Accession of James II. - His declaration in council; acceptable to the nation - Arbitrary designs of his reign - Former ministers continued - Money transactions with France - Revenue levied without authority of Parliament - Persecution of Dissenters - Character of Jeffreys - The King's affectation of independence - Advances to the Prince of Orange - The primary object of this reign - Transactions in Scotland - Severe persecutions there - Scottish Parliament - Cruelties of government - English Parliament; its proceedings - Revenue - Votes concerning religion - Bill for preservation of the King's person - Solicitude for the Church of England - Reversal of Stafford's attainder rejected - Parliament adjourned - Character of the Tories - Situation of the Whigs.

Charles II. expired on the 6th of February, 1684-85, and on the same day his successor was proclaimed king in London, with the usual formalities, by the title of James the Second. The great influence which this prince was supposed to have possessed in the government during the latter years of his brother's reign, and the expectation which was entertained in consequence, that his measures, when monarch, would be of the same character and complexion with those which he was known to have highly approved, and of which he was thought by many to have been the principal author, when a subject left little room for that spirit of speculation which generally attends a demise of the crown. And thus an event, which when apprehended a few years before had, according to a strong expression of Sir William Temple, been looked upon as the end of the world, was now deemed to be of small comparative importance.

Its tendency, indeed, was rather to ensure perseverance than to effect any change in the system which had been of late years pursued. As there are, however, some steps indispensably necessary on the accession of a new prince to the throne, to these the public attention was directed, and though the character of James had been long so generally understood as to leave little doubt respecting the political maxims and principles by which his reign would be governed, there was probably much curiosity, as upon such occasions there always is, with regard to the conduct he would pursue in matters of less importance, and to the general language and behaviour which he would adopt in his new situation. His first step was, of course, to assemble the privy council, to whom he spoke as follows:-

"Before I enter upon any other business, I think fit to say something to you. Since it hath pleated Almighty God to place me in this station, and I am now to succeed so good and gracious a king, as well as so very kind a brother, I think it fit to declare to you that I will endeavour to follow his example, and most especially in that of his great clemency and tenderness to his people. I have been reported to be a man for arbitrary power; but that is not the only story that has been made of me; and I shall make it my endeavour to preserve this government, both in Church and State, as it is now by law established. I know the principles of the Church of England are for monarchy, and the members of it have shown themselves good and loyal subjects; therefore I shall always take care to defend and support it. I know, too, that the laws of England are sufficient to make the king as great a monarch as I can wish; and as I shall never depart from the just rights and prerogatives of the crown, so I shall never invade any man's property. I have often heretofore ventured my life in defence of this nation and I shall go as far as any man in preserving it in all its just rights and liberties."

With this declaration the council were so highly satisfied, that they supplicated his majesty to make it public, which was accordingly done; and it is reported to have been received with unbounded applause by the greater part of the nation. Some, perhaps, there were, who did not think the boast of having ventured his life very manly, and who, considering the transactions of the last years of Charles's reign, were not much encouraged by the promise of imitating that monarch in clemency and tenderness to his subjects. To these it might appear, that whatever there was of consolatory in the king's disclaimer of arbitrary power and professed attachment to the laws, was totally done away, as well by the consideration of what his majesty's notions of power and law were, as by his declaration that he would follow the example of a predecessor, whose government had not only been marked with the violation, in particular cases, of all the most sacred laws of the realm, but had latterly, by the disuse of parliaments, in defiance of the statute of the sixteenth year of his reign, stood upon a foundation radically and fundamentally illegal. To others it might occur that even the promise to the Church of England, though express with respect to the condition of it, which was no other than perfect acquiescence in what the king deemed to be the true principles of monarchy, was rather vague with regard to the nature or degree of support to which the royal speaker might conceive himself engaged. The words, although in any interpretation of them they conveyed more than he possibly ever intended to perform, did by no means express the sense which at that time, by his friends, and afterwards by his enemies, was endeavoured to be fixed on them. There was, indeed, a promise to support the establishment of the Church, and consequently the laws upon which that establishment immediately rested; but by no means an engagement to maintain all the collateral provisions which some of its more zealous members might judge necessary for its security.

But whatever doubts or difficulties might be felt, few or none were expressed. The Whigs, as a vanquished party, were either silent or not listened to, and the Tories were in a temper of mind which does not easily admit suspicion. They were not more delighted with the victory they had obtained over their adversaries, than with the additional stability which, as they vainly imagined, the accession of the new monarch was likely to give to their system. The truth is that, his religion excepted (and that objection they were sanguine enough to consider as done away by a few gracious words in favour of the Church), James was every way better suited to their purpose than his brother. They had entertained continual apprehensions, not perhaps wholly unfounded, of the late king's returning kindness to Monmouth, the consequences of which could not easily be calculated; whereas, every occurrence that had happened, as well as every circumstance in James's situation, seemed to make him utterly irreconcilable with the Whigs. Besides, after the reproach, as well as alarm, which the notoriety of Charles's treacherous character must so often have caused them, the very circumstance of having at their head a prince, of whom they could with any colour hold out to their adherents that his word was to be depended upon, was in itself a matter of triumph and exultation. Accordingly, the watchword of the party was everywhere - "We have the word of a king, and a word never yet broken;" and to such a length was the spirit of adulation, or perhaps the delusion, carried, that this royal declaration was said to be a better security for the liberty and religion of the nation than any which the law could devise.

The king, though much pleased, no doubt, with the popularity which seemed to attend the commencement of his reign, as a powerful medium for establishing the system of absolute power, did not suffer himself, by any show of affection from his people, to be diverted from his design of rendering his government independent of them. To this design we must look as the mainspring of all his actions at this period; for with regard to the Roman Catholic religion, it is by no means certain that he yet thought of obtaining for it anything more than a complete toleration. With this view, therefore, he could not take a more judicious resolution than that which he had declared in his speech to the privy council, and to which he seems, at this time, to have steadfastly adhered, of making the government of his predecessor the model for his own. He therefore continued in their offices, notwithstanding the personal objections he might have to some of them, those servants of the late king, during whose administration that prince had been so successful in subduing his subjects, and eradicating almost from the minds of Englishmen every sentiment of liberty.

Even the Marquis of Halifax, who was supposed to have remonstrated against many of the late measures, and to have been busy in recommending a change of system to Charles, was continued in high employment by James, who told him that, of all his past conduct, he should remember only his behaviour upon the exclusion bill, to which that nobleman had made a zealous and distinguished opposition; a handsome expression, which has been the more noticed, as well because it is almost the single instance of this prince's showing any disposition to forget injuries, as on account of a delicacy and propriety in the wording of it, by no means familiar to him.

Lawrence Hyde, Earl of Rochester, whom he appointed lord treasurer, was in all respects calculated to be a fit instrument for the purposes then in view. Besides being upon the worst terms with Halifax, in whom alone, of all his ministers, James was likely to find any bias in favour of popular principles, he was, both from prejudice of education, and from interest, inasmuch as he had aspired to be the head of the Tories, a great favourer of those servile principles of the Church of England which had been lately so highly extolled from the throne. His near relation to the Duchess of York might also be some recommendation, but his privity to the late pecuniary transactions between the courts of Versailles and London, and the cordiality with which he concurred in them, were by far more powerful titles to his new master's confidence. For it must be observed of this minister, as well as of many others of his party, that his HIGH notions, as they are frequently styled, of power, regarded only the relation between the king and his subjects, and not that in which he might stand with respect to foreign princes; so that, provided he could, by a dependence, however servile, upon Louis XIV., be placed above the control of his parliament and people at home, he considered the honour of the crown unsullied.

Robert Spencer, Earl of Sunderland, who was continued as secretary of state, had been at one period a supporter of the exclusion bill, and had been suspected of having offered the Duchess 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 anything 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 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 ambassador, 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 Louis, 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 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 the power of France, or even to be independent of her, but to render the influence which Louis was resolved to preserve in this country less chargeable to him, by furnishing their quota to the support of his royal dependant.

The French ambassador 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 ambassador, 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 this supply were such, as if they had been used by 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 horrors, 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 his own.

If such apprehensions did exist, it is probable that they were chiefly owing to the very careless manner, to say the least, in which Louis 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 makes them fond of ill-treating and insulting those whom they have degraded to a dependence on them. But James would probably be obliged at the commencement of a new reign to call a parliament, and if well used by such a body, and abandoned by France, might give up his project of arbitrary power, and consent to govern according to the law and constitution. In such an event, Louis easily foresaw, that, instead of a useful dependent, he might find upon the throne of England a formidable enemy. Indeed, this prince and his ministers seem all along, with a sagacity that does them credit, to have foreseen, and to have justly estimated, the dangers to which they would be liable, if a cordial union should ever take place between a king of England and his parliament, and the British councils be directed by men enlightened and warmed by the genuine principles of liberty. It was therefore an object of great moment to bind the new king, as early as possible, to the system of dependency upon France; and matter of less triumph to the court of Versailles to have retained him by so moderate a fee, than to that of London to receive a sum which, though small, was thought valuable, no as an earnest of better wages and future protection.

It had for some time been Louis's favourite object to annex to his dominion what remained of the Spanish Netherlands, as well on account of their own intrinsic value, as to enable him to destroy the United Provinces and the Prince of Orange; and this object Charles had bound himself, by treaty with Spain, to oppose. In the joy, therefore, occasioned by this noble manner of proceeding (for such it was called by all the parties concerned), the first step was to agree, without hesitation, that Charles's treaty with Spain determined with his life, a decision which, if the disregard that had been shown to it did not render the question concerning it nugatory, it would be difficult to support upon any principles of national law or justice. The manner in which the late king had conducted himself upon the subject of this treaty, that is to say, the violation of it, without formally renouncing it, was gravely commended, and stated to be no more than what might justly be expected from him; but the present king was declared to be still more free, and in no way bound by a treaty, from the execution of which his brother had judged himself to be sufficiently dispensed. This appears to be a nice distinction, and what that degree of obligation was, from which James was exempt, but which had lain upon Charles, who neither thought himself bound, nor was expected by others to execute the treaty, it is difficult to conceive.

