Pagina-afbeeldingen
PDF
ePub

to

stress

ence.

6

Lord Ailesbury had no great reason to chamberlain. He also apologized love James, for Rochester at once ousted Ailesbury for his rudeness, admitting that him from his place at court. Neverthe- he had been prejudiced against him by less he used his influence to return Tory false tales. From his private affairs members, and was well received therefore Ailesbury turns again to Monmouth's forby the king. His character of James lays tunes. He had lived at Brussels “ with

on the king's affection for the that unfortunate lady whom I lament to navy. “Our fleet is our bulwark," the king this hour,” and had told the Marquis of said, "and therefore every true English. Grana that she was his wife. The marman ought to wish the prosperity of it." quis, then governor of the Low Countries, He applauds James's confidence in “my sent his daughter to visit Lady Henrietta. good and ancient friend, Mr. Samuel Afterwards, learning that Monmouth had Pepys, and England never produced such lied, he took the duke by the button, and another in his station." Readers of Ma- said, “My lord, you have deceived me, caulay will scarcely believe that “ the king and whenever I am recalled from this stahad a true English spirit, and looked on tion, I will cut your throat, or you shall the French ambassador, M. Barillon, very mine." Monmouth was at a ball on the coldly. . . . He had not the least influ- night of his father's death. In all respects

Barillon's own memoirs hardly he caused scandals, which did not distress corroborate this bold statement. What the conscience of William of Orange, to pleased Lord Ailesbury most was James's whom he divulged all his plans, “ agreedislike of the land-tax later imposed by able to his very weak head.” William William of Orange. “ Lay it on luxury,' promptly sent Bentinck with the news to the king said, as chocolate, tea, coffee, James, "not out of affection, but to and '(with warmth) 'as wine' (for he was have the duke sacrificed, who was his a most sober prince). Who obliges peo- rival, and personally much more beloved ple to make themselves drunk? But, if in the nation generally.” The story of they will drink, let them pay for it!'" the conference between William and Mon. For his part, Ailesbury called the Tories mouth was told to Ailesbury by " a page, together, before Parliament met, at the who attended without.” The evidence is Fountain Tavern, and there announced the not particularly excellent. Another story king's wishes, and proposed Sir John Lord Ailesbury tells on Ferguson's evi. Trevor as speaker. In the House, to re- dence. Before Monmouth landed at Lyme, lieve the West India trade from heavy he informed Ferguson that he had already taxes, he proposed a tax on new ground- promised the place of prime minister " to rents in London. Macaulay denounces the same person who then was at court this idea as "aristocratic," but who can dignified with the same employment”. defend the prodigious “spreading of the that is, Sunderland ! Lord Ailesbury's hideous town,” which the tax was intended story of Sunderland's complicity in Monto check. The king was prepossessed mouth's plot, though told only on Ferguagainst Lord Ailesbury, and treated him son's evidence, agrees with the very rudely — "on which I told one, and, God remarkable anecdote in Singers's “Clarforgive me, with an oath, that it was too endon Correspondence” (i. 144). Monmuch.” Ailesbury retired to his lands, mouth, when in the Tower, gave Colonel and did not return to court till he was "in Scott a letter for James. In this letter he a manner sent for."

probably denounced Sunderland as his He now passes to Monmouth's landing. accomplice. Colonel Scott took it to Ailesbury was sent from the Commons to court, where Sunderland informed him the Lords, to pray them to sit while a bill that he could not see the king, who was in of attainder against Monmouth was passed. his shirt, but that he, Sunderland, would He left the House to avoid carrying the leave the bedroom door open, and give the bill to the Lords, I loving the duke so letter into the king's hands. At St. Ger. much as my king's natural son, but not as mains, after the Revolution, James told my own king and sovereign.” Ailesbury, Colonel Scott that" as I am a living man, in dudgeon with James, and in grief for I never saw that letter.". his own son's death, stayed inactive in the If we can accept Lord Ailesbury's thecountry, while an army against Monmouth ory, Sunderland was at once responsible was being raised. The king, however, for Monmouth's rebellion and for James's was won over, and made his father lord refusal to pardon Monmouth. Sunderlaod entered on them, they usually withdrew;". Perhaps and to invent legends against him. Yet

gave the Jacobites good cause to hate hiin, he had not exhausted his collection in Lord Ailesbury's presence.

