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The History of England from the Accession of James II. - Volume 3 (of 5)
by Thomas Babington Macaulay
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The first attack on him was made in the Upper House. Some Whig Lords, among whom the wayward and petulant First Lord of the Treasury was conspicuous, proposed that the King should be requested to appoint a new Speaker. The friends of Halifax moved and carried the previous question, [422] About three weeks later his persecutors moved, in a Committee of the whole House of Commons, a resolution which imputed to him no particular crime either of omission or of commission, but simply declared it to be advisable that he should be dismissed from the service of the Crown. The debate was warm. Moderate politicians of both parties were unwilling to put a stigma on a man, not indeed faultless, but distinguished both by his abilities and by his amiable qualities. His accusers saw that they could not carry their point, and tried to escape from a decision which was certain to be adverse to them, by proposing that the Chairman should report progress. But their tactics were disconcerted by the judicious and spirited conduct of Lord Eland, now the Marquess's only son. "My father has not deserved," said the young nobleman, "to be thus trifled with. If you think him culpable, say so. He will at once submit to your verdict. Dismission from Court has no terrors for him. He is raised, by the goodness of God, above the necessity of looking to office for the means of supporting his rank." The Committee divided, and Halifax was absolved by a majority of fourteen, [423]

Had the division been postponed a few hours, the majority would probably have been much greater. The Commons voted under the impression that Londonderry had fallen, and that all Ireland was lost. Scarcely had the House risen when a courier arrived with news that the boom on the Foyle had been broken. He was speedily followed by a second, who announced the raising of the siege, and by a third who brought the tidings of the battle of Newton Butler. Hope and exultation succeeded to discontent and dismay, [424] Ulster was safe; and it was confidently expected that Schomberg would speedily reconquer Leinster, Connaught, and Munster. He was now ready to set out. The port of Chester was the place from which he was to take his departure. The army which he was to command had assembled there; and the Dee was crowded with men of war and transports. Unfortunately almost all those English soldiers who had seen war had been sent to Flanders. The bulk of the force destined for Ireland consisted of men just taken from the plough and the threshing floor. There was, however, an excellent brigade of Dutch troops under the command of an experienced officer, the Count of Solmes. Four regiments, one of cavalry and three of infantry, had been formed out of the French refugees, many of whom had borne arms with credit. No person did more to promote the raising of these regiments than the Marquess of Ruvigny. He had been during many years an eminently faithful and useful servant of the French government. So highly was his merit appreciated at Versailles that he had been solicited to accept indulgences which scarcely any other heretic could by any solicitation obtain. Had he chosen to remain in his native country, he and his household would have been permitted to worship God privately according to their own forms. But Ruvigny rejected all offers, cast in his lot with his brethren, and, at upwards of eighty years of age, quitted Versailles, where he might still have been a favourite, for a modest dwelling at Greenwich. That dwelling was, during the last months of his life, the resort of all that was most distinguished among his fellow exiles. His abilities, his experience and his munificent kindness, made him the undisputed chief of the refugees. He was at the same time half an Englishman: for his sister had been Countess of Southampton, and he was uncle of Lady Russell. He was long past the time of action. But his two sons, both men of eminent courage, devoted their swords to the service of William. The younger son, who bore the name of Caillemote, was appointed colonel of one of the Huguenot regiments of foot. The two other regiments of foot were commanded by La Melloniere and Cambon, officers of high reputation. The regiment of horse was raised by Schomberg himself, and bore his name. Ruvigny lived just long enough to see these arrangements complete, [425]

The general to whom the direction of the expedition against Ireland was confided had wonderfully succeeded in obtaining the affection and esteem of the English nation. He had been made a Duke, a Knight of the Garter, and Master of the Ordnance: he was now placed at the head of an army: and yet his elevation excited none of that jealousy which showed itself as often as any mark of royal favour was bestowed on Bentinck, on Zulestein, or on Auverquerque. Schomberg's military skill was universally acknowledged. He was regarded by all Protestants as a confessor who had endured every thing short of martyrdom for the truth. For his religion he had resigned a splendid income, had laid down the truncheon of a Marshal of France, and had, at near eighty years of age, begun the world again as a needy soldier of fortune. As he had no connection with the United Provinces, and had never belonged to the little Court of the Hague, the preference given to him over English captains was justly ascribed, not to national or personal partiality, but to his virtues and his abilities. His deportment differed widely from that of the other foreigners who had just been created English peers. They, with many respectable qualities, were, in tastes, manners, and predilections, Dutchmen, and could not catch the tone of the society to which they had been transferred. He was a citizen of the world, had travelled over all Europe, had commanded armies on the Meuse, on the Ebro, and on the Tagus, had shone in the splendid circle of Versailles, and had been in high favour at the court of Berlin. He had often been taken by French noblemen for a French nobleman. He had passed some time in England, spoke English remarkably well, accommodated himself easily to English manners, and was often seen walking in the park with English companions. In youth his habits had been temperate; and his temperance had its proper reward, a singularly green and vigorous old age. At fourscore he retained a strong relish for innocent pleasures: he conversed with great courtesy and sprightliness: nothing could be in better taste than his equipages and his table; and every cornet of cavalry envied the grace and dignity with which the veteran appeared in Hyde Park on his charger at the head of his regiment, [426] The House of Commons had, with general approbation, compensated his losses and rewarded his services by a grant of a hundred thousand pounds. Before he set out for Ireland, he requested permission to express his gratitude for this magnificent present. A chair was set for him within the bar. He took his seat there with the mace at his right hand, rose, and in a few graceful words returned his thanks and took his leave. The Speaker replied that the Commons could never forget the obligation under which they already lay to His Grace, that they saw him with pleasure at the head of an English army, that they felt entire confidence in his zeal and ability, and that, at whatever distance he might be, he would always be in a peculiar manner an object of their care. The precedent set on this interesting occasion was followed with the utmost minuteness, a hundred and twenty-five years later, on an occasion more interesting still. Exactly on the same spot on which, in July 1689, Schomberg had acknowledged the liberality of the nation, a chair was set, in July 1814, for a still more illustrious warrior, who came to return thanks for a still more splendid mark of public gratitude. Few things illustrate more strikingly the peculiar character of the English government and people than the circumstance that the House of Commons, a popular assembly, should, even in a moment of joyous enthusiasm, have adhered to ancient forms with the punctilious accuracy of a College of Heralds; that the sitting and rising, the covering and the uncovering, should have been regulated by exactly the same etiquette in the nineteenth century as in the seventeenth; and that the same mace which had been held at the right hand of Schomberg should have been held in the same position at the right hand of Wellington, [427]

On the twentieth of August the Parliament, having been constantly engaged in business during seven months, broke up, by the royal command, for a short recess. The same Gazette which announced that the Houses had ceased to sit announced that Schomberg had landed in Ireland, [428]

During the three weeks which preceded his landing, the dismay and confusion at Dublin Castle had been extreme. Disaster had followed disaster so fast that the mind of James, never very firm, had been completely prostrated. He had learned first that Londonderry had been relieved; then that one of his armies had been beaten by the Enniskilleners; then that another of his armies was retreating, or rather flying, from Ulster, reduced in numbers and broken in spirit; then that Sligo, the key of Connaught, had been abandoned to the Englishry. He had found it impossible to subdue the colonists, even when they were left almost unaided. He might therefore well doubt whether it would be possible for him to contend against them when they were backed by an English army, under the command of the greatest general living. The unhappy prince seemed, during some days, to be sunk in despondency. On Avaux the danger produced a very different effect. Now, he thought, was the time to turn the war between the English and the Irish into a war of extirpation, and to make it impossible that the two nations could ever be united under one government. With this view, he coolly submitted to the King a proposition of almost incredible atrocity. There must be a Saint Bartholomew. A pretext would easily be found. No doubt, when Schomberg was known to be in Ireland, there would be some excitement in those southern towns of which the population was chiefly English. Any disturbance, wherever it might take place, would furnish an excuse for a general massacre of the Protestants of Leinster, Munster, and Connaught, [429] As the King did not at first express any horror at this suggestion, [430] the Envoy, a few days later, renewed the subject, and pressed His Majesty to give the necessary orders. Then James, with a warmth which did him honour, declared that nothing should induce him to commit such a crime. "These people are my subjects; and I cannot be so cruel as to cut their throats while they live peaceably under my government." "There is nothing cruel," answered the callous diplomatist, "in what I recommend. Your Majesty ought to consider that mercy to Protestants is cruelty to Catholics." James, however, was not to be moved; and Avaux retired in very bad humour. His belief was that the King's professions of humanity were hypocritical, and that, if the orders for the butchery were not given, they were not given only because His Majesty was confident that the Catholics all over the country would fall on the Protestants without waiting for orders, [431] But Avaux was entirely mistaken. That he should have supposed James to be as profoundly immoral as himself is not strange. But it is strange that so able a man should have forgotten that James and himself had quite different objects in view. The object of the Ambassador's politics was to make the separation between England and Ireland eternal. The object of the King's politics was to unite England and Ireland under his own sceptre; and he could not but be aware that, if there should be a general massacre of the Protestants of three provinces, and he should be suspected of having authorised it or of having connived at it, there would in a fortnight be not a Jacobite left even at Oxford, [432]

