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tors meeting in retired horses at night, without torches, and muffled-up in cioaks, and leaving Ravigny, the French agent, with something handsome in their pockets-as he wrote to his Imperial master that in England money was more potent than eloquence. Charles was anxions for a French alliance, bnt it was no easy task at the same time to be upholding the triple alliance at the Hague, and plotting with Colbert to destroy that alliance and enable France to carry out her designs with regard to Spain. As time went on, this intrigue became one for establishing the Roman Catholic religion in England, with the aid of French money and French soldiers. As far back as 1662, it is now known, Charles bad become a Roman Catholic, and had sent an agent to Rome to treat with the Pope for the return of England to the Roman Catholic Church. At length we hear of the secret treaty signed at Dover, in 1670. The principal conditions were, Charles was to declare himself a Roman Catholic, and Loais was to pay him two millions of francs, and to aid him (if that were necessary) with six thousand foot soldiers. Lonis was to preserve peace with Spain till the death of its king, when Charles agreed to aid Louis in all his designs on that Power. There was to be war with Holland by the French army and the English navy, and as long as that war lasted, Loois was to pay Charles three million francs. Of this treaty Ashley knew nothing, nor Buckingham, the then Prime Minister, either; though the latter was sent over to France, and was persuaded to fall in with the French King's views so far as war with Holland was concerned. Lonis did not bribe him, but appears to have settled £400 a-year on his infamous mistress, the Countess of Shrewsbury. A mock treaty was then formed, and in this Ashley was a participator. It is not true that Ashley was bribed in the matter. Again, it has been untruly said that when Charles stripped the Exchequer he was aided by Ashley. It was contrary to common justice among men, and also to the law, and several statates of the realm. Such was the first of the five reasons Ashley urged against it. But the Datch war had his approval, and, as a reward, we find him no longer Lord Ashley, bat Earl of Shaftesbury. The date of the patent of his earldom is 1672. Twenty years previously he had commenced the house at St. Giles', where successive generations of the Shaftesbnry family have been born, and lived, and died.
It may be argued that Charles had another view in raising Lord Ashley to the peerage, and that was to bind him more to bis interests, seeing that he was waiting to declare himself a Roman Catholic. In 1672 Shaftesbury had learnt the fact, and had bemoaned to Stringer “the black cload gathering over England.” Promotion came quickly: Shaftesbury was made President of the
Council of Trade and Plantation. Of his Council were Waller, the poet, and Evelyn, the model country gentleman. Locke was appointed Secretary to the Council, with a salary of £500 a-year. A few years passed, and Shaftesbury was made Lord Chancellor, much to the joy of the French Ambassador, who mistook Shaftesbury for the slave of his Royal master. He was nothing of the kind. It was about this time, Mr. Christie argaes, that he became aware of Charles's secret engagement with France, and that he had been made a dupe. Shaftesbury had but a short time of it as Lord Chancellor. It is clear why he was dismissed from office. The Queen and the Dake of York were delighted, writes Colbert, that their enemy and the enemy of France was out of office. Colbert had, however, his fears. He writes : “A discarded Minister, who is very ill-conditioned and clever, left perfectly free to aet and speak, seems to me to be much feared in this country.”
Relieved of the trammels of office, left free to act according to his conscience, Shaftesbury bravely carried on the war against the encroachments of the monarch, the advance of Popery, the increasing inflaence of France. Louis would have boaght him, but he was not to be bonght. Shaftesbury was told there were ten thousand gaineas for him, bat he scorned the bribe.
As a man of business, Pepys gives evidence in Lord Shaftesbary's favour. He writes : “I do like the way of the Lords, that they permit no body to use many words, nor do spend many words themselves, but in great state do hear what they see necessary, and say little themselves, but bid withdraw.” Such a man was usefal at any time. He had a quick brain and a ready tongue. The history of the personal rivalries of that time is tedious. When Buckingham after Clarendon's fall came into the possession of power, his watchwords were,"Religious Toleration and Compre hension of Dissenters,” and Ashley agreed with him. The only exceptions which Lord Ashley insisted on were Roman Catholics, "in regard the laws have determined the principles of the Romish religion to be inconsistent with the safety of your Majesty's Government and person,"and the Fifth Monarchy men" as professed opposers of all human progress ;” and this seems to have been more or less his policy in office or out. He believed in the Popish plot, as did all England at that time, and even now it must be owned that there was a solid foundation for the charge of a grave conspiracy to substitute the Roman Catholic for the Protestant religion, and that there were ideas, at any rate, in some quarters, to make way for the Duke of York by the murder of Charles II. Shaftesbury was active enongh on the occasion, nor is he to be blamed for that, Dryden, of course, sees in this
activity a fresh illustration of Shaftesbury's depravity. The poet writes
The wished occasion of the plot he takes,
And proves the King himself a Jebusite. By Jebusite, the poet means Roman Catholic, and that the King was that, is no secret now, if Dryden was ignorant of the fact. It seems to us strange that, after all this, Shaftesbury was made President of the Council, which Sir W. Temple persuaded the King to form as an improved method of carrying on the Government. But
must remember that at that time, when there was no government by party as in ours, it was the one remedy for neutralising the opposition to put one of its leaders in office, and that Shaftesbury, restless, clever, and ambitious, was one of the leading figures in the political world.” A month of his new office was all that Shaftesbury enjoyed. Thence he departed to wage war with the Duke of York, and to lend himself to a plot which was to place the Duke of Monmouth on the throne. It intolerable to him, as to most men, that a Papist should be King of Protestant England. Bat the step was dangerous, and Shaftesbury felt that he was not safe, that any moment he might be arrested. Nor had he long to wait. On the 2nd of July, 1681, he was seized in his noble old house in Aldersgate-a house which is to be pulled down—was taken to Whiteball, where a council had been specially summoned, and from Whitehall was carried to the Tower, where he was shot up on a charge of high treason. The trial did not take place till the following November, as the Government could not get their case ready before.
