every county from Northumberland to

The resident graduates, as a body, were perhaps not superior
positively to the resident graduates of our time: but they
occupied a far higher position as compared with the rest of the
community. For Cambridge and Oxford were then the only two
provincial towns in the kingdom in which could be found a large
number of men whose understandings had been highly cultivated.
Even the capital felt great respect for the authority of the
Universities, not only on questions of divinity, of natural
philosophy, and of classical antiquity, but also on points on
which capitals generally claim the right of deciding in the last
resort. From Will's coffee house, and from the pit of the theatre
royal in Drury Lane, an appeal lay to the two great national
seats of taste and learning. Plays which had been
enthusiastically applauded in London were not thought out of
danger till they had undergone the more severe judgment of
audiences familiar with Sophocles and Terence.283

The great moral and intellectual influence of the English
Universities had been strenuously exerted on the side of the
crown. The head quarters of Charles the First had been at Oxford;
and the silver tankards and salvers of all the colleges had been
melted down to supply his military chest. Cambridge was not less
loyally disposed. She had sent a large part of her plate to the
royal camp; and the rest would have followed had not the town
been seized by the troops of the Parliament. Both Universities
had been treated with extreme severity by the victorious
Puritans. Both had hailed the restoration with delight. Both had
steadily opposed the Exclusion Bill. Both had expressed the
deepest horror at the Rye House Plot. Cambridge had not only
deposed her Chancellor Monmouth, but had marked her abhorrence of
his treason in a manner unworthy of a scat of learning, by
committing to the flames the canvass on which his pleasing face
and figure had been portrayed by the utmost skill of Kneller.284
Oxford, which lay nearer to the Western insurgents, had given
still stronger proofs of loyalty. The students, under the
sanction of their preceptors, had taken arms by hundreds in
defence of hereditary right. Such were the bodies which James now
determined to insult and plunder in direct defiance of the laws
and of his plighted faith.

Several Acts of Parliament, as clear as any that were to be found
in the statute book, had provided that no person should be
admitted to any degree in either University without taking the
oath of supremacy, and another oath of similar character called
the oath of obedience. Nevertheless, in February 1687, a royal
letter was sent to Cambridge directing that a Benedictine monk,
named Alban Francis, should be admitted a Master of Arts.

The academical functionaries, divided between reverence for the
King and reverence for the law, were in great distress.
Messengers were despatched in all haste to the Duke of Albemarle,
who had succeeded Monmouth as Chancellor of the University. He
was requested to represent the matter properly to the King.
Meanwhile the Registrar and Bedells waited on Francis, and
informed him that, if he would take the oaths according to law,
he should be instantly admitted. He refused to be sworn,
remonstrated with the officers of the University on their
disregard of the royal mandate, and, finding them resolute, took
horse, and hastened to relate his grievances at Whitehall.

The heads of the colleges now assembled in council. The best
legal opinions were taken, and were decidedly in favour of the
course which had been pursued. But a second letter from
Sunderland, in high and menacing terms, was already on the road.
Albemarle informed the University, with many expressions of
concern, that he had done his best, but that he had been coldly
and ungraciously received by the King. The academical body,
alarmed by the royal displeasure, and conscientiously desirous to
meet the royal wishes, but determined not to violate the clear
law of the land, submitted the humblest and most respectful
explanations, but to no purpose. In a short time came down a
summons citing the Vicechancellor and the Senate to appear before
the new High Commission at Westminster on the twenty-first of
April. The Vicechancellor was to attend in person; the Senate,
which consists of all the Doctors and Masters of the University,
was to send deputies.

When the appointed day arrived, a great concourse filled the
Council chamber. Jeffreys sate at the head of the board.
Rochester, since the white staff had been taken from him, was no
longer a member. In his stead appeared the Lord Chamberlain, John
Sheffield, Earl of Mulgrave. The fate of this nobleman has, in
one respect, resembled the fate of his colleague Sprat. Mulgrave
wrote verses which scarcely ever rose above absolute mediocrity:
but, as he was a man of high note in the political and
fashionable world, these verses found admirers. Time dissolved
the charm, but, unfortunately for him, not until his lines had
acquired a prescriptive right to a place in all collections of
the works of English poets. To this day accordingly his insipid
essays in rhyme and his paltry songs to Amoretta and Gloriana are
reprinted in company with Comus and Alexander's Feast. The
consequence is that our generation knows Mulgrave chiefly as a
poetaster, and despises him as such. In truth however he was, by
the acknowledgment of those who neither loved nor esteemed him, a
man distinguished by fine parts, and in parliamentary eloquence
inferior to scarcely any orator of his time. His moral character
was entitled to no respect. He was a libertine without that
openness of heart and hand which sometimes makes libertinism
amiable, and a haughty aristocrat without that elevation of
sentiment which sometimes makes aristocratical haughtiness
respectable. The satirists of the age nicknamed him Lord
Allpride. Yet was his pride compatible with all ignoble vices.
Many wondered that a man who had so exalted a sense of his
dignity could be so hard and niggardly in all pecuniary dealings.
He had given deep offence to the royal family by venturing to
entertain the hope that he might win the heart and hand of the
Princess Anne. Disappointed in this attempt, he had exerted
himself to regain by meanness the favour which he had forfeited
by presumption. His epitaph, written by himself, still informs
all who pass through Westminster Abbey that he lived and died a
sceptic in religion; and we learn from the memoirs which he wrote
that one of his favourite subjects of mirth was the Romish
superstition. Yet he began, as soon as James was on the throne,
to express a strong inclination towards Popery, and at length in
private affected to be a convert. This abject hypocrisy had been
rewarded by a place in the Ecclesiastical Commission.285

Before that formidable tribunal now appeared the Vicechancellor
of the University of Cambridge, Doctor John Pechell. He was a man
of no great ability or vigour, but he was accompanied by eight
distinguished academicians, elected by the Senate. One of these
was Isaac Newton, Fellow of Trinity College, and Professor of
mathematics. His genius was then in the fullest vigour. The great
work, which entitles him to the highest place among the
geometricians and natural philosophers of all ages and of all
nations, had been some time printing under the sanction of the
Royal Society, and was almost ready for publication. He was the
steady friend of civil liberty and of the Protestant religion:
but his habits by no means fitted him for the conflicts of active
life. He therefore stood modestly silent among the delegates, and
left to men more versed in practical business the task of
pleading the cause of his beloved University.

Never was there a clearer case. The law was express. The practice
had been almost invariably in conformity with the law. It might
perhaps have happened that, on a day of great solemnity, when
many honorary degrees were conferred, a person who had not taken
the oaths might have passed in the crowd. But such an
irregularity, the effect of mere haste and inadvertence, could
not be cited as a precedent. Foreign ambassadors of various
religions, and in particular one Mussulman, had been admitted
without the oaths. But it might well be doubted whether such
cases fell within the reason and spirit of the Acts of
Parliament. It was not even pretended that any person to whom the
oaths had been tendered and who had refused them had ever taken a
degree; and this was the situation in which Francis stood. The
delegates offered to prove that, in the late reign, several royal
mandates had been treated as nullities because the persons
recommended had not chosen to qualify according to law, and that,
on such occasions, the government had always acquiesced in the
propriety of the course taken by the University. But Jeffreys
would hear nothing. He soon found out that the Vice chancellor
was weak, ignorant, and timid, and therefore gave a loose to all
that insolence which had long been the terror of the Old Bailey.
The unfortunate Doctor, unaccustomed to such a presence and to
such treatment, was soon harassed and scared into helpless
agitation. When other academicians who were more capable of
defending their cause attempted to speak they were rudely
silenced. "You are not Vicechancellor. When you are, you may
talk. Till then it will become you to hold your peace." The
defendants were thrust out of the court without a hearing. In a
short time they were called in, again, and informed that the
Commissioners had determined to deprive Pechell of the
Vicechancellorship, and to suspend him from all the emoluments to
which he was entitled as Master of a college, emoluments which
were strictly of the nature of freehold property. "As for you,"
said Jeffreys to the delegates, "most of you are divines. I will
therefore send you home with a text of scripture, 'Go your way
and sin no more, lest a worse thing happen to you.'"286

These proceedings might seem sufficiently unjust and violent. But
the King had already begun to treat Oxford with such rigour that
the rigour shown towards Cambridge might, by comparison, be
called lenity. Already University College had been turned by
Obadiah Walker into a Roman Catholic seminary. Already Christ
Church was governed by a Roman Catholic Dean. Mass was already
said daily in both those colleges. The tranquil and majestic
city, so long the stronghold of monarchical principles, was
agitated by passions which it had never before known. The
undergraduates, with the connivance of those who were in
authority over them, hooted the members of Walker's congregation,
and chanted satirical ditties under his windows. Some fragments
of the serenades which then disturbed the High Street have been
preserved. The burden of one ballad was this:

"Old Obadiah
Sings Ave Maria."

