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312 MEASURES AGAINST DISSENTERS AND CATHOLICS.

compact." The illustrations of the preacher are well applied; and, if in opposition to the doctrines in vogue before the Revolution, they are more consonant to good sense, and to the practice of mankind in the best regulated states.

That this was eminently a high-church parliament, the complexion of its proceedings towards the non-established sects, prevented any possibility of mistake. In an early stage, the Commons addressed the king to remove from the commissions of the peace and lieutenancy, all persons of small estates, under pretence that they were dependant upon the court; but the measure was in reality levelled at the Dissenters. The same bitterness prompted a proclamation for banishing all Popish priests and jesuits; and another for putting the laws in execution against Papists, and other disaffected persons. And, as if these laws were not sufficiently effectual, the Commons, in the true spirit of persecution, brought in a bill to prevent the growth of Popery, which readily passed both houses. The chief provisions were to prevent papists from inheriting the estates of their ancestors; which were to pass to the next Protestant heirs: to banish all Popish priests from the kingdom; and to adjudge them to perpetual imprisonment in case of their return and to facilitate its execution, a reward of a hundred pounds was offered for each conviction. Although such a measure was totally repugnant to the generous spirit of William, who had been often heard to say, that he came over to deliver the Protestants, and not to persecute the Catholics, yet, he now felt himself unequal to contend with it. At an earlier part of his reign, he would probably have interposed his negative; and such a course at this time, would have entailed lustre upon his name; whilst the act itself must affix lasting disgrace upon the men who could devise so monstrous an act of legislation.(B)

(B) One of the consequences of these intolerant proceedings, was the ap

AFFRONTING ADDRESS TO THE KING.

313

Protestants often complain, and not without reason, of the intolerance of Papists; but they would do well to remember that these have a score against them upon the same account. It is in vain to recal the days of Mary, or to reproach foreigners for their cruelty to Protestants, whilst they practise the same themselves. The policy that governs Catholic princes in their dealings with heretics, is not a degree more barbarous than this act of the English parliament; and, whoever may exclaim against persecution, those who justify such an act have no right to open their mouths. If the principle of proscription be once admitted, one sect may use it as lawfully as another. Every constitution is imperfect that does not proclaim an equalization of political rights, irrespective of religious distinctions; and it opens the door for rival sects to contend for the ascendancy. Public opinion has already done much to root out old prejudices; it has been applied successfully to commercial monopolies; and those of an ecclesiastical nature will probably be found at last to be equally at variance with the interests of the community, as they are with the principles of justice, and common sense.

One of the last measures of this parliament, was a resolution to address the crown against the employment of foreigners; but before it could be presented, the king avoided the affront, by relieving himself of a set of men who had contributed so largely to his uneasiness. The session terminated upon the 11th of April, 1700, and a change taking place in the ministry, the parliament was afterwards dissolved.

prehension of Paul Atkinson, a Franciscan friar, who, in the year 1700, was condemned to perpetual imprisonment, for performing the functions of a Roman Catholic priest. He was confined in Hurst Castle, in the county of Southampton, where he died, October 15, 1729, in the seventyfourth year of his age, and the thirtieth of his imprisonment. He was so generally esteemed for his exemplary conduct, as to be visited by persons of all ranks and conditions, who commiserated his fate.-Historical Register for 1729, Diary, p. 58.

CHAPTER XXII.

New Political Situation of the Country.-Causes that led to it.-De Foe's Account of the Influence of France upon the Affairs of England.—Affair of the Spanish Succession.-Treaty of Partition.-Its Reception in Spain and England.-Defence of King William.-De Foe's Vindication of the Treaty.-Death of the King of Spain.-Perfidy of the French King.Mortification of William.-De Foe's Reflections upon the temper of the Nation. He publishes the Two Great Questions considered.'—And a Vindication of it.-His Pamphlet upon the danger of the Protestant Religion. -Formidable State of the Popish Party.-Appeal to Protestant Kings. -Fleming's Epistolary Discourse.-Reflections upon the Toleration of Catholics.-Reflections upon the Emancipation of Catholics.

1700.

ONE of the most fruitful sources of the subsequent contentions in parliament, arose out of a political transaction with which the Whigs became identified, although it was rather a measure emanating from the king, and conducted under the auspices of men of different parties.