he was emphatically capable de tout, and

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

66

the anecdotes of Ferguson and of Colonel and succeeded." “On which,” says Lord Scott bear each other out, as far as they Ailesbury, “ Sir John told me that he was go.

struck dumb with abhorrence." MacauLord Ailesbury seemed fated to meet lay remarks that this view of Sunderland's Monmouth in strange circumstances. He policy "rests on no evidence whatever." landed at the same moment as Monmouth His reply to Cochrane, if Macaulay is was taken to the privy stairs at Whitehall. right, was probably a mere piece of cyo" I saw him led up the other stairs on the icism. Lord Ailesbury also mentions the Westminster side, lean and pale, and with well-known scandal about Sunderland's a disconsolate physiognomy, with soldiers intrigues with William of Orange, through with pistols in their hands. The yeomen Lady Sunderland and her lover, Henry of the guard were posted, and I got behind Sydney. Whether James acted agree. one of them that he should not perceive able to his very weak head," or io obedime, and I wished heartily and often since ence to Sunderland, his speech staggered that I had not seen him, for I could never the loyal and landed Catholics. Old Lord get him out of my mind for years, I so Bellasis said to Ailesbury, "My dear lord, loved him personally.".

who could be the framer of this speech ? Monmouth wept at James's feet, “inso. I date my ruin and that of all my persuamuch that the king's heart was melted; sion from this day."* The Commons and had it not been for the minister, who sent an address of remonstrance to the certainly had been tossed over in the king, who replied, " What I have done ! room of the duke, he had been pardoned. will stand by.” Lord Ailesbury carried ... The minister finding the king's heart the sword on this occasion, and he writes : melted, he told his Majesty he ought not "I was so struck that, the sword being to converse with traitors."

heavy, I could scarce keep it up.” As Monmouth, at the last, maintained that every one knows, the Parliament was proLady Henrietta was his wife before rogued, then dissolved, “and we had no heaven. He sent to her a small parcel by more during the king's being in the king. the Bishop of Ely. The poor lady dom." swooned, and recovering, exclaimed, As for James's later follies and mis“Good God! had that poor man nothing deeds, his claim of power to dispense with to think of but of me?” “ And what was laws, his filling ecclesiastical and inilitary in the paper was a charm; he was so weak posts with Catholics, Lord Ailesbury puts as to have many found about him." all down to Sunderland and the Jesuit

Concerning the cruelties in the suppres. Petre. The king he calls “the most honsion of Monmouth's rebellion, Lord Ailes-est and sincere man that I ever knew," bury speaks with natural indignation. but admits his lack of kingcraft, his amorKirke, he says, died the death of Herod, ousness, and his indisposition for “the “ eaten up alive by vermin.” As for Jef- genteel part of love-making." Lord Ailes. freys, "the king protested to me that he bury sees, as the respectable Catholics abhorred what had passed in that com- saw, the violence and perfidy of James's mission.” But he did nothing to prevent policy. But he shuts his eyes to this, as it, and Ailesbury, knowing his temper, well as he may, and makes Sunderland the dared not offer the advice that was “on king's whipping boy. The queen tried to the tip of his tongue.”

convert Lord Ailesbury, who gratefully In October, 1685, Lord Ailesbury's and respectfully declined. “God be father died. His last words were: “Dear praised, during the whole course of my son, you will see melancholy days. God be life I never did one action but according to thanked, I shall not.” The days sensibly a principle of conscience.”. “In wretched darkened when James met his Parliament hands that good and well-meaning king with the announcement that he wanted a was, and so they brought him to his ruin," standing army, and that he had appointed is, on the whole, the burden of Lord Ailes. some eighty Catholic officers, who refused bury's meditations. As for the king's new the tests. Lord Ailesbury attributes this president of Magdalene, Farmer,” he was illegal action, and this most impolitic dead drunk at Banbury when the news speech, which at once turned a subser- came there of his being nominated presi. vient into a hostile Parliament, to Sunder- dent of that noble college." "I humbly land. After the Revolution, Sir John (bending on my knee) besought the king Cochrane asked Sunderland why he had not to touch the freehold of the clergy, for given such evil advice? “He replied, that priests of all religions were the same with a speer, that but for those counsels the Prince of Orange had never landed

Compare Macaulay, ii. 47.