Just at this time the prospects of James, which had seemed hopelessly dark, began to brighten. The danger which had unnerved him had roused the Irish people. They had, six months before, risen up as one man against the Saxons. The army which Tyrconnel had formed was, in proportion to the population from which it was taken, the largest that Europe had ever seen. But that army had sustained a long succession of defeats and disgraces, unredeemed by a single brilliant achievement. It was the fashion, both in England and on the Continent, to ascribe those defeats and disgraces to the pusillanimity of the Irish race, [433] That this was a great error is sufficiently proved by the history of every war which has been carried on in any part of Christendom during five generations. The raw material out of which a good army may be formed existed in great abundance among the Irish. Avaux informed his government that they were a remarkably handsome, tall, and well made race; that they were personally brave; that they were sincerely attached to the cause for which they were in arms; that they were violently exasperated against the colonists. After extolling their strength and spirit, he proceeded to explain why it was that, with all their strength and spirit, they were constantly beaten. It was vain, he said, to imagine that bodily prowess, animal courage, or patriotic enthusiasm would, in the day of battle, supply the place of discipline. The infantry were ill armed and ill trained. They were suffered to pillage wherever they went. They had contracted all the habits of banditti. There was among them scarcely one officer capable of showing them their duty. Their colonels were generally men of good family, but men who had never seen service. The captains were butchers, tailors, shoemakers. Hardly one of them troubled himself about the comforts, the accoutrements, or the drilling of those over whom he was placed. The dragoons were little better than the infantry. But the horse were, with some exceptions, excellent. Almost all the Irish gentlemen who had any military experience held commissions in the cavalry; and, by the exertions of these officers, some regiments had been raised and disciplined which Avaux pronounced equal to any that he had ever seen. It was therefore evident that the inefficiency of the foot and of the dragoons was to be ascribed to the vices, not of the Irish character, but of the Irish administration, [434]

The events which took place in the autumn of 1689 sufficiently proved that the ill fated race, which enemies and allies generally agreed in regarding with unjust contempt, had, together with the faults inseparable from poverty, ignorance, and superstition, some fine qualities which have not always been found in more prosperous and more enlightened communities. The evil tidings which terrified and bewildered James stirred the whole population of the southern provinces like the peal of a trumpet sounding to battle. That Ulster was lost, that the English were coming, that the death grapple between the two hostile nations was at hand, was proclaimed from all the altars of three and twenty counties. One last chance was left; and, if that chance failed, nothing remained but the despotic, the merciless, rule of the Saxon colony and of the heretical church. The Roman Catholic priest who had just taken possession of the glebe house and the chancel, the Roman Catholic squire who had just been carried back on the shoulders of the shouting tenantry into the hall of his fathers, would be driven forth to live on such alms as peasants, themselves oppressed and miserable, could spare. A new confiscation would complete the work of the Act of Settlement; and the followers of William would seize whatever the followers of Cromwell had spared. These apprehensions produced such an outbreak of patriotic and religious enthusiasm as deferred for a time the inevitable day of subjugation. Avaux was amazed by the energy which, in circumstances so trying, the Irish displayed. It was indeed the wild and unsteady energy of a half barbarous people: it was transient: it was often misdirected: but, though transient and misdirected, it did wonders. The French Ambassador was forced to own that those officers of whose incompetency and inactivity he had so often complained had suddenly shaken off their lethargy. Recruits came in by thousands. The ranks which had been thinned under the walls of Londonderry were soon again full to overflowing. Great efforts were made to arm and clothe the troops; and, in the short space of a fortnight, every thing presented a new and cheering aspect, [435]

The Irish required of the King, in return for their strenuous exertions in his cause, one concession which was by no means agreeable to him. The unpopularity of Melfort had become such, that his person was scarcely safe. He had no friend to speak a word in his favour. The French hated him. In every letter which arrived at Dublin from England or from Scotland, he was described as the evil genius of the House of Stuart. It was necessary for his own sake to dismiss him. An honourable pretext was found. He was ordered to repair to Versailles, to represent there the state of affairs in Ireland, and to implore the French government to send over without delay six or seven thousand veteran infantry. He laid down the seals; and they were, to the great delight of the Irish, put into the hands of an Irishman, Sir Richard Nagle, who had made himself conspicuous as Attorney General and Speaker of the House of Commons. Melfort took his departure under cover of the night: for the rage of the populace against him was such that he could not without danger show himself in the streets of Dublin by day. On the following morning James left his capital in the opposite direction to encounter Schomberg, [436]

Schomberg had landed in Antrim. The force which he had brought with him did not exceed ten thousand men. But he expected to be joined by the armed colonists and by the regiments which were under Kirke's command. The coffeehouse politicians of London fully expected that such a general with such an army would speedily reconquer the island. Unhappily it soon appeared that the means which had been furnished to him were altogether inadequate to the work which he had to perform: of the greater part of these means he was speedily deprived by a succession of unforeseen calamities; and the whole campaign was merely a long struggle maintained by his prudence and resolution against the utmost spite of fortune.

He marched first to Carrickfergus. That town was held for James by two regiments of infantry. Schomberg battered the walls; and the Irish, after holding out a week, capitulated. He promised that they should depart unharmed; but he found it no easy matter to keep his word. The people of the town and neighbourhood were generally Protestants of Scottish extraction. They had suffered much during the short ascendency of the native race; and what they had suffered they were now eager to retaliate. They assembled in great multitudes, exclaiming that the capitulation was nothing to them, and that they would be revenged. They soon proceeded from words to blows. The Irish, disarmed, stripped, and hustled, clung for protection to the English officers and soldiers. Schomberg with difficulty prevented a massacre by spurring, pistol in hand, through the throng of the enraged colonists, [437]

From Carrickfergus Schomberg proceeded to Lisburn, and thence, through towns left without an inhabitant, and over plains on which not a cow, nor a sheep, nor a stack of corn was to be seen, to Loughbrickland. Here he was joined by three regiments of Enniskilleners, whose dress, horses, and arms locked strange to eyes accustomed to the pomp of reviews, but who in natural courage were inferior to no troops in the world, and who had, during months of constant watching and skirmishing, acquired many of the essential qualities of soldiers. [438]

Schomberg continued to advance towards Dublin through a desert. The few Irish troops which remained in the south of Ulster retreated before him, destroying as they retreated. Newry, once a well built and thriving Protestant borough, he found a heap of smoking ashes. Carlingford too had perished. The spot where the town had once stood was marked only by the massy remains of the old Norman castle. Those who ventured to wander from the camp reported that the country, as far as they could explore it, was a wilderness. There were cabins, but no inmates: there was rich pasture, but neither flock nor herd: there were cornfields; but the harvest lay on the ground soaked with rain, [439]

While Schomberg was advancing through a vast solitude, the Irish forces were rapidly assembling from every quarter. On the tenth of September the royal standard of James was unfurled on the tower of Drogheda; and beneath it were soon collected twenty thousand fighting men, the infantry generally bad, the cavalry generally good, but both infantry and cavalry full of zeal for their country and their religion, [440] The troops were attended as usual by a great multitude of camp followers, armed with scythes, half pikes, and skeans. By this time Schomberg had reached Dundalk. The distance between the two armies was not more than a long day's march. It was therefore generally expected that the fate of the island would speedily be decided by a pitched battle.

