Images de page
PDF
ePub

BOOK IV. mcans be regarded in the same light with the 1700. subjects of other kings*."

On the other hand, the extreme satisfaction of the court of Versailles at the late proceedings appears from the general tenor of the dispatches of the earl of Manchester, ambassador at Paris. In his letter of May 8th, 1700, to lord Jersey, this nobleman says,

" that in his last conference with M. de Torcy, that minister observed to him they should now soon see the success of this great affair--that the king of England would have the honour of it—The case,” he added, “was extremely changed within two years—that the French king had now all the obligations and interest to wish for the life and welfare of our king-Henceforth," as in a subsequent conference he took occasion to say, “it would be very convenient for France and England always to act in concert in the affairs of Europe."

Circumstanced as the emperor now was, he appeared inclined to accede, after all the anger and resentment he had displayed, to the principal terms of the treaty. Various concessions were made by the court of Versailles in order to render it more palatable and calculated to ensure the succession of Spain to the archduke ; in particular, that this prince should be at liberty to reside in that kingdom during the life BOOK IV. of the king; knowing perhaps the determina- 1700. tion of the emperor against it. It was also agreed that the succession of the Sicilies should be limited to the descendants of the queen Maria Teresa. But when the imperial court proceeded to propose that the Indies should be ceded to France in lieu of the Sicilies, and the island of Sardinia and the duchy of Luxemburg as an equivalent for Lorraine and Bar, the proposition was rejected as extravagant and inadmissible. The king of France himself, in a dispatch to M. Briord, resident at the Hague, informs him, “that M. Zinzendorf, the imperial ambassador at Paris, had plainly enough intimated that the emperor would cele to him the Low Countries, in case he would treat directly with himand directs that minister to cantion the pensionary against all the artifices which the imperial ministers would not fail to employ, in order to create a jealousy which might be fatal to the measures he had taken with England and Iloiland.” In the mean time the emperor carried on his negotiations in Spain with such success, that his catholic majesty, in the month of June 1700, was prevailed upon to sign a will, declaring the archduke sole heir of the Spanish dominions. This was immediately transmitted to Vienna ; and M. de Villars was then informed, * that bis

* Ralph ; Lamberti; Memoirs of the M. de Villars, Torcy, &c,

1700.

tation.

BOOK IV. imperial majesty, considering the good-state of

the king of Spain's health, declined acceding to the treaty of partition ; but that in failure of male heirs the emperor considered the succession as justly belonging to him.”—And thus this matter rested during the summer of the year

1700. Tories re- To preserve perspicuity and connection, the instated in adminise order of events has been somewhat anticipated. 1699. The king of England arrived at his palace of Ken

sington from the continent in the month of October 1699. It had been for some time past infuscd into his mind by persons in his confidence, and particularly by the carls of Jersey and Albemarle, that the whigs either could not or would not conduct the business of government to his satisfaction—that the tory interest predominated in the house of commons; and that it was necessary to conform to circumstances, and to take some of the leaders of that party into administration. On the other hand, lord Somers, who retained great influence over the king, declared, that there was no necessity for yielding at discretion to the tories that if the king would be true to his friends, they would be true to him. He blamed the resignation of lord Orford, and was of opinion the whigs might regain their ascendency in a new parliament. The king himself was inclined to a dissolution,

1699.

but the ministers would not venture to advise so BOOK, IV. bold a measure. He therefore finally determined to adopt the counsels of their opponents. The first manifestation of this was a visit publicly made by him to the earl of Rochester at Richmond_and Mr. Montague, perceiving the high favor he had for several years past possessed, both with the king and the parliament, now rapidly on the wane, thought it expedient to resign his offices previous to the commencement of the session. In his room lord Tankerville was placed at the head of the treasury, and Mr. John Smith, who had for some time occupied with reputation a seat at the board, was constituted chancellor of the exchequer. Thus another of the grand columns which upheld the tottering fabric of the whig administration was removed ; and it now rested almast entirely upon the abilities, courage, and high reputation of the lord chancellor Somers for support.

On the 16th of November, 1699, the session opened with a speech of a very general nature, Nov. 1698.

and in whieh every expression that could give any just cause of offence seems to have been cautiously avoided. In conclusion, the king declared “ his full assurance of the good affections of his people, which it would be his endeavour to preserve by a constant care of their just rights and liberties. Since then," said the monarch, “our

VOL. II.

Session of
Parliament

.

D

BOOK IV. aims are only for the general good, let us act 1699.

with confidence in one another ; which will not fail, by God's blessing, to make me a happy king, and you a great and flourishing people." But such was the perverse conduct of the house as to manifest a pre-determination not to be satisfied. In their address the commons affected to consider this recommendation of mutual confidence as involving in it by implication a charge against them for not płacing proper confidence in him. “ We do esteem it,” say they, “ our greatest misfortune, that, after having so amply provided for the security of your majesty and your government both by sea and land, any jealousy or distrust hath been raised of our duty and affections to your sacred majesty—and beg leave humbly to represent that it will greatly conduce to the continuing and establishing an entire confidence between your majesty and parliament, that you will be pleased to shew marks of your high displeasure towards all such persons who have or shall presume to misrepresent their proceedings to your majesty." The king to this strange and captious complaint returned a mild and discreet answer, assuring them " that no persons had ever yet dared to misrepresent to him the proceedings of either house ; and that if such calumnies should be attempted, they would not only fail of success, but the

your

« PrécédentContinuer »