This preliminary being adjusted, the meaning of which, through all this contemptible shuffling, was, that James, by giving up all concern for the Spanish Netherlands, should be at liberty to acquiesce in, or to second, whatever might be the ambitious projects of the court of Versailles, it was determined that Lord Churchill should be sent to Paris to obtain further pecuniary aids. But such was the impression made by the frankness and generosity of Louis, that there was no question of discussing or capitulating, but everything was remitted to that prince, and to the information his ministers might give him, respecting the exigency of affairs in England. He who had so handsomely been beforehand, in granting the assistance of five hundred thousand livres, was only to be thanked for past, not importuned for future, munificence. Thus ended, for the present, this disgusting scene of iniquity and nonsense, in which all the actors seemed to vie with each other in prostituting the sacred names of friendship, generosity, and gratitude, in one of the meanest and most criminal transactions which history records.

The principal parties in the business, besides the king himself, to whose capacity, at least, if not to his situation it was more suitable, and Lord Churchill, who acted as an inferior agent, were Sunderland, Rochester, and Godolphin, all men of high rank and considerable abilities, but whose understandings, as well as their principles, seem to have been corrupted by the pernicious schemes in which they were engaged. With respect to the last-mentioned nobleman in particular, it is impossible, without pain, to see him engaged in such transactions. With what self-humiliation must he not have reflected upon them in subsequent periods of his life! How little could Barillon guess that he was negotiating with one who was destined to be at the head of an administration which, in a few years, would send the same Lord Churchill not to Paris, to implore Louis for succours towards enslaving England, or to thank him for pensions to her monarch, but to combine all Europe against him in the cause of liberty, to rout his armies, to take his towns, to humble his pride, and to shake to the foundation that fabric of power which it had been the business of a long life to raise, at the expense of every sentiment of tenderness to his subjects, and of justice and good faith to foreign nations. It is with difficulty the reader can persuade himself that the Godolphin and Churchill here mentioned are the same persons who were afterwards one in the cabinet, one in the field, the great conductors of the war of the succession. How little do they appear in one instance! how great in the other! And the investigation of the cause to which this excessive difference is principally owing, will produce a most useful lesson. Is the difference to be attributed to any superiority of genius in the prince whom they served in the latter period of their lives? Queen Anne's capacity appears to have been inferior even to her father's. Did they enjoy in a greater degree her favour and confidence? The very reverse is the fact. But in one case they were the tools of a king plotting against his people; in the other, the ministers of a free government acting upon enlarged principles, and with energies which no state that is not in some degree republican can supply. How forcibly must the contemplation of these men, in such opposite situations, teach persons engaged in political life that a free and popular government is desirable, not only for the public good, but for their own greatness and consideration, for every object of generous ambition!

The king having, as has been related, first privately communicated his intentions to the French ambassador, issued proclamations for the meeting of parliament, and for levying, upon his sole authority, the customs and other duties which had constituted part of the late king's revenue, but to which, the acts granting them having expired with the prince, James was not legally entitled. He was advised by Lord Guildford, whom he had continued in the office of keeper of the great seal, and who upon such a subject, therefore, was a person likely to have the greatest weight, to satisfy himself with directing the money to be kept in the exchequer for the disposal of parliament, which was shortly to meet; and by others, to take bonds from the merchants for the duties, to be paid when parliament should legalise them. But these expedients were not suited to the king's views, who, as well on account of his engagement with France, as from his own disposition, was determined to take no step that might indicate an intention of governing by parliaments, or a consciousness of his being dependent upon them for his revenue, he adopted, therefore, the advice of Jeffreys, advice not resulting so much, probably, either from ignorance or violence of disposition, as from his knowledge that it would be most agreeable to his master, and directed the duties to be paid as in the former reign. It was pretended, that an interruption in levying some of the duties might be hurtful to trade; but as every difficulty of that kind was obviated by the expedients proposed, this arbitrary and violent measure can with no colour be ascribed to a regard to public convenience, nor to any other motive than to a desire of reviving Charles I.'s claims to the power of taxation, and of furnishing a most intelligible comment upon his speech to the council on the day of his accession. It became evident what the king's notions were, with respect to that regal prerogative from which he professed himself determined never to depart, and to that property which he would never invade. What were the remaining rights and liberties of the nation, which he was to preserve, might be more difficult to discover; but that the laws of England, in the royal interpretation of them, were sufficient to make the king as great a monarch as he, or, indeed, any prince could desire, was a point that could not be disputed. This violation of law was in itself most flagrant; it was applied to a point well understood, and thought to have been so completely settled by repeated and most explicit declarations of the legislature, that it must have been doubtful whether even the most corrupt judges, if the question had been tried, would have had the audacity to decide it against the subject. But no resistance was made; nor did the example of Hampden, which a half century before had been so successful, and rendered that patriot's name so illustrious, tempt any one to emulate his fame, so completely had the crafty and sanguinary measures of the late reign attained the object to which they were directed, and rendered all men either afraid or unwilling to exert themselves in the cause of liberty.

On the other hand, addresses the most servile were daily sent to the throne. That of the University of Oxford stated that the religion which they professed bound them to unconditional obedience to their sovereign without restrictions or limitations; and the Society of Barristers and Students of the Middle Temple thanked his majesty for the attention he had shown to the trade of the kingdom, concerning which, and its balance (and upon this last article they laid particular stress), they seemed to think themselves peculiarly called upon to deliver their opinion. But whatever might be their knowledge in matters of trade, it was at least equal to that which these addressers showed in the laws and constitution of their country, since they boldly affirmed the king's right to levy the duties, and declared that it had never been disputed but by persons engaged, in what they were pleased to call rebellion against his royal father. The address concluded with a sort of prayer that all his majesty's subjects might be as good lawyers as themselves, and disposed to acknowledge the royal prerogative in all its extent.

If these addresses are remarkable for their servility, that of the gentlemen and freeholders of the county of Suffolk was no less so for the spirit of party violence that was displayed in it. They would take care, they said, to choose representatives who should no more endure those who had been for the Exclusion Bill, than the last parliament had the abhorrers of the association; and thus not only endeavoured to keep up his majesty's resentment against a part of their fellow-subjects, but engaged themselves to imitate, for the purpose of retaliation, that part of the conduct of their adversaries which they considered as most illegal and oppressive.

It is a remarkable circumstance, that among all the adulatory addresses of this time, there is not to be found, in any one of them, any declaration of disbelief in the popish plot, or any charge upon the late parliament for having prosecuted it, though it could not but be well known that such topics would, of all others, be most agreeable to the court. Hence we may collect that the delusion on this subject was by no means at an end, and that they who, out of a desire to render history conformable to the principles of poetical justice, attribute the unpopularity and downfall of the Whigs to the indignation excited by their furious and sanguinary prosecution of the plot, are egregiously mistaken. If this had been in any degree the prevailing sentiment, it is utterly unaccountable that, so far from its appearing in any of the addresses of these times, this most just ground of reproach upon the Whig party, and the parliament in which they had had the superiority, was the only one omitted in them. The fact appears to have been the very reverse of what such historians suppose, and that the activity of the late parliamentary leaders, in prosecuting the popish plot, was the principal circumstance which reconciled the nation, for a time, to their other proceedings; that their conduct in that business (now so justly condemned) was the grand engine of their power, and that when that failed, they were soon overpowered by the united forces of bigotry and corruption. They were hated by a great part of the nation, not for their crimes, but for their virtues. To be above corruption is always odious to the corrupt, and to entertain more enlarged and juster notions of philosophy and government, is often a cause of alarm to the narrow-minded and superstitious. In those days particularly it was obvious to refer to the confusion, greatly exaggerated of the times of the commonwealth; and it was an excellent watchword of alarm, to accuse every lover of law and liberty of designs to revive the tragical scene which had closed the life of the first Charles. In this spirit, therefore, the Exclusion Bill, and the alleged conspiracies of Sidney and Russell, were, as might naturally be expected, the chief charges urged against the Whigs; but their conduct on the subject of the popish plot was so far from being the cause of the hatred born to them, that it was not even used as a topic of accusation against them.

In order to keep up that spirit in the nation, which was thought to be manifested in the addresses, his majesty ordered the declaration, to which allusion was made in the last chapter, to be published, interwoven with a history of the Rye House Plot, which is said to have been drawn by Dr. Spratt, Bishop of Rochester. The principal drift of this publication was, to load the memory of Sidney and Russell, and to blacken the character of the Duke of Monmouth, by wickedly confounding the consultations holden by them with the plot for assassinating the late king, and in this object it seems in a great measure to have succeeded. He also caused to be published an attestation of his brother's having died a Roman Catholic, together with two papers, drawn up by him, in favour of that persuasion. This is generally considered to have been a very ill-advised instance of zeal; but probably James thought, that at a time when people seemed to be so in love with his power, he might safely venture to indulge himself in a display of his attachment to his religion; and perhaps, too, it might be thought good policy to show that a prince, who had been so highly complimented as Charles had been, for the restoration and protection of the Church, had, in truth, been a Catholic, and thus to inculcate an opinion that the Church of England might not only be safe, but highly favoured, under the reign of a popish prince.