When the actors came down to Oxford, the public feeling was
expressed still more strongly. Howard's Committee was performed.
This play, written soon after the Restoration, exhibited the
Puritans in an odious and contemptible light, and had therefore
been, during a quarter of a century, a favourite with Oxonian
audiences. It was now a greater favourite than ever; for, by a
lucky coincidence, one of the most conspicuous characters was an
old hypocrite named Obadiah. The audience shouted with delight
when, in the last scene, Obadiah was dragged in with a halter
round his neck; and the acclamations redoubled when one of the
players, departing from the written text of the comedy,
proclaimed that Obadiah should be hanged because he had changed
his religion. The King was much provoked by this insult. So
mutinous indeed was the temper of the University that one of the
newly raised regiments, the same which is now called the Second
Dragoon Guards, was quartered at Oxford for the purpose of
preventing an outbreak.287

These events ought to have convinced James that he had entered on
a course which must lead him to his ruin. To the clamours of
London he had been long accustomed. They had been raised against
him, sometimes unjustly, and sometimes vainly. He had repeatedly
braved them, and might brave them still. But that Oxford, the
scat of loyalty, the head quarters of the Cavalier army, the
place where his father and brother had held their court when they
thought themselves insecure in their stormy capital, the place
where the writings of the great republican teachers had recently
been committed to the flames, should now be in a ferment of
discontent, that those highspirited youths who a few months
before had eagerly volunteered to march against the Western
insurgents should now be with difficulty kept down by sword and
carbine, these were signs full of evil omen to the House of
Stuart. The warning, however, was lost on the dull, stubborn,
self-willed tyrant. He was resolved to transfer to his own Church
all the wealthiest and most splendid foundations of England. It
was to no purpose that the best and wisest of his Roman Catholic
counsellors remonstrated. They represented to him that he had it
in his power to render a great service to the cause of his
religion without violating the rights of property. A grant of two
thousand pounds a year from his privy purse would support a
Jesuit college at Oxford. Such a sum he might easily spare. Such
a college, provided with able, learned, and zealous teachers,
would be a formidable rival to the old academical institutions,
which exhibited but too many symptoms of the languor almost
inseparable from opulence and security. King James's College
would soon be, by the confession even of Protestants, the first
place of education in the island, as respected both science and
moral discipline. This would be the most effectual and the least
invidious method by which the Church of England could be humbled
and the Church of Rome exalted. The Earl of Ailesbury, one of the
most devoted servants of the royal family, declared that, though
a Protestant, and by no means rich, he would himself contribute a
thousand pounds towards this design, rather than that his master
should violate the rights of property, and break faith with the
Established Church.288 The scheme, however, found no favour in
the sight of the King. It was indeed ill suited in more ways than
one, to his ungentle nature. For to bend and break the spirits of
men gave him pleasure; and to part with his money gave him pain.
What he had not the generosity to do at his own expense he
determined to do at the expense of others. When once he was
engaged, pride and obstinacy prevented him from receding; and he
was at length led, step by step, to acts of Turkish tyranny, to
acts which impressed the nation with a conviction that the estate
of a Protestant English freeholder under a Roman Catholic King
must be as insecure as that of a Greek under Moslem domination.

Magdalene College at Oxford, founded in the fifteenth century by
William of Waynflete, Bishop of Winchester and Lord High
Chancellor, was one of the most remarkable of our academical
institutions. A graceful tower, on the summit of which a Latin
hymn was annually chanted by choristers at the dawn of May day,
caught far off the eye of the traveller who came from London. As
he approached he found that this tower rose from an embattled
pile, low and irregular, yet singularly venerable, which,
embowered in verdure, overhung the slugish waters of the
Cherwell. He passed through a gateway overhung by a noble
oriel289, and found himself in a spacious cloister adorned with
emblems of virtues and vices, rudely carved in grey stone by the
masons of the fifteenth century. The table of the society was
plentifully spread in a stately refectory hung with paintings,
and rich with fantastic carving. The service of the Church was
performed morning and evening in a chapel which had suffered much
violence from the Reformers, and much from the Puritans, but
which was, under every disadvantage, a building of eminent
beauty, and which has, in our own time, been restored with rare
taste and skill. The spacious gardens along the river side were
remarkable for the size of the trees, among which towered
conspicuous one of the vegetable wonders of the island, a
gigantic oak, older by a century, men said, than the oldest
college in the University.

The statutes of the society ordained that the Kings of England
and Princes of Wales should be lodged in Magdalene. Edward the
Fourth had inhabited the building while it was still unfinished.
Richard the Third had held his court there, had heard
disputations in the hall, had feasted there royally, and had
mended the cheer of his hosts by a present of fat bucks from his
forests. Two heirs apparent of the crown who had been prematurely
snatched away, Arthur the elder brother of Henry the Eighth, and
Henry the elder brother of Charles the First, had been members of
the college. Another prince of the blood, the last and best of
the Roman Catholic Archbishops of Canterbury, the gentle Reginald
Pole, had studied there. In the time of the civil war Magdalene
had been true to the cause of the crown. There Rupert had fixed
his quarters; and, before some of his most daring enterprises,
his trumpets had been heard sounding to horse through those quiet
cloisters. Most of the Fellows were divines, and could aid the
King only by their prayers and their pecuniary contributions. But
one member of the body, a Doctor of Civil Law, raised a troop of
undergraduates, and fell fighting bravely at their head against
the soldiers of Essex. When hostilities had terminated, and the
Roundheads were masters of England, six sevenths of the members
of the foundation refused to make any submission to usurped
authority. They were consequently ejected from their dwellings
and deprived of their revenues. After the Restoration the
survivors returned to their pleasant abode. They had now been
succeeded by a new generation which inherited their opinions and
their spirit. During the Western rebellion such Magdalene men as
were not disqualified by their age or profession for the use of
arms had eagerly volunteered to fight for the crown. It would be
difficult to name any corporation in the kingdom which had higher
claims to the gratitude of the House of Stuart.290

The society consisted of a President, of forty Fellows, of thirty
scholars called Demies, and of a train of chaplains, clerks, and
choristers. At the time of the general visitation in the reign of
Henry the Eighth the revenues were far greater than those of any
similar institution in the realm, greater by nearly one half than
those of the magnificent foundation of Henry the Sixth at
Cambridge, and considerably more than double those which William
of Wykeham had settled on his college at Oxford. In the days of
James the Second the riches of Magdalene were immense, and were
exaggerated by report. The college was popularly said to be
wealthier than the wealthiest abbeys of the Continent. When the
leases fell in,--so ran the vulgar rumour,--the rents would be
raised to the prodigious sum of forty thousand pounds a year.291

The Fellows were, by the statutes which their founder had drawn
up, empowered to select their own President from among persons
who were, or had been, Fellows either of their society or of New
College. This power had generally been exercised with freedom.
But in some instances royal letters had been received
recommending to the choice of the corporation qualified persons
who were in favour at court; and on such occasions it had been
the practice to show respect to the wishes of the sovereign.

In March 1687, the President of the college died. One of the
Fellows, Doctor Thomas Smith, popularly nicknamed Rabbi Smith, a
distinguished traveller, book-collector, antiquary, and
orientalist, who had been chaplain to the embassy at
Constantinople, and had been employed to collate the Alexandrian
manuscript, aspired to the vacant post. He conceived that he had
some claims on the favour of the government as a man of learning
and as a zealous Tory. His loyalty was in truth as fervent and as
steadfast as was to be found in the whole Church of England. He
had long been intimately acquainted with Parker, Bishop of
Oxford, and hoped to obtain by the interest of that prelate a
royal letter to the college. Parker promised to do his best, but
soon reported that he had found difficulties. "The King," he
said, "will recommend no person who is not a friend to His
Majesty's religion. What can you do to pleasure him as to that
matter?" Smith answered that, if he became President, he would
exert himself to promote learning, true Christianity, and
loyalty. "That will not do," said the Bishop. "If so," said Smith
manfully, "let who will be President: I can promise nothing

The election had been fixed for the thirteenth of April, and the
Fellows were summoned to attend. It was rumoured that a royal
letter would come down recommending one Anthony Farmer to the
vacant place. This man's life had been a series of shameful acts.
He had been a member of the University of Cambridge, and had
escaped expulsion only by a timely retreat. He had then joined
the Dissenters. Then he had gone to Oxford, had entered himself
at Magdalene, and had soon become notorious there for every kind
of vice. He generally reeled into his college at night speechless
with liquor. He was celebrated for having headed a disgraceful
riot at Abingdon. He had been a constant frequenter of noted
haunts of libertines. At length he had turned pandar, had
exceeded even the ordinary vileness of his vile calling, and had
received money from dissolute young gentlemen commoners for
services such as it is not good that history should record. This
wretch, however, had pretended to turn Papist. His apostasy
atoned for all his vices; and, though still a youth, he was
selected to rule a grave and religious society in which the
scandal given by his depravity was still fresh.

As a Roman Catholic he was disqualified for academical office by
the general law of the land. Never having been a Fellow of
Magdalene College or of New College, he was disqualified for the
vacant presidency by a special ordinance of William of Waynflete.
William of Waynflete had also enjoined those who partook of his
bounty to have a particular regard to moral character in choosing
their head; and, even if he had left no such injunction, a body
chiefly composed of divines could not with decency entrust such a
man as Farmer with the government of a place of education.

The Fellows respectfully represented to the King the difficulty
in which they should be placed, if, as was rumoured, Farmer
should be recommended to them, and begged that, if it were His
Majesty's pleasure to interfere in the election, some person for
whom they could legally and conscientiously vote might be
proposed. Of this dutiful request no notice was taken. The royal
letter arrived. It was brought down by one of the Fellows who had
lately turned Papist, Robert Charnock, a man of parts and spirit,
but of a violent and restless temper, which impelled him a few
years later to an atrocious crime and to a terrible fate. On the
thirteenth of April the society met in the chapel. Some hope was
still entertained that the King might be moved by the
remonstrance which had been addressed to him. The assembly
therefore adjourned till the fifteenth, which was the last day on
which, by the constitution of the college, the election could
take place.