In both camps, all who did not understand war were eager to fight; and, in both camps; the few who head a high reputation for military science were against fighting. Neither Rosen nor Schomberg wished to put every thing on a cast. Each of them knew intimately the defects of his own army, and neither of them was fully aware of the defects of the other's army. Rosen was certain that the Irish infantry were "worse equipped, worse officered, and worse drilled," than any infantry that he had ever seen from the Gulf of Bothnia to the Atlantic; and he supposed that the English troops were well trained, and were, as they doubtless ought to have been, amply provided with every thing necessary to their efficiency. Numbers, he rightly judged, would avail little against a great superiority of arms and discipline. He therefore advised James to fall back, and even to abandon Dublin to the enemy, rather than hazard a battle the loss of which would be the loss of all. Athlone was the best place in the kingdom for a determined stand. The passage of the Shannon might be defended till the succours which Melfort had been charged to solicit came from France; and those succours would change the whole character of the war. But the Irish, with Tyrconnel at their head, were unanimous against retreating. The blood of the whole nation was up. James was pleased with the enthusiasm of his subjects, and positively declared that he would not disgrace himself by leaving his capital to the invaders without a blow, [441]

In a few days it became clear that Schomberg had determined not to fight. His reasons were weighty. He had some good Dutch and French troops. The Enniskilleners who had joined him had served a military apprenticeship, though not in a very regular manner. But the bulk of his army consisted of English peasants who had just left their cottages. His musketeers had still to learn how to load their pieces: his dragoons had still to learn how to manage their horses; and these inexperienced recruits were for the most part commanded by officers as inexperienced as themselves. His troops were therefore not generally superior in discipline to the Irish, and were in number far inferior. Nay, he found that his men were almost as ill armed, as ill lodged, as ill clad, as the Celts to whom they were opposed. The wealth of the English nation and the liberal votes of the English parliament had entitled him to expect that he should be abundantly supplied with all the munitions of war. But he was cruelly disappointed. The administration had, ever since the death of Oliver, been constantly becoming more and more imbecile, more and more corrupt; and now the Revolution reaped what the Restoration had sown. A crowd of negligent or ravenous functionaries, formed under Charles and James, plundered, starved, and poisoned the armies and fleets of William. Of these men the most important was Henry Shales, who, in the late reign, had been Commissary General to the camp at Hounslow. It is difficult to blame the new government for continuing to employ him: for, in his own department, his experience far surpassed that of any other Englishman. Unfortunately, in the same school in which he had acquired his experience, he had learned the whole art of peculation. The beef and brandy which he furnished were so bad that the soldiers turned from them with loathing: the tents were rotten: the clothing was scanty: the muskets broke in the handling. Great numbers of shoes were set down to the account of the government: but, two months after the Treasury had paid the bill, the shoes had not arrived in Ireland. The means of transporting baggage and artillery were almost entirely wanting. An ample number of horses had been purchased in England with the public money, and had been sent to the banks of the Dee. But Shales had let them out for harvest work to the farmers of Cheshire, had pocketed the hire, and had left the troops in Ulster to get on as they best might, [442] Schomberg thought that, if he should, with an ill trained and ill appointed army, risk a battle against a superior force, he might not improbably be defeated; and he knew that a defeat might be followed by the loss of one kingdom, perhaps by the loss of three kingdoms. He therefore made up his mind to stand on the defensive till his men had been disciplined, and till reinforcements and supplies should arrive.

He entrenched himself near Dundalk in such a manner that he could not be forced to fight against his will. James, emboldened by the caution of his adversary, and disregarding the advice of Rosen, advanced to Ardee, appeared at the head of the whole Irish army before the English lines, drew up horse, foot and artillery, in order of battle, and displayed his banner. The English were impatient to fall on. But their general had made up his mind, and was not to be moved by the bravadoes of the enemy or by the murmurs of his own soldiers. During some weeks he remained secure within his defences, while the Irish lay a few miles off. He set himself assiduously to drill those new levies which formed the greater part of his army. He ordered the musketeers to be constantly exercised in firing, sometimes at marks and sometimes by platoons; and, from the way in which they at first acquitted themselves, it plainly appeared that he had judged wisely in not leading them out to battle. It was found that not one in four of the English soldiers could manage his piece at all; and whoever succeeded in discharging it, no matter in what direction, thought that he had performed a great feat.

While the Duke was thus employed, the Irish eyed his camp without daring to attack it. But within that camp soon appeared two evils more terrible than the foe, treason and pestilence. Among the best troops under his command were the French exiles. And now a grave doubt arose touching their fidelity. The real Huguenot refugee indeed might safely be trusted. The dislike with which the most zealous English Protestant regarded the House of Bourbon and the Church of Rome was a lukewarm feeling when compared with that inextinguishable hatred which glowed in the bosom of the persecuted, dragooned, expatriated Calvinist of Languedoc. The Irish had already remarked that the French heretic neither gave nor took quarter, [443] Now, however, it was found that with those emigrants who had sacrificed every thing for the reformed religion were intermingled emigrants of a very different sort, deserters who had run away from their standards in the Low Countries, and had coloured their crime by pretending that they were Protestants, and that their conscience would not suffer them to fight for the persecutor of their Church. Some of these men, hoping that by a second treason they might obtain both pardon and reward, opened a correspondence with Avaux. The letters were intercepted; and a formidable plot was brought to light. It appeared that, if Schomberg had been weak enough to yield to the importunity of those who wished him to give battle, several French companies would, in the heat of the action, have fired on the English, and gone over to the enemy. Such a defection might well have produced a general panic in a better army than that which was encamped under Dundalk. It was necessary to be severe. Six of the conspirators were hanged. Two hundred of their accomplices were sent in irons to England. Even after this winnowing, the refugees were long regarded by the rest of the army with unjust but not unnatural suspicion. During some days indeed there was great reason to fear that the enemy would be entertained with a bloody fight between the English soldiers and their French allies, [444]

A few hours before the execution of the chief conspirators, a general muster of the army was held; and it was observed that the ranks of the English battalions looked thin. From the first day of the campaign, there had been much sickness among the recruits: but it was not till the time of the equinox that the mortality became alarming. The autumnal rains of Ireland are usually heavy; and this year they were heavier than usual. The whole country was deluged; and the Duke's camp became a marsh. The Enniskillen men were seasoned to the climate. The Dutch were accustomed to live in a country which, as a wit of that age said, draws fifty feet of water. They kept their huts dry and clean; and they had experienced and careful officers who did not suffer them to omit any precaution. But the peasants of Yorkshire and Derbyshire had neither constitutions prepared to resist the pernicious influence, nor skill to protect themselves against it. The bad provisions furnished by the Commissariat aggravated the maladies generated by the air. Remedies were almost entirely wanting. The surgeons were few. The medicine chests contained little more than lint and plaisters for wounds. The English sickened and died by hundreds. Even those who were not smitten by the pestilence were unnerved and dejected, and, instead of putting forth the energy which is the heritage of our race, awaited their fate with the helpless apathy of Asiatics. It was in vain that Schomberg tried to teach them to improve their habitations, and to cover the wet earth on which they lay with a thick carpet of fern. Exertion had become more dreadful to them than death. It was not to be expected that men who would not help themselves should help each other. Nobody asked and nobody showed compassion. Familiarity with ghastly spectacles produced a hardheartedness and a desperate impiety, of which an example will not easily be found even in the history of infectious diseases. The moans of the sick were drowned by the blasphemy and ribaldry of their comrades. Sometimes, seated on the body of a wretch who had died in the morning, might be seen a wretch destined to die before night, cursing, singing loose songs, and swallowing usquebaugh to the health of the devil. When the corpses were taken away to be buried the survivors grumbled. A dead man, they said, was a good screen and a good stool. Why, when there was so abundant a supply of such useful articles of furniture, were people to be exposed to the cold air and forced to crouch on the moist ground? [445]

Many of the sick were sent by the English vessels which lay off the coast to Belfast, where a great hospital had been prepared. But scarce half of them lived to the end of the voyage. More than one ship lay long in the bay of Carrickfergus heaped with carcasses, and exhaling the stench of death, without a living man on board, [446]

The Irish army suffered much less. The kerne of Munster or Connaught was dune as well off in the camp as if he had been in his own mud cabin inhaling the vapours of his own quagmire. He naturally exulted in the distress of the Saxon heretics, and flattered himself that they would be destroyed without a blow. He heard with delight the guns pealing all day over the graves of the English officers, till at length the funerals became too numerous to be celebrated with military pomp, and the mournful sounds were succeeded by a silence more mournful still.