Partly from similar motives, and partly to gratify the natural vindictiveness of his temper, he persevered in a most cruel persecution of the Protestant dissenters, upon the most frivolous pretences. The courts of justice, as in Charles's days, were instruments equally ready, either for seconding the policy or for gratifying the bad passions of the monarch; and Jeffreys, whom the late king had appointed chief justice of England a little before Sidney's trial, was a man entirely agreeable to the temper, and suitable to the purposes, of the present government. He was thought not to be very learned in his profession; but what might be wanting in knowledge he made up in positiveness; and, indeed, whatever might be the difficulties in questions between one subject and another, the fashionable doctrine, which prevailed at that time, of supporting the king's prerogative in its full extent, and without restriction or limitation, rendered, to such as espoused it, all that branch of law which is called constitutional extremely easy and simple. He was as submissive and mean to those above him as he was haughty and insolent to those who were in any degree in his power; and if in his own conduct he did not exhibit a very nice regard for morality, or even for decency, he never failed to animadvert upon, and to punish, the most slight deviation in others with the utmost severity, especially if they were persons whom he suspected to be no favourites of the court.

Before this magistrate was brought for trial, by a jury sufficiently prepossessed in favour of Tory politics, the Rev. Richard Baxter, a dissenting minister, a pious and learned man, of exemplary character, always remarkable for his attachment to monarchy, and for leaning to moderate measures in the differences between the Church and those of his persuasion. The pretence for this prosecution was a supposed reference of some passages in one of his works to the bishops of the Church of England; a reference which was certainly not intended by him, and which could not have been made out to any jury that had been less prejudiced, or under any other direction than that of Jeffreys. The real motive was, the desire of punishing an eminent dissenting teacher, whose reputation was high among his sect, and who was supposed to favour the political opinions of the Whigs. He was found guilty, and Jeffreys, in passing sentence upon him, loaded him with the coarsest reproaches and bitterest taunts. He called him sometimes, by way of derision, a saint, sometimes, in plainer terms, an old rogue; and classed this respectable divine, to whom the only crime imputed was the having spoken disrespectfully of the bishops of a communion to which he did not belong, with the infamous Oates, who had been lately convicted of perjury. He finished with declaring, that it was a matter of public notoriety that there was a formed design to ruin the king and the nation, in which this old man was the principal incendiary. Nor is it improbable that this declaration, absurd as it was, might gain belief at a time when the credulity of the triumphant party was at its height.

Of this credulity it seems to be no inconsiderable testimony, that some affected nicety which James had shown with regard to the ceremonies to be used towards the French ambassador, was highly magnified, and represented to be an indication of the different tone that was to be taken by the present king, in regard to foreign powers, and particularly to the court of Versailles. The king was represented as a prince eminently jealous of the national honour, and determined to preserve the balance of power in Europe, by opposing the ambitious projects of France at the very time when he was supplicating Louis to be his pensioner, and expressing the most extravagant gratitude for having been accepted as such. From the information which we now have, it appears that his applications to Louis for money were incessant, and that the difficulties were all on the side of the French court. Of the historians who wrote prior to the inspection of the papers in the foreign office in France, Burnet is the only one who seems to have known that James's pretensions of independency with respect to the French king were (as he terms them) only a show; but there can now be no reason to doubt the truth of the anecdote which he relates, that Louis soon after told the Duke of Villeroy, that if James showed any apparent uneasiness concerning the balance of power (and there is some reason to suppose he did) in his conversations with the Spanish and other foreign ambassadors, his intention was, probably, to alarm the court of Versailles, and thereby to extort pecuniary assistance to a greater extent; while, on the other hand, Louis, secure in the knowledge that his views of absolute power must continue him in dependence upon France, seems to have refused further supplies, and even in some measure to have withdrawn those which had been stipulated, as a mark of his displeasure with his dependant, for assuming a higher tone than he thought becoming.

Whether with a view of giving some countenance to those who were praising him upon the above mentioned topic, or from what other motive it is now not easy to conjecture, James seems to have wished to be upon apparent good terms, at least, with the Prince of Orange; and after some correspondence with that prince concerning the protection afforded by him and the states-general to Monmouth, and other obnoxious persons, it appears that he declared himself, in consequence of certain explanations and concessions, perfectly satisfied. It is to be remarked, however, that he thought it necessary to give the French ambassador an account of this transaction, and in a manner to apologise to him for entering into any sort of terms with a son-in-law, who was supposed to be hostile in disposition to the French king. He assured Barillon that a change of system on the part of the Prince of Orange in regard to Louis, should be a condition of his reconciliation: he afterwards informed him that the Prince of Orange had answered him satisfactorily in all other respects, but had not taken notice of his wish that he should connect himself with France; but never told him that he had, notwithstanding the prince's silence on that material point, expressed himself completely satisfied with him. That a proposition to the Prince of Orange, to connect himself in politics with Louis would, if made, have been rejected, in the manner in which the king's account to Barillon implies that it was, there can be no doubt; but whether James ever had the assurance to make it is more questionable; for as he evidently acted disingenuously with the ambassador, in concealing from him the complete satisfaction he had expressed of the Prince of Orange's present conduct, it is not unreasonable to suppose that he deceived him still further, and pretended to have made an application, which he had never hazarded.

However, the ascertaining of this fact is by no means necessary for the illustration, either of the general history or of James's particular character, since it appears that the proposition, if made, was rejected; and James is, in any case, equally convicted of insincerity, the only point in question being, whether he deceived the French ambassador, in regard to the fact of his having made the proposition, or to the sentiments he expressed upon its being refused. Nothing serves more to show the dependence in which he considered himself to be upon Louis than these contemptible shifts to which he condescended, for the purposes of explaining and apologising for such parts of his conduct as might be supposed to be less agreeable to that monarch than the rest. An English parliament acting upon constitutional principles, and the Prince of Orange, were the two enemies whom Louis most dreaded; and, accordingly, whenever James found it necessary to make approaches to either of them, an apology was immediately to be offered to the French ambassador, to which truth sometimes and honour was always sacrificed.

Mr. Hume says the king found himself, by degrees, under the necessity of falling into an union with the French monarch, who could alone assist him in promoting the Catholic religion in England. But when that historian wrote, those documents had not been made public, from which the account of the communications with Barillon has been taken, and by which it appears that a connection with France was, as well in point of time as in importance, the first object of his reign, and that the immediate specific motive to that connection was the same as that of his brother; the desire of rendering himself independent of parliament, and absolute, not that of establishing popery in England, which was considered as a more remote contingency. That this was the case is evident from all the circumstances of the transaction, and especially from the zeal with which he was served in it by ministers who were never suspected of any leaning towards popery, and not one of whom (Sunderland excepted) could be brought to the measures that were afterwards taken in favour of that religion. It is the more material to attend to this distinction, because the Tory historians, especially such of them as are not Jacobites, have taken much pains to induce us to attribute the violences and illegalities of this reign to James's religion, which was peculiar to him, rather than to that desire of absolute power which so many other princes have had, have, and always will have, in common with him. The policy of such misrepresentation is obvious. If this reign is to be considered as a period insulated, as it were, and unconnected with the general course of history, and if the events of it are to be attributed exclusively to the particular character and particular attachments of the monarch, the sole inference will be that we must not have a Catholic for our king; whereas, if we consider it, which history well warrants us to do, as a part of that system which had been pursued by all the Stuart kings, as well prior as subsequent to the restoration, the lesson which it affords is very different, as well as far more instructive. We are taught, generally, the dangers Englishmen will always be liable to, if, from favour to a prince upon the throne, or from a confidence, however grounded, that his views are agreeable to our own notions of the constitution, we in any considerable degree abate of that vigilant and unremitting jealousy of the power of the crown, which can alone secure to us the effect of those wise laws that have been provided for the benefit of the subject: and still more particularly, that it is in vain to think of making a compromise with power, and by yielding to it in other points, preserving some favourite object, such, for instance, as the Church in James's case, from its grasp.

Previous to meeting his English parliament, James directed a parliament which had been summoned in the preceding reign, to assemble at Edinburgh, and appointed the Duke of Queensbury his commissioner. This appointment is, in itself, a strong indication that the king's views, with regard to Scotland at least, were similar to those which I have ascribed to him in England; and that they did not at that time extend to the introduction of popery, but were altogether directed to the establishment of absolute power as the END, and to the support of an episcopal church, upon the model of the Church of England, as the MEANS. For Queensbury had explained himself to his majesty in the fullest manner upon the subject of religion; and while he professed himself to be ready (as, indeed, his conduct in the late reign had sufficiently proved) to go any length in supporting royal power and in persecuting the Presbyterians, had made it a condition of his services, that he might understand from his majesty that there was no intention of changing the established religion; for if such was the object, he could not make any one step with him in that matter. James received this declaration most kindly, assured him he had no such intention, and that he would have a parliament, to which he, Queensbury, should go as commissioner, and giving all possible assurances in the matter of religion, get the revenue to be settled, and such other laws to be passed as might be necessary for the public safety. With these promises the duke was not only satisfied at the time, but declared, at a subsequent period, that they had been made in so frank and hearty a manner, as made him conclude that it was impossible the king should be acting a part. And this nobleman was considered, and is handed down to us by contemporary writers, as a man of a penetrating genius, nor has it ever been the national character of the country to which he belonged to be more liable to be imposed upon than the rest of mankind.