The fifteenth of April came. Again the Fellows repaired to their
chapel. No answer had arrived from Whitehall. Two or three of the
Seniors, among whom was Smith, were inclined to postpone the
election once more rather than take a step which might give
offence to the King. But the language of the statutes was clear.
Those statutes the members of the foundation had sworn to
observe. The general opinion was that there ought to be no
further delay. A hot debate followed. The electors were too much
excited to take their seats; and the whole choir was in a tumult.
Those who were for proceeding appealed to their oaths and to the
rules laid down by the founder whose bread they had eaten. The
King, they truly said, had no right to force on them even a
qualified candidate. Some expressions unpleasing to Tory ears
were dropped in the course of the dispute; and Smith was provoked
into exclaiming that the spirit of Ferguson had possessed his
brethren. It was at length resolved by a great majority that it
was necessary to proceed immediately to the election. Charnock
left the chapel. The other Fellows, having first received the
sacrament, proceeded to give their voices. The choice fell on
John Hough, a man of eminent virtue and prudence, who, having
borne persecution with fortitude and prosperity with meekness,
having risen to high honours and having modestly declined honours
higher still, died in extreme old age yet in full vigour of mind,
more than fifty-six years after this eventful day.

The society hastened to acquaint the King with the circumstances
which had made it necessary to elect a President without further
delay, and requested the Duke of Ormond, as patron of the whole
University, and the Bishop of Winchester, as visitor of Magdalene
College, to undertake the office of intercessors: but the King
was far too angry and too dull to listen to explanations.

Early in June the Fellows were cited to appear before the High
Commission at Whitehall. Five of them, deputed by the rest,
obeyed the summons. Jeffreys treated them after his usual
fashion. When one of them, a grave Doctor named
Fairfax, hinted some doubt as to the validity of the Commission,
the Chancellor began to roar like a wild beast. "Who is this man?
What commission has he to be impudent here? Seize him. Put him
into a dark room. What does he do without a keeper? He is under
my care as a lunatic. I wonder that nobody has applied to me for
the custody of him." But when this storm had spent its force, and
the depositions concerning the moral character of the King's
nominee had been read, none of the Commissioners had the front to
pronounce that such a man could properly be made the head of a
great college. Obadiah Walker and the other Oxonian Papists who
were in attendance to support their proselyte were utterly
confounded. The Commission pronounced Hough's election void, and
suspended Fairfax from his fellowship: but about Farmer no more
was said; and, in the month of August, arrived a royal letter
recommending Parker, Bishop of Oxford, to the Fellows.

Parker was not an avowed Papist. Still there was an objection to
him which, even if the presidency had been vacant, would have
been decisive: for he had never been a Fellow of either New
College or Magdalene. But the presidency was not vacant: Hough
had been duly elected; and all the members of the college were
bound by oath to support him in his office. They therefore, with
many expressions of loyalty and concern, excused themselves from
complying with the King's mandate.

While Oxford was thus opposing a firm resistance to tyranny, a
stand not less resolute was made in another quarter. James had,
some time before, commanded the trustees of the Charterhouse, men
of the first rank and consideration in the
kingdom, to admit a Roman Catholic named Popham into the hospital
which was under their care. The Master of the house, Thomas
Burnet, a clergyman of distinguished genius, learning, and
virtue, had the courage to represent to them, though the
ferocious Jeffreys sate at the board, that what was required of
them was contrary both to the will of the founder and to an Act
of Parliament. "What is that to the purpose?" said a courtier who
was one of the governors. "It is very much to the purpose, I
think," answered a voice, feeble with age and sorrow, yet not to
be heard without respect by any assembly, the voice of the
venerable Ormond. "An Act of Parliament," continued the patriarch
of the Cavalier party, "is, in my judgment, no light thing." The
question was put whether Popham should be admitted, and it was
determined to reject him. The Chancellor, who could not well case
himself by cursing and swearing at Ormond, flung away in a rage,
and was followed by some of the minority. The consequence was
that there was not a quorum left, and that no formal reply could
be made to the royal mandate.

The next meeting took place only two days after the High
Commission had pronounced sentence of deprivation against Hough,
and of suspension against Fairfax. A second mandate under the
Great Seal was laid before the trustees: but the tyrannical
manner in which Magdalene College had been treated had roused
instead of subduing their spirit. They drew up a letter to
Sunderland in which they requested him to inform the King that
they could not, in this matter, obey His Majesty without breaking
the law and betraying their trust.

There can be little doubt that, had ordinary signatures been
appended to this document, the King would have taken some violent
course. But even he was daunted by the great names of Ormond,
Halifax, Danby, and Nottingham, the chiefs of all the sections of
that great party to which he owed his crown. He therefore
contented himself with directing Jeffreys to consider what course
ought to be taken. It was announced at one time that a proceeding
would be instituted in the King's Bench, at another that the
Ecclesiastical Commission would take up the case: but these
threats gradually died away.292

The summer was now far advanced; and the King set out on a
progress, the longest and the most splendid that had been known
for many years. From Windsor he went on the sixteenth of August
to Portsmouth, walked round the fortifications, touched some
scrofulous people, and then proceeded in one of his yachts to
Southampton. From Southampton he travelled to Bath, where he
remained a few days, and where he left the Queen. When he
departed, he was attended by the High Sheriff of Somersetshire
and by a large body of gentlemen to the frontier of the county,
where the High Sheriff of Gloucestershire, with a not less
splendid retinue, was in attendance. The Duke of Beaufort soon
met the royal coaches, and conducted them to Badminton, where a
banquet worthy of the fame which his splendid housekeeping had
won for him was prepared. In the afternoon the cavalcade
proceeded to Gloucester. It was greeted two miles from the city
by the Bishop and clergy. At the South Gate the Mayor waited with
the keys. The bells rang and the conduits flowed with wine as the
King passed through the streets to the close which encircles the
venerable Cathedral. He lay that night at the deanery, and on the
following morning set out for Worcester. From Worcester he went
to Ludlow, Shrewsbury, and Chester, and was everywhere received
with outward signs of joy and respect, which he was weak enough
to consider as proofs that the discontent excited by his measures
had subsided, and that an easy Victory was before him. Barillon,
more sagacious, informed Lewis that the King of England was under
a delusion that the progress had done no real good, and that
those very gentlemen of Worcestershire and Shropshire who had
thought it their duty to receive their Sovereign and their guest
with every mark of honour would be found as refractory as ever
when the question of the test should come on.293

On the road the royal train was joined by two courtiers who in
temper and opinions differed widely from each other. Penn was at
Chester on a pastoral tour. His popularity and authority among
his brethren had greatly declined since he had become a tool of
the King and of the Jesuits.294 He was, however, most graciously
received by James, and, on the Sunday, was permitted to harangue
in the tennis court, while Cartwright preached in the Cathedral,
and while the King heard mass at an altar which had been decked
in the Shire Hall. It is said, indeed, that His Majesty deigned to look into the
tennis court and to listen with decency to his
friend's melodious eloquence.295

The furious Tyrconnel had crossed the sea from Dublin to give an
account of his administration. All the most respectable English
Catholics looked coldly on him as on an enemy of their race and a
scandal to their religion. But he was cordially welcomed by his
master, and dismissed with assurances of undiminished confidence
and steady support. James expressed his delight at learning that
in a short time the whole government of Ireland would be in Roman
Catholic hands. The English colonists had already been stripped
of all political power. Nothing remained but to strip them of
their property; and this last outrage was deferred only till the
cooperation of an Irish Parliament should have been secured.296

From Cheshire the King turned southward, and, in the full belief
that the Fellows of Magdalene College, however mutinous they
might be, would not dare to disobey a command uttered by his own
lips, directed his course towards Oxford. By the way he made some
little excursions to places which peculiarly interested him, as a
King, a brother, and a son. He visited the hospitable roof of
Boscobel and the remains of the oak so conspicuous in the history
of his house. He rode over the field of Edgehill, where the
Cavaliers first crossed swords with the soldiers of the
Parliament. On the third of September he dined in great state at
the palace of Woodstock, an ancient and renowned mansion, of
which not a stone is now to be seen, but of which the site is
still marked on the turf of Blenheim Park by two sycamores which
grow near the stately bridge. In the evening he reached Oxford.
He was received there with the wonted honours. The students in
their academical garb were ranged to welcome him on the right
hand and on the left, from the entrance of the city to the great
gate of Christ Church. He lodged at the deanery, where, among
other accommodations, he found a chapel fitted up for the
celebration of the Mass.297 On the day after his arrival, the
Fellows of Magdalene College were ordered to attend him. When
they appeared before him he treated them with an insolence such
as had never been shown to their predecessors by the Puritan
visitors. "You have not dealt with me like gentlemen," he
exclaimed. "You have been unmannerly as well as undutiful." They
fell on their knees and tendered a petition. He would not look at
it. "Is this your Church of England loyalty? I could not have
believed that so many clergymen of the Church of England would
have been concerned in such a business. Go home. Get you gone. I
am King. I will be obeyed. Go to your chapel this instant; and
admit the Bishop of Oxford. Let those who refuse look to it. They
shall feel the whole weight of my hand. They shall know what it
is to incur the displeasure of their Sovereign." The Fellows,
still kneeling before him, again offered him their petition. He
angrily flung it down. "Get you gone, I tell you. I will receive
nothing from you till you have admitted the Bishop."