The superiority of force was now so decidedly on the side of James that he could safely venture to detach five regiments from his army, and to send them into Connaught. Sarsfield commanded them. He did not, indeed, stand so high as he deserved in the royal estimation. The King, with an air of intellectual superiority which must have made Avaux and Rosen bite their lips, pronounced him a brave fellow, but very scantily supplied with brains. It was not without great difficulty that the Ambassador prevailed on His Majesty to raise the best officer in the Irish army to the rank of Brigadier. Sarsfield now fully vindicated the favourable opinion which his French patrons had formed of him. He dislodged the English from Sligo; and he effectually secured Galway, which had been in considerable danger, [447]

No attack, however, was made on the English entrenchments before Dundalk. In the midst of difficulties and disasters hourly multiplying, the great qualities of Schomberg appeared hourly more and more conspicuous. Not in the full tide of success, not on the field of Montes Claros, not under the walls of Maestricht, had he so well deserved the admiration of mankind. His resolution never gave way. His prudence never slept. His temper, in spite of manifold vexations and provocations, was always cheerful and serene. The effective men under his command, even if all were reckoned as effective who were not stretched on the earth by fever, did not now exceed five thousand. These were hardly equal to their ordinary duty; and yet it was necessary to harass them with double duty. Nevertheless so masterly were the old man's dispositions that with this small force he faced during several weeks twenty thousand troops who were accompanied by a multitude of armed banditti. At length early in November the Irish dispersed, and went to winter quarters. The Duke then broke up his camp and retired into Ulster. Just as the remains of his army were about to move, a rumour spread that the enemy was approaching in great force. Had this rumour been true, the danger would have been extreme. But the English regiments, though they had been reduced to a third part of their complement, and though the men who were in best health were hardly able to shoulder arms, showed a strange joy and alacrity at the prospect of battle, and swore that the Papists should pay for all the misery of the last month. "We English," Schomberg said, identifying himself good humouredly with the people of the country which had adopted him, "we English have stomach enough for fighting. It is a pity that we are not as fond of some other parts of a soldier's business."

The alarm proved false: the Duke's army departed unmolested: but the highway along which he retired presented a piteous and hideous spectacle. A long train of waggons laden with the sick jolted over the rugged pavement. At every jolt some wretched man gave up the ghost. The corpse was flung out and left unburied to the foxes and crows. The whole number of those who died, in the camp at Dundalk, in the hospital at Belfast, on the road, and on the sea, amounted to above six thousand. The survivors were quartered for the winter in the towns and villages of Ulster. The general fixed his head quarters at Lisburn, [448]

His conduct was variously judged. Wise and candid men said that he had surpassed himself, and that there was no other captain in Europe who, with raw troops, with ignorant officers, with scanty stores, having to contend at once against a hostile army of greatly superior force, against a villanous commissariat, against a nest of traitors in his own camp, and against a disease more murderous than the sword, would have brought the campaign to a close without the loss of a flag or a gun. On the other hand, many of those newly commissioned majors and captains, whose helplessness had increased all his perplexities, and who had not one qualification for their posts except personal courage, grumbled at the skill and patience which had saved them from destruction. Their complaints were echoed on the other side of Saint George's Channel. Some of the murmuring, though unjust, was excusable. The parents, who had sent a gallant lad, in his first uniform, to fight his way to glory, might be pardoned if, when they learned that he had died on a wisp of straw without medical attendance, and had been buried in a swamp without any Christian or military ceremony, their affliction made them hasty and unreasonable. But with the cry of bereaved families was mingled another cry much less respectable. All the hearers and tellers of news abused the general who furnished them with so little news to hear and to tell. For men of that sort are so greedy after excitement that they far more readily forgive a commander who loses a battle than a commander who declines one. The politicians, who delivered their oracles from the thickest cloud of tobacco smoke at Garroway's, confidently asked, without knowing any thing, either of war in general, or of Irish war in particular, why Schomberg did not fight. They could not venture to say that he did not understand his calling. No doubt he had been an excellent officer: but he was very old. He seemed to bear his years well: but his faculties were not what they had been: his memory was failing; and it was well known that he sometimes forgot in the afternoon what he had done in the morning. It may be doubted whether there ever existed a human being whose mind was quite as firmly toned at eighty as at forty. But that Schomberg's intellectual powers had been little impaired by years is sufficiently proved by his despatches, which are still extant, and which are models of official writing, terse, perspicuous, full of important facts and weighty reasons, compressed into the smallest possible number of words. In those despatches he sometimes alluded, not angrily, but with calm disdain, to the censures thrown upon his conduct by shallow babblers, who, never having seen any military operation more important than the relieving of the guard at Whitehall, imagined that the easiest thing in the world was to gain great victories in any situation and against any odds, and by sturdy patriots who were convinced that one English tarter or thresher, who had not yet learned how to load a gun or port a pike, was a match for any five musketeers of King Lewis's household, [449]

Unsatisfactory as had been the results of the campaign in Ireland, the results of the maritime operations of the year were more unsatisfactory still. It had been confidently expected that, on the sea, England, allied with Holland, would have been far more than a match for the power of Lewis: but everything went wrong. Herbert had, after the unimportant skirmish of Bantry Bay, returned with his squadron to Portsmouth. There he found that he had not lost the good opinion either of the public or of the government. The House of Commons thanked him for his services; and he received signal marks of the favour of the Crown. He had not been at the coronation, and had therefore missed his share of the rewards which, at the time of that solemnity, had been distributed among the chief agents in the Revolution. The omission was now repaired; and he was created Earl of Torrington. The King went down to Portsmouth, dined on board of the Admiral's flag ship, expressed the fullest confidence in the valour and loyalty of the navy, knighted two gallant captains, Cloudesley Shovel and John Ashby, and ordered a donative to be divided among the seamen, [450]

We cannot justly blame William for having a high opinion of Torrington. For Torrington was generally regarded as one of the bravest and most skilful officers in the navy. He had been promoted to the rank of Rear Admiral of England by James, who, if he understood any thing, understood maritime affairs. That place and other lucrative places Torrington had relinquished when he found that he could retain them only by submitting to be a tool of the Jesuitical cabal. No man had taken a more active, a more hazardous, or a more useful part in effecting the Revolution. It seemed, therefore, that no man had fairer pretensions to be put at the head of the naval administration. Yet no man could be more unfit for such a post. His morals had always been loose, so loose indeed that the firmness with which in the late reign he had adhered to his religion had excited much surprise. His glorious disgrace indeed seemed to have produced a salutary effect on his character. In poverty and exile he rose from a voluptuary into a hero. But, as soon as prosperity returned, the hero sank again into a voluptuary; and the lapse was deep and hopeless. The nerves of his mind, which had been during a short time braced to a firm tone, were now so much relaxed by vice that he was utterly incapable of selfdenial or of strenuous exertion. The vulgar courage of a foremast man he still retained. But both as Admiral and as First Lord of the Admiralty he was utterly inefficient. Month after month the fleet which should have been the terror of the seas lay in harbour while he was diverting himself in London. The sailors, punning upon his new title, gave him the name of Lord Tarry-in-town. When he came on shipboard he was accompanied by a bevy of courtesans. There was scarcely an hour of the day or of the night when he was not under the influence of claret. Being insatiable of pleasure, he necessarily became insatiable of wealth. Yet he loved flattery almost as much as either wealth or pleasure. He had long been in the habit of exacting the most abject homage from those who were under his command. His flagship was a little Versailles. He expected his captains to attend him to his cabin when he went to bed, and to assemble every morning at his levee. He even suffered them to dress him. One of them combed his flowing wig; another stood ready with the embroidered coat. Under such a chief there could be no discipline. His tars passed their time in rioting among the rabble of Portsmouth. Those officers who won his favour by servility and adulation easily obtained leave of absence, and spent weeks in London, revelling in taverns, scouring the streets, or making love to the masked ladies in the pit of the theatre. The victuallers soon found out with whom they had to deal, and sent down to the fleet casks of meat which dogs would not touch, and barrels of beer which smelt worse than bilge water. Meanwhile the British Channel seemed to be abandoned to French rovers. Our merchantmen were boarded in sight of the ramparts of Plymouth. The sugar fleet from the West Indies lost seven ships. The whole value of the prizes taken by the cruisers of the enemy in the immediate neighbourhood of our island, while Torrington was engaged with his bottle and his harem, was estimated at six hundred thousand pounds. So difficult was it to obtain the convoy of a man of war, except by giving immense bribes, that our traders were forced to hire the services of Dutch privateers, and found these foreign mercenaries much more useful and much less greedy than the officers of our own royal navy, [451]