The Scottish parliament met on the 23rd of April, and was opened by the commissioner, with the following letter from the king:-

"My Lords and Gentlemen, - The many experiences we have had of the loyalty and exemplary forwardness of that our ancient kingdom, by their representatives in parliament assembled, in the reign of our deceased and most entirely beloved brother of ever blessed memory, made us desirous to call you at this time, in the beginning of our reign, to give you an opportunity, not only of showing your duty to us in the same manner, but likewise of being exemplary to others in your demonstrations of affection to our person and compliance with our desires, as you have most eminently been in times past, to a degree never to be forgotten by us, nor (we hope) to be contradicted by your future practices. That which we are at this time to propose unto you is what is as necessary for your safety as our service, and what has a tendency more to secure your own privileges and properties than the aggrandising our power and authority (though in it consists the greatest security of your rights and interests, these never having been in danger, except when the royal power was brought too low to protect them), which now we are resolved to maintain, in its greatest lustre, to the end we may be the more enabled to defend and protect your religion as established by law, and your rights and properties (which was our design in calling this parliament) against fanatical contrivances, murderers, and assassins, who having no fear of God, more than honour for us, have brought you into such difficulties as only the blessing of God upon the steady resolutions and actings of our said dearest royal brother, and those employed by him (in prosecution of the good and wholesome laws, by you heretofore offered), could have saved you from the most horrid confusions and inevitable ruin. Nothing has been left unattempted by those wild and inhuman traitors for endeavouring to overturn your peace; and therefore we have good reason to hope that nothing will be wanting in you to secure yourselves and us from their outrages and violence in time coming, and to take care that such conspirators meet with their just deservings, so as others may thereby be deterred from courses so little agreeable to religion, or their duty and allegiance to us. These things we considered to be of so great importance to our royal, as well as the universal, interest of that our kingdom, that we were fully resolved, in person, to have proposed the needful remedies to you. But things having so fallen out as render this impossible for us, we have now thought fit to send our right trusty and right entirely beloved cousin and councillor, William, Duke of Queensbury, to be our commissioner amongst you, of whose abilities and qualifications we have reason to be fully satisfied, and of whose faithfulness to us, and zeal for our interest, we have had signal proofs in the times of our greatest difficulties. Him we have fully intrusted in all things relating to our service and your own prosperity and happiness, and therefore you are to give him entire trust and credit, as you now see we have done, from whose prudence and your most dutiful affection to us, we have full confidence of your entire compliance and assistance in all those matters, wherein he is instructed as aforesaid. We do, therefore, not only recommend unto you that such things be done as are necessary in this juncture for your own peace, and the support of our royal interest, of which we had so much experience when amongst you, that we cannot doubt of your full and ample expressing the same on this occasion, by which the great concern we have in you, our ancient and kindly people, may still increase, and you may transmit your loyal actions (as examples of duty) to your posterity. In full confidence whereof we do assure you of your royal favour and protection in all your concerns, and so we bid you heartily farewell."

This letter deserves the more attention because, as the proceedings of the Scotch parliament, according to a remarkable expression in the letter itself, were intended to be an example to others, there is the greatest reason to suppose the matter of it must have been maturely weighed and considered. His majesty first compliments the Scotch parliament upon their peculiar loyalty and dutiful behaviour in past times, meaning, no doubt, to contrast their conduct with that of those English parliaments who had passed the Exclusion Bill, the Disbanding Act, the Habeas Corpus Act, and other measures hostile to his favourite principles of government. He states the granting of an independent revenue, and the supporting the prerogative in its greatest lustre, if not the aggrandising of it, to be necessary for the preservation of their religion, established by law (that is, the Protestant episcopacy), as well as for the security of their properties against fanatical assassins and murderers; thus emphatically announcing a complete union of interests between the crown and the Church. He then bestows a complete and unqualified approbation of the persecuting measures of the last reign, in which he had borne so great a share; and to those measures, and to the steadiness with which they had been persevered in, he ascribes the escape of both Church and State from the fanatics, and expresses his regret that he could not be present, to propose in person the other remedies of a similar nature, which he recommended as needful in the present conjuncture.

Now it is proper in this place to inquire into the nature of the measures thus extolled, as well for the purpose of elucidating the characters of the king and his Scottish minsters, as for that of rendering more intelligible the subsequent proceedings of the parliament, and the other events which soon after took place in that kingdom. Some general notions may be formed of that course of proceedings which, according to his majesty's opinion, had been so laudably and resolutely pursued during the late reign, from the circumstances alluded to in the preceding chapter, when it is understood that the sentences of Argyle and Laurie of Blackwood were not detached instances of oppression, but rather a sample of the general system of administration. The covenant, which had been so solemnly taken by the whole kingdom, and, among the rest, by the king himself, had been declared to be unlawful, and a refusal to abjure it had been made subject to the severest penalties. Episcopacy, which was detested by a great majority of the nation, had been established, and all public exercise of religion, in the forms to which the people were most attached, had been prohibited. The attendance upon field conventicles had been made highly penal, and the preaching at them capital, by which means, according to the computation of a late writer, no less remarkable for the accuracy of his facts than for the force and justness of his reasonings, at least seventeen thousand persons in one district were involved in criminality, and became the objects of persecution. After this letters had been issued by government, forbidding the intercommuning with persons who had neglected or refused to appear before the Privy Council, when cited for the above crimes, a proceeding by which not only all succour or assistance to such persons, but, according to the strict sense of the word made use of, all intercourse with them, was rendered criminal, and subjected him who disobeyed the prohibition to the same penalties, whether capital or others, which were affixed to the alleged crimes of the party with whom he had intercommuned.

These measures not proving effectual for the purpose for which they were intended, or, as some say, the object of Charles II.'s government being to provoke an insurrection, a demand was made upon the landholders in the district supposed to be most disaffected of bonds, whereby they were to become responsible for their wives, families, tenants, and servants, and likewise for the wives, families, and servants of their tenants, and, finally, for all persons living upon their estates, that they should not withdraw from the Church, frequent or preach at conventicles, nor give any succour, or have any intercourse with persons with whom it was forbidden to intercommune; and the penalties attached to the breach of this engagement, the keeping of which was obviously out of the power of him who was required to make it, were to be the same as those, whether capital or other, to which the several persons for whom he engaged might be liable. The landholders, not being willing to subscribe to their own destruction, refused to execute the bonds, and this was thought sufficient grounds for considering the district to which they belonged as in a state of rebellion. English and Irish armies were ordered to the frontiers; a train of artillery and the militia were sent into the district itself; and six thousand Highlanders, who were let loose upon its inhabitants, to exercise every species of pillage and plunder were connived at, or rather encouraged, in excesses of a still more atrocious nature.

The bonds being still refused, the government had recourse to an expedient of a most extraordinary nature, and issued what the Scotch called a writ of Lawburrows against the whole district. This writ of Lawburrows is somewhat analogous to what we call "swearing the peace" against any one, and had hitherto been supposed, as the other is with us, to be applicable to the disputes of private individuals, and to the apprehensions which, in consequence of such disputes, they may mutually entertain of each other. A government swearing the peace against its subjects was a new spectacle; but if a private subject, under fear of another, hath a right to such a security, how much more the government itself? was thought an unanswerable argument. Such are the sophistries which tyrants deem satisfactory. Thus are they willing even to descend from their loftiness into the situation of subjects or private men, when it is for the purpose of acquiring additional powers of persecution; and thus truly formidable and terrific are they, when they pretend alarm and fear. By these writs the persons against whom they were directed were bound, as in case of the former bonds, to conditions which were not in their power to fulfil, such as the preventing of conventicles and the like, under such penalties as the Privy Council might inflict, and a disobedience to them was followed by outlawry and confiscation.

The conduct of the Duke of Lauderdale, who was the chief actor in these scenes of violence and iniquity, was completely approved and justified at court; but in consequence probably of the state of politics in England at a time when the Whigs were strongest in the House of Commons, some of these grievances were in part redressed, and the Highlanders, and writs of Lawburrows were recalled. But the country was still treated like a conquered country. The Highlanders were replaced by an army of five thousand regulars, and garrisons were placed in private houses. The persecution of conventicles continued, and ample indemnity was granted for every species of violence that might be exercised by those employed to suppress them. In this state of things the assassination and murder of Sharp, Archbishop of St. Andrews, by a troop of fanatics, who had been driven to madness by the oppression of Carmichael, one of that prelate's instruments, while it gave an additional spur to the vindictive temper of the government, was considered by it as a justification for every mode and degree of cruelty and persecution. The outrage committed by a few individuals was imputed to the whole fanatic sect, as the government termed them, or, in other words, to a description of people which composed a great majority of the population in the Lowlands of Scotland; and those who attended field or armed conventicles were ordered to be indiscriminately massacred.

By such means an insurrection was at last produced, which, from the weakness, or, as some suppose, from the wicked policy of an administration eager for confiscations, and desirous of such a state of the country as might, in some measure, justify their course of government, made such a progress that the insurgents became masters of Glasgow and the country adjacent. To quell these insurgents, who, undisciplined as they were, had defeated Graham, afterwards Viscount Dundee, the Duke of Monmouth was sent with an army from England; but, lest the generous mildness of his nature should prevail, he had sealed orders which he was not to open till in sight of the rebels, enjoining him not to treat with them, but to fall upon them without any previous negotiation. In pursuance of these orders the insurgents were attacked at Bothwell Bridge, where, though they were entirely routed and dispersed, yet because those who surrendered at discretion were not put to death, and the army, by the strict enforcing of discipline, were prevented from plunder and other outrages, it was represented by James, and in some degree even by the king, that Monmouth had acted as if he had meant rather to put himself at the head of the fanatics than to repel them, and were inclined rather to court their friendship than to punish their rebellion. All complaints against Lauderdale were dismissed, his power confirmed, and an act of indemnity, which had been procured at Monmouth's intercession, was so clogged with exceptions as to be of little use to any but to the agents of tyranny. Several persons, who were neither directly nor indirectly concerned in the murder of the archbishop, were executed as an expiation for that offence; but many more were obliged to compound for their lives by submitting to the most rapacious extortion, which at this particular period seems to have been the engine of oppression most in fashion, and which was extended not only to those who had been in any way concerned in the insurrection, but to those who had neglected to attend the standard of the king, when displayed against what was styled, in the usual insulting language of tyrants, a most unnatural rebellion.