They retired and instantly assembled in their chapel. The
question was propounded whether they would comply with His
Majesty's command. Smith was absent. Charnock alone answered in
the affirmative. The other Fellows who were at the meeting
declared that in all things lawful they were ready to obey the
King, but that they would not violate their statutes and their

The King, greatly incensed and mortified by his defeat, quitted
Oxford and rejoined the Queen at Bath. His obstinacy and violence
had brought him into an embarrassing position. He had trusted too
much to the effect of his frowns and angry tones, and had rashly
staked, not merely the credit of his administration, but his
personal dignity, on the issue of the contest. Could he yield to
subjects whom he had menaced with raised voice and furious
gestures? Yet could he venture to eject in one day a crowd of
respectable clergymen from their homes, because they had
discharged what the whole nation regarded as a sacred duty?
Perhaps there might be an escape from this dilemma. Perhaps the
college might still be terrified, caressed, or bribed into
submission. The agency of Penn was employed. He had too much good
feeling to approve of the violent and unjust proceedings of the
government, and even ventured to express part of what he thought.
James was, as usual, obstinate in the wrong. The courtly Quaker,
therefore, did his best to seduce the college from the path of
right. He first tried intimidation. Ruin, he said, impended over
the society. The King was highly incensed. The case might be a
hard one. Most people thought it so. But every child knew that
His Majesty loved to have his own way and could not bear to be
thwarted. Penn, therefore, exhorted the Fellows not to rely on
the goodness of their cause, but to submit, or at least to
temporise. Such counsel came strangely from one who had himself
been expelled from the University for raising a riot about the
surplice, who had run the risk of being disinherited rather than
take off his hat to the princes of the blood, and who had been
more than once sent to prison for haranguing in conventicles. He
did not succeed in frightening the Magdalene men. In answer to
his alarming hints he was reminded that in the last generation
thirty-four out of the forty Fellows had cheerfully left their
beloved cloisters and gardens, their hall and their chapel, and
had gone forth not knowing where they should find a meal or a
bed, rather than violate the oath of allegiance. The King now
wished them to violate another oath. He should find that the old
spirit was not extinct.

Then Penn tried a gentler tone. He had an interview with Hough
and with some of the Fellows, and, after many professions of
sympathy and friendship, began to hint at a compromise. The King
could not bear to be crossed. The college must give way. Parker
must be admitted. But he was in very bad health. All his
preferments would soon be vacant. "Doctor Hough," said Penn, "may
then be Bishop of Oxford. How should you like that, gentlemen?" Penn had passed
his life in declaiming against a hireling
ministry. He held that he was bound to refuse the payment of
tithes, and this even when he had bought land chargeable with
tithes, and hallowed the value of the tithes in the purchase
money. According to his own principles, he would have committed a
great sin if he had interfered for the purpose of obtaining a
benefice on the most honourable terms for the most pious divine.
Yet to such a degree had his manners been corrupted by evil
communications, and his understanding obscured by inordinate zeal
for a single object, that he did not scruple to become a broker
in simony of a peculiarly discreditable kind, and to use a
bishopric as a bait to tempt a divine to perjury. Hough replied
with civil contempt that he wanted nothing from the crown but
common justice. "We stand," he said, "on our statutes and our
oaths: but, even setting aside our statutes and oaths, we feel
that we have our religion to defend. The Papists have robbed us
of University College. They have robbed us of Christ Church. The
fight is now for Magdalene. They will soon have all the rest."

Penn was foolish enough to answer that he really believed that
the Papists would now be content. "University," he said, "is a
pleasant college. Christ Church is a noble place. Magdalene is a
fine building. The situation is convenient. The walks by the
river are delightful. If the Roman Catholics are reasonable they
will be satisfied with these." This absurd avowal would alone
have made it impossible for Hough and his brethren to yield. The
negotiation was broken off; and the King hastened to make the
disobedient know, as he had threatened, what it was to incur his

A special commission was directed to Cartwright, Bishop of
Chester, to Wright, Chief justice of the King's Bench, and to Sir
Thomas Jenner, a Baron of the Exchequer, appointing them to
exercise visitatorial jurisdiction over the college. On the
twentieth of October they arrived at Oxford, escorted by three
troops of cavalry with drawn swords. On the following morning the
Commissioners took their seats in the hall of Magdalene.
Cartwright pronounced a loyal oration which, a few years before,
would have called forth the acclamations of an Oxonian audience,
but which was now heard with sullen indignation. A long dispute
followed. The President defended his rights with skill, temper,
and resolution. He professed great respect for the royal
authority. But he steadily maintained that he had by the laws of
England a freehold interest in the house and revenues annexed to
the presidency. Of that interest he could not be deprived by an
arbitrary mandate of the Sovereign. "Will you submit", said the
Bishop, "to our visitation?" "I submit to it," said Hough with
great dexterity, "so far as it is consistent with the laws, and
no farther." "Will you deliver up the key of your lodgings?" said
Cartwright. Hough remained silent. The question was repeated; and
Hough returned a mild but resolute refusal. The Commissioners
pronounced him an intruder, and charged the Fellows no longer to
recognise his authority, and to assist at the admission of the
Bishop of Oxford. Charneck eagerly promised obedience; Smith
returned an evasive answer: but the great body of the members of
the college firmly declared that they still regarded Hough as
their rightful head.

And now Hough himself craved permission to address a few words to
the Commissioners. They consented with much civility, perhaps
expecting from the calmness and suavity of his manner that he
would make some concession. "My Lords," said he, "you have this
day deprived me of my freehold: I hereby protest against all your
proceedings as illegal, unjust, and null; and I appeal from you
to our sovereign Lord the King in his courts of justice." A loud
murmur of applause arose from the gownsmen who filled the hall.
The Commissioners were furious. Search was made for the
offenders, but in vain. Then the rage of the whole board was
turned against Hough. "Do not think to huff us, sir," cried
Jenner, punning on the President's name. "I will uphold His
Majesty's authority," said Wright, "while I have breath in my
body. All this comes of your popular protest. You have broken the
peace. You shall answer it in the King's Bench. I bind you over
in one thousand pounds to appear there next term. I will see
whether the civil power cannot manage you. If that is not enough,
you shall have the military too." In truth Oxford was in a state
which made the Commissioners not a little uneasy. The soldiers
were ordered to have their carbines loaded. It was said that an
express was sent to London for the purpose of hastening the
arrival of more troops. No disturbance however took place. The
Bishop of Oxford was quietly installed by proxy: but only two
members of Magdalene College attended the ceremony. Many signs
showed that the spirit of resistance had spread to the common
people. The porter of the college threw down his keys. The butler
refused to scratch Hough's name out of the buttery book, and was
instantly dismissed. No blacksmith could be found in the whole
city who would force the lock of the President's lodgings. It was
necessary for the Commissioners to employ their own servants, who
broke open the door with iron bars. The sermons which on the
following Sunday were preached in the University church were full
of reflections such as stung Cartwright to the quick, though such
as he could not discreetly resent.

And here, if James had not been infatuated, the matter might have
stopped. The Fellows in general were not inclined to carry their
resistance further. They were of opinion that, by refusing to
assist in the admission of the intruder, they had sufficiently
proved their respect for their statutes and oaths, and that,
since he was now in actual possession, they might justifiably
submit to him as their head, till he should be removed by
sentence of a competent court. Only one Fellow, Doctor Fairfax,
refused to yield even to this extent. The Commissioners would
gladly have compromised the dispute on these terms; and during a
few hours there was a truce which many thought likely to end in
an amicable arrangement: but soon all was again in confusion. The
Fellows found that the popular voice loudly accused them of
pusillanimity. The townsmen already talked ironically of a
Magdalene conscience, and exclaimed that the brave Hough and the
honest Fairfax had been betrayed and abandoned. Still more
annoying were the sneers of Obadiah Walker and his brother
renegades. This then, said those apostates, was the end of all
the big words in which the society had declared itself resolved
to stand by its lawful President and by its Protestant faith.
While the Fellows, bitterly annoyed by the public censure, were
regretting the modified submission which they had consented to
make, they learned that this submission was by no means
satisfactory to the King. It was not enough, he said, that they
offered to obey the Bishop of Oxford as President in fact. They
must distinctly admit the Commission and all that had been done
under it to be legal. They must acknowledge that they had acted
undutifully; they must declare themselves penitent; they must
promise to behave better in future, must implore His Majesty's
pardon, and lay themselves at his feet. Two Fellows of whom the
King had no complaint to make, Charnock and Smith, were excused
from the obligation of making these degrading apologies.

Even James never committed a grosser error. The Fellows, already
angry with themselves for having conceded so much, and galled by
the censure of the world, eagerly caught at the opportunity which
was now offered them of regaining the public esteem. With one
voice they declared that they would never ask pardon for being in
the right, or admit that the visitation of their college and the
deprivation of their President had been legal.

