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eloquence; a fpeech fo highly applauded, that ac,coar copies of it were sold in one day. Yet did it not essect its purpofe, as no puniIhment was inflicted on C'rawley, a Justice of the Court of Common Pleas, and one of the twelve Judges, and whofe crime was that of fubfcribing to an opinion that the King had a right to levy fhip-money.
Mattershavingnow come to an extremity betwixt the King and his parliament, Charles, on the lid of August 164a, erected the royal standard at Nottingham, and on this occafion our Author fent his Majesty a thoufand broad pieces; a pretty convincing proof that he wifhed not ill to the royal caufe; at the fame time correfponding with thofe more immediately employed about the King's perfon; by their means be obtained the royal leave for returning to his duty in parliament, where it was expected he would be of fingular fervice to his prince by the force of his eloquence.
Soon after the battle of Edge-hill, which wassought on the 13d Oct. 1642, Charles retired to Oxford, where Waller was one of theCommiflionersappointed by the parliament to present their propofitions of peace. The Commisfioners were received by his Majesty in the garden of Christ-Church, and Waller, as the lowest in rank, was prefented last. After having kiffed the royal hand, Charles looking on him with complacency, laid, " Though you are the last-, "yet you are not the worst, nor the least in my fa"vour." .,!'-.
As Whitelocke, who was alfo one of the Commisfioners deputed by the parliament gives testimony to the above anecdote, we can hardly question its authenticity; and though that author's veracity ought not to be difputed in narrating a fact, of which himfelf was witnefs, yet ought we not wholly to rely on the conclufions which he deduces from it. He more than ence asserts, that the favourable reception conferred upon Waller by the King at Oxford, was in confequence of the plot then forming by him for his Majesty's interest, and which was detected in a fhort time after the return of the Commissioners to London. But it is hardly probable that Charles fhould commit a solecifm in politicks so extremely flagrant, if he really knew that Waller had associated against his foes, as thus to take publick and particular notice of him on that account, and confequently mark him a victim of the parliament's wrath, should his concert mifcarry.
This plot was formed and difcovered in the 1643, and was of fo mild a nature, that Mr. Hun-.e fays, "it might with more justice be styled a project than "a plot." Mr. Whitelocke has given the following account of this assair *.
"June-1043," fays he," began the arraignment of , # Memorials of Engliih affairs, p. 70. edit. 173*.
i' Waller, Tomkins, Challoner, and others, coofpi"ring to furprife the City militia, and fome members "of parliament, and to let in the King's forces to "furprife the City, and diffolve the parliament. Wal"ler, a very ingenious man, was the principal actor "and contriver of this plot, which wu in design "when he and the other Commissioners were at Oxi1 ford with the pirli3ment's propositions; and that '' being then known to the King, occasioned him to "fpeak thefe words to Waller, Though you are tbtlafl, "yet you are not the mor/l, nor the leaji in favour. When "he was examined touching this plot, he was aIked "whether Selden,Pierpcint,Whitelocke, and others "by name, were acquainted with it ? He anfwered, "That they were not l but that he did come one "evening to Selden't study, where Pierpoint and "Whitelocke then were with Selden, on purpofe to "impart it to them all; and fpeaking of fuch a "thing in general terms, thefe gentlemen did fo in"veigh against any fuch thingastreachery and bafe-. "nefs, and that which might be the occafion of siied"ding much blood, that he faid he durst not, for the "awe and refpect which he had for Selden and the "rest, communicate any of the particulars to them, "but was almost difheartened himfelf to proceed in "it. They were all upon their trials condemned. "Tomkins and Challoner only were hanged. Wal"ler had a reprieve from General Essex; and, -,fter Volume 1. B
** a year's imprifonment, paid a fine of xo,ccc /. and "was pardoned."
That the reader may be enabled to judge of this matter with the greater precifion, to this account by Whitelockewe fhall fubjoin that of Lord Clarendon, Hfury.printedatOxford, 1717,vol. H. parti.p. 247.
"There was of the Houfe of Commons," fays the noble hiftorian, " one Mr. Waller, a gentleman of a "very ^ood fortune and estate,and of admirable parts "and faculties of wit and eloquence, and of an in"timate converfation and fainiliaritywith thofe who "had that reputation. He hid, from the beginning "of the parliament, been looked upon by,all men as "a perfon of very entire assections to the King's fer"vice, and to the established government of church "and state; and by having no manner of relation to "the court, had the more credit and interest to pro"mote the rights of it. When the ruptures grew fo "great between the King and the two Houfes, that c* very many of the members withdrew from thofe "counfels, he, among the rest, with equal distikc,ab"fenIed himfelf; but at the time the standard was
fet up, having intimacy and friendship with fome "perfons now of nearnefs about the King, with the ,l King's approbation he returned again to London, "where he fpoke, upon all occafions, with great "sharpnefs and freedom, which (now there were fo V few there that ufed it, and there was no danger of "being over-voted)was not restrained,and therefore "ufed as an argument against thofe who were gone i' upon pretence " that they were not fussered to dej "dare their opinion freely in the Houfe,which could "not be believed, when all men knew what liberty "Mr. Waller took, and fpoke every day with impu"nityagainftthefenfeand proceedingsof theHoufe.'' "This won him a great reputation with all people "v)ho wifhed well to the King, and he was looked "upon as the boldest champion the crown had in "both Houfes; fo that fuch Lords and Commons as "really desired to prevent the ruin of the kingdom, "wiiiingly compliedin a gpeat familiarity withhim, "as a man refolute in their ends, and best able to '' promote them: and it may be they believed his "reputation at court fo good, that he would be no "ill evidence there of other mens Zealand assection; "and fo all men i'poke their minds freely to him, "both of the general distemper, and of the pafsions "and ambition of particular perfons; all men know"ing him to be of too good a fortune, and too wary "a nature, to engage himfelf in designs of danger or "hazard.'