The quiet produced by such means was, as might be expected, of no long duration. Enthusiasm was increased by persecution, and the fanatic preachers found no difficulty in persuading their flocks to throw off all allegiance to a government which afforded them no protection. The king was declared to be an apostate from the government, a tyrant, and an usurper; and Cargill, one of the most enthusiastic among the preachers, pronounced a formal sentence of excommunication against him, his brother the Duke of York, and others, their ministers and abettors. This outrage upon majesty together with an insurrection contemptible in point of numbers and strength, in which Cameron, another field-preacher, had been killed, furnished a pretence which was by no means neglected for new cruelties and executions; but neither death nor torture were sufficient to subdue the minds of Cargill and his intrepid followers. They all gloried in their sufferings; nor could the meanest of them be brought to purchase their lives by a retractation of their principles, or even by any expression that might be construed into an approbation of their persecutors. The effect of this heroic constancy upon the minds of their oppressors was to persuade them not to lessen the numbers of executions, but to render them more private, whereby they exposed the true character of their government, which was not severity, but violence; not justice, but vengeance: for example being the only legitimate end of punishment, where that is likely to encourage rather than to deter (as the government in these instances seems to have apprehended), and consequently to prove more pernicious than salutary, every punishment inflicted by the magistrate is cruelty, every execution murder. The rage of punishment did not stop even here, but questions were put to persons, and in many instances to persons under torture, who had not been proved to have been in any of the insurrections, whether they considered the archbishop's assassination as murder, the rising at Bothwell Bridge rebellion, and Charles a lawful king. The refusal to answer these questions, or the answering of them in an unsatisfactory manner, was deemed a proof of guilt, and immediate execution ensued.

These last proceedings had taken place while James himself had the government in his hands, and under his immediate directions. Not long after, and when the exclusionists in England were supposed to be entirely defeated, was passed (James being the king's commissioner), the famous bill of succession, declaring that no difference of religion, nor any statute or law grounded upon such, or any other pretence, could defeat the hereditary right of the heir to the crown, and that to propose any limitation upon the future administration of such heir was high treason. But the Protestant religion was to be secured; for those who were most obsequious to the court, and the most willing and forward instruments of its tyranny, were, nevertheless, zealous Protestants. A test was therefore framed for this purpose, which was imposed upon all persons exercising any civil or military functions whatever, the royal family alone excepted; but to the declaration of adherence to the Protestant religion was added a recognition of the king's supremacy in ecclesiastical matters, and a complete renunciation in civil concerns of every right belonging to a free subject. An adherence to the Protestant religion, according to the confession of it referred to in the test, seemed to some inconsistent with the acknowledgment of the king's supremacy and that clause of the oath which related to civil matters, inasmuch as it declared against endeavouring at any alteration in the Church or State, seemed incompatible with the duties of a counsellor or a member of parliament. Upon these grounds the Earl of Argyle, in taking the oath, thought fit to declare as follows:-

"I have considered the test, and I am very desirous to give obedience as far as I can. I am confident the parliament never intended to impose contradictory oaths; therefore I think no man can explain it but for himself. Accordingly I take it, as far as it is consistent with itself and the Protestant religion. And I do declare that I mean not to bind up myself in my station, and in a lawful way, to wish and endeavour any alteration I think to the advantage of the Church or State, not repugnant to the Protestant religion and my loyalty. And this I understand as a part of the oath." And for this declaration, though unnoticed at the time, he was in a few days afterwards committed, and shortly after sentenced to die. Nor was the test applied only to those for whom it had been originally instituted, but by being offered to those numerous classes of people who were within the reach of the late severe criminal laws, as an alternative for death or confiscation, it might fairly be said to be imposed upon the greater part of the country.

Not long after these transactions James took his final leave of the government, and in his parting speech recommended, in the strongest terms, the support of the Church. This gracious expression, the sincerity of which seemed to be evinced by his conduct to the conventiclers and the severity with which he had enforced the test, obtained him a testimonial from the bishops of his affection to their Protestant Church, a testimonial to which, upon the principle that they are the best friends to the Church who are most willing to persecute such as dissent from it, he was, notwithstanding his own nonconformity, most amply entitled.

Queensbury's administration ensued, in which the maxims that had guided his predecessors were so far from being relinquished, that they were pursued, if possible, with greater steadiness and activity. Lawrie of Blackwood was condemned for having holden intercourse with a rebel, whose name was not to be found in any of the lists of the intercommuned or proscribed; and a proclamation was issued, threatening all who were in like circumstances with a similar fate. The intercourse with rebels having been in great parts of the kingdom promiscuous and universal, more than twenty thousand persons were objects of this menace. Fines and extortions of all kinds were employed to enrich the public treasury, to which, therefore, the multiplication of crimes became a fruitful source of revenue; and lest it should not be sufficiently so, husbands were made answerable (and that too with a retrospect) for the absence of their wives from church; a circumstance which the Presbyterian women's aversion to the episcopal form of worship had rendered very general.

This system of government, and especially the rigour with which those concerned in the late insurrections, the excommunication of the king, or the other outrages complained of, were pursued and hunted sometimes by bloodhounds, sometimes by soldiers almost equally savage, and afterwards shot like wild beasts, drove some of those sectaries who were styled Cameronians, and other proscribed persons, to measures of absolute desperation. They made a declaration, which they caused to be affixed to different churches, importing, that they would use the law of retaliation, and "we will," said they, "punish as enemies to God, and to the covenant, such persons as shall make it their work to imbrue their hands in our blood; and chiefly, if they shall continue obstinately and with habitual malice to proceed against us," with more to the like effect. Upon such an occasion the interference of government became necessary. The government did indeed interfere, and by a vote of council ordered, that whoever owned, or refused to disown, the declaration on oath, should be put to death in the presence of two witnesses, though unarmed when taken. The execution of this massacre in the welvet counties which were principally concerned, was committed to the military, and exceeded, if possible, the order itself. The disowning the declaration was required to be in a particular form prescribed. Women, obstinate in their fanaticism, lest female blood should be a stain upon the swords of soldiers engaged in this honourable employment, were drowned. The habitations, as well of those who had fled to save themselves, as of those who suffered, were burnt and destroyed. Such members of the families of the delinquents as were above twelve years old were imprisoned for the purpose of being afterwards transported. The brutality of the soldiers was such as might be expected from an army let loose from all restraint, and employed to execute the royal justice, as it was called, upon wretches. Graham who has been mentioned before, and who, under the title of Lord Dundee, a title which was probably conferred upon him by James for these or similar services, was afterwards esteemed such a hero among the Jacobite party, particularly distinguished himself. Of six unarmed fugitives whom he seized, he caused four to be shot in his presence, nor did the remaining two experience any other mercy from him than a delay of their doom; and at another time, having intercepted the flight of one of these victims, he had him shown to his family, and then murdered in the arms of his wife. The example of persons of such high rank, and who must be presumed to have had an education in some degree correspondent to their station, could not fail of operating upon men of a lower order in society. The carnage became every day more general and more indiscriminate, and the murder of peasants in their houses, or while employed at their usual work in the fields, by the soldiers, was not only not reproved or punished, but deemed a meritorious service by their superiors. The demise of King Charles, which happened about this time, caused no suspension or relaxation in these proceedings, which seemed to have been the crowning measure, as it were, or finishing stroke of that system, for the steady perseverance in which James so much admired the resolution of his brother.

It has been judged necessary to detail these transactions in a manner which may, to some readers, appear an impertinent digression from the narrative in which this history is at present engaged, in order to set in a clearer light some points of the greatest importance. In the first place, from the summary review of the affairs of Scotland, and from the complacency with which James looks back to his own share of them, joined to the general approbation he expressed of the conduct of government in that kingdom, we may form a pretty just notion, as well of his maxims of policy, as of his temper and disposition in matters where his bigotry to the Roman Catholic religion had no share. For it is to be observed and carefully kept in mind, that the Church, of which he not only recommends the support, but which be showed himself ready to maintain by the most violent means, is the Episcopalian Church of the Protestants; that the test which he enforced at the point of the bayonet was a Protestant test, so much so indeed, that he himself could not take it; and that the more marked character of the conventicles, the objects of his persecution, was not so much that of heretics excommunicated by the Pope, as of dissenters from the Church of England, and irreconcilable enemies to the Protestant liturgy and the Protestant episcopacy. But he judged the Church of England to be a most fit instrument for rendering the monarchy absolute. On the other hand, the Presbyterians were thought naturally hostile to the principles of passive obedience, and to one or other, or with more probability to both of these considerations, joined to the natural violence of his temper, is to be referred the whole of his conduct in this part of his life, which in this view is rational enough; but on the supposition of his having conceived thus early the intention of introducing popery upon the ruins of the Church of England, is wholly unaccountable, and no less absurd, than if a general were to put himself to great cost and pains to furnish with ammunition and to strengthen with fortifications a place of which he was actually meditating the attack.

The next important observation that occurs, and to which even they who are most determined to believe that this prince had always popery in view, and held every other consideration as subordinate to that primary object, must nevertheless subscribe, is that the most confidential advisors, as well as the most furious supporters of the measures we have related, were not Roman Catholics. Lauderdale and Queensbury were both Protestants. There is no reason, therefore, to impute any of James's violence afterwards to the suggestions of his Catholic advisers, since he who had been engaged in the series of measures above related with Protestant counsellors and coadjutors, had surely nothing to learn from papists (whether priests, jesuits, or others) in the science of tyranny. Lastly, from this account we are enabled to form some notion of the state of Scotland at a time when the parliament of that kingdom was called to set an example for this, and we find it to have been a state of more absolute slavery than at that time subsisted in any part of Christendom.