Then the King, as he had threatened, laid on them the whole
weight of his hand. They were by one sweeping edict condemned to
expulsion. Yet this punishment was not deemed sufficient. It was
known that many noblemen and gentlemen who possessed church
patronage would be disposed to provide for men who had suffered
so much for the laws of England or men and for the Protestant
religion. The High Commission therefore pronounced the ejected
Fellows incapable of ever holding any church preferment. Such of
them as were not yet in holy orders were pronounced incapable of
receiving the clerical character. James might enjoy the thought
that he had reduced many of them from a situation in which they
were surrounded by comforts, and had before them the fairest
professional prospects, to hopeless indigence.

But all these severities produced an effect directly the opposite
of that which he had anticipated. The spirit of Englishmen, that
sturdy spirit which no King of the House of Stuart could ever be
taught by experience to understand, swelled up high and strong
against injustice. Oxford, the quiet scat of learning and
loyalty, was in a state resembling that of the City of London on
the morning after the attempt of Charles the First to seize the
five members. The Vicechancellor had been asked to dine with the
Commissioners on the day of the expulsion. He refused. "My
taste," he said, "differs from that of Colonel Kirke. I cannot
eat my meals with appetite under a gallows." The scholars refused
to pull off their caps to the new rulers of Magdalene College.
Smith was nicknamed Doctor Roguery, and was publicly insulted in
a coffeehouse. When Charnock summoned the Demies to perform their
academical exercises before him, they answered that they were
deprived of their lawful governors and would submit to no usurped
authority. They assembled apart both for study and for divine
service. Attempts were made to corrupt them by offers of the
lucrative fellowships which had just been declared vacant: but
one undergraduate after another manfully answered that his
conscience would not suffer him to profit by injustice. One lad
who was induced to take a fellowship was turned out of the hall
by the rest. Youths were invited from other colleges, but with
small success. The richest foundation in the kingdom seemed to
have lost all attractions for needy students. Meanwhile, in
London and all over the country, money was collected for the
support of the ejected Fellows. The Princess of Orange, to the
great joy of all Protestants, subscribed two hundred pounds.
Still, however, the King held on his course. The expulsion of the
Fellows was soon followed by the expulsion of a crowd of Demies.
All this time the new President was fast sinking under bodily and
mental disease. He had made a last feeble effort to serve the
government by publishing, at the very time when the college was
in a state of open rebellion against his authority, a defence of
the Declaration of Indulgence, or rather a defence of the
doctrine of transubstantiation. This piece called forth many
answers, and particularly one from Burnet, written with
extraordinary vigour and acrimony. A few weeks after the
expulsion of the Demies, Parker died in the house of which he had
violently taken possession. Men said that his heart was broken by
remorse and shame. He lies in the beautiful antechapel of the
college: but no monument marks his grave.

Then the King's whole plan was carried into full effect. The
college was turned into a Popish seminary. Bonaventure Giffard,
the Roman Catholic Bishop of Madura, was appointed President. The
Roman Catholic service was performed in the chapel. In one day
twelve Roman Catholics were admitted Fellows. Some servile
Protestants applied for fellowships, but met with refusals.
Smith, an enthusiast in loyalty, but still a sincere member of
the Anglican Church, could not bear to see the altered aspect of
the house. He absented himself; he was ordered to return into
residence: he disobeyed: he was expelled; and the work of
spoliation was complete.298

The nature of the academical system of England is such that no
event which seriously affects the interests and honour of either
University can fail to excite a strong feeling throughout the
country. Every successive blow, therefore, which fell on
Magdalene College, was felt to the extremities of the kingdom. In
the coffeehouses of London, in the Inns of Court, in the closes
of all the Cathedral towns, in parsonages and manor houses
scattered over the remotest shires, pity for the sufferers and
indignation against the government went on growing. The protest
of Hough was everywhere applauded: the forcing of his door was
everywhere mentioned with abhorrence: and at length the sentence
of deprivation fulminated against the Fellows dissolved those
ties, once so close and dear, which had bound the Church of
England to the House of Stuart. Bitter resentment and cruel
apprehension took the place of love and confidence. There was no
prebendary, no rector, no vicar, whose mind was not haunted by
the thought that, however quiet his temper, however obscure his
situation, he might, in a few months, be driven from his dwelling
by an arbitrary edict to beg in a ragged cassock with his wife
and children, while his freehold, secured to him by laws of
immemorial antiquity and by the royal word, was occupied by some
apostate. This then was the reward of that heroic loyalty never
once found wanting through the vicissitudes of fifty tempestuous
years. It was for this that the clergy had endured spoliation and
persecution in the cause of Charles the First. It was for this
that they had supported Charles the Second in his hard contest
with the Whig opposition. It was for this that they had stood in
the front of the battle against those who sought to despoil James
of his birthright. To their fidelity alone their oppressor owed
the power which he was now employing to their ruin. They had long
been in the habit of recounting in acrimonious language all that
they had suffered at the hand of the Puritan in the day of his
power. Yet for the Puritan there was some excuse. He was an
avowed enemy: he had wrongs to avenge; and even he, while
remodelling the ecclesiastical constitution of the country, and
ejecting all who would not subscribe his Covenant, had not been
altogether without compassion. He had at least granted to those
whose benefices he seized a pittance sufficient to support life.
But the hatred felt by the King towards that Church which had
saved him from exile and placed him on a throne was not to be so
easily satiated. Nothing but the utter ruin of his victims would
content him. It was not enough that they were expelled from their
homes and stripped of their revenues. They found every walk of
life towards which men of their habits could look for a
subsistence closed against them with malignant care, and nothing
left to them but the precarious and degrading resource of alms.

The Anglican clergy therefore, and that portion of the laity
which was strongly attached to Protestant episcopacy, now
regarded the King with those feelings which injustice aggravated
by ingratitude naturally excites. Yet had the Churchman still
many scruples of conscience and honour to surmount before he
could bring himself to oppose the government by force. He had
been taught that passive obedience was enjoined without
restriction or exception by the divine law. He had professed this
opinion ostentatiously. He had treated with contempt the
suggestion that an extreme case might possibly arise which would
justify a people in drawing the sword against regal tyranny. Both
principle and shame therefore restrained him from imitating the
example of the rebellious Roundheads, while any hope of a
peaceful and legal deliverance remained; and such a hope might
reasonably be cherished as long as the Princess of Orange stood
next in succession to the crown. If he would but endure with
patience this trial of his faith, the laws of nature would soon
do for him what he could not, without sin and dishonour, do for
himself. The wrongs of the Church would be redressed, her
property and dignity would be fenced by new guarantees; and those
wicked ministers who had injured and insulted her in the day of
her adversity would be signally punished.

The event to which the Church of England looked forward as to an
honourable and peaceful termination of her troubles was one of
which even the most reckless members of the Jesuitical cabal
could not think without painful apprehensions. If their master
should die, leaving them no better security against the penal
laws than a Declaration which the general voice of the nation
pronounced to be a nullity, if a Parliament, animated by the same
spirit which had prevailed in the Parliament of Charles the
Second, should assemble round the throne of a Protestant
sovereign, was it not probable that a terrible retribution would
be exacted, that the old laws against Popery would be rigidly
enforced, and that new laws still more severe would be added to
the statute book? The evil counsellors had long been tormented by
these gloomy apprehensions, and some of them had contemplated
strange and desperate remedies. James had scarcely mounted the
throne when it began to be whispered about Whitehall that, if the
Lady Anne would turn Roman Catholic, it might not be impossible,
with the help of Lewis, to transfer to her the birthright of her
elder sister. At the French embassy this scheme was warmly
approved; and Bonrepaux gave it as his opinion that the assent of
James would be easily obtained.299 Soon, however, it became
manifest that Anne was unalterably attached to the Established
Church. All thought of making her Queen was therefore
relinquished. Nevertheless, a small knot of fanatics still
continued to cherish a wild hope that they might be able to
change the order of succession. The plan formed by these men was
set forth in a minute of which a rude French translation has been
preserved. It was to be hoped, they said, that the King might be
able to establish the true faith without resorting to
extremities; but, in the worst event, he might leave his crown
at the disposal of Lewis. It was better for Englishmen to be the
vassals of France than the slaves of the Devil.300 This
extraordinary document was handed about from Jesuit to Jesuit,
and from courtier to courtier, till some eminent Roman Catholics,
in whom bigotry had not extinguished patriotism, furnished the
Dutch Ambassador with a copy. He put the paper into the hands of
James. James, greatly agitated, pronounced it a vile forgery
contrived by some pamphleteer in Holland. The Dutch minister
resolutely answered that he could prove the contrary by the
testimony of several distinguished members of His Majesty's own
Church, nay, that there would be no difficulty in pointing out
the writer, who, after all, had written only what many priests
and many busy politicians said every day in the galleries of the
palace. The King did not think it expedient to ask who the writer
was, but, abandoning the charge of forgery, protested, with great
vehemence and solemnity, that no thought of disinheriting his
eldest daughter had ever crossed his mind. "Nobody," he said,
"ever dared to hint such a thing to me. I never would listen to
it. God does not command us to propagate the true religion by
injustice and this would be the foulest, the most unnatural
injustice."301 Notwithstanding all these professions, Barillon, a
few days later, reported to his court that James had begun to
listen to suggestions respecting a change in the order of
succession, that the question was doubtless a delicate one, but
that there was reason to hope that, with time and management, a
way might be found to settle the crown on some Roman Catholic to
the exclusion of the two Princesses.302 During many months this
subject continued to be discussed by the fiercest and most
extravagant Papists about the court; and candidates for the regal
office were actually named.303

It is not probable however that James ever meant to take a course
so insane. He must have known that England would never bear for a
single day the yoke of an usurper who was also a Papist, and that
any attempt to set aside the Lady Mary would have been withstood
to the death, both by all those who had supported the Exclusion
Bill, and by all those who had opposed it. There is however no
doubt that the King was an accomplice in a plot less absurd, but
not less unjustifiable, against the rights of his children.
Tyrconnel had, with his master's approbation, made arrangements
for separating Ireland from the empire, and for placing her under
the protection of Lewis, as soon as the crown should devolve on a
Protestant sovereign. Bonrepaux had been consulted, had imparted
the design to his court, and had been instructed to assure
Tyrconnel that France would lend effectual aid to the
accomplishment of this great project.304 These transactions,
which, though perhaps not in all parts accurately known at the
Hague, were strongly suspected there, must not be left out of the
account if we would pass a just judgment on the course taken a
few months later by the Princess of Orange. Those who pronounce
her guilty of a breach of filial duty must admit that her fault
was at least greatly extenuated by her wrongs. If, to serve the
cause of her religion, she broke through the most sacred ties of
consanguinity, she only followed her father's example. She did
not assist to depose him till he had conspired to disinherit her.