The only department with which no fault could be found was the department of Foreign Affairs. There William was his own minister; and, where he was his own minister, there were no delays, no blunders, no jobs, no treasons. The difficulties with which he had to contend were indeed great. Even at the Hague he had to encounter an opposition which all his wisdom and firmness could, with the strenuous support of Heinsius, scarcely overcome. The English were not aware that, while they were murmuring at their Sovereign's partiality for the land of his birth, a strong party in Holland was murmuring at his partiality for the land of his adoption. The Dutch ambassadors at Westminster complained that the terms of alliance which he proposed were derogatory to the dignity and prejudicial to the interests of the republic; that wherever the honour of the English flag was concerned, he was punctilious and obstinate; that he peremptorily insisted on an article which interdicted all trade with France, and which could not but be grievously felt on the Exchange of Amsterdam; that, when they expressed a hope that the Navigation Act would be repealed, he burst out a laughing, and told them that the thing was not to be thought of. He carried all his points; and a solemn contract was made by which England and the Batavian federation bound themselves to stand firmly by each other against France, and not to make peace except by mutual consent. But one of the Dutch plenipotentiaries declared that he was afraid of being one day held up to obloquy as a traitor for conceding so much; and the signature of another plainly appeared to have been traced by a hand shaking with emotion, [452]

Meanwhile under William's skilful management a treaty of alliance had been concluded between the States General and the Emperor. To that treaty Spain and England gave in their adhesion; and thus the four great powers which had long been bound together by a friendly understanding were bound together by a formal contract, [453]

But before that formal contract had been signed and sealed, all the contracting parties were in arms. Early in the year 1689 war was raging all over the Continent from the Humus to the Pyrenees. France, attacked at once on every side, made on every side a vigorous defence; and her Turkish allies kept a great German force fully employed in Servia and Bulgaria. On the whole, the results of the military operations of the summer were not unfavourable to the confederates. Beyond the Danube, the Christians, under Prince Lewis of Baden, gained a succession of victories over the Mussulmans. In the passes of Roussillon, the French troops contended without any decisive advantage against the martial peasantry of Catalonia. One German army, led by the Elector of Bavaria, occupied the Archbishopric of Cologne. Another was commanded by Charles, Duke of Lorraine, a sovereign who, driven from his own dominions by the arms of France, had turned soldier of fortune, and had, as such, obtained both distinction and revenge. He marched against the devastators of the Palatinate, forced them to retire behind the Rhine, and, after a long siege, took the important and strongly fortified city of Mentz.

Between the Sambre and the Meuse the French, commanded by Marshal Humieres, were opposed to the Dutch, commanded by the Prince of Waldeck, an officer who had long served the States General with fidelity and ability, though not always with good fortune, and who stood high in the estimation of William. Under Waldeck's orders was Marlborough, to whom William had confided an English brigade consisting of the best regiments of the old army of James. Second to Marlborough in command, and second also in professional skill, was Thomas Talmash, a brave soldier, destined to a fate never to be mentioned without shame and indignation. Between the army of Waldeck and the army of Humieres no general action took place: but in a succession of combats the advantage was on the side of the confederates. Of these combats the most important took place at Walcourt on the fifth of August. The French attacked an outpost defended by the English brigade, were vigorously repulsed, and were forced to retreat in confusion, abandoning a few field pieces to the conquerors and leaving more than six hundred corpses on the ground. Marlborough, on this as on every similar occasion, acquitted himself like a valiant and skilful captain. The Coldstream Guards commanded by Talmash, and the regiment which is now called the sixteenth of the line, commanded by Colonel Robert Hodges, distinguished themselves highly. The Royal regiment too, which had a few months before set up the standard of rebellion at Ipswich, proved on this day that William, in freely pardoning that great fault, had acted not less wisely than generously. The testimony which Waldeck in his despatch bore to the gallant conduct of the islanders was read with delight by their countrymen. The fight indeed was no more than a skirmish: but it was a sharp and bloody skirmish. There had within living memory been no equally serious encounter between the English and French; and our ancestors were naturally elated by finding that many years of inaction and vassalage did not appear to have enervated the courage of the nation, [454]

The Jacobites however discovered in the events of the campaign abundant matter for invective. Marlborough was, not without reason, the object of their bitterest hatred. In his behaviour on a field of battle malice itself could find little to censure: but there were other parts of his conduct which presented a fair mark for obloquy. Avarice is rarely the vice of a young man: it is rarely the vice of a great man: but Marlborough was one of the few who have, in the bloom of youth, loved lucre more than wine or women, and who have, at the height of greatness, loved lucre more than power or fame. All the precious gifts which nature had lavished on him he valued chiefly for what they would fetch. At twenty he made money of his beauty and his vigour. At sixty he made money of his genius and his glory. The applauses which were justly due to his conduct at Walcourt could not altogether drown the voices of those who muttered that, wherever a broad piece was to be saved or got, this hero was a mere Euclio, a mere Harpagon; that, though he drew a large allowance under pretence of keeping a public table, he never asked an officer to dinner; that his muster rolls were fraudulently made up; that he pocketed pay in the names of men who had long been dead, of men who had been killed in his own sight four years before at Sedgemoor; that there were twenty such names in one troop; that there were thirty-six in another. Nothing but the union of dauntless courage and commanding powers of mind with a bland temper and winning manners could have enabled him to gain and keep, in spite of faults eminently unsoldierlike, the good will of his soldiers, [455]

About the time at which the contending armies in every part of Europe were going into winter quarters, a new Pontiff ascended the chair of Saint Peter. Innocent the Eleventh was no more. His fate had been strange indeed. His conscientious and fervent attachment to the Church of which he was the head had induced him, at one of the most critical conjunctures in her history, to ally herself with her mortal enemies. The news of his decease was received with concern and alarm by Protestant princes and commonwealths, and with joy and hope at Versailles and Dublin. An extraordinary ambassador of high rank was instantly despatched by Lewis to Rome. The French garrison which had been placed in Avignon was withdrawn. When the votes of the Conclave had been united in favour of Peter Ottobuoni, an ancient Cardinal who assumed the appellation of Alexander the Eighth, the representative of France assisted at the installation, bore up the cope of the new Pontiff, and put into the hands of His Holiness a letter in which the most Christian King declared that he renounced the odious privilege of protecting robbers and assassins. Alexander pressed the letter to his lips, embraced the bearer, and talked with rapture of the near prospect of reconciliation. Lewis began to entertain a hope that the influence of the Vatican might be exerted to dissolve the alliance between the House of Austria and the heretical usurper of the English throne. James was even more sanguine. He was foolish enough to expect that the new Pope would give him money, and ordered Melfort, who had now acquitted himself of his mission at Versailles, to hasten to Rome, and beg His Holiness to contribute something towards the good work of upholding pure religion in the British islands. But it soon appeared that Alexander, though he might hold language different from that of his predecessor, was determined to follow in essentials his predecessor's policy. The original cause of the quarrel between the Holy See and Lewis was not removed. The King continued to appoint prelates: the Pope continued to refuse their institution: and the consequence was that a fourth part of the dioceses of France had bishops who were incapable of performing any episcopal function, [456]