The affairs of Scotland being in the state which we have described, it is no wonder that the king's letter was received with acclamations of applause, and that the parliament opened, not only with approbation of the government, but even with an enthusiastic zeal to signalise their loyalty, as well by a perfect acquiescence to the king's demands, as by the most fulsome expressions of adulation. "What prince in Europe, or in the whole world," said the chancellor Perth, "was ever like the late king, except his present majesty, who had undergone every trial of prosperity and adversity, and whose unwearied clemency was not among the least conspicuous of his virtues? To advance his honour and greatness was the duty of all his subjects, and ought to be the endeavour of their lives without reserve." The parliament voted an address, scarcely less adulatory than the chancellor's speech.

"May it please your sacred majesty - Your majesty's gracious and kind remembrance of the services done by this, your ancient kingdom, to the late king your brother, of ever glorious memory, shall rather raise in us ardent desires to exceed whatever we have done formerly, than make us consider them as deserving the esteem your majesty is pleased to express of them in your letter to us dated the twenty- eighth of March. The death of that our excellent monarch is lamented by us to all the degrees of grief that are consistent with our great joy for the succession of your sacred majesty, who has not only continued, but secured the happiness which his wisdom, his justice, and clemency procured to us: and having the honour to be the first parliament which meets by your royal authority, of which we are very sensible, your majesty may be confident that we will offer such laws as may best secure your majesty's sacred person, the royal family and government, and be so exemplary loyal, as to raise your honour and greatness to the utmost of our power, which we shall ever esteem both our duty and interest. Nor shall we leave anything undone for extirpating all fanaticism, but especially those fanatical murderers and assassins, and for detecting and punishing the late conspirators, whose pernicious and execrable designs did so much tend to subvert your majesty's government, and ruin us and all your majesty's faithful subjects. We can assure your majesty, that the subjects of this your majesty's ancient kingdom are so desirous to exceed all their predecessors in extraordinary marks of affection and obedience to your majesty, that (God be praised) the only way to be popular with us is to be eminently loyal. Your majesty's care of us, when you took us to be your special charge, your wisdom in extinguishing the seeds of rebellion and faction amongst us, your justice, which was so great as to be for ever exemplary, but above all, your majesty's free and cheerful securing to us our religion, when your were the late king's, your royal brother's commissioner, now again renewed, when you are our sovereign, are what your subjects here can never forget, and therefore your majesty may expect that we will think your commands sacred as your person, and that your inclination will prevent our debates; nor did ever any who represented our monarchs as their commissioners (except your royal self) meet with greater respect, or more exact observance from a parliament, than the Duke of Queensbury (whom your majesty has so wisely chosen to represent you in this, and of whose eminent loyalty and great abilities in all his former employments this nation hath seen so many proofs) shall find from

"May it please your sacred majesty, your majesty's most humble, most faithful, and most obedient subjects and servants, "PERTH, Cancell."

Nor was this spirit of loyalty (as it was then called) of abject slavery, and unmanly subservience to the will of a despot, as it has been justly denominated by the more impartial judgment of posterity, confined to words only. Acts were passed to ratify all the late judgments, however illegal or iniquitous, to indemnify the privy council, judges, and all officers of the crown, civil or military, for all the violences they had committed; to authorise the privy council to impose the test upon all ranks of people under such penalties as that board might think fit to impose; to extend the punishment of death which had formerly attached upon the preachers at field conventicles only, to all their auditors, and likewise to the preachers at house conventicles; to subject to the penalties of treason all persons who should give or take the covenant, or write in defence thereof, or in any other way own it to be obligatory; and lastly, in a strain of tyranny, for which there was, it is believed, no precedent, and which certainly has never been surpassed, to enact that all such persons as being cited in cases of high treason, field or house conventicles, or church irregularities, should refuse to give testimony, should be liable to the punishment due by law to the criminals against whom they refused to be witnesses. It is true that an act was also passed for confirming all former statutes in favour of the Protestant religion as then established, in their whole strength and tenour, as if they were particularly set down and expressed in the said act; but when we recollect the notions which Queensbury at that time entertained of the king's views, this proceeding forms no exception to the general system of servility which characterised both ministers and parliament. All matters in relation to revenue were of course settled in the manner most agreeable to his majesty's wishes and the recommendation of his commissioner.

While the legislature was doing its part, the executive government was not behindhand in pursuing the system which had been so much commended. A refusal to abjure the declaration in the terms prescribed, was everywhere considered as sufficient cause for immediate execution. In one part of the country information having been received that a corpse had been clandestinely buried, an inquiry took place; it was dug up, and found to be that of a person proscribed. Those who had interred him were suspected, not of having murdered, but of having harboured him. For this crime their house was destroyed, and the women and children of the family being driven out to wander as vagabonds, a young man belonging to it was executed by the order of Johnston of Westerraw. Against this murder even Graham himself is said to have remonstrated, but was content with protesting that the blood was not upon his head; and not being able to persuade a Highland officer to execute the order of Johnston, ordered his own men to shoot the unhappy victim. In another county three females, one of sixty-three years of age, one of eighteen, and one of twelve, were charged with rebellion; and refusing to abjure the declaration, were sentenced to be drowned. The last was let off upon condition of her father's giving a bond for a hundred pounds. The elderly woman, who is represented as a person of eminent piety, bore her fate with the greatest constancy, nor does it appear that her death excited any strong sensations in the minds of her savage executioners. The girl of eighteen was more pitied, and after many entreaties, and having been once under water, was prevailed upon to utter some words which might be fairly construed into blessing the king, a mode of obtaining pardon not unfrequent in cases where the persecutors were inclined to relent. Upon this it was thought she was safe, but the merciless barbarian who superintended this dreadful business was not satisfied; and upon her refusing the abjuration, she was again plunged into the water, where she expired. It is to be remarked that being at Bothwell Bridge and Air's Moss were among the crimes stated in the indictment of all the three, though, when the last of these affairs happened, one of the girls was only thirteen, and the other not eight years of age. At the time of the Bothwell Bridge business, they were still younger. To recite all the instances of cruelty which occurred would be endless; but it may be necessary to remark that no historical facts are better ascertained than the accounts of them which are to be found in Woodrow. In every instance where there has been an opportunity of comparing these accounts with records, and other authentic monuments, they appear to be quite correct.

The Scottish parliament having thus set, as they had been required to do, an eminent example of what was then thought duty to the crown, the king met his English parliament on the 19th of May, 1685, and opened it with the following speech:-

"My lords and gentlemen, - After it pleased Almighty God to take to his mercy the late king, my dearest brother, and to bring me to the peaceable possession of the throne of my ancestors, I immediately resolved to call a parliament, as the best means to settle everything upon these foundations as may make my reign both easy and happy to you; towards which I am disposed to contribute all that is fit for me to do.

"What I said to my privy council at my first coming there I am desirous to renew to you, wherein I fully declare my opinion concerning the principles of the Church of England, whose members have showed themselves so eminently loyal in the worst of times in defence of my father and support of my brother (of blessed memory), that I will always take care to defend and support it. I will make it my endeavour to preserve this government, both in Church and State, as it is by law established: and as I will never depart from the just rights and prerogatives of the crown, so I will never invade any man's property; and you may be sure that having heretofore ventured my life in the defence of this nation, I will still go as far as any man in preserving it in all its just rights and liberties.

"And having given this assurance concerning the care I will have of your religion and property, which I have chose to do in the same words which I used at my first coming to the crown, the better to evidence to you that I spoke them not by chance, and consequently that you may firmly rely upon a promise so solemnly made, I cannot doubt that I shall fail of suitable returns from you, with all imaginable duty and kindness on your part, and particularly to what relates to the settling of my revenue, and continuing it during my life, as it was in the lifetime of my brother. I might use many arguments to enforce this demand for the benefit of trade, the support of the navy, the necessity of the crown, and the well-being of the government itself, which I must not suffer to be precarious; but I am confident your own consideration of what is just and reasonable will suggest to you whatsoever might be enlarged upon this occasion.

"There is one popular argument which I foresee may be used against what I ask of you, from the inclination men have for frequent parliaments, which some may think would be the best security, by feeding me from time to time by such proportions as they shall think convenient. And this argument, it being the first time I speak to you from the throne, I will answer, once for all, that this would be a very improper method to take with me; and that the best way to engage me to meet you often is always to use me well.

"I expect, therefore, that you will comply with me in what I have desired, and that you will do it speedily, that this may be a short session, and that we may meet again to all our satisfactions.

"My lords and gentlemen, - I must acquaint you that I have had news this morning from Scotland that Argyle is landed in the West Highlands, with the men he brought with him from Holland: that there are two declarations published, one in the name of all those in arms, the other in his own. It would be too long for me to repeat the substance of them; it is sufficient to tell you I am charged with usurpation and tyranny. The shorter of them I have directed to be forthwith communicated to you.

"I will take the best care I can that this declaration of their own faction and rebellion may meet with the reward it deserves; and I will not doubt but you will be the more zealous to support the government, and give me my revenue, as I have desired it, without delay."

The repetition of the words made use of in his first speech to the privy council shows that, in the opinion of the court, at least, they had been well chosen, and had answered their purpose; and even the haughty language which was added, and was little less than a menace to parliament if it should not comply with his wishes, was not, as it appears, unpleasing to the party which at that time prevailed, since the revenue enjoyed by his predecessor was unanimously, and almost immediately, voted to him for life. It was not remarked, in public at least, that the king's threat of governing without parliament was an unequivocal manifestation of his contempt of the law of the country, so distinctly established, though so ineffectually secured, by the statute of the sixteenth of Charles II., for holding triennial parliaments. It is said Lord- keeper Guildford had prepared a different speech for his majesty, but that this was preferred, as being the king's own words; and, indeed, that part of it in which he says that he must answer once for all that the Commons giving such proportions as they might think convenient would be a very improper way with him, bears, as well as some others, the most evident marks of its royal origin. It is to be observed, however, that in arguing for his demand, as he styles it, of revenue, he says, not that the parliament ought not, but that he must not, suffer the well-being of the government depending upon such revenue to be precarious; whence it is evident that he intended to have it understood that if the parliament did not grant, he purposed to levy a revenue without their consent. It is impossible that any degree of party spirit should so have blinded men as to prevent them from perceiving in this speech a determination on the part of the king to conduct his government upon the principles of absolute monarchy, and to those who were not so possessed with the love of royalty, which creates a kind of passionate affection for whoever happens to be the wearer of the crown, the vindictive manner in which he speaks of Argyle's invasion might afford sufficient evidence of the temper in which his power would be administered. In that part of his speech he first betrays his personal feelings towards the unfortunate nobleman, whom, in his brother's reign, he had so cruelly and treacherously oppressed, by dwelling upon his being charged by Argyle with tyranny and usurpation, and then declares that he will take the best care, not according to the usual phrases to protect the loyal and well disposed, and to restore tranquillity, but that the declaration of the factious and rebellions may meet with the reward it deserves, thus marking out revenge and punishment as the consequences of victory, upon which he was most intent.