Scarcely had Bonrepaux been informed that Lewis had resolved to
assist the enterprise of Tyrconnel when all thoughts of that
enterprise were abandoned. James had caught the first glimpse of
a hope which delighted and elated him. The Queen was with child.

Before the end of October 1687 the great news began to be
whispered. It was observed that Her Majesty had absented herself
from some public ceremonies, on the plea of indisposition. It was
said that many relics, supposed to possess extraordinary virtue,
had been hung about her. Soon the story made its way from the
palace to the coffeehouses of the capital, and spread fast over
the country. By a very small minority the rumour was welcomed
with joy. The great body of the nation listened with mingled
derision and fear. There was indeed nothing very extraordinary in
what had happened.

The King had but just completed his fifty-fourth year. The Queen
was in the summer of life. She had already borne four children
who had died young; and long afterwards she was delivered of
another child whom nobody had any interest in treating as
supposititious, and who was therefore never said to be so. As,
however, five years had elapsed since her last pregnancy, the
people, under the influence of that delusion which leads men to
believe what they wish, had ceased to entertain any apprehension
that she would give an heir to the throne. On the other hand,
nothing seemed more natural and probable than that the Jesuits
should have contrived a pious fraud. It was certain that they
must consider the accession of the Princess of Orange as one of
the greatest calamities which could befall their Church. It was
equally certain that they would not be very scrupulous about
doing whatever might be necessary to save their Church from a
great calamity. In books written by eminent members of the
Society, and licensed by its rulers, it was distinctly laid down
that means even more shocking to all notions of justice and
humanity than the introduction of a spurious heir into a family
might lawfully be employed for ends less important than the
conversion of a heretical kingdom. It had got abroad that some of
the King's advisers, and even the King himself, had meditated
schemes for defrauding the Lady Mary, either wholly or in part,
of her rightful inheritance. A suspicion, not indeed well
founded, but by no means so absurd as is commonly supposed, took
possession of the public mind. The folly of some Roman Catholics
confirmed the vulgar prejudice. They spoke of the auspicious
event as strange, as miraculous, as an exertion of the same
Divine power which had made Sarah proud and happy in Isaac, and
had given Samuel to the prayers of Hannah. Mary's mother, the
Duchess of Modena, had lately died. A short time before her
death, she had, it was said, implored the Virgin of Loretto, with
fervent vows and rich offerings, to bestow a son on James. The
King himself had, in the preceding August, turned aside from his
progress to visit the Holy Well, and had there besought Saint
Winifred to obtain for him that boon without which his great
designs for the propagation of the true faith could be but
imperfectly executed. The imprudent zealots who dwelt on these
tales foretold with confidence that the unborn infant would be a
boy, and offered to back their opinion by laying twenty guineas
to one. Heaven, they affirmed, would not have interfered but for
a great end. One fanatic announced that the Queen would give
birth to twins, of whom the elder would be King of England, and
the younger Pope of Rome. Mary could not conceal the delight with
which she heard this prophecy; and her ladies found that they
could not gratify her more than by talking of it. The Roman
Catholics would have acted more wisely if they had spoken of the
pregnancy as of a natural event, and if they had borne with
moderation their unexpected good fortune. Their insolent triumph
excited the popular indignation. Their predictions strengthened
the popular suspicions. From the Prince and Princess of Denmark
down to porters and laundresses nobody alluded to the promised
birth without a sneer. The wits of London described the new
miracle in rhymes which, it may well be supposed, were not the
most delicate. The rough country squires roared with laughter if
they met with any person simple enough to believe that the Queen
was really likely to be again a mother. A royal proclamation
appeared commanding the clergy to read a form of prayer and
thanksgiving which had been prepared for this joyful occasion by
Crewe and Sprat. The clergy obeyed: but it was observed that the
congregations made no responses and showed no signs of reverence.
Soon in all the coffeehouses was handed about a brutal lampoon on
the courtly prelates whose pens the King had employed. Mother
East had also her full share of abuse. Into that homely
monosyllable our ancestors had degraded the name of the great
house of Este which reigned at Modena.305

The new hope which elated the King's spirits was mingled with
many fears. Something more than the birth of a Prince of Wales
was necessary to the success of the plans formed by the
Jesuitical party. It was not very likely that James would live
till his son should be of age to exercise the regal functions.
The law had made no provision for the case of a minority. The
reigning sovereign was not competent to make provision for such a
case by will. The legislature only could supply the defect. If
James should die before the defect had been supplied, leaving a
successor of tender years, the supreme power would undoubtedly
devolve on Protestants. Those Tories who held most firmly the
doctrine that nothing could justify them in resisting their liege
lord would have no scruple about drawing their swords against a
Popish woman who should dare to usurp the guardianship of the
realm and of the infant sovereign. The result of a contest could
scarcely be matter of doubt. The Prince of Orange or his wife,
would be Regent. The young King would be placed in the hands of
heretical instructors, whose arts might speedily efface from his
mind the impressions which might have been made on it in the
nursery. He might prove another Edward the Sixth; and the
blessing granted to the intercession of the Virgin Mother and of
Saint Winifred might be turned into a curse.306 This was a danger
against which nothing but, an Act of Parliament could be a
security; and to obtain such an Act was not easy. Everything
seemed to indicate that, if the Houses were convoked, they would
come up to Westminster animated by the spirit of 1640. The event
of the county elections could hardly be doubted. The whole body
of freeholders, high and low, clerical and lay, was strongly
excited against the government. In the great majority of those
towns where the right of voting depended on the payment of local
taxes, or on the occupation of a tenement, no courtly candidate
could dare to show his face. A very large part of the House of
Commons was returned by members of municipal corporations. These
corporations had recently been remodelled for the purpose of
destroying the influence of the Whigs and Dissenters. More than a
hundred constituent bodies had been deprived of their charters by
tribunals devoted to the crown, or had been induced to avert
compulsory disfranchisement by voluntary surrender. Every Mayor,
every Alderman, every Town Clerk, from Berwick to Helstone, was a
Tory and a Churchman: but Tories and Churchmen were now no longer
devoted to the sovereign. The new municipalities were more
unmanageable than the old municipalities had ever been, and would
undoubtedly return representatives whose first act would be to
impeach all the Popish Privy Councillors, and all the members of
the High Commission.

In the Lords the prospect was scarcely less gloomy than in the
Commons. Among the temporal peers it was certain that an immense
majority would be against the King's measures: and on that
episcopal bench, which seven years before had unanimously
supported him against those who had attempted to deprive him of
his birthright, he could now look for support only to four or
five sycophants despised by their profession and by their

To all men not utterly blinded by passion these difficulties
appeared insuperable. The most unscrupulous slaves of power
showed signs of uneasiness. Dryden muttered that the King would
only make matters worse by trying to mend them, and sighed for
the golden days of the careless and goodnatured Charles.308 Even
Jeffreys wavered. As long as he was poor, he was perfectly ready
to face obloquy and public hatred for lucre. But he had now, by
corruption and extortion, accumulated great riches; and he was
more anxious to secure them than to increase them. His slackness
drew on him a sharp reprimand from the royal lips. In dread of
being deprived of the Great Seal, he promised whatever was
required of him: but Barillon, in reporting this circumstance to
Lewis, remarked that the King of England could place little
reliance on any man who had any thing to lose.309

Nevertheless James determined to persevere. The sanction of a
Parliament was necessary to his system. The sanction of a free
and lawful Parliament it was evidently impossible to obtain: but
it might not be altogether impossible to bring together by
corruption, by intimidation, by violent exertions of prerogative,
by fraudulent distortions of law, an assembly which might call
itself a Parliament, and might be willing to register any edict
of the Sovereign. Returning officers must be appointed who would
avail themselves of the slightest pretence to declare the King's
friends duly elected. Every placeman, from the highest to the
lowest, must be made to understand that, if he wished to retain
his office, he must, at this conjuncture, support the throne by
his vote and interest. The High Commission meanwhile would keep
its eye on the clergy. The boroughs, which had just been
remodelled to serve one turn, might be remodelled again to serve
another. By such means the King hoped to obtain a majority in the
House of Commons. The Upper House would then be at his mercy. He
had undoubtedly by law the power of creating peers without limit:
and this power he was fully determined to use. He did not wish,
and indeed no sovereign can wish, to make the highest honour
which is in the gift of the crown worthless. He cherished the
hope that, by calling up some heirs apparent to the assembly in
which they must ultimately sit, and by conferring English titles
on some Scotch and Irish Lords, he might be able to secure a
majority without ennobling new men in such numbers as to bring
ridicule on the coronet and the ermine. But there was no
extremity to which he was not prepared to go in case of
necessity. When in a large company an opinion was expressed that
the peers would prove intractable, "Oh, silly," cried Sunderland,
turning to Churchill, "your troop of guards shall be called up to
the House of Lords."310

