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your grace's belief, (after due proof,) as I am In my intentions, nay, I may say, as I am in my actions."
There are other letters equally strong, and the duke was quite satisfied, though there occurred many circumstances to awaken a doubt of the fairness of the earl's intentions: nor was it the least confirmatory circumstance, that the same suspicion was very general, of which the following anonymous letter may serve as an example:—" It is a good while, now, since first my lord-lieuteDant hath been misrepresented here; and if reports were trusted to make good as well as draw up censures, besides the unactive humour and temper many charge against him, I am informed there are those yet behind the curtain who only wait an opportunity to join hands with the earl of Meath, to promote and strengthen a higher charge. Orrery is this night expected in town, and to lodge at my lord Conway's; and as great a master of good aspect that way, (it is my own observation indeed, but no groundless one,) as Anglesey would seem to be, it will not be long (if they can but divine or promise the least success to their prosecution,) before his grace find that gentleman discover himself another Mountmorris. We live amidst great frauds, because with persons who seem most what other than they are. I fear me I dare not promise for the secretary, what perhaps he would fain make my lord duke believe him to be, his friend. Be the inducement what it will, it is observable^ a man doth ever his own business best, who trusts it not to another's management: and since his grace hath been struck at in the dark hitherto, all that have a love and service to his great integrity and merit, hold it safest, as more honourable, he should baffle their malice the same way he doth all other his great actings, even to the eyes of the world. I would not be thought now so vain, as to imagine I looked beyond what his grace doth; but with all submission 1 crave leave to offer, what my great duty, and as great zeal prompted me to, and that is to presume he hath more and greater enemies than he thinks he hath. The comprehensive bill hath made almost a great uproar among us; and the honest old gentry of England are so much the church's sons still, that hitherto, notwithstanding all the vigorous and powerful thereof, they have been able to suppress it: but the debate is to be resumed again next Wednesday; and then having got new strength, the secretaries expect no less than undoubted conquest; and amongst the aids promised them, I have it from good authority, that a great minister here hath undertaken his grace shall be for the toleration, and use his interest to effect it; which God forbid, that he, who never yet had blot on his scutcheon, upon any account, either in church or state, should ever have his name sullied, to be upon record among the schismatics, as an enemy to his mother, the church. But better things are believed of his grace, by all who have an honour for him; and when he comes over, no doubt this kingdom will find it."
Indoned.—" Letter to the Duchess of Ormonde, from an unknown person, left with the porter of my lodgings, at Whitehall: received April, 21, 1668."
The protestations of the earl of Orrery do not permit us consistently, with the view we have taken of his character, to infer that he was at the time of these letters directly engaged in the conspiracy against the duke, of which there is no doubt. It is nevertheless difficult wholly to reject suspicions warranted by so many circumstances: the earl of Orrery was engaged in the strictest ties of political interest and personal friendship with the very persons from whom all danger was to be apprehended. We think it also essential to a just conclusion, to take into account the shrewd and calculating disposition of this nobleman: nor can we omit the consideration, that they who were the enemies of the duke of Ormonde were his friends, and were not unlikely either to rely on his aid, or to throw proportional inducements in his way. The duke indeed, was completely satisfied by the letters above cited, but he must have been aware of the natural effects which circumstances would not fail to produce on the earl of Orrery, and which we believe to have been the actual result—that after a struggle between his regard for the duke, and other considerations affecting his own interest, he acceded to the wishes of those who wished for his aid. He had early applied to the duke for licence to go to England, but as appears from his letters, deferred proceeding for several months: we consider the delay to have originated in the vacillation arising from the conflict of opposite purposes. But when finally he prepared to depart, it became plain enough which way the scale was inclining; and the duke of Ormonde, long urged to appear in his own behalf, at last thought it high time to confront the base but powerful faction who were actively banded for his ruin. On the 24th April he left Dublin and arrived next day at Holyhead, having committed the government to lord Ossory.
His reception in London was impressive and magnificent: numbers of the nobility and gentry went out to meet him in their coaches, and he entered the city with a large procession of rank and respectability, which would have been still more considerable but that the houses of parliament were sitting at the time, and engaged in a debate of great warmth and interest. This circumstance, though quite unsought on the duke's part, wounded the king's pride and mortified Buckingham, who nevertheless visited him immediately, and protested that he was quite unconcerned in any design to injure him. By the king he was also received with the wonted kindness, or rather respect, for the king stood in awe of the duke, who was far too dignified and frank for his regard.
The charges against the duke did not, however, long suffer him to be in doubt about the intentions of his enemies. The arrival of lord Orrery was the signal of attack. The earl of Orrery was the fast friend of the leading members of the cabal against the duke, and in addition to the remarks already made it is also with truth observed, that he had himself a strong interest in some of the most important decisions to which these charges might lead. The duke had advised the reduction of the Irish establishment, or the increase of the means for their support. Lord Orrery's interest lay in the full maintenance of the military establishment; he at once, on arriving in London, nsserted that the revenue was sufficient, but that it had been misapplied. The accompts were examined, and the facts did not bear out this assertion: the payments were found to have been for the most part essential, and fully amounting to the receipts, but two sums had been ordered by the duke, and of these one was to the earls of Anglesey and Orrery, and the other to a Mr Fitz-Gerald, but neither had been paid: the duke was on this score free from imputation. Much of the waste had however arisen from a source independent of every Irish authority, the king's own warrants, by which large sums had occasionally been disbursed in the Irish treasury. The earl of Anglesey, who was treasurer of the navy, and was involved in this charge, was found quite free from blame.
The reduction of the Munster army was in consequence decided on, and it was nlso considered advisable to call an Irish parliament, much to the annoyance of the earl of Orrery, as his own enemies in Ireland had been maturing charges against him as president of Munster, on an impeachment in the Irish parliament. The conspiracy against the duke and the earl of Anglesey ended in the establishment of these facts: that the revenue had not been adequately collected, and that there was a considerable arrear. It was ascertained that the expenses of the establishment had always exceeded the revenue; but that the excess had been diminishing annually during the duke's administration.*
The charges against the duke were altogether relinquished as wholly groundless; but the eagerness of his enemies' was unsatisfied, and he was still pursued with the same relentless animosity. The system of operations was necessarily changed. Failing to find a weak point for an assault upon his reputation, his virtues were turned against him: it was quickly seen by the keen eye of court malignity, that the friendship of Charles was an unwilling tribute to one whom he feared; for with the profligate respect is fear or dislike. It was therefore now resolved to render him unpopular with the king, and also to practise upon the pride of the duke himself.
The duke's own friends had advised him to resign a station which was the mark of envy and treachery. But this was a step to which there lay some very strong objections: there was in reality not a single person competent to fill his place, who could be trusted with the interests of Ireland; and the duke having given up 400,000 acres of property for the sum of £50,000, which was allotted for the payment of his creditors, was also aware that he would lose the money if he should leave the country.
During the following nine months the duke was kept in a state of suspense as to the intentions of the king. From the perusal of a considerable mass of letters and other documents, we are enabled to infer with considerable certainty the real course of proceeding which was adopted by his enemies, and sanctioned by the king with some reluctance, and not without a sense of shame: profligate and unprincipled, he was not without sagacity and good taste, and understood but too well the baseness and insignificance of those who were necessary to his vices. Failing miserably in their efforts to cast disgrace upon the duke, whose character rose undique tutus from their shallow and pre
Carte, II. 371.
cipitate accusations, the next effort was to proceed by court intrigue, to bring round the indolent and complying humour of the king, and in the mean time to cast an impenetrable obscurity around their real designs. For this purpose the duke was courted and imposed upon by professions and pretexts: the king assured him that he should not be removed from the government, and his enemies appeared to have relented in their purposes. The duke was too sagacious to be wholly deceived, but too honourable to comprehend the whole extent of their hypocrisy: he could not help perceiving that he was sedulously excluded from all councils upon Irish affairs, while he was carefully consulted upon every other topic From this, and from the oft-repeated advice of pretending friends, he was soon led to suspect that the object of the court party was to "unfasten" him first from his position, and then to remove him wholly. We shall here offer a selection of extracts from his confidential correspondence with his son:—
August 4th, 1668.—" I have expostulated with my lord of Orrery the unfriendliness and disrespect of his making propositions, so much relating to my employment, and contrary to his promise, without acquainting me with them. What his answers to so unavoidable a charge you may guess; but they were such as I was content to receive for that time." •••••••
"It is evident my lord of Orrery would avert the disbanding of any part of the army, and at least delay the calling of an Irish parliament which engages him in undertakings very hard to be made good. Time will show the issue of all." August 15th, 1668.
