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A.D. 1683.] LORD WILLIAM RUSSELL EXECUTED.
vanquished Puritans, who knew that it only needed an accusation for libel to insure rigorous punishment. Some anxious Protestants contented themselves with the reflection that the king and the Duke of York being old, better times might be hoped for on the accession of the Princess Anne, married to Prince George of Denmark. Others engaged in conspiracy.
After so many false rumours of plots-not fewer than fifteena real one was at last discovered, called the Rye-House Plot. The object of this conspiracy was to prevent, in case of the king's death, the advent of the Popish Duke of York to the throne, and to confer the crown on the Protestant Duke of Monmouth, whom they set up as the legitimate son of Charles by a private marriage. The Earl of Argyle was to support the movement with the Scotch malcontents. The conspiracy being betrayed, Monmouth fled. Lord Russell, one of the prime movers, was sent to the Tower, and Lord Essex, Algernon Sidney, with Hampden, grandson of the immortal Hampden, and several others, were arrested. Lieutenant-Colonel Walcot, with Stone and Rouse, were the first tried and executed. Lord Russell, when brought to trial, was too honest to deny expressly the project of insurrection, but repudiated the charge of design to assassinate the king. Being sentenced to death, his noble and beautiful wife, after vain supplications for pardon, determined to sustain his fortitude by the firmness of her own. They shared the sacrament together; and on bidding her farewell, he said, "The bitterness of death is past." He was beheaded on Tower Hill (1683). Algernon Sidney, next brought to trial, was convicted on illegal evidence, supplied from written essays in favour of republican government found in his drawers, and which might have been composed for amusement or mental exercise. But his attachment to republican principles was undoubted, and he too was executed. Hampden was fined the enormous sum of £40,000. Contrary to law, the Duke of York, without taking the Protestant test enacted by Parliament, was restored to the post of Lord High Admiral; but the king thought he had done something to disarm the jealousies of the Protestants
by giving his niece Anne in marriage to George Prince of Denmark.
The French monarchy had, by the year 1684, been raised, through the paid connivance of Charles, to a height of power which threatened the liberties of all Europe. The king was said to have at last opened his eyes to the evils of his bad reign. It is believed that he had resolved upon sending the Duke of York (who had returned to London to take his seat at the Privy Council) to Scotland, of recalling Monmouth, and of submitting to Parliament, when he was suddenly seized with apoplexy, and having thrown off disguise as to religion, he received the sacrament from a Roman Catholic priest, and expired on the 6th February 1685. A careless and easy disposition, and affable manners, have been allowed to cover the multitude of this king's sins. He tried to subvert the liberties of England, he deluged Scotland in blood, he conspired for money to ruin the Dutch republic, he debased literature, and corrupted manners.
The practice of indirect taxation was greatly extended during this reign. Copper coinage was introduced. The Royal Society, Greenwich Observatory, and Chelsea Hospital were founded. surance offices were instituted. The colony of Pennsylvania was founded by William Penn, of the Society of Friends.
Cotemporary Sovereign and Events.-France: Louis XIV. Treaty of Aix-la-Chapelle (1668). Vienna attacked by the Turks (1683).
Questions.-1. What were Charles 11.'s first measures? 2. Explain the Corporation Act, the Act of Uniformity, the Conventicle Act, and the Five-Mile Act? 3. What led to the Dutch war; and how was it concluded? 4. What two great calamities befel London in 1664-65? 5. In what relation to Louis XIV. was Charles brought by the Cabal; and what was the consequence of it? 6. Why was the Declaration of Indulgence looked upon with alarm? 7. Give an account of the Parliament of 1679; and explain the Habeas Corpus Act. an account of the Parliament of 1680; and explain the names Whig and Tory. was the object and issue of the Rye-house plot?
5. James II. (son of Charles I.)
A. D. 1685-1689.
LEVY OF TAXES WITHOUT CONSENT OF PARLIAMENT-REBELLION OF MONMOUTH AND ARGYLE-ASSUMPTION OF THE POWER OF SUSPENDING PENAL LAWS, AND RE-ESTABLISHMENT OF A COURT OF HIGH COMMISSION-DECLARATION OF TOLERATION, AND NEGLECT OF THE TEST ACT-PETITION OF THE BISHOPS-INVITATION TO WILLIAM OF ORANGE-DECLARATION OF RIGHTS.
James, on his accession to the throne, assured his Privy Council that he would govern, not by arbitrary power, but according to the laws of England,—a promise which he by no means fulfilled, and for the breach of which he paid by the loss of his crown.