Having determined to pack a Parliament, James set himself
energetically and methodically to the work. A proclamation
appeared in the Gazette, announcing that the King had determined
to revise the Commissions of Peace and of Lieutenancy, and to
retain in public employment only such gentlemen as should be
disposed to support his policy.311 A committee of seven Privy
Councillors sate at Whitehall, for the purpose of regulating--such
was the phrase--the municipal corporations. In this committee
Jeffreys alone represented the Protestant interest. Powis alone
represented the moderate Roman Catholics. All the other members
belonged to the Jesuitical faction. Among them was Petre, who had
just been sworn of the Council. Till he took his seat at the
board, his elevation had been kept a profound secret from
everybody but Sunderland. The public indignation at this new
violation of the law was clamorously expressed; and it was
remarked that the Roman Catholics were even louder in censure
than the Protestants. The vain and ambitious Jesuit was now
charged with the business of destroying and reconstructing half
the constituent bodies in the kingdom. Under the committee of
Privy Councillors a subcommittee consisting of bustling agents
less eminent in rank was entrusted with the management of
details. Local subcommittees of regulators all over the country
corresponded with the central board at Westminster.312

The persons on whom James chiefly relied for assistance in his
new and arduous enterprise were the Lords Lieutenants. Every Lord
Lieutenant received written orders directing him to go down
immediately into his county. There he was to summon before him
all his deputies, and all the justices of the Peace, and to put
to them a series of interrogatories framed for the purpose of
ascertaining how they would act at a general election. He was to
take down the answers in writing, and to transmit them to the
government. He was to furnish a list of such Roman Catholics, and
such Protestant Dissenters, as might be best qualified for the
bench and for commands in the militia. He was also to examine
into the state of all the boroughs in his county, and to make
such reports as might be necessary to guide the operations of the
board of regulators. It was intimated to him that he must himself
perform these duties, and that he could not be permitted to
delegate them to any other person.313

The first effect produced by these orders would have at once
sobered a prince less infatuated than James. Half the Lords
Lieutenants of England peremptorily refused to stoop to the
odious service which was required of them. They were immediately
dismissed. All those who incurred this glorious disgrace were
peers of high consideration; and all had hitherto been regarded
as firm supporters of monarchy. Some names in the list deserve
especial notice.

The noblest subject in England, and indeed, as Englishmen loved
to say, the noblest subject in Europe, was Aubrey de Vere,
twentieth and last of the old Earls of Oxford. He derived his
title through an uninterrupted male descent from a time when the
families of Howard and Seymour were still obscure, when the
Nevilles and Percies enjoyed only a provincial celebrity, and
when even the great name of Plantagenet had not yet been heard in
England. One chief of the house of De Vere had held high command
at Hastings: another had marched, with Godfrey and Tancred, over
heaps of slaughtered Moslem, to the sepulchre of Christ. The
first Earl of Oxford had been minister of Henry Beauclerc. The
third Earl had been conspicuous among the Lords who extorted the
Great Charter from John. The seventh Earl had fought bravely at
Cressy and Pointiers. The thirteenth Earl had, through many
vicissitudes of fortune, been the chief of the party of the Red
Rose, and had led the van on the decisive day of Bosworth. The
seventeenth Earl had shone at the court of Elizabeth, and had won
for himself an honourable place among the early masters of
English poetry. The nineteenth Earl had fallen in arms for the
Protestant religion and for the liberties of Europe under the
walls of Maastricht. His son Aubrey, in whom closed the longest
and most illustrious line of nobles that England has seen, a man
of loose morals, but of inoffensive temper and of courtly
manners, was Lord Lieutenant of Essex, and Colonel of the Blues.
His nature was not factious; and his interest inclined him to
avoid a rupture with the court; for his estate was encumbered,
and his military command lucrative. He was summoned to the royal
closet; and an explicit declaration of his intentions was
demanded from him. "Sir," answered Oxford, "I will stand by your
Majesty against all enemies to the last drop of my blood. But
this is matter of conscience, and I cannot comply." He was
instantly deprived of his lieutenancy and of his regiment.314

Inferior in antiquity and splendour to the house of De Vere, but
to the house of De Vere alone, was the house of Talbot. Ever
since the reign of Edward the Third, the Talbots had sate among
the peers of the realm. The earldom of Shrewsbury had been
bestowed, in the fifteenth century, on John Talbot, the
antagonist of the Maid of Orleans. He had been long remembered by
his countrymen with tenderness and reverence as one of the most
illustrious of those warriors who had striven to erect a great
English empire on the Continent of Europe. The stubborn courage
which he had shown in the midst of disasters had made him an
object of interest greater than more fortunate captains had
inspired, and his death had furnished a singularly touching scene
to our early stage. His posterity had, during two centuries,
flourished in great honour. The head of the family at the time of
the Restoration was Francis, the eleventh Earl, a Roman Catholic.
His death had been attended by circumstances such as, even in
those licentious times which immediately followed the downfall of
the Puritan tyranny, had moved men to horror and pity. The Duke
of Buckingham in the course of his vagrant amours was for a
moment attracted by the Countess of Shrewsbury. She was easily
won. Her lord challenged the gallant, and fell. Some said that
the abandoned woman witnessed the combat in man's attire, and
others that she clasped her victorious lover to her bosom while
his shirt was still dripping with the blood of her husband. The
honours of the murdered man descended to his infant son Charles.
As the orphan grew up to man's estate, it was generally
acknowledged that of the young nobility of England none had been
so richly gifted by nature. His person was pleasing, his temper
singularly sweet, his parts such as, if he had been born in a
humble rank, might well have raised him to the height of civil
greatness. All these advantages he had so improved that, before
he was of age, he was allowed to be one of the finest gentlemen
and finest scholars of his time. His learning is proved by notes
which are still extant in his handwriting on books in almost
every department of literature. He spoke French like a gentleman
of Lewis's bedchamber, and Italian like a citizen of Florence. It
was impossible that a youth of such parts should not be anxious
to understand the grounds on which his family had refused to
conform to the religion of the state. He studied the disputed
points closely, submitted his doubts to priests of his own faith,
laid their answers before Tillotson, weighed the arguments on
both sides long and attentively, and, after an investigation
which occupied two years, declared himself a Protestant. The
Church of England welcomed the illustrious convert with delight.
His popularity was great, and became greater when it was known
that royal solicitations and promises had been vainly employed to
seduce him back to the superstition which he had abjured. The
character of the young Earl did not however develop itself in a
manner quite satisfactory to those who had borne the chief part
in his conversion. His morals by no means escaped the contagion
of fashionable libertinism. In truth the shock which had
overturned his early prejudices had at the same time unfixed all
his opinions, and left him to the unchecked guidance of his
feelings. But, though his principles were unsteady, his impulses
were so generous, his temper so bland, his manners so gracious
and easy, that it was impossible not to love him. He was early
called the King of Hearts, and never, through a long, eventful,
and chequered life, lost his right to that name.315 Shrewsbury
was Lord Lieutenant of Staffordshire and Colonel of
one of the regiments of horse which had been raised in
consequence of the Western insurrection. He now refused to act
under the board of regulators, and was deprived of both his

None of the English nobles enjoyed a larger measure of public
favour than Charles Sackville Earl of Dorset. He was indeed a
remarkable man. In his youth he had been one of the most
notorious libertines of the wild time which followed the
Restoration. He had been the terror of the City watch, had passed
many nights in the round house, and had at least once occupied a
cell in Newgate. His passion for Betty Morrice, and for Nell
Gwynn, who called him her Charles the First, had given no small
amusement and scandal to the town.316 Yet, in the midst of
follies and vices, his courageous spirit, his fine understanding,
and his natural goodness of heart, had been conspicuous. Men said
that the excesses in which he indulged were common between him
and the whole race of gay young Cavaliers, but that his sympathy
with human suffering and the generosity with which he made
reparation to those whom his freaks had injured were all his own.
His associates were astonished by the distinction which the
public made between him and them. "He may do what he chooses,"
said Wilmot; "he is never in the wrong." The judgment of the
world became still more favourable to Dorset when he had been
sobered by time and marriage. His graceful manners, his brilliant
conversation, his soft heart, his open hand, were universally
praised. No day passed, it was said, in which some distressed
family had not reason to bless his name. And yet, with all his
goodnature, such was the keenness of his wit that scoffers whose
sarcasm all the town feared stood in craven fear of the sarcasm
of Dorset. All political parties esteemed and caressed him; but
politics were not much to his taste. Had he been driven by
necessity to exert himself, he would probably have risen to the
highest posts in the state; but he was born to rank so high and
wealth so ample that many of the motives which impel men to
engage in public affairs were wanting to him. He took just so
much part in parliamentary and diplomatic business as sufficed to
show that he wanted nothing but inclination to rival Danby and
Sunderland, and turned away to pursuits which pleased him better.
Like many other men who, with great natural abilities, are
constitutionally and habitually indolent, he became an
intellectual voluptuary, and a master of all those pleasing
branches of knowledge which can be acquired without severe
application. He was allowed to be the best judge of painting, of
sculpture, of architecture, of acting, that the court could show.
On questions of polite learning his decisions were regarded at
all the coffeehouses as without appeal. More than one clever play
which had failed on the first representation was supported by his
single authority against the whole clamour of the pit, and came
forth successful from the second trial. The delicacy of his taste
in French composition was extolled by Saint Evremond and La
Fontaine. Such a patron of letters England had never seen. His
bounty was bestowed with equal judgment and liberality, and was
confined to no sect or faction. Men of genius, estranged from
each other by literary jealousy or by difference of political
opinion, joined in acknowledging his impartial kindness. Dryden
owned that he had been saved from ruin by Dorset's princely
generosity. Yet Montague and Prior, who had keenly satirised
Dryden, were introduced by Dorset into public life; and the best
comedy of Dryden's mortal enemy, Shadwell, was written at
Dorset's country seat. The munificent Earl might, if such had
been his wish, have been the rival of those of whom he was
content to be the benefactor. For the verses which he
occasionally composed, unstudied as they are, exhibit the traces
of a genius which, assiduously cultivated, would have produced
something great. In the small volume of his works may be found
songs which have the easy vigour of Suckling, and little satires
which sparkle with wit as splendid as that of Butler.317