[ocr errors]

as to matters of interest, and if you pinch | but was dissuaded, almost in the act of them they will return it fourfold as was speaking, by Mr. Maule. found in the sequel. Sir, if you will have The Dutch expedition was equipped, a Romish college, found one, although it the French king offered that aid which will be against the laws, rather than take James was foolish enough to refuse. And the bread out of the mouths of the others why did he refuse that which his son and in possession.” Ailesbury himself offered his grandson so often prayed for in vain ? £1,000 towards such a new foundation, Sunderland, as usual, “ was in the bottom * but to my grief I found my representa- of this: it was by his treacherous advice tions to little purpose. And now to come that the offered aid of Louis was declined." to the finishing stroke. The bishops must This Lord Ailesbury gives on the author. be the victims." James's illegal proclama-ity of Mr. Skeltan or Skelton – that is, țion " was infused into him ” by Sunder- Colonel Skelton, James's agent at the land and Petre. The same excuse covers Hague; he adds that Sunderland was the famous “Three Questions which disgraced because the king had discovered Lord Ailesbury placed before the gentry his villany. Meanwhile the storm grew of his county, without disguising his dis- blacker, and James did nothing practical. approbation.

Ailesbury and Feversham, on their knees, The insolences and iniquities of James implored him to "clap up seven or eight might have been endured, in the expecta- of the heads of the conspirators the tion that he would be succeeded by a Prince of Denmark, Ormond, Grafton, Protestant queen. But his son was born, Lord Churchill, Kirke, and others. " But and the country had made up its mind that it was found, and fatally, that the king the birth would be a Jesuit farce, – that a could not resolve." At last he set out for child would be imposed on them. “ None Salisbury. Here a very sad circumstance but rogues invented that calumny, and occurred. He did not take Lord Ailesfools came into that vile and calumnious bury in the royal coach! Our hero was belief,” says Lord Ailesbury. Still, rogues ousted by Peterborough. Lord Ailesbury and fools poll a very heavy vote. “ From displayed a fine spirit, and when he arrived the month of November until few days in Salisbury the day after the king, was before the delivery,” says Lord Ailesbury, embraced by all the gentlemen of the bed“ I had the honor to play at cards with the chamber, " for my firmity in the support queen every night; . . . and for her physi- of our undoubted privilege.” Here, inognomy I defy any one to counterfeit it.” deed, is ancient loyalty. This gentleman, The princess Anne was absent at Bath though deprived of a seat in the royal when the child was born. James was said coach, never dreamed of going over to to have sent her there to keep her out of William. He should have been made the way. Lord Ailesbury maintains that groom of the posset. Less honorable was she really left London and went to Bath Churchill. The royal nose chanced to on the advice of Lady Churchill and Lady bleed freely on the day when Ailesbury Fitzhardinge, “that she might not be an joined him. The doctor put a cold key eye-witness of the birth of her brother," down the back of his Majesty's neck, and and they circulated a false tale that she forbade him to lead his army to Warwas urged to go thither by the king. minster next day, when “it was designed

Disgusted by the course of affairs, by a general that afterwards made much Ailesbury went to resign his commission noise in the world for to have delivered as lord lieutenant. The king, however, him up to the Prince of Orange. . . . All under oath of secrecy, told Ailesbury of this is on my own certain knowledge.” the great preparations being made against Next day Churchill and Grafton went over him in Holland, and asked if he would to the Dutch. The king returned to desert him in such a peril. The loyal | London. Peterborough went in bis coach Ailesbury, kneeling, swore he would die and Lord Ailesbury got wet. But he for the king, and, of course, retained his never deserted his sovereign.