As it was, the case broke down, in spite of the unfairness of Chief Justice Pemberton, and the evident animus of the shaky witnesses for the prosecution. His friends celebrated the event with a medal, which bad on one side a bast of Shaftesbury, and on the other a view of the Tower, with the sun about to emerge from a cloud, and shine. And Dryden published his “Medal, a Satire"equally as unfair and untrue as his "Absalom and Achitophel.” Charles II., it is said, suggested the poem. One day, so the story goes, as he was walking in the Mall and talking with Dryden, the King said, “If I was a poet-and I think I am poor enough to be one I would write a poem on such a subject in the following manner.” He then gave him the plan of the “Medal.” Dryden took the hint; the “Medal” was written and published, and he was well paid for his work. Released from gaol, Shaftesbury, Russell, and Monmouth entered into serious consultations for a
rising against the King, who was now ruling withoat Parliament, a pensioner of France. Shaftesbury, however, fled, disguised as a Presbyterian clergy man, to Amsterdam. At tbe old Bibel Hotel, known to many an English tourist, he stayed a week. Thence he moved to the house of a Brownist on the Golden Kay. There he suddenly died of the gout, far from home and relatives and friends. It was a pity that Shaftesbarg fled to Holland. Had he had the courage to remain at home, he would have died on the scaffold, like Sidney, and Russell, and, like them, would have formed one of the noble army of
Martyrs of heroic story,
BY BEATRICE BRISTOWE,
CHAPTER XXV.-A WOUNDED SPIRIT. "I am sorry, dear, I shall most likely be away for a day or two doring your stay,” Mary had said to Clarissa soon after her arrival. “I promised to go to Mr. Brownslow's niece at Ripton whenever she sent for me, and I shonld not like to disappoint her. I shall not be more than five miles away, and, all being well, shall not stay longer than three days. But I am sorry to be away
from you, if it were only for half a day.” And Clarissa had assured her that she would on no account have this young relative disappointed; she should do very nicely, and would try to make Mr. Brownslow comfortable in her absence.
Yet, in truth, her heart had sank somewhat at the prospect of losing her sister's society; and when, on the first Friday in December, the summons came and Mary went away, her sense of desolation grew deeper than before.
But that Friday was got through and the Saturday, for the weariest days will come to an end, and the weariest nights. So Sunday morning broke, and the dawn was of a mild and pleasant day, showing nothing of the austerity of winter. How very quiet the High Street of Northallerton was, as she stood looking down apon it from the window of the dining-room, where the breakfast was laid, and how composed and still everything was within in the house.
Both the assistant and the apprentice were away, as on the Sanday the latter was always, and the former occasionally ; no subdued sounds came, as on other days, from the business premises below. There was no opening or shutting of doors, and, in more than ordinary silence, Bridget performed her curtailed household duties. Mr. Brownslow was moving in the room overhead, bat very gently; only the clock on the landing seemed to tick more loudly than usual. It was for the postman she was watching, though half aware that it was too early to make his appearance probable. By-and-by there would be children and teachers going to the Sunday-schools, and, later, quietly-moving groups of people proceeding in both directions to the churches and chapels; but as yet a milkman with his cart seemed to hold undisputed possession of the road.
Presently, Mr. Brownslow came down to breakfast, and some faint attempts at conversation were made as the meal proceeded, includ. ing the remark on the part of the host that the postman generally came very late on a Sunday morning. This was a relief to Clarissa. Surely a letter must come to-day; she should not like to read it except alone; yet how could she bear the suspense of delayed reading if it came now. So, breakfast over, she hastened to her room, and Mr. Brownslow settled himself with a book in the easy-chair until it should be time for his leisurely preparation for church. Soon, however, he recollected that there would be a collection that day, and, failing to find in his purse a suitable coin, he descended to the office and unlocked his desk to obtain the desired change. As he did so, the quick, loud knock of the postman sounded on the heavy door, and he stepped along the side passage to receive the letters,
Two were evidently on business, and, according to invariable custom, were deposited in his desk-not to be opened until Monday morning; the other was for Mrs. Weatherill, and he reascended the stairs, looking for Bridget that she might convey it to Mrs. Weatherill's room. But Clarissa was standing outside her bedroom door, so he handed the letter to her himself, and, proceeding to the dining-room, resamed his reading until the striking oat of a near church bell, always commencing to ring at fifteen minutes past ten, should warn him to seek his room to make some final touches to his toilet before setting out for morning service.
“ Bridget, do you know whether Mrs. Weatherill is ready ?” Mr. Brownslow asked, when in answer to the dining-room bell the domestic appeared. “I have waited five minutes ; she may not be aware what the time is."
“Mrs. Weatherill went half an hour ago, sir; I heard the front door shut after her.”'