Dorset was Lord Lieutenant of Sussex: and to Sussex the board of
regulators looked with great anxiety: for in no other county,
Cornwall and Wiltshire excepted, were there so many small
boroughs. He was ordered to repair to his post. No person who
knew him expected that he would obey. He gave such an answer as
became him, and was informed that his services were no longer
needed. The interest which his many noble and amiable qualities
inspired was heightened when it was known that he had received by
the post an anonymous billet telling him that, if he did not
promptly comply with the King's wishes, all his wit and
popularity should not save him from assassination. A similar
warning was sent to Shrewsbury. Threatening letters were then
much more rare than they afterwards became. It is therefore not
strange that the people, excited as they were, should have been
disposed to believe that the best and noblest Englishmen were
really marked out for Popish daggers.318 Just when these letters
were the talk of all London, the mutilated corpse of a noted
Puritan was found in the streets. It was soon discovered that the
murderer had acted from no religious or political motive. But the
first suspicions of the populace fell on the Papists. The mangled
remains were carried in procession to the house of the Jesuits in
the Savoy; and during a few hours the fear and rage of the
populace were scarcely less violent than on the day when Godfrey
was borne to his grave.319

The other dismissions must be more concisely related. The Duke of
Somerset, whose regiment had been taken from him some months
before, was now turned out of the lord lieutenancy of the East
Riding of Yorkshire. The North Riding was taken from Viscount
Fauconberg, Shropshire from Viscount Newport, and Lancashire from
the Earl of Derby, grandson of that gallant Cavalier who had
faced death so bravely, both on the field of battle and on the
scaffold, for the House of Stuart. The Earl of Pembroke, who had
recently served the crown with fidelity and spirit against
Monmouth, was displaced in Wiltshire, the Earl of Husband in
Leicestershire, the Earl of Bridgewater in Buckinghamshire, the
Earl of Thanet in Cumberland, the Earl of Northampton in
Warwickshire, the Earl of Abingdon in Oxfordshire, and the Earl
of Scarsdale in Derbyshire. Scarsdale was also deprived of a
regiment of cavalry, and of an office in the household of the
Princess of Denmark. She made a struggle to retain his services,
and yielded only to a peremptory command of her father. The Earl
of Gainsborough was rejected, not only from the lieutenancy of
Hampshire, but also from the government of Portsmouth and the
rangership of the New Forest, two places for which he had, only a
few months before, given five thousand pounds.320

The King could not find Lords of great note, or indeed Protestant
Lords of any sort, who would accept the vacant offices. It was
necessary to assign two shires to Jeffreys, a new man whose
landed property was small, and two to Preston who was not even an
English peer. The other counties which had been left without
governors were entrusted, with scarcely an exception, to known
Roman Catholics, or to courtiers who had secretly promised the
King to declare themselves Roman Catholics as soon as they could
do so with prudence.

At length the new machinery was put in action; and soon from
every corner of the realm arrived the news of complete and
hopeless failure. The catechism by which the Lords Lieutenants
had been directed to test the sentiments of the country gentlemen
consisted of three questions. Every magistrate and Deputy
Lieutenant was to be asked, first, whether, if he should be
chosen to serve in Parliament, he would vote for a bill framed on
the principles of the Declaration of Indulgence; secondly,
whether, as an elector, he would support candidates who would
engage to vote for such a bill and, thirdly, whether, in his
private capacity, he would aid the King's benevolent designs by
living in friendship with people of all religious persuasions.321

As soon as the questions got abroad, a form of answer, drawn up
with admirable skill, was circulated all over the kingdom, and
was generally adopted. It was to the following effect: "As a
member of the House of Commons, should I have the honour of a
seat there, I shall think it my duty carefully to weigh such
reasons as may be adduced in debate for and against a Bill of
Indulgence, and then to vote according to my conscientious
conviction. As an elector, I shall give my support to candidates
whose notions of the duty of a representative agree with my own.
As a private man, it is my wish to live in peace and charity with
every body." This answer, far more provoking than a direct
refusal, because slightly tinged with a sober and decorous irony
which could not well be resented,
was all that the emissaries of the court could extract from most
of the country gentlemen. Arguments, promises, threats, were
tried in vain. The Duke of Norfolk, though a Protestant, and
though dissatisfied with the proceedings of the government, had
consented to become its agent in two counties. He went first to
Surrey, where he soon found that nothing could be done.322 He
then repaired to Norfolk, and returned to inform the King that,
of seventy gentlemen of note who bore office in that great
province, only six had held out hopes that they should support
the policy of the court.323 The Duke of Beaufort, whose authority
extended over four English shires and over the whole principality
of Wales, came up to Whitehall with an account not less
discouraging.324 Rochester was Lord Lieutenant of Hertfordshire.
All his little stock of virtue had been expended in his struggle
against the strong temptation to sell his religion for lucre. He
was still bound to the court by a pension of four thousand pounds
a year; and in return for this pension he was willing to perform
any service, however illegal or degrading, provided only that he
were not required to go through the forms of a reconciliation
with Rome. He had readily undertaken to manage his county; and he
exerted himself, as usual, with indiscreet heat and violence. But
his anger was thrown away on the sturdy squires to whom he
addressed himself. They told him with one voice that they would
send up no man to Parliament who would vote for taking away the
safeguards of the Protestant religion.325 The same answer was
given to the Chancellor in Buckinghamshire.326 The gentry of
Shropshire, assembled at Ludlow, unanimously refused to fetter
themselves by the pledge which the King demanded of them.327 The
Earl of Yarmouth reported from Wiltshire that, of sixty
magistrates and Deputy Lieutenants with whom he had conferred,
only seven had given favourable answers, and that even those
seven could not be trusted.328 The renegade Peterborough made no
progress in Northamptonshire.329 His brother renegade Dover was
equally unsuccessful in Cambridgeshire.330 Preston brought cold
news from Cumberland and Westmoreland. Dorsetshire and
Huntingdonshire were animated by the same spirit. The Earl of
Bath, after a long canvass, returned from the West with gloomy
tidings. He had been authorised to make the most tempting offers
to the inhabitants of that region. In particular he had promised
that, if proper respect were shown to the royal wishes, the trade
in tin should be freed from the oppressive restrictions under
which it lay. But this lure, which at another time would have
proved irresistible, was now slighted. All the justices and
Deputy Lieutenants of Devonshire and Cornwall, without a single
dissenting voice, declared that they would put life and property
in jeopardy for the King, but that the Protestant religion was
dearer to them than either life or property. "And, sir," said
Bath, "if your Majesty should dismiss all these gentlemen, their
successors would give exactly the same answer."331 If there was
any district in which the government might have hoped for
success, that district was Lancashire. Considerable doubts had
been felt as to the result of what was passing there. In no part
of the realm had so many opulent and honourable families adhered
to the old religion. The heads of many of those families had
already, by virtue of the dispensing power, been made justices of
the Peace and entrusted with commands in the militia. Yet from
Lancashire the new Lord Lieutenant, himself a Roman Catholic,
reported that two thirds of his deputies and of the magistrates
were opposed to the court.332 But the proceedings in Hampshire
wounded the King's pride still more deeply. Arabella Churchill
had, more than twenty years before, borne him a son, widely
renowned, at a later period, as one of the most skilful captains
of Europe. The youth, named James Fitzjames, had as yet given no
promise of the eminence which he afterwards attained: but his
manners were so gentle and inoffensive that he had no enemy
except Mary of Modena, who had long hated the child of the
concubine with the bitter hatred of a childless wife. A small
part of the Jesuitical faction had, before the pregnancy of the
Queen was announced, seriously thought of setting him up as a
competitor of the Princess of Orange.333 When it is remembered
how signally Monmouth, though believed by the populace to be
legitimate, and though the champion of the national religion, had
failed in a similar competition, it must seem extraordinary that
any man should have been so much blinded by fanaticism as to
think of placing on the throne one who was universally known to

Book of the day: