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house, by a majority of two hundred and seven to one hundred and twenty-eight. It was not finally agreed to, until the eleventh day of November, 1680, when it was carried into the house of Peers by Lord Russel. It was no sooner received by the Lords, than the members, who attended Lord Russel, expressed their joy by loud shouts. The Lords rejected the bill by a majority of thirty.
On this occasion, and indeed on every occasion that required his attention to the public good, Sir John Lowther distinguished himself by his superior abilities and disinterested integrity. He never desisted from exerting his best endeavours to ward off the imminent and alarming dangers, which arose from the influence of popish counsels.
As long as his health allowed him, he constantly attended his duty in parliament; and his name frequently occurs in the different committees, to which matters of great public and private concern were referred. He is represented as a person particularly eminent for the excellence of his understanding, and the soundness of his judgement; of inimitable grace in speaking, and of great weight and authority with all those who heard him.
During the reign of James II., his mind was agitated with perpetual anxiety and terror at the precipitate measures which were then adopted. In this emergency, he rigidly adhered to a maxim, which he had laid down to himself as sacred and inviolable: that “ he, who builds his greatness and his fortune by flattering and serving a prince in his vices or designs of tyranny, is a traitor to God, to his prince, and to his country, and ought to be treated as such.” Though, at the commencement of this reign, he was strongly inclined to place an almost unlimited confidence in the promises of the King, the conduct of that infatuated monarch became every day more, offensive to his Protestant subjects. To an ingenuous mind, no sensation of grief can be equally poignant with that, which results from the necessity of resisting the authority of the supreme magistrate. But when that authority prescribes to itself no limits, when it attempts to subvert the laws and destroy the constitution of the state, the relation betwixt the prince and the subject is obviously dissolved : and this was now the case. In vain did James assure his Parliament, that he would always defend and support the Church of England ; and that he would preserve the government, both in church and state, as it was by law established. This promise, solemnly made, was almost immediately broken. So loose were the maxims of morality, which directed the conduct of this unhappy prince !
acknowledge his violation of the laws of the land : an offence, which he dared to vindicate under the specious pretext of exercising a dispensing power. “ Let no man,” said he, in his speech to both Houses of Parliament,“ take exception, that there are some officers in the army not qualified, according to the late tests, for their employments. The gentlemen, I must tell you, are most of them well known to me; and, having formerly served with me on several occasions, and always approved the loyalty of their principles by their practice, I think fit to be employed under
And I will deal plainly with you, that having had the benefit of their service in such time of need and danger, I will neither expose them to disgrace, nor myself to want of them, if there should be another rebellion to make them necessary for me *.”
When no hopes remained of a change of behaviour in the King and his Council, in the midst of the fears which arose from the united efforts of popery and tyranny, Sir John Lowther was one of those great and good men, to whom we owe the preservation of our religion, and of every thing dear and valuable to us. He joined with them in soliciting the assistance of William, and inviting him into England; and was a member of that Convention, in which the crown was settled
• Journals of the House of Commons, IX. 756.
on the Prince and Princess of Orange. He had previously secured the city of Carlisle, and influenced the two counties of Westmoreland and Cumberland to declare themselves in favour of the Prince.
On the accession of King William, he was im. mediately appointed a Privy Councillor, and Vice Chamberlain of his Majesty's Household.
In 1689, he was made Lord Lieutenant of the counties of Westmoreland and Cumberland.
In 1690, he was First Commissioner of the Treasury. Of the nature of this office, of the difficulties attending it, and of the contracted system of political economy which prevailed in his time, he thus writes : “ Amongst employments in this nation, the Treasury, though one of the most honourable, yet is undoubtedly the most dangerous and uneasy : since it hath been, ever since I knew parliaments, a maxim to supply the crown narrowly, lest it should be enabled to support itself without them; whereby grievances would grow, and no means of redressing them, and liberty and property would be in danger. It is plain, that this way and rule of policy may indeed keep the state alive, and preserve to every man his own; and so life may drawl on in a kind of sleeping ease: but all that vigour and noble virtue, that tends to the glory and aggrandisement of a nation, is stifled and kept down by it, and effectually it hath been so with us for a lopg time. So far have kings been from being able to build cities, as private men among the Romans and as great princes have sometimes done, for the the good of their country and perpetuating their memory, that ours can scarcely repair their palaces. King James could but get one room built ; King Charles I. nothing: King Charles II. with all the violent passion he had for building, got the alterations at Windsor finished, and yet most if not all the money came from Ireland. King James II. made some alterations in Whitehall; and King William and Queen Mary repented they ever undertook Hampton Court, and at last were forced to leave it in a miserable condition, not half finished *."
In 1694 the return of a disorder, to which he was subject, compelled him to decline his attendance upon parliament for some time. He therefore retired to his seat at Lowther, where he enjoyed that happy solitude, which he called “his dearest companion and entertainment.” He took great pleasure in adorning his magnificent house with paintings of the most eminent artists, and indulged his taste for rural elegance in improving the aspect of the whole country, in embellishing and enriching it's noble scenery by extensive plantations which he formed and nurtured with the tenderest care. Relieved from the toils and