Open main menu

Page:Dictionary of National Biography volume 28.djvu/387

This page has been validated.
Hyde
Hyde
381

his own dominions into that temper of obedience they ought to be in,' and desired to avoid foreign complications (Cont. p. 1170; Courtenay, Life of Temple, i. 127). But his position and his theory of ministerial duty obliged him to accept the responsibility of a policy which he did not originate, and a war of which he disapproved.

Hyde wished the king to marry, but was anxious that he should marry a protestant The marriage between Charles and Catherine of Braganza was first proposed by the Portuguese ambassador to the king in the summer of 1660, and by the king to the lord chancellor (Ranke, iii. 344). Carte, on the authority of Sir Robert Southwell, describes Clarendon as at first remonstrating against the choice, but finally yielding to the king's decision (Carte, Ormonde, iv. 107, ed. 1851; Burnet, Own Time, i. 300). The council unanimously approved of the marriage, and the chancellor on 8 May 1661 announced the decision to parliament, and prepared a narrative of the negotiations (Lords' Journals, xi. 243; Cont. pp. 149-87; Lister, ii. 126, iii. 119, 513). When it became evident that the queen would give no heir to the throne, it was reported that Clarendon knew she was incapable of bearing children and had planned the marriage to secure the crown for his daughter's issue (Reresby, Memoirs, p.53, ed. Cartwright; Pepys, 22Feb.1664). Clarendon refused a bribe of 10,000l. which Bastide the French agent offered him, but stooped to solicit a loan of 50,000l. for his master and a promise of French support against domestic disturbances. The necessities of the king led to the idea of selling Dunkirk a transaction which the eleventh article of Clarendon's impeachment charged him with advising and effecting. In his 'Vindication' he replied that the parting with Dunkirk was resolved upon before he heard of it, and that 'the purpose was therefore concealed from him because it was believed he was not of that opinion ' (Miscellaneous Tracts, p.33). The authorship of the proposal was subsequently claimed by the Earl of Sandwich, and is attributed by Clarendon to the Earl of Southampton (Cont. p.455; Pepys, 25 Feb. 1666). Clarendon had recently rebuked those who murmured at the expense of Dunkirk, and had enlarged on its value to England. But since it was to be sold, he advised that it should be offered to France, and conducted the bargain himself. The treaty was signed on 27 Oct. 1662 (Lister, ii. 167; Ranke, iii. 388; Clarendon State Papers, iii. App. xxi-ii, xxv) Bristol charged him with having got 100,000l. by the transaction, and on 20 Feb. 1665 Pepys notes that the common people had already nicknamed the palace which the chancellor was building near St. James's, ' Dunkirk House.' At the beginning of the reign Mazarin had regarded Clarendon as the most hostile to France of all the ministers of Charles II, but he was now looked upon as the greatest prop of the French alliance (Chéruel, Mazarin, iii. 291, 320-31; Ranke, iii. 339).

Contrary to his intentions, Clarendon also became engaged in the war with Holland. When his administration began, there were disputes of long standing with the United Provinces, and the Portuguese match threatened to involve England in the war between Holland and Portugal. Clarendon endeavoured to mediate between those powers, and refused to allow the English negotiations to be complicated by consideration of the interests of the prince of Orange. He desired peace with Holland because it would compose people's minds in England, and discourage the seditious party which relied on Dutch aid. A treaty providing for the settlement of existing disputes was signed on 4 Sept. 1662. De Witt wrote that it was Clarendon's work, and begged him to confirm and strengthen the friendly relations of the two peoples (Pontalis, Jean De Witt, i. 280; Lister, iii. 167, 175). Amity might have been maintained had the control of English foreign policy been in stronger hands. The king was opposed to war, and convinced by the chancellor's arguments against it (Cont. pp. 450-54). But Charles and Clarendon allowed the pressure of the trading classes and the Duke of York to involve them in hostilities which made war inevitable. Squadrons acting under instructions from the Duke of York, and consisting partly of ships lent from the royal navy, captured Cape Corso (April 1664) and other Dutch establishments on the African coast, and New Amsterdam in America (29 Aug. 1664). The Dutch made reprisals, and war was declared on 22 Feb. 1665. Clarendon held that the African conquest had been made `without any shadow of justice,' and asserted that, if the Dutch had sought redress peaceably, restitution would have been granted (Lister, iii. 347). Of the attack on the Dutch settlements in America he took a different view, urging that they were English property usurped by the Dutch, and that their seizure was no violation of the treaty. He was fully aware of the intended seizure of the New Netherlands, and appears to have helped the Duke of York to make out his title to that territory (Cal State Papers, Colonial, 1661-1668, pp. 191, 200; Brodhead, History of New York, ii. 12, 15; Life of James II, i.