His first violation of the law was to levy certain taxes, such as customs and excise, before he had received the consent of Parliament. He meanly accepted money from the French king, Louis XIV., whom he in return absolved from a treaty with his late brother Charles, which guaranteed the security of the Belgian provinces. He soon began to practise openly the Roman Catholic religion; and, on the occasion of his coronation, had the ceremony cut short, in order to omit parts of the ceremonial inconsistent with his own religious opinions. Upon Scotland he let loose a violent persecution, obliging the Scotch Parliament to pass a law making attendance in a conventicle a capital crime, while the Covenanters were everywhere given up to the brutal license of the soldiery.
When Parliament assembled, it complied with the king's demands regarding the settlement of the revenue as enjoyed by the late sovereign. It was a submissive House, in consequence of the city members being returned by the municipalities, which had been remodelled by Charles, and which, consequently, were under Court influence. They failed to extort one word in favour of that Protestant religion which the Speaker assured his Majesty the people and their representatives held dearer than life.
The Revocation of the Edict of Nantes in France (1685), under which Protestants had been allowed to live peaceably in the free
CONSPIRACY OF MONMOUTH AND ARGYLE.
exercise of their religion, was followed by bitter persecutions in that country, which greatly alarmed the people of England. Eight hundred thousand people were said to have fled from France, and as very many of them were skilled artisans, they contributed to the prosperity of the countries which received them.
Titus Oates, the perjured inventor of the Popish plot, now met with the punishment due to his wicked courses. Tried and found guilty, he was condemned to be twice publicly whipped, to be imprisoned for life, and pilloried five times a year.
While these proceedings occupy the public mind, it is startled by news of the arrival of the Earl of Argyle, called MacCallum More, at Campbelton, near the southern extremity of the peninsula of Kintyre, at the head of an expedition in favour of the Duke of Monmouth, who pretended to be legitimate, and consequently the rightful heir to the Crown. The Earl, convicted upon a false charge at the instigation of James, when Duke of York, and obliged to fly, had taken refuge in the Low Countries. On the accession of his persecutor he joined Monmouth in Holland, where they planned an attempt on England. Argyle, who preceded the duke, counted upon the devotedness of his friends in the Highlands, and intended to make his old castle of Inverary the head-quarters of the insurrection. His plan was overruled by other chiefs, who felt jealous of the ascendency to be derived from such a position. The Lowlands were accordingly adopted as the field of action, where sympathy for the cause was less keen: after some feeble and distracted movements Argyle fell into the hands of his enemies. The calm heroism and gentle piety of his conduct in prison, and his unmoved demeanour on the scaffold, called forth general pity and admiration.
About a week after Argyle's failure (11th June), Monmouth landed at Lyme, and was warmly received by the population, who regarded him as the champion of the Protestant cause. He claimed the throne as legitimate son of Charles II., which he was not; but so ready were the people to confide in his assurances, that within twenty-four hours 1500 men had flocked to his standard. The
A.D. 1685.] DEFEAT OF MONMOUTH AT SEDGEMOOR.
Duke of Albemarle, at the head of the king's forces, thought it prudent to retreat from Axminster, and Monmouth entered Taunton in triumph. The windows were decorated with flowers, and a train of young damsels presented to the handsome and graceful youth a gorgeous banner and a Bible. Enthusiasm rose to the height of proclaiming him king. A battle was fought, on the 6th July, at Sedgemoor, near Bridgewater, which ended in the duke's defeat. He fled, and after some days was captured in a corn-field, reduced to the most wretched plight. With the loss of good fortune courage deserted him, and he prayed for pardon. James granted him an interview, but remained insensible to his entreaties. He was executed (1685). So fervently attached were the people to his memory that they would not believe in his death.
Then followed the most terrible acts of vengeance. In Scotland the country about Argyle's castle had been laid waste for a circuit of forty miles, and many had been executed. In the west of England there followed the most brutal license of the soldiery ; so many were condemned by the infamous Judge Jeffreys, that the circuit court of that year bears to this day the name of the "Bloody Assizes." That monster, who listened to no defence, but brow-beat counsel, witnesses, and jury, boasted that he had executed more traitors than all his predecessors since the Conquest. Many were condemned to be sold as slaves, and they fetched so high a price that the queen and her maids of honour degraded themselves to ask for the condemned that they might pocket the produce of the sale.
At this time dissenters were so watched that they could meet for worship only by having recourse to stratagems to baffle their persecutors. Even the French Huguenots saw James, in connivance with their own persecuting sovereign Louis XIV., interfere to throw difficulties in the way of an English subscription set on foot for their benefit. When Parliament met, its uneasiness appeared in a resolution to increase the efficiency of the militia, which the king angrily understood to mean that he was not to be allowed to carry out his project of a standing army; for the militia