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DISAFFECTION TO THE GOVERNMENT.

laboured to excite the people in their favour, endeavouring to impress them with a belief, that religion had received a greater wound in their sufferings, than it had from all the attacks of King James. They therefore promoted his return to power with their utmost energies, and received too much encouragement from many of the high-churchmen who had taken the oaths. The infatuation of these men is the more remarkable, as James's prejudices strengthened with his years, notwithstanding the efforts of Leslie and others, who laboured hard to convert him. These, indeed, were unfit men for such a work. In the little court at St. Germains, the late king was surrounded by Papists, from whom, the few Protestants who were there, met with continual affronts; and even their chapel was deserted and shut up. Yet, with their eyes open to these things, there were many Protestants in England, who eagerly desired to have back their king.

Perhaps the affairs of William were never in a more critical state than in the early part of 1692. That ardent zeal for liberty, which united all parties in accomplishing the Revolution, had given way to feelings of selfishness. The officers of government, making a trade of corruption, and guided by avarice, sought only to enrich themselves at the public expense. Intrigues and dissensions strongly characterized the conduct of public men, and disaffection pervaded all parties in the state. The pressure of taxes, rendered necessary by the war, raised loud complaints in the people; whilst the successes of the enemy, who had possession of the seas, tended to increase the commercial embarrassments. Nor, were the arms of William much more successful upon the continent, owing, in a great measure, to the treachery of the persons he had trusted.*

Prosperity could not be looked for in a government that nourished treason, and protected the traitors. Dr. Comber,

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CHARACTER OF BISHOP CREWE.

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describing the state of things in the north, says, "The enemies of the government in these parts were become strangely audacious, and the friends thereof scarcely lukewarm; of which the late assizes held there had given strong proof." It seems that even the bench of justice was tainted with treason, and acted in concert with the counsel to protect the enemies of William. The same writer adds, "That King James's health had been openly drunk about the streets with a reflecting tune several nights in that week, and the bishop had encouraged, or at least connived at these proceedings, insomuch that he thought all things threatened a general defection."* The prelate here alluded to, was Crewe, bishop of Durham, a man wholly devoid of honour or principle; who changed with all times, and lent himself to the most obnoxious measures of the late reigns. He entered upon his episcopate by a large bribe to one of King Charles's mistresses, (Nell Gwyn) and supported it with a pomp and parade that ill accorded with the genius of religion, but gratified the lovers of splendour in God's worship. Being excepted out of the act of indemnity, the bench would probably have been spared the disgrace of retaining him, had it not been for the injudicious interference of Tillotson. This ill-placed lenity he repaid by continuing ever afterwards the friend and secret supporter of James. The prospects of the nation at this time, are thus described by Dr. Dennis Greenville, who had attached himself to the fortunes of that prince. Writing to Dr. Comber, who succeeded him in the deanery of Durham, he says, that "James II. is at the head of a considerable army, with a noble fleet, proportionable ammunition, &c., with a design of restoring himself to the crown, the church to her privileges, and the subjects to their liberties and properties! And that he is now in circumstances, if resisted, of hewing out his way to the throne with his sword."+ Had he suc

* Comber's Life, p. 308, 309.

+ Ibid, 309.

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BATTLE OF LA HOGUE.

ceeded, it is easy to guess in what manner he would have used his sword, and how liberty and property would have fared in his hands,

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A nation thus miserably torn by faction, and debased in character, presented advantages to its enemies, of which they were not backward to avail themselves. From the information communicated by the malcontents in England, the French monarch considered it a favourable opportunity for attempting an invasion. To this end,' an army, to be commanded by James, was collected upon the coast of Normandy; and in'structions were given to fit out a fleet with the utmost expedition. Having put to sea in the middle of May, the English fleet, under the command of Admiral Russel, made for the French coast, and bearing down upon the enemy, gained one of the most decided victories recorded in our naval annals. De Foe describes it as equal in glory to that which was afterwards obtained at Blenheim, and infinitely more important in its consequences; for it not only gave a death blow to the fortune of James, but disabled the French from meeting the English again at sea during the whole of this reign.*

• De Foe's Tour through Great Brit. i. 113.

CHAPTER XIII.

De Foe's Mercantile Engagements.-Concerned in the Spanish and Portuguese Trade.-Makes a Voyage to Spain.-Loses a Vessel upon the Spanish Coast.-His Remarks upon the Inhospitality of his Countrymen.— He trades to Holland.-Visits France.-And Germany.-Continues his Hose-agency-Unsuited for Trade.-His Failure.-Severity of the Bankrupt Laws.-De Foe's Remarks upon the Subject.-Causes of his Misfortunes. His Remarks upon Over-trading-Duped by the Fraudulent.— Privileged Places for Debtors.-Suppressed at his Suggestion.— He exposes the Artifices of Projectors.-Suffers from one of them.- His Remarks upon Commissions of Bankrupts.-Shifts to retrieve himself. His fortitude in Suffering.-Honesty of Character.-Rewarded by the Confidence of his Creditors.-Anecdote of General Wood.-Testimony to De Foe's Integrity. -Account of his Residence in Bristol.

1692.

LEAVING for a time the contention of parties, it will be proper now to look back into the occupations of De Foe. That he was no idle spectator of the events we have been recording, may be collected both from his previous conduct, and from the extracts already adduced from his writings. These clearly indicate that he entered heartily into the measure of the Revolution, and participated in some of the events with which it was connected. The bloodless nature of the conflict afforded him no opportunity for distinction in the field; but he who had drawn his sword for Monmouth, was not backward in the cause of William, whom he joined at Henley, and probably accompanied in his march to

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MAKES A VOYAGE TO SPAIN.

London. Of the subsequent proceedings, both in and out of parliament, he was a watchful observer; and, having the honour of an introduction to William, he formed a strong attachment to him, upon the ground of his personal merits, which continued unabated to the close of his life.

If De Foe now drew his pen in the war of politics, the circumstance is not known. It seems probable that he published but little at this period, his attention being chiefly engrossed with the affairs of trade.

De Foe's commercial speculations were of a multifarious nature. Some years had now elapsed since he embarked, with other partners, in the Spanish and Portuguese trade, from whence he must have derived considerable profit; but much of it was dissipated in subsequent losses. Oldmixon, who delights to undervalue him, says, “he had never been a merchant, otherwise than peddling a little to Portugal ;”* but, as Mr. Chalmers justly remarks, " peddling to Portugal makes a trader."+ His concerns, however, were more considerable than Oldmixon would wish us to believe. From a passage in one of his works, it is very clear that he had been a merchant-adventurer; for, speaking of the high rate of insurance, and its excess over the profits of the merchant, he says, he had paid a hundred pounds in that way upon a voyage that had afforded him a profit of only fifty pounds.‡ Whether it was before or after the Revolution that he went to Spain is uncertain; but his connexions with the trade of that country rendered it expedient for him to undertake a voyage thither; and it appears from his own account that he took up his residence there, and became familiar with the language.(z)

Hist. of England, iii. 519.

↑ Life of De Foe, p. 9. n.

Essay on Projects, p. 115.

(z) In his Review for January 27, 1711, he alludes to an old Spanish proverb, which, says he, "I learnt when I lived in that country." The proverb is, "Let the cure be wrought, though the devil be the doctor."

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