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well known. But Dr Lingard in a note says, The king had previously consulted Sir Robert Cotton, who replied, that it was the custom for the sovereign to be present in Parliament till the reign of Henry VIII.; since which time it was admitted to have been disused. For this he refers to Sir Robert Cotton's answer in manuscript, in the collection of Thomas Lloyd, Esq.' Nothing can more display the inevitable danger of occasional oversights in a long work, than this introduction of Sir Robert Cotton's name, who, as Dr Lingard must be well aware, died nearly forty years before the time of which he is here writing. The inadvertence possibly arose from an erroneous indorsement of the manuscript he refers to ; and the king, who consulted that learned antiquary, would be Charles I., who is known to have gone down to the House of Lords on the Duke of Buckingham's impeachment in 1626.
The secret treaty of 1670, between Charles and Louis XIV., for the war against Holland, and the establishment of arbitrary power and Popery in England, is now published for the first time, (xii. 354,) from an original in the possession of Lord Clifford, the descendant of one of the principal negotiators. Dalrymple had given only the draft, or project, of this extraordinary royal conspiracy; and though it does not in the slightest degree differ from the original, we are much indebted to Dr Lingard for having procured the latter, were it only as an additional confirmation of Dalrymple's fidelity. It is supposed by Dr Lingard that a fresh treaty, being, in fact, the third, was signed early in 1672, though Dalrymple calls it a Latin copy of what is called the second, or traité simulé, which was intended as a blind to the Protestant ministers of Charles, omitting every part of the first that related to the king's change of religion. The ground of this supposition is, that the command of the English auxiliaries was given by it to the Duke of Monmouth.' For this he quotes Dalrymple, ii. 88. But we do not find this mentioned as part of the treaty, nor is it likely that the choice of a general should have been determined in any treaty; and as Dalrymple seems to write on the authority of Colbert's dispatches, in calling it a Latin copy, we do not see why it should be presumed to be any thing else.
The latter part of Charles's reign is recounted, not with great minuteness, nor so as to satisfy any one who wishes to become master of the subject, but with a judicious selection of circumstances, according to the necessary limits of the present volumes; and, we think, upon the whole, with considerable impartiality. The Popish plot, indeed, which Dr Lingard does not lay on any higher conspirators than Oates and Tonge, was so foul an im
posture, and the innocence of the accused so manifest, that there could be neither pretext nor temptation for distorting any portion of the truth. We think, however, that, as far as uncontradicted evidence goes, the suicide of Sir Edmundbury Godfrey is more improbable than Dr Lingard supposes it to be; though we have not the remotest thought of attributing his murder to the Catholics; nor even do we deny that he might have fallen by his own hands, upon which hypothesis great part of the testimony must be very incorrect. But while we perceive scarce the slightest bias towards the religion he professes in this last portion of Dr Lingard's work, we cannot wholly acquit him of a little leaning towards the administration of Charles II. In stating all the proceedings which have been justly reckoned violent and unconstitutional, the last word is invariably given to the side of government; nor could any one suppose, from what they here read of the trials of College, Sidney, Armstrong, and Rosewell, that they were conducted with that unfairness which posterity has imputed to them. A natural indignation at the imposture of the Popish plot, which even the best of the Whig party too much encouraged, has probably led our author to view with some complacency the retaliation of violence and injustice that so soon fell upon their heads. The following passage seems judicious and dispassionate; it relates to the sudden dissolution of the Oxford Parliament in 1681 :
Such was the abrupt termination of this, the last Parliament in the reign of Charles II.; and it may be considered a fortunate circumstance for the country, that it never brought to a termination the important question of the succession. James was not of a temper to acquiesce either in the expedient or the exclusion: he would have appealed to arms in defence of what he considered his right; and so profound was the reverence felt for the principles of the ancient constitution, so strong the prepossession in favour of the divine right of hereditary succession, that he would have found multitudes ready to draw the sword in his cause. Had he succeeded, he would have come a conqueror to the throne, armed with more formidable authority than he could have possessed in the ordinary way of inheritance; and if he had failed, there was reason to fear, from the political bias of the popular leaders, that the legitimate rights of the sovereign would have been reduced to the mere name and pageantry of a throne. It is probable that a dissolution preserved the nation from a civil war, and from its natural consequences, the establishment of a republican, or of an arbitrary government.-Vol. xiii. p. 274.
A tendency to extenuate the severities exercised on the Cameronians in Scotland, might be anticipated from Dr Lingard's general predilection (the word may be a trifle too strong) for the government and characters of Charles II, and the Duke of York.
He sometimes adopts a style of rather too much levity, either for a humane historian, or for a minister of any denomination of religion. Thus, speaking of two unfortunate females, Isabel Alison and Marion Harvey, put to death for fanatical opinions, rather than any actual crime, he says: In prison, the Bible was their chief consolation; the lecture of the Book of Canticles 'threw them into ecstasies of joy; and as they ascended the fatal ladder, they cheered their last moments by applying to them'selves the passage, "My fair one, my lovely one, come away."Vol. xiii. 298. The sneering style which pervades these volumes, when the religious tenets of Protestants are mentioned, alarming the orthodox,'' scandalizing the godly,' and so forth, is in a taste which has a little gone by, at least in grave histories, and, as we have observed, sits not very becomingly on one of Dr Lingard's profession. It is a much smaller sort of criticism, that the word lecture,' in the above sentence, is not used in a sense which usage warrants; and we may remark, that Dr Lingard's style, though good in most essential qualities, has not yet attained as much purity as we should think desirable. We observed in one place civilian,' in the sense of one who is not a soldier ; 'a very vile phrase' anywhere but in the mess-rooms where it originated. A fault of a different kind, though still verbal, is the name of Lord William Russell, instead of Lord Russell; a mistake not uncommon, especially in older books, but so palpable that it should not have found place repeatedly as it does in Dr Lingard's history.