It is impossible that in a House of Commons, however composed, there should not have been many members who disapproved the principles of government announced in the speech, and who were justly alarmed at the temper in which it was conceived. But these, overpowered by numbers, and perhaps afraid of the imputation of being concerned in plots and insurrections (an imputation which, if they had shown any spirit of liberty, would most infallibly have been thrown on them), declined expressing their sentiments; and in the short session which followed there was an almost uninterrupted unanimity in granting every demand, and acquiescing in every wish of the government. The revenue was granted without any notice being taken of the illegal manner in which the king had levied it upon his own authority. Argyle was stigmatised as a traitor; nor was any desire expressed to examine his declarations, one of which seemed to be purposely withheld from parliament. Upon the communication of the Duke of Monmouth's landing in the west that nobleman was immediately attainted by bill. The king's assurance was recognised as a sufficient security for the national religion; and the liberty of the press was destroyed by the revival of the statute of the 13th and 14th of Charles II. This last circumstance, important as it is, does not seem to have excited much attention at the time, which, considering the general principles then in fashion, is not surprising. That it should have been scarcely noticed by any historian is more wonderful. It is true, however, that the terror inspired by the late prosecutions for libels, and the violent conduct of the courts upon such occasions, rendered a formal destruction of the liberty of the press a matter of less importance. So little does the magistracy, when it is inclined to act tyrannically, stand in need of tyrannical laws to effect its purpose. The bare silence and acquiescence of the legislature is in such a case fully sufficient to annihilate, practically speaking, every right and liberty of the subject.

As the grant of revenue was unanimous, so there does not appear to have been anything which can justly be styled a debate upon it, though Hume employs several pages in giving the arguments which, he affirms, were actually made use of, and, as he gives us to understand, in the House of Commons, for and against the question; arguments which, on both sides, seem to imply a considerable love of freedom and jealousy of royal power, and are not wholly unmixed even with some sentiments disrespectful to the king. Now I cannot find, either from tradition, or from contemporary writers, any ground to think that either the reasons which Hume has adduced, or indeed any other, were urged in opposition to the grant. The only speech made upon the occasion seems to have been that of Mr. (afterwards Sir Edward) Seymour, who, though of the Tory party, a strenuous opposer of the Exclusion Bill, and in general supposed to have been an approver, if not an adviser, of the tyrannical measures of the late reign, has the merit of having stood forward singly, to remind the House of what they owed to themselves and their constituents. He did not, however, directly oppose the grant, but stated, that the elections had been carried on under so much court influence, and in other respects so illegally, that it was the duty of the House first to ascertain who were the legal members, before they proceeded to other business of importance. After having pressed this point, he observed that if ever it were necessary to adopt such an order of proceeding, it was more peculiarly so now, when the laws and religion of the nation were in evident peril; that the aversion of the English people to popery, and their attachment to the laws were such, as to secure these blessings from destruction by any other instrumentality than that of parliament itself, which, however, might be easily accomplished, if there were once a parliament entirely dependent upon the persons who might harbour such designs; that it was already rumoured that the Test and Habeas Corpus Acts, the two bulwarks of our religion and liberties, were to be repealed; that what he stated was so notorious as to need no proof. Having descanted with force and ability upon these and other topics of a similar tendency, he urged his conclusion, that the question of royal revenue ought not to be the first business of the parliament. Whether, as Burnet thinks, because he was too proud to make any previous communication of his intentions, or that the strain of his argument was judged to be too bold for the times, this speech, whatever secret approbation it might excite, did not receive from any quarter either applause or support. Under these circumstances it was not thought necessary to answer him, and the grant was voted unanimously, without further discussion.

As Barillon, in the relation of parliamentary proceedings, transmitted by him to his court, in which he appears at this time to have been very exact, gives the same description of Seymour's speech and its effects with Burnet, there can be little doubt but their account is correct. It will be found as well in this, as in many other instances, that an unfortunate inattention on the part of the reverend historian to forms has made his veracity unjustly called in question. He speaks of Seymour's speech as if it had been a motion in the technical sense of the word, for inquiring into the elections, which had no effect. Now no traces remaining of such a motion, and, on the other hand, the elections having been at a subsequent period inquired into, Ralph almost pronounces the whole account to be erroneous; whereas the only mistake consists in giving the name of motion to a suggestion, upon the question of a grant. It is whimsical enough, that it should be from the account of the French ambassador that we are enabled to reconcile to the records and to the forms of the English House of Commons, a relation made by a distinguished member of the English House of Lords. Sir John Reresby does indeed say, that among the gentlemen of the House of Commons whom he accidentally met, they in general seemed willing to settle a handsome revenue upon the king, and to give him money; but whether their grant should be permanent, or only temporary, and to be renewed from time to time by parliament, that the nation might be often consulted, was the question. But besides the looseness of the expression, which may only mean that the point was questionable, it is to be observed, that he does not relate any of the arguments which were brought forward even in the private conversations to which he refers; and when he afterwards gives an account of what passed in the House of Commons (where he was present), he does not hint at any debate having taken place, but rather implies the contrary.

This misrepresentation of Mr. Hume's is of no small importance, inasmuch as, by intimating that such a question could be debated at all, and much more, that it was debated with the enlightened views and bold topics of argument with which his genius has supplied him, he gives us a very false notion of the character of the parliament and of the times which he is describing. It is not improbable, that if the arguments had been used, which this historian supposes, the utterer of them would have been expelled, or sent to the Tower; and it is certain that he would not have been heard with any degree of attention or even patience.

The unanimous vote for trusting the safety of religion to the king's declaration passed not without observation, the rights of the Church of England being the only point upon which, at this time, the parliament were in any degree jealous of the royal power. The committee of religion had voted unanimously, "That it is the opinion of the committee, that this House will stand by his majesty with their lives and fortunes, according to their bounden duty and allegiance, in defence of the reformed Church of England, as it is now by law established; and that an humble address be presented to his majesty, to desire him to issue forth his royal proclamation, to cause the penal laws to be put in execution against all dissenters from the Church of England whatsoever." But upon the report of the House, the question of agreeing with the committee was evaded by a previous question, and the House, with equal unanimity, resolved: "That this House doth acquiesce, and entirely rely, and rest wholly satisfied, on his majesty's gracious word, and repeated declaration to support and defend the religion of the Church of England, as it is now by law established, which is dearer to us than our lives." Mr. Echard, and Bishop Kennet, two writers of different principles, but both churchmen, assign, as the motive of this vote, the unwillingness of the party then prevalent in parliament to adopt severe measures against the Protestant dissenters; but in this notion they are by no means supported by the account, imperfect as it is, which Sir John Reresby gives of the debate, for he makes no mention of tenderness towards dissenters, but states as the chief argument against agreeing with the committee, that it might excite a jealousy of the king; and Barillon expressly says, that the first vote gave great offence to the king, still more to the queen, and that orders were, in consequence, issued to the court members of the House of Commons to devise some means to get rid of it. Indeed, the general circumstances of the times are decisive against the hypothesis of the two reverend historians; nor is it, as far as I know, adopted by any other historians. The probability seems to be, that the motion in the committee had been originally suggested by some Whig member, who could not, with prudence, speak his real sentiments openly, and who thought to embarrass the government, by touching upon a matter where the union between the church party and the king would be put to the severest test. The zeal of the Tories for persecution made them at first give into the snare; but when, upon reflection, it occurred that the involving of the Catholics in one common danger with the Protestant dissenters must be displeasing to the king, they drew back without delay, and passed the most comprehensive vote of confidence which James could desire.

Further to manifest their servility to the king, as well as their hostility to every principle that could by implication be supposed to be connected with Monmouth or his cause, the House of Commons passed a bill for the preservation of his majesty's person, in which, after enacting that a written or verbal declaration of a treasonable intention should be tantamount to a treasonable act, they inserted two remarkable clauses, by one of which to assert the legitimacy of Monmouth's birth, by the other, to propose in parliament any alteration in the succession of the crown, were made likewise high treason. We learn from Burnet, that the first part of this bill was strenuously and warmly debated, and that it was chiefly opposed by Serjeant Maynard, whose arguments made some impression even at that time; but whether the serjeant was supported in his opposition, as the word CHIEFLY would lead us to imagine, or if supported, by whom, that historian does not mention; and, unfortunately, neither of Maynard's speech itself, nor indeed of any opposition whatever to the bill, is there any other trace to be found. The crying injustice of the clause which subjected a man to the pains of treason merely for delivering his opinion upon a controverted fact, though he should do no act in consequence of such opinion, was not, as far as we are informed, objected to or at all noticed, unless indeed the speech above alluded to, in which the speaker is said to have descanted upon the general danger of making words treasonable, be supposed to have been applied to this clause as well as to the former part of the bill. That the other clause should have passed without opposition or even observation, must appear still more extraordinary, when we advert, not only to the nature of the clause itself, but to the circumstances of there being actually in the House no inconsiderable number of members who had in the former reign repeatedly voted for the Exclusion Bill.