The Anglican Church was, at this time, not less distracted than the Gallican Church. The first of August had been fixed by Act of Parliament as the day before the close of which all beneficed clergymen and all persons holding academical offices must, on pain of suspension, swear allegiance to William and Mary. During the earlier part of the summer, the Jacobites hoped that the number of nonjurors would be so considerable as seriously to alarm and embarrass the Government. But this hope was disappointed. Few indeed of the clergy were Whigs. Few were Tories of that moderate school which acknowledged, reluctantly and with reserve, that extreme abuses might sometimes justify a nation in resorting to extreme remedies. The great majority of the profession still held the doctrine of passive obedience: but that majority was now divided into two sections. A question, which, before the Revolution, had been mere matter of speculation, and had therefore, though sometimes incidentally raised, been, by most persons, very superficially considered, had now become practically most important. The doctrine of passive obedience being taken for granted, to whom was that obedience due? While the hereditary right and the possession were conjoined, there was no room for doubt: but the hereditary right and the possession were now separated. One prince, raised by the Revolution, was reigning at Westminster, passing laws, appointing magistrates and prelates, sending forth armies and fleets. His judges decided causes. His Sheriffs arrested debtors and executed criminals. Justice, order, property, would cease to exist, and society would be resolved into chaos, but for his Great Seal. Another prince, deposed by the Revolution, was living abroad. He could exercise none of the powers and perform none of the duties of a ruler, and could, as it seemed, be restored only by means as violent as those by which he had been displaced, to which of these two princes did Christian men owe allegiance?

To a large part of the clergy it appeared that the plain letter of Scripture required them to submit to the Sovereign who was in possession, without troubling themselves about his title. The powers which the Apostle, in the text most familiar to the Anglican divines of that age, pronounces to be ordained of God, are not the powers that can be traced back to a legitimate origin, but the powers that be. When Jesus was asked whether the chosen people might lawfully give tribute to Caesar, he replied by asking the questioners, not whether Caesar could make out a pedigree derived from the old royal house of Judah, but whether the coin which they scrupled to pay into Caesar's treasury came from Caesar's mint, in other words, whether Caesar actually possessed the authority and performed the functions of a ruler.

It is generally held, with much appearance of reason, that the most trustworthy comment on the text of the Gospels and Epistles is to be found in the practice of the primitive Christians, when that practice can be satisfactorily ascertained; and it so happened that the times during which the Church is universally acknowledged to have been in the highest state of purity were times of frequent and violent political change. One at least of the Apostles appears to have lived to see four Emperors pulled down in little more than a year. Of the martyrs of the third century a great proportion must have been able to remember ten or twelve revolutions. Those martyrs must have had occasion often to consider what was their duty towards a prince just raised to power by a successful insurrection. That they were, one and all, deterred by the fear of punishment from doing what they thought right, is an imputation which no candid infidel would throw on them. Yet, if there be any proposition which can with perfect confidence be affirmed touching the early Christians, it is this, that they never once refused obedience to any actual ruler on account of the illegitimacy of his title. At one time, indeed, the supreme power was claimed by twenty or thirty competitors. Every province from Britain to Egypt had its own Augustus. All these pretenders could not be rightful Emperors. Yet it does not appear that, in any place, the faithful had any scruple about submitting to the person who, in that place, exercised the imperial functions. While the Christian of Rome obeyed Aurelian, the Christian of Lyons obeyed Tetricus, and the Christian of Palmyra obeyed Zenobia. "Day and night," such were the words which the great Cyprian, Bishop of Carthage, addressed to the representative of Valerian and Gallienus,—"day and night do we Christians pray to the one true God for the safety of our Emperors." Yet those Emperors had a few months before pulled down their predecessor Aemilianus, who had pulled down his predecessor Gallus, who had climbed to power on the ruins of the house of his predecessor Decius, who had slain his predecessor Philip, who had slain his predecessor Gordian. Was it possible to believe that a saint, who had, in the short space of thirteen or fourteen years, borne true allegiance to this series of rebels and regicides, would have made a schism in the Christian body rather than acknowledge King William and Queen Mary? A hundred times those Anglican divines who had taken the oaths challenged their more scrupulous brethren to cite a single instance in which the primitive Church had refused obedience to a successful usurper; and a hundred times the challenge was evaded. The nonjurors had little to say on this head, except that precedents were of no force when opposed to principles, a proposition which came with but a bad grace from a school which had always professed an almost superstitious reverence for the authority of the Fathers, [457]

To precedents drawn from later and more corrupt times little respect was due. But, even in the history of later and more corrupt times, the nonjurors could not easily find any precedent that would serve their purpose. In our own country many Kings, who had not the hereditary right, had filled the throne but it had never been thought inconsistent with the duty of a Christian to be a true liegeman to such Kings. The usurpation of Henry the Fourth, the more odious usurpation of Richard the Third, had produced no schism in the Church. As soon as the usurper was firm in his seat, Bishops had done homage to him for their domains: Convocations had presented addresses to him, and granted him supplies; nor had any casuist ever pronounced that such submission to a prince in possession was deadly sin, [458]

With the practice of the whole Christian world the authoritative teaching of the Church of England appeared to be in strict harmony. The Homily on Wilful Rebellion, a discourse which inculcates, in unmeasured terms, the duty of obeying rulers, speaks of none but actual rulers. Nay, the people are distinctly told in that Homily that they are bound to obey, not only their legitimate prince, but any usurper whom God shall in anger set over them for their sins. And surely it would be the height of absurdity to say that we must accept submissively such usurpers as God sends in anger, but must pertinaciously withhold our obedience from usurpers whom He sends in mercy. Grant that it was a crime to invite the Prince of Orange over, a crime to join him, a crime to make him King; yet what was the whole history of the Jewish nation and of the Christian Church but a record of cases in which Providence had brought good out of evil? And what theologian would assert that, in such cases, we ought, from abhorrence of the evil, to reject the good?

On these grounds a large body of divines, still asserting the doctrine that to resist the Sovereign must always be sinful, conceived that William was now the Sovereign whom it would be sinful to resist.

To these arguments the nonjurors replied that Saint Paul must have meant by the powers that be the rightful powers that be; and that to put any other interpretation on his words would be to outrage common sense, to dishonour religion, to give scandal to weak believers, to give an occasion of triumph to scoffers. The feelings of all mankind must be shocked by the proposition that, as soon as a King, however clear his title, however wise and good his administration, is expelled by traitors, all his servants are bound to abandon him, and to range themselves on the side of his enemies. In all ages and nations, fidelity to a good cause in adversity had been regarded as a virtue. In all ages and nations, the politician whose practice was always to be on the side which was uppermost had been despised. This new Toryism was worse than Whiggism. To break through the ties of allegiance because the Sovereign was a tyrant was doubtless a very great sin: but it was a sin for which specious names and pretexts might be found, and into which a brave and generous man, not instructed in divine truth and guarded by divine grace, might easily fall. But to break through the ties of allegiance, merely because the Sovereign was unfortunate, was not only wicked, but dirty. Could any unbeliever offer a greater insult to the Scriptures than by asserting that the Scriptures had enjoined on Christians as a sacred duty what the light of nature had taught heathens to regard as the last excess of baseness? In the Scriptures was to be found the history of a King of Israel, driven from his palace by an unnatural son, and compelled to fly beyond Jordan. David, like James, had the right: Absalom, like William, had the possession. Would any student of the sacred writings dare to affirm that the conduct of Shimei on that occasion was proposed as a pattern to be imitated, and that Barzillai, who loyally adhered to his fugitive master, was resisting the ordinance of God, and receiving to himself damnation? Would any true son of the Church of England seriously affirm that a man who was a strenuous royalist till after the battle of Naseby, who then went over to the Parliament, who, as soon as the Parliament had been purged, became an obsequious servant of the Rump, and who, as soon as the Rump had been ejected, professed himself a faithful subject of the Protector, was more deserving of the respect of Christian men than the stout old Cavalier who bore true fealty to Charles the First in prison and to Charles the Second in exile, and who was ready to put lands, liberty, life, in peril, rather than acknowledge, by word or act, the authority of any of the upstart governments which, during that evil time, obtained possession of a power not legitimately theirs? And what distinction was there between that case and the case which had now arisen? That Cromwell had actually enjoyed as much power as William, nay much more power than William, was quite certain. That the power of William, as well as the power of Cromwell, had an illegitimate origin, no divine who held the doctrine of nonresistance would dispute. How then was it possible for such a divine to deny that obedience had been due to Cromwell, and yet to affirm that it was due to William? To suppose that there could be such inconsistency without dishonesty would be not charity but weakness. Those who were determined to comply with the Act of Parliament would do better to speak out, and to say, what every body knew, that they complied simply to save their benefices. The motive was no doubt strong. That a clergyman who was a husband and a father should look forward with dread to the first of August and the first of February was natural. But he would do well to remember that, however terrible might be the day of suspension and the day of deprivation, there would assuredly come two other days more terrible still, the day of death and the day of judgment, [459]

