Open main menu

Page:Dictionary of National Biography volume 28.djvu/381

This page has been validated.

assistant editors were empowered to make whatever suppressions or additions they thought fit (Clarendon State Papers, ii. 289, 357). Hyde had also an immediate practical purpose in view. As soon as I found myself alone,' he wrote to Nicholas, 'I thought the best way to provide myself for new business against the time I should be called to it, was to look over the faults of the old, and so I resolved to write the history of these evil times ' (ib. ii. 288). By April 1648 he had carried his narrative down to the commencement of the campaign of 1644. Meanwhile, in February 1648 the Long parliament resolved to present no further addresses to the king, and published a scandalous declaration of its reasons. Hyde at once printed a vindication of his master: 'A full Answer to an infamous and traitorous Pamphlet entitled A Declaration of the Commons of England expressing their reasons of passing the late Resolutions of no further addresses to be made to the King' (published July 28, 1648. An earlier and briefer version of the same answer was published 3 May).

On the outbreak of the second civil war, Hyde was summoned by the queen and the prince to join them at Paris. He left Jersey 26 June 1648, and made his way to Dieppe, whence he took ship for Dunkirk (Clarendon State Papers, ii. 406; Hoskins, Charles II in the Channel Islands, ii. 202). Finding at Dunkirk that the prince was with the fleet in the Thames, he followed him thither. On his way he fell into the hands of an Ostend corsair (13-23 July), who robbed him of all his clothes and money, nor did he succeed in joining Prince Charles till the prince's return to the Hague (7-17 Sept.: Life, v. 10-23; Rebellion, xi. 23, 78). There he found the little court distracted by feuds and intrigues. Hyde set himself to reconcile conflicting interests and to provide the fleet with supplies for a new expedition (Rebellion, xi. 127, 152; Warburton, Prince Rupert, iii. 274, 276, 279). He advised the prince not to trust the Scots, whose emissaries were urging him to visit Scotland, and was resolved that he himself would go neither to Scotland nor to Ireland. In any case, the Scots would not have allowed him to accompany the prince, and he held it safer to see the result of the negotiations at Newport before risking himself in Ireland. The king's concessions during the treaty had filled him with disgust and alarm. `The best,' he wrote, `which is proposed is that which I would not consent to, to preserve the kingdom from ashes' (Clarendon State Papers, ii. 459). When the army interrupted the treaty and brought the king to trial, Hyde vainly exerted himself to save his master's life. He drew up a letter from the prince to Fairfax, and after the king's death a circular to the sovereigns and states of Europe, invoking their aid to avenge the king's execution (Cal. State Papers, Dom. 1649-50, p. 5; Cal. Clarendon Papers, i. 465; cf. Warburton, iii. 283). Hyde's enemies thought his influence then at an end, but in spite of the queen's advice, Charles II retained as councillors all the old members of his father's privy council who were with him at the Hague (Rebellion, xii. 2).

The question whether the new king should establish himself in Scotland or Ireland required immediate decision. As the presbyterian leaders demanded the king's acceptance of the covenant, and ' all the most extravagant propositions which were ever offered to his father,' Hyde advised the refusal of their invitation. He had conferred with Montrose, and expected more good from his expedition than from a treaty with Hamilton and Argyll. The Scots and their partisans regarded Hyde as their chief antagonist, and succeeded in suppressing the inaugural declaration which he drew up for the new king (ib. xii. 32; Clarendon State Papers, ii. 467, 473, 527). In the end Charles resolved to go to Ireland, but to pay a visit to his mother in France on the way. Hyde, who termed Ireland the nearest road to Whitehall, approved the first half of the plan, but objected to the sojourn in Paris. Accordingly, when Cottington proposed that they both should go on an embassy to Spain, Hyde embraced the chance of an honourable retreat (Nicholas Papers, i. 124; Rebellion, xii. 34). His friends complained that he was abandoning the king just when his guidance was most necessary. But Hyde felt that a change of counsellors would ultimately re-establish his own influence, and expected to rejoin the king in Ireland within a few months.

The chief objects of the embassy were to procure a loan of money from the king of Spain, to obtain by his intervention aid from the pope and the catholic powers, and to negotiate a conjunction between Owen O'Neill and Ormonde for the recovery of Ireland. The ambassadors left Paris on 29 Sept. 1649, and reached Madrid on 26 Nov. The Spanish government received them coldly (Guizot, Cromwell, transl. 1854, i. 419-26). Their money was soon exhausted, and Hyde was troubled by the ' miserable wants and distresses ' of his wife, whom he had left in Flanders (Lister, i. 361). The subjugation of Ireland, and the defeat of Charles II at Dunbar, destroyed any hope of Spanish aid, while the share taken by a servant of the ambassadors in Ascham's murder made their presence in-