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In Macpherson's extract from King James's Me- CHAPTER moirs, it is confessed that the King ought not to have seen, if he was not disposed to pardon the culprit;* but whether the observation is made by the exiled Prince himself, or by him who gives the extract, is in this, as in many other passages of those Memoirs, difficult to determine. Surely if the King had made this reflection before Monmouth's execution, it must have occurred to that Monarch, that if he had inadvertently done that which he ought not to have done without an intention to pardon, the only remedy was to correct that part of his conduct which was still in his power, and since he could not recall the interview, to grant the pardon.
Pursuant to this hard-hearted arrangement, Mon- His interview mouth and Grey, on the very day of their arrival, mouth, were brought to Whitehall, where they had severally interviews with his Majesty. James, in a letter to the Prince of Orange, dated the following day, gives a short account of both these interviews. Monmouth, he says, betrayed a weakness, which did not become one who had claimed the title of King; but made no discovery of consequence. Grey was more ingenuous,+ (it is not certain in what sense his Majesty * Macpherson's State Papers, I. 144. + Dalrymple's Memoirs, II. 134.
Chapter uses the term, since he does not refer to any dis
covery made by that Lord,) and never once begged his life. Short as this account is, it seems the only authentick one of those interviews. Bishop Kennet, who has been followed by most of the modern historians, relates, that “ This unhappy captive, hy the " intercession of the Queen Dowager, was brought
to the King's presence, and fell presently at his
feet, and confessed he deserved to die; but con“ jured him, with tears in his eyes, not to use him " with the severity of justice, and to grant him a
life, which he would be ever ready to sacrifice s for his service. He mentioned to him the example " of several great princes, who had yielded to the
impressions of clemency on the like occasions, - and who had never afterwards repented of those " acts of generosity and mercy; concluding, in a “ most pathetical manner, Remember, Sir, I am your brother's son, and if
my life, it is your own blood that you will shed. The King " asked him several questions, and made him sign - a declaration that his father told him he was never “ married to his mother: and then said, he was
sorry indeed for his misfortunes; but his crime was of too great a consequence to be left unpunished, and he must of necessity suffer for it.
“ The Queen is said to have insulted him in a very chapter
arrogant and unmerciful manner. So that when " the Duke saw there was nothing designed by this so interview, but to satisfy the Queen's revenge, he
from his Majesty's feet with a new air of bravery, and was carried back to the Tower.”
The topicks used by Monmouth are such as he might naturally have employed, and the demeanour attributed to him, upon finding the King inexorable, is consistent enough with general probability, and his particular character: but that the King took care to extract from him a confession of Charles's declaration with respect to his illegitimacy, before he announced his final refusal of mercy, and that the Queen was present for the purpose of reviling and insulting him, are circumstances too atrocious to merit belief, without some more certain evidence. It must be remarked also, that Burnet, whose general prejudices would not lead him to doubt any imputations against the Queen, does not mention her Majesty's being present. Monmouth's offer of changing religion is mentioned by him, but no authority quoted; and no hint of the kind appears either in James's Letters, or in the extract from his Memoirs.
From Whitehall Monmouth was at night carried Nonmoutl's to the Tower, where, no longer uncertain as to his fixed.
* Kennet, III. 432. Echard, III. 771.
CHAPTER fate, he seems to have collected his mind, and to
have resumed his wonted fortitude. The Bill of Attainder that had lately passed, having superseded the necessity of a legal trial, his execution was fixed for the next day but one after his commitment. This interval appeared too short even for the worldly business which he wished to transact, and he wrote again to the King on the 14th, desiring some short respite, which was peremptorily refused. The difficulty of obtaining any certainty concerning facts, even in instances where there has not been any apparent motive for disguising them, is no where more striking than in the few remaining hours of this unfortunate man's life. According to King James's statement in his Memoirs, he refused to see his wife, while other accounts assert positively that she refused to see him, unless in presence of witnesses. Burnet, who was not likely to be mistaken in a fact of this kind, says they did meet, and parted very coldly, a circumstance, which, if true, gives us no very favourable idea of the lady's character. There is also mention of a third letter written by him to the King, which being entrusted to a perfidious officer of the name of Scott, never reached its destination ;* but for this there is no foundation. What seems most certain is, that in the Tower, and
* Dalrymple's Memoirs, I. 127.
not in the closet, he signed a paper, renouncing his CHAPTER pretensions to the crown, the same which he afterwards delivered on the scaffold; and that he was inclined to make this declaration, not by any vain hope of life, but by his affection for his children, whose situation he rightly judged would be safer and better under the reigning monarch and his successors, when it should be evident that they could no longer be competitors for the Throne.
Monmouth was very sincere in his religious pro- His preparafessions, and it is probable that a great portion of death. this sad day was passed in devotion and religious discourse with the two prelates, who had been sent by his Majesty to assist him in his spiritual concerns. Turner, Bishop of Ely, had been with him early in the morning, and Kenn, Bishop of Bath and Wells, was sent, upon the refusal of a respite, to prepare him for the stroke, which it was now irrevocably fixed he should suffer the ensuing day. They stayed with him all night, and in the morning of the fifteenth were joined by Dr. Hooper, afterwards, in the reign of Anne, made Bishop of Bath and Wells, and by Dr. Tennison, who succeeded Tillotson in the see of Canterbury. This last divine is stated by Burnet to have been most acceptable to the Duke, and though he joined the others in some harsh expostulations,