"All that can be said of the publick is that discontent and despondence was never more high or universal, nor ever any court fallen to so much contempt, or governed with so little care to redeem itself. All that can be said in favour of the times and government is, that (for ought I can find,) justice betwixt man and man, and that upon offenders, is well distributed in the courts of judicature; but certainly the favours, recompenses and employments, are not so. * *
"As to my private, it is certain, the insinuations of my enemies (who will be found to be the king's in the end,) had prevailed with his majesty to believe that I had not served him with that care and thrift which the state of his affairs required. And, I am not free from doubt, but that those suggestions may have drawn some engagement from him, not to admit of my return into Ireland, with which he now finds himself embarrassed, especially they failing to make good what they undertook to discover, of my mismanagement. Whether my interest and innocence will prevail, or their malice and artifice, is the question." September, 1668.
"On Thursday last, by former appointment, Mr Treasurer and I dined at my lord Arlington's; the design being that we three might freely talk upon the subject of the alteration of the government of Ireland. The endeavour on their part was to persuade me to think it reasonable and without prejudice to me, that (retaining the name and appointments of lieutenant,) I should name fit persons to govern in my absence, and by applying themselves to me upon all occasions. I answered (with all submission to the king's will) that to make any change in the government till I had been once more on the place, would be understood to proceed from the king's dissatisfaction with my service, and would inevitably bring ruin and disgrace upon me, and be matter of triumph to my enemies and dejection to my friends. Yet if I could be convinced how it would advantage his majesty to have me removed, I would, as I have always done, prefer his service and prosperity to any interest of my own. But (I said,) that without entering into panegyricks of myself, I knew nothing tit for the king to do in Ireland, which I was not as well able to do as any he could employ.
"Many other things interposed in our discourse, whereof at length the result was, that my lord Arlington said he was verily persuaded I might have the matter ordered as I would myself. When we were ready to break up that conversation, I told his lordship, 'I had long and patiently observed myself excluded from all conversations relating to Ireland; that it was not in my nature to thrust myself upon business, especially such as seemed industriously kept from me; but that on the other side, I would not willingly be thought empty of thoughts fit for his majesty's knowledge and consideration, and doggedly sit silent out of discontent.' His advice to me was, to speak freely of the affairs of Ireland with the king, and my lord keeper. Last of all, I desired him to let me know what was misliked in my conduct, which might do me prejudice with the king. He answered, that all he could observe was, that it was held a negligence in me to suffer my lord Anglesey to pervert so much of the public money as he had done; that it was evident the revenue exceeded the establishment, and yet the army was vastly in arrear. I answered that this was what I foresaw would reflect upon me in the execution of that commission, which I was told should not in the least touch me. However, it was hard to impute my lord of Anglesey's faults (if any he had committed,) to me, especially since his majesty knew that I had by express warrant commanded him to prefer the establishment to all other payments." November 21st, 1668.
"My last was of the 13th instant. That very evening I had notice the king intended the next day, at a committee of foreign affairs, to declare his resolution to change the governor of Ireland: which accordingly he did, and my lord Privy Seal to succeed. His majesty declared without any stop or hesitation (which sometimes happens in his discourse,) 'how well he was satisfied with my thirty years service to his father and himself; that the change he now made was not out of distrust or displeasure, as should appear by admitting me into the most secret and important parts of his affairs; and that nobody should have an higher or nearer place in his esteem or confidence.'" February 16th, 1668.
The king's respect for the duke of Ormonde amounts to something very like fear, he was " willing to wound, but yet afraid to strike," and after his mind was fully made up to dismiss him from his office, he waited many days and made many abortive efforts to put his plan into execution. He sent lord Arlington to him for his commission, but the duke told this lord that he had received his commission from the king's own hand, and would return it to no other. He then went to .deliver it to the king who denied the message. Two days after, the duke received another visit from lord Arlington, who delivered the