At Ancommission. What other course was dover the Prince of Denmark and Ormond open to a man of honor ? He never re- forsook him. Then Anne, with Lady gretted that moment, for, had he resigned, Churchill and Lady Hardinge, rushed off, he would have been suspected of com. and plicity with the Dutch party. “I could

Left a man undone, not change my king as one does a suit of

To his fate, clothes." The Duke of Ormond, indeed, as Burns advises. The king dallied in sept for Ailesbury, and was on the point town for a fortnight, and then sent the of asking him to join “the Orange party,” queen with her child to France, on a Sun.

was

day, at midnight. On Monday Mr. Charles Dutch guards arrived in town. At mid Bertie came, and offered to raise three or night Count Solmes came from William four thousand horsemen that would strike to the king, and told him he was posting for the king. Ailesbury, who carried Dutch soldiers in all places of importance. Bertie's proposal to James, had heard that The king offered to retire to Rochester. the king meditated fight. James declared Ailesbury was driven thither by the king's that it was "a coffee - house report.” coachman, who exclaimed, “God damn Ailesbury replied that he knew the king Father Petre ! But for him we had not

to 'ride' Bay Ailesbury; that his been here.” On the night of December equerry, page, and Dick Smith, his groom, 21, 1688, the king sent for Ailesbury, in. were ready. Then the king equivocated, formed him that he was about to fly, and and Ailesbury actually reproached bim bade his loyal servant go to the Prince of with that business of the coach. He then Orange. “If I do not retire I shall cerimp!ored James to mount and march, with tainly be sent to the Tower, and no king four thousand faithful troops, to Notting- ever went out of that place but to his ham, where Anne was. If not, march to grave. . . . Can you advise me to stay?" York, seize Berwick, and secure Scotland, Ailesbury declined to offer an opinion. where Claverhouse would have been at his James sneaked off through the back garside. Later, Danby, who was lying at den, where he took ship, and Ailesbury York with a rough levy of Orangeists, went to St. James's, where he waited on asked Ailesbury in later years “what the William. “ He received me most cour. devil he had meant by this advice?" teously, and I knew after that he esteemed “To knock you on the head in the first me in his heart, and as little those that place, if you had resisted. And what had deserted their royal master." He course would you have taken?” “What dined with William, and called twice on course! to submit ourselves and crave Bentinck, but was not received. Ailes. pardon."

bury sent Bentinck a message that, " by Ailesbury's advice was spirited, Charles God, it was for the last time, and we never Edward would not have needed it. But spoke after; a grave bow might pass from James fled like a thief in the night. He one to the other, but that was all.” might have fought, and might have fallen If ever a king abdicated and deserted, by the side of Dundee, but he ran away. that king was James. But in the House There was a meeting at the Guildhall. of Lords, Ailesbury openly maintained the Even Ailesbury signed a request to Wil- opposite, quoting what the king had said liam to advance. The king had left no about his fear of being sent to the Tower regency. Then came the Irish alarm. and to his grave. Ailesbury took the Next day it was known that James had oaths, as a mere "garrison oath” and been stopped at Feversham. There was provisionally. He had no scruples at silence in the Council for a quarter of an all about this. The oath was purely prohour when this news arrived. Then visional. In old age Lord Ailesbury, an Ailesbury moved that the king should be exile, refused to take the oaths to George invited to return, With this message I., whom he knew and had entertained at Ailesbury, in advance of Middleton, Yar- Brussels. There might yet be a Stuart mouth, and Feversham, rode through restoration, though he deemed it next to excited but not ill-humored mobs to Fe- impossible, and, once sworn to the Hanoversham. He found the wretched king, verian monarch, Ailesbury could not have " bis hat on and his beard much grown.' served a Stuart. Such was his view of The king received him with displeasure ; this question of conscience. Can we call he averred that James, by his flight, might it dishonorable? The oath was framed by have caused London to be in a blaze. the Bishop of Peterborough, who, presentJames was surrounded by a mob, he was ing the form to Lord Nottingham, said, dirty and unkempt, his life was probably " I regard it as like a plate of cucumbers, in great hazard. Many who were loyal to dressed with oil and vinegar, yet fit for his person arrived, with Feversham's nothing but to throw out of the window." cavalry. Near the town of Feversham The bishop would not take the oath. the Horse Guards received him with en- Ailesbury swallowed that cucumber. thusiasm," the tears for joy running down" The prince being proclaimed king their faces" -a few of the men who would have followed the king to the " And when she's dressed cut in her best, North. As he approached London, James

All tempting, fine, and gay,

As men should serve a cucumber, was received in a kind of triumph. “ The joy was great and general.” Next day the

Besgar's Operz.