It is worthy of notice, however, that while every principle of criminal jurisprudence, and every regard to the fundamental rights of the deliberative assemblies, which make part of the legislature of the nation, were thus shamelessly sacrificed to the eagerness which, at this disgraceful period, so generally prevailed of manifesting loyalty, or rather abject servility to the sovereign, there still remained no small degree of tenderness for the interests and safety of the Church of England, and a sentiment approaching to jealousy upon any matter which might endanger, even by the most remote consequences, or put any restriction upon her ministers. With this view, as one part of the bill did not relate to treasons only, but imposed new penalties upon such as should, by writing, printing, preaching, or other speaking, attempt to bring the king or his government into hatred or contempt, there was a special proviso added, "that the asserting and maintaining, by any writing, printing, preaching, or any other speaking, the doctrine, discipline, divine worship, or government of the Church of England as it is now by law established, against popery or any other different or dissenting opinions, is not intended, and shall not be interpreted or construed to be any offence within the words or meaning of this Act." It cannot escape the reader, that only such attacks upon popery as were made in favour of the doctrine and discipline of the Church of England, and no other, were protected by this proviso, and consequently that, if there were any real occasion for such a guard, all Protestant dissenters who should write or speak against the Roman superstition were wholly unprotected by it, and remained exposed to the danger, whatever it might be, from which the Church was so anxious to exempt her supporters.

This bill passed the House of Commons, and was sent up to the House of Lords on the 30th of June. It was read a first time on that day, but the adjournment of both houses taking place on the 2nd of July, it could not make any further progress at that time; and when the parliament met afterwards in autumn, there was no longer that passionate affection for the monarch, nor consequently that ardent zeal for servitude which were necessary to make a law with such clauses and provisoes palatable or even endurable.

It is not to be considered as an exception to the general complaisance of parliament, that the Speaker, when he presented the Revenue Bill, made use of some strong expressions, declaring the attachment of the Commons to the national religion. Such sentiments could not be supposed to be displeasing to James, after the assurances he had given of his regard for the Church of England. Upon this occasion his majesty made the following speech:-

"My lords and gentlemen, - I thank you very heartily for the bill you have presented me this day; and I assure you, the readiness and cheerfulness that has attended the despatch of it is as acceptable to me as the bill itself.

"After so happy a beginning, you may believe I would not call upon you unnecessarily for an extraordinary supply; but when I tell you that the stores of the navy and ordnance are extremely exhausted, that the anticipations upon several branches of the revenue are great and burthensome; that the debts of the king, my brother, to his servants and family, are such as deserve compassion; that the rebellion in Scotland, without putting more weight upon it than it really deserves, must oblige me to a considerable expense extraordinary: I am sure, such considerations will move you to give me an aid to provide for those things, wherein the security, the ease, and the happiness of my government are so much concerned. But above all, I must recommend you to the care of the navy, the strength and glory of this nation; that you will put it into such a condition as may make us considered and respected abroad. I cannot express my concern upon this occasion more suitable to my own thoughts of it than by assuring you I have a true English heart, as jealous of the honour of the nation as you can be; and I please myself with the hopes that by God's blessing and your assistance, I may carry the reputation of it yet higher in the world than ever it has been in the time of any of my ancestors; and as I will not call upon you for supplies but when they are of public use and advantage, so I promise you, that what you give me upon such occasions shall be managed with good husbandry; and I will take care it shall be employed to the uses for which I ask them."

Rapin, Hume, and Ralph observe upon this speech, that neither the generosity of the Commons' grant, nor the confidence they expressed upon religious matters, could extort a kind word in favour of their religion. But this observation, whether meant as a reproach to him for his want of gracious feeling to a generous parliament, or as an oblique compliment to his sincerity, has no force in it. His majesty's speech was spoken immediately upon, passing the bills which the Speaker presented, and he could not therefore take notice of the Speaker's words unless he had spoken extempore; for the custom is not, nor I believe ever was, for the Speaker to give beforehand copies of addresses of this nature. James would not certainly have scrupled to repeat the assurances which he had so lately made in favour of the Protestant religion, as he did not scruple to talk of his true English heart, honour of the nation, at a time when he was engaged with France; but the speech was prepared for an answer to a money bill, not for a question of the Protestant religion and church, and the false professions in it are adapted to what was supposed to be the only subject of it.

The only matter in which the king's views were in any degree thwarted was the reversal of Lord Stafford's attainder, which, having passed the House of Lords, not without opposition, was lost in the House of Commons; a strong proof that the popish plot was still the subject upon which the opposers of the court had most credit with the public. Mr. Hume, notwithstanding his just indignation at the condemnation of Stafford, and his general inclination to approve of royal politics, most unaccountably justifies the Commons in their rejection of this bill, upon the principle of its being impolitic at that time to grant so full a justification of the Catholics, and to throw so foul an imputation upon the Protestants. Surely if there be one moral duty that is binding upon men in all times, places, and circumstances, and from which no supposed views of policy can excuse them, it is that of granting a full justification to the innocent; and such Mr. Hume considers the Catholics, and especially Lord Stafford, to have been. The only rational way of accounting for this solitary instance of non-compliance on the part of the Commons is either to suppose that they still believed in the reality of the popish plot, and Stafford's guilt, or that the Church party, which was uppermost, had such an antipathy to popery, as indeed to every sect whose tenets differed from theirs, that they deemed everything lawful against its professors.

On the 2nd of July parliament was adjourned for the purpose of enabling the principal gentlemen to be present in their respective counties at a time when their services and influence might be so necessary to government. It is said that the House of Commons consisted of members so devoted to James, that he declared there were not forty in it whom he would not himself have named. But although this may have been true, and though from the new modelling of the corporations, and the interference of the court in elections, this parliament, as far as regards the manner of its being chosen, was by no means a fair representative of the legal electors of England, yet there is reason to think that it afforded a tolerably correct sample of the disposition of the nation, and especially of the Church party, which was then uppermost.

The general character of the party at this time appears to have been a high notion of the king's constitutional power, to which was superadded a kind of religious abhorrence of all resistance to the monarch, not only in cases where such resistance was directed against the lawful prerogative, but even in opposition to encroachments which the monarch might make beyond the extended limits which they assigned to his prerogative. But these tenets, and still more the principle of conduct naturally resulting from them, were confined to the civil, as contra-distinguished from the ecclesiastical polity of the country. In Church matters they neither acknowledged any very high authority in the crown, nor were they willing to submit to any royal encroachment on that side; and a steady attachment to the Church of England, with a proportionable aversion to all dissenters from it, whether Catholic or Protestant, was almost universally prevalent among them. A due consideration of these distinct features in the character of a party so powerful in Charles's and in James's time, and even when it was lowest (that is, during the reigns of the two first princes of the House of Brunswick), by no means inconsiderable, is exceedingly necessary to the right understanding of English history. It affords a clue to many passages otherwise unintelligible. For want of a proper attention to this circumstance, some historians have considered the conduct of the Tories in promoting the revolution as an instance of great inconsistency. Some have supposed, contrary to the clearest evidence, that their notions of passive obedience, even in civil matters, were limited, and that their support of the government of Charles and James was founded upon a belief that those princes would never abuse their prerogative for the purpose of introducing arbitrary sway. But this hypothesis is contrary to the evidence both of their declarations and their conduct. Obedience without reserve, an abhorrence of all resistance, as contrary to the tenets of their religion, are the principles which they professed in their addresses, their sermons, and their decrees at Oxford; and surely nothing short of such principles could make men esteem the latter years of Charles II., and the opening of the reign of his successor, an era of national happiness and exemplary government. Yet this is the representation of that period, which is usually made by historians and other writers of the Church party. "Never were fairer promises on one side, nor greater generosity on the other," says Mr. Echard. "The king had as yet, in no instance, invaded the rights of his subjects," says the author of the Caveat against the Whigs. Thus, as long as James contented himself with absolute power in civil matters, and did not make use of his authority against the Church, everything went smooth and easy; nor is it necessary, in order to account for the satisfaction of the parliament and people, to have recourse to any implied compromise by which the nation was willing to yield its civil liberties as the price of retaining its religious constitution. The truth seems to be, that the king, in asserting his unlimited power, rather fell in with the humour of the prevailing party than offered any violence to it. Absolute power in civil matters, under the specious names of monarchy and prerogative, formed a most essential part of the Tory creed; but the order in which Church and king are placed in the favourite device of the party is not accidental, and is well calculated to show the genuine principles of such among them as are not corrupted by influence. Accordingly, as the sequel of this reign will abundantly show, when they found themselves compelled to make an option, they preferred, without any degree of inconsistency, their first idol to their second, and when they could not preserve both Church and king, declared for the former.

It gives certainly no very flattering picture of the country to describe it as being in some sense fairly represented by this servile parliament, and not only acquiescing in, but delighted with the early measures of James's reign; the contempt of law exhibited in the arbitrary mode of raising his revenue; his insulting menace to the parliament, that if they did not use him well, he would govern without them; his furious persecution of the Protestant dissenters, and the spirit of despotism which appeared in all his speeches and actions. But it is to be remembered that these measures were in nowise contrary to the principles or prejudices of the Church party, but rather highly agreeable to them; and that the Whigs, who alone were possessed of any just notions of liberty, were so outnumbered and discomforted by persecution, that such of them as did not think fit to engage in the rash schemes of Monmouth or Argyle, held it to be their interest to interfere as little as possible in public affairs, and by no means to obtrude upon unwilling hearers opinions and sentiments which, ever since the dissolution of the Oxford parliament, in 1681, had been generally discountenanced, and of which the peaceable, or rather triumphant, accession of James to the throne was supposed to seal the condemnation.