unsupportable to myself and to all the world else, that I could no longer endure it, and it was impossible to live with it, and do those things with the parliament that must be done, or the government will be lost' (Ellis, Original Letters, 2nd ser. iv. 39). The king therefore decided to remove the chancellor before parliament again met, and commissioned the Duke of York to urge him to retire of his own accord. Clarendon obtained an interview at Whitehall on 26 Aug. 1667, and told the king that he was not willing to deliver up the seal unless he was deprived of it; that his deprivation of it would mean ruin, because it would show that the king believed him guilty; that, being innocent of transgressing the law, he did not fear the justice of the parliament. `Parliaments,' he said, `were not formidable unless the king chose to make them so; it was yet in his own power to govern them, but if they found it was in theirs to govern him, nobody knew what the end would be.' The king did not announce his decision, but seemed deeply offended by some inopportune reflections on Lady Castlemaine. For two or three days the chancellor's friends hoped the king would change his purpose, but finally Charles declared `that he had proceeded too far to retire, and that he should be looked upon as a child if he receded from his purpose.' On 30 Aug. Sir William Morrice was sent to demand the great seal. When Morrice brought it back to Whitehall, Charles was told by a courtier `that this was the first time he could ever call him king of England, being freed from this great man' (Pepys, 27 Aug., 7 Oct. 1667; Cont. p. 1134 ; Lister, iii. 468). On Clarendon himself the blow fell with crushing severity (cf. Carte, Ormonde, v. 57), but he confidently expected to vindicate himself when parliament met.
The next session opened on 10 Oct. 1667. The king's speech referred to the chancellor's dismissal as an act which he hoped would lay the foundation of greater confidence between himself and parliament. The House of Commons replied by warm thanks, which the king received with a promise never to employ the Earl of Clarendon again in any public affairs whatsoever (16 Oct.). Clarendon's enemies, however, were not satisfied, and determined to arraign him for high treason. The attack was opened by Edward Seymour on 26 Oct., and on 29 Oct. a committee was appointed to draw up charges. Its report (6 Nov.) contained seventeen heads of accusation, but the sixteenth article, which accused Clarendon of betraying the king's counsels to his enemies, was the only one which amounted to high treason. The impeachment was presented to the House of Lords on 12 Nov., but they refused (14 Nov.) to commit Clarendon as requested, `because the House of Commons have only accused him of treason in general, and have not assigned or specified any particular treason.' As they persisted in this refusal, the commons passed a resolution that the non-compliance of the lords was `an obstruction to the public justice of the kingdom and a precedent of evil and dangerous consequences' (2 Dec.) The dispute between the two houses grew so high, that it seemed as if all intercourse between them would stop, and a paralysis of the government ensue (Lister, iii. 474). The king publicly supported the chancellor's prosecutors, while the Duke of York stood by his father-in-law, but an attack of small-pox soon deprived the duke of any further power to interfere. As it was, York's conduct had increased the hostility of the chancellor's enemies, and they determined to secure themselves against any possibility of his return to power if James became king (4 Nov. 1667; Life of James II, i. 433; Cont. p. 1177).
By the advice of friends Clarendon wrote to the king protesting innocence of the crimes alleged in his impeachment. `I do upon my knees,' he added, `beg your pardon for any overbold or saucy expressions I have ever used to you … a natural disease in old servants who have received too much countenance.' He begged the king to put a stop to the prosecution, and to allow him to spend the small remainder of his life in some parts beyond seas (ib. p. 1181). Charles read the letter, burnt it, and observed 'that he wondered the chancellor did not withdraw himself.' He was anxious that Clarendon should withdraw, but would neither command him to 'go nor grant him a pass for fear of the commons. Indirectly, through the Duke of York and the Bishop of Hereford, he urged him to fly, and promised `that he should not be in any degree prosecuted, or suffer in his honour or fortune by his absence' (ib. p. 1185). Relying on this engagement, and alarmed by the rumours of a design to prorogue parliament and try him by a jury of peers, Clarendon left England on the night of 29 Nov., and reached Calais three days later. With Clarendon's flight the dispute between the two houses came to an end. The lords accepted it as a confession of guilt, concurred with the commons in ordering his petition to be burnt, and passed an act for his banishment, by which his return was made high treason and his pardon impossible without the consent of both houses (19 Dec. 1667; Lister, ii. 415-44, iii. 472-77; Cont. pp. 1155-97 ; Carte, Ormonde, v. 58 ; Lords'