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not that in which he might stand with respect CHAPTER to foreign Princes; so that, provided he could, by a dependence, however servile, upon Lewis the Fourteenth, be placed above the controul of his Parliament and people at home, he considered the honour of the crown unsullied.
Robert Spencer, Earl of Sunderland, who was Sunderland. continued as Secretary of State, had been at one period a supporter of the Exclusion Bill, and had been suspected of having offered the Dutchess of Portsmouth to obtain the succession to the crown for her son, the Duke of Richmond. Nay more, King James, in his memoirs, charges him with having intended, just at the time of Charles's death, to send him into a second banishment;* but with regard to this last point, it appears evident to me, that many things in those memoirs relative to this Earl, were written after James's abdication, and in the greatest bitterness of spirit, when he was probably in a frame of mind to believe any thing against a person by whom he conceived himself to have been basely deserted. The reappointment, therefore, of this nobleman to so important an office, is to be accounted for partly upon the general principle above mentioned, of making the new reign a
* Macpherson's State Papers, I. 147.
Money transaction with France.
Chapter mere continuation of the former, and partly upon
Sunderland's extraordinary talents for ingratiating himself with persons in power, and persuading them that he was the fittest instrument for their purposes; a talent in which he seems to have surpassed all the intriguing statesmen of his time, or perhaps of any other.
An intimate connection with the court of Versailles being the principal engine by which the favourite project of absolute monarchy was to be effected, James, for the purpose of fixing and cementing that connection, sent for M. De Barillon, the French ambassadour, the very day after his accession, and entered into the most confidential discourse with him. He explained to him his motives for intending to call a parliament, as well as his resolution to levy by authority, the revenue which his predecessor had enjoyed in virtue of a grant of parliament which determined with his life. He made general professions of attachment to Lewis, declared that in all affairs of importance it was his intention to consult that monarch, and apologised, upon the ground of the urgency of the case, for acting in the instance mentioned without his advice. Money was not directly mentioned, owing, perhaps, to some sense of shame upon that subject, which his brother
had never experienced; but lest there should be a CHAPTER doubt whether that object were implied in the desire of support and protection, Rochester was directed to explain the matter more fully, and to give a more distinct interpretation of these general terms. Accordingly, that minister waited the next morning upon Barillon, and after having repeated, and enlarged upon the reasons for calling a parliament, stated, as an additional argument in defence of the measure, that without it, his master would become too chargeable to the French King; adding, however, that the assistance which might be expected from a Parliament, did not exempt him altogether from the necessity of resorting to that prince for pecuniary aids, for that without such, he would be at the mercy of his subjects, and that upon this beginning would
, depend the whole fortune of the reign.* If Rochester actually expressed himself as Barillon relates, the use intended to be made of Parliament, cannot but cause the most lively indignation, while it furnishes a complete answer to the historians who accuse the parliaments of those days of unseasonable parsimony in their grants to the Stuart Kings; for the grants of the people of England were not destined, it seems, to enable their Kings to oppose
* Barillon's Letter, February 19, 1685, in the Appendix, p. xviii.
The King's abject gratitude.
CHAPTER the power of France, or even to be independent of
her, but to render the influence which Lewis was resolved to preserve in this country, less chargeable to him, by furnishing their quota to the support of his royal dependant.
The French ambassadour sent immediately a detailed account of these conversations to his court, where, probably, they were not received with the less satisfaction on account of the request contained in them having been anticipated. Within a very few days from that in which the latter of them had passed, he was empowered to accompany the delivery of a letter from his master, with the agreeable news of having received from him bills of exchange to the amount of five hundred thousand livres, to be used in whatever manner might be convenient to the King of England's service. The account which Barillon gives, of the manner in which this sum was received, is altogether ridiculous: the King's eyes were full of tears, and three of his ministers, Rochester, Sunderland, and Godolphin, came severally to the French ambassadour, to express the sense their master had of the obligation, in terms the most lavish. Indeed, demonstrations of gratitude from the King directly, as well as through his ministers, for
* Barillon's Letter, Feb. 26, in the Appendix, p. xxviii.
this supply, were such, as if they had been used by CHAPTER some unfortunate individual, who, with his whole family, had been saved, by the timely succour of some kind and powerful protector, from a gaol and all its horrours, would be deemed rather too strong than too weak. Barillon himself seems surprised when he relates them; but imputes them to what was probably their real cause, to the apprehensions that had been entertained, (very unreasonable ones!) that the King of France might no longer choose to interfere in the affairs of England, and consequently that his support could not be relied on for the grand object of assimilating this government to
If such apprehensions did exist, it is probable Sagacity and that they were chiefly owing to the very careless Lewis the manner, to say the least, in which Lewis had of late fulfilled his pecuniary engagements to Charles, so as to amount, in the opinion of the English ministers, to an actual breach of promise. But the circumstances were in some respects altered. The French King had been convinced that Charles would never call a parliament; nay further, perhaps, that if he did, he would not be trusted by one; and considering him therefore entirely in his power, acted from that principle in insolent minds, which