For ages prior to the Revolution, the Kings of England had taken but little concern in the affairs of Europe, excepting sometimes to become the dupes and pensioners of their more crafty neighbours.(c) The English had consequently

(c) In discoursing upon the influence of France in the affairs of England, De Foe observes, "There opens a vast scene of secret history, and it would lead us back four reigns. Ever since the French match of King Charles I. the policy of that court has always too much influenced ours, and we have reason to say, never to our advantage. To the alliance with France we owe

NEW POLITICAL SITUATION OF THE COUNTRY. 315 ceased to be a warlike nation, and being governed by feeble princes from the time of Elizabeth, they held but a low place amongst European nations. The Revolution that drove the Stuarts from the throne, necessarily produced a change in the national character, although it was slow in operation. For, the crown being transferred to a prince who had been bred to war as a profession, and whose countrymen were from necessity a military people, it was not to be expected that his habits would become altered by his being transplanted to another country. Indeed the long wars that grew out of

many of the misfortunes of the royal family; the debauching the principles of the princes of the blood; and the introduction of Popery into the Chapelroyal, where it raised feuds between the king and his royal consort, and insulted King Charles I. in his own house. To this we owe the custom of marrying Papists, and the misfortunes of England in three Popish queens successively; England having never had but one Protestant queen-consort from the time of Henry VIII. to the late Queen Mary, being above one hundred and fifty years. To this fatal French influence, we owe Irish massacres, English plots, counter-plots, and court intrigues, to the disturbing the peace of these nations above forty years. To this we owe the loss of Dunkirk, which has been a goad in our sides, and which by harbouring and protecting their squadrons and rovers, has, during these two years, cost this nation above five millions in the damage of our trade. To this we owe the debauching our court, and assisting the court to debauch all the nation, by the example of French customs, French whores, and all manner of public luxury, which from thence took such deep root, as all our Acts of Parliament, Societies for Reformation, joined to the example of a well-ordered court, under two exemplary princes, are not able to recover to this day, and perhaps never will. In the French court, King James II. sucked in the unhappy principles of Popery and arbitrary government; from whence has flowed all the terrible consequences he felt here, and two of the most bloody, chargeable, and fatal wars that ever this nation knew. And whoever will take the pains to look back into the past reign of King Charles II. will find him the mere dupe of the French management. And it is hardly fit for me to express how they turned that Prince round in his affairs, how they prompted him to clash with his people, that denying him money, they might always keep him depending on them for a supply; and as they frequently supplied him, they took care always to make it dear enough to England. For this, they wheedled Dunkirk out of his hands, to the eternal shame of this nation, the intolerable interruption of our trade, and the ruin of our merchants."-Review, i. 338.

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316

INFLUENCE OF FRANCE UPON ENGLAND.

the Revolution, and rendered necessary by that event, rather confirmed them than otherwise; and success having made him a hero, his alliance was courted by the weaker princes of Europe. This recognition of his merits, however flattering to the king, appeared of little value to a large class of his English subjects, who were regardless of foreign politics, and rather courted than opposed the French interest. The mischiefs entailed upon the nation in the late reigns, had sufficiently exposed the folly of this policy, which received a deadly blow by the Revolution. The ties between England and Holland being drawn closer by that event, raised a strong bulwark against the power of France, which had become formidable to the rest of Europe, and rendered an union amongst neighbouring states a matter of the first importance for the preservation of their independence. Although the success of the late war was not answerable to the expectations of the allies, yet, it left them in an improved situation. The peace of Ryswick not only confirmed the title of William, but arrested the encroachments of France, by defining the boundaries of neighbouring states; and by weakening her resources, left her less formidable to the rest of Europe. It was evident, however, that the ambition of her ruler had received no diminution, and his proximity to a neighbouring throne offered a strong presumption that before the lapse of any length of time, the flames of war would be again kindled upon the continent.

In reference to the conduct of William at this time, De Foe writes thus: "At the end of the late war, his majesty had all the honour paid him, even by his enemies, and with them by all Europe, that it was possible for any mortal man to be capable of receiving. Covered with glory, he triumphed in the hearts of his people, having brought down the haughty spirit of the French to own him for King of England, and to send their ambassador-extraordinary, Count Tallard, to own him accordingly, even while King James II. was retained as a re

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