The reign of James II., might be deemed a test of a Roman Catholic historian. Dr Lingard has passed very successfully through this ordeal. His imperturbable serenity never deserts him; the arbitrary conduct, and infatuated policy of the king are surrendered without much extenuation; and though he is evidently unwilling to assign any better motive than ambition to the enterprise of William, he abstains from every thing like invective; nor do we find any strong expression used, except once, when he speaks of the perfidy of Lord Cornbury in joining the Prince of Orange. We should only complain of too favourable a colouring in respect of some of the judicial proceedings in this reign, as we did with regard to the preceding. The trials of Alderman Cornish, and of Mrs Gaunt, (the latter of whom was burned alive,) are not mentioned; and in the account of that of Mrs Lisle, there are several mistatements, tending to palliate the enormity of her sentence. It is intimated that she was selected for punishment, on account of the displeasure 'occasioned by the countenance which she had always given to the doctrines of the "good old cause." (Vol. xiv. p. 73.) But
this was never suggested, and is contrary to the known fact; we do not wait to enquire what sort of a justification it would have been. Burnet says, 'she was known to be much affected ' with the king's death, and not easily reconciled to her husband 'for the share he had in it.' And she asserted at her trial, that 'she abhorred that rebellion as much as any woman in the 'world.' These may be called slender proofs; but when there is not a syllable on the other side, but the baseless presumption of a writer, coming one hundred and fifty years afterwards, they have surely more strength than his mere breath can overcome. The note, page 74, is intended to excuse the conduct of Jeffries on this trial, and charges Burnet with representations calculated to mislead the reader. But we see nothing blamable in Burnet, beyond that circumstantial incorrectness from which he is rarely free; and after reading the printed trial, or even this note of Dr Lingard, we believe that every one would come pretty much to the same conclusion as to the demerits of Jeffries. The king,' Dr Lingard goes on to say, 'substituted decapitation for the legal punishment of burn'ing; a mitigation of the judgment which his opponents have ' termed an usurpation of power contrary to law, as if our princes 'had not always exercised that power.' Though it is not easy to prove a negative, we much doubt if any of the king's 'oppo'nents' ever thought of calling this act of clemency an usurpation, or of making the least objection to it.
In the relation of Monmouth's invasion, we have observed a somewhat important inaccuracy:
After several contradictory resolutions, it was resolved to cross the Avon at Keynsham Bridge, the Severn at Glocester, and to march along the right bank of the last river till they should be joined by their friends in Cheshire; but Venner and Mason, two of his most distinguished partisans, dissenting from this advice, and conceiving themselves released from their obligations to him, made their escape. The duke still lay at Bridgewater, when the royal army reached Somerton. . . . It thus became doubtful whether he could reach Keynsham before his opponents, and a resolution was taken to surprise the royal camp during the night.'-Vol. xiv. 55.
Dr Lingard has here overlooked the actual march of Monmouth from Bridgewater upon Keynsham, a skirmish with the royalists in that village, his unsuccessful summons of Bristol and of Bath, another slight engagement in the village of Philip's Norton, a few miles from the last city, wherein he was victorious, and his retreat by Frome to Bridgewater. These events occupied about seven days; no small portion of time in that disastrous attempt of an imbecile adventurer, under the pretext of vindicating the
liberties of England, to disgrace her by a most impotent usurpa
The excellent work of the late M. Mazure, Histoire de la Revolution de 1688 en Angleterre, has been of considerable service to Dr Lingard for the reign of James II.; but he has also had copies made for him of the correspondence of Barillon from the Depôt des Affaires étrangères at Paris. These two histories, therefore, of Mazure and Lingard, may fairly be presumed to contain whatever is most new and valuable in that celebrated correspondence. The effect is to throw off from the English Catholics in general, the imputation of having encouraged or approved the imprudent and illegal measures by which the king sought to reinstate their church in its ascendency; measures of which, however, they long paid the penalty in a severe proscription, and deprivation of civil rights. It is more difficult to fix upon any other persons by whom that deluded prince was instigated; and, upon the whole, it seems very doubtful whether he had any evil counsellor, exercising a permanent influence, except his pride and obstinacy. Dr Lingard, after a long note, wherein he collects various authorities from Barillon, D'Avaux, and other authentic sources, comes to the conclusion that there can be little doubt that Sunderland, to secure the favour of the Prince of Orange, betray'ed to him, occasionally at least, the secrets of his sovereign, ' in violation of his duty and his oath. His assertion that "he had contributed all that lay in him to the advancing of the revolution," may also be true; but most probably it was nothing more than an afterthought, artfully put forward for the 'purpose of claiming merit to himself for that from which he had hitherto incurred blame.'-Vol. xiv. 301. This is fairly stated, and with probability; and it may be added, that both Sunderland and Father Pétre, who have passed for the worst advisers of James II., appear, from Barillon's dispatches, to have dissuaded the most injudicious of all his proceedings, the prosecution of the seven bishops.-Vol. xiv. 200. This is contrary to what has been asserted, or surmised, in all former histories. The character of Sunderland is so bad, on every hypothesis, that it matters little as to him which we please to adopt.
Dr Lingard brings his long labour to a close, when James, embarking from Rochester, quits for ever the throne he had so ill occupied. The memorable interregnum, which ended in the elevation of his nephew, finds, therefore, no place in his pages; and if we knew nothing but from them, the curtain would seem to fall rather abruptly on the destinies of England. We should not know that a revolution so momentous and so unexpected was accomplished without bloodshed or anarchy, though not without