The swearing clergy, as they were called, were not a little perplexed by this reasoning. Nothing embarrassed them more than the analogy which the nonjurors were never weary of pointing out between the usurpation of Cromwell and the usurpation of William. For there was in that age no High Churchman who would not have thought himself reduced to an absurdity if he had been reduced to the necessity of saying that the Church had commanded her sons to obey Cromwell. And yet it was impossible to prove that William was more fully in possession of supreme power than Cromwell had been. The swearers therefore avoided coming to close quarters with the nonjurors on this point as carefully as the nonjurors avoided coming to close quarters with the swearers on the question touching the practice of the primitive Church.

The truth is that the theory of government which had long been taught by the clergy was so absurd that it could lead to nothing but absurdity. Whether the priest who adhered to that theory swore or refused to swear, he was alike unable to give a rational explanation of his conduct. If he swore, he could vindicate his swearing only by laying down propositions against which every honest heart instinctively revolts, only by proclaiming that Christ had commanded the Church to desert the righteous cause as soon as that cause ceased to prosper, and to strengthen the hands of successful villany against afflicted virtue. And yet, strong as were the objections to this doctrine, the objections to the doctrine of the nonjuror were, if possible, stronger still. According to him, a Christian nation ought always to be in a state of slavery or in a state of anarchy. Something is to be said for the man who sacrifices liberty to preserve order. Something is to be said for the man who sacrifices order to preserve liberty. For liberty and order are two of the greatest blessings which a society can enjoy: and, when unfortunately they appear to be incompatible, much indulgence is due to those who take either side. But the nonjuror sacrificed, not liberty to order, not order to liberty, but both liberty and order to a superstition as stupid and degrading as the Egyptian worship of cats and onions. While a particular person, differing from other persons by the mere accident of birth, was on the throne, though he might be a Nero, there was to be no insubordination. When any other person was on the throne, though he might be an Alfred, there was to be no obedience. It mattered not how frantic and wicked might be the administration of the dynasty which had the hereditary title, or how wise and virtuous might be the administration of a government sprung from a revolution. Nor could any time of limitation be pleaded against the claim of the expelled family. The lapse of years, the lapse of ages, made no change. To the end of the world, Christians were to regulate their political conduct simply according to the genealogy of their ruler. The year 1800, the year 1900, might find princes who derived their title from the votes of the Convention reigning in peace and prosperity. No matter: they would still be usurpers; and, if, in the twentieth or twenty-first century, any person who could make out a better right by blood to the crown should call on a late posterity to acknowledge him as King, the call must be obeyed on peril of eternal perdition.

A Whig might well enjoy the thought that the controversies which had arisen among his adversaries had established the soundness of his own political creed. The disputants who had long agreed in accusing him of an impious error had now effectually vindicated him, and refuted one another. The High Churchman who took the oaths had shown by irrefragable arguments from the Gospels and the Epistles, from the uniform practice of the primitive Church, and from the explicit declarations of the Anglican Church, that Christians were not in all cases bound to pay obedience to the prince who had the hereditary title. The High Churchman who would not take the oaths had shown as satisfactorily that Christians were not in all cases bound to pay obedience to the prince who was actually reigning. It followed that, to entitle a government to the allegiance of subjects, something was necessary different from mere legitimacy, and different also from mere possession. What that something was the Whigs had no difficulty in pronouncing. In their view, the end for which all governments had been instituted was the happiness of society. While the magistrate was, on the whole, notwithstanding some faults, a minister for good, Reason taught mankind to obey him; and Religion, giving her solemn sanction to the teaching of Reason, commanded mankind to revere him as divinely commissioned. But if he proved to be a minister for evil, on what grounds was he to be considered as divinely commissioned? The Tories who swore had proved that he ought not to be so considered on account of the origin of his power: the Tories who would not swear had proved as clearly that he ought not to be so considered on account of the existence of his power.

Some violent and acrimonious Whigs triumphed ostentatiously and with merciless insolence over the perplexed and divided priesthood. The nonjuror they generally affected to regard with contemptuous pity as a dull and perverse, but sincere, bigot, whose absurd practice was in harmony with his absurd theory, and who might plead, in excuse for the infatuation which impelled him to ruin his country, that the same infatuation had impelled him to ruin himself. They reserved their sharpest taunts for those divines who, having, in the days of the Exclusion Bill and the Rye House Plot, been distinguished by zeal for the divine and indefeasible right of the hereditary Sovereign, were now ready to swear fealty to an usurper. Was this then the real sense of all those sublime phrases which had resounded during twenty-nine years from innumerable pulpits? Had the thousands of clergymen, who had so loudly boasted of the unchangeable loyalty of their order, really meant only that their loyalty would remain unchangeable till the next change of fortune? It was idle, it was impudent in them to pretend that their present conduct was consistent with their former language. If any Reverend Doctor had at length been convinced that he had been in the wrong, he surely ought, by an open recantation, to make all the amends now possible to the persecuted, the calumniated, the murdered defenders of liberty. If he was still convinced that his old opinions were sound, he ought manfully to cast in his lot with the nonjurors. Respect, it was said, is due to him who ingenuously confesses an error; respect is due to him who courageously suffers for an error; but it is difficult to respect a minister of religion who, while asserting that he still adheres to the principles of the Tories, saves his benefice by taking an oath which can be honestly taken only on the principles of the Whigs.

These reproaches, though perhaps not altogether unjust, were unseasonable. The wiser and more moderate Whigs, sensible that the throne of William could not stand firm if it had not a wider basis than their own party, abstained at this conjuncture from sneers and invectives, and exerted themselves to remove the scruples and to soothe the irritated feelings of the clergy. The collective power of the rectors and vicars of England was immense: and it was much better that they should swear for the most flimsy reason that could be devised by a sophist than they should not swear at all.