66

She throws herself away."

66

Yalthough I did in Parliament do all that | Ailesbury's owo plan was never to write. lay in my power to obstruct it), he was to He had not to buro a single paper before protect the kingdom, and those that de he was, in a later year, sent to the Tower. sired some protection ought to take the He approached Louvois in his king's inoaths."

terest, and successfully, but Louvois died, Of what passed in Scotland Ailesbury and nothing was done. Of the intended says little. The message which James invasion of 1691 Ailesbury knew nothing, sent from Ireland to the Convention“ was having made it my request not to be very far from being gracious or sweet, and gratified with secrets of this nature, and I to cut his own throat (the expression is a knew but too well the babbling spirit of little harsh) he could find out nobody to the greater part of the Jacobites, and, countersign but my Lord Melford, a per- which was worse, if possible, their envious son abominated in that kingdom.” He temper.” A cousin of his own, a son of merely mentions the valor of Dundee. Lord Delamere, had revealed the plot of He carried the sword before William at the drunken dullard, Lord Preston his coronation. “ Did you not wish it in “ very ungentlemanlike," says Lord Ailes. his body," said Lady Dorchester. Ailes. bury. He was determined not to commit bury was very angry. “I hold it a most himself to a similar chance. Therefore, damnable sin even to hope it,” much while he had no official knowledge of the more, of course, to be accomplice to Wil- intended invasion, he had made himself liam's assassination. In later years the acquainted with it. A warrant, as he belady quarrelled with Ailesbury, and said lieved, was out against him, but he sent that he “had wished the sword in the guts bis wife to warn the Princess Anne, and of William.” Her ladyship also swore a advise her to be ready to meet her father good deal, but apparently she carried her when he landed. He had arranged a lie to William, who, from being gracious guard for her safety and taken all precauto Ailesbury, turned to “a personal tioos. “ Well, madame,” said Anne, hatred."

“ tell your lord that I am ready to do what In 1690 a warrant was issued against he can advise me to.” Ailesbury, in doubt Ailesbury, on general suspicion. He of- if he were to be arrested or not, went fered to surrender on bail; the queen home, and “always had his nose in the aided him, he was bailed, and was asked air," watching the weather-cocks for a to play basset by this kind lady. Two good Jacobite wind. It came, he hurried days before any one might have arrested to town, only to hear the bells ring for the him in the street, and now he was at cards defeat of La Hogue, and the ruin of his with the queen! He praises her "great master's hopes. Anne, too, was disjudgment and compassion." He defends appointed, and showed “a melancholy James's conduct at the Boyne, maintaining face.” Long afterwards Ailesbury learned that no prince need stay when his army that Queen Mary had secured his freedom

In a sea-fight, his captain's brains from arrest. - Her humanity was without had been blown into James's face, which example." he wiped calmly, saying, “He was a brave Speaking of the queen, and of Richard and honest man, and I pity his wife and Steele's poem on her funeral, Ailesbury children, for he had a numerous family." irreverently calls our friend Dick "a twoBut the Boyne was not James's day. No penny poet, whose head was as empty of man is brave at all hours, perhaps, as no religion as his pockets of money. The man is wise. The king had lost his nerve, Christian Hero is thus mourofully mis. probably from age and sorrow. From judged. evidence given by Pepys, it is certain that Omitting some trifling matters, and he had once been valiant, and always most Sunderland's endeavor to win over Ailes. cool when in greatest peril.

bury, we reach our hero's conference with Ailesbury, after the Boyne, “had a hard Admiral Sir Ralph Delaval. Together game to play, surrounded by eager, brain with Admiral Killigrew, they plotted to less Jacobites, hot heads, and empty as carry the fleet over to James, or, rather, to their purses were, . . . pleased with their keep it out of the path of the French feet, projects as children are with rattles and and they did not mean to let the life of Sir whistles.” He himself believed in no Cloudesley Shovel stand in the way. “If restoration without a strong fleet and a he would not consent, they knew what to sudden surprise. Already, the Jacobites do in that case.” The leading admiral had split into Melfordians and Middle was to sail off to a station two hundred tonians, already they were fighting for places to be given when James returned. • For Preston's conspiracy, see Macaulay, iii. 764.

runs.

« VorigeDoorgaan »