It soon became clear that the arguments for swearing, backed as they were by some of the strongest motives which can influence the human mind, had prevailed. Above twenty-nine thirtieths of the profession submitted to the law. Most of the divines of the capital, who then formed a separate class, and who were as much distinguished from the rural clergy by liberality of sentiment as by eloquence and learning, gave in their adhesion to the government early, and with every sign of cordial attachment. Eighty of them repaired together, in full term, to Westminster Hall, and were there sworn. The ceremony occupied so long a time that little else was done that day in the Courts of Chancery and King's Bench, [460] But in general the compliance was tardy, sad and sullen. Many, no doubt, deliberately sacrificed principle to interest. Conscience told them that they were committing a sin. But they had not fortitude to resign the parsonage, the garden, the glebe, and to go forth without knowing where to find a meal or a roof for themselves and their little ones. Many swore with doubts and misgivings, [461] Some declared, at the moment of taking the oath, that they did not mean to promise that they would not submit to James, if he should ever be in a condition to demand their allegiance, [462] Some clergymen in the north were, on the first of August, going in a company to swear, when they were met on the road by the news of the battle which had been fought, four days before, in the pass of Killiecrankie. They immediately turned back, and did not again leave their homes on the same errand till it was clear that Dundee's victory had made no change in the state of public affairs, [463] Even of those whose understandings were fully convinced that obedience was due to the existing government, very few kissed the book with the heartiness with which they had formerly plighted their faith to Charles and James. Still the thing was done. Ten thousand clergymen had solemnly called heaven to attest their promise that they would be true liegemen to William; and this promise, though it by no means warranted him in expecting that they would strenuously support him, had at least deprived them of a great part of their power to injure him. They could not, without entirely forfeiting that public respect on which their influence depended, attack, except in an indirect and timidly cautious manner, the throne of one whom they had, in the presence of God, vowed to obey as their King. Some of them, it is true, affected to read the prayers for the new Sovereigns in a peculiar tone which could not be misunderstood, [464] Others were guilty of still grosser indecency. Thus, one wretch, just after praying for William and Mary in the most solemn office of religion, took off a glass to their damnation. Another, after performing divine service on a fast day appointed by their authority, dined on a pigeon pie, and while he cut it up, uttered a wish that it was the usurper's heart. But such audacious wickedness was doubtless rare and was rather injurious to the Church than to the government, [465]

Those clergymen and members of the Universities who incurred the penalties of the law were about four hundred in number. Foremost in rank stood the Primate and six of his suffragans, Turner of Ely, Lloyd of Norwich, Frampton of Gloucester, Lake of Chichester, White of Peterborough, and Ken of Bath and Wells. Thomas of Worcester would have made a seventh: but he died three weeks before the day of suspension. On his deathbed he adjured his clergy to be true to the cause of hereditary right, and declared that those divines who tried to make out that the oaths might be taken without any departure from the loyal doctrines of the Church of England seemed to him to reason more jesuitically than the Jesuits themselves, [466]

Ken, who, both in intellectual and in moral qualities, ranked highest among the nonjuring prelates, hesitated long. There were few clergymen who could have submitted to the new government with a better grace. For, in the times when nonresistance and passive obedience were the favourite themes of his brethren, he had scarcely ever alluded to politics in the pulpit. He owned that the arguments in favour of swearing were very strong. He went indeed so far as to say that his scruples would be completely removed if he could be convinced that James had entered into engagements for ceding Ireland to the French King. It is evident therefore that the difference between Ken and the Whigs was not a difference of principle. He thought, with them, that misgovernment, carried to a certain point, justified a transfer of allegiance, and doubted only whether the misgovernment of James had been carried quite to that point. Nay, the good Bishop actually began to prepare a pastoral letter explaining his reasons for taking the oaths. But, before it was finished, he received information which convinced him that Ireland had not been made over to France: doubts came thick upon him: he threw his unfinished letter into the fire, and implored his less scrupulous friends not to urge him further. He was sure, he said, that they had acted uprightly: he was glad that they could do with a clear conscience what he shrank from doing: he felt the force of their reasoning: he was all but persuaded; and he was afraid to listen longer lest he should be quite persuaded: for, if he should comply, and his misgivings should afterwards return, he should be the most miserable of men. Not for wealth, not for a palace, not for a peerage, would he run the smallest risk of ever feeling the torments of remorse. It is a curious fact that, of the seven nonjuring prelates, the only one whose name carries with it much weight was on the point of swearing, and was prevented from doing so, as he himself acknowledged, not by the force of reason, but by a morbid scrupulosity which he did not advise others to imitate, [467]

Among the priests who refused the oaths were some men eminent in the learned world, as grammarians, chronologists, canonists, and antiquaries, and a very few who were distinguished by wit and eloquence: but scarcely one can be named who was qualified to discuss any large question of morals or politics, scarcely one whose writings do not indicate either extreme feebleness or extreme flightiness of mind. Those who distrust the judgment of a Whig on this point will probably allow some weight to the opinion which was expressed, many years after the Revolution, by a philosopher of whom the Tories are justly proud. Johnson, after passing in review the celebrated divines who had thought it sinful to swear allegiance to William the Third and George the First, pronounced that, in the whole body of nonjurors, there was one, and one only, who could reason, [468]

The nonjuror in whose favour Johnson made this exception was Charles Leslie. Leslie had, before the Revolution, been Chancellor of the diocese of Connor in Ireland. He had been forward in opposition to Tyrconnel; had, as a justice of the peace for Monaghan, refused to acknowledge a papist as Sheriff of that county; and had been so courageous as to send some officers of the Irish army to prison for marauding. But the doctrine of nonresistance, such as it had been taught by Anglican divines in the days of the Rye House Plot, was immovably fixed in his mind. When the state of Ulster became such that a Protestant who remained there could hardly avoid being either a rebel or a martyr, Leslie fled to London. His abilities and his connections were such that he might easily have obtained high preferment in the Church of England. But he took his place in the front rank of the Jacobite body, and remained there stedfastly, through all the dangers and vicissitudes of three and thirty troubled years. Though constantly engaged in theological controversy with Deists, Jews, Socinians, Presbyterians, Papists, and Quakers, he found time to be one of the most voluminous political writers of his age. Of all the nonjuring clergy he was the best qualified to discuss constitutional questions. For, before he had taken orders, he had resided long in the Temple, and had been studying English history and law, while most of the other chiefs of the schism had been poring over the Acts of Chalcedon, or seeking for wisdom in the Targurn of Onkelos, [469] In 1689, however, Leslie was almost unknown in England. Among the divines who incurred suspension on the first of August in that year, the highest in popular estimation was without dispute Doctor William Sherlock. Perhaps no simple presbyter of the Church of England has ever possessed a greater authority over his brethren than belonged to Sherlock at the time of the Revolution. He was not of the first rank among his contemporaries as a scholar, as a preacher, as a writer on theology, or as a writer on politics: but in all the four characters he had distinguished himself. The perspicuity and liveliness of his style have been praised by Prior and Addison. The facility and assiduity with which he wrote are sufficiently proved by the bulk and the dates of his works. There were indeed among the clergy men of brighter genius and men of wider attainments: but during a long period there was none who more completely represented the order, none who, on all subjects, spoke more precisely the sense of the Anglican priesthood, without any taint of Latitudinarianism, of Puritanism, or of Popery. He had, in the days of the Exclusion Bill, when the power of the dissenters was very great in Parliament and in the country, written strongly against the sin of nonconformity. When the Rye House Plot was detected, he had zealously defended by tongue and pen the doctrine of nonresistance. His services to the cause of episcopacy and monarchy were so highly valued that he was made master of the Temple. A pension was also bestowed on him by Charles: but that pension James soon took away; for Sherlock, though he held himself bound to pay passive obedience to the civil power, held himself equally bound to combat religious errors, and was the keenest and most laborious of that host of controversialists who, in the day of peril, manfully defended the Protestant faith. In little more than two years he published sixteen treatises, some of them large books, against the high pretensions of Rome. Not content with the easy victories which he gained over such feeble antagonists as those who were quartered at Clerkenwell and the Savoy, he had the courage to measure his strength with no less a champion than Bossuet, and came out of the conflict without discredit. Nevertheless Sherlock still continued to maintain that no oppression could justify Christians in resisting the kingly authority. When the Convention was about to meet, he strongly recommended, in a tract which was considered as the manifesto of a large part of the clergy, that James should be invited to return on such conditions as might secure the laws and religion of the nation, [470] The vote which placed William and Mary on the throne filled Sherlock with sorrow and anger. He is said to have exclaimed that if the Convention was determined on a revolution, the clergy would find forty thousand good Churchmen to effect a restoration, [471] Against the new oaths he gave his opinion plainly and warmly. He declared himself at a loss to understand how any honest man could doubt that, by the powers that be, Saint Paul meant legitimate powers and no others. No name was in 1689 cited by the Jacobites so proudly and fondly as that of Sherlock. Before the end of 1690 that name excited very different feelings.

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